Don’t Give In to Gum Disease: Prevention Keeps Pain and Disease Away

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Many of us are no strangers to painful, bloody gums or a bout of bad breath. Though they seem minor, these symptoms are uncomfortable indicators of underlying gum disease. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, causes a breakdown of the architecture supporting the tooth and can lead to tooth mobility or even tooth loss. Luckily, an ounce of prevention can keep these symptoms under wraps and allow you to enjoy healthy, strong teeth for years to come.

The Bad: Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a bacterial infection that affects the gums. When you don’t brush and floss regularly, bacteria surround your teeth and enter your gums, causing irritation and swelling. People with gingivitis often notice blood when rinsing after brushing and flossing.

The Ugly: Periodontal Disease

When gingivitis goes untreated, the symptoms get worse and new ones may appear. Bad breath, receding gums and abscesses, and gum sensitivity to acidic foods may all bepainful reminders of unhappy gums and indicators of periodontal disease. Severe periodontal disease may also cause tooth mobility, pain or loss.

When gingivitis evolves into periodontal disease, it’s time to take immediate action. The team at Eggert Family Dentistry will perform a series of deep cleanings, laser therapy, or even prescribe antibiotics to treat periodontal disease. In extreme cases, surgery may be another option.

The Great News: Prevention Works!

Fortunately, you can avoid surgery, antibiotics, and other interventions with simple tools like your toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. Twice daily brushing and daily flossing sweeps away the bacteria that lead to gingivitis and periodontal disease. Regular hygiene visits to see us here at Eggert Family Dentistry will remove any persistent bacteria and arm you the tools and techniques you need to maintain good oral health.

Painful, bloody gums and bad breath shouldn’t be part of your daily dental hygiene routine. For help preventing or treating gingivitis or periodontal disease, contact us today at 651-482-8412.

Not Just for Junior: Why You Should Consider Opting for Fluoride

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Opting for fluoride treatments for your children is a no-brainer at the our dental office. But our need for fluoride treatments doesn’t magically disappear once we turn 18. In fact, opting for a fluoride treatment yourself will prevent cavities, strengthen enamel, and improve your overall dental health.

What is fluoride and what does it do?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps your tooth enamel resist wear and decay. It is the most important factor in the remineralization of your tooth enamel. Fluoride also promotes healthy tooth development in children, which is why fluoride treatments are common for younger patients.

For more than 50 years, the American Dental Association has advocated to keep fluoride in community water supplies to prevent tooth decay. Chances are that if your home receives city water, your tap water is fluorinated. If you live in a home with well water or if you drink primarily bottled or filtered water, you may want to supplement with a fluoride toothpaste and rinse.

Why would I need a fluoride treatment?

As we age, the foods we eat wear away our tooth enamel. Fluoride makes the enamel stronger and more resistant to decay. Adding a fluoride treatment at one of your hygiene visits each year can help protect your enamel, especially if you have a history of dental decay or poor dental hygiene.

Those over 65 can especially benefit from fluoride treatments. Those of us in our senior years tend to eat lighter, more frequent meals throughout the day, which means our teeth are exposed to more bacteria. Fluoride can help prevent this bacteria from eroding your teeth.

Eggert Family Dentistry is happy to provide a fluoride treatment at your next hygiene visit. The cost of this treatment is well worth the investment. To schedule your next hygiene appointment, contact us at 651-482-8412.

Forget the Ghosts: Halloween Candy Is What’s Scary

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Witches, zombies, and ghosts aren’t the scariest things about Halloween. For young and old ghouls alike, Halloween candy is what’s most frightening about the upcoming spooky holiday. The main villains? Sugar and acid. Here’s a guide to the most frightening Halloween candy and some scrumptious options that are better for your teeth.

Halloween’s Most Frightening Candy Options

The worst options for Halloween candy are packed with sugar, highly acidic, and stay in your mouth for a long time. Candies that fit this category are a major source of tooth decay. Sour candies in particular are nasty sources of enamel erosion.

The most frightening Halloween candy includes:

  • sour candies
  • gummy candies
  • taffy
  • candy corn
  • caramels
  • candy bars with nuts
  • lollipops
  • jawbreakers & other hard candies

Great Halloween Treats

Not all Halloween candy options are bad for your teeth. There are a number of delicious treats that won’t cause significant tooth decay. Sugar-free treats are always a safe bet, as are candies that are easy to chew, since they don’t stay in the mouth too long.

Here’s a list of great Halloween treat options:

  • sugar-free gum
  • sugar-free lollipops & hard candies
  • chocolate with no nuts or sticky fillings
  • powdery candies

When you go trick-or-treat shopping for your neighborhood ghouls, choose options that won’t rot their teeth. To put your own kids on the path to excellent oral health, contact us at 651-482-8412. Happy Halloween!

The Best Home Oral Hygiene Regimen

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Maintaining good oral hygiene at home is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is important to your overall well-being.

Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop harmful bacteria from attaching themselves to the teeth and the tissues. If given the opportunity, these bacteria will cause decay, gingivitis, and periodontal (gum) disease.

What is the best way to brush?

Brush your teeth at least twice a day, for at least two minutes. Use a soft or extra soft-bristled brush. Or, use a sonic or electric toothbrush. Make sure your brush’s head is not too large; the head should fit easily into the mouth and allow you to reach all areas without hurting your cheek or tongue. Use toothpaste that contains fluoride. The fluoride can help keep the teeth strong and can reverse cavities in their early stages. If you have sensitive teeth, ask us about using desensitizing toothpaste with fluoride. These toothpastes can work in certain situations.

When brushing, place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle with the bristles into the gum tissues. Move the brush in an elliptical or circular motion. Brush the outer tooth surfaces, the inner tooth surfaces, and the chewing surfaces. Hold the brush vertically and use the “toe” of the brush to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, moving in an up-and-down manner. Finally, brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

What is the best way to floss?

Cleaning between the teeth once a day with floss is essential in preventing decay and gum disease. There are many areas in the mouth where the toothbrush just can’t reach. Usually, these areas are better cleaned with floss.

When flossing, break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This opposite finger will take up the floss as it gathers the bacteria from your mouth. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers. Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Try to avoid snapping the floss into the gums, as that can injure the gum tissue.

When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C-shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth. Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this method for the rest of your teeth. Finally, don’t forget the back side of your last tooth.

Is there anything else I can use to clean my mouth?

Depending on your situation, you may benefit from a mouth rinse, used daily. Antimicrobial mouth rinses, like Listerine, reduce bacteria and plaque activity, helping to prevent gingivitis and gum disease. Fluoride mouth rinses, like ACT, help reduce and prevent tooth decay.

For patients with signs and symptoms of gum disease, we will often recommend a rubber tip or proxy brush to clean more effectively in the gum tissue. Typically, the best use of these tools is to hold the tip vertically with the long axis of the tooth and remove the plaque along the gum line and in between the teeth. For more specific instructions related to your particular situation, be sure to ask us.

For patients with bridges or fixed retainers, it is important to use a floss-threader to get the floss under these fixtures and help clean in between the teeth.

For patients missing teeth or for those who have a removable partial denture, it can help to use gauze to remove plaque on a tooth where there is no adjacent tooth. We suggest using a 2×2 size piece of gauze, opened up and folded the long way. Use the gauze along the side of the tooth like you would a beach towel when drying off your body.

And of course, be sure to visit us for your recommended maintenance appointments. By maintaining professional cleanings at your recommended interval, we can monitor your home progress and help you achieve optimum oral health.

Adult Teeth = Adult Dentist

By Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

As many of you know, we are happy to see children of all ages at Eggert Family Dentistry and successfully do so every day. Yet, we understand how some parents may feel that the environment of a pediatric dental office might suit their child best initially. However, when children start getting their adult teeth, around age 6, it’s time to see your family dental team who has experience in caring for those adult teeth. Adult teeth are more susceptible to plaque and calculus, which lead to cavities and gum disease, if not removed completely. Special care needs to be taken to clean the teeth thoroughly of this bacteria. Our hygienists have extensive training in removing calculus and plaque from teeth and are also trained to remove the bacteria that surround orthodontic braces. Failure to pay special attention to these areas can result in permanent damage to the adult teeth, including noticeable white spots, or cavities that form around the brackets.

A routine visit for your child in our office is spent with one of our licensed dental hygienists April or Joanna and Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff. Our hygienist will first review with you your child’s past dental and medical history. They will then take a series of bitewing x-rays once each year to check for cavities and development. Our hygienist will clean your child’s teeth, removing calculus, plaque, and food debris. Our hygienist will apply fluoride to your child’s teeth once each year to help prevent cavities. An oral cancer screening is also performed on your child along with a caries risk assessment where we will discuss healthy habits for oral health with you and your child. Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will complete the exam and suggest the best practices in maintaining good oral health. Your child will leave with a new toothbrush, dental floss, and tooth paste to help them practice their healthy habits at home!

Our caring staff makes your children feel right at home during their visit. We explain the procedures throughout the visit while educating children on proper hygiene habits and the importance of eating a healthy diet. Children can watch age appropriate television shows and movies both in the waiting and hygiene rooms. We also have a selection of reading and coloring books, games, and other toys for children to enjoy. We offer children comfort items while they are in the chair to make their visit enjoyable, including sun glasses for the light, a variety of flavors of polish and toothpaste, and headphones to wear to listen to the television. At the end of their visit, children love choosing a reward from the prize box!

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As a small office we can take the time to really focus on your child. Many pediatric dental offices see multiple patients at a time and do not always have the same luxury. A thorough exam paired with x-rays taken consistently every year is our best tool for detecting decay so we can treat and change habits early.

Why are we so passionate about seeing your whole family, including your children? Unfortunately, we have seen many young adults, who have been seeing their pediatric dentist on a somewhat regular basis for years where we note significant decay on multiple teeth at their initial exam in our office. By the time we see some of these patients in our office, the teeth need more than just a filling and these young adults and even children have to experience root canals and even extractions at a very young age. With the advanced technology we employ at Eggert Family Dentistry, we are able to catch decay often before it advances, keeping necessary treatment to a minimum.

As always, we are excited to meet more members of your family. Summer is a perfect time to get your kids scheduled. Call us today 651-482-8412!