6 Common Dental Hygiene Mistakes

In order to have strong and healthy teeth and gums, it’s important to practice good dental hygiene habits regularly. However, it can be difficult to remember all of the things you should do (and shouldn’t do) every day to keep your mouth clean. To help you, let’s check out six of the most common dental hygiene mistakes your dentist in Boerne sees so you can help keep your teeth and gums in tip-top shape!

  • Not Flossing Regularly

Many patients tend to only when they feel like it, such as right before a dental appointment, rather than at a regular schedule. While flossing can seem inconvenient to floss every single day, your dental health depends on it. Brushing alone will not get rid of plaque between teeth, which can lead to gingivitis and tooth decay over time. You should floss daily with either standard floss, a floss pick, or a water flosser. 

  • Brushing Too Often

Your dentist in Boerne recommends that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. So, if brushing two times is good, wouldn’t brushing more be even better? In fact, the opposite is true. Brushing your teeth too often can wear down tooth enamel, making it easier for cavities to form and teeth to become sensitive. Additionally, you shouldn’t brush your teeth immediately after eating sugary sweets or acidic foods. Instead, try rinsing your mouth out with water. 

  • Improper Brushing Technique

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as bad brushing. For example, if you scrub too hard you can damage enamel and irritate gums. This can lead to gum recession and tooth sensitivity as well as increase the likelihood of cavities. Instead, brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle and in gentle circles to get a thorough clean.

  • Using The Wrong Tools

There are tons of toothbrushes and flossing products to choose from, but how do you know what’s right for you? First, talk to your dentist in Boerne. However, many times, patients should use a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect tooth enamel while brushing. When it comes to flossing, the best floss is the floss that’s used daily, so find a product that makes flossing easier so you can stick to a routine. 

  • Brushing Before Flossing

The best way to get your teeth squeaky clean is to floss first and then brush. Otherwise, bacteria can remain in between your teeth which will only spread around your mouth after you’ve already brushed. Flossing first will ensure that none of these germs remain when you start brushing. Instead, all that bacteria is swept away by your floss and into the trash where it belongs!

  • Not Seeing Your Dentist in Boerne Regularly

Seeing your dentist twice a year is essential for not only keeping your teeth clean and healthy but also preventing issues before they can become serious. If you wait until you start having tooth pain or seeing things like decay or gums that are pulling away from your teeth, you’re putting yourself at risk for more invasive treatments. Schedule appointments with your dentist twice a year to keep your smile healthy and bright. 

Since dental hygiene plays such an important role in our overall health, it’s essential to make sure we’re doing everything right. Making small changes to your oral hygiene routine can make all the difference in having a strong, healthy smile.

Will My Teeth Fall Out If I Don’t Go To The Dentist?

The American Dental Association recommends that you go to the dentist at least twice a year, but the sad truth is, many people don’t. In fact, about 65% of Americans don’t get regular dental care. However, the truth is, seeing your dentist in Boerne at least twice a year can prevent some serious problems, including tooth loss. Here are five things that happen if you don’t go to the dentist.

  • Plaque Buildup

Even if you brush and floss your teeth every single day, there are just some things your daily oral hygiene routine can’t touch, such as tartar. You see, a sticky substance called plaque, which is made up of bacteria, collects around your teeth every day. If plaque isn’t thoroughly removed it will harden into tartar. This tartar needs to be removed from teeth regularly by a trained dental hygienist to keep it from causing problems like decay. 

  • Cavities

Cavities are perhaps the most common dental problem. While there are various causes of cavities, studies have shown that plaque build-up is one of the main reasons tooth decay happens in as many as 60% of adults by age 35. Without regular check-ups, small cavities can escalate quickly and cause even more problems. The best way to avoid cavities is to visit your Boerne dentist every six months for a check-up and professional cleaning. 

  • Bad Breath

More than one-third of people who don’t see their dentist every six months have bad breath. Why? Essentially, the bacteria that cause bad breath can hide in and grow on your tongue, in between your teeth, as well as in the pockets between your teeth and gums. While brushing and flossing help remove some of these bacteria, it’s still crucial to get professional cleanings twice a year. If these bacteria are left untreated, you may experience bad breath and they may cause even more problems. 

  • Gum Disease

Patients who don’t visit their dentist regularly are at greater risk of developing gum disease. Gum disease is a serious infection of the gum tissue. It starts as gingivitis, but if it’s not treated quickly, it can quickly turn into periodontal disease. Regular dental visits help catch gum disease in the early stages when it’s reversible and before it has a chance to put you at risk for other major health issues. In fact, gum disease can cause complications such as heart disease and diabetes.

  • Tooth Loss

Another side effect of gum disease is tooth loss, but advanced decay can also cause someone to lose their teeth. Preventive dental checkups and cleanings can help protect your oral health from advancing to this serious level and help you keep your teeth for life. 

We always encourage our patients to visit their dentist in Boerne twice a year for checkups and cleanings, as well as any other necessary procedures. These visits are important to maintaining good oral and overall health. Regular visits also ensure that small problems are caught and treated before they become big ones. If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental visit, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today. 

4 Ways to Take Care of Your Teeth as You Age

As we age, it’s important to take special care of our teeth and gums in order to maintain good oral health into old age. As we get older, there are some factors that come into play that make maintaining strong, healthy teeth more difficult than it was when we were younger. Here are 4 tips from your dentist in Boerne to take care of your teeth as you age so that you can keep them looking great well into the golden years.

Be Prepared to Combat Dry Mouth

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, occurs more frequently in seniors and can be caused by certain medications. Other causes include dehydration or hormonal changes that can occur with menopause. If untreated, dry mouth can lead to cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. While you should never stop taking the medication without discussing it with your doctor, there are some ways to relieve dry mouth – such as drinking plenty of water throughout the day, using special hydration rinses, and chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva flow. You should talk with your dentist in Boerne to find the best solution for you. 

Get Used to Seeing The Dentist More Often

While we love seeing all of our patients, we tend to see our senior patients more often, and for a good reason. As we age, our mouths change. Due to decreasing production of saliva and a higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease, seniors may need more frequent dental care than other adults. Getting into a dentist’s chair at least once every six months will help you avoid some serious oral health problems. Regular visits will also let your dentist in Boerne perform preventative treatments before problems ever occur. 

Don’t Stop Brushing

Brushing your teeth correctly is important for everyone at every age, but it’s absolutely critical when you’re over 50. Seniors should be brushing their teeth at least two times per day and ideally after every meal. A soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste containing fluoride are always best. Make sure to use just slight pressure as brushing too hard will cause unnecessary wear on your teeth and gums. Keep in mind that brushing properly can be hard for older people and can put them at risk for decay. Find a toothbrush that makes it easier in order to protect their teeth. 

And Don’t Forget the Floss

Like brushing, flossing everyday is essential for everyone, but it’s especially important for seniors. The older we get, the harder it is to brush teeth effectively. Flossing helps dislodge plaque that would otherwise stay on your teeth and cause cavities and gum disease. If you don’t floss at least once a day, you’re missing out on cleaning 35% of your tooth’s surfaces! Sometimes flossing can also become difficult as we age and lose dexterity. If this is the case, talk to your dentist about other flossing options that can be easier to use. 

According to many research studies, taking care of our teeth will only get more difficult as we age — that’s why it’s imperative that older adults take care of their oral health today. Senior citizens face many unique dental issues; while most don’t require immediate attention, ignoring them can have long-term consequences for your health. Schedule an appointment with your dentist today.

6 Surprising Foods High in Sugar

It’s common knowledge that high sugar diets are bad for your teeth, which is one reason why your dentist in Boerne recommends limiting your sugar intake daily. But what you might not know is that many of the foods and drinks that you enjoy may be secretly packed with sugar. In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the top 6 foods and drinks with the highest levels of sugar.

1) Soda

Soda is an excellent source of sugar. In fact, it’s even worse than chocolate bars because there’s less food value to balance out its calorie content. The phosphoric acid in sodas can destroy tooth enamel and make teeth more susceptible to decay and cavities. Excess consumption can also lead to diabetes due to elevated blood glucose levels. Pairing soda with other sweet or acidic drinks will increase your risk as well, so if you are serious about protecting your smile and achieving long-term oral health, avoid them altogether.

2) Fruit Juices

Fruit juices are commonly perceived as healthy options due to their bright colors and phytonutrients (natural chemicals in plants that have antioxidant properties). This is true, but many store-bought fruit juices also contain additives such as sweeteners or flavorings that boost sweetness levels. To avoid consuming excess sugar without even knowing it (especially if you do not typically drink other sweet beverages), consider drinking freshly squeezed or 100% pure fruit juice only occasionally.

3) Energy Drinks

Most people know that energy drinks can do more harm than good over time, especially when combined with alcohol. But your dentist in Boerne has even more concerns. A 2012 study by the Center for Science in Public Interest found that an 8-ounce serving of a popular energy drink contained 44 grams of sugar! 

4) Granola

Granola is another one of those foods that’s often marketed as healthy. However, granola contains plenty of natural sugars — one cup of homemade granola has on average 36 grams of sugar. What can be even more confusing is that store-bought varieties often contain added sugars, and can contain up to 61 total grams of sugar!  

5) Fruit Smoothies

Fruit smoothies can be made from fresh fruits, so they provide additional vitamins and minerals that may not be found in sodas or other sugary drinks. However, it is important to note that any drink containing more than 50 grams of sugar per serving should be consumed moderately because of its potential to cause dental decay and other oral health problems.  

6) Spaghetti Sauce

Perhaps one of the most surprising on our list, tomato-based products like spaghetti sauce, tomato soup, and ketchup tend to have more sugars than non-tomato items because of their fruit content. Spaghetti sauce for example contains 16g of sugar per 1/2 cup serving, which is a whopping 28% of the recommended daily value. 

There are many high-sugar products at your disposal, with levels of sugar you may not even know about. But any time you’re consuming something sugary, or that has a high sugar content on the nutritional label, you should watch out for its impact on your oral health — as well as other areas of your life, such as weight gain or diabetes. Rinsing your mouth with water after eating anything sugary can help, but as always, it’s best to enjoy sugary treats in moderation, and of course, see your dentist in Boerne twice a year

The Oral Health Benefits of Drinking Out of a Straw

In recent years, there’s been an environmental fight against the use of non-reusable plastic straws. These one-time use straws make up about 7% of plastic product waste in the U.S., so there is a need to talk about how much we actually need straws. Now, while your dentist in Boerne is in support of making small changes to help the environment, we also know that there are some great oral health benefits of drinking out of a straw. 

Use Reusable

Before we go any further, we want to encourage our patients and neighbors to find a friendly alternative to plastic straws. There are many reusable straws available nowadays and there are even some fit for travel. Find a few that you like and use them to save the planet and reap the oral health benefits. It’s a win-win!    

Straws & Teeth

Ok, now back to the teeth stuff. We know that you must be thinking, “How can a thin tube benefit my oral health?” Well, it comes down to how much liquid touches teeth using a straw versus sipping directly out of a cup. Drinking beverages through a straw can limit the amount of liquid that comes in contact with your teeth, and therefore, how much risk there is for damage. Choosing to go without a straw basically bathes your pearly whites in whatever it is you’re drinking. This means that your drink of choice is left lingering on your teeth’s surfaces long after your cup is empty, increasing the likelihood of developing some unwanted oral health side effects.

  • Stained Teeth

Many beverages contain coloring additives or are naturally colored. These drinks of choice can easily stain teeth and cause discoloration. To help avoid this, drink any colorful beverage with a straw. If your teeth aren’t as white as you’d like, whether because of dark drinks or not, talk to your dentist in Boerne about smile whitening options.  

  • Eroded Enamel

One of the worst things for teeth is acid. Acid can easily erode enamel and leave teeth exposed to the danger of additional acid and bacteria. This can result in increased tooth sensitivity and other concerns.  

  • Cavities 

Cavities can also result from a lack of enamel as well as from having too much sugary or acidic liquids come in contact with teeth. 

The Worst Drinks for Teeth

Not all drinks are bad for teeth, but there are some top contenders. These drinks should be enjoyed moderately and with a straw if at all possible. 

  • Soda
  • Sports Drinks
  • Fruit Punch
  • Juices
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Wine & Other Alcohol

It’s our responsibility to advise our patients and neighbors on everything they can do to help keep their smiles healthy. Drinking out of a straw is a simple change you can make to protect your teeth against decay, sensitivity, cavities, and other problems. Of course, it’s always important to brush and floss every day and see your dentist in Boerne every six months

Do Men Have Different Oral Health Needs than Women?

We’ve all heard of the book, “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus,” which explains some of the main psychological differences between these two genders. But did you know that these differences extend into dentistry? It’s true! Just ask your dentist in Boerne. Since men are more likely to avoid regular dental care, they often have unique needs and are actually at more risk for more dental problems than women.  

Skipping Dental Appointments Is Bad News

Dentists always recommend that all patients visit at least twice a year for preventive checkups. But many men don’t see the dentist regularly. In fact, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control, just shy of 60% of adult American men go to the dentist every year. This habit, along with others, often means that men have different oral health needs and complications than women. Let’s look at a few. 

Brushing & Flossing

Starting with the basics, the truth is men are less likely to brush their teeth twice a day and after meals. They’re also less likely to change their toothbrush every three months or after a cold. These oral hygiene habits can certainly cause some concern for your dentist in Boerne

Lifestyle Habits

Statistically, men are more likely than women to partake in habits that can put oral health in danger, such as using tobacco products and drinking more alcohol. These lifestyle habits can make dental care different for men than women and may require additional appointments to the dentist. 

Gum Disease

One of the serious oral health issues that usually affects men more than women is gum disease, perhaps because of their increased likelihood to smoke or drink alcohol — both of which are known contributors to the development of gum disease. In fact, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, 56% of men have gum disease as compared to only 38% of women. When not caught and treated in the earliest stages, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, as well as an increased risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and prostate health in men. This is one of the main reasons why preventive dentistry checkups with your dentist in Boerne are so important. 

Oral Cancer

Over 53,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, nearly 10,000 will die from it, and it’s another scary disease that affects men more than women. In fact, oral cancer is twice as common in men than women. Oral cancer can be found in any of the soft tissues in the mouth, including the tongue, lips, cheeks, or the far back area of the throat (oropharyngeal cancer). The good news is oral cancer can be treated successfully if caught early. Which is another reason to see your dentist regularly. 

More Complicated, More Advanced Dental Treatment

We already know that many men will avoid going to the dentist every six months. But men will see their Boerne dentist if they’re experiencing a problem. However, at this point, it’s often too late for easy treatment. When problems are small and are caught early, treatment is usually quick and easy. In fact, many people won’t even know they had a problem since they probably didn’t have any pain. However, when problems are left untreated over time, small issues can quickly become big problems. These big problems also often require more complex care such as a root canal, dental crown, extraction, dental bridge, or dental implant.

No matter your dental needs, your lifestyle habits, or your gender, it’s important that you see your dentist every six months. These visits help catch problems early, remove plaque buildup from your teeth, and give your dental team a chance to chat with you about your oral hygiene habits. Call to schedule an appointment today. 

4 Reasons You Should Floss Your Teeth

Flossing does more than clean the surfaces of your teeth. It cleans those important areas between each tooth and removes bacteria from under the gums. Yet, it’s incredibly common for your dentist in Boerne to see patients every day who skip this crucial part of oral hygiene. In fact, more than 30% of Americans don’t floss their teeth every day, and this can mean bad news for your teeth. 

  • The Plaque Attack

One of the most important reasons to floss your teeth every day is to remove plaque buildup that occurs naturally throughout the day. If left untreated, plaque will harden into tartar. Tartar isn’t something that can be removed through regular brushing alone and will need to be removed at your next appointment with your dentist in Boerne

  • Fight Off Gum Disease

The biggest complaint we hear about flossing is that gums bleed. This is an even more important reason to keep flossing. Bleeding gums is a telltale sign of gingivitis. Gingivitis can be reversed if caught in this early stage, however, if it’s not treated and is left to progress, it can quickly turn into full-blown gum disease. In its more advanced stages, gum disease becomes irreversible and can wreak havoc on your oral health and overall health. 

  • Keep Your Body Healthy

If foregoing the floss does lead to gum disease, it can lead to additional complications throughout the body. Research shows a strong correlation between gum disease and whole-body health concerns, including: 

  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory Disease
  • Protect Strong Teeth

It’s the goal of your Boerne dentist to help patients achieve and keep long-lasting good oral health. Part of that includes keeping natural teeth for a lifetime, which is possible with proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits. However, if you don’t floss, you’re at greater risk for both cavities as well as tooth loss. 

Choosing The Best Floss

Finding the best floss for you can take some trial and error. But it’s important to try various types of floss so you can choose one that you’ll use regularly. Different types of floss include: 

  • Waxed or Unwaxed String Floss
  • Floss Picks
  • Dental Tape
  • Water Flosser

Even if you brush your teeth every day, make sure you don’t skip flossing. Your checkups with your dentist in Boerne will be easier, you’ll have less of a chance of developing serious problems, and you’ll keep your teeth happy and healthy. 

Can You Get Cavities Even If You Don’t Eat Sugar?

You’ll hear it over and over again from your dentist in Boerne — limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks. This is because sugar causes cavities, right? Well, sort of. Sugar itself doesn’t cause cavities, but what happens when we digest sugars can increase the risk of developing cavities. So if sugar isn’t to blame, then what is? 

What Causes Cavities?

You may have had a mental image of sugar bugs attacking and decaying teeth, but in fact, bacteria are to blame for decay and cavities. When we eat sugars, they feed the bacteria naturally found in our mouths. As a byproduct, these bacteria release acid. The acid can then attack tooth enamel, removing the layer of protection. Once the enamel is gone, bacteria can work their way in and the process repeats itself. Only this time instead of wearing away enamel, acids wear away at the actual tooth causing a cavity.

How to Know If You Have a Cavity

In their early stages, cavities may not show any signs of a problem. That’s because the decay hasn’t reached the inner tooth where all the nerves live. But just because you don’t feel it doesn’t mean there’s not a problem. Your dentist in Boerne will be able to diagnose a cavity at your bi-annual dental visits, but you should keep an eye out for any signs of a cavity in between those checkups. Some signs of a cavity include: 

  • Increased sensitivity
  • Pain when biting down
  • Seemingly random tooth pain
  • Pain when eating sweets
  • Visible holes

Cavity Prevention

The best way to avoid a dental filling or perhaps even a root canal is to prevent a cavity from forming in the first place. Try these cavity-fighting tips. 

  • Drink plenty of water to help rinse away bacteria and neutralize acids
  • Brush and floss your teeth twice a day
  • Chew sugarless gum after snacks if you can’t brush
  • Visit your dentist at least twice a year

Now that you know sugar doesn’t cause cavities, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can indulge in sugary sweets and drinks whenever you want. You should still listen to your dentist in Boerne and reduce the amount of sugar you allow in your diet. It’s also important to brush and floss your teeth every day to remove any buildup of plaque and keep your teeth protected.

Teeth Are Not Tools

Fun fact: tooth enamel is the hardest substance in our bodies which helps make our teeth super-strong and resistant to damage. But just because our teeth are incredibly durable doesn’t mean that they’re immune to injury. Additionally, unlike other parts of the human body, teeth can’t heal or fix themselves, meaning that once the damage is done, you’ll need to see your dentist in Boerne for help. While teeth can be damaged by regular wear and tear and from poor dental hygiene, one of the most common things that harm teeth is when we use them as tools.   

Teeth Are Made for Chewing

Our teeth are specially designed to help us chew our food to help the rest of the digestion process. Teeth also help us speak clearly and maintain the integrity of our jawbones. They aren’t meant to help us in other areas of our lives, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try. Here are some of the common ways we use our teeth unlike nature intended.  

  • Teeth Aren’t For Cracking Nuts

While your dentist in Boerne is a big fan of the nutritional value of nuts, there’s a common concern associated with shelled nuts as well as some seeds. Many nuts such as pistachios come in the shell and to get to the edible center we end up cracking the nuts between our teeth. This can result in chipped, cracked, or broken teeth. 

  • Teeth Aren’t For Opening Bottles

Similar to using our teeth to crack open nuts, teeth should also not be used to open bottles. Trying to open bottles made of plastic, glass, or anything in between is risky as doing so could damage tooth enamel and increase the likelihood of chips and cracks. If this damage is extensive, your dentist will need to treat the area with some type of restorative dentistry. But even minor cracks can cause problems too. Cracks in the teeth are the perfect place for bacteria to settle in and put you at greater risk for decay.  

  • Teeth Aren’t For Carrying Things

While our teeth are meant for chewing, our hands are meant to help us carry or hold things. However, sometimes we have more things to hold than our hands can handle. This often makes us resort to using our mouth and teeth as an additional hand. The problem is our teeth are designed to grip and hold onto things this way. Doing so can damage teeth or even hurt your jaw. Additionally, there is always the choking hazard to consider. If you fall while holding something in your mouth, you can easily choke.  

  • Teeth Aren’t For Chewing Non-Foods

Yes, our teeth are for chewing, but they’re reserved for chewing foods. Nibbling on anything else can be dangerous to your pearly whites. Even biting your nails or chewing on your pen during a meeting can increase your chance of cracking or chipping teeth. 
So, even though our teeth are extra-tough, they’re not invisible. In order to keep your teeth strong and healthy for a lifetime, avoid using them as tools. Of course, you should also brush and floss your teeth every day and see your dentist in Boerne at least twice a year for preventive dental care.

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.