6700 West Gate Blvd, Suite 101 Austin, TX 78745

Bleeding Gums

Plaque vs. Tartar: What’s the difference?

Dental CleaningYou’ve seen the commercials, you’ve heard your dental professionals talk about it, but did you know there is a difference between dental tartar and dental plaque? Yes, there is a difference, and a pretty big difference.

First of all, most plaque/tartar levels vary from patient to patient. Why? There are several explanations for these variances such as diet, beverages, home care, proper dental frequency diagnosis and commitment to professional dental cleanings. Most people are good about some of these items and some are not, regardless at the end of the day, it’s all about maintenance! But really, what is the difference plaque and tartar? Let’s start off with an explanation of both.

What is plaque?

Tartar is the white, sticky, filmy bacteria that forms on your teeth almost immediately after eating food. Food and beverage products with high concentrations of simple carbohydrates, such as white sugars, white flours, high fructose corn syrups etc.. breakdown into sugars which create a bacteria thus turning into an acid that destroys the teeth’s enamel which the body is incapable of repairing. By brushing and flossing this sticky filmy bacterium off the teeth, gums and in between the teeth, potential decay is decreased significantly.

What is tartar/calculus?

Tartar, a.k.a. calculus is the accumulation of the white sticky filmy tartar that hardens on your teeth because of poor home care and lack of removal. Tartar can form in areas that are inaccessible with your toothbrush; by avoiding this, flossing is encouraged. When calculus forms on the hard tissues or teeth, it begins to recess the supporting gum tissues around the tooth which then give way to the disintegration of the bone as well. Why does this matter? It matters because as bone disintegrates so does the integrity of the tooth; teeth can become mobile and more susceptible to periodontal involvement. Periodontal involvement of the teeth can create a slurry of long term issues for your teeth and overall oral health.

What can I do to avoid this?

By daily brushing and flossing, and removing plaque before it hardens into tartar is Step 1. Also, coming in to have your teeth cleaned 2 x’s a year or for your designated frequency is Step 2. We pre-appoint our patients for their dental cleanings because it creates continuity, helps our patients stay on task with their frequency and committed to their oral health. By keeping up with your regular cleanings, your cleanings will be smoother and more effective. We also educate our patients on how to create healthy eating habits when ti comes to eating. By avoiding simple carbohydrates, food and beverages with a lot of sugar, you can create less acidic create, hence creating less plaque and healthier mouth!

[yext-productlist id=”79013″]

Be clean before you get cleaned!

tooth and bacteriaDid you know that your toothbrush is a vessel for bacteria? And if it is not appropriately kept, you may be amassing an assortment of germs and bacteria and transferring these to your oral cavity when you brush your teeth? The ADA recently came out with a study along with the University of Alabama that has shown and proven the importance of proper storage of your toothbrush and the effects of bacteria that grow on your toothbrush.

It has been said for years to make sure you always store your toothbrush 8 feet away from your toilet, because fecal fumes and bacteria can shower your toothbrush and expose you to intestinal bacteria, coliforms, yeasts and Staphylococci (Staph Infection). Yes, that’s right! According to Maria L. Geisinger, DDS, assistant professor of periodontology in the School of Dentistry at the University of Alabama Birmingham, “Appropriate storage and care of your toothbrush are important to achieving personal oral hygiene and optimally effective plaque removal. “

Our mouth has hundreds of varieties of microorganisms which are capable of transporting to your toothbrush when you are brushing your teeth. As we all know, mostly all of us store our toothbrushes in the bathroom, which can be considered the cleanest room in your home but can also expose your toothbrush and your oral cavity to a slurry of gastrointestinal microorganisms that can be transmitted by “fecal-oral” path. According to Dr. Geisinger “The number of microorganisms can vary wildly from undetectable to 1 million colony-forming units.” Proper care of your toothbrush is the essential to your health overall.

So the question remains, what is the correct way and method to store your toothbrush in order to avoid transference of these bacteria and microorganisms?

What should I do if I am sick? Should I continue to use the same toothbrush?

It has been recommended by the ADA to throw away your toothbrush and replace it after sickness. It’s not worth the risk; no one likes to be sick let alone repeatedly sick! Toss it!

When should I replace my toothbrush?

We recommend you replace your toothbrush every 3 months. Not only do your toothbrush bristles breakdown over time and become less effective, they can also accumulate harmful bacteria that can not only affect you but if stored close to another toothbrush can cross contaminate another toothbrush as well.

We recommend the following to not only procure your oral health but to also offset any accumulation of bacteria in your mouth.

  1. Wash your hands (thoroughly and often)
  2. Regular Cleanings. Don’t miss your routine dental cleaning, exam and x-rays. Make sure to pre-appoint for your 6, 4 or 3 month cleaning so you won’t ever miss a cleaning. By committing to having your teeth cleaned regularly you can decrease the bacterial burden that accrues in your mouth in a very short extent of time. By having your teeth cleaned and examined we can not only catch cavities in their early stages, but we can also eradicate the bacteria that accumulate and are non-removable by just your toothbrush.
  3. Antimicrobial Mouth Rinse. Use Antimicrobial mouth rinse before you brush your teeth. This assists you in decreasing the bacterial burden in your mouth that you can obtain from your toothbrush (if not properly stored).
  4. Don’t share your toothbrush. Ever.
  5. Floss regularly. By flossing your teeth you are removing bacteria from between the teeth, where your toothbrush is incapable of reaching. We recommend you floss 2-3 times a day, but even once is better than nothing. Create a habit, start one time a day and make it part of your regular routine just like brushing your teeth!

Procuring your oral health is paramount! We only get one set of adult teeth, so take care and be wise with your decisions. Get your teeth cleaned regularly, brush and floss daily, wash your hands and use commons sense. Don’t share your toothbrush, ever! By all means store your toothbrush in a cool dry place, preferably upside down in a cup to air dry and make sure to clean out the cup daily. The location where you store your toothbrush, can also accumulate harmful bacteria, so take care and be smart but be consistent!

Brushing 2.0 – Get Informed!

Thought You Knew Everything About Brushing Your Teeth? Think Again!

by Trey M. Latiolais, D.D.S.

Taken from our blog: www.westgatefamilydental.wordpress.com

Recently, we received a question from a patient, they asked:

“Does it promote cavities (or wear enamel) to eat acidic food like tomatoes and then brush your teeth shortly after?”

SHORT ANSWER: YES!!!

tooth-imageEXPLANATION: This is an interesting question that I feel like will benefit the vast majority of readers that come across it. If you ask most people when the best time to brush their teeth was, the answer you would hear over and over would be “after meals and right before bed.” WRONG. Another common answer would be “after breakfast and before bed”. Again I would argue, you guessed it, WRONG. I know this is hard to believe, because it flies in the face of what the majority of people have either been taught or assumed their entire lives. So when is the RIGHT time to brush your teeth? BEFORE MEALS!! I know this seems backwards, but that is because people either have no understanding or don’t fully grasp two main concepts: A) What causes cavities and even more surprising B) why do we brush in the first place? By answering these two questions first, we’ll be able to better wrap our heads around the logic.

WHAT CAUSES CAVITIES?
Cavities are essentially caused by ACID destruction of tooth structure. Two primary factors contribute to this.
1) Acidic foods and beverages can weaken enamel and dentin. Things like soda and sweet tea are a double whammy since they are both acidic and also feed the bacteria to produce more acid.
2) Certain bacteria, specifically Strep mutans, digest sucrose (sugar) and other fermentable carbohydrates producing acid as a byproduct.

WHY DO WE BRUSH?
Common sense tells us that we should brush to get the food off of our teeth, right? Wrong. We brush our teeth specifically to remove plaque and bacteria from our teeth. Food and debris removal is just an added bonus so we don’t get made fun of for having that little piece of green leafy something stuck on our front tooth…you know what I’m talking about.

SO…….If we brush AFTER meals, our teeth have plaque/bacteria on them when we eat or drink. This means that our teeth are being attacked not only by the natural acidity of what we’re ingesting, but also from the acid produced by the bacteria. It only takes 5 minutes for these bacteria to start creating acid. In contrast, it takes 30 minutes for your body to regulate the acidity caused by these processes back to a neutral environment. By the time you brush your teeth, it’s too late. In addition, if you brush your teeth following this acid exposure (especially with abrasive toothpaste and/or a hard toothbrush), the tooth structure is going to be more susceptible to mechanical abrasion or erosion. If we brush BEFORE meals, the plaque and bacteria are decreased, limiting the amount of acid that can potentially harm our teeth.

SUMMARY: It’s best to brush first thing in the morning BEFORE breakfast and again after work, but BEFORE dinner. It’s still good to brush before bed, but just make sure it has been at least 30 minutes since you last ate or had your favorite carbonated beverage!

Tagged , , ,

Flossing Makes My Gums Bleed?!

Floss Makes Gums Bleed?!?

If you are not a daily flosser, you may notice when you do floss, that your gums bleed. Some people come to the conclusion that floss is making them bleed and some avoid flossing because of it! Actually, not flossing is what makes gums bleed.

Gums that bleed easily when touched are a sign of gingivitis. Other signs include redness, swelling, and tenderness. Plaque bacteria create toxins that cause these reactions by your gums, a condition known as gingivitis. But it’s not just a condition; because it is caused by bacteria, it is essentially an infection. If any other part of your body bled when you touched it, you would rush straight to the doctor!

It only takes the bacteria in your mouth 24 hours to settle in and start causing the toxins in great enough quantities to cause the signs of gingivitis. That’s why you should floss every day! Swishing with antibacterial rinses can help, but plaque is sticky, so it best removed with floss. So if you are not a flosser, at first your gums may bleed, but you have to keep the bacteria away long enough to give your gums a chance to heal. If they still bleed, get a check-up from your dentist. You may be overdue for a cleaning!


Tagged , ,

All you want for Christmas is an electric toothbrush, right?

toothbrushElectric toothbrushes have been around in the US since the 1960’s. Over time we’ve seen the electric toothbrush evolve from not just an electric toothbrush but also to a sonic toothbrush. We know you hear us hammer on about the importance of brushing and caring for your teeth, and procuring your oral health as a result. And let’s face it, some tooth brushing is better than no tooth-brushing. What if I told you that brushing your teeth with ANY electric toothbrush is almost 100 times more effective than the traditional approach? Yes, it’s true, traditional/manual tooth-brushing allows for approximately only 300 strokes per minute. This might seem like a lot but in the scheme of things and in this day and age of technology, it’s not.

One of the most frequent questions our patients ask is:What toothbrush should I buy and how much should I spend?

Answer: spend what you can afford and honestly any electric toothbrush is better than the traditional approach. However, always make sure you are using a soft toothbrush head and even the cheap $10 Crest electric toothbrushes give you the option of a soft toothbrush head. It is best to avoid using a hard or firm toothbrush head as the results can be quite destructive to your soft tissues. Hard toothbrushes and improper brushing can wear the supporting tissues around the teeth and can over time expose the roots of the teeth which are irreversible and can turn into an unconformable situation.

What’s the difference between a Sonic toothbrush and an Electric toothbrush?

The difference all comes down to rotations per minute. For instance, an Electric toothbrush outputs between 3,000-7,500 rotations per minute whereas a sonic toothbrush outputs between 30,000-40,000 rotations per minutes! Sonic toothbrushes tend to be a little bit more expensive and some people do not like the sound of a sonic toothbrush even though they are the most effective. However, both types of toothbrushes are definitely more beneficial when it comes to preserving your oral health, gum tissues, teeth and removal of plaque and bacteria in the oral cavity.

Benefits of an electric/sonic toothbrush:

  • Most powered toothbrushes have 2 minute timers built in for optimal brushing
  • Long Term Results
  • More Efficient Brushing
  • Faster Brushing
  • Proficient Stain/Plaque Removal

Follow Us

Our Reviews

Contact info

6700 West Gate Blvd
Suite 101 Austin
TX 78745
appt@dryarbrough.com
(512)447-0808