Periodontal Therapy – Periodontitis

Periodontitis, also commonly referred to as gum disease, is one of the most common diseases in the world; it’s estimated to affect almost half of all Americans. Whilst common, the condition can be very serious, as the structures that support teeth become inflamed; this can cause teeth to fall out and the jaw to be severely damaged.

Periodontal disease can be reversed in its very early form, a condition known as gingivitis, but once the gum disease has advanced, the only option available is to treat the disease and manage the symptoms. Treatments available include both surgical and non-surgical options.

It’s often the case that non-surgical options for managing the condition will be explored first, as they’re normally more affordable and significantly less invasive. While non-surgical treatments are not always possible, or the most effective option, they can be incredibly beneficial in many cases. Non-surgical treatments are often where dentists choose to begin when suggesting initial treatment for periodontitis.

Periodontal Diseases Treatment in Palos Park, IL

The main purpose of non-surgical periodontal therapy is to get rid of bacteria and toxins from teeth in order to better control the infection. Depending on the type of periodontal disease that a patient has, the exact treatment course will vary. Sometimes minor treatments can be suggested to address the early signs of periodontal disease, whilst in other situations, more extensive non-surgical treatments will be required.

Non-Surgical Periodontal Therapy

Here are six examples of non-surgical periodontal treatments, some very common and some relatively new, that may be suggested by your dentist for the treatment of periodontitis:

1. Improved Oral Hygiene

One of the most important areas of periodontitis management is good oral hygiene, so it’s often the case that oral health training is where a treatment plan for non-surgical periodontitis therapy will begin. It’s very important for people with periodontal diseases to look after their oral health, so a dentist may suggest a number of improvements to a patient’s daily oral hygiene routine.

The suggestions could include which products to use to maintain the best oral hygiene, such as using a different toothbrush, mouth wash, or toothpaste. Different techniques for brushing and flossing may also be suggested, as well as other habits for good oral hygiene, like the use of interproximal brushes. Other changes, particularly to lifestyle, could be suggested; giving up smoking is one of the most important changes for good oral health.

2. Routine Cleaning

Routine cleaning is normally advised as a preventive measure against developing periodontitis and as a great addition to everyday oral hygiene practices, yet, it can also be suggested as a non-surgical treatment for periodontal diseases. For patients that have shown signs of early gingivitis, regular routine cleaning can be used to address the problem by removing dental plaque.

Normally, a routine cleaning will involve plaque and tartar being manually removed by the dentist with a scaler. The area around the gum line and the area between teeth will be targeted during this treatment. Professional cleaning at a dental practice is normally advised at least a couple of times per year to maintain excellent oral health.

3. Deep Cleaning (Scaling and Root Planing)

Scaling and root planing are a combination treatment that’s advised in a vast majority of cases where patients require non-surgical periodontal therapy. Deep cleaning is normally used as part of ongoing therapy, where a maintenance plan is designed by the dentist. Yet, in some cases, scaling and root planing can be so successful that it’s the only treatment that’s required to manage periodontal diseases, with the exception of a good oral health routine.

The first stage of the treatment, scaling, involves the removal of tartar and plaque from the teeth. During the scaling, a special instrument will be used to remove the plaque and tartar from above the gum line; this is sometimes achieved in one appointment, but it’s not uncommon for multiple appointments to be required.

The second stage of the treatment, root planing, involves cleaning under the gums. Rough areas will be smoothed out during the treatment as the root surface is scaled. Root planing normally requires the use of an anesthetic and is generally undertaken in conjunction with scaling.

Scaling and root planing treatment addresses both existing tartar and plaque build-up, as well as the reoccurrence of plaque and tarter, as both will have much more difficulty forming on the newly-smooth tooth surface. In many cases, this treatment will be the first point of call for dentists looking for the best and most effective way to treat more advanced cases of periodontitis.

4. Antimicrobial Medications

Locally delivered antimicrobial medications are another common non-surgical periodontal therapy used by dentists to manage periodontitis. This treatment is normally used in conjunction with scaling and root planing treatment, as the success of this therapy is often dependent on the success of scaling and planing.

During this treatment, the antimicrobial medications are placed in periodontal pockets with the purpose of either temporarily stopping or permanently removing bacteria related to gum disease. Often, the use of antimicrobial medications will need to be ongoing and are commonly suggested in cases where an area of the mouth has persistent problems.

5. Host Modulation

Host modulation therapy is a new concept in the treatment of periodontal diseases but has been used for a number of years to treat very different conditions, such as arthritis. The purpose of host modulation therapy is to change host response factors by using perioceutic agents, in order to stabilize inflammatory tissue and lower the destruction of tissue.

As an adjuvant treatment, host modulation is used in conjunction with primary surgical and non-surgical treatments for periodontitis. Due to the relative newness of this treatment for periodontitis, the full extent of its benefit is still being researched.

6. Periodontal Maintenance Program

Once the active treatments for periodontitis have been completed, the next part of ongoing therapy is often for a maintenance program to be created by a dentist. The idea behind the maintenance program is to maintain good oral health with regular visits to the dentist.

During regular appointments, that will normally be scheduled closer together than normal dental check-ups, a dentist will assess oral health and ensure that the disease is controlled. Additional cleaning may need to be undertaken in these appointments, and an examination of gum recession and pocket depth is also likely to take place. With regular care, periodontal diseases can often be managed, and the symptoms reduced.

Non-Surgical Periodontal Therapy at Sheehan Dental in Palos Park, IL

The best way to combat periodontal diseases and limit the harm that they can cause is to make sure that the disease is caught early – this will help you to avoid surgical treatment and improve the success of non-surgical treatment.If you’re concerned that you may have periodontitis or are looking for the best non-surgical treatments options to control the symptoms of the disease, then the experts at Sheehan Dental in Palos Park, IL can help!

Get into contact with us today to arrange for an appointment with one of our dental experts to talk about the options open to you for periodontitis prevention or surgical and non-surgical treatment.

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Dental Implants vs Dentures

When a child loses a baby tooth it’s a very important milestone in their development, but when an adult or teenager loses a tooth it can be incredibly worrying. Losing a tooth as an adult can drastically change the appearance of your smile, making you lose confidence in the look of your teeth and causing you to adjust the way that you eat and drink.

Tooth loss can be the cause of an injury sustained to the mouth or it can be the result of a disease or tooth decay. No matter the reason behind the tooth loss, receiving treatment for the lost tooth from a family dentistry is of the upmost importance, both for your oral health and for the confidence that you have in your smile.

Two treatments that are often suggested in the event of a lost tooth are dental implants and dentures. Both of these treatments are able to restore the natural look of your smile but in very different ways, that certainly aren’t interchangeable.

If you’re looking for the best way to give you back your smile, or your dentist has recommended one of the treatments, then you may be wondering which treatment is best, or why one has been suggested and not the other. Well, here’s everything that you need to know about the two highly popular but very different treatments…

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are not what many people think they are; they’re not a replacement for a missing tooth, but a replacement root that will be able to hold a replacement tooth in place. A dental implant is a very modern way of overcoming the problem of lost, broken, or damaged teeth where the tooth needs a complete replacement.

A dental implant is often made from strong titanium steel that is capable of properly supporting a replacement tooth. The replacement tooth will then commonly either take the form of a crown or a bridge, which offers the option of being permanent or removable.

The aim of a dental implant is to make the replacement tooth look as natural as possible and have the function and feel of a natural tooth. Often people find that with a dental implant, their ability to chew food and the sensation of chewing is very close or undisguisable from a natural tooth.

What Does Dental Implant Treatment Involve?

Dental implant treatment involves surgically fusing the titanium steel post to the jawbone. This procedure is performed by a specialist in general or family dentistry and is undertaken whilst the patient is under a local anesthesia.

Once the post has been implanted, the area is left to heal for up 3 months, during which time the bone will heal around the post. As soon as the area has properly healed, a specially made replacement tooth can be attached to the implant to achieve a natural look.

When Are Dental Implants Recommended?

Having a dental implant has many benefits, like the implant not impacting the surrounding teeth and the ability to speak and eat like normal after the procedure. However, dental implants are not a treatment that is recommended for everyone.

For a dental implant to be recommended, a dentist has to be certain that the bone where the post will be implanted is healthy. The bone will need to be strong enough to be able to support and hold in place the replacement tooth.

Dental implants are also more likely to be recommended in cases where just one or two teeth require replacement, but in some situations, it’s possible to have more than a couple of teeth replaced via dental implants.

What Are Dentures?

Dentures are very different to dental implants in look, feel, and function, as well as in the procedure involved in creating them. A denture is a solution to one or more missing teeth and takes the form of a full or partial removable base that is designed to fit over the gums or be clipped into place. This base or framework will contain one or more replacement teeth.

The two types of denture, partial and full, are slightly different. A full denture can be a complete horseshoe shaped replica of the bottom teeth, or a replica of the top teeth that is held in place with a cover for the top of the mouth. A partial denture uses a metal framework, and to keep the replacement teeth in place, clips are often used.

What Does Denture Treatment Involve?

The process for creating dentures can change depending on the patient, but commonly it’ll involve taking impressions of your mouth, before bite molds are created that will enable your dentist to check whether your dentures will be comfortable. The denture will then be created to match the color and shape of your teeth as closely as possible.

A denture is fitted once damaged teeth have been removed or after you’ve had dental treatment after losing or fracturing a tooth. Dentures can normally be fitted straight away after treatment, but they will likely need replacing once the area has properly healed, so many people choose to wait to have them fitted.

When Are Dentures Recommended?

Dentures are commonly recommended when a large number of teeth require replacement. They’re also a much better option for patients that have weak or unhealthy bones and gums, as the process involved for dental implants is much more strenuous and requires significant support from the jaw bones.

Dental implants and dentures are two very common solutions to the same problem of lost or damaged teeth, both with the aim of restoring your smile and the function of your teeth in the most effective and natural way possible. If you’re worried about lost or damaged teeth, then visiting your local family dentistry practice is the first step that should be taken to restore your smile.


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Though your smile is perhaps the most striking part of your body, it is also one of the easiest to damage, as well as extremely difficult restore because of the very thing protecting it: the tooth enamel.

Covering the outer layer of your teeth, the tooth enamel is the hardest and most highly mineralized substance in the human body, which is why it is the primary defense in preventing tooth decay. Tooth enamel protects the inner layer of each tooth from the corrosive effects of acids and plaque, as well as from extremely hot or cold food and beverages.

Unlike the rest of the human body, tooth enamel is not comprised of any living cells and therefore cannot regenerate, making it even more important to take active steps to care for your tooth enamel while you still have it.

The Ultimate Guide to Tooth Enamel

tooth enamel, teeth, oral care, general dentistry

Damage To Tooth Enamel

Because tooth enamel does not contain living cells, it’s difficult to feel its damage as you might other parts of your body like skin or muscle. According to the oral health specialists at Crest, tooth enamel can be damaged in two different ways: abrasion and erosion. Abrasion occurs when something rubs against the tooth, such as brushing too hard, scraping with a toothpick, and other rough activities.

Erosion, on the other hand, occurs through overcontact with dietary acids from certain foods and beverages or from stomach acid. Vomiting is the leading cause for exposing tooth enamel to stomach acid, which may be produced through habits such as bulimia or binge drinking. Additionally, gastroesophageal reflux disease, acid reflux, or heartburn can lead to the erosion of tooth enamel, according to Crest.

Because tooth enamel does not contain regenerative cells like your bones, it won’t go back. Therefore, to strengthen tooth enamel, it’s important to fight abrasion and erosion. Fortunately, the steps to combat tooth enamel decay are easy everyday decisions that can stop the degeneration in its tracks.

Reinforce With Fluoride

Fluorine is a chemical element naturally found in the Earth’s crust, from which the substance fluoride is derived. According to the Royal Society of Chemistry, fluorine was not commercially produced for widespread use until World War II, after which led to the widely controversial but scientifically defended practice of public fluoridation. As outlined by the American Dental Association, research dating back to the ‘40s has proven that fluorides below two parts per million in drinking water helps prevent decay in tooth enamel by at least 25% in both children and adults.

Basically, fluoride strengthens tooth enamel by making it more resistant to the dietary acids of erosion. Because of the long-term dangers of weakened tooth enamel, fluoride has been added to nearly 75% of the U.S. population’s drinking water over the past 70 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has cited community water fluoridation as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century. The fluoridated water people drink becomes a part of their saliva, which then continually washes the tooth enamel to build its strength.

You may further reinforce your tooth enamel with fluoride with toothpaste and mouth wash that contains the substance, as can be determined by an ADA seal of acceptance on the package. Children under the age of six may use either, but only under recommendation from a dentist, and under supervision of an adult, just in case they accidentally ingest while they rinse. Additionally, fluoride supplements are available for children living in areas without fluoridated community drinking water, an option accessible by prescription only. Some health facilities even offer free walk-in dental clinics to offer children fluoride treatment to strengthen tooth enamel, as reported by the Lawrence Journal on their local news.

Cut Back On Degenerating Agents

As everybody knows, sugar leads to tooth decay; however, it’s more specifically the type of oral bacteria that feed on those sugars which then destroys the tooth enamel, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. When you frequently consume food and drinks with high sugar content, the oral bacteria produces more acids that wear down the tooth enamel throughout the day. Other foods that cling to the teeth for an extended period of time, such as chips, dried fruit, hard candy, dry cereal, cookies, and more, also lead to greater erosion of the tooth enamel as they’re less easily washed away by saliva.

Saliva is actually one of the most important guards against erosion of tooth enamel, as outlined in the Journal of Applied Oral Science. Saliva helps dilute and eliminate the acids that build up on teeth, and is comprised of many components such as calcium, phosphate that helps strengthen tooth enamel and remineralize dentin, the layer of tooth just under the enamel. Though the enamel itself cannot be rebuilt without regenerative cells, the dentin is a calcified tissue of the body and therefore continues to form throughout life.

Increasing salivary flow can help strengthen tooth enamel as it removes the tough acids that wear down the teeth and decays the dentin. The physical act of chewing itself increases the flow of saliva in your mouth, according to extensive information from the American Dental Association, a fact that has led many cultures throughout time to create their own version of chewing gum.

The ancient Greeks chewed sap from their mastic trees, the ancient Mayans chewed sap from their sapodilla trees, and indigenous tribes from the American Northeast chewed sap from their spruce trees, which they eventually passed on to European settlers, according to the Smithsonian Institute. Today, gums are produced through a blend of synthetic materials as well as sugar. Sugarless gums, as identified only by the American Dental Association seal of authority, are sweetened by non-cavity causing substances and therefore only help increase salivary flow, invigorate the mouth with extra calcium and phosphate, and wash away damaging acids. The ADA therefore advocates chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals.

Eat Fortifying Foods

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Ironically, humanity’s state of oral health declined for a time despite the advancements in dental technology. Called the “Isaac Newton of Nutrition,” Dr. Weston A. Price was a dentist from Cleveland, Ohio who committed his career at the turn of the twentieth century to traveling the world to research the world’s state of oral hygiene.

First published in 1939, Price’s book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration: A Comparison of Primitive and Modern Diets and Their Effects has laid the groundwork for much of today’s understanding of the effects of dietary choices on oral hygiene. Through studying isolated villages throughout the world, Price discovered that primitive tribes with diets rich in nutrients and unprocessed foods had much better oral hygiene that his modern patients of the Western world, whose teeth were instead crowded, crooked and deteriorating much faster than the advances in dental technology would suggest. Price therefore concluded that a diet of fortifying foods, diverse in their nutrients, is imperative to maintaining your oral health and protecting all parts of the teeth, including the tooth enamel.

In many clinical articles from the journal General Dentistry, there are many dietary choices that can gradually strengthen tooth enamel and fend off tooth decay. Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese are rich in calcium and phosphorous that helps strengthen tooth enamel. Strawberries boast plenty of vitamin C, antioxidants, and malic acid that further protect tooth enamel. Additionally, protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish and eggs contain phosphorous, calcium, and magnesium, all of which contribute to strong tooth enamel as well as further the salivary flow that actively protects it.

Change Oral Hygiene

We’ve all seen the commercials that boast, “4 out of 5 dentists recommend switching to an electric toothbrush,” and though the actual number may change depending on who’s selling what, changing the way you brush can tremendously improve your oral health and protect your tooth enamel.

As expressed, one of the two causes of decay to tooth enamel is abrasion, which can occur through a number of different ways, including brushing your teeth. Brushing too forcefully or with hard bristles can wear down tooth enamel even as you are trying to strengthen it. The oral health specialists at Crest recommend brushing at least twice a day with a soft bristle or electric toothbrush for at least two minutes with fluoridated toothpaste in order to ensure the best results for your teeth.

Due to its grainy, gritty texture, some dentists have been wary about advocating to use the trending activated charcoal as teeth whitening toothpaste, as it may lead to further abrasion. Therefore, for the very best results to strengthen your tooth enamel, first and foremost talk to your dentist about what’s right for you – because every smile shines a little differently.

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Dental problems can cause some of the most uncomfortable and debilitating pains in your teeth and jaw. If you’ve ever had a toothache, we’re sure you’ll agree with us! Oral pains can be distracting or at their worst debilitating, and it can be tempting to immediately contact a dentist to put your mind at ease. However, not all cases of oral pains are a dental emergency. It’s important to know which ones are emergencies and which ones can wait.


We’ve compiled a list of the major problems for which you should see a dentist straight away, as well as minor ones that can wait. You should still visit a dentist if you suffer with any oral pain, but these are minor issues that do not require immediate medical attention.


Along with our guide to what is and isn’t a dental emergency, we’ve included some tips on how best to look after your dental health, and keep your teeth looking and feeling their best.



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Major – Definitely a Dental Emergency 


Some oral pains are signs of serious problems that should be addressed by a professional as soon as possible.


1. Unbearable Toothache

You shouldn’t ignore any toothache, but some pose a bigger threat than others. A toothache with a deep and ceaseless pain can be an indicator of severe tooth decay. If the pain is continuous and throbbing, even when no pressure is applied to the tooth, you should see a dentist right away. If the pain continues for more than 1 day, contact an emergency dentist so they can help. If your toothache is paired with fever, earache or any other symptoms, you should also see a dentist right away.


After a physical examination, the dentist may fill in the cavity which is causing pain, or when necessary extract the tooth entirely. Sometimes it is necessary to perform a root canal to remove infection from the nerve of the tooth. These days, with the help of advanced anesthetics, such procedures are painless and you will likely be given antibiotics to help the healing process.


2. Oral Abscess

An oral abscess is another cause for calling the dentist straight away. An abscess occurs when an infection forms a pocket of liquid around the root of the tooth, causing severe pain in the jaw and gum. An oral abscess cannot be left untreated, as this can lead to the infection spreading to other teeth or into the jaw and neck bone.


If your gum is swollen and red, you are experiencing pain in your tooth, gum or jaw, or you’re having trouble breathing and swallowing, you may be suffering with an oral abscess. Visit a dentist immediately to get it sorted.


3. Severely Cracked Tooth

If a tooth is severely cracked or fractured, you are at risk of developing an infection and may find it painful to chew or swallow. It can happen as a result of a tooth cavity, a fall or other accident. If the crack is large and causing you pain, see a dentist immediately.


4. Knocked Out Tooth

If your tooth has been knocked out, you need to act quickly. Get to the dentist as soon as possible – ideally within 30 minutes of the incident – as every minute can make a difference between saving and losing your tooth. To maximize the dentist’s chances of saving your tooth, put it in a container with some milk, or reinsert it into the mouth and hold it in there until your dentist is able to see you.



Minor Problems – The Dentist Can Wait


These oral problems might be disconcerting or painful, but they are not dental emergencies. Book an appointment to see your dentist to get these sorted, but no need to rush straight there.


1. Mild Toothache


Toothaches are never a pleasant business, but there are many causes for toothache, not all of which require urgent medical attention. Unless the toothache is causing you serious, ongoing pain or you’re showing other symptoms of being unwell (such as a fever or jaw pain), you do not need to rush straight to the dentist’s, although you should still them for a checkup so the problem doesn’t grow into something worse.


2. Chipped Tooth


A chipped tooth can happen for a variety of reasons. Whether from a sporting accident or from eating something crunchy, it is a common dental issue and it does not usually call for an emergency trip to the dentist. The enamel that coats your teeth provides a strong protective layer, but if enough force is placed upon it, pieces can break off. The likelihood of this happening increases as you age and your tooth enamel wears down.

Wash your mouth out with salt water to prevent infection and eat soft foods so as not to damage the tooth any further. Your dentist will be able to repair, fill or smooth off the chipped tooth to prevent any future problems from developing. Unless you are in serious pain, this is not considered a dental emergency.


3. Bleeding Gums


Bleeding gums are among the most common issues affecting oral health. Whether accompanied by pain or not, bleeding gums can be a sign of the early stages of gum disease. Bleeding gums are often caused by the buildup of plaque, and can be treated by improving your dental hygiene.


Visit a dentist for more advice on this matter, but bleeding gums are not cause of immediate action.


Tips for Healthy Teeth and Gums

Most oral pain and dental emergencies can be prevented by practising good dental hygiene and keeping your teeth healthy.


  • Brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice – before breakfast and after dinner. Replace your toothbrush regularly. If you use an electric toothbrush, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for replacing the head. Regular brushes helps to remove damaging sugars and plaque buildup
  • Floss and use a dentist-approved mouthwash once a day to remove food and plaque that can get trapped between teeth
  • Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco as this can lead to discoloration and gum disease
  • Protect your teeth during sports using a dental shield
  • Avoid drinking damaging liquids, such a fruit juice, coffee and alcohol. Drink through a straw to help protect your teeth
  • Visit your dentist regularly – at least once every 6 months for a checkup and professional clean



There is a fine line between what is and isn’t a dental emergency, so it’s important that you’re informed before contacting your dentist if something doesn’t feel right. We hope this list is helpful for clarifying the different grades of oral problems, and helps you make the best decision for your teeth if you ever have an issue.


If you don’t think your pain is a dental emergency, but are worried all the same, call Dr Sheehan’s dental practice for a friendly chat.

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Most people know that exposure to sugar is one of the greatest causes of cavities, however many of us continue to include it in our diet in large amounts. However, reducing the amount of sugar that you consume will go a long way towards helping to prevent the tooth decay that leads to stress, pain and a trip to the dentist’s office for fillings or even extractions.

While steering clear of sugar entirely is definitely the most effective way of preventing a cavity, it can prove surprisingly difficult to eradicate it from your diet completely. There are lots of foods with hidden sugars, and even those which are labeled as “sugar free” aren’t necessarily completely devoid of the sweet stuff. To determine which foods you should avoid, you need to understand the different terms used to describe sugar in ingredients lists so that you can make informed decisions.

Where Do I Find Sugars in Foods?

Any form of sugar which is used in preparing and processing beverages or foods is called an added sugar, however it may not always be labeled on the product’s list of ingredients with a recognizable name. In fact, there are 60 different words which all mean sugar in some form or another, including:

  • Corn syrup
  • Molasses
  • Raw sugar
  • Malt sugar
  • Corn Sweetener
  • Syrup
  • Honey
  • Glucose-Fructose

Of course, there are also natural sugars found in fruits too, and while these are a healthier choice since they also contain fiber, they could still have a negative effect on your teeth and so eating them at mealtimes and cleaning your teeth after consuming them is the best way to minimize any damage.


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How Can I Reduce The Amount Of Added Sugar in My Diet?

Added sugars are everywhere. Take a look at the bottles and jars in your kitchen cabinets and you’re guaranteed to find tens of products that you had no idea had been sweetened. So, how can you go about limiting your sugar intake to protect your teeth from developing yet another cavity? Here are 5 tips to make it easier.

  1. Eat Whole Foods Instead Of Processed Ones

Processed foods contain a lot of added sugar since manufacturers add it liberally to improve the texture, bulk and taste of their products while ensuring that they have a long shelf life. One easy way of cutting down on added sugars is to simply limit the amount of processed food you eat, instead opting for foods which are only minimally modified or in their original state.

Even processed foods which appear to be healthy may still be packed with cavity producing sugars. Take for example packaged fruit snacks – a single serving has the same amount of sugar as an entire piece of fruit, and none of the positive benefits of fiber. Whole foods have no added sugars and are a healthier alternative, not just for your teeth but for your general well-being.

  1. Try Sweet Alternatives

There are many ways in which you can sweeten dishes without actually adding any pure sugar. Fruits, extracts and spices can be used to make tart flavors more palatable, while avoiding cavity causing damage. For example, packs of flavored yogurts may seem healthy, however they are actually packed with sugar, with some of them having several teaspoons in every serving.

One way to avoid this (and save money at the same time) is to buy unsweetened plain yogurt then add berries or dried fruit to add sweetness. Experimentation is the key – many people find, for example, that instead of using sugar on oatmeal, a little nutmeg, cinnamon or vanilla can make a big difference.

  1. Watch What You’re Drinking

While some people think that by limiting the amount of sugar that they eat in their meals is enough to prevent cavities, in fact a lot of the damage is done by sugar in beverages. Sports drinks, sodas and iced teas are a huge source of sugar, and one that is often ignored.

Many people are shocked and surprised to discover that fruit juices, which are widely believed to be a healthy choice, are actually full of sugar, with around 6 teaspoons in a single glass of regular orange juice. Choosing water is the best way to avoid these damaging drinks, and you should make it your first choice with meals and whenever you’re thirsty, leaving sugary alternatives for special occasions.

If you find water boring or unpalatable, you can liven it up by trying a sparkling variety, or adding some cut fruit like lemons or oranges to it. Milk is another good choice for the health of your teeth, however you should always make sure that it’s plain rather than a chocolate or strawberry variety which has been sweetened.

  1. Redefine The Meaning Of Dessert

If you can’t bear the thought of finishing off a meal without the prospect of eating a dessert, there’s no need to worry. There are plenty of sweet foods that you can eat for dessert that don’t contain pure sugars and which won’t result in a cavity. While chocolate might be out (except on special occasions of course), everyday desserts should be more about natural fruits than about cakes and cookies.

If you’re baking for yourself, you should reduce the amount of sugar you add to your mix, or use a natural sweetener instead. Alternatively, you could try a sugar free artificial sweetener such as stevia or xylitol in your cooking.

  1. Choose Snacks That Are Healthy For Your Teeth

While we all know that we shouldn’t snack between meals, we all do it from time to time. However, the type of snacks you choose can make all the difference to the health of your teeth. Choosing candy bars, cookies or cakes will simply be loading your mouth with sugar, and the more you eat, the higher the chance of a cavity forming.

By simply switching to a snack option which contains no added sugars like unsalted nuts or rice cakes will not only improve your dental health but will also help you to shed any excess pounds. Be wary, however, of snacks that you may believe are healthy because of their good reputation, but which are actually very high in sugars. Cereal bars and dried fruit are just two examples of snack foods that many people view as a healthy choice but which can cause decay.

Frequency Counts

cavity, sugar, cavity prevention

It isn’t all about the amount of sugar you consume, it’s often more about the frequency with which you consume it. If you’re sipping constantly all day on sweetened coffee or sugary sodas, your teeth will be under constant attack.

It’s better to consume all your daily sugar allowance in one go rather than spreading it out in small amounts during the day, so try to restrict any sugar intake to mealtimes and try to always find time to brush your teeth as soon as possible after eating to remove any build up before it has time to settle on your teeth and begin to attack them.


By taking these five simple steps to reduce your sugar intake, you could see a great improvement in your dental health, and with any luck you’ll never develop another cavity!

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Get the Most Out of Your Floss Routine

You have probably been told many times in the past by various dental professionals about the importance of sticking to a good oral hygiene. While brushing your teeth is an essential part and you should be commended for your efforts, you also need to floss. Flossing whenever they brush their teeth, though, seems to be something that many people find it hard to form a habit of doing.

If you are one of those people, you need to train yourself to floss regularly. Flossing is an important part of keeping your teeth and gums clean and ensuring you have great oral health. While it is recommended that you use floss every day, it is just as vital to floss using the right techniques to successfully remove plaque. If you are not in the habit of flossing every day or just finding it hard to do it right; we have put together a list of tips that will help you to get the very best out of dental floss.

Avoid Being Too Rough And Aggressive

People often make the mistake of being too rough with dental floss, snapping it against their teeth to get to those hard to reach places. The temptation is there particularly if you have teeth that sit closely together. It is all too easy to slide the dental floss between your teeth and work aggressively hard and fast at it, with the mistaken belief that the harder you floss, the more plaque you will remove quickly.

However, when you cut and snap dental floss deep into your gums, you can cause them to recede eventually. Therefore, to keep your gums healthy, you should exercise patience and care when flossing and use a very gentle hand. Although this may make the process a little laborious and feel more like a chore, it will do your gums the world of good in time.

Make Sure You Use Plenty Of Floss

People like to scrimp and save and think they are being very frugal by using as little dental floss as possible. However, there are good reasons why you should use as much as you can. Dentistry professionals recommend you use at least 46 cm of floss whenever you floss your teeth. This might seem like rather a lot of floss, but if you are flossing the right way, you would need that much. In order to floss properly, you need to use the correct technique, that is, by wrapping the floss around your fingers a number of times, with just a couple of inches held tightly between your hands. Your index fingers should then be used to apply the right amount of pressure against the floss as you move it between your teeth.

Using the right amount of floss will give you more control over your flossing movements. Although you may think it will save money, you should never use the same section of dental floss to clean the whole of your mouth. When you floss, you release food debris and bacteria and if you move on to another section of teeth and gums you will just be spreading that bacteria to other parts of your mouth.

Work The Floss in A Zig Zag Pattern

The goal of using dental floss is to remove any plaque that has built up around the contours and edges of your teeth and just below the gums. This tip follows on nicely from the last one. The best way to floss is by using a zig-zag pattern or sawing motion, wrapping the floss securely around both sides of your teeth in order to remove as much plaque as possible each time. Pulling floss from side to side across your teeth chips away at the build-up of plaque safely and effectively.

While flossing, slide the material through your teeth slowly and gently repeatedly. You need to make sure you remove all of the food debris from your gums. This can be done by cupping the floss against each tooth particularly the teeth at the back.

Ensuring that you are using the right technique to floss will mean you get the most out of the process and will, therefore, have a healthier mouth, teeth and gums.

If Possible, Floss At Night Before Bed

When do you floss, if indeed you actually do floss? You may not have realized it, but you could actually get more out of the flossing process by choosing a better time to do it. We think it is worth noting though, that flossing any time of the day is better than never flossing at all. However, if possible, you should aim to floss your teeth just before you settle down for the night in bed. The reason being, you produce less saliva at night and your mouth, therefore, dries out. This, in turn, means that less bacteria is spread around your mouth causing further problems; and your teeth will stay cleaner for much longer.

By flossing at night, therefore, you can also help to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. When you know you are supposed to floss, it will remind you to brush that final time before bed and vice versa.

Always Follow The Same Pattern

It can be very easy to become distracted when you are doing anything in life that is a little repetitive, and let’s face it, boring. For many people, unfortunately, flossing is one of these kinds of tasks. Often people get into the bad habit of not paying as much attention to it as they should. Sure, with some practice, you could floss while carrying out other tasks and activities such as watching television; but at what cost?

Problems arise though when you are not properly focused on flossing, you are more likely to make mistakes, miss teeth or even skip whole sections of your gums and teeth. Always follow the same pattern then, to ensure you floss all your teeth sufficiently. When you do something the same way each and every time you do it, you can establish a good routine.

Therefore, when flossing, try working from the bottom half of your mouth to the top or from one side of your mouth to the other. The actual pattern or routine you establish is not important, as long as you are covering all of your teeth and gums. The crucial thing is establishing a routine that works for you and is one that you can and will follow every single time you floss.

It needs to become a way of life, part of your everyday routine and not just something you do an odd day here and there because you remember to do it.

Further Tips For Good Oral Hygiene

Further to the tips above for getting the most out of your dental floss, there are other things you can do for good oral hygiene.

Brushing is considered the most important part of an oral health routine. So, not only do you need to make sure you are flossing correctly but for the most optimum results, you need to brush your teeth using the correct technique and right amount for each section of your mouth.

If you have flossed correctly, there will be bacteria and food particles in your mouth. Therefore you need to rinse your mouth out after flossing, to ensure you completely remove the debris and bacteria to avoid further complications, so it isn’t just lying around. You can do this using either fresh drinking water or a good quality mouthwash.

When you combine brushing twice a day, at least, using the right technique and flossing afterwards using the technique outlined above with the right amount of floss and the correct amount of pressure; you will ensure that your mouth is as healthy as it possibly can be, and keep tartar, plaque and other nasties to an absolute minimum.

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Non-Dental Medical Issues That Could be Uncovered in a Dental Checkup

While having your teeth examined by a dentist is essential for picking up on all kinds of dental problems, from cavities to gum disease, there are many other medical conditions which have nothing to do with the teeth which can be spotted by a dental professional. Getting regular tooth checkups is not only critical to the health of your teeth and gums, it is also critical to your overall well-being too. While you may not have noticed any signs or symptoms which have indicated that there is something wrong with your health, your dentist may well be able to see telltale signs that indicate that you should seek further medical treatment or testing. Here are just some of the non-dental medical issues which may be uncovered during your checkup.




People who suffer from diabetes may exhibit a number of symptoms inside their mouth, including dryness, receding, bleeding and dry gums or loosening teeth. The diminished immunity and difficulty in combating disease which people who suffer from this problem tend to have makes it more likely that diabetic patients will have difficulty in healing gum line infections and wounds. While bleeding gums do not always indicate that the patient is suffering from diabetes, since the same symptoms can be caused by gum diseases and gingivitis, it could be an early warning sign that would prompt your dentist to suggest that you visit a doctor to have your blood glucose levels checked as the sooner diabetes is diagnosed and treated, the healthier you will be.




Your dentist may spot an infection inside your mouth which requires the use of antibiotics when checking your teeth. Whether you have had some kind of mouth trauma, a dental procedure or some other problem, an oral infection could be the result. Some of the symptoms of an infection include swelling, redness and severe pain in the affected area together with fevers, skin which is hot to the touch and drainage seeping from the tooth or wound. Since infections can spread around the body, including to critical organs such as the heart and lungs, it is essential to seek immediate treatment to prevent the problem from worsening.


Oral Cancer


Oral cancer is the USA’s sixth most commonly diagnosed form of cancer, and there are over 30,000 cases reported every year. During your regular checkups, you dentist can look for any signs that might indicate that you should have further oral screening tests. These symptoms usually include white or red lesions which are often found on the palate, tongue or floor of the mouth. People who drink a lot of alcohol, those who smoke or those who have been exposed to the human papillomavirus (HPV – the virus which also results in some cases of cervical cancer) are most at risk of oral cancer and should make sure to have regular checkups.




There are a few oral conditions which might be an indicator that a patient is HIV positive. In pediatric cases, the patient may have swelling to the salivary glands and a dry mouth, and may also have more oral viruses and lesions like herpes zoster, herpes simplex, oral candidiasis and HPV. An adult with HIV could have symptoms such as oral lesion, warts, or brown, purple, white or red spots in the mouth or on the tongue as well as other infections. Periodontitis and necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis may occur in as many as 6% of adult patients with HIV. While these symptoms do not mean that you necessarily are suffering from HIV, if you have several of these signs together, you may need to see your doctor to get a blood test.


Lymph Node, Neck and Head Checks


As well as checking the tongue, gums and mouth for symptoms of oral cancer, dentists can check the jaw, lymph nodes and neck for any lumps or swellings which could indicate an underlying health problem. If your dentist finds an abnormality, they may refer you to your doctor for further testing. Swollen lymph nodes could indicate some types of cancer, and the sooner treatment is sought, the better the outcome is likely to be.



Pregnancy Problems


Pregnant women are advised to always attend regular checkups, since their dentist may spot signs and symptoms which could indicate the health of their pregnancy. Women who suffer from severe gum disease (known as periodontitis) have been shown to be more likely to give birth to a low birth weight or premature baby. This is because the bacteria contained in a pregnant woman with gum disease’s mouth may trigger the release of extra prostaglandin as well as other inflammatory harmful molecules. This may induce an early labor and could impair the growth of the fetus. Although it would be best for a woman to be treated for gum disease before she gets pregnant, she should also be treated as quickly as possible if the problem is discovered after she has conceived.



Heart Disease


Gum disease has been linked to and increased chance of having a stroke or a heart attack, and therefore it is very important to inform your dentist if you have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or your close family members have suffered from this condition. It is believed that when there is inflammation inside the mouth, inflammation is increased across the body, including inside the arteries and this inflammation could have a role to play in strokes and heart attacks. If your dentist spots signs of gum disease and inflammation, they can treat the problem thus lowering the risk of suffering from either of these seriously medical problems.





The human body responds in a number of ways to stress, and if you are having a stressful time at work or at home, there may be symptoms found in your mouth. One common physical manifestation of stress is bruxism. This is when the patient grinds their teeth together. Sometimes, patients do this consciously when stressed, however other people may be affected on a subconscious level and may only grind their teeth in their sleep. Teeth grinding can cause severe damage to teeth, and therefore your dentist is likely to recommend a bespoke night guard to protect them during the night. If you are stressed, you should also get counseling and make some lifestyle changes to reduce the amount of stress you are experiencing.


Poor Nutrition


Patients who are eating badly or who have eating disorders will probably have some signs in their mouth that all is not well with their diet. People who have bulimia may be able to hide the condition from their friends and family, however their dentist will be able to spot the telltale signs, including bleeding gums, a dry mouth and eroded patches on the inside surface of the front teeth. The enamel which covers the teeth can be eroded away by stomach acid and therefore forced vomiting will wear it away causing extra sensitivity when eating hot or cold foods.




Although osteoporosis is most common in women who have gone through the menopause, other people may suffer from this condition too. Causing weakening of the bones, osteoporosis may result in loose teeth and a receding gum line, indicating changes within the bones which support the teeth. If your dentist spots these symptoms, they will usually make a referral back to your doctor to have a bone density test.


Attending regular checkup appointments offers many advantages, and not just for the health of your teeth and gums. Your dentist will be able to look out for any unusual changes inside your mouth and will be able to spot potentially serious problems. If they catch conditions early, you will be able to obtain earlier treatment for a more successful outcome.

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While dental health is a very important aspect of overall well-being, there are many people that tend to neglect it. A lot of people spend a fortune on products such as vitamins, supplements, and skin products in order to look and feel good. However, when it comes to their oral health they make do with a quick brush twice a day and perhaps some mouthwash if they are really dedicated.

It is important to remember that problems with your teeth can lead to all sorts of issues. The areas between your teeth, known as the interproximal or interdental area, can harbor a lot of germs and bacteria, and simple brushing and gargling won’t do much to help. You need to be able to get to the areas between each of your teeth so that you can remove any debris such as food particles. Unless you do this, the debris will be left there to fester and this could eventually lead to infections, gum problems, and even tooth loss. In addition, it can lead to very bad breath, which can cause embarrassment and stress for individuals.


The importance of flossing


In order to tackle the problem of cleaning between the teeth, you need to invest in a good flossing product. These products are designed to get between those tiny gaps so that any particles and debris can be effectively removed. You can then brush and gargle as normal and your mouth will feel noticeably cleaner and fresher. Do bear in mind that flossing is not something that you should do once or twice before the novelty wears off. It is also not something that you just do on occasion. This should be part and parcel of your oral health routine and should be done on a daily basis.


If you are under the impression that this sounds like way too much hassle, think again. Flossing takes just a few minutes and considering the oral benefits it provides this is a few minutes very well spent. All you need to do is find the flossing product that best works for you.


Flossing amongst people in the United States has become increasingly popular over the years. We’ve all seen movies where someone is standing at the sink busily flossing. Well, this is exactly what many people love to do here in America. However, there are still way too many people who do not put enough emphasis on flossing as part of their dental health regime.


Using one of the many flossing products available today

flossing, oral care, dentistry, flossing product

While dental health is a very important aspect of overall well-being, there are many people that tend to neglect it. A lot of people spend a fortune on products such as vitamins, supplements, and skin products in order to look and feel good. However, when it comes to their oral health they make do with a quick brush twice a day and perhaps some mouthwash if they are really dedicated.


It is important to remember that problems with your teeth can lead to all sorts of issues. The areas between your teeth, known as the interproximal or interdental area, can harbor a lot of germs and bacteria, and simple brushing and gargling won’t do much to help. You need to be able to get to the areas between each of your teeth so that you can remove any debris such as food particles. Unless you do this, the debris will be left there to fester and this could eventually lead to infections, gum problems, and even tooth loss. In addition, it can lead to very bad breath, which can cause embarrassment and stress for individuals.


The importance of flossing


In order to tackle the problem of cleaning between the teeth, you need to invest in a good flossing product. These products are designed to get between those tiny gaps so that any particles and debris can be effectively removed. You can then brush and gargle as normal and your mouth will feel noticeably cleaner and fresher. Do bear in mind that flossing is not something that you should do once or twice before the novelty wears off. It is also not something that you just do on occasion. This should be part and parcel of your oral health routine and should be done on a daily basis.


If you are under the impression that this sounds like way too much hassle, think again. Flossing takes just a few minutes and considering the oral benefits it provides this is a few minutes very well spent. All you need to do is find the flossing product that best works for you.


Flossing amongst people in the United States has become increasingly popular over the years. We’ve all seen movies where someone is standing at the sink busily flossing. Well, this is exactly what many people love to do here in America. However, there are still way too many people who do not put enough emphasis on flossing as part of their dental health regime.


Using one of the many flossing products available today

flosser, water flosser, dental care, oral routine

  • Archie McPhee Cupcake Dental Floss: Okay, we all know that part of looking after your dental health is to avoid sugary foods. However, this is far easier said than done if you happen to be one of the many people with a sweet tooth. The great news is that you can now have the best of both worlds. This cupcake dental floss has a delicious frosting flavor that will help to keep those cravings at bay while also keeping aiding your oral health. The waxed floss is ideal for cleaning between your teeth effectively but you can enjoy the added bonus of frosting flavor as you do it.


  • Spry Dental Sponge Floss with Xylitol: Derived from plants, xylitol is a natural sweetener and over recent years has been proven to offer oral health benefits. This is a product that can help to neutralize pH levels in the mouth as well as reducing the risk of bacteria getting stuck to the teeth. With this dental floss, you can enjoy the benefits that xylitol offers. The sponge floss is gentle on the mouth, very effective and cleaning the interdental areas, and is coated with xylitol to boost your oral health and provide you with a great taste while you are flossing.


  • Gem Dental Power Floss: When you visit the dentist, you will have seen the various high-tech tools that they use to get your teeth looking and feeling super-clean. Well, you can now experience this in your very own home with Gem Dental Power Floss. This innovative tool uses Air Fusion Technology to direct water between the teeth and remove debris as gently but effectively as possible. The product is very simple to use, as all you need to do is fill it with water, direct it toward the gums and teeth, and press the button. You don’t even need power or batteries, making this the ideal tool for flossing both at home and when you are away.




As you can see, the world of flossing products has changed dramatically over recent years. We are no longer resigned to using tools that put you through pain and discomfort in order to enjoy better dental health and hygiene. With these products, you can look forward to a far more convenient and comfortable way of getting your teeth really clean. Better still, you can use some of the more fun products to teach your kids about the value of flossing – something that they will thank you for in years to come.


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So here’s the interesting thing about the current dental program of most adults: typically, our dental habits were developed at an early age, and we maintain those habits throughout our adult lives. But, what if what we learned as a child wasn’t quite right? Or, what if we slacked off during our teenage years and poor dental habits became ingrained in our current daily behaviors? This is why it’s a great idea to refresh your notions of daily dental care and ensure that no tools or good habits are absent. Because when they are, we create the potential for serious issues in the future. Without further delay, here are several tips for daily dental care you should be doing.

dentistry, teeth, toothbrush, floss, mouthwash

Twice A Day

Obviously, you’re brushing daily (we certainly hope you are), but are you brushing twice a day, or are you that person lying on the couch at night who dreads the notion of having to drag themselves to the bathroom to tend to matters of hygiene? Well, you should definitely get off the couch. Why? It’s important to clear away as much food debris as possible. Without this process, you’re inviting the bacteria in your mouth to a buffet featuring all of the leftover food you ate throughout the day. The bacteria in your mouth devour this feast and, as a result, release substances that are damaging to your overall dental health, which lead to the usual suspects: gum disease, cavities, etc.


Tongue In Cheek

Our tongues are the oft-forgotten, red-headed stepchildren of our daily brushing process. After a good night’s sleep, there are infinite bacteria that have been having a rave party on your tongue—glow sticks, thumping dance music, the whole nine. Properly cleaning the surface of your tongue is the equivalent of turning on the lights at that awesome party. Purchase a tongue cleaner and make the tongue scrubbing a permanent feature of your daily dental regimen.



Now, I know you’ve heard this one, but somehow, many of us still manage to ignore (or avoid) this important piece of wisdom. Flossing is an excellent daily dental habit and a very effective means of removing stubborn plaque from places where your brush is less effective. While brushing twice daily is a must, flossing catches the plaque often left behind, the plaque that over time contributes to gum disease and tooth decay. “But I use a toothpick all the time!” While we applaud your effort and enthusiasm, flossing is still far more effective and a far better daily practice.


Brush Properly

But wait, are you even brushing your teeth properly? Imagine realizing that, as an adult, you’ve been brushing your teeth improperly your entire life! Don’t feel bad; it happens. But how should one brush their teeth?

Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste

  • Brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle.
  • Spend 2-3 minutes brushing your teeth. Time yourself!
  • Make sure you’rebrushing the outer, inner, and top surfaces of the teeth. brush, toothpaste, dental, hygiene, teeth
  • Don’t forget the molars in the back. Molars need love too.


For those of you who are more visual, of course, there are instructional videos on YouTube:


Eat Properly

Yes, you’ve repeatedly been bombarded with the benefits of a healthy diet, as we all have, and surprise, surprise—those benefits extend to your teeth as well. Daily nutrition plays a key role in great dental care, including a diet rich in veggies, fruits, grains, and legumes. And, of course, you want to limit your intake of sugary foods (cavities!), as the residue from sugar tends to remain in the teeth and inflict acidic damage. Also, try refraining from eating too late. As we sleep, we produce less saliva in our mouths, thus diminishing our mouth’s ability to clean itself throughout the night.

teeth, staining, oral, care, dentistry

Limit your intake of sodas, coffee, and alcohol—a great idea outside of the discussion of dental health—but high levels of phosphorous in addition to food coloring and high fructose corn syrup can wreak havoc on your pearly whites. Grab a tall glass of water instead. Drinking adequate amounts of water is not only good for your overall health, it’s critical to aiding the creation of saliva, which helps with digestion, fends off tooth decay, and battles against germs. Yes, easier said than done, but your teeth will thank you later.


Go Soft On Them

You, like many, may assume that brushing harder and more frequently (more than twice a day), would be an awesome part of your dental regimen. Well, you’d be wrong. While our teeth are very hard and strong and your efforts to take care of your teeth are to be lauded, excessive and vigorous brushing can have negative consequences: they can lead to sensitive teeth and activate gum recession (leaving sensitive roots exposed), which can promote discomfort and infection.

Excessive and overzealous brushing affects a pretty significant portion of the population, with many causing unnecessary damage as a result. Plaque comes off of your teeth much easier than you think and doesn’t require the use of excessive force. So keep it to twice a day and be gentle.


Use Mouthwash

Did your mom make you use that awful, brown fire water disguised as mouthwash when you were a child? The one that felt like you were gargling rubbing alcohol? If you’re like me, you were traumatized as a child, and you may have shied away from the practice of using mouthwash. Well, I would recommend that you tuck those horrible memories away and bring back the mouthwash.

While I won’t say that using mouthwash is an absolute necessity, the benefits of a daily dental regimen that includes brushing and flossing are real. Adding mouthwash into the mix turns a good daily dental regimen into a great one. Also, if you have specific dental issues—gingivitis or dry mouth, for example—talk to your dentist about therapeutic rinses, which can be prescribed to target and aid your specific oral issue.


Storage Is Important

After a vigorous brush, are you laying your toothbrush down on its side, allowing bacteria to grow and fester between the bristles? Do you run water over brush for a mere second or two before grabbing your coffee and hurling yourself out of the door and off to work? Hmm. Not good. Make sure that you’re taking good care of your dental equipment in addition to taking care of your teeth. Rest your toothbrush upright so that it can properly dry out, which helps avoid mold growth. And rinse your toothbrush properly to clean out all of the bacteria you just scrubbed out of your mouth.

Unbeknownst to many, the health of our teeth plays such an important role in our overall health. Dental issues can lead to a host of problems, including heart disease and massive infections. In other words, it’s absolutely worth your time to invest in creating a daily system for taking great care of your pearly whites. If you do the work and serve your teeth, they’ll serve you back. Employ each of the practices you’ve read above and make sure everyone in your household is doing the same.

And of course, twice a year, you should be stopping by the dentist for annual checkups and cleaning. Our team would be honored to become your partner in helping you maintain your beautiful smile and supporting optimal dental health.

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We know that going to the dentist is rarely something people get excited about. But for some people, it’s much more than a lack of enthusiasm that keeps them from going to the dentist. Anxiety and even phobias prevent some people from scheduling and keeping an appointment for even just a routine cleaning. We want to address this issue in order to help any of our patients (or potential patients) who are experiencing anxiety or fear about seeing a dentist.

dentist dentophobia teeth smile

The Difference Between Anxiety and a Phobia

We take both dental anxiety and dental phobias seriously, but we want to point out that they are different and require different approaches. If you have anxiety about going to the dentist, it may “stress you out.” You may feel nervous and want to avoid going to the dentist. For some people, anxiety may cause physical symptoms, from clammy hands to an upset stomach. With anxiety, you may find yourself worrying about things that may or may not happen and you may even know that some of your concerns are probably not warranted. Your anxiety may make you put off – or avoid altogether – going to the dentist.


While many people may use “anxiety” and “having a phobia” interchangeably, having a phobia is generally a much more serious situation. Instead of being anxious or stressed out, when people have a phobia, they may feel absolute terror – a terror that is generally unreasonable. Someone who is phobic may fear they will have a panic attack or may have experienced a panic attack previously. In many cases, even extreme mouth pain will keep someone with a phobia of dentistry from seeking dental care.


If you experience anxiety or have a phobia regarding dental care, we want you to know that we understand and are here to help. We can discuss methods to manage your anxiety and, in the case of phobias, we can help you find other medical professionals who can help you deal with your phobia.


What Causes Dentophobia?

Dentophobia or odontophobia – the technical name for having an acute fear of dentistry or dentists – affects about 5 – 8% of Americans. Anxiety over dental appointments probably affects many more people, but no one has done effective studies that show precisely how many people suffer from this or how to affects our national dental health. While this percentage may not seem large, it actually represents millions of Americans. So be assured: if you feel this way, you’re not alone.


We do have some clues about what generally causes these anxieties or fears.


In most cases, people who suffer from anxiety or fear about dentistry have experienced some sort of negative event during a dental procedure in the past. For many people, it may have occurred in childhood. And in almost all cases, it involved experiencing pain – often unanticipated pain. This is unfortunate, as it can cause people to stay away from getting the regular cleanings and check-ups that their dental health relies upon.


It’s also common that people feel anxious or have a phobia about dentistry not because of dentistry itself, but because of the position the patient is in when they are at the dentist. Dentists and dental assistants generally get very close to patients in order to perform their jobs properly and this closeness can make some people feel very uncomfortable. For others, simply allowing someone to look closely at their mouth may make them feel embarrassed or uneasy.


No matter what you think is causing your anxiety or phobia about seeing a dentist, we take your concerns and feelings seriously.


Answers to Dentophobia

We may not be able to assuage all your fears today, but here are a few good things to know about dentistry in general and Dr. Sheehan’s practice:


First of all, if you experienced pain during dental procedures as a child, you should know that dental techniques and technologies have improved drastically in terms of pain management and abatement in the last few years.


Furthermore, most dentists today are acutely aware of patients’ concerns about pain, discomfort, and anxiety, whether it’s during a cleaning or a more invasive procedure. In fact, attending to patients’ pain (and fears of pain) is now an important part of the education a dentist completes.


Today’s dentists therefore strive to make their patients as comfortable as possible. Dr. Sheehan and our staff operate our services with the goal of minimal discomfort and anxiety-free dentistry.


However, if your anxiety or phobia stems from something other than a fear of pain, please know that we have helped other patients like you. You can contact us to ask us questions about our experiences with other patients or to find out how we can help you and your particular situation.


What Next?

If you have put off seeing a dentist because you have anxiety or a phobia, you may have found that your fears are now compounded: you may be fearing that the longer you wait, the worse shape your teeth could be in. But that’s no reason to keep waiting. No matter what stage your dental health is, we can help you improve it. We strongly believe in the importance of regular dental care and we want to help you get on track with your dental health.


Dr. Sheehan encourages his patients to discuss any concerns or fears they have with him or his staff before any procedure. We have many different techniques to manage pain and anxiety and we are happy to make your visit to our office as worry-free and pain-free as possible. Please call us today to find out how we can help you.

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