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Heading Off to College? Maybe It’s Time to Graduate to an Electric Toothbrush!

April 27th, 2022

Your trusty manual toothbrush has been with you from pre-school through high school—well, obviously not the same manual toothbrush, because that would be seriously unhygienic—but it’s the kind of toothbrush you’re used to and comfortable with.

Now, though, you’re off to college, and your lifestyle will be changing. Late night study sessions complete with study session snacks. Getting caught up in a project and making dinner from dorm vending machines. Grabbing fast food on the way to the practice field, or work-study job, or evening class. You get the point—meals can be hectic, unscheduled, and less than tooth friendly.

And if you’re wearing braces or aligners, you know you need to keep on top of brushing more than ever. It’s challenging to brush away cavity-causing plaque when it sticks around brackets and wires. And with aligners, teeth don’t benefit as much from the constant cleansing action of saliva, so it’s really important to brush away plaque and food particles before you replace the aligners after eating.

Maybe it’s time to consider an electric toothbrush. After all, anything that can make your life easier and more efficient during busy college days deserves a spot in your dorm room.

  • Electric Brushes Are Effective

The most important reason to switch to an electric toothbrush is its effectiveness. Several studies have shown that regular use of an electric toothbrush leads to a marked reduction in plaque, that bacteria-filled film which sticks to the teeth and leads to cavities and gingivitis. And it’s really no surprise that an electric brush can out-perform a manual brush.

Electric toothbrushes offer several design options, from oscillating/rotating brushes to oscillating/rotating/pulsating models to brushes using sonic vibration technology. What these technologies all have in common is the ability to remove plaque far more efficiently than we can on our own, because electric brushes provide the equivalent of thousands and even tens of thousands of brushstrokes per minute, compared to the hundreds we can achieve by hand.

There might be a bit of a learning curve to discover how to use your brush around wires and brackets. Ask us for the best method of using an electric brush with your braces, and check out brush heads specifically designed for orthodontic work.

If you use buttons with aligners, electric toothbrushes should be safe to gently clean around the buttons to remove built-up plaque. It’s usually best to stick with a manual brush for cleaning your aligners themselves—we’re happy to give you your best cleaning options, no matter which brush you choose.

You know by now what your brushing habits are like. If you tend to be a bit cavalier with your brushing and flossing, make sure you set yourself up for success. Because you have better things to do during semester breaks and summer vacations than visiting Dr. Robee Bailey Jr., DMD!

  • Electric Brushes Can Make Life Easier

Several of today’s electric brushes come with options designed to do more than simply remove plaque. They can let you know if you’ve brushed for the recommended two minutes and remind you when it’s time to replace the brush head. They can even alert you if you’re brushing too hard, which is especially important when you’re wearing braces.

Want more from your electric brush? Some models offer apps that can map out just where you’ve brushed, in case there are a few spots that often get overlooked. Or provide different brushing modes for daily cleaning, deep cleaning, whitening, and more. Or come with a travel case that can recharge while you’re busy exploring the world—or going home for a visit.

In the end, it’s up to you. Do some independent study and research the toothbrushes that will give you the best results for your individual brushing habits. You might not need or want a brush with all the technological bells and whistles.

If you’re comfortable with your manual brush and you get good grades when you visit our Concord, NC office, stick with it. But if you think you might benefit from the ease and efficiency of an electric toothbrush, if an electric toothbrush makes your teeth and gums healthier and your smile brighter, that’s extra credit worth pursuing.

How to Choose the Best Mouthwash

April 20th, 2022

As we all know, or should by now, the key to maintaining great oral health is keeping up with a daily plan of flossing, brushing, and using mouthwash. These three practices in combination will help you avoid tooth decay and keep bacterial infections at bay.

At Carolina Dental Specialists, we’ve noticed that it’s usually not the toothbrush or floss that people have trouble picking, but the mouthwash.

Depending on the ingredients, different mouthwashes will have different effects on your oral health. Here are some ideas to take under consideration when you’re trying to decide which type of mouthwash will best fit your needs.

  • If gum health is your concern, antiseptic mouthwashes are designed to reduce bacteria near the gum line.
  • If you drink a lot of bottled water, you may want to consider a fluoride rinse to make sure your teeth develop the level of strength they need.
  • Generally, any mouthwash will combat bad breath, but some are especially designed to do so.
  • Opt for products that are ADA approved, to ensure you aren’t exposing your teeth to harmful chemicals.
  • If you experience an uncomfortable, burning sensation when you use a wash, stop it and try another!

Still have questions about mouthwash? Feel free to ask Dr. Robee Bailey Jr., DMD during your next visit to our Concord, NC office! We’re always happy to answer your questions. Happy rinsing!

Is Jawbone Loss Normal As We Age?

April 13th, 2022

Some bone changes are a normal part of aging. Bone density starts decreasing around the age of 30, hormonal changes affect bone strength as we grow older, and the mineral content of our bones can change over time. Even as we live longer, healthier lives, some changes in our bones are often a normal part of the aging process.

But note we said “often,” not always! Decades ago, a sunken jaw, thinner lips, sagging facial muscles, and an altered profile were considered just another normal consequence of aging. This “collapsed” look was caused by bone loss in the jaws, especially the mandible, or lower jaw.

Today we know that maintaining size and density in our jawbones is important not only for our appearance, but for better oral health. Even better, we know several easy practices to keep those bones their healthiest. And, should your jawbone be affected by bone loss, Dr. Robee Bailey Jr., DMD can offer many options to restore both function and appearance.

  • Take Care of Your Teeth

Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, using fluoride toothpaste, seeing your dentist for regular exams and cleanings—when you follow recommended dental hygiene practices, you are doing more than simply preventing cavities; you are making sure you keep your teeth for a lifetime. And, because tooth loss inevitably leads to bone loss over time, you are protecting your bones as well.

The bone tissue which supports our teeth needs the stimulation of biting and chewing to stay healthy. Without that stimulation, bone area under a missing tooth gradually shrinks. The bone tissue is resorbed into the body, which, in a relatively short amount of time, can lead to a noticeable sunken spot where the tooth used to be. A dental implant will provide the tissue stimulation that a natural tooth would, and will prevent future bone loss in the jaw. And even if bone tissue has already been lost, Dr. Robee Bailey Jr., DMD can recommend surgical bone grafting to achieve the right bone area and density to hold an implant.

  • Don’t Neglect Your Gum Health

One of the most common causes of bone loss in the jaw is periodontal disease. For older patients, gingivitis, left untreated, can eventually lead to periodontitis (severe gum disease). This condition leads to the formation of pockets between your gums and teeth that become home to bacteria and infection. This infection can cause deterioration in the bone structure supporting the teeth.

Making sure you schedule regular dental exams will allow Dr. Robee Bailey Jr., DMD to treat any signs of periodontitis when they are first detected. If you have any of the symptoms of gum disease, it’s important to treat the cause of these symptoms as soon as possible to protect your gums, teeth, and the jawbone beneath them.

Gingivitis can be reversible with proper care. Deep cleaning procedures such as scaling and root planing, topical and oral antibiotics, and oral surgeries such as flap surgery or bone and tissue grafting can help reverse the effects of periodontitis. Bone loss cannot be reversed, but a graft can replace lost bone and allow healthy tissue to regenerate.

  • Consider implant-supported dentures

If you have suffered major tooth loss that requires a full or partial denture, consider appliances that are supported by implants. Remember, the loss of a single tooth causes resorption of the bone beneath it. If you are missing several or all of your teeth, your jawbone will shrink over that entire expanse of the alveolar ridge, the part of the jawbone which holds your teeth in their sockets.

Because dentures provide no stimulation to the underlying bone, normal bone resorption takes place. To add to the problem, the pressure of the denture on the ridge causes the bone to wear away further. As the bone continues to deteriorate, you will notice that the dentures no longer fit as well as they once did. For this reason, dentures often need to be replaced after a few years.

Implants, on the other hand, provide the same kind of pressure and stimulation to the jawbone that natural teeth do. The denture is securely attached to the implant, and doesn’t put harmful pressure on the bone below. Besides their natural appearance and secure fit, preventing further bone loss is a wonderful additional benefit of choosing dental implants to anchor full or partial dentures.

  • Don’t Ignore Bone Loss

Thanks to modern medicine, we can combat even normal bone aging with diet, exercise, and medication. Thanks to modern dental medicine, we know that a shrinking jawbone is not an inevitable part of the aging process.

If you have lost a tooth or teeth, or if you have suffered an abscess or serious gum disease, you might be at risk for bone loss. Beyond making us look older, a shrinking jaw can affect speech, eating, and the alignment of our remaining teeth.

You can do a lot to keep your teeth and gums healthy, which will keep your jawbone—and your profile— healthy as well. But if you have suffered lost teeth or bone loss, contact our Concord, NC office. As periodontists, we have the knowledge, skill, and experience to help counteract the effects of tooth and bone loss, leading to a lifetime filled with healthy and beautiful smiles.

Dry Mouth and How to Treat It

April 6th, 2022

In fancy medical terms, dry mouth is known as xerostomia. It’s really just what it sounds like: a condition in which you don’t have enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. Dry mouth can be the result of certain medications you’re taking, aging, tobacco use, nerve damage, or chemotherapy.

Depending on whether you’re aware of the cause of your dry mouth, here are some simple ways to keep it at bay:

  • Avoid drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine
  • Avoid tobacco use, or lower your consumption of tobacco
  • Floss after every meal
  • Brush your teeth after every meal using a fluoride toothpaste
  • Avoid foods that have a high level of salt
  • Stay hydrated and drink water frequently
  • Consider using a humidifier at night

If you have any questions about dry mouth and how it is affecting you, give our Concord, NC office a call or make sure to ask Dr. Robee Bailey Jr., DMD during your next visit!

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