How to Get a Whiter Smile

woman smiling in the sunlight

We all want to have a smile that we’re happy with and proud to show off. However, if your smile isn’t as white as you’d like it to be you may choose to hide your grin behind tightly closed lips. At our dental office in Kettering, we can help transform your smile from dull or discolored to bright, white, and something with which you’re confident.

Schedule an Appointment

The path to a whiter smile begins by scheduling an appointment with your dentist in Kettering. During this visit you’ll talk with your dental team about what you don’t like about your smile, any areas that particularly bother you, and share what you’d ultimately like to see. After discussing your objectives, your dentist will make the best recommendation to help you get the look you want.

Veneers & Tooth Whitening

Two of the most common ways to get a whiter smile are with dental veneers or professional smile whitening. Veneers are custom-created to match the shape and size of the rest of your teeth, but can be brighter than your natural teeth. They’re adhered to the surface of your teeth and can totally transform your appearance. Tooth whitening, while is also often successful at brightening a smile, may be more appropriate for surface stains or stains that are fairly new.  

Eat Smart

Whether you decide to have dental treatment done or not, there are things you can do to help get and keep your teeth white. One way is to watch what you eat and drink. Coffee, tea, red wine, soda, and berries, for example, can all stain smiles. Instead, try to choose fresh fruits and vegetables such as carrots, apples, or celery. These foods aren’t only good for you, they can actually prevent stains from sticking to teeth. Besides limiting your intake of foods or drinks that can stain, try to use a straw whenever drinking. Straws will help keep liquids and their staining ingredients off of teeth.

Don’t Smoke

Smoking or using any type of tobacco product will increase the chance of tooth discoloration. The ingredients found in cigarettes and smokeless tobacco cause yellowing of teeth and may even make teeth appear brown and spotty. Using tobacco also raises the risk of developing gum disease and oral cancer, both of which are serious concerns that could lead to tooth loss and other problems throughout the body.

See Your Dentist

Perhaps the best way to keep your smile white and healthy is to see your dentist at least twice a year. These checkups will help remove sticky plaque from your teeth that you just may not be able to get at home. Plaque can act as almost a glue for stains and the more of it there is, the more likely stains will stick around.

If you’ve been eating well, drinking plenty of water, aren’t a tobacco user, and still aren’t happy with the way your smile looks, we encourage you to call our Kettering dental office to schedule a consultation. It’s the first step to getting a whiter smile.  

We have three dental offices in Kettering, Middletown, and West Chester.

“I’ve Lost a Filling, What Do I Do?”

embarrassed

Dental fillings are super-strong restorations that help fill the space left over after we remove decay. But sometimes things happen that can cause a filling to come loose or totally fall out. Whether it’s from crunching down on a popcorn kernel or grinding your teeth while you sleep, a lost filling may cause worry. The team at our Middletown dental office is here to help relieve some of the worry by providing you with a few tips on what you can do if you were to lose a filling.

First Things First

The best thing you can do if you lose a filling is call your dentist in Middletown as soon as you can. Many offices, like ours, leave appointments open for situations just like this so we can fit patients in if needed. At the appointment, we will probably talk about what happened and check out the area. Then we’ll recommend the best treatment to restore the filling and your tooth.  

Treatment Options

Recommended treatment will depend on the location of the filling and the amount of damage. In many cases the filling can simply be replaced with another filling. However, if the filling was covering a large area, a crown may be more appropriate. Dental crowns fit over the entire tooth and provide a strong protective cap.

What You Can Do at Home

Sometimes we can’t fit you into the schedule that day, or perhaps you lost your filling on a Saturday afternoon when a dental office isn’t open. But that doesn’t mean you need to suffer. There are a few things you can do on your own to help protect your tooth and reduce pain if you have any.

  • Keep it clean by gently brushing the area after eating to remove any food particles that may have become trapped in the groove.
  • Swishing with salt water will also help loosen food and rinse away bacteria.
  • Use a pain reliever to reduce sensitivity.
  • Place temporary filling material made from zinc oxide into the space. This can be found at most pharmacies. Remember, this is a temporary fix and it’s still important to have the tooth restored.

Reduce Your Risk

Nobody wants to lose a dental filling, and the best thing you can do to protect your dental restorations is to avoid things that can damage them. This includes limiting your intake of chewy, sticky foods as well as hard, crunchy snacks, treating any grinding with a mouthguard, and seeing your dentist regularly to monitor all your dental work.

If you’ve lost a filling, don’t wait. Call our dental office in Middletown.

We have three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.

A Closer Look at Sugary Snacks

glasses of soda

Most of us know that sugar is bad for teeth. So it should come as no surprise that our dental office in Kettering encourages our patients to limit their sugar intake in order to keep teeth healthy and decay-free. But sometimes it’s not so easy know just how much sugar is in the foods we eat. We’re here to help take a closer look…

How Much Sugar is Recommended?

Before we dive into some foods that are high in sugar we should talk about how much sugar we typically need every day. While sugar intake limits vary person to person, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the following maximum of added sugars daily:

  • Men – 150 calories per day (or 9 teaspoons)
  • Women – 100 calories per day (or 6 teaspoons)

A Quick Note on Added Sugars

There two types of sugars found in food — natural sugars and added sugars. Natural sugars occur naturally in foods and added sugars are, well, added in. While both can negatively affect teeth, added sugars are worse for oral health and overall health.

Sugar-Packed Snacks

As we look at some snacks that are high in sugar, there may be some that surprise you. Remember, you don’t need to avoid these snacks entirely, but try to limit your intake of added sugars and do all you can to follow a well-balanced diet. To try to put the sugar content into better perspective, we’ll be using teaspoons for reference.

Yogurt

Yogurt is usually considered good for you, but certain types can contain loads of sugar. Varieties that have added fruit or flavors are particularly guilty. Some may even top out at more than 6.5 teaspoons of sugar in only a 6 ounce cup.

Granola Bars

Here’s another snack that normally finds its way onto the healthy list. Granola bars can be a quick and easy snack, but there can also be a lot of sugar hiding in these handheld treats. In fact, some may have nearly 3 teaspoons of it.

Soda

This one should come as no surprise. Certain types of soda can have as much as 11 teaspoons in a 12 ounce can!

Candy

Another pretty common sugary snack comes in the form of candy. And while different types of candy pack a different sugar punch, most of them contain at least 7 teaspoons and some have as much as 17 teaspoons!

When it comes to nutrition and snacking smart, read the labels on food carefully and pay attention to serving size to truly know how much sugar (and other stuff) you’ll be putting into your body. If it helps you to picture sugar content by the teaspoon, keep in mind that 4.2 grams is equal to 1 teaspoon.

As always, when it comes to keeping your smile healthy and your teeth in tip-top shape, make sure you brush them twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist in Kettering biannually.

We’re always accepting new patients at our Kettering, Middletown, and West Chester dental offices and welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today.

Oral Health for Seniors

older gentleman

Oral healthcare needs vary from person to person and even between age groups. That’s one reason our dental office in Kettering believes that individualized dental care is the best approach to keeping our neighbors healthy. And while several common dental concerns remain consistent through every stage of life, there are some unique ailments that tend to specifically affect the senior population. Join us as we take a closer look at some of them.

Discolored Teeth – Many things from coffee to wine or cigarettes can cause tooth discoloration at any point throughout our lives. However, seniors in particular may notice a darkening or yellowing of teeth without any explanation at all. But the truth is this discoloration is typically a result of the outer white tooth enamel slowly wearing away and becoming thinner. When teeth become more transparent, we’re able to see more of the inside color of them, and it just so happens that the inner tooth isn’t as white as the outside. In fact, it’s often yellow or dark in color and what gives teeth a darker appearance.

Dry Mouth – Even though dry mouth can also affect anyone at any time and can be caused by a number of things, it does tend to be more common in seniors. One cause of dry mouth is medication. Prescription medication and even over-the-counter options often list dry mouth as a side effect. When these medications are taken regularly, saliva production slows down, the mouth becomes dry, and teeth put at risk for developing cavities. If these cavities aren’t treated, they could lead to the need for a root canal, sensitivity pain, or even tooth loss.  

Tooth Loss – Many people believe that as we get older, we’re surely going to lose our teeth, or at least one or two of them. But this isn’t always true. It’s absolutely possible for people to keep their natural teeth for their entire lives, especially if they take proper care of them. This means brushing and flossing every day and seeing the dentist in Kettering every six months. However, several things can increase the likelihood of tooth loss in seniors including a history of smoking, dry mouth, untreated decay, and gum disease.

Gum Disease – When bacteria isn’t removed from the mouth it can wiggle up under the gum line and become difficult to remove. If it’s not treated it may lead to infection and cause gum disease. Usually categorized by red, bleeding, inflamed gums, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and even affect the rest of the body. Gum disease has been linked to an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and according to recent studies, Alzheimer’s disease. It should be noted that researchers have not necessarily found a definite correlation between gum disease and Alzheimer’s, but one study found in Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy notes a strong link between diseases that cause increased inflammation, including gum disease, and Alzheimer’s.  

While we can’t stop ourselves from aging, we can take preventive steps to protect our oral health and bodies. Make sure you always brush twice a day and floss once a day, no matter how old or young you may be, and be sure to get a professional dental cleaning and check up at least twice a year. If you’re overdue for your dental appointment, we welcome you to call our Kettering dental office to schedule a visit with us today.

We’re always welcoming new patients at all three of our dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.

3 Things All Men Need to Know About Their Oral Health

man brushing teeth

The truth is, men are more likely to skip the recommended bi-annual visits to the dentist. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, many American men simply don’t go to the dentist unless they have a problem. However, by maintaining dental appointments twice-a-year they can prevent many of these problems from ever occurring. The team at our dental office in West Chester wants to help encourage men to keep up with their dental care to help avoid serious oral health and overall health problems.

Preventive Care Protects

Even if you brush twice a day everyday at home, there are just some things you can’t get rid of on your own. Cleanings and checkups with your dentist in West Chester help to not only safely and effectively remove damaging plaque and tartar buildup, they also help keep a close eye on your overall oral health. Without these appointments every six months, the mouth is at risk. Men in particular have a better chance of:

  • Advanced Dental Treatments. Since many men don’t visit the dentist regularly, they tend to be more likely to need advanced treatments. When plaque and tartar is left on teeth for prolonged periods of time they can lead to decay. Oftentimes decay is easily treated with a quick filling. However, if it progresses deep into the tooth, a root canal and dental crown may be required to save the tooth. However, decay that’s compromised the integrity of a tooth could mean the need for an extraction and a dental implant or bridge to replace it.
  • Gum Disease. Both the American Dental Association (ADA) and Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) have conducted numerous studies that consistently show that men are more likely to develop gum disease than women. One recent study of Americans between the ages of 30-54 reported that 34% of men have gum disease compared to 23% of women. Gum disease isn’t a condition to take lightly. If untreated it can affect the entire body and as even been linked to heart disease, respiratory problems, and certain cancers. In men, gum disease may also affect prostate health. But it’s not all bad news. If caught early at regular dental visits gum disease can be treated before it has a chance to affect overall health.
  • Oral Cancer. Oral cancer is a widespread epidemic that will affect almost 50,000 newly diagnosed Americans this year. Men are actually twice as likely to develop oral cancer than women. If it’s caught early treatment is often very successful. But if it’s left to progress, it can spread to other areas of the body and can lead to death.

Visits to the dentist every six months go a long way in protecting your oral health and overall health. Don’t risk your health by skipping them. If it’s been longer than six month since your last appointment, we welcome you to call our West Chester dental office today.

We have dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester to better serve you.

All About Asthma and Oral Health

woman reaching for asthma inhaler

Asthma is a scary, chronic disease that affects over 20 million adults and more than 6 million children in the United States. If not managed and treated proactively, asthma can make it difficult to breathe, cause the chest to tighten, and can even lead to death. At our dental office in West Chester, we also know that asthma not only affects your lungs and respiratory system, but can actually have a negative effect on oral health, too.

Asthma & Dry Mouth

Since asthma causes the airways that carry oxygen to and from your lungs to become swollen, less air is able to pass through. This can make breathing difficult. When we can’t get enough air or just can’t seem to catch our breath we will involuntarily start to breathe out of our mouths instead of our noses. While mouth breathing can make it easier to breathe, it can also cause dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when there’s a decrease in saliva production, and that’s when the problems start. Without saliva, the bacteria and acids in the mouth that are typically rinsed away are left to attack teeth. This increases the risk for decay and cavities. Many asthma medications also list dry mouth as a side effect, which can make the problem even worse.

Asthma & Gum Disease

Besides the increased risk for cavities, asthma patients are also more likely to have gum disease. In fact, a survey conducted by the Journal of Periodontology concluded that people with gum disease were five times more likely to also have asthma. Gum disease is another serious disease caused by a bacterial infection. If not treated gum disease can affect the health of the rest of the body including increasing the risk for heart disease, even more respiratory complications, and even some cancers.

How to Protect Your Smile

If you have asthma, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease including:

Drinking Plenty of Water. The more water you can drink every day, the better. Just as water helps hydrate the body, it does the same for your mouth. Drinking water can help rinse away the bacteria that your saliva is usually responsible for.

Rinsing After Taking Medication. Since many asthma medications can contribute to dry mouth, it’s wise to rinse your mouth with water after taking any medicine. This can help remove any of the drying ingredients.

Brushing and Flossing Regularly. It’s always important to brush and floss every day, but perhaps even more so if you have asthma. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day can help remove bacteria and plaque that could lead to cavities or gum disease.

Talking to Your Dentist in West Chester. At your dental appointments your team will ask about your health history. It’s important that you let them know you have asthma and share which medications you use so they can keep a close eye on your dental health.  

We’re always welcoming new patients at our West Chester dental office and would encourage you to call to schedule an appointment if it’s been more than six months since you’ve seen a dentist. Preventive dental care, along with a good oral hygiene routine at home, can help protect your smile from cavities, gum disease, and other oral health concerns.

Garland & Johnson has three convenient locations Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester to best serve all of our patients.

How Brushing Your Teeth Affects Overall Health

young woman brushes teeth

It probably comes as no surprise that the team at our dental office in Middletown is all for you brushing your teeth regularly. After all, we are dedicated to protecting our patients’ smiles, and brushing properly is an important step to help accomplish that goal. But we also know that brushing your teeth benefits more than just your dental health. The truth is, it can affect your overall health, too.

Removing Bacteria

One of the most important reasons for brushing your teeth regularly is so you can effectively remove dangerous bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria will feed off of food particles that linger around long after you eat. It then gives off an acidic byproduct. This acid can eat away the teeth’s protective enamel, leaving them at risk for decay and cavities. A buildup of bacteria can also begin to affect gum health. If bacteria is not removed by brushing and starts to creep up under the gum line, you may quickly develop gum disease. Gum disease is a serious problem that affects the rest of your body.

A Closer Look at Gum Disease

Gum disease is a bacterial infection that can eventually lead to tooth loss if not treated by your dentist in Middletown. Nearly half of American adults have some type of gum disease, some may not even know it. Common signs of gum disease include:

While gum disease has unpleasant symptoms and may cause teeth to fall out, it’s even more concerning than that. In fact, research has shown a potential link between gum disease and other serious whole-body problems.

Gum Disease & Whole-Body Health

There have been several studies that have shown a strong connection between oral health and overall health. The U.S. Surgeon General has even referred to the mouth as a mirror to health throughout the body. Even though researchers continue to study exactly the cause of this connection, many of them have found that gum disease in particular may lead or contribute to:

  • Respiratory Problems
  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetic Complications
  • Some Cancers

Brushing your teeth twice a day, every day does a great job at removing the buildup of dangerous bacteria that could lead to gum disease and perhaps even more serious health concerns. But that’s not all. You also need to maintain regular visits to your dentist twice a year for a deep cleaning that removes plaque and bacteria that only a trained hygienist can remove safely and effectively.

If it’s time for your dental cleaning, we welcome you to call our Middletown dental office to schedule an appointment.

Garland & Johnson has three convenient locations Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester to best serve all of our patients.

National Women’s Health Week

women cycling

In just a few days we’ll celebrate National Women’s Health Week which kicks off appropriately on Mother’s Day, May 13th. This seven day celebration serves to raise awareness of the importance of following healthy habits for women of all ages. At our dental office in Kettering, we know that dental health is an important part of overall health, and there are certain areas of oral health that specifically affect women throughout different phases of life.

Women’s Oral Health Priorities Change Over Time

As bodies change, chemistry throughout the body tends to change too. This includes the mouth. Since women experience hormonal changes at various times in their life, they actually have more oral health concerns to worry about, particularly during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.

Puberty

Typically puberty in girls begins between 8 and 14 years old. Girls will experience quite a transformation during this time since a lot is happening inside their bodies. Hormone levels fluctuate and these hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, can affect oral health. Both estrogen and progesterone increase blood flow to the gums which may cause them to become inflamed, red, and sore. Bacteria in the mouth can also build up easier, increasing the risk for cavities and gum disease.

Menstruation

Just as during puberty, hormone levels continue to ebb and flow throughout a women’s childbearing years. Gums may still become sore or perhaps bleed when brushing or flossing close to when a period is about to begin. Some women may even experience a canker sore during this time. During menstruation, it’s also common to experience a decrease in saliva production, which will make a mouth feel dry and can potentially cause the breath to smell bad.

Pregnancy

Another time in a woman’s life when hormones and dental health changes is during pregnancy. Since about half of all pregnant women will get pregnancy gingivitis, dental care is especially important. What’s more is that poor dental health during pregnancy has been associated with premature babies, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. It’s recommended that pregnant women visit their dentist in Kettering during the second trimester.

Menopause

During menopause women’s estrogen levels drop… which is directly related to bone loss. Women who have gone through menopause are aware of the risks associated with bone loss and are most commonly concerned with osteoporosis. While osteoporosis leads to brittle bones, it can also decrease bone density in the jaw increasing the risk of tooth loss. There are several ways dentists can replace these lost or damaged teeth, including dental implants and dentures.

Our Kettering dental office is here to care for all of our patients during every stage of life. If you’re experiencing changes in your oral health, or if it’s been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist, there’s no better time than now to schedule an appointment. Give us a call today!

We have three dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester to better serve you.

What Do Dental X-Rays Show?

looking at dental x-ray

You’ve most likely experienced having dental x-rays taken several times throughout your life, but what exactly is the point of looking below the surface of your teeth? Our dental office in Middletown takes these images for a variety of reasons, so this month, let’s take a look at why dental x-rays are such an important part of your bi-annual dental visits…

What We’re Looking for

While we can tell a lot about your oral health through our thorough exams and cleanings, there are just some things the human eye can’t see. For these diseases or problems, we turn to x-rays of your teeth and jaw. Taking pictures of the inner workings of your teeth can help us diagnose:

  • Decay that’s not yet surfaced
  • Bone loss associated with gum disease
  • Impacted wisdom teeth
  • Damaged bone cause by an infection
  • Abscesses or other root problems

Taking x-rays allows your dentist in Middletown to see any issues that may not yet have signs or symptoms, making them easier to treat before they lead to pain or more complicated treatments.

The Different Types of Dental X-Rays

There are several different types of x-rays that your dental team may use to examine various parts of your oral anatomy. Each type of x-ray can help show different things. Some of the most common x-rays include:

  • Bitewing X-rays. Bitewing x-rays are the ones that can show cavities or areas of decay that may not yet be visible, or are lurking in hard-to-see areas such as in between teeth or fillings. These x-rays may also show bone density health and any deterioration caused by gum disease.
  • Periapical X-rays. Just like bitewing x-rays, periapical x-rays are pretty common. You probably have had them taken and may not have even known it. These x-rays show images of the entire tooth, including the roots. The images allow your dentist to look at each tooth individually to make sure each one is structurally sound and bone levels are healthy and strong. Periapical x-rays can also help catch cysts and abscesses.  
  • Panoramic X-rays. Panoramic x-rays are used for the most complete view of your entire mouth. The images don’t only show all your teeth, but also your sinuses, jaw joints, and jaw bones. These photos can help determine if wisdom teeth are impacted and can even help diagnose a tumor.

Dental x-rays are an important part of your preventive dental care and should be taken at least once a year, but sometimes we may recommend getting them taken at every bi-annual visit. The advancements in technology, along with the careful measures we take in our Middletown dental office make dental x-rays incredibly safe and have low radiation emissions. If you’re concerned about dental x-rays, we welcome you to talk to any one of our team members.

We have several dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester to better serve you.

Play Hard & Protect Your Smile

girls playing field hockey

Each April, several dental associations join together to sponsor National Facial Protection Month. The goal is to raise awareness on the importance of wearing a mouthguard while participating in sports. As the weather warms up and more and more people start playing sports, its timing couldn’t be better. At our dental office in West Chester, we want to share a few facts about facial and mouth injuries common to sports and how you can protect you or your child’s smile during every game and every practice.

How Common are Mouth Injuries?

There’s a good reason the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the American Association of Orthodontists decided to dedicate an entire month to educating people on the importance of protecting teeth when participating in sports. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s “Policy on Prevention of Sports-related Orofacial Injuries” attribute as many as 39% of all child dental injuries to sports, and usually from direct hits by a ball or another player. And that’s just kids. If we include college, professional, and recreational adult athletes, that number rises.

How to Reduce the Risk of a Mouth Injury While Playing Sports?

Even though an injury to the mouth can happen to anyone, those who play sports, especially contact sports, are definitely at increased risk. In fact, most sport-related mouth injuries are sustained when playing basketball, a sport where a mouthguard isn’t a required piece of protective equipment. That’s no coincidence. Wearing a mouthguard can greatly reduce the chances of a chipped or broken tooth or even getting a tooth knocked out.

All About Sports Mouthguards

The quickest and easiest way to get a sports mouthguard is to head on over your local sporting goods store and grab a boil-and-bite model in your favorite color. While these stock mouthguards can be somewhat custom-molded to your teeth after a quick dip in boiling water, they’re usually uncomfortable and don’t offer as much protection as a completely custom mouthguard, and tend to be chewed on instead of left in the mouth where they belong. The other option you have is to get a custom-made sports mouthguard from your dentist in West Chester.  

Custom mouthguards are specifically molded to fit every contour of your teeth and provide the ultimate protection. They’re also constructed from higher end materials to ensure extended comfort. This means less time out of the mouth and more time protecting your teeth.

Our West Chester dental office is always here to help protect our neighbors’ smiles, and it’s important to us that as you’re getting game-ready this spring, you don’t forget your mouthguard. If you’re looking for custom sports mouthguard, give us a call!

We’re always welcoming new patients at all three of our dental offices in Middletown, Kettering, and West Chester.