Have Fun in the Sun This Summer: 3 Tips for a Healthy Mouth

Things are heating up, and we know how exciting it can be to get out and travel to experience all that the gorgeous summer season has to offer us. Your Boerne dentist is excited too, and we thought you might want some helpful tips on how to take care of your teeth when the temperatures heat up.

Tip #1 – Remember: Your Teeth Aren’t Tools

Whether you’re hopping on a flight to your exciting vacation destination or if you’re going to be in the area for more of a ‘staycation’ with your family, it’s important to remember to take care of your smile — no matter where you are in the country or the world. We always want to remind our patients that their teeth are strong, but they’re not strong enough to be used as tools. You can easily end up with a tooth that’s chipped or broken because you tried to use it to open a bottle, wrapper, chip bag, etc.

Sometimes it is too easy not to use your teeth to rip open that annoying plastic bag to get the job done more quickly, but instantly, your smile could be at risk for unwanted and unnecessary damage. Use your beautiful smile to enjoy your favorite summer treats (and don’t forget to brush).

Tip #2 – Watch Out for the Sun

Your Boerne dentist knows how important it is for everyone of all ages to protect themselves from harmful UV rays from the sun. Don’t forget to wear plenty of sunscreen and stay hydrated with water when outside this summer. Here’s another tip that some people forget: Don’t forget about your lips. Remember to always apply a lip balm with a sun protection factor or SPF of at least 15.

Why? Because your lips are very sensitive and susceptible to getting sunburn, just like the rest of your body. Over time, this can lead to other health issues, including skin or oral cancer. In short, don’t forget to pack your lip balm and protect your lips while you’re enjoying the outdoors.

Tip #3 – Keep Up With Your Hygiene Routine

Schedules can change in the summer thanks to kids being out of school and vacations being planned across Boerne. Sometimes it’s easy to fall out of our regular routines, including brushing our teeth. Things tend to fall to the wayside, and that’s OK. Summer is all about having fun, and that’s what we want you to do.

Just don’t forget about taking care of your smile. Your at-home oral hygiene routine is essential to keeping your teeth in good shape in between your visits with us. This helps keep your teeth free from cavities or decay. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing them once is the perfect way to ensure they stay in top shape and protect your overall well-being.

Be smart and be careful this summer, but most importantly, enjoy every minute. If you’re looking for a dentist in Boerne to help keep your teeth healthy, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us.

How Often Should You Use Mouthwash?

It’s a well-known fact that your dentist in Boerne recommends that everyone brush their teeth twice a day and floss once a day. But what about mouthwash? Should mouthwash be a part of your everyday oral hygiene routine? If so, how often should you use it?

Benefits of Mouthwash

Mouthwash can be an effective way to remove hard-to-reach bacteria in the mouth. The benefit of this is that these bacteria can no longer stick around and create cavities. Mouthwash can also be effective at freshening breath. Additionally, there are specialty mouthwashes available by prescription from your dentist in Boerne and may be useful after dental surgery, if you have sensitivity, or suffer from dry mouth.

How Often Should You Use Mouthwash?

While it can depend on the specific mouthwash you use and the advice of your dentist, most mouthwashes should be used no more than twice a day. Make sure to read the label and follow the instructions.

Can You Use Too Much Mouthwash?

Using mouthwash several times a day for a long period of time may cause more harm than good, especially if you’re using an alcohol-based brand. Alcohol can irritate the soft tissues of the mouth and may also cause dry mouth. Dry mouth may exacerbate some problems that you’re trying to avoid in the first place, such as bad breath and cavity development. Even mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol may cause unwanted side effects such as tooth staining if used too often. Make sure you talk with your dentist in Boerne about any mouthwash you use and how often you use it.

Side Effects of Mouthwash

Negative side effects of using mouthwash are rare, but they can happen. Some common side effects include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Teeth staining
  • Sensitivity after using the mouthwash
  • Canker sores or mouth sores

If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using the mouthwash and contact your dentist.

How to Choose the Best Mouthwash

Choosing the best mouthwash for you will depend on your wants and needs. You can select either an alcohol-based option or a non-alcohol-based product. There are even options available that don’t include any artificial coloring. Either way, make sure you choose an option that contains an antibacterial and includes the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

If you’re concerned about whether or not your mouthwash may be doing more harm than good, or you have questions about the best mouthwash for you, never hesitate to schedule an appointment at our Boerne dental office. We’re always happy to help!

Why Do I Have Cavities If I Don’t Eat Sugar?

Cutting back on sugar can be difficult because it’s in so many foods and drinks, and sometimes in surprising amounts. But reducing your sugar intake or eliminating it from your diet altogether can certainly help your overall health as well as your dental health. After all, there’s a reason your dentist in Boerne isn’t a huge fan of the stuff. Sugar is often considered the leading cause of cavities. But the truth is, even if you don’t eat sugar, you can still get cavities.

What Is a Cavity?

Cavities are so common in the United States that the CDC says 90% of Americans over the age of 20 have had at least one cavity in their lifetime. These tiny areas of tooth decay, if left untreated, will only become bigger and deeper and also become more difficult to treat. Cavities begin as a small hole or pit in a tooth where acid or bacteria has attacked the enamel. During this stage, cavities can easily be fixed with a filling from your dentist in Boerne. However, cavities that continue to progress can sometimes require more complex treatment such as a root canal or even tooth extraction.

Surprising Things The Cause Cavities

We’ve already shared that many people think cavities are a problem of eating too much sugar, and while that may be the case, there are other reasons why a cavity develops.

  • Dry Mouth

If a patient’s mouth is dry it’s more likely that they will have cavities. Usually, saliva will help neutralize acids and rinse away bacteria that can cause cavities. But when saliva production is too low and the mouth feels too dry, bacteria and acids are left lingering around to cause damage to the enamel and, you guessed it, cause cavities.

  • Carbohydrates & Acids

Besides sugar, there are other foods that can increase the risk of cavities. The two most concerning are acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and foods with a lot of carbohydrates. Acidic foods and drinks further aid in the mouth acid’s ability to weaken enamel while carbs fuel the bacteria, allowing them to thrive.

  • Bad Brushing or Flossing

There are many reasons why it’s important to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day, but one of the main reasons is to prevent cavities. Brushing your teeth in the morning and at night will remove plaque and plaque acids that have built up throughout the day. Flossing reaches those tricky areas that a toothbrush can’t reach and where cavities are more likely to develop.

Cavity Symptoms

Patients may experience different symptoms, but some of the most common signs of a cavity include:

  • Pain when you bite
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Brown, black, or white spots
  • Toothache
  • Pits or holes in a tooth

If you think that you may have a cavity, call your dentist in Boerne to schedule an appointment.

Even though cavities are incredibly common, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of getting one. Make sure you brush and floss your teeth regularly, limit your intake of sugary, acidic, or high-carbohydrate foods, and drink plenty of water daily. Of course, you should also see your dentist every six months for a checkup.

4 Early Warning Signs of Dental Trouble

Whether or not you see your dentist in Boerne every six months, the truth is, things in your mouth can change rapidly and you may experience a sudden onset of symptoms that may concern you. However, not every new thing that you notice in your teeth, gums, or mouth is necessarily something to worry about. So how do you know whether what you’re experiencing is an early warning sign of dental trouble or not? Let’s find out.

Signs It’s Time to See a Dentist

It’s important to pay attention to changes in your oral health, just as it’s important to pay attention to changes in the rest of your body. Oftentimes, if you catch a dental problem early, treatment is easier, quicker, less expensive, and can keep a small problem from becoming a big problem. Here are some of the most common early warning signs of dental trouble that you should look out for.

  • Bleeding Gums

Gums that bleed or are red and swollen can be an early sign of gum disease. This serious condition can lead to problems in the mouth as well as throughout the rest of the body. In fact, gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, respiratory problems, and tooth loss. While gum disease can be treated successfully in its earliest stages, it can reach a point where it becomes impossible to reverse. Since early detection is key, it’s crucial to see your dentist in Boerne as soon as possible if your gums bleed when you eat or while brushing and flossing your teeth.

  • Bad Breath

Bad breath may seem like a silly thing to be concerned about, but in actuality, it can be a sign that something is wrong. Chronic bad breath can result from a buildup of bacteria in the mouth, whether due to not brushing your teeth enough or because of gum disease. Despite being embarrassing, bad breath may also indicate problems in other areas of your body such as GERD, kidney disease, or diabetic problems like ketoacidosis.

  • Tooth Sensitivity

Many people experience tooth sensitivity, and sometimes it’s not a sign of a problem that needs attention. However, if tooth sensitivity occurs suddenly or the zings of pain make it impossible to enjoy your favorite hot or cold foods, it’s best to visit your dentist. Tooth sensitivity can be a sign of gum recession, cavities, or a broken or cracked tooth.

  • Pain 

Pain in a tooth, your jaw, or the gums usually requires a dental visit to get relief. Pain is never normal and is your body’s way of letting you know that something isn’t right. A toothache may mean there’s a cavity. Jaw pain may be a sign of TMD, a disorder that affects the jaw joint. Gum pain may indicate gum disease or recession. The best way to get out of pain is to find out what’s causing it and allow your dentist to recommend the best treatment for you.

Some of the best ways to prevent these problems and avoid an unexpected dental appointment are to take good care of your oral health at home by brushing and flossing your teeth every day, drinking plenty of water, and eating a well-balanced diet. It’s also important to see your dentist in Boerne at least twice a year for regular checkups. These checkups can catch any potential problems before they interfere with your life and require an emergency visit.

Why Do Some People Get White Spots On Their Teeth?

Everyone wants a bright, white smile. But not everyone wants teeth that have spotty areas of even whiter patches. However, this is incredibly common. But why do some people get white spots on their teeth? Can you remove them? Are they anything to worry about? Here’s the lowdown from your dentist in Boerne on what these spots are and what to do if you have this condition.

Causes of White Spots

There are many different things that can cause white spots to appear on teeth, and some of the causes can occur in childhood, but the spots still show in your adult smile. Some causes of white spots can include: 

  • Too much fluoride
  • Trauma to teeth
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Hypoplasia
  • Diet

While many causes of white spots aren’t serious, some can result in additional problems. This is why it’s important to talk to your dentist in Boerne about any changes to your teeth or if these spots bother you. 

A Closer Look

Let’s take a closer look at some of the main reasons behind white spots on teeth. 

Too Much Fluoride

One of the main causes of white spots is something called fluorosis. Fluorosis occurs during childhood when there’s too much exposure to fluoride. Fluoride is beneficial in strengthening tooth enamel and keeping cavities away. But too much of it can cause these little white spots to appear. These white spots can then stick around and continue to show up in adult teeth. 

Hypoplasia

Hypoplasia is another cause of white spots that typically occurs during childhood but can also happen as an adult. This condition weakens tooth enamel and can be brought on by some medications, dental trauma, diabetes, and other illnesses

Demineralization

Demineralization occurs when too much bacteria is left lingering on teeth, allowing it to wear down enamel and not only potentially cause white spots, but also an increased risk of cavities

Diet

Your dentist in Boerne recommends that everyone follow a well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and limited amounts of sugar and acid. Not only will acidic and sugary snacks weaken enamel and increase the risk of decay, but they can also cause white spots to appear on teeth. 

How to Treat White Spots on Teeth

Treating white spots on teeth may depend on what caused them to begin with. Some ways to remove white spots may include forms of cosmetic dentistry such as porcelain veneers or whitening your teeth. You should always start by talking to your dentist about treatment options. 

Some of the best ways to prevent white spots from showing up on your teeth as an adult are to brush and floss your teeth every day, eat a well-balanced diet, and maintain regular dental checkups every six months. 

Post-Filling Pain: What’s Normal, What’s Not

Cavities are one of the most common dental issues your dentist in Boerne treats every day, especially for patients with a bit of a sweet tooth. Fortunately, fillings today are more convenient, comfortable, and affordable than ever. However, sometimes there’s a little sensitivity post-filling treatment. While the discomfort is generally very mild, we understand that it may concern you. Let’s look at why jaw or teeth pain after a dental filling occurs, and what you can do about it.

Why Am I in Pain?

Post-filling pain can be tricky to predict because every patient and every smile is different. Some people are more prone to pain post-treatment because of the following reasons:

  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Suffering from gingivitis or gum disease
  • Having a tooth infection that is left untreated
  • Having teeth that are too crowded

Even if none of these apply to you and your oral health, there’s a chance that you might still feel pain after your filling is complete.

It’s All About Pressure

Most cavities are not painful, and patients don’t experience any discomfort during and following their filling procedure with their Boerne dentist. However, if any discomfort does occur, you’d probably wonder why. It turns out the answer to this question is simple — it’s pressure. After your filling is permanently in place, the piece of your tooth that was damaged by bacteria is now filled in, adding new pressure to the area. This can change how air and saliva move across your tooth, causing sensitivity. 

How to Address Pain and Discomfort

Post-filling pain is generally nonexistent or mild for most patients. However, if you experience pain, there are some things you can do to help you feel better after your dental treatment. You can try over-the-counter pain medications; just be sure to follow the recommended dosage directions and instructions. Try applying a cold compress on your cheek or jaw to minimize pain. You might also want to avoid certain hot and cold foods for a few days to give your mouth time to heal.

If you have questions about what you’ve read here or need to speak to someone about your dental health dilemmas, including cavities, please schedule a consultation today at our dental office in Boerne. We have the training, tools, and technology to help heal your smile and give you back the confidence to live life with a great grin.

7 Healthy Habits for Stronger Teeth

Our teeth are essential to our health and well-being, but unfortunately, they can also be one of the most fragile parts of our bodies. Cavities, broken or missing teeth, and gum disease all weaken your teeth and can cause you serious problems down the road if they’re not taken care of properly. Thankfully, there are many steps you can take to strengthen your teeth so that they last a lifetime and stay healthy. These seven methods from your dentist in Boerne will help you have strong teeth that will last you a lifetime!

  • Brush & Floss

One of the most important and easiest things you can do to keep your teeth strong is to brush and floss them regularly. Your dentist in Boerne recommends brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day. This duo of brushing and flossing will help remove dangerous bacteria and plaque from not only the surfaces of the teeth but in between the teeth as well. If bacteria and plaque are allowed to build up on teeth, they will produce an acidic byproduct. This acid will wear down tooth enamel and can leave teeth at greater risk for decay

  • Don’t Forget Your Tongue

Our tongues have a ton of tiny nooks and crannies for bacteria to hide, and it’s important to remove these cavity-causing culprits. The best way to do that is to gently brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth. This can remove even more bacteria and can also make you less likely to experience bad breath.  

  • Reduce Sugar & Carbs

We all know that dentists don’t like sugar, but what’s that have to do with carbs? Well, the truth is, our bodies break down carbs into glucose and they can act a lot like sugar. So when you’re looking for smile-smart foods to eat or snacks in between meals, try to limit your intake of sugary treats or those high in carbohydrates. Too much sugar or too many carbs can feed plaque bacteria and increase acid production, again increasing the risk of weakening teeth.  

  • Treat Grinding

Many people grind their teeth in either times of stress or when they’re sleeping. Most of the time, they may not even realize they’re doing it. But teeth grinding can lead to a whole host of dental problems, including wear and tear of enamel. If you think you grind your teeth, talk with your dentist in Boerne about the best ways to stop grinding in order to protect your teeth. 

  • Don’t Ignore Reflux

Although reflux, indigestion, and heartburn are digestive problems, they can still affect your oral health. These conditions can cause stomach acid to enter the mouth which can damage enamel. If you have reflux or other digestive concerns, we recommend talking with your doctor about treatment options. 

  • Stay Hydrated

Many Americans don’t drink enough water, but we should all do our best to drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day to stay hydrated. Not only can being hydrated help you feel better overall, but it’s also beneficial for both your overall health and oral health. Drinking water helps neutralize acids, keep bad breath away, and wash away bacteria. 

  • Schedule Bi-Annual Dental Visits

Besides taking good care of your teeth through a great oral hygiene routine, eating a well-balanced diet, and drinking plenty of water, there’s one more thing you should do in order to protect your teeth — see your dentist in Boerne at least twice a year. Professional dental cleanings will help remove plaque and tartar buildup that could wear down enamel and exams can help catch any problems before they turn into complex concerns. 

If you do have weakened enamel, don’t fear. Your dentist can help you control erosion and talk with you about treatments and any additional steps you can take at home to keep erosion at bay. 

4 Reasons to Use Your Dental Benefits Before the End of the Year

If you have dental insurance, it’s important to remember that the benefits won’t last forever. Your plan may have an annual renewal date or it may expire if you don’t use it within a certain amount of time, so there are plenty of reasons to get moving and see your dentist in Boerne before time runs out! Here are 4 reasons why you should use your dental insurance before it expires.

  • Yearly Maximums Don’t Roll Over

In most cases, you’ll have a yearly maximum on how much insurance will pay for your dental expenses in a given year. But if you don’t go to the dentist and you don’t use this money before your policy restarts, it doesn’t rollover. You should always try to use any and all benefits your insurance plan provides with your dentist in Boerne

  • You’re Paying For It

If you’re paying for dental insurance through your employer, you will see deductions taken out of each paycheck. But if you don’t use the insurance, that money is wasted. Even if you don’t necessarily need services like cosmetic dentistry, you should still see your dentist twice a year for exams, x-rays, and cleanings. Talk with your dentist to see what your insurance will cover for these visits. 

  • Waiting Can Be Worse

Numerous dental issues start without ever showing a symptom. But that can quickly change. This is one reason why bi-annual visits to your dentist are so important. Your dentist can catch potential problems when they’re easy to fix and less costly. But if you don’t use your insurance benefits and don’t see the dentist regularly, dental problems can become more difficult to fix and potentially more expensive. After all, dental insurance doesn’t cover everything, so it’s better to use these benefits on preventing problems in the first place. 

  • Don’t Forget About Your FSA

If you have a Flexible Savings Account (FSA) through your employer that can be used on dental care, know that these benefits may also expire at the end of 2021. Again, this is a savings plan that you paid money into. Make sure you get the most out of your investment. 

Don’t wait until December to take full advantage of your dental benefits. With holiday schedules and the chaos that comes with them, your dentist in Boerne is sure to book up quickly. Schedule your appointment today! 

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.