4 Tips for Choosing the Best Toothbrush

Which toothbrush is the best? Unfortunately, there isn’t just one answer to this common question. The best toothbrush to buy is the one that’s best for you. We’ve developed a short checklist of things to consider when choosing a new toothbrush.

1. Is it easy to use? Like a fork or a pencil, a toothbrush is a tool. It should fit in your hand as comfortably as an eating utensil. Many brushes have rubber grips and contoured handles. Manual brushes are sufficient for most people’s needs. However, if you have limited mobility or dexterity, or if Dr. Greenfield recommends it, you may benefit from a power toothbrush. You can choose between sonic and electric toothbrushes with a variety of options. You should be able to brush without opening your mouth too wide or holding the brush at an awkward angle. Your brush should also be able to get at all the surfaces of your teeth, including any restorative work (like crowns or bridges) you may have.

2. Is it easy to clean? You should rinse and dry your toothbrush between uses. Wet bristles breed bacteria. Some brushes come with antimicrobial bristles, but these also need to be rinsed and dried. Don’t share your toothbrush with anyone, even family members—you’ll spread germs and cavity-causing bacteria. If you get sick, sterilize your brush with steaming hot water.

3. Is it easy to pack? You should always have a toothbrush when you travel. If you use an electric or sonic brush, it may not be easy to pack in an overnight case. Travel toothbrushes are available just about anywhere you go; some even come with toothpaste already in the bristles. Avoid travel brushes with stiff bristles, as any brush you use should have soft nylon bristles.

4. Is it easy to replace? Power toothbrushes come with replaceable heads, while most manual brushes have to be replaced in their entirety. Replace brushes or bristles every three to six months, or sooner if you see the bristles are frayed or splayed. Worn-out bristles can irritate gums and scrape off enamel.

The brush you choose should be one you’ll use two or three times a day for two or three minutes each time. When you see Dr. Greenfield next, ask if the brush you’re using is getting the job done. The most common brushing problem is failure to get the very back molars. Remember, brushing isn’t the only step in protecting your teeth—you need to floss as well. Schedule your dental cleaning every six months during your checkup. Have you seen us for a cleaning in the last six months? If not, set up your consultation as soon as possible. Call our Lake Orion office today at (248) 693-6213 to make your next appointment.

Shade Matching for a Beautiful, Cohesive, and Natural Smile

“I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to make sure that my cap was perfect! The shading was perfect! The entire office staff is always friendly and helpful!”

-Lake Orion Family Dentistry Patient Claudia Lowe

Making Your Dental Work Look Natural and Beautiful

As you can see in Lake Orion Family Dentistry patient Claudia Lowe’s testimonial above, she mentions something called shading. This refers to the process of tinting dental work, a crown in Claudia’s case, to perfectly match the surrounding teeth.

To do this, Dr. Brad Greenfield will examine the color of your existing teeth and dental work, as well as your overall coloring, to create a shade for your restoration that blends in with your smile and looks completely natural. This shade matching technique is used with several cosmetic and restorative dental procedures, including dental crowns, cosmetic bonding, and dental fillings, to make your smile enhancements look completely natural.

Using a biocompatible, attractive, and durable material called composite resin to complete cosmetic bonding and fillings (high-quality porcelain is used for dental crowns), Dr. Greenfield will precisely tint the putty-like substance prior to its application on your teeth or tooth. Once it has been applied, Dr. Greenfield will closely examine the color, texture, and translucency of the composite resin and your surrounding teeth to ensure that they look uniform. He will make any necessary changes, and then harden the restoration with a safe, yet powerful, curing light. Then, he will polish the restoration to finalize the natural and smooth appearance and feel.

Why Shade Matching is Important

Although the shading and matching process is fairly simple and a routine part of most cosmetic and restorative dental procedures, the results are incredibly important. The goal of your cosmetic and restorative dentistry is to provide you with beautiful, natural, and healthy results, and this means that your smile enhancements don’t look bulky, fake, or overly obvious. Shade matching is an important component of achieving this goal.

If your teeth are broken, cracked, stained or damaged, or if you have dental restorations that don’t match the rest of your smile, Dr. Greenfield invites you to call Lake Orion Family Dentistry, located in Lake Orion, Michigan, at (248) 693-6213 to reserve an appointment to discuss your cosmetic and restorative dental options.

What’s New in Dental Technology

Here at Lake Orion Family Dentistry, we make sure to keep up with the latest dental news. Recently, we read about some emerging technology that seems straight out of science fiction. Cavities could be wiped out completely; doctors could custom-order new bone made from your stem cells. Although these products are still in development, they could be available in the next few years. Researchers are working on the next leap forward for dental technology.

What Causes Cavities?

Cavities are caused by a bacterium called Streptococcus mutans. When you eat sugar, S. mutans turns the sugar into lactic acid that eats your enamel. While mouthwash kills this pesky microbe, it always comes back within 12 hours or so. Mouthwash also kills other kinds of bacteria that aren’t harmful. Upsetting the delicate balance of bacteria in your body can actually weaken your immune system. Fluoride fights tooth decay, but can’t completely prevent it. Two teams of researchers are working to eradicate cavities once and for all.

Rinsing Away Tooth Decay

Scientists at UCLA’s College of Dentistry recently tested a new type of mouthwash. The key to its cavity-fighting power is a specifically targeted anti-microbial peptide, or STAMP. This STAMP finds and kills S. mutans while leaving other oral flora intact. Volunteers who rinsed just once were protected for almost four days! Large-scale clinical trials are set to begin next March. This study marked the first-ever use of STAMPs, and may be the first of a new generation of “smart” antibiotics.

Beating Bacteria

The team at Oragenics took a different approach to tackling cavities. They have created a genetically engineered strain of S. mutans that does not produce lactic acid. It kills the normal strain of S. mutans and soon takes over. Eventually, Oragenics hopes to market a five-minute swab to inoculate patients with the new strain, called SMaRT, which would be used during dental appointments. Look for results from their clinical trial by the end of this year.

Building Better Bones

Meanwhile, researchers at Washington State University have created 3D printed synthetic bone. A modified 3D printer creates a delicate mineral scaffold which is seeded with bone stem cells. In about a week, the cells have attached to the scaffold and begin building new bone. Over time, the scaffold harmlessly dissolves. Doctors could custom-order new bone made from 3D medical scans and provide the patient’s own cells for dental bone grafts. Studies using rats and rabbits have shown promising results, and the team hopes to begin human trials soon.

We hope to see these new developments available for patients soon. In the meantime, prevent dental problems before they start. Proper oral hygiene fights cavities and gum disease, and regular dental cleanings go where brushing can’t. If you haven’t seen Dr. Greenfield in the last six months, schedule your next checkup soon. Call Lake Orion Family Dentistry today at (248) 693-6213 to schedule your appointment.

Your Peace of Mind in the Dental Chair

“It was my first time being put to sleep for any procedure, and I normally would have been scared to death. However, Dr. John and Dr. Greenfield’s staff made me feel very comfortable and relaxed. The entire procedure went very quickly and efficiently. I am absolutely amazed that I felt very minimal pain over my recovery period. (I wouldn’t even mind doing it again!) Dr. Carolyn John is an amazing oral surgeon! I have already recommended her to several people looking to have their wisdom teeth removed. If anyone out there is reading this and worried about extractions, come to Dr. Greenfield’s office! You will not be disappointed!”

– Lake Orion Family Dentistry Patient Ally Jones

Easing Your Mind in the Dental Chair

Fear of the dentist and dental work is among the top 10 fears of people in the United States. If you suffer from dental phobia, we know that even thinking about calling the dentist to reserve an appointment can be intimidating, but we also know that, if the thought of taking a seat in the dental chair leaves you anxious, upset, or light-headed, it’s likely that you’re not receiving the oral care you need to live a healthy, high-quality life.

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November is National Pomegranate Month

Today is the last day of National Pomegranate Month! Celebrate with a fresh one, or add its juice to recipes. If you have trouble removing the seeds, try opening it underwater or smacking it with a wooden spoon.

All About Pomegranates

This seed-filled fruit has had ritual or mystical significance in many cultures. To the ancient Egyptians, pomegranates were a symbol of prosperity; the ancient Greeks believed it to be the fruit of the dead. People in China, India, and Persia saw its many seeds as a promise of fertility. Today, we enjoy its health benefits. Dark-colored fruits are stuffed with antioxidants, organic compounds that fight aging at a cellular level. Even though we need oxygen to breathe, it causes damage – if you’ve ever seen rusted metal, you’ve seen oxidation at work. Antioxidants are naturally occurring forms of Vitamins A, C, and E.

Pomegranates aren’t the only dark fruits that have these nutritive superpowers. Blueberries, cranberries, red grapes, and black raspberries are usually easy to find at your local grocery store. More exotic fruits you might need to search harder for are açai berries, goji berries (also called wolfberries), and maqui berries. You can find powders, pills, and smoothie mixes containing one or several of these fruits, but it’s best to eat the fruit itself or drink fruit juice. Look for juice blends without added sugar, or that are sweetened only by other juices, like apple or pear.

The Dark Side: How Pomegranates and Other Dark Fruits Can Stain Teeth

There is a downside to the deep hues of these super-fruits. These dark fruits can stain clothing and tablecloths, so be careful when eating them or drinking their juice. You may have heard, anything that stains a white tablecloth can stain teeth, and it’s usually true. The dark colors in these fruits come from chromogens, pigment-bearing molecules. The tart or astringent tastes come from tannins. When you eat these fruits or drink their juice, the acid in them temporarily softens tooth enamel. The tannins are then able to sink below the surface and, along with the chromogens, bind to teeth. This is why wine can contribute to tooth discoloration. To avoid staining, rinse well with water after enjoying dark fruits. Wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth. The softened enamel can be damaged by brushing, and waiting gives your saliva time to neutralize the acid and re-harden the enamel.

December is just around the corner, and time is running out to use your dental insurance benefits. Call Lake Orion Family Dentistry today at 248-693-6213 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Greenfield. We serve families in Oxford, Auburn Hills, Independence Charter Township, and the communities surrounding Lake Orion.

National Flossing Day

First and foremost, Dr. Brad Greenfield and the Lake Orion Family Dentistry team want to wish you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving! We hope your holiday was filled with lots of friends and family, a cornucopia of delicious food, and lots of smiles.

Caring for Your Teeth After the Holidays

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, you may think it’s smooth sailing until Christmas. You may be surprised to know that there’s one holiday right after Thanksgiving that’s almost always overlooked. Today is National Flossing Day! This day dedicated to dental hygiene always falls the day after Thanksgiving, and Dr. Greenfield and our team want to use it as a reminder for you to floss your teeth.

Brushing and flossing are the cornerstones of dental hygiene outside of the dental chair, and you have to do both to maintain a healthy smile between dental appointments. Generally, people brush their twice at least twice a day, but rarely- or never- floss. Dr. Greenefield and the American Dental Association recommend flossing twice a day, but if you can only do it once, floss before bed to rid your mouth of as much bacteria as possible before you go to sleep.

Think of this “holiday” as the push you need to get yourself and your family into a regular flossing routine. Watch this video to perfect your flossing technique:

To reserve dental checkups and cleanings for you and your family to start 2012 with big, healthy smiles, call Lake Orion Family Dentistry, located in Lake Orion Michigan, at (248) 693-6213 to reserve appointments.