Dental Plaque: What Is It & How to Avoid It!

Family Dentist in Alabama

It’s important to know what causes dental plaque so you can avoid it! In this blog post, we will talk about what causes dental plaque, how to prevent it from building up on your teeth, and the importance of brushing twice per day. We’ll also discuss why flossing is an essential part of maintaining good oral health.

What is Dental Plaque?

Dental plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that can build up on teeth and lead to tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, and other dental issues. Plaque forms when you don’t brush your teeth regularly or fail to implement good oral hygiene habits.

When not removed by brushing properly, plaque hardens into tartar. Tartar is a form of dental calculus or mineral deposit that can’t be removed by brushing alone.

What Causes Dental Plaque?

There are three main causes of dental plaque:

 

  • A buildup of the bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease on your teeth is caused by poor oral hygiene habits.

 

  • Not brushing your teeth regularly – twice a day for two minutes each time!

 

  • Indulging in sugary foods and drinks leads to increased acid in the mouth. Too much sugar will cause bacteria to produce more plaque on your teeth.

 

How to Avoid Dental Plaque

So, how can you avoid dental plaque? While the only way to completely remove plaque from your teeth is a professional dental cleaning, there are several ways to prevent dental plaque between appointments.

The best way to prevent dental plaque is by consistently brushing your teeth twice a day. Be sure to practice proper brushing techniques, brushing the surface of each tooth.

Flossing also plays a crucial role in helping you avoid dental problems caused by plaque. Flossing removes food particles, debris, and bacteria from between your teeth. If left untouched, this may lead to plaque buildup in the future.

Another way to prevent dental plaque is to eat more fruits and vegetables! Not only do many fruits and vegetables help scrub the plaque off your teeth, but they also satisfy cravings, allowing you to eat less sugar. The acidity of sweet treats will accelerate the growth of dental plaque.

When you do indulge in a sweet treat, be sure to rinse well after you are finished as anything high in sugars can cause the buildup of bacteria on teeth (hello cavities!).

The Role of Dental Cleanings in Eliminating Plaque

Although it is important to practice good oral hygiene to reduce plaque on the surface of your teeth, professional dental cleanings are the only way to fully eliminate plaque.

Because of this, it’s important to make bi-annual dental exams and cleanings a priority. Not only does your dentist remove hardened tartar before it turns into cavities but they also look for signs of decay, disease, or other health concerns.

By taking the time to establish great oral hygiene habits, you can reduce the possibility of cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease – something that will continue to benefit your health for years to come.

5 Reasons Everyone Should Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Family Dentist in Alabama

Everyone knows that a good oral hygiene routine provides them with a bright, healthy smile. But did you know that the impacts of your oral hygiene – whether positive or negative – extend far beyond the appearance of your smile? There are numerous reasons that you should adopt a healthy oral hygiene routine. Keep reading to learn just a few of the most compelling reasons to prioritize your oral health! 

1. Poor Oral Hygiene Affects Your Overall Health

Did you know that a poor oral hygiene routine could lead to serious health complications later in life? Researchers and medical experts have spent countless years researching the correlations between poor oral health and heart disease, diabetes, sepsis, bacterial infections, pregnancy complications, and a variety of other issues. 

Poor oral hygiene increases the risk of inflammation in your mouth that can then impact other areas of your body, weakening your defense against serious health conditions. By developing a proper oral hygiene routine, you can improve both your oral health and your overall well-being!

2. A Healthy Smile Improves Confidence

What is the first thing you notice when meeting something new? For 40% of Americans, that feature is the smile! Poor oral hygiene can lead to staining, tooth loss, or gum disease – conditions that can decrease your confidence and even cause feelings of embarrassment. 

By prioritizing your oral health, you can improve your confidence with a smile that is both bright and healthy! 

3. Proper Oral Hygiene Minimizes Disease & Decay

We would be remiss to not mention the impact of proper oral hygiene on your oral health. When you fail to practice proper oral hygiene, your chances of developing gum disease or tooth decay skyrocket. While they may not seem like serious conditions, both gum disease and tooth decay can rapidly progress – requiring extensive dental work to remedy the ailment. 

Developing and maintaining a proper oral hygiene routine is the best way to combat oral disease, tooth decay, and a variety of other preventable ailments.

4. Decreases Costs Associated With Dental Care

Unfortunately, poor oral hygiene often leads to expensive dental procedures. By practicing good oral hygiene, you can decrease the cost of your dental care by eliminating pricey procedures! 

Additionally, regular dental cleanings and exams are typically included in your dental insurance plan. By failing to prioritize oral hygiene by scheduling these appointments, you are wasting money! Protect both your smile and your bank account by making oral hygiene a priority.

5. Your Friends Will Thank You

What is worse than spending time with someone who constantly has bad breath? Being that person in your friend group! No one wants to be known for their bad breath or toothy smile. Trust us – your friends will thank you for practicing and prioritizing your oral health and hygiene! 

So, how do you practice good oral hygiene? The answer is simple! Brush your teeth twice a day, floss once daily, and visit your dentist on a bi-annual basis for a thorough cleaning and exam. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Tooth Cavities: Separating Fact From Fiction

Family Dentist in Alabama

As one of the most common oral health concerns, there is great confusion surrounding the topic of tooth cavities. What causes cavities? Are some people just more prone to this problem than others? The answers to these questions may surprise you! 

So, what is a cavity? A cavity is a form of tooth decay. The bacteria that is found in the mouth is highly acidic and interacts with plaque to eat away at your tooth’s enamel. Over time, this results in a hole in your tooth that will continue to grow deeper if you don’t receive professional care.

While cavities in their early stages are invisible to the untrained eye, they will begin to cause a toothache or pain once reaching the inside of the tooth. Fortunately, cavities are easily treatable through a process called a dental filling. Now that we know more about what a cavity really is, let’s take a look at some of the most common myths about tooth cavities.

Myth: Only Kids Get Cavities

A cavity is often the first type of oral health problem a child experiences. Because of this, many people are under the impression that only kids get cavities. However, this is simply a myth!

Patients of every age are susceptible to tooth cavities. In fact, due to advancements in dentistry over the past 20 years, children are now at a lower risk for developing cavities than their older family members. 

Myth: Sugar is The Only Thing That Causes Cavities

This is where things get tricky. While this is mostly a myth, there is some truth behind it! The primary culprit in causing cavities is bacteria in the mouth. This bacteria is responsible for the production of the destructive acid that begins to eat through the enamel of your teeth. 

Where does this bacteria come from? The primary food groups that cause cavities are carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are naturally occurring sugars and are exist in a variety of foods including bread, rice, potatoes, and more.

So while that sugary treat certainly doesn’t do your teeth any favors, it is not the only thing that increases your chances of developing a cavity.

Myth: There is No True Way to Prevent Cavities

Unfortunately, some people are more prone to cavities than others. Some individuals are more prone to developing cavity-causing bacteria than others. Others simply have gaps in their smiles that provide more opportunities for decay. However, even for individuals with these pre-existing conditions, there are always ways to prevent cavities! 

Patients of every age can take steps towards preventing cavities by brushing their teeth thoroughly twice each day and flossing daily. However, the most effective way to prevent cavities is to visit your dentist for bi-annual dental cleanings and exams.

As we discussed previously, cavities are caused when the bacteria interacts with the plaque that accumulates on the surface of your teeth. While daily oral hygiene tasks keep this plaque at bay, the only true way to achieve a clean smile is through a professional dental cleaning!

Eat Right, Smile Bright! 8 Foods That Are Great For Your Teeth

Family Dentist in Alabama

We often discuss the foods that are not good for our teeth. But did you know that certain foods can benefit the health of both your teeth and your gums? By adding these foods into your diet, you can brighten your smile, strengthen your teeth, and work towards a healthier, happier smile. 

Here are 8 of the best foods to eat for your oral health:

1. Apples

Apples serve many purposes. While it is wise to minimize your intake of sweets, an apple can curb your sweet tooth while also contributing to your oral health! Eating an apple encourages increased saliva production, something that helps to rinse away bacteria and food particles sticking around after your meal. The texture of the apple also helps to stimulate your gums and leaves your teeth feeling fresh! 

2. Yogurt

Yogurt is likely not the first thing that comes to mind as you consider oral health. However, there are many ways that this tasty treat is beneficial to your smile! Yogurt is high in both protein and calcium, two things that help to strengthen your teeth. Additionally, the probiotics found in yogurt help to counteract the bad bacteria that is responsible for forming cavities. 

Not all yogurt is created equal. It is important to look for yogurt with minimal sugars or opt for plain yogurt and add fruit for a bit of sweetness.

3. Cheese

Cheese, like yogurt and other dairy products, is high in calcium and protein. Additionally, studies have suggested that cheese raises the pH of the mouth, lowering the risk of tooth decay! 

4. Leafy Greens

You are likely not surprised that leafy greens found a spot on this list. Greens such as spinach and kale contain plenty of vitamins and minerals that promote optimal health. While greens may not be your snack of choice, they make a perfect addition to a salad, smoothie, or even pizza.

5. Carrots

Carrots are quite similar to apples, encouraging the production of saliva that fends of cavities. This tasty treat also contains high amounts of fiber and vitamin A, both of which benefit your smile!

6. Celery

Celery is by far one of the least popular vegetables. However, it contains antioxidants such as vitamins A and C that benefit your gum health. Additionally, celery gently cleans bacteria and food particles from the surface of your teeth. Not a fan of the taste? Add a bit of cream cheese or peanut butter for a tasty treat!

7. Raisins

Perhaps one of the most surprising foods on this list is raisins! Raisins contain phytochemicals that could help fight cavity-causing bacteria and minimize the risk of gum disease. 

8. Strawberries

As if we needed another reason to love this sweet treat, strawberries contain a variety of nutrients including fiber, folate, manganese, and vitamin C. The malic acid found in many fruits, including strawberries, has even been said to naturally whiten your teeth. We consider that a win! 

Next time you head to the kitchen for a snack, consider one of these healthy (yet delicious) options. By eating right, you can achieve a smile that is both healthy and bright!

How to Stop Being Afraid of the Dentist | Hampton Cove, AL Dentist

Family Dentist in Alabama

For a lot of people, even the thought of visiting the dentist causes fear and anxiety.

This can be due to past trauma, a fear of the unknown, lack of communication, or simply from embarrassment. You don’t have to suffer in pain. We have 4 helpful tips to help you overcome your fear of the dentist.

 

Be Prepared

Research the dental office you’ll be visiting and learn more about the office and people. For extra peace of mind, find out if they are specialized in your procedure.

Read online reviews. See what others have to say about their experiences. Many people leave reviews on their entire appointment, from start to finish. Seek those reviews out to get a good understanding of how you can expect your visit to go.

For children, explain their dental procedure in terms that they can understand and will help ease their anxiety. Let them know that the dentist isn’t a scary place!

 

Ask Questions

Research the dental procedure you’re going to have. Make a list of any questions you want to have answered before you schedule your appointment.

Once you’re there, ask the dental assistant and dentist to keep you informed of what they are doing, as they do it.

Don’t be afraid to make pre or post-procedure calls regarding aftercare, concerns, or any questions you have.

 

Distract and Relax

Have someone you trust to go along with you. This can be a parent, spouse, sibling, or friend. They can encourage and talk to you while you wait to help keep your anxiety down.

For children, bring along their favorite stuffed animal or blanket. These familiar objects can help calm their nerves.

Focus on your breathing. If you truly concentrate only on steady breathing, you might be surprised how hard it is to think about anything else!

Listen to music or a podcast with your earphones. For children, listening to their favorite songs or storybooks is a great way to help keep their minds busy.

Ask about sedation. Sedation dentistry uses medication to help you relax for a better dental care experience. You will still be able to ask questions, but you will be calmer throughout treatment.

 

Talk It Out

Sometimes the fear can be overwhelming. You can seek counseling to get the root cause of your dental fear. Professional assistance may help you succeed in overcoming it. Your dental health is worth it!

If you have any questions or want to learn how we can help you put your best smile forward, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

 

Hampton Cove Dentist | How Long Should You Brush Your Teeth? 

Family Dentist in Alabama

Brushing your teeth is an important part of a proper dental care routine. Many of us have successfully integrated toothbrushing into our daily routine. However, we often fall short when it comes to spending enough time on this crucial task. As we get older, we tend to rush through this part of our routine without any further thought on the matter.

So, how long should you brush your teeth each day? Dental experts agree that it is important to brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day (typically in the morning and the evening). Spending two minutes on this task each time you brush provides you with ample time to thoroughly clean all the surfaces of each tooth including the inner surface, the outer surface, and the chewing surface.

Taking proper care of your teeth and gums requires attention to detail. These fine details are often overlooked or forgotten completely! Unfortunately, this can lead to poor oral health.

Toothbrush Techniques

Timing is one of the most important factors in a proper brushing routine. Rushing through this part of your day can cause cavities, gum disease, or other dental problems. There are a few ways to ensure you are spending the appropriate amount of time cleaning your teeth each day.

Use a Toothbrush Timer

It may shock you to learn how little time you spend brushing your teeth. Whether you spend a lot of time or not much at all, it’s always wise to get an idea of areas in which you can improve your oral health. Next time you brush your teeth, grab a timer!

Many people find it helpful to set a timer each time they brush their teeth, at least until they establish a routine.

Follow a Brushing Plan

If the two minutes you spend brushing your teeth seems never-ending, it is likely because you are overlooking one (or several) important areas. Following a plan and brushing your teeth in the same way each time will help you avoid this problem! 

The best way to brush your teeth thoroughly is to work from one side of your mouth to the other. First brushing the inner surface, moving on to the outer surface, and finally cleaning the chewing surface of the tooth. Repeat this pattern until you have successfully worked your way to the other side.

Make Brushing Your Teeth a Priority

One of the primary reasons many people rush through their toothbrushing is because they leave it until the last minute. Clean, healthy teeth impact more than just your smile! Oral health has been linked to many types of health concerns, some of which are rather serious.

The best way to make sure you successfully spend two minutes brushing your teeth twice each day is to make it a priority. The way this is done will vary depending on the person. However, by dedicating time to this crucial task, you will ensure that your oral health is the best that it can be.

For more information on brush tips and techniques, or to schedule your next appointment, contact us here.

Hampton Cove Dentist | 10 Signs It’s Time To Visit A Dentist

Family Dentist in Alabama

Visits to the dentist are crucial in both treating and preventing many issues including tooth decay and gum disease. However, in our busy schedules, we often overlook the warning signs that our body is sending to us.

Waiting too long to visit the dentist can lead to expensive and time-consuming dental procedures that could have been easily avoided. In today’s post, we are sharing 10 of the signs that it’s time to visit a dentist.

1. Tooth Pain

Tooth pain is the most common reason behind a visit to the dentist. However, many adults simply ignore or cover up the pain they are experiencing. Tooth pain can be caused by a cavity, tooth decay, or other problems that can be easily remedied.

2. Swollen or Red Gums

Swollen or red gums can indicate the presence of gum disease. It is important to address this problem in its early stages for the best results.

3. Sores, Bumps, or Lesions

Any kind of sore, bump, lump, or lesion should be looked at by a dentist. Although they are usually nothing serious, they can indicate various diseases.

4. Missing or Damaged Tooth

A missing or damaged tooth is a reason to visit the dentist. By failing to address these issues in a timely manner, you can cause further damage or pain.

5. Popping Jaw

Although a popping jaw may just seem like an annoyance, it can be a sign of something more serious like TMJ, or jaw dislocation.

6. Bad Breath

If you have chronic bad breath, a visit to the dentist is a wise idea. Bad breath can be a sign of poor dental hygiene but can also be an early warning of other health concerns.

7. Sensitive Teeth

Changes in the sensitivity of your teeth should be discussed with a dentist. Whether your teeth are sensitive to heat or cold, a visit to the dentist could help discover the cause of this discomfort.

8. Bleeding During Brushing

If your gums bleed lightly after not flossing for several days, it is not likely a cause for concern. However, if your gums are bleeding excessively, or every time you brush your teeth, you should make an appointment with your dentist. Bleeding gums can be a warning sign of gum disease or even something as simple as a poor brushing technique.

9. Headaches

Headaches can be caused by many things. However, if you are having a hard time discovering the culprit of your headaches, it’s time to visit your dentist. Problems with your teeth, gums, or jaw can cause headaches.

10. Bi-Annual Checkups

Even if you are not experiencing one of the signs mentioned above, it may be time to visit a dentist. Bi-annual dental checkups are the best way to prevent serious dental concerns. In addition to this, a routine cleaning keeps your smile bright and healthy! Making time for this appointment can save you both time and money down the road.

If you have noticed one of these signs, or if it’s simply been a while since your last visit, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Contact our office here for more information!

Dentist Near Me | Look 10 Years Younger

Family Dentist in Alabama

Your smile is one of the first things a person will notice when you meet.  If you would like to improve your smile with a simple procedure, teeth whitening may be a great option for you, especially if you have stained, dull or discolored teeth. Our dental office is providing teeth whitening services to new and existing patients.

Regardless of how well you care for your teeth, over time, discoloration will occur.  The main causes of stained teeth are genetics, antibiotics, tobacco and certain foods. As we age, our teeth darken as well. While preventing tooth discoloration is nearly impossible, our experienced team can help reverse the effects of discoloration by helping to create a whiter and brighter smile.

Whether it’s an in-office treatment or at-home treatment, the principles of teeth whitening are the same.  A special whitening agent is applied to the teeth in order to bleach stains and brighten your smile. Our expert dentist will discuss your whitening needs and goals with you to determine which option is best for you.

In-office teeth whitening is the quickest method to a brighter, whiter smile.  With the supervision of an experienced dental professional, a stronger bleaching solution can be used than with at-home kits. Optimal results are achieved much faster with the professional whitening treatment, and in many ways the results are much better given the nature of the bleaching agents that are used. On average, patients find they appear up to ten years younger just by restoring the bright, white smile of their youth.

During a professional teeth whitening treatment, we will first clean the teeth.  They will apply a whitening agent to your teeth, carefully avoiding your gums and soft tissue.  Once applied, a laser light will be directed at the teeth to expedite the process.  For maximum results, the process may be repeated more than once.

If a visit to our office for professional whitening isn’t an option for you, at-home treatment may provide the whitening you need. While you will find a vast variety of at-home teeth whitening products on the market, including whitening toothpastes, over-the-counter gels, rinses, strips, trays and more, we can fit you with custom-made whitening trays that will more accurately fit to your teeth for a more even whitening result.

At-home teeth whitening results are less dramatic compared to those achieved at the dentist. While at-home teeth whitening is easy to use, it is not recommended if your teeth or gums are sensitive.

If you are looking to brighten your smile and look ten years younger, contact our office for more information or to schedule a consultation today.

Owens Cross Roads AL Dentist | 4 Ways to Make Brushing Fun for Kids

Family Dentist in Alabama

As a parent, the best way to help ensure your child has a lifetime of healthy teeth is to help them establish great dental hygiene habits as they grow.

Here are some useful tips for keeping your child engaged by making dental hygiene fun:
Owens Cross Roads AL Dentist | 4 Ways to Make Brushing Fun for Kids
Pick out a special toothbrush.
One great way to keep your child excited about brushing is to allow him or her to choose their own toothbrush in a favorite color or branded with a favorite cartoon character. Child-size soft-bristled brushes come in a wide variety of options designed to make your child like their toothbrush.

Choose children’s toothpaste.
Another great option is to use a toothpaste that is designed for kids. While adults generally prefer the fresh mouth taste of a minty toothpaste, many children find mint to be too powerful a flavor. This can make brushing unpleasant or even painful to sensitive taste buds. Instead, let your child choose a children’s toothpaste. There are many options available in a variety of soft mint, fruity, and bubble gum flavors. It is much easier to keep your child brushing for a full two minutes when their toothpaste tastes good.

Use a timer.
Two minutes can seem like a long time to a child. It can be very difficult for your child to try to estimate or count how long to brush without some kind of visual aid. You can help your child stay more engaged and ensure a full two minutes of brushing by using a timer. Choices range from a small sand timer your child can flip over, to a manual stopwatch with buttons to press, or even an app on a phone or tablet to time digitally (if your child is old enough). By letting your child take control of the timer, they can be more confident and more engaged in their brushing.

Brush together.
A parent is the first and strongest role model for their child. Brushing together can help your child model your great brushing technique, which will improve their own. Additionally, brushing together emphasizes to your child that brushing is important. When your child sees that you take dental hygiene seriously, they are likely to follow suit.

For more tips on making dental hygiene fun for your child, contact our office.

Owens Cross Roads AL Dentist | To Floss or Not to Floss?

Family Dentist in Alabama

By now, you have likely seen news reports questioning whether flossing is necessary for your oral health.
Owens Cross Roads AL Dentist | To Floss or Not to Floss?
We want to answer your question right away with an absolute YES. Cleaning between your teeth is an essential part of caring for your teeth and gums.

Whether you use traditional string dental floss, a water flosser, an interdental (between teeth) brush, or other form of interdental cleaning, it is important that you clean between your teeth correctly and on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, in the quest for catchy headlines, many news agencies have been providing a great deal of incomplete and inaccurate information.

Here’s the truth: Plaque and bacteria can be prevented from building up between teeth when flossing is done correctly on a daily basis.

Why does that matter? Build-up of plaque and bacteria between teeth is one of the leading causes of periodontal disease, a condition which not only affects your mouth, teeth, and gums, but has been linked to complications with diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other systemic health issues.

The next time you visit our office, ask your hygienist to show you the most effective way to clean between your teeth. For more information on flossing and interdental cleaning or to schedule an appointment, please contact us.

Visit Our Hampton Cove
Dental Office

Hampton Cove Family Dentist

Hampton Cove Dentist

Hampton Cove Location

6838 US Highway 431 South Unit B
Owens Cross Roads, AL

(256) 536-8120

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Dentist in Hampton Cove

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