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Altoona Cosmetic Dentist | The Truth Behind “Natural Whitening” Fads

It seems like there is a new headline nearly every week featuring someone who swears their teeth are whiter and brighter due to their natural home remedy for stain removal. These articles showcase the idea that whitening can be cheap and easy, if in some cases unpleasant. It can be tempting to consider trying for brighter, whiter teeth without investing time and money on in-office or at-home whitening under a dentist’s care. However, before you pin your hopes on one of these “natural whitening” methods, take a look at the truth behind some of the recent fads.

Fad 1: Oil Pulling

Oil pulling has been cropping up in headlines for months with claims of a wide variety of potential health benefits. It is a very old folk remedy in which a person swishes a tablespoon of edible oil, such as coconut, sunflower, olive, etc., in their mouth and between teeth for up to 20 minutes daily.

Despite the number of years this practice has existed and the number of health issues it purports to treat, there is no evidence that oil pulling whitens teeth or improves health.

Fad 2: Fruits

Due to celebrity endorsement, some people have begun to try rubbing mashed strawberries on their teeth to try to achieve a whiter smile. Others are using lemon or orange peels, and still others tout the virtues of eating pineapple or swishing apple cider vinegar.

However, there is no science to support any of these claims. In fact, one recent study found that brushing with a mixture of baking soda (which is known to have whitening effects on teeth) and strawberries did not whiten teeth. Even worse, the citric acids found in all of these fruits and vinegars can actually be harmful to the enamel on your teeth.

Fad 3: Hydrogen Peroxide

While it is true that many forms of in-office and over-the-counter teeth whitening make use of hydrogen peroxide, there is more to consider before opening a bottle. The hydrogen peroxide used in professional teeth whitening, whether in-office or at-home, is mixed with other substances and provided in a form designed for use in teeth whitening.

Simply swishing from a bottle of hydrogen peroxide will have little or no effect on the whiteness of your teeth, but may cause irritation to your gums and mouth and can be dangerous if accidentally ingested.

If you want whiter, brighter teeth, there are safe and effective ways to achieve your goal. Talk with our Altoona dentist for a recommendation for what kind of whitening will be best for your needs. For more information about whitening, contact Altoona Dental.

Altoona Dental
Phone: (515) 967-4211
Url: http://altoonaiadentist.com/
107 8th St. SE
Altoona, IA 50009

Altoona Family Dentist | The Truth Behind 5 Popular Dental Misconceptions

Clearing up misconceptions about oral health can help improve personal oral hygiene efforts for a beautiful and healthier smile. If you keep up with your oral hygiene regimen, dental visits are significantly easier and dental care is more manageable.

Misconception #1 – My teeth are fine if I have no pain

Tooth decay (cavities) usually doesn’t cause pain until they become very severe. Once it gets to this stage, the amount of decay could lead to more invasive and costly treatments. Some of the most dangerous oral disorders, such as oral cancer and gum disease, typically don’t cause pain at all.  It is important to keep up with scheduled dental appointments. Our Altoona dentist can diagnose problems even at its earliest stages when there is no pain.

Misconception #2 – Cavities are only caused by sweets

When you eat sweets, the bacteria in your mouth start consuming it and produce acid. This acid dissolves the enamel of the tooth, which results in tooth decay or cavities. However, this process happens when you eat anything that is a starch or carbohydrate. Food and snacks, such as crackers, bread, potato chips, fruit, peanut butter and pasta, have the same effect on your teeth.

Misconception #3 – If my gums bleed, I should stop flossing

Bleeding gums are often the first sign of gum disease. This happens when bacterial infections inflame your gums due to a lack of efficient cleaning.  With regular brushing and flossing, gums will be much healthier and should rarely bleed. However, gum inflammation can occur despite best oral hygiene habits. In such instances, you should see improvement if you rinse with warm saltwater and continuing to brush and floss.

Misconception #4 – Whiter teeth are healthier teeth

Healthy teeth come in a wide range of natural shades. Whiter teeth cannot show if there is an infection or cavity between the teeth. Although pure white teeth do not equate to healthier teeth, they should still be naturally on the whiter side.

Misconception #5 – Children are more prone to tooth decay

Tooth decay (cavities) can develop at any age. People assume children have poor brushing habits and are more prone to tooth decay. Cavities form when bacteria cause a loss or weakening in tooth enamel and eventually decay forms a hole in the tooth. This is usually seen in people with poor brushing and flossing habits, regardless of age. 

Excellent oral health promotes overall good health and is definitely not a misconception. It is important to practice good oral hygiene habits. If you have any questions regarding your dental health, please contact our Altoona dentist.

Altoona Dental
Phone: (515) 967-4211
Url: http://altoonaiadentist.com/
107 8th St. SE
Altoona, IA 50009

Altoona IA Dentist | How to Prevent Dry Socket

Alveolar osteitis, more commonly known as dry socket, is a temporary complication that can occur following a tooth extraction. Fortunately, it is rare, preventable, and short-lived. Here are some tips to help avoid dry socket after oral surgery and ensure a quick and comfortable recovery.

What is Dry Socket?

When your tooth is extracted, a blood clot forms in the space left behind. This clot helps to block the underlying bone, gum tissue, and nerves from bacterial infection or food debris while the extraction site heals. In rare cases, the clot can be dislodged or not form correctly, which can leave the site exposed. This is dry socket.

The most common sign of dry socket is a throbbing, deep-set discomfort from within the extraction area. A foul smell may emanate, causing bad breath as well as an unappealing taste in your mouth. If this occurs, contact our Altoona dental office right away.

Risk Factors and Prevention

Developing dry socket is rare, but certain factors can put you at increased risk. Tobacco use, oral contraceptives, poor oral hygiene, or gum infection around the extraction site can increase your chances. To prevent dry socket, avoid using straws, brushing the extraction area, or rinsing your mouth vigorously during healing. Follow your post-treatment instructions and contact Altoona Dental if you have questions.

Treatment and Recovery

If you do develop dry socket, we will provide quick, effective treatment. Our team will flush the area to remove any debris, and pack the extraction site with gauze or other dressing. Medication may be prescribed to help reduce discomfort. It is important to attend follow-up appointments to ensure your timely recovery.

Dry socket is rare, and is temporary and treatable when it does occur. Our experienced team will guide you throughout your recovery. For more information on post-extraction care, contact our dental office.

Altoona Dental
Phone: (515) 967-4211
Url: http://altoonaiadentist.com/
107 8th St. SE
Altoona, IA 50009

Dentist in Altoona IA | Caring for Dental Implants

If you have received a dental implant, you have invested both time and money into the future of your smile. It is important to protect this investment in order to maintain good oral health. There are certain steps you should take after undergoing a dental implant procedure in order to care for your mouth.

After the procedure, your mouth might be tender at first. This tenderness only lasts about ten to fourteen days. Your Altoona dentist recommends a diet of warm soup, soft foods, and cold foods during this time. Additionally, you should refrain from smoking. Although the healing time for a dental implant tends to vary depending on the patient and the situation, it generally takes between two and four months for your mouth to fully heal after receiving a dental implant. You will not experience discomfort throughout this period, though.

Once your mouth has healed, caring for an implant is very similar to caring for a natural tooth. Although an implant cannot develop a cavity, it can still undergo the same wear-and-tear as a normal tooth. When not maintained properly, there is a risk for peri-implantitis to occur, which is similar to periodontal disease. However, this is easily preventable through regular check-ups, as well as daily brushing and flossing.

In order to maintain good oral health, it is important to continue to regularly visit your dentist. Your dentist can clean the areas that you are unable to reach. Additionally, they will be able to check the surrounding gums and bone to ensure that they are healthy.

As always, your Altoona dentist recommends thorough brushing and flossing on a daily basis. Paying attention to your oral hygiene will ensure that your implant survives. If you continue to maintain good oral hygiene, your implants can last for the rest of your life without a need for replacement.

For more information or to schedule your next visit, contact Altoona Dental.

Altoona Dental
Phone: (515) 967-4211
Url: http://altoonaiadentist.com/
107 8th St. SE
Altoona, IA 50009

Family Dentist in Altoona | Stained Teeth

Altoona Dentist

Many people want a smile they can be proud of and one way to achieve a dazzling smile is to have pearly white teeth. However, in order to maintain a bright smile, our Altoona dentists says you should be mindful of the types of things you consume. Because of certain factors, some foods or beverages can create harsh stains on your teeth that over time can be difficult to remove.

When considering foods that can stain teeth, be sure to look out for dark pigments. Some foods or beverages stain teeth because they have an intense amount of pigmented molecules that the dentists call chromogens. These chromogens latch on to dental enamel and cause your teeth to become discolored.

Another thing to look out for is foods or beverages that are very acidic. Acidic foods and beverages can cause staining by eroding the dental enamel which temporarily softens teeth and makes it easier for chromogens to latch on.

One rule of thumb for determining whether or not what you’re eating will stain your teeth is to determine if it will stain your white table cloth or carpet. Some of the main foods or beverages to consider would include, wine, coffee, cola, berries, sauces (such as soy sauce, curry sauce, or tomato sauce), and sweets. Also another main culprit for staining teeth is smoking or chewing tobacco.

Even if you consume dark pigmented or acidic foods, just know that there are a variety of options to help you achieve a pearly white smile. One option that can help prevent stains on your teeth would be to brush and floss twice-a-day. To brush more effectively, be sure to ask your Altoona dentist about electric tooth brushes. The electric toothbrush gives you the ability to clean your teeth and to help remove any stains or residue more thoroughly. Also be sure to ask your Altoona dental office about teeth whitening treatments that can be provided in office or at home.

Altoona Dental
Phone: (515) 967-4211
Url: http://altoonaiadentist.com/
107 8th St. SE
Altoona , IA 50009

Altoona IA Dentist | Don’t Rush to Brush

Altoona Dentist

Are you a diligent brusher who grabs the toothbrush as soon as you finish each snack or meal? While there are significant benefits to regular brushing, hurrying your hygiene might be doing more harm than good. The key lies in understanding the effects different types of food and drinks have on your teeth.

The Dangers of Acidic Foods
Food and drinks that contain acids are particularly harmful to your teeth. Acid can wear away at the enamel on your teeth. As your enamel weakens, your risk for developing decay increases.

What Foods Should I Look Out For?
Fruits such as oranges, pineapples, and grapefruit contain problematic acids that can cause damage to your enamel. Diet sodas and wines can be just as damaging, as can fruit juices such as orange juice. Tomato products and foods such as pizza, salsa, soups, and sauces also contain acids.

But Brushing My Teeth Helps, Right?
Not necessarily. The acids in these foods weaken the enamel on your teeth. After eating or drinking a highly acidic product, your teeth are in a particularly vulnerable state. Enamel protects your teeth, and it is the strongest mineral in your entire body. However, the layers of your teeth beneath the enamel are not as strong and resilient. If you brush your teeth immediately after consuming something acidic, you can drive the acid further into your teeth. This speeds up the process of breaking down your enamel.

When Should I Brush?
Wait about 20 minutes after consuming acidic foods or drinks before brushing your teeth. While waiting, your mouth will produce saliva which helps to neutralize acids and wash away bacteria. Drinking water, rinsing your mouth, or chewing sugarless gum can help neutralize acids more quickly.

Should I Always Wait to Brush My Teeth?
While you should not rush to brush after eating acidic foods, you should not wait long after eating foods that are extremely sticky and sugary. If you are eating candy, taffy, or another sticky treat, waiting is not the best option. The sooner you can clean these sugary substances off your teeth, the better.

Should I Just Stop Eating Acidic Foods?
Acidic foods such as fruits contain vitamins and nutrients that are an essential component to your diet. While you don’t have to avoid these foods altogether, you should be mindful of how they impact your teeth. Maintain a daily oral hygiene schedule that includes regular flossing and at least two rounds of brushing for two minutes.

For more dental health tips, or to schedule your next visit to our Altoona dental office, please contact us.

Altoona Dental
Phone: (515) 967-4211
Url: http://altoonaiadentist.com/
107 8th St. SE
Altoona , IA 50009

Altoona IA Dentist | Are You Using the Right Mouthwash?

While it should never be used as a replacement for brushing and flossing, mouthwash can be a helpful addition to your at-home oral healthcare routine. Here’s what you need to know in order to pick the best mouthwash for your needs. For more information, or for a personalized recommendation on the best mouthwash for you, contact our team today!

Altoona PA Dentist

Choosing the Right Mouthwash
Though there are plenty of brands and varieties of mouthwash available, most fall into one of two general categories as recognized by the ADA: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwashes treat symptoms only, such temporarily masking bad breath. Therapeutic mouthwashes aim to treat the cause of an issue. Fluoridated anti-cavity mouthwashes are designed to help strengthen the enamel of your teeth and prevent cavities. Anti-bacterial and antiseptic mouthwashes kill odor and disease-causing bacteria in your mouth, with antiseptic options typically having a higher alcohol content. We can help you better understand the difference and find the mouthwash that’s right for your particular needs.

Should I Use Mouthwash?
If you maintain a proper oral care routine at home and visit your dentist at least twice yearly, you might not need to use mouthwash. However, depending on the unique needs of your teeth, it might be beneficial to talk to our dentist about working a specialized mouthwash into your routine.

Though mouthwash is not an acceptable substitute for regular brushing and flossing, it can be a helpful tool to keep your mouth fresh and clean throughout the day. Swishing mouthwash after eating can help dislodge any food that might be stuck in your teeth and mask any odor that might be lingering on your breath.

Tips for Your Mouthwash Routine
Generally, you want to use mouthwash after flossing, brushing, and rinsing your mouth. Swish the mouthwash around for 30-60 seconds and avoid rinsing, eating, or drinking for at least 30 minutes afterwards to give the mouthwash time to work.

Side Effects of Mouthwash
When used properly, there are minimal risks associated with mouthwash. Many mouthwashes contain alcohol, which can cause a burning sensation in your mouth. If the sensitivity continues long after use or increases over time, ask our dentist about different alcohol-free options. For children, it is important that you supervise their brushing routine, as swallowing mouthwash can be dangerous.

Mouthwash can be a useful tool for anyone. Whether you’re looking to fight bad breath or help protect your mouth from tooth decay or gum disease, the wide array of mouthwashes available means there’s an option for everyone. Talk to our Altoona dentist during your next visit to learn more about the benefits of working mouthwash into your oral care routine.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next appointment, please contact Altoona Dental today!

Altoona Dental
Phone: (515) 967-4211
107 8th St. SE
Altoona , IA 50009

Altoona IA Dentist | Chewing Gum for Your Oral Health

Sugary, sticky, and sweet candies can damage your teeth by increasing your risk of decay. Though gum can be considered a type of candy, chewing sugarless gum approved by the ADA can actually help protect teeth and prevent tooth decay. Here’s what you need to know about gum and your teeth.

Altoona IA Dentist

How it Works
Chewing gum helps increase the production of saliva. Chewing sugarless gum for twenty minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay because the saliva helps wash away food and other debris from the surface of your teeth. Increased salivary flow can also neutralize acids that bacteria produce inside your mouth. Over time, acid can break down tooth enamel, leading to decay. Saliva contains calcium and phosphate, which aid in strengthening tooth enamel.

Look for the ADA Seal
The ADA Seal assures you that the gum is sugarless and has met the ADA’s criteria for safety and effectiveness. ADA-labeled products are tested to ensure they provide the benefits guaranteed by the seal. Companies must verify all relevant data with the ADA to become certified. If you are unable to brush for a short period of time, chewing gum with the ADA seal is a great option to help clean your teeth after a meal or snack.

Can I Stop Brushing if I Chew Gum?
No. Chewing gum for twenty minutes after a meal helps but is not a replacement for brushing and flossing. You should brush at least twice each day, for two full minutes. Chewing gum also does not eliminate your need for regular dental examinations. Our Altoona dentist recommends scheduling two visits each year, with additional visits necessary for high-risk patients with oral health conditions.

Chewing sugarless gum has noticeable benefits for your oral health, such as increasing the production of saliva. While this can help prevent the build up of decay-causing bacteria, chewing gum should not be used as a substitute for brushing or flossing. Our dentist recommends that if you are chewing gum, be sure to choose an ADA approved brand of sugarless gum.

To schedule your next visit, please contact Altoona Dental.

Altoona Dental
Phone: (515) 967-4211
107 8th St. SE
Altoona , IA 50009

Altoona IA Dentist | Understanding Periodontal Disease

Maintaining your gum health is vital to your overall health. When you visit our office for an examination, our trained hygienists perform a periodontal exam. In fact, during your examination, our team is quietly assessing your oral health by performing a number of checks. Here’s what you need to know about periodontal disease.

Many Names, One Illness

You may have heard periodontal disease referred to as gum disease or gingivitis. Periodontal disease is the inflammation and infection of your gums. These names are frequently used interchangeably.

Signs & Symptoms

Periodontal disease may be marked by swollen and red gums. Bleeding, especially while brushing and flossing, may also occur. Another symptom of periodontal disease is persistent bad breath. If you experience any of these symptoms regularly, please contact our office.

Periodontal Disease Can Impact Your Overall Health

Your gum health is linked to your overall health. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to bleeding gums, gum recession, and tooth loss. The effects of periodontal disease extend well beyond your mouth. In fact, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, the disease can increase your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

While you may think of your teeth as the primary reason to visit our office for a regular examination, understand that our team is looking beyond your teeth to assess your oral health and potential impacts on your overall health. Talk to our experienced team if you experience any signs or symptoms of periodontal disease. Our team is trained to identify signs of periodontal disease. When detected early and managed properly, periodontal disease is treatable.

For more information regarding your gum health, please contact Altoona Dental, or schedule a visit to see our Altoona family dentist.

 

Altoona Dental
Phone: (515) 967-4211
107 8th St. SE
Altoona , IA 50009

Altoona IA Dentist | Oral Cancer Risk Factors

During a comprehensive dental examination, our team will look for signs of oral cancer. Early detection is key with oral cancer. If caught early, most forms of oral cancer are treatable. Our dental team is trained and educated to identify oral cancer.

Everyone is susceptible to the disease, but some groups of people are at a higher risk level than others. Here are the top seven risk factors for oral cancer.

Age

Are you in your mid 40s? Your risk of developing oral cancer increases with age. A noticeable increase is evident in people in their 40s and older. According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, the majority of diagnosed cases occur around the age of 62, but the average age is declining. The recent increase in Human Papillomavirus (HPV) related cases is causing more people to be diagnosed for oral cancers between the ages of 52 and 56. As the average age for oral cancer cases decreases, it is vital that you receive regular oral cancer screenings at any age.

Gender

Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer compared to women. Part of this difference may be related to regular intake of alcohol and tobacco. According to the American Cancer Society, the gender difference is decreasing since more women are drinking and using tobacco today than in previous generations. There has also been a trend in recent years of younger men being diagnosed with HPV-related oral cancer. Both men and women should schedule regular oral health examinations to detect oral cancer early.

Tobacco

Smoking or chewing tobacco can greatly increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Tobacco can lead to cancer of the mouth or throat. Additionally, oral tobacco products cause cancers associated with the cheeks, gums, and inner surface of the lips. Development of these cancers depend on the duration and frequency of tobacco use. Non-smokers are not immune to oral cancer, so be sure to schedule an appointment with our team for an examination.

Alcohol

Among those that are diagnosed with oral cancer, about 70% of people are characterized as heavy drinkers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heavy drinking is defined as having an average of two or more drinks per day for men, and one or more drinks per day for women. People who drink heavily can be more than twice as likely to develop oral cancers than people who do not drink. Oral cancer can still occur in people who have never had an alcoholic drink. Contact our team to schedule an examination.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

This sexually transmitted disease is associated with at least 10,000 cases of oral cancer diagnosed each year in the United States. People who have HPV-related oral cancers tend to be younger and are unlikely to smoke or drink. Typically, those diagnosed with HPV-related oral cancers are at a much lower risk of death or reoccurrence. We suggest a proactive approach by maintaining regular visits to our dental office.

Sunlight

People who work outside or with prolonged exposure to sunlight have a higher risk of developing lip cancer. It is vital to use UV protection when under the sun. Many lip balms offer UV protection. If you work outdoors frequently, schedule an additional examination with our team.

Diet

Poor nutrition can increase your risk for developing oral cancer. According to the American Dental Association, reports have shown that a link exists between diets low in fruits and vegetables and a higher risk for oral cancers. However, oral cancer can develop in healthy individuals. No matter your diet, schedule a visit with our Altoona dentist for a comprehensive oral examination.

Oral cancer does not discriminate. While these seven factors have been tied to an increased risk of oral cancer, that does not diminish the importance of regular oral examinations for everyone regardless of their age, gender, or other factors. Regular dental examinations make it possible for our team to detect oral cancer early. Contact Altoona Dental to schedule a comprehensive oral examination.  

 

Altoona Dental
Phone: (515) 967-4211
107 8th St. SE
Altoona , IA 50009