Southlake Family Dentistry Blog

From Start to Finish: Your Regular Dental Cleaning

February 15, 2021

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , — southlakedental @ 10:03 am

We’ve all had a dental cleaning done before (and if not, you’re way overdue to see a dentist) but do you really know what they’re doing while you’re in that chair? There are several components and steps that go into a dental cleaning, and we’re breaking down the entire process from start to finish.

Before we dive in, it’s important to be aware that it is totally normal if your dentist probably doesn’t actually perform your dental cleaning. This is where our amazing dental hygienists shine! Our hygienists are trained specifically to perform cleanings and are great at what they do.

1. Dental Exam

Your dental cleaning will begin with an exam of your entire mouth and all of your teeth. This is the part when your dental hygienist uses a tiny mirror to examine your teeth and gums. What he or she is really doing is looking for signs of gingivitis. If your teeth and gums look healthy, your hygienist will proceed to the next step. If your gums are inflamed or swollen, they may call in your dentist for a second look. 

2. Plaque and Tartar Removal 

Next, comes the removal of plaque and tartar. This is an essential step of a dental cleaning and leaves your teeth feeling squeaky clean. Again, your hygienist will use the same mirror and a scalar to rid the gum line of plaque and tartar. The scalar makes a scraping sound as it is used to scrape away all the bad stuff and can cause a bit of soreness if you have a lot of plaque and tartar on your teeth. However, this step should be a breeze if you brush and floss twice daily!

3. Clean and Polish

During this step your hygienist uses a gritty toothpaste, sometimes mint or bubble gum flavored, and a special electric toothbrush to polish the surfaces of your teeth. But don’t let the sound of the brush frighten you, this part is painless ( it might even tickle a little). Keep in mind that this kind of cleaning is safe to do once or twice a year but is too harsh to be done more often than that and should only be done by professionals in a dental office. 

4. Floss

The fourth step to a thorough dental cleaning is flossing. Dental hygienists are expert flossers and will be sure to remove anything that might have been missed during the plaque and tartar removal step. If you notice that your gums bleed during this step, it’s likely a sign that you should start flossing more often at home. 

5. Rinse 

This is the final step of your cleaning. Your hygienist will give your mouth a thorough rinse to rid of any toothpaste or debris leaving your mouth feeling extra clean and fresh.

Now that you know the steps of a dental cleaning, we hope you feel prepared for your next visit. Missed your last cleaning? You can easily set up an appointment on our website

5 Habits that Hurt Your Teeth

January 19, 2021

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , — southlakedental @ 11:06 am

Here at Southlake Family Dentistry, we want all of our patients to have the healthiest and strongest teeth possible. However, there are several bad habits we often see that can hurt your teeth. Many of these habits can lead to tooth damage, cavities, and staining. While we’ve seen a multitude of practices that harm your teeth, here are the top five. 

  1. Smoking

Smoking is terrible for almost every function of your body, including your teeth and mouth. Not only does tobacco stain the teeth, causing yellowing, but several health risks have to do with your mouth. For starters, smoking can lead to severe gum disease, bad breath, increased loss of bone in the jaw, and an increased risk of oral cancer. If you haven’t quit smoking, we highly suggest quitting to reduce your risk of developing any of these dreadful conditions. 

  1. Drinking Coffee 

Drinking coffee seems like a necessity to some, especially to our working individuals. But you might not be aware that it isn’t good for your teeth. The most obvious reason is that it causes staining. The drink is dark in color, and if you drink coffee every day, your teeth are probably a bit more stained than non-coffee drinkers. Coffee also sticks to your tongue, causing bad breath or halitosis. But don’t worry, there are alternatives! Try drinking green tea or eating a large and nutritious breakfast instead. And if you must have coffee, just brush your teeth afterward. 

  1. Eating Chewy or Hard Candy 

Most foods with high sugar content are not going to be good for your teeth. But if you’re going to stay away from one thing, it should be chewy or hard candies. Harmful bacterias feed off of the sugars and turn into an acid, which erodes your teeth. This process eventually leads to cavities, which can be annoying and painful. You can avoid this by staying away from hard or chewy candy, and if you decide to eat some, brush and floss right after. 

  1. Nail-Biting 

Almost every person has bitten their nails at some point in their lives. But nail-biting is a more problematic habit to break for some. The routine can wear at the enamel of your teeth, eventually leading to cracking, chipping, and weakness. If you or your child struggles with nail-biting, The American Academy of Dermatology Association provides a list of ways to break the habit. Save your teeth and break the habit as soon as possible! 

  1. Eating Ice

This last bad habit isn’t too obvious but can still cause damage. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, but that does not mean it’s invincible. Chewing ice can damage your enamel, even causing cracks or chips in your teeth. Avoid this risk and just wait for the ice to melt.

Don’t let your teeth suffer damage from any of these bad habits. Contact Southlake Family Dentistry for any questions regarding your teeth, or visit our website to schedule an appointment. 

5 Habits that Hurt Your Teeth

January 15, 2021

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , — southlakedental @ 2:25 pm

Here at Southlake Family Dentistry, we want all of our patients to have the healthiest and strongest teeth possible. However, there are several bad habits we often see that can hurt your teeth. Many of these habits can lead to tooth damage, cavities, and staining. While we’ve seen a multitude of practices that harm your teeth, here are the top five. 

  1. Smoking 

Smoking is terrible for almost every function of your body, including your teeth and mouth. Not only does tobacco stain the teeth, causing yellowing, but several health risks have to do with your mouth. For starters, smoking can lead to severe gum disease, bad breath, increased loss of bone in the jaw, and an increased risk of oral cancer. If you haven’t quit smoking, we highly suggest quitting to reduce your risk of developing any of these dreadful conditions.

  1. Drinking Coffee 

Drinking coffee seems like a necessity to some, especially to our working individuals. But you might not be aware that it isn’t good for your teeth. The most obvious reason is that it causes staining. The drink is dark in color, and if you drink coffee every day, your teeth are probably a bit more stained than non-coffee drinkers. Coffee also sticks to your tongue, causing bad breath or halitosis. But don’t worry, there are alternatives! Try drinking green tea or eating a large and nutritious breakfast instead. And if you must have coffee, just brush your teeth afterward. 

  1. Eating Chewy or Hard Candy 

Most foods with high sugar content are not going to be good for your teeth. But if you’re going to stay away from one thing, it should be chewy or hard candies. Harmful bacterias feed off of the sugars and turn into an acid, which erodes your teeth. This process eventually leads to cavities, which can be annoying and painful. You can avoid this by staying away from hard or chewy candy, and if you decide to eat some, brush and floss right after. 

  1. Nail-Biting 

Almost every person has bitten their nails at some point in their lives. But nail-biting is a more problematic habit to break for some. The routine can wear at the enamel of your teeth, eventually leading to cracking, chipping, and weakness. If you or your child struggles with nail-biting, The American Academy of Dermatology Association provides a list of ways to break the habit. Save your teeth and break the habit as soon as possible! 

  1. Eating Ice

This last bad habit isn’t too obvious but can still cause damage. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, but that does not mean it’s invincible. Chewing ice can damage your enamel, even causing cracks or chips in your teeth. Avoid this risk and just wait for the ice to melt.

Don’t let your teeth suffer damage from any of these bad habits. Contact Southlake Family Dentistry for any questions regarding your teeth, or visit our website to schedule an appointment. 

Common Sleep Breathing Disorders and How to Treat Them

December 16, 2020

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , — southlakedental @ 11:36 am

If you or your partner have a sleep-breathing disorder, you probably aren’t getting the right amount of sleep each night. This could lead to more complications that can affect your overall health. Sleep breathing disorders are quite common. Roughly 40% of the adult US population suffers from some form of sleep breathing disorder. Whether you deal with mild snoring or sleep apnea, any disorder that affects your sleep isn’t easy. We are here to help!

The good news is that your dentist may have a solution. Many of our sleep and breathing disorders are caused by mouth issues; be sure to ask the Southlake dental team about the following:   

Snoring 

Snoring is the most common sleep breathing disorder. According to Johns Hopkins, 45% of adults snore occasionally, and 25% snore regularly. Snoring is caused by obstructed breathing and is a harsh, sometimes loud sound that comes from the nose or mouth. It can be a nuisance to your partner causing him/her to lose sleep and can affect your concentration levels and daytime sleepiness.

Risk Factors 

There are several things that can cause a person to snore, but here are the most common. 

  • Mouth/ Sinus anatomy 
  • Alcohol consumption 
  • Allergies 
  • Minor Cold 
  • Weight

And of course, if you combine two or more of these factors, your snoring will be more significant and likely a bigger problem to both your health and relationship.  

Treatment 

If you experience snoring, here are some of the top treatment methods recommended before trying anything more complicated.

  • Losing weight 
  • Avoiding alcohol consumption close to bedtime 
  • Nasal congestion treatment such as Flonase
  • Getting enough sleep on a regular basis 
  • Avoiding sleeping on your back 

If you have tried the recommendations listed above and you are still experiencing difficulties, talk to your dentist about oral appliance therapy. Custom fit oral-sleep appliances are comfortable and fit like a retainer and can improve your snoring tremendously. 

If these measures do not improve your snoring, your doctor might suggest special oral appliances, a CPAP machine to wear while sleeping, or, in more severe cases, upper airway surgery.

Sleep Apnea 

Sleep apnea has more potential danger than snoring and is something to be taken very seriously. Sleep Apnea is a disorder that causes breathing to start and stop while asleep. It’s more common in men, and age and weight are two of the greatest risk factors. 

Causes 

While the muscles in your throat are relaxed, your airway closes up too tightly to receive enough oxygen, briefly waking you up. You likely won’t remember this, and it is common to snort, gasp, or choke when this happens. This can happen up to 30 times per night. People that suffer from sleep apnea are unable to get a good night’s rest.

Risk Factors 

Sleep Apnea has many of the same risk factors as snoring. Here are some of the most common. 

  • Excess weight 
  • Neck circumference 
  • A narrowed airway 
  • Sex-men are twice as likely 
  • Age- seen more frequently in older adults 
  • Use of alcohol or sedatives
  • Smoking 
  • Family history 

Treatment 

In mild cases of Sleep Apnea, there are simple answers for treatment such as losing weight or quitting smoking. However, for more severe cases, or cases that don’t improve after these measures, there are other forms of treatment. Sleeping with a CPAP machine, oral appliances, and supplemental oxygen are some of the first things your doctor will recommend for severe cases of Sleep Apnea. 

Some cases of Sleep Apnea can be treated with oral appliance therapy, similar to snoring. Talk to your dentist about trying this non-invasive, comfortable treatment option.

If you experience either of these sleep breathing disorders, speak to your doctor and dentist. Contact the Southlake team for any questions about sleep breathing disorders. 

Things to Look for in a New Dentist

November 16, 2020

Filed under: Blog,General — Tags: , — southlakedental @ 9:52 am

Has the time come for you to look for a new dentist? This can happen for a variety of reasons. You might move to a new city or town, or you might start working in a city that is far away from your current dentist. Your old dentist might have retired or moved offices, or maybe you just weren’t happy there. Another possibility is that you have not been seeing a dentist regularly, and now you’ve decided it’s time to do so. Of course, your first concern is that you find a dentist that you like and who can meet your needs. If you’re not sure how to start narrowing down the pool, here are some other considerations when looking for a new dentist.

Location

It seems obvious, but the location is one of the more important considerations to keep in mind when looking for a new dentist. It isn’t necessarily just as simple as finding someone in town, though. Think about traffic during the time of day that you’re likely to make appointments (particularly if you’re trying to see the dentist before or after work, which might be during rush hour), as well as the office’s convenience to both work and home.

Now, this is not to say that an excellent dentist is not worth going out of your way! There are times when you might choose a dentist who is out of town or inconveniently located. Consider whether you will want to or can travel farther if you have a severe toothache, if you need to go to the dentist during the middle of your workday, or if you have to go in several times for a procedure that takes more than one visit.

Insurance and Payments

If you have dental insurance, you likely have a list of dentists who are in-network. Depending on your plan, you might pay a bit more if you go out of network, or you might have no coverage at all if you see someone, not on your plan. Only you can decide if you are in the financial position to see whoever you’d like, regardless of whether they participate in your insurance network.

If you don’t have insurance, you’re freer to go wherever you’d like. You might purchase a discount plan with your specific dentist. Payment options are another consideration. If you need to make payment plans, use a dental credit service (like CareCredit), or would like to see someone who will give you a discount for paying cash upfront, these are questions to ask before your first appointment.

Recommendations and Reviews

When trying to find a new dentist, particularly if you’re new to the area, you will need to rely on others’ recommendations. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and acquaintances who they think is the right dentist in your town. Word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways to find all types of service providers, including a dentist! You can also check on Yelp, Facebook Reviews, Google Reviews, and the like. Some dentists will also have testimonials on their websites (though these will generally only include positive reviews). Do as much filtering of the available dentists in your area without leaving home to save time.

Looking for a new dentist can be stressful, but with these considerations, you can narrow down your options and then make the best decision from there. If you are searching for a new dentist, please feel free to call and schedule a consultation so you can see if our office is a good fit.

How to Maintain Your Teeth Whitening Treatment

October 19, 2020

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , — southlakedental @ 1:46 pm

Teeth whitening is one of the most requested cosmetic procedures. At Southlake Family Dentistry, we offer a few different options for whitening your teeth. We also like to inform our patients on how to keep a healthy/bright smile after treatment. Maintaining your whitening treatment and adequately caring for your teeth can be just as crucial as the whitening treatment itself.

Did you know changing a few daily habits can help your whitening treatment last longer? Here are a few techniques we recommend to maintain your bright smile. 

Stay Away from Bright or Dark Colored Food and Drinks

While this is a general rule in cosmetic dentistry for avoiding stained teeth, it is even more important to follow after your in-office whitening treatment. Foods such as soy sauce, pasta sauce, balsamic vinegar, and some fruits can stain your teeth and reverse the whitening treatment effects. We also recommend avoiding certain liquids such as coffee, red wine, dark sodas, and black tea for long-lasting whitening results. 

Use a White or Colorless Toothpaste 

Did you know many toothpaste and mouthwash brands on the market contain dyes that can stain your teeth? If you’re considering a whitening treatment we recommend switching from colored mouthwash and toothpaste to white or clear. Additionally, choosing brands that contain a whitening agent can help you maintain a bright smile. 

Daily Oral Hygiene 

If you don’t already have a solid oral hygiene routine, now is the time to adopt one. This routine should include brushing, flossing, and using a colorless mouth rinse twice daily. While this routine is great for your oral health in general, it will help maintain your whitening treatment. At Southlake Family Dentistry we want your teeth to look healthy and be healthy. Maintaining good oral hygiene will help your teeth remain strong and bright. 

Set Up Your Next Treatment 

To achieve the best results from your whitening treatment we recommend that you continue treatment about every six months. Every patient’s needs are different and depending on your oral hygiene habits you may require more or less frequent whitening treatments to achieve your desired look. 

At Southlake Family Dentistry, we want you to feel confident in your smile. If you have noticed discoloration in your teeth and desire a whiter and brighter smile, contact our office to discuss your treatment options. 

4 Cosmetic Dental Procedures to Give You a Straighter or Whiter Smile

September 15, 2020

Filed under: Blog,General — Tags: , , , , — southlakedental @ 1:34 pm

 At our dental office, not only do we care about your overall oral health, but we also care how you feel about your teeth cosmetically. With the holiday season quickly approaching, many individuals consider options to whiten and/or straighten their smile before gatherings and family photos. If you’re interested in enhancing your smile, various dental procedures allow you to safely and effectively achieve the smile you’ve been dreaming of. Here are a few options that we offer at our office: 

1. Whitening – Teeth whitening is one of the most commonly requested dental procedures. Did you know you can safely whiten your teeth at home using custom trays made at our office? In most cases, a visit for whitening tray impressions takes less than 30 minutes. Your custom trays will be made in our onsite dental lab and are available for you to pick up by the following business day. 

Our dentists recommend ways to prevent teeth staining and discoloration, but daily habits such as drinking coffee and tea and the use of tobacco products can contribute to unwanted staining. While some toothpaste, mouthwash, and drugstore products can whiten teeth, the best results come from your dentist. Along with your custom whitening trays, you’ll receive a whitening gel that you place in the trays and wear on your teeth daily for a short period of time to gradually whiten your teeth. 

If you’re interested in a quick whitening tray option, we also carry Opalescence teeth whitening trays at our office. These one-size-fits-all whitening trays are “grab and go” so you can pick one up at your next appointment. 

 Whitening trays have proven to be an effective way to whiten and brighten your smile. Our patients are extremely pleased with the results. Give us a call if you’d like more information or if you’d like to schedule an appointment.

2. Bonding – If you’re interested in restoring a cracked, chipped or discolored tooth, a cosmetic procedure such as tooth bonding can give you the results you want. Bonding is a method that corrects the shape or the shade of your teeth. It can also close small spaces, black triangles in between teeth or increase the size of a tooth to achieve a more symmetrical smile. 

The procedure can often be done without anesthetic and completed in one visit. Our dentists simply apply a tooth-colored composite resin to one or more of your teeth to repair damage. This whitening method is seen as a cost effective solution as it’s less expensive than other cosmetic dental procedures such as crowns and veneers. The best part: the results are instant! 

Bonding is especially great for fixing any imperfections in your teeth and restoring confidence in your smile. 

3. Veneers – Out of all the cosmetic teeth solutions, dental veneers achieve the most aesthetic results. Veneers are a thin porcelain covering that’s placed over your teeth. Many patients choose to have veneers placed on one or more teeth to achieve their desired smiles.  

You can pick out the shade of the synthetic teeth covering, creating a white and bright smile. We can change the shape, length, or size of your teeth using veneers. Veneers are applied to the part of the teeth that shows when talking or smiling. That means we remove less tooth material, and the procedure is generally less uncomfortable than crowns

If you choose to have a veneer placed on a single tooth, the shape of the veneer can be specifically made to fit that one tooth and create a natural look that blends in with surrounding teeth. Veneer placement is generally painless but requires two or more visits. Veneers do not stain and years after they still maintain the same shade and esthetics.  

4. Invisalign – Clear aligners are the most popular way to correct a smile these days — especially adults who do not want a “metal mouth.” 

Many people who formerly wore braces choose Invisalign orthodontic treatment as the discrete solution to correct any relapses. Invisalign treatment is the process of wearing a series of clear, removable aligners/clear trays that gradually straighten your teeth. There are no brackets and wires, and none of the restrictions that come with metal braces.

Even if your teeth are slightly misaligned, it can affect your overall oral health. Crooked teeth are harder to keep clean, which puts you at risk of decay and periodontal disease, and can cause jaw pain. Depending on the complexity of your case, you could complete your treatment in as few as six months. 

Most patients will start seeing results in a matter of weeks. Our doctors will ensure your aligners fit well, answer your questions, and let you know what to expect.

If you have questions about any of these ways to get a straighter or whiter smile, give us a call today.

What Can You Do if You Don’t Have Dental Insurance?

July 28, 2020

Filed under: Blog,Insurance and Financial Information — southlakedental @ 6:23 pm

Dental insurance is a benefit provided by some employers, but not all. Even when dental insurance is offered, people choose not to partake in the company plan. 

According to the National Association of Dental Plans, two-thirds or 164.2 million Americans have private dental coverage. Most of those are through employer benefits or programs such as AARP. But that leaves two-thirds of people without dental benefits. And here in the southeast, dental coverage is lower than the national average

We know that needing dental care without having dental insurance can be scary. People without dental insurance are often likely to skip routine cleanings due to the cost — but that leads to more expensive procedures later. 

You might be nervous about finding a Fort Mill dentist office that accepts patients without insurance, but Southlake Family Dentistry is here to help! You don’t have to be covered by dental insurance to be a patient here at Southlake. We have several financing options, so let’s go over them.

CareCredit

One way to cover dental work costs without having dental insurance is to use CareCredit, a service we are pleased to accept. CareCredit is a credit card that offers individual financing options and helps you pay off dental services over time, usually interest-free for a period of time. This is a wonderful option if you need expensive dental work but don’t have dental insurance. Read more about CareCredit here and decide if it would be the right choice for you. 

Prosper Healthcare Lending

Prosper is the premier financing company in the healthcare industry. We recommend this route if you would like to take out a loan to pay for multiple dental projects. Prosper Healthcare Lending offers benefits such as longer terms for lower monthly payments, no collateral required, having a fast and easy loan inquiry process, and much more! Many of our patients have been pleased with their service. Read more about Prosper Healthcare Lending. 

Cash, Check, or Credit Card 

Finally, you can pay for dental work on your own. In this situation, you will be paying the full price of services by check, credit card, or cash and won’t be using an insurance co-pay. This option works well for regular cleanings and smaller dental procedures. We are happy to inform you in advance about costs so you can plan accordingly. Call our office today to discuss out-of-pocket pricing for our Fort Mill dental services. 

Now that we have broken down the available options for financing dental work without insurance, we hope you feel more informed and less overwhelmed. Sure, having dental insurance is helpful, but don’t think you can’t be a part of the Southlake Family without it. If you have questions about the payment options, please call us today. 

Which Teeth Whitening Option Will Work for Me?

July 22, 2020

Filed under: Blog,General — Tags: , , , , — southlakedental @ 4:31 pm

Teeth whitening is a popular dental procedure here in Fort Mill and beyond. Most people want their teeth to appear white and bright. Studies show that people feel more confident when they have white teeth. You may feel compelled to whiten your teeth for professional interactions. 

Even with perfect at-home brushing and flossing, your teeth can become yellowish or stained due to medications, age, food and drink, and tobacco use. No matter the cause, there is a solution for whiter teeth. However, there are so many options both over-the-counter and through your dentist. How do you know which ones actually work? 

Don’t get stuck with teeth whitening gimmicks. There are tons of teeth whitening options, and here is what to know about them: 

Whitening Strips

Whitening strips are easy to find over-the-counter at drug and retail stores, and they are relatively cheap. The strips are also reasonably easy to use. The strips come in sections for your top and bottom teeth, and you place and adapt them on. After waiting for the directed amount of time, you can take them off and rinse your mouth. When used over time, at-home whitening strips will make your teeth somewhat whiter. However, the results take time, and you’ll only get a few shades of whitening. Many people also struggle with the strips because the gel doesn’t taste good and can cause teeth or gum sensitivity. Also, user error prevents from achieving desirable results. Sitting there with strips on may feel uncomfortable. 

Keep in mind, tooth whitening products sold at stores do not require approval from the Food and Drug Administration because they are considered cosmetic. Only one type of whitening strip has a seal of approval from the American Dental Association

Please note that most whitening products are not suitable for children. Check with your child’s dentist before applying whitening products. 

Whitening Toothpaste or Mouthwash

Another low-cost method to whiten your smile is toothpaste or mouthwash that contain whitening agents. Again, these are an easy choice for many because they are easy to find and don’t cost much more than regular toothpaste or mouthwash. 

The great thing about whitening toothpaste and mouthwash is that each can be used in combination with other whitening treatments. This is an easy and affordable way to help achieve white teeth, but unfortunately, it doesn’t always work alone. To obtain the whitest teeth possible, you will need to add another whitening method to your regime. These methods will also only get you a few shades brighter. However, this is a wonderful place to start if you are on a budget and can wait for gradual results.  

Teeth Whitening Trays and Gels 

Whitening trays and gels are a great way to whiten your teeth while at home. To use, fill the trays with the provided bleaching product and wear them for either a few hours or overnight, then brush the product away. Many Fort Mill dentists, including Southlake Family Dentistry, offer these trays. Please make an appointment to come to the office to custom fit your trays for the maximum comfort possible. We can then select the right level of bleaching for your teeth and goals. These take-home whitening kits cost a little more than over-the-counter strips but are convenient and cheaper than in-office bleaching. The results are more dramatic and take less time to achieve.  Also, these trays can be used for future touch-ups as needed.

In-Office Bleaching 

Visiting the office for a bleaching treatment is the quickest and most effective way to achieve those pearly whites. During your visit, we can apply a whitening solution directly to your teeth. Your treatment will last 60 to 90 minutes. You can then go about your day, but you should avoid coffee, tomato sauce, yellow mustard, and red wine. This treatment is preferred by many because of its immediate results and effectiveness. However, in-office bleaching is the most expensive of all these methods, so contact us today to discuss pricing and payment options.  

Now that you know all of the teeth whitening options we recommend, it should be much easier to choose which one will be best for you and your teeth. If you are interested in teeth whitening trays and gels or in-office bleaching, please contact us to set up an office visit. We can’t wait to see you and your bright smile! 

DIY Tooth Whitening: Does It Work?

February 18, 2020

Filed under: Blog — southlakedental @ 5:00 pm

Everybody wants a brighter smile, but there are a number of things that stain or dull your teeth, including coffee, red wine, smoking, and certain medications. Because these changes to the color of teeth are common, it sometimes seems like everyone has a DIY tooth whitening suggestion. But do any of them really work? Take a look at what you need to know about some commonly-touted home remedies for whiter teeth.

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is the practice of swishing oil around in the mouth for anywhere from 10-30 minutes. The practice comes from the Ayurvedic belief that oil is nourishing for all parts of the body. This is an ancient belief, but proponents of natural health remedies have contributed to a new wave of interest in the practice. But can it whiten teeth?

Like many DIY remedies, oil pulling has not been the subject of many research studies, so it’s difficult to say exactly what it can or can’t do. But it’s unlikely that oil pulling can have any effect on tooth whiteness. Swishing oil around in the mouth for an extended time period may be able to help with plaque removal, but there’s no reason to believe it can affect stains.

Activated Charcoal

Another DIY tooth whitening recommendation involves brushing teeth with activated charcoal powder. In fact, toothpastes made with activated charcoal are starting to become more popular. Activated charcoal does have many beneficial uses – doctors use it to treat poisonings and overdoses, and it is also used in air filters to remove impurities from the air.

Advocates of brushing with activated charcoal claim that the substance can remove impurities that stain the teeth. Whether or not that’s true is unclear. However, experts warn that brushing with an abrasive material like charcoal could weaken enamel and damage gum tissue.

If you want whiter teeth, your best bet is to consult your dentist. Your dentist will be able to recommend a whitening treatment that meets your needs and is both safe and effective.

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