5 Dental Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Smile

A beautiful smile often takes hard work and dedication to maintain. Patients often experience detriments to dental health because of a lack of understanding their wellbeing or failure to stay consistent with their oral hygiene routine. With the help of these five dental tips, you’ll be on your way to maintaining a healthy set of teeth for a lifetime.

Brush and floss regularly. Your daily routine greatly influences your health. After 24 hours, any plaque on your teeth can harden into tartar, a source of several dental health concerns. Individuals that brush twice a day and floss regularly remove plaque before it can turn into calculus, preventing issues such as decay, halitosis, and periodontal disease.

Rinse with antiseptic, non-alcoholic mouthwash. Adding this to your daily hygiene routine helps to control the amount of bacteria in the mouth, improving your dental and overall health. Make sure that the mouthwash you rinse with is non-alcoholic, as options containing alcohol may cause dry mouth.

Visit your dentist regularly. While maintaining optimal oral care at home is important, a beautiful set of teeth needs the care from a professional. Scheduling an appointment every six months for routine examinations and cleanings ensures your teeth remain in tip-top shape. Additionally, your dentist can address problem areas in the mouth, improving and maintaining your dental health.

Avoid added sugar. Foods high in sugar lead to cavities and decay. The bacteria in the mouth feeds off sugar, producing acid as a result and breaking down tooth’s enamel. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables high in fiber, such as apples and cucumbers, act as interim tooth brushes, preventing plaque buildup.

Do not smoke! Smoking is a major risk factor in developing gingivitis, discoloration, and decay. Smoking weakens your body’s immune system, leaving plaque and bacteria on teeth. Eventually, the plaque and resultant tartar lead to receding gums and tooth loss. Exposure to cigarettes is also a primary cause of oral cancer.

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You can find out more ways to improve your dental health by scheduling an appointment with Drs. James, Yolanda, and Jim Mitchell. Call or visit our Mitchell Dentistry in Fort Myers, and let’s work on improving your dental health together.

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Nutrition for your teeth: Three foods to enhance your dental health

We tell all our patients to brush, floss and have regular dental checkups and cleanings. But did you know that nutrition plays a large role in your dental health as well? Beyond cutting back on sweets and sodas, some foods actually help your teeth stay strong and healthy. Here are just a few that might surprise you:

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Tea. Those tiny little tea leaves can be quite powerful. They contain compounds that interact with plaque and either destroy or suppress bacteria, stopping them from growing or producing tooth-attacking acid. Tea leaves also readily absorb fluoride from soil. As a result, some tea drinks contain fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay by making teeth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. One caveat here – remember to brush your teeth after drinking dark tea so it doesn’t stain your teeth.

Cheese. If you’re watching your weight you might want the low-fat variety but cheese is filled with tooth-friendly calcium and vitamin D. According to a study published by the Academy of General Dentistry, eating cheese and other dairy products may help protect teeth against cavities.
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Seafood. Many of those lovely creatures from the sea contain phosphorous, a vital component to building strength in your teeth and jaw. There is more phosphorous in seafood than in veggies – tuna for example may have 20 percent or more of your phosphorous needs in one 3 ounce serving!

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Try these tasty ways to improve your dental health – and let us know if you have any questions about how your nutrition can help or hinder your beautiful smile.

Don’t hesitate to call us or visit our website – we welcome your questions and feedback!

All the best,

Dr. Jim

*Sources: American Academy of General Dentistry, British Nutrition Foundation’s Nutrition Bulletin and the American Dental Association

Why it’s important to brush your teeth twice a day

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Skipped a brushing? We’ve all done it from time to time. Whether we have fallen asleep watching TV or walked in after midnight thinking, “Just this once I am going to bed without brushing my teeth.” Our response? Don’t do it! It’s a well-known fact that the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing those pearly whites twice a day. You’ve also probably guessed that skipping a second brushing can make your breath very unpleasant in the morning.

But there is more to nighttime brushing than that. Miss a session and your mouth becomes a breeding ground for bacterial buildup in the form of plaque which can ultimately lead to cavities and gum disease.

You might notice that after a long time between brushings you feel something sticky when you run your tongue over your teeth. That, my friends, is plaque. You can prevent it by brushing away the bacteria so it doesn’t stay in one place. If it sits there too long, it becomes tartar, that rougher yellowish material that you sometimes find between your teeth. Too much tartar can cause inflammation and bleeding in the gums. Left untreated, this may result in losing teeth.

The good news is that you are in control over most of this situation. Stick to that twice-a-day routine, preferably with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush. Spend about two minutes for each brushing session, covering all surfaces of the teeth – yes, even those way in back. We also recommend flossing at least once a day and seeing your dentist regularly for a professional cleaning.

So smile! Two minutes, twice a day goes a long way toward your oral health.

If you or a loved one is interested in learning more about excellent dental hygiene, we have a whole team who can provide expert instructions to protect your pearly whites. Don’t hesitate to call us – we welcome your questions and feedback!

All the best,

Dr. Jim

 

 

It’s a bright new day: Is your smile ready for summer?

While we enjoy year round sunshine in Fort Myers, Florida, warm Gulf breezes and longer days remind us that summer is on the way. And for many that means weddings, vacations, photo opps and other celebrations to make you smile.

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For many of our patients here at Mitchell Dentistry, now is the time to make sure those smiles are ready. The numbers show that we all place a high value on our teeth and their appearance. Here are some interesting statistics from an American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry survey:

  • Virtually all adults (99.7%) believe a smile is an important social asset. 96% of adults believe an attractive smile makes a person more appealing to members of the opposite sex.
  • Three-quarters (74%) of adults feel an unattractive smile can hurt a person’s chance for career success.
  • And when respondents were asked, “What would you like to improve most about your smile?” The most common response was: Whiter & brighter teeth.

Are you happy with your smile? If you are, that’s wonderful. But if you feel some enhancement might be in order, please let us know. We would be happy to consult with you about teeth whitening or other ways to improve your smile.

All the best,

Dr. Jim

 

 

Are you ready for some sports?

Sports season is here!  We hope you’re busy cheering on your favorite team, having friends over to watch the big game and enjoying backyard grilling and the occasional potato chip (remember to brush after you eat).  Many of you may also have children or grandchildren that you happily get to watch play various team sports.  Before you let your loved one onto the field, ice rink or gym floor, make sure they are fully protected by wearing a mouth guard.

Many coaches understand the importance of having kids wear mouth guards and they regularly make their players adhere to wearing one.  However, trying to entice a child to wear a mouth guard can still be an uphill battle.  According to the American Dental Association, having a properly fitted mouth guard can cushion an impact that would otherwise result in broken teeth, jaw injuries or cuts to the lip, tongue or face.

Mouth guards are typically made of either thermoplastic or polyurethane.  Both are polymers that can be shaped upon heating.  This is how we are able to take a mold of the teeth and then form the mouth guard to fit.  The thermoplastic or polyurethane is also less likely to crack or split under stress.  You can purchase mouth guards outside of your dentist office, however, the best protection is offered from custom-made mouth guards.  Mitchell Dentistry can also create your mouth guard in your team colors!

Another important thing to remember, is that mouth guards can be a hotbed for bacteria and germs.  You will need to make sure to regularly washes the mouth guard with soap and water.  It can also be cleaned by soaking it in antiseptic mouthwash.

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment for yourself, your child or grandchild to be fitted for a mouth guard, please contact Mitchell Dentistry at 239.939.5556.  For more information about dental safety while playing sports, visit the Academy for Sports Dentistry.