Our Dental Blog | Michael C. Bell, DDS - Dentist Austin, TX


How Common Are Cavities When You Have Braces

When you have braces, you find that they can be somewhat uncomfortable, but they’re being done so you have a straighter, healthier smile. When this happens, you can ensure that you’re working with the best dentist out there.

Our office knows how important taking care of your teeth are when it comes to having braces. You want to make sure that cavities do not form in the process. This is because they are quite common for those that have braces.

Braces and Cavities

Since braces cover a lot of area of the teeth, it is harder to get in between and inside them. This is due to the toothbrush not having the proper head to fit in between these smaller spaces. You want to make sure that you brush really well, but sometimes the teeth can still have decay on them.

Braces are a cause for a lot of cavities in teens. When the mouth is not properly taken care of, you will note that you have a lot more cavities than usual. It is also why it is recommended that those with braces stay away from sugary, sticky and other cavity causing foods. These can create worse cavities in the end.

It is essential that the person with braces know how to properly brush their teeth. This is because they have to reduce the number of cavities that they get while wearing them by properly brushing in all of the right places throughout the mouth. The orthodontist will show you how.

Speak with our office today regarding braces, cavities or just to come in and see a dentist or specialist. We can provide you with an appointment. We provide high quality care to those in the area that wish to have better oral hygiene overall. Call us today and set something up.


Little-Known Facts About Cavities

A lot of people get a cavity in their teeth now and again. It isn’t something anyone plans for, but it does happen. If you recently found out that you have a cavity, then it is important that you go in as soon as your dentist has an opening to get it filled.

That way, you don’t have to worry about your cavity growing and affecting nearby teeth.

Did You Know….

Did you know that cavities are able to spread from tooth to tooth in a way? It’s true. The decay keeps growing until it is removed, and if you let it go on too long, it can affect neighboring teeth.

Cavities can keep growing until you either have the decay taken out and the space filled, or until they completely consume and kill your tooth. This can also be an incredibly painful process for you to go through.

Large cavities require you to have some type of a covering over them most of the time. This covering is usually in the form of a crown. However, it is up to your dentist to figure out which covering is best.

Your filling is not expected to last the rest of your life. Most people think that once they have a filling, the tooth is then taken care of. The truth is, your filling will wear out. While fillings do need to be replaced eventually, with good oral hygiene, they can last you a very long time before that becomes necessary.

If you want to know more about cavities or the fillings used to help protect the remainder of your tooth, ask your dentist. They know more about cavities and fillings than anyone else. They can also tell you what you can do to help prevent fillings in your dental future.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call us today.


Lifestyle Factors That May Increase Your Risk of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer, while usually highly treatable, can be a serious or even life-threatening condition. Although we do our best to closely screen all of our patients and catch developing oral cancer when it is still in its early stage, we are not able to do everything without your help.

That is to say, there are things that you can do—or, more accurately, things that you can avoid doing—that will affect your chances of developing oral cancer.

Simply put, there are certain lifestyle choices that can increase your chances of developing oral cancer. Here is more information on a few of the most dangerous lifestyle factors.

Tobacco Use

Given the huge amount of negative publicity surrounding tobacco use, it probably comes as no surprise to you to learn that tobacco use can contribute to the development of oral cancer. If you smoke—even if you are not a heavy smoker—you expose your body to literally thousands and thousands of carcinogenic substances.

Some of these substances go into your lungs and cause problems there, such as emphysema and lung cancer. Others can go into your bloodstream and circulate throughout your body, causing problems far and wide. Yet others remain in the mouth, interacting with your oral tissues and increasing the likelihood of developing oral cancer.

Likewise, using smokeless tobacco greatly increases your chance of developing oral cancer. When you hold the tobacco between your cheek and gum, it releases many dangerous substances. Some of these are absorbed into your bloodstream and circulate throughout your body; however, many of them remain in the mouth and cause problems there.

For Your Health, Stop Using Tobacco

If you use tobacco, you need to make a serious effort to cut back or even eliminate it from your life. Doing so will greatly decrease your risk of oral cancer.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call us at today.


Drinking Tea Can Make a Huge Difference in Your Oral Health

One of the healthiest drinks anyone can have is tea. This is especially true if you don’t add anything to it, like sugar. Tea has many good properties to it, most of which can directly improve your oral health simply by adding it into your daily diet. If you want to increase the levels of your oral health, tea may be the one small change you need to make to really increase how healthy your mouth really is.

Oral Health Benefits of Drinking Tea

All types of tea are known to help increase your oral health, but green tea is the most beneficial. Studies have shown that drinking green tea helps to reduce how many cavities you get. Tea protects against gum disease, showing signs that it can help reverse the effects of gum disease, too. Plus, tea helps to eradicate bad breath.

If you are replacing sugary or acidic drinks with the tea, you get even more benefits. Both sugar and acid do a lot of damage to your teeth. That is why it is so important to drink unsweetened tea. That way, you get all of the benefits without the detrimental effects. Let the tea replace everything you drink if you want, other than water. Even if you just drink one cup of tea per day, it still provides your mouth with the benefits that will help improve your oral health.

Talk with your dentist if you are considering changing all of your drinks to tea. They may suggest a specific type of tea that will do the most good for you specifically. Ask them what type of things to be on the lookout for as your mouth starts to improve from your change of beverage, then smile because you are doing a great thing for your mouth.

If you have any questions or please contact us today.


Do You Scrape Your Tongue When You Floss? If Not, You Should

Tongue scraping isn’t something everyone has heard of. In fact, even brushing one’s tongue is not common practice for everyone. If you want to keep your mouth as healthy as possible, it is important you keep tongue scraping as a regular part of your oral hygiene routine.

This can help improve your oral health, plus it has benefits that can be applied to other parts of your life.

Why You Need to Start Scraping Your

There are many benefits that come along with tongue scraping. The first is that you remove the bacteria and tartar that tends to coat the tongue. This means it is not sitting in your mouth as a breeding ground for bad breath. Plus, once your tongue is clean, you will be able to taste your food more fully than you may have been able to do in quite some time.

When that film is off of your tongue, it also means that it is not going down into your stomach when you eat or swallow. That can cause you to struggle with proper digestion. One of the lesser known benefits of tongue scraping is that it can also give you an immunity boost. By not having film coating your tongue, it can more efficiently fight off any germs that make their way into your mouth.

Tongue scraping may not be as popular as it should be, but it is gaining ground. If you want to get the most out of your daily oral health routine, make sure that tongue scraping becomes part of it. It only takes a few seconds, but it can make a significant impact on how healthy your mouth and body are. Ask your dentist what he or she thinks about it, and chances are, they will agree with these benefits!

If you have any questions please contact us today.


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!