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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.

The First Signs of Gingivitis

dentist Battle Creek MIGingivitis, which is the mildest form of gum disease, usually can be readily treated with a professional cleaning when it’s detected early. If the patient postpones seeing a dentist about the issue, though, it can progress into periodontitis, a more severe stage of gum disease that has more serious consequences. To reduce your risk of tooth loss, bone loss and other negative effects of advanced gum disease, you should monitor your gum tissue for the symptoms of gingivitis so that you can seek treatment promptly.

The following issues may indicate the presence of gingivitis:

  • redness in the gums
  • swollen or puffy gums
  • Gums that bleed, even during brushing and/or flossing
  • Bad breath (due to the buildup of bacteria associated with gingivitis)

Your dentist may notice these symptoms at your semiannual exam, but it’s also important for you to keep tabs on your gums in the six months in between so that you can schedule an appointment for gingivitis evaluation and treatment if necessary.

The oral care routine you establish at home is an important tool in reducing your risk of gingivitis, as well.

The oral care routine you establish at home is an important tool in reducing your risk of gingivitis, as well. Brushing and flossing helps to minimize the plaque buildup that contributes to gingivitis. Proper technique is essential here as well. If you are not brushing thoroughly along the gumline, you can still accumulate plaque in the area. Check in with one of our hygienists if you need a refresher on good tooth brushing technique.

When you have gingivitis, your dentist may ask about other risk factors, such as smoking, medication side effects and dietary factors that can affect your case. You may be advised on these issues, as well.

After you’ve experienced one episode of gingivitis, you may face increased risk for a relapse. Therefore, you and your practitioners should continue to be vigilant about examining the gums for gingivitis symptoms so that you can take action quickly if you have a recurrence.

When you notice signs of gingivitis, contact the office of Dr. John B. Morris at 269-979-1500 as soon as possible to schedule an evaluation and cleaning. Putting off this important task could cause your oral health to suffer.

Dental Myths that Could be Damaging Your Teeth

dentist Battle Creek MIAre you certain that you can tell fact from fiction when it comes to maintaining your smile? If not, you could be harming your oral health. Here are a few common dental myths that could be damaging your smile if you believe in them.

  • You don’t really need to see the dentist every six months if you don’t have any trouble with your teeth. We understand that some patients may be a little hesitant or anxious about coming to see us, but these routine appointments are so critical to your oral health. Checkups and cleanings every six months keep your mouth clean and healthy, and if you do have any problems like cavities or gum disease, you can get treated before the condition progresses significantly. If fear does keep you out of our office, please talk to us so we can address your concerns.
  • If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, it’s no big deal. Bleeding gums are NEVER normal. At the very least they may indicate gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease, is present. They can be a symptom of a more serious condition, as well. Always bring this symptom to the attention of your dentist so that it can be properly treated.
  • Flossing is unnecessary if you brush your teeth every day. Flossing is an essential component of a good oral hygiene routine. It helps to remove plaque and tartar that can build up along the gumline or in between the teeth, where it’s difficult, if not impossible, to reach with a toothbrush alone. All patients should be flossing at least once a day.
  • Whiter teeth are healthier teeth. While whiter teeth do tend to make for a more attractive smile, that characteristic generally has no relationship with the structural integrity and health of the tooth. In fact, a bright white tooth can be riddled with cavities just as easily as a more yellow one can be strong and healthy.

These are just a few of the false beliefs that some of our patients may have. We encourage you to ask a member of our expert staff any time you have any concerns about whether you’re doing everything possible to protect your oral health. Feel free to call us or just check in at your next appointment. Don’t go on believing dental myths that could derail your healthy smile!

Maintaining Healthy Teeth and Gums through the Retirement Years

dentist Battle Creek MIOral health is important at any age. And since your teeth and gums are an integral part of everyday function such as speaking and eating, it is important to protect your dental health – especially in your retirement years because with age, comes vulnerability to certain health conditions. Since tooth wear, decay, and gum disease affect our older patients, our dentist strives to provide thorough care to older members of our community. Following is some important information for keeping a healthy mouth through the years.

Visit the Dentist Regularly

Yearly checkups and biannual cleanings are important for maintaining oral health. During checkups, our team looks for more than just signs of periodontal disease and tooth decay. Routine examinations allow us to evaluate the health of bone mass and soft tissues. We also look for signs of oral cancer; a condition that can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated early on. When conditions are detected sooner rather than later, patients can enjoy more cost-effective and conservative treatment. For example, a small area of decay can be addressed with a simple filling whereas severe decay will require more extensive treatment such as the placement of a crown or a tooth extraction.

Receiving cleanings is just as important as receiving checkups. During cleanings, our hygienists remove substances like tartar – a calcified form of plaque that cannot be brushed or flossed away. Professional cleanings help prevent periodontal disease (the primary cause of tooth loss) and tooth decay.

Practice Meticulous Oral Hygiene

Patients should be committed to practicing proper oral hygiene throughout their lives – even in their retirement years. We encourage at least twice-daily brushing for two to three minutes each time as well as flossing every day. Some patients with prosthetics like bridges or partial dentures benefit from other hygiene tools such as water irrigators. If you have questions about oral hygiene tools and methods, feel free to speak with our team. We are here to help you.

For more information or to schedule your next professional dental exam and cleaning, contact our office today.