Stellar Dental Hamburg Office Expansion

Stellar Dental, along with “Stellar Tooth” celebrated the opening of the expanded office in Hamburg with just finished renovations. They now have five offices, 22 doctors, serve more than 30,000 patients, and employ 150 people in Western New York.

Growing Stellar Dental Expands Hamburg office

By Megan Tomaszewski
HAMBURG SUN CORRESPONDENT

Finding a reliable dentist that you can not only trust with your teeth, but can afford, can be an arduous process. With insurance restrictions and varying fees and services across different practices, you may have to do a bit of searching around before finding one that fits your needs and budget. Fortunately, with the expansion of local business Stellar Dental, fewer and fewer people are getting caught up in that search.

Founded by Dianna Melman in 2009 in Williamsville, the company was formed on the idea of providing a convenient, comfortable dental experience while still maintaining the individual attention and precision that one could expect at a private practice. Stellar Dental, though, removes a lot of hassle by accepting all insurances and remaining open as late as 8 p.m., according to Stellar Dental general manager of operations Kevin Georger. “We’re really open to our patients’ needs,” Georger said. “One of the things that we’re proud of today is that with multiple locations, we can get people in right away.” In addition to its Williamsville office on Transit Road, Stellar Dental has locations in Hamburg on McKinley Parkway, Tonawanda on Sheridan Drive, Cheektowaga on Union Road, and recently opened their newest location at the former French Road McDonald’s in Cheektowaga on Sept. 8. The company also held a ribbon cutting for its Hamburg facility expansion, adding eight new operatory rooms, at the start of September, and did additional work at its Tonawanda and Williamsville locations over the summer. “The concept was to be very clean, very state-ofthe- art dentistry, and the recipe worked,” Georger said. “From 2009 to today, we’ve gone from 12 operatory rooms to almost 90.” Stellar also specializes in children’s dentistry at their Union Road location, providing a more “kid-friendly” experience to nervous patients. A reason behind the rapid expansion is the growing number of individuals seeking to join their team.

Stellar Dental currently employs 23 dentists, with those coming from their own local practices or right out of the University at Buffalo’s dental program. Overall, the company has approximately 150 staff members, with the Hamburg facility currently looking to bring on a fourth dentist and hygienist. Georger explained that a large draw has been Stellar’s commitment to “allowing dentists to be dentists” by making sure that things like credentialing and scheduling are handled for them. “We try to do everything for our doctors; we take care of everything else,” Georger said. In addition, he said employees are attracted to the cutting-edge technology that Stellar Dental uses, allowing them to address the specific needs and worries of each individual patient and lessening any of their dental anxieties. “The advancements in dental technology helps us a lot. It’s not as aggressive as it used to be,” Georger said. “When people come that haven’t been in for a while, I think they’re surprised. It’s like, ‘Hey, that wasn’t as bad as I thought.’”

It’s not just the technology that makes for a successful trip to the dentist, though, but rather the ones operating the machinery and making sure that the patient feels at ease. Though it’s a large dental company, its one that maintains a sense of familiarity and kindness with customers, according to Georger. “You see this large practice and you think we’re a big corporate entity, but we’re not,” Georger said. “We’re a local business giving back to the local community.”

Blood thinners

Taking Blood Thinners? Here’s What It Means for Your Oral Health

Thinking about holding off on dental work because you’re on blood thinners? As tempting as it may be to cancel a trip to the dentist for fear of complications, ultimately, you may end up compromising your oral health. Anti-coagulant medication will most certainly impact your dentist’s approach to your care, but many procedures can still be conducted safely and successfully. If you’re taking blood thinners due to a current or previous health condition, here’s what you need to know.

How Anti-Coagulants Work
Commonly prescribed anti-coagulants such as warfarin, dabigatran etexilate, or clopidogrel (more widely known by their respective brand names: “Coumadin”, “Pradaxa” and “Plavix”), and even over-the-counter aspirins and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like “Advil”) help reduce the chance of a heart attack or stroke by keeping harmful clots from developing in blood vessels. Certain properties inhibit the release of the chemical thromboxane and other critical factors essential to the clotting process.

While this can be significantly beneficial for those with a coronary condition or history of coronary-related issues, heavy bleeding due to invasive surgical procedures is a serious risk, as are autoimmune reactions. Because of the probability for adverse side effects, it is critical that patients on anti-coagulants share their medical history with care providers prior to proceeding with any form of health treatment.

Dental Implications
Although caution must always be used when dealing with patients on blood thinners, the good news is that many such individuals undergo common (and even some complex) dental procedures everyday without suffering any significant complications. Of course, if blood thinners are only being taken temporarily, it may make more sense to hold off on dental work until you have fully recovered, but in most cases, it is safer to undergo care for non-invasive procedures such as teeth cleaning, fillings, and restoration work without halting your medication. Bruising and slightly longer healing times may be expected, but by applying additional post-treatment measures such as fibrin sponges, silk sutures, and medicinal gauzes, your dentist can keep excess bleeding well under control.

For more invasive procedures that require oral surgery, such as a wisdom tooth extraction, root canal or dental implant, a consultation between your dentist and physician will be required. Approach for treatment will largely depend on weighing the severity of your dental needs against the nature of your larger health condition, and whether it is safe to pause medication for the surgery. Oftentimes, diagnostic blood tests will be requested to help determine your eligibility for surgery.

Other Oral Risks
Anti-coagulants may also come with other oral health risks outside of the dentist’s office. It is not uncommon to experience bruising and/or bleeding of the gums due to brushing and flossing, and injuries to the mouth due to an accident or sports may result in heavier bleeding than normal. See your dentist for changes you may need to make to your personal hygiene and everyday routine in order to help protect your oral health.

Toothache trouble

Toothache Trouble? How to Make the Wait Less Painful
It can happen to anyone: the sudden onset of a throbbing toothache at the most inconvenient of times. Perhaps it arrives in the middle of the night, or worse, at the start of your weekend–when a whole lot of time and agony seem to stand between you and the next available dentist appointment.
You’ll live, of course, but there is no need to suffer so badly! With a little observation and resourcefulness, the wait for professional care can be a lot less excruciating.

Conduct a Self-Exam
Understanding what is causing your tooth to ache can help you identify the best solution for interim relief. While a cavity is the more probable culprit, other common reasons include:

• A damaged filling that has left a sensitive nerve exposed
• An abscessed tooth, which tends to feel more painful due to an infection of the root
• A jaw complication (“TMD”” or “TMJ”) resulting from excessive chewing or grinding
• Sinusitis, an inflammation of the nasal area often confused with tooth pain
You won’t know for sure what’s truly to blame until you see your dentist, but a quick assessment of your symptoms and the location of your discomfort may prove telling. For instance, extremely sharp, shooting pain and fever suggest an abscessed tooth is likely, whereas tenderness in the jaw area and a clicking sound is usually due to TMD.

How to Ease the Pain at Home
Countless tips are touted to zap your toothache as quickly as it started, but aside from visiting your dentist, there is no long lasting cure. For temporary relief however, here are a few tried-and-true measures you can take:
• Take a dose of store-bought pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
• Soak the problem tooth in clove oil to help dull the throbbing
• Avoid yawning or chewing, especially if you suspect your toothache is jaw-related
• Pass on extremely cold or hot foods that may cause acute pain in your tooth
• Wear a mouth guard while sleeping to prevent grinding down on the tooth
• Use an ice pack or cold compress near your problem tooth to minimize any swelling
Rinsing your mouth with water and salt, and stepping up your normal dental routine in general can also keep the problem from getting worse.
(Please note that these suggestions are for adults only. If your child suffers a toothache, consult with his or her pediatrician for safe treatment options.)

Long Term Preventative Care
Once your appointment is under way, use the time you have with your dentist to its fullest. He or she will be able to determine the cause and treat the toothache accordingly. After the problem has been treated, be sure to ask for a detailed explanation and recommendations to help you avoid a similar experience in the future.
Brushing, flossing and regular check-ups continue to play central roles in the world of preventative care, but based on your unique dental situation, additional procedures may be recommended as part of your treatment plan.

Baby teeth and Hygiene

Baby Teeth and Bad Hygiene: What’s There to Lose?

Wisdom Tooth Don’t fall for it, parents! Just because baby teeth are temporary doesn’t mean they don’t matter. Despite what naysayers and wishful thinkers might have you believe, forgetting to care for primary teeth comes at a steep price for your child.

If you’re questioning whether it’s worth wrangling your little one into a dental routine now, these facts prove that adopting good habits early on can pay off big time for your child’s oral health down the road.

1: Baby teeth help shape your child’s speech.
Forming and pronouncing words correctly depends largely on the presence and alignment of baby teeth. Premature loss of any primary teeth can result in speech impediments such as a slur or lisp, and negatively impact both a child’s ability to communicate and his or her self-esteem. Depending on the severity of the case, a speech pathologist may be required to help correct the problem(s).

2: Baby teeth facilitate proper chewing and eating.
In addition to efficiently breaking down solid foods, chewing correctly is important for other reasons. Tooth loss and/or alignment issues can cause unnecessary stress to the jaw and result in serious complications over time, and chewing problems can also interfere with the development of key facial muscles. Improper chewing can even contribute to a nutritional imbalance if poor oral health starts impacting food choices.

3: Baby teeth act as a placeholder for permanent teeth.
Permanent teeth will emerge, but how and where has a lot to do with your child’s first set of pearly whites. Each primary tooth reserves a spot for a permanent tooth, but the loss of this initial placeholder can cause shifting and result in harmful misalignments. Cosmetic issues aside, misaligned teeth can make brushing and flossing more difficult, result in crowded and/or impacted teeth, and contribute to jaw disorders such as TMJ.

4: Maintaining healthy baby teeth helps to instill effective dental habits.
Teaching the ins and outs of good oral hygiene can have a lifelong impact on your child. Introducing healthy dental habits early on can solidify the importance of preventative dental care, making it easier for him or her to stick with these habits throughout adulthood. This can mean a lifetime of optimal oral health, and significantly reduced chances for costly dental problems.

Dental Tips for Baby Teeth
Brushing and flossing may not be your child’s favorite activity, but introducing healthy habits the moment that first tooth appears can make it easier for both parent and child to stick to a routine.

While there is no set timeline for baby teeth to erupt, here are some general guidelines the American Dental Association provides for cleaning and caring for baby teeth:

• From birth (no teeth present): wipe gums clean with a moistened gauze or cloth
• Ages 0-3 (teeth present): brush twice daily with a tiny dab of fluoride toothpaste*
• Ages 3-6: brush twice a day, but use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste
• Any age when teeth touch each other: add flossing to your daily routine

Paying a visit to the pediatric dentist before your child’s first birthday, and getting regular checkups are also crucial to his or her oral health. Depending on your child’s individual situation, certain in-office treatments and/or instructions for at-home care may be recommended.

*Note: Fluoride toothpaste should be expectorated and not swallowed. If you feel your child will swallow the fluoride toothpaste it can be substituted with non-fluoride toothpaste.

chewing gum

A Bite Out Of History: Chewing Gum
Need help whitening your teeth? Want to quit smoking? Trying to lose weight? There’s a chewing gum for all of that and more. New types of chewing gum are introduced all the time, but did you ever wonder how it managed to gain such a grip on consumers? Believe it or not, people have had a love affair with gum for thousands of years. From humble beginnings to hundreds of varieties, here’s a look at how chewing gum rose to become the powerhouse product it is today.

How It Originated
Long before William Wrigley Jr. made a name for chewing gum, ancient civilizations were tapping into trees and other sources of resin and chewing on soft, rubbery substances both for enjoyment and medicinal purposes. Evidence indicates prehistoric Europeans would chew on birch bark tar quite possibly to help relieve toothaches, while Aztecs and Mayans would turn to gum from the chicle tree to appease their thirst or hunger. In North America, Native Americans favored spruce tree resin, and it became commercialized and sold in sticks by a colonist named John Bacon Curtis in 1848.
Eventually, scientist Thomas Adams succeeded in enhancing chicle with flavor, and his work would set off various trials to improve the ability to retain flavor ‚Äì with peppermint found to be particularly effective. Mr. Adams helped bring attention to chewing gum by introducing it to vending machines and selling it in the subways of New York in 1888, but chewing gum really took off when a soap industrialist named William Wrigley Jr. promoted it as an add-on to his products. From “Juicy Fruit” to “Doublemint” gum, Wrigley created one of the most successful chewing gum companies that ever existed, and many of his products remain popular today.

Gum Gets a Modern Makeover
After the turn of the century, chewing gum innovations accelerated due to deeper research and newfound discoveries. Bubble gum and other sweet flavors became a mainstay, and production further proliferated in the 1930’s and 1940’s, when synthetic rubbers made mass production easier than ever. Perhaps one of the biggest advancements came in the 1950’s, when sugarless chewing gum was first created by a dentist, Dr. Petrulis, and sold to William Wrigley Jr. The nation was becoming more health-conscious, and chewing gum products followed suit.

Today, chewing gum comes in countless varieties, and has grown even more popular due to its ability to:
• Freshen breath: almost all types of gum come flavored to help mask odors
• Keep teeth white: both chewing and active ingredients can fight tooth staining
• Fight plaque: sugar free, xylitol-based gum inhibits the growth of oral bacteria
• Aid in weight loss: many turn to gum as a low calorie treat instead of snacking
• Help quit smoking: nicotine gum is an effective substitute for cigarettes
• Supplement your diet: certain gums are fortified with vitamins and minerals

Several sugarless brands also come with a seal of approval from the American Dental Association, and are recommended by dentists to help fight tooth decay.

Choosing the Right Gum
Chewing gum is often purchased on impulse, but putting a little thought into the type of gum you choose can make a big difference to your oral health. Read the labels closely to ensure you have selected a sugarless variety that won’t harm your teeth, and then narrow down the field based on additional preferences ‚Äì from flavor to active ingredients and beyond. If you need help in choosing the right gum, or are unsure about the effectiveness of a particular brand you have chosen, simply call your dentist for guidance. Just like most things, chewing gum should be done in moderation chewing gum too frequently may lead to jaw muscle fatigue or more serious issues such as Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD, TMJ)

Root canals

In Defense of Root Canals: The Unsung Hero of Dental Care
Think you might need a root canal? It’s not the end of the world, nor is it as torturous as you might think! Even though a root canal is usually the last resort for decayed teeth, when compared with other alternatives, it’s quite practical and cost-effective. Put your fears to rest by discovering the truth about this much-maligned treatment, and find out why it’s considered by many dentists to be the unsung hero of dental care.

When and Why Root Canals Are Necessary
Left untreated, tooth decay can eventually result in bacteria infiltrating the very core of the tooth, infecting its sensitive nerve tissue (otherwise referred to as “root” or “pulp”). Once the pulp has been infected, a pocket of pus known as an abscess can form and wreak havoc beyond the problem tooth itself. From swelling of the mouth, jaw and face, to bone loss and even the spread of infection into the skin, the cost of delaying treatment can compound rather quickly.
If the problem is caught in time, a root canal may be possible, allowing the dentist to clear the infected pulp without having to sacrifice the whole tooth. Keeping your natural tooth not only helps maintain proper chewing and speech, but also it requires less time and money compared to a tooth removal and implant.

Signs You Need a Root Canal
If you experience any of these symptoms, you might need a root canal:
• Acute, shooting pain when pressure is applied to a tooth
• Noticeable darkening or discoloration of the tooth compared to neighboring teeth
• Lingering tooth sensitivity, particularly to extremely hot or cold foods
• A pimple on the gums that never seems to go away
• Swelling of the gums near the problem tooth
• Continuous pain or throbbing even when not chewing or using the tooth

See your dentist to know for sure, and let him or her know about your situation when scheduling an appointment to ensure you are seen as soon as possible. Like most dental problems, it’s best to be proactive. The sooner the dentist is able to diagnose and treat the infected area the better ‚Äî and it could decrease the amount of post procedure discomfort.
What to Expect During a Root Canal

The length of time for treatment can vary widely depending on the complexity of each patient’s situation, but it’s safe to say that multiple visits are required to complete a root canal. Anesthesia may be applied, but it is not always necessary since the nerve is already dead. The first phase of a root canal involves thoroughly ridding the tooth of any infection and decayed matter ‚ usually by drilling an access hole, flushing out the pulp, and applying medication to the tooth and surrounding gums. The dentist will then seal off the area completely, or in extreme cases, wait several days for the infection to clear before sealing off the tooth.

The second phase of treatment focuses on filling the tooth. To do this, a dentist normally uses sealer paste or a rubber-like compound to fill the empty nerve canal and interior of the tooth. After the tooth has been filled, a metal post is inserted into the tooth to further strengthen it.

Restoration, in which a crown is created to cap off the tooth, is the final step of treatment. Once the custom crown arrives, the dentist covers the tooth and shapes the crown to function as optimally as possible.

Post Treatment Care
As with any lengthy dental procedure, temporary tooth and gum sensitivity are to be expected, but should go away within a day or two. If the permanent crown has been applied, you can return back to your normal routine immediately.
Root canals have a very high success rate, but it’s important to remember that there is always a possibility for the filling to become infected. To avoid complications and additional root canals down the road, make oral hygiene a top priority and schedule regular visits to your dentist.

Sensitive teeth

Teeth Trauma: It’s a Sensitive Issue


You’re not imagining it. That sudden twinge of pain in one or more of your teeth can, in fact, be caused by something as simple as a blast of wind, a bite of something fresh from the oven, or (what was supposed to be) a cool, refreshing treat.
You may have sensitive teeth, and if so, the problem could be here to stay. What does this mean and what can you do about it? It depends on a number of things.

How to Tell if You Have Sensitive Teeth
First, you should determine whether the pain is truly due to tooth sensitivity, or something else entirely. A trip to the dentist will let you know for sure, but here are some things you can do to see if sensitivity is most likely to blame:

1. Take recent dental work into consideration: cleanings or invasive procedures can aggravate the teeth and gums, and result in temporary discomfort that should go away in a short period of time.
2. Check your teeth for new cavities: if the area where you experienced pain can easily be examined, grab a mirror and scan the section for visible holes or pits that could indicate an untreated cavity that may be the source of the problem.
3. Make sure existing fillings are intact: inspect prior work for any cracks, or fillings partially or completely removed. A deeper filling that has been damaged may cause nerve irritation and result in more noticeable pain.
4. Check your gums for recession: if you notice that your gums are receding this could be contributing to you sensitivity. When the porous root surface of a tooth is exposed it is more susceptible to temperature and air.
5. Assess your daily habits: if you notice that your gums are receding, this could be contributing to your sensitivity. When the porous root surface of a tooth is exposed, it is more susceptible to temperature and air.

Ways to Ease the Pain
If tooth sensitivity is ultimately the problem, there are plenty of things you can do to help manage it. Minimize your discomfort by making these changes:

• Limit intake of acidic foods and beverages, such as citrus fruits and sodas
• Switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush, and apply less pressure when brushing
• Quit using over-the-counter mouthwash; ask your dentist for a more neutral rinse
• Try toothpastes made for sensitive teeth, and see which option works best for you
• Use a mouth guard at night if you have a habit of grinding your teeth
• Brush and floss regularly to keep enamel-eroding plaque at bay
• Switch to an electric toothbrush, which is more gentle on your gums

Get Help from Your Dentist
See your dentist regularly to stay on top of the issue. Regular, professional cleanings and examinations will go a long way in keeping the problem from getting worse.

Certain in-office treatments may further ease your pain, such as:

• Fluoride varnishes: An application that strengthens and protects exposed enamel
• Fluoride foam/gel trays: An immersion of teeth in a concentrated dose of fluoride
• Sealants: A bonding material acts as a barrier and seals off the dentin of your teeth

If you’ve modified your habits, but still experience major discomfort after a period of time, ask your dentist whether these options are right for you.

Solving the sweets problem

Parent’s Cheat Sheet: 5 Steps to Solving the Sweets Problem

Birthday celebrations, holidays, and countless school or extracurricular activities in between children’s social calendars can seem like endless fun, until you realize they can also translate into a non-stop, cavity-inducing sugar high. This doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that your child is destined for a long list of dental problems. Use this dental cheat sheet when a special occasion arises to keep his or her smile cavity-free.

Step 1: Set Rules

Create boundaries that can help protect your child’s oral health without cutting down on the fun, such as:

  • A sweets “allowance” that lets your child indulge, but in a limited fashion
  • Frequent drinks of water to wash sugary particles off the surface of his/her teeth
  • A full meal before dessert to fill up on nutritious foods and help curb cravings
  • “Off-limits” beverages, such as carbonated sodas or fruit juices

Keeping instructions simple, yet clear can make it easier for your child to adopt these rules without any hassle, and help him or her stick to the guidelines even if you are not present.

Step 2: Teach Your Child To Choose Wisely

Not all sweets are equally damaging to teeth, so helping your child to make smarter choices can have a big impact on the amount of sugar he or she eats. Prolonged sucking on hard candies, for instance, is one of the most harmful ways to satisfy a sweet tooth because of lengthy, direct exposure of the tooth’s surface to concentrated sugar. Likewise, sticky foods that contain ingredients such as caramel or toffee are more likely to get lodged in between teeth, and chewing on them may even result in a lost filling.

If or when possible, steer your child towards cakes and cookies instead. While these desserts are still refined carbohydrates that will break down into sugar, the amount of contact with harmful acid is significantly less than with candies and other stickier treats.

Step 3: Bring/Pack Something Nutritious

Make it easy for your child to opt for something nutritious by packing a healthy alternative. Cheese, for example, is calcium-rich and can help remineralize tooth enamel. Many manufacturers now offer single-serve packages for convenience when on the go. An apple is another tooth-healthy option when chewed, its high fiber content makes it an excellent “plaque scrubber”. Even sugar-free gum can do the trick if it contains xylitol, which can help prevent the growth of oral bacteria.

Step 4: Have Your Child Brush And Floss As Soon As Possible

Ultimately, maintaining good oral hygiene is the most effective thing parents can do at home to help keep their children’s smiles healthy. If you’re always on the go, it may be worth packing a travel-sized toothbrush, but if your child forgets to brush amidst all the excitement, make sure he or she does so upon returning home.

Flossing is just as critical, and nowadays, there are many options that parents might find to be more “kid-friendly” – such as water flossers or interdental brushes. At minimum, your child should be brushing and flossing twice a day, but don’t hesitate to add another round of cleaning if he or she has had a particularly rich meal.

Step 5: See The Dentist

Last, but not least, make sure your child visits the dentist at least twice a year (or as advised by the dentist). In addition to receiving a professional cleaning, your child’s dentist can look for developing decay and gum disease, and treat it before it becomes more serious. He or she can also help ensure your child is practicing the correct brushing and flossing techniques, and provide teeth additional protection in the form of dental sealants, if need be.

Lead By Example

Perhaps the easiest way to teach your child how to protect his or her teeth is to lead by example – and doing so not only benefits him or her, but your oral health as well! Follow these tips together with your child, and consult with your child’s dentist for additional ways you can make dental care a simple and even fun experience for your child.

7 dental sins

Are You Guilty of Committing
These 7 Dental Sins?

Brushing and flossing twice a day are two essential steps towards good oral health, but are other habits sabotaging your smile? From behavioral tendencies to choices you thought were smart or healthy…the tiniest slip-ups can be the most damaging. Double-check your daily routine to make sure it’s free of these common dental no-no’s.

1. Over-Whitening

It seems almost every type of dental product you can imagine is now available with whitening ingredients, but too much exposure to these additives can actually do more harm than help to your smile. Daily use of whitening toothpaste, floss or rinse that contains peroxide can both weaken tooth enamel and aggravate the nerves of your teeth, resulting in chronic tooth sensitivity.

2. Sucking on Breath Mints or Hard Candies

Individually wrapped or packaged in tins, their convenience may be appealing to those looking to give their breath a quick boost, but this is one shortcut you’d be wise to avoid. Almost all varieties are rich in sugar, and prolonged sucking on them is a quick and direct route to tooth decay if there ever was one.

3. Drinking Bottled Water

Water is arguably the healthiest thing you could drink, but virtually all bottled products are fluoride-free. Those who drink bottled water exclusively may be at real risk of tooth decay due to a fluoride deficiency, especially if they are not getting this enamel-fortifying ingredient elsewhere.

4. Using Your Teeth Like an Extra Pair of Hands

Despite their ability to chew through food day in and day out, teeth aren’t designed to do the job of scissors, other tools, or your bare hands. Ripping open packaging, cutting tape, or even carrying a foreign object around with your teeth is a recipe for chips, cracks, broken dental work, and, in the extreme case of an accident, tooth loss.

5. Chewing on Ice

Cool and refreshing as it is, chewing on ice (and/or icy treats like popsicles) can cost you. It’s hardness and extremely cold temperature is a dangerous combination that can cause fractures all the way to the roots of your teeth, if you bite down hard enough.

6. Nibbling on Pencils or Your Nails

Whether it’s due to nerves, concentration, or mindless daydreaming, chewing on non-food objects can do a number on your teeth. Similar to chewing on ice, biting down hard enough can cause fractures, but even without exerting a lot of force, constant grinding can shift the teeth and/or damage tooth enamel over time.

7. Frequent Snacking

Certain diets or schedules may encourage “grazing”, in which snacks and smaller meals are eaten throughout the day. No matter how healthy your food choices are, frequent snacking is still bad for your teeth. Constant contact with food exposes your teeth to harmful bacteria and plaque without rest or chance for remineralization, contributing to both tooth decay and gum disease over time. And if you snack before bed, be sure to brush before going to sleep.

Making Better Choices

Habits are hard to change, but in many cases, there are simple, even effortless ways to correct behaviors that are hurting your teeth. If you find yourself committing any of these oral offenses, ask your dentist for help. He or she can offer a number of healthier alternatives or suggestions to solve the problem for good.

How to prevent gum disease

How to Recognize and Prevent Gum Disease

Gum disease affects approximately half of all Americans. While that’s a startling statistic, what’s more notable is that most cases are preventable. The good news is that preventative care is simple and, by taking care of your smile daily, you can ensure you don’t become part of the statistic above.

Understanding Gum Disease

When teeth aren’t kept clean, bacteria starts to grow in the mouth. Bacteria can cause inflammation and, over time, lead to the development of gum disease. Gum disease doesn’t usually cause pain or discomfort as it begins to develop, making it more difficult to recognize at first.

However, there are symptoms that eventually emerge. If they are addressed when they first appear, it is possible to treat and prevent gum disease from returning. Symptoms include:

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • A receding gum line
  • Loose or separating teeth (as the gums pull away from the teeth)
  • Consistent bad breath
  • Sores in the mouth

Prevention Begins at Home

Oral health begins at home. Here are some simple ways to take care of your gums and help prevent gum disease:

    • Brush for at Least 2 Minutes Twice Daily — Brush with fluoridated toothpaste in the morning and in the evening. Take special care along the gum line to remove any food and bacteria. If you have trouble keeping track of time, you may want to invest an electronic toothbrush with a built-in timer.

 

    • Floss at Least Once Daily — Floss removes food and bacteria that brushing can’t, preventing the formation of plaque and related gum health issues. If you struggle with traditional floss, you may opt for an interdental cleaner or water pic.

 

  • Use a Mouthwash — Mouthwash, in combination with brushing and flossing, helps to reduce plaque buildup, thereby preventing gum irritation.
  • Eat a Healthy Diet — Avoiding starchy and sugary foods helps to decrease plaque and the potential for gum disease.

Professional Prevention Plays a Part

In addition to diligent at-home care, dental visits are also critical to gum disease prevention:

    • Professional Cleanings — Only dentists have the tools necessary to remove plaque from your teeth, making it important to get professional cleanings every 6 months. If you suffer from gum disease, you should try to visit your dentist more frequently, every 3-4 months for cleanings.

 

  • Common Dental Problem Correction — Improper fillings, grinding, and other common dental issues can increase the risk of gum disease. Proactively correcting problems like these will decrease the risk of gum disease.

Prevention Begins With Proper Care and Professional Guidance

Only you can provide the day-to-day care your teeth and gums deserve. However, there is only so much you can do on your own and, therefore, you should visit your dentist regularly as well.

You don’t have to be one of the many Americans currently suffering from gum disease. By taking steps to understand, recognize, and prevent gum disease, you can enjoy a healthy smile, gums included!