oral health

​Why Does Water Hurt My Teeth? Tooth Sensitivity to Water

February 16th, 2017

​Why Does Water Hurt My Teeth? Tooth Sensitivity to Water

Have you ever taken a sip of water and felt a sharp pain in your teeth? This likely means that you have sensitive teeth, and that doing something simple, such as drinking a glass of water, or taking a deep breath through your mouth, can be painful.

So what causes this and how can you fix it?

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity occurs when the protective enamel on our teeth gets thinner, or when our gums recede. There are many reasons why this could be happening:

  • You might be brushing your teeth too hard. When you put too much pressure on your teeth while brushing, you can gradually start wearing down the protective layers of your teeth. When this occurs, the tubes or canals that lead to your nerves may become exposed, which can lead to pain or discomfort, especially when eating or drinking something hot or cold. Try using lighter strokes when brushing.
  • You could have cavities or loose fillings. Cavities are holes in your teeth that can grow bigger over time. The bigger the hole gets, the more sensitive your teeth can feel. If you think you might have a cavity, or one of your fillings may be loose, make sure to see your dentist right away.
  • You’re grinding your teeth. Grinding your teeth can wear down the protective enamel on your teeth, but many people may not even realize that they’re doing it. Oftentimes, people grind their teeth in their sleep.
  • You could have a cracked or broken tooth. A cracked or broken tooth can expose the tooth’s nerve, which can cause sensitivity or pain.
  • You may have gum disease. Gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky bacteria that constantly forms on our teeth. If that plaque is not removed with brushing and flossing, it may harden and form “tartar,” which is then very difficult to remove. Teeth sensitivity can be a symptom of gum disease.
  • Your mouthwash or toothpaste could be causing it. Some teeth-whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes contain chemicals that your teeth may become sensitive to. Try switching to a mouthwash with less chemicals and a desensitizing toothpaste, such as Sensodyne.
  • The foods you’re eating might be too acidic. Excessive consumption of acidic foods or beverages can put your teeth at risk for tooth sensitivity.


Treatments For Sensitive Teeth

If you’re experiencing pain associated with sensitive teeth, there are a number of treatments a dentist can perform that may help, depending on the cause.

  • Desensitizing with Gluma is a dental treatment that can help your teeth become less sensitive by stopping by occluding (blocking) the microscopic tubules that compose dentin, thereby preventing the flow of fluid and decreasing sensitivity.
  • Gum Disease Treatment Therapy can help treat gum disease, a major contributor of teeth sensitivity, with targeted treatments designed just for you.
  • A crown, inlay or bonding can fix a broken tooth or decay that might be causing your teeth to be sensitive. Water Tower Dental Care is proud to offer porcelain crowns in just one visit with CEREC technology.

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity or have any questions about it, please contact Water Tower Dental Care today.

How Chicago's Sun Affects Your Teeth

March 17th, 2016

How Chicago's Sun Affects Your TeethSpring is a beautiful time of year, especially in Chicago. We boast some of the best temperatures during this time, perfect for visiting Millennium Park or heading to Wrigley Field. When the sun comes out during these glorious days, you will more often than not find yourself applying sunscreen to avoid those nasty burns. The sun is something that warms us to our core, yet too much of it can be dangerous to our skin.
Does too much exposure to the sun affect our pearly whites as well? Here, we attempt to find out, so you don’t find yourself spending most of your time standing under the bean, keeping your teeth (and skin) safe!

What is Tooth Decay?

Before we discuss the connection between Chicago’s sun and your pearly whites, it’s important to understand tooth decay. Like your skin, your teeth are probably one of your most prized possessions (Here at Water Tower Dental Care, they’re definitely ours!). Teeth play an extremely important role in the health of your body. Tooth decay has been shown to lead to other health problems, if infected matter makes its way into your bloodstream. Overall, bad oral health can lead to health risks beyond your mouth, including heart disease and more!

The Link Between Vitamin D and Oral Health

Some studies have shown that tooth decay is the most common in late winter and the first few weeks of spring. This is because you will have the lowest exposure to Vitamin D during those times. Vitamin D, a vitamin produced in the skin when exposed to ultraviolet B light from the sun, is very healthy for your body overall. Vitamin D can help fight off bacterial infections in your body, especially the ones caused by tooth decay.

How Vitamin D Helps Strengthen Your Teeth

While Vitamin D cannot contribute anything to your teeth directly, Vitamin D’s main contribution comes when it interacts with Calcium, which makes your teeth and bones strong. While calcium strengthens your body, the body does not easily absorb it. This is where Vitamin D comes in, as it serves as a catalyst for calcium absorption, making you stronger than ever before and helping you absorb the most calcium possible from the foods you eat!
The more you are in the sun, the more Vitamin D your body will produce, and the more calcium levels in your body will rise. Vitamin D helps indirectly fight off gum disease, by strengthening the bones around your teeth. In conclusion, Vitamin D leads to stronger teeth, which helps fight off bacterial infections.

Conclusion

To summarize, being in the sun might not be as bad as you might have thought! While you should still be sure to wear sunscreen during Chicago’s warm summer months, the cool temperatures we currently have are perfect for enjoying Navy Pier, the Riverwalk, and more.
While you’re outside in these comfortable months, let Vitamin D and calcium do the work, strengthening your teeth and your bones. Your teeth may be strong, but don’t skip out on a check-up just because the sun is out! Contact us today!

Does Laser Treatment Work for Cold Sores On Your Lips?

November 19th, 2015

Does Laser Treatment Work for Cold Sores On Your Lips?Keeping your mouth healthy and looking good isn’t limited to what’s inside of it. Though teeth and gums get the spotlight in most dentist offices, cold sores can be even more unsightly and irritating than any issue inside of your mouth. Thankfully, dentists have the technology to get rid of the viruses that cause cold sores on your lips and around your mouth in just minutes. This technology comes in the form of lasers.

How does a laser treat cold sores?

Unlike other cold sore treatments, like creams or ointments, lasers get to the root of the problem. They destroy the herpes simplex virus that actually causes cold sores. How do they do this?
Well, a trained dentist uses precise laser technology to heat up the cold sore. This heat is carefully controlled to one area and never touches the skin, so it won’t harm anything around the cold sore. The heat from the laser not only kills the virus, but it also triggers your body to heal itself more quickly. The treatment only takes about 15 minutes to complete and requires no downtime at all. You’re in the dentist chair, and then you’re out!

What are the results like?

Since lasers destroy the virus, they can stop the cold sores from appearing at all if you haven’t broken out yet. Pretty amazing, right? Once the virus is stopped, the cold sores can no longer appear on your face.
If you already have cold sores on your lips or around your mouth, lasers will significantly speed up the healing time and provide you with immediate relief of symptoms, like pain or itching. The breakout will also stop spreading. You won’t require another treatment.
Since her virus can’t be cured, your cold sores might come back. However, laser treatments extend the length of time between your breakouts. In fact, after several laser treatments in the same area, your cold sores might never come back! Best of all, laser treatments for cold sores are affordable, and may even be covered by your insurance.

How do you know if you have cold sores?

You can recognize cold sores by their appearance. Cold sores form in groups of small blisters. After the blisters form, they soon break open and release clear fluid. Finally, cold sores will crust or scab over and disappear within 2 weeks.
In order to skip all of this unpleasantness, the best thing you can do is get a laser treatment before the blisters appear. Look for signs such as itching, tingling or pain on your lips or around your mouth. Swollen glands, fevers, and sore throats are also signals that cold sores are developing.
When you start feeling the symptoms, you should see a dentist as soon as possible to receive a laser treatment. That way, the cold sores will never appear. At Water Tower Dental Care, we do our best to see patients with cold sores within 24 hours. We can often treat them on the same day that they call! Feel free to contact us immediately after you start feeling cold sore symptoms.

Why is laser treatment better than other cold sore treatments?

We believe that lasers are the best treatments for cold sores, as do our patients who suffer with the herpes simplex virus. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • It only takes a few minutes to complete and requires no penetration of the skin, numbing or anesthesia.
  • Though the technology is new, cold sore laser treatment is affordable and may even be covered by your insurance.
  • Patients receive immediate and drastic relief right after the treatment is over.
  • Over time, lasers can get rid of cold sore breakouts in a specific area forever.
  • Lasers get to the root of the problem by killing the virus.
  • Laser treatment can prevent breakouts before they occur and stops them once they begin.
  • Healing time is much shorter after a laser treatment with no more symptoms.
  • Cold sore breakouts will occur less frequently and intensely in the area treated.

Do you feel cold sores developing? Contact Water Tower Dental Care today, Chicago’s number one dental practice! We’re experts in laser technology, and can help you control your breakouts for years to come.

Why Do Dentists Perform Saliva Tests?

September 10th, 2015

Why Do Dentists Perform Saliva Tests?If your dentist asks to collect a sample of your saliva, try not to be too weirded out. It’s actually very common for dentists to perform saliva tests. Saliva tests are extremely easy procedures that require almost nothing from you other than a little bit of your spit. Best of all, these simple tests can save you from developing severe dental issues in the future.
At Water Tower Dental Care, we perform three different types of saliva tests to find out if you have HPV and to analyze what is causing your gum disease.

Saliva Test to Detect HPV

The most common saliva test we offer is the OralRisk HPV test. We perform this test regularly as part of your routine oral health exam to detect if you have oral HPV (Human Papillomavirus). Though HPV can eventually be identified by skin lesions, such as warts or sores, saliva tests can identify HPV early on, even before you start showing physical symptoms. Catching HPV when it first develops allows your dentist to treat it more effectively and prevent it from getting worse, which is important because it can eventually develop into cancer.

What is HPV?

HPV is one of the most common virus groups in the world. The virus can vary, from being low risk and causing warts, to being high-risk and causing cancer. Medical research has found that 90% of cervical cancers are linked to specific high-risk HPV types, according to OralDNA Labs. HPV can be caused by sexual contact or simply by close contact with another person. Research is currently being conducted to discover what else may cause HPV.

Salvia Test for Gum Disease

Along with the OralRisk HPV test, we also use saliva tests to analyze which bacteria are triggering a patient’s gum disease, or periodontal disease. We usually recommend this test, which is called MyPerioPath, to patients who have moderate-to-severe gum disease, patients who are currently receiving treatment for gum disease and are not seeing ideal results, or patients who have a great oral hygiene routine but still deal with bleeding gums. The saliva test allow us to identify what type of bacteria is causing your gum disease so that we can create a customized hygiene treatment to help you get rid of the disease once and for all.
Finally, we perform MyPerioID PST saliva tests to see if our patients with gum disease have any specific changes in their DNA, which could mean that they are at a greater risk of developing a more serious disease. This allows us to create a hygiene plan that will prevent those diseases.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is simply another word for gum disease. In its most moderate state, it can be identified in the form of gum inflammation. If left untreated, it can develop into a severe disease that causes severe damage to your gums, teeth and bone. According to the FDA, 75% of all Americans over age 35 have some form of gum disease. Crazy, right? Some studies show that gum disease can also affect your overall health, not just your oral health. Gum disease is mostly caused by bad oral hygiene techniques, but can also develop as a result of smoking or chewing tobacco, crooked teeth, hormonal changes, stress, cancer, cancer treatment, poor diet, diabetes, medication, and through exchanging saliva with someone who has gum disease.

What Are Saliva Treatments Like?

Saliva treatments will probably be one of the easiest and quickest treatments you’ve ever experienced as a patient. All you have to do is swish a sterile saline solution around in your mouth for about 30 seconds. Then, you simply spit into a tube or a small container and your work is done! We’ll send the sample to OralDNA Labs and they’ll process it. When we get the results, we’ll contact you to discuss them. That’s all there is to it.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve received a saliva test for HPV or you think that you might have gum disease, come on into Water Tower Dental Care on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. We’d love to give you the information you need to keep your teeth healthy with a customized hygiene treatment plan.

Summer Loving: How Kissing Affects Your Teeth, Gums and Mouth

July 23rd, 2015

Summer Loving: How Kissing Affects Your Teeth, Gums and Mouth With long sunny days outdoors and exotic vacations, ‘tis the season for love. And with love comes lots of smooching! When you’re in the moment with your loved one, we’re guessing that you aren’t thinking about how your kisses are affecting your mouth. Interestingly though, kisses really do impact your oral health, both positively and negatively. Our experts are here to tell you how exactly kissing does this with juicy detail. We’ll start with the bad news first.

The Ugly Oral Health Side to Kissing

Unfortunately, kissing can cause some bad stuff to go on in your mouth. Let’s take a look at a couple of the most common ways kissing can go wrong.
You can get herpes from kissing. You don’t need to go any further than kissing to catch an STD. Herpes infection viruses can be spread through your saliva, causing cold sores or blisters on your lips, around your mouth or even inside your mouth. Though they are typically harmless, they can get pretty annoying. Worst of all, there’s no cure. So be careful who you kiss!
Bad bacteria can increase your chance of developing gum disease. If your kissing partner has gum disease, or periodontitis, you’re getting their bad bacteria inside your mouth when you kiss. In fact, you’re sharing around 80 million bacteria with them! The worse the bacteria in their mouth are, the worse it will affect your mouth.
Don’t let these two issues scare you away from kissing. As long as you and your partner take care of your mouth and teeth, and communicate any oral diseases that you have, you shouldn’t be surprised with any unhealthy oral developments. In fact, kissing is typically great for your oral health, as you’ll see below.

Healthy Kissing is Good for Your Teeth, Gums and Mouth!

Your dentist orders you to keep kissing your partner! Well, as long as they have good oral health. Here’s why:
More saliva means fewer cavities. While you’re kissing, your salivary glands begin producing more saliva. Saliva is made up of water, electrolytes, mucus, glycoproteins, enzymes and antibacterial compounds that do lots of good things, including neutralize acids in your mouth, fight off bacteria and wash away food particles. All of these changes will lead to less tooth erosion, which means your dentist should find less cavities in your teeth.
Saliva protects your tooth enamel. Saliva is amazing. Along with fighting off bacteria and acids, the mineral salts in your saliva help rebuild the minerals in your tooth enamel, protecting your teeth from erosion and cavities.
More salvia means healthier cheeks and gums. Your gums and cheeks typically heal more quickly than your skin thanks to your saliva. According to Discover Magazine, proteins like vascular endothelial growth factor help to trigger the formation of blood vessels, which boosts your mouth’s healing processes.
Sharing kisses boosts your immune system. During a quick, 10-second kiss, you transfer as much as 80 million bacteria to your partner. But don’t let that stop you from smooching. It’s actually good for you! According to a study from the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, sharing these bacteria during a kiss boosts your immune system, keeping you healthy.
So there you have it! You have our approval to keep kissing a healthy mouth all summer long. If you or your partner needs a cleanup before a smooch session, feel free to stop by Water Tower Dental Care on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile! We’ll not only make your mouth sparkling clean, but we’ll also make sure it looks picture perfect for your partner with our cosmetic dentistry treatments.

5 Ways Alcohol Affects Your Teeth and Mouth

June 18th, 2015

5 Ways Alcohol Affects Your Teeth and MouthWhen you’re sipping on a glass of red wine while relaxing in front of the TV after work, you’re probably not thinking about the way the alcohol is affecting your mouth. If you drink too much alcohol on a regular basis, you may be severely damaging your mouth.
Let’s take a look at six of the most common ways alcohol affects your teeth and mouth so you can make sure you aren’t causing any permanent damage with your drink of choice.

  1. Tooth Decay

You may want to lay off of the margaritas, piña coladas and sweet cocktails after reading this. Many delicious alcoholic drinks are packed with sugar. And we’re not the only ones enjoying it. Bacteria love sugar just as much as we do, feeding off of it and producing acid as they munch. Combine these acid-releasing bacteria with acidic alcoholic beverages and your teeth are on a path to decaying.
Solution: While you’re out for the evening, try to avoid sugary cocktails. Choose beer, wine or a coconut water and vodka cocktail instead. If you can’t end the night without your favorite sweet cocktail, use a straw so that the sugars skip past the majority of your teeth. Finally, always make sure to brush your teeth at least 30 minutes after you’ve consumed alcohol. Any sooner and you may further erode your enamel by brushing it.

  1. Oral Cancer

Alcohol isn’t all fun and games. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF), alcohol abuse is the second largest risk factor for developing oral cancer. Alcohol can cause your gums, cheeks and skin to corrode, leading to mouth and throat cancer. When combined with smoking, a heavy drinker has an especially high risk of developing the disease. The OCF notes that alcohol dehydrates the cell walls, which allows tobacco carcinogens to spread throughout your mouth more easily. Heavy drinking can also lead to nutritional deficiencies that lower your body’s ability to fight off cancer.
Solution: As long as you aren’t a heavy drinker, you shouldn’t run into this problem. Try to keep your drinking to moderate levels, which is defined as one drink a day if you’re a woman, and two drinks a day if you’re a man, according to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

  1. Enamel Erosion

Every time you drink alcohol, you’re usually exposing your teeth to highly acidic liquid. This causes enamel, the protective calcium coating on your skin, to erode. When your enamel wears away enough, you’ll notice your teeth are more sensitive and you’re more susceptible to cavities. Worst of all, enamel can’t naturally grow back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
Solution: Try to avoid carbonated alcoholic drinks, as they are usually more acidic. Drinking water in between alcohol will also help to wash away the acids in your mouth.

  1. Dry Mouth

Instead of keeping your mouth wet, alcohol actually dries it out. You know how you have to take all those extra trips to the bathroom while you’re drinking? It’s because alcohol is a diuretic. In other words, it dehydrates you by making you urinate more than usual. Less liquid in your body means less saliva in your mouth. Since saliva fights off bacteria, your risk of gum disease and tooth decay increases while you’re drinking. You’ll also probably have pretty bad breath.
Solution: Try to drink at least one glass of water in between your alcoholic drinks. Mints and sugar-free gum can also help to increase your saliva production.

  1. Gum Disease

A couple of the ways that alcohol can increase your risk of developing gum disease have already been mentioned: bacteria feeding off of sugary drinks, nutritional deficiencies and lack of saliva. Additionally, alcohol has been found to irritate gum tissue and alcohol abusers tend to have poor dental hygiene habits, according to the Drug & Alcohol Rehab Asia. All of this leads to a much higher risk of developing gum disease conditions, which can range from swollen gums to dangerous infections.
Solution: Avoid heavy drinking. If you do drink, make sure to brush practice good oral hygiene at least 30 minutes after drinking by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and correctly flossing.

Smoking and Dental Implants: The Negative Effects

May 7th, 2015

Smoking and Dental Implants: The Negative Effects When your teeth fail you, the last thing you want is your dental implant failing you as well because of smoking. Dental implants work as a lifelike substitute for missing teeth. They are the only restorative dental solution that stops jawbone loss and gives you the full set of teeth you need to retain good oral health.
Fortunately, many smokers have successful dental implant treatments. However, smoking has been found to significantly increase the chance of dental implant failure. Let’s take a closer look at how smoking affects dental implants so that you can have a successful experience with this tooth replacement procedure.

Implants May Not Properly Bond With Jawbone

Right off the bat, smoking regularly before you receive implants may make it harder for the implant to fully fuse with your jawbone. Cigarette, pipe and cigar smoking has been found to cause jawbone loss, severe periodontal (gum and bone) disease and delayed wound healing, according to the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario. The tobacco you consume while smoking limits blood flow to your gums, reducing the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy, recover and fight off bacterial infection.
If your jawbone, gum tissue, and muscle surrounding the implant aren’t healthy and cannot properly heal after you’ve received the implant, your implant may not be able to fuse with your jaw bone. The soft tissues of your gums typically take a few weeks to heal around the implant, and the jaw takes months to osseointegrate with the implant.
Studies have found that patients who smoked during the implant placement surgery had a higher rate of early implant failure than nonsmokers. This makes sense, as smoking negatively affects the health of your jaw and gums. It’s best to avoid smoking during the early stages of your implant surgery to allow the implant to fully osseointegrate correctly. Otherwise, your implant may need to be taken out soon after your surgery.

Increases Chances of Infection

Like all surgeries, there is a risk of infection with dental implants. But the risk is very low for patients with great oral health and a strong immune system. Smokers, on the other hand, are more likely to develop an infection after they receive implants because it’s harder for their gums and jaw to fully recover. If patients smoke soon after their surgery, their wounds are also exposed to chemicals, making infection more likely. While antibiotics can be used to treat infection, smoking can reduce the effectiveness of these drugs.

Greater Risk of Developing Peri-Implantitis

Smoking doesn’t just affect the success of your dental implants in the early stages of healing. Peri-implantitis can occur years after your dental implant surgery and often causes implant failure. Peri-implantitis is an infectious disease that results in inflammation around gums and bone surrounding a dental implant. If left untreated, it can lead to progressive bone loss around the implant and eventual implant failure. Fortunately, peri-implantitis is rare. But smoking has been found to increase your risk of developing the disease. Smokers are also especially susceptible to bone loss.

How to Increase Your Chances of Dental Implant Success As a Smoker

Don’t worry, smokers. It’s not all bad news. While smoking does increase the chance that your dental implant won’t last long, many patients who smoke have successful treatments with implants that last their entire lives. It’s also important to note that ex-smokers who have not smoked in years increase their success rate. The best thing you can do for yourself and your dental implant is to stop smoking. Countless studies have noted that patients should stop smoking to decrease their risk of implant failure. You can find a variety of resources designed to help you quit smoking here.
Interested in getting dental implants in Chicago? Receiving dental implants from Chicago’s top cosmetic dentistry, Water Tower Dental Care, is a smart investment in your smile’s longevity. If you’re a smoker or ex-smoker, we can gauge the health of your mouth before you receive implants and talk to you about possible treatment plans. Request an appointment with us today!

5 Reasons Why Your Dentist Loves That You Drink Tea

December 4th, 2014

Girl with Great Teeth & Dental Health Drinking TeaYou may have heard of the many health benefits of tea, but did you know tea is really good for your teeth as well? Both black and green tea contain catechins, also known as antioxidants, which help remove harmful bacteria from your mouth.
However, tea does so much more than that. Next to water, it’s the most helpful liquid you can drink. Here are five ways tea is helping your oral health.

Tea Helps Your Gums

Tea is known to have anti-inflammatory elements that help control swelling, bleeding, and infection in your gums. By replacing bad bacteria with good bacteria in your mouth and helping prevent your gums from becoming inflamed, tea is a great way to help fight against periodontal disease.

It Helps Prevent Cavities

Along with clearing out bacteria, tea also helps lower the acidic levels of saliva and plaque in your mouth. Acidic elements are what eat away at the teeth to create cavities. When tea washes away this acidity, it’s harder for cavities to start.

It Keeps Your Teeth In Your Mouth

That’s right, not only can it keep your gums and teeth healthy, it can also help keep your teeth from falling out when you’re older. Studies have shown that men and women who drink one or more cups of tea a day hold onto their natural teeth for longer.

Tea Improves Your Breath

Bad breath derives from bacteria that grow in the far back of your throat, a place that’s hard to reach with a toothbrush. Without proper care, the bacteria breed enough to cause a foul smell. Tea helps by washing away and killing the bacteria, making it easy for your breath to smell fresh all day.

It Helps Prevent Oral Cancer

Antioxidants help every part of the body fight cellular damage and tumor growth. When you drink tea, you’re filling your mouth with antioxidants that are able to help keep your mouth from developing cancerous tumors.
To better help your teeth and mouth, you should know the best way to drink your tea. First, green and black tea are both good for you, but green is definitely better. Black tea is slightly more processed, which results in less antioxidants. And if you like white teeth, black tea is better avoided as it can stain those pearly whites.
To make tea correctly, boil water and pour the hot water over the tealeaves in a ceramic cup. Then, cover the cup with a saucer for 2 to 3 minutes as the tea steeps. This will help get the most out of every bag of tea.
Avoid adding sugar to your tea as bacteria loves to feed off of sugar. Also avoid bottled iced tea as it tends to have citric elements that can help raise the acidic levels of saliva.
If you have any more questions about how tea can help your teeth or if you would like to visit Chicago’s number one rated dentistry, contact Water Tower Dental today. We’re happy to help answer any questions and put you on the path to a better, brighter smile.

How to Get Rid of Onion and Garlic Breath

November 13th, 2014

Garlic and Onion Bad BreathIf you have trouble with bad breath, you might find that onions and garlic are two of your worst enemies. While other smelly foods can usually be defeated with a mint or a quick swish of mouthwash, onions and garlic always seem to be a lot harder to combat. That’s due to the chemical makeup of onions, garlic, and any plant in the allium plant family (shallots, scallions, leeks, etc).

Garlic, onions, and the rest of the allium plant family affect your breath in two ways. The first is how most other foods give you bad breath, which is by the sulfuric compounds that actually get stuck in your mouth. They get stuck either between your teeth, in the pockets of your gums, or on your tongue. As the food is broken down and rots in your mouth, it begins to smell worse, thus giving you bad breath.
The second way allium plants affect your breath is slightly more complicated. When you eat garlic and other allium plants, you digest certain chemical compounds. The one that affects your breath is known as allyl methyl sulfide. This chemical comes out as a gas and is absorbed into the bloodstream. By traveling through the blood it is able to enter the lungs where it is exhaled. Unfortunately for us, allyl methyl sulfide gives off quite a harsh smell. This is why garlic, onions, and all of the allium plants give you bad breath that’s almost impossible to combat.

Getting Rid of Garlic and Onion Breath

There’s good news and bad news when combating garlic and onion breath. First, the bad news: The only way to completely eliminate garlic and onion breath is by not eating garlic and onions. That’s because there really is no way to remove the smell of garlic or onions from your bloodstream. The good news, however, is that, although you can’t completely eliminate the smell of garlic or onions, you can get rid of a good deal of the smell as well as take preventative measures to ensure your bad breath doesn’t get out of control.

Brush, Floss and Use Mouthwash

Of course, first and foremost, the best way to rid your mouth of garlic and onion breath is with proper hygiene practices. Flossing, brushing, and mouthwash will all help remove food particles in your mouth while killing bad bacteria and leaving your mouth looking and feeling fresh.

Parsley Can Help With Bad Breath

Ever see that little sprig of green on your plate at a restaurant? That’s parsley and it’s there to help your mouth. Chewing that bit of green can help neutralize the odors of garlic and onions. Even better, parsley in the meal can help keep the bad breath from developing in the first place.

Eat Lemons to Neutralize the Garlic and Onion Odor

Lemons help by neutralizing garlic and onion odor while also killing the bad bacteria associated with bad breath. Try sucking on a lemon wedge after a meal that’s loaded with either of the two smelly plants. Your breath will feel fresher almost instantly.

Drink Green Tea

If you’re concerned about bad garlic or onion breath, drinking green tea can really help. The polyphenols in tea are able to combat and reduce the amount of sulfur compounds produced by them.

Drink Milk While You're Eating the Smelly Food

And lastly, for those who are most concerned about their breath, studies have shown that milk can actually help reduce the odor of garlic or onions. Though for best possible results, one should drink milk with every bite of they take.
While fighting bad breath from allium plants might be a hard task, there are plenty of ways you can help prevent bad breath from occurring. Whether by brushing and flossing, or trying out some home remedies, you can help reduce the smell of garlic and onions on your breath.
For more information about the best and worst foods for your breath, click here. We here at Water Tower Dental Care are always happy to help you with any oral health questions you may have. Feel free to contact Water Tower Dental today.
 

Electric Toothbrush Vs. Manual Toothbrush: Which is Better?

November 6th, 2014

Electric Toothbrush Vs. Manual Toothbrush: Which is Better?When it comes to choosing a toothbrush, you definitely have some options. A pharmacy often dedicates a whole aisle to toothbrushes, giving you a long list of choices. One of the hardest decisions when choosing a toothbrush can be between a manual toothbrush and an electric toothbrush. Many question between a manual and an electric toothbrush, which is better? However, the answer isn’t necessarily which is better, but which is right for you. Though electric toothbrushes technically clean your teeth more effectively, they may not be right for everyone.

For decades, the manual toothbrush was the common standard for oral healthcare. The modern manual toothbrush, made of nylon bristles, was developed and introduced in the 1930s by the DuPont Company. For most consumers, that is the toothbrush they have known their whole life. Though there may have been some advancements in the manual nylon toothbrush, the design has remained relatively the same since it was introduced.
In the 1990s, the electric toothbrush was introduced to the market. The head of the toothbrush is driven by motor to oscillate or rotate. This gives the brusher a consistent pressure against the teeth. Many electric toothbrushes also come with timers that stop after two minutes and pressure monitors: if you’re pressing too hard against your teeth, the toothbrush will stop. Both have advantages and disadvantages that we will categorize below.

Ease of Use

A Manual Toothbrush is quite simple to use and most of us have used one for our entire lives. With two minutes of brushing, you can effectively clean your teeth. If you do this at least twice a day, you should guarantee yourself a lifetime of bright smiles. However, it does take a little extra effort to brush properly and ensure you’re removing plaque off of all your teeth.
With an Electric Toothbrush, there is significantly less work in ensuring removal of plaque. You still need to brush for two minutes, at least twice a day, but the consistent pressure of the motorized bristles makes the electric toothbrush easier to use. Studies have pointed to showing that electric toothbrushes do a better job of removing plaque on the teeth. However, with that said, both a manual and electric are fine for getting the job done.

Toothbrush Variety

Manual toothbrushes come in a long list of varieties from soft bristles to angled necks to fun patterns on the handle. If you like to switch up the look of your toothbrush, it’s a simple way to do that.
An electric toothbrush is a little harder to switch up. Once you decide on a kind of toothbrush, you don’t want to go switching between other brands. You need to stick with what your electric toothbrush provides in the case of bristles, colors, etc.

Toothbrush Cost

Manual toothbrushes are much less expensive than electric toothbrushes. If you visit a dentist every six months, they often give you a free toothbrush at the end of your visit. You need to replace a toothbrush about every three months, but that is still much less expensive than an electric.
Electric toothbrushes cost about three times as much as a manual toothbrush. Along with that initial cost, you need to consider the cost of new bristle heads and the cost of charging the toothbrush. Whether that means plugging in a charger and using electricity or replacing batteries on the toothbrush every few months. The money adds up.

Travel

Manual toothbrushes are easy to travel with. They can easily fit into a toiletry bag and you won’t need to risk breaking them on your trip.
An electric toothbrush is a little harder to take around with you. They tend to be bulky. If you plan to bring the charger for the toothbrush with you, there’s a considerable amount of room being used to pack your toothbrush.

Toothbrush Durability

You probably won’t have to worry too much about breaking your manual toothbrush. They’re quite sturdy. Even if you do break it, it’s not too hard to replace one.
An electric toothbrush must be treated with care. If dropped, the mechanisms that make the bristles move can break and malfunction, making your electric toothbrush useless. Be careful when using one.

Conclusion: Electric Toothbrush vs. Manual Toothbrush

While both manual and electric toothbrushes have their pros and cons, it’s truly up to the consumer to decide which one is right for them. Some prefer the feel of a manual while others the electric. Some don’t have the money to spend on an electric toothbrush, especially when a manual toothbrush can sufficiently clean your teeth. An electric does do an overall better job at cleaning your teeth, but may not be the best option for a variety of reasons, including if you travel a lot.
If it’s convenient for you, we recommend investing in an electric toothbrush, as it has proven to clean your teeth better than a manual toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes are also great for kids because children tend to think they are fun to use and don’t have to put in much effort.
Whichever you choose, make it your goal to brush at least twice a day along with flossing and mouthwash. If you stay consistent, whatever toothbrush you choose will get the job done.
 
 

How to Fix and Prevent Bread Breath

October 16th, 2014

How to Fix and Prevent Bread BreathYou may have the straightest, most beautiful, and gleaming white teeth, but that doesn’t mean your mouth smells nice. If you take care of your teeth, you might still have bad breath. However don’t be surprised if bad oral hygiene coincides with bad breath. Either way, horrible-smelling breath is a major concern for anyone who wants to make a good impression on someone, or just wants to hold a conversation.
To combat bad breath, you first need to know what causes it, and then how to fight it. There are many reasons that bad breath can occur. First, there are the natural ways that unfortunately occur from eating garlic or onions. This kind of bad breath comes from the stomach and the bloodstream, travels to your lungs, and reappears on your breath. Other causes of bad breath include using tobacco products, having a dry mouth, and having bad oral hygiene.

The main cause, however, comes from bacteria that is living on the back of your tongue. This is why most men and women have bad breath. The bacteria, known as volatile sulfur compounds, live far back on the tongue where a toothbrush cannot reach. This is why many people who may have great looking teeth can also experience bad breath.
So what’s the solution to the problem of reaching far back on the tongue and combating that terrible smelling bacteria? There’s a few things you can do.

Ways You Can Prevent Bad Breath in Your Bathroom

Brush and Floss
While your toothbrush and floss can’t reach the back of your tongue, a big reason that far away bacteria is able to survive is because of the sugars, acids, and other bacteria than live in between your teeth and the pockets of your gums. The cleaner your mouth is from brushing and flossing, the harder it is for the volatile sulfur compounds to survive.
Use A Mouthwash with Chlorine Dioxide
Swish the mouthwash around in your mouth and gargle with your tongue sticking out. Make sure that the mouthwash reaches as far back in your mouth as possible without you swallowing it. Most mouthwashes will combat and kill bacteria, however chlorine dioxide is known to be especially effective at washing away those pesky bad-breath-causing bacterias.
Use a Tongue Scraper
We’ve praised the tongue scraper a few times on our blog, and that is because it’s truly effective. A lot of the bacteria that grows on the tongue can actually be seen if you stick your tongue far out. It will look like a milky white film. Gross, right? While brushing your tongue can loosen some of this bacteria, a tongue scraper is specifically designed to pull off the bacteria on the back of the tongue. Use your fingers to pull your tongue out as far as possible to make sure to remove the bacteria from the farthest reaches of your tongue. Make sure to rinse the tongue scraper after each use as well, so that you don’t allow the bacteria to return to where it was.
When it comes to a routine to help you keep your breath fresh and tongue bacteria-free, we recommend first using mouthwash, then the tongue scraper, brushing and flossing, and finally, if you’re really working hard to kick that bad breath, use mouthwash once more.

Tips for Preventing Bad Breath When You’re Out of the House

When you’re not in front of a sink working on correcting your bad breath, and you’re out of the house, here are a few tips to keep your breath in check.
Drink a lot of Water
A great defense for bad breath is flushing out particles, acids, and bacterias from your mouth by drinking lots of water, especially with meals or after drinking a darker liquid (coffee, tea, cola, etc.).
Chew on Herbs
That little green piece of grass on your plate at lunch? That’s actually parsley, and it’s great for neutralizing bad smells in your mouth. Mint is another effective herb to have around and take a bite out of. You’ll be surprised how fresh your mouth can feel and smell after eating it.
Chew Gum with Xylitol
Similar to fresh herbs, gum with xylitol can help fight bacteria and keep your breath fresh. We advise avoiding gum or mints that contain a lot of sugar, because while they may work for a little bit, they also harm your teeth and don’t really combat the problem of bad breath. Instead, they temporarily cover it up.
If you follow these tips, you should have fresh breath everyday. If you are still experiencing bad breath after following all of these suggestions, you may be experiencing a larger issue, such as a dead tooth or a medical condition you’re unaware of. If so, contact Water Tower Dental. We can help you develop a routine for fresh breath and a healthy smile that’s right for you.

Five Common Flossing Mistakes

July 24th, 2014

Five Common Flossing MistakesNext to brushing, flossing your teeth is the most important daily practice for great oral health. It helps scrape the plaque off the sides of your teeth and remove harmful bacteria from your gums. However, many of us make common mistakes that keep us from doing the best floss job possible. Thankfully, all of these mistakes are easily fixable, and after a short read, you can better your technique and ensure healthy gums and shining teeth.

1. Flossing Too Much or Too Little

To be truly effective, flossing should be done daily. Plaque and tartar can build up quickly, and only flossing every few days will do very little in helping keep your teeth free of harmful particles and bacteria. However, there is such a thing as flossing too much. There’s no need to floss more than once a day. In fact, you can begin to harm your gums if you floss too much. Creating a simple routine that helps you floss only once a day (after you shower in the morning, or before you go to bed at night) and sticking to it will help guarantee you floss just the right amount.

2. Using the Wrong Motion

When flossing, your main objective is to scrape the plaque off the sides of your teeth. This is essential to keeping plaque and bacteria from moving inside pockets of your gums. In order to scrape the plaque off the sides of your teeth, you should be using an up and down motion. However, many use a front and back motion. Remember, you are not shining a shoe. Push against the side of the tooth with your floss and scrap down on the top teeth and up on the bottom.

3. Not Cleaning Both Sides of Your Teeth

When scraping the sides of your teeth, make sure that you scrape both sides. It’s not enough to slip the floss between your teeth then snap it back out. You need to consciously push against both sides of your teeth and push the plaque off. Start on one side, then move to the next.

4. Take Your Time

Many people don’t realize how much time they should realistically spend on each tooth. For the best results you should spend a few seconds on each side of a tooth, scraping about ten times. Plaque is hard to remove, and doing a quick once-over will not help much. You need to make sure you really scrape on each side of the tooth until you hear a squeak (that’s the sound of your teeth becoming squeaky clean).

5. Stopping When Your Gums Bleed

Sometimes, especially if you haven’t flossed in a while, your gums can start bleeding when flossing. Gum disease causes this. Your gums are inflamed and will start bleeding when becoming irritated. This is because you have too much plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Rather than stopping, you need to continue flossing. If you avoid the mistakes above and floss daily, the bleeding will subside over time and eventually stop.
Flossing is extremely important for great oral health. By avoiding these common mistakes and practicing great oral hygiene, you will have a bright smile for many years. If you have any questions, or would like to talk to a professional about your oral health, contact Water Tower Dental Care. We are happy to help.

How to Choose the Right Toothpaste for You

July 17th, 2014

Choose the Right Toothpaste for YouThere are a few factors to consider when it comes to finding toothpaste that works for you. Mainly, does it have the effective ingredients to help fight plaque build-up and tooth decay? Once you have determined that, you will want to choose from a variety of toothpastes that can help in specific ways depending on what kind of cleaning you’re looking for.

Most toothpaste has a basic set of components that makes them what they are. First, abrasive agents that help remove food and bacteria from your teeth. These are typically ingredients such as calcium carbonate. Thickeners are added to tooth pastes to add a thicker volume to the paste, which helps maintain a consumer-expected texture. For moisture retention, humectants are added, which keep the toothpaste from drying out. Detergents help make your toothpaste foam when brushing by using ingredients like sodium laurel sulfate. And, of course, flavoring is added to toothpastes with artificial sweeteners to make brushing your teeth a more enjoyable experience.
You will most likely find some kind of variation of these basic ingredients in most toothpaste. They are the essential makeup that makes toothpaste what it is.
The most essential toothpaste ingredient, however, is fluoride. For the past 50 years, fluoride has helped to significantly lower tooth decay and cavities. A naturally occurring mineral, fluoride helps protect your teeth by making your tooth enamel stronger and helping reverse the damage that occurs from bacteria acids breaking down teeth. It is essential to use toothpaste with fluoride, as it’s the number one ingredient to help protect your teeth.
Most toothpaste in the dental aisle of your local pharmacy or grocery store will contain these ingredients. But you’ve probably noticed dozens of different toothpastes in your pharmacy. That’s because many toothpastes offer additional help specific to a certain problem.
There is toothpaste that is specific to tartar control. This toothpaste helps remove the buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth. When plaque isn’t removed properly, it hardens and turns into tartar. These toothpastes use ingredients such as pyrophosphates and zinc citrate to break down plaque and tartar before it becomes a bigger issue.
There are also toothpastes for Sensitive Teeth. Many people have trouble with consuming hot or cold liquids and chewing hard foods. This is because they have nerve endings that are more sensitive than other mouths. With the help of potassium nitrate or strontium chloride, these toothpastes help by blocking pathways to the nerves that are attached to the teeth.
Whitening toothpastes are also available. These toothpastes offer additional abrasives that can help scrub away stains and bring your teeth back to their original whiteness.
When choosing toothpaste, you should always look for the ADA approval. The American Dental Association has been working hard for years to ensure that the toothpastes they approve are safe and contain ingredients that will protect your teeth.
If you have more questions about which toothpastes are best for your teeth, contact Water Tower Dental. With a simple checkup we can determine the key weakness to your oral hygiene and recommend several options to help bring your smile to its brightest potential.

Practices to Help Maintain Gums

July 14th, 2014

Practices to help maintain gumsOne of the toughest issues when it comes to oral care is keeping your gums healthy. Throughout the years, you may have noticed that your gums can start to recede, moving farther down and revealing more of your teeth. This can be due to genetics or harmful bacteria and plaque that build up and weaken your gums. It can also be a form of gum disease that will result in sore gums, redness, and eventually bleeding.
To help save your gums and keep them healthy, here a few practices that Water Tower Dental recommends:

Brushing and Flossing regularly

Believe it or not, this is the easiest way to help maintain gums. Try brushing after every meal and flossing once a day to help keep your mouth clear of plaque and unwanted food. But also realize that you can brush and floss too much. Your mouth needs time to balance its own natural chemistry, so keep to a good schedule and don’t overdo it. Flossing is not necessary more than once a day. And don’t think you need to brush after every time you eat food. It’s good to brush after larger meals, but small snacks throughout the day can be washed away with a glass of water and your body’s natural saliva distribution.

Use Mouthwash

Along with brushing and flossing, using a strong mouthwash once a day can also help kill unwanted bacteria and keep your mouth feeling fresh. Mouthwash is great for stopping plaque growth in areas where the toothbrush or even floss can’t reach.

Eat Probiotics

We reported before on how probiotics can help your teeth. Eating them a few times a month can actually help maintain your gums too. Probiotics are a collection of good bacteria. When you eat them, you replace areas where bad bacteria can live with bacteria that helps your mouth. Eating probiotics a few times a month will help keep your mouth’s chemistry regulated and healthy.

Keep Juices, Coffee, and Acidic Drinks to Meal Time

When trying to keep your gums at a strong level, you need to avoid some of the more harmful substances to your teeth. Acidic drinks, such as high-sugar juices, soda, and coffee, can ultimately do bad damage to your teeth and gums. However, they are most harmful when they’re consumed alone. This is the best time for the acidic elements to move around your mouth. During a mealtime though, much of your food can soak up the acidic juice and keep it from causing too much harm. Also, when you eat, your mouth naturally salivates, which helps wash away food bits and the juice

Take Vitamin C and D

Both vitamins are great for oral health. Vitamin C contains antioxidants that help replace connective tissues and accelerate bone regeneration. Vitamin D has been known to have anti-inflammatory effects and can help reduce your gums’ chance of developing periodontal disease.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly

And last, a terrific way to help keep your teeth clean and maintain your gums is by consulting and working with your dentist to find practices that will work for you. Also, an oral cleaning from the dentist is an amazing way to start a strong regiment against gum decay and periodontal disease.
If you’re having trouble with receding gums or suspect you have periodontal disease, do not hesitate to call Water Tower Dental. We can help you find the right track to a healthier lifestyle that will repair your gums and make your smile shine. For more questions, contact Water Tower Dental today.