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All Posts in Category: Oral Hygiene

Fluoride toothpaste recommended by San Marcos dentists

Why Dentists Recommend Fluoride Toothpaste
Advice from Carothers San Marcos Dental Practice

The last several years have seen a lot of shifts in the quality of consumer products. With the rise of available information, people are paying more and more attention to the quality of the foods they consume and products they buy. While you are starting to see a rise in easily accessible organic foods, even the products in the toiletry section of the store are starting to have words like “natural” and “organic” more regularly on the shelf as well. This shift has caused some confusion about the role of fluoride in oral health. We’re here to look at why fluoride is still highly recommended today.

Fluoride is Natural

If going natural is an important part of your lifestyle, then you are actually still in luck! Fluoride is a natural ionic compound that is found mostly in phosphate rocks. When there isn’t the right amount of fluoride in our water sources to protect our teeth, fluoride is extracted from phosphate rocks, liquefied, and then added to the water for everyone to benefit from. This is why every toothpaste with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance has fluoride in it. So, while the word “additive” might make you feel on edge, remember that fluoride is a natural compound that has increasingly improved oral hygiene over the last several decades, and you only have to benefit from it!

The Introduction of Fluoride

Before fluoride was added to community water supplies in the mid 1940’s, kids and adults suffered from three times the amount of cavities, resulting in greater dental problems down the road. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention considers the addition of fluoride into community water as one of the top 10 greatest health achievements of the 20th century.

Prevents Cavities and Decay

Because the food you eat causes bacteria to develop in your mouth that breaks down the protective layer on your teeth (the enamel), cavities begin to form on and in between your teeth. When you brush with fluoride toothpaste, you are reinforcing the natural protective layer on your teeth. As fluoride bonds together with your enamel, your teeth become much more resilient to the bacteria and acids that form in your mouth that destroy them. In fact, brushing your teeth with a toothpaste that does not have any fluoride does almost nothing in the prevention of cavities and tooth decay. It is possible that fluoride free toothpaste might assist in fresher breath, but it does very little in the prevention of tooth decay.

Helps Prevent Other Illnesses

Poor oral hygiene is now being linked to a wide range of other illnesses, so brushing with fluoride toothpaste might be saving you from more than just a couple of cavities! Infections of the bones supporting the teeth, along with dental abscesses, can be caused by bacteria in your teeth and gums. Some studies are also linking poor oral health to chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Bleeding gums from untreated gingivitis can cause an infection in your bloodstream as well. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste is a simple and cost efficient solution that can help you stay healthy in more ways than one!

Speak with a San Marcos TX Dentist

Not sure if you’re using the right type of toothpaste for your teeth? Contact Carothers Family Dental to make an appointment and start improving your oral health.

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Periodontal Disease: What It Is & How to Prevent It
Dentistry Tips from your San Marcos TX Dentist Office

Periodontal disease affects millions of Americans, many of whom are not even aware of its presence. Becoming aware of it early is the best way to prevent as much damage as possible to your teeth and gums. Periodontal disease means “disease around the teeth,” and this is exactly what it is, plain and simple. This condition usually starts as inflammation of the gums called gingivitis. With proper care, gingivitis can be reversed. Without proper care, periodontal disease will develop, which can spread to other ligaments and areas that keep your teeth in place. If ignored, periodontal disease can lead to the permanent loss of your teeth due to loss of the supporting structures of your teeth: bone and tissue attachment.


One common cause of periodontal disease is plaque. Plaque is caused by bacteria, mainly from leftover food. You can feel this developing as a sticky substance that appears over your teeth. In an effort to rid your mouth of the germs, your body attacks the gums, causing them to become inflamed. As your mouth produces more and more substance to fight it, if left unchecked, your teeth end up with layers of plaque hardening into calculus, which works its way up to your gum line, infecting the whole structure.

Plaque is not difficult to deal with in the beginning stages of the buildup. If you cannot get everything by properly brushing and flossing your teeth, your dental hygienist will be able to remove these hardened bacteria from your teeth for you in a regular teeth cleaning. However, as more and more layers build up on your teeth, the plaque hardens into a substance called calculus, which is very hard and is much more difficult to treat. Avoid this problem by having your teeth regularly cleaned by a dental hygienist in conjunction with your semi-annual dental checkup.

Other Factors

While plaque buildup is the main cause of periodontal disease, there are other causes to this gum infection aside from poor dental care over time, such as those listed below:

  • Some people are more genetically inclined to develop periodontal disease, though consistent oral care can still prevent this from happening.
  • High stress is a huge factor in periodontal disease because stress weakens your body’s immune system, limiting its ability to fight off the infection in your gums (as well as other forms of illnesses).
  • Some medications, such as antidepressants and blood pressure medication, cause dry mouth, which can also lead to periodontal disease. Your mouth’s natural saliva production helps constantly wash away food products throughout the day, so without it, you have little defense against infection. This is one reason why it is common for those who struggle with high blood pressure and heart conditions to also have dental issues as well.
  • One of the most common external factors that causes periodontal disease is smoking and the use of other tobacco products. Smokers tend to develop heavier layers of plaque on their teeth, causing their periodontal disease to be much harder to treat. The best treatment for this is to stop using tobacco products altogether.

The best way to avoid periodontal disease, whether you are genetically predisposed or not, is to maintain a proper oral care routine, such as brushing and flossing twice a day. Ask your dentist for the best brushing and flossing techniques to ensure you are effective in your home oral care. Having consistently scheduled appointments with your dentist is your best bet to avoid the development of an issue that will be more extensive and costly to treat. If you haven’t made it in for a cleaning recently (in over 6 months) make an appointment so that you can rest assured that you are doing everything to maintain a healthy set of teeth and gums!

Do you have concerns about the health of your teeth or gums?
Contact Carothers Family Dental, a San Marcos family dental office, for more information at 512-396-4288.

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Whole Body Health And Your Oral Hygiene
San Marcos Dental

The information available on the link between your oral health and your body’s health has increased in recent years. Not everyone is familiar with the many ways what’s happening in your mouth can affect the rest of your body, but the link is actually a fairly important one. Not only can your oral health be connected to the rest of your body, but it can also be a symptom of other potential health risks.

The Connection Between Mouth and Body

Your mouth is an important indicator of what’s going on in your body. Problems that start in the mouth can affect other parts of your body. The opposite is also true: issues in your body can cause symptoms that appear in the mouth. This is one of the reasons that maintaining oral hygiene is so important.

Signs to Watch For

Since the health of your mouth is so important to your body, it’s imperative that you pay attention to it. Even if your oral hygiene is stellar, take notice of irritating or recurring issues, even if they’re small. Symptoms you may be tempted to ignore, such as a toothache or tender gums, could be a sign of conditions that need treatment, and you should see your dentist. Inflammation or swelling in your mouth is a sign you should pay special attention to. Even if the problem turns out to really just be a cavity, it’s important to get it treated all the same.

Common Correlations

Periodontitis and Diabetes

A significant connection has been established between periodontal disease and diabetes. These two conditions affect each other, which can be both a detriment or benefit. Periodontitis is an infection that affects your gums, and if left untreated can quickly become a serious problem that can damage the bone beneath your teeth. The inflammation caused by periodontitis can make it difficult to utilize insulin in the body. This can cause serious complications for those with diabetes if not treated.

Gum Disease and Heart Disease

The correlation between gum disease and heart disease is also significant. Those with heart disease are more likely to develop gum disease than those without. The inflammation of the mouth and gums that comes with gum disease is thought to be an additional risk factor for heart attacks. This is due to the resulting inflammation that can occur elsewhere in the body.

Oral Bacteria and Alzheimer’s

A connection between oral bacteria present in periodontitis and Alzeheimer’s is also suspected. In a research article by Stephen S. Dominy and additional researchers published in Science Advances, it was noted that bacteria associated with periodontitis was detected in patients with Alzeheimer’s. Research is ongoing, however the significant link between periodontitis and Alzeheimer’s has encouraged many to pay special attention to their oral healthcare.

Preventative Care

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is an important part of keeping your body healthy and preventing oral health problems. Luckily, keeping your mouth healthy can be easily accomplished with some diligence and helpful habits. Brush your teeth after you eat as often as possible, and floss regularly. Keep an eye on your diet as well, as some foods can harm your teeth if eaten in excess. In addition, visit your dentist regularly for professional cleaning and x-rays that will help catch problems early.

Carothers San Marcos Dental

There are many dentists in San Marcos Texas. Do you have more questions about how your oral hygiene affects your whole body health? Then contact Carothers Family Dental, one of the best dentist in San Marcos TX, to get more information or to schedule an appointment.

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Brushing Your Teeth – Tips and Techniques for Healthy Hygiene
Family Dentist San Marcos

You may have heard many different suggestions for the best ways to brush your teeth. From how long you should spend brushing to whether you should use a regular toothbrush versus an electric one, there are many opinions out there. Here we’ll look at some popular brushing techniques, and which ones will really help keep your teeth clean and healthy.

Moving Your Jaw as You Brush

Moving your face or jaw while you’re brushing your teeth can be helpful as it allows you to reach parts of your teeth that otherwise might be difficult to access. However, if done incorrectly it can turn into a hindrance. For instance, one common problem when moving your face as your brush is doing so constantly, which can lead to uneven brushing. However, if you practice focusing on brushing each area of your mouth carefully, moving your mouth can ensure that you brush every tooth properly.

Focus on All of Your Teeth

You’ve likely heard it before, and it’s true: you need to brush each of your teeth. This means not just the top of the crown, but the sides of each tooth as well. Brushing your front teeth is equally important. Neglecting to do so can lead to a yellowish appearance and red gums. Always remember to pay attention to the area behind your front teeth as well, as this area builds up plaque easily.

Don’t Destroy Your Brush

Many people assume that when you brush your teeth, you have to brush hard in order to really clean them. However, brushing too hard or too roughly can end up doing more harm than good. Being too rough can cause damage to your gums, and destroy your toothbrush. Brush firmly, but don’t risk damaging your mouth. A soft or extra soft bristle brush is recommended.

Rinsing After Brushing

If you are prescribed a prescription strength mouthwash it is not recommended to rinse after brushing. This allows the extra fluoride time to sit on your teeth and restore lightly damaged areas. If you have a desire to use mouthwash, it needs to be alcohol free. This prevents your mouth from drying out and causing damage to your teeth. There are many varieties of mouthwash available that contain fluoride. This is a great preventative measure to take for decreasing the risk of cavities forming.

Visit Your Dentist In San Marcos Tx

The best way to maintain healthy dental hygiene is to visit your dentist regularly in addition to brushing often at home. Your local dentist can answer any questions about your oral hygiene, as well as catch cavities and other potential problems before they become serious issues. Not sure if your current brushing regimen is working? Just ask your dentist!

Your local family dentist in San Marcos Tx can teach you the best brushing habits as well as provide professional teeth cleaning in San Marcos that will keep your smile healthy. Contact Carothers Family Dental today for more information.

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Dental Care Before and During Pregnancy

When you see a positive sign on a pregnancy test, your first thought is probably not to share the good news with your dentist. But keeping your chompers in good shape and your gums healthy is essential during pregnancy for several reasons.

Ideally, you should schedule a dental checkup before you become pregnant. If any dental issues are found, they can be treated ahead of time. After all, once you’re a mom-to-be, you’ll have enough to think about. You don’t need to add toothaches or gum disease to the list. Treating dental problems means one less thing to worry about.

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Maintaining Good Oral Health

When you think of being healthy, what comes to mind? Is it maintaining a certain number on the scale, a healthy heart or having perfect, six-pack abs? Maybe it’s all of the above. Good health may mean different things to different people. One thing most of us can agree on is we want to feel and look our best.

To stay healthy, you might eat right, do Zumba or slather on sunscreen when you hit the beach. All of the above are good habits to stay healthy. But how often do you consider your oral health as part of living a fit, healthy lifestyle? You might be surprised to find out your oral health plays an important role in your overall wellbeing.

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Dental Care and Your Kids   

If you have kids, you know they sometimes beg for everything from the coolest toy to staying up 5 more minutes. But let’s face it, your kids are probably not begging you to take them to the dentist. Still, regular dental checkups are essential for kids from a very early age. From toddlers through their teen years, children should see their dentist regularly to prevent dental problems and maintain good oral health.

Starting Dental Care Early

Good dental habits start early. Your child should have their first dental visit even before they have a full set of choppers. According to the American Dental Association, children should have a dental checkup by their first birthday.

Dental checkups from an early age set the stage for good dental habits and help your child develop a positive attitude about going to the dentist. If you start early, by the time your little one is starting first grade, he will be going to the dentist like a pro!

Early checkups also help prevent tooth decay. If your baby’s teeth are just going to fall out, you might wonder why the fuss? But cavities in baby teeth put your child at a higher risk of developing cavities in their permanent teeth.

Dental visits also educate parents on the proper way to care for their baby’s teeth. Your dentist can offer advice on typical dental concerns and provide tips on how to get your little ones to brush.

Common Dental Concerns

Got questions? Your dentist has answers. It’s common for parents to have questions about common dental issues. For example, along with their favorite stuffed animal and a nightlight, your little one may find thumb sucking comforting. But should you worry? Probably not.

Most kids outgrow thumb sucking by about age three or four when they no longer find it comforting. If your child is holding onto the habit a bit longer, you may want to talk to your dentist about your concerns.

Tooth decay may also be a concern for parents. It might be surprising, but about 25 percent of kids develop a cavity before kindergarten. Bacteria in your child’s mouth feeds off sugar, which is why you should avoid putting your baby or toddler to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. The fluid can pool in their mouth, and tooth decay can develop.

Trauma to the teeth can also be an issue. Wobbly toddlers can fall and bump their mouth, knocking a tooth loose. If you have a little athlete, they can also injure their teeth playing sports. You can’t prevent every fall your toddler takes or an elbow to the mouth on the playground. But the good news is when your child is playing sports, mouth guards can offer protection against broken teeth.

Mouth guards are needed if your child is involved in certain activities, such as hockey, football and lacrosse. Mouth guards may also be a good idea if your child participates in other activities that have a high fall risk including skateboarding and skiing.

Think about it. You would not send your pee wee football player out on the field without pads or your tee-ball player up to bat without a helmet. Consider a mouth guard an important part of your child’s sports gear. A mouth guard cushions any blows to the mouth that your child may get and may prevent a tooth from being damaged.

Healthy Habits for Good Dental Health

Your nine-year-old is probably not thinking about what they can do to maintain good dental health. So it’s up to you to help your child develop good dental habits that will last a lifetime.

You can start with proper brushing and flossing. When your kids are little, you’ll have to do it for them and gradually teach them how to brush. Consider getting a vibrating toothbrush or one that plays music so your kids know how long to brush.

As we all know, it’s best to avoid giving your kids too many sugary treats. Although an occasional piece of candy or a couple of cookies is not going to hurt, eating sugar filled foods all the time spells trouble for your child’s teeth. When your kids do have sugary foods or drinks, be sure they brush their teeth or rinse their mouth to wash the sugar away.

Secrets for a Good Dental Checkup for Your Kids

When the time rolls around for your kids to have a dental checkup, there are a few things you can do to make it go smoothly. Consider a few of the following suggestions:

Make it fun: Although a trip to the dentist is not quite like going to an amusement park, it can still be a positive experience for your kids. Talk about how they will get a new toothbrush, pick out flavored fluoride and select a prize from the toy box. Make it a good experience and praise your child for a job well done.

Keep your cool: If your child is freaking out when he hits the dental chair, don’t stress. Getting upset won’t help the situation. Try to avoid jumping up and leaving, which will only make it harder the next time around. Instead, talk calmly and reassuringly to your child and work together with your dentist to help him/her relax.

Check your anxiety at the door: Maybe you’re a little gun-shy when it comes to seeing the dentist. Your kids can pick up on your emotions. So if you start to sweat when you get to the dentist, your child may also get stressed. Take a few deep breaths and put your nerves aside.

Explain what they can expect: If you have little kids, use age- appropriate language they will understand. For example, a three-year-old is not going to understand details about cavities and tooth decay. Keep it simple. For school age kids, be honest about what they can expect without scaring them. For instance, you can explain a procedure without using the words drill, needle or hurt repeatedly, especially in the same sentence.

Remember, good oral health is important for overall wellbeing. Plus, those little pearly whites have to last your child a long time. Start your kids off right on the path to good dental health!

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Common Dental Issues And How To Fix Them

Think about all that biting, chewing and talking you do all day long. Your teeth are under quite a bit of strain. It’s no wonder dental issues might occur from time to time.

When you think of dental problems, cavities and gum disease might come to mind. But there are also other common dental issues that can range from embarrassing to interfering with good oral health. Here are a few of the following common dental problems and what you can do about them.


Bad Breath

Ask yourself a few questions. Do people always offer you gum? Has anyone ever threw a breath mint in your mouth as you were talking? Do people slowly back away as you speak? If you answered yes to any of the above, you might have halitosis.

Don’t worry, halitosis is not deadly. Halitosis is the technical name for bad breath, and it’s a pretty common dental issue.

Whether it was those garlic fries you ate last night or the cup of coffee you just guzzled, everyone gets bad breath from time to time. But bad breath can occur for other reasons. For example, postnasal drip, tooth decay and gum disease can also all cause bad breath.

The good news is if you have stubbornly stinky breath, there are several things you can do to keep your breath fresh. Maintaining good oral hygiene is a must to prevent bad breath. Brush twice a day, use mouthwash and floss daily. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, which has more bacteria on it than you might realize.

But scrubbing your teeth until they gleam is not enough. It’s essential to see your dentist twice a year for regular checkups, professional cleanings and to catch problems early. If you’re concerned about bad breath, don’t hesitate to talk with your dentist, just pop a mint first.


Dry Mouth

We probably all have experienced that feeling as if we had a mouth full of cotton. Whether it’s meeting a blind date or giving a speech at work, you might develop that sticky, dry feeling in your mouth. An occasional dry mouth due to nerves is normal. But if you’re dealing with a dry mouth on a daily basis it can be more than just a nuisance. A chronically dry mouth can increase your chances of tooth decay.

If you’re wondering what salvia has to do with gum disease, the answer is a lot. After you eat, saliva washes away particles of food left behind. It also contains certain minerals that help protect the teeth. When saliva is lacking due to chronic dry mouth, your risk of developing plaque and gum disease increases.

Dry mouth can occur as a side effect of taking some medications. It can also be a symptom of certain medical conditions, such as Sjorgren’s syndrome. But dry mouth can be treated. Treatment for dry mouth should include a visit to your dentist. Your dentist may prescribe a treatment to help you produce more saliva or suggest antibacterial mouth rinses and more frequent cleanings to prevent gum disease.


Sensitive Teeth

Who doesn’t love an ice cream cone on a hot summer day or a cup of hot chocolate on a snowy night? But both can make you wince if you suffer from tooth sensitivity. Hot and cold food and drinks can lead to pain for people who have sensitive teeth.

It might not only be hot or cold foods and drinks that cause pain for people with sensitive teeth. Sweet foods and even breathing in cold air can cause pain in some cases. Teeth sensitivity often gets worse over time.

What happens is your teeth might develop tiny cracks, or your gums can recede, which exposes the nerve root. Your tooth enamel can also become worn down over time. Certain medical conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, can lead to an erosion of the tooth enamel. Drinking and eating highly acidic foods and beverages can also speed up how fast your tooth enamel wears away.

The first step to treating sensitive teeth is a trip to your dentist, who can recommend toothpaste options that have low levels of abrasives. Your dentist may also recommend treatments including fluoride varnishes and fluoride rinses or gels, which are formulated to decrease teeth sensitivity.

In addition, be sure to give your teeth a little TLC. Vigorous brushing or using a hard toothbrush, won’t help your teeth and may even damage the enamel.  Use a soft bristle toothbrush and clean your teeth without brushing too aggressively.


Teeth Grinding

It might sound like a freight train roaring through the night. But wait a minute; it’s just you grinding your teeth in your sleep. Although some people unconsciously clench their jaw while they are awake, most clenching and teeth grinding happens while you are sleeping.

If you grind your teeth, you might not know about it until your spouse tells you. In fact, teeth grinding may bother your partner more than it does you. But teeth grinding or clenching can have several negative effects.

Teeth grinding can cause more than those not-so-gentle nudges from your partner during the night. Jaw pain, morning headaches and loose or worn down teeth can all develop due to teeth grinding.

So what’s up with all that clenching and grinding your teeth while you sleep? Researchers are not exactly sure why some people grind their teeth, but stress may be a cause. Misaligned teeth may also cause teeth grinding in some cases.

But you don’t have to just live with teeth grinding. Finding ways to relax and unwind, such as listening to music, practicing yoga or doing deep breathing exercises may help you relax before bed.  Often times an occlusal bruxism guard is recommended.  This appliance is used to equilibrate your bite which can help relax your muscles. Also, talk to your dentist about restorative or orthodontic dentistry to fix misaligned teeth that may be contributing to teeth grinding.

At Sullivan & Carothers D.D.S., we’ve seen all of these problems and more, so if you are struggling with any of these common dental problems, give us a call at (512) 396-4288, we’d be more than happy to help!

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