Taking Care Of Your Toothbrush

park ridge dentistWE ALL USE TOOTHBRUSHES to take care of our teeth, but what are we doing to take care of our toothbrushes? It’s critical that our toothbrushes remain in good condition so they can do their jobs of keeping our teeth healthy, which is why we’re dedicating a blog post to giving our patients tips on toothbrush care!

Cleaning Your Toothbrush

Running your toothbrush under water and giving it a good shake won’t do much to get rid of all the germs you just brushed off your teeth, especially if you’ve recently battled the flu or a cold. Luckily, there are a few ways to deep-clean your toothbrush. Boiling the bristles for a few minutes will kill any germs on them, as will soaking the toothbrush in mouthwash. You can also sanitize it by placing it in the silverware rack of the dishwasher and running it without detergent.

Toothbrush Storage Dos and Don’ts

Do you store your toothbrush with the bristles on the counter or shelf, in a toothbrush cover, or near your toilet? Don’t! Bacteria needs warmth and moisture to multiply and spread, and flushing your toilet can send microscopic contaminants all over your bathroom. The best way to keep bacteria from growing on your toothbrush is to store it upright somewhere it can air out. It’s also a good idea to keep it well away from your toilet, and always put the lid down before flushing.

When To Replace Your Toothbrush

Getting used to a new toothbrush can feel weird. The bristles don’t feel the same, the shape is different, and the handle isn’t the same in your hand. But if we want our teeth to get the proper cleaning they deserve, this brief transition period is more than worth it.

If the bristles on your brush are getting bent, worn, or frayed, it’s definitely time for a new one — particularly if they’re sticking out the wrong way, because that won’t do your teeth any good! Bristles need to be straight in order to reach all the places they should. Just as important: have they become discolored? You don’t want to brush your teeth with stained, dirty bristles!

Get Creative With Your Old Toothbrush

Old toothbrushes are excellent tools for cleaning hard-to-reach areas in your house, like tile grout and backsplashes. You could boil it to make it soft, then bend it into a colorful bracelet! Toothbrushes also make great paintbrushes.

To make your toothbrush art minty fresh, use toothpaste as your paint!

Need Toothbrush Recommendations?

Looking for a new toothbrush but not sure which one is right for you? Just ask us and we’ll give you a recommendation! Keep up those great brushing habits, and don’t forget to schedule your regular dental appointments!

Thank you for your trust and friendship!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

DIY Teeth Whitening Trends: Fact Or Fiction?

teeth whitening park ridgeTRENDS IMPACT JUST about every aspect of life, from slang and fashion to which toys are collectibles this year and which fad diet everyone’s aunt is doing.

Most trends are harmless symptoms of an ever-evolving society and culture, but when they affect the ways we take care of ourselves, they can become serious. In recent years, do-it-yourself teeth whitening has been a “trendy” topic, so let’s take a look at a few of the more popular methods.

Charcoal Versus Tooth Enamel

As counterintuitive as it seems to rub black powder on your teeth and expect them to become whiter, the rationale behind the idea makes sense. Charcoal is extremely porous and absorbent, and has been used even in hospitals to safely neutralize toxins. In theory, it could do the same for your teeth.

However, charcoal isn’t just porous, it’s also abrasive. Even as it absorbs harmful compounds from your mouth and disrupts bacterial populations, it could also be scraping away your enamel, doing more harm than good. Until we know more about the effects of charcoal on teeth, it’s safer to give that home remedy a pass.

Lemon Juice: Dissolving Stains Or Dissolving Teeth?

The enamel on your teeth is the hardest substance in your body, but it is extremely susceptible to erosion by acid. Your saliva keeps the pH in your mouth balanced to protect your enamel, but any time you eat or drink something acidic, that pH is disrupted and your teeth are vulnerable. Using lemon juice on your teeth in hopes of whitening them is, therefore, likely to cause a lot of enamel erosion, and once that enamel is gone, it’s gone for good.

Oil Pulling: An Ancient Folk Remedy

Oil pulling involves swishing oil (typically coconut, sunflower, sesame, or olive oil) around in one’s mouth for up to twenty minutes. Proponents of oil pulling claim it has numerous health benefits, including teeth whitening, but the American Dental association doesn’t recommend it because there is no scientific evidence to back up these claims.

Strawberries And Bananas

Strawberries do contain some citric acid, but they also contain malic acid (particularly when ripe), which actually can give your teeth a whiter appearance. Bananas contain potassium, magnesium, and manganese, all of which promote healthier teeth and can help remove surface stains. So these two do-it-yourself teeth whiteners may actually provide some benefit! Both fruits still contain sugar, however, so you should still brush your teeth with dentist approved toothpaste after eating them.

Curious about those whitening mouthpieces that emit blue light you see all over social media? Watch the video below to learn whether or not they’re really effective:

Stick To The Science

Trends like charcoal toothpaste and lemon juice mouthwash will come and (hopefully) go, and occasionally we’ll discover remedies that do have benefits, like strawberries and bananas, but the best benefits to our teeth will always come from dentist-approved methods. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes and floss once a day, avoid sugary drinks and snacks, and schedule regular dental appointments.

If all of these good habits aren’t keeping your teeth white enough, talk to us about safe, professional whitening options.

Healthy smiles are beautiful smiles!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Spring Is Here!

Cosmetic Dentist Park Ridge

SPRING HAS SPRUNG here at Davis & Engert Dentistry! The beautiful sunshine, blooming flowers, and warmer weather have us feeling grateful for this wonderful season.

To welcome the incoming spring, we’d like to share what puts a spring in our step this time of year!

What We Love About Spring

dentist park ridge il park ridge dentist dentist in park ridge il

 

From Dr. Engert: I love when it is time to update the flower boxes for the season!

From Samantha: I love spring because summer is almost here!

From Kayla: I love the smell of fresh rain in the Spring.

From Amasie: The weather!!

 

Is Spring YOUR Favorite Season?

Do you love spring as much as we do? Let us know in the comments below or reach out to us on Facebook! As always, we’re so thankful for you and appreciate your loyalty to our practice.

Happy Spring!

Image by Flickr user Keromi Keroyama used underCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Managing Tooth Sensitivity

Dentist in Park Ridge, IL

IF THERE’S ONE THING we can all agree on, it’s that nobody likes sensitive teeth! Tooth sensitivity can cause discomfort during daily tasks such as brushing, flossing, eating, drinking, and even breathing in a cold gush of air!

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, there are measures you can take to relieve pain and treat discomfort.

Start By Visiting Your Dentist

If you are concerned about sensitive teeth, seek a dental professional’s help first. Tooth sensitivity, while common, can also be a sign of something more serious. Your dentist can help identify what the underlying cause of your sensitivity is and prescribe the best treatment option for you and your smile! After an evaluation, your dentist might recommend:

  • Desensitizing toothpaste: This type of toothpaste is specially formulated to soothe the nerve endings in the tooth and reduce pain. A few good types are: Sensodyne Toothpaste or Proenamel Toothpaste.
  • Bonding agent: This is the material used to stick tooth colored restorations to teeth. It can also be used to seal the dentin surface and protect sensitive areas from outside stimuli.
  • Gluma: This is a desensitizing agent that can be rubbed onto the tooth to minimize tooth sensitivity in a very noninvasive way.
  • Fluoride: Your dentist may apply fluoride to sensitive areas. This strengthens tooth enamel and treats pain.
  • Limiting acidic foods and drinks: Carbonated beverages, citrus fruits, wine, yogurt, etc. are acidic and, when consumed frequently, can remove small amounts of tooth enamel over time. Drink acidic liquids with straws to avoid contact with teeth.

A Good Oral Hygiene Routine Can Help You Avoid Sensitivity

Proper brushing and flossing can prevent conditions such as gum disease which is known to cause gum recession. When gums recede, part of the tooth root is exposed, leading to sensitivity. Over-brushing or brushing too aggressively can also lead to receding gums and even enamel erosion—both of which cause sensitivity.

A good way to tell if you are pressing too hard when you brush is by checking your toothbrush. The bristles of your brush should not fray, even if you have been using it for several months. At Davis & Engert Dentistry, we recommend you use your toothbrush for about 3 months before switching to a new one.

When Whitening Your Teeth, Consult With Your Dentist

Tooth sensitivity is a common side effect of teeth whitening. To avoid or diminish sensitivity after whitening, consider using a lower concentration of whitening product and reduce the amount of time the bleach is in contact with the teeth.

Always consult with your dentist before whitening as he or she can help determine the best treatment options for you. If you or someone you know has particularly sensitive teeth, there are additional steps we can take to help avoid and relieve the sensitivity caused by whitening.

At Davis & Engert Dentistry, we recommend that you come and see us at least a week before you start whitening your teeth. At this visit, we will make Fluoride carrier trays that are custom to your teeth. Then, we advice you to wear your new trays with a small amount fluoride inside them at least 5 times before whitening your teeth. The goal of this step is to reduce chances of sensitivity from whitening. A bonus is that these custom trays can be used to hold whitening material after your teeth have been strengthened.

Cosmetic Dentist

Custom Fluoride Carrier Tray. Photo Credit: Colgate.com.

We Can Help With Tooth Sensitivity

Although sensitivity is common, there are things we can do to help relieve and reduce the discomfort that it causes. No one should have to live with tooth pain. Call us or come in today so we can help you achieve a pain-free smile!

To our wonderful patients, we appreciate you!

Image by Flickr user Dave Herholz used underCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Foods That Naturally Whiten Teeth

REGULAR BRUSHING AND FLOSSING, plus 3-6 month check-up visits with the dentist, remain your best protection against tooth decay and gum disease. However, there are some tooth-friendly foods out there that will help you maintain a bright, healthy smile and even naturally whiten your teeth!

Here are some foods, Davis & Engert Dentistry can recommend, that could help whiten your teeth.

Fruits And Veggies

Fruits such as apples and strawberries contain malic acid which removes surface stains from your teeth and whitens enamel. Strawberries are also beneficial in that they contain ellagitannins—antioxidants that are known to reduce stain-attracting bacteria and inflammation in your mouth.

Furthermore, apples—along with celery, carrots and pears—have a high water content. This increases production of saliva, which washes away bacteria in the mouth. Pears are also great for neutralizing odor-causing bacteria on teeth that lead to bad breath.

Pineapple is the only food that naturally contains bromelain. Guess where else we can find bromelain? In stain-removing toothpaste! Bromelain is a compound that has anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties and is effective in removing surface stains from your teeth, resulting in a brighter smile.

Natural Scrubbers

Other foods act as a natural brush due to their abrasive texture. Broccoli, seeds and nuts, and, yet again, apples, scrub your teeth and naturally remove bacteria and plaque. Eat these foods in the afternoons to clean and polish your teeth, giving them a brief midday brush. What’s more, broccoli is high in fiber and iron, resulting in a lower risk of inflammation in your mouth and greater protection against enamel-degrading acids produced by bacteria.

Dairy

Cheese and milk are full of calcium, which we all know is very good for teeth and bones. Calcium, as well as other minerals and proteins found in dairy products, protect tooth enamel from erosion and decay. They also don’t stain your teeth like coffee, wine, or beets would.

More Than Just Brushing

Achieving and maintaining a healthy, bright smile is more than just eating foods that can damage your teeth (mainly sugary drinks and candy, as well as refined, starchy foods) and then brushing the consequences away. To keep your mouth clean and smile white, avoid foods that can damage or stain your teeth, and opt for some of the healthier options mentioned above. Your teeth will thank you for it!

Thank you for being our valued patient and friend. 

Image by Flickr user Artotem used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Get Your Dream Smile With Zoom Whitening

teeth whitening park ridgeYOUR SMILE IS ONE OF THE FIRST things people notice about you. Make your smile something to feel good about with Philips Zoom Whitening, the number one patient-requested professional whitening brand in the United States!

You Are Our Priority

Every smile is different and while there are many ways to whiten your teeth, be sure to consult with us so we can determine the best method for you.

How Does Zoom Whitening Work?

Our Zoom Whitening system helps your teeth get up to eight shades whiter in as little as 45 minutes!

Zoom in-office tooth whitening is a procedure designed to lighten the color of teeth using a combination of hydrogen peroxide gel and a specifically designed LED light. The Zoom treatment involves using a the gel and the LED lamp in conjunction with each other to produce maximum whitening results in the shortest possible time. During the procedure, the whitening gel will be applied to a patient’s teeth and exposed to the LED light for 3 or 4, 15 minutes sessions. The optional fourth session is for those with dark stains. During the entire treatment a plastic retractor will be placed in the mouth to help keep the patient open and the soft tissue in his or her mouth (i.e., lips, gums, cheeks, tongue) will be covered to ensure it is not exposed to either the gel or the light. The patient will also wear LED light filtered glasses during the appointment for eye protection. After the treatment is completed, the retractor and all gel and tissue covering will be removed from the patient’s mouth. Before and after treatment, the shade of upper-front teeth will be assessed and recorded.

Your Smile, Your Way

With increasing demands on your time, we know that it’s important to have whitening options that fit your schedule, budget and lifestyle. Philips Zoom Whitening provides fast results.
Intensity settings allow us to make adjustments for patients who may experience sensitivity during whitening. The Zoom system also includes desensitizers to minimize sensitivity and protect tooth enamel, giving you a safe, personalized whitening experience.

Zoom Whitening Success Stories

teeth whitening park ridge dentist in park ridgeThese are Zoom before and after photos taken at Davis & Engert Dentistry; they showcase the great success we have had with in-office Zoom whitening. Many of our patients leave with more confidence in their smiles! One patient said, “I never thought my teeth could actually be this white, I don’t have to be embarrassed anymore.”

The Safest And Most Effective Way To Brighten Your Smile

You are our priority here at Davis & Engert Dentistry. Our team is dedicated to making your smile the best it can be! Philips Zoom Whitening is the safest and most effective way to get that whiter smile you’ve been dreaming of. And guess what? It only takes one hour. Call or come in today to ask us about Zoom!

For information an additional whitening option, watch this video or give us a call!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Teeth Whitening: An Effective Way to Improve Your Smile

Teeth whitening may be a great option if you who have stained, dull or discolored teeth. The main causes of stained teeth are genetics, antibiotics, tobacco and certain foods. As we age, our teeth darken as well.

Our dental team is devoted to helping you achieve and maintain a beautiful and healthy smile. If you are considering teeth whitening, contact Davis & Engert Dentistry for a consultation.

Arlene Engert DDS