Thursday, June 27, 2013

Why Regular Visits to the Dentist are Important

Many adults, especially young adults, are under the impression that a visit to the dentist is only necessary when there is a problem. The assumption that regular self care, such as brushing and flossing, are all it takes to keep one's teeth and gums healthy. There are several reasons why visiting a dental professional a minimum of every six months is very important.

Having a thorough cleaning by a dental hygienist is a vital part of maintaining excellent dental health. Because a hygienist is able to examine areas of your mouth, that you simply can not see or reach, they are able to detect issues early. They are trained to take a critical look and may even be able to show you ways to improve your brushing or flossing techniques.

Professional cleanings and polishing are the best way to remove months of stains caused by food, beverages, and tobacco products. Failing to have plaque removed regularly at the dental office can lead to gum disease. When plaque hardens and adheres to the teeth, it is virtually impossible to remove with just brushing and flossing.

Dentists and their hygienists routinely discover problems that patients were unaware of. Tiny cracks, broken or loose teeth, damaged fillings, gum and tongue changes, plus spacing deviations between the teeth, are all pretty impossible to find on your own!

In addition to checking for tooth decay and gum disease, plus screening through the use of x-rays, dentists these days understand the importance of conducting detailed hands on examinations.  A variety of conditions, including oral cancers, diabetes, and vitamin deficiencies may be uncovered through an inspection of the patient's head, neck, throat, inner cheeks, bite, and jaw movement.

When you see your dentist on a regular basis and follow daily good oral hygiene practices at home, you are more likely to keep your teeth and gums healthy!

Contact Dr. Simon Melcher at Implant and General Dentistry in Raleigh today to schedule your next routine teeth cleaning!  919-782-0548

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Benefits of Using Mouthwash

What's that? Rinsing with a mouthwash is not part of your daily dental routine? Think that's just for those faced with bad breath? If you are like many individuals, mouthwashes are purchased and used sporadically. Oftentimes, when the product runs out, restocking it is not a priority until the next perceived "bad breath" emergency. Along with a good toothbrush, toothpaste and floss, mouthwash is an essential part of an effective dental hygiene kit. Here are a few reasons why:
  • The American Dental Association supports the regular use of a mouthwash
  • Rinsing with a solution specifically for dental health improves the effects of brushing and flossing.
  • In addition to improving the breath, mouthwashes help decrease bacteria and plaque.
  • Mouthwashes or dental rinses that contain fluoride help reduce and prevent tooth decay.
  • Because of its liquid state, a mouthwash is effective for getting to hard to reach spots, such as the back of the mouth, cheeks, and between gums.
  • It helps fights gum disease.
If these benefits have your wheels turning, perhaps you're ready for a little more information?

What are the different types of mouthwashes?

There are two basic types-one is considered "cosmetic" and the other "therapeutic".

Cosmetic rinses only serve to freshen the breath. They do not contain any of the bacteria or cavity fighting ingredients necessary to promote better dental health. Therapeutic mouthwashes on the other hand are loaded with several ingredients such as fluoride and other anti-microbial agents that fight cavities, eliminate bacteria, plaque, and the germs that lead to gum disease, gingivitis, and bad breath.

When is the best time to use a dental rinse - before or after brushing or flossing?

In regard to this question, the jury still seems to be out! Those health care professionals that support the "before" school of thought say that using a mouthwash will help loosen particles and make brushing more effective.

Those on the other side of the fence who believe using a mouthwash "after" brushing note that doing so handles any particles or areas that were missed by brushing and flossing. Using a rinse last also leaves a bit of the product in the mouth, on the teeth and gums, so it likely continues to work longer.

Before choosing a mouthwash or dental rinse...

Please discuss with Dr. Simon Melcher and his staff which products will be most beneficial to you. Know that using mouthwashes or fluoridated dental rinses is never a substitute for brushing and flossing! Be aware that alcohol is often an ingredient and therefore any mouthwash containing it should not be used by children 6 and under. There is always a danger they may swallow it.

Get more tips on good dental hygiene and dental health here on our blog or directly from Dr. Simon Melcher at Implant and General Dentistry in Raleigh.  Call us today to schedule a consultation! 919-782-0548

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Best "Go-To" Snack Choices for Healthy Teeth

It is no secret that some foods are highly beneficial in maintaining and improving our dental health. Some act as "natural toothbrushes," many are loaded with vitamins and minerals that our teeth need to stay healthy, and others simply have a magical combination of ingredients that are naturally good for our teeth. Here's a list of foods that are recommended for their positive impact on teeth and gums. Make sure to include them in your snack stash!

Apples and celery - the hard crunchiness of these serve to clean the teeth, stimulate the gums and promote the flow of saliva, which cleans the mouth even more.

Cheese - It contains casein, which helps strengthen tooth enamel.

Kiwi - Loaded with vitamin C that helps maintain the collagen in the gums, which prevents infections and periodontal disease.
Pears - More fibrous than apples, these luscious fruits can help neutralize the acid on the surface of teeth, helping them stay strong and healthy.

For smart beverage choices, that will benefit your teeth and bones, choose either water or milk (See also: Why Sugary Drinks Should Be Avoided). Water helps keep your mouth, teeth, and gums hydrated and naturally washes away food particles that could lead to tooth decay. The calcium and vitamin D in milk are essential to building strong bones and teeth.

If you have questions or concerns about your diet, nutrition, and dental health, please call our Raleigh office today to schedule a consultation: 919-782-0548

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Tongue Thrusting Causes and Treatments

Among children, one common explanation for the development of misaligned teeth is the habit of "tongue thrusting." It occurs when the child moves the tongue forward and pushes it outward towards the front teeth. The habit can develop as part of the actions involved with swallowing, sleeping, or when the child is at rest. 
It may contribute to both speech and orthodontic problems. Tongue thrusting is most prevalent in children between the ages of 5 and 8 years old. In the US, it is estimated that between 70 and 80 percent of children go through a tongue thrusting phase.

A number of causes have been cited for contributing to the development of this habit. Some of the most prevalent explanations are thumb sucking, mouth breathing, genetics, tongue size, and the presence of muscular abnormalities. Once the diagnosis of tongue thrusting has been made, there are two preferred treatments.
1. Therapy - A dental professional or speech pathologist will work with the patient to help re-educate the muscles of the tongue in an effort to break the habit. A regime of therapy and exercises will be designed to correct the problem.

2. Custom appliance - Although this method has not been as successful as the therapeutic approach, some individuals may benefit from the use of a specially made appliance. It serves to re-train the individual to limit the tongue thrusting habit by holding the tongue slightly back and down.
If you are concerned that your child has or may be developing this habit, Dr. Melcher will be happy to discuss the diagnostic and treatment process. Please call our office today to schedule a consultation: 919-782-0548