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Direct From The Dentist: Are You Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard?

Many of us were raised with the idea that if we scrub at our teeth hard enough, our teeth will become white and clean. But in reality, brushing your teeth too hard can be very damaging.

Dr. Taylor, our dentist here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry, has seen many people with clear signs of dental damage due to their teeth brushing habits, and he wants to help you check if you are brushing your teeth too hard.

What Hard Brushing Does To Your Teeth

There are many negative side-effects to brushing your teeth too hard. If you are brushing your teeth too hard, here are some of the clearest signs that you will see.

Wears Enamel Down

Being rough as you brush your teeth will thin down the enamel protecting the dentin below. Also, as the dentin is yellow in color, instead of making your teeth whiter with hard teeth brushing, you will have more yellow showing through the thinned enamel.

While the yellow color can be corrected with professional teeth whitening or other dental services we provide, it’s easier to avoid altogether by not being so hard on your teeth.

Creates Space For Trapped Food

Enamel doesn’t wear down evenly, and the bristles of your toothbrush can create grooves in the surface of your teeth. These grooves can trap food particles and make the difficult to remove if you don’t carefully—and gently—brush your teeth.

Also, if the food particles become trapped, it is more likely that bacteria will reach it before you can with a toothbrush, leading to more tooth decay.

Can Cause Receding Gums

If you are brushing your teeth too hard, you will likely experience receding gums. As it isn’t a quick process, it may time to notice that your gums have receded.

You may see a color difference on your teeth as well as seeing that your smile is “toothier” than you remember. Also, brushing too hard can make your gums bleed, even if you don’t have gum disease.

Develops Tooth Sensitivity

As your teeth become more exposed, by worn down enamel and gum recession, you may notice that your teeth have become more sensitive to the hot and cold things you consume. This sensation is to be expected, as the areas that are being exposed by hard brushing are not used to feeling temperature changes.

If you have noticed these signs that indicate that you are brushing your teeth too hard, then it’s time to take steps to correct the problem.

Ways To Prevent Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard

There are several practices you can start implementing if you are brushing your teeth too hard. Some of the best things you can do are:

  • Use a soft-bristle toothbrush – A hard-bristled toothbrush makes it easy to brush too hard, so our dentist always recommends that you opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush instead.
  • Brush at a 45-degree angle – By brushing your teeth at a 45-degree angle, you will be able to clean the spaces between your teeth and your gums more easily, rather than just covering the flatter surfaces of your teeth. And by consciously brushing at this angle, it will be easier to remember to not brush too hard.
  • Keep movements gentle – Rather than attack your teeth like you’re scrubbing tile, make sure you keep your brushing movements gentle. Your teeth don’t require nearly the amount of pressure as we think, so you can go easy on them. If it helps, hold your toothbrush with just 3 fingers, as it is less likely that you will exert too much pressure.
  • Electric toothbrushes can help – Opting for a soft-bristled electric toothbrush can also help to prevent brushing too hard as you just need to move it across your teeth, allowing you to keep from applying too much pressure.
  • Spend 2 minutes brushing – Many people speed through their teeth brushing, which makes it easier to end up brushing their teeth too hard. Instead, you should make sure that you take a full 2 minutes to brush your teeth. By taking the needed time, it is easier to slow down and brush your teeth more gently.

Have Your Teeth Checked By Dr. Taylor

If you are concerned that you have been brushing your teeth too hard, we recommend you come in to meet with Dr. Taylor. You can have a full dental cleaning and checkup, and if there are signs of hard brushing or other issues, Dr. Taylor can help you overcome these dental issues.

To have a dental cleaning with Dr. Taylor or to access other dental services, contact us today to set up your appointment.

Direct From The Dentist: Is Vaping Bad For Your Teeth?

The negative side effects of smoking regular cigarettes have brought their popularity to an all-time low. Problem is, vaping from e-cigarettes is attracting people who would have never considered smoking.

While vaping seems to lack many of the dangerous health problems associated with cigarettes, it is not a problem-free habit. Our dentist here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry wants to be clear about his stance on vaping—it can be terrible for your teeth and overall oral health.

E-Cigarette Ingredients Can Be Incredibly Damaging To Teeth

Vaping is marketed as the harmless heating up and expelling of water vapor. Sometimes, that water vapor is even flavored, making it far more appealing to younger users who may not have ever considered touching a cigarette. However, the ingredients found in e-cigarette juices can be both damaging and toxic to your teeth.

Flavoring and Vegetable Glycerin

For those who enjoy flavored vape juice, you may want to think again. E-liquid flavored with vegetable glycerin is about 60% as sweet as sugar but is an artificial sweetener, so it not generally a concern when it comes to cavity development. However, the addition of vegetable glycerin as flavoring has shown to lead to:

  • Nearly 30% decrease in dental enamel hardness
  • Doubles the amount of plaque buildup you normally experience
  • Quadruples how well calcium, plaque, and other oral microbes can stick to your teeth

Also, because of the heavy, sticky nature of the flavoring, the oral bacteria Streptococcus mutans is better able to adhere to any fissures or rough spots on your teeth, allowing tooth decay to spread rapidly.

Propylene Glycol

Another ingredient found in e-cigarette juice is propylene glycol. This ingredient is found in a variety of food products such as ice cream, liquid sweeteners, and whipped dairy products.

However, as the propylene glycol breaks down into its base components, your teeth become exposed to lactic acid, acetic acid, and propionaldehyde. These components are incredibly toxic to the enamel of your teeth and can also harm the surrounding soft tissue of the gums.

Also, propylene glycol has the tendency to absorb water. By regularly vaping, you will have a perpetually dry mouth, which puts you at risk of increased tooth decay and cavities.

Vaping Can Hide Gum Disease

Not all types of vaping juice contain nicotine. However, those who do use nicotine-infused vape juice could have the signs of their gum disease hidden. That is, the signs will be hidden until it is too late for simple periodontal treatment to correct the issue and instead of our other dental services, such as dental implants, are needed.

The nicotine in e-cigarettes can disguise gum disease thanks to its effect as a vasoconstrictor. As the blood vessels in your gums are constricted and receive less blood flow, the red tenderness that can help point out the early stages of gum disease will not show up.

Along with the lack of signs, nicotine can suppress your immune system, to the point where it will not function properly. That way, the infection is able to take over more completely.

E-Cigs Potentially Can Explode While Being Used

A somewhat rare, but distinct oral danger of using e-cigarettes is the potential that they could explode as you use them. Two people have died from having their e-cigarettes explode while in use, and thousands of others have suffered burns and other injuries as their vape pens malfunctioned violently. The lithium batteries in the devices can be dangerous if not taken care of properly. Some of the things you can do to prevent a vape pen explosion are:

  • Always use the proper charger, not a phone or tablet charge
  • Do not leave the batteries loose
  • Avoid using mechanical mods, as they lack internal safety regulators
  • Only charge when in line-of-sight, not overnight

What To Do If You Do Vape

If at all possible, it is best that you stop vaping altogether. However, if you are not in a position where you can easily stop using your e-cigarette.

  • Always drink water after vaping – As vaping dries out your mouth, you will want to be sure to drink plenty of water after using your e-cigarette. Don’t drink sugary, energy or acidic drinks to rehydrate. The acid and sugar can compound the negative effects of vaping.
  • Opt for less or none nicotine juice – The sooner you vape without nicotine, the better for your gums and teeth. If you can’t switch immediately, opt instead for e-liquids with minimal amounts of nicotine.
  • Come in for regular dental cleanings – Coming into our dental clinic for your twice a year dental cleaning can be a way to protect your teeth as you vape. Be sure to tell our staff that you vape so they can check if there any serious negative impacts starting to show up.
  • Brush and floss carefully – Last, but certainly not least, you will need to brush at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush to help remove the excess plaque you will develop due to vaping. You should also carefully floss before bed to ensure that you keep your gums healthy.

To work with our dentist to keep your teeth in top shape, contact us for an appointment today. We are happy to help you have the best smile possible!

Teeth Whitening For Charity – March 1st – June 30th

The first month of our Teeth Whitening For Charity event has been a success here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry! If you haven’t heard of this event yet, then you came to the right place to learn all about how whitening your teeth can help benefit two excellent charities!

What Is The Teeth Whitening For Charity Event?

From March 1st of this year to June 30th, our dental office is participating in the Teeth Whitening For Charity. This event means that when you come in to have professional teeth whitening during these months, 100% of the cost of your treatment goes directly to charity. Dentists across America and Canada, including your local Billings dentist Dr. Taylor, are joining in to help raise money for at-risk and underprivileged children.

Dr. Taylor is donating his time and talents to provide these whitening treatments to ensure that the two charities—Tumbleweed and Smiles for Life—our dental clinic are supporting can receive the full amount your whitening treatment costs. Even if you don’t feel like having your teeth whitened at this time, you can make a donation toward the charities from our office!

Learn More About The Benefitting Charities

If you are curious about who will benefit from your teeth whitening—asides from yourself of course—we would love to tell you more about the two charities our clinic is proud to support.

Tumbleweed

Tumbleweed is a local charity right here in Billings, MT, that was chosen by Dr. Taylor to receive half of the cost of your dental treatment! Founded in 1976, this youth-focused charity works with at-risk youth as well as young adults, working to help them overcome homelessness, assisting with crisis intervention, and providing necessities for some of our most vulnerable community members. Tumbleweed offers youth critical services such as:

  • Family counseling
  • Advocacy
  • Overnight drop-in center
  • Daytime Youth Resource Center
  • Adolescent support groups

With your professional teeth whitening treatment, you can take an active step toward supporting this vital community charity!

Smiles for Life

The other half of the cost of your teeth whitening treatment will go to support Smiles for Life, a foundation which has focused on helping children worldwide since 1998. This foundation is coordinating the Teeth Whitening Charity Event with participating dentists like Dr. Taylor.

With their fifty percent of your teeth whitening, Smiles for Life will re-distribute the money to other excellent children’s charities, with none of the donation staying with them but going directly to children in need. Some of the charities that Smiles for Life work with are:

  • Feed the Children
  • Garth Brook’s Teammates for Kids Foundation
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital

Other Great Reasons To Whiten Your Teeth

Whitening your smile to help underprivileged both in your community and worldwide is a pretty good reason in itself to come into our dental clinic for your charitable teeth whitening treatment. But if you are looking a few more good reasons to whiten your teeth, we have you covered.

  • Boost your self-esteem with a whiter, brighter smile.
  • Professional teeth whitening can lighten your smile both faster and more than over-the-counter products.
  • Evenly whitened teeth can make teeth appear straighter.

With three more months to go on this charity event, we would love to see more of the Billings, MT, community in our dental clinic. That way, we can continue to actively support both our local youth charity Tumbleweed and Smiles For Life. If you are ready to whiten your smile for a good cause, make an appointment today!

Dental Crowns vs. Veneers – Which Is Better for Your Smile?

Having a beautiful smile is a universal desire. Your smile helps form a first impression when meeting new people, and you want it to represent you well. However, we see many patients at Taylor General and Cosmetic Dentistry with concerns about their smile. There are several ways to improve your smile, and we want to provide you with helpful information regarding the difference between crowns vs. veneers.

What Are Veneers and Crowns?

Veneers and crowns both fall under the category of dental restoration. Both work as a covering to existing teeth for improvement aesthetically and functionally. The biggest difference between veneers and crowns is how much of the original tooth remains as well as how thick the material is that covers the tooth.
A veneer is a very thin porcelain piece bonded to the front of the tooth. The porcelain is carefully color-matched to your natural teeth. Veneers have significant strength but are also somewhat delicate. Should the teeth undergo significant impact, veneers can become dislodged or cracked.

With a crown, the entire tooth is encased. Crowns may consist of metal, porcelain, or a combination of both. A crown is approximately twice the thickness of a veneer, enabling more resistence to impact or cracking.

Tooth Prep with Veneers and Crowns

To have veneers implanted is less invasive than crowns because less of the natural tooth is removed. In our practice, we only remove a thin layer of the tooth enamel from the tooth’s front. The core and back of the tooth are usually not impacted. In some situations, more aggressive trimming may be necessary if part of the objective is to straighten the teeth. Crowns take more work, as up to 75% of the existing tooth may be eliminated so it’s more time intensive.

When Are Veneers the Best Option?

Veneers

Veneers are a great choice for correcting stained, chipped teeth, minor cracks, gaps, and slight misalignment. In these circumstances, veneers improve the color and overall consistency in appearance. You should keep in mind that living with veneers requires future maintenance. You may at times need a replacement, however, veneers are permanent.

When Are Crowns the Best Option?

Crowns

Should you have more significant issues with your teeth, crowns may be a better form of treatment. Crowns help correct teeth that are broken or cracked as well as areas where root canals were necessary. They are better for maintaining the structural integrity of a tooth that has been badly damaged. The crown helps keep the tooth intact, protecting it from any future damage that could lead to extraction.

Schedule an appointment with our office to talk about your options and help you achieve the smile of your dreams. If you’re considering either of these procedures to enhance your smile, we’re happy to educate you on your options, including other options you may not have yet considered.

Direct From The Dentist: What You Should Know About Going To The Dentist While Pregnant

If you’re pregnant, you may wonder if it’s safe to undergo dental treatment. You might even consider postponing your regular cleaning or checkup until after you’ve had your baby. Don’t pick up the phone just yet.

It’s actually a great time to see your dentist, because a woman’s teeth are more vulnerable during pregnancy. Gingivitis is very common, affecting at least 40 percent of pregnant women, according to recent research.

It’s is a mild form of gum disease that, if detected early, is treatable and even reversible through a professional dental cleaning. If you ignore gingivitis, it can lead to serious problems, including tooth loss.

At Taylor Cosmetic Dental, we see your dental visit as an important part of prenatal care. You may want to put off elective treatments like teeth-whitening until after you’ve had your baby. We invite you, however, to come in for checkups and cleanings and urge you to call us if you experience problems with your teeth and gums.

Hormonal Changes In Pregnancy Cause Gingivitis

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gingiva, the part of your gum that touches your teeth.
It’s an uncomfortable condition marked by red, swollen, irritated gums that are tender to the touch and bleed easily when brushing or flossing. Other signs of gingivitis include:

  • Loose teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or unpleasant taste
  • Receding gums

Gingivitis stems from a buildup of plaque, that sticky thin biofilm that forms on our teeth and needs to be brushed away each day. It’s full of bacteria and if it’s not properly removed, it can begin attacking healthy gum tissue.

Because of greater levels of progesterone, pregnant women have an elevated response to plaque. They have more plaque build up than usual and, at the same time, experience more blood-flow to their gums. tI’s a recipe for inflammation.

Plaque contains a lot of bacteria. If it isn’t removed from your teeth, that bacteria attacks your gums, causing them to recede and separate from your teeth. Next, deep pockets form between your guns. The bacteria that are trapped there continue to attack your gums as well as the bone supporting your teeth.

At this point, gingivitis has progressed into periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease.

It can cause tooth loss and, according to some studies, even lead to negative birth outcomes like low birth weight or preterm births.

Gingivitis Can Be Treated With a Professional Dental Cleaning

Pregnant women should arrange a checkup to determine whether they have plaque buildup or gingivitis. If these issues are caught early, they can be treated and even reversed. It just takes a professional dental cleaning, including scaling and root-planing. These procedures involve a dentist using an instrument to perform a deep cleaning below the gumline.

In order to protect your teeth while at home, you should brush your teeth twice per day. If you are experiencing gingivitis, you can try a daily warm saltwater rinse, using a ratio of 1 teaspoon of salt to one cup water. The good news is that after your baby is born, your gums usually return to their normal condition.

You Should Treat A Dental Infection While Pregnant

It’s also possible to develop a dental infection while pregnant, generally signaled by a toothache. Your doctor and dentist may agree you should undergo emergency dental treatment like a root canal or tooth-pulling, especially if a tooth is abscessed.

This is because any risk the dental treatment and the accompanying antibiotic pose are insignificant compared to the risk that the dental infection spreads to the patient’s bloodstream. This can make both mother and child very sick.

Consider Timing When Planning Dental Work

In general, the second trimester is the best time for a pregnant woman to undergo dental work. By that time, the baby’s organs are fully formed and she’s hopefully experiencing far less nausea. Routine dental work should still be safe in the third trimester but, by that time, you’re likely to find spending any period of time in a dental chair uncomfortable.

It’s crucial to be vigilant about your dental health when you’re pregnant, because various physiological changes can adversely impact your teeth. Contact us if you have any questions about appropriate dental treatment while you’re expecting.

Oil Pulling – Does It Actually Help Your Teeth?

Oil pulling may be one of the latest alternative health crazes, but it’s far from new. It’s a practice rooted in Ayurveda, a 3,000-year-old Indian healing system.

If you’ve never heard of oil pulling, it doesn’t involve drilling in the ground for black gold. Instead, it’s a daily ritual of swishing oil in your mouth on an empty stomach for about 20 minutes. Proponents say oil pulling—also called gundusha or kavala—can greatly benefit your oral health, with purported results including:

  • Cavity prevention
  • Fresher breath
  • Gingivitis prevention

This practice has grown in popularity in recent years, with stories about trying oil pulling becoming a mainstay among health and lifestyle bloggers. You might think that from the perspective of western medicine that oil pulling is one of those proverbial “old wives’ tales.” Recent scientific studies, though, have given credence to its efficacy.

At Taylor Cosmetic Dental, we’ve had patients ask whether oil pulling actually helps your teeth. Our cautious answer is it can do little harm and may well do some good. It should never, however, be used as a substitute for brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s talk some more about oil pulling and its potential benefits.

What Does Oil Pulling Look Like?

Many people prefer to undertake oil pulling first thing in the morning, but you can do it whenever your stomach is empty. Some people say it’s best to do it before brushing your teeth while others insist you should perform oil pulling after you brush your teeth. It starts with taking a tablespoon of an oil such as:

  • Cold-pressed sesame oil
  • Cold-pressed sunflower oil
  • Extra-virgin coconut oil

Each of these has different beneficial components. Coconut oil is arguably the most popular medium because it has a pleasant flavor, given you like the taste of coconut. Coconut oil also contains fatty acids with antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties.

While you swish, bacteria is said to be swept away from your teeth and mouth, dissolving into the oil. The oil thickens and becomes milky after a while. When you’re done, spit the oil into a trashcan rather than the sink, as it can clog your drain. You may want to gargle some warm water afterward.

How Might Oil Pulling Benefit Your Oral Health?

Your mouth can play host to as many as 700 different types of bacteria. At any given moment, you’re likely to have some 250 kinds of bacteria in your mouth. Some of these are “friendly” bacteria while others are harmful.

Some of these harmful bacteria show up in the thin layer that forms on your teeth, known as plaque. If left unchecked, the bacteria from plaque interacts with bits of food to create enamel-attacking acid. In this way, plaque can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Oil pulling just might help.

In one study, children were asked to spend 10 minutes a day swishing regular mouthwash or using oil pulling with sesame oil. In just one week, both methods were found to significantly reduce the number of harmful bacteria found in the kids’ saliva. In another study, 60 participants were asked to rinse their mouths with mouthwash, water or coconut oil for two weeks. The participants who swished with mouthwash and those who used coconut oil both had a markedly lower amount of bacteria in their saliva. Promising results, indeed.

At Taylor Cosmetic Dental, we’re encouraged by any trend that puts a focus on preventative dental care. Oil pulling may well be a helpful part of this process. Again, though, don’t forget to brush, floss and arrange for regular dental visits, methods that have all been proven to improve your oral health.

Do you have any questions about basic dental care or some of our cosmetic dental procedures that can improve your smile? Contact us today to make your appointment.

Direct From The Dentist: Great Ways To Make Flossing Fun For Children

Many parents do well when it comes to getting their kids to brush their teeth, thanks to some judicious hovering and countless reminders. Many times, however, we don’t take the time to ensure our children are also flossing their teeth on a daily basis.

Even after the most thorough brushing, plaque and bits of food can remain caught between our teeth and at the gumline. Flossing prevents bacteria-laden plaque from compromising our teeth’s enamel, leading to tooth decay and gum disease.

Oral health is a real issue among American children. Some 20 percent of children between 5 and 11 have at least one untreated cavity, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That number would be significantly smaller if more children were encouraged to floss as well as heading to the dentist for regular checkups.

Children are more likely to follow through with something they enjoy. You can help firmly instill the flossing habit in them by making the job more fun. Here are just a few ways.

Use Fun Flossing Picks

Kids find flossing with picks easier than fiddling with old-school rolled floss. It’s also more fun because they’re using a little tool.

Further, many floss picks are brightly-colored to appeal to children. To sweeten the deal, many kids’ flossing picks may also feature handles with novelty shapes like zoo animals and flavored floss.

Check Your Floss

When you first introduce a flossing habit to kids, you might want to use a visual aid to emphasize why they’re undertaking this particular hygienic act. Have your kids take a quick peek at the floss after their done before throwing it away. It’s likely they’ll see bits of sticky white plaque and other debris. It’s a science experiment with a delightful ”eeeew” factor.

“Look at all that gunk you got,” you can say. “Think of it as cleaning house, except it only takes two minutes!”

Try A Water Pick

Your child may also enjoy the novelty as well as the interesting sensation that comes from cleaning their teeth and gums with a water pick. There are even colorful water pick flosser sets designed just for kids.

A word of warning. It’s likely that your children may wield their water picks like squirt guns. Wouldn’t you, at that age? A quick toweling-off and a reprimand later, your bathroom will be back to normal.

Chart Your Child’s Progress

When instilling a habit in children, it’s often helpful to set up a chart. Use a marker or stickers to note each day your youngster flosses. When they’ve completed the chore a certain number of days, you can give them a reward like a small toy.

Many social scientists assert it takes 21 days to instill a habit. However, any parent who’s sought to get their kids to pick their bath towels off the floor know they’re often slow to catch on. Keep your chart going for as long as you think it’s necessary to motivate flossing.

The Sound Of Music

Since dentists recommend that you floss for at least two minutes, you may want to find a song of about that length that your kid likes. You can make a point of flossing to the music, with a short song serving as an egg-timer. If they’re into pop music, you may even find yourself wanting to floss along with them. Synchronized flossing, anyone?

Dr. Taylor and the staff at our full-service dental office, Taylor Cosmetic Dental, wish you the best in getting your children to floss. It can make all the difference.

When To Consider A Full Smile Makeover

When you have a general dental problem, there’s little debate as to whether you should seek help. If you have a toothache, you need to see a dentist if you want the pain to stop and hope to save your tooth.

When people have issues with their smile’s appearance, however, they tend to agonize over whether to pursue cosmetic dentistry. Given insurance is unlikely to cover such procedures, a smile makeover can seem like a luxury. At Taylor Cosmetic Dental, we take a different view. We believe everybody should have a smile they’re happy to flash. So how do you know when it’s time to consider a smile makeover?

If your unsightly smile eroding your confidence?

When we look in the mirror–particularly that merciless rearview mirror–people tend to zero in on our flaws. Many of these perceived shortcomings are barely noticeable. Some people, however, have very real cosmetic concerns with their teeth, like:

  • A “gummy smile”
  • Bite issues
  • Chipped teeth
  • Discolored or stained teeth
  • Gaps in their teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Noticeable metal fillings or crowns
  • Teeth that are too large or too small

Whether your oral imperfections stem from genetics, lax dental hygiene or lack of access to proper dental care, what matters is how you feel about them. Unfortunately, a third of Americans are unhappy with their smile, according to an American Association of Orthodontics study.

This dissatisfaction can lead to self-consciousness, as evinced by the 48 percent of younger survey respondents who’ve “untagged” a Facebook photo because they disliked their smile.

It’s hard to be at ease when you fear people are judging your teeth. It can cause you to suppress your smile, whether you’re chatting with friends or a co-worker calls for an impromptu group photo. Having this kind of low self-esteem makes you vulnerable to depression, according to a study by researchers at the University of Basel. With this much as stake, a smile makeover may well be more of a need than a luxury.

Is the state of your smile damaging your social life?

Of the third of Americans unhappy with their teeth, 36 percent say their social life would improve if they had a better smile. Twenty-two percent believe their love life would be enhanced by a more appealing smile.

Some of these social challenges may be a matter of confidence. To build a social circle, you need to interact with people and you’re less likely to mingle if you fear your teeth will lead to rejection.

It would be heartening to say such concerns are unfounded, but the numbers tell a different story. The number-one attribute people consider when choosing a prospective romantic partner is the state of their teeth, according to a 2013 survey. And 77 percent of women surveyed by the AAO say they’d consider dating a man with a receding hairline over one with crooked teeth.

If you believe your teeth are holding back your relationships, it may be time to consider a smile makeover.

Are smile issues impeding your career?

As if having your confidence and social life hampered by dental issues isn’t enough, an unattractive smile can also keep you from career advancement.

Fourteen percent of people dissatisfied with their smile say sub-par teeth has caused them to miss out on a better job. Given that 78 percent of Americans say people with crooked teeth are unsuccessful, it’s quite possible.

An unattractive smile can also hinder your pay grade. According to Catherine Hakim, a senior researcher with London’s Center for Policy Studies, attractive workers earn between 7 and 13 percent more than their plainer colleagues.

At Taylor Cosmetic Dental, we want you to look good, feel good and enjoy success. All this can be easier with a smile makeover, whether it’s simply a case of whitening dingy teeth or undertaking more transformational services like dental implants, veneers or laser gum contouring. If you’re ready for Dr. Taylor to revolutionize your smile, contact us today.

Direct From The Dentist: Four 2019 New Year’s Resolutions For Your Teeth

Each year, many of us make half-hearted New Year’s resolutions that we generally fail to keep. It’s time to stop the cycle of disappointment! Why not take 2019 as an opportunity to put some teeth–literally–into your self-improvement commitments?

Dedicating yourself to improved oral health involves some pretty simple steps.

If you’ve been putting off a much-needed dental checkup, it starts by making an appointment with a skilled local dentist. Here are 4 other New Year’s resolutions you can make for your teeth in 2019. With a touch of follow-through, your pearly whites will thank you.

1. Stop Cutting Corners When It Comes To Brushing

Most of us brush our teeth every day, and aim to do so twice a day. Sometimes, though, fatigue or a late night out gets in the way of our evening teeth-cleaning. Skipping evening brushing once in a blue moon won’t hurt you. If it becomes a habit, however, it can lead to problems like gum disease and tooth decay.

Brushing removes particles of food as well as plaque, a transparent layer of bacteria coating the teeth. When plaque mixes with sugar it produces acids that erode enamel, making your teeth vulnerable to cavities.

If it isn’t cleared away, this acid can penetrate the dentin of your teeth and breach the pulp. This can cause a bacterial infection or a painful abscess, both of which generally require a root canal. It’s a world of hassle that can be avoided by a two-minute process.

Skipping brushing also carries other risks. When plaque isn’t cleaned it can harden into tarter, a  crusty deposit that bonds so strongly to your teeth it needs to be removed at the dentist. Tartar traps stains, so it can cause your teeth to become discolored. It also irritates your gums, which can lead to gingivitis. Again, taking that two minutes to brush is worth your while.

2. Floss Your Teeth Every Day

We’ve all heard the old edict. To keep your teeth healthy, brush and floss your teeth every day. Many people skip the latter step though, figuring vigorous brushing serves as sufficient tooth care.

Flossing, though, is an important part of dental hygiene. By clearing out plaque and food in hard-to-reach areas between your teeth and gums, it helps ward off cavities and gingivitis.

The  best way to develop a new habit is to make it easy. There are many options when it comes to choosing the best dental floss. Whatever you settle on, place your floss near your toothbrush so you’ll be sure to remember this vital step.

3. Get your teeth professionally cleaned

Even if you brush and floss religiously, it’s important to get your teeth professionally cleaned at least twice a year.

There are a number of benefits to this routine procedure, including the fact your dental hygienist starts the process with a thorough exam of your mouth. They’ll cue you in if they detect signs of gingivitis, tooth decay or other issues with your oral health. This alone makes a professional tooth-cleaning an effective part of preventative care.

Your dental hygienist will also use a scaler to remove stubborn tartar, a task you can’t perform at home, and polish your teeth with a gritty, professional-grade paste. At the end of the treatment your teeth are likely to feel smoother and look brighter.

If you’ve been procrastinating regarding teeth-cleanings, it may be best to take the leap by picking up the phone and setting an appointment. You can also keep yourself on a schedule for regular dental care by setting a reminder on your calendar when it’s time to get your teeth cleaned.

4. Quit Staining Your Teeth

If your teeth are stained, you can get them professionally whitened, one of the many services offered by Dr. Zach Taylor and his staff at Taylor Cosmetic Dentistry. If you have habits that lead to tooth discoloration, however, you’re going to have to keep making costly and time-consuming appointments, just to keep your smile bright.

Smoking is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to yellow and discolored teeth. If cigarettes are getting you down, and making your smile brown, the advent of the new year is the perfect time to quit.

We know. Stopping smoking is easier said than done. You may, however, be able to inspire yourself. Tape a picture of a celebrity with the kind of toothy white smile you’d like to maintain on the inside of your medicine cabinet. Going from dingy to bright; now that’s smoking hot!

If you’re ready to maintain and improve your smile in 2019, Taylor Cosmetic Dentistry is ready to help you. To schedule a checkup, cleaning or procedure-or learn more about our life-changing smile makeovers–contact us for your appointment today.

Direct From The Dentist: Tips For Caring For Your Toothbrush

You know how to care for your teeth, from brushing and flossing to seeing your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. Did you know, however, that your toothbrush needs care as well? Giving this all-important cleaning implement some toothbrush TLC is an important part of good oral health.

Proper Toothbrush Replacement

You should replace your toothbrush every three to four months as well as any time you notice its bristles have become frayed. The reason for this is threefold.

The first is a worn-out toothbrush doesn’t perform as effectively. When your toothbrush gets tattered, the bristles bend away from your teeth as you brush. This keeps their fine tips from penetrating between your teeth and gums. Your ability to remove plaque and bacteria is hindered, leaving you more vulnerable to cavities and gum disease. Replacing your toothbrush is also a great way to stop bacterial buildup on the bristles, allowing for a fresh start.

Additionally, toothbrush bristles are purposely rounded while they’re manufactured, making them softer so the sharp edges don’t damage your gums or teeth. When a toothbrush that’s been used one—or a hundred—too many times, the bristles become jagged and can scrape away gum tissue and enamel.

If you tend to forget to replace your family’s toothbrushes amid the hustle and bustle of life, you can set a reminder on your calendar around the time you should buy new ones. While you’re at it, you may also want to add a reminder to get your teeth professionally cleaned, something that should be done twice a year.

Proper Toothbrush Storage

Germs breed in wet, dark conditions, so you want to store your toothbrush in an upright position in a container where it can air out. Avoid covering the brush-head or storing toothbrushes in closed containers where the moist bristles can become a breeding ground for bacteria, viruses, and fungus.

You may want to store your toothbrush in a plastic toothbrush case while traveling to protect its bristles. Once you’re in your hotel or other accommodations, however, you should let your toothbrush dry in the open air as usual.

Don’t Share Toothbrushes Or Their Germs

When more than one person uses the same toothbrush, they end up swapping body fluids and microorganisms, which can cause infection to spread. This unsavory exchange is particularly concerning if you have a compromised immune system and during cold and flu season.

You also run the risk of germs spreading from person to person if you plunk all your family’s toothbrushes in a cup or somewhere else where they touch each other. This can contribute to that well-known phenomenon where an illness like a cold or sinus infection circulates throughout a household. Instead, it’s recommended you purchase a toothbrush holder with multiple slots.

Cleaning And Sanitizing your Toothbrush

Keeping your toothbrush clean is a relatively simple proposition. Just rinse your toothbrush with warm water after every brushing to make sure the bristles are free of food particles or toothpaste.

You use your toothbrush to clean your mouth of bacteria, so it’s a given that bacteria can collect and flourish on your toothbrush. With this in mind, you may want to occasionally sanitize your family’s toothbrush collection, particularly during cold and flu season. There are several methods you can undertake, including:

  • Immersing toothbrush heads in antibacterial mouthwash for 15 minutes.
  • Storing your toothbrush in a cup of hydrogen peroxide
  • Boiling your toothbrush for about 3 minutes
  • Buying a UV toothbrush sanitizer

You take care of your toothbrush. Dr. Zach Taylor and his staff at Taylor Cosmetic Dentistry of Billings, Montana will do the rest. If you have any questions or want to make an appointment, we encourage you to contact us. We guarantee you’ll never get the brush-off!

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT:406.652.9204