The Dos and Don’ts of Using Mouthwash

Mouthwash isn’t just used for a fresh breath or a quick way to feel like you’ve covered your oral health routine for the morning. It actually has some great hygienic properties but only if you use it right. Here are a few things to remember when it comes to using mouthwash.

Dos

Search for a rinse that will be right for your oral needs. If you’re fighting sensitivity, make sure you pick one that’s not too harsh. If you want to focus on plaque removal, choose one with fluoride.

Choose a mouthwash without alcohol. Alcohol dries out your mouth which can lead to a more hospitable environment for bacteria. Without saliva, plaque and sugars aren’t washed away, which mean erosion and decay is likely if the condition persists.

Don’ts

Don’t use mouthwash on its own. Add it to your healthy oral routine along with brushing and flossing. All three together work hard to make sure you’re attacking all the known causes of oral harm.

Don’t use it like a breath freshener. Chances are, bad breath (if not cured by a step away from onions and garlic or better brushing) is a sign of a bigger health problem. If you’re swishing constantly with mouthwash to get that minty fresh taste, you might want to consider going to a doctor and leaving this temporary solution to those looking for plaque removal.

Remember to use mouthwash as directed on the bottle in conjunction with brushing and flossing. Ask your dentist for tips on his or her favorite wash and be sure to keep up with your twice daily oral hygiene routine.

Toothbrush Replacement and Care

Your toothbrush is probably the central object of your morning and nightly routine. You’ve used one as long as you can remember and how you’ve cared for it all these years is good enough, right? Maybe not. Let’s go through the steps you should be following when it comes to toothbrush care and replacement.

Where you store your toothbrush is one of the most important aspects of brush care. Keep your toothbrush dry and in a cool place. Rinse your brush thoroughly and let it air dry after you’ve brushed, placing it away from other oft-used restroom objects like makeup and the toilet. Store your brush upright, bristles up, and separate two or more brushes from touching if you’re storing the whole family’s together. Avoid covering it with a travel cover or locked in a container, especially when it’s still wet. This can harbor bacteria.

You may even want to soak your brush in an antibacterial rinse or mouthwash ever so often to make sure it’s as clean as you want your mouth to be after brushing.

One great rule is to avoid sharing your toothbrush. Not only will new or different bacteria be introduced to your mouth but it could be an issue of health if the other person has an infectious disease.

Remember to replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months and more often if you’ve noticed the bristles softening/breaking or if you’ve been sick. Children’s brushes may need to be replaced more often.

Caring for Your Oral Piercings

Oral piercings commonly refer to piercings of the tongue, cheek or lips and are usually shown off with jewelry such as studs, barbells or rings. They are a form of self expression that has become especially popular in the last two decades. Unfortunately, when not performed or cared for properly, mouth piercings pose a much greater health risk than ear piercings. They also require constant upkeep and attention. Before you get an oral piercing, it is always best to speak with your dentist about your individual risks and personalized care.

What are the typical risks associated with oral piercings?

Our mouths contain millions of bacteria, which means the risk of infection and inflammation, as well as further complications, increases dramatically. For example, an infected tongue can swell so much that it closes off the airway and make it difficult to breathe. After a piercing, watch for typical signs of infection such as the presence of a fever, chills, and swelling or redness around the piercing site. If you notice any of these signs, call our office as soon as you can.

Other risks associated with mouth piercings include:

Caring for Oral Piercings

Piercings in the mouth will usually heal in four to six weeks. Taking piercing aftercare seriously reduces your risk of complications and keeps healing time to a minimum. Here are some tips to keep in mind during this time:

Don’t:

Do:

In-Office and At-Home Teeth Whitening

At Dr. Roberts Family Dentistry, we are pleased to offer two teeth whitening options! Call us at 706-494-2679 or schedule your appointment online.

White and bright smiles are confidence boosters but life can get in the way of keeping your teeth sparkling. Between jump-starting a day with a hot cup of coffee in the morning or relaxing with wine in the evening, it can be challenging to avoid foods and beverages that cause teeth stains. Some lifestyle habits such as smoking can also turn teeth yellow.

If you want a brighter smile, there is no shortage of options on the market, including OTC whitening toothpastes, rinses, strips and specially designed toothbrushes.

Each option does vary in price, effectiveness and ease of use. However, the most advanced and effective whitening systems are either done in the office or at home with dentist’s instructions. Results are immediate and dramatic, and because both are dentist-dispensed, you can be sure that the systems are safe and simple to use. At Dr. Roberts Family Dentistry, we offer two teeth whitening options.

Philips Zoom Whitening

Zoom is a bleaching and whitening system that contains a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide. As you relax and sit back in a chair, your dentist will apply a bleaching gel to the teeth in 3 15-minute cycles. Gums are protected during this process. Once the procedure is complete, you are ready to go! There is no downtime or recovery, though your teeth may feel sensitive at first. On average, most patients see their teeth whiten by about 8 shades.

Zoom is also offered as an at-home whitening product. In this case, we will create a custom tray for your teeth and give you the instructions on how to complete the process at home. This is also offered as a touch-up option after the in-office procedure.

Sheer White

Sheer White is a 5-day, at-home system that uses a 20% carbamide peroxide whitening solution. This is a great option for someone with extra teeth sensitivity who may not be able to handle a more powerful treatment. You will be given a kit that contains thin and flexible film strips that are covered with a layer of gel. The strips will easily mold to your teeth when applied and provide a tight seal, without leakage. You can wear the strips for up to 2 hours (30 minutes minimum) and even hold a conversation or have a drink. Some patients choose to have touch ups every 6 to 12 months.

If you are interested in whitening your teeth, keep in mind that you will want to first schedule a regular cleaning to get the teeth ready for the bleaching process.

 

 

Cardio and Perio

The possible link between gum health and heart health has been researched and debated for many years. While there is no proven link between gum disease and heart disease, there is much anecdotal evidence that the two diseases often strike the same people.

Many cardiologist point to the mouth as a “warning signpost.” This is because the risk factors that can lead to periodontitis, such as smoking, age, and diabetes, can also lead to heart disease. This does not mean one causes the other, but it does mean a person with serious gum disease may also be at risk of heart disease, and vice versa.

If you know you have or are at risk of heart disease, be sure to tell your dental professional so we can be on the lookout for periodontal disease. Likewise, if you come to us with a periodontal problem, we may encourage you to talk to your doctor about your heart health. At Dr. Roberts Family Dentistry, we’re concerned not just with your oral health but with your whole health; we believe healthy teeth and gums are a major contributor to a healthy lifestyle in general.

Risk factors of both heart and gum disease include smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, and inactive lifestyle. Addressing these risk factors and making efforts to live an active, healthy lifestyle will lower your risk of heart disease and gum disease, and will generally improve your quality of life.