New Year’s Resolutions for Better Oral Health

young boy brushing his teethSomething interesting happens around this time every year. People start reflecting on the last twelve months and start thinking about some things they can change in order to make the next twelve even better. These changes, or resolutions, are usually quickly lost within the first few weeks of the new year. But this year, our dental office in Lewisburg wants to help you make some solid, easy-to-keep resolutions to improve your oral health in 2019.  

Brush & Floss. One of the easiest resolutions you can make for better oral health is to brush and floss your teeth regularly. This means brushing twice a day, every day, and flossing once a day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to gently (emphasis on gently) scrub away bacteria and plaque buildup. But brushing alone doesn’t reach all surfaces of your teeth. This is where flossing comes into play. Flossing between each and every tooth daily removes the things that brushing alone can miss. Following this at-home oral health routine is one of the best ways you can improve your oral health.

Drink Water. Drinking water is a simple thing that can make a big difference in your health. Being hydrated allows our bodies to function properly and efficiently. It’s also great for oral health; water rinses away bacteria and neutralizes acid which, if not removed, will cause decay and cavities. Water can also keep breath fresh by fighting off dry mouth. This year, commit to drinking at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day and drinking other beverages in moderation.

Visit Your Dentist in Lewisburg. We recommend dental visits at least every six months, sometimes more if appropriate. These dental checkups are important for several reasons including:

  • Deep cleanings to remove plaque and tartar buildup
  • Diagnosing any problems early before they cause bigger problems
  • Monitoring oral health for signs of potential disease, whether oral or systemic

Many systemic, whole-body problems such as heart disease and diabetes can actually first show signs and symptoms in the mouth. When caught early at your regular dental appointments, treatment can be easier and more successful. Signs of more oral-specific problems such as gum disease and oral cancer can also show signs early, making the chances of solving these serious problems more likely.

The best way to follow through with New Year’s resolutions is to write them down, make a plan, and stick with it. When it comes to resolutions involving your oral health, the team at our Lewisburg dental office is here to help. Call us to schedule an appointment today and let’s get started on the best year your smile has ever seen.

Welcoming new patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Williamsport, and nearby areas.

The 8 Worst Habits for Teeth

ice cubes and lemonsSeeing your dentist in Lewisburg twice a year is one of the best ways you can protect your smile and keep your mouth healthy. Pair those visits with a good oral hygiene routine at home and your oral health is pretty well protected. Except when the things we do or the foods we eat counteract our hard work. In this blog, we cover some of the worst habits for your teeth.

  • Tobacco Use – Let’s start with a pretty well-known habit that’s dangerous to oral health. Using tobacco, whether it’s cigarettes or chewing tobacco, can cause tooth discoloration and increase the chance of gum disease and oral cancer.
  • Eating Lemons – Eating too much of any citrus fruit, including lemons, can be bad for teeth. Citrus fruits are loaded with acid that essentially erodes tooth enamel. Without the protective layer of enamel, teeth are exposed to bacteria and are more likely to get cavities.
  • Drinking Soda – Another commonly known culprit of cavities are soft drinks. These beverages are packed with sugar, and as we all know, sugar is bad for teeth. What makes soda particularly damaging is that when we drink it, it coats our mouths and teeth with sugar, essentially bathing them in sugar.  
  • Crunching on Ice Cubes – Chewing these frozen solid cubes can cause tiny little cracks in our teeth where bacteria can camp out and cause cavities. Eating ice can also cause large, serious chips and breaks.
  • Using Teeth as Tools – Using our teeth for anything other than chewing is a bad idea. Yet many people turn to their teeth to rip, saw, or cut open packages or to hold onto things when two hands aren’t enough. These are surefire ways to crack or chip teeth.  
  • Nail Biting – Not only are our nails loaded with bacteria, but they’re also really hard. Using our teeth to trim our nails can easily cause damage. Nail biting may also lead to jaw pain or TMD/TMJ.
  • Too Much Whitening – Getting a whiter smile is safe and possible with many teeth whitening products. However, using these products too often can cause sensitivity and erode enamel.
  • Brushing Too Hard – Brushing your teeth twice a day is one thing, a very good thing. But brushing your teeth twice a day when you’re scrubbing too hard isn’t so great. A rough brushing will do more harm than good by scratching up tooth enamel and damaging gums. Gums may even recede, leaving teeth sensitive.

When it comes to protecting your teeth and overall oral health, make sure you’re not only brushing twice a day and visiting our dental office in Lewisburg every six months, but that you’re also staying aware of all the things that can damage your smile. Do your best to avoid these dangers or at least enjoy them in moderation.

Welcoming patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Williamsport, and nearby communities.

It’s National Dental Hygiene Month at Your Lewisburg Dental Office

dental hygiene appointmentThe month of October seems to kick off the beginning of the holiday season, and at our dental office in Lewisburg, we have one more reason to celebrate! Every October the American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) sponsors National Dental Hygiene Month to recognize the hard work and dedication of dental hygienists all around America. We’re so lucky to have our talented hygiene team and we wanted to dedicate this blog to them and their jobs!

What Do Dental Hygienists Do?

Dental hygienists are responsible for many aspects of their patients’ oral health and are often the first line of defense for patients. Their main responsibilities revolve around the prevention of many dental concerns including cavities and gum disease. Besides providing patients with a thorough cleaning at every appointment, they also help educate patients on oral hygiene, answer any concerns patients may have, and many will take dental x-rays.

Let’s Talk About Oral Hygiene

Perhaps the most common thing that dental hygienists do is give their patients tips on how to maintain a healthy mouth. They’ll talk about proper brushing and flossing techniques, whether mouthwash may be beneficial, and other tricks to help keep teeth problem and cavity-free. Let’s take a closer look at each aspect of a good oral hygiene routine.

Brush

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing your teeth twice a day — once in the morning and once at night — for a minimum of two minutes each time. During those two minutes, your hygienist and dentist in Lewisburg suggest using gentle circles with a soft-bristled toothbrush held at a 45 degree angle. Practicing this technique will remove bacteria and plaque from teeth without causing damage.

Floss

We should all floss our teeth everyday, and not just when we feel the annoyance of piece of food stuck between our teeth. If we don’t floss regularly we actually don’t clean about 35% of every tooth. Food particles left around too long will only feed bacteria and increase the chance for decay. Make sure to gently wiggle floss between each tooth and up under the gums.

Rinse

When it comes to mouthwash, your dental hygienist may or may not suggest using one. There are plenty types of mouthwash that can help an assortment of concerns such as dry mouth. However, some mouthwashes may make some problems worse. For example, mouthwashes that contain alcohol may actually make dry mouth worse and only temporarily alleviate bad breath. Talk with your hygienist about what’s right for you.

Chew

Believe it or not, chewing a piece of sugar-free gum can help keep mouths healthy. Look for a gum with the ADA Seal of Acceptance — this means it’s been researched and declared safe for smiles. Chewing gum in between brushings or after meals can increase saliva production which will help neutralize acid, protecting teeth against decay and enamel wear.

The next time you visit our Lewisburg dental office, make sure to thank your dental hygienist. Also make sure to keep your appointments every six months, practice good at-home oral hygiene, and contact us as soon as possible if you experience a dental emergency.

Welcoming patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Williamsport.

Bad Breath Remedies

embarrassed womanAt our dental office in Lewisburg, we understand how having bad breath can affect our patients’ lives. We’re commonly asked what causes bad breath in the first place, and more importantly, how to make it go away. In this week’s blog we cover a few helpful bad breath remedies that can help freshen breath once and for all.

4 Ways to Beat Bad Breath

Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Making sure you brush every day, twice per day is one of the best ways to remove any bacteria from your teeth that may be contributing to bad breath. But these stinky bacteria don’t only live on teeth, they also lurk under the gums. That’s one reason why flossing everyday is also an important part of any oral hygiene routine. Also, don’t forget about your tongue. It’s packed with tiny grooves and places where bacteria love to hide. Gently brushing your tongue or using a tongue scraper can really help.

Quit Smoking

Smokers’ breath can be blamed on more than just the smell of cigarettes alone. Chemicals in cigarettes can also contribute to an unpleasant smell. These chemicals linger in the mouth long after a cigarette is put out and can prolong bad breath. The smoke itself also stays in the lungs for a period of time after smoking and releases a little bit with every breath.

Eat More Healthy Foods

There’s some truth to the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Eating crunchy, raw fruits and vegetables such as apples, celery, and carrots will help scrub plaque and bacteria off of teeth to help keep breath fresh.

Hydrate Your Mouth
Certain medications, smoking, and a number of other things can cause dry mouth. And what tends to go hand-in-hand with dry mouth? Bad breath. While drinking plenty of water daily can help, there are times when that’s just not enough. If that’s the case, you can talk to your dentist about the possibility of using a hydrating rinse. Also consider that if you’re stuffy and can’t breathe out of your nose, there’s a good chance your mouth will dry out from so much mouth breathing. A decongestant may help.

Bad Breath Isn’t Just a Mouth Problem

Having chronic bad breath can be embarrassing, but it may also be a sign of something more serious. Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be a sign of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious infection that can begin to affect the rest of the body if left untreated. Many studies have shown a link between gum disease and diabetes, an increased risk for heart disease, and stroke. What’s more is different types of smells may indicate a problem somewhere else in the body including liver or kidney disease.

Bad breath isn’t something to take lightly. It’s best to talk with your dentist in Lewisburg about how long you’ve experienced bad breath, your health history, and any other symptoms you may have sooner rather than later.

If you have bad breath we welcome you to schedule an appointment at our Lewisburg dental office. We’ll work with you to find the root of the problem and discuss the best ways to get you relief. Don’t wait, give us a call today.

Accepting patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, and Williamsport

Eat Whole Grains for a Healthy Smile

bowl of whole grain riceSeptember is recognized as Whole Grains Month and is a 30-day celebration for all things grainy. These whole grains are beneficial for heart health, overall health, and may even boost oral health too. In this blog, our Lewisburg dental office covers some quick facts about whole grains and how it relates to good oral health, as well as some of the best ways you can help your family get enough of the good stuff.

How Many Servings of Whole Grains Do You Need?

Like most things, the recommended amount of whole grains varies from age to age and even by gender. Use the handy table below from the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to determine how many whole grains each member of your family should eat every day.

Recommended Daily Whole Grain Servings

Age Female Male
1-3 2 2
4-8 2.5 2.5
9-13 3 3.5
14-18 3.5 4
19-30 3.5 4.5
31+ 3 4

Great Sources of Whole Grain

Getting enough whole grains in your diet may seem difficult, but whole grains can be found in tons of delicious foods including:

  • Cereals
  • Popcorn
  • Bread or Wraps
  • Crackers
  • Pasta

How Do Whole Grains Help Grins?

Whole grains are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are great for bodies of all ages. In terms of oral health, the B vitamins and iron found in whole grains help keep gums healthy, and the magnesium keeps bones and teeth strong. Research also shows that eating a good dose of whole grains can also reduce the risk of gum disease since whole grains help the body better process blood sugar. As we all know, sugar makes your dentist in Lewisburg shiver, and anything that helps protect the body against it is welcomed.

Ensuring that your whole family is eating a well-balanced diet can go a long way in keep both bodies and smiles healthy. Getting regular dental checkups every six months can help too.  If anyone in your family is in need of a dentist, call our dental office in Lewisburg to schedule an appointment today.

Welcoming patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, and Williamsport.

Why Your Mouth Waters

man pondersWhen we talk about your mouth watering, we’re not referring to the sensation you may experience when smelling or eating something delicious. At our dental office in Lewisburg, we talk about mouth watering in terms of dental health. While saliva is an important part of maintaining good oral health, too much of it could be a sign of hypersalivation.

What is Hypersalivation?

Hypersalivation is the medical term used to describe the overproduction of saliva. Basically it means a person has too much saliva in their mouth which can cause them to drool and be uncomfortable or embarrassed. What’s more is that hypersalivation may also be a sign of an underlying problem.

What Causes Hypersalivation?

There are several things that may cause someone to produce too much saliva. Some of the most common explanations are temporary, easily treatable, and no cause for serious concern. However, other times hypersalivation may be sign of something bigger. A few reasons why someone may hypersalivate include:

  • Infections including gum disease
  • Ulcer
  • Acid reflux
  • Side effect of medication
  • Neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease
  • Toxic poisoning

How Much Saliva is Too Much?

Typically people produce around 1.5 quarts of saliva every day. This saliva helps break down food to make it more easily digestible and protects teeth against acids and bacteria that can lead to cavities. However, if someone produces even more than that it can lead to hypersalivation.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Intense desire to spit a lot
  • Drool spots on a pillow
  • Feeling the constant need to swallow
  • Saliva easily falls out during regular activities
  • Difficulty eating or drinking

Excessive saliva production isn’t something that you should ignore. We recommend talking with your dentist in Lewisburg about your symptoms, how long you’ve been experiencing them, and your thorough medical history.

We’re always welcoming new patients at our Lewisburg dental office and will be happy to help. Schedule an appointment with our compassionate team and we’ll work with you to determine what’s causing hypersalivation and the best way to treat it. Give us a call today.

Serving the communities of Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, and Williamsport.

Manual Toothbrush, or Electric Toothbrush? That is the Question…

toothbrushesWe all know that we need to brush our teeth everyday to maintain a healthy mouth and smile. But choosing the right tool for the job can be confusing. The hardest choice we used to have was picking the best color. Now we’re bombarded with tons of options ranging from manual to electric, each claiming to offer the best clean. At our dental office in Lewisburg, we want to help de-clutter the confusion and answer the question once and for all — manual or electric, which is better?

What Do the Studies Say?

This is a great question with a not-so-easy answer. Essentially, it depends on who you ask. The American Dental Association (ADA), for example, states that both manual and electric toothbrushes do what they’re supposed to do — clean teeth by removing plaque and bacteria. Researchers don’t provide a solid conclusion on whether one tool necessarily cleans better than the other. What they do say, however, is that getting a thorough clean isn’t so much about the type of toothbrush used but rather the brushing technique.

On the other hand, companies that make electric toothbrushes publish research occasionally that backs up their claim that electric toothbrushes are better at cleaning teeth than manual toothbrushes. One such study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association reported that nearly 13,000 out of 16,000 participants said they had better oral health after using an electric toothbrush for the duration of the study.

When it really comes down to it, you should pick a toothbrush that you’ll use regularly and fits your unique needs. A good place to start your search is by asking your dentist in Lewisburg and by analyzing the pros and cons to both manual toothbrushes and electric ones.

Weighing the Pros & Cons

Knowing the pros and cons to both types of toothbrushes can help you narrow your search.

Manual Pros

  • Cheaper
  • Portable
  • No need for chargers

Manual Cons

  • No timer makes it too easy to brush too quickly
  • May be difficult for some to use a proper technique resulting in a less effective clean
  • Allow for easier tough scrubbing which can damage enamel and gums

Electric Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Some come with built-in timers
  • Promote gentle, proper brushings

Electric Cons

  • More expensive up front
  • Replacing the heads is expensive, too
  • Inconvenient for those who travel

If you’re still not sure what the best choice is for you, give our Lewisburg dental office a call to schedule an appointment today. We’re always welcoming new patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Williamsport, and nearby neighborhoods and will be happy to help.

June is Men’s Health Month

Men's Health MonthEvery year during the month of June, healthcare providers across the nation promote the importance of prevention and early detection of diseases that affect American men. Our dental practice in Lewisburg is no different. To do our part, we’re dedicating this blog to educating our patients and community on the unique dental issues that often apply to the male population.

The Dangers of Skipping Dental Checkup

It’s typically recommended that everyone visits their dentist at least twice year for proper preventive care and a deeper cleaning than you can get at home. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control, barely 60% of American men between the ages of 18 and 64 went to the dentist in the past year. Skipping regular visits to your dentist in Lewisburg can allow problems to go untreated and lead to bigger, more complicated (and often more expensive) treatment. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry states that it’s all too common for men, in particular, to only go to the dentist when they’re experiencing a problem. Most likely, these problems could have been prevented by keeping bi-annual dental appointments.

Greater Risk of Gum Disease & Oral Cancer

While regular dental appointments can help protect teeth against decay and the need for fillings or more advanced restorative dentistry such as root canals or crowns, they can also diagnose gum disease and oral cancer early when treatment is less invasive and more successful. This is especially important for men since they’re at increased risk for both gum disease and oral cancer. The truth is, oral cancer is twice as common in men than women and, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, 56% of men have gum disease as compared to only 38% of women.

Gum Disease & Men’s Health

Even though oral cancer is certainly scary and serious, gum disease can be quite scary, too. Gum disease can contribute to a host of other problems throughout the body and has been linked to an increased risk in heart disease and certain cancers, as well as prostate health in men. Studies have shown that there is a possible correlation between gum health and prostate health due to something called prostate-specific antigen (PSA). When gums are inflamed because of periodontal disease or the prostate is unhealthy, PSA levels increase. However, PSA levels are substantially higher in those with both a prostate condition as well as gum disease suggesting a connection between the two.

Dry Mouth is More Common, Too

Dry mouth is something that may sound like nothing to worry about, however can contribute it’s own oral health issues. In a healthy mouth, there’s is an abundance of saliva production that helps neutralize acids and wash away harmful bacteria. But someone who suffers from dry mouth doesn’t have the same benefits. This leaves teeth exposed to enamel-eroding acid and decay-causing bacteria.

This month, and every month, we’re here to keep our neighbors healthy. Whether you’re a man who may have been skipping dental visits, or you’re a woman who has men in your life you care about, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at our Lewisburg dental office today.

Welcoming new patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, and Williamsport.

Thinking About Skipping a Brushing Session? Think Again.

young woman brushing teethAt our dental office in Lewisburg, we always recommend that our patients brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes. Following this routine daily isn’t just good for your oral health, but can benefit your overall health, too. However, if you skip a brushing session altogether or don’t brush thoroughly, your body may be at risk for all sorts of scary problems…

Why Two Minutes?

We aren’t alone in our two minute rule. In fact, the American Dental Association also supports brushing for two minutes every day for good oral and overall health. There’s even plenty of research to back up the claim. According to one study in The Journal of Dental Hygiene, patients who brushed for only 30 seconds removed 55% less plaque than those who committed to the full two minutes. Just imagine what would be left lingering around if you skipped brushing altogether?

What Happens if You Don’t Brush for Two Minutes?

Besides plaque buildup, there are other things in your mouth that can stick around and cause problems if not removed regularly through a proper brushing. For instance, food particles that are left behind can feed bacteria found in the mouth. As this bacteria feeds on these tiny pieces of leftover food, they release acid. Acid will then begin to attack tooth enamel and leave teeth at an increased risk for decay. An overabundance of bacteria can also affect gum health. If not treated, it may cause gum disease.

Why is Gum Disease a Concern?

Gum disease is a serious infection caused by an excess of bacteria. Gum disease affects nearly half of all Americans and can eventually lead to tooth loss. But that’s not all. If gum disease isn’t treated by your dentist in Lewisburg, it can start to put other parts of the body in danger.

  • Heart Health

Numerous studies have found a positive correlation between gum disease and heart disease. In fact, researchers estimate that those who have gum disease are twice as likely to also have heart disease.  

  • Diabetes

People who have diabetes and gum disease are in a unique and dangerous position. Advanced gum disease may cause blood sugar levels to increase, causing diabetic complications.

  • Respiratory Problems

Bronchitis and pneumonia are caused by bacteria that may come from the mouth. So if there’s enough bacteria hanging around to cause gum disease, it can also move throughout the body, into the lungs, and make you sick.

Brushing twice a day for two minutes can help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth and minimize your risk for gum disease and the whole-body concerns that can go with it. In addition to those four minutes of brushing a day, make sure you also visit our Lewisburg dental office twice a year for an even more thorough cleaning that will not only protect your teeth, but also your overall health.

We’re welcoming new patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Williamsport, and nearby neighborhoods.

“Why Do I Need to Have Dental X-Rays Taken?”

dental x-rayWhen we typically think of x-rays, we may immediately think of a huge machine that’s checking for a broken bone. Dental x-rays are a little bit different. They’re an important part of diagnosing disease or other problems. In fact, at our dental office in Lewisburg, we use dental x-rays as a crucial aspect to our approach to preventive dentistry so we can catch any issues early while they’re still easy to treat. This month, we examine a few things that dental x-rays can help us diagnose as well as some different types of x-rays you may have.

What Do Dental X-Rays Help Diagnose?

At your bi-annual dental appointments, you’ll receive an in-depth exam and thorough cleaning. During these procedures, we’re taking close look at your overall oral health. But there are a lot of places in your mouth where problems can hide. Dental x-rays help us see and diagnose these issues that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. Dental x-rays can help us see:

  • Decay below the surface or in between teeth
  • Bone loss caused by gum disease or other issues
  • Impacted wisdom teeth
  • Damaged bone
  • Abscesses or cysts

Imagery obtained through x-rays give your dentist in Lewisburg the ability to diagnose disease or problems early and oftentimes before you experience any signs or painful symptoms.

What Are the Different Types of Dental X-Rays?

Dental x-rays can be classified as either intraoral or extraoral, both of which show different views of the mouth. Intraoral x-rays are more detailed images of individual teeth while extraoral x-rays show a more comprehensive look at the overall mouth including all of the teeth and the jaw. Each type of x-ray helps your dental team identify different things. Let’s take a closer look…

Intraoral X-Rays

Since intraoral x-rays show close-up details of each tooth, they’re helpful in diagnosing

  • Decay between teeth or fillings
  • Gum disease
  • Bone deterioration

Extraoral X-Rays

With a broader view of the entire mouth, extraoral x-rays can help get an up-close-and-personal look at:

Having dental x-rays taken can help save you from experiencing painful dental problems that may require complex treatment and are a necessary part of a proper preventive approach to dental care. These x-rays emit a low amount of radiation and, along with the additional safety precautions our Lewisburg dental office take, are incredibly safe.

We’re always welcoming new patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Williamsport and nearby neighborhoods. Give us a call today!