If you think there's not much difference between toothbrushes, a quick look on a retail oral care aisle might change your mind. About the only thing toothbrushes really have in common are a handle and bristled head.
Choosing the right toothbrush, therefore, might seem overwhelming. But choose you must: Your toothbrush is an essential tool in the fight against tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Without it, your odds for developing dental disease skyrocket.
Along with flossing, brushing is the best way to remove daily plaque buildup, that bacterial film most responsible for dental disease. Brushing also minimizes the buildup of tartar, the hardened form of plaque that's just as harmful as softer plaque. And, brushing stimulates your gum tissues to help prevent or lessen inflammation.
But back to all those brushes—with so many options to weigh, how do you come up with your best choice? Actually, there are some basic tips that can help you narrow things down.
Bristle stiffness. Considering other cleaning chores, you might think you'll need a stiff brush. The opposite—a soft-bristled brush—is usually true. Your toothpaste's mild abrasives and the mechanical action of brushing perform most of the plaque removal. And stiffer brushes could irritate and damage your gums or tooth enamel, leading to bigger problems.
Size and shape. Through a little trial and error (and advice from your dentist), you may find a brush with an angled or tapered neck helps you get into difficult places, especially around the back teeth. If you have problems with grip, you may also opt for a brush with a large diameter handle. Bottom line: Choose a brush you feel comfortable handling.
ADA Seal of Acceptance. Common on dental product packaging, this seal indicates that after rigorous testing the item meets the high standards of the American Dental Association, and that it does what the packaging says it does. Even so, some quality brushes don't have this seal, so ask your dentist their opinion on a particular brand.
There's one more critical component—how well you use your toothbrush. For that, ask your dentist or hygienist for tips on better brushing. Combining the right brush and technique goes a long way toward avoiding dental disease.
If you would like more information on choosing the right toothbrush for you, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sizing Up Toothbrushes.”
July is Park and Recreation Month, a great time to pack up the tent, bed roll and camp stove and head for your nearest state or national park. Just don't take the concept of "getting away from it all" too literally. It's not a good idea to leave all of civilization behind, particularly your daily oral hygiene and dental care habits.
You might think, What's the harm going a few days without brushing and flossing? Actually, there's plenty of harm—even a brief period of neglected oral hygiene is sufficient to give oral bacteria a chance to trigger a case of tooth decay or gum disease.
It's true that you're limited on what you can take with you into the great outdoors (that's kind of the point). But with a little forethought and wise packing, you can take care of your dental care needs and still tread lightly into the woods. Here then, are a few tips for taking care of your teeth and gums while camping.
Bring your toothbrush. There are some things in your personal toiletry you may not need in the wild (looking at you, razor). But you do need your toothbrush, toothpaste and a bit of dental floss or floss picks. We're really not talking about a lot of room, particularly if you go with travel sizes. Just be sure everyone has their own brush packed separately from each other to discourage bacterial spread.
Dry and seal hygiene items. Bacteria love moist environments—so be sure you thoroughly dry your toothbrush after use before you pack it away. You should also stow toothpaste in sealable bags so that its scent won't attract critters (bears seem partial to mint). And, be sure to clean up any toothpaste waste or used floss and dispose of items properly.
Be sure you have clean water. Brushing and flossing with clean water is something you might take for granted at home—but not in camp. Even the clearest stream water may not be as clean as it may look, so be sure you have a way to disinfect it. Alternatively, bottled water is a handy option for use while brushing and flossing your teeth.
Easy on the trail mix. Although seeds and nuts make up most popular snacking mixes for hiking or camping, they may also contain items like raisins or candy bits with high sugar content. Since sugar feeds the bacteria that cause dental disease, keep your snacking on these kinds of trail mixes to a minimum or opt for snacks without these sweetened items.
Camping can be a great adventure. Just be sure you're not setting yourself up for a different kind of adventure in dental treatment by taking care of your teeth and gums on your next big outing.
If you would like more information about taking care of your teeth no matter the season, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Daily Oral Hygiene.”
Play a round of word association with "summer," and you'll probably come up with "vacation," "camping," or "beach" just off the top of your head. But the slower pace of this sultry season offers opportunities for other pursuits—like home improvement projects. If you're in a "fixer-upper" mood, you might consider something out of the box: a smile makeover.
Changes to your dental appearance start a lot like the typical home renovation—you're not satisfied with how things look. And, like home projects, you can go little on smile enhancements (akin to maybe repainting the bedroom) or go big (that shiny new addition).
If you're up for this kind of makeover this summer, here are a few suggestions for improving your smile.
Teeth whitening. Stained tooth enamel can make your smile look dull and dingy—but you can reverse this with a professional whitening treatment. Using a precisely formulated bleaching solution, we can give you a brighter smile at just the level of brightness you want. And with good care and occasional touchups, your bright and shiny smile could last for years.
Dental bonding or veneers. Chips, stains that resist whitening or an unsightly gap can detract from an otherwise attractive smile. We can repair many minor defects by bonding tooth-colored composite material to your teeth. For more extensive defects, we can also cover teeth with custom dental veneers, thin layers of porcelain that hide dental flaws.
Orthodontics. Straightening misaligned teeth is primarily beneficial to your long-term dental health. But it can also transform a smile, earning it the title, "The Original Smile Makeover." And braces aren't your only choice—depending on your particular bite problem, you may be able to use nearly invisible clear aligners, which you can also remove for meals and hygiene.
Dental implants. Nothing downgrades a smile like missing teeth. But you can replace those teeth with dental implants, a highly popular and effective restoration. Implants have two outstanding qualities: They provide a life-like appearance that's indistinguishable from a natural tooth and they're quite durable—over 95% are still in place after ten years.
You can receive these and other cosmetic dental measures as standalone procedures or grouped with others in a comprehensive smile makeover. Some—like teeth whitening—can often be done in a single visit, while others—like teeth straightening or implants—can take months or even years.
What's important, though, is that you get the ball rolling with a comprehensive dental exam. From there, we can lay out your options and help you decide on your specific makeover plan. It could be one of your best summer projects ever!
Brushing, flossing, and good nutrition are instrumental in keeping tooth decay away, but sometimes cavities can occur even if you have great oral hygiene.
If you have developed a cavity due to inadequate dental care, genetics, aging, health problems, or other reasons, there is no need to be embarrassed. Dr. Kathleen Geipe in Salisbury, MD, can fill your cavity with a tooth-colored filling to restore the health and appearance of your tooth.
What is a filling?
Fillings are sealants, used to cover the void from a cavity. Your dentist at our Salisbury, MD, office will begin by removing the cavity and cleaning out the tooth before a filling is cemented in place. A filling prevents the decay in a cavity from causing bacterial growth and spreading it to the neighboring teeth and gums.
What are fillings made of?
Tooth-colored fillings can be made from composite, porcelain, or glass ionomer.
Composite fillings are made from plastic and glass and are easier to put in as they require less drilling. Porcelain fillings offer stain resistance and are undetectable to the eye, but generally cost more than composite. Glass ionomer fillings, made from a blend of acrylic and glass powders, are usually the most affordable tooth-colored filling but don't last as long.
Why should I choose a tooth-colored filling?
A cavity needs to be filled in order to restore the health and function of your tooth and protect the rest of your teeth. While any filling can accomplish that, a tooth-colored filling does so discreetly. Amalgam fillings, while strong and less expensive, are visible and may require more drilling. If you are looking for discreetness, a tooth-colored filling is your best option. As with any filling, your dentist will make sure it fits perfectly so you can bite and chew comfortably.
If you need a filling, call our Salisbury, MD, office at (410) 543-0599 to book an appointment with Dr. Geipe.
If you're searching for a safe and effective way to brighten your smile in a short amount of time, Dr. Kathleen Geipe recommends teeth whitening to eligible Salisbury, MD, patients.
Tooth stains are divided into two categories: intrinsic (inner) and extrinsic (outer). Intrinsic discoloration lies under enamel in the dentin, while the outer ones lie on the surface, making them a bit easier to treat. Both often result from poor oral hygiene, excessive plaque and tartar build-up, tobacco products, or excessive consumption of highly acidic foods and beverages. Hereditary disorders, medications, decay, and periodontal disease may also be the cause.
The After Care For Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening is performed at home or in our Salisbury, MD, office using a concentrated hydrogen peroxide gel. This gel sits on the teeth for approximately 60 minutes and has the potential to whiten enamel up to eight shades. Once Dr. Geipe applies the gel, routine upkeep is necessary to achieve desired and long-lasting results.
To prolong whitening effects, you might want to avoid some of the foods and beverages that stain teeth and add a whitening toothpaste to your oral care regimen. You'll also benefit from brushing at least twice a day or once after every meal. Flossing at least once a day, and visiting our dentist for professional cleanings and checkups twice a year are also important.
Remember that sensitivity is a common side effect of teeth whitening. Therefore maintaining good oral hygiene practices are essential.
Don't be insecure about your smile any longer. Consider a consultation with our dentist to determine which cosmetic procedure best suits your needs. For more information about teeth whitening and other services provided by Dr. Geipe, visit our website. If you live in the Salisbury, MD, area and would like to schedule an appointment, please call (410) 543-0599.
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