Can Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth Alleviate Discomfort?

These days, there are a variety of brands of toothpaste available at your local grocery store or pharmacy. It can be hard to decide which type is best for you. If you’ve been dealing with tooth sensitivity, you might want to consider switching to a toothpaste that helps with this problem.

big red toothbrush with toothpaste

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

There are many reasons why you might be experiencing a dull, achy pain in your teeth. Cavities, chronic teeth clenching, and eating hot, cold, or acidic foods can all cause teeth to feel discomfort. This is because the wearing away of the enamel (the outer layer of the tooth) leads to exposure of the underlying layer of the tooth (the dentin). The dentin contains microscopic tubules that are covered in nerve endings. This means that when the dentin becomes exposed due to enamel erosion, discomfort and pain may follow.

What Can Be Done to Help Sensitive Teeth?

If you’ve noticed sensitive teeth for more than a few days, we’d like you to call us. If the pain is being caused by a cavity or teeth clenching, we’ll want to get you an appointment for filling or get you fitted for a night guard. If there is no obvious cause to your sensitivity, we will recommend a few adjustments to your routine, including using a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.

How does Sensitive Toothpaste Work?

Toothpastes made for sensitive teeth are very effective. They include ingredients that block nerve ending receptivity in the exposed dentin. This means less pain and discomfort. We’ll recommend you use this toothpaste for at least a month or until symptoms improve. Your toothpaste should also contain fluoride. This will help to strengthen and remineralize your teeth, helping to slow down enamel erosion and protect the dentin from further exposure.

If you have new or worsening pain in your teeth, we’d like you to call us right away. We’ll set up an appointment to find out what’s causing your sensitive teeth and get you on the road to recovery. Don’t let tooth pain stop you from eating your favorite foods! Contact us today.

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Can Veneers Fix a Tooth Gap?

If you’re self conscious about a tooth gap, you may be wondering what your options are for improving your smile. At Mint Dental Care, we offer several choices for getting the smile of your dreams. If you’ve been putting off having a procedure because you aren’t sure what’s right for you, we’d like to give you answers on what to expect.

red headed woman sticking her tongue through a gap in her front teeth

How to Fix a Tooth Gap

Some think that the only way to fix a tooth gap is through orthodontia and braces. This isn’t true. Porcelain veneers are also an effective and lasting way to close gaps. Veneers are thin sheets of resin and porcelain composite that we adhere to the front of teeth. They look and feel as natural as your teeth, but can be made the perfect size, shape, and color to make your smile straight and glowing.

If You Decide to Get Veneers

It’s much easier than you may think to get the smile you’ve always wanted. First, you’ll schedule a consultation with Dr. McCord. Together, you’ll create the image of your ideal smile, and he’ll help determine if veneers are the right choice for you. Once your custom veneers are complete, you’ll come in for the bonding process. At this point, we’ll prepare your teeth for bonding the veneers. You’ll then have permanent, strong, beautiful teeth that look and feel like your other teeth. Although it’s possible for veneers to become damaged, they are very durable and should last many years with proper care. They may be the solution you’ve been looking for to close your gap.

If you’re interested in getting veneers, call us. We’ll schedule a consultation and discuss your options with you. If you’re interested in learning about financing options, we offer an in-office membership plan. We also take third-party financing plans through CareCredit. Don’t put off getting your best smile. Contact us today!

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Holiday Treats That Are Good for Your Teeth

The holidays mean time spent with family and friends, fun traditions, and maybe even some presents. They also mean lots of food, and often not the kind that are good for your oral health. For those looking to stay healthy and cavity-free this holiday season, we’ll discuss some holiday treats that are good for your teeth.

three gingerbread man cookies good for oral health

Gingerbread Cookies

Yes, some cookies are not bad for your oral health! The key is finding those that don’t require a lot of sugar. Your typical sugar cookies often have more than a cup of sugar, while gingerbread cookies call for about half that. Another benefit is that gingerbread is high in fiber and ginger is an anti-inflammatory.

Cheesy Reindeer

Want a snack that’s as healthy as it is cute? Look no further than cheese reindeer! Cheese is good for your teeth because it’s packed with calcium to make your tooth enamel stronger. To make cheese reindeer, simply take a wedge of cheese cut in a triangle for the face, use black olives for the eyes, a round chunk of red pepper for the nose, and pretzels for the ears.

Oatmeal Cookies

Another healthier cookie, oatmeal cookies are good for your oral health because they are also much lower in sugar. In fact, they can be made with even less sugar if you substitute applesauce for a lot of the sugar in the recipe. Applesauce is a more natural sweetener that will also keep the cookies moist for longer. Better for your teeth and better for your tastebuds!

Pumpkin Pie

Another holiday treat you don’t have to feel too guilty about is pumpkin pie. High in fiber and Vitamin A, pumpkin strengthens your teeth’s enamel and works to keep gums healthy. Pumpkin pie recipes also don’t often call for too much sugar. Just be sure not to pile on the whipped cream!

Sweet Potatoes

Naturally sweet without being packed with sugar, sweet potatoes are a great holiday treat. They’re high in vitamins A and C which are vital to maintaining healthy gums. Just make sure that you pass on the sweet potato casserole that’s topped with marshmallows and brown sugar.

Chocolate Hazelnut Meringues

Instead of Hershey’s kisses, which are filled with sugar, make your own drop cookies with chocolate and hazelnuts. It’ll save your teeth from a lot of sugar, but will be so delicious that you won’t miss the Hershey’s kisses.

If you have any other questions about healthy holiday snacks that are good for your teeth, or if you need to schedule a checkup, contact us today!

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How Long Does It Take for a Cavity to Form?

Sometimes patients wonder why it’s necessary to see us for a checkup every 6 months. This is because the health of your teeth can change drastically in a span of just a few months, and we want to make sure we’re aware of any changes to your dental health. Take cavities for example. A cavity can take months or even years to form in an adult. It takes even less time for a child because the enamel of baby teeth is more susceptible to breakdown than adult teeth. You or your child might not feel a cavity forming, but we can see it. This is why it’s so important to get seen routinely.

What Is a Cavity?

A cavity is a hole in a tooth that forms when it begins to decay. Tooth decay is caused by a wearing down of enamel, or the outer layer of teeth. Bacteria in the mouth feed off of sugar to cause plaque, which can break down the enamel of the teeth and cause cavities. Cavities can cause a toothache or sensitivity upon eating certain foods.

cartoon man brushing his teeth and cartoon tooth giving a thumbs up

How Can You Prevent Cavities?

The best way to prevent tooth decay is to diligently practice your daily dental hygiene. Brushing twice daily for two minutes each time and flossing once daily will greatly reduce your chances of getting a cavity. Also, reducing your sugar intake will help to keep teeth clean and free of plaque. Visiting our office for your scheduled cleanings is also an important step to keeping teeth strong.

What to Do if You Suspect You Have a Cavity

Give us a call! Don’t be shy. Fixing a cavity is easy and will help keep the tooth from being damaged further. We’ll repair your tooth with a filling and get you back to feeling like yourself in no time!

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Does Mouthwash Make Your Teeth Healthier?

Considering making mouthwash a part of your daily routine? There are some great reasons to do so, but do you need it?

man pondering the benefits of mouthwash for oral health

What Does Mouthwash Actually Do?

A swish of mouthwash after brushing can feel great, leaving your mouth feeling squeaky clean. But besides leaving your teeth minty fresh, how is it benefiting your smile? Depending on the type of mouthwash you choose, you’ll be getting a different effect. Typically, mouthwashes are antiseptic solutions, formulated to target a variety of issues, depending on the type you select. Mouthwashes have been shown to be effective in reducing plaque and sensitivity, whitening and brightening the smile, freshening breath, and more.

Is Mouthwash Necessary?

If you’ve kept up with your brushing and flossing to maintain a healthy smile, you probably don’t need it, though it likely won’t do you any harm. Mouthwash is often recommended for use by people with gum disease, cavities, or halitosis, for example. If you’re suffering from any such issues, your dentist may recommend a specific formula for targeted treatment.

How to Use Mouthwash

Whether you need it or not, make sure you’re using mouthwash correctly, many people don’t! It’s important that you swish the solution for at least 60 seconds in order for it to take effect. Avoid an alcohol based mouthwash, they have been proven harsh and maybe even be dangerous. Also, do your research and look for a mouthwash that’s proven effective, and targets the problems you actually have. A fluoride rinse is a smart choice for those prone to cavities, while an anti-plaque wash is helpful to anyone with gum disease. Avid coffee drinkers may be looking for a whitening wash to add to their medicine cabinet. Don’t choose a mouthwash that doesn’t do the job you need, or doesn’t do the job at all. Some washes may freshen breath in the short term, but with no germ-fighting ingredients, do no long term work on fighting bacteria and eliminating bad breath.

Not sure? Ask Us!

If you’re not sure which type to use, or whether you should even use it at all, give us a call. At Mint Dental Care we’re here to advise you on how to round out your routine for the best possible clean!

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5 Tooth-Friendly Sugar Substitutes

sugar cubes on a black background
Sugar makes some food taste good, but that’s the only good thing about it.
Sugar is suspected to be a major factor contributing to many significant health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, and cancer.

And of course everyone knows it also wreaks havoc on our teeth. Actually, sugar alone is not the cause of cavities. Rather, cavities are caused by the acid released by the combination of sugar and bacteria. The acid destroys tooth enamel, which creates decay.

Fortunately, there are numerous sugar substitutes which do not react with bacteria to cause acid, and therefore do not lead to cavities. In this article, we offer a list of 5 such substitutes that you might want to try, if you haven’t already. All of them are available under various brand names, and are also marketed by numerous manufacturers under their generic names.

1. Sucralose

Sucralose, which is best-known by the brand name “Splenda,” is one of six sugar substitutes that are approved by the FDA. The others are saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, neotame, and advantame. Of all the FDA-approved sweeteners, sucralose is one of the most extensively researched, having been the subject of more than 100 safety studies.

Sucralose is a general purpose sweetener that can be found in a variety of foods including baked goods, beverages, chewing gum, gelatins, and frozen dairy desserts. Unlike some other non-sugar sweeteners, it is heat stable, making it suitable for use in cooking.

2. Stevia

This sweetener is derived from a plant native to parts of South America, where it has been used for hundreds of years. It is categorized as “GRAS” by the FDA, which means it is “Generally Regarded As Safe,” and therefore does not require premarket FDA approval like other food additives. However, the raw stevia leaf itself is not considered GRAS and is therefore not permitted for use as a sweetener.

3. Monk Fruit

Technically known as Luo Han Guo, Monk Fruit is a type of gourd that’s native to Southern China. Like Stevia, the sweetener derived from Monk Fruit is categorized as GRAS by the FDA. It has the additional benefit of being rich in antioxidants with their associated anti-inflammatory effects.

4. Xylitol

This is one of several sugar alcohols that are classified GRAS by the FDA. Commercially produced from sugars and starch, sugar alcohols are used primarily to sweeten sugar-free candies, cookies, and chewing gums. Among the sugar alcohol sweeteners, Xylitol is unique in that it actually prevents decay by inhibiting the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. It also may aid in teeth remineralization. As a result, Xylitol is increasingly popular as a sugar-free sweetener for chewing gum. It is sold under several brand names, including Ideal, Polysweet, and Xylosweet.

5. Erythritol

Erythritol, another sugar alcohol, occurs naturally in fruits such as melons, pears, and grapes. Zerose and ZSweet are probably the best-known Erythritol brands.

When it comes to avoiding cavities, sugar substitutes are a reasonable substitute for the real thing. However, there’s no substitute for good oral hygiene and professional dental care! So if you’re overdue for a checkup, contact us at Mint Dental Care and set up an appointment with Dr. McCord or Dr. Knox today.

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Here’s Why You Should Consider an Oral Cancer Screening

Keeping your mouth healthy doesn’t just mean preventing cavities and decay. It also means preventing potential oral cancer, which claims the life of one person per hour every single day. Cancer is a very serious (and often fatal) disease so opting for a quick oral cancer screening during your dental visit could save your life.

What Is an Oral Cancer Screening?

An oral cancer screening consists of a thorough examination of your mouth, cheeks, and tongue. Our expert team will also scan your lips, face, and neck and physically examine the lymph nodes in your neck in order to check for any potential abnormalities, like lumps and discoloration. If we believe that you need any further testing, we will refer you to a specialist or conduct it ourselves in our office. Don’t be worried during your oral cancer screening. If you come see us every six months, chances are that any abnormalities will be detected in the early stages. With early detection, chances of survival are much higher!

What Are the Causes of Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer has many causes, but your chances of developing it increase if you use tobacco products, drink excessive amounts of alcohol, and/or practice poor dental hygiene. You are also at risk if you or a blood-relative have previously been diagnosed with oral cancer or if you have had excessive exposure to the sun.

Closeup of a woman with painted red nails smoking a cigarette, increasing her risk of oral cancer

How Can I Prevent Oral Cancer?

Quitting smoking or avoiding smoking is a major way to prevent oral cancer. You can also reduce your chances of developing oral cancer through the same ways you prevent other oral health ailments: daily brush and floss your teeth to prevent bacteria growth; consume a proper, balanced diet that is low in sugar, acid, and alcohol, all of which can create a toxic environment in your body; drink plenty of water; and visit our office every six months.

Your Oral Health Is Our Priority!

Preventive care is critical to maintaining positive oral health. Next time you visit our office, ask for an oral cancer screening to take an extra step in ensuring that your smile is strong and healthy. At Mint Dental Care, we offer oral cancer screenings as one of our many preventive treatments. Contact us to schedule your next appointment today!

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5 Tips for Fighting Cavities

Aerial view of a pink, blue that is missing a bite, and brown donut, covered with colorful sprinkles on a wooden counter

If you have ever had a cavity, you’re in the majority: it’s estimated that nine in ten American adults have at least one cavity.

What Are Cavities?

A cavity is a small area of decay on your tooth, usually in the form of a small hole. They’re not easy to detect yourself, which is why it is so important to see Dr. McCord every 6 months so that he can determine if you have them. Common signs of cavities include tooth sensitivity and pain, along with bad breath. Cavities are easily treatable in their early stages, but if you don’t get them treated right away, the decay will spread and you may be required to have a root canal or a tooth extraction in the future.

What Causes Cavities?

Tooth decay occurs when you have too much bacteria on the surface of your teeth and are not doing enough to curb their growth. Eating a diet that is rich in sugar and carbohydrates is a leading cause of cavities, because when bacteria on your teeth break down leftover sugar, they release acid that can actually eat away at the protective layer of your teeth. Additionally, poor oral hygiene leads to cavities.

5 Tips to Prevent Cavities

Even though they’re quite common, cavities are actually easily preventable! Follow these 5 tips to be completely cavity-free.

  1. Eat a Healthy Diet
  2. A well-balanced diet will balance acid levels in your mouth, making it harder for bacteria to grow. Having a proper mix of vitamins and nutrients will also help remineralize, or strengthen, your teeth every time you eat. Protein, calcium, and fiber are especially important for your teeth, so don’t be shy to incorporate more dairy, leafy greens, nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet!

  3. Use Fluoride
  4. Using dental products that contain fluoride and drinking fluoridated water is a great way to ward of cavities, since fluoride prevents cavity-causing bacteria from multiplying. Just be careful not to use too much, because it can cause staining on your teeth.

  5. Brush & Floss Every Day
  6. Brushing your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes each time and flossing at least once per day is the best way to prevent cavities and gum disease. It only takes a couple of minutes each time!

  7. Stop Smoking
  8. Smoking negatively impacts your health, and because it weakens your immunity, it makes it even easier for the bacteria that is normally not so harmful to your teeth to overtake them and cause infections.

  9. Visit Your Dentist Regularly
  10. It’s very important to have Dr. McCord examine your teeth twice per year to make sure that either you don’t have cavities at all or are able to have them treated.

Don’t let cavities get the best of you! Visit us at Mint Dental Care for a clean bill of health. Contact us today!

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Dental Benefits of Tea

box with different tea bags

Tea has been a popular drink for thousands of years, and it turns out that this beverage isn’t just delicious but may actually be good for your teeth as well! Here are just a few ways that drinking tea can be beneficial for your dental health.

1. It Freshens Breath

Drinking a strong mint tea can freshen up your breath naturally. Mint tea can also help settle upset stomachs and aids digestion for an added bonus. Enjoy it hot or iced!

2. It Can Prevent Gum Disease

A Japanese study showed that drinking green tea regularly could actually prevent gum disease by promoting healthy, strong, and pain-free gums given its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.

3. It Can Prevent Cavities

Green tea controls the acidity levels in your mouth, which makes it harder for plaque and bacteria to grow on your teeth. This means that it’s also harder to develop tooth decay and tooth loss.

4. It Can Help You Cut Back on Soda and Coffee

Replace sugary sodas and lattes that can actually harm your teeth with a delicious tea. There are plenty of varieties of green, herbal, and black teas out there to appeal to your taste buds, and they can provide the aforementioned health benefits.

5. It May Help Prevent Oral Cancer

Green tea is loaded with healthy flavonoids, which are known for their cancer-fighting properties.

Drinking tea provides incredible benefits to both your dental and overall health. While it cannot replace regular brushing, flossing, and dental examinations, it’s excellent to incorporate into your diet and a surefire way to make your daily dental care routine even easier and more effective. If you are in need of a professional cleaning or exam, or have any other issue to address concerning your dental care, Dr. McCord and the staff at Mint Dental Care would love to hear from you.

Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

3 Common Dental Problems

young man with tooth pain holding jaw

At Mint Dental Care, we’re prepared to look at and treat a host of different dental issues, from the routine to full mouth restorations. Some cases, however, are more common than others. Here are the top three common dental problems that patients are eager to treat.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, occurs when plaque and bacteria get trapped under the gums and causes them to become inflamed and infected. Symptoms include red, sore, and bleeding gums. Gum disease can be very painful, and if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. While prevention entails consistent brushing, flossing, and regular dental exams, treatment includes laser gum treatment and root scaling, both of which we offer here at Mint Dental Care.

Cosmetic Issues

Chipped teeth, bite issues, and stained teeth can damage one’s confidence in their smile. There are many cosmetic treatments available to give patients the smiles of their dreams. We offer Invisalign®, dental veneers, and professional teeth whitening so that our patients have plenty of options when it comes to cosmetic treatments.

Missing Teeth

While replacing a missing tooth may seem like a cosmetic issue, there’s more to it than just having a complete smile. Missing teeth can make it harder to talk and chew, and can even make your jaw weaker. Depending on how many teeth you are missing, your dentist may recommend that you get a bridge or dentures. We offer both treatment options at Mint Dental Care for a beautiful and functional smile.

At Mint Dental Care, we want you to have your dream smile, whether that means you simply need a dental cleaning and exam or one of our many specialized services. We also firmly believe in providing affordable care to all of our patients, whether you have insurance or not. If you are dealing with a dental problem, don’t wait to get the care you need!

Have questions about our treatment options or on how to build a dental plan around your budget?