Tooth Anatomy, What Are The Basic Parts Of A Tooth?

Tooth Anatomy, What Are The Basic Parts Of A Tooth
Your teeth may look like they are all one piece, but in reality, teeth are made up of multiple layers. From the crown of your teeth to the nerves inside that tell you when your ice cream is chilly or how to move your tongue to make different sounds, the parts of your teeth work together to allow you to do many things.

To help demystify your teeth, our Billings, MT dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental are here to cover tooth anatomy and clear up what the basic parts of your teeth are and what they do for you.

What Are The Part Of A Tooth

The basic parts of a tooth consist of the crown, enamel, dentin, tooth pulp, and root. Each plays an important role and needs to be taken care of to ensure a healthy smile.


Top of the tooth, the crown is the part of the tooth, which makes the most contact with your other teeth and the objects you bite. With this constant contact, the crown of the tooth is vulnerable to becoming worn down and damaged, particularly if the crown makes contact with something hard.

While some wear is expected, when a crown becomes chipped or cracked, a dental filling or dental crown is needed to keep your tooth protected.


The hard, white outer layer of your teeth is called the enamel. Your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your entire body, which the enamel has to be to stand up to decades of heavy usage. It also protects the softer, more sensitive layers of your teeth. With proper dental hygiene, you should be able to maintain the enamel of your teeth for years to come.

When the enamel of your teeth is breached by bacteria, it forms a cavity. If dealt with quickly, all you need is a dental filling to re-seal your tooth. However, if it is left unaddressed, your enamel can suffer further damage, and the tooth layers below can be jeopardized.


Directly below the enamel layer of your tooth is a layer of dentin. This layer of your tooth is yellow, and when your enamel layer is thinner, the yellow you see in your teeth is likely the dentin showing through. The dentin helps support the enamel—but it is not as hard—and is the last layer of defense for the pulp of your teeth.

If the dentin is breached, you are lucky if all you need is a filling. Because, once tooth decay has made its way completely past the dentin, you will need a root canal to clean out the problem.

Tooth Pulp

Your tooth pulp is where all the soft tissue—nerves, blood vessels, etc.—of your tooth are located. This collection of tissue is what allows you to feel when your teeth make contact with something, changes in temperature, and pain when there is something wrong with your teeth.

If tooth decay allows an infection to set into the tooth pulp, it can be incredibly painful. A root canal to clean out the infection and a dental crown are generally needed if something goes wrong with the tooth pulp. Left untreated, tooth pulp can die, resulting in tooth loss.


The base of your tooth is the root. This part of your tooth connects it to your jawbone, keeping your tooth in place while chewing, speaking, etc. The pulp of your teeth run through the roots of your teeth and keep the connection between your teeth and your jaw alive.

How To Best Protect Your Teeth

To protect your teeth—from the crest of the crown to the tip of your roots—there is some preventative dental care you should be doing.

  • Daily oral hygiene – Your day-to-day oral hygiene routine is the most important thing you can do to maintain your dental health. Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day—morning and night—and floss once a day.
  • Fluoride treatment – Provided by our dentists, a fluoride treatment can add extra protection for your teeth, especially if you don’t normally drink water with fluoride in it.
  • Regular dental cleanings – Coming in twice a year for dental cleanings is an important part of maintaining your teeth’s health. With regular cleanings, our dental staff can monitor potential trouble spots and catch issues before they become serious problems.
  • Dental sealants – If you have deep grooves or crevasses in your teeth, these can allow pockets of bacteria to hide and flourish. To fill in these crevices and protect your teeth, our dentists can apply a thin coat to your teeth, sealing them.
  • Nightguard – For those individuals who tend to grind their teeth or clench them at night, a nightguard can be an excellent way to protect your teeth from excessive wear and tear.

When you are ready to schedule your dental cleaning to help protect your teeth, feel free to contact us so that we can get you in as soon as possible!

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6 Ways Our Patients Can Help Us Celebrate National Dentist Day

National Dentist Day Image

There seems to be national days for everything now—from national dog day to national donut day. So, why not have a national day celebrating your dentist?

March 6th is National Dentist Day, which is set as a day to celebrate dentists and the services they offer the community. If our Bridge Creek Dental patients want to celebrate National Dentist Day, here are some ideas to help you observe the day.

1. Renew Commitment To Better Dental Health

Tasks you are expected to do every day can be tough to stay on top of—from making the bed to brushing your teeth, it can be tough to be consistent. But when it comes to your dental health, being consistent with your twice-daily teeth brushing and nightly flossing is essential.

Even if you have recently struggled to stick to a good oral hygiene routine, you can celebrate National Dentist Day by renewing your commitment to sticking to a healthy routine of flossing and brushing.

2. Schedule Your Biannual Dental Cleaning

Every six months, you should come in for a dental cleaning. During your dental cleaning, you can have any built-up tartar and dental plaque removed by our dental hygienist, which your regular toothbrush can’t remove.

Also, during this cleaning and check-up, our dentists can look over areas of concern that may have been flagged during your last cleaning. That way, if a problem has progressed, it can be taken care of before it becomes a bigger issue.

If it has been a while since your last dental cleaning, let National Dentist Day be the day where you break that streak and call to make your dental cleaning appointment.

3. Shout Out Your Dentist On Social Media

Everyone likes to feel appreciated, and your dentist is no exception. As most businesses now have social media pages, you can shout out your dentist on social media as part of National Dentist Day.

If any Bridge Creek Dental patients want to tag us, feel free to shout us out on Instagram and Facebook @bridgecreekdental.

4. Raise Awareness In Your Community

Dental health can sometimes take a backseat to other health issues that people face. Yet, your dental and oral health is an essential part of your overall health. So, put dental health front and center by raising awareness of dental health best practices and common issues people should see their dentist about.

Some of the things you can do to raise dental health awareness can start at home with you teaching your children new toothbrushing techniques. Or, you can share on your social media how often people should be replacing their toothbrushes.

5. Show-Off Your Pearly Whites

You and your dentist work hard on your smile. So, for National Dentist Day, make a concentrated effort to show off those pearly-whites and try to keep a smile on your face. Who knows, you may just make someone’s day by simply smiling!

6. Appreciate Your Dentist With A Message

For National Dentist Day, you can reach out to your dentist with a message of appreciation. While you can reach out on social media with your message of appreciation, you can also feel free to email our dentists with your message.

So, if National Dentist Day has reminded you that your next dental cleaning is coming up, feel free to contact Bridge Creek Dental to schedule your next appointment with our experienced dentists.

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Brushing Your Tongue – Are There Oral Hygiene Benefits?

Brushing Your Tongue - Are There Oral Hygiene Benefits
When it comes to preventative dental care, engaging in good daily oral hygiene practices is essential in keeping your mouth healthy. You know the basics—teeth brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash. But you may have heard people talking about tongue scraping or brushing and are wondering if it is worth your time.

In general, brushing your tongue may make you feel refreshed but doesn’t have any verifiable benefits beyond that. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t scrape your tongue, especially if it helps you stay committed to a good oral hygiene routine.

Should You Be Brushing Your Tongue

There are three main reasons why people brush or scrape their tongues:

  • Reduce halitosis (bad breath)
  • Increase the ability to taste things
  • Decrease the number of bacteria

The problem is, there is little to no scientific evidence to back up these tongue scraping claims. Without measurable effects, it can be hard to say that tongue scraping does anything other than add another step to your oral hygiene routine.

However, that doesn’t mean that you should stop brushing your tongue. Some people simply enjoy the fresh feeling after they have cleaned their entire mouth. If that’s what you enjoy about brushing your tongue, then you should feel free to continue.

How To Scrape Your Tongue

If you are still interested in cleaning your tongue, our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental recommend you do it as part of your regular oral hygiene routine. That way, if there are any undiscovered benefits to tongue scraping, you can enjoy them with the proven benefits of teeth brushing and flossing.

After you have finished with your brushing and flossing, you can use a tongue scraper to wrap up your routine, following these steps.

  • Open your mouth and place the scraper as far back on your tongue as you are comfortable. You may need to go slowly your first few times to avoid engaging your gag reflex.
  • With gently applied pressure on the tongue scraper, pull it forward until you reach the tip of your tongue. There should be no pain or discomfort associated with this motion.
  • Rinse off the tongue scraper after each pass using warm water, and repeat the scraping motion until the entire tongue has been scraped.
  • Once you are done scraping, rinse your mouth with mouthwash to seal in that fresh feeling.

Don’t Forget The Rest Of The Mouth

As you use a tongue scraper or brush your tongue, be sure not to neglect any other part of your oral hygiene routine, including going to your biannual cleaning appointments. By sticking to a healthy routine, you can reduce halitosis, protect yourself from gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral health issues that arise from poor oral hygiene.

To set up your biannual dental cleaning appointment to ensure that your oral health stays in top condition, feel free to contact us to schedule your cleaning! We look forward to helping you achieve the healthiest smile possible!

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Dentist Digest Monthly: Stop Opening Bottles With Your Teeth

Dentist Digest Monthly - Stop Opening Bottles With Your Teeth
Healthy natural teeth perform a range of essential functions—helping with speech as well as nonverbal communication, assists in food consumption, and more. And everyone feels more confident when they can flash a bright, white, and even smile.

Yet, some people insist on using their teeth to do things they shouldn’t, like opening bottles and holding things between their teeth, running the risk of severely damaging their teeth. As your local Billings, MT, dentists, we want you to stop opening bottles with your teeth and using them as substitute tools.

Is It Bad To Open Bottles With Your Teeth?

The enamel of your teeth is the hardest substance in your body. However, that doesn’t mean that it is up to being used as a bottle opener. Leave the opening of bottles with teeth to Hollywood—for everyone else, it is a terrible idea to open bottles with your teeth.

Think about it. Your teeth are quite strong as a chomping whole, but if you are using them to open a bottle, you are putting a lot of pressure on the crown of just a couple of your teeth. That kind of pressure is guaranteed to go wrong, either on the first try or down the road, the end result is the same.

Other Things You Should Stop Doing With Your Teeth

Along with needing to stop using your teeth to open bottles, there are other nonfood related things you should stop doing with your teeth so that you don’t have to visit our dental clinic before your next preventative dental cleaning.

  • Prying things open – Sometimes, when things get jammed, it can get frustrating. But you don’t want to resort to your teeth in frustration. It can increase the force you are using with your teeth and lead to painfully chipped teeth.
  • Using them as scissors – You know that vacuum-sealed plastic that seems to be on every electronic purchase? Yeah, stop using your teeth to tear off the initial edge. It can lead to chipping your front teeth on each other, so stick to keeping scissors handy.
  • Cracking open items – Most people have cracked open something like a nut with their teeth. But no bite of nut is worth cracking a tooth or chipping off a chunk. Stick to a nutcracker and other tools that aren’t your teeth when it comes to breaking things open.
  • Carrying things between teeth – Sometimes, teeth can seem like a convenient third hand. However, if something pulls out the thing you are holding or jostles the item, you run the risk of dislodging a tooth or creating a stress fracture.

What To Do When You Chip A Tooth On A Bottle

Unfortunately, for some people, our advice has come a little late, and they have already chipped a tooth opening a bottle or while using their teeth as tools. Depending on the extent of the damage, your tooth can be repaired with cosmetic dentistry. Some common options to correct cracked or chipped teeth are:

  • Bonding – For light dental damage—such as a chip or cracked tooth—bonding may be enough to fix your tooth. Using composite resin, our dentists can fill in the damaged area and cure it with a special light. The composite is matched to your teeth so that the damage can be completely fixed without being obvious.
  • Veneers – Sometimes, several teeth are chipped when you try and use your teeth as tools. When the damage occurs to your front teeth, veneers are an excellent option. Thin layers of porcelain are laid over the damaged teeth for a revitalized appearance.
  • Crown – Your molars require more sturdy repairs if they become chipped, as they take a lot of pressure when you eat. In these cases, a dental crown to cover the damaged tooth is the preferred method to fix a chipped tooth.
  • Dental implant – There are times where the damage is too extensive, and the tooth cannot be saved. In these cases, extraction of the broken tooth is needed, and a dental implant can be placed.

Whether you have a chipped or cracked tooth from using your teeth as a tool or simply need a preventative dental cleaning, you can count on Bridge Creek Dental. Contact us today to set up your dental appointment with one of our dentists and start taking care of your smile!

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Dentist Digest Monthly: Is Chewing Gum Bad For Your Teeth?

Dentist Digest Monthly - Is Chewing Gum Bad For Your Teeth
During their biannual dental cleanings, many of our patients have asked about whether or not chewing gum is bad for their teeth—particularly if we found cavities. While it is easy to blame things like gum chewing for cavities, there are some instances where gum can actually protect your teeth!

Whether chewing gum is good or bad for your teeth will depend on a variety of factors. In short, sugar-free gum with xylitol can help your teeth, while sugared gum can increase plaque. If you are interested in learning more, our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental are here to help.

Sugar-Free Chewing Gum Can Be Good For Your Teeth

One of the simplest things that gum—of any variety—can do for you is to increase the amount of saliva flow in your mouth. This increased saliva helps to breakdown food particles and wash away debris that attracts bad oral bacteria. It also helps prevent dry mouth.

Beyond the saliva production benefits, you should be sure to choose sugar-free gum with xylitol when you are looking to chew gum. Studies have shown that the sugar alcohol xylitol in gum can help reduce the amount of harmful oral bacteria significantly, assisting in preventing tooth decay. Also, as the bad bacteria is reduced, bad breath is also reduced.

So, if you are looking for ways to support your dental hygiene in between preventative cleanings by our dental staff, you may want to consider chewing sugar-free gum.

Consider These Things Before Chomping On Gum

Now, if you choose sugared gum rather than sugar-free gum, you will have the opposite effect on your dental health. Instead of supporting your teeth, full-sugar gum will directly deposit sugar onto your teeth, attracting the harmful oral bacteria that will eat the sugar and excrete acid onto your teeth.

This acid can erode your enamel, making it easier for cavities to form. Also, as you chew sugary gum, your teeth will develop more plaque, which can contribute to gum disease. So, if you are picking a gum, make sure that it is sugar-free gum, preferably one that contains xylitol.

Also, a side-effect of chewing gum—any kind of gum—can be the loosening of your fillings, veneers, crowns, and bridge. The gum can also become tangled with any fixed dental work you have, so you should be cautious when chewing gum if you have dental work that can either become loose or gummed up.

Lastly, there has been some research that has linked chewing gum with temporomandibular disorder (TMJ). This disorder causes you to feel pain as you chew, so if your jaw is starting to feel sore, you may want to take a break from chewing gum.

No Amount Of Chewing Gum Replaces Your Billings, MT Dentist

Even with the benefits of chewing sugar-free gum, nothing can replace your regular dental appointments with your Billings, MT dentist.

If you are ready to come in for your biannual cleaning or need other dental services, please contact us today to set up your appointment and don’t leave it all up to your gums.

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How Smoking And Tobacco Use Can Affect Dental Health

How Smoking And Tobacco Use Can Affect Dental Health

As most smokers and tobacco users know, using these products has a direct negative impact on many aspects of their health. From the risk of developing throat, mouth, or lung cancer, regular use of nicotine products can also have a significant effect on dental health.

Over the years, our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental have seen firsthand the effects of smoking and tobacco use in the mouths of patients. If you are looking for motivation to quit or have a loved one you want to help quit, here are some facts about how smoking and tobacco use can have far-reaching effects on dental health.

How Dental Health Is Impacted By Nicotine Products

Now, we have mentioned smoking and tobacco specifically, but the nicotine in these products is one of the main culprits behind deteriorating dental health. While the tar and carcinogens in tobacco products can cause a host of other health issues, nicotine—which is present in almost all forms of these products from cigars to most vaping liquids—is what will impact your oral health the most.

That impact is due to the vasoconstriction that nicotine induces. Vasoconstriction means that the blood vessels have been constricted and are narrower. With narrower blood vessels, there is less blood flowing through them.

With less blood flow in your mouth, it is far easier for periodontitis—gum disease—to set in and progress to further stages that can result in tooth loss and jawbone density loss. Also, another side effect of reduced blood flow due to nicotine is that if you have a tooth extracted or an oral sore, it can take far longer to heal as fewer white blood cells make their way to the problem area.

Lastly, using cigarettes, cigars, vaping, and other nicotine products can cause dry mouth. While some people may just consider that a comfort issue, having a dry mouth can lead to greater bacteria build-up and faster tooth decay. This decay can lead to needing fillings for cavities, root canals for deeper infections, and complete tooth loss if not controlled.

Signs That Smoking And Tobacco Are Affecting Your Oral Health

Sometimes, it can take until there is a visible impact on their health to convince a smoker that they should give up their addiction. So, to help you recognize the danger signs that smoking and tobacco are affecting oral health, see the list below.

  • Staining of the tongue, teeth, and discoloration of the gums.
  • Lasting bad breath that doesn’t go away.
  • White patches show up in the mouth—properly called leukoplakia.
  • Greater build-up of tartar and plaque on the teeth.
  • Loose teeth, which can potentially fall out.
  • Slow healing for sore in and around the mouth.

Should you recognize these signs in your dental health, then you likely need quality dental services to help get your oral health back on track.

Visit Our Dentists in Billings, MT For Dental Help

Receiving quality dental care can make a significant difference whether or not you do end up quitting smoking. While it is best if you quit smoking and have your dental health addressed, our dentists can still help with your dental care if you are still smoking.

If you would like our dentists to help with your dental health, please contact us today to set up your appointment as soon as possible. That way, we can get you on the path to a healthier, happier smile!

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How To Care For Sensitive Teeth Through The Cold Montana Winter

How To Care For Sensitive Teeth Through The Cold Montana Winter
Tooth sensitivity can be triggered by a number of things, from eating something hot to having tooth decay. Often, people associate tooth sensitivity and pain with cavities or other dental problems. So, when winter rolls around and their teeth hurt, some people get worried as they experience dental sensitivity.

Whether you do have a dental issue that needs to be addressed or just need some advice on how to care for your sensitive teeth, our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental are here to help.

Why Are Your Teeth Sensitive In The Winter

Here in Billings, MT, our winters are no joke. From the blowing winds to the heaps of snow, it is no surprise that the cold can cause dental pain, as moving from warm to cold temperatures can cause your teeth to expand—response to heat—and then contract—response to cold.

The expansion and contraction can cause your teeth to develop cracks. These cracks can expose the sensitive microscopic tubes that are located under your enamel, leaving you with teeth that are sensitive to temperature changes. Along with this issue, there are a number of other reasons why your teeth are sensitive in the winter months.

Oral Hygiene Practices

Skipping or slacking on oral hygiene can leave you with sensitive teeth as bacteria causes tooth decay and leads to gum recession. However, it can be just as problematic to be too gung-ho when it comes to your oral hygiene practices.

If you brush too hard or are too vigorous while flossing, you can also cause your gums to recede and expose the sensitive roots of your teeth. Also, harsh teeth brushing practices can wear down your enamel, exposing the microscopic tubes in your teeth.

Tooth Decay

The protective enamel of your teeth can be breached by tooth decay. Once the enamel is gone, it will not come back, allowing the decay to progress and make your teeth more sensitive. Untreated treated tooth decay can also spread to the nearby teeth, causing more of your teeth to be sensitive.

Also, if you have old fillings, it may be time to replace your dental fillings. The expansion and contraction of your teeth can cause your old fillings to fit improperly, allowing decay to sneak in. Another potential issue is if your filling has cracked or fallen out, it can leave your tooth vulnerable and more sensitive.


Those who struggle with bruxism—grinding and/or clenching of the teeth—can also end up having sensitive teeth. The pressure of clenching can cause micro-fissures in your teeth, while grinding can wear down the enamel and expose the sensitive dentin and tubes below.

OTC Bleaching Kits

Wanting to have white teeth leads many people to opt for over-the-counter (OTC) bleaching kits. These kits can leave your teeth more sensitive after using them, especially if you bleach your teeth for longer intervals than recommended by the OTC kit.

If you still want white teeth with a much lower risk of sensitivity, professional teeth whitening from our dentists is an ideal option.

Periodontal Disease

Gum disease—also called periodontal disease—causes your gums to recede. As your gums pull back, it exposes the sensitive roots of your teeth. Also, periodontal disease can leave your gums inflamed and sensitive as well as your teeth.

How To Manage Your Sensitive Teeth During A Montana Winter

If you have sensitive teeth and aren’t sure how to protect them, one of the first things you should do is come in for a preventative dental cleaning appointment. You should have these appointments twice a year, as it allows our dental hygienists to clean your teeth, and our dentists can check for any issues that may be causing your sensitivity.

Along with coming in for dental cleanings, here are some other things you can do to manage your sensitive teeth this winter.

  • Fluoride – A naturally-occurring mineral, fluoride has been found to help prevent tooth decay and assist in the re-mineralization of worn-down enamel. Our dentists can provide a fluoride treatment, and you can use toothpaste with fluoride to help reduce sensitivity.
  • Nightguard – With a custom-made nightguard, or even just a boil-and-bite mouthguard, you can protect your teeth from clenching and grinding in your sleep, which is often when bruxism is an issue.
  • Nose breathing – As you step outside into a crisp winter day, try your best to breathe through your nose. When you breathe through your nose, the air is warmed up and moisturized as it makes its way past your teeth. If you breathe through your mouth, your teeth are smacked with all that cold air.
  • Soft-bristle toothbrush – To avoid being too rough on your teeth and gums, be sure to use a soft-bristle toothbrush. It is still possible to brush too hard with one of these brushes, so you may even want to invest in an electric toothbrush. That way, you don’t have to worry about pushing on your teeth to clean them.
  • Sealants – Should you have exposed roots, thin enamel, or other issues that expose the sensitive microtubes in your teeth, sealant treatment can help. Our dentists can coat your teeth in clear sealant to add a protective layer to your teeth that can help reduce your sensitivity.

If you would like our dentists’ help in protecting your sensitive teeth this winter, please contact us today to set up an appointment.

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8 Dental Tips To Keep Your Smile Happy This Thanksgiving

8 Dental Tips To Keep Your Smile Happy This Thanksgiving
It is finally November, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Aside from eating delicious food and spending time with family and friends, a major feature of this time of year is tons of pictures. And if there is a time you want a great smile, it’s during these photo-frenzy times.

That’s why Bridge Creek Dental is here with eight dental tips to help you keep your smile bright and your teeth healthy this Thanksgiving.

1. Be Aware Of Acidic Foods And Drinks

There is a variety of foods and drinks served during Thanksgiving that are highly acidic, such as cranberry sauce, wine, coffee, and other consumables. Not only does the acid in these foods and drinks erode the enamel on your teeth, but most of them can stain your teeth.

While you can always have your teeth whitened, it may be easier to just cut back on acidic foods and drinks. If you do want to enjoy them, try to be sure to break up your consumption with bites of other foods and sipping on water. Also, post-meal, wait for a half-hour to brush your teeth so that your teeth can recover from the acidity before brushing.

2. Keep An Eye On Sugar Consumption

Thanksgiving feasts almost always feature an array of delectable desserts. Problem is, the amount of sugar usually found in the pies, cookies, brownies, and other treats that make up a dessert table is staggering. Loading up on sugary Thanksgiving desserts can court cavities, as sugar residue on your teeth attracts cavity-making bacteria.

Practicing portion control can help reduce the sugar load, as well as brushing soon after you finish eating. Also, choosing less sticky desserts is a good idea, especially if you aren’t able to brush your teeth soon after.

3. Lower Your Servings Of Starches

Heavy servings of starches are a mainstay of most Thanksgiving spreads. Everything from yam casseroles to loaded mashed potatoes represents large servings of starches, which quickly breakdown into glucose—aka, sugar.

Much like with our sugar consumption advice just above, portion control will be your best defense against.

4. Grab More Veggies And Turkey

Aside from the turkey, it can be tempting to either skip the veggies completely or just take enough to quiet a slightly guilty conscious. However, if you want to take care of your teeth this Thanksgiving, you should load up on vegetable options and turkey.

Leafy green vegetables are good sources for calcium, which can help strengthen your teeth. As for colorful veggies like bell peppers, eggplant, squash, and others, these vegetables are also very mineral- and vitamin-rich, which can help support your oral health as well as your overall health. As for the turkey, this popular seasonal fowl has phosphorus, which will combine with calcium and vitamin D to help strengthen your teeth.

5. Make Healthy Substitutions When Possible

It can be easy to follow your favorite recipes to the letter, but if possible, you may want to make healthy substitutions when possible.

For instance, you can replace some or all of the sugar in a recipe with sugar substitutes such as xylitol. You can also cut down on butter and oil in recipes with unsweetened applesauce or Greek yogurt.

6. Drink Plenty Of Water

Sipping on water throughout your Thanksgiving feast, and other various holiday parties can provide you with a variety of benefits, such as:

  • Helping to rinse food and sugar residue off of your teeth.
  • Keeps your mouth moist and helps produce saliva to breakdown food.
  • Works to keep you from over-eating.

7. Avoid The Temptation To Graze

During the holiday season, there is usually plenty of food to snack on all throughout the day, sometimes every day, as there are bowls of candy at the office, baked goods at home, at dessert when you visit friends. But, when you graze, it leaves food residue on your teeth, particularly in the crevices of your teeth.

So, while those turkey-shaped sugar cookies are adorable and tempting, try your best to say no to snacking. Or, at least carry a travel toothbrush to help clean your teeth after you indulge.

8. Keep Your Dental Appointments

Last but not least, if you have a dental appointment this month, we strongly encourage you to stick to it. While the holiday season can become busy and a bit stressful, you and your family’s oral health can be better supported by keeping dental cleaning appointments.

If you need to make a biannual cleaning appointment to keep your teeth healthy, please contact us today. We look forward to helping you keep your oral health in top shape this holiday season!

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How To Keep Your Dentist Happy During Halloween

Halloween is often associated with cavities and dental fillings. But, for all that Halloween gets blamed for a lot of dental issues among children, there are some things you can do this upcoming Halloween to keep your kids’ teeth healthy and your dentist happy.

Consider Having Sealants Applied Before Halloween

Sealants are a protective coating that can be applied to your children’s teeth by our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental. This treatment requires the underlying teeth to be healthy, as sealants quite literally seal the teeth and help to prevent damage from harmful bacteria. The cost of sealants can vary, though on average, per tooth sealants can cost around $35-$40. Dental insurance can discount or completely cover sealant treatments, and in the end, sealants are far less expensive than cavities, root canals, or cosmetic dental treatments that may be needed down the road.

Ways To Protect Your Kids Teeth On Halloween

Along with having sealants put on your children’s teeth, there are some steps you can take on Halloween. These steps can help reduce the damage of the upcoming candy frenzy.

Eat Before Trick-Or-Treating

Before you take the kids out trick-or-treating, be sure to feed them a hearty meal. Not only will that help prevent sugar crashing—and related temper tantrums—but with a good dinner in their stomachs, your children won’t fill up completely on candy. Ideally, a high protein meal with fiber-rich vegetables will help satiate their appetites and help your kids fill up.

Carry Water

Another good way to protect your children’s teeth while taking them out trick-or-treating is to carry water with you. Between munching on candy, have your kids take a drink of water. The water will help wash away the sugar residue. Also, along with assisting with sugar buildup prevention, having water on you can help prevent dry mouth. When your kids’ mouths are dry, their saliva is unable to breakdown the candy particles efficiently, which allows more bacteria to gather and eat.

Have A Set Ending Time

Kids often have a walk-’til-they-drop attitude when it comes to collecting free candy on Halloween. But the longer they are out eating candy and gathering more candy to consume later, the more at-risk their teeth can become. So, before your family sets out on Halloween, set a firm ending time. Most kids will push until they drop, and you don’t want your children to be too sleepy to effectively brush their teeth.

Ensure Good Brushing & Flossing After

Depending on the age of your children, after trick-or-treating on Halloween, you may want to brush your kids’ teeth and help them floss. With children over eight years old who can brush their teeth on their own, you can likely just double-check to make sure that any sticky, sugary residue is gone. Also, in the days following Halloween, you may want to consider trading your kids for their candy stash. Things from swapping candy for a special trip or nonfood treat, or simply paying a certain rate per candy weight is a great way to have your kids give up indulging in too much sugar.

Schedule A Dental Cleaning After Halloween

Lastly, you can schedule a dental cleaning for your kids after Halloween. Not only will this help make sure that your children’s teeth are in good shape post-candy binging, but it can also assist in ensuring that your kids’ dental health is in top condition going into the rest of the holiday season. If you would like to schedule your children’s dental cleaning, sealant treatment, or other dental services you and your family may need, feel free to contact us today. We look forward to helping you keep your family’s smiles healthy!

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Bruxism – How To Stop Grinding Your Teeth

Occasional involuntary jaw clenching and grinding of your teeth is a normal occurrence and generally shouldn’t be a problem for you. However, it’s when you regularly grind your teeth that the condition is called bruxism, and it is an issue for your oral health.

Often, when someone suffers from bruxism, they are fitted with a dental appliance to protect their teeth from being ground down. Problem is, using something like a nightguard does not address the underlying cause of bruxism, which can be anything from stress to too much caffeine.

To help you stop grinding your teeth, our dentists here at Bridge Creek Dental will work with you to find the cause of your bruxism and help you treat it.

What Causes Bruxism

Often, teeth grinding can be attributed to some sort of stress. However, there are other factors that influence your bruxism.

Anxiety and Stress

A significant source of teeth grinding is due to stress and anxiety. People who have high-stress workplaces or other stressful circumstances can often end up expressing that stress and anxiety in teeth grinding at night.

Sleep Disorder

Sleeping issues such as obstructive sleep apnea—when the airway becomes blocked during sleep by slack muscles—can lead to bruxism. The physically stressful circumstances of having their airway blocked as they sleep can cause people to grind their teeth during their sleep.

Bite Issues

During your sleep, you may end up grinding your teeth due to a missing tooth or a misaligned bite. You may instinctually clench your jaw and grind your teeth as you subconsciously try to bite your teeth evenly.

Caffeine Consumption

Stimulants like caffeine can cause the physical symptoms of stress, as caffeine helps open up your blood flow and increase your alertness, much like stress and anxiety.

How Do You Know If You Grind Your Teeth

Since teeth grinding mostly happens when you are asleep, it can be tough to be sure that you are dealing with bruxism. Here are some of the most common signs of bruxism:

Wake up with headaches – Clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth during the night can cause a lot of tension to build up. That tension can leave you waking up with low-grade headaches most mornings.

Often have a sore jaw – The pressure from grinding your teeth during the night can leave your jaw sore and tender. Some people have expressed that there are mornings where they can’t even open their mouths enough to eat breakfast.

Worn-down teeth – As you brush your teeth, take a look at your teeth. Your teeth—the molars in particular—may look worn-down and shorter. If the grinding is caused by a bite issue, you may have one side of your teeth that is more worn than the other.

Chipped or cracked teeth – When you find you have a chipped or cracked tooth without a clear reason, it may be due to the excessive pressure of grinding your teeth. Also, your teeth may become weakened by nighttime grinding and become chipped or cracked by something as simple as biting an apple.

Partner mentions grinding – A pretty indicator that you have bruxism is if your partner tells you that they hear you grinding your teeth as you sleep.

If you do have worn-down teeth or have developed other types of dental damage due to your teeth grinding, you can have these issues addressed with cosmetic dentistry as you work on preventing your bruxism.

Ways To Prevent Teeth Grinding

There are a number of ways you can protect your teeth and prevent teeth grinding. Some solutions to bruxism you may want to try are:

  • Use a nightguard or other oral appliance – One of the dental services offered at our dental clinic is custom nightguards that will protect your teeth at night. Our dentists can also order other oral appliances if night guards don’t work for you. While a nightguard may not stop your bruxism, it can protect your teeth as you work on implementing other solutions.
  • Relax your muscles – Tension is a major predictor of bruxism. If you relax your muscles before bed—i.e., focused meditation, hot shower, heating pad to tense muscles, etc.—you can reduce the chance that you will grind your teeth.
  • Regularly engage in exercise – Exercising regularly can be a great way to naturally reduce the stress and tension that you carry. Cardio is a good option to get your heart pumping, but you should choose a form of exercise that you enjoy and will stick with long term.
  • Catch daytime jaw clenching and grinding – When under stress or when you feel anxious, you may clench your jaw and even grind your teeth during the day. Try to check in with yourself to see if you are doing this and actively work on relaxing your jaw.
  • Avoid chewing unnecessarily – No, we aren’t advocating that you go on a liquid diet or try to bolt food without swallowing. But if you are prone to chewing on pens, or chewy snacks like gum and taffy, you should avoid these habits as it can exacerbate your teeth grinding.
  • Skip caffeine – While you may still have a cup or two of coffee in the morning, you should skip all forms of caffeine a few hours before you are looking to go to bed.
  • Work with a therapist – Working with a mental health specialist can help you develop the tools to effectively manage your stress and anxiety.

As you do these things, be sure to come into our dental clinic for your biannual dental cleanings. That way, if there are any potential issues developing, our dentists can catch them before they become a serious issue.

If you want to address your teeth grinding issue, you can feel free to contact us and have a consultation with our dentists.

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