• 10 Treatments for Bad Breath

    The Problem

    25 to 30 percent of the world’s population suffer from halitosis–chronic bad breath. Having a foul odor constantly emanating from your mouth isn’t a medical emergency, but it can repulse people around you. Chewing sugar-free gum is always an effective halitosis-killer (and good for your teeth) but if you are looking for a long-term solution to chronic bad breath, here are some home remedies to kill your bad breath for good (with some preliminary explanation).

    Understand the Source

    Dental cavities, gum disease, poor oral hygiene, a coated tongue (a white or yellow coating on the tongue, usually due to inflammation) are among the most common sources of chronic bad breath. Bacteria on the tongue, below the gum line, or in pockets between gums and teeth (created by gum disease) creates sulfurous smells.

    Other causes of bad breath include malnutrition (fat breakdown gives your breath a fruity odor), uncontrolled diabetes, and dry mouth (saliva has an antimicrobial effect). Sore throat, sinusitis, or intestinal disorders (heartburn, ulcers, and lactose intolerance) also result in bad breath.

    Most people experience bad breath when they eat garlic, onions, coffee, or alcohol, and bad breath following the consumption of these types of food does not indicate halitosis. Whether you suffer from bad breath as a chronic problem or intermittently, here are some tried-and-true home remedies for stinky breath.

    10 Treatments for Bad Breath

    1. Scrape your tongue each morning with a tongue scraper or spoon to decrease the bacteria, fungi, and dead cells that cause odor. Hold the tip of the tongue with gauze to pull it forward in order to clean the back of the tongue.
    2. Chew a handful of cloves, fennel seeds, or aniseeds. Their antiseptic qualities help fight halitosis-causing bacteria.
    3. Drink plenty of water and swish cool water around in your mouth, this works really well for “morning breath.”
    4. Brush after every meal and floss twice a day.
    5. Replace your toothbrush every two to three months.
    6. Arrange regular dental checkups and cleanings.
    7. Chew a piece of lemon or orange rind for a mouth freshening burst of flavor. (Wash the rind thoroughly first.) Citric acid stimulates salivary glands and fights bad breath.
    8. Chew a fresh sprig of parsley, basil, mint, or cilantro. Chlorophyll, as found in these green plants, neutralizes odors.
    9. Mix a cup of water with a teaspoon of baking soda and (if possible) a few drops of antimicrobial peppermint essential oil. This will change the pH level in your mouth and fight odors. Do not swallow, recipe yields several rinses.
    10. Raw crunchy foods clean the teeth. Additionally, apples contain pectin which helps control food odors and promotes saliva production. Cinnamon is antimicrobial. Active cultures in yogurt help reduce odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. Chewing celery, carrots, and nuts will naturally scrape the build-up of plaque on the enamel.

  • Free Dental Day 2016

    Platinum Dental Care gave back to the community last week doing what they do best—providing free dentistry. As important as oral hygiene is to systemic health, regular dental exams often fall to the bottom of a family’s priorities. For this reason, five area dentists with their hygienists, assistants, and office staff dedicated an entire day to providing fillings, extractions, root canals, exams, and cleanings free of charge. In its second year, Free Dental Day 2016 was focused primarily on serving those with special needs and their families. The outcome? An overwhelming response from the community and nearly 60 dental procedures performed.

    To make this event the success that it was, Platinum Dental Care paired with the Utah Parent Center ( www.utahparentcenter.org ) to get the word out. When one mother scheduled her family’s appointments, she said, “I have a special needs son. He was blessed to have dental insurance, but I do not… being a fixed income family, it just isn’t an option right now.” Recognizing the great need, Platinum Dental Care would like to continue Free Dental Day for the families of those with special needs an annual event. A total of $27,588 in dental services were donated, and countless hours of work donated by the staff involved. Henry Stein donated the supplies used to serve these patients. Participating Platinum Dental offices this year were located throughout Utah, and patients came from all over to receive care.

    Platinum Dental Care is now planning for next year’s event, hoping to reach more families and perform more services at all Platinum locations. If you have questions or special requests with regards to Free Dental Day, or just need more information about scheduling an appointment, please call (801) 293-1234.

  • 6 Things To Know About Cavities

    Six Things You Ought to Know About Cavities

    1. Cavities start with a Tiny Hole

    When a miniscule hole forms in the enamel of your tooth, you have the beginnings of a cavity. As bacteria in your mouth eat away at the enamel, the hole widens and deepens at an exponential rate, making it possible for bacteria to get into the center of the tooth. The enamel is the hardest tissue in the body, and once your cavity has busted through the enamel, disease and infection can access the softer core of the tooth. Over time the material inside turns into a brown mush. In the words of one dentist, the inside of a decaying tooth “looks like a bomb went off,” when ex-rayed. When your dentist saves or “fills” a tooth, he drills out what has decayed and fills it with a synthetic material.

    2. Gum Can Help Prevent!

    Maybe you don’t want to carry your toothbrush and toothpaste around all day, but chewing sugar-free gum is a great substitute if you don’t. The sugar substitute xylitol in particular has been endorsed by the American Dental Association as being effective in fighting cavity-causing bacteria and preventing the formation of plaque on teeth. The reality is, plaque sticks softly to your teeth so chewing gum mechanically breaks up the “sugar bugs” that cause plaque and eventually tartar. Xylitol has also shown signs of improving the pH levels in your mouth, making it harder for cavities to form in the first place by making it a more difficult environment to grow bacteria in.

    3. It’s not just about sugar

    New research has revealed that sugar is not the only culprit in forming plaque on the enamel of your teeth. Studies show that any acidic food changes the pH in our mouths negatively, creating a better environment for the formation of cavities.

    How can you avoid foods that are “Acidic”? Sugar combined with caffeine is up there–caffeinated soda, energy drinks, sweetened coffees and teas, and others are real cavity-causers. That’s why many dentists categorize “Mountain-Dew Mouth” with “Meth Mouth” as some of the ugliest restorative dental work you can do in the profession.

    4. Snacks linger

    Snacks have a big impact on your teeth. For up to three hours after consumption, the pH in your mouth is altered after you eat, giving bacteria a big window for building up plaque and working away at your enamel. To combat the negative effects of snacking, drink a glass of water, brush your teeth, chew gum, run a flosser through your teeth or swish with mouthwash to clean out your mouth and prevent damage.

    5. Teens are at risk

    Teenagers run a higher risk for getting cavities because they love energy drinks and snacks. Additionally, teens often let their brushing and flossing habits slide as they receive less supervision from parents over normal hygiene habits.

    6. Cavities don’t hurt—at first

    In the early stages, cavities normally don’t hurt at all. If you set normal 6-month checkups with X-rays, your dentist should be able to nab any cavities in their early stages and do a quick filling. When the decay goes very deep into a tooth’s roots and makes contact with nerves call for a root canal, a surgical procedure where a dentist removes that nerve while filling the roots of the tooth.

  • Bleeding Gums

    Ever wonder why we have gums? As the pink spongy tissue that hold our teeth together, gums also function to protect teeth. Fitting to the name, your gums adhere to your teeth and bones to seal the teeth and prevent entry to the root of your teeth and jaw bones against outside objects and infection. Thanks to your gums, the roots of your teeth stay planted firmly in your mouth. As the most tender part of the tooth, your roots connect to nerve endings, making them sensitive and vulnerable, requiring the protective shield of your gums to prevent unnecessary pain.

    As you get older, your gums may get weakened or recess which makes it easier for your teeth to lose hold and fall out. When gums are aged or diseased, they begin to reveal more of your tooth (making your teeth look larger or elongated) and become sensitive and bleed easily. Your gums may bleed when you floss for the first time after a while, when your gums are injured (ever got a sharp piece of food stuck in your gums? It hurts!), when your gums are infected or when they are inflamed.

    Serious Conditions to Be Aware Of

    When your gums are infected and inflamed, the medical world calls that “gingivitis.” Patients may suffer with gingivitis for years and even let it develop into a more serious condition called “periodontitis” that attacks the sockets and ligaments in the mouth, causing rapid tooth loss if left untreated. It is estimated that up to one-third of Americans suffer from this disease . You can detect gingivitis as a red line of blood in the gum line . It is important to seek treatment because if the bleeding persists, this may implicate your bleeding gums as a symptom leukemia, a bleeding disorder, or other diseases. Hemophiliacs should be extra careful as bleeding gums become more serious and could cause the afflicted to bleed to death.

    What You Can Do to Prevent

    Ensure that your gums are well brushed along with the teeth at least twice a day and between meals where possible. Brushing your teeth is one of the best preventative treatments because gingivitis forms as plaque accumulates along the gum line. Be gentle, however–many people mistakenly believe that scrubbing harder removes more plaque. The problem is that brushing your teeth is not like scrubbing any other surface. Plaque is sticky like jelly, not sticky like glue, and you don’t need to apply strong force to break its soft adherence to the tooth. So, don’t scrub very hard to get it off, scrub just enough to mechanically break up the plaque and prevent the hardening formation of tartar. Most dentists recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush and holding it at a 45 degree angle to the gum line. Brush regularly (but not too rough!), floss regularly, and use a soft bristle brush, and you will prevent bleeding gums. Other ways to stop bleeding gum problems and bleeding gums’ blisters is to avoid alcohol and aspirin because they negatively affect your body’s ability to clot blood.

    Risks of Bleeding Gums

    If potentially losing your teeth weren’t a scary prospect on its own, periodontal disease can be very dangerous to your systemic health. More than just discomfort and unnecessary trouble, periodontal disease also causes major stress to the immune system. As your body tries heal and fight off infection in your gums, it uses up disease-fighting resources needed for fighting more serious infections, scavenging waste products, and defending the body against cancer. Aside from the risk hemophiliacs run of bleeding to death, even patients without coagulation problems are also at risk for experiencing more serious complications as a result of their bleeding gums (including heart disease).

    What to do When You Have Excessive Bleeding
    Because bleeding from the mouth could be caused by anything from gum disease to a coagulation problem, most dentists suggest seeing a periodontist. Periodontists specialize in the treatment of gum disease, so there’s not a lot they haven’t seen before and will know how to treat. The periodontist can address the condition of your gums and offer effective treatment options. If you have gingivitis as a result of the accumulation of plaque along the gum line, this can be treated by the periodontist and will prevent the formation of periodontitis. As the advanced and more serious stage of gum disease, periodontitis is developed when plaque hardens into tartar, which causes even worse bleeding and more serious complications and needs immediate attention from your periodontist. So, if you think you have gingivitis or have even advanced to periodontitis, don’t wait to meet with a periodontist.

  • Pediatric Dentists

    At Platinum Dental Center, we hope to provide the best possible care to you and your family. In fact, we believe in the importance of a child’s first experience at the dentist, and we want to ensure that it is both positive and repeatable. We promise to do our part, but here are a few ideas to help prepare your child before they sit in the chair. Putting these practices in place at a young age will set the course for minimal dental issues and strong oral hygiene routines for life.

    Consistency at home

    Kids should brush their teeth twice a day and flossing once a day (preferably before bed). Remember that until your child can tie their shoes on their own, they do not have the dexterity to brush their teeth effectively on their own. Not only that, but once your kids can handle the toothbrush, they may not be doing the best job at scouring those sugar-bugs. So, until kids reach age 11 or 12, you should be supervising these routines and offering advice to help them improve their technique as needed.

    Limit Sugary Drinks and Sticky Snacks

    Water needs to be a readily available beverage option at home and on the go with kids. Keep a full pitcher of water in the fridge and water bottles in the car. Providing healthy snack options including fruit, vegetables, cheese, whole wheat crackers, and rice cakes will also help combat the decaying effects of sugar and plaque. Soda should only be an occasional treat, simply because the sugar and acid content can really take a toll on developing teeth (and creatures of habit). If they do drink soda, encourage your children to drink with straws and rinse their mouths out with water after consumption. Help your children understand different food and drink options, so that they know which options are good for their teeth and why.

    Regular Dental Checkups

    Within the first six months of cutting their first tooth or around a first birthday, your child can benefit from a visit to the dentist. Establishing a solid relationship with your dentist will help your children feel comfortable in the dentist’s chair. Schedule regular six month checkups in order to detect problems early including cavities and the need for orthodontics, avoid tooth aches, and to set your children up for a life of strong oral health.

  • Bruxism, Braces, and Night Guards

    Are you a nighttime teeth grinder? For non-grinders to understand the effects of teeth grinding, imagine chewing gum for 8-9 hours a day without stopping. Teeth grinding causes headaches, muscle pain, and oral damage worse than what a constant gum chewer would experience as a result. Fortunately, those who suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding) can prevent the pain and damage with a night guard. Not only can night guards benefit the teeth grinder but also the patient with abrasive or poky braces causing cuts or sores along the jaw and lips

    Night Guards

    Professional mouth guards or night guards are designed to protect your teeth. They cover the entire jaw and fit over the upper or lower teeth. They serve as a slim barrier between the biting surfaces of the teeth. If there is anything more destructive or harsh on the enamel of your teeth, it’s the enamel of the opposing teeth which is how night guards protect against “shrinking” teeth. Night guards are generally worn while sleeping and are made of acrylic which makes them perfect for form fitting to your teeth without the bulkiness of other materials.

    Uses and Benefits

    Apart from its primary function of shielding teeth, mouth guards also…

    • Prevent grinding of the teeth (attrition) by forming a barrier in addition to minimizing the wearing down of the teeth over time.
    • By covering the entire jaw, mouth guards help to distribute grinding and clenching forces of bruxism (teeth grinding).
    • Night guards prevent restoration failures , meaning they increase the durability of dental crowns, fillings and implants. This is especially important in the case of porcelain restorations because they tend to fracture under extreme force and can be more harmful to the opposing teeth than a natural tooth.
    • They relax masticatory muscles (give your chewing muscles a break!).
    • Night guards can improve the position of the jaw which can relieve TMJ disorders, aching jaws, headaches and other related issues.
    • Patients with braces can use night guards to cover their braces to reduce the pain from abrasive and poky braces . Braces-wearers with night guards experience less of the sores and cuts along the inner lips and cheeks that braces often cause.

    Drawbacks to Night Guards

    If you have a well-fitted night guard monitored regularly by your dentist, you should not have any issues. However, some people find night guards cumbersome and may even find that their symptoms increase upon first use. Fortunately, your dentist can adjust your night guard to reduce whatever annoyances and ensure optimum results. Whatever the initial problems with a dental night guard, however, the benefits certainly outweigh whatever initial physical toll on you. As placing the mouth guard nightly becomes habit, you (and your teeth) will quickly profit from its use.

    Night Guard Types

    Three types of night guards are available on the market today, varying in quality, price, and function.

    1. Over-the-Counter, Stock Night Guards. Both inexpensive and readily available in stores, this type of night guard come as one size fits all, which often causes them to be too bulky or loose and fail to provide ideal results. They are not recommended by dentists especially if you have an existing TMJ disorder.
    2. Boil and Bite Guards. Again, these over-the counter night guards available at drugstores are boiled to soften and contour according to your teeth. Although more bulky than a professional fit, patients find them more comfortable than the stock night guards.
    3. Custom Guards. Made according to the exact specifications of your mouth, custom guards fit most accurately and offer maximum results. Custom mouth guards are the dentists recommendation. They are created and fitted under a specialist supervision and offer maximum results

    Whatever your condition, if you get a night guard your jaw and teeth will thank you. Every Platinum Dental office offers custom night guards, making the process of getting yours as easy as walking into one of our 11 offices throughout Utah.

    Instructions for Care

    Night Guards, like any other dental appliance, need to be cleaned regularly. Rinse your night guard thoroughly or brush it gently before placing it in your mouth. Clean after removal. This habit will reduce the number of germs introduced into the mouth. Patients often clean them with soapy water and even in the dishwasher from time to time (at a lower wash temp to prevent melting). If you wish to store your mouth guard in any type of caring case, be sure that there are air holes in your case to prevent bacteria growth. For best results, check often for damage and replace every 2-3 years.

    Additional Facts

  • 11 Home Whitening Solutions from a Dentist

    In a previous article, we talked about over-the-counter and professional whitening solutions. But maybe you want to give your sensitive teeth, gums, and wallet a break! At Platinum Dental, we offer free whitening to all new patients, but if you want to brighten that smile before your next appointment without leaving home, here are some safe and effective at-home solutions brightening your smile.

    1. Baking Soda: Many toothpastes include baking soda as a whitening agent, this household staple combats yellow teeth and bad breath. One online source suggests mixing several teaspoons of baking soda with enough fresh lemon juice (or water) to make a paste, and then apply the paste with your toothbrush, allowing to sit on the teeth for 1 minute, then rinse. In addition to this advice, our dentists advise leaving the paste for no longer than one minute so as to avoid any adverse effects from the acid on the enamel.
    2. Apple Cider Vinegar: Deeply held stains are no match for this kitchen essential. Although it may take longer to see results, consistent users compare their whitening results to those of professional whitening kits. Simply use the apple cider vinegar to brush your teeth normally over a designated period of time, making sure to rinse completely so as to protect the enamel from over-exposure to the acid.
    3. Strawberries: Strawberries contain an enzyme called malic acid (and is also found in many whitening toothpastes). Just cut a berry in half, rub on your teeth for approximately one minute, and rinse.
    4. Eat Cheddar, Drink Milk: Lactic acid has been found to help maintain and strengthen the enamel of your teeth. Hard cheeses, like cheddar, not only help to remove other food particles from teeth but also fortify your diet with calcium and vitamin D.
    5. Follow Your Dentist’s Recommendations: Brushing twice per day for two minutes will not only remove surface stains but will prevent further damage and discoloration.
    6. Eat (naturally) Abrasive Foods: Apples, carrots, celery—all these foods contain cellulose which cleans teeth by removing surface stains. Considered by many dentists as “natural toothbrushes,” greens also provide a barrier to stains because of their mineral compounds.
    7. Blue-Based Red or Pink Lipstick: Red lipstick is notorious for making teeth appear more yellow. However, hues with cooler undertones make teeth appear brighter to the average eye. The same is true for dark colored clothing.
    8. Hydrogen Peroxide: A 3% solution hydrogen peroxide is considered safe for oral use by the American Dental Association (ADA). Swishing a 50% hydrogen peroxide and 50% water for about one minute and then rinsing with water is the recommended use. Following the rinse with your normal brushing routine helps to solidify results.
    9. Floss: So often we assume that brushing alone will effectively remove surface stains. However, flossing removes food particles and bacteria that live in the spaces between teeth. Both for cosmetic purposes and overall oral health, flossing is a must for whitening and strengthening your teeth.
    10. See Your Dentist: Not just once, but at regular intervals for cleanings and screenings. Professional cleaning with the best tools out there cannot be beat by any at-home solution. You will be equipped to combat problems from the start and notice major changes in your mouth.
    11. Make Small Changes: Quit smoking, cut back on the coffee and caramel-dyed beverages, drink less pop and increase your water intake. Steer clear of the foods and beverages that cause permanent stains and you will have a whiter smile.

    None of these solutions will produce the immediate or guaranteed results of professional whitening, but each habit will enhance your oral health and, ultimately, your overall health. At Platinum Dental, our staff are more than qualified to provide personal consultation on the best oral health solutions for your situation and budget.

  • The Benefits of Chewing Sugarless Gum

    Most people chew gum to combat bad breath. But can chewing gum actually help your teeth? Brushing and flossing will never be replaced, but if you want to strengthen your cavity-fighting efforts, chewing sugar-free gum throughout the day may be your next initiative. The American Dental Association (ADA), the world’s premier authority on dental related issues, recently began recommending sugarless chewing gum as a way to fight cavities. Endorsed by the highest authority in dentistry, it’s hard to deny the positive effects sugar-free gum can have on your teeth. Here’s what you need to know:

    What is Chewing Gum?

    Chewing gum in various forms appeared anciently. The Greeks chewed a tree sap called mastiche. Ancient Mayans favored a sap called tsiclte. Native Americans in New England chewed spruce sap—and passed the habit on to European settlers. Most gum products today blend synthetic materials (elastomers, resins and waxes) to create their own original recipe. Chewing gum today is as popular as ever, and while some consumers view chewing gum as a kind of candy, the ADA endorses chewing gum that has scientifically demonstrated tooth protection benefits.

    What does chewing gum do?

    Chewing alone increases the flow of saliva in your mouth. Chewing gum after a meal will increase salivary flow which helps neutralize and wash away the acids that are produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on your teeth. This acid can break down tooth enamel over time, creating an environment for decay. Additionally, increased saliva flow carries with it more calcium and phosphate which can strengthen tooth enamel.

    Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating can help prevent tooth decay. In the future, look for sugarless chewing gum that has the ADA Seal. Some gums have more tooth-strengthening agents than others. Gum sweetened using real sugar has never earned the ADA seal because while all chewing stimulates the flow of saliva, the presence of sugar promotes the formation of plaque.

    Can Chewing Gum Replace Brushing or Flossing?

    While chewing gum promotes teeth protection, the benefits are not strong enough to compete with or replace brushing and flossing. Chewing gum enhances your efforts against tooth decay rather than replacing them. At Platinum Dental, our dentists know which chewing gum brands offer the active ingredients most important to your oral health, and can recommend which gum may be best for you. Your teeth will thank you.

  • Tooth Tattoos

    Tooth enthusiast Tim Miller told his local news station, “I’ve thought about tattoos in the past, but let’s face it, everyone has one so it’s no longer cool or unique. But this one is.” You can get a tattoo anywhere–your forearm, neck, back, ankle, chest, and even your face. But the new trend is tattooed teeth. Tooth tattoos are not new, but they are growing in popularity with many people wanting to ink their teeth.

    History of Tooth Tattoos

    The Suburban Dental Laboratory created the first tooth tattoo about 20 years ago when a patient wanted a corvette on his tooth. Fulfilling his order with the first ever “tattooth” the laboratory has accepted all types of tattoo requests, with their most popular being shamrocks, sports team logos, and text.

    As of 2016, nearly every commercial dental lab across the country provides this service, and lab technicians are willing to push the envelope in order to fulfill any conceivable tattoo request. The average cost of getting a tooth tattoo is around $200, with elaborate designs and multiple colors costing a little extra.

    Who Can Get a Tooth Tattoo?

    To get a tooth tattoo, you first need new dental crown. As dental crowns are typically only used as caps to cover damaged teeth, not everyone can get a tattooed tooth. Dental crowns help restore your smile by completely hiding the tooth underneath. Tattooed crowns provide all the normal benefits of a regular crown, giving the look and feel of an actual tooth with extra artwork. Tattooths are great solutions if you are hoping to…

    • Straighten teeth
    • Protect sensitive teeth
    • Replace fillings
    • Repair a chipped tooth
    • Make teeth look better

    Tooth tattoos are restricted to individuals who are getting a dental crown because the process could not be recreated on a natural tooth. The curing process alone requires heating the tooth in a 212-degree oven.

    What’s the Process for Ordering a Tooth Tattoo?

    The process begins with patient need and understanding. After taking an initial impression of the tooth in need of a crown, your dentist will need a printed or digital image of the desired tattoo to send in with the impression. Like choosing any other tattoo, you may choose from an assortment of tattoos from basic to elaborate designs. In addition to choosing the tattoo, you must identify the desired location of the tooth tattoo. Many people choose to get their tooth tattoos on one of their teeth along the jawline with the second most popular location being the inside of the teeth near the tongue.

    With the tattoo request and impression taken, both are sent to a dental lab by your dentist. The crown should take 2 weeks to complete. Installing the tattooth requires no additional precautions or adjusted procedures than placing a normal crown (and is a lot less painful than getting a skin tattoo!)

    The Removal Process

    Tattooths do not wear off as a result of eating or drinking, but they may be removed. The tattoo may be removed in a matter of minutes upon request in the dental office. Your dentist will simply buff off the tattoo with a dental brush, removing the tattoo completely while leaving the dental crown in place.

    If you are a trendsetter in need of a dental crown, ask your dentist about tooth tattoos. With just a few additional steps, the lab technicians can provide personalized crowns at a fraction of the cost of a normal tattoo (with no removal pain!)