Is Your Toothpaste Compatible With You?

No toothpaste will be able to save the smile of an individual who is nonchalant about good oral hygiene; however, according to Ada Cooper, DDS, who is the spokesperson for the American Dental Association (ADA), the smiles of individuals who take their oral hygiene seriously can benefit from using a toothpaste that addresses his or her particular dental needs.

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Always Choose a Toothpaste That Carries the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance
In order for a toothpaste to receive the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance, it must meet the association’s requirements for effectiveness and safety. The claims made on the toothpaste’s packaging must be true.
Choosing a Toothpaste
There are more than 350 different types of toothpastes, powders and gels available, which is why choosing just one may seem like an overwhelming task; however, the information below should help you sift through the numerous options available to find the product that will meet your dental needs the best.
Toothpaste Ingredients and Terms

Re-mineralizes and strengthens tooth enamel – considered by the ADA as ‘nature’s cavity fighter.’ It coats the teeth; thus, forming a shield that protects the teeth from cavity causing acids. Prescription toothpastes like PreviDent contain large amounts of fluoride and can help prevent cavities.

Tip – When brushing your teeth, spit out the toothpaste, but do not rinse. This allows the fluoride to stay on the teeth longer.

Flavoring Agents

Xylitol (sweetener), saccharin (sweetener), cinnamon and peppermint is used to enhance the flavor of toothpaste.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

SLS is a detergent that creates the foaming action; however, it can cause dry mouth, canker sores and allergies.

Whitening Toothpastes

The mild abrasives used in teeth whitening toothpastes prevent additional stain buildup and also help polish the teeth. Although these toothpastes will not alter the actual color of […]

How Chewing Gum Can Help Your Teeth

According to research conducted by Wrigley, NACGM in 2014, an average American chews 280 sticks of gum every year. Unlike other candies, clinical studies indicate chewing sugarless gum following meals actually helps prevent tooth decay. In fact, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends chewing sugarless gum for approximately 20 minutes after eating or drinking.
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How Chewing Sugarless Gum Helps Prevent Cavities
Chewing triggers saliva production: Saliva neutralizes the acids that bacteria produce, washes away food particles and delivers disease-fighting substances throughout the mouth. Furthermore, the increased flow of saliva brings with it more phosphate and calcium, which helps strengthen tooth enamel.
Chewing Gum Used for This Purpose Needs to Be Sugarless
Chewing gum that contains sugar also increases the flow of saliva; however, the sugar is detrimental to the teeth since the plaque bacteria use it to produce acids that can lead to tooth decay.
Choosing Chewing Gum
When considering which chewing gum to purchase, look for one that has the ADA’s Seal of Approval. These products are sweetened using non-cavity causing sweeteners (i.e., Xylitol, aspartame, mannitol or sorbitol). The ADA Seal ensures that the gum has met the association’s criteria for effectiveness and safety. All information that is listed on an ADA-accepted product has been verified; therefore, these products can be trusted to do what they say they do.
Chewing Sugar-Free Gum Should Not Replace Brushing and Flossing
Chewing gum should never replace flossing and brushing. The ADA still recommends flossing at least once a day and brushing twice daily with a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
Sugar vs. the Sweeteners Used in Sugarless Gum
Unlike sugar, the sweeteners used in sugar-free gum are unsuitable as fuel for the cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth; therefore, these sweeteners help decrease the number of bacteria […]

5 Ways To Manage Your Children’s Dental Anxiety

Nearly 20 percent of school age children fear the dentist. When a child is afraid of the dentist, providing treatment is a challenge. While dental anxiety is problematic for the dentist, it can also be harmful to the patient. If a patient’s fear and anxiety keep him or her from seeking dental treatment, maintaining a healthy mouth is nearly impossible. There are strategies that parents and dental professionals can use to manage a child’s anxiety.

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5 Ways to Manage a Child’s Dental Anxiety
1. Predictability
Generally, children do better when a situation is predictable. For that reason, telling your child what to expect during his or her dental procedure is recommended. This is especially important if your child is afraid of the dentist.

Some children may find it difficult to understand complicated verbal explanations, in cases such as these, role-play is helpful. At Espinal & Willis – Carolinas Center for Advanced Dentistry, we take advantage of the tell-show-do method.

The Tell-Show-Do Method in Pediatric Dentistry

Once parents have explained to their child what he or she can expect during the dental procedure, we reinforce the predictability factor by using the tell-show-do method.

Step One – Tell

We tell the child what is going to happen in terms he or she will understand.

Step Two – Show

We show the child the process before beginning the procedure.

Step Three – Do

We begin the procedure once the child understands the process.
2. Parental Involvement
If our dental professionals recognize that a child is feeling a substantial amount of distress, they may request that a parent accompany his or her child during the dental exam or procedure. Although the issue of parental presence during medical and dental procedures can be slightly controversial, many parents already have strategies to help […]

6 Foods That Stain Your Teeth

Tooth enamel is absorbent, which is why teeth are susceptible to becoming stained. As time passes, the teeth absorb the color from certain foods. These stains can cause the teeth to have a brown or yellow undertone. Acidic foods can wear away and temporarily softening the teeth; thus, making teeth more prone to become stained. The colors in food come from intensely pigmented molecules called chromogens: These molecules can easily adhere to the tooth’s enamel. Furthermore, food compounds (tannins) that are found in a variety of foods, including smoked foods, citrus fruits and legumes assist the chromogens by making it easier for them to attach to the enamel.

Any food that has the potential to leave a permanent stain on carpets or clothing can probably discolor the teeth. Extremely cold or hot food can also be harmful to the teeth because it can cause the teeth to contract or expand; therefore, making it even easier for stains to infiltrate the enamel.
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6 Foods That Stain Your Teeth
1. Tomato Based Foods and Condiments
Ketchup and tomato sauce can stain the teeth because tomatoes are a brightly colored, acidic fruit. Although nothing prevents the adherence of stains altogether, prior to consuming a tomato based food, eat broccoli or lettuce. These vegetables can help form a protective layer on the teeth; thus, limiting the amount of staining the fruit will cause.
2. Dark Liquids Added to Food – Soy Sauce, Dressings and Balsamic Vinegar
Darker liquids that are added to food (especially acidic liquids) can cause the teeth to become stained. Instead of using dark liquids, choose lighter condiments like rice vinegar.
3. Berries
Although colorful berries are full of antioxidants, their dark colored skins can stain the teeth. These berries include: raspberries, […]

5 Drinks That Stain Your Teeth

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The permeability of tooth enamel makes it extremely vulnerable to stains. Colored beverages can be absorbed by the teeth, which may lead to a brown or yellow tinge on the teeth. Acidic beverages are another problem for tooth enamel because the acid can actually wear the enamel away and temporarily softens the enamel; thus, making teeth even more prone to staining.

Bright Colored Beverages Can Stain the Teeth

The color in beverages comes from intensely pigmented molecules that are referred to as chromogens. These molecules easily adhere to the enamel; in addition, beverages like red wine, tea and coffee have tannins, which increase the risk of stains because they boost the number of chromogens in the mouth. Any beverage that is known to stain clothes, furniture and carpets will most likely stain the teeth.

5 Drinks that Stain Your Teeth

1. Fruit Juice

Dark juices (cranberry and grape) may leave a tinge of color on the tongue and teeth. Consider diluting the dark juices using spritzers.

2. Tea

Individuals who frequently drink tea tend to get stain due to the tannins. To avoid damaging the teeth, individuals should drink light colored beverages like white or green teas.

3. Coffee

Coffee’s dark color, acidic nature and the fact that coffee is another drink consumed at high temperatures makes it another beverage that can stain the teeth. Adding milk or cream can reduce the coffee’s staining effect.

4. Colored Soda/Pop

All colored pop/soda can instantly discolor the teeth. The citric acids found in colored soda/pop may erode tooth enamel; furthermore, soda/pop is full of sugar, which promotes tooth decay.

5. Red/Purple Wine

Wine is known to reduce inflammation; therefore, it is good for individuals with gum disease; however, the deep purple/red color may remain on the teeth. […]

11 Ways to Make Your Breath Smell Good All the Time

11 Ways to Make Your Breath Smell Good All the Time
Who doesn’t want to have kissable breath all day long? Having amazing-smelling breath just might be easier than you think.
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1. A Balanced Diet with Limited Carbohydrates
Eat a balanced diet that includes proteins and fats, limiting your intake of carbohydrates. When you eat fatty foods, ketones are created. These ketones remain in the stomach and begin to ferment; thus, creating a foul odor that can travel back to the mouth via the esophagus. For this reason, adding healthy carbs to your diet is essential to help balance out the fats within the stomach and promote better smelling breath. Healthy carbs include carrots, broccoli, fresh fruits and sweet potatoes.
2. Eat Crunchy, Healthy Foods
By eating foods with a hard texture, you can remove foods that are caught between your teeth; in addition, you remove the bacteria that thrive on these trapped foods. These bacteria are what causes the teeth to feel fuzzy when you run your tongue along them. Consuming hard textured foods is similar to brushing your teeth: These foods include celery, apples and carrots.
3. Eat Your Greens
Eat green vegetables. These vegetables promote an alkaline environment, which balances out your body by counteracting the acid that causes bad breath.
4. Water Lubricates the Mouth
Water keeps the bacteria in your mouth under control. To keep your body functioning at its best and keep your breath fresher, you should drink 48 ounces of H20 every day. Sodas, bottled beverages (ice teas) and sports drinks are frequently preserved using citric acid: Citric acid contributes to bad breath and wears away tooth enamel. Soda is extremely acidic, so acidic that it can take the paint off a wall; therefore, reduce […]

5 Ways To Get Rid Of Morning Breath

Counteracting the bacteria in the mouth responsible for causing morning breath requires practicing good oral hygiene every day. Good oral hygiene includes flossing, brushing, cleaning your tongue and using a non-alcoholic mouthwash that contains a zinc compound.
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1. Floss, Brush, Clean Tongue and Gargle Mouthwash
Floss Daily
Use an interdental cleaner or dental floss to remove plaque and food particles in between your teeth. You should floss at least once daily.
Brush Your Teeth at Least Twice Daily
Brush your teeth twice daily using a toothpaste containing fluoride. Brushing your teeth helps to remove the plaque, before it turns into tartar. While you can effectively remove plaque through brushing and flossing, your dental hygienist will have to remove any tartar buildup during your biannual cleaning.

Brushing your teeth 30 minutes after you eat is best; however, if this is not possible, chew sugar-free gum that contains the sweetener Xylitol, which is antibacterial. Chewing this gum will help to remove food particles that are lodged between the teeth. By eliminating these food particles, you decrease the amount of bacteria in your mouth.

Regularly change your toothbrush (every two or three months). You should also get a new toothbrush following an illness.
Clean Your Tongue
Remember to clean your tongue when you brush your teeth because bacteria sit on the taste buds; thus, affecting the way your breath smells. You can clean your tongue using your toothbrush or with a tongue scraper. Some toothbrushes have a tongue scraper at the end of the handle: You can also purchase tongue cleaners that are specifically designed to remove bacteria from the tongue.
2. Use Antibacterial, Non-Alcoholic Mouthwash That Contains Zinc Compounds
Rinse your mouth twice daily using an antibacterial mouthwash that contains zinc compounds, but does not contain […]

3 Tips To Get The Most From Your Dental Insurance

Understanding the benefits from your dental insurance can assist you in your quest for strong teeth and a healthy mouth. The three tips below are designed to help you get the most out of your dental insurance benefits.
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1. Understand Your Coverage
Deductible – this is the amount you are required to pay before the dental insurance begins to pay their portion. For example, an individual may have a $50 deductible, this $50 must be met before the plan begins paying benefits. However, some insurance plans do not require the deductible be met before dental cleanings. Many dental plans cover these biannual cleanings at 100 percent.

Maximum – this refers to the maximum amount of money that the insurance will pay for dental services within a specific amount of time (usually 12 months). Depending on the plan, this maximum can be for an entire family or one individual. Annual maximums are typically between $1,000 and $2,000. For major restorative work, $1,000 can add up quickly, so be sure to track the cost of all dental treatment throughout the year.
If you have extensive treatment that will exceed your annual maximum, ask your dentist if any of the treatment can be carried over to the new year when your maximum resets.
2. Ask for a Pre-Determination
Once treatment is recommended by your dentist, you have some time (unless it’s an emergency) until the treatment is actually completed. During this period your insurance can give you an exact cost for the treatment by having your dental provider send a pre-determination to the insurance company. This can take up to a few weeks, but you have the comfort of knowing exactly what your out of pocket cost will be.
3. Always check your […]

The Best Professional Teeth Whitening For You

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The Best Professional Teeth Whitening For You
One of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures is professional teeth whitening/bleaching. According to the study “The Impact of Whiter Teeth on Key First Impressions” , conducted by Kelton Research, individuals with whiter teeth are viewed as confident, more attractive, financially successful and trustworthy.

At Espinal & Willis – Carolinas Center for Advanced Dentistry, we offer the highest quality whitening products which are superior to the other whitening products on the open market. Discoloration can be caused from red wine, soda, tea, tobacco or even due to natural aging. Whether you want to whiten your teeth back to their natural color or beyond the natural color, we have the best whitening solution for you.
Professional vs. Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Products

Professional – Custom-Made Whitening Trays
Custom-made trays ensure that all the teeth are completely covered with an even application of the whitening gel. Furthermore, these custom trays are less likely to allow the gel to come into contact with the gum tissues or escape into the patient’s mouth. To accomplish this, impressions are taken of the patient’s teeth and then used to fabricate the thin, clear whitening trays to whiten at home.

Over-the-Counter – One Size Fits All Whitening Trays
The majority of whitening trays available on the open market are designed as a one size fits all product. On many occasions, these trays do not provide even coverage and can lead to uneven results or could allow the whitening gel to escape onto the gum tissue. This type of bleaching is usually less expensive than custom-made trays.

While many people find some success with over-the-counter whitening products, professional whitening products […]

5 Regular Habits That Damage Your Teeth

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1. Avoid acidic, sugary beverages, such as soft drinks, energy drinks and sports drinks.
Be aware of soda, sports drinks and energy drinks – they are very harmful to your teeth. These drinks are loaded with sugar which feeds bacteria in our mouths and creates acid. Individuals who bathe their teeth in acid gradually corrode their enamel and cause decay. Even the diet beverages take a toll on your pearly whites, since the citric and phosphoric acids in these beverages also cause damage. Instead of reaching for a beverage full of sugar and acid, consider a tall glass of healthy, cleansing water.
2. Toothpastes vary in abrasiveness: Some toothpastes (i.e., whitening/smokers stain) contain harmful abrasives that negatively affect the protective layer of enamel on the teeth.
Improperly using those innovative whitening toothpastes available on the market can seriously damage your teeth. Toothpaste is abrasive: Especially the varieties of toothpaste that contain whitening agents. When used incorrectly, these abrasives can gradually cause thinning or erosion of the tooth enamel.
3. Bruxism (teeth grinding), can cause excessive wear on the teeth and muscle pain.
Grinding the teeth wears them down, can lead to microfractures (weakened areas of the teeth) and actually cause your teeth to fracture. Some people grind their teeth when they are stressed or feeling anxious; however, an abnormal bite, crooked or missing teeth can also cause bruxism. Individuals who suffer from nocturnal bruxism should consider a custom mouth guard to wear as they sleep. The custom mouth guards we offer at Espinal & Willis – Carolinas Center for Advanced Dentistry are less bulky and fit more naturally than over-the-counter options.
4. Smoking tobacco contributes to periodontal disease and, of course, oral cancer.
Smokers are 3 times more likely to […]