5 Tips to Impress Your Dentist at Your Next Checkup

Blonde woman smiles brightly with great oral health while wearing a pink shirt in front of a white picket fence

Are you afraid to go to the dentist because you haven’t been taking great care of your teeth? First, we want you to know we are here to help you have outstanding oral health, no matter the current condition of your oral health. So when you come in for a cleaning, we’ll check for decay and gum disease and get your teeth feeling fresh and clean once again. We will also advise you on ways to improve your oral care practices so your teeth and gums can be healthy and strong for a lifetime. In this post, we will share five simple tips to follow before your next visit that will make a huge difference in your at-home oral hygiene routine!

1. Drink Water

Staying hydrated is critical for the health of your body and mouth. Water combats dry mouth and tooth decay by washing away leftover food particles and allowing for the production of saliva. Saliva is 99% water and 1% substances that aid in fighting oral bacteria and digesting food. Moreover, drinking water with fluoride is one of the easiest ways to prevent cavities, as it helps remineralize, or rebuild, weakened enamel.

2. Brush Your Teeth & Your Tongue

Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoridated toothpaste. The only way to fully and effectively clean your teeth at home is by gently brushing for the full two minutes, so be sure to not rush through your morning and evening brush session even if you’re running late or are tired. If you find this difficult, set a timer on your phone. These days, most electric toothbrushes will time 120 seconds automatically. Additionally, remember to brush your tongue each time you brush your teeth. This will help keep your tongue clean of bacteria that leads to bad breath and halitosis. At your appointment, ask our team to provide additional tips to improve your brushing technique!

3. Floss Daily

Flossing to clean in between your teeth and below your gum line helps prevent plaque buildup, cavities, and bad breath. Unfortunately, many people skip this important step in their daily dental hygiene. We understand flossing can sometimes be a pain, especially if you have irritated and inflamed gums that bleed. But the good news is, the more you do it, the easier it gets and the less likely your gums will bleed.

4. Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Studies have shown that chewing sugar-free gum after meals for at least 20 minutes helps to clean teeth. Chewing produces more saliva, which is the mouth’s natural rinse. Sugar-free gum also works to dislodge food particles from in between teeth.

5. Use a Nightguard to Combat Bruxism

If you clench and/or grind your teeth at night, you should be using a nightguard. We can get you fitted for a custom and comfortable guard to protect your teeth from damage and to help you sleep better.

A Healthy Mouth Contributes to a Healthy Body

Follow these simple tips to enjoy a healthier mouth and to blow us away at your next visit! No matter the condition of your mouth now, these steps can lead you toward fresher breath, stronger teeth, and greater self-confidence. Contact us to schedule your next checkup at Rigby Advanced Dental.

What Percentage of People Have Cavities?

Blonde man with facial hair wears a plaid jacket and looks anxiously to the side thinking about cavities
It’s likely that you or someone you know has had a cavity. In fact, you may be surprised to learn just how many people get cavities. But before we dive into the statistics, let’s learn a little more about what cavities are and how you get them.

What Are Cavities?

A cavity is tooth decay, which occurs when your tooth’s enamel, the protective outer layer of your teeth, is destroyed. The way this happens is that your oral bacteria eat the sugar in the foods and drinks you consume and produce an acid byproduct that dissolves the minerals in your teeth. Cavities often form in between your teeth, along the gum line, near dental fillings, and in the pits and grooves in the teeth at the back of your mouth. If cavities are not treated, the decay can spread to neighboring teeth and into your tooth’s pulp, a bundle of nerves and blood vessels. At this point, you will require root canal therapy to preserve your tooth. But decayed and infected teeth that are too late to save will need to be extracted to protect your oral health.

How Are Cavities Diagnosed?

You may not realize you have a cavity because you don’t have any feeling in your enamel and therefore can’t tell when it’s decaying. However, severe tooth decay exposes the underlying dentin, which contains tiny tubes that connect to your tooth’s inner nerves, at which point you will feel pain and sensitivity. But because it’s so hard to detect cavities on your own, it’s important to get a dental exam every six months so we can check for cavities in your mouth. The way we do this is by looking at your dental X-rays and probing your teeth to look for any pits or any spots that feel too soft because the enamel has begun to dissolve.

What Percentage of People Have Cavities?

In a 2016 study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that over 90% of adults in the United States have had a cavity. They also reported that 1 in 4 adults have cavities that are untreated. You should visit us at Rigby Advanced Dental every six months to confirm whether or not your mouth is cavity-free! We will also clean your teeth of a sticky film of accumulated bacteria called plaque, and tartar, which is hardened plaque.

How Can I Prevent Cavities?

If you don’t want to be in the 25% of adults with untreated cavities, maintain a healthy diet high in fibrous fruits and vegetables and low in carbohydrates and sugars, brush your teeth twice a day using a fluoridated toothpaste for two minutes each time, floss at least once a day, and get a checkup and cleaning every six months at Rigby Advanced Dental. Contact us today to schedule your biannual appointment!

Quip Toothbrush: An Honest Review by a Dentist

White Quip toothbrush next to a potted plant and a rolled up gray towel

In today’s world of passing fads and trends, it’s always a pleasant surprise to find a product that can withstand the test of time and live up to the hype. As a dental healthcare provider, I’ve heard about a lot of crazes from my patients, such as brushing with lemon juice and baking soda or activated charcoal. When I first heard of Quip, I was a little skeptical. But when I heard more and more good things from my patients, I had to try it out for myself. Here is what I found.

Lightweight Design

The slim, lightweight design feels like a traditional toothbrush, which is a nice change from the usual electric toothbrushes. While those are excellent for getting a thorough clean, some patients find the design to be chunky and brushing awkward. One thing I love to tell my patients is to make the brushing experience as effortless as possible. That way, there’s as little resistance as possible and you’re less likely to skip out on your routine oral regimen. The design is also great because it’s easily transportable. When I go on a trip, it’s easy to bring along.

Internal Timer & Gentle Vibrations

Another great feature I found useful to the brushing experience was the internal timer that notifies me when I’ve brushed for exactly two minutes. If you’re not aware of the rule, let me refresh your memory. The recommended oral healthcare routine is to brush twice a day for two minutes each time and to floss at least once a day. This timer allows you to make sure that two minutes is really two minutes, and not just an unreliable guesstimate. Something that interested me about Quip was that the bristles vibrate, instead of rotating like traditional electric toothbrushes. The vibrations still help break up plaque but are easier on the teeth and gums. Several of my patients reported less sore gums while using Quip.

4 white Quip toothbrushes with bronze and gray accents

Replacement Brush Head Subscription

As a dentist and an avid brushing enthusiast, one of my favorite aspects about this toothbrush is the automation feature. To ensure that you replace the brush head on a regular basis, you can subscribe to get a new brush head every three months. My patients often look like a kid with their hand caught in the candy jar when I ask them how regularly they replace their toothbrush or brush head. Despite my warnings that bacteria love to live on your toothbrush and that’s why it must be replaced, some of my patients just don’t feel motivated or can’t remember. One guy even told me that he would like to change his traditional electric toothbrush out, but it was too expensive for him. Quip solves both of these problems with their subscription plan that sends you a new brush head for a price that can fit most of, if not all, my patients’ budgets.

A 5-Star Product

I love to recommend this product to all my patients. It’s not only efficient but effective, which means it saves money by cutting down on expensive treatments that are caused by bad brushing habits or unnecessary exposure to bacteria from an old toothbrush. All my dentist and hygienist friends use Quip (myself included!). I’m more than happy to say that this product really puts its money where its mouth is. It’s easy to endorse a product when it delivers real results and takes care of my patients’ teeth and gums. Thanks, Quip!

Have Questions? We Have Answers!

To ask our team questions about this great product, to learn more tips to improve your at-home oral hygiene routine, or to schedule your next cleaning and checkup, contact Rigby Advanced Dental today.

19th Century Dental Milestones

In the 1800s, dental technology started to take a turn for the better. Here is a timeline of some of the most notable dental events of the 19th century that helped shape the advancement of modern dental treatment and technology:

19th Century Dental Timeline

1801 — Richard C. Skinner wrote the first dental book, Treatise on the Human Teeth, to be published in the United States.

5 ascending stacks of silver coins, what dental fillings were made of in the 19th century

1816 — Auguste Taveau invented the first dental fillings. These fillings were made from silver coins and mercury.
1825 — Samuel Stockton began the commercial manufacturing of porcelain teeth. His company was called White Dental Manufacturing Company. They established and dominated the dental market during the 19th century.
1832 — James Snell invented the first reclining chair.
1839 — Charles Goodyear discovered vulcanized rubber. This led to denture bases becoming more affordable. They were previously made out of gold.

A red and yellow apple sits atop a small stack of old books against a chalkboard

1840 — Thomas Morton was the first to demonstrate the use of anesthesia for dental surgery. Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris founded the world’s first dental school, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery and established the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree.
1864 — Sanford C. Barnum developed the rubber dam. This helped isolate the tooth from the oral cavity.
1870s —Larger cavities began being filled with baked porcelain inlays. James Beall Morrison patented the first mechanical dental drill. Unfortunately, it was extremely slow and a filling would take hours to complete.
1890s — Willoughby Miller is the first to describe the microbial basis of dental cavities in his book Micro-Organisms of the Human Mouth. This raised awareness for cavity prevention and helped oral care companies begin their marketing for at-home oral health products.

Black and white panoramic dental X-ray showing the teeth of an adult

1896 — Edmund Kells adapted Wilhelm Roentgen’s X-ray for dental needs, and Washington Wentworth Sheffield invented the first toothpaste tube.

Our Modern-Day Technology

Because of these individuals, and those during the last 100 years, we have seen even greater advancements in at-home dental hygiene, in-office dental procedures and treatments, and dental technology. We are grateful for those who came before us that introduced their inventions and advocated for improvements in the field of dentistry! Come check out our high-quality dental care and advanced technology at our comfortable practice, Rigby Advanced Dental, in The Offices at The Hill Country Galleria. Contact us to schedule your next checkup and cleaning.

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.