General & Cosmetic Dentistry

Hours : Mon-Thurs: 7am to 5pm, Fri: 7am to 4pm, Sat: 7:30am to 2pm
  Contact : (503) 233-3622

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How to Properly Use Your Electric Toothbrush

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.

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Chlorophyll – The Wonder Ingredient for Your Smile

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.

 

 

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How Low Blood Sugar Can Affect Your Oral Health

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.

 

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Link Between Heart Disease and Oral Care

Yes your mouth is small but it plays a giant role in your overall health. In fact did you know that your oral health is an indicator of your overall well-being? Your mouth is full of bacteria, which in most cases is usually harmless, however people who suffer from periodontics disease will recognize that their oral health is an indicator of other body issues. It is important to practice routine oral health care.

People who do not take care of their teeth may not realize they might have other health issues as well. Poor oral health can show in other ways. Poor oral health care which is often linked to many more serious health problems and illnesses is a factor for other diseases.

Cardiovascular issues
Recent research shows that there is a link between heart disease and oral care this is because bacteria is found in the mouth of patients who do have gum disease. Your gums can have swollen gums that will bleed and this releases bacteria into the bloodstream that will hurt and hinder your heart.

Diabetes
Patients who have diabetes also have lower immune system functions, this can put gums that are inflamed or infected at risk because the infection will develop and lead to weakening of the bones around your mouth, which will lead to infections and even tooth loss.

There are certain aspects of taking care of your teeth that have been linked to many other illnesses, but it’s possible to take care of your teeth and avoid other problems.

Taking care of your teeth is a priority and when you do it, it shows. People who have a healthy smile often smile more, and have more confidence. They also generally take better care of the rest of their health. Make sure you’re brushing and flossing daily and visit the dentist regularly.

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Obesity Linked to Gum Disease and Cavities

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.

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Trick or Treat – Avoid Sugar for a Healthy Smile

It is October, which means it is almost trick or treat time, but it is also breast cancer awareness month, and here at Laurelhurst Dentistry we care about your overall health. One of the easiest ways to stay healthy is to cut out sugar in your diet. Start by reducing or eliminating sugary drinks, such as soda and carbonated drinks. Many studies prove that the link between sugar can increase your risk of cancer. And we often tell patients to cut back on sugar to improve their oral health.

Sugar is a sweet treat but it can ruin your figure, mood, and teeth. It creeps into many things and adds more than just weight to our bodies. People who eat too much sugar are usually more depressed, often weigh more than those who watch what they eat. Sugar is in most processed foods, and sugary drinks, such as soda and juices.

Our doctors suggest taking steps to remove sugar from your entire families diet as well. To maintain the health of your family replace all sugar drinks, remove soda from their diet, and add more water. We love water because is a natural ingredient that can help boost your energy, cleanse your system and improve your overall health. Plus water is great for your teeth health. When you drink a lot of water, especially after a meal it can wash away stubborn food particles.
Here are reasons you should kick sugar to the curb.

Increase Obesity
Sugary drinks such as soda and processed snack are the largest source of calories in our diet. Did you know that an extra sugar drink each day can increase a child’s risk of obesity by 60%. Make sure your children are not drinking soda pop, which can lead to weight gain and other mental health problems such as low self-esteem and insecurities.

Increase Risk for Diabetes
One or two sugary drinks a day can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by almost 25% according to Diabetes Care, 2010. The more sugar you consume the higher risk of diabetes. Limit your  family’s risk and protect your health.

Increases Tooth Decay
According to the surgeon Generals Report on Oral Health 2000, sugar and acids in soda promote tooth decay. People who eat a lot of candy and drink sugary drinks in general have more tooth decay and cavities than those who do not. This is because of the sugar that causes stains and bacteria build up on the teeth. Our doctor recommends avoiding sugar filled beverages and foods for a healthy smile and happy mouth.

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Getting Wise About Your Wisdom Teeth

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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Stress and Your Oral Health

The doctors here at Laurelhurst Dentistry understand the types of stress many of their patients find themselves under on a daily basis. That’s why we offer a wide range of anxiety-free dental services in our relaxing and inviting Portland office. Considering how much stress you deal with at work and home, the last thing you need is to feel apprehensive about a trip to the dentist.

Too much stress can cause you to experience a variety of symptoms, including stomachache, headache, and a general feeling of always being on edge; plus such serious long-term health issues as high blood pressure and trouble sleeping. Excessive stress can also cause a number of oral health problems.

The types of problems you can experience due to stress include:

• Mouth sores, including both canker and cold sores
• Grinding your teeth
• Unhealthy eating habits and poor oral hygiene
• Gum disease

So how can you prevent these oral health problems?

Mouth Sores

A small grayish ulcer with a red border, canker sores form in the mouth, either individually or in groups. While health experts aren’t entirely sure what causes canker sores to appear (theories range from bacteria, viruses, or problems with the immune system), they do suspect that stress, fatigue, and allergies can increase your risk of developing them. In case you’re wondering if you caught them from somewhere don’t worry, canker sores are not contagious.

The majority of canker sores generally heal within a week to 10 days. If you experience severe discomfort from canker sores, try using an over-the-counter topical anesthetic. To keep from irritating your canker sores, try not to eat any spicy or hot food, or foods that are highly acidic, such as pineapples, tomatoes, or bananas.

Teeth Grinding

Stress can also make you clench and grind your teeth, often subconsciously during either the day or night. If you already suffer from teeth grinding, stress could make your unfortunate habit even worse. Excessive teeth grinding can lead to a number of problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is located where the skull and lower jaw meet in front of the ear.

If you experience frequently bouts of teeth grinding, ask any of the doctors at our office about treatment options that might be right for you. You may need to use a night guard while you sleep, or some other device used to help you stop grinding your teeth.

Poor Oral Health

Experiencing high levels of stress can also affect your mood and cause you to skip brushing and flossing daily. Your overall oral health suffers when you fail to take care of your mouth. If you already experience problems with gum disease, neglecting to brush and floss can make your problems worse than what they already are. If you enjoy relatively good oral health, failing to practice good oral hygiene can lead to gum disease and an increased risk of developing cavities.

Feeling the pressures of stress can also cause you to start practicing unhealthy eating habits, such as eating a lot of sugary foods or drinks. These types of habits increase your risk of developing tooth decay and a variety of other long-term health problems.

To avoid falling into these unhealthy eating habits, just remind yourself of the importance of practicing good dental hygiene. Starting or boosting an exercise program can also help you relieve stress and feel more energized.

Gum Disease

Stress can cause an increase of dental plaque to develop in your mouth, even if the periods of high stress are relatively brief, according to a recent study. Stress can also lead to depression, which could cause you to ignore your oral health. When plaque builds up in the mouth, you have an increased risk of developing gum disease, which leads to tooth loss. Making sure you don’t neglect the health of your teeth during stressful times is imperative to maintaining your oral health.

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Simple Tips on How Parents can Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

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.

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Are Dental Implants Right for You?

If 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!

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