Xylitol: A Mouth’s Best Friend?

Having a serious sweet tooth can mean bad news for your dental health. But your dentist in Boerne has a little secret that can allow you to satisfy your desire for something sweet and benefit your oral health at the same time. It’s true! This special sugar substitute is called xylitol, and it’s pretty powerful.    

A Closer Look at Xylitol

While you may be familiar with the name xylitol, it’s benefits are far and plenty, and not many people know exactly what it can do for our bodies and oral health. First, xylitol is a sugar substitute, but unlike other sugar substitutes, xylitol is natural. It’s found in both vegetables and fruits as well as in our bodies. Second, xylitol tastes like sugar and looks like sugar, but it certainly doesn’t act like sugar. Xylitol has fewer calories than sugar, which can help maintain weight or assist in weight loss. Xylitol also has a low glycemic index, meaning it doesn’t cause spikes in blood glucose the way that sugar does. These two things alone make xylitol a pretty solid substitute for sugar. But your dentist in Boerne wants you to know that while xylitol can certainly help overall health, it can protect teeth, too.  

How Does It Work?

In short, xylitol helps eliminate bad bacteria from the mouth, thus decreasing the chances of the bacteria wreaking havoc and causing decay. Let’s take a closer look at how xylitol does this. 

One of the most common “bad bacteria” found in the mouth is something called Streptococcus mutans. Streptococcus mutans is the bacteria responsible for plaque buildup and decay. Now, these bacteria love to feed on sugar. In turn, sugar gives the bacteria energy and allows them to multiply. Basically, the more sugar we eat, the more powerful we make Streptococcus mutans, and the more likely it is that we’ll suffer from tooth decay. However, what makes xylitol so great is that while the bacteria will still eat it, it doesn’t fuel them. Instead, xylitol actually starves the bacteria. In fact, xylitol can effectively lower bacteria levels, sometimes by up to 75%. 

Xylitol Gum

Perhaps the most common place to find xylitol is in certain chewing gums. This is great news for your oral health because not only does the act of chewing gum help stimulate saliva production (more on that in a bit), but chewing xylitol gum also provides all benefits offered by xylitol.  

As we mentioned, chewing gum produces more saliva. But is more spit actually a good thing? Yes! You see, saliva helps wash away bacteria and neutralize acids in the mouth. This further protects teeth from enamel erosion and decay. Additionally, saliva helps remineralize teeth with calcium and phosphate, making them stronger over time.

Now, even though xylitol is beneficial to oral health, it doesn’t replace good oral hygiene. It’s still (and forever will be) important to brush and floss your teeth every day. That, along with maintaining regular visits to your dentist in Boerne, is a recipe for a happy, healthy smile.

Can Asthma Inhalers Cause Oral Health Problems?

According to the CDC, 1 in 13 Americans has asthma. That’s nearly 25 million Americans who have this chronic disease that affects the respiratory system, resulting in difficulty breathing, wheezing, and chest pain. The most common treatment to combat the symptoms of asthma is the use of an inhaler. However, these devices full of life-saving medication may cause some oral health problems. During this Asthma Awareness Month, your dentist in Boerne wants to help by sharing some ways that asthma patients may be at an increased risk for certain oral health conditions, and how they can reduce that risk. 

Dry Mouth

Most asthma patients feel shortness of breath and as if they can’t get enough air by breathing through their noses. As a result, it’s incredibly common for asthma sufferers to breathe out of their mouths instead. Mouth breathing over a prolonged period of time can cause the mouth to dry out — often appropriately referred to as dry mouth. Certain asthma medications may also cause dry mouth. Dry mouth is an uncomfortable condition that’s concerning for your dentist in Boerne. When a mouth is dry, it means there’s not enough saliva being produced. Without saliva, bacteria and acids in the mouth can lead to tooth decay, as well as other concerns. 

Bad Breath

If dry mouth is left untreated, patients may also experience bad breath in addition to an increased risk of decay. If bacteria are left alone to flourish and multiply in the mouth, the patient will begin to have bad breath.  

Gum Disease

Another common result of untreated dry mouth, whether in an asthma patient or not, is gum disease. A dry mouth allows plaque to build up, which can certainly contribute to tooth decay and cavities, but this plaque can also start to work its way into the gum tissue causing inflammation, recession, and gum disease. Gum disease is a serious condition that requires early treatment intervention or it will continue to get worse. Untreated gum disease isn’t a condition that affects only the mouth. In fact, it can increase the chance of heart disease, kidney disease, osteoporosis, and cancers

What To Do

Asthma patients who also have dry mouth are at increased risk of decay, bad breath, and gum disease. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things they can do to limit the risk of developing those conditions. Some ways asthma patients can combat dry mouth, and the risks that go along with it, include:

  • Drinking Enough Water. Most health professionals recommend drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses every day to help keep your body hydrated. Your dentist in Boerne agrees. Keeping your body hydrated also means your mouth is staying hydrated and is able to rinse away dangerous bacteria and acids. 
  • Swishing With Water. Those who notice a dry mouth after taking their asthma medication can, and should, rinse their mouths out with water immediately afterward. A quick swish and spit with water can help remove any of the dry mouth-causing ingredients, decreasing the likelihood of experiencing dry mouth. 
  • Chewing Sugarless Gum. Chewing anything automatically kick-starts saliva production because the body thinks we’re eating and are getting ready to swallow food. Saliva helps us pass food down our esophagus as well as helps break down food particles for easier digestion. Chewing gum will trigger the body to produce saliva, thus decreasing dry mouth. 
  • Talking With Your Dentist. Asthma patients should communicate their health history and any underlying health conditions such as asthma to their dentist in Boerne. Not only can this help your dental team customize treatment, but it also makes them aware of things you may be at increased risk of, such as dry mouth, decay, bad breath, and gum disease so they can treat any problems early. 

Your dental team is dedicated to the health of each of our patients. If you have questions about how asthma may affect oral health, or if you’re suffering from dry mouth, give us a call. We’re happy to help any way we can. 

4 Ways to Avoid a Dental Emergency

Nobody wants to experience a dental emergency but the truth is, they happen. While many times a dental emergency is unavoidable or is a result of an unexpected accident, your dentist in Boerne wants you to know that there are some ways you can reduce your risk of a dental emergency. 

  • Don’t Smoke. One of the best ways you can not only reduce your risk of a dental emergency but also bigger oral health and overall health problems down the road is to avoid smoking or using tobacco in any form. Both smoking cigarettes and using smokeless tobacco increases the risk of gum disease, oral cancer, tooth discoloration, and tooth loss. 
  • Practice Safe Snacking. We’re not here to tell you to completely avoid snacking on your favorite treats. But your dentist in Boerne does want to encourage you to practice safe snacking by limiting the number of times you snack throughout the day. Constant snacking exposes your teeth to food particles around the clock. This can continuously feed the bacteria in your mouth, which means the bacteria continuously releases acid. This acid can easily damage and weaken enamel and increases the risk of decay. You should also choose your snack foods carefully. Some snacks such as popcorn or nuts can increase the risk of an accidental cracked or chipped tooth thanks to hidden kernels or hard pieces. 
  • Don’t Chew on Things You Shouldn’t. Besides food, our teeth shouldn’t be used to chew on anything. This includes pens, pencils, fingernails, and even ice. These objects are hard and can easily cause teeth to chip, crack, or even break. If you find yourself chewing out of anxiousness or stress, try to chew away at a piece of Xylitol gum instead of your office supplies. 
  • Take it Easy on the Drinks. The best way to fuel your body and protect your teeth is to drink plenty of water throughout the day. On the other hand, beverages that are high in acid or sugar can expose your teeth to these damaging ingredients. Try to limit your intake of soft drinks, fruit juice, and even sports drinks. All of these beverages either contain a lot of sugar that can easily coat your teeth or are acidic and will wear away tooth enamel.

As always, brushing and flossing your teeth every day is a great way to remove bacteria that may have built up throughout the day. You can also rinse your mouth out with water after snacking to help get rid of food particles that would otherwise feed bacteria. But these preventive measures only go so far, and you should still see your dentist in Boerne for regular checkups and cleanings.* 

If you’re experiencing a dental emergency, call your dentist.
*At the time of publishing, the ADA has recommended the postponement of all preventive dental appointments. Please check your local recommendations.

Oral Health Dos & Don’ts

With all of the uncertainty in the world today, we understand that your oral health may not be the first thing on your mind. But even though we’re temporarily postponing all elective dental procedures, your dentist in Boerne wants you to know that we’re still thinking about you and your oral health. We’re here for you during this tough time and want to help any way we can, which is why we’ve compiled a guide of oral health dos and don’ts that can help keep your teeth, gums, and entire mouth healthy until we can see you again. 

Up First: The Dos

We like leading with the positive so let’s first focus on what you should do to protect your teeth during your at-home oral hygiene routine. 

  • Brush & Floss – The benefits of regularly brushing and flossing your teeth are undeniable, and you should continue to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day (even if you’re not leaving the house). Cleaning your teeth and removing debris from between them goes a long way in keeping your breath fresh and eliminating bacteria. 
  • Replace Your Toothbrush – Your toothbrush needs to be in good condition to do its job effectively. For this reason, your dentist in Boerne recommends replacing your toothbrush at least every 3-4 months or as soon as you notice the bristles starting to fray. You should also get a new toothbrush if you get sick. 
  • Store Your Toothbrush Correctly – Believe it or not, there is a right way to store your toothbrush — upright and uncovered. 
  • Wash Your Hands – This advice is everywhere today and one that we wholeheartedly agree with. Washing your hands several times a day helps reduce the risk of getting sick. You should also wash your hands prior to brushing your teeth or flossing. 
  • Disinfect Your Toothbrush – A recent study found that 0.5% hydrogen peroxide effectively reduces coronavirus infectivity. To make this solution: 
  1. Mix 1 fl oz of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 5 fl oz of water
  2. Soak your toothbrush in the mixture for 10 minutes. Dump out the mixture. 
  3. Rinse your toothbrush prior to brushing.

Now: The Don’ts

Just like there are things you should do to protect your oral health, there are also things that you should avoid if at all possible. 

  • Don’t Share Your Toothbrush – Your toothbrush is yours and yours alone. Don’t share it with anyone, including other family members. Doing so can easily transfer bodily fluids from you to them or from them to you. 
  • Don’t Allow Family Brushes to Touch – Similarly to the above, you shouldn’t allow family members’ toothbrushes to touch while being stored. Make sure they’re kept a few inches away from each other. 
  • Don’t Bite Your Nails – Millions of Americans bite their nails, but now may be a good time to work on breaking that habit. Not only does nail biting easily spread bacteria from whatever may be lurking under our fingernails to our mouths, but it can also damage teeth. 

As of the publishing date, the American Dental Association (ADA) has recommended the postponement of any preventive or routine dental care for three weeks. During this time, your dentist in Boerne wants to encourage you to do everything you can to take care of your smile, including following the tips above. Stay healthy, and we hope to see you soon.

National Nutrition Month

Every March is recognized as National Nutrition Month and is sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Its purpose is to raise awareness of just how important it is to eat healthily. But good nutrition doesn’t only benefit our bodies, it can also help protect your oral health. Join your dentist in Boerne as we do our part in promoting good dietary habits for your oral health and whole-body health. 

Simplifying Nutrition

The truth is, eating right doesn’t sound too difficult. But fully understanding nutrition and those crazy nutrition labels can be confusing. The basics are, well, basic — don’t eat too much sugar, avoid indulging in fast food, eat more vegetables, etc. However, truly fueling your body with what it needs to perform at its best is complicated. In fact, even the Food Guide Pyramid from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has changed twice since it was created in 1992. And the current MyPlate dietary guidelines are individualized based on age, gender, height, weight, and daily activity level. Essentially, what’s right for one person may not be right for another. No wonder we’re all confused! The best way to find out the best dietary recommendations for you is to check out the MyPlate checklist to find your ideal combination of: 

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Lean Proteins
  • Dairy

Nutrition & Oral Health

We know that eating a healthy, well-balanced diet can certainly benefit our bodies and help keep us healthy. The same is true for your oral health. Sugary foods, carbs, and acidic foods and drinks can definitely put teeth at risk for decreased enamel protection and, as a result, more susceptible to decay and cavities. Try your best to avoid those foods in high quantities. Instead, choose some of the best foods for your smile (and your body) including: 

  • Cheese
  • Fatty Fish
  • Eggs
  • Raw Veggies – especially the crunchy ones!
  • Water

More on Sugar

It’s no secret that your dentist in Boerne really, really doesn’t like sugar. This is because sugar is one of the top contributors to decay. When we eat sugary foods, the bacteria in our mouths feed on the sugar and release an acidic byproduct. This acid attacks tooth enamel, weakening it, which makes it easier for bacteria to find its way into teeth’s tiny nooks and crannies. The result? Decay, cavities, and the need for dental treatment such as fillings or even a root canal. Reduced tooth enamel can also make teeth very sensitive to hot or cold or change the color from bright white to a dull, darker appearance. 

However, sweet treats aren’t the only snacks that are packed with sugars. In fact, there are foods out there that don’t even taste sweet but have the same effect. Carbohydrates have something called the hidden sugar effect. As we eat them, carbs break down into simple sugars, and we know what happens in our mouth when we give the bacteria sugar. So even if you don’t have a traditional sweet tooth, check out the nutrition labels and try to limit not only foods with high sugar content but also those with a lot of carbs. 

Choosing healthier meals and snacks for you and your family can help you all live a healthy life. Eating foods that are good for your body can also protect your teeth from the damaging effects of sugar and acid. Try to pick foods that are good for you overall. Your body, your smile, your dentist in Boerne will thank you for it.  

Don’t Forget to Brush Your Tongue!

When we talk about a proper oral hygiene routine (and we sure do talk about it a lot!), we often put most of the focus on caring for your teeth. While brushing and flossing your teeth are important parts of maintaining a healthy mouth, there’s one part of your hygiene routine your dentist in Boerne doesn’t want you to forget about — your tongue. 

All About The Tongue

You may not pay too much attention to your tongue, but the truth is, this part of your body helps you perform everyday tasks such as talk, chew, and swallow. Of course, we can’t forget about taste! Our tongues are packed with over 10,000 taste buds that help us taste and enjoy our favorite foods. One of the strongest muscles in our bodies, our tongues have a bumpy and almost spongy texture, which makes them an ideal place for bacteria to hide, which is a concern for your dentist in Boerne. In fact, if you don’t take good care of your tongue, it could lead to some dental concerns. 

Decay & Gum Disease 

One of the most concerning ways an uncared for tongue can affect oral health is by increasing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Since our teeth and gums are in contact with our tongues every second of every day, it’s incredibly easy for any bacteria lurking in our tongue grooves to transfer on to our teeth or gums. When this bacteria isn’t removed promptly or when the exposure happens constantly, it can lead to decay and gum disease. Decay may require a filling, and gum disease can lead to more complicated problems and even tooth loss.  

Bad Breath

Many things can cause bad breath, but an unbrushed tongue is one of the most common explanations. When bacteria aren’t removed from the tongue, it can easily build-up, and if this buildup isn’t removed, it will give off an unpleasant odor. Getting into a tongue brushing routine can help remedy bad breath, but if it doesn’t go away, see your dentist. 

Decreased Taste

Bacteria buildup on the tongue doesn’t only cause bad breath, it can actually affect our ability to taste. Think of it this way, the buildup essentially covers up your taste buds in a film. Without full access to the foods we eat, our taste buds can’t absorb and taste all of our favorite foods. 

Black Tongue

If a tongue isn’t cared for over a long period, it may begin to look black and hairy. That’s correct, not brushing your tongue could lead to a black, hairy tongue! How? When food and drink particles are allowed to settle into the tiny little tongue bumps (called papillae), it can result in staining, hence the black tongue. While this can be scary, it’s usually fixable by properly brushing your tongue regularly. 

Proper Tongue Brushing

Brushing your tongue is an easy addition to your at-home hygiene routine and should be done every time you brush your teeth. All you need to do is gently scrub your tongue from back to front then from side to side with your regular toothbrush. If this is uncomfortable for you or if you have a sensitive gag reflex, you may find using a tongue scraper to be easier. Tongue scrapers are also effective at removing bacteria buildup and can help protect your oral health. 

Make sure to brush and floss your teeth every day and to give your tongue some attention every time to keep your whole mouth healthy. Also, see your dentist in Boerne at least twice a year for professional cleanings and regular checkups. 

Is Cosmetic Dentistry Right for Me?

We all want to have a smile that we’re proud of and can feel confident about showing it off in pictures and in public. After all, your smile can say a lot about you. But what do you do if you’re unhappy with your teeth and shy away from sharing it with the world? Turn to your dentist in Boerne to see whether cosmetic dentistry may be the solution you’re looking for. Here is a great place to start. 

Determine What You Want

Before you or your dentist will know whether cosmetic dentistry will give you the smile you want, you need to know what it is you’re trying to achieve. The more specific you can be about what you don’t like about your smile as well as what you wish was different, the more you’ll know about whether or not cosmetic dentistry is the right solution for you. Take these questions into consideration: 

  • Do I wish my teeth were whiter? 
  • Do I want a straighter, more even smile? 
  • Does this minor chip in my front tooth really bother me? Would I feel better if it was fixed?

Find the Best Cosmetic Dentist for You

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of desires, the fun part of finding the best dentist for you can begin. Although it may seem like a daunting task, it really doesn’t have to be. Check-in with family and friends to see if they have any recommendations or head online to search for local cosmetic dentists in your area. Read reviews, check out websites, and look at before and after photos. After you’ve decided on a dentist, schedule a consultation

Know What Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments Are Out There

There are several treatments that all fall under the category of cosmetic dentistry, but not all of them are right for every situation. Let’s check out a few common treatments. 

  • Teeth Whitening – If you want to take your teeth from dull and discolored to bright and white, you may want to consider a professional smile whitening treatment. Whitening that’s done by your dentist in Boerne can boost your teeth up to several shades brighter in just one visit. 
  • Veneers  – Like teeth whitening, veneers can help brighten the appearance of dull, discolored teeth that don’t respond to bleaching. Veneers essentially cover up the front surface of teeth with a thin piece of porcelain. They’re custom created in shape and color for a natural look so nobody will even know they’re there. 
  • Bonding – Dental bonding is another option that can correct discoloration but it can also fix minor chips, cracks, or gaps for a more even smile. The process involves both science and art to create a natural appearance but the results can transform a smile.

Nobody should have to live with a smile they’re unhappy with. Luckily, we have cosmetic dentistry to help. If you’re considering cosmetic dentistry, make a list of what you’d like to change, research cosmetic dentists in Boerne, and become familiar with which treatments can help you get the look you want. Finally, make the move and schedule a consultation. Your journey to a new smile is only a phone call away. 

Why Are My Teeth So Sensitive?

Nearly 40 million American adults have sensitive teeth, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. It’s a very common problem that can keep people from enjoying the hot and cold foods they love. Your dentist in Boerne understands how frustrating and painful having sensitive teeth can be. But what causes sensitive teeth… and is there anything you can do to reduce tooth sensitivity at home? 

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

There are any number of things that can cause tooth sensitivity, and it’s best to talk with your Boerne dentist to determine the reason behind any sensitivity you may be experiencing. Some of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity include:

  • Doing Too Much. There is such a thing as doing too much to care for your smile, and oftentimes, overdoing it can mean problems with tooth sensitivity. For example, brushing your teeth too hard or with a stiff-bristled brush can cause damage to tooth enamel and even the gums, both of which leave your nerves more exposed and put you at increased risk for sensitivity. 
  • Teeth Grinding. Chronic teeth grinders are not only more likely to have chipped or damaged teeth, they’re also more likely to have tooth sensitivity. Constantly grinding your teeth together quickly wears away enamel and exposes the tooth roots. 
  • Damaged Teeth. Teeth that have been damaged by either decay or have sustained chips or cracks can easily be the cause behind your sensitive teeth. Again, any damage to the enamel leaves nerves open to the elements, which can be painful. 
  • Gum Disease. Tooth sensitivity doesn’t necessarily only happen with eating or drinking hot or cold things. Sometimes, teeth are sensitive pretty much all of the time. If this is the case, there’s a good chance that gum disease is the cause.   

How to Treat Sensitive Teeth

In order to figure out the best way to treat sensitive teeth, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Boerne. In the meantime, try these at-home tips.  

Avoid Trigger Foods

If your tooth sensitivity shows up or gets worse when you eat something hot or cold, try your best to avoid those foods or drinks until you can get treated by your dentist. Acidic foods and drinks can also cause sensitivity to flare up so be careful with things like citrus, wine, and even coffee. 

Use a Soft Toothbrush

If your tooth sensitivity is fairly new, you may be able to reduce pain by switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush immediately. In fact, everyone should use a soft-bristled toothbrush to either help with tooth sensitivity or avoid it in the first place. 

Try a New Toothpaste

There are a number of different kinds of toothpaste available that are formulated specifically for sensitive teeth. Look for a product that helps with sensitivity and has the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. 

If you suddenly notice tooth sensitivity, or have been battling with it for some time, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Your dental team can find out what’s causing your sensitivity and recommend the best way to treat it so you can get relief once and for all.

Where Should I Rest My Tongue?

Have you ever found yourself laying in bed, trying to get comfortable, and you randomly think, “where am I supposed to rest my tongue?” Surprisingly, this is a very real and very common thought many people have but may not share. If you’re one of those people, you’re in luck because your dentist in Boerne has the answer. 

Tongue Posture / Tongue Positioning

Whether or not you’ve ever thought about where your tongue was supposed to rest in your mouth, it is a thing that your dentist may talk to you about. You may have heard this described as tongue posture or tongue positioning, both of which refer to how and where you rest your tongue naturally while at rest. Why does this matter? We’re glad you asked. 

Why Is Proper Tongue Posture Important?

Tongue posture may sound a little silly, but the truth is, positioning your tongue properly can help protect your overall health. The tongue is a strong muscle and can affect not only your teeth, but your sinuses, eyes, nose, head, neck, and shoulders. Those who don’t have proper tongue placement can suffer from: 

How to Rest Your Tongue

There’s actually a right way and a wrong way to rest your tongue, and an estimated 50% of the population do it incorrectly. 

The Wrong Way – A common, yet wrong, way to hold your tongue in your mouth is to rest it on the bottom teeth or the at the bottom of the mouth. This can cause the tongue to put constant pressure on the teeth and make them shift, become crowded, or create a bad, sometimes painful, bite. 

The Right Way – Your dentist in Boerne will recommend that you gently rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth and about a half an inch away from the back of your front teeth. At the same time, your lips should be closed, and your teeth held slightly apart to avoid placing unnecessary pressure on your teeth. Practicing proper tongue posture over time, and especially while we’re growing, can help expand the palate, leaving enough room for your teeth to develop properly without crowding.

Benefits of Proper Posture

We’ve already talked about how properly resting your tongue on the roof of your mouth can help teeth develop properly without overlapping, but there are other benefits to having good tongue posture, including: 

  • No neck, jaw, or head pain
  • Better breathing
  • Better sleep
  • Improved appearance 

Proper tongue posture can help people have a better overall posture and a natural appearance. Those who tend to rest tongues on the bottom of the mouth can accidentally create a longer, flatter face shape and a chin or forehead that juts forward. Go ahead, try it out. First, rest your tongue properly on the roof of your mouth then move the whole thing to the bottom of the mouth. You should feel a pretty obvious shift in your chin, neck, and head.  

If you think you may have bad tongue posture or you have questions about whether you hold your tongue properly or not, your dentist in Boerne can help. Schedule an appointment today.

Can I Safely Whiten My Smile On My Own?

In today’s digital age, we’re constantly exposed to products and DIY tips to do anything, including whitening your smile. While we understand that the desire to get a brighter grin is a very real thing for many of our patients, your dentist in Boerne wants to educate you on some of the dangers lurking behind some of the most popular DIY smile whitening trends.

Over-The-Counter Whitening Pens & Strips

There are so many over-the-counter whitening products available to us that it can be overwhelming. While many of these products can work to whiten your teeth, they don’t come without their risks. Whitening pens and whitening strips, for example, can temporarily transform your smile, but their results can oftentimes be less than ideal. Since neither whitening pens nor whitening strips are custom-made, there’s a greater chance that they won’t reach all areas of the teeth and the results can end up looking uneven or streaky. But there’s another reason your dentist in Boerne may be concerned with you using these treatments. Many times the whitening solution in whitening pens and strips can soak into your gum tissue and cause irritation.

All-Natural Smile Whitening

A popular smile whitening trend that seems to be taking the internet by storm is the use of all-natural whitening remedies. Don’t let the term “all-natural” lead you into thinking that all of these solutions are safe and recommended. The truth is, there is danger behind some of the popular all-natural whitening tricks.

Lemon Juice 
We’ve seen an increase in people claiming that there are smile whitening benefits of applying lemon juice or a mixture of lemon juice and other natural ingredients directly to teeth. While it’s true that lemon juice may slightly whiten teeth temporarily, it’s not recommended. Lemon juice is highly acidic and acid is a big no-no when it comes to protecting the integrity of tooth enamel. Too much acid, especially when it’s applied directly onto teeth, can easily damage tooth enamel and lead to increased tooth sensitivity, and a higher risk for decay and cavities.

Baking Soda
Another popular all-natural smile whitening trend that’s been around for quite some time is baking soda. Again, like lemon juice, baking soda or toothpastes that contain baking soda may temporarily whiten teeth, but due to its abrasive nature it can also damage tooth enamel. Once tooth enamel is gone, there’s no way to get it back and teeth are left exposed to bad bacteria and are at risk for larger oral health concerns long-term.

Activated Charcoal
Yet another all-natural whitening treatment is activated charcoal. Supporters of activated charcoal promise that it will easily and effectively pull impurities and stains out of the teeth, resulting in a whiter appearance. However, charcoal is also abrasive and poses the same risks as baking soda. It can wear away and damage tooth enamel, increasing the risk of cavities. What’s more is that teeth may begin to appear more discolored as we lose enamel.

Just because there are many ways you can whiten your teeth on your own – it doesn’t necessarily mean you should utilize them. Before you consider a DIY approach to smile whitening, talk with your dentist in Boerne to better understand safe and effective options.