Oral Hygiene

Dentistry and Me: The Tale of Your Toothbrush

bristled toothbrush

Just about everyone owns a toothbrush. It is, after all, a key element in maintaining your healthy smile. But what you might not know about them is that they’re the culmination of millennia of household dental tools. Exactly how important it is for your dental hygiene, or the many and varied choices you have to make when choosing which brush is right for you?

We hope that you’ll come away from this article having learned a bit more about that little thing sitting in your bathroom.

The Journey of the Toothbrush

It’s no surprise that toothbrushes haven’t always been around. But what may surprise you is how long they have been around. The desire for healthy teeth has been a part of human nature for almost all of recorded human history. Before toothbrushes, the go-to item for oral cleanliness was called chew sticks. They weren’t much more than sticks, but given that some of them have been discovered over five thousand years ago, they’re still impressive in their own way.

While there were a lot of steps between these chew sticks and the modern toothbrush (including things like quills and animal bones,) it took quite a while for the modern toothbrush to surface. It wasn’t until June 26th, 1498 in mainland China that the prototype to the modern toothbrush, made with boar bristles, began to reach the masses. The final step wasn’t taken until 1938, when a company by the name of DuPont fashioned the first toothbrush to use nylon fibers, that we reached the stage where we still stand today.

The Importance of the Toothbrush

Man in a pink bathroom with a toothbrushWhy Should I Brush?

Despite the very long history of the toothbrush, it’s one of the simplest and most effective ways to improve dental hygiene.

In general, we suggest that you brush at least twice a day at the very minimum. Once in the morning, and once before bed. But, ideally, you want to also brush after every meal you have during the day. Certain kinds of food can have negative effects on your dental hygiene if left alone in your mouth for too long. Each of these sessions of brushing should last at least two and a half minutes.

Which Brush Should I Use?

As long as it’s new and not defective, any brush is better than no brush. Don’t let the quality of your brush dictate whether or not you use it at all. But some brushes will be better for your particular needs. You have a lot of possible choices; electric brush; more typical toothbrush; different heads, bristles, and handles.

We suggest that you go with softer bristles, as they’re a better fit for a normal household toothbrush. Beyond that, your choice of brush is going to be up to you. Because the truth is that every person’s teeth are different, and each of them will need a different brush for ideal maintenance. A smaller head on a brush can be good for one person, but make brushing more awkward for another. If you’re still having trouble deciding, then we suggest that you ask your dentist directly during your next visit.

At Blue Ash Dental Group, we value the education of our clients almost as much as we value their dental hygiene. If you’re interested in more information like this, or in scheduling an appointment, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Keep Your Mouth Healthy With Good Dental Hygiene

Mother and son cleaning teeth with dental floss

Visiting your dentist is an essential part of maintaining a healthy mouth. Although you may brush and floss daily to prevent decay and gum disease, it’s still important to see your dentist for routine checkups to ensure any potential problems are detected early before they become major dental emergencies. When you practice good dental hygiene, you’ll have healthy teeth and gums and your body is also less susceptible to some serious health conditions caused by untreated gum disease.

Why Is Good Oral Hygiene Important?

A healthy mouth begins with good oral hygiene. If you don’t take proper care of your teeth, it can lead to a variety of dental issues like tooth decay, periodontal disease, and bad breath. Periodontal disease is connected to serious medical conditions related to the heart, which means maintaining good oral health is essential to the health of your entire body.

Dental hygiene: brushing teethHow Can I Practice Proper Oral Hygiene?

If you think you’re practicing good oral hygiene, but you’re not sure if you’re doing all the right things, you’re certainly not alone. That’s why it’s important to rely on your professional dental team for guidance. When you visit your dentist, you can discuss your specific dental health needs and develop a dental maintenance regimen that is right for you. However, here are some ways you can begin to practice good oral hygiene right now.

  • Brush your teeth every day
  • Floss your teeth every day
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Use a mouth rinse after brushing your teeth
  • Avoid sugary foods and beverages
  • Visit your dentist for routine dental cleanings and checkups

At Blue Ash Dental Group, we want to help you keep your teeth and body strong for life. If it’s been a while since you’ve been to the dentist for a routine dental cleaning or you simply have questions about how you can maintain the best oral health possible, contact us to schedule an appointment today!

Identifying, Preventing, and Treating Gum Disease

examining gums for gum disease

Gum disease is a broad term that encompasses several variations of moderate to severe gum problems. Gingivitis and periodontal disease are among the most common types of gum disease, and there are many others.

What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is caused when excessive plaque accumulates on teeth. Certain toxins that are caused by the plaque then irritate nearby gum tissue, which can lead to puffy, red, or bleeding gums.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is a type of infection that is caused by certain types of bacteria that are present in accumulated plaque. Periodontal disease often begins with gingivitis, which progresses into the more serious and less treatable periodontal disease.

Common Symptoms of Gum Disease

There are a wide variety of potential warning signs of gum disease, which can vary depending on the severity and specific type. Some symptoms of gum disease that are often seen include:

  • Red or puffy gums
  • Tender, painful gums
  • Bleeding gums, particularly when brushing, flossing, or eating
  • Tooth separation from gums
  • Bad breath

man and woman preventing gum disease by practicing good hygiene

Prevention and Treatment

Proper tooth care is the first line of defense against gum disease. Most types of gum disease can be prevented through adequate brushing and flossing, and using fluoride rinse or other mouthwash can also help to reduce the risk of gum disease. Eating a healthy diet can also help to prevent gum disease. Minimizing sugar, in particular, is one of the most helpful dietary choices as far as eliminating as much plaque buildup as possible.

Severe cases may require professional dental treatment, such as:

  • Prescription medications
  • Root planing and scaling
  • Gum grafts
  • Surgery

At Blue Ash Dental Group, we care about giving you the tools to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Contact us today to learn more about gingivitis, periodontal disease, or other types of gum disease, or to schedule an appointment!

Tooth 101: Parts, Conditions, and Cleaning of Your Teeth

tooth 101: flossing

Having stellar oral health requires a thorough understanding of how teeth work. Here are some of the fundamental areas of tooth literacy – Tooth 101!

Parts of the Tooth

Like any other part of the human body, the tooth consists of several distinct parts. Some of the primary parts of the tooth include the crown, the root, the enamel, the dentin, and the pulp.

  • Crown: Top part of the tooth that is visible above the gum line
  • Root: Bottom part of the tooth that is below the gum line and is responsible for keeping the tooth in place
  • Enamel: Hard, outermost part of the tooth
  • Dentin: Middle layer of the tooth between the enamel and the pulp
  • Pulp: Soft, innermost part of the tooth

Emotional female with beautiful clear white open mouth smile of young woman with clean healthy teeth and soft tempting lips closeup, horizontal pictureTypes of Teeth

Not all teeth are alike. Instead, teeth differ based on their location and primary purpose. The four main categories of adult teeth are incisors, canines, bicuspids, and molars.

  • Incisors: located at the front of the mouth, used for biting and pronunciation
  • Canines: primarily used for biting, also known as cuspids
  • Bicuspids: used for chewing, also known as premolars
  • Molars: used for chewing and maintaining face structure

Diseases and Other Conditions That Affect Teeth

All body parts can be affected by certain diseases and other types of conditions, and the teeth are no exception. Some common tooth conditions include:

  • Buildup of plaque: a sticky substance caused by lack of proper cleaning
  • Buildup of tartar: a hardened substance caused by excessive plaque
  • Cavities: holes in the tooth that are caused by plaque buildup
  • Gum disease: a blanket term for conditions like gingivitis and periodontal disease that  are caused when plaque buildup on teeth reaches the gums

Basic Tooth Care

Following a set of simple guidelines is the best way to keep your teeth looking nice and functioning properly. Some of the most important aspects of keeping your teeth healthy include:

  • Brushing regularly: at least twice daily
  • Flossing regularly: at least once daily
  • Using fluoride or other mouth rinses
  • Visiting your dentist regularly: generally one or two times per year

Artificial Tooth Replacements

Severely damaged teeth, as well as adult teeth that fall out due to gum problems or other conditions, may need to be replaced by artificial teeth. This can range from inserting a single artificial tooth following an injury to using full dentures due to severe tooth or gum problems.

Knowing tooth basics helps people to be informed about their oral healthcare choices in order to make educated decisions. At Blue Ash Dental Group, we care about providing our patients with the information they need to have an in-depth understanding of their teeth. Contact us today for answers to all of your tooth care questions or to schedule an appointment!

Protect Your Teeth with Adequate Fluoride

Protect Your Teeth with Adequate Fluoride

You have probably heard of fluoride, but do you have a solid understanding of what it is and how it works?  At Blue Ash Dental Group, we love helping our patients learn more about this simple mineral that does wonders for your teeth!

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a natural mineral that has a variety of oral health benefits.  The first connection between consuming high levels of fluoride and having great oral health was made by studying fluoride levels in water in the 1930s, and many more sources and benefits have been found since then.  All of these sources play an essential role in cavity prevention.

How Can Fluoride Benefit Me?

There are several ways in which getting enough fluoride is an important part of maintaining excellent oral health.  Fluoride’s main purpose in any oral healthcare routine is strengthening the enamel in order to prevent cavities.  The specific ways in which fluoride benefits teeth vary slightly by age:

  • In children, fluoride is particularly important in strengthening the new, growing tooth enamel.  Fluoride reaches both primary and adult teeth when used by children, which has lasting health benefits!
  • In adults, fluoride continues to strengthen the enamel, which can be especially helpful if the enamel has begun to weaken over time.

What Are Some Good Sources of Fluoride?

Fluoride is found in several natural ways, such as in certain foods and water supplies.  Some foods that are rich in fluoride include:

  • Fresh vegetables, such as potatoes
  • Certain meats, such as crab
  • Some types of tea and wine

Romantic dinner in restaurant. King crab legs served with sauces and wine for two, close up. Good sources of Flouride

Other sources of fluoride include:

  • Toothpaste
  • Fluoride rinses and other types of mouthwash
  • Supplemental fluoride in water, such as bottled water with added fluoride and fluoride filters for tap water
  • Special dental fluoride treatments

At Blue Ash Dental Group, we care about providing our patients with the tools they need to be well-informed about oral health.  Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to learn more about our services!


Show Your Teeth Some Love This Valentine’s Day

Beautiful and happy young woman in love hugging her boyfriend holding a red rose

The winter holidays are known for not only great foods. They often lead to a lot of sweet treats. It is a time when we spend a lot of time with our family and friends, savoring pies, cakes, and more. These “food-friendly” holidays start with Halloween when kids go out in search of candies and even parents get to enjoy a bite. It continues through until Valentine’s Day when one of the most given gifts is heart-shaped boxes with delicious chocolates inside. All this holiday fun is great for showing your family how much you love them, but it can be devastating to your weight and your teeth. Blue Ash Dental Group cannot help you with the scale, but we can help you ensure that you show your teeth some love this Valentine’s Day.

Good Foods to Eat for Your Teeth

We all splurge a little on special holidays and occasions. There is nothing wrong with it and we encourage everyone to enjoy themselves when they get the chance. However, think of it as one day of splurging on junk foods means that you should try to eat healthier foods in between the holidays. You may also consider adding some of them to your holiday buffets. Cheese is healthy food for your teeth, and it works great for a snack platter. The same is true for apples, carrots, celery, and almonds. You can also eat a little yogurt in the days following a holiday, and of course, leafy green vegetables are always a good choice as well. After you enjoy your sweet treats, you must put in the effort to counteract some of the damage that can potentially leave behind.

Heart chocolate box and red roses on wooden rustic background

The good news is, you do not have to avoid all types of candies this Valentine’s Day. If you opt to eat dark chocolate, you may actually be doing a good thing for your teeth! This is great news for chocolate lovers worldwide! According to Dr. Brian Witt, a Temple Terrace FL dentist, dark chocolate can also increase your teeths sensitivity to sugar – be sure to not eat too much.

If you prefer to drink your way to a healthier mouth, you can include more of the following, non-acidic drinks. They include:


*Water (especially water with fluoride)

*Unsweetened Tea

Each of these drinks can help your dental health by protecting the enamel, which is the hard, outer layer of your teeth.

Foods You Should Avoid

When we think of dental health, we typically understand that anything sugary is bad for our teeth. This includes hard candies because they are loaded with sugar, but it can go beyond the sugary treats. Other things to keep in mind is that too much citrus can deteriorate tooth enamel, sticky foods (even dried fruit) will stay on the teeth longer, and overly crunchy foods can also cause you major issues.

You may think that since there are no food particles, you can drink them safely, but sugar filled drinks can also cause issues for your teeth. Even some drinks that may look safe can cause decay. Even ice is bad for your dental health, even though it is made of pure water and doesn’t contain sugar. Coffee isn’t bad for your teeth, but when you add a little sugar, it can become a problem. It can also stain your teeth if you drink it often. Sports drinks are also something you should consider avoiding if you want to keep your mouth healthy. Of course, the most dangerous thing for your teeth beyond soda is adult beverages. Wine is better than hard liquor, but all of them can lead to tooth decay because of the high sugar content. This can also lead to bad breath, which is a Valentine’s Day mood killer.

We Can Help

At Blue Ash Dental Group, we understand that living life means enjoying all the sweetest moments.  If you are concerned about your dental health or feel the need to show your teeth a little more love, we are here for you. Simply contact us to schedule an appointment to ensure that your mouth is truly kissable after the holidays.

All About Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric dentistry: Young excited boy looking at the dental mirror sitting on the chair with dentist at the dental office

From the moment a baby is born, we take all the necessary steps to ensure that we are caring for them the best we can! As the months go by, one of the most important aspects to consider is pediatric dentistry. There is so much to consider, and parents may be a bit confused as to how to approach things. Here are some tips and guidelines regarding pediatric dentistry that will allow you to make sure your child has the healthiest teeth possible.

Proper Care of Baby Teeth

A baby needs oral care even before his or her first teeth appear. Gums should be wiped with a wet, warm cloth each day to remove debris from feeding. When the first tiny teeth come in, use a baby toothbrush and toothpaste to gently brush the teeth twice per day. When you notice your child’s teeth fitting closely together, it is time to help him or her floss once per day.

close-up Baby mouth with two rises teeth

When do Children’s Teeth Start Falling Out?

Keep in mind that there is no “set age” for children’s teeth to fall out. Every child is different, with some losing their first tooth at age 5, and others not getting their first loose tooth until age 7. Before you know it, your child will be coming up to you, happily showing you their first wiggly tooth!

When to Choose a Pediatric Dentist?

Parents should choose a pediatric dentist by the time their child is one year old. This sets the stage for a lifetime of excellent oral health! It allows the pediatric dentist to quickly discover any potential issues, and make sure the child is receiving proper oral care.

Caring for Permanent Teeth

We cannot strongly enough stress the importance of caring for permanent teeth! Brush twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste, floss once per day, and rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash daily. Remember to see your dental professional for a cleaning and an exam every six months.

At Blue Ash Dental Group, we understand just how important it is to learn good oral health habits at an early age. For more information regarding pediatric dentistry, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!

Halitosis – What it is, the Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Morning Breath, bad breath or Halitosis

Bad breath is something that no one ever wants to deal with, yet the unfortunate reality is that some people do. It can not only be embarrassing, but it can also damage someone’s confidence and self-esteem. There is nothing worse than being engaged in a conversation with someone, and realizing that they are backing away from you because your breath is less than pleasant. Bad breath, known as halitosis, is a somewhat common problem. So what exactly is halitosis, what causes it, and what can we do about it? Let’s explore the answers to these questions, so that you can take the steps to ensure that your breath is as fresh as can be at all times!

What is Halitosis?

Halitosis is the term for when someone has chronic bad breath that is not typically fixed by simply using a breath mint, a quick rinse, or a breath spray. It tends to linger for a long time and is not something that is caused only on occasion by eating pungent foods, such as garlic or onions. It is worse than the unfresh breath that we all experience first thing in the morning before brushing. Those who have chronic halitosis are often anxious about the situation. Up to 25% of the population has experienced halitosis at some point in their lives. Surprisingly, there are many causes. While it is generally assumed that a buildup of bacteria in the mouth is the main cause, halitosis can also be caused by more serious health issues.

What Exactly Causes Someone to Have Halitosis?

As mentioned above, many people who know someone with halitosis often think that the person is not brushing and flossing properly. They attribute halitosis to a poor oral health routine. Also, people who have halitosis themselves may try to treat it on their own, feeling that if they brush and floss carefully, use an appropriate mouth rinse, and scrape their tongue on a regular basis, the condition will improve. While this improved oral hygiene routine sometimes cures the problem, everyone should be aware that there are other causes of chronic bad breath. If halitosis persists, it may be due to the following:

  • Poor oral hygiene, including improper brushing techniques, not flossing, and not using an antibacterial mouth rinse each day.
  • Dental issues that need to be addressed, such as cavities. Also, a person might have pockets caused by gum disease, which cause excessive bacteria in the mouth.
  • Liver Failure or ketoacidosis, although this is rare.
  • Excessive dry mouth, which can be caused by a variety of things. Alcohol use, the use of certain medications, and some medical conditions can cause decreased saliva production.
  • Unhealthy diets such as low carbohydrate diets.
  • Chronic use of cigarettes and tobacco, which cause a dry mouth and gum disease.
  • Bowel Obstruction. Although this is rare, halitosis can occur in this case.
  • Conditions of the mouth, throat, and nose.
  • Some types of cancer.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Knowing if You Have Halitosis

Many people may not be aware that they have halitosis. It helps to know what signs or symptoms to look for. The following signs or situations may indicate or result in less than pleasant breath:

  • You notice that your tongue has a white coating.
  • Gastric reflux.
  • The medications that you take on a daily basis cause you to have a dry mouth.
  • You always sleep with your mouth open, another cause of a chronic dry mouth.
  • You haven’t seen a dental professional in a significantly long period of time.
  • You fail to take care of your teeth on a regular basis.

In addition, trust your intuition. If you feel that there is a problem, ask someone close to you who you feel comfortable with if this is indeed the case.

Shot of a young man brushing his teeth at home

Prevention of Halitosis

The first step to take when preventing bad breath is to brush properly for at least two minutes, twice a day, floss daily, and use a mouth rinse. Use a tongue scraper each day to remove additional bacteria, and always replace your toothbrush every three months. If you wear dentures, be sure to remove and thoroughly clean them each day. It is also essential to keep up with your dental appointments! This means seeing the dentist every six months for a cleaning and a checkup. At this time, the dentist can check for any issues, such as cavities, that you were not aware of. Also, remember to stay hydrated to prevent a dry mouth. Reduce the amount of caffeine that you consume, and avoid smoking and consuming alcohol. If you notice that the problem has not resolved, make an appointment with your dental professional.

Seeking Professional Dental Care for Halitosis

If you find that you need to visit the dentist due to halitosis, you may be wondering how he or she will proceed. Making an appointment with your dentist will allow he or she to look for cavities, signs of gum disease, or any other oral conditions that may be causing the problem. The dentist will also discuss your oral hygiene routine with you, advise you on the proper techniques for brushing, flossing and rinsing, and advise you as to which products are right for you. In the event that the dentist feels that an oral condition is not causing the problem, you may be advised to see your family doctor.

At Blue Ash Dental Group, we understand that halitosis is a sensitive issue. That is why we make you feel as comfortable as possible at each and every appointment as we work with you to identify the cause and treat the problem. We take the time to communicate with each patient regarding their oral care routine and provide the necessary advice on preventing halitosis from happening. We conveniently offer a wide variety of services so that you can be certain that you are receiving the necessary care that you need for a healthy mouth and a great smile. We are here to help, so if you have any questions, would like more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!