New Year, New Habits, Healthier Smile

The end of 2020 was a time for us to put the year behind us and give us hope for a better, healthier new year. As we embark on this new calendar year, many of us have made resolutions to ourselves or our families to get healthy or quit long-time habits that put us at risk for health issues. These resolutions can help transform lives and your dentist in Boerne would like to be a part of that by encouraging you to also resolve to take better care of your smile. 

Oral Health is Linked to Overall Health

If your goal for this year is to get healthier overall, you can’t ignore your oral health. After all, our oral health is directly linked to our overall health and one can certainly affect the other. So as you commit to getting your 10,000 steps a day or eating healthier, make sure you also consider the following. 

  • Drinking Water

We often hear about patients wanting to cut back on sugary soda in the new year and drink more water. This is one of the best things you can do for both your whole body and your mouth. Water allows our bodies to function properly and keeps the mouth hydrated and moist which can help fight off cavity-causing bacteria. Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day.  

  • Quitting Smoking

Another popular, yet difficult, resolution year after year is to quit smoking. This can be an intimidating endeavor but with a good plan and a solid support system, we believe anyone can stop smoking. There are countless overall and oral health benefits to quitting including reducing the risk of cancer and lowering the likelihood of gum disease.  

  • Practicing Good Oral Hygiene

Everyone knows that your dentist in Boerne wants everyone to brush and floss every day, but we also know that this simple task can get overlooked and go undone. However, brushing and flossing your teeth each and every day is the best way to prevent dental problems from popping up. Make sure you brush twice a day and floss at least once a day to protect your pearly whites from cavities, gum disease, bad breath, and other problems. 

  • Keeping Your Dental Appointments

We always recommend that patients see us for professional dental cleanings and checkups twice a year, and sometimes more often. These bi-annual appointments are crucial to maintaining a healthy and mouth as well as a healthy body. They allow your dentist in Boerne to find any potential problems early and treat them quickly before they become big problems.  

Make a promise to yourself that you will commit and follow through with your 2021 resolutions. And if you’re serious about getting healthier, schedule an appointment with your dentist today.

Is It Healthy For Teeth to Be REALLY White?

We’ve been programmed to believe that the whiter a smile is, the healthier it is. However, this isn’t always the case. In fact, your dentist in Boerne wants you to know that there is such a thing as a too-white smile, and a smile that’s over-bleached can actually lead to other oral health problems. 

The Truth About Smile Whitening Treatments

Smile whitening is probably the most popular form of cosmetic dentistry done today. However, what was once only available at the dentist can now be done at home without any exam or assurance that the teeth are healthy enough. Additionally, even though over-the-counter whitening treatments can make it easier for people to whiten their teeth, it’s become increasingly popular and has created almost a whitening addiction. Both of which can cause some serious problems. 

More Whitening, More Problems

Now, we should note that smile whitening can be done safely. However, there are issues when someone whose teeth aren’t healthy, or who thinks “the more whitening, the better” whitens their teeth that can cause things to take a turn for the worse.

Over-bleaching your teeth can wear down tooth enamel. Without this protective layer, teeth are put at increased risk for decay, cavities, and sensitivity. Additionally, if your teeth aren’t healthy to begin with, and let’s say you have a cavity, introducing bleaching ingredients can cause uncomfortable zings of pain through your teeth. And the problems don’t end there. 

Many over-the-counter whitening treatments allow too much of the bleach to touch and sit on the gums which can cause gum irritation, sometimes severe. Lastly, too much whitening can actually make your teeth appear more translucent and darker in appearance, which is the opposite of what you want. 

Safely Whiten Your Smile

The best way to get a whiter smile is to first start by talking to your dentist in Boerne. Not only can they help you find the best smile whitening treatment for you, but they can also help you find the best shade of white for your teeth for an overall natural, yet enhanced, look. Whichever smile whitening treatment you agree on, make sure you follow the directions to a “T,” especially if you’re going to use a take-home whitening product. Don’t leave the whitening gel on longer than recommended, and stop use if irritation or sensitivity occurs.  

Even though smile whitening treatments can be found at any grocery store or even ordered online… it doesn’t mean that all of them are created equally. Make sure you do your own research, talk with your dentist in Boerne, and don’t overdo it.  

Kissing & Oral Health

Kissing our loved ones is probably one of the best ways to show them that we care. But did you know that kissing can help us in other ways, too? Sharing a smooch can release endorphins in our brains and make us feel happier. It can also exercise our facial muscles and even burn some calories. However, as with everything, your dentist in Boerne wants you to know that kissing doesn’t come without its risks.

Germs & Bacteria

We all know that germs can be passed from one person to another through kissing, but they aren’t the only things being swapped. When it comes to kissing, your dentist in Boerne is also concerned with the sharing of bacteria. You see, certain types of bacteria have been known to increase the risk of tooth decay and cavities. Now, while our mouths are naturally packed with bacteria, when we kiss, these bacteria (both good and bad) can easily transfer from person to person and introduce cavity-causing bacteria.  

Keep Your Bacteria to Yourself

Even though kissing comes with some potential negatives, we’re certainly not recommending that you stop altogether. Instead, your dentist in Boerne has a few tips you can try in order to keep both you and your partner smooching safely.

  • Breath Test

Nobody wants to kiss someone who has bad breath, and now we’re going to give you yet another reason to tread carefully when you encounter someone with chronically bad breath. Bad breath may be a sign of gum disease, which itself is caused by an overload of bacteria and an infection in the gum tissue. 

  • Oral Hygiene

Even though our mouths naturally contain tons of bacteria, you should always brush and floss regularly in order to keep bacteria levels in check. Also, it’s key that you see your dentist in Boerne at least every six months for professional cleanings to further protect your teeth. 

  • Drink Water

When you’re not able to brush your teeth try to drink or even rinse your mouth with water. This can also help remove bacteria buildup. You can also chew Xylitol gum to help reduce bacteria levels and give your breath a fresh boost for all those kissable moments. Plus, Xylitol can keep bacteria from sticking to your teeth and creates a neutral pH level in your mouth for even more protection. 

Some Good News

It’s important to note that there are certainly some positives to kissing, some of which we mentioned earlier. As it relates to your oral health, kissing can actually help good bacteria move from person to person and increases your saliva production. Saliva is your mouth’s natural way of washing away bacteria and neutralizing acid, both of which help protect your teeth against decay.

When it comes to kissing, there are more positives than negatives. Just make sure you practice good oral hygiene habits so your breath is kissable fresh every single time you pucker up. 

Are Plaque and Tartar The Same Thing?

There are many misconceptions about oral health. One of the more common misconceptions is that plaque and tartar are the same things and that the terms can be used interchangeably. While this isn’t completely false, it is a bit misleading and something that your dentist in Boerne wants to clear up. After all, understanding what’s going on inside of your mouth is a crucial part of keeping it healthy. 

A Peek at Plaque

It makes sense for us to start by taking a look at plaque. Plaque is something that accumulates on everyone’s teeth each and every day. It’s unavoidable, it’s sticky, it’s packed full of bacteria, and it can cause a whole lot of trouble. You see, plaque forms as a result of foods we eat and latches on to the area around the gum line. The bacteria that make up this sticky substance then start to feed on food particles in the mouth. As a result, the bacteria release an acidic byproduct. This acid then attacks the tooth enamel, wearing away at this protective layer and leaving teeth at increased risk of cavities. If plaque is not removed every day, it will start to harden and turn into tartar. 

Tartar Troubles

Tartar is very similar to plaque but, essentially, is a more progressed version. Also known as calculus, tartar is a super hard substance that occurs when plaque is not properly removed. Additionally, while plaque is invisible, once it transforms into tartar it can appear as yellow or brown lumps. Another key difference between tartar and plaque is that while you can effectively remove plaque on your own, your dentist in Boerne is the only one that can remove tartar once it forms. Like plaque, tartar can increase the risk of cavities as well as other problems, including tooth discoloration, sensitivity, and gum disease. 

Preventing Plaque Problems

Since tartar occurs as a result of plaque buildup, it’s important to take a look at how we can prevent problems from plaque in the first place. The most effective way to remove plaque is to practice proper oral hygiene by brushing and flossing every day. Make sure to brush both morning and night to remove plaque that has built up overnight and throughout the day. Additionally, choosing what you eat can also help keep plaque away. Try to pick plaque-busting foods like cheese and crunchy vegetables and avoid sugary foods and drinks. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help wash away bacteria, neutralize acids, and further protect teeth. 

Outside of brushing, flossing, and eating well, it’s also crucial that you see your dentist in Boerne twice a year. These checkups give your dental team the opportunity to monitor your oral health, catch problems early, and remove any tartar buildup before it can create trouble. 

If it’s time for you to see your dentist, we welcome you to call our Boerne dental office to schedule an appointment. 

Does Gum Disease Cause Dementia?

We know we talk about gum health and gum disease a lot, but we believe that we can’t share enough information about how maintaining healthy gums can not only protect your oral health but your overall health, too. Your dentist in Boerne knows that poor gum health can lead to gum disease, and gum disease can lead to problems throughout the body, including heart disease. Now, recent research from the National Institute on Aging suggests that gum disease may also cause Alzheimer’s. 

National Alzheimer’s Disease Month

Alzheimer’s Disease is a form of dementia that affects more than 5 million Americans, and every November we recognize National Alzheimer’s Disease Month in honor of these patients. Until recently, research regarding what causes Alzheimer’s has been limited, which can be frustrating to patients, families, and doctors alike. But thanks to this research, we may be closer to identifying a cause than ever before.  

Gum Disease & Bacteria

Our mouths contain hundreds of different types of bacteria. Some of these bacteria are good and others are bad. The bad bacteria are what concern your dentist in Boerne as well as Alzheimer’s researchers. One of these bad bacteria, known as Porphyromonas gingivalis, is at the forefront of the study conducted by the National Institute on Aging. This bacteria, which was found as the leading cause of gum disease in over 6,000 participants, may produce something called plaque of beta-amyloid proteins. Why does this matter? Plaque of beta-amyloid proteins is one of the key indicators of Alzheimer’s Disease. 

In yet another study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers looked at brain tissue from both patients with Alzheimer’s and patients without. What did they find? Interestingly, the brain tissue from dementia patients contained gum disease bacteria, while brain tissue from non-dementia patients did not. 

Even though these studies seem promising and may bring us closer to finding a cause and a cure for Alzheimer’s, we need to note that additional research is still needed. 

Protect Your Gums

Whether or not gum disease causes Alzheimer’s or not, it’s still important to protect your gums against disease. Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss or bad breath, and the infection can enter the bloodstream and begin to affect other areas of the body, including the heart and perhaps the brain. The best ways to protect your gums include:

  • Brushing and flossing every day
  • Avoiding tobacco
  • Seeing your dentist in Boerne twice a year

Bi-annual visits to your dentist help remove plaque buildup in your mouth that at-home brushing alone can’t touch. This further protects your teeth against cavities and your gums against disease. If it’s been longer than six months since you’ve seen a dentist, schedule an appointment today. 

What To Eat After Having Dental Work Done

Having dental work isn’t like other procedures where you can eat whatever you want afterward. In fact, it can be difficult to find something you can easily eat after dental treatment. Whether you’re recovering from oral surgery, a dental implant placement, a root canal, or even a filling and are having trouble finding easy-to-eat foods, you’re in luck. Your dentist in Boerne has a whole list of foods you can eat after having dental work done. Let’s check out a few of our favorites. 

Avocados

A mushed-up ripe avocado is one of the best things you can eat after dental treatment. Not only is it easy to eat, but avocados can provide your body with needed healthy fats and a ton of nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and fiber. These are some of the reasons that it’s often called a superfood. 

Broth

Broth or soup is another excellent choice. Not only is it comfortingly warm, but it also requires little to no chewing. Beef bone broth, in particular, is also packed with protein, which is important. In fact, according to a study conducted by the University of Michigan, soft foods with healthy fats and protein like beef bone broth may also even help promote healing by repairing muscles and tissues and fighting off infection. Remember, if you’re recovering from wisdom teeth removal or other oral surgery, keep your broth warm and not hot. Hot foods and drinks can irritate gum tissue and make recovery take longer. 

Scrambled Eggs

This breakfast favorite isn’t only for mornings and would be easy to eat at any time following dental treatment. Similarly to bone broth, scrambled eggs are a healthy, protein-packed option that’s easy to eat and promotes healing. Besides, who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner? 

Fish & Potatoes

If you’re looking for something that feels more like a complete meal, look no further than fish and potatoes. Fish such as tuna, salmon, and tilapia are soft and easy to chew, and they contain a lot of heart-healthy fats. Pair fish with delicious mashed potatoes for a delicious, nutritious, and easy-to-eat meal. Spice up the dish by choosing sweet potatoes over russet. 

Ice Cream

We couldn’t complete this blog without turning to the age-old favorite of ice cream. This sweet treat is a go-to option for your dentist in Boerne because it’s easy to eat and it’s cold. The coolness of ice cream is the perfect way to get some relief if you’re feeling sore and may even reduce swelling. Make sure to avoid flavors that contain nuts, frozen candy bars, or other hidden crunchy goodies. 

Even if you don’t necessarily feel like eating after dental treatment, it’s important that you do. If it’s easier, choose to eat several smaller meals or snacks throughout the day instead of large meals. Also, make sure to drink at least 64 ounces of water daily to keep your body and mouth properly hydrated. 

Your dentist in Boerne is always here to help you if you have any questions about your dental treatment, or what you can comfortably eat afterward. Just ask

Do Facemasks Cause Cavities?

A lot has changed over the past couple of months, and one thing that we’ve all introduced into our daily lives is the use of facemasks. Used to help minimize the risk of COVID-19, facemasks are supported by scientists and are now required at many public places. However, this daily use may raise some concerns for your dentist in Boerne.

An Important Note About Facemasks

Before we go any farther, we want to be clear that we are not suggesting that you stop wearing a mask, as the potential benefits outweigh the risks. What we are recommending is that you become aware of how your facemask can play a role in your oral health and learn what you can do to help.

Mouth Breathing

While the mask itself isn’t causing cavities, the changes we experience as a result of wearing them can. For example, most of us are not used to wearing a facemask at all let alone daily or perhaps all day every day. Because of this new factor, many people may begin to breathe out of their mouths instead of their noses because it’s more comfortable. However, this change in breathing is what can cause concerns for your dentist in Boerne.

When we breathe out of our mouths, whether because of a facemask or not, it can quickly dry out saliva production and create dry mouth. Dry mouth is concerning because a mouth needs saliva to help wash away things like bacteria and neutralize acids. Without it, teeth are at increased risk for tooth decay and other intraoral problems.

Bad Breath

Besides an increased risk of decay, mouth breathing can also cause bad breath. Since there’s not enough saliva around to wash away bacteria, they’re left free to feed on leftover food particles. As a result, these bacteria release a stinky byproduct.

Avoid Dry Mouth

Now, even though your dentist in Boerne knows that mouth breathing and dry mouth aren’t great for oral health, there are things you can do to help avoid dry mouth or treat it if it does occur such as:

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day. This will help keep the mouth hydrated and moist.
  • Suck on sugar-free hard candies or chew gum with Xylitol. Both of these tricks can stimulate saliva production.
  • Brush and floss your teeth every day. Maintaining proper oral hygiene can help remove bacteria buildup.
  • Talk with your dentist. There are products designed to produce saliva. Your dentist can guide you on what’s the best way to fix your dry mouth.

If you’re concerned that dry mouth may be causing dental problems, or you’d like to talk to someone about getting some relief, call your dentist in Boerne. As with many dental concerns, the sooner dry mouth is diagnosed and treated properly the less chance it has to cause serious, more complicated problems.

More Stress, More Oral Health Problems

An article recently published by the New York Times details one dentist’s experience seeing an increase of patients with cracked teeth over the past few months. What could be causing this? Well, all of our lives have been flipped upside down and shaken up this year, and this can cause some stress — naturally. This stress may just be the cause of some dental problems, including cracked teeth. Join your dentist in Boerne as we share just how stress and other factors can influence your oral health. 

Teeth Clenching & Grinding

Our bodies react to stress in interesting ways. Sometimes our gut health is affected. Other times it’s our oral health. During periods of high stress, many people may begin clenching or grinding their teeth, and oftentimes they don’t even know it or they may be doing it subconsciously while sleeping. This repeated movement of teeth against teeth can cause teeth to wear down and appear shorter. It can also cause teeth to crack, break, or chip, requiring treatment from your dentist in Boerne. But even that’s not all. Clenching and grinding your teeth puts unnecessary and unnatural stress on the jaw joint and can cause severe TMJ pain or TMJ disorder. 

Gum Disease

Prolonged periods of stress can also increase someone’s risk of developing gum disease. Gum disease is an infection deep under the gum line that requires professional dental treatment. However, if it’s not treated, gum disease can cause other problems throughout the body and put overall health at risk. Gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, respiratory disease, and even certain cancers. Besides stress, other things that increase the risk of gum disease include poor dental hygiene, smoking, and seeing your dentist in Boerne every six months for deep cleanings. 

How To Decrease Stress

We understand that the current state of the world can easily cause stress levels to spike and put us at risk for both oral health problems and whole-body concerns. But one of the best things you can do during uncertain, stressful times is to learn effective ways to lower stress. Some stress-reduction techniques include: 

  • Sleeping. Falling and staying asleep can be difficult when we’re stressed out and our minds won’t stop racing. But it’s crucial to your health to get enough sleep every day. Not only can sleeping enough lower stress (and probably make it easier to fall asleep), it can also give your body time to recover and keep you healthy. Try listening to calming sounds, avoiding your phone an hour before going to bed, and keeping a regular sleep schedule. 
  • Meditating. Mediating has been proven to lower heart rate and help us feel relaxed, thus lowering stress. Find a free app on your phone that will guide you through meditations and teach you how to effectively lower stress by simply breathing. Meditation is like anything else, you need to practice it to get really good at it so be sure to schedule time each day to focus and meditate. 
  • Exercising. Another proven way to lower stress and boost health is to exercise often. Whether you choose an online spin class, practice yoga, or run or walk, make sure you get a good sweat session daily. 

Now and always, it’s important to keep your stress levels low and immune system high to keep yourself healthy. Find a stress-reduction plan that works for you, eat a well-balanced diet, and see your dentist in Boerne every six months.

Comparing Dental Implants & Dentures

There are a number of things that can cause our teeth to fall out, including accidents, age, decay, and disease. In fact, tooth loss is incredibly common among American adults and affects more than 178 million of us, according to the American College of Prosthodontists. But if you’re one of the millions of Americans missing a tooth or even several teeth, your dentist in Boerne wants you to know that you don’t need to live without a full smile. There are tooth replacement options such as dental implants and dentures available that can help. 

What are Dentures?

Dentures are a tooth replacement treatment option that has been around for quite some time but has been improved upon as technology advanced. Dentures can either replace all of your natural teeth or even only a series of missing teeth (called a partial denture). They are removable, non-permanent prosthetics that are custom-created to fit in your mouth and appear like natural teeth. 

Pros of Dentures

There are several benefits of dentures, including: 

  • More affordable than dental implants
  • Can be good for those who just had their teeth removed and who want time for their mouth to heal before dental implant surgery
  • There’s no surgery involved
  • Dentures or partial dentures can be modified if more teeth are lost later in life

Cons of Dentures

As with anything, your dentist in Boerne also wants you to be aware that dentures can also come with a few cons such as: 

  • They may not look as natural as dental implants 
  • They have to be removed, cleaned, and stored properly every night
  • They require adhesive to stay in place which can get costly over time
  • They can slip while eating and talking which can be uncomfortable
  • They may not allow you to eat all the foods you want to eat such as corn, apples, or things with tiny seeds
  • They can increase the likelihood of gum disease if they aren’t cleaned properly or if food gets trapped 
  • They’re very delicate and can break easily and require a brand new prosthetic
  • Partials can weaken the teeth supporting it leading to additional problems

What are Dental Implants?

Like dentures, dental implants can also replace either one missing tooth or an entire mouth of missing teeth. But unlike dentures, dental implants are permanent, and instead of sitting on top of the jaw bone, dental implants are secured into the jaw bone. Dental implant treatment starts with a titanium post being placed into the jaw bone where it will act as your tooth root. As it heals, your bone will actually grow around the post, securely locking it into place. Afterward, an abutment is added to the post, and a brand new crown custom-created by your dentist in Boerne is placed on top. Now, if you’re missing more than one tooth, a few posts may be implanted into your bone then a full set of brand new teeth will be permanently secured to them, giving you a brand new look. 

Pros of Dental Implants

Dental implants can be the best and longest lasting tooth replacement for you and can also provide some of the following benefits.  

  • Dental implants tend to be more comfortable than dentures
  • You can eat what you want with dental implants
  • They don’t affect speech
  • They don’t require daily removal and reinsertion 
  • You can care for them just like your natural teeth
  • Dental implants can last for decades with proper care
  • They can reduce the risk of additional oral health problems

Cons of Dental Implants

Even though dental implants may appear to be all positive, there are a few cons as well. 

  • Dental implants are more expensive than dentures
  • They do require surgery
  • Not everyone is a candidate for implants 

If you’re tired of living your life with missing teeth, call your dentist in Boerne and schedule a consultation. Together, you can find the best way to replace your teeth and begin treatment so you can start smiling fully again. 

What’s the Best Milk for Teeth?

When you’re choosing the right milk for your family, you certainly have a lot of options to pick from these days. From milk made from almonds to milk made from coconuts, and from soy milk to cow’s milk, the dairy aisle is packed with so many different varieties of milk — how can you possibly choose?! Don’t worry. Believe it or not, your dentist in Boerne is here to help. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at how two of the most popular forms of milk, soy and cow’s milk, can affect your teeth. 

Cow’s Milk

The tried-and-true milk choice of dentists and many healthcare professionals is good old fashioned cow’s milk and for good reason. Cow’s milk is packed with two of the most important ingredients that our teeth (and our bones!) need to stay strong and healthy. We’re talking about the combination of calcium and vitamin D. This powerful duo is crucial for replenishing minerals in the teeth. You see, tooth enamel weakens when it’s attacked by acids and its otherwise suburb protection is diminished. This leaves teeth at increased risk of infection, decay, and cavities. To help remineralize tooth enamel, we need to supply our bodies with calcium and vitamin D, and as you know, cow’s milk is an excellent source of these two minerals. 

Soy Milk

Soy milk, on the other hand, still contains calcium and vitamin D but in significantly lower amounts. But that’s not all. One study found that bacteria commonly found in the mouth produced five to six times more acid when introduced to soy milk as compared to cow’s milk. An increase in acid means an increase in enamel erosion as well as an increase in the risk of decay and cavities. Keep in mind, this was one study and more research is needed to suggest a strong correlation between soy milk and cavities. 

A Few Exceptions

While the benefits of cow’s milk can certainly help build strong, healthy teeth and bones, some people can’t drink it due to lactose intolerance. Those who are lactose intolerant have trouble digesting lactose, which is naturally occurring in cow’s milk and other dairy products. Instead of cow’s milk, individuals with lactose intolerance should choose a type of milk that’s easier to digest, such as calcium-fortified coconut or almond milk.

Other exceptions to choose an alternative to cow’s milk may be for religious, moral, or dietary reasons. In all cases, it’s important to your dentist in Boerne that those who can’t drink cow’s milk should supplement their calcium intake with other foods such as nuts, seeds, fish, and vegetables, and to talk with their doctor about whether or not they need a calcium supplement. 

As always, even though diet plays an important role in oral health, it’s still incredibly important that you and your family see your Boerne dentist every six months. These dental checkups give your dentist the opportunity to ensure that there aren’t any tiny problems lingering around just waiting to cause a bigger, potentially painful problem, and they give your dental hygienist the chance to thoroughly clean those pearly whites. Plus, it’s always nice to you. 

If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental visit, call us to schedule an appointment today!