How Do You Maintain White Teeth?

Once you’ve had your teeth whitened, along with admiring your revitalized smile, you may be thinking, “Wait, how do I keep my teeth white?”

While teeth are naturally porous and yellow over time, there is a variety of things you can do to maintain your bright white smile. Some of these steps will include keeping up with your daily oral care, skipping teeth-staining foods and other consumables, and coming into our dental clinic for the occasional whitening touch-up.

But overall, by practicing sensible care, you should be able to protect and maintain your white teeth without any extreme measures needed.

Keep Teeth White With Good Oral Hygiene

The daily care of your teeth is critical if you want to maintain the whiteness. This means at least brushing your teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once at night before bed. Along with teeth brushing, you should floss once a day to ensure that there is no debris trapped between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach.

Mouthwash can be helpful as well to support your oral health and keep your teeth white. Some types of mouthwash can be especially abrasive and kill off the good bacteria in your mouth as well as the bad, so it is best to discuss your options with our dentist, especially if you have gingivitis.

Choose The Right Toothpastes And Toothbrushes

In an effort to keep their teeth white, some people scrub their teeth with hard-bristled toothbrushes. All this harsh treatment is doing is wearing down their enamel. As the enamel is worn down, more of the dentin below shows through the remaining enamel. Since dentin is yellow, it will make your teeth appear more yellow than white.

Rather than assaulting your teeth, you should be using a soft-bristle toothbrush and gently brushing for two minutes. As for the toothpaste that you should use, you may want two different toothpastes—a whitening toothpaste and a fluoride-rich toothpaste. Using a whitening toothpaste two times a week can help keep off the surface stains while using a fluoride-rich toothpaste will help support your teeth’s overall health.

Come In For Dental Cleanings

Working with your local Billings, MT, dentist is an excellent way to support both your dental health and keep your whitened teeth bright. At your dental cleaning, issues can be found quickly so that there isn’t a weak point on your teeth where bacteria can darken them and create cavities.

Also, during your dental cleaning, your teeth are cleaned of all lingering dental plaque. Since plaque creates a foothold for bacteria in your mouth and is prone to staining, it is highly advised to come in for your regular cleanings to keep your teeth healthy and white.

Avoid Teeth-Staining Drinks And Foods

Once you have taken the time to undergo teeth whitening treatments, you don’t want to immediately start consuming things that are going to stain your teeth. While you don’t have to cut out all the foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, you may want to reduce how much you consume.

Teeth-Staining Drinks

When it comes to teeth-staining drinks, they often can have a greater impact than foods that stain, since some people instinctively swish drinks. Some of the drinks you may want to cut back on or avoid entirely are:

  • Coffee
  • Red wine
  • Tea
  • Sports drinks
  • Dark juices

Overall, it is best to reduce how much you consume of these drinks if you want to keep your teeth white. But if you use a straw, you can cut down on some of the visible stains that come with these drinks.

Foods That Can Stain

Along with different drinks, there are various foods that can stain your teeth, though they are a little less likely to cause staining, as foods don’t usually permeate your mouth the ways drinks do.

  • Dark-colored berries (blackberries, pomegranates, blueberries, etc.)
  • Popsicles
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Sauces (tomato sauce, soy sauce, curry sauce, etc.)
  • Beets

Eliminate Tobacco Use

If you use tobacco in any form—chew, smoke, or vape—you should know that it is contributing to the staining of your teeth. The nicotine is the main culprit behind the staining, though there are other additives that can help add to the yellowing of a tobacco user’s teeth. Also, along with staining your teeth, tobacco use often discolors the tongue.

Work With Taylor Cosmetic Dental For Teeth Whitening Touch-Ups

Even with the best dental practices, it is natural for teeth to teeth to turn a bit yellow over time. To help maintain your white teeth, you can always come into our dental office for teeth whitening touch up.

It is best to work directly with our dentist, as Dr. Taylor can provide you with whitening treatments that are far stronger than any over-the-counter solution. That way, you have a whiter, brighter smile sooner.

If you would like to get a whitening touch-up or start up teeth whitening treatments, contact us to set up your consultation today!

Direct From The Dentist: What Too Much Soda Does To Your Teeth

Most people are aware that soda isn’t the best for your overall health. Not only is soda linked to type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and obesity, but did you know that it can have a severe impact on your teeth? Well, your friendly local dentist at Taylor Cosmetic Dental is here to tell you all about how too much soda affects your teeth.

How Soda Interacts With Your Teeth And Mouth

Before we jump right in, let’s lay some groundwork information. First, there are hundreds of types of bacteria which live in your mouth. A lot of this bacteria is helpful and assists in breaking down your food and helps clean your mouth to a certain extent. However, there are harmful bacteria that come to eat leftover food particles, especially sugar, and that bacteria excrete acid that wears down the enamel of your teeth.

So, you already have acid being created in your mouth by these bacteria, then you add soda. All types of soda, both full sugar as well as sugar-free soda, have their own acid. The acid from the soda adds to the wear and tear that the bacteria starts, leading to significant dental damage. Also, as the sugar in soda interacts with the bacteria in your mouth, it creates another type of acid which can hurt your teeth.

Also, you may think, “Well, I’ll just use a straw! Then the soda won’t hit my teeth.” While it’s not a bad thought, it doesn’t really work that way. Since the straw doesn’t go from your cup to your throat, some of the soda will interact with your teeth, especially your back molars.

What Soda Does To Your Teeth

Okay, now that you have a clear idea about how soda and bacteria produce acid that harms your teeth, let’s talk about exactly what kind of damage we are talking about.

Soda erodes your teeth – The outer layer of your teeth is covered in enamel, a hard protective layer for the sensitive dentin and nerves below. When you drink soda, you are giving your enamel an acid bath, which slowly erodes the protective enamel.

Soda strongly contributes to cavities – The wear and tear on your teeth don’t stop at the enamel. As soda erodes the protective enamel of your teeth, the acid can make its way down to the next layer, which is the dentin. Once these openings in your teeth are made, cavities are a natural result, and you will need our dentist’s services to resolve the cavities and other issues that can arise.

Ways To Prevent Dental Damage From Soda

There are several ways you can prevent soda from damaging your teeth. Below are some of the top things that our dentist Dr. Taylor recommends:

  • Lower soda consumption – Moderation in all things, especially your soda consumption, can significantly help your teeth. Do your best to stick to one soda a day to help give your teeth a break from the sugar and acid bath that comes with soda.
  • Rinse with water – Immediately after you finish a soda, rinse your mouth out by drinking water. The neutral quality of water can help lessen the impact of your soda and help wash away the acid and sugar. In fact, if you can keep water handy to sip on after drinking a soda, you can also prevent getting up for another soda.
  • Stick to scheduled dental cleanings – If you are a regular soda drinker, then it is even more important that you come into our dental office for your biannual dental cleaning. That way, any issues which crop up can be caught early before they become a big issue.
  • Don’t sip soda – As you drink your soda, don’t slowly sip on it. By sipping soda over the course of an hour or more, you are constantly bathing your teeth in acid and sugar, inviting more bacteria and acid to build up and damage your teeth. So, if you are going to drink soda, do it quickly.
  • Use a straw – While we did say using a straw won’t protect you completely, it does offer some protection at least for your front teeth. By using a straw, you can minimize how much of your teeth come in contact with the corrosive soda acid.
  • Avoid soda before bed – Drinking soda before bed is probably one of the more harmful ways to consume soda since the acid will sit on your teeth as you sleep. So, if you want something to drink by your bedside, stick to water.
  • Wait to brush teeth – It may seem counterintuitive, but you shouldn’t brush your teeth right after drinking soda. With the soda acid on your teeth, your teeth are more vulnerable, and the bristles of your toothbrush can create harmful friction against your teeth, leading to more damage. It’s best to wait at least 30 minutes to an hour after drinking soda before brushing your teeth.

If you are prepared to come in for your dental cleaning and have your teeth checked by Dr. Taylor, contact us. We are ready to help you reach your healthiest and ideal smile!

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

are you brushing your teeth too hard - taylor cosmetic dental

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?

Vaping - Taylor Cosmetic

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

Teeth Whitening Charity - TCD

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: Great Ways To Make Flossing Fun For Children

Flossing Fun

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.

Direct From The Dentist: Tips For Caring For Your Toothbrush

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!

Inheriting Teeth – The Role Your Genetics Play In Dental Health

Dental Health

We are all products of inherited traits from our parents. These genetic traits can predict to a certain extent how much dental help you may need in the future.

Inheritable Dental Issues

While practicing good oral care such as twice daily brushing and nightly flossing is vital to maintaining your dental health, there are some inheritable dental issues which may require you to seek help from our dentist to overcome them. Some inheritable dental issues are:

  • Tooth decay rates – There is the potential to inherit thinner enamel layers from your parents. Having thinner enamel may make you more prone to developing cavities as it takes less effort for bacteria to erode through your enamel.
  • Yellow teeth – Along with developing cavities at a faster rate, inheriting thinner enamel layers means you will be more likely to have the yellow dentin below show through, giving your teeth an ivory/yellow-ish appearance.
  • Misaligned bites – It is also possible to inherit a misaligned bite from one or both of your parents. When a bite is misaligned, it can cause speech impediments, subconscious teeth grinding to shape out-of-place teeth, and jaw pain.
  • Periodontal disease – About 30% of all people are genetically predisposed to develop periodontal (gum) disease. This disease can permanently damage your gums and jawbone as well as kill the nerves in your teeth.
  • Bruxism – It is possible to inherit bruxism (teeth grinding) from your parents. Bruxism can weaken your teeth, leaving them prone to chipping, cracking, jaw pain, and cavities.

Just because you may have inherited one or more of these dental problems doesn’t mean you have no control over your dental care. With Dr. Taylor’s help, you can overcome any of these dental issues.

How To Overcome Inherited Dental Problems

Here at our dental office, we offer a variety of dental services to help you overcome any inherited dental problem you may have. Some of our commonly requested services are:

  • Dental cleaning – Simply coming in for bi-annual dental cleaning can help catch any dental issues before they become serious problems.
  • Veneers – If your teeth are worn down from bruxism or yellow from thin enamel, veneers are an excellent way to give your smile a refresh. Dr. Taylor offers fast, no-prep veneers as well as other veneer options.
  • Teeth whitening – Another option to manage discolored teeth is to undergo professional teeth whitening. You can enjoy whiter teeth than leading over-the-counter options can offer, and our whitening treatments are also faster than using a box option.
  • Peridontal therapy – If you have inherited a predisposition to periodontal disease, having periodontal therapy can help fight off serious infections. Dr. Taylor can perform various procedures to drastically lower your rate of periodontal disease.
  • Dental crowns – Bruxism and deep cavities can leave your teeth without enough material to protect itself. A dental crown can help restore your teeth to help prevent future issues and help correct misaligned bites.

To take control of your dental health, the first step you need to take is to contact us and set up a dental cleaning. Dr. Taylor will be able to identify vulnerable areas and provide treatments to help you manage any genetic dental issues.

Direct From The Dentist: 10 Impressive Facts About Teeth

Facts about teeth

Many people take their teeth for granted, not understanding how amazing they really are. Here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry, we wanted to celebrate teeth and tell you about 10 impressive facts about teeth.

1. Tooth Enamel Is The Hardest Substance In Your Body

It may be hard to believe your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body, but it is the truth. Unlike your bones, which are encased protectively in your body, your teeth are constantly exposed and used at least three times a day to help you ingest food.

Remember, while your dental enamel is tough, don’t use your teeth to open things! That is a fast way to end up with a chipped tooth and a visit to Dr. Taylor to repair it.

2. Your Dominant Side Will Dictate Where You Chew

Whether you are right-handed or left-handed, your body is more prone to have you chew on your dominant side. This tendency can lead to more wear on one side of your teeth than the other, so try to be conscious of your eating habits.

3. Soda Consumption Can Predict Your Tooth Decay

Those people who drink three or more glasses of soda a day can develop 62% more tooth decay than someone who does not indulge in soda. Most of this decay can be ascribed to the high amount of sugar in soda, but diet soda drinkers aren’t exempt.

The acidic nature of all types of soda can abraid the enamel of your teeth. So, put the soda down and choose to drink more water to protect your teeth from avoidable decay.

4. Brushing Only Reaches 60% Of Available Tooth Surfaces

Only two-thirds of your teeth are visible above the gumline. Out of this area, a regular toothbrush can only reach 60% of your teeth. You need to floss to adequately clean the other 40% of your teeth’s surfaces.

5. Your Teeth Are Unique As Your Fingerprint

Every one of your teeth is unique to you, much like your fingerprints. In fact, people have been known to be identified purely by their dental records when there has been no other way to recognize them.

6. Dental Plaque Is Made Up Of Hundreds Of Bacteria

The human mouth has a huge variety of bacteria. Some types of bacteria are good, helping you break down foods and performing a certain amount of cleaning. However, when it comes to the harmful bacteria, there are more than 300 types of bacteria that make up dental plaque.

7. Sir Isaac Newton Has The Most Valuable Teeth

Not all teeth are considered equal. When a tooth from the famous physicist Sir Isaac Newton became available in 1816, it sold for $3,633 ($35,700 in today’s pricing) and was set into a ring.

While your teeth may never be sold for thousands of dollars, you can develop your own million-dollar smile by having a smile makeover with Dr. Taylor.

8. A Lifetime Of Teeth Brushing Equals Days Of Effort

When you are tired, brushing your teeth can feel like it takes forever. But in reality, the average American will only spend about 39 days over a lifetime brushing their teeth.

Many people skimp on their brushing, giving their teeth only a cursory once-over. You should be spending between 2-3 minutes brushing your teeth. If you have struggled to gauge how long you should brush, you can set a timer.

9. Teeth Form In The Womb

Infants may be born with adorable gummy smiles, but human teeth begin their formation while in the womb. Pregnant mothers need to be careful, as certain medications can permanently harm their unborn child’s teeth and leave them discolored.

10. Your Teeth Can Tell A Story About You

By looking at your teeth, someone with a trained eye can tell a lot about you, from your age to where you have lived. Teeth also carry insights into our overall health, marking times of high stress, poor nutrition, and other medical issues that can affect your teeth.

Take control of the story your teeth tell and contact us to set up an appointment with our dentist to receive the best care in Billings, Montana.

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT:406.652.9204