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Posts for tag: oral hygiene

By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
December 09, 2018
Category: Oral Health

If you’ve ever heard your dentist or hygienist talk about “calculus,” they’re not referring to a higher branch of mathematics. The calculus on your teeth is something altogether different.

Calculus, also called tartar, is dental plaque that’s become hardened or “calcified” on tooth surfaces. Plaque begins as soft food particles and bacteria that accumulate on the teeth, and more so if you don’t properly clean your teeth every day. This built-up plaque becomes both home and food source for bacteria that can cause tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease.

Because of this direct link between plaque and/or calculus and dental disease, we encourage everyone to perform two important oral hygiene tasks every day. The first is to floss between your teeth to remove plaque as you are unable to effectively reach those areas with a toothbrush.  Once you loosen all the plaque, the other really important task is a thorough brushing of all of the tooth surfaces to remove any plaque that may have accumulated since the last brushing. Doing so every day will catch most of the softer plaque before it becomes calcified.

Once it forms, calculus is impossible to remove by brushing and flossing alone. That’s why you should have regular cleanings performed by a dental professional. Dentists and hygienists have special tools called scalers that allow them to manually remove plaque and calculus, as well as ultrasonic equipment that can vibrate it loose to be flushed away with water.

In fact, you should undergo dental cleanings at least twice a year (or as often as your dentist recommends) even if you religiously brush and floss daily. Calculus forms so easily that it’s nearly inevitable you’ll accumulate some even if you have an effective hygiene regimen. Your dental team can remove hardened deposits of calculus that may have gotten past your own hygiene efforts.

If you haven’t been consistently practicing this kind of daily hygiene, see your dentist to get a fresh start. Not only will they be able to check for any emerging problems, they can clean your teeth of any plaque and calculus buildup so that you’ll be able to start with a “clean” slate.

Calculus can be tenacious, but it not impossible to remove. Don’t let it set you up for an unhealthy experience with your teeth and gums.

If you would like more information on reducing plaque buildup, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
October 20, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

The vast majority of teeth and gum problems stem from two dental diseases: dental caries (tooth decay) and periodontal (gum) disease. But although these dental diseases are all too common in our society, there’s a good chance you can prevent them from harming your own dental health.

That’s because we know the primary cause for both of them—dental plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles that can build up on tooth surfaces usually as a result of poor oral hygiene. Remove this plaque build-up daily and you dramatically decrease your risk for disease.

The primary way to do this is with a daily habit of brushing and flossing. While regular dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar (calcified plaque) from hard to reach places, it’s your regular practice that removes the bulk of daily buildup. Interrupting plaque buildup helps keep disease-causing bacteria at bay.

That also means performing these two hygiene tasks thoroughly. For example, you should brush all tooth surfaces, especially in the rear and along the entire gum line (a complete brushing should take at least 2 minutes). And by the way, “thorough” doesn’t mean “aggressive”—a gentle circular motion is all you need. If you scrub too hard, you run the risk over time of damaging your gums.

And while many people discount flossing as a hard and unpleasant task, it’s still necessary: at least half of the plaque in your mouth accumulates between the teeth where brushing can’t reach effectively. If you find flossing too difficult, you can take advantage of tools to make the task easier. A floss threader will make it easier to get floss through your teeth; you could also use an oral irrigator, a device that emits a pressurized spray of water to loosen and flush away some plaque.

Along with dental visits at least twice a year, daily brushing and flossing is the best way to reduce your risk of both tooth decay and gum disease. Avoiding these two diseases will help ensure your smile is attractive and healthy throughout your life.

If you would like more information on preventing dental disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Daily Oral Hygiene: Easy Habits for Maintaining Oral Health.”

By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
July 19, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene   Dental Visits  

Dental VisitFind out why routine dental checkups are important and how often you should be going.

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to hear that everyone, no matter how great they feel, should visit their dentist regularly. Of course, the million-dollar question is, “How often?” From the office of our Shelby, NC, dentist, Dr. Joseph Hendrick, Jr., find out how often you should be coming in for checkups and why they are so important.

A healthy individual who doesn’t have a high risk for developing cavities or gum disease only needs to visit the dentist twice a year (every six months) for cleanings and checkups (maybe once a year; however, always consult your dentist to make sure that once a year is right for you). Once a year our Shelby family dentist will also perform X-rays to check for decay and other issues that we may not be able to see with the naked eye.

However, those who’ve had a lot of cavities in the past, currently have gum disease, or are dealing with other dental issues really shouldn’t skip out on these routine checkups because they could just end up saving your oral health. After all, not all dental issues present with symptoms, so how else would you know that there is something wrong unless you had a checkup? Just as people should have an annual physical exam with their family doctor so too should people come in regularly to visit their dentist.

When should children start seeing the dentist?

Knowing when to bring your child in for regular dental cleanings and checkups is important. After all, the sooner you get them involved in their own oral care the better. As soon as their first tooth comes in or by their first birthday, whichever comes first, you should schedule their first cleaning. The first checkup gets your little one acclimated to the dental office and our team so they grow up having a positive experience of the dentist.

Who should visit the dentist more often?

There are some situations in which people might even need to see the dentist more regularly (about every 3-4 months). This is certainly the case for:

  • Pregnant women
  • Menopausal women
  • Patients at a high risk for decay
  • Smokers
  • Heavy drinkers
  • Active gum disease
  • Diabetics

Is it high time you came in for your checkup and cleaning? If it’s been longer than six months then you definitely need to come in soon to make sure your teeth and gums are still healthy. Our Shelby, NC, dental team is here to provide the ultimate in preventive dental care.

By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
June 11, 2018
Category: Oral Health

Everyone knows that in the game of football, quarterbacks are looked up to as team leaders. That's why we're so pleased to see some NFL QB's setting great examples of… wait for it… excellent oral hygiene.

First, at the 2016 season opener against the Broncos, Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers was spotted on the bench; in his hands was a strand of dental floss. In between plays, the 2105 MVP was observed giving his hard-to-reach tooth surfaces a good cleaning with the floss.

Later, Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor was seen on the sideline of a game against the 49ers — with a bottle of mouthwash. Taylor took a swig, swished it around his mouth for a minute, and spit it out. Was he trying to make his breath fresher in the huddle when he called out plays?

Maybe… but in fact, a good mouthrinse can be much more than a short-lived breath freshener.

Cosmetic rinses can leave your breath with a minty taste or pleasant smell — but the sensation is only temporary. And while there's nothing wrong with having good-smelling breath, using a cosmetic mouthwash doesn't improve your oral hygiene — in fact, it can actually mask odors that may indicate a problem, such as tooth decay or gum disease.

Using a therapeutic mouthrinse, however, can actually enhance your oral health. Many commonly available therapeutic rinses contain anti-cariogenic (cavity-fighting) ingredients, such as fluoride; these can help prevent tooth decay and cavity formation by strengthening tooth enamel. Others contain antibacterial ingredients; these can help control the harmful oral bacteria found in plaque — the sticky film that can build up on your teeth in between cleanings. Some antibacterial mouthrinses are available over-the-counter, while others are prescription-only. When used along with brushing and flossing, they can reduce gum disease (gingivitis) and promote good oral health.

So why did Taylor rinse? His coach Rex Ryan later explained that he was cleaning out his mouth after a hard hit, which may have caused some bleeding. Ryan also noted, “He [Taylor] does have the best smelling breath in the league for any quarterback.” The coach didn't explain how he knows that — but never mind. The takeaway is that a cosmetic rinse may be OK for a quick fix — but when it comes to good oral hygiene, using a therapeutic mouthrinse as a part of your daily routine (along with flossing and brushing) can really step up your game.

If you would like more information about mouthrinses and oral hygiene, contact us or schedule a consultation.

By Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
March 21, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

Are your oral hygiene habits increasing your risk of cavities or protecting you from the effects of tooth decay? Shelby, NC, dentist Dr. oral hygieneJoseph Hendrick shares a few suggestions that will help you optimize your oral hygiene routine.

Extend your brushing sessions

Spending more time cleaning is always a good thing, whether you're washing your car or brushing your teeth. In fact, if you don't spend a full two minutes brushing your teeth, you may not clear away every speck of plaque. Leaving behind even a little bit of plaque can increase your risk of cavities and gum disease. Devoting a little more time to brushing is a simple way to improve your oral hygiene.

Evaluate your technique

Do you drag your toothbrush vertically against your teeth and gums, or push as hard as you can to ensure you get your teeth clean? If you do, you may be damaging your teeth and gums. Poor technique can cause both gum and enamel erosion, increasing your risk of receding gums, eroded enamel and sensitive teeth.

When you're at a Shelby drugstore, choose a soft bristle brush, as these brushes are gentler on your enamel than medium varieties. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle, and brush each tooth individually using short circular motions. Don't forget to clean the backs of your teeth too, as plaque can form on every surface of your teeth.

Make time for daily flossing

If flossing isn't part of your oral hygiene routine, it's time to add this important dental task to your day. Flossing gets rid of plaque between teeth and prevents it from turning into tartar, a hard deposit that plays a role in the development of gum disease. Flossing every day can also help keep your breath fresher. When you eat, small pieces of food inevitably become stuck between your teeth. Thanks to your daily flossing habit, you'll reduce your gum disease and tooth decay risk and enjoy fresher breath.

Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits will help keep your teeth in good condition. Call Shelby, NC, dentist Dr. Joseph Hendrick at (704) 484-0077 to schedule your appointment.

Dentist in Shelby, NC
Joseph R. Hendrick, Jr., DDS, PA
511 N. Morgan Street
Shelby, NC 28150
(704) 484-0077
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