David M. Barney, DMD
August 15th, 2017
The third molars have long been known as your “wisdom teeth,” because they are the last teeth to erupt from the gums – usually sometime during the late teens to early twenties. This is a time in life that many consider an “age of wisdom”; hence the term, “wisdom teeth.”
Extracting the third molars does not have any effect on your actual wisdom … and Dr. David Barney and our staff are sorry to say that holding on to them can’t make you smarter, either. So if you somehow feel that you became wiser and smarter when your wisdom teeth appeared, chalk it up to age rather than teeth.
In fact, you may just be showing how smart you are by having your wisdom teeth removed. Mankind once relied on the wisdom teeth to replace teeth that were damaged or missing, thanks to a poor diet. But dietary changes and advances in modern dentistry make it possible for many people to hold on to their teeth for many decades, which eliminated the need for third molars.
For many people, wisdom teeth cause nothing but problems: becoming impacted, irritating surrounding gum tissue, or even causing other teeth to become crooked or overlap. By removing them, patients often enjoy a lower risk of decay, infection, and aesthetic complications.
So rest assured that extracting your wisdom teeth will have no effect on your immediate or long-term intelligence.
August 8th, 2017
Unless you’re aware of the signs and symptoms of gum disease and how it’s caused, it’s possible that you may have unknowingly developed it. Often painless, gum disease — or periodontal disease — becomes progressively more serious when left untreated. As you learn more about the common causes of gum disease, you’ll be better-equipped to maintain the best oral health possible.
Gingivitis & Periodontitis: Common Causes of Gum Disease
- Bacteria & Plaque. Bacteria in the mouth creates a sticky film over the teeth. Good hygiene practices help remove the bacteria and the plaque they cause. When plaque is not removed, it develops into a rock-like substance called tartar. This can only be removed by a dental professional.
- Smoking & Tobacco. If you’re a smoker or use tobacco, you face a higher risk of developing gum disease. Additionally, tobacco use can lead to stained teeth, bad breath, and an increased risk of oral cancers.
- Certain Medications. Some medications that are taken for other health conditions can increase a person’s risk of developing gum disease. If you take steroids, anti-epilepsy drugs, certain cancer therapy medications, or oral contraceptives, speak to Dr. David Barney about how to maintain healthy gums.
- Medical Conditions. Certain medical conditions can impact the health of your gums. For instance, diabetics face an increased risk of gum disease due to the inflammatory chemicals present in their bodies. Always talk to our team about other health conditions to ensure we take that into account when treating you.
Take a Proactive Stance
Good oral hygiene practices and regular visits to our Beaverton, OR office can help you eliminate or reduce the risks of developing gum disease. A thorough cleaning with your toothbrush and dental floss should take about three to five minutes. Brush your teeth a minimum of twice per day and floss at least once each day. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be ready to prevent gum disease.
August 1st, 2017
You might think babies don’t need to brush their teeth, especially when they don’t have any. But by starting good habits like brushing when your child is young, you can lay the foundation for them to continue those good habits into adulthood.
When do I start?
The best time to start brushing your baby’s teeth is before he or she has any. Develop the habit of wiping your baby’s gums with a wet, soft washcloth or gauze every day. There is no need to use toothpaste, just wrap the gauze or cloth around your finger, moisten it with a little water, and gently rub it over the gums.
This helps your little one get used to brushing while it eliminates bacteria in the mouth that can harm emerging teeth. You don’t need to apply a lot of pressure or even take very long: just a quick, gentle rub over the gums will do it.
What do I use?
When your child’s teeth begin to come in, you will need to switch from a cloth to a baby toothbrush. Find one that has a grip big enough for your hand, but a head that is small enough to maneuver easily in your infant’s mouth.
You don’t need to use any toothpaste until your son or daughter is about a year old. Even then, though, you’ll want to use just a tiny amount: about the size of a grain of rice. When your toddler is about two years old, you can use a pea-sized amount.
By around six years of age, your child will probably rinse and spit without your help. At that point, you may want to introduce a child-friendly fluoride mouthwash.
How do I do it?
Your child probably won’t be able to brush his or her teeth alone until about the age of five or six. This means that you will need to do it. To brush your child’s teeth, gently use the brush over all the teeth and gums, even areas where the teeth have not come in yet.
As your child grows and becomes more independent, you can allow him or her to hold the toothbrush while you guide your child’s progress. Make sure you talk to your child while you are brushing, and explain why you brush: what you are doing and how you are doing it.
In addition to regular visits with Dr. David Barney, instilling good oral health habits in your child early on will ensure a lifetime of good dental health.
July 25th, 2017
A lot of patients go at their teeth like they were sanding an old floor—that is to say, way too hard! Brushing too hard is probably the most common mistake patients make in their oral care routine, and it can be detrimental to the gums and teeth.
What can brushing too hard cause?
- Receding gums
- Bone loss around teeth
- Loss of teeth
- Tooth sensitivity, especially to hot and cold
- Worn down enamel
Brushing too hard wears away at your gums, which can lead to the neck of the teeth being exposed. This part of the tooth isn’t covered by hard enamel like the rest of the tooth and hence the soft inner layer, or dentin, is exposed. Dentin is very sensitive to hot and cold and much more susceptible to bacterial decay. Once the gums recede due to improper brushing, it’s usually irreversible.
How to brush your teeth properly
You know you’re supposed to brush your teeth twice a day, so why not do it right? First and foremost, you should only ever brush with a soft bristled brush—not medium or hard—unless directed otherwise by Dr. David Barney. Unless you have braces or specific oral health issues, brushing twice a day for two minutes is usually plenty.
The main purpose of brushing is to remove plaque from your teeth and gums. Plaque is actually soft and is a buildup of bacteria, saliva, and food debris. You really don’t need to brush hard to remove it, just make sure you aim your toothbrush at the gum line (where plaque grows) and brush in small circular motions, never a back-and-forth motion.
It’s also wise to hold your toothbrush gently. People tend to brush harder the tighter they hold their toothbrush.
Still have questions about proper tooth brushing technique or gum health? Ask any staff member or Dr. David Barney during your next visit to our Beaverton, OR office; we’d be happy to help!