“Buy-Up” Dental Insurance: A Little Extra Protection

Brandon dentist, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr of Walker and Barr DMD discusses buy-up dental insurance and how it can prove to be a valuable investment for patients.When it comes to dental insurance, it seems like there can be as many (or more) questions as there are answers. Even when you are fortunate enough to have dental insurance, navigating its use can still be very confusing. Many people don’t give their dental insurance a second thought – until the day comes when they need to use it.  Today, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr at Walker and Barr DMD would like to talk to you about an option not everyone knows about – “buy-up” dental insurance.

What is “Buy-Up” Dental Insurance?

“Buy-up” dental insurance allows enrollees with group insurance to “buy-up” to more generous benefits by paying higher monthly premiums and receiving more comprehensive dental coverage in return. The differences between “regular” and “buy-up” dental coverages are easy to pinpoint when benefit summaries of the plans are viewed side by side: “buy-up” dental calendar year maximums are higher, annual deductibles are lower, and a percentage of more extensive restorations like bridges, crowns, dental implants, and sometimes even orthodontics are covered, while regular group dental insurance plans often provide little to coverage for these procedures. As with any other insurance plan, whether dental providers are in-network also factors into the level of coverage when considering “buy-up” dental.

Is “Buy-Up” Dental Insurance Worth the Added Cost?

When the only factor under consideration is economics, one recent study would likely call it a draw. The sample showed the average insured household spent $978 in out-of-pocket dental costs – including premiums – while the average uninsured household spent $1,007 – a mere $29 difference. If “buy-up” dental insurance becomes an option for you, the specific pros and cons of your individual and family situation will need to be weighed when you choose your insurance plan.  

If you are a weekend hockey player, have kids that need orthodontia, or just tend to be unlucky when it comes to your teeth, it’s hard to put a price tag on your peace of mind. Dental insurance can be a saving grace for those with unusually high dental expenses from serious financial hardship, and better-than-average coverage would only ease the burden. 

It may seem like a gamble to dig into your pockets and invest more money in a higher-priced dental plan when the extra coverage may never be needed. However, to reiterate – many people don’t give their dental insurance a second thought until the time comes when they NEED it – and when you need your dental insurance, you really need it. Some of the most expensive dental procedures are also the most unexpected and in many cases, they are true medical emergencies that require treatment. 

One way to think about “buy-up” dental insurance is to compare it to enhanced towing coverage for your vehicle, such as the type offered by AAA. You can pay one nominal annual fee that covers unlimited towing costs, so no matter where your vehicle breaks down within a certain geographical radius, there will be no additional cost to you for your car to be towed. If you carry this coverage, your vehicle may not break down during that coverage year and your benefits may never be used, but if your vehicle does break down and you do require towing, the annual premium price is about the same or less than one tow, and the coverage has paid for itself with just one use.

Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr and our team are always happy to discuss your insurance coverage, as well as your other financing options if you need additional help working dental care into your budget. Contact us anytime – we’d love to help!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Tagged with:
Posted in Blog, Patient Care

Biofilm: The Most Important Film of the Year

Brandon dentists, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr of Walker and Barr DMD, explain what biofilm is and the role it plays in your oral health and overall wellness.Biofilm is quite literally a “film” or layer of biological matter that forms on teeth, in sink pipes, on river rocks, and more. Biofilm is made of many different things. Think of it as concrete, which contains cement as well as a slew of other materials. It’s likely you’ve been aware of biofilm on your teeth when they feel slimy or fuzzy instead of smooth and clean. Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr, Brandon dentists explain more below about biofilm and the role it plays in your oral wellness.

My Teeth Aren’t Cold, Why Do They Need Sweaters?

It’s true; the texture of biofilm can feel like fuzzy little sweaters on your teeth. Biofilm occurs when bacteria stick to a wet environment, creating a slimy layer of microorganisms and random debris. Biofilm is a diverse and highly organized group of biological matter all webbed together. Some of the microorganisms are neutral but some are pathogenic and cause a lot of problems for your oral and overall health.

This slimy layer includes multiple kinds of bacteria, fungi, and anything else that gets stuck in the stickiness such as plaque or leftover food particles. Usually, bacteria start off floating around on their own, but if they stick to a wet surface they can cause a microcolony and produce a lot of gunk. This can happen on your teeth as easily as down a water pipe.

The Effects of Biofilm

It’s proven that not all microorganisms in biofilm cause harm to your oral health. But the ones that do can cause inflammation and deterioration in the bones and tissues of your mouth and have a direct pathway through the gums and into the bloodstream.

Biofilm in your mouth can cause:

  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Cavities
  • Tooth loss

Dental plaque is a dangerous kind of biofilm. Without properly cleaning your teeth (brushing and flossing every day), the material can corrode your teeth and the bacteria can make you sick.

Gingivitis is a common and mild irritation of the gums. But even 30-40% of the population will have severe gum disease called periodontitis. A dentist can help you look for signs of gum disease or diagnose it.

Biofilm allowed to travel through the bloodstream to other parts of your body cause:

  • Ear infections
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Cystic fibrosis (lung infection)
  • Legionnaire’s Disease

Treating Biofilm & Tooth Decay

The formation of biofilm actually protects the bacteria in it by keeping it attached to teeth and other debris. This makes the bacteria hard to clear and kill. Regular brushing and flossing are essential for your oral health to prevent bacteria and other microorganisms from building up on your teeth.

However, some buildup of plaque and tartar is common and can only be treated by a dental professional. This is why getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist twice a year is so important. Biofilm can also grow on oral appliances. So, if you use dentures, a mouthguard, or a removable bridge, ask your dentist how to best keep the appliance clean.

If biofilm causes excessive tartar buildup, your dentist may recommend special treatment to remove it and kill the bacteria such as prescription mouthwash or more advanced periodontal treatments. Unfortunately, oral infections are chronic because the bacteria can’t be completely killed by antibiotics. Oral infections must be inspected and treated on an ongoing basis. As always—prevention is the best medicine.

If you’re looking for a dental professional to keep your mouth and overall health in tiptop shape, Walker and Barr DMD is accepting new patients. Contact us to make an appointment today!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Tagged with:
Posted in Blog, Dental Services

What Are Those Bumps? Oral Tori

Brandon dentists, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr at Walker and Barr DMD explain oral tori—what they are, why they happen, and whether they are a cause for concern.Unusual shapes and growths can be alarming anywhere in the body. If you’ve noticed hard bumps growing in your mouth, you might have oral tori

What are Oral Tori?
Tori (or a single torus) are bumps in the mouth made of bone tissue covered by gum tissue. They grow slowly and some people have them without ever noticing them! There are three kinds of tori, each named differently based on their location:

  • Buccal exostoses: tori on the back, upper gums, on the cheek side
  • Maxillary/palatal tori: on the roof of the mouth
  • Mandibular lingual tori: on the lower jaw, under the tongue

Tori are more common among males than females. (Although palatal tori are twice as likely to occur in women than men.) They appear to be genetic. Tori can appear in groups of various shapes and sizes, or you can have just one torus. If you have a torus on one side of your mouth, it’s likely that you’ll also have another one on the other side.

Tori have been referenced and studied for at least 100 years, but truth be told, we don’t totally understand what causes them. Some dentists believe that people who grind their teeth and clench their jaw are more likely to develop tori. Others believe that tori result from facial or jaw injuries or trauma. 

Are Tori Dangerous?

Tori are considered normal and harmless. Phew! Tori may, however, get in the way of dentures or orthodontics in some cases. Or they may grow to a point and touch in the middle of the mouth. In these cases, your dentist may recommend treatment and removal to ensure optimum comfort and function. So long as they don’t interfere with your daily life and ability to eat, speak, or care for your oral health, tori are not a problem.

Tori should not hurt but they can get injured if you accidentally scrape them while eating. If this happens, keep the wound clean with mouthwash or a saline rinse to prevent infection.

Although they are extra growths, tori are not cancerous. Signs of oral cancer include sores, thickening oral tissues, unexplained bleeding or numbness, trouble swallowing, and a change in how your dentures fit. If you have any concerns about oral cancer, you should see us today for an oral cancer screening.

Treating Tori

Your Brandon dentist will monitor the tori shape and size and how they affect your general health. In the rare case that you do need the tori to be removed, your dentist or oral surgeon will perform an oral surgery procedure. The oral surgeon will expose the bone tissue, remove it, and level the mouth surface. As with any surgery, you’ll be sore for a while afterward, and you’ll see the dentist about a week later for a post-op checkup.

If you need help living with tori, or you have any other oral health need, make an appointment to come in and see us today!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Tagged with:
Posted in Blog, Dental Health

Top 5 Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Brandon dentist, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr at Walker and Barr DMD lists the top 5 causes of tooth sensitivity. Give us a call today if you need relief from sensitive teeth!If you’re one of the 40 million Americans with sensitive teeth, you must be familiar with the painful zing that follows a hot drink, a bite of ice cream, or just a deep breath of cold air. These and other elements can cause a sudden discomfort if you have sensitive teeth, also called dentin hypersensitivity. 

Each of your teeth has an important protected layer called enamel. If your enamel gets worn down, your teeth can become more sensitive over time. Your enamel is the visible, white part of the tooth and it protects the softer, inner layers of each tooth. Receding gums can also reveal sensitive parts of the tooth that aren’t protected by enamel.

If you’re living with sensitive teeth, it’s good to know what causes the pain and how to avoid it. You should also talk with your Brandon dentist about how to treat sensitive teeth and prevent further damage to your enamel or gums.

Causes of Sensitivity

Underneath your enamel is a part of the tooth called the dentin. Dentin is soft tissue full of nerves, which can be sensitive and painful. Certain habits and behaviors are more likely to wear down your enamel or cause gum recession that increases tooth sensitivity. The top five causes of tooth sensitivity are:

  1. Brushing your teeth too aggressively and wearing down enamel and/or gums
  2. Long-term exposure to acidic food and drinks such as citrus, coffee, and soda
  3. Tooth decay or broken teeth that expose the dentin
  4. Broken or leaking fillings
  5. Grinding your teeth

If you’re serious about avoiding or treating tooth sensitivity, talk with your dentist about which of these behaviors might be causing your problem. It’s very important that you keep track of when your teeth hurt and where you feel the pain. Sometimes tooth sensitivity means there’s another problem such as infection or cavity that needs a different treatment than just thinning enamel.

Treating Sensitive Teeth

Depending on the exact cause of your tooth sensitivity, Walker and Barr DMD may recommend:

  • brush more gently and/or buy a soft-bristle brush
  • start wearing a nightguard, or
  • another procedure to fix the problem.

Two simple products that can go a long way in relieving sensitive teeth are:

  • Sensitive toothpaste to use every time you brush your teeth at home. You can find a variety of toothpaste for sensitive teeth at the drugstore. This type of toothpaste decreases the sensitivity of the nerves in your dentin. Although you can never grow new enamel to replace what may be worn down, sensitive toothpaste will offer temporary relief for as long as you use it. Most people need to use sensitive toothpaste for 2-4 weeks before experiencing its complete benefits.
  • Fluoride gel applied to each tooth by the dentist can strengthen what remaining enamel you have and protect sensitivity from increasing.

If you have questions about sensitive teeth or any other oral health matter, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr is currently accepting new patients. Make an appointment today at Walker and Barr DMD. Your oral health makes a big difference in your overall health and quality of life. You are worth the investment!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

Tagged with:
Posted in Blog, Dental Health

Don’t Have a Stroke – Your Dentist Can Help

Brandon dentists Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr of Walker – Barr DMD explain the connection between oral wellness and stroke, and how you can increase your protection.You might be surprised to hear that the state of your oral health has a lot to do with preventing a stroke. There’s a certain kind of bad oral bacteria that cause gum disease, travel to other parts of your body, and cause harm.

A stroke is a common but dangerous medical condition that causes a lack of blood in the brain. The effects of a stroke can be long-term and life-changing. People of any age can experience a stroke, but it’s most common in adults 40 years and older. 

Oral Wellness
The Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention Center lists favorable oral health among its top five factors that prevent stroke, and a growing number of studies are finding the link between certain kinds of oral bacteria and the harm they cause to your brain. For example, these bacteria can travel into your head through your bloodstream, causing brain bleeding and dementia. This sounds scary—and it certainly can be. But with good, simple oral hygiene, you can take care of your mouth and prevent a lot of other overall health issues. There are also a number of companies that provide testing for these bacteria using saliva samples.

Gum disease is incredibly common and can range anywhere from slightly tender and red gums to a mouth full of discolored, receding gums. Adults over 30 years old have a 50/50 chance of developing gum disease. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept it or live with the consequences. 

You can prevent gum disease (and many other oral and systemic health problems) by:

The Stroke Connection

Not all oral bacteria are bad-in fact, some are necessary for digestion and immunity-but research continues to prove some bacteria are especially harmful. Cardiovascular disease is just one condition that can be deeply affected by your oral health. Others include mental health, diabetes, pregnancy, and arthritis. There are three main links between “bad” oral bacteria and heart health:

  • Cholesterol: gum disease increases your risk of developing bad cholesterol (LDL) and its buildup in blood arteries.
  • Chemicals: oral bacteria can cause your blood artery walls to become thin and more vulnerable to cholesterol.
  • Stickiness: oral bacteria can cause your blood artery walls to become very sticky, which attracts more plaque and cholesterol buildup.

You can see how each of these three circumstances has the potential to put your health at risk, especially in combination; they can lead to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).  When this kind of buildup happens in your brain, blood flow slows or stops.  The brain becomes starved of blood, causing a stroke.  Brain cells without blood can die within minutes and prove fatal – or cause lifelong health problems to stroke survivors. 

The good news is that science is getting better at finding the dangerous bacteria that cause these problems. If you have signs or a diagnosis of gum disease, ask your doctor about your risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

Your Dentist is Your Partner

Dentists are medical professionals who can do a lot to save your health and even your life. If you have any concerns about your oral health, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr in Brandon, Florida can answer your questions and help you start taking better care of your overall wellness. Make an appointment at Walker – Barr DMD today!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Tagged with:
Posted in Blog, Dental Health

Is Your Lipstick Aging You?

Brandon dentist, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr at Walker – Barr DMD shares how to pick the right lipstick shades for whiter teeth.Walker – Barr DMD believes that natural beauty comes first. Our priority is for you to feel comfortable in your smile, and nothing should hold you back from laughing and grinning each day. Many different dental treatments can bring you this lifelong confidence. 

But we also know that the right makeup can enhance your natural beauty. It’s amazing what different products and colors can do to give you a different look and style. So, what shades of lipstick do we recommend to go with your healthy, beautiful smile? Read more below from Brandon dentists, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr, to learn what lipstick shades will make your teeth appear whiter, and which shades to avoid.

What Colors & Why
Fashion trends will come and go. But how do you pick a lipstick color that will improve your smile and make your teeth instantly appear whiter? 

The answer is to pick lipstick with blue undertones, instead of orange. Blue is the opposite of yellow-orange on the color wheel. Whereas orange-hued lipstick can bring out the yellow in your teeth, blue will balance it out and make your teeth appear whiter. 

You might be thinking, “blue lipstick?”…”orange lipstick?” Not exactly. Every shade of red and pink can be a warmer or cooler shade. So another way to say it is to pick lipstick with cooler undertones. Here are some examples:

  • When looking for classic red lipstick, look for blue undertones instead of orange undertones. 
  • When looking for pink lipstick, whether light or dark, pick berry colors instead of coral.
  • When looking for dark lipstick, pick a purple instead of a brown. The high-contrast of dark lipstick usually makes teeth appear whiter, but brown will only bring out any yellow and staining.
  • When looking for a nude lipstick, pick one with a little gloss instead of something matte.

Some lipsticks are formulated to make teeth look whiter, such as Apa® Blue Lip Shine.

The Impact of White Teeth

A study commissioned by Crest® found remarkable results that whiter teeth improved a person’s career and dating opportunities. It’s pretty obvious that white teeth just look healthier and happier, which translates to the person as a whole, not just their smile. 

You can get professional teeth whitening treatments at home or at Walker – Barr DMD for real, long-lasting results. And you can maintain whiter teeth with everyday whitening toothpaste. 

If you have additional questions about whitening your teeth, make an appointment to see us soon! We’ll help you look your best for every occasion. 

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Tagged with:
Posted in Blog, Patient Care

Hate Flossing? – 5 Flossing Alternatives

Brandon dentist, Dr. Walker and Dr. Barr at Walker and Barr DMD gives patients who hate to floss some simple flossing alternatives that are just as effective.There are two kinds of people in this world: those who floss, and those who don’t. Diligent flossers everywhere inspire those of us who live with them or know them. Flossing may not be a philosophical virtue but it’s certainly high on the list of qualities amongst people who “have it together.” Read more below about why flossing is so important and what alternatives you have if you don’t like traditional floss.

The Point of Flossing
After you eat, tiny pieces of food are left everywhere in your mouth. Even though your saliva does a good job of rinsing a lot of food debris away, some leftovers stay stuck on and between your teeth and gums and must be brushed and flossed to get rid of it. You do have tons of natural bacteria in your mouth that help break down food buildup, but the bacteria leave behind a sticky film on your teeth called plaque that needs to be removed.

Everyone (even young kids) should brush for two minutes, twice a day, and floss once a day to remove food buildup and plaque from the places that are hard to reach with a toothbrush. If you don’t stay on top of it, food buildup and plaque can quickly turn into bigger problems that cause tooth decay, gum disease, and inflammation in your mouth.

Flossing Alternatives

The American Dental Association (ADA) says it doesn’t matter if you floss before or after brushing your teeth, or if you floss in the morning or at night. What’s most important is that you do it every day. But what if traditional flossing is difficult for you, or you’re traveling, or if you have braces? Thankfully, you have some options that the ADA approves.

Here are some of the flossing alternatives and their uses:

  • Interdental Brushes: Like tiny toothbrushes, specially designed to clean between your teeth, these brushes are a great alternative to flossing. Interdental brushes are usually easier to use than a thread of floss, are just as effective as floss, and are probably your best option if you have braces.
  • Water Flossing: Approved by the ADA as a floss alternative, water flossing is just what it sounds like. Instead of a thread, water flossing uses a steady stream of water, aimed between the teeth, to clear away plaque. Water flossing uses a small, hand-held appliance that might be more physically comfortable for you.
  • Dental Pick: Made of plastic or wood, these tiny sticks can help remove plaque from your teeth and gums. If you use a wooden pick, the ADA recommends getting the pick wet first to soften it. Picks aren’t quite as effective as floss, and you risk moving bacteria around in your mouth unless you use a new pick for each tooth.
  • Pre-Threaded Floss: For some people, the hardest part of flossing is actually reaching the floss into the mouth and effectively moving it between the teeth. Thankfully, a pre-threaded flosser is the simple answer to this problem. You can buy these in packets and use one with one hand. Use pre-threaded floss to more easily reach in your mouth and (like regular floss) throw it away after each use.
  • Soft-Picks by GUM®: A favorite of the dental community, Soft-Picks are sort of an interdental brush/dental pick hybrid. Soft-Picks are small, disposable plastic picks with a soft tip and rubbery bristles that fit comfortably between teeth and do minimal damage to the gum tissue. 

A word about mouthwash: while it’s a great option for freshness and does help kill the bacteria that cause decay and gum disease in the rest of the mouth, mouthwash is not a good replacement for brushing or flossing. Mouthwash is best used in combination with these methods for optimum oral health.

Flossing & Your Health

Your daily brushing and flossing routine is the foundation of good oral hygiene and health. Remember also to see your dentist for a professional cleaning twice per year. Some plaque and buildup (like tartar) can only be removed by a dentist or hygienist. Plus, proactive oral care goes a long way toward your overall health and seeing the dentist is just as important as seeing your doctor! 

If you’re looking for a Brandon dentists, Dr. Walker and Dr. Barr at Walker and Barr DMD are always welcoming new patients. We’d love to see you for any and all of your dental health needs.

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Tagged with:
Posted in Blog, Dental Health, Patient Care

Stop Brushing After You Eat – Do This Instead

Brandon dentist, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr at Walker - Barr DMD explains why you should rinse with water instead of brushing after you eat to avoid enamel damage.For a long time, we’ve been told to brush our teeth right after we eat, but conventional wisdom might be changing on that. Thanks to your mouth’s powerful and natural ability to clean itself, rinsing with water might actually be the best way to freshen your breath and prevent cavities after you eat. 

In addition to your everyday hygiene routine, rinsing with water is a free, easy way to maintain oral health throughout the day. To understand this, read below about what happens in your mouth after you eat and why water is so great for your teeth. 

Digestion Begins in Your Mouth
You might think that digestion starts in your stomach, but it actually starts in your mouth! The combination of chewing your food and the special bacteria in your mouth are essential to swallowing and digesting your food. Probiotics are specific bacteria that live in your mouth every day and begin the whole process of digestion by breaking down your food on a microscopic level.

In our world today, we’re trained to think of bacteria as all bad and dangerous, but that’s simply not the case. Oral bacteria are natural and important for your health. Of course, bad bacteria do exist (pathogens), but you’d be lost without the help of probiotics that break down food and help keep your mouth clean. After you eat, these bacteria get their own meal from the tiny leftovers of food on your teeth and gums. The byproduct of this bacterial feast is acid, which can damage your enamel and cause tooth decay.

Cavities

It’s normal for some amount of food to be left behind in your mouth after eating, but frequent snacking and foods high in sugar put you at extra risk for cavities. The constant presence of food on your teeth—especially sugar—makes the bacteria and plaque in your mouth produce too much acid. Acid can break down your enamel, especially when combined with the force of brushing.

Cavities are holes in your tooth enamel that threaten your tooth and oral health. The enamel protects and strengthens your tooth and it can’t be rebuilt once it starts to decay. Kids and adults of any age can develop a cavity. Cavities can cause pain and inflammation and usually need a filling to restore the tooth to health

You can prevent cavities with good oral hygiene. This includes:

  • Brushing your teeth twice per day, for two minutes at a time
  • Flossing once per day
  • Rinsing with mouthwash or water between meals
  • Seeing the dentist twice every year

Rinsing with Water Fights Cavities

A quick rinse with water in your mouth will boost your body’s natural ability to clean itself after a meal. Rinsing with water protects your enamel by removing food and sugar left over, and about 30% of oral bacteria without the forces of brushing that—when combined with acid—can damage your enamel. Just be sure to spit out the water when you’re done, as swallowing will only introduce the bacteria into your body further and cause problems for your systemic health.

Some people may prefer the minty flavors of mouthwash, and some people are prescribed a special mouthwash for infections (gum disease) or sensitivity. But if you’re out and about, or just don’t have any mouthwash on hand, water is a great alternative for keeping your mouth clean between brushing. 

So after you eat anything, it’s a good idea to quickly rinse out your mouth with water. It’s an easy and free way to instantly boost your oral health. Rinsing with water is better for your teeth than brushing them right after you eat if you wish to avoid damage to your enamel.

Drinking Water

Drinking water is also a great way to maintain oral and overall health. Saliva naturally protects your mouth by maintaining a proper pH balance that minimizes bacterial growth, and staying hydrated ensures you have healthy saliva levels. When your mouth is dry, your pH becomes acidic, and disease, decay, and bacteria can thrive. Keep your mouth and body functioning at peak performance by drinking six to eight glasses of water a day.

If you have more questions or any oral health need, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr at Walker – Barr DMD in Brandon is taking new patients. Make an appointment today and let our professional team give you a smile you love!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

Tagged with:
Posted in Blog, Dental Services

Brushing Your Teeth – Are You Doing It Wrong?

Did you know that certain times of day might be better for brushing than others? While it’s always recommended to brush your teeth twice per day, and floss once per day, your timing is also important. 

If you love your pearly whites and want to keep them around as long as possible (because face it, life would be pretty difficult without your teeth), read more to improve your tooth brushing game. 

The Acid in Your Mouth
Some level of acid in your mouth is normal, especially after you eat. After you eat, the healthy bacteria in your mouth go to work to break down microscopic bits of food leftover (yum!) and they produce acid as a result. However, consuming too much sugar increases acid production beyond a healthy level. Snacking all day also keeps those bacteria working and producing more acid than your teeth can handle. 

Why does this matter? Because long-term exposure to acid can erode your enamel, causing your teeth to become weak and decayed. Enamel is the hard, white, outer layer of your teeth and it’s essential for keeping your teeth strong, healthy, and decay- and pain-free. It’s important to understand the effects of acid on your teeth so that you can brush your teeth at the healthiest time of day.

Brushing After Eating

Highly acidic foods like citrus fruits can really take a toll on your tooth enamel even without the help of bacteria, and brushing too soon after eating can make matters worse. You want to protect your tooth enamel because it can’t ever be replaced once it’s gone.

According to the Mayo Clinic, if you eat something highly acidic, you should wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. It’s best to rinse out your mouth with water after eating instead. Be sure to spit the water out, don’t swallow it, and you can chew sugarless gum with xylitol if you really need to freshen your breath (hello, 2 o’clock meeting).

We know people have their preferences and routines, and people are usually firmly in one camp or the other when it comes to the habit of brushing either before breakfast or after. This information might make the case for brushing your teeth first thing in the morning (before breakfast), instead of after—especially if you’re going to have oranges, lemons, grapefruit, or coffee with breakfast.

Brushing does a world of good for your teeth in the morning, even before you’ve eaten. This is because you produce less saliva overnight, and saliva is very important for keeping your teeth clean and healthy!

The one time this rule doesn’t apply is right before bed. Having a midnight snack without brushing after is linked to increased tooth loss and tooth decay. No matter what you ate, you should always brush your teeth right before bed, just be sure to rinse your mouth with water first to minimize acidity and enamel damage.

The Importance of Brushing

Brushing your teeth properly is the foundation for oral health. Anything else you do would be pointless without brushing. Use fluoride toothpaste, a toothbrush that’s no more than three months old, and brush for two whole minutes twice a day. Brushing and flossing gently clean your teeth and prevents many potential problems that can develop if your oral care isn’t managed.

If you have questions about acid, enamel, or how to brush properly, make an appointment at Walker and Barr DMD in Brandon today! Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr is a professional dentist who can help your smile look and feel its best.

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Tagged with:
Posted in Blog, Patient Care

Can I Recycle My Toothbrush?

Brandon dentist, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr at Walker and Barr DMD shares how to recycle your toothbrush for a clean mouth and a clean planet!Take a look around your bathroom and you’re likely to see a lot of products in plastic packaging. Paper boxes and toilet paper rolls are easily recycled in your bin at home, but what about the tricky stuff like toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes? Your Brandon dentist Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr has the answers!

Toothbrush Recycling

That’s right, you CAN recycle your toothbrush! (As well as old tubes of toothpaste.) The plastic in toothbrushes can be reused in nearly anything from lawn furniture to plastic containers. The hard part is separating the different materials in the toothbrush – plastic handles, nylon bristles, and metal to hold the bristles in place.

Why Recycle?

We recommend you switch out your old toothbrush every three months or after an illness. This ensures your toothbrush is clean and bacteria free, and that the bristles are in the best shape to actually clean your teeth.

While good for your oral health, consuming four toothbrushes every year is not great for our limited resources on this beautiful planet we call Earth. You don’t have to be a total hippie to care about reducing waste, and thoughtfully getting rid of ANYTHING, including old toothbrushes or toothpaste tubes, can be really simple and make an impact on sustainability.

How to Recycle

There are a number of ways you can go green with your oral hygiene routine. First and foremost, consider buying toothbrushes already made of recycled materials. Buying products made from recycled materials is an important part of the recycling cycle. You can easily recycle the simple stuff like cardboard boxes and plastic mouthwash bottles right from home.

As for recycling your toothbrush or tricky toothpaste tubes, you either need to disassemble and clean them yourself before dropping them off at a center, or you can mail them to a company that will prepare them for you. Be sure to check the packaging to see what kind of plastic they are made of. You can find recycling centers by searching online, Earth911.com is a helpful resource. Call your local center to make sure they accept the kind of plastic you have.

Companies that take toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes in the mail include Colgate, Tom’s of Maine, and Preserve (though Preserve only accepts their own toothbrushes). Both Colgate and Tom’s of Maine partner with a larger company called TerraCycle which recycles nearly everything.

Your Brandon dentist, Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr believes in caring for your oral health as well as the environment. Contact Walker and Barr DMD today for an appointment if you’re looking for a professional local dentist to take care of your smile!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Tagged with:
Posted in Blog