Join Us In Celebrating Our Dental Hygienists!

It’s National Dental Hygiene Month at our Boerne dental office and dental offices around the country! This celebration is dedicated to all dental hygienists and serves to recognize these valued team members and everything they do to keep our patients healthy. These 31 days are also for promoting the importance of good hygiene for oral and overall health.

Dental Hygienist Responsibilities

First and foremost, dental hygienists are caretakers who are responsible for educating patients on good oral health habits as well as placing importance on preventing dental problems in the first place. While hygienist duties can vary state by state, some of the most common responsibilities include:

1) Getting to Know You – At many dental offices, hygienists will talk with every patient to get to know them personally as well as talk about any concerns they may have. Hygienists may also review a patient’s health history, perform an oral cancer screening, and take dental x-rays.

2) Teeth Cleanings – When most people think of a dental hygienist, they picture teeth cleanings. While it’s true that hygienists are responsible for cleaning teeth, they’re actually doing more than that. They’re removing tartar and plaque that can’t really be removed effectively at home, protecting teeth from decay. They’re also looking for any signs of cavities, oral cancer, and gum disease.

3) Prevention – Dental hygienists will also discuss recommended prevention treatments such as fluoride or sealants. Many hygienists will apply these to the patients to help protect tooth enamel from acid, bacteria, and cavities.

4) Taking Dental Impressions – If a treatment requires dental impressions to be taken, a dental hygienist may be the team member to do it. Many hygienists are trained to not only take the impressions accurately, but to also keep patients comfortable during the process.

5) Education – Talking with your hygienist and dentist in Boerne about any dental concerns you have is a great place to learn as much as you can about your unique oral health. Hygienists and dentists alike are here to help you get and maintain a healthy smile and are happy to assist you with any questions you may have.

To help do your part to keep your smile healthy, make sure to practice good oral hygiene at home. That means brushing twice a day and flossing every day. It’s also important to schedule a dental appointment every six months.

If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental cleaning, we welcome you to call our dental office in Boerne to schedule an appointment today.

Bad Breath Remedies

At our dental office in Boerne, we understand how having bad breath can affect our patients’ lives. We’re commonly asked what causes bad breath in the first place, and more importantly, how to make it go away. In this week’s blog we cover a few helpful bad breath remedies that can help freshen breath once and for all.

4 Ways to Beat Bad Breath

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Making sure you brush every day, twice per day is one of the best ways to remove any bacteria from your teeth that may be contributing to bad breath. But these stinky bacteria don’t only live on teeth, they also lurk under the gums. That’s one reason why flossing everyday is also an important part of any oral hygiene routine. Also, don’t forget about your tongue. It’s packed with tiny grooves and places where bacteria love to hide. Gently brushing your tongue or using a tongue scraper can really help.

Quit Smoking

Smokers’ breath can be blamed on more than just the smell of cigarettes alone. Chemicals in cigarettes can also contribute to an unpleasant smell. These chemicals linger in the mouth long after a cigarette is put out and can prolong bad breath. The smoke itself also stays in the lungs for a period of time after smoking and releases a little bit with every breath.

Eat More Healthy Foods

There’s some truth to the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Eating crunchy, raw fruits and vegetables such as apples, celery, and carrots will help scrub plaque and bacteria off of teeth to help keep breath fresh.

Hydrate Your Mouth

Certain medications, smoking, and a number of other things can cause dry mouth. And what tends to go hand-in-hand with dry mouth? Bad breath. While drinking plenty of water daily can help, there are times when that’s just not enough. If that’s the case, you can talk to your dentist about the possibility of using a hydrating rinse. Also consider that if you’re stuffy and can’t breathe out of your nose, there’s a good chance your mouth will dry out from so much mouth breathing. A decongestant may help.

Bad Breath Isn’t Just a Mouth Problem

Having chronic bad breath can be embarrassing, but it may also be a sign of something more serious. Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be a sign of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious infection that can begin to affect the rest of the body if left untreated. Many studies have shown a link between gum disease and diabetes, an increased risk for heart disease, and stroke. What’s more is different types of smells may indicate a problem somewhere else in the body including liver or kidney disease.

Bad breath isn’t something to take lightly. It’s best to talk with your dentist in Boerne about how long you’ve experienced bad breath, your health history, and any other symptoms you may have sooner rather than later.

If you have bad breath we welcome you to schedule an appointment at our Boerne dental office. We’ll work with you to find the root of the problem and discuss the best ways to get you relief. Don’t wait, give us a call today.

Whole Grains Month

Each September is recognized as Whole Grains Month and serves to raise awareness of the multitude of health benefits that come along with eating foods made from whole grains. The most discussed health benefits of whole grains are usually related to heart health, but as our dental office in Boerne knows, the benefits of eating a well-balanced diet rich in whole grains goes beyond the heart.

Whole Grains Protect Teeth, Too

Whole grains can be great for our hearts and may even help reduce the risk of obesity and cancer. But recent research shows that eating the recommended daily dose of whole grains can protect oral health, too. Foods rich with whole grains are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that work to keep mouths healthy.

  • Magnesium – Magnesium works with calcium to build strong teeth and strengthen enamel to protect them against bacteria and decay .
  • Vitamin E – One of the main functions of vitamin E is to reduce inflammation. This is important in the fight against gum disease. Research shows a positive correlation between high inflammation levels and the risk for developing gum disease, a vitamin E can help keep inflammation levels low.
  • B Vitamins – A variety of B vitamins found in whole grains are beneficial to oral health by lowering the risk of developing mouth sores or canker sores and fighting off bad breath. Some studies also show a positive correlation that certain B vitamins can protect against cavities.

Recommended Daily Whole Grain Servings

The table below shows the recommended daily servings by age range and gender according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Age Female Male
1-3 2 2
4-8 2.5 2.5
9-13 3 3.5
14-18 3.5 4
19-30 3.5 4.5
31+ 3 4

Best Sources of Whole Grain

Eating enough whole grains doesn’t need to be difficult, and you don’t need to give up delicious foods like some people think. In fact, making small changes can go a long way in helping you and your family get your daily dose of whole grains. 

  • Swap your morning cereal for a whole grain option
  • Use whole grain bread or wraps for sandwiches
  • Try a dinner loaded with whole grains by buying whole grain pasta
  • Instead of a side of potatoes, eat brown rice
  • Choose whole wheat hamburger or hot dog buns instead of white bread

When shopping for foods high in whole grains look for the gold and black Whole Grain Stamp.

Eat Well, See Your Dentist

What we choose to eat has an effect on not only our overall health, but our oral health too. Your dentist in Boerne urges you to follow a well-balanced diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and plenty of water.
Eating well and seeing your dentist twice year can keep your smile healthy. Don’t put off your bi-annual dental checkup, call our Boerne dental office to schedule an appointment.

The Do’s & Don’ts to Getting a White Smile

As we near Labor Day, many people will begin packing away their white clothes until next year. After all, wearing white after Labor Day is typically considered a fashion faux pas. However, at our dental office in Boerne, we believe that a white smile never goes out style, and you should be proud to show yours off all year around. But what do you do if your smile isn’t as white and bright as you’d like? Join us as we talk about a few do’s and don’ts  to getting a white smile you love.

Start with Your Dentist

If you’re unhappy with the color of your smile we recommend scheduling an appointment with your dentist in Boerne. At this visit you and your dental team will discuss what it is you don’t like as well as what you’d like to see. This will allow your team to make the best recommendation for you.

Professional Smile Whitening

One option for getting a brighter smile is a professional smile whitening treatment. Done either at your dentist’s office or at home with specialized whitening gel, a professional smile whitening can boost your smile’s look better than the over-the-counter whiteners.

Dental Veneers

Another treatment option that can help transform your look is dental veneers. These thin pieces of custom-create porcelain cover your natural teeth and can not only give you a whiter smile, but can also fix minor cosmetic concerns such as chipped teeth.

After you complete your treatment, whichever one you choose, there are few things you’ll want to do, and several that you’ll to avoid, in order to keep your new look as white as possible.  

DO use straws whenever possible, especially if you’ll be drinking soda, tea, coffee or anything that may stain teeth. Using a straw helps keep the liquid off of teeth, limiting the chance for staining.

DON’T smoke or use tobacco of any kind. Tobacco can yellow your teeth or even cause brown spots. Of course, it also increases your risk for oral cancer, gum disease, and other whole-body health problems.

DON’T forget to brush and floss every day. Removing any plaque and bacteria from the teeth will help keep stains away and protect your smile against decay. Decay will also cause teeth to discolor if not treated.

DO maintain regular visits with your dentist to help remove plaque and tartar buildup. Too much plaque or tartar makes it easier for staining agents in foods and drinks to stick. The stains are then more difficult to remove.

If you’re ready to sport a bright, white smile this Labor Day and all year around, we welcome you to call our Boerne dental office to schedule an appointment today. We’re always here to help!

3 Things That Can Cause Excessive Mouth Watering

Saliva production is a natural and important part of good oral health. We need it to help protect our teeth from cavities, breakdown food so our stomachs can digest them more easily, and fight off bad breath bacteria. But the team at our Boerne dental office wants you to know that there is such a thing as producing too much saliva. When it comes to spit, more isn’t necessarily better.

How is Too Much of a Good Thing a Bad Thing?

We already know that saliva is beneficial for both our oral health and our digestive health. So it only makes sense that more of it can only mean good things. Except in this case, it doesn’t. But how can something that’s good for us also be bad? When someone produces too much saliva, also known as hypersalivation, it can not only be uncomfortable, but also embarrassing and perhaps even a sign that something else is going on.

What Causes Excessive Saliva Production?

Like many things related to our bodies, there is no one definite cause behind hypersalivation, and there could be a variety of explanations. Let’s take a closer look at three of them…

  • Infection

When there is an active infection in the mouth, the body may try to fight it off by producing more and more saliva. This is just one more reason it’s important to see your dentist in Boerne regularly.

  • Medication

All medications come paired with some sort of side effects. Excessive saliva production may be one of them. If you think this may be the cause of your mouth watering, do not stop any medications before talking with your doctor.

  • Poisoning

One of the more serious, yet rare, causes of hypersalivation is poisoning. Saliva production can go into overdrive following a bite from spider or reptile venom, eating poisonous mushrooms, or poisoning caused by mercury, or copper.

Know the Signs

Besides the more obvious signs of hypersalivation such as drooling or spitting, other symptoms may include:

  • Bad breath
  • Chapped lips
  • Dehydration
  • Difficulty eating or drinking
  • Changes in speech

Even though mouth watering may be annoying, there’s a good chance it’s not caused by something incredibly serious. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. The best thing you can do is see a dentist to better understand the root cause as well as the best treatment option for you.

We’re here to help our neighbors get and keep a healthy mouth. We welcome you to schedule an appointment at our dental office in Boerne.

All About Veneers

At our Boerne dental office we often have patients who are unhappy with the way their smiles look. But thanks to cosmetic dentistry, there are a number of ways that we can help transform the appearance of smiles. One of the most common and versatile cosmetic dentistry options available are dental veneers.

What Are Veneers and What Are They Used For?

As the name implies, dental veneers are used to cover up existing teeth. Made of porcelain, veneers are incredibly diverse and can be used to fix many cosmetic concerns which may otherwise take several separate procedures. Each veneer is custom-created to mimic the size, shape, and color of other teeth so the finished look is natural and enhances overall appearance. Veneers can be used to correct:

  • Teeth discoloration that couldn’t be brightened through whitening
  • Worn teeth
  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Crookedness
  • Unevenness or shape irregularities
  • Gaps

Veneer Treatment

    • Consultation. The first step to getting dental veneers is to set up a consultation with your dentist in Boerne. The purpose of this appointment is to have an honest conversation about what you’d like to change about your smile to see if dental veneers are the best option for what you want. You will also review a treatment plan, discuss costs, and schedule your next visit.
    • Preparation. Your veneer procedure will begin with your dental team preparing your tooth or teeth for the veneer. This usually includes the gentle removal of a thin layer of tooth enamel. Afterwards, temporary veneers will likely be placed and your dentist will send your permanent veneers and specific instructions to a trusted lab to be custom made.  
    • Bonding. You’ll come back for a second appointment when the permanent veneers are ready. At this visit, your dentist will carefully and artfully place the veneers. That process requires a bit of scuffing to your natural tooth and strong adhesive material for tight, permanent bond.

You don’t need to live with a smile you’re just not happy with. Cosmetic dentistry can enhance your smile, your confidence, and your life. Call our dental office in Boerne to schedule a consultation today.

Do Electric Toothbrushes Clean Better Than Regular Toothbrushes?

With all the hype surrounding electric toothbrushes lately, the team at our dental office in Boerne wanted to take the opportunity to talk to our neighbors about what’s true about those claims of a superior clean, as well as provide a few pros and cons to both electric toothbrushes and their manual counterparts. Let’s start with the truth…

Just the Facts

Since electric toothbrushes spin at a rate of about 30,000 strokes per minute it’s easy to believe that they clean better than a manual brushing. But is it true? The answer is a bit complicated.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), both electric and manual toothbrushes do the job of removing plaque and bacteria from teeth. However, reports from the ADA also state that effectiveness is more about the way a person uses their toothbrush than whether or not it’s electric. At the same time, studies conducted by electric toothbrush manufacturers claim that patients who use electric toothbrushes report healthier smiles.

Essentially, when it comes to choosing the right toothbrush for you, you should weigh your options, consider your needs, and examine the pros and cons of each.

Manual Toothbrush Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Budget friendly
  • Easy to take on flights and vacations
  • No charging or changing batteries

Cons

  • No timer to help brush for the recommended two minutes
  • May be difficult for some people to use properly
  • Easy to brush too hard which can cause damage

Electric Toothbrush Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Easier to use, especially for those with dexterity problems
  • Often feature a timer
  • May help following a proper technique easier

Cons

  • More expensive than manual toothbrushes
  • Typically bulky which can make storage or travel difficult
  • Charging required

Overall, you should pick the toothbrush option that fits your needs best. If you’re not sure, talk with your dentist in Boerne about what they recommend.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

At our dental office in Boerne we take our patients’ comfort very seriously and are dedicated to keeping them calm and relaxed at every appointment. However, there are times when the noise of the drill is a bit too much (we get it!), treatment is too long to stay comfortable, or a fear of the dentist causes extreme anxiety. When these situations arise, sedation dentistry may be recommended.

Defining Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry is a common treatment that uses medication to reduce anxiety and help patients relax. While sometimes referred to as “sleep dentistry,” sedation dentistry doesn’t necessarily require a patient to actually be asleep. In fact, depending on the type of sedation, patients are often awake.

Types of Sedation Dentistry

Oral Sedation

Achieving a calm, relaxed state with your Boerne dentist may be as easy as taking a tiny pill prior to an appointment. This type of sedation is referred to as minimal oral sedation and typically allows patients to stay awake and responsive, just a little bit drowsy. Moderate oral sedation is also an option. Still achieved by taking a pill, moderate sedation is usually a higher dose of the medicine but the effect is a deeper relaxation. Occasionally, patients tend to become so relaxed they may even fall asleep for a short time.  

Nitrous Oxide

More commonly referred to as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is another form of sedation dentistry that has only a very short effect on patients. Nitrous oxide is administered in the dental office through a mask and simply relaxes the mind and body. After treatment, patients will be given oxygen to help remove the nitrous oxide quickly without any lingering side effects.

Intravenous Sedation (IV Sedation)

IV sedation is the deepest level of sedation that’s often controlled by an anesthesiologist. Medication is delivered into a vein through a needle. This allows the medicine to take effect very quickly and gives the administrator control over the dosage. Following IV sedation, patients may experience nausea, dizziness, or sleepiness for up to 24 hours.  

Safety

The main goal of sedation dentistry is to keep patients comfortable and, most importantly, safe while they get the treatment they need to keep them healthy. Dental offices that offer sedation dentistry have teams who are extensively trained in sedation, follow strict safety precautions, and monitor patients throughout treatment.

If you or a family member has a fear of the dentist or the need for long, complex treatment and think sedation dentistry may help, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at our Boerne dental office. At this visit we will discuss all of the options available to you and recommend the best solution based on your individual needs.  

3 Things All Men Need to Know About Their Oral Health

The truth is, men are more likely to skip the recommended bi-annual visits to the dentist. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, many American men simply don’t go to the dentist unless they have a problem. However, by maintaining dental appointments twice-a-year they can prevent many of these problems from ever occurring. The team at our dental office in Boerne want to help encourage men to keep up with their dental care to help avoid serious oral health and overall health problems.

Preventive Care Protects

Even if you brush twice a day everyday at home, there are just some things you can’t get rid of on your own. Cleanings and checkups with your dentist in Boerne help to not only safely and effectively remove damaging plaque and tartar buildup, they also help keep a close eye on your overall oral health. Without these appointments every six months, the mouth is at risk. Men in particular have a better chance of:

  • Advanced Dental Treatments. Since many men don’t visit the dentist regularly, they tend to be more likely to need advanced treatments. When plaque and tartar is left on teeth for prolonged periods of time they can lead to decay. Oftentimes decay is easily treated with a quick filling. However, if it progresses deep into the tooth,a a root canal and dental crown may be required to save the tooth. However, decay that’s compromised the integrity of a tooth could mean the need for an extraction and a dental implant or bridge to replace it.
  • Gum Disease. Both the American Dental Association (ADA) and Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) have conducted numerous studies that consistently show that men are more likely to develop gum disease than women. One recent study of Americans between the ages of 30-54 reported that 34% of men have gum disease compared to 23% of women. Gum disease isn’t a condition to take lightly. If untreated it can affect the entire body and as even been linked to heart disease, respiratory problems, and certain cancers. In men, gum disease may also affect prostate health. But it’s not all bad news. If caught early at regular dental visits gum disease can be treated before it has a chance to affect overall health.
  • Oral Cancer. Oral cancer is a widespread epidemic that will affect almost 50,000 newly diagnosed Americans this year. Men are actually twice as likely to develop oral cancer than women. If it’s caught early treatment is often very successful. But if it’s left to progress, it can spread to other areas of the body and can lead to death.

Visits to the dentist every six months go a long way in protecting your oral health and overall health. Don’t risk your health by skipping them. If it’s been longer than six month since your last appointment, we welcome you to call our Boerne dental office today.

Thinking About Skipping a Brushing Session? Think Again.

At our dental office in Boerne, we always recommend that our patients brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes. Following this routine daily isn’t just good for your oral health, but can benefit your overall health, too. However, if you skip a brushing session altogether or don’t brush thoroughly, your body may be at risk for all sorts of scary problems…

Why Two Minutes?

We aren’t alone in our two minute rule. In fact, the American Dental Association also supports brushing for two minutes every day for good oral and overall health. There’s even plenty of research to back up the claim. According to one study in The Journal of Dental Hygiene, patients who brushed for only 30 seconds removed 55% less plaque than those who committed to the full two minutes. Just imagine what would be left lingering around if you skipped brushing altogether?

What Happens if You Don’t Brush for Two Minutes?

Besides plaque buildup, there are other things in your mouth that can stick around and cause problems if not removed regularly through a proper brushing. For instance, food particles that are left behind can feed bacteria found in the mouth. As this bacteria feeds on these tiny pieces of leftover food, they release acid. Acid will then begin to attack tooth enamel and leave teeth at an increased risk for decay. An overabundance of bacteria can also affect gum health. If not treated, it may cause gum disease.

Why is Gum Disease a Concern?

Gum disease is a serious infection caused by an excess of bacteria. Gum disease affects nearly half of all Americans and can eventually lead to tooth loss. But that’s not all. If gum disease isn’t treated by your dentist in Boerne, it can start to put other parts of the body in danger.

  • Heart Health

Numerous studies have found a positive correlation between gum disease and heart disease. In fact, researchers estimate that those who have gum disease are twice as likely to also have heart disease.  

  • Diabetes

People who have diabetes and gum disease are in a unique and dangerous position. Advanced gum disease may cause blood sugar levels to increase, causing diabetic complications.

  • Respiratory Problems

Bronchitis and pneumonia are caused by bacteria that may come from the mouth. So if there’s enough bacteria hanging around to cause gum disease, it can also move throughout the body, into the lungs, and make you sick.

Brushing twice a day for two minutes can help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth and minimize your risk for gum disease and the whole-body concerns that can go with it. In addition to those four minutes of brushing a day, make sure you also visit our Boerne dental office twice a year for an even more thorough cleaning that will not only protect your teeth, but also your overall health.