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.

How to Care for Your Dentures

If you’re missing your teeth, getting dentures can restore your smile and your confidence. Dentures are a popular choice among patients and are a relatively simple way to give those who have lost their teeth a reason to smile. But just like natural teeth, dentures require proper care. Your Boerne dentist is here to help guide you through the right way to care for your dentures. 

How to Properly Care for Dentures

Even though dentures are not natural teeth, that doesn’t mean they don’t still need a little TLC in order to keep them clean and fitting comfortably. 

  • Use Care When Handling. Dentures can be pretty fragile, so the first step to caring for them is to make sure you use care when handling them and cleaning them. Also, make sure to store your dentures in a safe place where they won’t easily get knocked on the floor. Being gentle with your dentures can reduce the risk of damage or the need for repairs. 
  • Rinse Them After Eating. Remove your dentures and thoroughly rinse them following every meal to remove any loose food particles. If leftover food is left lingering around it can contribute to bad breath and even gum disease
  • Brush Your Dentures & Your Mouth. It’s important to brush both your dentures and your mouth at least once daily to remove any bacteria buildup. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a denture cleaner to thoroughly cleanse your denture and remove any excess adhesive. As for your mouth, also use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub any natural teeth and your tongue.
  • Soak Your Dentures Every Night. In order to keep their shape and comfortably fit your mouth, dentures need to stay moist. After you remove your dentures and clean them at night, place them in a glass of water with a denture solution to soak. Your dentist in Boerne will be able to recommend a solution that’s best for you. 
  • Rinse Again in the Morning. You should thoroughly rinse your dentures before putting them back in your mouth after soaking, especially if you use a denture-soaking solution. While these solutions are good for denture care, they can lead to illness or burns if not rinsed off of a denture before it’s reinserted. 
  • See Your Dentist in Boerne. Seeing your dentist as often as recommended is key to keeping your dentures fitting well. Your dental team may also professionally clean your dentures for an ultra-thorough clean.  

Dentures are an investment in your smile, and you want to take proper care of them so they last a long time and the rest of your mouth stays healthy. If dentures aren’t cared for properly, plaque can build up and cause additional tooth loss, bad breath, and even gum disease. 

If you’re missing some teeth and think dentures may be right for you, call our dental office in Boerne to schedule a consultation. We’ll work with you to find the best tooth replacement option for you. 

Surprising Things About Spit

When we think of spit, we may automatically think about how gross it is, especially when someone spits in public. But what would you say if we told you that spit is actually something pretty incredible? Join your dentist in Boerne as we talk about some of the surprising facts about spit.  

We Produce A LOT of Spit

Throughout our lives, we will produce an average of 25,000 quarts of spit. That’s enough to fill a standard swimming pool! While that may seem like a ton of spit, it sure is handy when it comes to your oral and overall health. 

Spit & Oral Health

Believe it or not, spit is in our mouths for a reason or rather several reasons. First, spit plays an important role every time we eat. As we chew, our bodies produce more saliva, and it’s this saliva that helps us breakdown food to make it more digestible. But that’s not all. Saliva also helps rinse away any leftover food particles that may have been left behind long after you finish eating. This helps keep your teeth clean and bacteria-free. Spit serves yet another purpose — neutralizing acid. Acid can wear away the protective tooth enamel and leave teeth exposed to bacteria. But with saliva on our side to neutralize the acid, teeth are protected against decay. 

The Problem With Not Enough Saliva

When salivary glands don’t produce enough spit, the side effect is dry mouth, which is exactly what it sounds like. Dry mouth can leave your mouth feeling like a desert- no matter how much water you drink. While dry mouth can certainly be annoying, it’s also something you should talk to your Boerne dentist about. Dry mouth can be a serious problem that, if left untreated, could certainly increase the risk of bad breath, decay, and even gum disease

Spit Can Save a Life

The benefits of spit go beyond oral health alone and can be used to help those with blood cancers. Blood cancers are, unfortunately, common. Every three minutes, someone in the United States is diagnosed with blood cancer. But thanks to organizations like BeTheMatch.org, more and more people are being treated successfully. You see, bone marrow is one of the most common treatments of blood cancer, and it’s often hard to find a compatible match. But thanks to spit and a national registry, it’s becoming much easier. A simple swap of spit and entry into a database provides donor match organizations access to find the right bone marrow match for blood cancer patients, increasing the chance of survival. 

When it comes to spitting, it may still be gross. But that doesn’t mean the spit itself is necessarily gross, too. Spit can benefit us in many ways and protect our smiles against the dangers of bacteria and acid. It can also help save a life. 

The Oral Health & Diabetes Connection

When you start seeing a new dentist in Boerne, one of the first things you’ll probably have to do is fill out a medical history form. But why? In short, your dentist needs to know what may be affecting your overall health and, in turn, your oral health. Diabetes is one of those diseases that’s especially important for us to know about because it can increase the risk for certain oral health conditions such as gum disease. Often, oral health is an overlooked part of many diseases, including diabetes. So today, we want to share some of the most commonly asked questions we get about diabetes and how it’s connected to oral health. 

“What Does My Dentist Need to Know About My Diabetes?”

If you’re diabetic, you already know how important it is to share that information with your dentist in Boerne. But knowing your diagnosis may not be enough. Be sure to share things such as: 

  • Any changes in your medication or overall health
  • The results of some of your diabetes blood tests (the A1C or fasting blood glucose)
  • If you need antibiotics before and after dental treatment for uncontrolled diabetes

We always encourage our patients to share important medical information with us. After all, we’re here to help, and we truly love getting to know our patients. In fact, the more we know, the better we can care for your smile and keep you healthy. 

“How Does My Blood Sugar Affect My Oral Health?”

Maintaining blood glucose levels is an everyday part of any diabetic’s life. We understand that sometimes it can be a challenge, or even frustrating, and we know that you want to keep your numbers in check just as much as we do. But it’s also important for you to know that maintaining blood sugar can not only help you control diabetes, it can also reduce the risk of oral health problems associated with diabetes such as loose teeth or gum disease. Gum disease is particularly concerning for diabetics because it can cause blood sugar levels to rise and make managing diabetes more difficult. 

“Do I Need to Do Anything Differently to Take Care of My Smile?”

The short answer to this is no, you don’t need to do anything differently to take care of your smile, but you do need to maintain a good oral healthcare routine. Make sure you brush twice a day for two minutes each time and floss once a day. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles to gently clean your teeth. This can help avoid any gum damage that can happen from using stiff bristles or scrubbing too hard. It’s also important for everyone, especially diabetics, to visit our dental office in Boerne every six months. These dental cleanings and checkups help get teeth squeaky clean and allow our dental team to keep a close eye on your oral health so we can catch and treat any problems we may find early.  

We’re always here to make sure our patients are as healthy as possible, and that often means we need to be aware of any other health conditions you may have. Make sure to share your complete health history with your dentist and update them on any changes regularly. It can truly make a difference in your overall health. 

Have No Fear at Your Dentist This Year

Two things: (1) It’s hard to believe that we’re closing out 2019 already. What happened to the rest of this year? (2) How is it already time for ghosts, ghouls, goblins, and all things Halloween? 

How do you and your family welcome fall and closeout October? Do you take in some of the local festivities? Do you get together with friends, complete with crazy costumes and treats? Everyone loves to have a good time this time of year, and maybe even have a good scare. However, we hope that being scared has nothing to do with how you feel about seeing a dentist in Boerne

For some patients, there’s nothing they dread more than being in the dentist’s chair. We get it! It’s enough to make you feel like you’re stuck in a bad Halloween movie. Have you ever felt this way? Do you still think this way about seeing the dentist? Don’t worry; you’re 100 percent NOT alone!

Dental Anxiety Affects Millions

The Cleveland Clinic says between 9% and 15% of Americans say they avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety or fear. Does this hit close to home for you or someone in your family? As your appointment approaches, so does the feeling of anxiety or uneasiness. Maybe your heart races and your palms begin to sweat. While this sounds like the beginning of a spooky campfire story, we know it’s all too real for patients who are afraid of seeing the dentist.

Your Boerne dentist wants you to know you’re not alone in your struggle! So many other Americans (approximately 30-40 million) are nervous about seeing the dentist, too. Please understand that there’s no reason to feel this way, not with us. We’re here to make sure you’re at ease and comfortable every visit, every step of the way.

We’re Always Here to Help You Stay Healthy

When you avoid seeing the dentist or cancel cleanings out of fear, you’re going to put your smile and yourself at risk. Coming to see us, allowing us to have a look at your smile, and getting a thorough cleaning is way less stressful than sitting at home worrying. Trust us!

Putting off taking care of your teeth can leave you with undetected problems that can lead to more significant, more extensive health issues in the future, such as: 

– Periodontal or gum disease with red, bleeding gums

– Loosening or shifting in your teeth

– Teeth that fall out

– Receding gums 

– Noticeable lousy breath or dry mouth

You’re Backed By Cool Tools and Technology

There’s nothing to be nervous or scared about if you’ve got an appointment scheduled with us. You should even feel a little excited about coming to see us. We’re going to make sure your every minute with us is comfortable and stress-free. We’ve also got an incredibly talented and highly trained team equipped with the right tools and technology to help you feel at home. 

Like we’ve said, you’re not alone in your struggles with dental anxiety. We’ve helped so many patients like you with dental fears and anxieties move on and get the dental care that they deserve. Don’t live in fear this Halloween because of an upcoming appointment at our dental office in Boerne. Talk to us about how we can help you today!

5 Ways to Say “No Way!” to Sugar Cravings

This is the time of year when sugary sweets and candy seem to be lurking around every turn of the grocery or pharmacy aisles. There are so many ooey, gooey, colorful, delicious treats we want to eat. But as we all know, your dentist in Boerne will tell you to step away from the sweets because they’re bad for your teeth. Now, we’re not saying you can’t enjoy fall-flavored fun this month, just remember to brush your teeth too!

There are some super easy things you can do to avoid those cravings for candies and cakes. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ways you can help steer clear of sugar.

1) Stay Hydrated – Sometimes, when our bodies don’t get enough water, we crave things or become extra hungry, even “hangry.” If you find yourself daydreaming about Devil Dogs or Coffee Cakes, try drinking a full 8-ounce glass of good old water. If you want to make it tastier, try adding some fruit for an infusion that can dress up any beverage.

2) Find Fruit – Refined sugars are very bad for teeth of all ages and stages of life. Instead of having a candy bar, bite into a piece of fruit like bananas, apples, oranges, pears, and watermelon. Sure, fruits contain sugar too, but they’re better for you than sweets.

3) Get SleepYour Boerne dentist will tell you that when you’re not sleeping right, it can cause issues throughout your body. When you’re feeling tired or rundown, it’s easy to gravitate towards foods that are not-so-healthy and filled with sugar. Getting the right amount of rest should help ward off cravings and restore your clarity and the ability to make healthy diet choices.

4) Stop Stress – Just like when you’re a sleepless zombie, being crazy stressed is just as bad for your diet. Excess stress leads to cravings for things that we know aren’t good for our oral and overall health. Fighting these urges when you’re stressed and tired can be a big battle. Remember to relax and do your best to stay mindful and in the moment each day.

5) Eat Regularly – This ranks right up there with our first tip. If your body is out of water or food, then you’re basically out of fuel. Your body is going to take whatever it can get for some much-needed calories. Sometimes our bodies tend to go right for the sweets when we’re hungry instead of healthy options like fruits, veggies, proteins, etc.

The easiest way to avoid a sugar craving is to not be around it at all. We know, it’s not easy to do that this time of year. If you have a bite here and there, please remember to brush and floss. We don’t want sugar taking your smile from healthy to scary. Don’t forget to call our dental office in Boerne if you have any questions about your oral health! We’re always here for you and happy to help.