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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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Your Fairview Heights Cosmetic Dentists

4 Easy Steps to Spring Clean Your Dental Routine

Spring is a time of new growth, meaning it’s also the opportunity for cleaning to make room for a new environment, habits, and mindset. The same can be true for your dental hygiene routine.  

 

If you’re unhappy with the state of your teeth, these simple tips can get you started on the right foot and motivate you to build healthy habits.   

 

Keep reading to learn some easy ways to spring clean your dental routine today!   

 

1. Purchase a New Toothbrush  

 

If you don’t have a soft bristle toothbrush, it’s time to invest in one today. These are often recommended more than medium and hard toothbrushes because they’re easier on your enamel and less likely to cause your gums to recede. However, medium toothbrushes may also be a good choice if you tend to brush your teeth for less than two minutes.  

 

You can also take this opportunity to purchase an electric toothbrush if you’re ready to step up your oral hygiene routine.  

 

Keep in mind that the ADA recommends that you replace your toothbrush every three to four months, even if the bristles don’t appear frayed.   

 

2. Clean Your Toothbrush Holder  

 

It’s vital that you store your toothbrush upright and exposed to air so that it’s less likely to harbor harmful bacteria. However, the holder you keep your toothbrush in can get dirty and grimy over time.   

 

Take this opportunity to clean your toothbrush holder with warm water and soap and wipe it down with disinfectant.   

 

3. Minimize Sugar  

 

When it comes to dental hygiene, how much sugar you consume throughout the day can make a big difference in the health of your teeth. This is because the more often you drink or eat foods with high amounts of sugar, the more acids develop in your mouth that slowly eat away at your enamel.   

 

With this in mind, try keeping your sugar intake to one time in the day, such as for dessert or after lunch. You can also make a point of swishing your mouth with water after eating or drinking sugary foods or beverages.   

 

4. Schedule an Appointment  

 

Keep in mind that no dental routine is complete without scheduling a yearly appointment with your dentist. Many dentists won’t judge you and will take the time to educate you on simple ways you can improve your dental health.   

 

Even better, you can get started on your journey to improve your smile and start this season on a clean slate.   

 

Supercharge Your Spring Dental Routine  

 

Minimizing sugar, cleaning your toothbrush holder, and replacing your toothbrush with a new one every three to four months are great ways to refresh your dental routine this spring.  

 

If you’re having trouble forming new toothbrushing or flossing habits, this kind of spring cleaning may be just what you need to motivate you to begin again.

   

We can also help you get started with a dental cleaning. Call us today to schedule an appointment!   

 

5 Easy Tips to Improve Your Dental Hygiene Today

Beyond brushing your teeth twice a day, did you know that there are even more simple ways you can improve your oral hygiene? It only takes about five minutes a day to brush your teeth and floss your teeth.  

 

Even better, you’ll benefit from a reduction in cavities and tooth decay, fresher smelling breath, improved overall health, and a sparkling smile that you can feel confident in.  

 

Keep reading to learn five simple ways to jumpstart your dental care routine today!   

 

1. Wait Before Brushing  

 

Brushing your teeth twice a day helps remove food particles and plaque that slowly eat away at your tooth enamel. However, brushing your teeth too early after eating can actually do more damage than you realize.   

 

Acidic foods, in particular, soften your tooth enamel temporarily, making it more susceptible to be stripped away if you brush immediately after and open you up to a greater chance of tooth decay.   

With this in mind, make sure that you wait 30 to 60 minutes after eating or drinking acidic foods and drinks before you brush your teeth.  

 

2. Avoid Sipping on Sugary Drinks  

 

While drinking sugary drinks in moderation is completely fine, you’ll want to avoid sipping on them throughout the day. This is because the constant exposure to sugar will turn into harmful lactic acid because of the bacteria in your mouth.   

 

Over time, lactic acid dissolves your tooth enamel, leading to increased tooth decay and cavities. This is one of the reasons why athletes experience more tooth decay than anyone else—they sip on sugary sports drinks frequently.   

 

Make sure to drink sugary drinks all at once instead of throughout the day. You can also swish your mouth with water after consuming them.   

 

3. Don’t Neglect Your Tongue  

 

Did you know that along with your teeth, it’s essential to give your tongue a brush as well? When your tongue is white, this is a sign that bacteria and dead cells are trapped between the papillae on the surface of your tongue.   

 

However, regardless of whether you notice that your tongue is white or not, you should take some time to brush it with your toothbrush or, even better, a tongue scraper. It only takes a few extra seconds in your routine and can even improve your breath if you suffer from halitosis.  

 

4. Pay Attention to Your Toothbrush  

 

It’s important that you use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush your teeth so that you’re not causing your gums to recede or wear down your tooth enamel. Unfortunately, your toothbrush can also harbor harmful bacteria, so make sure to rinse it well after brushing and store it in a place where it gets airflow to dry quickly.   

 

You’ll also want to replace your toothbrush every three to four months. The bristles can become worn, meaning that brushing your teeth will be far less effective.   

 

5. Use Fluoride  

 

Last but not least, we can’t understate the importance of fluoride for your dental health. This naturally occurring is found in water, soil, plants, rocks, and air. Used commonly in drinking water, toothpaste, mouth rinses, and supplements, here are some of its numerous benefits:   

 

  • Remineralizing your tooth enamel  

  • Reversing early tooth decay  

  • Preventing harmful bacteria from proliferating   

 

This is why it’s imperative that you use toothpaste and mouth rinses that contain this vital ingredient. Without fluoride, you won’t experience the full benefits of brushing your teeth!   

 

Improve Your Dental Hygiene: One Step at a Time  

 

Keep in mind that improving your oral hygiene doesn’t happen overnight. Focus on improving one tip from the above list at a time until it becomes a habit. You can then move on to another technique so that you’re not overwhelmed by too much change!   

 

We recommend starting by brushing your teeth for two minutes at a time, morning and night. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and be gentle as you use small circles to brush the surface of your teeth, the inside, and the biting surfaces.   

 

Of course, your routine isn’t complete without scheduling annual appointments at the dentist.

 

Contact us to schedule an appointment today!   

 

4 Simple Ways to Treat Gingivitis

Did you know that according to a recent CDC report, 47.2 percent of adults in the United States have some form of periodontal disease? As you get older, your chances increase–70.5 percent of adults 65 or older have periodontal disease. 

  

Without treatment, your teeth will start to become wobbly and eventually fall out. Fortunately, gingivitis is the early stage of this disease when prevention and treatment are possible.  

 

If you’re experiencing signs, keep reading to learn simple ways to treat gingivitis today!   

 

What are the Signs of Gingivitis?   

 

You must schedule an appointment with your dentist if you suspect you have gingivitis. Here are a few signs:   

 

  • Swollen and puffy gums  

  • Red gums  

  • Receding gums  

  • Tender gums  

  • Bad breath  

  • Gums bleed easily when brushing or flossing  

 

Your chances of gingivitis heighten if you have a pattern of poor oral hygiene, smoking or chewing tobacco, genetics, dry mouth, older age, and more. Even hormonal changes or certain medications can increase your chances of gingivitis.   

 

This is why it’s crucial you focus on solutions rather than blaming and shaming yourself for the condition!   

 

How to Treat Gingivitis: Start Simple   

 

It’s essential to keep in mind that your oral health isn’t doomed if you experience signs of gingivitis. Instead, consider it a warning from your body to start taking care of your oral hygiene before things worsen.   

 

1. Schedule Regular Appointments   

 

If you haven’t seen your dentist in over a year, it’s time to schedule an appointment today. They’ll be able to give you customized tips on how to take care of your teeth and take care of gingivitis.   

 

Your dentist will also be able to monitor your progress during subsequent appointments so that you can be assured it’s not worsening.   

 

2. Use Fluoride or Antibacterial Mouth Rinses  

 

Fluoride is a natural mineral that’s one of the most critical ingredients in toothpaste. It helps strengthen your enamel and prevent cavities.   

 

By increasing the fluoride your teeth are exposed to, you can help strengthen them over time, so they’re more resistant to plaque that causes gingivitis.  

 

Make sure to wait at least 30 minutes before rinsing your mouth with mouthwash. This is because you don’t want to rinse off the fluoride on the toothpaste you just used.   

 

Your dentist may also prescribe you a chlorhexidine mouthwash to reduce the bacteria in your mouth. Recent studies have found that tea tree mouthwash gives you similar benefits.   

 

3. Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day  

 

Did you know that you only need to brush your teeth for about four minutes each day? So morning and night, brush your teeth for two minutes at a time, or 30 seconds per quadrant of your mouth. 

  

The motion of your soft-bristled toothbrush combined with the fluoride in toothpaste will help reduce plaque. A reduction of plaque means reducing the chance of bacteria attacking your teeth and gums with harmful acids.   

 

4. Floss Every Day  

 

Flossing is a habit that many people failed to develop when they were children, making it even harder to pick up as an adult. Keep in mind that flossing at least once a day before you go to bed is all you need to do to increase your dental health.   

 

You can use water picks, dental tape, pre-threaded floss, or interdental picks to make your life easier. You can also opt to floss one section of your mouth in the morning and one at night to speed up the process!   

 

Take Time to Treat Gingivitis Today  

 

It’s essential to keep in mind that ignoring the signs of gingivitis won’t make them go away. Over time, your condition will worsen. Before this happens, make sure you start treating your gingivitis and enhance your oral health habits by going to the dentist, brushing twice a day, using oral rinses, and flossing.   

 

Not only will you find relief from the pain and discomfort of your gums, but you can also develop a renewed confidence in your smile.   

 

Ready to take charge of your dental health? Schedule an appointment with us today!

 

Regular Cleaning vs. Deep Cleaning: What Do You Need?

Did you know that according to the American Dental Association, 47.2 percent of adults experience chronic gum disease? In those cases, you need a deep cleaning to help mitigate the damage and get your gums healthy again. 

 

Is it time for your routine checkup, but you’re unsure whether you should get a regular cleaning versus a deep cleaning at the dentist? It helps to know a little about each procedure.  

Read on to learn the difference between regular cleaning versus deep cleaning and whether you need one or both!  

 

What is a Regular Dental Cleaning?  

 

Regular cleaning is probably what you’re most used to. Although it’s less extensive than deep cleaning, it’s necessary for both the look and cleanliness of your teeth. Hygienists will remove tartar buildup with a scaler as well as brush and floss your teeth till they shine.  

 

You’ll find that regular dental cleaning is a preventative measure against tooth decay and gingivitis. However, if tartar has already begun to invade your gumline, you’ll need to have a deep cleaning. 

 

What is a Deep Cleaning?  

 

If you have gums that are red and swollen, a deep cleaning may be necessary. This indicates that your gums are suffering from a bacterial infection. In this case, your hygienists will clean below your gum line to the roots of your teeth.  

 

Using a manual scraper and an ultrasonic device, they’ll remove plaque as well as rub the rough spots at the roots of your teeth. Over time, this process will help your infected gums attach to your teeth and become healthy again.  

 

Do You Need Deep Cleaning?  

 

You’ll know that you may need a deep cleaning if your hygienist recommends it for a future appointment. They may have noticed that you have tartar that wasn’t able to be removed with a regular cleaning.  

 

You may also be experiencing symptoms of gum disease, such as bleeding gums when you brush, loose teeth, swelling of your gums, and more. Your hygienists may also find that you’re at risk for periodontal disease when your gum pockets are over 5 millimeters in depth.  

 

In this case, a deep cleaning is necessary.  

 

What to Expect During a Deep Cleaning 

 

If you do need a deep cleaning, there’s no need to be afraid. Your dentist may choose to use a local anesthetic in order to minimize any pain or discomfort. A deep cleaning also means you’re on the road for healthier teeth and gums!  

 

If you find that a deep cleaning may be necessary, make sure to speak to your dentist about your options. They may find that twice-a-year regular cleanings are all you need to get back on track.  

Regardless of what type of cleaning you need, make sure you’re brushing and flossing twice a day. You can prevent gingivitis or alleviate uncomfortable symptoms.  

 

Ready for more simple oral health information? Keep reading our blog or contact us to schedule an appointment today!  

 

The Most Common Tooth Brushing Mistakes You’re Making Today

Good oral hygiene and a sparkling smile all start with brushing your teeth, but did you know that you may not be brushing your teeth properly?

 

By taking time to learn the proper techniques, you can avoid painful cavities and gingivitis. Even better, you’ll feel more confident in your smile. 

 

With this in mind, read on to learn about the most common tooth brushing mistakes that you might be making today.

 

Rinsing Out Your Toothpaste

When you’re done brushing your teeth, most people fill their mouths with water, swish, and spit out all the toothpaste. However, you’re actually making your toothpaste less effective.

 

Instead, when you’re done brushing your teeth, simply spit out the excess toothpaste and keep the rest on your teeth. This will allow the fluoride to work more effectively in keeping cavities away.

 

Keeping the Same Toothbrush

Do you know the last time you got a new toothbrush? If you can’t remember, you’ve most likely kept it far beyond its lifetime. The ADA recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months. 

 

The reason for this is that you don’t want to brush your teeth with a toothbrush that has bacteria buildup in the bristles. If the bristles are bent and warped, you also aren’t brushing your teeth as effectively.

 

You’re Not Brushing Long Enough

Most dentists recommend that you brush your teeth for two minutes in the morning and evening. Why two minutes? This is just long enough to brush each quadrant of your mouth thoroughly, getting rid of as much plaque as possible. 

 

Any shorter means that you may be missing areas, or you won’t be brushing long enough to make a difference. Your time is valuable, so make sure that you’re brushing your teeth long enough to make an impact on the plaque and tartar buildup in your mouth. 

 

Take Time to Brush Your Teeth Properly

By taking the time to brush your teeth properly twice a day, not only will your oral hygiene improve, but so will your bank account. The reason for this is that you’ll be able to avoid costly procedures, such as cavity fillings and root canals. 

 

You’ll also be able to recognize issues with your teeth before they become major issues. For instance, cavities often start out as dark spots on the surface of your teeth. 

 

Ready to improve your oral hygiene? It all starts with routine cleanings. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

 
Fluoride Myths and Facts

Fluoride is a controversial topic, but is fluoride dangerous? Learning about fluoride and how it affects you and those you care about is incredibly important.

 

Fluoride and Water

 

Fluoride occurs naturally in drinking water without additions needing to be made at all. Fluoride is added to drinking water because the naturally occurring amount of fluoride in the water isn’t enough to help strengthen our teeth and bones.

 

Strengthening Enamel

 

Your enamel is the part of your tooth that your food touches as you chew. This part of your tooth protects the rest of it, like a shield. Once the enamel is cracked or broken, your tooth quickly decays, leading you to tooth pain. Fluoride helps you by strengthening your enamel both when you brush and when you drink water.

 

Fluorosis

 

When you’re a child, you’re taught to spit out your toothpaste, not to swallow it, because of fluorosis. When appropriately used in products, fluoride is entirely harmless, but ingesting too much fluoride, just like any other vitamin or mineral, can have consequences in the form of fluorosis. Fluorosis is incredibly rare and usually happens when small children get ahold of a tube of toothpaste. You should always follow the guidelines on toothpaste use for both adults and children.

 

Fluoride isn’t a danger to your health or the health of your loved ones when used as intended. It can have some adverse effects if you ingest a larger amount of it at a time. Do you have more questions about fluoride and how it helps you? Feel free to ask us at your next appointment!

 

3 Things to know about Replacing your Toothbrush

 

 

Replacing your toothbrush is an easy task, so much so that many people don't often think about doing it until it's been a significant amount of time. Here are three things you should know about replacing your toothbrush.

 

Bacteria Buildup

 

Bacteria builds up on your toothbrush daily; though it's a very small amount in relation to surfaces like the bathroom sink, bacteria does still build up. After about three to four months, your toothbrush is a bacteria playground.

 

You Should Replace Your Toothbrush More Often

 

Because of the bacterial buildup, it's suggested you replace your toothbrush every three to four months to avoid bad breath and tooth decay. If you don't replace your toothbrush regularly, it'll become less effective, potentially leading to dental illnesses.

 

Different Kinds of Toothbrushes

 

The kind of toothbrush you use doesn't matter nearly as much as you think it may. So long as the American Dental Association approves it, it's an excellent toothbrush. Regular toothbrushes and battery-operated toothbrushes don't have a different cleaning ability either, so picking the right toothbrush boils down to which you'd prefer.

 

Replacing your toothbrush is incredibly important, and so long as you replace it regularly and get a toothbrush you'd like to use often, you'll have the right tool to maintain your dental health. If you have any more questions about your toothbrush, ask us at your next appointment!

 

Dentures or Dental Implants?

What is the Difference?

 

Dentures and Dental Implants are two very different kinds of dental health solutions. Both have pros and cons and concluding which is better for you is essential for your dental health plan. Which one should you consider, though?

 

Dentures

 

Dentures are prosthetic devices designed to be supported by hard and soft tissue where your teeth used to be. You can get these both in full or partial dentures, ensuring that your current teeth are kept. 

 

Pros

 

Both removable and permanent options are available

Customizable

Look Natural

 

Cons

 

Cant eat certain foods, 

non-permanent varieties cannot stay in while you sleep

Cannot eat certain foods

Not as natural as implants

 

Dental Implants

 

Dental implants are a far more permanent solution to any missing teeth and are often considered the best option for getting your smile back. This process gives you durable, efficient teeth that can be cleaned and tended to without issues for the rest of your life—helping you eat what you like.

 

Pros

 

Durable and long-lasting

Restores chewing and speaking ability

Promotes healthy gums

 

Cons

 

Lengthy healing process

Requires surgery to install, which can lead to pain and swelling


 

Both dental implants and dentures are great ways to come to dental health solutions for your best smile. Deciding your best option, though, is up to you. If you’d like to talk about your options, feel free to ask us about your dental health plan at your next appointment!

 

 

How to Get Kids to Brush Their Teeth

Our Office Shares Fun Ways to Get Your Kids Excited about Dental Care

Many kids are averse to brushing, and as a parent, it can be difficult to get them to brush regularly. Kids will be sneaky as they try to avoid brushing, so how do you get them to want to brush their teeth? Learn more with the help of our dentist!

 

Make it a Game

For younger kids making brushing their teeth, a game is a great way to get them to start brushing regularly. Fighting the sugar bugs, or the tooth monsters is a great idea that can get them excited about brushing twice a day.

 

Let Them Pick Their Tools

Kids like to feel independent so letting them pick their toothbrush and toothpaste can make them feel empowered and encourage a desire to brush their teeth. They get to use their cool toothbrushes and their awesome toothpaste to brush away those tiny tooth monsters.

 

Start Early

This is essential, getting them excited about brushing their teeth early will make this daily habit easier to enforce as they get older. Learning to brush their teeth while their young seriously reduces the probability that they’ll see not brushing their teeth as a sign of rebellion later in their teen years.

 

Positive Language

One way you can make a positive impact on your child is by using positive language and a positive angle with brushing your teeth. Don’t threaten that they’ll have a bad smile, or that their teeth will break down, paint a triumphant picture. Paint your child as the hero, slaying the sugar bugs in their mouth. Using positive language and tactics will get them excited about brushing.

 

If you’re still having trouble getting your kids to brush their teeth, feel free ask at your next appointment with our dentist for more tips to get them brushing again! Call our office to schedule your visit and our front desk staff will happily assist you.

 

Summer Dental Tips on the Go
Summer is officially in full swing! We know how busy your summer schedule gets and since it’s time to enjoy the beautiful weather, it’s important to enjoy it with a shining smile. Whether you’re going on a trip soon or your days are completely full, our Fairview Heights family dentist doesn’t want your dental health to be pushed to the wayside and forgotten. Let’s take a look at some easy and simple ways to take care of your teeth and gums while you’re on the go so your smile can stay healthy all summer long!
 
Carry a Travel Toothbrush
Let’s face it – sometimes, we forget to brush our teeth in the morning, especially if we’re in a rush. If your schedule is tight, you may not realize that you’ve forgotten to brush your teeth until you’re already out the door and it’s too late to turn around and go back. Without brushing your teeth in the morning, your smile is vulnerable throughout the day and you won’t be able to properly clean it until you get home.
 
By carrying a travel toothbrush – something small, compact, and easy to store – you’re able to keep your smile fresh even when you’re on the move. The importance of brushing your teeth in the morning is to remove the excess residue that built up overnight, as well as protecting your teeth throughout the day with the help of your toothpaste’s protective ingredients. Travel-sized toothbrushes and toothpastes are found in most convenient and drug stores – you can even get them at our office after your routine appointments!
 
Don’t Forget to Floss!
Every morning and night during your brushing routine, it’s important to remember flossing, too! This step cleans the hard-to-reach places between your teeth that your toothbrush bristles simply can’t clean to the best of their ability. Without flossing, that stubborn bacteria and lingering food particles are sticking around and slowly but surely causing havoc to your smile.
 
If you find yourself forgetting to floss every morning and night, try carrying it around with your travel kit! Leave floss in your car, purse, bag, desk, and anywhere that you check on a regular basis to remind you of this important step. This doesn’t require a sink and some water and can be done anywhere. While it’s certainly not a glamorous habit, your smile will thank you in the long run – and so will we!
 
Enjoy Sugar-Free Gum
A beneficial habit you begin is chewing sugar-free gum. If you find yourself forgetting to brush your teeth in the morning before you’ve left the house, enjoying sugar-free gum help to stimulate saliva flow in your mouth. Your saliva works to clear away plaque and food particles from your teeth and gums to protect them from bacterial build-up and lowers your risk of cavities. Don’t hesitate to ask our team about which sugar-free gums are best to use (hint: they usually have an ADA seal on them!).
 
There are countless other ways to keep your smile healthy while you’re on the move this summer, so be sure to ask our Fairview Heights family dentist during your next routine cleaning! Call our office at (618) 622-1800 to get ahead of schedule so the rest of your summer vacation will be a breeze.
 
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