Teeth Whitening Basics

Posted by Laurelhurst Dentistry

A healthy, white smile is easier and less expensive to achieve than you might expect with the help of the dentists at Laurelhurst Dentistry. Good daily oral hygiene habits combined with the teeth whitening method of your choice can keep your smile looking strong and bright. Consistent and effective dental habits go a long way toward maintaining whiter teeth.

Teeth may become discolored for many reasons. Food and drinks that can stain a white colored t-shirt, can stain our tooth enamel. Snacks and meals high in sugar and carbohydrates encourage bacteria that produce acid that harm our teeth reducing luster and brightness. Excessive wear on the enamel of our teeth and recession of our gum tissue also cause teeth to appear more yellow or brown. Fortunately, the knowledgeable staff at Laurelhurst Dentistry can help you find a practical, successful way to recreate your bright smile!

Teeth Whitening at Home

Teeth whitening is done by applying a bleaching agent to the surfaces of your teeth. The best equation for whiter teeth is consistent use over a long period of time to produce the results you want. If you want to spend less than $100, there are many teeth whitening agents available in retail stores. These options range from strips that adhere to your teeth as well as non-customized mouth trays filled with a low concentration bleaching agent. These teeth whiteners are safe to use at home and don’t require a dentist’s supervision. They also require more consistent use and a longer duration of time to be effective.

Professional Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening that’s done by Laurelhurst Dentistry is the fastest, easiest and most convenient way to whiten your teeth. Using professional equipment, your dentist can help whiten your teeth up to ten shades in about an hour. While more expensive, this is the most effective, fast, and convenient way to whiten your teeth. A less expensive option involves customized mouth trays and a dentist’s supervision. In a little over a week, your teeth could be up to ten shades whiter using these materials provided by your dentist near you at Laurelhurst Dentistry.

No matter which option you choose, the reward will be a smile that’s white and bright!

How Dental Cavities Form and How to Fight Them

Posted by Laurelhurst Dentistry

kid child dentist appointment cavity laurelhurst dentistryDental cavities can be prevented with good basic oral hygiene performed on a consistent basis as well as regular visits to Laurelhurst Dentistry. Although this routine sounds simple, our mouths are a lot more complicated than we might think.

How Cavities are Created

Our teeth are constantly being covered with a sticky film of bacteria, a biofilm called plaque. As a matter of fact, these unrelenting and organized bacteria reattach immediately after brushing and flossing. When we eat or drink anything that contains sugar or starch, there is a pH change within our mouth. The bacteria utilize the sugars and starches in our diet as their food, and in turn release an acidic by-product that can soften or demineralize tooth surfaces. For some, this pH change and acid attack can result in tooth decay. There is a higher risk of tooth decay with repeated, prolonged pH changes and high levels of bacteria in our mouths.

Detecting Cavities Early

A white spot might appear on the tooth indicating an area weakened by decay. This preliminary stage of tooth decay may also be seen in a digital x-ray or a visual examination. Without proper treatment, this weakening can proceed through the hard outer enamel and into the softer inner layer of tooth structure that is called dentin. A cavity can proceed through this layer more quickly and aim toward the nerve of the tooth.

It is the goal of Laurelhurst Dentistry to identify and treat early forming cavities in order to minimize the loss of tooth structure, the chances for root canal therapy, or loss of teeth.

How to Fight Cavities

The good news is that there are very effective methods to reduce your risk of tooth decay. Good daily oral hygiene habits aid to decrease the chances of forming cavities. These habits include brushing your teeth with a fluoride containing toothpaste for two minutes, two times per day. Flossing is advised every 24 hours, reaching the areas in between the teeth where the most aggressive bacteria reside. These habits encourage healthy teeth and gums by reducing bacteria and food debris, and increasing circulation to the gum tissues.Minimizing frequent snacking and consumption of sugary drinks can also reduce your risk of getting a cavity.

Laurelhurst Dentistry can also prescribe prescription toothpastes containing higher levels of fluoride, calcium and phosphate and apply a topical fluoride varnish treatment with your hygiene therapy appointment to strengthen and remineralize tooth surfaces. Eating a well-balanced diet, maintaining good oral hygiene habits, and being consistent with your dental care at Laurelhurst Dentistry are great ways to aid in the prevention of cavities.

How Low Blood Sugar Can Affect Your Oral Health

Posted by Laurelhurst Dentistry

Hear at Laurelhurst Dentistry, we get a lot of great questions from patients. Some of our patients ask about blood sugar.

Your health is important to us, and we believe that good health is all about balance and harmony. This is true especially when it comes to balancing your blood sugar.

It is necessary to eat the correct ratio of protein, carbohydrates and even fat at every meal. This can help stabilize your blood sugar and help you stay fit, and more balanced in life. But what about blood sugar and your smile.

The food you eat is important and it affects your overall health including your oral health, what you put in your mouth makes a difference.

You can balance your blood sugar by eating specific foods. We put together a list of foods that are good for your teeth and regulating your blood sugar.

Nuts

Eating almonds, walnuts or pistachios can help you stay healthy and fit. It is a satisfying crunch, and it keeps your blood sugar stable. This is because nuts are great source of fiber and protein. They have healthy fat, which means nuts are good for your teeth because of the protein. They can help build strong muscles and bones.

Whole-grain

Much like protein, whole-grain can help you have sustained energy and it will protect you from having a low in energy. You can avoid blood sugar crashes, it was stabilized and balance you throughout the day.

Many whole grains are loaded with fiber which is good for you

Beans

Garbanzo beans, hummus and lentils are higher in fiber and low in fat. Which makes them a great source of protein and they can help regulate your blood sugar and improve your oral health. Eating beans can help you feel more full and they help improve your digestion.

Protein

Whether you love fish, beef or eggs, all are great sources of protein. Eating protein can help stabilize the blood sugar. All you need is just 6 ounces twice a day. Protein is an ingredient for your body it helps you feel healthy.

Leafy Greens

Leafy fresh greens, such as broccoli, spinach, and Kale will help you feel better.

They have a lot of calcium which can help improve your balance including your teeth, eating more greens will help you feel better.

In order to avoid a blood sugar crash stop eating white foods that spike insulin levels, such as sugar products and packaged foods. Avoid refined sugar like candy, salad dressing, yogurt, and even prepackaged foods.

Avoid processed carbohydrates like bread, pasta, and crackers, these lower your blood sugar. Instead reach for whole-grain food whenever you can.

Good health is about being in harmony and taking care of your home, the body. This includes your blood sugar. The more you take care of yourself the better you will feel and the more you will smile.

Obesity Linked to Gum Disease and Cavities

Posted by Laurelhurst Dentistry

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A new study shows that obesity and dental cavities are worse in children. The study determined that a child’s body mass index would go up as a child got older and at the same time the number of cavities also increased. Although the study was with homeless children, here at Laurelhurst Dentistry, our doctors take oral health and your children’s health to heart.

The direct link between what causes cavities and obesity is simple sugar. We have long warned patients to stay clear of foods that cause cavities such a sugar and acid drinks, like pop and soda.

These foods can stay on your teeth and eat into the enamel, which is one of the main contributors to cavities. These types of food also contribute to weight gain and obesity, especially in children.

It’s important to take care of your family’s health by addressing these issues and ensuring that your children do not become obese or have a mouthful of cavities. The good news is you can prevent both, by taking these simple steps.

Choose Healthy Fresh Food

Your family has access to healthy food and it’s important to treat and feed them with local organic foods such as fresh leafy green vegetables and protein.

Avoid Sugar

Avoid sugar and artificial snacks including packaged foods. They have high sodium, high fat content as well as sugar. These ingredients can contribute to obesity and the sugar will stain the teeth which can create more cavities. Treat your family’s health as a priority. By giving healthy snacks such as apples, fresh fruits and even yogurt.

Don’t Share Toothbrushes

Families sometimes share items. It’s easy to share toothbrushes or perhaps you forget your toothbrush and think it’s okay to maybe use your significant others. However, it is important that you do not share your toothbrush because certain dental diseases, gum disease, and oral health disease can be shared through the sharing of any type of toothbrush. Also ensure that you’re replacing your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months. If you do not replace it often, you are just spreading bacteria and germs back around.

Visit Your Dentist

We take you and your family’s health as our number one priority. When you come and visit us we can look at possible treatments for future problems and we can help you prevent obesity and cavities from getting out of hand. Visit us today to make your appointment.

Chlorophyll – The Wonder Ingredient for Your Smile

Posted by Laurelhurst Dentistry

You may have read the recent research about chlorophyll and its abundant healing properties. This ingredient is a wonder for your health.

Chlorophyll is a natural chemical that is found in greens, such as vegetables and even in algae.

A lot of health food stores now carry chlorophyll and it is becoming more popular as a dietary supplement.

We have patients who consume chlorophyll every day, and we will see the benefits in their smile. Such benefits include improved immune system, improved oxygen to the blood and even a detoxed to body as well as a healthy smile.

Chlorophyll is the green pigment that is found in all plant cells. It absorbs natural light and it will use energy to generate photosynthesis this is the process that can help carbohydrates pull from carbon dioxide.

Chlorophyll can cleanse a fatty liver as well. Some health practitioners will prescribe chlorophyll because it can increase oxygen flow in the bloodstream.

We are interested in the health care industry about the benefits; chlorophyll can be a way to help improve oral health. Many toothpaste, mouthwash and breath mint manufactures will add chlorophyll into their products.

This ingredient has been connected to improving bone structure and it can actually help improve the strength of your teeth.

Chlorophyll can help kill bad breath as well. The molecule structure of chlorophyll can help reduce foul smells, because it has magnesium and iron and he can fight off bad breath.

Chlorophyll has vitamin K in it, which can help prevent blood-clotting food that has vitamin K and it is most often found in leafy green vegetables.

How to Properly Use Your Electric Toothbrush

Posted by Laurelhurst Dentistry

At Laurelhurst Dentistry we will always recommend brushing your teeth with the proper toothbrush. We understand that some of you prefer an electric toothbrush. It’s important to follow proper brushing guidelines so that you are getting the right care and not damaging your teeth and gums.

PROPER BRUSHING

When using an electric toothbrush, be sure to take your time. Allow the brush to do its job on each side of your teeth. When you get your routine cleaning at Laurelhurst Dentistry, do as we do and break up the brush time evenly. Try putting focus on one quadrant at a time. That way you can put more emphasis on each individual tooth and prevent rushing. You may start to notice areas that are commonly neglected.

Look out for brushing too hard with your electric toothbrush, as it could eventually cause your gums to recede. Once your gums recede, you’re potentially exposed to pain and nerve exposure. In more severe cases, there can be a loss of the tooth. The American Dental Association reccomends short gentle strokes. This is done best by holding the brush at a forty-five degree angle. Also, holding the brush at an angle away from your gum line will allow for the right amount of pressure on the enamel. You want just enough brush away buildup, yet keeping your gum line protected.

Electric toothbrushes have small heads that are purposely positioned at a forty five-degree angle for the hard to reach areas. Also make sure to use only a pea-sized dab of toothpaste to prevent a lot of foaming. Too much toothpaste foam can tempt you to spit it out and stop too early.

Be sure to return the brush to the charger when finished. It’s important to have the brush fully charged so that it’s always performing at it’s peak. Speaking of which, changing the head regularly on your electric toothbrush is very important. You will want the best performance and some heads will actually have indicators on them to let you know when it’s time to change. It’s also a good idea to switch them out after being sick with a cold or flu. Or if not a change, then soaking them in a solution such as vinegar or mouthwash. Bristles contain tiny microbes that need to be eliminated to prevent problems.

TAKE YOUR TIME

Spending about two minutes brushing your teeth is recommended. Following the procedure of breaking up the time evenly which means spending a good thirty seconds on each quadrant will deliver a nice complete brushing. Set a timer or a clock. Perhaps even sing a song which is great for children so that you stay on a good time scale.

At Laurelhurst Dentistry we always instruct brushing. Using an electric or regular toothbrush shouldn’t be that different. We recommend following the above suggestions so that your investment in an electric toothbrush will be extremely beneficial. Be sure to ask us at your next cleaning if you have any other questions.

Simple Tips on How Parents can Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Posted by Laurelhurst Dentistry

Your child’s baby teeth play an important role in the development of their oral health. In addition to helping your child chew, speak, and look good in family photos, baby teeth also act as a space holder in the jaw for adult teeth to develop. If your child loses their baby teeth at too young an age, it could cause crowding when adult teeth begin to form, which can lead to crooked teeth. By taking care of your child’s baby teeth, you can help ensure they enjoy a lifetime of strong teeth and healthy gums.

Signs of Decay

While many parents schedule routine checkups with their pediatrician, they often neglect to schedule visits for their child to see the family dentist. Parents may not realize that tooth decay can begin to affect their child’s baby teeth from the moment they begin to form. The American Dental Association recommends that children first visit the dentist by their first birthday, or shortly after their baby teeth begin to form, which ever happens first. Regular cleanings at an early age will allow your dentist to look for and treat any signs of tooth decay found in your child’s mouth.

Often referred to Baby Bottle Tooth Decay or Childhood Carries, tooth decay in small children usually occurs to the upper front teeth, but can negatively affect all of your child’s teeth. When caught early, the affects of tooth decay can be corrected, but given enough time and the damage might be irreversible. Some extreme cases of Childhood Carries require the removal of a child’s teeth. Fortunately, parents can easily prevent cavities by practicing good oral hygiene with their child.

Preventing Tooth Decay

For young children, tooth decay begins after plaque, a cavity causing bacteria, is transferred from the mouth of a parent or caregiver to a child’s. Most often this transmission of bacteria occurs when a parent places something into their mouth prior to placing the object into their child’s mouth, such as when cleaning off a spoon used for feeding or a pacifier. Once the object enters a parent’s mouth, it becomes contaminated with harmful plaque that clings to the spoon or pacifier, allowing the bacteria to enter the child’s mouth when reused.

Parents who often lay their infants down with a bottle also increase the risk of their child developing tooth decay. Plaque begins to produce an acid that slowly eats away the your teeth’s enamel after you consume any food. By laying your child down with a bottle, you provide the plaque in your child’s mouth a never-ending supply of fuel to continue to produce tooth decay causing acids. Giving a fussy baby a pacifier coated with sugar or honey can also have this same affect on the health of your child’s teeth and gums.

To help fight tooth decay, parents should consider taking the following steps:

  • Resist placing anything into your mouth prior to placing the object back into your child’s. This will help to reduce the amount of plaque in your child’s mouth, and lower their risk of developing tooth decay.
  • Wipe your child’s gums with a clean, damp rag after each feeding. This will help clear away any small bits of food that might cling to your child’s gum and wash away plaque. Once your child begins to develop baby teeth, you should start to gently brush them with a child’s sized toothbrush. Don’t begin using toothpaste until your child has learned not to swallow during brushing.
  • Parents should continue to brush their child’s teeth until they are able to tie their own shoes. Young children simply don’t have the motor coordination (and attention spans) to properly brush their own teeth.
  • Avoid placing sweetened liquids, such as fruit juice or sodas, into your child’s bottle. Also, encourage your child to drink out of a regular cup, not a sippy cup, by their first birthday. Sippy cups make it easier for bacteria to pool around your child’s teeth when used for drinking.

If you have any questions about your child’s oral health, make sure to address them to any of the dentists at Laurelhurst Dentistry during your child’s next appointment.

Are Dental Implants Right for You?

Posted by Laurelhurst Dentistry

dental implantIf you are missing a single tooth, multiple teeth, or all of your teeth, dental implants may be an option for you through the talented staff at Laurelhurst Dentistry.

Prior to dental implants, patients who were missing a single or a few teeth had only two options for tooth replacement. One option was a removable retainer with false teeth attached to the areas where needed.

The other option was to get a dental bridge. A bridge requires placing crowns over the teeth on either side of the missing tooth and a false tooth is connected in the middle. A bridge is not removed from the mouth once cemented. Bridges do require significant removal of tooth structure from the teeth on either side of the missing tooth. They also require more effort with brushing and flossing to keep them clean and prevent decay.

Advantages to Dental Implants

Dental implants placed at Laurelhurst Dentistry are designed to look, act, and feel like natural teeth. They are placed into the bone, and are not attached to other teeth in your mouth. They are maintained by daily brushing and flossing, like natural teeth.

Dental implants are also beneficial to individuals wearing dentures. Often, two to four dental implants can be placed into the bone which then attach directly to a patient’s denture. This secures the denture firmly into place for improved comfort and function. It also stimulates the jaw bone to help prevent bone loss, a common problem once teeth are removed.

An Evaluation for Dental Implants

If you’re interested in receiving dental implants, your dentist at Laurelhurst Dentistry will complete an examination to see if you’re a good candidate. Issues that affect whether or not dental implants are a good option for you include:

  • the presence of adequate jaw bone for implant placement
  • tobacco use, can lead to post-operative problems
  • periodontal disease, a gum disease affecting the foundation of our teeth, can compromise site placement
  • any medications you’re currently taking, since anti-inflammatory drugs can lead to increased bleeding during the implant procedure
  • systemic diseases such as diabetes or immune deficiency disorders

It’s also important to note that daily brushing and flossing are vital when taking care of implants and surrounding gums, since they are so much like natural teeth.

The Right Choice for You

You, along with the dentists and staff at Laurelhurst Dentistry, will decide whether or not dental implants are right for you. The first step in making this determination involves setting an appointment with us.

To determine whether or not you’re a candidate for dental implants, you’ll need to provide a complete dental and medical history. At Laurelhurst Dentistry, we will take x-rays which will identify the health of your jaw bone for the procedure. Then the dentist will consult with you regarding the entire implant procedure from start to finish.

Finding out whether or not you’re a good candidate for this procedure is worth the time and effort – dental implants not only change your smile, they can change your life!

Getting Wise About Your Wisdom Teeth

Posted by Laurelhurst Dentistry

They say that age brings wisdom. Well this is especially true when it comes to your wisdom teeth. Classified as any of the usual four third molars, wisdom teeth first begin to appear between the ages of 17 and 25. The majority of adults have four wisdom teeth, although it’s possible for a person to develop more or less.

If you are experiencing any discomfort from your wisdom teeth, any of our doctors at Laurelhurst Dentistry can help remove a troublesome tooth. If your wisdom tooth has caused you to develop an infection, surgery to remove the tooth will usually be delayed until the infection has healed, and you may be prescribed antibiotics to help heal the infection more quickly if necessary.

What to Expect During the Procedure

Before you undergo a procedure to remove a wisdom tooth, your attending doctor will give you a local anesthetic in the area of the tooth being removed in order to numb any potential discomfort. In some cases, a general anesthetic may be used, especially during procedures where a patient is having all of their wisdom teeth removed. Unlike a local anesthetic, a general anesthetic will prevent the patient from feeling any pain throughout the body, and will cause the patient to sleep throughout the entire procedure. The attending doctor will probably recommend that you not eat or drink after midnight on the night prior to surgery so that you can prepare for the anesthetic.

To remove your wisdom teeth, your dentist will open up the gum tissue over the tooth and take out any bone that is covering the tooth. The doctor will separate the tissue connecting the tooth to the bone and then she will remove the tooth. Sometime it’s necessary to cut the tooth into smaller pieces to make the removal easier.

After your tooth is removed, you could need stitches to help your wounds heal. Some types of stitches will dissolve over time, while others may need to be removed after a couple of days. If you experience bleeding after the procedure, place a folded piece of cotton gauze over the wound.

What to Expect During Recovery

In most instances, your recovery will only last a few days. To deal with any pain, your dentist can prescribe medication to help make you more comfortable. The following tips can also help you recover more quickly.

  • Gently bite down on the gauze pad from time-to-time, and change pads frequently Call us at Laurelhurst if you are still experiencing bleeding 24 hours after your surgery.
  • Be careful not to bite the inside of your lip, cheek, or tongue while your mouth is numb following the procedure.
  • Do not lie flat. This could prolong any bleeding you’re experiencing.
  • Try placing an ice pack on the outside of your cheek for the first 24 hours following your surgery. You can also use moist heath, such as a washcloth soaked in warm water, for several days following surgery.
  • Make sure to relax, as physical activity can increase any bleeding.
  • Eat only soft foods, such as gelatin, pudding, or soup. Gradually reintroduce solid foods back into your diet after a few days.
  • Do not use a straw for several days following surgery. Sucking on a straw can dislodge the blood clot and delay healing.
  • Begin rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mixture to help reduce swelling and alleviate pain 24 hours after your surgery. Make your salt water mixture by adding one tablespoon of salt to a eight ounce glass of warm water.
  • Don’t smoke for 24 hours after your surgery. The sucking motion used to smoke is similar to that of using a straw, and could also dislodge a blood clot and slow down the healing process.
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