Does Charcoal Toothpaste Really Whiten Teeth?

added on: January 19, 2018

charcoal toothpasteThe charcoal toothpaste craze seems to be everywhere, and it also seems like everyone is using it to finally get the white smile they’ve always dreamed of. But can this messy black stuff that looks like it’s sure to stain teeth actually whiten them? The team at our dental office in Modesto has the answer.

Is Charcoal Toothpaste Really Charcoal?

The stuff charcoal toothpaste is made out of is much different than what you may be imagining. And if you’re visualizing the gray rocks used to heat up the grill at a summer BBQ, you’re thinking of the wrong stuff. Charcoal toothpaste is made from something called activated charcoal, which is a treated form of carbon. The treating process makes the carbon porous. It’s these pores that are reasonable for the claim that charcoal toothpaste can whiten teeth. Essentially, it’s believed that these pores can pull stains, tartar, and bacteria away from teeth.

Is Putting Charcoal Toothpaste in Your Mouth Dangerous?

Activated charcoal has been used as a trusted medical treatment for over 2,000 years. In fact, the ancient Romans used a powder form to brush their teeth. Following the same thought that the porous nature of activated charcoal helps absorb anything it’s path, it’s also been used to help treat people who have been poisoned. This treatment may still be practiced at modern hospitals.

Will Using Charcoal Toothpaste Whiten Your Smile?

We’re happy to report that charcoal toothpaste can effectively remove surface stains on teeth, allowing them to take on a brighter, whiter appearance. However, if your tooth discoloration is below the surface, you may not see a difference after using charcoal toothpaste. Additionally, the American Dental Association (ADA) has a few warnings about the stuff. Since charcoal toothpaste isn’t only porous but also pretty abrasive it can be damaging to teeth. Regularly brushing your teeth with a highly abrasive toothpaste can wear away tooth enamel and leave your teeth at risk for cavity-causing bacteria. A thinner enamel may also mean a duller discolored smile.

Other Whitening Options

Charcoal toothpaste is only one option when it comes to whitening your smile. Other things you can consider include:  

The best way to whiten your smile is to start by scheduling an appointment at our Modesto dental office. Give us a call today!

“How Can I Improve My Smile?”

added on: January 8, 2018

woman embarrassed by smileAre you unhappy with the way your smile looks? You’re not alone. According to the American Association of Orthodontics, more than one third of U.S. residents don’t like their smiles. But our dental office in Modesto has some good news: you don’t need to live with a smile you don’t like! Thanks to advancements in dental technology, there are easy ways to improve your smile with cosmetic dentistry.

Smile Whitening

One of the most common complaints people have about their smiles is that it’s just not white enough. Smile whitening is an easy, affordable solution that can help whiten your smile by several shades. There are both in-office and take-home whitening options available, and even over-the-counter products. Before you choose a whitening product, we encourage you to look for one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance and talk with your dentist in Modesto about the best solution for you.

Veneers

Dental veneers are another popular cosmetic dentistry treatment that can transform the appearance of your smile. These thin pieces of ceramic are custom-shaped to match your specific needs and appear natural. Your dentist will bond the veneers to the front of your teeth, essentially covering up anything you don’t like including discoloration or chips and cracks.

Bonding

If your tooth trouble is more focused on dark, decayed, or chipped teeth, dental bonding may just be the solution you need. Dental bonding is a super simple, yet often incredibly effective, treatment that will quickly create a smile you’re proud of. First, your dentist will remove any decay. Next, the area of concern will be covered with a safe composite material. Your dentist will then use an artistic eye to sculpt the material into a natural shape and even color. The composite material is then hardened, or bonded, to the tooth surface for a strong new look.

Complete Smile Makeover

If you’re someone who can’t seem to narrow down your concerns to just one or two, you may be an ideal candidate for a smile makeover. During a smile makeover process, you and your dentist will work closely together to identify all of your concerns and determine a treatment plan to fix them. A complete smile makeover usually includes several types of cosmetic dentistry treatments, but is a life-changing procedure that will certainly give you a beautiful smile you’re proud of.

If you’re unhappy with any aspect of your smile, we encourage you to give our Modesto dental office a call to schedule a consultation. You deserve a smile you love, and we’re happy to help.

Wine & Oral Health

added on: December 20, 2017

holiday dinner with wineWe are all aware that there are certain foods your dentist in Modesto just isn’t a big fan of. These foods typically include super sweet candies and treats, popcorn with hidden damaging kernels, and of course sugary sodas and juices. But there may just be one more to add to that list: wine.

How Does Wine Affect Oral Health?

Let us start by saying that we aren’t here to tell you that you shouldn’t enjoy a glass of wine after a stressful day or with a nice dinner. As long as you enjoy it responsibly and in moderation, go ahead and treat yourself. However, we do want to let you know about a few oral health problems that can happen as a result of too much wine.

Dry Mouth

Any alcoholic beverage has the tendency to dry out the mouth, and the rest of the body. However, in relation to oral health, a dry mouth is the perfect place for bacteria to flourish and decay to occur as a result. Normally our mouths produce a lot of saliva. This saliva rinses away bacteria before it has a chance to work on decaying teeth. Without it, teeth are at increased risk for cavities.

Calcium Reduction

Wine contains a lot of acid, and acid is bad news for teeth. When we eat or drink highly acidic foods or beverages, the acid begins to attack tooth enamel, first softening it. As enamel softens, some of the calcium within it leaks out and weakens it. Once enamel is weak, it leaves teeth exposed to bacteria, decay, and cavities. If it continues to diminish, tooth roots and nerves may begin to surface, causing painful sensitivity.

Tooth Discoloration

Loss of enamel has even more additional negative side effects, including tooth discoloration. As the enamel weakens, the inner part of the tooth becomes more visible. This inner tooth, or dentin, has a dark, yellowish color. Without the white, calcium rich enamel, teeth can appear dull and yellow. What’s worse is the color of red wine can cause your teeth to take on a reddish hue. Usually this discoloration can be reversed through professional smile whitening or cosmetic dentistry.

Don’t Panic

Before you get bummed out at the thought of ditching your nightly glass of vino, our dental office in Modesto has a bit of potentially good news. Several studies have suggested that red wine, or at least elements in red wine, may actually help protect teeth against decay by getting rid of mouth bacteria. But more research is definitely needed to support the claim.

Whether you’re a wine drinker or not, if you happen to notice signs of tooth discoloration, an unusually dry mouth, or have any other dental concern, we always welcome you to call our Modesto dental office to schedule an appointment.

4 Ways to Beat Bad Breath

added on: December 8, 2017

kiss under the mistletoeBad breath can be caused by any number of things. But it can be embarrassing, and gum or mints only go so far in covering it up. Instead of masking the issue, our dental office in Modesto has a few tips on how to solve the problem once and for all.

The Best Ways to Fix Chronic Bad Breath

Occasional bad breath may be a result of something you ate, such as a super garlicky pasta dish. This type of bad breath is usually short lived and easily fixed by brushing your teeth. However, chronic bad breath, or halitosis, doesn’t disappear no matter how much mouthwash you swish. When this is the case, there are several things you can try to help you freshen up.

Back to Basics

The easiest way to start working on beating bad breath is to make sure you’re practicing proper oral hygiene by brushing twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing once a day.

Drink More Water

A hydrated mouth is a happy mouth. The more water you drink, the more bacteria is rinsed away before it has a chance to settle in and lead to decay or bad breath.

Stop Smoking

Smoker’s breath can linger around long after you put out your cigarette. Smoke particles can hang around in lungs for hours after smoking, and tiny amounts are released every time you exhale… hence the bad breath.

Visit Your Dentist in Modesto

Twice annual dental visits are the best way to fight off bad breath and keep it away in the first place. Your dental team will deep clean your teeth removing stuck on tartar and freshening your entire mouth. They’ll also be able to notice and treat any other issues that may be contributing to bad breath.

Sometimes Bad Breath is More Than Simply Bad Breath

If you practice good oral hygiene at home, visit your dentist twice a year, drink plenty of water, and don’t smoke, yet you still suffer from chronic bad breath, there’s a possibility it may a sign of a larger problem. Bad breath can be a sign of:

  • Gum Disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Sinus Infection
  • Diabetes
  • Liver or Kidney Problems

If you’re been in the bad breath battle for some time and you’re ready to make a change, we welcome you to contact our Modesto dental office to schedule an appointment. We’ll be happy to get you on the right track towards fresher breath.

Show Your Teeth Some Appreciation This Thanksgiving

added on: November 21, 2017

woman expresses thanksThanksgiving is day dedicated to giving thanks for all that we have in our lives. The typical thankful sentiments of life, health, family, and friends usually top the list. This Thanksgiving, the team at our Modesto dental office wants to give you one more thing to be thankful for, something that’s typically overlooked: your teeth.

We know it may sound silly to give thanks for your pearly whites, but trust us, after we list the top reasons you should appreciate your teeth, you’ll be praising them in no time.

Your Teeth Are One of Your Most Defining Features

According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), your smile is one of the first things someone notices about you. It can also impact your life and others’ perceptions of who you are. In fact, the same AACD study concluded that 74% of those who took the survey believe an unattractive smile can negatively affect someone’s career. But don’t worry, if you’re not proud to show off your grin, cosmetic dentistry from your Modesto dentist will transform your smile and maybe even your life.

They Help Us Communicate

Teeth are an essential part of speaking. Without them, we’d have difficulty pronouncing certain letters and sounds such as ‘f,’ ‘v,’ ‘s,’ ‘th,’ and so many more. Go ahead and give it a try. Can you say a full sentence without touching your teeth together or bracing your tongue against them? We’re guessing it was a bit challenging. Those who struggle to pronounce sounds correctly can benefit from seeing a dentist, undergoing orthodontics, or working with a speech therapist.

Teeth Allow Us to Eat All of the Delicious Thanksgiving Treats

One of the teeth’s main purpose is to help us break down foods into more manageably sized pieces so that we can swallow easier. Different types of teeth have a different jobs when it comes to aiding in eating. For example, incisors (the front four teeth on top and front four on the bottom) help us bite bits of food while the molars and premolars are responsible for mashing and chewing the food.

They Can Improve Digestion

Also related to eating, there’s more that the mouth does to help prepare food for proper digestion other than simply chewing. As we chew, our saliva production increases to help further break down the food particles. The saliva contains enzymes that kick start the digestion process. If we don’t chew well or fully, proper digestion can’t happen.

We hope our few reasons to be thankful for your teeth this Thanksgiving, and all year around, makes you appreciate a healthy smile. If there’s any concern about your smile, whether it’s cosmetic or functional, we welcome you to call our dental office in Modesto.

Top 7 Ways to Protect Yourself This Flu Season

added on: November 8, 2017

couple with the fluNobody enjoys the threat of the flu lurking everywhere this time of year. But with the right precautions you can protect yourself and your family and reduce your risk of contracting the flu. Our dental office in Modesto has put together a guide to help you avoid the flu and keep you healthy all year long.

Wash Your Hands Often

Using warm water and soap, scrub your hands before preparing food, after eating or using the restroom, and after shaking hands. If soap and water are unavailable use an alcohol-based sanitizer.

Keep Your Hands Away From Your Face

Germs spread easily through the eyes, nose, and mouth. If your hands get in contact with flu germs and you rub your eye, itch your nose, or bite your fingernail, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll get sick.

Drink Plenty of Water

Your body functions optimally if it’s hydrated. This includes its ability to fight off germs. Not to mention, a well hydrated mouth is a healthy mouth, and that’s sure to make your dentist in Modesto happy.

Eat a Well Balanced Diet

Fueling your body with fruits, veggies, whole grains, and proteins is crucial in helping your body stay healthy. Proteins, in fact, have been proven to support the immune system so make sure you’re getting your fair share.

Clean Your Home and Your Office

Sanitize the areas you or others use most. Think about the items that get touched often like doorknobs, toilets, elevator buttons, or your computer mouse. A good rule of thumb to follow is to clean it even it doesn’t look dirty.

Take Care of Your Toothbrush

Toothbrushes can hold a lot of bacteria and if not taken care of properly could make you sick. Make sure you rinse the bristles thoroughly after each use, store family members’ brushes far away from each other, and consider sterilizing them once a week in hot water.

Avoid People Who Are Sick

Although this seems obvious, it’s not always simple. If a co-worker comes to the office sniffling and sneezing, it’s difficult to avoid them and everything they touch. Try to communicate via email instead of face-to-face meetings, carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you, and again, always wash your hands and avoid touching your face.

If you do happen to get sick, try your best to stay home to help prevent the illness from spreading to others. Our dental office in Modesto also encourages you to find sugar-free medications so as you’re working on feeling better, you’re not doing damage to your oral health.

There’s No Need to Fear Root Canals

added on: October 24, 2017

root canal modelA root canal tends to create a lot of apprehension and fear in many patients. After all, the treatment has had plenty of bad things said about it in the past, and its inaccurate reputation of being scary and incredibly painful has stuck with it throughout the years. However, the team at our dental office in Modesto wants to let our patients know that the horror stories of root canals of the past are no longer relevant in the world of today’s modern dentistry.

The Painless Truth of Root Canals

When your dentist in Modesto recommends a root canal, it’s typically because decay has reached so far into the tooth that a traditional filling won’t fix it completely. Chances are pain levels are also pretty high. A root canal can remove the decay in its entirety and actually ease the pain. So essentially, root canals do not contribute to pain, but rather relieve it.

What’s a Root Canal Treatment Like?

When going in for a root canal, your dentist will first numb the area to reduce any discomfort and to make the treatment pretty pain free. Then the actual procedure begins. A root canal procedure typically includes:

  • Making a tiny hole to allow your dental team access to the inside of the tooth where all the roots and nerves are located that are causing so much pain.
  • Emptying the nerves, pulp, and blood vessels from the inner tooth. This makes it impossible for the tooth to feel any pain.
  • Sealing the tooth and placing a dental crown to keep the inside of the tooth protected.

What Are Some Signs That a Root Canal May be Necessary?

  • Tooth Pain. First and foremost, tooth pain is the most obvious sign that something isn’t right in your mouth and that you may need a root canal. However, not every toothache automatically constitutes root canal treatment. If the pain increases when eating, biting down, or with any pressure, you may need a root canal to make the pain go away.  
  • Sensitivity. If you experience tooth sensitivity regularly, there’s probably no reason to be too concerned. But if you have sensitivity while eating or drinking hot or cold foods or beverages, and that sensitivity pain lingers around for awhile even after the source of heat or cold is removed, a root canal may be appropriate.
  • Gum Inflammation. Just because a root canal is a treatment done on a tooth doesn’t mean teeth are the only place where symptoms appear. Gum tissue nearby the infected tooth can also exhibit some symptoms. For example, painful or swollen gums, or any small, raised bumps on the gums are usually telltale signs that a root canal may be necessary.

At our Modesto dental office, we always encourage our patients to call us right away if they suspect a dental problem or if they’re experiencing pain. If you are having any of the symptoms above, we welcome you to call us too. We’ll complete a thorough exam to find the source of your symptoms and recommend the appropriate treatment for you. If that treatment happens to be a root canal, don’t fear. You’ll have relief in no time.

Safest Halloween Treats for Braces

added on: October 9, 2017

Halloween teensThis Halloween season is just like any other — packed with costume preparations, decorating with ghosts and pumpkins, and preparing for a night of trick-or-treating. At our dental office in Modesto, we love all the fun that Halloween brings to our patients and neighbors. But as you may have guessed, we do have some insight on the best treats. In celebration of both Halloween and National Orthodontic Month, we decided to take a different approach to talking about Halloween candy this year and are catering our top choices for braces wearers.

If you have braces, have a child who has braces, or have had braces in the past, you’re well aware that there are some guidelines to what you can safely eat and what’s best to avoid. These guidelines don’t go away for the holidays, unfortunately. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of delicious treats that are safe for braces.

Safe Candy for Braces

When it comes to selecting candy that’s safe for braces, consider if the texture of the treats is sticky, chewy, or hard. If you can label a candy as any of those, it’s best to choose another option. Candy that’s too hard can break brackets whereas sticky and chewy sweets can bend wires. Neither is ideal for successful orthodontic treatment.

The best candy for those with braces are ones that are easy to bite and chew and aren’t sticky. Some safe options include:  

  • 3 Musketeers
  • Peanut Butter Cups
  • Peppermint Patties
  • Milky Way
  • Crunch Bar/Krackel Bar
  • Pure Chocolate Bars

Worst Candy for Braces

Now that you know of some safe, yet yummy, Halloween candy options for those with braces, it’s important to also take a look at some that aren’t so great. The following treats are best avoided to reduce the chance of damage to brackets or wires:

  • Hard Candy
  • Gum
  • Caramels
  • Jelly Beans
  • Nuts or anything containing nuts

The team at our Modesto dental office hopes all of our patients and neighbors have a safe and happy Halloween!  

Are Your Work Habits Hurting Your Oral Health?

added on: September 20, 2017

workspace covered in snacksWhether you work a typical 9 – 5, Monday through Friday job, or your schedule typically varies, the truth is Americans spend quite a bit of time at work each week. No matter what your job responsibilities are, several of the most common workplace habits can affect almost every type of occupation. Some of these habits can negatively affect your overall health. In this blog, our dental office in Modesto would like to focus specifically on the top work habits that are most likely to harm your oral health.

Habit #1: Using Teeth as Tools

Teeth are designed for one purpose — to help us chew our food. However, this doesn’t stop us from trying to use our teeth as tools occasionally. Whether you’re trying to open a package or rip off a piece of tape, avoid using your teeth to help. The force placed on teeth during these activities can wear down tooth enamel or even break or chip a tooth. To fix damage like this, your dentist in Modesto will most likely recommend a restorative dentistry treatment.  

Habit #2: Snacking Throughout the Day

Whether you snack on a handful of pretzels, slowly sip your coffee, or nibble on other treats throughout your workday, you’re leaving your teeth constantly exposed to damaging acids. As we eat, bacteria in our mouths feed on the food particles left behind. These bacteria then release acid as a byproduct. Usually saliva helps neutralize and rinse away this acid. But without a break in snacking, your saliva doesn’t have a chance to catch up. This allows the acid to eat away at enamel and leaves teeth at risk for decay.

Habit #3: Taking Smoke Breaks

We all know by now that smoking has been linked to several very serious, sometimes life threatening health issues. Your oral health isn’t any different. Smoking, as well as using smokeless tobacco, increases the risk of oral cancer, gum disease, and tooth loss. We understand that smoking is a hard habit to break, but we know you can do it. Try chewing sugarless gum or talk with your doctor about ways to quit.

Habit #4: Chewing on Pens

Either done out of boredom, stress, or nervousness, chewing on pens or pencils is a workplace habit that affects many people. Sometimes we do it and don’t even realize it. This habit can easily damage teeth by either chipping or breaking them or by wearing away at enamel. Instead of chewing on a pen, try something else that may satisfy the craving but is less dangerous for your smile like eating a few carrots or pieces of celery.

If you find yourself doing any of these habits at work, or perhaps at home, we encourage you to work diligently to stop. Our Modesto dental office is here to help, so call us to schedule your next appointment.

Top 5 Causes of Tooth Pain

added on: September 11, 2017

woman with tooth painWe all know the feeling associated with tooth pain. You take a sip of your hot morning coffee and immediately feel a zing of pain. You clench your teeth and get a sharp jolt that makes you wince. Or perhaps you have a constant toothache that just won’t go away. No matter which type of tooth pain you have, you want to know what’s happening and, more importantly, you want to fix it. The team at our dental office in Modesto is here to provide you with some of the main causes behind tooth pain.

Before we dive into some of the possible reasons your teeth hurt, it’s important to note that any tooth pain is usually a sign that something isn’t quite right in your mouth. It’s best to see your Modesto dentist sooner rather than later to get a proper diagnosis and recommended treatment plan for your individual needs.

Cavities

The first thing you probably consider when experiencing tooth pain is a cavity. And you may be right. Cavities can cause tooth sensitivity to hot or cold foods or sharp pain when biting down. Treatment is usually an easy filling. While a cavity is probably the most obvious culprit behind tooth pain, it’s definitely not the only possible explanation.

Gum Infection

Not all tooth pain is a direct result from something in your actual tooth. Some tooth pain can be caused by a problem with the gums. For example, a gum infection can cause pain, swelling, a pimple-like bump on the gums, and may even include pus. Get to your dentist quickly to treat the infection to limit the risk for an abscess.

Gum Recession

Gum recession occurs when your gum tissue starts to pull up and away from your teeth, leaving tooth roots at risk for exposure and pain. Gum recession can be caused by a number of things, but most commonly is a result of brushing too hard. Always brush in gentle, circular motions to reduce your risk of receding gums.

Chronic Tooth Grinding

When someone grinding their teeth, also known as bruxism, they’re placing a lot of constant pressure on both their teeth and their jaw. The repeated grinding motion can wear down teeth and increase risk for decay. It can also lead to severe jaw pain and headaches. Your dental team will be able to recognize the signs of grinding and may recommend a custom nightguard to help reduce grinding impact.

Dental Restorations

You may be thinking to yourself, “Aren’t dental restorations supposed to fix a problem, not cause pain?” And you’d be right. However, occasionally you may experience some mild tooth pain following a dental procedure. Minor sensitivity for a few weeks is normal, but pain when biting may require a minor adjustment in the restoration.  

If you’re experiencing tooth pain, you don’t need to live in agony. In fact, we discourage it. Instead, give our dental office in Modesto a call to schedule an appointment and start getting relief today.

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