Keeping up with your dental hygiene and oral health can be easy during your work-week, but being on vacation can complicate things. Follow our advice to ensure your smile stays bright while you enjoy your vacation.
Make sure you pack everything you will need, such as a toothbrush, floss, and travel-sized mouthwash. Your toothbrush should have a cover or a separate bag, so that it can dry and avoid contamination between uses. Buying supplies while on vacation can be a hassle, so hit the store before you skip town. If you are in need of dental care such as a root canal or a filling, it is better to have treatment done ahead of time to avoid any emergency care away from home.
Set a Routine
At home, routines for oral hygiene are easy to follow. On vacation, however, your time management might be hectic or sporadic. Our dentist in 29204 suggests to set a routine to ensure you brush twice a day and floss at least once, and stick to it as best you can.
Watch your Diet
Enjoying delicious cuisine while on vacation can be a fantastic experience – just make sure to do so in moderation. Avoid too many sugary or acidic drinks and foods, which can cause damage to the enamel of your teeth. Cocktails are a great example of this. In addition, bring healthy snacks along with you. These can save money while on-the-go, and are easy on your teeth. Try to bring a water bottle or canteen to rinse your mouth when possible, which helps prevent decay and plaque growth.
You can maintain your oral health on vacation without any stress if you plan for it. Bring the right tools, set a routine, watch what you eat, and your optimal oral health will remain. If you need treatment or a cleaning prior to your trip, contact our Columbia, SC dental office.
A cracked tooth can affect the appearance of your smile and hinder the function of your teeth. Depending on the severity, you may experience discomfort or find it difficult to chew comfortably. Thankfully, damage to your teeth can be avoided by knowing what causes it. Below our dentist in Columbia has gathered the most common reasons for a tooth to crack and how to avoid it from happening.
Chewing Hard Foods
While healthy teeth are strong, they are not indestructible. Try to avoid or limit chewing on hard foods such as nuts, ice, or popcorn kernels, as these can cause cracks in your teeth.
Grinding Your Teeth at Night
Teeth grinding (known as bruxism) is a common occurrence and can happen without your knowledge. Most teeth grinding happens in your sleep and can gradually damage your enamel, causing stress fractures or what are known as craze lines. Combat this issue by wearing a night guard, which acts as a barrier between your upper and lower teeth and protects them from wear.
As you age, so do your teeth. While you can’t avoid aging, you can help limit the effects it has on your oral health. Cracked teeth are commonly found in people over the age of 50 due to a lifetime of daily use. Because of this, it is important to practice strong oral hygiene habits and visit the dentist on a regular basis.
Trauma to the Mouth
Traumatic dental injuries can occur during vehicle or sport collisions. Often, these accidents are unavoidable and can cause damage to your teeth. While playing contact sports, we encourage you to wear a mouth guard to lower your chances of cracking a tooth.
Cracked teeth, especially when left untreated, are one of the leading causes of tooth loss. There are ways to avoid these injuries that will help keep your teeth strong and safe. Sometimes, a cracked or chipped tooth is unavoidable. In this case, our team at Diamond Dental Studio of Columbia can help restore your teeth back to full health.
Brushing your teeth can feel like a no-brainer after decades of practice, but are you aware of the mistakes surrounding home care that you might be making? Keep your oral health top-notch by reading our quick list shared by our Columbia, SC dentist and see how you fare.
Timing – Make sure you don’t brush immediately after consuming sugary or acidic drinks. You can demineralize the enamel on your teeth by doing this. Rinse your mouth with water, then wait for 30 minutes to an hour before you brush.
Borrowing a Brush – Sharing is caring, but not when it comes to toothbrushes. When you share toothbrushes with somebody, you can spread illness and germs through oral contact. Our Columbia dental team wants you to make sure to get your own toothbrush, and label it or keep it separate to ensure you don’t get them confused.
Distance from the Toilet – Flushing a toilet can spread bacteria through the air. Make sure to place your toothbrush as far as possible from your toilet, or put a cover on your brush to protect it from contamination.
Rinsing after Brushing – Most toothpastes contain fluoride, which can help strengthen the enamel in your teeth. It takes time to work, however, so make sure you don’t rinse your mouth right away after brushing. This can wash away the fluoride before it can do its job.
Brushing Too Much – When you brush too frequently, you run the risk of wearing down the enamel on your teeth. Focus on brushing all facets of your teeth instead of how vigorously you can brush.
There is more to brushing your teeth than you might think. These tips can help keep you aware of mistakes you might be making. Remember, daily brushing and flossing are only the foundation for optimal oral health – professional dental care is important, as well. For more advice or to schedule your next visit, contact our Columbia, SC dental office.
When it comes to oral health, protecting your teeth and gums are often the focus. However, did you know that your tongue needs proper care as well? Your tongue is responsible for many essential functions like swallowing, tasting, and talking, but it can harbor bacteria that harms your oral health. Learn how to keep your tongue healthy by following these four treatment tips.
Brushing and flossing twice a day will protect your mouth from pesky bacteria, but make sure to brush your tongue as well. As an alternative, try using a tongue scraper once a day. Tongue scrapers will scrape away any build up that has formed on your tongue.
Drink Plenty of Water
If you are dehydrated, it’s possible for your tongue to lose moisture and become uncomfortable. Drinking water ensures your hydration and will wash away food particles and bacteria from the surface of your tongue. Proper hydration can also prevent bad breath.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Your tongue is a muscle, and what you eat can affect its health. Fill your diet with foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, calcium, lean protein, and fiber. Avoid eating processed foods and treats that are filled with sugar.
Visit our Dental Office
By visiting your dentist in Columbia at least twice a year for a routine dental cleaning and examination, you can protect your tongue, teeth, and the rest of your mouth. During these visits, we will thoroughly check all aspects of your oral health. We will then work with you to create an oral health plan that is tailored to your needs.
Don’t let your oral health slip by neglecting proper care for your tongue! Put these four tips into practice so you can enjoy a bright and healthy smile. Contact our dental office in Columbia, SC today to learn more about proper oral care or to schedule your next appointment.
White spots on your teeth can be irritating and affect how you feel about your smile. The good news, however, is that they are preventable and rarely cause for concern. Here are things our dentist in 29204 thinks you should know about what causes white spots, how to prevent them, and what options are available should you already have them.
What causes white spots on teeth?
1. Dental Fluorosis– This can happen when a child consumes or is exposed to too much fluoride during the development of their teeth. While undesirable, this is harmless and can happen before teeth even emerge. The most common cause of fluorosis in the US is the use or ingestion of too much toothpaste.
2. Poor Dental Hygiene – Forgetting to brush regularly can cause white spots to develop.
3. Braces – Wearing braces for an extended time can affect the coloration of your teeth and create white spots.
4. Acidic or Sugary Foods – These foods can damage your teeth as well as change the color of their enamel. Rinsing your mouth after you consuming acidic or sugary items can help negate these effects.
How can I prevent them from appearing?
Following a proper oral hygiene regimen is the best way to prevent white spots on teeth. Ensure your child uses the correct amount of toothpaste – children under 3 should use a smear the size of a rice grain, and children over 3 should not use more than a pea-sized amount. It is common for children to accidentally swallow or fail to spit out toothpaste, so be sure to supervise your child as they are learning.
What are options for treatment?
If you are already dealing with white spots, you have options. Whitening or bleaching can make the coloration of your teeth more uniform. Dental veneers can restore the entire appearance of your teeth, solving not just the problem of white spots. In some cases, topical fluoride or enamel microabrasion upon the white spots themselves can do the trick.
Our doctor will recommend the optimal solution for treating white spots on your teeth. Contact our Columbia, SC dental office for a consultation today.
Discomfort and pain in your jaw, clicking while you talk or chew, and swelling on the sides of your face can be caused by Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD). TMD can make talking and eating both painful and uncomfortable. Our team understands how TMD can make your day a challenge. Our dental team in Columbia, SC has compiled a list of helpful tips for managing TMD discomfort, but also encourage you to schedule a visit to see us for a full evaluation.
Finding Relief at Home
If your jaw is swollen, try applying a cold compress to your face. We recommend holding the compress in place for about 10 minutes. If you are able, try a few gentle jaw stretches. After the cold compress, apply warm, moist heat to the same area. You can keep this warm compress in place for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
If your discomfort is particularly noticeable, try over-the-counter pain relievers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or ibuprofen. If you find yourself taking pain relieving medications daily, please contact us immediately.
The “Don’ts” of TMD
Applying excess pressure to your jaw can make your TMD discomfort worse. Don’t use your hand as a rest for your chin, as doing so increases the amount of pressure and strain placed on your jaw. If you talk on the phone frequently, avoid holding the phone on your shoulder while bending your neck to keep it in place.
Clenching your jaw and keeping your teeth tightly closed can also lead to a build-up of pressure in the jaw. During the day, try to keep your teeth from touching. By create a little space between your teeth, you will be relieving pressure from your jaw.
Our team is here to help you. Schedule a consultation with our dentist in 29204 to learn more about the solutions available for people just like you dealing with TMD discomfort. We will provide a thorough examination to determine the best course of treatment for your TMD.
Enamel is the guardian of your teeth and the hardest material in the body. It’s the first defense against harmful bacteria which may lead to tooth decay. When you eat certain foods, it creates bacteria which attack your tooth enamel. Carbohydrates and sugary foods are examples of these foods. Brushing directly after eating can be harmful to your enamel.
Why this is a problem
When eating or drinking, the pH balance in your mouth changes. After each bite of acidic food, the pH balance moves towards a level which causes demineralization. The new acidity softens the enamel which can cause bacteria to get into the teeth. Brushing right after you eat may damage your enamel. This is important because enamel protects your teeth from damage.
Steps you can take to protect your enamel:
If you’ve had anything acidic, don’t brush for at least 30 minutes.
Fruits with citric acid are one example. If you are planning ingesting acidic foods or drinks, you can brush beforehand.
A glass of water will help remove the acid. Follow this by chewing sugarless gum. These steps help create saliva which will help bring back the necessary pH balance needed for a healthy smile.
Try to avoid soda as prolonged phosphoric acid can cause permanent damage.
Brushing your teeth twice a day is an important habit for optimal oral health.
Have you ever been told you should brush your teeth right after eating? While this may sound like the right habit to adapt, this practice could be detrimental to the health of your teeth. Rinsing your mouth with water after eating may be a better option to keep enamel strong. Visit our Dentist Columbia office for an exam and we can give you tips for healthy, strong teeth. Call our Columbia, SC Dentist office today.
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 Columbia, SC office, please contact us.
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!
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 team 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 our dental team in Columbia, SC today!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 team 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 our Columbia, SC dentist to schedule a comprehensive oral examination.
“My husband and I had our 1st appointment with Dr. Mikell today and we left there feeling like we absolutely made the right choice! She and her staff were professional, kind, competent, and very respectful to us. We feel like this was a fabulous start to a long and happy relationship!”