If you want to restore and enhance the look of your smile you have two great options – dental crowns or veneers. But in order to get the most from your new look it’s important to understand the differences between these two options.
What are Dental Crowns?A dental crown is covering often made of porcelain that is designed to hide damaged and unsightly teeth while making each tooth stronger. The crowns are the same color and shape as your natural teeth, so once the procedure is complete the work is invisible.
Why Get a Dental Crown?It’s common for a smile to change over time. Things like teeth grinding, tooth decay, cracked fillings, root canals, and simple age can all change the way your teeth look. Dental crowns are designed to repair this damage when a normal filling is inadequate. Three different types of dental crowns are available:
Why Get a Veneer?Veneers are designed to correct some of the most common problems that compromise the look of your smile – discoloration, chipped or broken teeth, gaps, and misalignments. There are two types of veneers available:
This is a common question asked by many parents. There are some teeth defects that can be hereditary. Rest assured, they are very rare.
Despite this, we often see a link between parents with bad teeth and their children. There are a couple of reasons behind this. One is that the cavity causing bacteria found in a parent's mouth can and will spread to their child's mouth. So, if you have a history of untreated cavities, there’s a good possibility that your bacteria has infected your child’s teeth. Another reason might be because the parent was never properly educated on proper oral hygiene and diet. For example, did you know your child's delightful apple juice has more sugar and acid in it than a glass of coke?
One of the best things you can do for your child’s dental health is make sure you’re a good role model. Brush and floss regularly and visit your dentist every six months.
I have had a few patients ask me recently if it is safe to use Clorox on their teeth for bleaching purposes, over the years I have had patients ask about Hydrogen Peroxide, Rubbing Alcohol and many other abrasive and potentially dangerous household items hoping they may work to bleach their teeth, Here are three natural home remedies that I recommend.
Whiter teeth is something that many people in our cosmetically driven world desire today. In fact, Americans spend over $1.4 billion dollars in over-the-counter teeth whitening products every year-that’s a good chunk of money just to achieve a different shade of teeth. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve tried OTC teeth whitener-I even paid to have my dentist do it once. It worked for a bit, but my teeth got so sensitive I couldn’t stand it. I also felt I really didn’t need to be so obsessed with the color of my teeth that I paid a bunch of money for a bunch of who-knows-what that made my teeth hurt, so I started looking into more natural alternatives. With a bit of patience, I think you can naturally restore whiteness to your teeth. They may not get to be scary sear-out-somebodies-corneas –when-you –smile white, but they’ll appear more like you took good care of your pretty pearly whites rather than just bleaching them like crazy.
Why do teeth get yellow?
To figure out how to whiten our teeth, we have to know why they get yellow in the first place. There are several factors that play a part, including genetics, what kind of food and drink you consume, and how well you practice oral hygiene. A tooth is made up of 4 tissues-enamel, which is the strong white covering that protects the tooth, dentin, which supports the enamel and is a hard yellow material that carries nerves, pulp, which is at the center of the tooth and contains blood and lymph vessels, and cementum, which covers the root of the tooth.
The enamel and dentin is what play the biggest role in color. Certain food and drinks will directly stain the enamel, yes, but over time the two biggest culprits are the nasty food and drink that actually break down the enamel, and weakening enamel as we age. As the enamel breaks down, it reveals the yellow dentin underneath. These remedies will focus on whitening teeth that have already lost some white enamel, but it’s also good to keep in mind that doing things to strengthen enamel is just as important so you can keep it from breaking down further. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (or whitening!)
1. Baking Soda and Lemon Juice Paste
Baking Soda isn’t a shocker here. Sodium bicarbonate (its official name) is mildly abrasive; gently scrubbing away surface stains to return teeth to a whiter shade. It’s also very alkaline (the opposite of acidic) so I would think if you have a very acidic mouth or eat a lot of acidic food, it could help balance out the Ph, which would be useful as acid breaks down enamel-this is strictly speculation on my part. It will also reduce the acidity of the lemon juice, which acts as a natural bleach of sorts. I use a mixture of baking soda and water on some days, and use the lemon juice on others, as I don’t want to overdo it.
You will need…
-Several teaspoons of baking soda
-Enough lemon juice or water to form a paste
Mix several teaspoons of baking soda with enough fresh lemon juice (or water) to make a paste. Wipe your teeth and any extra saliva off of them with a paper towel. Put a good amount of paste onto your toothbrush and apply. Leave the paste on for 1 minute, then rinse, so as to avoid the acid effecting enamel. If you are using just water you can leave it on for up to 3 minutes.
2. Strawberry, Salt and Baking Soda Scrub
Strawberries are high in Vitamin C, which can help break-down plaque that is causing your teeth to look yellow. It also has an enzyme called malic acid, which may help to remove surface stains. The salt acts as an abrasive portion of the paste, physically scrubbing away stain-causing gunk, and the baking soda is an extra touch that you can choose to leave out if you’d prefer (I just like to add it to anything involving my teeth.)
You will need…
-1-3 large strawberries
-A pinch of seat salt
-1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (optional)
Mash the berries into a pulp, and add a pinch of sea salt and ½ teaspoon of baking soda, if you’re using it. Wipe any extra saliva off your teeth with a paper towel, and then apply a generous portion of the mixture to a toothbrush and apply. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, then rinse. Do this nightly.
3. Coconut Oil Rinse
I know this sounds absolutely mad (I thought it was crazy too when I first read about it) but rinsing your mouth with coconut oil (called ‘oil pulling’) is a unique, old, remedy that people swear by to help whiten teeth. It doesn’t sound like the most pleasant thing in the world, but I actually don’t mind the taste, and I think it does make a difference in the color of your teeth. It won’t make a difference by “bleaching” per say, but lauric acid in coconut oil can rid your teeth of bacteria found in plaque that can make them yellow. It is also supposed to promote gum health, and help keep your breath fresh.
You will need…
-About a tablespoon of coconut oil
In the morning, before you brush your teeth, scoop out a tablespoon or a little less (depending on the size of your mouth) of coconut oil. You can either soften it, or just put it in your mouth (I usually do the latter, and just let it soften.) Push, swish, and “pull” the oil through and around your teeth for 10-15 minutes, then spit it out, rinse with water, and brush your teeth.
Note: You can use either of the pastes after you have brushed your teeth at night if you prefer.
Are these remedies going to guarantee ridiculously white teeth within a week? No. You may start to see a difference, but it won’t be as instant as the commercial products. In the end, will your teeth be so white people squint when you open your mouth? No. And I like it better that way. I’ve found that since using these my teeth are indeed whiter, my mouth overall feels healthier and it doesn’t look like I bleached the life out of myself. We live in a world where photo-shopped faces (and teeth) and make-up covered celebrities set the standard for how we look, which makes life hard for people who like, well, real people. As a result we seem to forget what’s good for ourselves, and spend a ton of money just to look like the ideal. By going natural here, you can save the money for something else, feel better about yourself, and have a healthier mouth (and health is what, in the end, creates real beauty.)
- Routine. Set up a routine using these remedies and stick to it, at all costs, to get the most out of them.
- While not “natural” per say, using 3% (I repeat, 3%) hydrogen peroxide as a mouth rinse can whiten your teeth through the process of oxidation. It is an active indigent in many OTC whitening kits, but is often times found in much higher (and expensive) combinations in them.
- It’s fairly common knowledge, and difficult in today’s world, but try to avoid dark drinks, such as coke and coffee that stain your teeth.
Brushing and flossing can help prevent decay and keep your teeth healthy. This routine keeps decay-causing plaque from forming on your teeth, which in turn maintains optimal oral health. While people know they should brush and floss their teeth, they often become confused deciding if they should floss first or brush first.
Does It Matter to Floss Before or After Brushing?
It simply doesn't matter. Instead of worrying about when to floss, you should pay more attention to how to do it right. Your focus should be on doing a thorough job and you will get maximum benefits. Some people do it before brushing, while others do it after they have brushed their teeth but the results have always been quite the same.
If you have been flossing before brushing your teeth for the last ten years and have never faced any serious oral health problem, there is no point in changing the routine. If it is working well the other way round, you should continue flossing after brushing. It is more important to floss your teeth daily and use water to rinse your mouth thoroughly after flossing.
You need to understand that brushing your teeth will help remove plaque from tooth surfaces, but it will not remove plaque completely. There is debris between the teeth that can be removed only through flossing. It is fine to use another type of interdental cleaner if you are not all that comfortable with flossing. Some of these aids include special picks, brushes, and sticks. Be sure to talk with your dentist before you decide to use interdental cleaners.
How to Brush Your TeethWhether you should floss before or after brushing can be quite confusing, but you should not delve too much into finding the answer and lay your emphasis on learning the right technique to brush and floss.
How to Floss Your Teeth ProperlyAs mentioned already, you should be least concerned about deciding if you should floss before or after brushing and pay more attention to doing it right. Here are a few tips to remember to floss your teeth properly.
Bad breath, or halitosis, can be a major problem, especially when you're about to snuggle with your sweetie or whisper a joke to your friend. The good news is that bad breath can often be prevented with some simple steps.
Bad breath is caused by odor-producing bacteria that grow in the mouth. When you don't brush and floss regularly, bacteria accumulate on the bits of food left in your mouth and between your teeth. The sulfur compounds released by these bacteria make your breath smell.
Certain foods, especially ones like garlic and onions that contain pungent oils, can contribute to bad breath because the oils are carried to your lungs and out through your mouth. Smoking is also a major cause of bad breath.
There are lots of myths about taking care of bad breath. Here are three things you may have heard about bad breath that are not true:
Myth #1: Mouthwash will make bad breath go away.
Mouthwash only gets rid of bad breath temporarily. If you do use mouthwash, look for an antiseptic (kills the germs that cause bad breath) and plaque-reducing one with a seal from the American Dental Association (ADA). When you're deciding which dental products to toss into your shopping cart, it's always a good idea to look for those that are accepted by the ADA. Also, ask your dentist for recommendations.
Myth #2: As long as you brush your teeth, you shouldn't have bad breath.
The truth is that most people only brush their teeth for 30 to 45 seconds, which just doesn't cut it. To sufficiently clean all the surfaces of your teeth, you should brush for at least 2 minutes at least twice a day. Remember to brush your tongue, too — bacteria love to hang out there. It's equally important to floss because brushing alone won't remove harmful plaque and food particles that become stuck between your teeth and gums.
Myth #3: If you breathe into your hand, you'll know when you have bad breath.
Wrong! When you breathe, you don't use your throat the same way you do when you talk. When you talk, you tend to bring out the odors from the back of your mouth (where bad breath originates), which simply breathing doesn't do. Also, because we tend to get used to our own smells, it's hard for a person to tell if he or she has bad breath.
If you're concerned about bad breath, make sure you're taking care of your teeth and mouth properly. Some sugar-free gums and mints can temporarily mask odors, too.
If you brush and floss properly and visit your dentist for regular cleanings, but your bad breath persists, you may have a medical problem like sinusitis or gum disease. Call your doctor or dentist if you suspect a problem. They can figure out if something else is behind your bad breath and help you take care of it.
Dr. James L. Johnson