Posts for category: Oral Health
From a dentist's perspective, toothbrushes have a limited lifespan: Bristles can fray after months of use, rendering them less effective in removing harmful dental plaque. The American Dental Association therefore recommends a new brush at least every three to four months.
From a user's perspective, that's not that big a deal—toothbrushes are relatively inexpensive and plentiful in stores selling oral hygiene products. In fact, many dentists give their patients a new toothbrush after each dental cleaning.
But there's still another perspective: Mother Earth. Too many of those used toothbrushes end up in the trash. With potentially billions of disposed toothbrushes each year, this essential dental care tool could well be a significant contribution to our planet's overflowing waste problem.
Fortunately, you don't have to consign your used toothbrush to the landfill. After a sanitizing run through the dishwasher, there are dozens of ways to re-purpose your old brush. In recognition of Earth Day, April 22, here are a few of them.
Kitchen cleanup tool. Your kitchen is likely filled with various utensils and small appliances like toasters or blenders that contain lots of nooks and crannies. These spaces can quickly fill up with spills or food debris. With their narrow heads and long handles, old toothbrushes are ideal for tidying up your hard-to-clean kitchen equipment.
Tile grout cleaner. Those narrow bristles also make toothbrushes a great tool for cleaning bathroom tile grout. Simply apply your favorite cleaner, or a little baking soda added to water, and let your old toothbrush do the rest. A toothbrush is also handy for cleaning around other tight spaces around the sink, tub or toilet.
Personal hygiene aid. After retiring from teeth cleaning, your brush can still play a role in personal hygiene. Use if for cleaning under fingernails, removing hair from hair brushes or even getting your eyebrows in good order. They're also handy for applying hair dye if you can't lay your hands on the regular application brush.
Miscellaneous task helper. A used toothbrush can be useful for tasks in and out of the house. Inside, it can help you remove your child's crayon art from walls or tackle stubborn clothes stains. Outside, it's handy for cleaning different parts of your car, the soles of your shoes or grimy bicycle chains. When you need something small and narrow, a toothbrush might just fill the bill.
Have more than enough used toothbrushes? Then consider recycling the next one, if your local program allows it. In its separated components your toothbrush can thus continue to be useful—and not another piece of clutter on our beautiful planet.
If you think periodontal (gum) disease is something that only happens to the other guy (or gal), you might want to reconsider. Roughly half of adults over age 30—and nearly three-quarters over 65—have had some form of gum disease.
Gum disease isn't some minor inconvenience: If not treated early, a gum infection could lead to bone and tooth loss. Because it's inflammatory in nature, it may also impact the rest of your health, making you more susceptible to diabetes, heart disease or stroke.
Gum disease mainly begins with dental plaque, a thin film of food particles on tooth surfaces. Plaque's most notable feature, though, is as a haven for oral bacteria that can infect the gums. These bacteria use plaque as a food source, which in turn fuels their multiplication. So, the greater the plaque buildup, the higher your risk for a gum infection.
The best way to lower that risk is to reduce the population of bacteria that cause gum disease. You can do this by keeping plaque from building up by brushing and flossing every day. It's important for this to be a daily habit—missing a few days of brushing and flossing is enough for an infection to occur.
You can further reduce your disease risk by having us clean your teeth regularly. Even if you're highly proficient with daily hygiene, it's still possible to miss some plaque deposits, which can calcify over time and turn into a hardened form called tartar (or calculus). Tartar is nearly impossible to remove with brushing and flossing, but can be with special dental tools and techniques.
Even with the most diligent care, there's still a minimal risk for gum disease, especially as you get older. So, always be on the lookout for red, swollen or bleeding gums. If you see anything abnormal like this, see us as soon as possible. The sooner we diagnose and begin treating a gum infection, the better your chances it won't ultimately harm your dental health.
If you would like more information on the prevention and treatment of gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Gum Disease Gets Started.”
In recent years, dental implants have helped traditional bridgework take a giant leap forward. A few strategically placed implants can provide the highest support and stability we can currently achieve for this well-known dental restoration.
Implants derive this stability from the bone in which they're imbedded. Once surgically installed, the bone around a metal implant begins to grow and adhere to its titanium surface. Over time, this creates a strong anchor that firmly holds the implant in place.
But the implants' stability can be threatened if the gums around them become diseased. Gum disease, a bacterial infection caused mainly by dental plaque, can advance silently below the gum surface until it ultimately infects the bone. This can cause significant bone loss around an implant, which can weaken it to the point of failure.
To avoid this scenario, it's important to prevent gum disease by flossing daily to remove accumulated dental plaque between the implant-supported bridge and the gums, particularly around the implants. This kind of flossing around bridgework is more difficult than flossing between teeth, but it can be done with the help of a device called a floss threader.
A floss threader is a small plastic hand tool with a loop on one end and a stiffened edge on the other (similar to a sewing needle). You begin by threading about 18" of dental floss through the loop, and then work the other end of the threader between the bridge and gums to the other side.
With the floss threaded between the bridge and gums, you can now remove it from the threader, grasp each end, and floss around the sides of each implant you can reach. You'll then need to repeat the process by removing the floss, rethreading it in the threader and inserting it into the next section between implants, continuing to floss until you've accessed each side of each implant.
You can also use pre-packaged floss thread sections with a stiffened end to facilitate threading. But whichever product you use, it's important to perform this task each day to prevent a gum infection that could rob you of your implant-supported bridge.
If you would like more information on oral hygiene practices with dental work, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Hygiene for Fixed Bridgework.”
What you’re about to learn about cosmetic dentistry could make you smile.
We place a lot of importance on the appearance of our smiles. How often do you notice someone’s smile? Most of the time, right? So, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that many people turn to our West Columbia, SC, dentists Drs. Peter and Brooke Stoltz for cosmetic dentistry. After all, the cosmetic treatments we offer can help your smile look and feel its best, which also means that you look and feel your best. Want to know more about cosmetic dentistry? You’ve come to the right place!
New Year, New You
The New Year is often the time that people turn to our West Columbia, SC, dental team to discuss the ways in which cosmetic dentistry can give them the more confident appearance they want. After all, a beautiful smile can boost your self-esteem and even take years off your face. Here are just some of the ways in which cosmetic dentistry can help you,
Correct Minor Imperfections
A slightly chipped front tooth or a small discoloration can still leave you feeling self-conscious. Luckily, we also offer more conservative cosmetic options such as dental bonding, tooth contouring and gum reshaping to buff away small chips and unevenness in your teeth, while also filling small gaps between teeth and hiding small discolorations.
Brighten Your Smile and Get Rid of Stains
It’s natural for our smiles to become a little dull and dingy over the years. Even our favorite white t-shirt starts to fade with time; however, our team offers professional teeth whitening, which can get your smile several shades whiter and easily remove those stubborn stains. If you want a brighter smile to start the New Year out right, then it’s time to talk to us about teeth whitening.
Fix Misshapen or Misaligned Teeth
If you are dealing with widespread imperfections that impact several of your teeth, then you may wish to talk to us about dental veneers. Veneers are how many of those Hollywood stars have such perfect smiles. These thin porcelain shells are bonded to the front of your teeth to craft a brand-new smile that hides imperfections and alters the length, shape, alignments and color of your teeth.
Whether you have questions about cosmetic dentistry or you’re ready to sit down with our West Columbia, SC, dental team here at Three Fountains Family Dental Inc. to take the next steps, call our office today at (803) 755-0039. We would be happy to discuss options that are right for you and to get clear on your smile goals.
Spot the early warning signs of gum disease so you can seek proper care from your dentist.
Millions of adults in the US have some degree of gum disease. Some don’t even know it. Since it’s possible to have gum disease and not even notice, this is one of the main reasons why you shouldn’t skip out on those routine dental checkups with our West Columbia, SC, family dentists Drs. Peter and Brooke Stoltz. As with any disease, the sooner gum disease is identified and treated, the better.
What are the stages of gum disease?
There are two main stages associated with gum disease. The first and earliest stage is known as gingivitis. If gum disease is detected by our West Columbia, SC, family dentists during this initial stage it can be reversed. If gingivitis isn’t detected, it will progress into periodontal disease.
If you have been avoiding the dentist, or you don’t see your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups, it’s very possible that symptoms will go unnoticed until more advanced stages of gum disease have set in.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Symptoms and signs of gingivitis are often subtle, becoming more noticeable as it advances into periodontal disease. Signs of gingivitis include,
- Bleeding gums, especially when brushing and flossing
- Tender, swollen gums
- Red, inflamed gums
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
As gingivitis progresses into periodontal disease you may notice spaces or gaps between teeth and gums. You may even notice pus in these spaces. Eventually, as the pockets of infection grow larger, teeth will become loose and fall out.
How is gum disease treated?
There are several ways to treat gum disease and the treatments we recommend will depend on the severity of your gum disease. Ways to treat and even reverse gingivitis include,
- Brushing at least twice a day, but ideally after every meal
- Replacing your toothbrush head every 3-4 months
- Flossing every day
- Using an electric toothbrush
- Using a special antimicrobial mouthwash several times a day
- Eating a healthy diet
- Visiting our dentist more often for routine cleanings
With proper lifestyle changes and professional dental cleanings, gingivitis will usually go away. Of course, those with periodontal disease may require more aggressive treatment including,
- Scaling and root planing (a deep cleaning)
- Medicated mouthwashes
- Flap surgery
- Bone and tissue grafting
The health of your gums depends on you and how well you care for your smile. Along with maintaining good oral hygiene, it’s important that you are visiting our West Columbia, SC, family dentists every six months for checkups. Maintain healthy teeth and gums by turning to the team at Three Fountains Family Dental Inc. To schedule an appointment, call us at (803) 755-0039.