5-Minute Daily Routine for Healthy Gums

daily-routine-healthy-gumsYou exercise and watch your diet to help reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, and some cancers. Similarly, you should take proper care of your dental health to prevent gum disease and tooth loss later on.

It Takes Less than 5 Minutes Per Day to Improve Gum Health

Fortunately, it takes less than 5 minutes a day to maintain/improve your oral health. Dentists and dental hygienists recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. Flossing is just as important in order to remove food particles between teeth that may form plaque and tartar.

Proper brushing and flossing will give you a brighter smile by improving the health of your teeth and gums.

So, why should you pay special attention to your gums?

Taking good care of your gums helps to prevent gum disease, which is an annoying infection that affects your teeth and the surrounding tissue. Gum disease usually goes undetected for a long time because it does not cause any pain, at least until other symptoms become apparent, including:

  • Bad breath that won’t go away
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums exposing the roots of your teeth
  • Loose teeth

When gum disease is not treated promptly, it leads to an advanced condition called periodontitis that can result in swollen gum tissue and lose of hard tissue that ultimately causes tooth loss.

But the worst outcome of untreated gum disease is not limited to tooth loss. Health studies have revealed that periodontitis is a risk factor for several serious health conditions, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Stroke and heart disease
  • Pneumonia and other respiratory diseases
  • Premature, low birth weight delivery

For people with gum disease, simple activities like chewing hard foods or even brushing the teeth can injure gum tissue, allowing bacteria in the mouth to get into the bloodstream. When these bacteria travel to your body organs, they potentially aggravate existing or cause other types of health problems.

How to Improve Your Gum Health

Health organizations estimate that as many as 75 percent of adults over the age of 30 suffer some degree of gum disease.

Gum-related problems start when poor oral hygiene causes bacteria called plaque to form on the tooth surface. Over time, the buildup of plaque collects at the gum line and hardens to form tartar, which then initiates the symptoms of gum disease.

To prevent gum disease, you should follow these tips after flossing:

  • Brush your teeth at a 45 degree angle towards the gum line
  • Use short strokes, moving the brush back and forth to brush both the front and back of teeth and gums
  • Use the tip of the brush to clean the top and bottom of teeth
  • Always remember to brush your tongue to keep your mouth fresh

Finally, keep your dental appointments for dental checkups and professional cleanings to remove harmful tartar.

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Does Tooth Enamel Grow Back?

Does Tooth Enamel Grow BackEnamel is a sort of substance in the outer layer of your teeth which helps protect your teeth. When dentists refer to tooth decay, it usually means the patient has experienced enamel erosion. This means that the outer protection layer your teeth once had is thin or close to gone. Once this has occurred your teeth are left unprotected and prone to decay. Several studies show that 92% of adults ages 20 to 64 have dental decay in their permanent teeth. Grinding teeth at night, gum recession, and the disappearance of enamel over a lifetime are all common problems people encounter.

Studies Show Possible Advancement in Treatment

Researchers feel that one day it may be possible for people to use an overnight mouth guard or teeth strips saturated with hydrogel to regrow enamel-like substances and reduce teeth sensitivity. Current products like toothpaste and mouthwash containing fluoride and casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate can help the remineralization of enamel erosion but they aren’t a real, viable solution.

Avoid Long-Term Issues By Recognizing The Signs of Enamel Erosion

We’ve created a list of signs to look for if you believe you may be suffering from enamel erosion:

  • Tooth Discoloration – Enamel keeps your teeth’s white appearance. Once it wears away, the teeth may turn a yellow tint because of dentin. Dentin is a substance that forms the inside of your teeth, the yellow tint is usually a sign that the substance is showing through.
  • Transparent Edges – If the edges of your teeth are becoming transparent, this is a sure sign that the enamel has become thin and might not be as strong as it should be.
  • Tooth Sensitivity – The dentin is exposed to the nerve of your tooth. Therefore, if the enamel is being eroded, the inside of the tooth is exposed to temperatures that make eating or drinking cold things uncomfortable, often resulting in bothersome shooting sharp pains.

So, Can Enamel Be Recreated?

The short and quick answer is no, you can not. Although tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in the body it can’t be naturally regenerated and unfortunately, you can’t regrow it artificially, either. Which is why we continue to advise our patients to visit us constantly. Visiting us or your dentist will help prevent long-term discomforts in the earlier stages.

As much as we would like to advise our patients that there’s a quick solution to help regenerate enamel, there’s not a solution just yet. Although fancy toothpaste brands promote otherwise, the truth is, once your enamel disappears, it is gone forever. The only way these dental products CAN help is by avoiding this mess in the first place.

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Home Teeth Whitening

Home Teeth WhiteningEver find yourself looking through old photos of yourself and realize that the ol’ cup of Joe you’ve been enjoying every other morning is starting to rip away the glisten off your smile? Fortunately, although frustrating, there are safe and affordable products that will help brighten your smile.

What’s the Best Option?

It all depends on the look you are trying to achieve. Consult with a professional regarding the products you are looking to use. There might be developing conditions that might be causing your teeth to yellow that you might want analyzed.

Although at-home treatments will never replace a professional teeth whitening treatment. These are following at-home procedures you may want to consider:

  • Whitening toothpastes and rinses
  • Whitening strips
  • Paint-on or brush-on formulas
  • At-home trays

Are these options safe?

Most teeth whitening kits use a bleaching agent, like peroxide. Studies show the process is safe. But check with your dentist to see if your teeth are healthy enough. As we stated above, consult with your specialist regarding products you are looking to use.

When Will I See Results?

Although we highly encourage you consider a professional teeth whitening treatment, home solutions CAN give you effective results. Usually, results should be noticeable within a month.

Pro tip for seeing whether or not results are working:

Take a photo of your smile before you use a whitening kit the first time. Take a second in a couple weeks to one month later, and then compare the two. If you see any changes, it’s working. Remember the results will never compare to that of a professional teeth whitening treatment where results may be seen in as little as only one visit, so have realistic expectations when using at-home kits.

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Invisalign vs. Metal Braces – The Main Differences

invisalign vs. metal bracesMetal braces remain the most popular option for braces as they are the most affordable choice, but they are not the only popular option. Invisalign® invisible braces have quickly gained ground as they cater to adults or individuals who are concerned with their appearance and do not want to be associated with the embarrassment or shame that often results from metal braces.

The Main Differences Between Invisalign & Metal Braces

There are some very important differences to highlight between the two types of braces:

1. Cost

Metal braces are generally the more affordable choice ranging anywhere from $1,500 – $5,000 depending on how many modifications you receive. Invisalign braces average about $5,000, but with special offers bring the cost down to a number that’s very competitive with metal braces.

$500 off Invisalign for a limited time through Image Dental Las Vegas.

2. Time

You should be aware of the typical duration both options present. Metal braces are to be worn 24/7 since they cannot be removed for an average of 2 years. Invisalign may be removed, but are to be worn for 22-24 hours per day for an average of 6-18 months, making their duration shorter on average.

3. Maintenance

Metal braces require extensive maintenance, as it’s very easy for foods to become trapped between the wires and brackets. It’s vital that these foods are removed in order to prevent damage. The same applies for Invisalign braces, but because Invisalign is removable they can be cleaned a lot easier and without as much hassle. Invisalign® aligners must be removed before eating or drinking anything but water & must also be brushed after meals to avoid stains.

4. Follow Up Visits

Metal braces must be checked on and re-aligned about every month or so, while Invisalign braces require different sets of aligners that must be swapped out every 2 weeks, with visits to your orthodontist every 4-6 weeks.

Final Note

We’ve given you a general breakdown of each type of braces, but it’s important to note that both types of braces will result in some type of pain or discomfort experienced. The absolute best way to determine what options is best for you is to schedule a consultation with an orthodontist who can examine your mouth, listen to your concerns, and then recommend the best treatment.

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Are You Experiencing Denture Breath?

denture breath
Dentures are made very well, so well that often times people have no idea that you’re sporting a nice set of full dentures in your mouth. It’s great!

However, some people with dentures find themselves having bad breath on a fairly normal basis. If this describes you then we have good news for you – you don’t have a major issue occurring!

What you are experiencing is a phenomenon known as “denture breath” or “denture halitosis”. Like we said, it’s nothing major – but it can be embarrassing or annoying. And that’s not good.

If you aren’t sure if it’s your dentures or not then give yourself a quick test. Place your dentures in a bag, close the bag, wait a couple of minutes, open the bag, and observe the smell.

The reason bad breath occurs is because the exact same types of bacteria that accumulate on natural teeth accumulate on dentures as well. Some of these bacteria produce sulfur compounds that are responsible for bad breath – because sulfur stinks.

The Solution: Clean Your Dentures

That’s right, you don’t even need to make an appointment with your dentist or orthodontist for the solution. All you need to do is clean your dentures. The key is remove as much of the bacteria accumulation from your mouth as possible because that is what causes your bad breath.

There are a few different ways you can give your set of dentures a nice, thorough clean:

1. Ultrasonic Denture Cleaning Units

Ultrasonic denture cleaning units go step beyond normal denture cleaning with a toothbrush allowing you to reach those hard-to-reach areas where bacteria is accumulating.

2. Soaking them in a chemical solution.

Dentures should be soaked in specific chemical solutions from time to time for an even better clean. This allows your dentures the opportunity to become completely disinfected. Call your dentist to find out what type of chemical solution they recommend.

Simply routine brushing alone is often not enough to cure issues with bad breath, but should still be performed every day for optimal oral health.

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Ways to Treat Mouth Sores at Home

Mouth SoresA very large majority of people experience mouth sores at some point in their lives. Mouth sores come in different forms and often appear anywhere around the lips, cheeks, gums, and even the tongue. The good news is that mouth sores are temporary and usually go away with relatively easy treatment options at home.

View all types of mouth sores here.

 Tips on How to Best Treat Mouth Sores at Home

If you’re suffering from a fever blister, canker sore, cold sore, or other type of mouth sore then follow these tips in order to give yourself relief while the sore attempts to heal on its own:

  • Salt water rinsing – take roughly 1 teaspoon of salt or baking soda and rinse your mouth out every day using this homemade solution.
  • Milk of magnesia – you may find this at your local drugstore. Dabbing this solution on your mouth sore a few times a day will encourage the site to heal faster.
  • Avoiding spicy or acidic foods – these types of foods have a tendency to cause unnecessary irritation on the site of the sore.
  • Application of ice – allow ice cubes to slowly dissolve over your sores for added relief.
  • Make sure to brush your teeth – keeping your mouth clean t all times will help you prevent the onset of anymore sores in the mouth.

 What if My Mouth Sore is Not Going Away?

Most mouth sores will go away on their own in generally a couple to few weeks of time, but if your mouth sore is not responding to treatment at home, then you should schedule an appointment with your dentist who may prescribe you special topicals or other medications to encourage healing.

Mouth sores are only considered a minor irritation. Reducing your stress levels, monitoring your diet, and making more of an effort to stay on top of your oral hygiene can prevent mouth sores occurring in the future.

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3 Daily Habits for Great Teeth

As much as we’d like to say that maintaining our teeth is an easy task, we know – from experience – that it is actually not. That is why we want to try and keep it as simple as possible by narrowing down 3 daily habits of those who maintain their teeth well.

3 Daily Habits of Those With Excellent Oral Hygiene

Daily Habits for Great Teeth
1. Brushing & Flossing
It should almost go without saying, but many people fail to brush and floss their teeth on a consistent, daily basis. It is recommended to brush at least twice a day, and floss at least once (preferably in the nighttime).

2. Using Proper Technique
Brushing and flossing everyday of course is important. But it doesn’t serve much of a purpose if it is performed with the wrong technique. You should never brush too hard and always brush over your gum line because that is where food particles and other debris rest. For flossing, you should always floss in a “C” shaped motion for every tooth.

If you ever feel like you are struggling and just can’t seem to “figure it out”, then simply call your dentist and have them explain the technique over the phone or come in for a quick appointment and receive a visual demonstration in office.

3. Drinking Water
This not only benefits your teeth, but your body as a whole. And we mean drinking water – not sugary drinks, fruit juices, and the like. Drinking water is vital in keeping your body hydrated which helps make sure your mouth is well nourished with saliva. Saliva is responsible for maintaining the bacteria in the mouth and preventing decay.

Benefits of Great Teeth

The benefits of great teeth are limitless. The mouth has been linked in many ways to the rest of our body. As in, if our teeth are bad, chances are it will breed bad consequences for the rest of our body.

On top of this, look at great teeth as an investment. The only thing you really need to invest is time, because standard oral care products are inexpensive.

Here, think of it this way… Wouldn’t it be nice to go into a routine dental appointment, have your X-rays taken, and then come out smiling because the dentist told you that you didn’t need anything other than to floss more? It’s a sigh of relief because most people need a cavity filling or other minor procedure to fix an imperfection that has resulted from a lack of care.

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Why Some People Are More Prone to Cavities Than Others

A cavity starts with the buildup of bacteria and plaque that causes damage to the surface layer of one or more teeth. This damage assumes the form of a small hole in the tooth that, if left untreated, spreads much deeper into the tooth, resulting in cavities.

Are you more likely to get cavities?

People Prone to CavitiesAnyone with teeth can get cavities, and most people have multiple cases of dental caries at different times in their lives. Researchers claim that senior citizens have higher chances of getting cavities, probably because of their medications that cause dry mouth. The risk for dental caries among children and adults, on the other hand, is not as bad, probably due to the emphasis on the importance of using fluoride toothpastes from an early age, as well as the fluoridation of public water.

That said, a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims that the prevalence of dental caries among different ethnic groups varies. For instance, African-Americans have the highest incidence of tooth decay at 46 percent, followed by Hispanics at 36 percent, and Caucasians at 22 percent. The prevalence rate for Asians is 17 percent.

According to researchers, there are three key factors that contribute to one’s oral health: behavior, social conditions, and biology.


In regard to biology, researchers argue that some people are born with genes that give them superior dental health, like bacteria-fighting saliva, extra-hard tooth enamel (greater ability to re-mineralize), and a robust immune system. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) also agrees that certain clusters of the population are more susceptible to oral diseases due to their genes.

For instance, one study revealed that a small proportion of African Americans lack a certain variant form of salivary protein that helps to ward off cavity-causing bacteria.

Social Conditions

The American Dental Association (ADA) claims that lower socioeconomic groups are more likely to have higher levels of untreated cavities, due to their limited access to health care. In many states, Medicaid coverage does not include dental benefits, and in others, it only caters for emergency care. Disadvantaged households may also not have access to education about proper dental care.

Additionally, even those patients with decent coverage may not have access to transportation to reach the dentist’s office.


Researchers have found that smoking significantly increases the risk of gum disease and tooth loss, while consume foods/drinks high in sugar create the ideal breeding ground for decay-causing bacteria.

Ideally, stellar dental care can help anyone overcome a less-than-ideal genetic disposition, though some oral hygiene devotees may suffer from persistent cavities, while others who barely do the minimum maintain a perfect smile. Indeed, people who are better able to absorb calcium and fluoride, while doing the bare minimum, are less likely to suffer from decay, compared to the diligent ones who consume too much acidic and sweet things, clench/grind their teeth, or drink non-fluoridated water.

Still, regular dental check-ups should help you detect any concerns early before they become serious and costly issues.

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Causes of Dry Mouth and Top Remedies

Dry mouth, medically referred to as Xerostomia, occurs when you have insufficient saliva or spit in your mouth. Almost everyone has a dry mouth once in awhile, especially when feeling stressed, upset, or nervous. But if you have a dry mouth most or all the time, it can be an uncomfortable indicator that you have an underlying disease or condition, so it’s important that you see your dentist.

Dry Mouth RemediesDry mouth can make it difficult to chew, swallow, and speak, and may even alter the taste of your food. It may also result in hoarseness, sore throat, and bad breath.

Are you at risk for dry mouth?

Although older people are more susceptible to dry mouth, the condition can affect people of any age. Dry mouth is not a standard consequence of aging; rather, older people are more likely to take multiple medications that cause dry mouth.

A recent report on Oral Health in America suggests that dry mouth is a side effect of over 400 over-the-counter drugs and prescriptions, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, high blood pressure medicines, and muscle relaxants.

Other causes of dry mouth include:

  • Hormone changes – like those that occur during menopause or pregnancy
  • Cancer treatments – like chemotherapy and radiation of the head/neck
  • Health problems – like diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Nerve damage – trauma to the head or neck can damage the nerves connected to the salivary glands
  • Snoring or breathing with your mouth open

Why is saliva important?

  • Saliva is produced by the salivary glands in the mouth, and include lubricants and enzymes. The enzymes help to digest food, whereas the lubricants make chewing, swallowing, and speaking more comfortable.
  • Saliva helps in the control of bacteria that bind to the surface of teeth. They feed on sugar in the food consumed, and use it to grow. At the same time, the breakdown of sugar releases acid that erodes tooth enamel. Saliva helps to wash away sugar and food particles from the teeth and mouth, and neutralizes the acid, preventing cavities.

What to do when you have a dry mouth:

It is important that you visit your dentist to help you identify the exact cause of your dry mouth. Your dentist or doctor may then recommend oral rinses and moisturizers, or the use artificial saliva.

Also referred to as saliva substitute, artificial saliva is regulated by the FDA as a medical device. Unlike drugs that work by chemical action, saliva substitute function mechanically by lubricating or moistening the mouth without stimulating the salivary glands to produce saliva. Artificial saliva only provides short-term relief of the symptoms of dry mouth, and is usually used to reduce discomfort after an oral procedure.

Artificial saliva is available in different forms including sprays, gels, rinses, swabs, and tablets that dissolve in the mouth, and can be purchased over-the-counter. Other ways to relieve dry mouth include sipping water or sugarless drinks; chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candy; avoiding spicy foods that irritate the mouth; avoiding irritants like caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol; and using a humidifier in the bedroom when sleeping.

Remember, if you have dry mouth, you should be extra careful about oral hygiene. Use a fluoride toothpaste, brush and floss twice a day, and avoid sugary or sticky foods and drinks.

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5 Dental Warning Signs Your Teeth Might Be Communicating to You

dental warning signsWhen it comes to oral hygiene, the two main components that you need to watch closely are the teeth and gums. It is easy to take the roles they play for granted, at least until you start experiencing pain and discomfort. Even when you experience problems that may seem small, like some yellow stains or sore gums, it is important that you investigate what the problem could be, and rectify it as soon as possible to avoid serious complications in future.

Some common dental complaints include:

1. An achy tooth
An achy or throbbing pain may not necessarily mean that something is wrong if it goes away in a day or two. But if the pain persists, it may be an indication that you are clenching or grinding your teeth. Seeing a dentist can help you manage the pain by getting a customized mouth guard. If the pain is accompanied by swollen glands or gums, the problem could be an abscessed tooth or root infection. To know the exact cause of an achy tooth, you should visit your dentist.

2. Sharp tooth pain

A sudden pain in one or more teeth when eating or drinking may be an indication of tooth decay or cavities. These holes in your teeth are created when bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugar you consume (from your diet) and convert it into acid. If the decay gets deep enough, you may experience tooth sensitivity when biting down. If the pain occurs occasionally, and is not confined to only one spot, there’s no need for alarm. But if it is consistent for a week or more, it is best that you visit your dentist.

3. Yellow or stained teeth

Fortunately, stained teeth are rarely a sign of serious dental concerns. The tint is caused by some foods and drinks, like wine, coffee, or tea. Smoking and the use of antibiotics, like tetracycline, can also cause brown stains. The problem is fairly easy to address using whitening toothpastes or in-office whitening procedures. But it is best to prevent staining by rinsing or brushing your teeth after consuming such foods or drinks.

4. Loose teeth

If one of your teeth suddenly becomes loose or crooked, or it falls out, it could be an indication of a big problem. Your teeth can loosen because of gum disease, which results in bone loss around your jaw and teeth. Periodontal disease is caused by the buildup of plaque, due to improper brushing and flossing and failure to get professional cleanings. If you notice loose or crooked teeth, contact your dentist immediately.

5. Soreness

Another oral concern worth mentioning is soreness in your mouth. Soreness caused by consuming too much spicy fare, citrus, or very hot food should disappear in a couple of days. But if it persists, it could be due to a serious vitamin A deficiency. This can be addressed by eating more carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes.

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