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Bad Breath Remedies

kiss under the mistletoeBad breath is an embarrassing ailment that affects many people. Sometimes bad breath is a temporary side effect of especially stinky food, other times it’s a chronic issue that never seems to go away. At our dental office in Mill Creek, we have a few helpful tips that may help remedy bad breath with a little bit a time and diligence.

Brush Up on Your Brushing

Brushing our teeth has been a habit since we were young. And when we do something that’s so simple for so long, it’s easy to skimp on doing a thorough job. Start brushing with a purpose, paying attention that you’re cleaning each surface of every tooth using gentle circles. Two minutes of proper brushing twice a day can do wonders for fighting bad breath.

Drink Plenty of Water

Being properly hydrated isn’t only great for your body, it’s incredibly beneficial for your mouth too. A hydrated mouth helps rid your mouth of bad breath germs and bacteria by washing it away.

Quit Smoking

Immediately following a cigarette, bad breath is guaranteed. However, this ‘smoker’s breath’ can last hours after smoking. The lungs and the throat can hold on to stinky smoke particles, releasing them into the air with every breath. Quitting isn’t only a great way to get fresher breath, it’s best for your overall health.

See Your Dentist

Regular visits to your Mill Creek dentist are they best way to combat bad breath. Professional dental cleanings remove stuck on tartar and bacteria that can’t be touched with at-home brushing. You should see your dentist twice a year, perhaps more if you need more thorough, deep cleanings.  

When Bad Breath Gets Serious

You can try every trick in the book to alleviate bad breath, and even then it may not disappear. If this is the case, it may be a sign of something more. Bad breath could be a symptom of:

  • Gum Disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Sinus Infection
  • Diabetes
  • Liver or Kidney Problems

If you’ve been living with the embarrassment of bad breath and are ready to fix it, start by scheduling an appointment at our Mill Creek dental office. We’ll work with you to determine its cause and talk about the best way to get you back to freshness.

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Show Your Teeth Some Appreciation This Thanksgiving

woman expresses thanksThanksgiving is day dedicated to giving thanks for all that we have in our lives. The typical thankful sentiments of life, health, family, and friends usually top the list. This Thanksgiving, the team at our Mill Creek dental office wants to give you one more thing to be thankful for, something that’s typically overlooked: your teeth.

We know it may sound silly to give thanks for your pearly whites, but trust us, after we list the top reasons you should appreciate your teeth, you’ll be praising them in no time.

Your Teeth Are One of Your Most Defining Features

According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), your smile is one of the first things someone notices about you. It can also impact your life and others’ perceptions of who you are. In fact, the same AACD study concluded that 74% of those who took the survey believe an unattractive smile can negatively affect someone’s career. But don’t worry, if you’re not proud to show off your grin, cosmetic dentistry from your Mill Creek dentist will transform your smile and maybe even your life.

They Help Us Communicate

Teeth are an essential part of speaking. Without them, we’d have difficulty pronouncing certain letters and sounds such as ‘f,’ ‘v,’ ‘s,’ ‘th,’ and so many more. Go ahead and give it a try. Can you say a full sentence without touching your teeth together or bracing your tongue against them? We’re guessing it was a bit challenging. Those who struggle to pronounce sounds correctly can benefit from seeing a dentist, undergoing orthodontics, or working with a speech therapist.

Teeth Allow Us to Eat All of the Delicious Thanksgiving Treats

One of the teeth’s main purpose is to help us break down foods into more manageably sized pieces so that we can swallow easier. Different types of teeth have a different jobs when it comes to aiding in eating. For example, incisors (the front four teeth on top and front four on the bottom) help us bite bits of food while the molars and premolars are responsible for mashing and chewing the food.

They Can Improve Digestion

Also related to eating, there’s more that the mouth does to help prepare food for proper digestion other than simply chewing. As we chew, our saliva production increases to help further break down the food particles. The saliva contains enzymes that kick start the digestion process. If we don’t chew well or fully, proper digestion can’t happen.

We hope our few reasons to be thankful for your teeth this Thanksgiving, and all year around, makes you appreciate a healthy smile. If there’s any concern about your smile, whether it’s cosmetic or functional, we welcome you to call our dental office in Mill Creek.

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Top 7 Ways to Protect Yourself This Flu Season

couple with the fluNobody enjoys the threat of the flu lurking everywhere this time of year. But with the right precautions you can protect yourself and your family and reduce your risk of contracting the flu. Our dental office in Mill Creek has put together a guide to help you avoid the flu and keep you healthy all year long.

Wash Your Hands Often

Using warm water and soap, scrub your hands before preparing food, after eating or using the restroom, and after shaking hands. If soap and water are unavailable use an alcohol-based sanitizer.

Keep Your Hands Away From Your Face

Germs spread easily through the eyes, nose, and mouth. If your hands get in contact with flu germs and you rub your eye, itch your nose, or bite your fingernail, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll get sick.

Drink Plenty of Water

Your body functions optimally if it’s hydrated. This includes its ability to fight off germs. Not to mention, a well hydrated mouth is a healthy mouth, and that’s sure to make your dentist in Mill Creek happy.

Eat a Well Balanced Diet

Fueling your body with fruits, veggies, whole grains, and proteins is crucial in helping your body stay healthy. Proteins, in fact, have been proven to support the immune system so make sure you’re getting your fair share.

Clean Your Home and Your Office

Sanitize the areas you or others use most. Think about the items that get touched often like doorknobs, toilets, elevator buttons, or your computer mouse. A good rule of thumb to follow is to clean it even it doesn’t look dirty.

Take Care of Your Toothbrush

Toothbrushes can hold a lot of bacteria and if not taken care of properly could make you sick. Make sure you rinse the bristles thoroughly after each use, store family members’ brushes far away from each other, and consider sterilizing them once a week in hot water.

Avoid People Who Are Sick

Although this seems obvious, it’s not always simple. If a co-worker comes to the office sniffling and sneezing, it’s difficult to avoid them and everything they touch. Try to communicate via email instead of face-to-face meetings, carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you, and again, always wash your hands and avoid touching your face.

If you do happen to get sick, try your best to stay home to help prevent the illness from spreading to others. Our dental office in Mill Creek also encourages you to find sugar-free medications so as you’re working on feeling better, you’re not doing damage to your oral health.

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Are Root Canals as Scary as they Sound?

root canal modelRoot canals have an unnecessarily bad reputation of being painful, which causes many people to be afraid of the treatment. However, the team at our dental office in Mill Creek wants to ease any concerns you may have about root canals and hopefully relieve any apprehension.

Do Root Canals Hurt?

There’s been a lot of talk surrounding just how terrible a root canal is when, in fact, advancements in dental technology have made them virtually pain free. If your dentist in Mill Creek recommends a root canal, it’s most likely because you’re experiencing pain caused by deep decay or a severe infection. A root canal treatment can actually make that pain go away so you can finally get relief.

So, What Exactly is a Root Canal?

The name of the treatment itself isn’t necessarily descriptive of the actual procedure, so let’s take a look at how a root canal is typically done. Your dentist will:

  • Numb the area to reduce any discomfort.
  • Make a tiny hole in the tooth.
  • Gain access to the inside of the tooth. This is where the the pulp chamber and canals are located. Inside the canals, nerves, pulp, and blood vessels are found.
  • Clean out all of the canal contents.
  • Seal the pulp chamber and canals.
  • Place a dental crown restoration to protect the tooth.

Signs You May Need a Root Canal

Besides the obvious sign of tooth pain, there are other symptoms that may warrant a root canal including:

  • Gum pain and swelling
  • A pimple-like bump on the gums by the painful tooth
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Worse pain when chewing or applying pressure
  • Hot/cold sensitivity that doesn’t go away once the food or drink is removed

Notice any of the symptoms listed above? We encourage you to call our dental office in Mill Creek to schedule an appointment. A thorough examination by our caring and gentle dental team will help us identify the cause of your problem and recommend the best treatment for you. If the appropriate solution is in fact a root canal, we assure you that you have nothing to fear.

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What Exactly is Occlusion?

woman and dentist examine x-rayAt our dental office in Mill Creek, we’re often asked what certain technical dental terms mean, and we’re always happy to explain them. Which brings us to the topic of the day: Occlusion. What is occlusion? What are we looking at when we talk about it? Why does it matter? We’re glad you asked!

Occlusion Explained

Occlusion is a simply a fancy name to describe the relationship between the way your upper teeth connect with your lower teeth when you chew, bite, or clench down. More commonly, occlusion is explained as your bite.

What Are We Looking At?

When your dentist in Mill Creek is evaluating your bite, he or she is looking for any areas where the two sets of teeth don’t line up well. A healthy bite is important for proper chewing, and if a bite is “bad,” the force placed on teeth isn’t distributed evenly. This can lead to several problems and the need for restorations or long-term treatment.

How Does a Bite Become “Bad?”

There are times when people develop a bad bite as they lose their baby teeth and their permanent ones erupt. Most commonly, these are classified as overbites, underbites, or crossbites (more on these in a minute). Other individuals see a shift in their once good bite as they get older thanks to accidents, clenching or grinding, or as a result of teeth shifting when a permanent tooth is lost and not replaced.

Signs of a Bad Bite

There aren’t one or two concrete signs of malocclusion (another fancy dental term used to say bad bite). In fact, there are several symptoms that may indicate an issue including:

  • Excessive wear on tooth enamel
  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Tooth loss
  • Head or neck pain
  • Pain in the jaw joint
  • Upper teeth that fall behind the lower teeth when the mouth is closed (underbite)
  • Top teeth that cover most or all of the bottom front teeth while biting (overbite)

If you’re experiencing any of these signs, we encourage you to call our dental office in Mill Creek. Treatment to correct a bite varies from person to person, so it’s best to evaluate your individual situation and recommend a personalized plan.

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What’s Good and What’s Bad About Bottled Water?

rows of bottled waterThese days you can’t go very far without seeing bottled water, whether you’re scanning the aisles at your favorite supermarket, cheering on your kids at their latest sporting event, or perhaps packing for a trip to your favorite vacation destination. Our dental office in Mill Creek wants you and your family to stay healthy and hydrated, which may mean drinking more bottled water. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the getting water from the bottle vs. the tap.

The Pros: Why is Bottled Water So Popular?

  1. It’s Readily Available

Bottled water is an excellent solution for having delicious drinking water anytime, anywhere. It’s portable and travels easily in briefcases, purses, gym bags, backpacks, and more. Sometimes, given your surroundings (i.e. camping or in a foreign country) it’s easier to have a bottle of water with you. It’s also able to be purchased conveniently.

  1. Easy to Store and Delicious to Drink

In the event of a disaster or other emergency, your dentist in Mill Creek knows that having bottled water on hand is definitely helpful and it can be a lifesaver depending on the circumstances. Because bottled water does not expire, it’s always a good idea to keep some stored away, just in case. Depending on the condition of your tap water, bottled H20 also tends to taste better too. This usually due, in part, to the purification process certain types of bottle water must undergo during the preparation process.

The Cons: What’s So Bad About Bottled Water?

  1. It Could Cost You More Money

Because there are so many additional necessary steps to ensure bottled water is safe to drink (purification, packaging, transporting, marketing, etc.), it can tend to be a bit more pricey than the water flowing from your tap.

  1. There Could Be Some Health Risks

Our Mill Creek dental office wants you to know about the possible health risks associated with bottled water. Did you know commercially produced bottled water does not contain fluoride, while tap water does? Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps keep teeth strong and healthy. It’s especially important that kids get enough fluoride for their growing teeth. Some plastic bottles also contain the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) which can seep into the water before you drink it. This risk increases significantly if your water is stored somewhere hot in direct sunlight.

We hope you learned a little bit about some of the benefits and some of the potential downfalls to drinking bottled H20! No matter what kind of water you choose either for yourself or your family, it’s always very important to stay hydrated each and every day. This helps your body function a peak performance, you feel good, and look great on the outside too! Do you have any questions about what we talked about in our blog? Give us a call or ask us your questions at your next visit!

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The Oral Health Hazards of Nail Biting

young woman biting nails studyingNail biting is a habit that can affect not only the appearance of your nails, it can also cause damage to your oral health. As with any habit, nail biting can be difficult to break, but at our dental office in Mill Creek, we’re hoping that by providing our patients some information about the dangers of nail biting, both in regards to oral health as well as overall health, we’ll be able to help encourage nail biters to quit.

Oral Health Concerns

Nail biters have a higher incidence of chipped or broken teeth, gum damage, and worn down teeth. What’s more is according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), people who bite their nails are at increased risk for bruxism, or tooth grinding. Bruxism brings on its own host of problems like headaches, recessed gums and sensitivity, and even tooth loss. If someone is a nail biter and also wears braces, root absorption can be a real problem. Root absorption is when the tooth roots shorten, making the teeth weaker and more prone to premature tooth loss.

Whole-Body Issues

You don’t need your dentist in Mill Creek to tell you that you shouldn’t put your hands in your mouth because they’re usually loaded with germs and bacteria. Your nails are no different. Common bacteria found under nails includes both Salmonella and E. coli which can be very easily transferred into the body through nail biting. Both of these bacteria can lead to serious infectious disease and would require immediate medical attention.

Top 4 Tricks To Quit Biting Your Nails

As we’ve discussed, nail biting is a habit, and habits are hard to break. Whether you bite your nails when you’re bored, or subconsciously when you’re nervous, identifying the triggers that cause you to put your fingers to your mouth is the first step. Once you know, try the following tips to help you quit.

  • Use a nail polish (don’t worry, it’s clear) that’s designed specifically to help nail biters quit. It has a bitter flavor and can help you associate nail biting with an unpleasant taste.
  • When people bite because of stress, it’s helpful to find an alternative stress reliever. Try taking up yoga, exercise, or deep breathing to help you relax without nibbling on your nails.
  • If the kind of bacteria that tend to live in nail beds grosses you out, look at close-up images of these germs. Just prepare yourself in advance as they can be pretty nasty.
  • The longer the nails, the easier it is to bite them. Keep nails trimmed short to give you less to bite.

While you’re working on quitting, stay persistent as it may take a few tries to totally stop. If you happen to have a setback and experience any oral health damage such as a chipped tooth or gum damage, give our Mill Creek dental office a call to schedule an appointment with us. We’ll be happy to help.  

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“What’s it Mean When My Dentist Pokes My Gums and Says Numbers?”

young woman in dental chair looking upIf you’ve ever been to your dentist in Mill Creek and experienced several gentle pokes to your gums followed by hearing some numbers, you’ve had what’s called a periodontal charting. This charting is helpful when evaluating overall oral health and can give your dental team some insight to a proper treatment plan.

What’s Periodontal Charting Do?

What we do at our dental office in Mill Creek during periodontal charting is measure gum tissue around each tooth. There are six sides per tooth to measure, that’s why you’ll hear so many numbers being called out.

What Do The Numbers Mean?

During the measuring process, you’ll hear us say numbers ranging from 1 to 7, and sometimes more. These numbers reflect how deep your gum pockets are in millimeters. Anything between 1 and 3 is a good indicator that your gums are healthy. However, if you bleed during the process, your gums may be in beginning stages of a more severe problem, even if your measurements are between the target of 1 and 3. Higher measurements than 3 could be a sign of a serious concern. Explore the guidelines below to see what’s commonly interpreted from each depth.

  • 3 mm – 5mm with no bleeding: Gum pockets of this depth could indicate a likelihood of gum disease.  
  • 3 mm – 5 mm with bleeding: It’s very likely that gums with these measurements have early gum disease.
  • 5 mm – 7 mm with bleeding: Besides almost certain gum disease, bone loss and tissue damage are also possible.  
  • 7 mm+ with bleeding: Pockets deeper than 7 mm means advanced gum disease is certain. Surgical intervention may be appropriate to resolve the disease.

If your measurement are any of the above, it may be recommended that you have professional cleanings at least every 3-4 months in order to improve both your gum health and overall oral health. If they’re deeper than 7 mm, surgery may be required.

Other Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease is a serious problem that can lead to tooth loss and has been linked to several whole-body concerns including heart disease and stroke. Besides having periodontal charting complete, you should look for other signs of gum disease like bleeding gums, chronic bad breath, or receding or tender gums.
If you notice any signs of gum disease, call our Mill Creek dental office to schedule an appointment. We’ll evaluate your overall oral health and determine the most appropriate treatment plan to get your smile in its best shape ever.

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The Oral Health Dangers of Smokeless Tobacco

oral cancer awarenessApril is recognized as Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and while many people know the risks associated with smoking tobacco, the team at our dental office in Mill Creek want to make sure our patients and neighbors know that just because smokeless tobacco is, well, smokeless, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its own fair share of risks.

Oral Cancer

The most serious concern associated with smokeless tobacco use is oral cancer. Oral cancer is a serious disease that affects the lives of nearly 50,000 newly diagnosed people every year. If not caught early, oral cancer can lead to death. While anyone can get oral cancer, tobacco use (of any kind) is the top risk factor for developing the disease.

Know the Signs

  • Pain while swallowing, chewing, or speaking
  • Changes in voice
  • A white, scaly patch on the inside of the cheek or lip
  • A lump inside the mouth or neck

If you notice any of the signs above, contact your dentist in Mill Creek to schedule an appointment as soon as you can.

Gum Recession

Chewing tobacco can also cause gums to recede, mostly because the tobacco (and everything else found in it) is left on the gums for prolonged periods of time which irritates the tissues. Once gums have receded, the tooth roots become exposed, and that’s when the problems start. Without the protection of the gums, the roots are at increased risk for sustaining damage from foods, drinks, and more tobacco. Not only does this make cavities more likely, it also tends to lead to tooth sensitivity, which can be pretty painful.

Tooth Discoloration

Thanks to the ingredients found in all forms of tobacco, specifically tar and nicotine, tobacco users tend to suffer from a yellow smile. The good news is this discoloration can be reversed through a professional smile whitening or cosmetic dentistry treatment like veneers. But if a patient continues to use tobacco after treatment, the teeth can be easily stained again.  

Regular visits to the dentist are important for everyone, but especially for tobacco users, smokeless or not. If you’re looking for a dentist, we welcome you to call our Mill Creek dental office to schedule an appointment. We’re here to help keep our patients healthy and we’re always happy to see new patients. Give us a call today.

Welcoming new patients from Mill Creek, Bothell, Everett and beyond. 

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All About Tooth Sensitivity

sensitiveHaving sensitive teeth can be incredibly uncomfortable and painful, especially while eating and drinking hot or cold treats. At our Mill Creek dental office, we understand how tooth sensitivity can keep you from enjoying your favorite foods and beverages, and we don’t want anyone to experience the pain and burden of it. We’re here to help.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

There are several possible causes of tooth sensitivity. Most often, the reasons behind sensitive teeth is due to enamel erosion. When the enamel diminishes, the dentin, or middle part of a tooth’s anatomy, is exposed and the result is painful sensitivity. Some common culprits of enamel erosion include:

  • Brushing too hard
  • Tooth grinding (bruxism)
  • Acidic Food

Gum recession can also contribute to increased sensitivity. When gums recede, the tooth roots and the multitude of nerves inside the roots, become exposed and leads to pain.

Signs & Symptoms

Signs of having sensitive teeth are pretty straightforward. Most commonly, those with tooth sensitivity experience sharp, shooting pain with:  

  • Hot or cold food and beverages
  • Breathing in cold air
  • Eating sweet or acidic foods

What You Can Do About Sensitive Teeth

What’s causing the sensitivity in the first place would determine the most appropriate solution, but here a few tips you can try to reduce tooth sensitivity:

  • Ease up on the highly acidic foods and drinks like citrus fruit, wine, and tomato sauce
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles
  • Brush your teeth using small, gently circles
  • Consider a custom bruxism mouthguard to protect your teeth against grinding
  • Maintain regular visits with your dentist in Mill Creek

If you’re tired of your sensitive teeth keeping you from enjoying your favorite foods, or you think there may be a more serious problem, we welcome you to call our dental office in Mill Creek. We’re here to help our patients and neighbors have healthy, comfortable smiles.

Welcoming patients from Mill Creek, Bothell, Everett and beyond.

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