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.

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. 

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.