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.

Risks of Oral Piercings

Piercings of all kinds are popular, especially among adolescents, and can help people feel a sense of individuality or self-expression. Plus, they tend to have the connotation of being cool or trendy. However, when it comes to oral piercings such as tongue or lip piercings, they also come with a host of potential problems and concerns for your dentist in Boerne

Potential Problems with Oral Piercings

Besides the fact that oral piercings are painful to get, there are other potential problems you may not have considered, but that are important to know, before getting your tongue or lip pierced. 

  • Permanent Changes. When a piercing is new, it’s common to experience changes in the way you speak and eat. After all, there’s a brand new obstruction in the way that your mouth needs to get used to. While these changes are usually temporary, there’s always the possibility of permanent changes thanks to nerve damage. Our tongues and faces contain a complex web of nerves and if a needle hits one the wrong way, your sense of taste can be permanently altered or you may experience irreversible numbness. 
  • Tooth Damage. Nerves aren’t the only thing at risk for damage when it comes to a lip or tongue piercing. In fact, one of the most common concerns for your dentist in Boerne is the increased likelihood of tooth damage. You see, many people who have an oral piercing tend to play with the jewelry habitually, and this constant hitting of metal on teeth means a greater risk of chipped or broken teeth or damaged enamel. All of these forms of tooth damage require early dental treatment before they have a chance to develop into more serious and painful problems. 
  • Gum Disease. The gums are another area that can sustain damage from an oral piercing, which is particularly concerning. When the gum tissue is damaged, it allows mouth bacteria to work their way up under the gum line and find a permanent home. This leads to an infection in the gums, or gum disease. Gum disease can not only cause chronic bad breath and tooth loss, but it can also affect the rest of the body and increases the risk of heart disease and even certain cancers.
  • Infection. While all potential risks associated with oral piercings are serious, perhaps the most serious concern is infection. Infections can happen with any piercing and are actually quite common. However, oral piercings pose a unique problem. Since these piercings are in or around the mouth, and the mouth is naturally loaded with bacteria, the chance of infection may be higher. Additionally, if an infection does occur, the dark, wet, and warm environment of the mouth provides an ideal place for bacteria to multiply and thrive. This can make an infection serious. In fact, an oral piercing infection can even result in swelling of the tongue, which can block the airway and make it difficult to breathe. 

Decrease Your Risk

If you want to get an oral piercing, we encourage you to take some steps to decrease your risk of complications such as:

  • Picking the Right Piercer. Selecting a professional, trustworthy person to pierce your tongue or lip is the best way to initially protect yourself. Make sure the person you pick has a good reputation and follows sanitization standards. 
  • Practicing Proper Care. Taking care of your oral piercing can greatly help decrease the likelihood of a problem. Make sure you clean the area thoroughly and rinse your mouth after eating to lower the chance of infection. 
  • Following Good Oral Hygiene. Everyone should brush their teeth twice a day, floss once a day, and see their dentist in Boerne twice a year. However, this may be even more important for those with an oral piercing. 
  • Knowing the Signs of Infection. If you notice any redness, fever, pain, or swelling seek medical attention immediately. 

We want everyone to feel the freedom to express themselves as they wish, and we want them to do so safely. If you’re considering an oral piercing, talk with your dentist and do your research before jumping in feet first. 

Does Flossing Cause Gum Pain?

It’s important to brush and floss your teeth every day to maintain good oral health. But what does it mean when your gums hurt afterward? Is it normal for gums to be sore or even bleed while flossing or shortly after flossing? Let’s check in with your dentist in Boerne to see just what may be causing your gum pain. 

Don’t Blame The Floss

While it’s true that flossing can cause gum pain, it’s usually not the action of flossing itself that results in soreness. The only reason why flossing alone will cause pain is if you’re flossing too hard or too often — once a day is the typical recommendation. If your gums bleed or become inflamed and sore while flossing gently, or you notice the pain shortly after flossing, it’s usually a sign that there’s something else going on in your mouth. Some of those possibilities aren’t very serious, while others are cause for concern. 

Canker Sores

One of the not-so-serious causes of gum pain is a canker sore. These non-contagious sores can affect anywhere in your mouth, including your gums. They’re usually a small red bump but can also be covered by a white coating. Canker sores can be painful, but they’re usually short-lived. There’s typically no reason to worry about canker sores as they’ll go away on their own, however, if you have one that doesn’t disappear within two weeks, schedule a visit with your Boerne dentist. 

Minor Burns

Another potential reason behind gum pain that shouldn’t worry you is a minor burn. These painful and pesky burns can happen from eating hot food or drinking a hot beverage too quickly before it has a chance to cool. The result can be a minor, yet painful, burn that can affect your gums, roof of the mouth, or really any of the mouth’s soft tissues. There’s no treatment for these incredible common minor burns and the pain will resolve on its own. Just try to avoid biting into a hot slice of pizza too quickly. 

Hormonal Changes

This cause of gum pain only applies to women, but it’s still worth talking about. Women’s hormone levels fluctuate often, especially prior to and during menstruation as well as with pregnancy. These changes in hormones can affect a lot of areas of the body, and surprisingly, the gums are one of those areas. Gum tissue can become swollen, red, and tender, but these symptoms are typically temporary and should resolve on their own. 

Oral Cancer

One of the more serious potential causes of gum pain is oral cancer. Similarly to canker sores, oral cancer can first show signs as a sore, sometimes with pain and sometimes without. While the sore or the pain doesn’t need to occur on the gums, it certainly can. In fact, oral cancer can affect any area of the mouth including the gums, tongue, cheeks, and throat. Oral cancer can be treated successfully, but it’s important to catch it in the early stages. That’s why seeing your dentist in Boerne every six months is so important. Any abnormalities or changes that have occurred can be thoroughly examined, and any problems can be caught and treated before they have a chance to develop into more serious, harder to treat problems. 

Gum Disease

The other serious cause of gum pain that we’ll be discussing in this blog is gum disease. As we mentioned earlier, bleeding when flossing isn’t normal, and there’s usually another explanation. Oftentimes, gum disease is to blame. Gum disease usually shows the following signs and symptoms in addition to bleeding: 

  • Tender, swollen gums
  • Bad breath that doesn’t go away
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth

If gum disease isn’t diagnosed and treated, it can lead to tooth loss as well as other problems related to overall health such as heart disease, kidney disease, certain cancers, and Alzheimer’s. 

Any type of gum pain that doesn’t resolve itself or lasts a few weeks is usually a sign that you should schedule an appointment with your dentist in Boerne sooner rather than later. Your dental team will help determine the root cause of your gum pain and talk with you about the best treatment for your specific situation.