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We believe in creating a relationship with our patients that goes beyond the office doors. We've specifically created this section of our site to share with you important news and informational dental blogs from our Fairview Heights family dental practice.
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Having a conversation with a friend or loved one, only to find yourself becoming more aware of your breath, can be embarrassing and uncomfortable.
We understand that bad breath, also known as halitosis, can significantly impact your self-confidence and social life. But fret not; we're here to help uncover some common sources of bad breath and suggest strategies to help you maintain a fresh and healthy smile!
Poor Oral Hygiene: The Primary Culprit
One of the most common sources of bad breath is inadequate oral hygiene. Failing to brush and floss regularly allows food particles to accumulate on and between your teeth, gums, and tongue. These particles become a breeding ground for bacteria, which release foul-smelling sulfur compounds as they break down the food debris.
To combat bad breath, brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time, making sure to clean all surfaces of your teeth, tongue, and the roof of your mouth. Floss daily to remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth and below the gum line. Regular dental checkups and cleanings will also help keep your breath smelling fresh.
Dry Mouth: A Silent Contributor
Saliva is essential for maintaining a healthy oral environment. It helps neutralize acids, wash away dead cells, and break down food particles. A dry mouth, or xerostomia, can contribute to bad breath, creating an environment that allows bacteria to thrive.
Dry mouth can be caused by various factors, such as certain medications, medical conditions, alcohol, and tobacco use. To alleviate dry mouth, drink plenty of water, chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candies to stimulate saliva production, and avoid alcohol and tobacco products.
Hidden Medical Conditions
In some cases, bad breath can be a sign of underlying medical conditions. For example, conditions such as acid reflux, sinus infections, and diabetes can contribute to halitosis. If you suspect your bad breath might be caused by a medical issue, consult your doctor to discuss your concerns and seek appropriate treatment.
Freshen Up Your Breath with Confidence
Bad breath doesn't have to be a source of embarrassment or anxiety. Understanding the common causes and implementing proper oral hygiene habits can keep your breath fresh and your smile healthy.
If you're still struggling with persistent bad breath, our dedicated team at is here to help you identify the cause and develop a personalized treatment plan.
Don't let bad breath hold you back from enjoying life's precious moments. Instead, schedule an appointment with us today and take the first step towards a fresher, more confident you!
We’ve all experienced it: that nagging feeling of anxiety as we sit in the dentist’s chair, waiting for the appointment to begin. Unfortunately, dental anxiety is more common than you might think, affecting millions worldwide.
However, it’s essential to prioritize your oral health, and learning how to manage dental anxiety is the key to a relaxed and pleasant experience. In this blog post, we’ll share five proven methods to help you conquer dental anxiety and brighten your smile!
1. Deep Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing exercises are one of the simplest and most effective ways to relax. Slow, deep breaths can help lower your heart rate, reduce stress levels, and bring a sense of calm.
For example, try the 4-7-8 technique: inhale deeply for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat this cycle several times before and during your appointment to help keep your nerves in check.
2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is another effective technique for managing anxiety. PMR involves tensing and relaxing specific muscle groups systematically, promoting a deep sense of relaxation.
For instance, before your dental appointment, find a quiet place to sit or lie down, and work through each muscle group, starting with your toes and working your way up to your head.
As you tense and relax each muscle, visualize the tension leaving your body, leaving you feeling more relaxed and in control.
3. Distraction Techniques
Sometimes, the best way to manage anxiety is to shift your focus away from it. Bringing a pair of headphones and listening to your favorite music or an engaging podcast can help distract your mind from the dental procedure.
Alternatively, you can bring a stress ball or fidget toy to keep your hands occupied and your mind off the dental work.
4. Communicate with Your Dentist
Being open and honest with your dentist about your anxiety can be incredibly helpful. Many dentists are trained to help patients with dental anxiety. They may have specific techniques or accommodations to help you feel more comfortable.
Establish a signal or safe word with your dentist that you can use if you need to pause the procedure or take a break, which can give you a sense of control and help alleviate anxiety.
5. Consider Sedation Dentistry
Sedation dentistry may be a viable option if your dental anxiety is severe. Various levels of sedation are available, ranging from mild nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to moderate oral sedation or even deep IV sedation for more invasive procedures.
Discuss your concerns and the available sedation options with your dentist to determine the best course of action.
Regain Control Over Your Dental Health Today
Dental anxiety is a common hurdle faced by many people. Still, it doesn’t have to stand in the way of maintaining your oral health.
By practicing deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, distraction techniques, communicating with your dentist, and considering sedation dentistry, you can learn to relax and smile confidently at your next dental appointment.
Our caring team of experienced professionals is here to make you feel comfortable during your appointment. So contact us today if you’re ready to begin your journey toward a beautiful, healthy smile!
Taking care of your teeth is essential to maintaining good oral health. While brushing and flossing daily are necessary steps to keep your teeth and gums healthy, it’s vital to understand the adverse effects of plaque buildup on your dental hygiene.
Today, we’ll explain what plaque is, how it forms, and why it can harm your teeth – keep reading to learn more!
What Is Plaque?
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that forms on your teeth and gums. It constantly forms on your teeth and, if left unaddressed, can harden into tartar.
Plaque contains harmful bacteria that produce acid that can damage the enamel of your teeth, leading to cavities and tooth decay. When plaque is not removed from your teeth, it can also cause gum disease, leading to serious health problems if left untreated.
How Does Plaque Form?
Plaque forms when the bacteria in your mouth mix with saliva, food particles, and other substances to form a sticky film on your teeth. Plaque tends to accumulate in hard-to-reach areas, such as between your teeth and along the gum line, making it difficult to remove with just regular brushing and flossing.
Over time, if not removed, plaque can harden into tartar, which is even harder to remove.
Why is Plaque Harmful to Your Teeth?
Plaque harms your teeth because the bacteria in it produce acids that can erode the enamel on your teeth, leading to cavities and decay.
When left unaddressed, plaque can also cause gum disease, resulting in teeth loss and other serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, tartar buildup can occur if plaque is not removed promptly, leading to even more challenging dental problems.
Consistent Oral Health Routines Reduce Plaque
Understanding the harmful effects of plaque buildup on your dental hygiene is crucial. By maintaining a consistent oral care routine that includes brushing and flossing regularly, along with scheduling regular dental check-ups and cleanings, you can help prevent plaque buildup and maintain a healthy smile.
If you’re concerned about plaque buildup on your teeth or have any other dental concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for guidance and support!
Remember, taking care of your teeth is a lifelong commitment, but the benefits of a healthy smile are worth it.
Many of us have heard it from our dentists - flossing is just as important as brushing. However, it can be challenging to get into the habit of flossing regularly. It may seem like an unnecessary task, or you may simply forget to do it.
The good news is that some simple tricks can help make flossing a regular part of your dental routine!
Don’t be afraid to start small if you’re not used to flossing! Commit to flossing just one tooth daily, and slowly build up from there. It may not seem like much, but it’s a great way to build up to flossing regularly.
Once you’ve established the habit of flossing one tooth, increase the number of teeth you floss until you’re flossing your entire mouth.
Make it Easy
One of the main reasons people avoid flossing is that they find it difficult or uncomfortable. If you’re struggling with flossing, try different types of floss to find the one that works best for you.
There are a variety of flosses available, including waxed, unwaxed, flavored, and even floss picks. Finding the right floss for you can make a big difference in how easy it is to floss.
Set a Reminder
Sometimes it’s simply a matter of remembering to floss. Try setting a reminder on your phone or computer to remind you to floss at a specific time each day.
You can also leave a pack of floss in a visible location, such as on your bathroom counter or your nightstand, to serve as a reminder to floss.
Prioritizing Your Dental Health
Flossing may not be the most exciting part of your dental routine. Still, it is essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. By starting small, finding the right tools, and setting reminders, you can quickly establish the habit of flossing regularly.
Remember, a little effort now can save you time and money in the long run. Happy flossing!
Do you see your dentist twice a year? It's important that you see your dentist every six months, even if you brush your teeth twice a day, floss your teeth at least once a day, and rarely get cavities. Dental professionals strive to examine your teeth and provide ways to strengthen them so your smile can remain shiny and healthy.
Keep reading to learn why twice-yearly dental appointments are necessary!
Identify Developing Cavities
Cavities don't go away on their own! If they're left untreated, the infection will grow deeper, and your pain will worsen. Even worse, your tooth may decay to the point where tooth extraction makes more sense than a filling or root canal.
To avoid this, dentists strive to identify cavities early so that you can treat them without resorting to invasive methods.
Prevent Gingivitis and Tooth Decay
Each time you come in for a dental appointment, you're helping strengthen and protect your teeth from issues you want to avoid. First, dental hygienists will thoroughly brush and polish your teeth, then remove any plaque and tartar they find. They'll then floss your teeth, checking for signs of gingivitis. Afterward, fluoride is applied to protect your teeth, and dental sealants are added if necessary to make it harder for cavities to develop in hard-to-reach crevices of your teeth.
Oral Cancer Screening
Lastly, we recommend you see your dentist twice a year because it's important that a dental professional screen you for oral cancer. Dentists will examine your neck, jaw, throat, face, and tongue for redness, inflammation, tissue changes, and more that could indicate developing cancer. Oral cancer screening is essential, as the sooner you detect it, the easier it is to treat.
Schedule an Appointment With Your Favorite Dental Professional Today
Twice-yearly dental appointments are necessary – regardless if you feel as if your smile is healthy or not. This is because dental professionals also screen you for oral cancer, provide ways to further reduce the likelihood of gum disease and tooth decay, and can even provide you with more tips on how to take care of your smile better.
Ready to schedule an appointment with an experienced dentist who cares? Contact us today – we can't wait to meet you!
Feeling self-conscious about your smile can significantly impact the quality of your life. As a result, you may feel more reluctant to smile in photos, experience toothaches multiple times a year, and need help with bad breath. Fortunately, it’s easy to turn your dental hygiene around by adopting just a few easy habits.
Keep reading to learn three easy tooth brushing techniques that can enhance your dental health!
Use Circular Motions
Instead of broad back-and-forth motions on the front of your teeth and by your gums, focus on using small, circular motions. This ensures that you’re brushing every part of each tooth thoroughly.
As your brush, make sure to keep light, gentle pressure. The amount of time you brush is more important than how much pressure you apply, as your toothpaste and bristles will do most of the work.
Follow the 2-2-2 Rule
The 2-2-2 rule stipulates that you should brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time and schedule general cleaning appointments with your dentist twice a year. By following this rule, you can see a drastic change in the health of your teeth over time.
Brushing for two minutes is especially important, as any less, and you’re probably not hitting all the surfaces of your teeth. Any more, and you have a greater chance of damaging your enamel or gums. Stick to two minutes!
Upgrade Your Tools
Lastly, keep in mind that changing your toothbrush or the head of your electric toothbrush is recommended every three months. This ensures that your bristles are working effectively and mitigates the buildup of harmful bacteria on your toothbrush.
You can also consider upgrading to an electric toothbrush. These toothbrushes make it easy to brush your teeth thoroughly, and some even include timers to ensure you’re brushing for the right amount of time. Pressure sensors can also tell you whether you’re too hard on your teeth, which can damage your enamel and shrink your gums.
Start Brushing the Right Way Today
These toothbrushing tips will give you a lifetime of clean, healthy, sparkling teeth. You’ll have greater confidence in your smile, fresher breath each day, and even better, less expensive visits to the dentist.
Of course, remember that even if you’re brushing correctly, you still need to see your dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment!
Is your dental anxiety impeding your ability to have healthy, beautiful teeth? You’re not alone–between 50 to 80 percent of adults in the U.S. have some form of dental anxiety. Fortunately, everyone can combat these anxieties and get the dental healthcare they need.
Keep reading to learn how to overcome your dental anxiety and gain the smile of your dreams with these three simple strategies!
Communicate With Your Dentist
Our first recommendation is to let your dentist know about your dental anxieties. Dentists are experienced with patients with fears, and if they know about yours, they can make the process easier and help you feel more comfortable. They may also have handy techniques that can help you feel more relaxed.
It’s also vital that you ask any questions that arise, as you’ll find that the more details about the procedures your dentist recommends, the less anxious you’ll feel about them.
For instance, if you’re nervous about a root canal, you’ll soon find that this standard procedure has a high success rate, virtually no pain, and doesn’t take long to complete.
Don’t be afraid to use distraction tools during your dental appointment! This can mean listening to music or a podcast while you’re getting your teeth cleaned or playing with a fidget toy to keep your hands busy.
Weighted blankets can be highly comforting–especially in a cold office. Lastly, you may have friends or family members who can accompany you during your dental appointment. You may find that this subtle support is invaluable in improving your experience.
Lastly, meditation and breathing exercises are a great way to keep you grounded in the present and not lose yourself to your anxieties. You can focus on your breath, counting during every inhale and exhale till you get to 10, then starting over again.
Body scanning is also an effective form of meditation. Starting at the top of your head, gradually move your awareness down your body, relaxing each muscle as you go till you get to the bottoms of your feet.
Schedule an Appointment With Us Today
You’ll find that the best dentists are not only experienced, but they’ll also go above and beyond for their patients with dental anxieties. They’ll do their best to give you the before, during, and after details of any recommended procedures, and they’re available to answer any of your questions.
Ready to schedule your six-month dental cleaning appointment with a dentist who cares? Contact us today!
Healthy gums are typically a soft pink color that is tight around the teeth. However, you may be more susceptible to gingivitis for genetic reasons or if you’ve been neglecting your dental hygiene.
Regardless of the reason, watch out for these signs so that you can begin rectifying the issue and avoid the much more severe periodontal disease.
Please keep reading to learn the signs of gingivitis to improve your dental health before it worsens!
Bleeding gums is normal after your floss your teeth when you haven’t flossed for a long time. However, your gums should stop bleeding after a few days. Suppose you notice excessive bleeding that happens almost every time you brush or floss. In that case, this is a strong indication that you may have gingivitis.
Receding gums can be caused by brushing your teeth too hard or too long. However, receding gums can also be caused by gingivitis. You’ll know that your gums are receding if you look in the mirror and notice more of your teeth than you’re used to.
You may also notice that your teeth feel more sensitive to heat and cold than usual.
Lastly, bad breath can be an indication that you have gingivitis. Make sure you brush your teeth twice daily, scrape your tongue, and floss your teeth. However, you most likely have gingivitis if you still have bad breath and tenderness, bleeding, or receding gums.
Schedule an Appointment with Your Dentist Today
Have you noticed any of the above when you’re brushing your teeth? Then, make sure you schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
They’ll be able to determine whether you have gingivitis or not. After a teeth cleaning, they’ll also be able to provide you with tips and a treatment plan to treat your gingivitis and avoid the more serious periodontal disease. Remember that periodontal disease can’t be reversed, unlike gingivitis!
Ready to schedule an appointment with us? Contact us today to get started!
Flossing could be a hard habit to add to your dental hygiene routine if you didn’t learn to when you were young. However, by using the right tools and techniques, you’ll find that it’s easier than it seems! Even better, you’ll be rewarded with fresher breath, healthy gums, and fewer cavities.
Keep reading for four simple tips that can finally make flossing an easy part of your dental hygiene routine!
Use the Right Tools
You can use various tools to floss if you find that one type doesn’t suit your teeth. Here are a few:
- Dental tape
- Waxed floss
- Water flossers
- Floss picks
For instance, dental tape is broader and flatter than regular floss. Some people find this floss easier to use if their teeth are tightly packed together. On the other hand, a floss pick may be a more comfortable, ergonomic choice for you if you have trouble using floss wrapped around two fingers.
Break It Up
Flossing can feel challenging at first because it adds a few minutes to your routine. Unfortunately, those minutes may feel like hours! To accustom yourself to the added time, try flossing the upper portion of your mouth in the morning and the lower portion in the evening.
You can also start off by flossing every other day, then gradually build to flossing every day when it feels more manageable.
Learn the Technique
Using traditional waxed floss, you’ll want to use at least 18 inches to ensure each tooth is flossed with a fresh piece. Start by winding the floss between your middle fingers with about an inch between them.
Then, hold the floss taut and slide it up and down between your teeth. Finally, hold the floss in a “c” shape so you’re applying pressure to each side of your teeth and scraping the built-up plaque away!
Lastly, don’t stress! It’s normal to experience minor bleeding and gum soreness if you haven’t flossed your teeth in a long time. After a few weeks of flossing daily, you shouldn’t experience any more bleeding or soreness.
If you are, you must let your dentist know and schedule an appointment to discover the root of the issue.
Add Flossing to Your Dental Hygiene Routine
Flossing is essential to any dental hygiene routine because it’s the only way to thoroughly clean between teeth. Unfortunately, food particles and plaque build up without flossing, leading to tooth decay, cavities between the teeth, and gingivitis.
You’ll be well on your way to a healthy and beautiful smile by implementing the tips above!
If you suffer from bad breath or tooth decay, you may need to add another quick step to your dental hygiene routine–tongue scraping! This easy technique has many benefits; even better, you aren’t required to purchase expensive items.
Keep reading to learn some of the top benefits of tongue scraping and how it can improve your dental hygiene.
One of the top benefits of tongue scraping is removing more harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay and bad breath. In addition, food debris collects in your mouth and tongue throughout the day. If you frequently skip brushing or scraping your tongue, this debris can harm your dental health over time.
Improves Your Taste
Did you know that tongue scraping can also improve your sense of taste? This is because you’re actively removing dead cells and leftover food debris from your tongue. With a fresh palate, you can distinguish between sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami far better than before!
Boosts Your Immunity
Lastly, scraping your tongue can also benefit your immune system. This is because a buildup of bacteria and toxins in your mouth can suppress your immune system, making you more prone to getting sick as your body constantly fights against the bad bacteria in your mouth.
You remove this issue for your immune system by scraping your tongue, allowing it to function at peak efficiency.
Start Scraping Your Tongue Today
The best part about tongue scraping is that it only adds a few extra seconds to your oral hygiene routine. If you purchase a metal scraper, you only need to start at the back of your tongue and scrape a few times moving forward. If you use a toothbrush, use gentle back-and-forth motions with a small amount of toothpaste.
Ready for more easy tips on how to improve your oral hygiene? Keep reading our blog!