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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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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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The Halloween Candy Guide for Those with Braces

halloween teensWith Halloween just around the corner, we hope all of our patients and neighbors are ready for a night of ghouls and ghosts, witches and wizards, and tricks or treats. When it comes to those treats, the team at our dental office in Mill Creek has a few pointers for what may be best left behind, especially for those who wear braces. Check out our guide to braces-friendly candy below.

Best Choices

  • Chocolate Bars – You can’t go wrong with some pure, delicious chocolate. Whether you choose a candy bar or perhaps a Hershey’s Kiss, chocolate dissolves quickly and is safe for braces. If you’re lucky enough to score a full-size candy bar, we encourage you to cut it up into smaller pieces to reduce the risk of damaging the braces on your front teeth as you bite into it.
  • Peanut Butter Cups – Another scrumptious yet safe option for braces are peanut butter cups. Their smooth consistency makes chewing very easy with really no concern of breaking a bracket or wire.
  • Milky Ways – Although these candy bars contain caramel (more on that in a bit), Milky Ways are still soft enough for braces wearers to enjoy.

Important Note: All of these options are safe as long as they’re not frozen. Frozen chocolate bars and peanut butter cups make the texture too hard to bite and chew safely.

Worst Choices

  • Hard Candy – Candy that falls under this category can be both all right for braces and potentially damaging. Hard candies that allow you to suck on them over time, reducing their size and making them less dangerous for braces, may be ok to enjoy. However, it increases the time your teeth are exposed to the sugar which may put you at greater risk for decay.
  • Gooey Gum – When you first got your braces you were probably told to avoid gum. That rule doesn’t change during Halloween. Chewing gum can bend your wires, and that’s particularly concerning. When a wire is placed by your doctor, it’s put on in such a way that gently moves your teeth into the desired position. However, if the wire bends, your teeth tend to follow the direction of the wire instead of its original path. This can actually prolong treatment.
  • Sticky Sweets – Things like caramels, gummies, taffy, and similar candies are almost sure to cause some trouble. Sticky sweets and their tacky consistency not only tend to bend wires, they’re also bad for your teeth in general. The stickiness allows the sugars to stay attached to teeth longer, again increasing your risk for decay.

Important Note: When in doubt, if it’s sticky, hard, or super chewy, it’s best to choose another option.
In order to keep your braces in tip-top shape and to avoid any broken brackets, bent wires, or other complications, it’s wise to listen to your dentist in Mill Creek about which foods are safe for braces. Halloween candy is no exception. Following the guide of braces-friendly candy can protect your braces and help you avoid an emergency dental appointment.

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What You Do At Work May Be Harming Your Teeth

workspace covered in snacksWhen we spend as much time as we do at work doing similar responsibilities every day, we are bound to develop habits. Some workplace habits like diligently checking emails or reserving a block of uninterrupted time to get work done can be beneficial and make for an efficient employee. However, other things we tend to do at work can be harmful to our teeth. Our dental office in Mill Creek would like to highlight a few of the most common workplace habits that may be damaging your smile.

Taking Smoke Breaks

Smoking, as well as using smokeless tobacco, can lead to very serious health problems. Some of which can be life threatening. These habits can also contribute to several oral health concerns ranging from minor problems like tooth discoloration and bad breath to very serious issues including gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer. Smoking can be a very difficult habit to break, but instead of stepping outside to light up, consider chewing sugarless gum and talk with your doctor about ways to quit.

Not Brushing Your Teeth

We believe that everyone should keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in their desk drawer for use in between snacking and lunchtime. When we eat, the bacteria that live in our mouths begin to feed on the tiny foodstuffs left behind. As a result, these bacteria release acid. When the acid isn’t rinsed away by either saliva or through a proper brushing, it’s left to eat away at enamel. Enamel is designed to protect teeth from decay and once it’s gone, we’re left at increased risk for cavities.

Chewing on Pens

Chewing on the tips of pens or pencils is incredibly common among office employees and even children in school. We typically put pens in our mouths during times of intense thought, boredom, or stress. Sometimes we aren’t even aware we’re doing it. But nibbling on these tough writing utensils can cause some serious damage. Biting on pens or pencils has a tendency to lead to cracked, chipped, or broken teeth that will require restorative dentistry treatment from your Mill Creek dentist to fix.

Not Using the Right Tools for the Job

Whether you’re trying to open packaging that may be sealed a bit too well, or you need to rip a piece of tape off the roll, you should always use tools meant for these purposes like scissors, not your teeth. Teeth are meant to help us chew food to make it easy to swallow and digest. They aren’t designed to grab and rip or cut. Using teeth as tools can result in damage like cracked or broken teeth.

Recognizing the habits that can lead to tooth damage can help us realize when we’re putting our smiles at risk. If you find yourself doing any of the habits, our Mill Creek dental office is here to help you stop or fix any problems you may have as a result.

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Probiotics & Oral Health

woman wearing probiotics tshirtWhen we hear the word ‘probiotics,’ we don’t typically consider them beneficial for the mouth, but rather, the gut. While probiotics certainly have their place in digestive health, at our dental office in Mill Creek, we’ve come across some research that may suggest a link between certain types of probiotics and better overall oral health.

What Are Probiotics?

Talks about probiotics have been increasingly popular throughout the past couple of years. But what are probiotics and why are they good for you? Simply, probiotics are live microorganisms that help support our bodies. These microorganisms are usually bacteria, but not the bad bacteria that we normally think about and that make us sick. The bacteria we refer to when talking about probiotics are the good bacteria that help us stay healthy.

Different Probiotics Treat Different Things

You may remember some yogurt companies in particular mentioning probiotics in their advertisements. These probiotics specifically help with digestion and support gut health by keeping enough good bacteria around to fight off the bad bacteria off. There are other types of probiotics around that tend to help different areas of the body. In this case, we’re referring to oral probiotics.

Oral probiotics are ones that are being researched to study their effects on oral health. And there may be some exciting news in the future. Initial studies support the idea that there may be a positive correlation between specific types of probiotics and reducing the risk of gum disease, plaque, and bad breath.

Let’s Talk About Bifidobacterium & Lactobacillus

Don’t worry about how to pronounce them, let’s just focus on why we’re taking a closer look at them. Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are strains of probiotics and are the two that are mainly used in probiotic research in relation to oral health. Found naturally in both the bodies and mouths of mammals, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus have been studied closely to see if there was a connection between increasing the amount of them in test subjects and healthier mouths. While the amount of research we currently have is limited, and the evidence is not yet conclusive, there have been cases where Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus have helped in the treatment of periodontal disease and halitosis, and has seemed to reduce the risk of cavities.

This is exciting news for the dental community. But while we’re waiting on researchers to continue studying the possible connection, we don’t recommend simply starting yourself on a probiotics routine before discussing it with your medical team, including your dentist in Mill Creek.

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Why Dental Hygiene Visits are About More Than Clean Teeth

man gets dental cleaningThere’s no surprise that your bi-annual dental hygiene visit is about getting your teeth a deeper clean than you can get alone at home. The hygienists at our dental office in Mill Creek are dedicated to removing plaque, flossing in between each and every tooth, and polishing your pearly whites for the ultimate clean. But your visits are about more than just getting your teeth clean. In fact, they’re about much more…

Checking Out Those X-Rays

Sometimes at your cleaning appointment, you’ll receive digital, low-radiation dental x-rays that are used to see what the human eye cannot. Both your hygienist and dentist in Mill Creek will review these x-rays and check for cavities that are just forming and are still too tiny to see without the help of digital images. X-rays can also help your dental team see problems below the gum line like an abscess or bone loss in the jaw that holds your teeth in place.

Taking a Peek at Your Gums

We already know that your hygienist is taking a good, long look at your teeth during your visits, but she’s also paying quite a bit of attention to your gums. Gum health is critical to keeping mouths and bodies in their best shape. If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, you may be in the beginning stages of gum disease, which, if left untreated, can lead to other whole-body health issues including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Keeping an Eye on More Than Teeth

While your hygienist is working on cleaning your teeth, she’s not only looking for decay, cavities, or gum disease, she’s also searching for any signs of a larger concern. Since there is a correlation between oral health and several serious systemic diseases, some early warning signs of these health issues often first appear in the mouth. Your hygienist is trained to look for any areas of concern in order to catch any problems early when treatment tends to be more successful.

At-Home Care is Important, Too

One of the best ways you can keep your smile healthy in between appointments is to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine at home by brushing and flossing every day. Brushing should be done twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush and flossing should be done once a day to remove food particles and plaque buildup from between teeth.

The team at our Mill Creek dental office wants to encourage our patients and neighbors to visit their dentist at least twice a year. And if you’re family is looking for a dentist, we always welcome you to give us a call.

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How Your Exercise Routine is Affecting Your Smile

woman exercisingLike any other member of your medical team, the team at our dental office in Mill Creek are all for exercising. There are plenty of benefits behind regularly hitting the pavement for a run, grabbing the free weights for a strength training program, or joining a gym for group classes. Whichever exercise is your go-to workout, it will increase heart rate, get the blood flowing, and will help keep your whole body healthy… including your mouth. However, when it comes to oral health and exercise, there are a few potential problems.

The Good

Before we launch into talking about a few ways exercise can damage your smile, let’s talk about all the good exercising can do. First and foremost, exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy weight, keeping your lungs and heart in tip-top shape, and is overall really great for you. When it comes to how exercise can benefit your oral health, we look to the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) which is a long-term national health study.

Researchers found that those who exercised at a moderate intensity five days a week, or at a high intensity three days a week, were at lower risk for gum disease. This is good news for both your teeth and your whole body. Gum disease usually leads to other oral health problems such as bad breath, swollen & painful gums, and even tooth loss, and has also been linked to whole-body issues including certain cancers, heart disease, and stroke. So avoiding it is best for your overall health as well as the health of your mouth.

So obviously, exercising is good for everyone for plenty of reasons. But just like how working out too much can lead to injuries, it can also contribute to decay and an increase in cavities.

The Bad

We aren’t trying to keep anyone from exercising as we believe the benefits outweigh the risks. But we do feel it’s necessary to talk about how exercising may have a negative effect on oral health so you can know what to try to avoid during your workouts.

There are two main contributors to oral health issues associated with working out. Let’s look at each one in more detail.

Sports Drinks

Sports drinks are great at helping your body recover after intense exercise. But they’re not so great for your teeth. A lot of the ingredients in sports drinks are known to cause decay and cavities. When you can, choose water during workouts or alternate sports drinks and water to limit your exposure to sugars and acidity found in most sports beverages.

Mouth Breathing

When you’re doing any sort of physical activity that causes you to breathe a bit heavier, it’s common to start breathing with an open mouth. Open mouth breathing decreases saliva production, which not only makes your mouth feel uncomfortably dry, it also makes it the ideal environment for bacteria that damage teeth to thrive.

Still have questions about how exercise can affect your smile? We welcome you to call our dental office in Mill Creek. We’ll be happy to help.

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What Your Tongue Says About Your Health

woman sticking out tongueAt my dental office in Mill Creek, we spend a lot of time getting people to open up and say, “Ah!” It’s because your oral health can tell us a lot about what is going on in the rest of your body. Did you know that your tongue can also provide some pretty interesting clues about you too?

What Are You Looking At?

Your tongue is really quite marvelous and it says a mouthful about oral and overall health. It consists of eight muscles and never ever gets tired. The tongue is constantly at work. At any given moment this super strong muscle could be doing one (or more) of the following with or without you even being aware of it:

  • Helping break down food
  • Helping you speak clearly
  • Filtering out bad germs
  • Pushing saliva down the throat (even during sleep)

What Are You Looking For?

The next time you’re in front of a mirror, go ahead and stick out your tongue. Take a long look and note what you’re seeing. Are there red or white spots? Is it dark and almost hairy in appearance? Is there any redness? What you see could say a lot about what’s going on inside your mouth and inside your whole body. It’s important to keep a keen eye on anything that’s abnormal or feels suspicious so you can let your Mill Creek dentist do a thorough examination. Here are some examples of what you might find and what it means:

  • White Patches – This could signify an overgrowth of candida (yeast) fungus. It’s common in babies and young children and is easily treated with a prescription anti-fungal rinse or pill.
  • Black/Hairy Appearance – Diabetes, a yeast infection, poor oral hygiene, or cancer therapies could be to blame.
  • White/Red Spots – These obvious spots are actually quite common. They are usually the result of worn down taste buds.
  • Redness – Illnesses like strep throat or deficiencies in B-12, folic acid, and iron can also cause this kind of irritation.
  • Bumps – Large bumps or sores on the tongue are often a sign of canker and cold sores.
  • Webbing or Stripes – This can signal a chronic oral lichen planus which is a chronic condition that occurs when your immune system is attacking cells.

Be on the lookout for anything suspicious or anything your tongue might be trying to tell you. Please call my Mill Creek dental office and let us take a look. Together we can get to the bottom of the problem and decide what treatment (if any) will get you and your tongue healthy again.

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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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