Adding Vitamin K2 To Your Diet

Most people know that calcium and Vitamin D are important in your diet for strong bones and teeth.  But have you heard about Vitamin K2?  Sources are reporting that K2 ensures that calcium is fully absorbed, and an absence of K2 can contribute to Vitamin D toxicity.  We all want strong bones and teeth, so learn more about K2 in the article below.

Vitamin K2 for Bone, Teeth & Heart Health

It is a big mistake to take calcium, magnesium and vitamin D3, while skipping over vitamin K2.

By Evangel, Michael S., DC, Patch Poster |

Vitamin K1 is important for the clotting of blood, but vitamin K2 works synergistically with calcium, magnesium and vitamin D3.

Vitamin K2 makes sure that calcium gets into the bones and the teeth, where it belongs and away from the soft tissues and the blood vessels, where it doesn’t belong.

There are also important cardiac benefits of vitamin K2.

I prefer the MK7 variety of vitamin K2, which is plant derived. The proper proportion in my opinion is 10 micrograms of the MK7 version of vitamin K2, for every 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 that you take in supplemental form.

Vitamin K2 deficiency can actually produce the symptoms of vitamin D toxicity, which includes the calcification of arteries that can lead to arteriosclerosis.

The health benefits of vitamin K2 range from the reduction of osteoporosis, the reduction of heart disease, the optimization of sexual function and the reduction of the risk of diabetes and the risk of cancer. The alleviation of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are a bonus.

Research found taking that MK-7 version of vitamin K2 for three years, improved arterial stiffness in postmenopausal women.

Research indicates that vitamin K2 can potentially reduce vertebral fractures by 60% and hip and other nonvertebral fractures by a whopping 80%.



Natural Food Sources of Vitamin K2

Getting enough vitamin K2 from your diet can be tough. Its only vegetarian source is natto due to the specific bacteria used during the fermentation process. Certain animal-derived foods contain K2 thanks to the way in which the animals digest grass. They can actually make their own K2 from the K1 found naturally in the grass, so grass-fed beef products in particular can provide dietary K2. Liver, meat, eggs and high fat dairy are your best bets if you’re not keen on natto.

Some good news: your body can convert, though inefficiently, some vitamin K1 into K2. If you’re set on eating your daily vitamin K2 versus supplementing, here’s a list of foods with healthy quantities of K1 you can add to your grass-fed beef products:

  • Kale
  • Dried Basil
  • Scallions
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Asparagus
  • Cabbage
  • Cucumbers
  • Prunes
  • Most leafy greens


Morning Oral Hygiene Mistakes

Every morning you wake up, get ready, most likely eat breakfast, brush your teeth, and head out the door. Maybe in that order, or maybe in a different order. With that said, have you ever given any thought to your oral hygiene routine in the morning? For example, whether you brush your teeth right when you wake up or right before you walk out the door. The article below discusses common tooth brushing mistakes that are made each morning. Give it a read and then adjust your routine if needed!

Seems like a pretty straightforward task, but it turns out, teeth brushing isn’t actually as simple as you thought. According to experts, the techniques and habits you learned as a child, might be completely off the mark for healthy teeth and a fresh smile.

Brushing your teeth too hard? Use any old toothpaste? Only give thirty seconds to the cause? You need to change your teeth brushing attitude. After all, you only get one set of adult teeth.

Here are the teething brushing habits to adopt right now.

Brush your teeth before you eat

How often do you wait until after breakfast to brush your teeth? Sure, you want them to be minty fresh for when you get to your desk, but if you’re enjoying a fresh juice first thing and then brushing your teeth, chances are you’re damaging them. The same goes with fruity smoothie bowls. Eating food causes a build-up of acid in the mouth, which softens the enamel temporarily. Brush before you eat, when the enamel on your teeth is strong. 

Read on: 3 smoothie bowls to kick start any day 


So teeth brushing is part of your AM but what about flossing? Only 21% of people use dental floss daily (something that should be considered just as important as brushing). According to dental hygienists flossing before you brush removes plaque and food debris, which is why it’s so necessary.

teeth brushing mistakes, smoothie bowl

Don’t rinse

If you rinse your toothbrush before layering a swipe of toothpaste on top, don’t. Dental hygienists recommend that you keep them dry initially, to help remove plaque. Stronger bristles, better cleaning.

Be gentle

You might think that the harder you brush your teeth, the cleaner they will be. In fact, vigorous teeth brushing increases the chance of causing damage. Not only can it tear your gums, it can also wear down your tooth enamel (protective layer).

Pick the right one

Not everyone needs a whitening toothpaste. According to dental hygienists, using these formulas when you don’t need them can be too harsh for your gums and considering your gums are where your teeth’s roots are, you want to keep them happy and healthy. Choose a fluoride paste to help strengthen your teeth and make sure you give a whole two minutes to teeth brushing. It’s the magic number.


Keeping Your Kids’ Teeth Clean

It can be a challenge, sometimes, to encourage your kids to do things like brush their teeth twice a day. Kids don’t often understand the potential consequences of not keeping their teeth clean. That is why it is important to teach our children how to properly brush and floss and to enjoy trips to the dentist. Learn more pointers for keeping your kids on top of their oral hygiene in the article below.

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Protecting your teeth is a big piece of your overall health.

Brushing and flossing regularly is not the only thing you should do to keep your pearly whites healthy.

“People love to neglect teeth. I think a lot of times people assume if they’re not in any pain, that their teeth are healthy, and that’s not the case at all,” said Wilmington dentist Dr. Yates Williams.

A nice, clean smile is something many people strive for. The cosmetic benefits are clear, but the health ones may not be so obvious.

Dr. Williams says our diets include more and more sugar, so it’s important to keep track of the sweet stuff.

“One of the biggest things we have now is just the added sugars in all the foods we eat and especially the foods that are even advertised to our children, including the cereals, just the snacks, all that stuff, the crackers. So much of it’s processed,” said Dr. Williams.

Children are usually at a higher risk for cavities and other dental problems. That’s why dental health education is key to keeping their teeth safe.

“They’re at a high risk because their oral hygiene is not as good as someone who is a little bit older, a little bit wiser, a little more disciplined,” said Dr. Williams.

Scheduling regular dental visits is also a smart idea. Going to see your dentist every six months is what you should strive for, even as an adult.

“If we go a significant amount of time, we’ll end up, maybe we could have treated something a little differently had we caught it a little sooner, if that makes sense. You talk about root canals and things like that, sometimes you can catch a cavity, oftentimes you can catch a cavity, before it turns into that, before it needs a root canal,” said Dr. Williams.

Dr. Williams says that certain dental conditions can affect other parts of  your health, for example: there is a link between periodontitis and your heart.

That’s why keeping your teeth healthy should be a priority.



Protecting Your Teeth on Halloween

Halloween is right around the corner and that means people everywhere will want to indulge in candy and other sugary treats.  We know that for most people going completely candy-free around Halloween is challenge (especially if you have trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood or in your own house).  There are ways, however, to protect your teeth a little during this holiday.  Learn about them in the article below.

How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy During Halloween

Halloween is around the corner, which for most children means bags of free candy and easy access to all kinds of sweets. It’s also a pretty tempting holiday for adults. Here are 5 ways everyone can stay mouth healthy during Halloween and every day.

Stay away from things that stick
Besides how often you snack, the length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a role in tooth decay. Unless it is a sugar-free product, candies that stay in the mouth for a long period of time subject teeth to an increased risk for tooth decay. The stickier candies, like taffy and gummy bears, also take longer to get washed away by saliva.

Chew gum that has the ADA Seal
Instead of candy, consider gum. Studies show that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals helps reduce tooth decay, because increased saliva flow helps wash out food and neutralize the acid produced by dental plaque bacteria.

Avoid beverages with added sugar
When teeth come in frequent contact with beverages that contain sugar, the risk of tooth decay is increased. Drinking optimally fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. If you choose bottled water, look for kinds that are fluoridated.

Think twice before picking hard candies
Besides how often you snack, the length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a role in developing cavities. Unless it is a sugar-free product, candies that stay in the mouth for a long period of time subject teeth to an increased risk for tooth decay.

Try and eat candy with meals
We know candy can be hard to resist, especially have all that hard work trick or treating for it! If you can, try and eat Halloween candy and other sugary foods with meals or shortly after mealtime. That’s because saliva production increases during meals and helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and helps rinse away food particles.


Why It’s Important to Floss

Flossing should be a part of everyone’s routine.  There are many reasons you should floss along with brushing your teeth and rinsing with mouthwash every day.  For starters, floss can reach food and other harmful things in between your teeth that your toothbrush sometimes misses.  If that didn’t convince you to floss more, the benefits discussed in the article below will.

What Are the Benefits of Flossing Teeth & Gums?

by Katie Regan | Last updated Aug 14, 2017

Flossing your teeth every night can be a hard habit to develop, but it’s one that is worth the effort. It provides a number of benefits — from simply having cleaner-feeling teeth to preventing cavities to even avoiding tooth loss. Flossing reaches the places a toothbrush can’t, and it removes from between your teeth the food particles and bacteria that get trapped before they develop into plaque and tartar. The American Dental Association recommends flossing your teeth at least once a day.

Alleviate Bad Breath

Bad breath can be a common and embarrassing problem to have, but regular flossing can significantly improve it. Because a toothbrush can’t remove all food trapped between your teeth, particles of it can sit in your mouth and rot, giving off foul odors in the process. As the particles break down, they release sulfurous compounds, which create a rotten egg smell. The rotten food also releases isovaleric acid, which can smell like sweat; putrescine, which gives off a smell of rotten meat; skatole, which can smell like human feces; and cadaverine, which has a smell likened to decomposing bodies. By flossing every day, you can make sure these smelly food particles are out of your mouth and in the trash.

Avoid Cavities

No one likes having a dentist’s drill in their mouth, and one of the easiest ways to avoid that situation is nightly flossing. Cavities are decayed areas of teeth that have created tiny holes in the enamel and, if left untreated, can develop into deep, painful pits. Cavities occur when all the bacteria, food particles, acids and saliva in your mouth come together to create plaque. The acids in plaque eat away at your teeth and can cause symptoms such as toothaches, hot or cold sensitivity, pain when biting down and visible holes. By not flossing, the plaque between your teeth can form cavities in hard-to-notice places, which can progress to the point where the hole reaches the pulp — the center of the tooth containing nerves — and causes extreme pain.

Prevent Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the first step down the road to periodontal disease, which eats away at the soft tissue and bone in your mouth and can cause tooth loss. Gingivitis is due to a buildup of plaque along the gum line, and it can cause inflammation, soft or tender gums, bad breath and gums that bleed more easily. The more plaque you have and the longer it stays trapped between your teeth, the higher the likelihood that it becomes tartar, which can only be removed by a dentist. It also becomes more likely that you will develop periodontal disease. By flossing daily, you can help lessen the risk of developing gingivitis.

Other Benefits

Left untreated, gingivitis may lead to periodontitis — a serious gum infection that can cause breakdown of gum tissue and teeth. Although the exact link is not fully understood, research suggests that periodontitis may be linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, high blood sugar and high blood pressure. Flossing reduces the risk of gingivitis, and may in turn reduce risk of these more serious medical conditions.


Wisdom Teeth Pain

If you are at the age where your wisdom teeth are starting to come in, it can be the source of a little discomfort.  Think about how babies are cranky when their teeth are coming in.  It’s just like that.  The first thing you should do is schedule a check up at Thomas Dental where we can do x-rays and determine if you will need your wisdom teeth removed.  In the meantime, if you are in pain at home, you can try the remedies for pain relief described in the article below.

Seven Tips for Wisdom Teeth Pain Relief

By Lana Burgess | Last reviewed Tue 19 September 2017
Reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT

People often decide to have their wisdom teeth removed, as they can cause painful, aching gums. How can wisdom teeth pain be relieved at home before their removal?

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to break through the gums. They grow at the very back of a person’s mouth. There are normally four wisdom teeth in total, with one in each of the furthest corners of the top and bottom gums.

This article looks at home remedies and medical treatments to relieve the pain caused by wisdom teeth.

What causes wisdom teeth pain?

Wisdom teeth normally push their way through the gums when a person is between the ages of 17 and 21. The sensation of a tooth pushing through the gums can be painful.

In addition, there is often no room for the wisdom teeth in a person’s mouth, as the adult teeth have already developed. This lack of space may cause wisdom teeth to come through at an angle, or getting stuck and not come through fully.

When this happens, the wisdom teeth are impacted. Having impacted wisdom teeth leaves the gums vulnerable, as the surface breaks and the teeth are not fully through. Food and bacteria can get trapped in the gums and lead to several issues, including:

  • gum disease
  • infections
  • abscesses
  • cysts

Treating wisdom teeth pain at home

Impacted wisdom teeth may cause pain, aches, and tenderness. Ultimately, removing the wisdom teeth can help resolve these problems.

In the meantime, there are several over-the-counter medical treatments and natural home remedies available.

1. Numbing gel

A numbing dental gel may help reduce feeling in the gums and dull the pain. These gels are available over the counter and contain the active ingredient benzocaine.

Most dental gels can be applied directly to the affected gums throughout the day. However, it is important for a person to follow the instructions included in the product. Also, it is possible to be allergic to benzocaine.

2. Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter pain relief medication that helps reduce inflammation.

Taking the recommended dose on the packet may help relieve discomfort. It can also reduce inflammation of the gums associated with wisdom teeth development.

Ibuprofen or other NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) may be effective pain management until a person can see a dentist for treatment.

3. Ice pack

Applying an ice pack to the jaw can help reduce inflammation, which in turn may relieve pain. Using ice can also have a numbing effect.

A person can try holding an ice pack with a tea towel around it against their jaw for up to 15 minutes.

The ice pack can be applied off and on with 15 minute breaks until the pain has subsided.

4. Salt water rinse

Salt water has natural disinfectant properties. A 2010 study showed that rinsing the mouth with salt water can help reduce bacteria.

Sometimes, a build-up of bacteria in the broken gums around wisdom teeth can be the cause of pain. As such, rinsing with salt water may help treat the infection and reduce the discomfort.

To make the salt water rinse, a person can dissolve a few tablespoons of salt into a glass of freshly boiled water. When the water has cooled slightly, it can be swirled around the mouth for several minutes, then spat out.

A person may want to rinse their mouth with salt water two or three times a day, or until the pain starts to reduce.

5. Cloves

Research into the effectiveness of cloves to relieve wisdom tooth pain is positive. A 2006 study showed that there is promise for cloves as a topical pain reliever due to their numbing effect.

To try this home remedy, a person can use a whole clove or clove oil. If using a whole clove they should:

  • place the clove over the wisdom tooth that is causing pain
  • hold it in place by closing their jaw, but without chewing
  • leave it there until the pain reduces and then spit it out

To try this remedy using clove oil, a person can:

  • put a few drops of clove oil on a ball of cotton wool
  • put the cotton wool on the wisdom tooth that is causing pain
  • hold the cotton wool in place until the pain reduces and then remove it

6. Onion

A 2007 study found that onions have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. These advantages of onions mean they can help reduce swelling and fight bacterial infections.

To use onions as a home remedy, a person should:

  • cut off a piece of onion
  • chew the onion on the side of the mouth that has the pain
  • keep chewing for a few minutes until pain reduces and then spit out the onion

This process allows the juice from the onion to go into the gum so that it can reduce inflammation and bacteria.

7. Tea bags

A 2016 study found that tannins contained in tea bags have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This means tea bags may help reduce swelling and fight bacterial infections.

To use tea bags as a home remedy, a person should make a cup of tea and put the cup in the fridge with the tea bag left in it. Once the tea is cold, the tea bag can be taken out and placed inside the mouth where the pain is located.

Continue reading:

Are You Doing These 5 Things?

Everyone should take their dental hygiene very seriously.  A daily routine is the best way to ensure you are properly doing all the recommended steps to clean your teeth and mouth.  The article below gives you 5 expert tips that are fool-proof.  If you aren’t already doing these 5 things, then now is the time to start!

5 expert tips on Dental Hygiene

At any given moment, your mouth is home to over 500 species of bacteria – some good, some bad

Your mouth is a gateway to the rest of your body – it is the entry point where we introduce both nourishment in the form of food, and toxins in the form of germs to our bodies.

At any given moment, your mouth is home to over 500 species of bacteria – some good, some bad. A healthy balance between the two is vital for great health. Poor dental health carries with it a lot of health risks that are associated with the bad bacteria.

If you fail to maintain your dental hygiene by brushing and flossing daily, and visiting your dentist every six months, plaque can build up along your gum line creating a cosy environment for bacteria to accumulate in the spaces between your mouth and your teeth – this can lead to dental health issues such as gingivitis, and if left untreated periodontitis.

The frightening issue is that these dental hygiene issues, over a long period, can lead to more adverse health issues including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and even pre-term birth in pregnant women. While these are extreme cases, they are caused – at the start – by preventable gingivitis. So what can you do to ensure that you keep gingivitis and other serious illnesses at bay?

Don’t miss your dental check-ups

Make dental check-ups part of your routine – and ensure to uphold it every six months. This will guarantee that plaque build-up is kept at a bare minimum with regular cleaning.

Eat a healthy diet with a limited intake of sugar

Eating patterns and food choices can have an impact on your oral health, and especially the oral health of teens and children as it can affect how quickly youngsters may develop tooth decay. When bacteria come into contact with food in the mouth, acid is produced that attacks the teeth. This can eventually lead to tooth decay.

Brush your teeth twice daily

Brushing at least twice daily for two minutes is absolutely essential. The trick is to not overdo it, because you could damage your gums from too much pressure or friction. Use a medium or soft toothbrush and brush gently at a 45-degree angle to effectively remove the bacteria that causes plaque build-up and decay.

Change out your toothbrush every two months

Long term use of your toothbrush causes it to become ineffective as the bristles become frayed and do not work as well as they once did, and the bad bacteria that lives in your mouth builds up on your toothbrush. If you have good oral health, replace your toothbrush every 2 months; however, if you have been sick, it’s better to replace your toothbrush more often.

Floss and use mouthwash daily

The American Dental Association recommends flossing a minimum of once per day in order to get rid of plaque in areas between the teeth that are difficult or impossible to reach with a toothbrush.

Dr. Zeina Armouche, is a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Florida Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and of International Association of Pediatric Dentistry. She is also the Pediatric Dentist at Drs. Nicolas and Asp Clinic in Dubai, UAE.


Dental Myths Debunked

Ever wonder what is true and what isn’t about your teeth and oral hygiene?  Then look no further because the article below discusses 9 commonly believed myths and the actual truth behind them.  You might learn something about your teeth when reading this that you didn’t know before!  Check it out and, as always, ask one of our friendly staff members at Thomas Dental any questions you might have about keeping your teeth clean and healthy!

5 Dental Health Myths: Separating Fact From Fiction

By Mary Martin   |   Friday, 27 Jan 2017 11:19 AM

Are silver fillings dangerous? Can teeth whiteners damage your teeth? Is sugar the main cause of cavities? When it comes to dental health, it is sometimes difficult to separate fact from fiction.

Yet research shows that your mouth can speak volumes about your overall health. With this in mind, here are five common dental myths — and a handful of additional facts — that you should know, courtesy of dental health specialists:

No. 1: Sugar is the main cause of tooth decay.

Myth: We’ve all heard that sugar can rot your teeth, but it turns out it’s not the worst offender. The real culprit is bacteria that’s formed as it breaks down sucrose.

“The chemical name for table sugar is sucrose – it contains one molecule of glucose and one of fructose. It isn’t the sugar per se that it is the problem; it is what happens to the sugar in your mouth as the bacteria use it as their energy source,” the American Dental Association tells Newsmax Health.

“Cavities, or tooth decay, is the destruction of your tooth enamel, the hard, outer layer of your teeth. It can be a problem for children, teens and adults. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, constantly forms on your teeth. When you eat or drink foods containing sugars, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with your teeth and over time the enamel can break down. This is when cavities can form. A cavity is a little hole in your tooth.”

The breakdown of sucrose happens when you digest carbohydrates. We often think of carbs as junk foods, but healthy foods like vegetables, fruits and grains also fall into this category.

No. 2: Mouthwash with alcohol is the most effective.

Myth: In fact, the best type of mouthwash has NO alcohol in it. Alcohol can be dehydrating and denaturing, according to experts.

Mouthwash containing alcohol has also been linked with oral cancer.

No. 3: Whiter teeth are healthier.

Myth: Although they may look pearly white, whiter teeth aren’t necessarily healthier. White teeth may still hide an infection or cavities between the teeth.

The natural color of teeth varies from one person to another and someone with healthy teeth may have a naturally darker shade of white.

No. 4: Brushing your bleeding gums is a bad idea.

Myth: Brushing is good for both your teeth and gums. Brushing your gums, even if they’re bleeding, helps get rid of built up plaque. Too much plaque can cause inflammation, gingivitis and gum disease.

Dr. Joseph Banker told Medical Daily that patients with sensitive gums shouldn’t brush too hard. He suggests brushing at an angle to avoid irritation. Banker says brushing and flossing the surrounding areas will help keep inflammation at bay.

No. 5: Flossing isn’t important if you brush regularly.

Myth: Flossing is hugely important. If you aren’t flossing, you’re not cleaning over 30 percent of your tooth surface that a regular brush can’t reach.

Bacteria found in those hard to reach places can case everything from gum disease to decay and pain. Flossing is an inexpensive and essential component of oral health.

No. 6: An aspirin can prevent tooth pain.

Fact: Some doctors believe that an aspirin placed directly next to the gum may temporarily relieve some amount of pain, if the pain is coming directly from the gum.

But there is a caveat: If the pain is coming from the tooth structure itself, aspirin won’t do the trick unless swallowed.

No. 7: Teeth whitening will damage your enamel.

Fact: The main ingredients in over-the-counter teeth whitening products are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, which remove stains on the tooth’s surface enamel.

According to experts, there are many over-the-counter products that can damage your enamel if not used in moderation. One of the most common side effects of teeth whitening is tooth sensitivity.

Researchers at Ohio State University College of Dentistry have shown that enamel loss can occur when bleaching teeth.

No. 8: You don’t need your wisdom teeth.

Partly fact: While it’s true your wisdom teeth are a vestigial organ, like your tonsils or appendix, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have them taken out.

In fact, Japanese researchers say that the pulp inside your wisdom teeth may contain stem cells similar to those found in bone marrow. Some experts say harvesting those stem cells could lead to the ability to regrow teeth in the future.

No. 9: Silver fillings don’t need to be replaced.

Unclear: Whether or not silver amalgam fillings are safe has been an issue of hotly contested debate among dentists. Silver-colored fillings are made with roughly 52 percent mercury.

Some research suggests mercury leeches out over time from these silver fillings, especially if they are breaking down. But most dentists don’t advise replacing them if they are in good shape.

Mercury has been linked to autoimmune diseases, neurological issues, chronic diseases, and mental disorders. The concern is that patients who grind their teeth, chew gum, or drink hot or carbonated drinks may be exposed to higher levels of mercury vapors.
© 2017 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.



Be a Better Tooth Brusher!

Part of the reason dentists and orthodontist recommend brushing your teeth for two minutes is to ensure that you are properly cleaning all parts of your teeth and mouth.  One dentist is reporting, however, that people are commonly missing one specific part of their teeth while brushing.  Read the article below to find out where it is and how to be a better tooth brusher!

You’re Probably Forgetting To Brush This Part Of Your Teeth

Missed a spot!

By Carly Ledbetter

Despite most of us thinking that we’re brushing our teeth correctly or flossing frequently enough, dentist visits are often full of surprises. Irritation, cavities, gingivitis ― the list of our maladies goes on and on.

It’s always important to go back to basics and make sure that you’re brushing your teeth with proper technique. When it comes to ways people are brushing their teeth incorrectly, Jessica Hilburg, DDS and associate dean for clinical affairs at the NYU College of Dentistry, is the expert.

She told HuffPost that there’s one important part of your mouth that too many people skip over.

“Sometimes people forget to brush the insides of their teeth, the surfaces that face the tongue and the palate,” Hilburg told HuffPost. ”Sometimes people forget these areas because we don’t see them when we look in the mirror. Food and plaque can buildup in these areas so it’s just as important to brush there as it is on the front of our teeth where we can easily see.”

Hilburg also said not brushing your teeth long enough (she recommends brushing for at least two minutes twice a day) and using the wrong amount of pressure while brushing is also incorrect.

“Applying too much pressure while brushing could damage gums and be abrasive to the teeth,” she said. “Applying too little pressure while brushing just isn’t as effective and will not remove the plaque as well as using gentle pressure. [Also] just rubbing the toothbrush back and forth in long strokes will not do as good a job as the short strokes because the short strokes allow you to get in between the teeth much better.”

She added, “The ‘right amount of pressure’ is pressure that feels comfortable, does not crush the bristles of the toothbrush (too much pressure) and of course leaves your teeth feeling and looking clean.”

If you want to double check your brushing techniques and times, Hilburg suggests following the instructions on the American Dental Association’s website.

“It should take two minutes to brush your whole mouth ― 30 seconds for top teeth surfaces that face the lip and cheek, 30 seconds for top teeth inside surfaces and same for bottom teeth ― a total of two minutes. The chewing surfaces should be brushed while doing the sides,” Hilburg said.

“Regardless of the technique used even if you aren’t as organized as I’ve described, tooth brushing should touch upon all surfaces—inner, outer and chewing surfaces.”

Or you can just watch this handy video:

Hilburg also gave HuffPost suggestions about the right type of toothbrush and toothpaste people should use ― and what to avoid.

“Using a soft toothbrush is recommended, as bristles that are too hard can damage gums and may not be flexible enough to remove the plaque,” Hilburg said. “Soft bristle toothbrushes are best whether they are manual or power brushes. Choose a size toothbrush that feels comfortable and isn’t so large that it won’t fit on the sides of your teeth comfortably.”

Hilburg added, “A toothpaste with fluoride will help decrease the risk of decay and cavities. If any toothpaste felt irritating then of course a person should avoid it.”

In order to maintain good oral hygiene, Hilburg also recommends flossing daily, brushing your tongue and using an interdental cleaner (a small pointy brush) as well. And don’t forget the inside of your teeth!


7 Remedies for Better Oral Health

Some of us are always looking for more tips for maintaining healthy teeth without breaking the bank or stepping too far outside our comfort zones. This article gives us seven incredibly easy tips to start adding to our daily routines/habits. Good dental health is important for more than just nice teeth. Dental problems have been shown to be linked to other health problems beyond the mouth. That should be reason enough to want to take care of your teeth as best as you can!

I’m one of those people with annoyingly perfect teeth, and at 32 years old I have never had a cavity. Last year, my dentist even kept a scan of my tooth as an example of an ideal tooth. The point is, I was blessed with lovely teeth genes and haven’t ever worried too much about my chompers.

But then my world crumbled when my dentist pointed to the formation of a tiny grayish triangle creeping into my normally solid wall of white enamel and said, “This is the start of a baby cavity.” She then told me that the cavity was small, so we would wait and see if I could “re-mineralize” it on my own before looking at other options. Re-mineralizing is a term used to describe a natural process when teeth absorb minerals like calcium and phosphate to fill in voids.

Later that night, I started researching and learned about all the amazing ways your teeth can take care of themselves with a little extra TLC. Thus began my journey to conquer the “baby cavity” with a seven-step plan:

1. Use a tongue scraper.

First, scrape you tongue in the morning before you brush your teeth. This is an easy way to up your dental care regime and is recommended by ayurvedic practitioners and scientists alike to effectively remove harmful toxins and bacteria, leading to a healthier oral environment.

2. Gargle with salt water.

Next, gargle a warm glass with ¼ of a teaspoon of salt and 8 ounces of water. The idea here is that this will alkalinize your mouth and stop bacteria from forming, reducing inflammation.

3. Use a straw.

Drink your morning lemon water or ACV through a straw to ensure that your teeth are safe from the acid.

4. Swish with a baking soda rinse.

After breakfast, rinse your mouth with ¼ a teaspoon of baking soda and 8 ounces of water to balance your mouth’s pH.

5. Invest in a fancy floss.

Photo: @getcocofloss

Look for a high-quality floss that seems to have a bit more “scrub” to it. Some are even infused with tea tree oil (an antimicrobial) or other beneficial ingredients like coconut oil to make flossing a more luxurious experience.

6. Try a natural mouthwash.

Try using a natural mouth wash like Spry in the evenings. Natural mouthwashes won’t kill all the bacteria in your mouth; they will promote a healthy oral environment—which is important for optimal health.

7. Chew on xylitol gum.

Chew on sugar-free, aspartame-free, plastic-free, natural xylitol-sweetened gum like Glee Gum. Xylitol may increase salivation, helping to reduce cavities and plaque. More research is needed, but the author of one study did note, “the benefits it offers are literally worth salivating over,” which was good enough for me to test it out post-lunch.

Following this plan, I’ve learned how taking time to really improve one area of my life can dramatically affect other areas. For instance, because I usually chew a piece of tooth-friendly sugar-free gum after lunch I find that I no longer have the same afternoon cravings for coffee or sugar cookies that I used to. Taking care of my teeth to the max has translated into taking care of my nutrition and health to the max, too. Now, before I reach for starchy potato chips I’ll think about whether that’s a choice that helps me reach my goal of no more “baby cavities.”

The interesting thing is that science—to some degree—is on my side here. Dentists, nutritionists, and doctors are starting to understand the connection between dental health and overall health. Many people cite dentist Weston A. Price’s work looking at indigenous cultures diets and teeth as proof of this connection, but the scientific validity of his work has come under fire for his sample size and research methodology. Regardless of what you believe about Dr. Price, we’ve known that sugar is bad for your teeth for years, and now there are scientific studies that highlight the benefits of eating a low-sugar, low-carb diet for overall health. For instance, the World Health Organization now recommends that individuals, “reduce the frequency with which they consume foods containing free sugars to four times a day and thereby limit the amount of free sugars consumed.”

The American Dental Association’s website now features an entire section about what foods to eat for healthy teeth. ADA’s site supports eating a healthy diet that includes dairy (which is low in sugar and rich in calcium), lean proteins that can help strengthen teeth, fruits and vegetables (which balance sugar and when chewed produce saliva that rinses acids off teeth), and nuts because they are low in carbohydrates, which activate tooth decay.

So, if you are looking to boost your health, nutrition, and wellness, why not start with something as simple as improving your dental care? The benefits of doing so will extend beyond your radiant minty-fresh smile.

Ever wonder what your smile says about your health? Here’s your answer.