West Branch Dentist | Bad Breath Remedies

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According to the American Dental Association, 50 percent of adults experience bad breath at some point in their life. Although some causes are harmless, other causes may be signaling something more serious. Below are three common causes of bad breath, accompanied by the best remedy for each cause.

Cause of Bad Breath: Food

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You are what you eat”? Many foods and spices, such as onions, garlic, and coffee, leave a lingering odor on your breath.

Nothing rids your breath of odor like brushing and flossing. Brushing and flossing also keeps your mouth free from bacteria, preventing any infections. Mouthwash is a great backup solution. Although the use of mouthwash is only a temporary fix for bad breath, it too works to remove potentially harmful bacteria in your mouth.

Cause of Bad Breath: Dry Mouth

Does it feel like you just can’t quench your thirst? Dry mouth is due to your mouth not producing enough saliva. It is often a symptom of medications, salivary gland problems, or breathing through your mouth.

Foods that require more chewing can increase saliva production. Healthy foods such as carrots and apples are great choices. Another alternative is to chew sugar-free gum.

Cause of Bad Breath: Medical Conditions

Bacteria and infections in the mouth can cause bad breath. Bad breath may also be a sign of conditions affecting the sinuses, liver, or kidneys, as well as a sign of acid reflux or diabetes.

By visiting our office regularly, our team is able to detect any problems or infections, and stop them before they become serious.

Schedule your visit to our office today. Contact our team.

3561 W M-76 (M-55)
West Branch, MI 48661

Phone

989-345-7750

48661 Dentist | Coffee and Your Teeth

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Coffee is well-known as hazardous to teeth, but there are things you can do besides cut it out completely. Here are some things to know about coffee’s effects on your oral health and diet, as well as how to mitigate them.

Contrary to popular belief, the pigments that give coffee its color can stain your teeth regardless of whether you take your coffee black or with cream. These pigments embed themselves in microscopic crevices and pits in your tooth enamel and are difficult to remove. To counteract this, don’t give the pigments time to set. When drinking coffee, drink quickly instead of sipping over a long period. Enjoy, then rinse your mouth with water to help neutralize the acid. In addition, following your recommended schedule of dental cleanings can help prevent stains. Whitening can improve the color of your teeth if mild staining has started. Ask our doctor how best to keep your smile bright.

Coffee can have minor benefits for your nutrition, but there are also things to beware. Drinks that are high in dairy fat or sugar can add substantial calories, as well as contributing to the chance of tooth decay. Try making your own coffee at home, where you can control the ingredients used. Minimize your use of creamer and sugar, or try using non-fat or sugar-free substitutes.

Coffee can still be a healthy party of your life if you take some care to protect your teeth. For more tips or to schedule a professional cleaning, contact our office.

3561 W M-76 (M-55)
West Branch, MI 48661

Phone

989-345-7750

Dentist in West Branch | What to Know About E-Cigarettes and Your Oral Health

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The hazards surrounding vaping are not entirely clear. More research is needed in this area, but a recent study indicates that e-cigarette vapors could be damaging to your mouth. Here’s what you need to know.

The Vapor Ingredients

Electronic cigarettes are not regulated in the same way tobacco cigarettes are, meaning that their contents can be inaccurately labeled without any oversight. Contents that e-juice usually contains include nicotine, glycerin, chemical flavoring, and propylene glycol. Some of these substances are safe in food, such as chemical flavors, but the effects of inhaling them is not well researched. Heating these chemicals can form dangerous carcinogens such as formaldehyde. E-cigarettes might also include tiny metals and particles that you inhale while smoking.

What This Means for Your Oral Health

A recent study from UCLA found that vapors from an e-cigarette can kill the cells in your oral cavity, or the area of your mouth beyond your teeth and gums. The study placed oral cells in an environment where electronic cigarette smoke was produced for 24 hours, in a machine simulating how a person would smoke. During the test, 85% of the cells died. According to the lead author of the study, they plan to move forward to test the impacts in humans.

These cells are your mouth’s defense by helping to release antioxidants. As the cells die off or become less effective, your mouth becomes more vulnerable to oral diseases.

Another study by the University of Rochester Medical Center concluded e-cigarettes are just as bad for your gums as tobacco cigarettes are. Nicotine, which both types of cigarettes contain, is a known factor in contributing to gum disease.

Steps You Can Take

Since the e-juice industry is largely unregulated, it is best to avoid smoking electronic cigarettes. The carcinogenic contents pose serious risks to your health, especially to your mouth. Your mouth relies on the functions of these important cells to defend itself against dangerous bacteria and other substances. Without your mouth’s natural defense system, you open yourself up to oral disease.

Make sure you are regularly visiting our office, especially if you are a smoker of either tobacco cigarettes, or electronic cigarettes. Our experienced dental team will perform a complete oral examination during your visit to check for signs of oral disease. Being proactive is your best defense against combating oral disease.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next visit, please contact us.

3561 W M-76 (M-55)
West Branch, MI 48661

Phone

989-345-7750

West Branch Dentist | How to Beat Bad Breath

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Due to the anxiety or embarrassment it can cause, halitosis – or bad breath – can be difficult for many people to face. However, clean-smelling breath may be easier than you think. Try these solutions to overcome halitosis and regain your confidence.

  1.    Maintain oral care – Brushing and flossing your teeth is incredibly important to warding off bad breath. Make sure to brush at least twice a day and floss once a day.
  2.    Quit smoking – Cigarettes and other tobacco products are a common cause of halitosis, in addition to more serious concerns like oral cancer or gum disease.
  3.    Chew sugar free gum – Carry a pack of sugar free gum to chew between meals. It can stimulate saliva flow, mask odors, and prevent tooth decay that might indirectly cause bad breath. Avoid gum that isn’t sugar free, as this can introduce more sugar to your teeth that might contribute to decay.
  4.    Mouthwash – While it is only a temporary solution mouthwash can be a quick way to provide relief from halitosis. However, if you feel you need to use mouthwash several times each day, contact our office for an exam to check for the underlying cause of your bad breath.
  5.    Clean your tongue – When brushing your teeth, make sure not to ignore your tongue. Brush it gently with a wet toothbrush or use a tongue scraper with care. This helps remove bacteria and food particles that can collect on your tongue and cause bad breath.
  6.    Dental visits – Tooth decay, gum disease, and many other dental health issues can be the source of halitosis. By maintaining your recommended schedule of cleanings and examinations, we can work with you to treat any underlying causes of bad breath and ensure your optimal oral health.

Halitosis can be prevented by targeting underlying concerns such as tooth decay. Schedule a visit with our office for a cleaning and an examination and enjoy the clean taste of fresh breath.

3561 W M-76 (M-55)
West Branch, MI 48661

Phone

989-345-7750

48661 Dentist | 6 Tips for Preventing Tooth Decay in Children

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Oral health is important at every stage in life. Just because your children are going to lose their primary (baby) teeth eventually doesn’t mean that we can ignore the importance of dental care. Tooth decay can be painful and uncomfortable to treat. To protect your child’s smile, it is vital to understand optimal preventive care.

  1. Explain the important of routine dental care to your children and turn brushing and flossing into something fun that they look forward to each day.
  2. Schedule routine appointments to our office for cleanings and dental exams. Your child should start seeing a dentist as soon as their first tooth emerges. Make sure to continue visiting us twice a year for optimal oral health.
  3. Include crisp and fibrous foods into your child’s diet. Fruits and vegetables high in water content help keep your child’s mouth hydrated. Foods such as apples increase saliva which inhibit bacteria from sticking to their teeth.
  4. Avoid food and drinks that are high in sugar. Soda, juice and candy are all treats that most children love to eat. However, these can be detrimental to your child’s teeth and overall health.
  5. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent tooth decay. Water flushes bacteria and acid away from teeth. Encourage your children to drink water especially after eating.
  6. Ask us about dental sealants for your children. Sealants can add a layer of protection to your child’s teeth where bacteria build up to prevent damage.

Tooth decay starts out as a small problem, but left untreated can lead to serious oral health issues. By adding a few minor habits into your daily routine, your child’s oral health can change for the better. Simple changes in diet and routine can keep cavities at bay.

Call us today to schedule an appointment for your child.


3561 W M-76 (M-55)
West Branch, MI 48661

Phone

989-345-7750

Dentist in West Branch | Changing Your Spots: White Areas on Teeth

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White spots on your teeth can be irritating and affect how you feel about your smile. The good news, however, is that they are preventable and rarely cause for concern. Here are things you should know about what causes white spots, how to prevent them, and what options are available should you already have them.

 

What causes white spots on teeth?

  1.       Dental Fluorosis This can happen when a child consumes or is exposed to too much fluoride during the development of their teeth. While undesirable, this is harmless and can happen before teeth even emerge. The most common cause of fluorosis in the US is the use or ingestion of too much toothpaste.
  2.       Poor Dental Hygiene – Forgetting to brush regularly can cause white spots to develop.
  3.       Braces – Wearing braces for an extended time can affect the coloration of your teeth and create white spots.
  4.       Acidic or Sugary Foods – These foods can damage your teeth as well as change the color of their enamel. Rinsing your mouth after you consuming acidic or sugary items can help negate these effects.

 

How can I prevent them from appearing?

Following a proper oral hygiene regimen is the best way to prevent white spots on teeth. Ensure your child uses the correct amount of toothpaste – children under 3 should use a smear the size of a rice grain, and children over 3 should not use more than a pea-sized amount. It is common for children to accidentally swallow or fail to spit out toothpaste, so be sure to supervise your child as they are learning.

 

What are options for treatment?

If you are already dealing with white spots, you have options. Whitening or bleaching can make the coloration of your teeth more uniform. Dental veneers can restore the entire appearance of your teeth, solving not just the problem of white spots. In some cases, topical fluoride or enamel microabrasion upon the white spots themselves can do the trick.

 

Our doctor will recommend the optimal solution for treating white spots on your teeth. Contact our office for a consultation today.

 

West Branch Family Dentistry, PLLC 3561 W. M-55, PO Box 515, West Branch, MI 48661 (989) 345-7750

West Branch Dentist | Preventing Enamel Erosion

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Do you have white spots on your teeth? Are your teeth quite sensitive? Do your teeth have cracks, chips, or indentations? If yes, then you may be experiencing enamel erosion.

Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. It is the clear coating that protects your teeth. However, being the strongest substance in the body does not mean it should be neglected. Enamel can erode. Without the protection of enamel, you not only risk developing decay, but also abscesses, tooth pain, and even tooth loss.

What Causes Tooth Enamel Erosion?

There are several factors that cause tooth enamel to erode, some of which are the result of everyday actions. Sugars and acids can wear down enamel. If you regularly drink soft drinks or sugary fruit drinks, you may be damaging your teeth. To protect your teeth, limit your consumption of such drinks. Alcohol can also erode enamel, as well as a diet that is high in sugary or starchy foods. The bacteria in the mouth can transforms starches and sugars in foods such as bread into damaging acid.

Other factors include acid reflux, recurrent vomiting, gastrointestinal problems, genetically inherited conditions, grinding your teeth, even brushing too hard or not flossing properly. All of these impact the health of your enamel, and, ultimately, your teeth. Once the enamel is worn or chipped away, it cannot be replaced.

Keep the sweets from becoming everyday treats, replace white breads with whole grains, and try eating more cheese and yogurt to bolster the calcium in your saliva to keep the acids in check.

How Can Enamel Erosion Be Prevented?

In addition to exercising moderation with soft drinks, alcohol, sugars and starches, and, of course, taking extra care with regard to medical conditions and your tooth care regimen, there are a few extra things you can do to protect your smile. Saliva can neutralize harmful acids in your mouth. By drinking water and chewing sugar-free gum, you can boost saliva production.

Keep the sweets from becoming everyday treats and replace white breads with whole grains. Add more cheese and yogurt to your diet. Not only are both foods high in calcium, but they also help neutralize harmful acids in your mouth.

Tooth enamel is essential for maintaining a healthy smile. Be mindful of what you eat and drink. Enamel erosion may also be the consequence of other complications such as excessive teeth grinding or acid reflux. Regular visits to our office allow our team to provide a full examination. If we detect that your enamel is eroding, we will discuss potential causes and solutions.

To schedule your next visit to our office, please contact our team today.

3561 W M-76 (M-55)
West Branch, MI 48661

Phone

989-345-7750

48661 Dentist | Can You Inherit Oral Health Issues?

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Most serious oral health issues can be prevented by maintaining an effective routine of dental hygiene and in-office care. However, you could be at higher risk for some oral illnesses due to hereditary factors. Awareness and proper treatment can help minimize these risks. Here are a few of the most common oral health concerns that are affected by genetics.

Tooth decay – One of the most common oral issues, some tooth decay has been linked to a genetic deficiency of a protein called DEFB1. If your parents experienced an unusually high rate of tooth decay, then you may want to be more vigilant regarding your own dental care.

Oral cancer – Certain genetic factors can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Our doctor recommends annual oral cancer screening for early identification and treatment. In addition, certain lifestyle choices, such as quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption, can help reduce your risk of oral cancer.

Periodontal disease – Recent research has found that some forms of gum disease may be linked to mutations in genes that affect immunity and inflammatory response.

Misaligned or supernumerary (extra) teeth – Genetics can play a role in having misaligned or even extra teeth. The size of your jaw is determined mostly through heredity, and is the most common reason for an overbite, underbite, or dental crowding.

Canker sores – In most cases, canker sores are an isolated reaction to fatigue, stress, or menstrual cycles. However, there are certain inherited diseases that count canker sores among their symptoms. Crohn’s disease and Celiac sprue are two such conditions.

While you may not be able to avoid hereditary oral health issues entirely, we can help minimize or even reverse their effects with proper treatment and care. If you suffer from any of these inherited conditions, contact our office for an oral health evaluation. We can help.

West Branch Family Dentistry, PLLC
3561 W. M-55, PO Box 515, West Branch, MI 48661
(989) 345-7750

Dentist in West Branch | How Probiotics Improve Oral Health

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Probiotics are typically advertised as being helpful for digestion. However, studies have shown that they can also improve oral health. Probiotics are beneficial for fighting infections that lead to oral disease.

Reducing Gingivitis

A study published in Contemporary Clinical Dentistry has found that probiotics can reduce gum bleeding in patients with moderate to severe gingivitis. In the trial, children were given either a placebo or two different combinations of probiotics. At the three-week mark, it was discovered that children who took probiotics had significant improvements in their gingival status.

Combating Periodontitis

Periodontitis is another oral disease that probiotics have been shown to fight. Periodontitis is caused by harmful bacteria that separate teeth from the gums creating pockets that can become infected. Probiotics can fight harmful bacteria and lessen the inflammation to help heal the mouth.

Fighting Cavities

Another finding from the trial of the Contemporary Clinical Dentistry showed that children who took probiotics also saw a significant decrease in plaque. The reduction of plaque leads to less decay. Probiotics fight the plaque and occupy the spaces on the teeth where bad bacteria thrive.

Minimizing Bad Breath

Another benefit of probiotics is the effect they have on bad breath. Bad breath is usually caused by volatile sulfur compound bacteria releasing odor-causing gases. Because probiotics are healthy bacteria, it is believed that they can eliminate the bad bacteria and maintain a healthy bacteria balance in your mouth.

The benefits of probiotics are not just limited to the digestive health. Researchers continue to conduct studies to discover new ways probiotics contribute to a healthy mouth and body.

Contact our team for more information on oral health or to schedule a visit today.

West Branch Family Dentistry
3561 W M-76 (M-55)
West Branch, MI 48661

Phone

989-345-7750

West Branch, MI Dentist | An Important Reminder About Your Next Dental Appointment

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At times, life can seem to move quickly. Between work, school, sports, and social events, it can seem there is little time left for you and your health. It’s imperative for a healthy mouth and body to always have your next dental appointment scheduled and to prioritize this care. Our team will work with you to find the most convenient day and time for you. If you need to reschedule, we will do our best to accommodate you. Advanced notice of a change is greatly appreciated, whenever possible. Missed appointments without notice are harmful to our practice, as we’ve reserved your appointment time exclusively for you.

Missed dental appointments can lead to worsened oral and overall health. Whether receiving preventive or restorative care, if left without professional treatment, plaque and decay will progress and the state of your oral health will likely decline. Some of our patients are predisposed to more frequent oral health issues. Many times, these guests prefer more frequent office visits. Please know this is an option for you as well. Investing in one extra cleaning each year can often prevent more costly concerns.

We know it can be tempting to skip your dental appointment. Perhaps you’d rather be relaxing at home or you’ve had a last-minute obligation arise. Please make every effort to prioritize your healthy smile, as it significantly contributes to your overall health.

Please know we’re here for you. If you have any questions about our care or practice philosophy, don’t hesitate to contact us.

3561 W M-76 (M-55)
West Branch, MI 48661

Phone

989-345-7750