How Do I Choose A Toothpaste?

As you walk down the toothpaste aisle at the grocery store, do you become overwhelmed at the amount of options you have??

Extreme whitening, all-natural, tartar control, cavity prevention, enamel protection, and not to mention all of the kids’ varieties…how does one go about knowing what type of toothpaste is actually worth buying?

First of all, almost all toothpastes on the shelf share a common set of ingredients:

  • Abrasive Agents – these are scratchy materials that help remove food, bacteria, and some stains
  • Flavoring – to make your toothpaste taste better
  • Humectants – these help the toothpaste to not dry out
  • Thickeners – these are agents that add thickness to the toothpaste
  • Detergents – these are what cause your toothpaste to foam as you brush

Everything else – the guarantees to whiten, prevent cavities, assist sensitive teeth, etc – are features added to this common set of ingredients.

When choosing a toothpaste, there are 2 staple features that we here at Montgomery Dentistry highly recommend you look for in your toothpaste:

  • The toothpaste contains fluoride – Fluoride is absolutely essential when it comes to fighting cavities and tooth decay.  Your own enamel is actually composed of fluoride, so a toothpaste that contains fluoride is like adding an extra layer of armor to your teeth!
  • The toothpaste bears the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal – You know that your toothpaste has been given a thumbs-up by dentists if it bears the ADA Seal.  Avoid purchasing any toothpaste that does not bear the seal, as it could be lacking essential ingredients or have experienced less-than-superior manufacturing.

Apart from ensuring that your toothpaste contains fluoride and the ADA seal, the rest is up to you and your preferences!

And to take the guesswork out of what all those features are even guaranteeing, here is a break-down of what the various toothpastes offer you:

  • Whitening Toothpaste – Toothpaste that promises to whiten your teeth gives the impression that a mini-bleaching session is going to take place.  Not the case.  Whitening toothpaste contains agents that help to scrub away stains, but no whitening is actually going on.
  • Children’s Toothpaste – There is a special market for children’s toothpaste.  Celebrity cartoon figures, sparkles, fun flavors…all are designed to make the teeth brushing experience more desirable for children.  And because young children are prone to swallow toothpaste, the ADA recommends that children 18 months and younger use the training toothpaste that contains low fluoride, as an over-consumption of fluoride can result in fluorosis.
  • Sensitivity Toothpaste – Toothpaste that promises to cut down on one’s sensitivity issues is quite legitimate.  Sensitivity toothpaste contains agents that block the dentine tubules (the home of dental nerve endings), thus minimizing painful sensitivity.
  • All-Natural Toothpaste – Even though this toothpaste can boast in using all-natural ingredients, it has one major downfall:  all-natural toothpastes very seldom contain fluoride, the most important ingredient to look for in any toothpaste!
  • Tartar Control – Toothpaste that contains chemical compounds such as pyrophosphates and zinc citrate assists in dissolving those tough-to-remove tartar deposits.  If not dealt with, a build-up of tartar on your teeth and under your gums can lead to gum disease.
  • Enamel Protection – This particular toothpaste is a bit of a marketing gimmick, as the best protection that you can give your enamel is fluoride. Fluoride is already an essential ingredient in almost every toothpaste.

Here at Montgomery Dentistry, we want you to be confident and informed when it comes to making decisions about your oral health.  Brushing, flossing, and knowing which products to buy are all staples to a healthy mouth…as well as keeping up to date with your check-ups!  Feel free to call us to schedule an appointment or have your questions answered.


 

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The Surprising History Of The Toothbrush

Dental hygiene is anything but a modern-day concept.  Fresh breath and clean teeth have been coveted by all types of people for thousands of years!  Albeit, practice and technology have certainly changed and progressed.

What began as a “chew stick” over 5000 years ago has now become the tool universally known as the “toothbrush.”  The history of this staple of dental hygiene has a fascinating and surprising history!

The earliest-recorded predecessor to the toothbrush dates all the way back to the Babylonian Empire in 3500BC.  The Babylonians designed a twig with a frayed end, known as a “chew stick” to clean and scour the teeth.   The other end of the stick, sharpened to a point, was used as a toothpick!

Chew Stick

For nearly 4000 years, the “chew stick” was the sole method of maintaining dental hygiene…until the first “bristle brush” was developed in China during the Tang Dynasty, somewhere between 600 and 900AD.  Hog bristles were attached to bamboo or bone handles, creating a type of toothbrush!

Bristle Brush

Hundreds of years later, the bristle brush eventually made its way to Europe by way of travelers and explorers.  The first known use of the word “toothbrush” was in the autobiography of Englishman Anthony Wood in 1690.  Over time, the Europeans changed the coarse “pig bristle brush” to a softer horse hair brush.

The first mass-produced toothbrush was believed to have been manufactured in Europe by William Addis.  In 1770, Addis was imprisoned for having caused a riot.  While in prison, he tired of the modern-day method of cleaning one’s teeth: using a rag with salt and ashes to rub the teeth clean.  Saving a bone from dinner and obtaining some bristles from one of the prison guards, Addis he designed a very effective and easy-to-create modern-day toothbrush.

William Addis

 

Upon his release, Addis immediately built a business that mass-produced his toothbrushes and he soon became very wealthy.  His business, known as Wisdom Toothbrushes, stayed in the family until 1996!

In the 1900’s, celluloid handles eventually replaced bone handles and nylon bristles soon came to replace animal hair bristles.  It took over 5000 years of ingenuity, development, and creativity, but the end product is a tool that, if used properly and often, guarantees fresher breath, cleaner teeth, and healthier gums.

toothbrush

The toothbrush.  It has surely come a long way!

Here at Montgomery Dentistry, we believe in the importance of keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy.  If you are need of a cleaning, or simply have some questions regarding your own dental health, please call us anytime…we would love to hear from you!


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What Are The Causes Of Dry Mouth?

Xerostomia – more commonly known as “dry mouth” – affects millions of Americans.

This condition can range from a mild annoyance all the way to severe complications due to an extreme lack of saliva.  Either way, dry mouth negatively affects a person’s quality of life.

Though most cases of dry mouth are found in women, the leading cause of dry mouth is due to a particular side effect of various medications:  the decrease in saliva production.

The medications that most often lead to dry mouth are:

  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Diuretics
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories

Also known to lead to dry mouth are these medical conditions:

  • Salivary gland diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Mouth breathing
  • Sleep apnea
  • Autoimmune disorders

The important thing to take into consideration if you suffer from dry mouth is that it is more than an annoyance.  Dry mouth (especially severe cases), if left untreated, can result in some major dental complications.

Dry mouth is the drop in production of saliva.  Saliva is the protective and cleansing fluid found in the mouth that performs many duties:

  • Protects oral tissues against ulcers, sores, and the effects of friction
  • Neutralizes acids
  • Provides antibodies against potential bacterial threat
  • Aids in the digestion of food
  • Helps teeth remineralize
  • Contributes to a person’s ability to taste

With the decline of such an important fluid comes some very uncomfortable consequences:  problems with eating, halitosis (bad breath), periodontal disease, and an increased number of cavities.

Experiencing dry mouth is worth the trip to the dentist so he can take a look!

What are the treatments for dry mouth?

A treatment plan for dry mouth depends entirely on what is causing it.  Is it due to the side effect of a medication that you are on?  Perhaps your doctor could modify the dosage.  Is your dry mouth a result of any of the previously mentioned medical conditions?  Then directly treating that particular condition would hopefully bring you relief.

But in the meantime, there are a few adjustments that you can make to help ease your discomfort:

  • Chew sugar-free gum
  • Limit your caffeine intake
  • Don’t use mouthwashes that contain alcohol
  • Forego all alcohol consumption
  • Sip water continually
  • Try over-the-counter saliva substitutes

Here at Montgomery Dentistry, we want you to know that conditions seemingly unrelated to dentistry are quite often worth having your dentist look into.

If you are experiencing conditions similar to that of dry mouth, please contact us.  We would be happy to answer any questions and invite you in for an exam!


Header photo credits

Why Your Check-Up Is So Much More Than Cavity Prevention

If a crowd of adults was asked why it is important to schedule regular dental check-ups, it would be reasonable to assume that almost everyone would mention something about cavities.

People typically associate dental check-ups with the infamous cavity, or prevention thereof.

And dentists would agree with that crowd of adults…cavity prevention is very important. Cavity prevention is the first line of defense against a lot of other nasty dental issues.

BUT, cavity prevention is not the only reason that you should keep your dental check-ups a routine thing. Not in the slightest.

Your dentist has a lot on his mind when you come in and sit back in his chair. He is thinking about things like gum disease, and root health, and…oral cancer.

Did you know that every time you visit your dentist, he is giving you a quick look-over for oral and throat cancer? The intense gaze that most assume is a search for cavities is actually a healthy inspection of all manner of potential issues. He has a lot on his mind as he peers into your mouth.

Your dentist’s experienced and professional assessment of your mouth and throat will determine whether you show any indication of oral or throat cancer. His review of your general oral history and palpation of the jaw and neck will also provide clues as to the amount of risk you may have for developing oral or throat cancer.

By maintaining your dental check-ups, suspicious changes or developments in your dental health will most likely be detected early by your dentist, ensuring you the best chance for treatment and recovery.

Along with your dentist’s careful and professional assessment, there are symptoms that you can be aware of as well. If any of these symptoms are persistent, get in touch with your dentist:

  • a sore or irritation that doesn’t go away
  • red or white patches
  • pain, tenderness or numbness in mouth or lips
  • a lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
  • difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw
  • a change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth

These are all symptoms that, if experienced over a lengthy amount of time, should be treated with concern.

Here at Montgomery Dentistry, we take your overall health very seriously. We are more than just a cavity prevention team, we are a concerned family of professionals determined to aid you in maintaining great oral and overall health.

If you have any questions or are ready to schedule an appointment, please call us at 334-279-0760.


Source: http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/o/oral-cancer
Photo credit for header:  here

Bottled Water vs. Tap Water

As concerns have risen over the purity and integrity of our country’s tap water, so has the number of people who have begun purchasing and drinking from bottled and filtered water.

It seems like the logical and responsible thing to do, especially when it comes to the health and safety of our children.

But did you know that, according to an Australian study conducted between 1991 and 1995, children who drank solely filtered or bottled water had an increased rate of childhood cavities by over 52%.

This is due to the lack of exposure to the fluoride that is present in tap water.

Fluoride is a mineral that was added to our public tap water back in 1940.  It acts like a boost to one’s enamel, which is the substance that defends teeth against cavities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “the fluoridation of drinking water one of the top ten public health achievements of the 20th century.”  They also note that studies have shown that the consumption of fluoridated tap water reduces cavities in adolescents by 8 to 37 percent and in adults by 20 to 40 percent.

But this does not alleviate the problem of ingesting the less desirable trace elements that are present in some tap water (elements like perchlorate, lead, and hexavalent chromium).  Does one have to choose between ingesting fluoridated yet contaminated tap water and non-contaminated yet non-fluoridated bottled water?

Fortunately, no.

Not all filtered or bottled waters are totally devoid of fluoride.

Brita filters do not strip it out of tap water, and some bottled brands such as Nursery Water advertise that they actually add fluoride.  In order to encourage bottled water companies to provide fluoridated water, the ADA has introduced a certification program for foods and beverages that are beneficial to oral health, including fluoridated bottled water.

Filters to avoid, though, are the reverse osmosis water filters.  They actually strip out all minerals, including fluoride.

There are so many things to consider when maintaining the oral health of not only yourself, but your children as well.  Here at Montgomery Dentistry, we care a  great deal about the health of our clients.  We greatly stress that if there is only one decision that you are able to make regarding your dental and oral health, it is to stay up to date on your professional cleanings.

Please contact us if you ever have any questions about oral health issues.

Header photo by: Laenulf Ean

The Secret To Keeping Your Teeth For Life

Here’s a fact that’s a little tough to swallow:  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four Americans over the age of 65 have no teeth. 

A person with no teeth experiences a host of health problems, not to mention the feeling of a loss of dignity.  “Oral health and overall health is a two-way street,” says Denis Kinane, PhD, dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. “If you have poor oral health, it can make chronic conditions, such as diabetes, worse. And if you have a health problem like diabetes or heart disease, that can impact your teeth and gums.”

But losing your teeth doesn’t necessarily have to be something that is guaranteed with age.

Here are a few tips for safeguarding your teeth against falling out:

1.  Vitamin C is critical.  Studies have shown that adults who consume less than 60mg per day of vitamin C have a 25% higher chance of contracting gum disease, which is the major cause of tooth loss.

2.  Drink more tea.  Black and green teas contain antioxidants that help prevent plaque from forming on your teeth.  Tea leaves are also a natural source of fluoride, which acts as a protective barrier on your teeth.

3.  Avoid cotton mouth.  A mouth that is not producing adequate amounts of saliva can more easily contract the gum disease gingivitis.  Be careful when choosing medicines, as many produce the side effect of dry mouth.

4.  Exercise.  Studies have shown that those who regularly exercise experience improved dental health and are less likely to experience severe periodontal disease.

5.  Quit smoking.  Smoking is a major hindrance to quality oral health.  Not only does smoking increase your risk of a host of dental issues, but the habit also hinders many treatments.

6.  Eat more omega-3.  Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to assist in the healing of gum tissue.  Try to eat as much omega-3 – laden foods as possible, such as salmon, mackerel, and other fish.

7.  Keep up with your cleanings.  Make sure that you are visiting us regularly here at Montgomery Dentistry.  Professional cleanings throughout the year are so important to maintaining your dental health.

Here at Montgomery Dentistry, we take the whole you into consideration.  Oral health leads to overall health leads to confidence leads to peace of mind.  We love seeing our clients healthy and happy.

“Header photo” by:  Partha S. Sahana 

Some Surprising Dentists Throughout History

There is a fascinating list of household celebrity names that deserve recognition beyond what they are ultimately famous for.  Here at Montgomery Dentistry, we would like to offer you a more well-rounded view of some of our most beloved celebrities who also dabbled in dentistry!

1.  Paul Revere

Paul Revere

A beloved American hero most known for making his midnight ride to warn of the arrival of the British, Paul Revere was also America’s first forensic dentist.  His dental career began in the early 1760’s, when an English dental surgeon named John Baker arrived in the colonies and set up a practice.  Smelling opportunity, Revere sat under the mentorship and teaching of Baker, and eventually began his own practice of crafting and inserting false teeth made of ivory.  Following the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Revere summoned up his newfound dental knowledge and volunteered himself to aid in identifying deceased soldiers by recognizing dental work he had performed on them.  He handed down his business to his son in the late 1780’s.

 

2.  Thomas Welch

Thomas Welch

Ironically, the man responsible for creating a well-known sugar-laden juice drink also had a previous career in dentistry.  In fact, Thomas Welch is an incredibly interesting man, even outside of his creation of his juice brand.   As a teen he was a secret member of the Underground Railroad and assisted many slaves to safety in the north.  In 1856, he opened a very lucrative, very successful dental practice that remained open until 1880.  He was a devout member of the United Methodist Church, which is what drove him to create a nonalcoholic alternative to communion wine, and in 1893 his grape juice company was launched and became known as “Welch’s Grape Juice Company.”

 

3.  Doc Holliday

Doc Holliday

Perhaps our favorite character in the movie “Tombstone”, Doc Holliday is most known for his friendship with Wyatt Earp and his involvement in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.  But would you believe it if you were told that Doc Holliday also held a D.D.S. degree from the Pennsylvania College Of Dental Surgery?  He even set up his own practice in Atlanta, Georgia before heading to the American Southwest after being diagnosed with tuberculosis.  Another lesser-known fact about Holliday – his true name is John Henry Holliday.

 

 

 

 

 

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While most of the world will always know these men for their notable adventures and exploits throughout American history, here at Montgomery Dentistry they will hold a special place in our hearts as fellow dentists.

And Paul, Thomas, and Doc would want all of our clients to make sure that they are up to date on their cleanings and check-ups. 🙂

* Header photo by: Richie Diesterheft 

Why Does The Dentist Monitor My Blood Pressure?

Why Does The Dentist Monitor My Blood Pressure? - blood pressure cuff

A common question that we are asked here at Montgomery Dentistry is why we take a patient’s blood pressure for a procedure as simple as a check-up.

Isn’t it a little unnecessary to have your blood pressure monitored, when all we are going to do is clean your teeth?

Not at all.

High blood pressure affects over 50 million Americans, making it the most commonly diagnosed medical condition.  With that many people suffering from high blood pressure, we know that it is not a condition to be taken lightly.

What most people do not know is that any type of dental work, even something as non-invasive as a cleaning, can adversely affect already high blood pressure.

The dentists here at Montgomery Dentistry monitor your blood pressure because they know that an elevated blood pressure can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke during a dental procedure.

A reading of 120 systolic over 80 diastolic is considered to be in the normal, healthy range.  However, a reading of 160 systolic over 100 diastolic is well above the level considered to be hypertension, and at this point it is unsafe for a dentist to perform any dental procedures.

And even if you are already taking medication to help manage high blood pressure or hypertension, we still want to monitor your blood pressure in order to confirm that your medication is working properly.  Of those who do take high blood pressure medication, roughly 34 percent of those still struggle with elevated levels.

We want our patients to know that we are interested in more than just the health of your teeth and gums.  We take the whole you into consideration.

Dental health is not an entity all to itself.  What affects your teeth and gums, affects your cardiovascular system, affects your respiratory system, affects your nervous system, and so on.

In fact, did you know that a large number of serious medical conditions could be detected early by a thorough examination of the mouth?  The mouth, teeth, and gums are a type of early detection system for other health issues.

So next time you visit us for a check-up or more serious procedure, feel assured that we have your best interests at heart.  We are taking every precaution necessary to ensure that you will leave happy and healthy.

We look forward to seeing you at your next check-up!

Header photo by:  Jasleen Kaur
Source:  The Reading Eagle

How to write a review about Montgomery Dentistry on Google+ Local

We think our patients are pretty awesome, so we naturally love it when our patients think the same about us.  To make it easy for our patients to tell the world about us, we created the following step-by-step guide.  🙂

This is how you write a review about Montgomery Dentistry on Google:

Step 1: Visit our Google+ Local Page.  Click here to start.

Below is a screenshot showing what our Google+ Local page looks like.

Montgomery Dentistry - Google+ Local

Step 2: Click on “Write a Review.”

The red arrow in the picture below will show you were the “Write a Review” button is located.

MontgomeryDentistry-WriteAReview

Step 3: As shown in the screenshot below, you’ll be asked to log in.

MD_SignInScreen

What you do here will vary depending on your specific situation:

Scenario 1: If you already have a Google+ account, sign in on this screen then skip to Step 8.

Scenario 2: If  you have a Gmail account but not a Google+ account, sign in with your Gmail credentials.  Google will take you through a series of steps to turn your Gmail account into a Google+ account as well.  You’ll eventually end up on Step 6.

Note: If you end up on Step 8, this means your Gmail account had already been turned into a Google+ Account.  Google is aggressively trying to link all their services (YouTube, Gmail, etc.) together through Google+, so this may have already happened for you.

Scenario 3: If you don’t have either a Google+ or Gmail account, click the red “Create an Account” button.  The “Create an Account” button is shown in the screen below.  After clicking this button, go to Step 4.

MD_CreateAnAccount

Step 4: Enter your information then click the “Next Step” button.

MD_CreateAccountForm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5: If you want, you can click “Add Profile Photo” to add a personal photo to your Google+ account.  Or you can skip this part of the process by clicking “Next Step” as shown below.

MD_Profile

Step 6: Click on the “Continue to Google+” button as shown below.

MD_ContinueToGoogle+

Step 7: You’ll be taken back to Montgomery Dentistry’s Google+ page, but Google+ will first want to take you on a tour.  Click on the “Not Now” button as shown below.

MD_Google+Tour

 

Step 8:  Click on the “Write a Review” button.  (This time, you’re logged into Google+.)

MontgomeryDentistry-WriteAReview

Step 9: Choose a star rating and write a description of your experience.  When you finish, click “Publish.”

MD_ReviewScreen

If you have any trouble with these directions, feel free to reach out to us and ask for Stephanie.  I’d be more than happy to walk you through the process!

Adding Smiles to Our Team!

Please join us in welcoming Joyce Smith and Brittni Chambers to our team.

Joyce is a recent graduate from dental assisting school who comes to us from Auburn, AL. Joyce will be a part of our clinical team.  Brittni, a marketing manager from Tallassee, AL, will be joining our front desk team. They are both very excited and eager to be a part of our team and take care of all of our wonderful patients!

Brittni Chambers (Left) and Joyce Smith (Right) join our team.

Pictured Above: Brittni Chambers (Left) and Joyce Smith (Right) join our team.

We are excited about these new additions! Join us in making them feel at home.