Due to CDC recommendations over the COVID-19 corona virus, we are closed to routine and elective dental care.
We can still see patients in the event of a DENTAL EMERGENCY. If you have pain or swelling, please call 406-652-9204.
Adjusted office hours: Mon-Thur 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Direct From The Dentist: Is It Okay To Brush My Teeth With Baking Soda?

Direct-From-The-Dentist-Is-It-Okay-To-Brush-My-Teeth-With-Baking-Soda

When it comes to cleaning your teeth, there are a lot of options out there. But, not all of them offer equal cleaning and protective power. Since you don’t want to deal with tooth decay, cavities, infection, and more, it is essential that you are using the right kinds of oral hygiene products.

A question our dentist, Dr. Taylor, and our dental hygienist are often asked is if it is okay to use baking soda to brush the individual’s teeth. There are some proven benefits to brushing with baking soda. However, there are more downsides that make it clear that brushing with baking soda isn’t a good idea.

Pros To Brushing Your Teeth With Baking Soda

There are some verified positives to using baking soda to brush your teeth and many unsubstantiated claims. Below are the established benefits of brushing with baking soda.

  • Baking soda is cheap – A 16-ounce box of baking soda costs less than a dollar and will last for a long time if its primary use is for teeth brushing.
  • It can clean off dental plaque – Research has shown that brushing with baking soda can help remove built-up dental plaque from your teeth. In fact, the study inferred that the higher the concentration of baking soda, the more effective the removal process is when it comes to plaque.
  • Remove teeth surface stains – Using baking soda to brush your teeth can help with light stains on your teeth, generally the ones that come with eating and drinking things that can stain. Also, the yellow coloring can be lightened.

Drawbacks To Using Baking Soda To Brush Teeth

While there are positives to choosing to use baking soda to brush your teeth, there are more downsides, and the cons may be enough that you stick to regular toothpaste.

  • Non-ADA approved – At this time, the American Dental Association does not approve of only using baking soda to clean your teeth. As proper teeth brushing is a critical part of your preventative dental care, it is a bad idea to use something that is not ADA-approved.
  • Baking soda is abrasive – As baking soda is grainy, it is abrasive when used to brush your teeth. The impact of using an abrasive cleaner on your teeth can take a toll on the enamel of your teeth and create grooves as well as thin spots.
  • Leaves a gritty feeling – Once you are finished brushing, you may be left with a gritty feeling in your mouth. Even after rinsing out your mouth, the baking soda granules can remain to make your mouth feel less fresh and clean.
  • Using baking soda is messy – The use of baking soda can be a messy process. There are several different methods to try, but they all can be quite tough to do without making a mess until you are used to using baking soda as your teeth cleaner.
  • No fluoride – By using baking soda, your teeth aren’t getting fluoride that you would get from fluoride-enriched toothpaste. As fluoride is a great cavity fighter, you may experience more tooth decay, cavities, and other dental issues by using only baking soda.
  • Removes too much biofilm – Our teeth need a certain amount of biofilm to protect them from bacteria and corrosive foods. We control the biofilm growth by brushing twice a day. But baking soda is too harsh on our natural biofilm and doesn’t allow for proper protective growth.

What About Using Baking Soda To Whiten My Teeth?

Okay, you know how in the pros section, we mentioned that baking soda can whiten teeth? Well, it is important that you understand that the whitening effect of using baking soda is minimal. Simple surface stain removal and slight lightening of yellow teeth is the extent of what baking soda can do, which is the same that your average whitening toothpaste can provide.

But, if you need extensive teeth whiting, professional dental whitening is the only way to go. Our dentist can get your teeth whiter in one session of using professional-grade whitening treatment than you can ever hope from baking soda.

To ensure that your teeth are in the best condition and as healthy as possible, be sure to call us today to set up your biannual cleaning. We are ready to help you smile more brightly!

Is It Ever Too Late To Fix Bad Teeth?

Is It Ever Too Late To Fix Bad Teeth

It is not uncommon to experience dental anxiety, especially if your teeth are hurting. But sometimes, people can get stuck in an anxious thought pattern that it is too late to fix their teeth. That kind of thinking can prevent an individual from seeking the dental help they need.

In reality, it is never too late to fix bad teeth, though in some cases, the fix is the extraction of a dead tooth. However, with the help of your skilled Billings, MT dentist, your teeth can be properly taken care of, and you can start enjoying your smile again.

Most Teeth Can Be Corrected

Dental pain can be acutely painful, and when you experience ongoing dental pain, you may believe that your tooth is beyond saving. But you will never be sure until you visit the dentist.

We have had many patients come in who were sure that they needed root canals, extractions, or had formed abscesses. While sometimes their tooth decay was advanced enough to be a serious problem, a simple cavity can be surprisingly painful. So, it is important not to wait until you can’t stand the pain and discomfort and have treated sooner rather than later.

Ways To Address Levels Of Tooth Decay

While the phrase “bad teeth’ may apply to simply crooked teeth, often it refers to teeth that are suffering from some stage of tooth decay. Depending on your stage of tooth decay, there are different dental services available to address the issue and fix your teeth.

1. White Spots On Teeth

An early sign of tooth decay is the formation of chalky, white areas forming on your teeth, commonly along the gumline. This white area forms due to mineral loss and a build-up of dental plaque.

In this early stage, you might not need a filling to address the start of your tooth decay. Our dentist may be able to provide you with a strong fluoride treatment, fluoride toothpaste, and advice on how to properly care for your teeth so that the decay can be stopped and potentially reversed.

2. Decay Of Tooth Enamel

In the second stage of tooth decay, the enamel is impacted and starts to break down. Sometimes, this enamel breakdown isn’t immediately visible. Instead, the enamel just below the visible surface can start to fracture. At this point, if enough pressure is applied, your tooth may crack and break.

Once tooth decay has breached the enamel of your teeth, the decay needs to be addressed by our dentist, especially if you want to prevent breakage. At this stage, usually removing the decay and putting in a dental filling is enough to prevent further issues.

3. Decay Reaches Dentin

Dentin is the tooth material that is directly under the enamel. This softer layer is the last level of protection for the pulp of your teeth. Once tooth decay has reached the dentin, you can start to have sharp tooth pain.

The longer the tooth decay is left untreated, the wider of an area can be affected, which can require a large filling or potentially a dental crown to repair the tooth.

4. Tooth Pulp Infected

At the center of your tooth, the pulp is the area of your tooth where nerves, blood vessels, connective tissue, and the cells that continue to produce dentin are located. When infection from tooth decay reaches this stage of your tooth, it can be very painful and dangerous for your tooth.

To save your tooth once an infection has reached the pulp, a root canal is needed to remove all the infected material. After the root canal is completed, a crown is needed to protect the tooth, as a lot of material will be removed.

5. Abscess Forms

If an infected tooth pulp is left untreated, an abscess can form, which is a pocket of infected material and pus. This stage is incredibly painful, and an untreated abscess can impact the rest of your oral health, spreading the infection.

Potentially, oral surgery may be needed to clean out all the infection and to drain the abscess, as well as a root canal and dental crown to save the tooth.

6. Tooth Loss

Finally, tooth decay can reach a stage where the tooth dies and either falls out—as the connective tissue dies—or is extracted by a dentist to prevent further pain and discomfort.

Dental Solutions After Tooth Loss

While it is best to catch dental issues before they progress to the point of tooth loss, your smile can still be rescued even after tooth loss.

Dr. Taylor is an excellent dentist with a specialty in cosmetic dentistry. As you can see in our Smile Gallery, he has performed a wide range of dental restorations, from correcting damaged teeth to replacing missing teeth. With his experience, you have an array of dental solutions after losing a tooth.

  • Dental implant – Incredibly sturdy, a dental implant will look just like your natural teeth and be implanted into your jawbone to ensure stability.
  • Dental bridge – Particularly helpful if you are missing multiple teeth, a dental bridge can be placed in different ways to help fill in the gap in your smile.
  • Dentures – To fill in for large sections of missing teeth—or if all are missing—dentures are an excellent solution. There are several styles of dentures, and our dentist can help you find the right configuration for your needs.

To consult with our dentist on your dental health, it all starts with contacting us to schedule a dental cleaning. So, start the process toward a healthier, happier smile and set up your appointment today!

Direct From The Dentist: Can Missing Teeth Cause TMJ?

Direct From The Dentist Can Missing Teeth Cause TMJ

Having even one missing tooth can cause a number of issues, ranging from shifting among your remaining teeth and loss of bone density. To help prevent these issues, your local Billings, MT dentist will recommend some form of dental replacement to avoid the negative impact of missing teeth.

These effects of missing teeth have been well-documented; however, one potential side-effect of missing teeth that is still being debated is if missing teeth can cause temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).

What Is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

The joint that connects your jaw to your skull is called the temporomandibular joint. When working properly, the joint will allow you to open and close your mouth, as well as move from side-to-side, smoothly.

For those who have TMJ, their jaw will often pop and can be painful when moving the jaw for anything. Hearing the joint grind, click, as well as experiencing tinnitus is another common sign that you have TMJ.

Connection Between TMJ And Dental Occlusion

As your temporomandibular joint is the connection between your jaw and skull, it makes sense that your dental health can trigger TMJ. One of the main indicators of TMJ is if you have dental occlusion issues.

A dental occlusion problem can be caused by a number of things, from a change in your bite due to worn-down teeth to having naturally crooked teeth. As you bite down unevenly due to a dental occlusion problem, greater stress is put on your temporomandibular joint, which can lead to TMJ.

According to research, missing teeth can also be a trigger for TMJ. In the study, missing posterior teeth (back teeth, like molars) were the most significant indicators that missing teeth caused TMJ.

If you think about it, the connection makes sense. Your back teeth do the majority of the work when it comes to breaking down food. Yet, if you are missing one or more of your back teeth, you likely have to put more bite pressure on your remaining teeth, causing more significant stress for your temporomandibular joint.

Ways To Correct TMJ

Luckily, you don’t have to just accept TMJ or your missing teeth. There are a number of effective solutions for TMJ, such as:

  • Teeth replacements – If you are missing teeth, dental implants and dental bridges are effective options. If you are only missing one or two teeth, dental implants are recommended, as they are incredibly stable and strong replacements, if expensive. However, if you are missing multiple teeth, dental bridges can help repair your bite and alleviate your TMJ.
  • Nightguard – Many people with TMJ will grind or clench their jaws as they sleep. To protect your teeth from these things, a nightguard can be highly effective. Also, you can protect your new dental implants or fixed dental bridge.
  • Dental crowns – Should your teeth have become worn down, the change in your bite can also trigger TMJ. Having dental crowns placed over worn-down teeth can help protect your natural teeth and alleviate your TMJ.
  • Straighten teeth – Having crooked teeth can also lead to TMJ, as the jaw has to work harder to make up for the misaligned bite. Using Invisalign or other oral appliances to straighten your teeth can help correct your TMJ.

Stress can also be a factor when it comes to TMJ. So, as you get your dental occlusion issues corrected, be sure to try out different relaxation techniques to help you reduce your stress levels.

Find Help For Your TMJ In Billings, MT

If you are struggling with TMJ, have missing teeth, or need other dental services we offer, please contact us today to set up your appointment.

As your local Billings, MT dentist, Dr. Taylor can provide you with a wide variety of dental services to help resolve your dental occlusion and TMJ. We look forward to helping you reach the best dental health possible!

The Link Between Toothaches And Headaches

The Link Between Toothaches And Headaches

Often, what causes a person to seek out dental services is dental pain. A toothache can start as a small, nagging pain, but if it is ignored for too long, the discomfort can become more intense and trigger a headache.

Dr. Taylor—our dentist here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry—is often asked about why toothaches cause headaches. The short answer is that toothaches trigger headaches due to a cranial nerve connection. However, the long answer is a little more complicated.

What Causes Toothaches To Trigger Headaches

Toothaches can be caused by a number of dental issues, such as a cavity, an impacted tooth, cracked or chipped teeth, an abscess, and other oral health problems. Since most of these issues don’t come with visible signs, the pain of the toothache is one of the few noticeable indicators that something is wrong.

Now, for how the pain of your toothache causes a headache. There are twelve cranial nerves, and the nerve that senses how the majority of your face feels—gums, lips, and teeth—is called the trigeminal nerve.

This nerve has branches all over your teeth, lips, and gums, so when you have a dental problem causing pain, the trigeminal nerve sends that painful sensation information to your brain.

Dental Problems Referring Pain To The Head

This transmission of pain is also called referred pain. While there is no pain point in your head that triggers the headache, the pain of your toothache can create the sensation of pain.

In fact, you may not notice the toothache if you are dealing with a sufficiently painful migraine. Some people end up going to their primary care physician about migraines and tension headaches when the issue really is a problem with their oral health.

Another example of referred pain would be headaches triggered by bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Bruxism is when you clench your jaw or grind your teeth without actively meaning to do it. Often, bruxism occurs in your sleep, and you may wake up with a sore jaw, aching teeth, and a headache.

With TMJ, the issue is generally caused by an issue with your jaw joint as well as the surrounding muscles. Along with causing toothaches, TMJ can make the area around your jaw joint, ear, neck, and temple ache. This aching pain can trigger headaches, tension headaches, and migraines.

Ways You Can Prevent Headache-Causing Dental Issues

Naturally, if you have a cavity, abscess, impacted teeth, or other issues that are triggering headaches, you will need to have them addressed by Dr. Taylor. That way, you can start to heal and not be plagued by dental pain and potentially migraines.

On top of having the immediate dental problems taken care of, there are other ways you can

  • Have regular dental cleanings – By having regular, biannual dental cleanings, you can protect yourself from future headaches brought on by toothaches. Our staff will be able to detect problem areas, and Dr. Taylor can advise you on treatments to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
  • Consider a custom nightguard – If you struggle with bruxism, you can prevent the morning headaches caused by teeth grinding and clenching with a custom-made nightguard. As a custom nightguard is made by Dr. Taylor taking an impression of your teeth, the guard will fit you excellently and help protect your teeth from grinding and clenching.
  • Focus on optimal oral care – Taking care of your daily oral care is one of the best things you can do to prevent future toothaches. Brushing your teeth at least once in the morning and at night, as well as flossing once a day can help maintain your oral health. You may also want to consider using a mouthwash that helps eliminate bacteria.
  • Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth – Should you have sensitive teeth that trigger headaches, you may want to ask Dr. Taylor about what toothpaste for sensitive teeth would be best for you. That way, you can enjoy things like ice cream or hot soup without your teeth hurt.

If you are having dental troubles and want compassionate, expert care to help you manage your oral health, then you should contact us for an appointment. No matter what shape your teeth are in, Dr. Taylor will help get you back on track.

How Do Dentists Treat A Tooth Abscess?

How Do Dentists Treat A Tooth Abscess?

 

Ever wonder why dentists like Dr. Taylor here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry stress the importance of addressing cavities and not putting off having the tooth decay treated?

Well, naturally, part of it is due to the fact that tooth decay can spread to other teeth, and the cavity can impact your overall health. But part of the concern stems from trying to prevent a tooth abscess.

What Is A Tooth Abscess

A tooth abscess—also referred to as an abscessed tooth or a dental abscess—is when a pocket of pus is created by bacteria that has infected your tooth. A tooth abscess can be quite painful, with the pain generally located around the area of the jaw that is infected, to your ears, and your neck.

Along with the pain associated with a tooth abscess, this dental condition can become a serious condition if left untreated. In fact, along with killing the tooth, if the infection enters your bloodstream, you could die from the resulting spread of infectious bacteria.

Types Of Tooth Abscess

There are three basic types of tooth abscesses that you might experience. Where the dental abscess is located will be how its type is classified.

  • Periodontal abscess – With this type of abscess, it is located your gums near the root of the infected tooth. Due to its position, a periodontal abscess may spread more quickly to the surrounding gum tissue and jawbone.
  • Periapical abscess – A periapical abscess is positioned at the tip of your tooth’s root. It does usually expand as quickly as a periodontal abscess, but it can quickly cause the infected tooth to die if untreated.
  • Gingival abscess – This type of abscess is located on your gums. It may or may not break through the gums to be externally visible.

Signs You Have A Tooth Abscess

You may have a variety of signs and symptoms that come with a tooth abscess. Often, throbbing, frequent pain in your gums centered around a tooth is a good indicator that it is time to visit our dental clinic. This pain often comes on all at once and will grow worse.

Other potential signs of an abscessed tooth are:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Swelling of the face and overall redness
  • Increase of pain when you lie down
  • Constant bad breath
  • Fever
  • Pain when biting or chewing
  • Loosened tooth
  • Radiating pain in jaw, ear, or neck
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Swollen or tender lymph nodes in the neck

You may have several of these signs and symptoms, though you aren’t likely to experience all of them. Once you notice a couple of these signs, it is to come in to see Dr. Taylor and get your tooth abscess taken care of properly.

How An Abscessed Tooth Is Addressed

As part of our dental services, Dr. Taylor can address an abscessed tooth. Generally, he will begin with an x-ray. With this dental x-ray, he can gain a better idea of the severity of the abscess, the location, and determine the best treatment for your needs. Some of the potential treatment options are:

  • Root canal – As abscessed teeth are often caused by infected teeth, a root canal will allow our dentist to remove the infected material, seal the area, and likely crown your tooth to protect it.
  • Abscess drain – Depending on the location of the abscess, Dr. Taylor may opt to drain the abscess. He would make an incision to release the pocket of pus and cleanse the area to help prevent further infection.
  • Object removal – Sometimes, something small like a popcorn kernel can be the cause of a tooth abscess. Our dentist will remove the foreign object and clean the area.
  • Dental extraction – At times, the tooth where the abscess developed is too damaged and needs to be removed to properly drain the abscess. There are a number of dental replacement options that you can explore after the extraction and the tooth abscess has healed.
  • Antibiotics prescription – When an infection stemming from the abscess spreads, it can require antibiotics to combat the problem. Depending on your needs, Dr. Taylor may prescribe antibiotics to clear out any remaining infection.

Depending on your tooth abscess, one or more of these treatment options will be utilized to address the issue.

When it comes to caring for your dental health in Billings, MT, you can count on Dr. Taylor and the rest of our dental staff. If you are ready to set up your dental check-up or would like to consult with Dr. Taylor about a smile makeover, feel free to contact us for an appointment.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Dental x-rays are a common feature of any dental cleaning visit here at Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry. With dental x-rays, Dr. Taylor is able to uncover hidden issues that can impact your oral health. But, since dental x-rays are still a type of radiation, there have been some patients who have been concerned with the safety of the procedure.

In short—dental x-rays are safe as they produce the least amount of radiation exposure when compared to an x-ray of your abdomen, mammogram, pelvis, and chest, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Only having your hand or foot x-rayed will produce less radiation.

But if you aren’t positive that you need dental x-rays, let’s take an in-depth look at why our dentist uses x-rays, how they work, and more.

Why Dentists Use Dental X-Rays

While there are times where a dentist can examine your teeth and see what the problem is, there are many times where using dental x-rays can help. Some of the main reasons why dentists will use x-rays during your biannual check-up are:

Find Oral Health Issues

There are many common dental issues that are uncovered by x-rays—ranging from finding hidden cavities to detecting abscesses. These issues can be difficult to almost impossible to see with just a visual inspection, so by using dental x-rays, our dentist can provide you with better dental care overall.

Monitor Oral Progress

If there were issues that have been recently addressed—TMJ, healing abscesses, etc.—an x-ray may be needed to be assured that the problem is healing properly. That way, if there is an additional problem that could halt your oral health progress, it can be caught and treated early on.

Determine If Treatment Is Necessary

An x-ray can provide insight into whether or not dental treatment is necessary. For instance, say that a cavity is found during your dental cleaning. The x-ray will be able to show if the cavity requires intervention or if less invasive steps can be taken. Also, x-rays can help show that your oral health is in good enough condition for you to receive cosmetic dental treatments.

Types Of Dental X-Rays

Depending on your oral health needs, there is a variety of different dental x-rays that may be used.

  • Cone beam computerized tomography (CBCT) – This type of x-ray imaging technique is used to create a specialized cone of radiation. It creates a 3D image of the area to help our dentist when you need a dental implant. That way, your implant will fit seamlessly with your natural teeth.
  • Cephalometric (ceph) – In a dentist office, a cephalometric x-ray is used when you are considering orthodontic treatment. It is used to help the dentist determine how orthodontic treatment will affect the shape of your mouth and jaw.
  • Bitewing – With a bitewing x-ray, only one distinct section of the mouth is highlighted. In the small section of imaging, your upper and lower crowns will be displayed. This focused x-ray helps our dentist identify if you have any hidden cavities and the state of your current fillings.
  • Panoramic – One of the most common forms of dental x-rays, this type of x-ray takes a panoramic picture of your entire mouth. That way, our dentist can get an overall view of the state of your oral health.
  • Periapical – Similar to a bitewing x-ray, a periapical x-ray shows a section of your teeth, from the root to crown. However, it will only show the upper or lower teeth in one section.
  • Occlusal – With occlusal x-rays, the teeth aren’t the main focus of the x-ray. Instead, this type of x-ray focuses either on the floor or roof of your mouth. That way, unerupted teeth, jaw fractures, or other issues can be detected.

Are X-Rays Harmful During Pregnancy

When it comes to dental x-rays and pregnancy, we have had some of our patients ask about safety. And with the appropriate shielding—such as a lead apron—having a dental x-ray should not harm your developing baby in any way. However, if you prefer, your x-ray can be delayed until after you have given birth.

If you still have questions or concerns about how your dental x-rays work, that’s okay. Our staff is happy to talk to you about your concerns during your next dental cleaning, so feel free to contact us to set up your next appointment!

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!

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT:406.652.9204