3 Dental Dangers For Toddlers

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Keeping babies and toddlers safe and healthy requires nonstop effort. You snap them tightly in their car seats, lock your medicine cabinet, and guard the stairway with a gate. You take them to the doctor for check-ups. Boulder County Smiles in Lafayette CO wants to remind you about another critical component of child wellness: oral health.

Sadly, we see too many cases of tooth decay in children. You have probably received the following critical advice, but it bears repeating:

  • Don’t put babies to bed with a bottle!
  • Don’t allow children to drink juice continually during the day!
  • Prevent frequent snacking on sugary foods!

Oral health is intrinsically connected to overall physical health and normal development. If your oral hygiene is not up to par, now is the time to shape up and help your child develop a good oral health routine that will serve them well throughout their life.

Boulder County Smiles in Lafayette CO recommends twice-yearly dental visits, starting around age one or when the first tooth appears. Our services include general and family dentistry, and cosmetic dentistry. Specialties include dental implants. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Contact Boulder County Smiles:

720-862-3630

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

1140 W South Boulder Rd Ste 201
Lafayette, Colorado
80026

 

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Are Toothpicks Good For Cleaning Teeth?

At Boulder County Smiles in Lafayette CO, we always remind our patients how important it is to clean their teeth on a regular basis. Not just the front surfaces, but between the teeth, too. This is essential for cavity prevention.

What’s the best way to go about getting those narrow spaces between teeth? That’s an easy one: dental floss. Our rule of thumb is to brush your teeth twice a day, and floss at least once – ideally, just before bedtime.

What about during the day, though? You’ve just had lunch, or a mid-afternoon snack, and you can feel the gunk that’s stuck between your teeth. It isn’t always easy to pull out dental floss in the middle of the day, especially if you’re in a meeting or some other appointment.

How about a good old-fashioned toothpick? They’re easy to carry around and have pointy tips that are good for digging into tight spaces.

Our quick answer? No. In fact, we frown on using toothpicks to clean between your teeth. For one thing, they don’t do a very good a job compared to other options. For another, it is not unheard of for people to get splinters in their gums when a piece of the toothpick breaks off. You might also poke into your gums by accident.

But most important is that they don’t clean off plaque. Which brings us back to those other options: when you’re out and about during the day, we recommend using an interdental cleaner. There are several types available at any grocery store: they’re usually made from a soft plastic with bristles on the end. They’re slender and compact, so you can slide them easily between your teeth to dislodge and remove food particles.

We know that chewing on a toothpick looks pretty cool. But they are not recommended for cleaning teeth. Use an interdental cleaner like those made by DenTek, or GUM. Floss picks are also good.

Above all, see us at Boulder County Smiles in Lafayette CO for a professional cleaning and checkup every six months. Our services include general and family dentistry, and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Contact Boulder County Smiles:

720-862-3630

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

1140 W South Boulder Rd Ste 201
Lafayette, Colorado
80026

 


Between-Meal Cleaning

At Boulder County Smiles in Lafayette CO, we constantly remind our patients to brush and floss their teeth after every meal. And most of our patients take that advice to heart. But what are you supposed to do in the middle of the day? You’re out and about, and your usual stuff – that favorite toothpaste, the container of dental floss – is at home in the bathroom.

What’s the best way to keep your teeth clean between meals?

One of the best things you can do is rinse your mouth with water after you eat. That alone will give your whole mouth a quick cleansing.

A quick brushing is good, too. An excellent trick is what we call dry brushing. That means brushing your teeth without toothpaste. Yes, it sounds a bit strange – but it’s effective, especially if you can use a little water, too. (We know of other dentists who do it themselves.) It isn’t the way you would brush at home, of course, but it’s going to clean the surfaces of your teeth – and that’s half the battle.

The other half of the battle is the stuff that gets between your teeth. A good solution here is using floss picks. They’re no substitute for regular dental floss, but because they have a little handle, you can do it one-handed and without the aid of a mirror. (Just be sure you use regular floss later on, before bed.)

Another effective trick is chewing sugarless gum. It only takes about five minutes of chewing to get the benefits. The gum will remove a lot of the surface debris from your teeth. It also gets your saliva going, which in turn promotes re-mineralization. That’s the process of replacing minerals in your teeth.

Still another good idea is to eat healthy snacks. Raw vegetables and nuts are always a better choice than a cookie or candy bar, or some other sugary treat. Not only that, these rough-textured foods help to scrub your teeth as you chew.

At Boulder County Smiles in Lafayette CO, we want each of our patients to keep their teeth clean during the day, and hope these suggestions help. We would also like to see you in the office every six months. Our services include general and family dentistry and dental implants. Call today to schedule your next checkup.

Contact Boulder County Smiles:

720-862-3630

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

1140 W South Boulder Rd Ste 201
Lafayette, Colorado
80026


Gritting Your Teeth: Stress And Your Smile

Lafayette how stress hurts your teeth

Doctors have been telling us for years that stress can increase the risk of everything from high blood pressure to depression. But how often do we think about how stress affects our smile? In this post from Boulder County Smiles in Lafayette CO, here are some dental problems linked to stress.

Canker and Cold Sores
Cold sores are a symptom of the herpes simplex virus. Scientists don’t know exactly what causes canker sores but suspect they are related to infection, virus, or a weak immune system. If you are prone to mouth sores, you probably already know that stress seems to bring them on or lengthen healing times.

If you get these sores often, talk to us. We can counsel you on medications, diet, and stress reduction procedures.

Teeth Grinding

It’s no surprise that teeth grinding (bruxism) is dangerous to teeth. It starts with enamel wear, then loose teeth, and eventually tooth loss. During this progression, there may be other issues such as gum recession, headaches, and TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder).

If you grind your teeth, it’s vital to address this condition as soon as possible. In addition to stress, there are many factors that can cause or exacerbate bruxism. These include malocclusion (bad bite), and prescription depression and anxiety medications.

We may prescribe an appliance to guard your teeth and keep your jaw in the proper position while you are sleeping. Other treatments include cognitive behavior therapy, relaxation therapies, mandibular advancement devices, physical therapy, and medication.

Temporomandibular Disorders
There are many direct and indirect causes of TMD. For example, inability to manage stress may cause jaw clenching which, in turn, causes pain in the jaw joint. Other symptoms of TMD include tenderness, pain, or swelling in the neck, ear, face, or shoulder; popping or clicking sounds; and changes in bite alignment. Again, if you experience any of these, talk to us about it.

Gum Disease
Stress can reduce your ability to fight plaque build-up which can cause gingivitis.

Oral Hygiene
Some people overlook brushing and flossing when they are experiencing high levels of stress.

Diet
It’s not uncommon for men and women people to consume more sugar, snack more often between meals, or drink more alcoholic beverages when experiencing increased stress. All this at a time when vigilant oral hygiene is frequently not a person’s first priority!

At Boulder County Smiles in Lafayette CO, we can treat TMD. We also offer dental implants and many other services. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Contact Gordon West DDS – Aesthetic & General Dentistry:

720-862-3630

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

1140 W South Boulder Rd Ste 201
Lafayette, Colorado
80026

 

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Halitosis And Xerostomia (Bad Breath And Dry Mouth)

dry mouth treatment Lafayette

This post from Boulder County Smiles in Lafayette CO looks at two conditions that afflict some of our patients: bad breath, and dry mouth.

While poor  oral hygiene is the most common cause of bad breath (halitosis), many factors can contribute to or exacerbate the condition. One of these is the lack of saliva, or xerostomia.

Saliva and Oral Health
Saliva moistens the teeth and gums and eliminates odiferous dead cells. Saliva also neutralizes the ever-present acids on the tongue, gums, and cheeks and the minerals in saliva help to maintain enamel durability. Immunoproteins in saliva inhibit the overgrowth of microbes in the mouth, thereby safeguarding the gums from gingivitis. Saliva also functions as a disinfectant by cleansing the mouth of leftover food, bacteria, and fungi. This guards against dental caries and infections.

Many individuals are plagued with dry mouth sporadically; perhaps when they are feeling anxiety or stress. Limiting caffeine, chewing sugar-free gum, using OTC saliva substitutes, and using a humidifier can add moisture to the mouth.

If you have occasional periods of dry mouth, there is probably nothing to worry about. Constant dry mouth, however, can cause additional oral and physical health troubles.

At Boulder County Smiles in Lafayette CO, we want the best in dental health for each of our patients. We offer general and family dentistry, including dental implants. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Contact Boulder County Smiles:

720-862-3630

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

1140 W South Boulder Rd Ste 201
Lafayette, Colorado
80026

 

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A Great Achievement in Dentistry

Dental implants have been hailed as one of the truly great advances in the field of dentistry, and with good reason. Implants are an artificial tooth root that is surgically implanted into the jaw of a patient, to replace a missing root. The implant, in turn, can support an artificial tooth; multiple implants can anchor a set of dentures. Dental implants are available from Boulder County Smiles in Lafayette CO.

But first, there are times when we have to take a moment and marvel at human ingenuity. The idea of dental implants actually goes back at least a thousand years. Ancient implants were a far cry from what we know today: sea shells, pieces of metal, and even bits of bone were placed in the patient’s jaw. We don’t know if any of them were any good, but the idea was there.

Implants as we know them today date back to the early 1950s. The implant is most often made from titanium. One of their great benefits is that they help to prevent bone loss, which is common in people who have lost one of their natural teeth.

In practical terms, the great thing about single implants is that they function like a natural tooth. The titanium post fuses to the patient’s jaw, and integrates with the bone so well that the body seldom recognizes them as a foreign object. Rejection is rare.

Conventional dentures may be more affordable than implant-anchored dentures. But because they are removable, most patients find that traditional dentures can be unreliably loose. They can also affect the ability to enjoy food. These are not issues with implant-supported dentures.

Dental implants from Boulder County Smiles in Lafayette are the closest thing to getting back a natural tooth. Find out more by scheduling a consultation today. We also provide general and family dentistry, and pediatric dentistry.

Contact Gordon West DDS – Aesthetic & General Dentistry:

720-862-3630

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

1140 W South Boulder Rd Ste 201
Lafayette, Colorado
80026


Dental Care For ICU Patients Lowers Infection Risk

Lafayette best family dentist

This blog post from Boulder County Smiles in Lafayette CO focuses on an article that appeared recently on ScienceDaily.com.

The article describes a study of Brazilian ICU patients that compared infection rates of those who received enhanced oral care instead of routine oral care. The patients who received the more intensive dental care were 56 percent less likely to develop a respiratory infection during their hospital stay.

“Enhanced dental care included teeth brushing, tongue scraping, removal of calculus, atraumatic restorative treatment of caries, tooth extraction and topical application of chlorhexidine corresponding to each patients’ needs four to five times a week. Comparatively, regular treatment consisted of mechanical cleansing using gauze followed by topical application of chlorhexidine three times a day.”1

“Bacteria causing healthcare-associated infections often start in the oral cavity,” said Fernando Bellissimo-Rodrigues, MD, lead author of the study. “This study suggests that having a dentist provide weekly care as part the ICU team may improve outcomes for vulnerable patients in this setting.”1

If a member of your family has serious health concerns, you may want to talk to their doctor about the oral health implications of their condition.

Though this study pertains to ICU patients, it is also a reminder to all of us. Receiving consistent quality dental care and practicing proper daily oral hygiene is essential for everyone. Some patients have an inaccurate view of oral health – they seem to have the notion that it exists autonomously. It is actually interdependent with general physical health.

At Boulder County Smiles, we see ourselves as key members of your healthcare team and are dedicated to your physical, mental, and emotional health. Our services include general and family dentistry, and specialties like dental implants. Schedule an appointment today.

1Wanessa T. Bellissimo-Rodrigues, Mayra G. Menegueti, Gilberto G. Gaspar, Edson A. Nicolini, Maria Auxiliadora-Martins, Anibal Basile-Filho, Roberto Martinez, Fernando Bellissimo-Rodrigues. Effectiveness of a Dental Care Intervention in the Prevention of Lower Respiratory Tract Nosocomial Infections among Intensive Care Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, 2014; 35 (11): 1342 DOI: 10.1086/678427

Contact Gordon West DDS – Aesthetic & General Dentistry:

720-862-3630

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

1140 W South Boulder Rd Ste 201
Lafayette, Colorado
80026

 

ArticleID 6828

Hiccups In Your Dental Routine

Boulder County cosmetic dental veneers

The most common times people stop to brush their teeth are morning and night – either before or after breakfast, after dinner, or at bedtime. Common concerns that come with this routine involve hiccups in the schedule, from family life, shift work or exhaustion.

Sometimes after dinner isn’t super cut and dried. Many Boulder families face irregular weeknight routines. As the school year progresses, some have games to attend, band concerts, play practice, youth groups or other weeknight commitments. An irregular schedule commonly disrupts regular dental maintenance.

Many people have daily commutes or shift work to battle with. Due to the changing landscape of the job market and the greater variety in shift schedules, we see patients who are adjusting to irregularities in sleep patterns. This leads to exhaustion and often sleep takes priority over consistent brushing – either morning or night.

The most important time to be sure to brush is after eating sugar or carb-intensive foods. These foods kickstart bacteria growth on the teeth without vigilant attention.

Highly acidic foods weaken the enamel, so it is best to swish with water immediately after consuming acidic foods to diminish the acid. Then brush about 30 minutes later when the mouth is less acidic. The fluoride in toothpaste helps remineralize the enamel.

At Boulder County Smiles in Lafayette CO, we help you maintain your dental health. In addition to general and family dentistry, our services include dental implants and treating serious conditions like sleep apnea. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Contact Gordon West DDS – Aesthetic & General Dentistry:

720-862-3630

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

1140 W South Boulder Rd Ste 201
Lafayette, Colorado
80026

 

ArticleID 6829

Flossing: The Detail Work

Whenever you’re in our Boulder County Smiles office in Lafayette CO, the dentist reminds you to brush and floss every day. (You’ve notice?) In general, we say brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss at least once. Too many patients heed that first bit of advice, but unfortunately ignore the second.

Flossing between your teeth is every bit as important to your dental health as brushing is, but it has a different role. Where brushing removes plaque from the surface of the teeth and along the gum line, flossing gets into the tight spaces between your teeth. It loosens the debris that always gets wedged in, and any plaque building up.

In short, it gets those places that your toothbrush can’t.

Should you floss before brushing, or after? The jury is out on that one. Some research suggests that flossing first can make brushing more effective. The idea is that after flossing, there is less gunk between your teeth. The fluoride in your toothpaste is able to get in there better.

Before or after? Do whichever you prefer. Just don’t forget to floss!

We think of flossing as the detail work. Brushing gets most of the work done, but it takes floss to get into those tight places, and leave your mouth as clean as it can be.

That’s why, for the best of dental health, Boulder County Smiles in Lafayette CO urges you to brush AND floss. Our services include general and family dentistry, and dental implants. We also treat conditions like sleep apnea. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Contact Gordon West DDS – Aesthetic & General Dentistry:

720-862-3630

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

1140 W South Boulder Rd Ste 201
Lafayette, Colorado
80026


5 Critical Things To Know About Periodontal Disease

gum disease exam Lafayette

Periodontal disease is inflammation or infection of the gums. For the most part it is preventable. Also known as gum disease, this condition is so common in the United States that it has been called a health crisis. At Boulder County Smiles in Lafayette CO, we provide effective gum disease treatment.

Here are five important things to know about gum disease.

  1. If left untreated, it can cause irreversible damage such as tooth loss.
  2. Practicing proper oral hygiene and having 6-month dental exams are the best way to prevent periodontal disease.
  3. Periodontal disease can occur without the presence of tooth decay.
  4. Almost half of all 30+ adults in the US have periodontal disease.
  5. In some cases, periodontal disease produces no noticeable symptoms.

Risk factors for gum disease include tobacco use, poor oral hygiene (especially failing to floss), genetics, teeth grinding, inflammatory conditions, and poor nutrition.

Preventing gum disease is just another reason to see us every six months at Boulder County Smiles in Lafayette CO. We provide a full range of services, including dental implants and sedation dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Contact Gordon West DDS – Aesthetic & General Dentistry:

720-862-3630

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

1140 W South Boulder Rd Ste 201
Lafayette, Colorado
80026

 

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