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.

What You Can Do About Receding Gums

Receding Gums

When the gums begin to pull back from the teeth and start to expose the root of the teeth, that is called receding gums. In some cases, receding gums can be caused by a lack of preventative care, but there can be many other causes. However, the main question our patients ask is if there is a way to reverse receding gums.

While gum tissue does not grow back, cosmetic dentists like Dr. Taylor can provide treatments to manage and address receding gums.

What Causes Receding Gums

As we said before, there are many triggers that can cause your gums to recede. Some of the most common reasons why people struggle with receding gums are:

Nicotine use – The use of nicotine products restricts the flow of blood. This restriction of blood flow can cause issues with blood and oxygen reaching the tissue in your gums, leading them to die and recede.
Poor dental hygiene – Without proper oral care, plaque can build up on a person’s gums and teeth. This plaque can harden and turn into tartar, and as it separates your gums from your teeth, bacteria can move in and cause the gums to recede.
Bruxism – Forceful teeth grinding caused by grinding can put too much pressure on your gums, causing the gums to recede. Also, misaligned teeth can have a similar effect.
Harsh toothbrush or technique – While it can be tempting to brush your teeth more firmly when you notice a dental issue, that hard brushing can be causing some of the problems. Harsh teeth brushing techniques can irritate your gums and cause them to recede, as well as wear down the enamel of your teeth. Also, hard-bristled toothbrushes can cause issues with your gums and teeth as they can be very abrasive.
Genetic predisposition – Some people simply have a genetic predisposition to gum disease, which means no matter how well you care for your teeth, you may still struggle with gum disease.
Hormone changes – Women undergoing hormonal changes such as menopause, puberty, and pregnancy can have more sensitive gums that can be vulnerable to receding gums.

Ways A Cosmetic Dentist Can Help With Receding Gums

Once someone has had gum recession, you will need the dental services of a cosmetic dentist like Dr. Taylor to correct the issue. There are three main ways that receding gums can be addressed.

Gum Graft

One of the more invasive options, a gum graft requires a cosmetic dentist to take gum tissue from another section of your mouth. Generally, the inside roof of the mouth can be used. This tissue is then surgically placed in the areas of your mouth where your gums are receding.

Not only can a gum graft significantly improve the appearance of receding gums, but it can also prevent future problems with having the roots of your teeth exposed.

Flap Surgery

More in-depth than root planing and scaling, during flap surgery, our dentist will make a small incision in your gums to allow him to lift the tissue up. With the gum tissue moved out of the way, it is easier for our dentist to reach further and remove the rest of the bacteria causing your receding gums.

After the bacteria is removed, then Dr. Taylor will resecure your gum tissue. With the bacteria removed, the danger of further recession, bone loss, and gum disease are significantly diminished.

Bonding

Bonding focuses mostly on improving the appearance of receded gums. This procedure used gum-colored resin and places them over the exposed roots of your teeth.

Not only does the bonded resin reduces the appearance of your receded gums, but the bonding can help protect the sensitive and delicate roots of your teeth.

How To Stop Your Gums From Receding

While there are some gum recession factors out of your control, there are some that you can control and ways to prevent your gums from receding further.

  • Root planing and scaling – Less invasive than flap surgery, root planing and scaling by our dentist can remove built-up plaque and help clean out pockets of bacteria. That way, your gums can heal and stop receding.
  • Quit smoking or vaping – Products with nicotine will continue to impact your health if you continue to use them. Try to quit their use as soon as possible to ensure the health of your gums.
  • Use soft-bristle toothbrush – A soft-bristled toothbrush is best for your teeth’s enamel and your gums. Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and be sure to floss at least once in the evening.
  • Attend regular dental check-ups – Attending your biannual dental cleaning is a great way to help stop your gums from receding, particularly if you are prone to plaque build-up. Our staff can help deep clean your teeth, and Dr. Taylor can catch warning signs before they become a serious issue.

If you would like to consult with our dentist about your gum concerns, feel free to contact us to set up your 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: What You Need To Know About Gingivitis

Direct-From-The-Dentist-What-You-Need-To-Know-About-Gingivitis

When it comes to oral hygiene, sometimes people can become a little careless, forgetting to brush before bed or skipping flossing. However, this can lead to gingivitis.

What Is Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a mild and more easily reversible form of gum disease. This gum disease occurs when plaque is allowed to build up on your teeth. Plaque naturally occurs and is a sticky film that contains bacteria.

Not all plaque is bad. The film can help protect your teeth throughout the day, especially as you consume things with high acidity levels. However, you do need to remove the plaque daily through brushing and flossing as well as practice good preventative care, as plaque will produce toxins that will irritate your gums over time.

This irritation will lead your gums to become inflamed. This inflammation can present as either redness or a swollen and puffy appearance, which will often lead to your tender gums bleeding when pressed.

Gingivitis Symptoms And Signs

Many people are surprised when they come into Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry and find out that they have gingivitis. But gingivitis is very common, and most Americans will experience this mild form of gum disease at some point in their lives.

To help you recognize when you have gingivitis so you can start taking steps to correct it, here are the most common symptoms and signs:

  • Gums that bleed, especially if it happens when you floss or brush your teeth.
  • Unexplained tooth sensitivity or pain, which occurs as gingivitis causes your gums to pull away from your teeth and expose your sensitive roots.
  • Swollen, red gums.
  • Gums that are sore and stay uncomfortably tender.
  • Bad breath that you can’t get rid of no matter what since the bacteria in built-up plaque creates smelly waste products.
  • Differences in your bite or loose teeth, which can mean your gum disease has progressed from gingivitis to periodontitis.

How Do You Get Gingivitis

One of the easiest ways to develop gingivitis is by slacking on your oral hygiene, from skipping your twice-daily toothbrushing routine and your biannual dental cleanings. But there are also other ways to trigger gingivitis, which are:

Stress – Being under stress can tax your immune system, making it easier for gum diseases like gingivitis to take hold.

Lingering plaque – Many people don’t brush for the recommended two minutes, which means it’s easy to miss cleaning off all of the plaque that has gathered on their teeth.

Nicotine use – Using nicotine products like cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and vaping can all hid the signs of gum disease and weaken your teeth so that plaque has an easier time adhering to the surface of your teeth.

Poor nutrition – Your body needs the right nutrients to help prevent infections, and without a balanced and nutritious diet, it is easier for gum disease to occur. Also, if you are pregnant, you will need to take extra care with your nutrition, as your developing child will leach nutrients you need to keep your gums and teeth healthy.

Chronic disease – Some chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes can make it difficult for your body to fight off infections like gingivitis.

Hormone changes – When you experience hormonal fluctuations, your gums can become more sensitive and prone to infections.

Medication – There are a variety of medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, that can impact your oral health. Be sure to discuss your medications with Dr. Taylor when you come in for your preventative cleaning so you can see if you need to take extra steps to protect your oral health.

Ways To Prevent Gingivitis

As gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease, you can actually easily prevent it by implementing a steady oral hygiene routine.

  • Brush twice a day – With a soft-bristled brush, clean your teeth twice a day. Be sure to brush gently along the gumline to ensure no plaque is left behind.
  • Floss carefully once a day – Flossing can help you reach those place that your toothbrush can’t. It is best to do it at night before your last toothbrushing session. That way, any lodged food particles can be removed.
  • Using anti-gingivitis mouthwash – Not only can rinsing with mouthwash help you have fresher breath, but mouthwash particularly formulated as anti-gingivitis can help prevent future infections.
  • Replace your toothbrush – Every three months, you should be replacing your toothbrush since the bristles will start sticking out in the wrong directions and clean less.
  • Come in for dental cleaning – Coming in for your biannual dental cleanings can help our dentist see if you have a gingivitis infection starting and help prevent it from progressing to more serious stages of gum disease.

To schedule your gingivitis-preventing biannual dental cleaning, contact us for an appointment with Dr. Taylor today.

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!

Oil Pulling – Does It Actually Help Your Teeth?

Oil Pulling

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: 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.

Non-Surgical Approach To A Healthy Mouth

Healthy Mouth

When treating periodontal (gum) disease, Dr. Taylor of Taylor General & Cosmetic Dentistry prefers to take a non-surgical approach to make your mouth healthy again.

How Dr. Taylor Treats Gum Disease Without Surgery

As periodontal disease is a gum infection triggered by bacterial plaque burrowing between the gums and teeth, it is important to treat the infection quickly. Otherwise, the infection can create pockets of space and separate the gums from the teeth. Eventually, the infection will reach the bones supporting the teeth and cause the teeth to loosen then fall out.

To avoid these problems, Dr. Taylor offers a few non-surgical options to treat periodontal disease.

  • Scaling and root planing – To treat the source of the periodontal disease, Dr. Taylor will perform a deep-cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing. As he scales the teeth, the plaque and tartar will be removed from the teeth, both the visible portion and the part of the teeth below the gum line. Once all the plaque and tartar is removed, our dentist will do root planing to make it harder for the bacteria to come back.
  • Bite adjustment – If you struggle with loose teeth, these teeth may invite periodontal disease to return, as the bacteria can easily slip between the gums and loose teeth. There are a variety of ways our dentist can reshape your bite such as with veneers, crowns, bonding, and other methods. Once your bite is adjusted, it will be harder for bacteria to find a place to invade.
  • Antimicrobials and antibiotics – With serious infections, a combination of antimicrobials and antibiotics may be needed to get the infection under control. These types of prescription medications are not often given, as they suppress the good bacteria in the mouth as well as the invasive bacteria.

Ways To Keep Your Mouth Healthy

To keep periodontal disease from recurring, there are steps you can take to keep your mouth healthy.

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to keep from abrading your enamel.
  • Floss daily, usually in the evening, to remove any food particles picked up during the day.
  • Come to our office for regular dental cleanings.

Once your mouth is healthy and you want to keep improving your smile, Dr. Taylor also offers a variety of cosmetic dental services to help you achieve the smile of your dreams. Contact us to set up an appointment to work with one of the top dentists in Billings, MT.

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT:406.652.9204