Say “Bye, Bye” to Bad Breath

It’s something nobody wants to hear: “You have bad breath.” Knowing you have bad breath can be extremely embarrassing for you and tough for those around you. Fear not – bad breath is a common condition that can be curbed by taking simple steps in your everyday life to help with this sensitive problem, hopefully for good.

dental flossingBrush and Floss Daily
This one is a no-brainer. If you aren’t already doing so, it’s important (and recommended) that you brush your teeth at least twice a day. Flossing once daily is also important. This combined daily regimen releases trapped food from between your teeth and reduces plaque, a sticky build-up that collects bacteria that causes bad breath.

Brush or Scrape Your Tongue
Surprisingly, your tongue is a breeding ground for bacteria which can lead to sour breath. In addition to brushing your teeth, you should also gently brush your tongue to not only get rid of bacteria, but food residue and dead cells.

Watch Your Diet
Garlic, onions and other spicy foods can ramp up bad breath in a big way. What you eat is absorbed into your bloodstream, then travels through your lungs where you breathe the odors out. Conversely, fasting or partaking in a low-carb diet can also cause bad breath. Eating a balanced diet and regular meals is a good line of defense.

Quit Tobacco
Cigarettes, snuff and pipes are proponents for bad breath. Besides causing cancer, smoking can stain teeth and damage your gums. Consider kicking the habit for optimal oral and physical health.

Chew Gum
Reach for sugarless gum instead of a dinner mint. Gum stimulates saliva which protects against bacteria-causing plaque and curbs bad breath. After-dinner mints, on the other hand, only mask the smell of mouth odor and do not protect against bacteria.

If you still experience bad breath despite your efforts, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor, as it’s possible your problem is linked to a medical condition. To learn more about maintaining good oral health, schedule an appointment with Dr. Marshall or call 540-373-2273.

Beautiful Smile

TMJ and TMD

Beautiful SmileThe Basics

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. It works similarly to a hinge. The temporomandibular joint allows you to talk, chew, and move your mouth. Problems with this joint are usually referred to as TMD (temporomandibular joint disorders) or TMJ syndrome.

The cause of TMD aren’t always known, but some common causes include:

  • Joint trauma cause by a car accident, fall, or other injury
  • Clenching the jaw (often as a response to stress)
  • Bruxism or subconscious teeth grinding, which often occurs while people are sleeping
  • Having misaligned teeth
  • Muscle fatigue in the jaw and area around the TMJ (sometimes these muscles are sore because someone clenches their jaw)
  • Arthritis in your joint
  • Damage or deterioration of the shock-absorbing disc in the joint
  • Damage to cartilage near the joint

What are the signs of TMD?

TMJ problems can be very painful. Seek treatment if you notice some of the following signs of TMD.

  • Frequent migraines and headaches
  • Tinnitus (ringing in your ears)
  • A popping, clicking, or grinding sound when you talk or chew
  • Pain in the jaw or near the ear
  • Pain, stiffness, or tension in your shoulders, neck, or back
  • Dizziness
  • Having the muscles in your jaw tighten up so you can’t open your mouth all the way

Temporomandibular joint disorders can leave you with chronic pain, trouble speaking and eating, and other frustrating problems that interfere with daily life. In some people who have TMJ problems also suffer from sleep apnea, which can take a severe toll on your health. Contact your dentist if you think you may have TMD.

What treatments are available?

In some cases TMD can go away over time if you rest the jaw and make lifestyle changes that help you reduce stress. In other cases, more serious treatment is needed. Marshall Dental offers a variety of treatment options depending on the situation. One common treatment is the use of a customized dental device that prevents bruxism. If you’d like to learn more about your treatment options, schedule an appointment at Marshall Dental.

Fredericksburg Food Drive

Marshall Dental Food Drive has begun!!!

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It will end November 19, 2015, in time to feed Fredericksburg Families for Thanksgiving!

Items Needed:

  • Canned Vegetables
  • Canned Fruit
  • Canned/Plastic Bottled Juice
  • Dry Goods (stuffing, rice, mashed potatoes, etc.)
  • Soups

All items will be donated to the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank

Thank you in advance on behalf of Marshall Dental

Woman Brushing

Brushing Basics

Woman BrushingYou should be brushing your teeth every day, but as with many things you do so frequently, you ay not give brushing your teeth much thought. Find out more about brushing your teeth and check your habits to make sure you’re keeping your smile as healthy as possible.

How often should you brush your teeth?

You should brush your teeth after each meal. Keep a toothbrush handy at work so you can clean your mouth after lunch each day.

 

In most cases, you can brush right after the meal, but if you’ve consumed something acidic, it may be best to wait about a half an hour to brush so that your saliva can rinse the acid off your teeth. If you brush your teeth while there is still acid in your mouth, you could harm the enamel.

How long do you need to brush?

Many people brush their teeth right before rushing out the door in the morning or flopping into bed at night—which means they don’t always brush for as long as they should.

 

Remember to brush for at least two minutes. If you need help remembering how long to brush, play a song or watch a YouTube video that is about two minutes long while you brush your teeth.

What kind of toothbrush should you use?

Unless your dentist recommends something different, you should use a toothbrush with soft, rounded bristles since bristles that are too hard can damage your enamel. In most cases the choice between a manual toothbrush and an electric toothbrush is about personal preference, but consult your dentist if you want a specific recommendation.

Why is toothpaste important?

Toothpaste makes your mouth smell clean and minty fresh, but it also serves other important functions. Toothpaste includes non-soluble abrasives to dislodge particles, fluoride to strengthen the teeth, and detergents to spread the toothpaste around the mouth and create foam.

What technique should you use?

When you brush your teeth you should move the toothbrush in small circles like the wheels of a train rather than moving the brush back and forth. This motion will dislodge more particles and keep your enamel healthy. Although brushing is important, it is important to remember not to brush too hard since that could harm your enamel.

What else should you be doing?

Brushing your teeth is important, but it doesn’t do much good without flossing, eating healthy, and going to your dentist for regular checkups. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Marshall to learn more about keeping your teeth healthy.

older-woman-on-couch-Small

Diet And Dental Health—The Basics

older-woman-on-couch-SmallThe things you drink can have a major impact on your oral health—either these things can help keep your teeth strong, healthy, and beautiful, or these things can contribute to tooth decay, gum disease, and discoloration.

 

Here’s what you should know.

The Good

Foods and beverages that help your teeth stay healthy include:

  • Water: Drinking water rinses out your mouth and dislodges particles that could get stuck and cause infection. Water also helps your mouth produce saliva, which is the body’s natural tool for killing bacteria and keeping your mouth clean.
  • Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt: Calcium helps keep your teeth strong. Dairy products are high in calcium, but many of them are also fortified with vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. You can also get vitamin D from sun exposure.
  • Carrots, Apples, Cucumbers, Celery: Crunchy fruits and vegetables with a high water content help keep your mouth clean while providing important nutrients.
  • Orange Juice, Bell Peppers, Broccoli, and Citrus Fruits—These foods all contain vitamin C, which helps prevent infection. Because some of these foods are acidic, you should be sure to rinse your mouth out with water after eating them.
  • Spinach and Kale: Dark leafy greens have all sorts of important vitamins, including calcium, which your teeth need to stay healthy and strong.

The Bad

While some foods and drinks keep your teeth healthy, others cause problems. Avoid the following:

  • Sticky foods like dried fruit, caramel, and taffy.
  • Coffee, tea, and red wine. Acidic beverages can damage your enamel and dark colored beverages can stain your teeth.
  • Hard candy and other sugary foods.
  • Sugary fruit juices, soda, and energy drinks.

It can be hard to eat healthy all the time, particularly during special social occasions. If you do consume the above foods or beverages, rinse your mouth out as quickly as possible and be sure to brush and floss your teeth.

 

Even those with good oral hygiene and healthy diets still need to go to the dentist for regular checkups. To learn more about keeping your teeth healthy, schedule an appointment with your dentist.

 

Can Good Dental Habits Protect Your Whole Body?

oral surgeryGood dental habits can protect your teeth, keep your smile looking attractive, and keep your gums healthy, but can those habits also protect the rest of your body? Here’s what you should know:

The Link Between Oral Health and Overall Health

In many ways your mouth is a gateway to the rest of your body, and it does a pretty good job keeping you safe and healthy. Your saliva, in particular, keeps your mouth clean by eliminating dangerous bacteria. When your mouth is healthy, the rest of you is more likely to be healthy as well.

 

If however, your mouth is unhealthy, the rest of your health could suffer. Studies continue to link periodontal disease (commonly known as gum disease and gingivitis) to diabetes and heart disease.

 

While studies have not yet proven that periodontal disease causes diabetes or heart problems, there is plenty of evidence that the problems are connected. According to the Mayo Clinic, some research suggests that heart disease is linked to inflammation and infections caused by oral bacteria. The Mayo Clinic also says that gum disease is more common and more severe in people with diabetes and that people who have gum disease have more difficulty controlling blood sugar.

 

Habits That Will Protect You

While good habits can’t prevent all disease, they can make it much easier to stay healthy. Keep up the following habits to keep your mouth and your body healthy:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day—consider investing in a mechanical toothbrush for more thorough cleaning.
  • Floss at least once a day—to make it easier get a water pick or a simple flossing pick.
  • If you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, rinse your mouth out with water.
  • Eat foods rich in calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin C—good options include leafy greens, yogurt, milk, carrots, celery, and apples.
  • Avoid sugary and sticky foods and beverages.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Visit your dentist regularly.

To learn more about keeping your mouth and your body healthy, visit your dentist. If you’d like to learn more about periodontal disease, and available treatments, visit Marshall Dental.

What Qualifies As A Dental Emergency?

There are different types of emergencies that require immediate dental care. These include fractures and broken teeth caused by accidents, falls, or sports related accidents; dislodged teeth; facial soft tissue injuries; severe toothaches; and abscesses. There are steps that can be followed to alleviate the pain before you reach our office for treatment, including painkillers or applying ice packs to the affected area.

However, you need to seek our help at Marshall Dental as soon as possible.

Severe toothache or pain
Severe toothache or throbbing pain that comes on suddenly is a cause for concern and should be checked out immediately because there could be an infection. Dr. Marshall will determine the cause of your pain then advise you on the best treatment options. Treatments in such cases may include a root canal procedure, fillings, or a simple intensive oral clean up.

Pain caused by dental abscesses
Abscesses are caused by infections that can develop in the tooth or between the teeth and gums. They are usually due to decay and almost always accompanied by unbearable pain. A draining procedure may be necessary to remove the abscess and prescribe a course of antibiotics.

Tooth Fracture
An X-ray will be performed if Dr. Marshall suspects a fracture that cannot be clearly seen by the naked eye. This determines if there really is a fracture and will help in assessing the extent of damage, which in most cases will call for a crown or, in extreme cases, an extraction of the damaged tooth.

Accidents and other dental emergencies are a part of life. If you find yourself in serious pain due to a dental emergency, give us a call at 540-373-2273 and we’ll take care of your problem.

Protect Your Teeth from Bruxism

Many people suffer from bruxism, teeth grinding, and don’t even know it. Because teeth grinding usually occurs at night during sleep, it’s usually a partner who hears the grinding. While occasional teeth grinding affects most people and doesn’t usually cause harm, excessive and constant teeth grinding will eventually damage your teeth.

The effects of bruxism
Teeth grinding can cause a tooth fracture, loosening of a tooth, or tooth loss. In severe cases, the grinding may substantially erode your teeth. Worse still is the possibility of jaw damage. This condition can lead to hearing loss, temporomandibular joint disorder, and a significant change in the look of your face.

Stop that annoying chatter
To protect the teeth from grinding, dentists usually fit bruxism patients with a mouth guard to be worn during sleep. It is also important to treat the root cause of the problem. For instance, stress could be the reason behind your bruxism. To alleviate this, you will have to do activities that can reduce your stress levels. This may include avoiding caffeinated foods and beverages.

Has anyone ever told you that you grind your teeth in your sleep? If so, have your condition checked today. Call us at 540-373-2273 and let’s talk about protecting your teeth from bruxism.

Teeth Whitening: Do It In-Office for Better Results!

If every time you look in the mirror or see a picture of yourself you get frustrated that your teeth aren’t as white as you want them to be, don’t be alarmed. The majority of people in this world don’t have the blindingly-white teeth we see on photoshopped models in magazines. However, even if it might be an unrealistic ideal, it is still okay to want whiter and brighter teeth. If your teeth are yellowed and discolored and you want that to change, look into teeth whitening procedures.

While there are many possible options to help whiten your teeth, including toothpastes, mouthwashes, gels, and strips, all these over-the-counter variants are not as effective as in-office dental whitening. Your dentist is able to get you better results faster. It does come at a cost, but you will be so thrilled with the results.

Brighter and Faster
In-office procedures give you the advantage of an extra dose of a lot of features that you can get only in moderation from over-the-counter products. For example, the bleaching solution used in gel trays you can buy from a store is diluted by quite a bit. It is only 3% hydrogen peroxide, whereas the professional version contains 15-43% hydrogen peroxide. Obviously the in-office equivalent packs a stronger punch.

In addition, your dentist will also use a heated light or laser to speed up the process. In just one hour-or-less appointment, you will be able to achieve visibly whiter teeth. It may be expensive, but the speed, customized approach, and effectiveness is certainly worth it.

Safety First
Although most at-home whitening systems are perfectly safe if you follow all the instructions, there is that little bit of wiggle room that makes some people nervous. In the office, you will be better protected from the strong bleach via rubber shields and a proper tray fit. You will have a professional to supervise the process and make corrections immediately if needed.

If you want whiter teeth, ask your doctor about setting up a consultation or appointment to discuss teeth whitening. In office whitening procedures are the way to go if you want to see results and fast.

What Should You Do After You’ve Had Oral Surgery?

Oral surgery procedures can be very intense and detailed. Afterward you might just want to lay in bed and relax—after all, your mouth is full of cotton and blood. And rest is an important part of the short recovery process. Here are some other things you need to keep in mind.

Blood, Blood Everywhere
Although most of the bleeding should have stopped by the time you leave the dentist’s office, there will probably still be a little bit of blood. Even if it is oozing for quite a while afterward, there is nothing to worry about. If your mouth is still pouring blood, rinse your mouth with water and then bite down firmly on gauze for at least 30 minutes to help the blood clot. Unclenching your teeth or picking up the gauze to see if it is clotting will undo all the work you’ve done, so be sure that it has been at least 30 minutes before you remove the gauze.

If you can’t get the blood to clot on its own, moisten a black tea bag with warm water and bite down on that. The black tea will help the blood clot thanks to the tannic acid in it. After you’ve tried this, if you’re still bleeding, then contact your dentist.

Pain and Swelling
The body will naturally swell up after any sort of trauma, and a surgery, however necessary, constitutes as trauma. It will get worse before it gets better, peaking on the second or third day following surgery. You can treat both pain and swelling with ice packs and medication like ibuprofen. Ice packs are only useful for the first 24 hours after the surgery, however, and you should switch to moist heat packs.

If swelling continues after a few days, it is not a big deal. There is most likely no problem, and you can keep treating it at home. If your pain continues, though, and does not lessen with each day, call the dentist. There may be something wrong with your tooth or the healing process.