Have you ever watched shows like Lost or movies like Cast Away and wonder how the teeth of these people must feel like after an extended stay on a remote island? Fortunately, there are a few things they (or you, if you go camping or get stranded) can do to help maintain a healthy smile when you don’t have access to a dentist or minty toothpaste.
When you don’t have a toothbrush and floss, the concept of oral hygiene remains the same. Keep food debris from sticking around inside your mouth, and agitate the bacteria so plaque and tartar don’t develop.
In a bind, you can use a clean cloth or part of your t-shirt. Put the cloth on your finger and rub your teeth and gums as you would with a toothbrush. This method is good for minor stays in the wilderness, but won’t provide optimal care in the long run.
Use What’s Around You
In the unfortunate situation you are without proper care for an indeterminate amount of time, you can find or adapt natural tools from your surroundings to clean your teeth.
Chewing stick. Find a tree that has fibrous branches. Break off a toothbrush sized twig. Chew on one end to fray that part of the twig, which can now be used in lieu of an actual toothbrush. As strange as this may sound, a lot of cultures around the world still use chewing sticks for their dental hygiene. Due to the chemical composition of some trees (apple, fig, bamboo, and many more), they can help protect your teeth when chewed on.
Small bones. If you are hunting for food, save some of the smaller bones. They can be used as toothpicks, removing food debris from between your teeth.
Hair. This may seem gross, but if you didn’t bat an eye at small bones, you may as well try this trick too. If you have hair is long enough, you can use it as a substitute for floss.
Water. Rinse with water (sterilized, if possible) to keep your mouth clean after brushing.
Avoid problem foods. Without access to proper dental care, it’s best to avoid foods that can damage your teeth. Try not to eat fruits with a high acidity level, or foods that easily get stuck in your teeth.
Now you know how Tom Hanks kept his smile going stuck on an island for three years. (And you thought it was Hollywood make up artists?) While these options may sound less than appealing, they could be the difference between having healthy or damaged teeth while out in the wilderness. That and no one likes the feeling of fuzzy teeth.
If you’ve just returned from the wild, or if you’d just like to stay up to date on your dental visits, please don’t hesitate to give us a call!
In almost every social situation, there is one thing most people are concerned about: halitosis, better known as bad breath. It can be embarrassing for you, uncomfortable to other people, and potentially a deal breaker for a job interview or date. To make it even more difficult to manage, our bodies have a great way of blocking out constant smells, making it very hard to determine if we have bad breath before it’s too late.
How do I know if I have bad breath?
You can easily test how your breath smells to others with this simple test. Lick part of your arm and smell it after about 10 seconds. Now, licking your arm in public may seem weird (and have its own social consequences), this test can give you a good indication of how your breath smells. However, it may not always be accurate. The best thing you can do is be aware of what causes bad breath and prevent it before it happens to you.
What Causes Bad Breath?
The most common cause of bad breath is straightforward; you have a dirty mouth. Bacteria live in your mouth, and when you eat, they eat. These odors are made worse by your tongue, which acts like a fleshy dish sponge, absorbing food particles and bacterial byproducts.
If you think this is your issue–and it is best place to start–the best remedy is to brush and floss daily. This will help eliminate leftovers for the bacteria to eat. To further eliminate any odor, open your mouth and look at the back of your tongue. If looks like it’s covered in a white or brown substance, this could be the main source of your bad breath. Brush as far back on your tongue as you can with your toothbrush, or use a tongue scraper, which will do the job more efficiently.
Saliva keeps the mouth clean by washing away bacteria, plaque, and keeping the acidic levels in your mouth at the proper level. If your mouth is chronically dry, bacteria can take over, leading to bad breath. If you are experiencing dry mouth, be sure you are drinking plenty of water. Additionally, check to see if any medication you are taking causes dry mouth. If so, talk to your doctor about solutions or a potential change in medication, if possible.
Specific Types of Food
There are certain types of food that cause bad breath. No matter what you do, you won’t be able to avoid the unwelcome baggage they carry. Coffee, tuna, onion, and garlic have a tendency to stick around even after you brush your teeth. For example, as garlic is digested, sulfur compounds permeate your lungs and skin, meaning there isn’t much you can do to hide the smell. For the sake of everyone around you, don’t go to hot yoga after eating a clove of garlic.
Bad breath can also be a sign of something more significant. If you have ruled out the issues above, bad breath (along with other symptoms) can be related to diabetes, gum disease, kidney disease, and many more chronic conditions. If you think your bad breath is connected to a more serious ailment, contact your family doctor to learn more.
What can the dentist do for bad breath?
Dentists are able to look at your mouth and see what the potential cause of your bad breath is. They will have the expertise to notice if it’s plaque, debris on your tongue, or periodontal disease. They can also prescribe you antimicrobial toothpaste and mouthwash to take care of the issue. The dentist may determine that the issue may not be located in your mouth, and would then refer you to your family doctor.
Come visit Dr. Weber at Douglas B. Weber, DDS if you have any more questions or concerns about halitosis.
Why do I Need Professional Teeth Cleanings?
Let’s look at five reasons why you should get your teeth regularly cleaned.
1. We check for oral cancer
With cancer, the sooner it’s detected the better chance you have of successfully getting rid of it. Oral cancer is no different. During each teeth cleaning, we check for any signs of oral cancer.
2. Cleanings help prevent cavities
Brushing and flossing every day will do wonders in maintaining a healthy mouth. But, sometimes you may forget to floss, or maybe you had a few too many sodas and candy bars. Our dental hygienists will ensure that your mouth is free of plaque, and can also give you tips for your at-home cleaning if they see something you may not be doing.
3. Cleanings help prevent gum disease
Gum disease can easily creep up on anyone. It is often painless until it becomes a bigger problem. When diagnosed with gingivitis, it can still be reversed with proper gum maintenance.
Once gingivitis progresses to periodontal disease, it requires ongoing professional care to prevent further damage to your mouth. Professional cleanings at twice a year drastically reduce the risk of gum disease ever starting.
4. Having a healthy mouth contributes to a healthy life
Poor oral health has been connected with diagnoses for diabetes, heart disease and pregnancy complications. Keeping your gums and teeth healthy will help prevent the occurrence of these diseases.
5. Regular cleanings are cheaper than taking care of oral problems
Receiving two professional cleanings a year may be an expense you don’t like to see. However, teeth cleanings are much cheaper than other procedures, such as root canals, scaling and root planing, and dental implants.
There is nothing better than a freshly cleaned mouth! Our dental hygienists will make sure you have pain free experience, and you can leave knowing you’ve taken a giant leap forward in maintaining a healthy smile.
If you have more questions about our professional teeth cleanings, or if you’d like to schedule an appointment, please call your Lancaster dentist at (661) 952-7865.
Imagine you are eating a big, juicy steak cooked to perfection. You cut out a chunk of steak place it in your mouth. The first bite is delicious, and the second bite is even better.
But then, in your fervor for chewing, you forget where the steak ends and where your cheek begins. Before you know it–chomp!–a bite that was intended for that tasty piece of steak caught your cheek. It’s painful and irritating, but you can get past the pain.
The next day, your wound is healing well, but unfortunately during lunch you bite down on it again. Now it’s official: you have a full blown canker sore. While not all canker sores are self-inflicted, it’s good to know what causes canker sores and some remedies you can implement to promote healing while reducing pain.
For the most part, canker sores are more of a nuisance than a health issue. They can appear on the inside of your lips, cheeks and on your tongue. They can either be caused by trauma (like biting on the inside of your cheek or braces irritating your mouth) or other factors like stress and the types of food you eat.
Avoid agitating your canker sore
- Try not to hit it with your toothbrush.
- Steer clear of foods that will annoy your canker sore, including crunchy, dry, or acidic foods–especially citrus!
- If you have braces, apply wax where the canker sore comes in contact with them. If your braces or dentures continue to cause discomfort and canker sores, your dentist may be able to make the proper adjustments to fix the issue.
Since most canker sores go away on their own, the best thing you can do is manage the pain
- Gargle with salt water. Mix about ¼ to ½ teaspoons of salt with eight ounces of warm water. Put about two to three ounces of water into your mouth at a time and swish it around for 20-30 seconds, then spit it out. Continue to do this until all of the water is gone.
- Consider using a local numbing agent. Products like Oragel can be applied to the canker sore and numb it for temporary relief. These types of products contain benzocaine, so please read all cautions before applying.
- Take over-the-counter pain relief medication, like ibuprofen.
If your canker sore doesn’t heal within a few weeks, it’s time to see a dentist. If your canker sore makes it too painful to eat or drink, consider seeing your dentist before the three week mark. Make an appointment with your local Lancaster dentist if you think you may need additional canker sore treatment.
You hear advice everywhere you go. Brush and floss daily. Use mouthwash to fight bad breath. One out of every four dentists recommends using a Waterpik.
Dental health is very important, and as a consumer, there are a ton of options to pick from. To help make your dental hygiene routine easier, we’re going to cut through the noise with some simple suggestions about what a good routine looks like and what products you should consider using.
We’ve mentioned this before—and so did your mom—you need to brush and floss daily. (In this case, she’s right.) However, you might not realize that to brush most effectively, timing matters! You should always brush your teeth before you eat breakfast. As you sleep, your salivary glands don’t produce as much saliva, enabling bacteria to grow and thrive. If you eat before brushing, more acid will be produced because of the overnight bacterial growth.
Not everyone can fit brushing in first thing every morning. If you do decide to brush afterwards, try to wait at least 30 to 60 minutes, especially if you consume foods that contain citric acid (foods like orange juice, grapefruit, lemons, etc.). The citric acid weakens your enamel and brushing your teeth afterwards can be more damaging than beneficial.
You only need to floss once a day. It doesn’t matter what time you floss, as long as you are doing it. If flossing requires too much dexterity, or you simply don’t like it, there are other options—but we’re not saying to give it up. If you can’t or just won’t floss, try alternatives like interdental brushes or floss picks.
Go Above and Beyond
Once you’ve mastered the basics of brushing and flossing, there are additional things you can do to make sure you have a clean, healthy mouth. Number one: mouthwash. Swish a little around your mouth and you instantly feel refreshed. But mouthwash can be more than just a mid-day pick-me-up, and different types of mouthwash have different benefits.
Fluoride: This mouthwash provides an additional source of fluoride. If you use toothpaste and drink tap water containing fluoride, you probably get enough. However, your dentist may suggest using fluoride mouthwash if they see some troubled spots.
Antiseptic: More commonly used, antiseptic mouthwash (like Listerine) kills bacteria. This will help with bad breath and the prevention of gingivitis.
Another tool you can use is the Waterpik. The Waterpik shoots a small, high powered stream of water that you can use along your gumline and in between your teeth. It can be useful if you have pockets or wider gaps between your teeth. While the Waterpik is a great tool, it still isn’t a substitute for flossing.
Note: If you have braces or other fixed items in your mouth, the Waterpik is especially valuable. Braces and fixed items can trap food next to your teeth for hours after eating, giving the bacteria in plaque a feast. After eating, use the Waterpik to clean out food that is stuck in your mouth. The Waterpik is also a great option for those who need to brush but may have just had citric acid in their meal.
Since the dental market is enormous, new products and methods will always be emerging. Always do proper research before buying an item or switching your routine. A good rule of thumb to follow is to see if the product is endorsed by the American Dental Association.
Remember, the best routine is the one you’re able to follow consistently. Routines will always be different depending on the person, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to Douglas B. Weber, DDS for more information on a routine that works for you.