Sugar & Oral Hygiene: What You Need to Know!

Family Dentist in Alabama

With the holidays quickly approaching, we are all beginning to indulge in more sweet treats. From Halloween candy to Christmas cookies, the sources of sugar are abundant! Understanding how sugar affects your dental health can help you make better choices while still enjoying the treats you look forward to all year long. 

How Does Sugar Affect Your Oral Health?

While we know that cutting sugar out of your diet entirely is nearly impossible, especially during the holiday season, it is important to understand the implications of over-indulging. Here are a few of the ways sugar affects your oral health:

Sugar Feeds the Bacteria In Your Mouth

Although some types of bacteria in your mouth are good, others can quickly wreak havoc. When you eat or drink things that are high in sugar, you encourage bad bacteria to grow at an exponential rate. This bacteria presents itself as dental plaque that forms on the surface of your teeth. If left untreated, plaque can eventually lead to cavities and tooth decay.

Sugar Affects the pH Level of Your Mouth

You probably haven’t thought about your body’s pH level since your middle-school science class. Here’s a quick refresher: when the pH level of your body falls below seven, you have what is considered an acidic environment. In this acidic environment, saliva quickly begins to disintegrate your tooth’s enamel. Without this important protective layer, your tooth is more susceptible to decay and disease.

Sugar Can Cause a Decrease in Saliva

Sugar can affect your oral health in ways other than causing direct damage to your teeth. Enjoying excessive amounts of sugar can actually alter your salivary glands, leading to dry mouth. Often overlooked, saliva plays an important role in keeping your teeth clean and your mouth fresh. Without proper amounts of saliva, you are not only susceptible to bad breath but you are also at a higher risk of developing cavities.

Combating Sugary Treats With Proper Oral Hygiene

Luckily, there are many things you can do to combat your sugar intake. Proper oral hygiene is the best way to protect your smile and prevent disease and decay. Here are a few things to you can do to combat the effects of those tasty treats:

Rinse With Water After Enjoying a Sweet Treat

It is certainly important to monitor your sugar intake for both your oral and overall health. However, if you do choose to indulge in a treat, rinsing with water afterward is a great way to limit the effects of sugar on your teeth. 

Practice Proper Oral Hygiene

While it is important to practice proper oral hygiene every day, it is especially important to diligently clean your teeth after enjoying a sugary treat. As our schedules continue to get busier, commit to making your oral health a priority. Brush twice a day for two minutes each time, floss thoroughly once a day, and rinse with water after every meal.

Dental Cleanings Are the Best Way to Prevent Sugar Damage

Although at-home oral hygiene helps to stave off the effects of sugar, professional dental cleanings are the only way to properly remove dental plaque caused by your sweet treats. As we approach the holiday season, take a moment to look at your calendar and schedule your next dental cleaning and exam. We look forward to seeing you during your next visit!

10 Helpful Tips For Keeping Your Teeth White

Family Dentist in Alabama

As we age, dietary habits, lifestyle choices, and normal wear and tear may influence the brightness of your smile. Fortunately, there are numerous approaches to keeping your teeth white, no matter how discolored they have become. In this post, we are sharing our top 10 tips for keeping your smile bright!

1. Practice Good Oral Hygiene

The most important thing you can do to achieve and maintain a bright white smile is to practice good oral hygiene habits at home. In order to achieve your goal of a bright smile, it is important to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. You must also thoroughly floss your teeth each day. Using mouthwash can provide fresh breath and aid in whiter teeth.

2. Avoid Stain-Causing Foods or Drinks

Unfortunately, many of the best foods are stain-causing culprits. Coffee, soft drinks, red wine, berries, and other colorful foods can cause permanent staining on the enamel of your teeth. While we are not suggesting that you give up these food groups entirely, consider reducing your consumption or simply rinsing well with water after you enjoy them.

3. Use a Whitening Toothpaste

Many kinds of toothpaste on the market today aid in whitening your teeth as you brush. Not all whitening toothpaste is created equal. Ask your dentist to recommend the best whitening toothpaste for your teeth during your next appointment.

4. Consider Using a Straw When Drinking Stain-Causing Beverages

If you enjoy coffee, red wine, or soft drinks regularly, you may want to consider using a straw. By using a straw, you allow the stain-causing liquid to bypass your front teeth. There are many reusable straws available today making this lifestyle change cost-effective and eco-friendly.

5. Rinse With Water After Eating Colorful Meals

It is always a good practice to rinse your mouth with water after a meal or sugary beverage. This is especially important after enjoying a particularly colorful meal. Rinsing can remove any stain-causing residue from the surface of your teeth.

6. Eat Foods That Help Whiten Your Teeth

Crunchy fruits and vegetables such as apples, carrots, and celery help naturally whiten your teeth by increasing saliva production. Saliva plays a crucial role in protecting your teeth from staining.

7. Avoid Damaging Tooth Enamel While Brushing

When the enamel, or outside layer, of your teeth becomes damaged, your teeth become much more susceptible to staining. By practicing proper brushing techniques, you can protect the enamel and, in doing so, prevent further staining. Be sure to brush gently – not forcefully. Harder brushing does not equal cleaner teeth!

8. Ask Your Dentist About At-Home Whitening Solutions

There are many at-home whitening solutions. However, teeth whitening kits purchased at the grocery store may cause permanent damage to your teeth. Ask your dentist about safe, at-home teeth whitening solutions to improve the color of your teeth.

9. Consider Professional Teeth Whitening

If you have a big event coming up, or you simply wish to achieve more dramatic results, you may want to consider professional teeth whitening. Professional whitening is the safest way to achieve a bright white smile in a short timeframe. Ask your dentist about your eligibility for this service during your next visit.

10. Make Bi-Annual Teeth Cleaning Appointments a Priority

Finally, your bi-annual dental exams and teeth cleaning appointments play a large role in ensuring the brightness and health of your smile. Make your twice-yearly appointments a priority to keep your teeth as white as possible.

Do you wish your smile was brighter? Contact our office today to schedule an appointment! 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Oral Hygiene

Family Dentist in Alabama

One of the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy, beautiful smile is practicing proper oral hygiene habits. However, many of us have developed harmful habits that negate our daily brushing and flossing.

Here are a few of the most important do’s and don’ts of oral hygiene:

Don’t Brush Aggressively

While it is important to brush thoroughly and ensure that you are cleaning each tooth, brushing too aggressively can actually cause incredible damage to your smile. When you brush your teeth too hard, you can remove the enamel that protects your teeth. Instead of using a firm back and forth motion while brushing, try brushing in small circular motions.

Don’t Skip Flossing

Brushing is the best way to clean the surface of your teeth, but unfortunately brushing alone will not do the trick. Many patients leave flossing out of their oral hygiene routine because they find that it causes their gums to bleed. This is not a reason to give up flossing but rather a sign that you need to be flossing more! 

It is important to note that if you are experiencing prolonged bleeding during any step of your oral hygiene routine you should seek professional care. This can be a sign of disease or infection that requires intervention.

Don’t Ignore Tooth Pain

Even patients who are dedicated to daily oral hygiene experience tooth pain from time to time. Although your smile may look healthy, tooth pain could be a sign of a cavity, tooth decay, gum disease, or more. Even if you are not due for your dental exam it is important to schedule a visit to get to the bottom of your tooth pain.

Do Brush Twice a Day

There are many habits that you can add to your dental routine that will help your smile remain in top condition. Brushing twice each day is perhaps the most important oral hygiene routine. Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time will ensure that you are properly cleaning your teeth.

We recommend brushing your teeth once in the morning and once before bed at night. Establishing brushing as a part of your routine will ensure that you don’t miss a day. Trust us, your teeth will thank you!

Do Start Oral Hygiene Early

Many parents wait to begin instilling oral hygiene habits until their children begin school. We believe that it is never too early to start oral hygiene! Using a baby toothbrush with water even for children under 1 year of age is a great way to begin a habit that will benefit your child for the rest of their lives.

Do Replace Your Toothbrush

Brushing your teeth with an old toothbrush can cause more harm than good. We recommend replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or as soon as it begins to show signs of wear. Using a toothbrush that is damaged can cause injury or damage to the enamel of your teeth.

Do Schedule Bi-Annual Dental Exams

The best way to assess the condition of your teeth and your oral hygiene routine is to schedule bi-annual dental exams. During your time at our office, we will recommend adjustments to your routine and provide you with insight into the health of your teeth.

No matter your age, these twice-yearly exams help keep your smile bright and your teeth in optimal condition. Has it been a while since your last visit? Call us today! 

Bad Breath: Tips to Make Your Mouth Incredibly Fresh

Family Dentist in Alabama

Bad breath is something that every one of us struggles with to some degree. Halitosis, the official name for bad breath, can be caused by several issues including dietary habits, oral hygiene routines (or lack thereof), and sometimes even medical conditions.

Fortunately, there are many ways to easily remedy your bad breath, leaving you with an incredibly fresh mouth! In this post, we are going to share some of our favorite tips for preventing bad breath. 

Practice Proper Oral Hygiene

One of the most common causes of bad breath is the lack of proper oral hygiene practices. When you do not clean your teeth thoroughly, plaque begins to accumulate bacteria on the surface of your teeth. This bacteria, along with food particles, create an unpleasant odor. 

The number one way to achieve fresh breath is to brush your teeth for two minutes, twice each day. It is also imperative to floss your teeth as this is the only way to clean between your teeth, removing food particles and bacteria.

In addition to proper oral hygiene habits at home, it is important to have your teeth professionally cleaned twice each year during your bi-annual dental exam. 

Clean Your Tongue

Most of our patients neglect their tongues. Whether you choose to use your toothbrush or a tongue scraper, it is important to give your tongue some attention. Bacteria, food particles, and dead skin cells gradually accumulate on your tongue, forming a coating over the surface. This is a breeding ground for bacteria that can be responsible for unpleasant breath. 

Remember to Hydrate

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is an important part of maintaining your overall health. But did you know that dehydration can directly impact your oral health as well? A lack of saliva, sometimes caused by dehydration, can lead to both bad breath and tooth decay.

Following your meals or snacks with a glass of water also helps to flush out any remaining food particles, another step in eliminating bad breath. 

Change Your Diet

It should come as no surprise that certain dietary choices can create bad breath. Coffee and garlic, to name a few, are some of the most common offenders. While we are certainly not suggesting that you cut these things out of your life completely, it may be wise to avoid that second cup of coffee before a date or important meeting at work. 

Consult a Professional

If you consistently struggle with bad breath, it is wise to consult a professional. Our team of dental experts can help you evaluate what may be causing your bad breath. In some cases, bad breath is caused by gum disease, tooth decay, or other infections, all of which require professional treatment.

Implementing these simple tips into your daily life will allow you to achieve fresh breath so that you are ready for any situation. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact our team today! 

Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits Everyone Should Practice

Family Dentist in Alabama

Developing healthy oral hygiene habits is the best way to improve both your oral health and your overall health. Although it takes a bit of dedication, these habits are well worth the effort. A smile that is cared for properly will continue to serve you well for years to come. 

Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day

A habit that is engrained in our minds since childhood, twice-daily brushing sometimes falls to the wayside as we mature. Brushing your teeth twice a day is the only way to remove harmful bacteria and plaque that will eventually lead to decay if not addressed!

No matter your age, it is important that you brush for two minutes, twice each day. It is wise to time your brushing every few months to be sure that you are reaching the two-minute marker, providing yourself with ample time to clean each tooth’s surface.

Daily Flossing

You may think that daily flossing makes no substantial difference in your oral health. This is simply not true! Brushing twice-daily brushing is imperative to a healthy smile. However, brushing alone will only remove a portion of the bacteria, plaque, and debris from the surface of your teeth. 

Flossing is the only way to thoroughly clean between your teeth, a popular breeding ground for bacteria. Trust us, you’re not fooling us by only flossing before your dental exam.

Replace Your Toothbrush

In order to clean your teeth properly and avoid any type of damage, it is important to replace your toothbrush on a regular basis. 

Replacing your toothbrush every three to four months is a good habit to establish. Additionally, you should replace your toothbrush if you notice any signs of damage, such as frayed bristles, or after recovering from an illness. 

Keep Your Toothbrush Clean

If we are using our toothbrush to remove bacteria from our teeth, how do we keep the toothbrush clean? This is an important oral hygiene habit that many patients are not aware of. To keep your toothbrush free of bacteria, always rinse it thoroughly after using it. Store your toothbrush in an upright position where it is able to dry between each use.

You may also consider sanitizing your toothbrush using antiseptic mouthwash every few days.

Limit Sugar Intake

We all enjoy a sugary treat! However, excessive amounts of sugar, even healthy sugars found in fruit, can damage your teeth. While we are certainly not asking you to eliminate sugar from your diet, it is a wise idea to limit your sugar intake throughout the day.

If you do indulge in a tasty treat, be sure to rinse your mouth with water to remove lingering sugars that may create chaos.

Visit the Dentist

Although at-home oral hygiene habits play a large role in your oral health, they will never replace routine visits to the dentist. Your oral health depends greatly on bi-annual dental exams and cleanings. During your visits to our office, we can provide you with ways to improve your oral hygiene habits. 

By adding these healthy habits to your routine, you will provide yourself with a happy, healthy smile for years to come. We look forward to seeing you soon!

How Often Should You Replace Your Toothbrush?

Family Dentist in Alabama

One of the most important habits you can put into place is brushing your teeth. However, if you are not brushing with the proper tools or techniques, you could actually be causing more harm than good! In order to effectively clean your teeth, you must use a toothbrush that is in good condition. 

Although you may receive a new toothbrush during your bi-annual teeth cleaning appointments, it is recommended that you replace your toothbrush more often than every six months! Most experts suggest replacing your toothbrush every three to four months. There are, however, a few reasons you may need to replace your toothbrush more often.

Why Do You Need to Replace Your Toothbrush?

Your toothbrush serves an essential role, eliminating debris and bacteria from in and around your teeth. After you are done brushing each day, your toothbrush simply sits on the countertop and can harbor bacteria and germs. 

Additionally, brushing your teeth with worn-out bristles could lead to damage to your teeth or gums.

For these reasons, it is important to replace your toothbrush on a regular basis. Thankfully, good quality toothbrushes are reasonably priced and readily available.

When to Replace Your Toothbrush

There are several reasons why you should replace your toothbrush regularly. It is helpful to keep a spare toothbrush on hand so you will be ready to replace the toothbrush you are using as needed.

Every Three to Four Months

As a general rule, you should be replacing your toothbrush every three to four months. Switching to a new toothbrush helps eliminate bacteria and ensures that your toothbrush bristles are in excellent condition. A toothbrush that is in great shape will be able to clean your teeth and gums much more effectively.

Following an Illness

When you are sick, excess bacteria and germs congregate in your mouth. However, many of our patients forget about these lingering germs once they have recovered from their illness! It is wise to replace your toothbrush following any type of sickness to eliminate a potential reoccurrence.

When It’s Showing Signs of Wear

The bristles of a toothbrush easily show signs of wear. It is important to replace your toothbrush if the bristles begin to appear frayed or broken. Not only do worn-out bristles clean your teeth less effectively but they can also cause abrasions on the gums and soft tissue of the mouth. These small lacerations can easily become infected with bacteria which leads to much larger issues.

If your toothbrush consistently shows signs of wear in the first month or two, it is possible that you are brushing your teeth too aggressively. Talk to your dental care team to assess your brushing technique to ensure it is not damaging your teeth.

After Travelling

Another situation that warrants a new toothbrush is after returning home from travel. When you travel, your toothbrush is often closed in a cosmetic bag that lacks proper ventilation. It is wise to replace your toothbrush after returning from travels to ensure that your toothbrush remains free of harmful bacteria. 

Replacing your toothbrush on a routine basis is just one of many ways you can take care of your teeth and gums, encouraging a healthy smile. Talk to your dental care team during your next visit for more information on proper toothbrushing tools and techniques!

5 Common Teeth Cleaning Myths

Family Dentist in Alabama

There are many myths that surround the topic of oral hygiene. In this post, we will shed some light on five of the most common teeth cleaning myths that we hear about from our patients.

Myth 1: Brushing harder will clean your teeth more thoroughly. 

This may be the top misconception when it comes to oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth harder does not clean your teeth more thoroughly! In fact, aggressive tooth brushing can actually cause serious damage. When you brush your teeth too hard, you risk damaging the enamel, the part of your tooth that protects against cavities and decay.

Myth 2: Manual toothbrushes are better than electric toothbrushes.

The most important fact about your toothbrush isn’t whether it’s manual or electric, it’s the technique you use while brushing your teeth that matters. Both manual and electric toothbrushes are capable of cleaning your teeth properly, and there are benefits and disadvantages to both options. Choosing a toothbrush that makes brushing your teeth enjoyable for you is the best place to start!

Myth 3: If I use mouthwash, I don’t need to floss my teeth.

Flossing your teeth does take dedication. However, there is no substitute for the way that flossing cleans between each tooth. It has been estimated that if you fail to floss, you are not cleaning up to 40% of the surface of your teeth. Although mouthwash provides you with clean, fresh breath, you still need to floss your teeth each day.

Myth 4: It doesn’t matter what time of day you brush your teeth, as long as it gets done.

It is important for everyone, no matter their age, to brush their teeth twice each day. Most of us brush our teeth at the beginning of the day and brush again before we go to bed each night. There is actually great reasoning behind this! 

It is important to brush your teeth in the morning to freshen your breath. Brushing in the morning also gets rid of the plaque that has accumulated while sleeping. Brushing your teeth at night removes any leftover food that is stuck in your teeth. This eliminates the potential for cavities to form while you are sleeping. 

Myth 5: Toothpaste has to be sudsy to work.

The suds created by toothpaste cause us to think our teeth are getting a better clean. However, this is actually a myth! Ingredients are added to many brands of toothpaste to encourage the foaming sensation. These ingredients, and the suds they create, actually do not play a part in the cleaning process. More important than the suds your toothpaste creates, is the brushing technique you practice while cleaning your teeth each day.

By learning the facts behind these common teeth cleaning myths, we hope that you will be able to practice more effective oral hygiene. The most important fact to remember when cleaning your teeth is to brush for two minutes, twice a day. This will provide you with the time you need to thoroughly clean the surface of each tooth! 

If you need assistance or advice on your teeth cleaning routine, feel free to ask our team during your next visit!

Visit Our Sylacauga
Dental Office

Sylacauga Family Dentist

Dental Associates of Sylacauga

Sylacauga Location

499 W. 3rd Street
Sylacauga, AL 35150

(256) 245-6039

Our Sylacauga
Dental News

Dentist in Sylacauga

Sylacauga Dentist

Teeth Staining 101: What You Need to Know

April 6, 2021

Regardless of your age, we all wish for a bright white smile! Unfortunately, most (if not all) of us struggle […]

More >>
Sylacauga Family Dentist

Healthy Gums, Healthy Teeth! 5 Ways To Keep Your Gums Healthy

March 16, 2021

More often than not, when you think of the dentist, you think of your teeth. Somehow our gums just seem […]

More >>