Our Blog - Dr. Michael Bell DDS


Do You Have a Spring Wedding?

Woman in wedding dress holds flowers.Planning a wedding involves taking care of several details. Even minor details, such as the linens on your tables, or the font on the place cards, matters. One small detail that often goes overlooked (because you don’t often think about it in terms of your wedding), is the condition of your smile. If you have a spring wedding, here’s how to create the perfect smile that will leave you with photos you are proud to show off.

Visit Your Dentist

If you haven’t been to your dentist in a while, now is the time. Your dentist will be able to give you a thorough cleaning as well as a comprehensive exam. During the exam, you can discuss any concerns about your teeth and mouth that you may have. Your dentist will take note of any cavities or issues (such as chips or cracks) and make suggestions about how to best deal with them. The earlier you can take care of oral problems, the better your smile will be on the day of your wedding.

Maintain a Routine at Home

Brushing and flossing your teeth at home is essential to your oral health, and can greatly help to improve the appearance of your mouth. A regular regimen of brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily is recommended. Brushing helps to eliminate plaque, bacteria, food particles and surface stains. Flossing takes care of the hard to reach spaces between your teeth. These tasks help to keep bacteria at bay, lowering your risk for tooth decay and gum disease, both of which can affect the appearance of your teeth and gums.

Consider Whitening

Discolored teeth, even just minor discoloration, can lead to a lack of confidence, and therefore affect not just the appearance of your smile but how you smile as well. Teeth whitening is a great way to get back a brilliant bright white smile. You can choose from over the counter whitening products or speak with your dentist about professional whitening for the best results. And after your whitening, be sure to take measures to maintain your smile.

Don’t forget about your smile in the planning of your wedding. If you aren’t already, start a regular oral hygiene routine and schedule an appointment with your dentist. And don’t forget to ask about whitening products. By taking care of your mouth now, you will be sure to have a dazzling smile when the big day arrives. If you have any questions, or if you would like to learn more, please contact us today.


Do Crooked Teeth Make Keeping Your Mouth Healthy Harder?

Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss are all part of your oral hygiene tool kit.If you have a few crooked teeth in your mouth, is it making it harder for you to keep your oral health up? Not everyone is aware of just how much trouble can come with having crooked teeth. Braces and trays that straighten your teeth are not purely for esthetics. They are meant to help you straighten your teeth so that your entire mouth can be clean and healthy. If you have crooked teeth, you may be missing out on this advantage.

Benefits to Having Straightened Teeth

Straight teeth are much easier to clean. They let you get into all of the gaps and let you brush all of the surfaces of your teeth. When you have crooked teeth, sometimes there are overlaps on your teeth. These can be nearly impossible to get, and keep, clean. This can expose the rest of your mouth to decay, and it can cause cavities to spread. It can also lead to problems like gum disease because you cannot get to the gums easily in those overlaps.

Part of keeping your oral health in tip-top shape is making sure that you are getting each part of your mouth clean. This means brushing all tooth surfaces, and flossing wherever the toothbrush cannot get to, like between your teeth. You also need to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth, plus the insides of your cheeks. When this is done, you need to rinse with mouthwash. By having straightened teeth, you can accomplish this and have great oral health. Without straight teeth, this task becomes far more difficult.

For options on what you can do to prevent problems if you have any crooked teeth, ask your dentist. Tell them what you are worried about, and get their advice on how to correct the problem. If you have any questions, or if you would like to learn more, please contact us today.


Why Purple Foods Are Important to Your Oral Health

When you eat produce that is purple, you are giving your body nutrients that it would otherwise struggle to get naturally.

While you can get many of these nutrients out of a daily multi-vitamin, it can be difficult for your body to absorb the right amounts of these nutrients when you use vitamins to try and remain healthy. Instead, try eating your way to a healthy mouth by making sure to eat something purple each day.

The Benefits You Get from Purple Produce

While the main nutrient you get from purple produce is anthocyanin, that is not the only nutrient. Anthocyanin is a nutrient that helps you prevent cancer, keeps your heart healthier, and decreases your blood pressure. When you eat purple produce, you also get the benefit of more balanced hormones, a metabolism that remains more balanced, and reduced pain all around the body.

Foods You Can Eat from the Purple Family

There are quite a few foods that fall into the purple family of produce. Things like eggplant (so long as you make sure to eat the skin), and many types of berries are the most common purple produce that people think of. However, there are also options like passionfruit, pomegranates, plums, purple carrots, dark beans, and purple cauliflower.

The more of these foods you eat on a regular basis, the stronger the effects of those foods are. Try and eat them daily, as often as possible. Then, you can keep the benefits going through your mouth, and the rest of your body, on a consistent basis.

Speak with your dentist the next time you go in for an exam about how much these foods can help improve your oral health. You would be surprised how much a healthy diet can keep your mouth strong and healthy.

Please contact our office if you have any questions about your oral health.


Why It’s Important to Know Your Toothbrush Cannot Polish Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth is essential for good oral hygiene. The practice helps to remove plaque, bacteria and lingering food particles from the surface of your teeth. Getting rid of this buildup works to prevent the development of tooth decay and gum disease.

It would stand to reason, then, that brushing harder would polish your teeth clean, right? Wrong. Your toothbrush cannot polish your teeth; in fact, brushing too hard can be detrimental to your oral health.

What Happens if You Brush Too Hard?

Brushing your teeth too hard, or overbrushing, often happens as a result of good intentions gone wrong. Vigorous brushing can have some significant negative consequences for your mouth. First, you run the risk of receding gums.

Second, brushing too hard can actually wear away at the enamel of your teeth. Third, you greatly increase your risk of developing gum disease, which leads to a whole other set of significant oral health issues.

Signs of Overbrushing

There are a few warning signs that point to overbrushing:

  • Receding gums.
  • Visible wear on your enamel.
  • Tooth sensitivity.
  • The development of cavities on the roots of your teeth.

What Can You Do?

If you pay attention to the way you brush, you can stop overbrushing and lower your chances for developing these issues. There are also a few steps you can take to make sure you avoid developing this dangerous habit:

  • Keep an eye on your toothbrush. On average, it should be replaced about every three months. If you notice signs of wear sooner, it could be a sign that you are brushing too hard.
  • Brush gently. You don’t need to scrub hard, plaque is soft. You just need to be thorough and get every surface. Pay attention to the pressure you use. The bristles shouldn’t bend. Also, you should use small, circular motions.
  • Buy the right brush. Make sure that your toothbrush is a soft bristled brush. This will help to prevent damage. You may also want to consider upgrading to an electric toothbrush, which will do most of the work for you.

Maintaining a good oral hygiene regimen is essential for your oral health, but trying to polish your teeth with your brush can be quite harmful. Along with brushing, don’t forget to floss every day and visit your dentist at least twice a year.

Please contact our office if you have any questions about brushing your teeth.


Understanding Sugar Sensitivity in Teeth

When your teeth don’t have the right amount of enamel on them, they become more sensitive to outside factors. Most people are familiar with sensitivities to hot and cold, sometimes extending all the way out to just breathing in the wrong temperature of air. However, there are more types of sensitivities than just those. Your teeth can actually become sensitive to things like sour or bitter, and sweets, too. If your teeth hurt after eating something sugary, you need to go in and get them checked out by your dentist.

How Tooth Sensitivity Can Happen

Acids wear down the enamel of your teeth. This can also happen from drinking acidic beverages like sports drinks, eating acidic foods like tomatoes, and from not caring for your teeth properly by brushing too hard. When your teeth loose enamel, more holes open up, exposing the dentin that lives beneath that hard shell exterior. When you consume something from there, you end up putting that substance right up against the dentin living beneath the enamel.

Dentin likes being covered and protected. It isn’t happy when exposed to extremes, including sugar. Now, you can allow your teeth to continue to be in pain and simply cut sugar out of your life, or you can go in and see your dentist. We recommend the latter. Once your dentist sees what is going on with your teeth, they can help you come up with a treatment plan to help protect your teeth from things like sugar sensitivity, while also helping them remain healthy and strong.

Reach out to your dentist when your teeth ache after eating a sweet treat. It’s never good to live in pain, so let us help. Contact our office today, explain what is going on, and see how early they’ll be able to see you and provide you relief!


To Prevent Extra Cavities, Only Rinse with Mouthwash after Brushing

When you brush your teeth you are not only cleaning your teeth and removing plaque, but you are also protecting your teeth from cavity-causing bacteria. Most toothpaste contains fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that protects your teeth. It occurs naturally in the environment and it makes the outer surface of your teeth, what is known as enamel, more resistant to acid attacks.

So you think since you don’t care much for acidic foods and drinks you are safe. That is where you are wrong.

The food particles and their components break down and turn to acid, which, in turn, attacks the enamel of your teeth. It then does what acid does, it eats away at the enamel and creates an entryway for cavity-causing bacteria.

How Does Fluoride Work on Your Teeth?

When you brush your teeth, the water on your toothbrush mixes with the toothpaste and makes toothpaste suds. When you are finished brushing, you spit out the suds.  The residue of the fluoride in the toothpaste sits on your teeth and does its job of protecting your teeth. The question then is, do you rinse your mouth immediately after you brush or do you wait? And when you rinse, do you use water or mouthwash? What difference does it make, you ask?

The fact is it makes a big difference. When you rinse your mouth with water you dilute the fluoride and wash it away from your teeth. This diminishes the effect of the fluoride. You wash it off your teeth and completely lose the benefit. Dentists recommend that you wait a little while before you rinse your mouth.

If you must rinse your mouth soon after you brush, you should rinse with mouthwash. When you rinse with mouthwash be sure you use mouthwash that contains fluoride. This way the fluoride from he mouthwash can do the job of the fluoride from the toothpaste that was washed away.

Please contact our office if you have any questions about fluoride.


Wisdom Teeth: What You Need To Know

GETTING YOUR WISDOM TEETH REMOVED is such a common procedure these days that it’s almost a rite of passage among teenagers. But why do some of us have to get them out anyway, and why do we even have them in the first place? In today’s blog post we’re going to answer these and a few other common wisdom teeth questions!

Wisdom Teeth Are Remnants Of An Ancient Era

The most widely accepted theory about wisdom teeth’s origins goes back to our early human ancestors. Because they had a very different diet–mainly roots, raw meat and fibrous plants–they needed extra molars to grind up tough food. These days, we eat much softer foods. We also have smaller jaws that don’t fit in those third molars quite as well.

Wisdom Teeth Are Removed For A Number Of Reasons

While some people never get their wisdom teeth, they’ll show up for most of us between the ages of 17 and 21. Unfortunately, they don’t always come in the way they should, which is why a lot of us have to get them removed.

If your dentist recommends getting your wisdom teeth taken out, it could be for one of the following reasons:

  1. They become impacted. This means that the wisdom teeth don’t come through and become trapped in the jaw, under the gums. Impacted wisdom teeth can form cysts around them and do significant damage to nearby teeth and bone.
  2. There isn’t enough space for them. This can cause damage to nearby teeth, crowding, and pain.
  3. They don’t come in correctly. Wisdom teeth that come in partially or aren’t in the right position can make flossing more difficult, allowing food and bacteria to become trapped and cause problems.

Some dental work may require wisdom teeth removal as well. However, if your wisdom teeth come in correctly and you are able to clean them properly, you will most likely not need to have them removed. And that means that you’ll have some extra molars in your mouth to chew with—awesome!

Remember These Tips If You Get Your Wisdom Teeth Out

To facilitate healing after wisdom teeth removal, make sure you get plenty of rest. Drink lots of water and avoid alcoholic, caffeinated and hot beverages for the first 24 to 48 hours. And of course, everyone’s favorite part of the healing process, eat soft foods such as ice cream, yogurt, and applesauce for the first day. You can add in broth-based soups one to two days after the procedure, but stay away from hard or chewy foods for one to two weeks.

We Want What’s Best For Your Smile

We treat wisdom teeth removal on a case-by-case basis. We will monitor them closely as they come in and together, we will make the best decision for your smile! And remember, having your third molars come in may cause some discomfort, but if it causes pain, come and see us immediately.

Do you have any more questions about wisdom teeth? We’d love to answer them! Comment below or on our Facebook page to let us know!

Thank you for placing your trust in our practice!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

What To Expect At Your Next Dental Checkup

VISITING YOUR DENTIST every six months is an important part of maintaining your oral health. Not only does it keep your smile clean, but it can help you keep an eye on your overall health too!

For some, it may have been a while since your last visit or you or a loved one may be apprehensive about visiting the dentist. Knowing what to expect can help relieve much of this anxiety, so today we want to explain the basics of what happens during your bi-annual cleaning and how you can prepare for your next appointment!

Gather Necessary Information Beforehand

Discussing your family history may not be the first thing you think of when scheduling your dental appointment, but being familiar with your family’s medical history allows us to better care for your oral and overall health.

Like many other conditions such as heart disease and certain forms of cancer, periodontal disease has strong genetic ties that can run in your family. Knowing your family’s medical history can help your dentist keep an eye out for oral health issues such as gum disease or other conditions which present symptoms in the mouth, such as diabetes.

Aside from gathering any relevant personal or family medical information, be sure to to review your dental insurance benefits as you prepare for your appointment. Knowing your level of coverage will help you understand what costs will be associated with your care. If you have any questions about using your dental insurance in our practice or if you would like information about paying for care without insurance, give us a call!

What Happens During Your Appointment?

Although this varies from patient to patient based on their individual needs, a dental check-up generally consists of a professional cleaning, a comprehensive dental examination, and potentially X-rays.

Dental X-Rays

How frequently you need dental X-rays relies largely on your medical and dental history, your age, and your current oral health. New-patient examinations often include X-rays as well.

If required, dental X-rays are generally taken at the beginning of your dental appointment. Dental X-rays allow us to detect and diagnose tooth decay between teeth, on hard-to-reach surfaces, and under existing dental work. X-rays can even be helpful in identifying dental and orthodontic issues that exist beneath the gum line.

Dental Cleaning

Once it’s time for your cleaning, your dentist or hygienist uses a small metal instrument known as a scaler to scrape off tartar above and below the gum line and in between teeth. Next, they polish your teeth using a polishing tool and a lightly abrasive paste to deep clean your pearly whites and remove any tartar left behind after the previous step. Last but not least, they’ll finish your cleaning with a thorough flossing.

Comprehensive Exam

After your teeth are clean, your dentist will perform a comprehensive oral examination to ensure your oral health is in tip-top shape. They will:

  • examine your teeth for signs of decay
  • check for gum swelling and redness, and measure the depth of your gingival pockets to check for signs of periodontal disease
  • test how your top and bottom teeth come together and check for signs of teeth grinding or other potential orthodontic issues
  • examine your neck, lymph glands, and oral cavity for signs of oral cancer

Based on your exam, we’ll discuss any necessary treatment recommendations and offer helpful tips on how to improve your oral hygiene before your next appointment.

Check out the video below for more information on the importance of regular dental exams!

What Should You Do After Your Appointment?

Whether your next appointment is in 6 months or even sooner, we’re looking forward to seeing your smile! Be sure to maintain a good oral hygiene routine and follow any additional instructions provided by your dentist before your next visit. If you have any questions about what to expect from a visit in our office, let us know!

We love our patients!

Top image by Flickr user Lien De Paepe used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Oral Health & Weight Loss Go Hand In Hand

A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE is the best prevention for illness and chronic disease. It can also be just as effective as any medicine a doctor could prescribe. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, or simply live more healthily, the good choices you’re making not only do wonders for your body and overall health, but they also have a beneficial impact on your smile!

Congratulations On Making Better Food Choices

Oral health depends on more than how many times a day you brush your teeth, it also depends on your diet! As you choose healthier foods for your body, you are also choosing better foods for your teeth.

If you’re trading chips and fruit snacks in for healthier snacks like cheese, veggies and nuts, you’ve made the right choice! A diet low in sugar and processed foods can help you trim your waistline, fend off illness and prevent cavities.

Check out the video below to learn more about where added sugar could be hiding in your diet!

We See You’re Drinking More Water… Great Job!

Perhaps before you made your goal to live a more healthy lifestyle, you would reach for your favorite soda rather than water at mealtime. Did you know that one in four Americans get at least 200 calories a day from sugary drinks like soda? Not only can frequent soda consumption lead to weight gain, it also contributes to tooth decay!

Eliminating soda from your diet, or at least consuming it in moderation, is a good way to cut back on calories and cavities. And now that you’re starting to drink more water, you’re probably realizing how good it makes you feel, especially since it is calorie-free!

Keep Up The Good Work With Regular Exercise

By maintaining a healthy weight, you are protecting yourself from health conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, to name a few. As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, these diseases often go hand in hand with periodontal, or gum disease. In fact, 91 percent of patients with heart disease and 22 percent of those with diabetes have gum disease.

So keep up the good work! Regular exercise does wonders for your body’s health and your smile reaps the benefits too!

One Last Tip For Our Wonderful Patients

It is widely known that almost nothing tastes good after you brush your teeth. So we recommend that you let good oral hygiene help you stem cravings!

If you’re experiencing a craving and want to avoid it, brush your teeth! Or even pop a piece of sugar-free gum into your mouth. Not only will this help your craving pass, but you’ll be less inclined to eat after making your mouth minty fresh! Added bonus? Your pearly whites stay squeaky clean. Oh and did we mention that two minutes of brushing burns around 5 calories? It’s not much, but it’s something!

Do you have any other questions about your dental health or a topic you’d like us to write about? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page. We look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you for being such wonderful patients!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Ever Wonder How Teeth Whitening Works?

IT IS NOT UNCOMMON for your teeth to lose their luster over time, which is why so many people are interested in whitening them!

Teeth Get Yellow For A Number Of Reasons

Teeth becoming yellow over time is as normal as graying hair–it is a natural part of the aging process. As we get older, our tooth enamel begins to thin due to everyday wear and tear. This causes the layer beneath our enamel, called the dentin, to show more, giving our teeth a more yellow appearance.

There are other factors that can cause teeth to yellow other than aging however, such as:

  • Tobacco use
  • Food and drink
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Dental trauma
  • Certain medications

If you want to prevent your teeth from yellowing as best you can, we suggest you change some of your lifestyle habits. If you use tobacco in any form, quit. Consume acidic food and drink in moderation and monitor your intake of beverages that can stain your teeth such as wine, coffee, tea, soda, etc. And as always, brush up on your oral hygiene habits and make sure you’re getting frequent cleanings!

The Way You Whiten Your Teeth Depends On The Stain

There are two types of stains that you can have on your teeth. Surface, or “extrinsic” stains, caused by smoking and diet occur on the surface of the enamel. “Intrinsic” stains are deeper, and happen inside the tooth.

You can remove surface stains on your teeth by using a whitening toothpaste. These kinds of toothpastes usually contain special abrasives that gently polish the teeth as well certain chemicals that can help break down stains. These toothpastes can be tough on tooth enamel, so make sure to always read labels when using them–some should only be used temporarily.

Intrinsic stains can’t be helped by whitening toothpastes. To get that brighter smile, you’ll need to actually change the color of your teeth. You can do this using a bleaching agent. The bleaching agents most products use are hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These chemicals break stains into smaller pieces, making their color less concentrated and leaving your teeth much whiter! Some of the most common ways to bleach your teeth are whitening strips and gels, tray-based tooth whiteners and in-office whitening services supervised by a dentist.

We Would Love To See You At Our Office

At our practice, we offer in-office whitening that will get you the white smile you’ve been dreaming of in half the time or less than other whitening options. We will also carefully monitor the whole process to ensure its safety and efficacy.

Or, if you’re looking to use a tray-based whitening system, we can customize your mouthpiece to exactly fit your teeth! This will protect the soft tissues of your mouth, especially your gums, as well as ensure maximum contact between your teeth and the whitening solution.

Either way, we’d love to see you, whether that’s for a cleaning, checkup, or whitening treatment!

Have any questions? Call us or let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading our blog!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.