Following all ADA guidelines, we are excited to be open during normal business hours (click here to learn more).
If you would like to make an appointment, please call 406-652-9204.

Smoking Is Bad For Your Teeth. What About Nicotine Gum?

Smoking Is Bad For Your Teeth. What About Nicotine Gum

It’s no secret that smoking is bad for your teeth, let alone your overall oral health. In an effort toward harm reduction, some people choose to use nicotine gum to help stop smoking. However, it can be easy to switch from one form of nicotine intake to another. Also, the idea that nicotine gum is harmless is incorrect.

While nicotine gum isn’t as overtly damaging as smoking, you can still have adverse dental side effects from using nicotine gum. To illuminate the risks of nicotine gum, your local Billings dentist, Dr. Taylor, is here to help.

Nicotine Gum Can Lead To Oral Health Issues

Some individuals may not have visible issues with their oral health while using nicotine gum, particularly if they are maintaining regular dental hygiene. However, even those who regularly floss and brush their teeth can still struggle with the below oral health issues.

Trigger TMJ

Chewing gum can trigger temporomandibular joint disorder, which is a disorder that causes pain in the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. This disorder can make eating and speaking painful, as well as leading to a locked jaw occasionally.

Dislodge Dental Work

Gum chewing of any kind can cause havoc on your dental work. With the regularity that nicotine gum users chew on gum, it raises the risk that you can loosen a dental crown, pull out a dental filling, gum up your dental bridge, and pop loose a partial denture.

Oral Sores

Regularly users of nicotine gum have found that they can develop oral sores, most commonly located on their tongues and cheeks. These sores can be irritated by continued nicotine gum use and can become worse if the user doesn’t stop chewing gum until they heal.

Dry Mouth

Oddly enough, while regular gum can help with dry mouth, sometimes, nicotine gum can be the cause of dry mouth. With a dry mouth, bacteria are able to build up and can lead to infection quickly, especially as nicotine acts as an immunosuppressant, which makes you more susceptible to illness.

Gum Issues

Nicotine is also a vasoconstrictor, which means it narrows your blood vessels. Having nicotine make direct contact with your gums due to nicotine gum means you are narrowing the blood vessels there and making it easier for gingivitis and the more serious stages of gum disease to set in.

So, while nicotine gum may be helpful in your initial journey to quit smoking, it is best that you reduce your usage as soon as you are able, both to protect your teeth and end the nicotine dependence entirely.

Ways To Repair Your Smile Post-Nicotine Use

There are a number of factors that can influence how your smile is impacted by both smoking and using nicotine gum. Some of the options available to repair the damage caused by nicotine use and smoking will depend on the level of impact.

  • Teeth whitening – In some cases, the staining caused by smoking can be corrected with professional teeth whitening services. We offer a couple of options when it comes to teeth whitening, and you can enjoy whiter, brighter teeth faster with the help of our dentist.
  • Veneers – If your teeth have further damage that can’t be fixed with whitening alone, porcelain veneers are a great option. Our dentist can apply thin layers of porcelain to your teeth to restore your smile.
  • Smile makeovers – For a full revitalization, a smile makeover can be needed to reach your ideal smile, especially if the smoking from damage was on top of existing issues. Each smile makeover involves you and our dentist working together to determine what you want and how you would like your smile to look like.

If you would like to consult with our dentist about your cosmetic dentistry options, feel free to contact us today to set up your appointment. We look forward to helping you achieve your best smile!

How Oral Health Is Key To Overall Health

How-Oral-Health-Is-Key-To-Overall-Health

While maintaining your oral health will help keep your teeth looking and feeling great, did you know that it will also improve your overall health as well? A healthy mouth, protected by good brushing and flossing, can help ward off a number of diseases and infections that can plague not just your mouth, but your body. Alternatively, failure to properly maintain your oral health can increase your risk of suffering from heart attacks, strokes, Alzheimers, pneumonia, diabetes, and other common viral and bacterial infections. Due to how interconnected your overall health is to your oral health, our dental team in Billings, MT is here to help you be aware of the dangers you face, along with how to reduce and prevent such infections from occurring.

How Oral Conditions can Impact your Overall Health

Without proper care, improper flossing and brushing will commonly lead to cavities, tooth decay, dry mouth, plaque, and ultimately gum disease, also known as periodontitis. While periodontitis and other forms of oral inflation are very harmful on their own, they will also cause major health problems as well.
For pregnant women, periodontitis has been proven to have a direct link to premature births and below-average birth weights in children. Bacteria and other germs in the gums spread through the bloodstream to the rest of the body, leading to clogged arteries, heart problems, and strokes. Lastly, certain bacteria that aren’t properly brushed away or removed with mouthwash can be sucked into the lungs, which can result in respiratory diseases such as pneumonia.

Following proper oral care is very important than to protect your body as a whole, especially for those who have pre-existing conditions that can be exacerbated by diseases. Here are a few of our top suggestions to further protect and improve your oral health:

How to Protect/Improve your Oral Health

  • Proper teeth care – Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride-based toothpaste. Remember to replace your toothbrush head at least every three months. Replace sooner if bristles are worn out or frayed, or if you are recovering from a recent illness.
  • Flossing and mouthwash – Floss daily, and use mouthwash after flossing to further washout and remove food particles that have been dislodged from your teeth. Remember to also brush your tongue as well at least daily to remove plaque, bacteria, and lingering food particles.
  • Improving your diet – Drink more water, and try to cut back on sodas, juice, and other sugary drinks. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, and incorporate more crunchy fruits and vegetables. Incorporate more healthy fibers into your diet. Also, avoid nicotine, and cut back on alcohol consumption.

With these practices, you will significantly improve your ability to protect yourself against harmful diseases while also improving your overall oral hygiene and smile. However, those with more severe oral health complications or a history of improper oral care may struggle or already have oral health issues. If you have one of these conditions below, we recommend seeing your local dentist, including our team in Billings, MT, for treatment and additional help.

When Should I Get Oral Health Treatment

Consider seeking treatment if you have one or more of the following issues:

  • Red, swollen, or extremely tender gums.
  • Gums that have receded or otherwise pulled away from your teeth.
  • Gums that bleed during brushing and flossing.
  • Loose, separating, or teeth that have partially fallen out.
  • Put between your teeth, gums, and in other parts of your mouth.
  • A sudden or dramatic change in the way your teeth fit together, especially when you bite.
  • A sudden or dramatic change in the way your partial or full dentures fit in your mouth<.

Even if you do not suffer from one of these conditions, visiting your dentist at least twice a year can be very helpful in maintaining your oral hygiene. Professional teeth cleanings are the best, most efficient way of cleaning up calculus buildups, or tartar, which traps plaque bacteria and are a major source of harmful oral diseases.

With good oral hygiene, you’ll not only find yourself with cleaner, whiter teeth, but with other benefits that range from better breath to improved protection against a wide range of major health issues. So, be sure to get in the habit today of the things you need to do to improve your oral hygiene and visit Taylor Dental in Billings, MT, for additional dental aid. We look forward to helping you improve your oral health for a longer, and healthier life!

Will Going Vegan Help Or Hurt My Teeth?

Will Going Vegan Help Or Hurt My Teeth

Following a vegan diet can provide you with a number of benefits, from losing weight to reducing your carbon footprint. However, what many individuals don’t know is how going vegan can impact their teeth.

When done right, sticking to a vegan diet shouldn’t have a negative impact on your teeth. But, as our Billings dental clinic has seen, there are many ways a vegan diet can become unbalanced and lead to dental issues from increased cavities to gum disease.

Going Vegan Can Lead To Dental Damage

Often, when picturing a vegan diet, the image of a person chowing down on bowls of salad and other veggies comes to mind. But, it is easy for vegans to have a diet that skews more towards simple carbohydrates—such as pasta, rice, cereal, crackers, and bread—and fruits. A diet that predominantly features carbs and fruit is one that is very high in sugar, even if that sugar technically comes from healthy sources.

The higher the amount of sugar in your diet, the more food for the harmful oral bacteria in your mouth has to eat. As these bacteria consume the sugar, they excrete acid, which compromises the enamel of your teeth and causes cavities to form. Also, many fruits—particularly berries—can lead to long-term staining on your teeth until you need professional teeth whitening services to revitalize your smile.

Vegans often have to eat more, from snacks to meals, as the caloric density of a lot of their foods is not that high. With more snacking, there is more opportunity for bacteria to consume the leftover food particles and excrete acid. Eating foods higher in fat and protein—such as nuts, quinoa, oats, soy products, etc.—can help with fullness and reduce the need to snack.

Vegans Need To Focus On Vitamin And Mineral Diversity

Vegans already have to pay more attention to what they are consuming than most people, but that attention should also be applied to vitamin and mineral diversity. Some of the key nutrients that vegans should be sure to have in their diet are:

  • Phosphorus – This key mineral works in concert with calcium, and is often found in dairy and meat products. So, as a vegan, you will need to ensure that enough phosphorus-rich foods are in your diet.
  • Vitamin D – The body naturally produces vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight, which is needed to process calcium.
  • Calcium – Being calcium-deficient can make vegans more prone to tooth decay and periodontitis. As calcium is often consumed in dairy products, vegans will need to supplement with calcium-fortified liquids and foods like edamame, spinach, tofu, and other high-calcium foods.
  • Vitamin B12 – This vitamin is essential to both your dental and overall health, and since it is generally found in non-vegan food options, many vegans need to take vitamin B12 supplements. You can also find B12 in almonds, spinach, and pasta.
  • Amino acids – Dietary amino acids help break down the dental plaque on your teeth and assist in preventing gum disease. Vegan sources of amino acids are things like chickpeas, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, lentils, and peanuts.
  • Iron – With low iron levels, sores and inflammation can develop in your mouth. Many individuals on a plant-based diet are lower in iron, but you can supplement by eating dark leafy greens, seeds, nuts, and peas.

While there are clear issues associated with following a vegan diet, as long as steps are taken to ensure the proper dietary diversity is addressed, you should be able to follow a vegan diet safely.

Work With Your Billings, MT Dentist To Protect Your Oral Health

For those who are following a vegan diet, you may want to talk to your dentist about your diet to help them keep a lookout for any diet-related issues that can crop up.

If you are ready to work with our dentist, whether you need a dental cleaning or are interested in cosmetic dentistry, contact us today to set up an appointment to start managing your oral health!

Why Does My Dentist Care If I Have Diabetes?

Why Does My Dentist Care If I Have Diabetes

Diabetes can have a widespread impact on your health, primarily if it is not being carefully managed, as diabetes impacts your ability to correctly process sugar. For Type 1 diabetics, their bodies aren’t able to produce enough insulin, while Type 2 diabetics have become insensitive to insulin and no longer responds appropriately.

Both types of diabetes can lead to dangerously high blood sugar levels, which in turn impacts your blood flow, and from there, the rest of your body.

So, where does your local Billings, MT, dentist come into this problem? Well, your smallest blood vessels are among the first impacted by diabetes, such as the ones in your feet and mouth. This impact can range from a higher risk of developing cavities to advanced periodontal disease.

Periodontal Disease And Diabetes

Periodontal disease—also called gum disease—is particularly hard on those individuals living with diabetes. In fact, gum disease is the most common dental problem that is experienced by diabetics, as the blood sugar levels in their mouths have a direct impact on oral bacteria.

We all have many types of bacteria in our mouths, some good and some harmful. However, when blood sugar levels are not carefully controlled, the harmful bacteria can over-produce and attack the gums, leading to periodontal disease, gum infections, and other dental issues.

Signs Diabetes Is Impacting Your Oral Health

There are several oral health signs associated with diabetes. If you suspect that your diabetes may be impacting your mouth, look for these signs:

  • Inflamed and tender gums
  • Gums easily bleed
  • More likely to have oral infections, which will stick around
  • Your mouth is often dry
  • Children have teeth erupt ahead of schedule
  • Food will taste different or lose all taste
  • Tooth pain triggered by cavities

Should you recognize one or more of these signs, it is likely that your diabetes is interfering with your oral health, and you will need to take steps to protect yourself.

How To Protect Your Oral Health While Living With Diabetes

Depending on what stage you intervene, you can keep your diabetes from causing too much trouble when it comes to your oral health. Along with encouraging you to carefully control your blood sugar levels, below are some of the recommendations we make to our dental patients with diabetes.

Periodontal therapy – If you are suffering from periodontal disease, Dr. Taylor provides a range of periodontal therapy services. These therapies range from non-surgical deep cleaning to different surgical interventions to save your teeth and improve your overall oral health.

Stop smoking – If you have diabetes, it is important that you avoid smoking, as it can compound the problems you face, from losing your ability to taste to making oral infections last longer.

Clean dentures thoroughly – For those who wear partial or full dentures, be sure to clean them thoroughly every day—in the morning before putting them in and at night after taking them out. With consistent cleaning, you can prevent bacteria buildup, sores, and infections from poor cleaning habits.

Regular dental cleanings – Every six months, you should be coming into our dental clinic for regular dental cleanings. During these cleanings, Dr. Taylor can monitor your oral health and ensure that you are on track or make needed recommendations.

Maintain home dental hygiene – Most importantly, you will need to be vigilant when it comes to your home dental hygiene routine. It can be easy to slack off, but just as you need to stay on top of managing your diabetes, it is important to brush your teeth twice a day and floss nightly to keep your oral health in top condition.

If you have diabetes and are concerned about your oral health, be sure to contact us to set up a dental cleaning! During your cleaning, our dental staff can check for issues, and Dr. Taylor can give you specific advice on what dental and oral care you need to keep your smile healthy.

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.

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT:406.652.9204