Does Toothpaste Ever Expire?

Partially squeeze collapsible blue tube of toothpaste with a white corrugated cap

Most people don’t put too much thought into their toothpaste. For something that we use orally every day, perhaps we should! Toothpaste, like many other odd things, does indeed expire. So, let us tell you why:

Fluoride Potency

The expiration date on most toothpastes is mainly due to it’s active ingredient, fluoride. Fluoride is important to our oral health because it helps with remineralization of the enamel that protects our teeth from cavities. Studies show that fluoride loses its anti-cavity efficacy over time. Toothpaste needs at least 1000 ppm of soluble fluoride to have an anti-cavity effect. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) any toothpaste that has fluoride must have an expiration date to have the official ADA Seal of Approval. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also requires that all food and medicine have an expiration date to ensure quality and safety. Using expired toothpaste past its expiration date is not known to be harmful, but it isn’t as beneficial. If you plan on stocking up on some discounted toothpaste, be sure to check for the expiration date on the bottom of the package.

Uses for Expired Toothpaste

If you do have some expired toothpaste laying around, you can still put it to good use! Below are twelve alternative ways you can utilize your expired toothpaste.

1. Remove gum from your hair.
2. Deodorize baby bottles and containers.
3. Clean your clothes iron.
4. Polish your (diamond) wedding ring.
5. Remove crayon marks.
6. Lift small carpet stains.
7. Shine the chrome in your bathroom and kitchen.
8. Remove scuffs from shoes.
9. Get rid of tough clothing stains.
10. Clear and brighten car headlights.
11. Clean your sneakers.
12. Prevent foggy mirrors in the bathroom.

Is Your Mouth Cavity-Free?

The next time you brush your teeth, take a look at the expiration date. You might need a new tube! If you’ve been using expired toothpaste, it may be a good idea to come see Dr. Rigby to make sure you don’t have any new cavities. Contact our team at Rigby Advanced Dental to schedule your appointment today!

4 Healthier Alternatives to Sugar

A jar overflowing with sticky caramel, brownies, ice cream, and candy next to a pink and white bag of sticky popcorn
Ever heard the phrase “sugar rots your teeth” from your parents or your dentist growing up? Well, they weren’t wrong! Although people tend to focus on how sugar can cause weight gain, diabetes, and other ailments, did you know that it can negatively affect your oral health, too? Don’t worry, though, we have four great sugar alternatives that allow you to indulge your sweet tooth without destroying your teeth!

How Sugar Affects Your Teeth

When you eat sugary foods like candy or drink sugary beverages like soda and don’t properly wash away the sugary residue with enough saliva, water, and proper oral care, bacteria on your teeth feed on that sugar and release acid, which in turn dissolves your tooth enamel. Once the enamel is worn down, your teeth are vulnerable to cavities and decay, which can result in tooth loss down the line. So sugar itself isn’t necessarily bad for teeth, but it can be responsible for health-altering damage. Avoid hard candies, sticky sweets (including dried fruit!), pastries, soda, and alcohol if you don’t want to expose your teeth to sugar.

4 Sugar Alternatives to Consider

1. Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugarless carbohydrate that looks like sugar and is sweet like sugar but isn’t considered an artificial sweetener because it is derived naturally and doesn’t raise your blood sugar levels. You will find it in gum, mints, mouthwashes, and even toothpastes because it can actually curb decay-causing bacteria and is completely safe for your teeth.

2. Honey

Honey boasts a ton of health benefits and won’t cause big spikes in your blood sugar, is antimicrobial, and even has electrolytes. However, it’s not necessarily “better” for your teeth, so do be sure to use it sparingly and wash your mouth thoroughly with water after consuming it.

3. Stevia

Derived from the leaves of the stevia plant, this sweetener is all-natural and also prevents swings in your blood sugar levels. It tastes pretty good, too, so you won’t even miss out on sugar.

4. Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is a yummy alternative to sugar and is really easy to bake with, since you can use equal amounts of it as you would regular white sugar.

Healthy Foods That Promote Strong Teeth

Nuts, dairy products (such as cheese and yogurt), apples, celery, carrots, and leafy green vegetables are just a few of the delicious and nutritious foods that support good oral health.

Healthy Diet + Preventive Care

Remember that no matter your diet, daily brushing and flossing is the best way to keep plaque and bacteria off of your teeth and reduce the risk of developing cavities. Visit our office twice a year to make sure your teeth and gums are in great shape, too. From cleanings to restorative procedures, let us help you have the smile of your dreams at Rigby Advanced Dental. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

Natural Ways to Freshen Breath

Aerial view of cluster of green mint leaves that can naturally freshen breath if chewed

Bad breath has a range of causes, from eating strong foods to early stage gum disease and decay. Although it may take time to figure out the root cause of your bad breath, know that there are quite a few ways to freshen your breath naturally. Some of these simple remedies even have additional health benefits!

1. Mint

Drinking mint tea and chewing on mint leaves are both great ways to freshen up your breath quickly without having to worry about sugar-laden gums.

2. Spices

Rich, strong spices like cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon can all help your breath, in addition to regulating your blood sugar.

3. Say NO to Smoking & Illegal Drugs

It can be hard to quit smoking, but it’s one of the best things to do for your breath and your overall health. Furthermore, illegal drugs decrease your production of saliva, which leads to dry mouth and an increased risk for tooth decay and growth of bacteria that causes bad breath.

4. Brush with Baking Soda

Baking soda is alkaline, meaning it neutralizes the acid in your mouth and stops bad breath. However, you should only do this occasionally, since brushing with baking soda is abrasive and can damage your teeth’s enamel with prolonged use.

5. Gargle

Gargling with apple cider vinegar and saltwater are powerful ways to stop bad breath and kill germs in the back of your throat.

6. Brush & Floss

Brushing and flossing every day is one of the most effective ways to combat bad breath and prevent oral disease. Be sure to brush carefully for two minutes at a time at least twice a day. Remember to brush your tongue back to front, then side-to-side, every day as well.

Consult with Our Expert Team!

You don’t need to put up with bad breath. Some of the most simple things can help you combat smelly breath and regain your self-confidence. If your breath doesn’t improve, it’s important to see Dr. Rigby as soon as possible to determine the cause. Our team at Rigby Advanced Dental is here to help you with your oral health. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

5 Common Dental Fads to Avoid

Aerial view of a crooked line of halved and whole lemons on a white surface

It’s often hard to resist DIY hacks — especially those that are cheaper, natural alternatives that do the trick without breaking the bank. It’s crucial to be careful of some of the remedies that may promise certain fixes but can wind up causing more damage, particularly when it comes to your dental health. We’ve compiled 5 dental fads to avoid in order to protect your teeth. Let’s take a look!

1. Lemon Juice

Many people mix lemon juice with baking soda and use this concoction to brighten their teeth. But this fad is worth avoiding. The acidity in lemon juice causes your enamel to wear down, ultimately resulting in your teeth becoming more sensitive and prone to stains.

2. Charcoal

Activated charcoal is said to remove superficial teeth stains due to its abrasive consistency. However, this abrasiveness can actually lead to enamel erosion, a breakdown of the first line of defense for your teeth against chemicals and bacteria. More importantly, once you lose your enamel, it will never grow back again. So while activated charcoal can sound promising, it has the potential to cause permanent damage and an even bigger headache.

3. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an ingredient often found in whitening products. But when used as a rinse, especially undiluted, it can cause damage to your gums. For safer alternative solutions, please consult with a dentist.

4. Fluoride-Free

Critics claim that fluoride disturbs hormones, fostering chronic health problems like dementia and diabetes. This concern has resulted in a surge of fluoride-free toothpastes. However, fluoride in toothpaste is the key component to preventing tooth decay, and without it, our teeth are more vulnerable to cavity-forming acids. Studies have shown that the small amount of fluoride toothpaste used in a day is of great benefit to our oral health and causes no harmful side effects to our general wellness.

5. Oil Pulling

An ancient practice dating back to thousands of years, oil pulling involves swishing coconut or sesame oil around your mouth for up to 20 minutes. Proponents claim it improves bad breath and discolored teeth. But despite its popularity, oil pulling has not been proven to be a replacement treatment for these oral concerns. Additionally, it is currently not recommended by the American Dental Association.

Let Us Care for Your Teeth!

If you’re facing dental issues like yellow teeth or irritated gums, we strongly recommend that you visit our dental office, where you can get an accurate evaluation of the problems and receive safe, effective treatments. If you’d like to make an appointment with us or learn about our professional teeth whitening services, our friendly team at Rigby Advanced Dental would love to hear from you. Contact us today!

Is Mouth Spray Safe for Teeth?

A smiling blonde young man wears a gray beanie and a jean jacket in front of a red brick wall

Having a quick fix on hand for bad breath is essential, especially if you are constantly face-to-face with other people. Mouth sprays are gaining popularity as a simple way to freshen your breath, but are they safe for your teeth?

What Is Mouth Spray?

A mouth spray is a spray designed to freshen your breath virtually instantly. They come in a variety of flavors to mask bad breath. Think of them as portable mouthwash without the need to actually rinse out your mouth!

Are Mouth Sprays Safe for My Teeth?

As with gum and mints, the ingredients in the mouth spray determine whether it is safe for your oral health. Many breath sprays contain alcohol or some form of sugar, which is actually damaging for your teeth and promotes acid production. When your mouth is highly acidic, it allows bacteria to thrive and increases your risk of tooth decay.

Look for a mouth spray that does not contain alcohol and contains xylitol instead, a sugarless sweetener that actually helps neutralize the acids in your mouth and can kill cavity-causing bacteria.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Sometimes bad breath is simply caused by eating certain foods, like onions and garlic, and passes over the course of a few hours. However, if you have persistent bad breath no matter what you do, consider what may be causing it:

—Certain medications, for conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease
—Smoking
—Diets high in sugar & carbohydrayes
—Poor oral hygiene

It is important to see your dentist as soon as possible to tackle your chronic bad breath head on and to improve your oral health.

A Safe Mouth Spray Is Only a Temporary Solution

Mouth sprays are great quick fixes for bad breath, especially if you find one that has ingredients that won’t harm your teeth. However, mouth sprays are only temporary solutions and cannot replace consistent brushing and flossing. If you have persistent bad breath, visit your dentist for a thorough examination and to discuss the best treatment options.

At Rigby Advanced Dental, there’s no dental issue that’s too big for us. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

Alzheimer’s Connection to Poor Oral Health

illustration of two profile silhouettes, colorful question marks floating around them

You’re probably at least a little familiar with both gum disease and Alzheimer’s, but did you know there’s a link between these two seemingly unrelated health problems? Yes, that’s right: doctors have recently determined that there is a connection between Alzheimer’s and poor oral health.

The Link

In a recent study, British scientists found bacteria usually associated with gum disease in the brains of patients affected with Alzheimer’s, meaning the presence of gum disease is linked to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s. These harmful bacteria usually live in the mouth, and they can enter the bloodstream and travel to the brain through daily activities like eating and brushing your teeth. Additionally, invasive dental surgery increases the risk that the bacteria will enter the brain. A previous study from New York University in 2010 also connected gum inflammation and Alzheimer’s.

How Does It Work?

When plaque builds up in our gums from lack of flossing, our bodies’ immune system is activated, and when this happens, your body’s standard level of health can start to deteriorate. In fact, bad dental health increases the chance that you will have cognitive issues by 30% to 40% over a three-decade period, according to the International Society of Vascular Behavioral and Cognitive Disorders.

What You Can Do

While gum disease is partly genetic, you can lower your risk of the plaque buildup that causes gum disease by flossing regularly (at least once a day!). The more you floss, the less plaque builds up in and around your teeth and gums. The less plaque you have in your mouth, the fewer harmful bacteria will reside there with the potential to travel to your brain and affect your cognitive functions. By taking care of your teeth every day you can make a difference!

If you are concerned about your dental health, or think you might be at risk for gum disease, contact our office today to speak with one of our friendly professionals.

What Makes Teeth Turn Yellow?

woman with long ponytail wearing blue button up, shrugging and looking confused

We can all agree: no one wants yellow teeth. In addition to showing bad dental health, they can hurt your self-confidence and make you less likely to smile. While it is possible to whiten teeth artificially, the best way to avoid stains or discoloration is prevention so it’s important to know what turns teeth yellow in the first place.

Smoking


If you smoke, stop! Smoking is one of many things that stain teeth yellow. Lay off the stuff not just for your health, but for your teeth too!

Sugary Drinks


Acidic drinks can wear away your teeth’s natural enamel, turning your teeth yellow. Cut out soda, juice, and sweetened iced teas to decrease the chance of this happening to you.

Coffee & Tea


Unfortunately, two of the most popular drinks in the world can turn your teeth yellow with prolonged use. Always brush your teeth after consuming coffee or tea.

Certain Foods


Specific foods can end up discoloring your teeth. These include tomatoes, curries, and berries. If you eat any of these foods, make sure to rinse your mouth out after, and brush your teeth as soon as you can to avoid staining.

Fluorosis


Fluorosis is when you get too much fluoride in your diet, either from your tap water or from other sources. You only need a little amount of fluoride to protect your teeth, so as long as you’re getting it from one source (tap water, toothpaste, or tablets), you should be all set.

Bruxism


Bruxism, also known as grinding your teeth while sleeping, can be very harmful to your mouth and cause headaches and jaw problems. As your teeth grate against each other and the enamel cracks and wears away, it can make your teeth yellow.

To help prevent yellow teeth, make sure to brush and floss daily, stick to a healthy diet, and visit the dentist regularly. If you are at all worried about the color of your teeth, or you’d just like to talk to someone about your dental health, contact our friendly team today!

10 Things You Didn’t Know Your Dentist Was Doing at Your Checkup

brunette woman in dental chair, dentist taking intraoral images, pointing to image on screen

You know it’s important to go for your semi-annual dental checkup. But do you really know why? The truth is that your dentist and dental team do much more than just clean your teeth at a checkup. Here are ten things you might not have known:

1. Scraping Away Plaque and Tartar

Either your dentist or your dental hygienist will use a small tool called a scaler to scrape off any plaque and tartar.

2. Polishing Your Teeth

Besides cleaning and flossing your teeth, they will polish them to make them smooth and help prevent plaque from accumulating.

3. Checking Each Tooth

With a probe and a small mirror, your dentist will go over every area of your teeth. This is so they can see if there are any health concerns, or if anything has changed in your mouth since your last visit.

4. Examining Your Gums

Your dentist will check your gums for any bleeding or swelling, which are both signs of gum disease. They will also measure the pockets between your teeth and gums to make sure they’re not bigger than they should be, as large gum pockets are a sign of unhealthy gums.

5. Looking at Your Bite

By checking out your bite, your dentist can see if your teeth have moved recently. Or, if you have braces, your dentist can make sure your teeth are shifting at an appropriate rate.

6. Performing a Cancer Screening

If you’re getting a complete exam, your dentist will also check your head, neck, lymph nodes, palate, cheeks and tongue for signs of infection or cancer.

7. Inspecting Your Salivary Glands

Your dentist will examine your salivary glands to make sure they are working properly and producing enough saliva.

8. Examining Your Tonsils

Your dentist will check the back of your throat and your tonsils for any signs of infection.

9. Checking Your Temporomandibular Joint

This important joint connects the jawbone to the skull. Your dentist will make sure it is healthy and working normally.

10. Checking Your Tongue

The texture and size of your tongue can reveal important information about your dental and overall health. Your dentist will give it a look to ensure there are no concerns.

See your dentist every six months for a checkup—you’ll be glad you did!

If you have questions about your dental health, contact Rigby Advanced Dental today!

Can I Keep My Wisdom Teeth?

brunette girl wearing a scarf and jacket with a fur hood looking up and smirking

It’s almost a rite of passage: before heading off to college, or perhaps while still in college, many young adults will get their wisdom teeth removed. Then there are some people who don’t have them extracted until years later. But why do people get their wisdom teeth removed, and is it actually necessary? Let’s break it down.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?


Wisdom teeth are a set of extra molars that come in in the very back of our mouths. Most people don’t have sufficient room in their mouth for their wisdom teeth, and that is why they are so often removed. It’s a common procedure that many people go through, but some people do prefer to keep their wisdom teeth and forgo the minor surgery that removal entails.

Why We Remove Wisdom Teeth


Removing wisdom teeth can prevent major dental problems later on. When wisdom teeth grow in and crowd your mouth they can leave you prone to all sorts of issues, like jaw problems, damaged nerves, cavities, misalignment, and gum damage. Not to mention, wisdom teeth coming in can be painful itself! Removing them can help you avoid all of these concerns.

A Personal Choice


While many people have their wisdom teeth removed, some don’t, and the bottom line is that it depends on the person. Every person’s wisdom teeth are different, and only your dental professional can tell you if they should be removed or not. Perhaps you are one of the lucky few who have enough room in their mouth for wisdom teeth. Your dentist will be able to examine your mouth and see things you can’t see.

No matter what, it’s important to be informed and know what your options are so you can make the best medical decisions for yourself. If you have questions about your wisdom teeth, contact us at Rigby Advanced Dental!

Healthy Alternatives to Halloween Candy

dark chocolate bar

Halloween, and all the candy that comes with it, is just around the corner. But it’s no secret that sugar is bad for your teeth, causing cavities and even tooth decay. So what can you snack on this Halloween that won’t make your dentist cringe?

Why Is Candy Bad For Teeth?

Sugar is acidic, and acid causes erosion of the tooth enamel, or the outer layer of the tooth. When enamel wears down, you can develop cavities and experience painful tooth decay. Consuming large amounts of sugary, sticky candies is a major culprit when it comes to tooth decay and even tooth loss.

Fresh Fruit

Ditch the processed sugar for equally sweet and much healthier fruit. Apples, berries, and grapes are all great alternatives for your favorite candies. Feel free to get creative and make healthy baked cinnamon apples or freeze grapes for a refreshing treat. Just try to avoid dried fruits and citrus, since they can be damaging to teeth due to their sticky and acidic qualities.

Yogurt

Creamy, tangy, and packed with calcium, yogurt is a tooth-healthy and delicious alternative to candy. Add nuts, berries, cinnamon, or honey to the mix for an even more delicious snack.

Nuts

Some of our favorite candy bars contain almonds and peanuts, so why not just have them on their own? Mixed nuts are a great way to get vitamins and protein in your diet without having to sacrifice on taste. Nuts are also full of fiber, which keeps you feeling full so that your sugar cravings won’t get the best of you.

Dark Chocolate

Not all chocolate is bad for you! A couple squares of dark chocolate (containing at least 70% cacao) will satisfy your cravings for the sweet stuff and also give you a healthy dose of antioxidants.

Peanut Butter Toast

A slice of peanut butter toast as a snack is a sweet and delicious alternative to a candy bar that is loaded with sugar and saturated fats.

Protect your teeth this Halloween with these healthy candy alternatives, and remember that now is a perfect time to also see your dentist and make sure that your teeth are healthy and strong. Our team at Rigby Advanced Dental is here to assist you with your oral healthcare needs. Contact us to schedule an appointment!