How to Take Care of Your Toothbrush

In the never-ending fight against cavities, gum disease, and other oral health issues, a toothbrush will be your best friend. However, to make sure your toothbrush can do its job as effectively as possible, it will need some TLC now and then. Whether you have a manual or electric toothbrush, here are some tips to keep your toothbrush in great shape.

Rinse Immediately After Using

For either type of toothbrush, rinse it immediately after using it so that bacteria and mold can’t start growing. After all, when you put your toothbrush inside your mouth, you just want toothpaste on its head, not bacteria or mold.

Store Upright

Once you’ve rinsed your toothbrush, make sure you store it in an upright position so that it can air-dry. If you store it inside a closed container, moisture gets trapped and bacteria starts to grow.

Electric Toothbrush Base and Heads

Since more and more folks now use electric toothbrushes, make sure you clean the brush head at least once per week using mild soap and water. Also, don’t forget to clean the charging base with a damp cloth. However, remember to unplug it before doing so, or otherwise, you’ll get quite a shock.

Replacing Your Toothbrush

Even if you’ve become a close friend to your toothbrush, all good things must eventually come to an end. In this case, we mean the bristles on your toothbrush will begin to get frayed and worn-out, meaning it’s time for a new toothbrush. To keep your teeth in their best condition, replace your manual toothbrush every four months. As for electric toothbrushes, their bristles tend to last a little longer. However, you should still have a good supply of replacement heads at the ready, and plan on changing these about every six months for maximum effectiveness.

Use a UV Sanitizer

In today’s world where germs are a bigger concern to many people, some experts recommend using a UV sanitizer with your toothbrush. By placing your toothbrush inside the sanitizer for only 10 minutes, you can kill bacteria as well as have a good storage space for your toothbrush.

Once you start following these tips, you and your toothbrush will be a dynamic duo that will be unstoppable in the war on cavities.

 

What Causes Teeth Staining?

Staining of the tooth occurs when liquids, smoke, or foreign substances you consume stain the teeth. The number one cause of teeth staining is smoking and the consumption of sugars and processed foods. Teeth staining can usually be reversed with either over the counter tooth whiteners or getting professional teeth whitening services from your dentist. Here are the main causes of teeth staining.

Smoking

Smoking is the number one practice that will cause teeth staining over a long period of time. Smoker’s teeth often are hard to re- whiten and reverse. The main types of smoking that will cause teeth staining are cigarettes and cigars. In addition, e-cigarettes that contain additives and preservatives can and probably will cause some staining over time, but not as much as cigarettes. Vaping with organic liquids and water is the least likely to cause staining.

Sugar Consumption

Consumption of sugars and processed foods is another common cause of teeth staining. The many processed ingredients and preservatives in these processed foods often leech deep into the tooth and cause hard to remove stains over the years. Products like soda, snacks with flavored powders coating them, and colored candy are the most harmful to the teeth. If possible, use simple natural sugars like honey instead of processed sugar.

Alcohol

Drinking alcohol like wine and beer is another main cause for teeth staining, the fermented beverages often deeply stain our teeth just like they do the carpet and clothes we accidentally spill them on from time to time. Don’t fret if you only casually drink from time to time though, for the most part only excessive alcohol consumption, usually by alcoholics will cause teeth staining that becomes problematic.

For the most part, teeth staining is something that can be easily avoided. Smoking and drinking alcohol are the main causes of stained teeth ad can result in teeth that aren’t that pretty to look at, but eating a lot of processed foods can also cause teeth staining over a period of years. Eat a healthy diet free of refined sugars in soda and candy, and limit or eliminate smoking to control the amount of staining your teeth endure. For instantly whiter teeth, consult your dentist for professional teeth whitening services.

Do You Have Sensitive Teeth? Here’s What You Need to Know

Tooth sensitivity ranges from a mild, fleeting pang while brushing or flossing your teeth to excruciating pain when drinking an iced beverage or biting down on an ice cream bar. Sometimes, tooth sensitivity is a fleeting problem caused by a temporary condition, but it can also signal a serious problem. Here’s what you need to know:

What Causes Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth have a variety of causes, but the main ones include brushing too hard, brushing with the wrong type of toothbrush, cracks in your tooth enamel, grinding your teeth while you sleep, cavities, infected tooth pulp, and gum disease. Some people experience temporary tooth sensitivity after a routine dental tooth cleaning procedure, after a tooth whitening session, or after experiencing minor dental trauma such as biting down too hard on a piece of candy. Fortunately, treatments exist designed to minimize or eliminate tooth sensitivity.

Treatments for Sensitive Teeth

The treatment for sensitive teeth will depend on the root cause of the problem. It may be as simple as changing your toothpaste, your toothbrush, or your manner of brushing. If appropriate, your dentist may apply an in-office treatment involving placing a protective layer over the affected teeth. Your dentist may also recommend applying a desensitizing agent or provide you with a list of over-the-counter products you can use at home. You may need a root canal for persistent pain that cannot be successfully treated any other way.

How to Prevent Sensitive Teeth

The best way to prevent tooth sensitivity is to always practice good oral hygiene. You should brush and floss at least twice per day without fail as well as use an antibacterial mouthwash. Wear a mouthguard when playing sports, and make sure you use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Consider using an oral irrigation system if flossing makes your gums bleed.

Because tooth sensitivity can be a sign of a dental health issue such as the onset of gum disease or an infection of the pulp in the interior of the tooth, you should always make an appointment with your dentist if unexplained tooth sensitivity doesn’t subside within a couple of days. 

 

Please don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule an appointment or for more information on how to deal with tooth sensitivity or other dental health issues.

Bad Habits That Are Destroying Your Teeth

The importance of regular brushing, flossing, and bi-annual dental cleanings cannot be stressed enough, however, even if you are adamant about following these recommendations, the health of your teeth may still be in danger because there are certain habits that can cause a great deal of damage to your teeth.

Stop These Habits Now, They Are Destroying Your Teeth

1. Your Teeth Are Not Tools

Stop opening bottles and tearing bags with your teeth. This habit can cause a chunk of a tooth to break off or a tooth to crack. Both of these dental issues could result in the need for extensive dental care. If a tooth cracks, it may need to be bonded or a crown might need to be placed. So, keep your teeth healthy by having scissors and a rubber, non-slip jar gripper lid opener nearby.

2. Chewing Ice

This habit is extremely detrimental to the teeth. It is the combination of the hard surface of the ice and its freezing temperature that wreaks havoc on the teeth. Chewing on ice can crack and/or chip the tooth enamel, causing an increase in sensitivity to temperatures as well as to certain foods. If you are an ice cruncher, try eating carrot sticks instead. Otherwise, you may end up needing a crown or dental bonding to address the damage your teeth have sustained.

3. Brushing Too Aggressively

Some people seem to think that the harder you brush, the better, however, this is not true. Brushing your teeth too hard can lead to just as many problems as not brushing your teeth at all can, especially as we age. Using a hard-bristled toothbrush and/or applying too much pressure tends to irritate the gingival tissue (gum), which can cause this tissue to swell. In addition, this aggressive brushing and use of a hard toothbrush can increase tooth sensitivity. You can solve this problem by switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush and using very little pressure while you brush.

If you have been practicing these habits and notice your teeth are damaged or that you are experiencing sensitivity, contact Korte Family Dentistry today at 402-489-3115 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Allen Korte. If you prefer, you can use the online form to request an appointment: To access this form, please click here.

Kids Play Sports? Here’s What You Need to Know About Protecting Their Teeth

If you’re like most parents, you understand the importance that exercise plays in your child’s life, especially these days when it seems that even kids spend a great deal of their day in sedentary pursuits. Naturally, you encourage your child to participate in the sport or sports of their choosing, but you may also worry about damage to their teeth in the event they become injured while playing sports. Although there are strategies available designed to help protect your child’s teeth while playing sports, these types of injuries are very difficult to prevent — that’s why it’s important to know exactly what to do if your child unexpectedly loses a tooth during the middle of a game.

Here’s what you need to know:

Mouth Guards Can Help

Mouthguards are the first line of defense when it comes to preventing dental injuries while playing sports, but they may do more harm than good if they don’t fit properly. Instead of purchasing a mouth guard that’s been mass-produced by a company that manufactures athletic products, talk to your child’s dentist about having a mouth guard custom-made.

What to Do if a Tooth Gets Knocked Out

The first thing to do if a tooth gets knocked out is to resist the urge to panic. If you can find the tooth, pick it up by the roots, and re-implant it in the socket if possible. However, if it’s dirty or muddy, place it in a glass of milk and take it with you to the dentist. However, you don’t need to worry about finding the tooth or re-implanting it if it’s a primary tooth — re-implanting these just interfere with the development of the permanent teeth coming in behind them. Use a cotton ball or a clean cloth to stop the bleeding.

It’s important that you get to the dentist as quickly as possible after the injury. It’s a good idea for you to have your dentist’s contact information stored on your smartphone as well as the contact info for your local emergency dentist.

Regular dental screenings can also help identify potential issues that might make your child more vulnerable to dental injuries. Please don’t hesitate to call us at your convenience to learn more about protecting your child’s teeth or to schedule an appointment for an examination and screening.