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Travel Tips For Your Teeth

dentist Battle Creek MIWhether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, you want to make sure that you’re prepared to take care of your smile while you’re away from home.

In many ways, good oral hygiene practices are the same whether you’re in your home or a hotel. However, you may need to take extra steps to be prepared so that you can brush and floss adequately while you’re away.

Before you travel, check in with your dentist for an exam if you’re due for one. It can be helpful just to touch base for some tips as well.

Taking Care Of Your Teeth On The Road

Although many elements of a good oral hygiene routine are the same at home and away, there are a few considerations for brushing and flossing while you travel:

  • Store your toothbrush properly. You may not be able to let it air dry as you would at home. A good alternative is to keep it in a plastic bag so that it doesn’t come into contact with other items in your luggage but still has room to breathe.
  • Use bottled water to brush your teeth if you’re in a foreign country. If your toothbrush gets contaminated by local water, replace it as soon as possible.
  • Keep the contact information for your dentist handy in case of emergency. If you’re travelling internationally and you experience an urgent dental issue, go to the U.S. Consulate for guidance on local dental care.

Planning Ahead Is The Key To Success

If you want to take good care of your smile while you’re out of town, you need to be sure to pack all of the tools and supplies that you need to do so. Pick up a travel toothbrush and travel-sized toothpaste at your local drugstore so that there’s ample room in your luggage.

Also, if you use mouthwash, transfer some into a three-ounce bottle that meets the requirements for liquids in carry-on luggage.

If you do forget anything you need for your oral hygiene routine, ask at your hotel. Often, they’ll provide toiletries and such at no cost. In a pinch, you can also put toothpaste on your finger to “brush” your teeth. However, you should still find a way to get a toothbrush for the entirety of your trip.

Don’t think that your vacation is a chance for a break from your oral hygiene routine. If you need more information about taking care of your smile while you’re traveling, call our office and speak to one of our knowledgeable team members.

Oral Piercings: The Hidden Risks to Your Oral Health

dentist Battle Creek MIAre you considering a trendy tongue or lip ring? While piercings are a common form of self-expression that many people enjoy, they do present hidden risks to your oral health. From accelerating tooth wear that might require treatment from a dentist to increasing one’s risks for oral infections, it’s important to evaluate the pros and cons of oral piercings before you make your decision.

Tooth Wear and Piercings

The materials used to construct oral piercings can literally damage tooth structure. When oral piercings repeatedly make contact with teeth, it can cause chips and fractures. Metal piercings making contact with teeth will also damage tooth enamel.

Damaged tooth enamel along with chips and fractures leaves teeth susceptible to tooth decay and further degradation, which requires professional treatment like restorations to protect teeth. Common restorations for damaged teeth include fillings, inlays, onlays, and dental crowns. Without these restorations, patients are at risk for developing decay, abscesses, and ultimately the need for tooth extractions.

Adding further insult to injury is the fact that many people develop habits of tapping their piercings into their teeth. Beyond the contact the piercing might make with teeth through normal oral function, excessive tapping where piercings hit teeth can accelerate permanent dental damage.

Increased Risks for Oral Infections

Many people think that oral piercings only increase the risk for infection while they heal but this isn’t true. Our mouths are home to millions of bacteria, many of which contribute to infections beyond periodontal disease and dental caries.

While piercings can develop infections as they heal, they still pose risks for infections once the healing process is complete. If you decide to accept this risk, keep in mind that the sooner you treat an infection the better. If you notice changes in your oral health such as persistent bad breath, a change in the appearance of your gums, and the development of sores, make an appointment for a checkup with our dentist.

Call the office of Dr. John Morris to ask questions about your oral health or to schedule a visit.

5 Things You May Not Know About Your Toothbrush

dentist Battle Creek MIHow much do you know about your toothbrush and correct oral hygiene practices? Did you know that brushing improperly or inadequately could lead to the need for restorations like crowns and fillings from a dentist? Here are five facts you might not know about your toothbrush that might improve your oral health.

Not All Toothbrushes are Created Equal

When purchasing a toothbrush, whether it is manual or powered, look for the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of approval. To earn the ADA seal of approval, toothbrush manufacturers must adhere to strict standards. A toothbrush made in facilities not vetted by the ADA might underperform or harm teeth.

Your Toothbrush Needs to be Replaced Frequently

Even if the bristles of your toothbrush don’t appear frayed, you should still replace your toothbrush or brush heads every three to four months. A good way to remember when to replace your toothbrush is to replace it every season.

If you come down with the flu or a cold, you should replace your toothbrush after your symptoms improve, too.

Buy Toothbrushes with Soft Bristles

Some toothbrush manufacturers make brushes with different types of bristles. These bristles might be marked as “soft”, “medium”, and “firm” on packaging. When buying a toothbrush, always choose soft bristles in addition to looking for the ADA’s seal of approval.

Anything but soft bristles could lead to tooth enamel damage with repeated use. Coarse and firm bristles can wear cracks in tooth enamel over time and can irritate the gingiva.

You Shouldn’t Share Your Toothbrush

Sharing your toothbrush could expose you to bacteria and germs that your immune system is not used to. The habit of sharing a toothbrush is especially concerning for those who have health conditions that compromise their immune system.

An easy way to avoid an awkward situation is to keep new, unused toothbrushes on hand for guests.

Let Your Toothbrush Air Dry Between Uses

Your toothbrush needs to air dry between uses. A wet toothbrush can harbor bacteria and germs. Leave your toothbrush upright and in the open between uses so that it can dry.

If it’s time for a checkup or cleaning, call our practice to schedule an appointment with our dentist.

Healthy Dental Habits to Follow

dentist Battle Creek MIOur oral health is precious. From our teeth to our jawbones, the structures that make up the oral health system require attention and care to prevent common dental conditions and diseases. Receiving regular care from our dentist, along with learning accurate information about your oral health, can help prevent disease. Following are four healthy dental habits to follow for optimal wellness.

Daily Flossing

Are you flossing your teeth every day? If you’re not, you should be. Flossing is an essential part of any proper oral hygiene routine. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends daily flossing to clean between teeth and along the gum line where a toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing helps prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease – two of the biggest threats to your oral health.

Thorough Brushing

Almost everyone knows to brush their teeth but many people do not brush properly. Thorough brushing is necessary to clean the surfaces of teeth and other structures like the gums and tongue. The ADA encourages patients of all ages to brush twice a day for two minutes each time.

Routine Dental Appointments

Skipping visits to the dentist could cost you your oral health. Regular appointments are necessary for enjoying early detection of common diseases. Receiving cleanings and checkups twice a year means that your oral healthcare provider is familiar with your health history, oral anatomy, and unique needs -giving our team the opportunity to look for signs of gum disease, cavities, bone deterioration, and oral cancer. With early detection, many people can treat potential issues conservatively and affordably.

Diets Low in Sugar and Acid

Your diet can make a drastic impact on your oral health. If you consume sugary foods and beverages that are also high in acid, you greatly increase your risks for developing cavities.

Bacteria thrive on sugar. As bacteria eat sugar molecules, they grow stronger and colonize to form plaque. They also release acid as a by-product of the feeding process. Acid is dangerous to oral health because it softens tooth enamel, which allows bacteria to attack teeth. Reducing the intake of acid and sugar can significantly extend the lifespan of teeth.

If it’s time for a dental checkup, call the office of Dr. John Morris to schedule an appointment.

Harmful Effects of Soda on Teeth

dentist Battle Creek MI

Depending on where you live, the carbonated soft drinks enjoyed by many may be called soda, or pop, or simply soft drink. But whatever you call it, consumption can result in damage to teeth. Your dentist can provide you with information about the hazards to your teeth from drinking soda.

Enamel Erosion and Dental Decay

When you drink soda (both regular and sugar free), the components of soda mix with the bacteria already present on teeth to form acid. This acid is actually attacking your teeth with the ultimate result being diminished enamel and the potential for cavity formation. Most sodas contain phosphoric acid and citric acid – both are hazardous to your dental health.

Alternative to Soda

The only truly safe option is water; tap water contains fluoride which is good for healthy teeth. Water can be flavored by adding fresh fruit. Or there are a multitude of sugar free water enhancers you can use for variety.

Many will continue to drink soda so at a minimum follow a few tips to lessen the potential for damage:

Do not sip on soda for extended periods – drink quickly or consume with a meal. Remember if you sip all day, you’re more likely to get decay.

Use a straw – this will allow much of the beverage to bypass teeth. But be aware, soda consumption is known to promote obesity and type 2 diabetes whether you use a straw or not.

Brushing following soda consumption is ill advised. Rinse with water, but wait at least 30 minutes before brushing. Soda softens enamel; brushing too soon can damage protective enamel.

Do not drink soda before bed – once you’ve brushed your teeth for the night, limit yourself to water.

Healthy Teeth and Gums

Cavities and gum erosion can result in sensitivity and decay that affect your ability to eat and how you look. If problems are not caught and treated quickly, time consuming treatment may be needed to save teeth.

Eliminating or severely limiting soda is important, but that’s not enough to maintain good dental health. Your primary daily diet should be comprised of fruits, vegetables, dairy, protein, and healthy grains. Do not smoke or use tobacco in any form; and stay sufficiently hydrated with water.

Brush and floss every day and visit the office of Dr. John Morris every six months for dental exam and cleaning to remove plaque.

Follow These Tips for a Healthier Mouth

dentist Battle Creek MIAre you invested in protecting your oral health? Do you wonder if you are doing everything you can to prevent conditions like tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease? Many of us try to protect our teeth and gums but sometimes we fall into bad habits while others might do something harmful to their oral health because they don’t know better. If you’re wondering how you can protect your oral health, consider the following tips and don’t forget to schedule regular appointments for checkups and cleanings with a dentist.

Brush Thoroughly

Brushing your teeth is imperative to preventing the accumulation of plaque, which hardens into tartar after it is exposed to calculus. Plaque and tartar are full of harmful bacteria that collect between teeth and along the gums. These substances contribute to periodontal disease by causing gingival inflammation and receding gums. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day for about two minutes each time. Be sure to brush each tooth in soft, circular motions.

Floss Daily

While brushing helps control plaque and tartar accumulation, it is not enough. A toothbrush can’t reach between teeth. The only way to remove debris and plaque between teeth is to floss daily. Flossing is also beneficial because it disrupts colonies of bacteria that form along the gums.

Drink Water

It might seem like a no-brainer to drink water but many of us do not consume enough. Water is essential for keeping oral tissue moist. It is also helpful for rinsing away debris from food and diluting acid. We encourage patients to drink at least eight glasses of water throughout the day.

Reduce Sugar

Did you know sugar feeds oral bacteria? When we eat something with starch or sugar, the bacteria in our mouths go on a feeding frenzy. Cutting down on sugar helps starve cavity-causing bacteria. We recommend checking the labels on food so you know how much sugar you consume on a daily basis.

If it’s time for a checkup, call us today to reserve an appointment with our dentist.

5 Reasons You Can’t Afford to Neglect Your Oral Health

dentist Battle Creek MIOn-going research continues to link overall health and dental care … if you want to keep your body healthy, you should do everything you can to maintain great oral health as well. In addition to brushing and flossing every day, you should visit your dentist every six months for a teeth cleaning and dental exam. Failure to follow this protocol can lead to plaque build-up and the following dental maladies:

  1. Dental decay – Cavity prevention is a reality. Following a healthy diet that limits sugary snacks, foods, and beverages will aid in limiting plaque build-up. Your dentist can provide preventive measures as well including fluoride treatments and dental sealants.
  2. Inflammation – Did you know your gum tissue can suffer from inflammation leading to red, swollen and bleeding gum tissue? This is often an early sign of gum disease.
  3. Gum disease – In addition to bleeding gums, other symptoms that indicate you may be experiencing the onset of gingivitis include chronic bad breath, discomfort, gum recession, and one or more teeth feeling loose. If not treated, this early issue can escalate into periodontitis and the potential for tooth loss.
  4. Tooth loss – This is not to be accepted as natural. Missing teeth can impact how you speak, what foods you can comfortably eat, and how you appear to others. With the exception of a traumatic loss or a genetic/hereditary issue, tooth loss should be thought of as preventable
  5. Lifestyle considerations – there are many wonderful dietary choices you can make every day that will support great dental health. But conversely there are some bad choices that aren’t diet related. Smoking and tobacco use are detrimental to overall health, and smokers are much more likely to suffer from gum disease, tooth loss, and oral cancer. Illicit drug use and abuse of alcohol can do significant damage to both overall and oral health.

Enjoy your life, and do the things you know will enhance your day to day life’s experiences. These include the things that will help you maintain great oral health: brush at least twice every day with a fluoridated toothpaste; floss every day to remove what your toothbrush missed; and visit your dentist every six months for cleaning and exam.

If it’s time to schedule your next dental exam, contact the office of Dr. John Morris at 269-979-1500 today.

New City, New Dentist: What to Look For in a Dental Provider

dentist Battle Creek MIHave you recently relocated? Moving is tough; you are likely inundated with tasks. Everything from having your mail forwarded to your new address to unpacking can be daunting. One thing some people forget to think about ahead of time is finding a dentist. When it’s time to look for a dental provider, consider the following tips on what to look for.

Prioritize Your Oral Healthcare Needs

Do you need a general practitioner who provides comprehensive services? Or perhaps you are looking for specific treatments like cosmetic dental services or a practice with advanced technology so that you can monitor your progress with a previously diagnosed condition. We recommend making a list of your most important needs so that you can narrow your search.

Call Your Dental Insurance Company

If you have dental insurance, you will want to call your coverage provider for a list of dental practices they work with. This is important for those who want to maximize their dental benefits.

Search Online

The Internet is essentially the new phonebook. Simply type the specific services you require into your favorite search engine with your city or neighborhood to find a list of dentists. Write down their practice names and phone numbers. If available, look for practice websites for healthcare providers you are interested in learning more about. A dental practice’s website will likely have a wealth of information about their services along with office hours and contact information.

Ask for Recommendations from People You Know

While you live in a new city, you likely have a few people you could ask for a recommendation. Consider asking your coworkers or a neighbor you have met. This can be a good way to get started on your search as well.

Our practice is currently seeing new patients. Contact the office of Dr. John Morris at 269-979-1500 today to ask questions or reserve a checkup and cleaning.

Do Genetics Play a Role in Overall Health of Teeth?

dentist Battle Creek MIAs with other systems and tissues in our body, genetics do play a role in the health of teeth but there are measures a person can take to enjoy vibrant oral health and prevent disease. The oral system’s health is connected to the rest of the body, too. Some conditions that predispose a person to diseases such as diabetes can have an effect on the health of teeth and gums. Following is some helpful information about genetics, preventive measures patients can take, and how our dentists can help safeguard your oral health.

Genetics and Oral Health

Sometimes, congenital and developmental abnormalities can affect the oral health system. Some folks are born without tooth enamel, for instance. Tooth enamel is the mineralized coating around teeth that prevents tooth decay. Without enamel, a tooth is susceptible to harmful oral bacteria forming caries. Other issues such as the growth rate of the jawbones or cleft palates can affect oral health as well. For example, if one jaw is denser and larger than the other one, it can result in a malocclusion, which can cause tooth wear, TMJ dysfunction, and a host of other problems.

If congenital or developmental abnormalities are present, they are most often easily detected through routine checkups with our dentist. Oral examinations and diagnostic technology can reveal potential problems in any of the oral cavity’s structures.

Protecting Your Oral Health

While genetic and developmental issues can affect the health of your teeth and gums, you can still take measures to prevent common oral disease. Commit to a thorough and consistent oral hygiene routine that involves at least twice daily brushing and daily flossing. We encourage our patients to limit sugar intake, drink plenty of water, and avoid bad habits such as chewing on ice cubes, pen caps, or one’s nails.

Preventive Dental Treatments

If your teeth or gums are at risk for disease, preventive services are available. To prevent gum disease, it is very important that patients schedule regular dental cleanings. For those whose teeth are weak, we can apply dental sealants or administer fluoride treatments. Broken or diseased teeth can be treated with restorations as well.

Contact the office of Dr. John Morris at 269-979-1500 today to reserve an appointment.

Sensitive Teeth: What could be the cause?

dentist Battle Creek MISensitive teeth can be frustrating and uncomfortable. If you’re suffering from this issue, you undoubtedly want to know the cause. Your dentist can gather information about your habits and your oral health history to determine what is at fault for your sensitive teeth and recommend an effective treatment.

Your teeth become sensitive when the enamel breaks down and exposes the underlying dentin, which is full of tiny tubules that lead to the tooth’s sensitive core that contains nerves. Any number of factors can erode the enamel. They include excessive consumption of acidic foods and beverages, such as soda and citrus fruits.

Grinding your teeth can compromise the enamel and cause sensitivity, as can tooth decay. Similarly, gum recession can expose the roots of the teeth, which are much more sensitive than the crown, causing discomfort for the patient.

Even a trip to the dentist can bring on tooth sensitivity. Certain treatments, such as teeth whitening or the placement of a crown, can make your teeth more sensitive temporarily. You may also develop sensitive teeth if you use an overly aggressive brushing technique that harms your enamel or your gum tissue.

Your dentist will examine your teeth and ask you questions about your habits in order to pinpoint the cause of your tooth sensitivity, which will then inform the recommended treatment. If receding gums are making your teeth sensitive, then a gum graft can help to eliminate the symptom. Dietary adjustments can halt enamel erosion due to acidic foods and drinks. Cavities can be filled. Patients who grind their teeth can be fitted with custom mouthguards to wear during sleep.

You may also want to switch to a toothpaste that is specifically formulated to address tooth sensitivity. This can help to reduce the severity of this symptom, too.

Patients who are experiencing tooth sensitivity should discuss the issue with one of our knowledgeable staff members to try to determine what is causing the problem and what can be done to relieve their symptoms.