How Can I Prevent Cavities?

Nobody wants cavities. They start out small, but if untreated, they only get bigger. The decay spreads and causes serious problems. The best way to deal with cavities is to prevent them from even starting. How? Here are five ways:

1. Watch What You Eat & Drink

All food can cause cavities, because the bacteria in your mouth eat whatever you eat, and create plaque, tartar, and acid. However, certain foods are more bothersome than others. Bacteria loves sugar and refined carbs, so if your diet is heavy with those, you are more likely to get cavities. Nutrient-rich foods like fresh fruit and vegetables are much better for your teeth and your body in general. Raw fruits like apple and celery can even help break down plaque on your teeth before it hardens into tartar. For beverages, water is naturally the best, while drinks packed with sugar (like soda and many energy drinks) are the worst.

man wearing a bathrobe brushing his teeth to prevent cavities

2. Have a Consistent Brushing/Flossing Routine

The best way to prevent cavities is to take care of your teeth and gums through brushing and flossing. We recommend brushing at least twice per day for two minutes each time. Flossing can be a once-a-day habit, so you can prevent cavities from forming because of plaque found in the tiny spaces between the teeth. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, too! Lots of bacteria like to live on your tongue’s surface, and if you don’t clean them away, they spread to your teeth. Replace your brush every 3 months or so, since the bristles of brushes wear down and aren’t as effective at cleaning.

3. Use a Toothpaste with Fluoride

Fluoride is a natural element, and it’s been well-established that small amounts of it strengthen your teeth. You can get toothpastes with fluoride or a fluoride rinse to keep your teeth in the best shape possible. If you are at special risk for cavities, fluoride toothpaste and rinses are an especially good addition to your oral health routine.

4. Don’t Chew Tobacco or Smoke

Tobacco products have been linked with increased risk of tooth decay. Studies show people using smokeless tobacco are especially vulnerable to cavities at the gumline. While chewing tobacco raises your risk the most (which makes sense considering the stuff is right in your mouth), smoking is also dangerous for your oral health.

5. Go to the Dentist Twice a Year

After a solid brushing/flossing routine at home and other lifestyle choices that keep your teeth healthy, going to the dentist bi-annually is the best way to prevent cavities. Dr. McCord, Dr. Knox, and the team at Mint Dental Care are here to give your teeth a professional cleaning and catch any problems before they become serious. We can see your mouth and teeth much more thoroughly than you can, and provide expert care and advice on how to keep cavities at bay.

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Tips to Improve Oral Health

young woman looking in the mirror brushing her teeth

New season, new school year, new you! With our help, it’s time for you to recommit to your oral care. In this blog post, we’ll go over some simple things you can do to improve your oral health.

Perfect Your Dental Routine

Here’s what you need to do at home in order to keep your teeth healthy. Be sure to brush at least twice per day. When you brush it should be for a full two minutes. Set a timer if you need to, this time is important. Brush gently so as not to inflict damage on your teeth and gums. Flossing is just as important as brushing, so don’t skip it. It’s crucial that you get at those hard to reach areas that a toothbrush just can’t access.

Favor Tooth-Healthy Foods

You probably know the most important rule: go easy on the sugar. The same goes for starchy, carb-laden foods. Sugar and carbs will feed the bacteria that creates plaque on your teeth. Plaque, in turn, eats away at your protective enamel, causing damage and decay. What can you eat? Fruits and veggies are always smart choices, dairy and nuts are great too.

Use Flouride

If you’re not already incorporating fluoride into your tooth care regimen, go ahead and start. A fluoride toothpaste or rinse will have a positive impact on your oral health. Fluoride is a material that is naturally occurring, and it’s safe for use on your teeth. It makes your tooth enamel stronger. Enamel is the thin but hard outer layer of the tooth that protects the inside of the tooth from decay, infection, and other damage.

Biannual Visits to Mint Dental Care

Without regular visits to the dentist, there’s no way to ensure your oral health. When you visit our office, we give your teeth a deep, professional clean, and examine your mouth for any issues that may need to be addressed.

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Is It Normal to Lose Teeth As We Age?

As you age, you’ll likely notice some changes in your mouth. In this post we’ll help you understand what’s normal, and what you can do to make sure your mouth stays healthy as you get older.

four seniors concerned about tooth loss as they age

What Causes Tooth Loss?

Although it is more common to lose teeth when we’re older, it isn’t necessarily something that has to happen. With good oral care, you should be able to keep all or most of your natural teeth well into old age. When we see tooth loss in seniors, it usually stems from poor oral care, poor diet, or a combination of both factors.

Preventing Tooth Loss

Unfortunately, some people tend to want to abandon their oral care habits as they get older. This is a no-no if you want to keep your teeth. Maintain a vigilant oral care routine, brushing twice daily and flossing once every day. Eat healthy and see your dentist regularly. Dental visits are really key to maintaining oral health as we age, as the dentist can pinpoint and address early signs of decay, let you know how your medications may be affecting your oral health, and help you treat common issues such as dry mouth.

Tooth Replacement Options

Tooth loss happens, and when it does there are plenty of comfortable options to replace the missing tooth or teeth. Implants are a favored solution to single missing teeth, especially because they look and feel just like the real thing. Partial dentures or bridges are a fantastic solution to a group of missing teeth, and dentures can be used to replace a full set. If you have experienced tooth loss, your dentist will walk you through the options that are best suited to you and your budget.

Oral Care for All Ages at Mint Dental Care

As we said, seeing your dentist is one of the most important things you can do for your health as you age. If you have lapsed in your visits, it’s time to give us a call! We look forward to seeing you at our office soon.

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Electric vs. Manual Toothbrush

Rethinking your toothbrush? You brush your teeth daily and your oral care is a key part of our overall health and well-being—you want to make sure you are using the best possible tool to get the job done! Read on to learn the merits of both options: electric and manual.

Traditional Toothbrush

Humans figured out centuries ago how important dental care is. We have been using a toothbrush in some form or another since ancient times. Today’s manual toothbrush remains pretty basic, but it gets the job done. Many people have chosen to stand by their manual toothbrush for a variety of reasons, chief among them the brush’s portability and price point. If you’re a gentle and regular brusher, a manual toothbrush is a fine choice!

electric and manual toothbrushes

Electric Toothbrush

When it comes to electric toothbrushes, your decision gets a little bit more complicated. There are tons of brands and models available including a whole array of different features like a built in timer, a pressure sensor, and a subscription brush head delivery service. The best thing about an electric toothbrush is that the oscillating and spinning motions do most of the work for you, you simply guide the brush. That makes electric options a great fit for kids and people with limited mobility, arthritis, and other issues.

The Verdict

While electric toothbrushes boast a variety of features that can make brushing easier or even more pleasant, especially for certain users, most dentists will agree that as long as you are brushing and flossing as recommended, and seeing your dentist for a biannual cleaning and exam, the choice is yours.

Still having trouble deciding what to buy? Talk to us. Our knowledgeable staff here at Mint Dental Care is always happy to give recommendations as to the best dental products for you and your family.

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5 Interesting Facts About Tongues

How often do you think about your tongue? Not only is this oft-forgotten muscle super important to great oral health, it’s also just plain interesting! Read on for some fascinating facts about your tongue that you probably didn’t know.

girl sticking out her tongue

1. Like Fingerprints, Everyone’s Tongue Print Is Different

Your tongue is uniquely your own, there’s no other one just like it. In fact, your entire set of teeth is also completely unique to you. Even identical twins don’t have the same sets of teeth. This is why dental records can be used, if needed, to identify human remains.

2. Tongues Are Three Inches on Average

Ever tried to touch your tongue to your nose? If you can do it, maybe your tongue is a bit longer than average. Most tongues measure three inches in length, from the back of the tongue to the tip. The record for longest tongue? It’s currently 3.98 inches, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

3. The Tongue Contains Thousands of Taste buds

Your tongue is covered with thousands of taste buds, ranging anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000. Many people assume that the little bumps on their tongue are taste buds, but those bumps are actually called papillae. Each contains around six taste buds. Generally, taste buds can’t be seen with the naked eye.

4. The Tongue Is Made Up Of Eight Muscles

Another misconception is that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body, but this can’t be true. The tongue is made up of multiple muscles–eight to be exact. The muscles serve different purposes, and they allow the tongue to change shape and position, giving the tongue remarkable flexibility and stamina. The tongue is incredibly strong though, consider just how often you use it.

5. The Tongue Can Be a Window Into Your Health & Wellness

The appearance of your tongue can give your doctor clues to what’s going on in your body. White patches, for example, may indicate a fungal infection called thrush, or a red, blistered tongue could be a sign of dry mouth. A healthy tongue should generally be a shade of pink.

Pay Attention to Your Tongue!

The health of your tongue is an important component of your oral health. Without proper care, bacteria can accumulate on the surface, leading to bad breath and the spread of bacteria and eventual tooth decay. Invest in a tongue scraper or use your toothbrush to give your tongue a good daily scrub.

Don’t forget to visit our office for regular checkups and cleanings. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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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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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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