How to choose the right toothpaste

July 21, 2014

If you walk down the toothpaste aisle at the store and are completely overwhelmed, know you’re not alone. There is an array of varieties for consumers to choose from with different ingredients, flavors and purposes. So how do you choose? Take a look at the following tips to help narrow down which toothpaste is right for you.

Consider specialty toothpastes. Many types of toothpaste offer a specialty. Some are used to fight cavities, control tarter, strengthen or whiten your teeth. Others are available for individuals with sensitivity problems. Choose your toothpaste based on what you prefer and let me know if you have any questions!

Check out the ingredients. Most types of toothpaste contain fluoride, the most important ingredient in preventing tooth decay and cavity occurrences. Fluoride makes your tooth enamel stronger, preventing acidic damage from foods and drinks. Although many types of toothpaste and water contain fluoride, don’t use either as a replacement for dentist office visits.

Think about alternative choices. Because there is some scientific debate on the negative side effects that fluoride could have on your body, companies have created organic toothpastes, including Tom’s of Maine. Tom’s of Maine is an ADA approved toothpaste and has many benefits that non-organic toothpastes also provide.

For an all-inclusive list of ADA approved toothpaste, visit the American Dental Association’s website here,and make your next trip down the toothpaste aisle a simpler task.




Preventing teeth stains

June 26, 2014


We all want white teeth. Our smiles are the center of attention whether they are pearly white or little less than stellar. But without taking extravagant measures, anyone can take small steps in whitening their smiles.

The obvious changes are to brush and floss more consistently. Other small daily habits can also have an impact on the color of your teeth.

Use a straw
By using a straw, you are eliminating your juice and teas from staining your teeth. In addition, using a straw keeps sugar from coming into contact with your teeth, which causes deterioration.

Be picky with your toothpaste
If you use toothpaste that advertises quick whitening of the teeth, chances are it is abrasively scraping the stain off your teeth, thinning your enamel. When enamel thins, dentin is revealed. This dentin is a darker part of the tooth, meaning your toothpaste will have had the opposite effect.

Drink cooler coffee
By letting your coffee cool down, you will prevent your teeth from getting tiny cracks. These tiny cracks allow coffee to sit in them, staining your teeth. Even just a few degrees cooler will help!


Tips for Lips

June 13, 2014

180960584Not many people will remember to take care of their lips. Whether it is sunburn during the summer or windburn during the winter, your lips need some love year round. WebMD has some helpful ways to make sure you’re taking the best care of all aspects of your smile.

  • Look at the Label – Keeping a lip balm handy with 30 SPF or higher will keep your lips from having sun damage. If your lips are extra sensitive, stay away from the scented products that can add irritation and further dry out your lips. It is suggested however to use products that keep moisture in, including glycerin, mineral oil or aloe. Beeswax and lanolin also will soften up your pout!
  •  Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate! – Just like the rest of your body, it is important get rid of dead skin. While we don’t suggest using a harsh sponge or scrub, using a mixture of sugar and honey can quickly transform your lips from scaly and dry to fresh and fabulous. Dab a finger in the mixture and make small, circular motions on your lips. When you are done, use a damp cloth to wipe it away and apply a moisturizing lip balm.
  • Stop Smoking – Studies have shown that smoking ages your skin. This includes your lips. The chemicals in cigarettes quicken skin cell damage, leading later to loss of collagen and the formation wrinkles. By quitting smoking and continuing to moisturize, your lips will leave you looking healthy and young.



How to keep your child’s teeth safe and healthy

May 29, 2014
Taking children older than three years old to the dentist is always a good idea, but there are also ways to maintain younger childrens' oral health, too.

Taking children older than three years old to the dentist is always a good idea, but there are other ways to maintain younger childrens’ oral health, too.

Many people are unaware of the important role early dental care plays in children’s overall health. The ADA recommends parents take action early to ensure the health of their children’s teeth because attitudes and habits established at an early age are critical in maintaining good oral health throughout life. The following are some of their suggestions:

Maintain regular dental visits.
Dr. Baker recommends regular dental check-ups once your child is three-years-old. Preventive care such as cleanings and fluoride treatment provide your child with “smile insurance.” Routine dental exams uncover problems that can be treated in the early stages, when damage is minimal and restorations may be small. When necessary, X-rays are taken to see how the teeth are developing and to spot hidden decay.

Prevent early childhood caries (baby bottle tooth decay)
Baby bottle tooth decay can destroy your child’s teeth. It occurs when a child is frequently exposed to sugary liquids such as milk, including breast milk, fruit juice and other sweet liquids. The ADA recommends clearing your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth. After every feeding, wipe the baby’s gums with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to remove plaque. Additionally, the organization says not to give babies bottle at nap or bed time, to encourage children drink from a cup by their first birthday and to discourage frequent use of a training cup.

Use mouth protectors.
Any child involved in a recreational activity, such as soccer, hockey, football, roller blading, riding a scooter and even bicycling should wear a mouth protector. There are “stock” mouth protectors available in stores and a better-fitting variety, which are custom fitted by your dentist.

Manage dental emergencies.
Knowing how to handle your child’s dental emergency can mean the difference between saving or losing a tooth. The ADA recommends the following tips on what to do for your child in case of the following:

  • Knocked-Out tooth – Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse off the root of the tooth in water if it’s dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If that isn’t possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk and get to the dentist as quickly as possible. Remember to take the tooth with you!
  • Toothache – Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss or an interdental cleaner to ensure that there is no food or other debris caught between the teeth. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue. If the pain persists, contact your dentist.
  • Bitten lip or tongue – Clean the area gently with a cloth and apply cold compresses to reduce any swelling. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, go to a hospital emergency room immediately.


Tips for getting rid of bad breath

May 14, 2014
Suffer from bad breath? Dr. Baker is here to help.

Suffer from bad breath? Dr. Baker is here to help.

Bad breath can be embarrassing. It can get in the way of our professional and social lives. If you suffer from bad breath, you are not alone.

Here are some helpful tips from WebMD:

  1. Brush and floss more frequently. The prime cause of bad breath is plaque. It will build up on your teeth and in between teeth, making an ideal place for bacteria to grow. Brush at least twice a day, and floss at least once a day to prevent the buildup of plaque.
  2. Scrape your tongue. The coating that forms on your tongue can contain foul smelling bacteria. You can brush your tongue with a toothbrush or use a tongue scraper to clean it.
  3.  Avoid foods that sour your breath. Foods like onions and garlic are the worst offenders. They can make their way into your bloodstream and to your lungs where you breathe them out. It is best to avoid these foods before events when you want to be sure your breath is fresh.
  4. Kick the habit. Smoking will no doubt cause bad breath, as well as other oral health problems. You’ll notice a huge difference after you quit.
  5. Rinse your mouth. Using mouthwash will freshen your breath and help get rid of bacteria in your mouth. If you don’t have mouthwash handy, simply rinse with water after eating to remove food particles.
  6. Chew gum instead of mints. Sugary mints will only promote bacteria growth in the mouth. Gum (especially sugarless) stimulates saliva production, which is a natural defense against bacteria.
  7. Keep your gums healthy. Gum disease is a common cause of bad breath. Regular brushing and flossing will prevent gum disease and keep them healthy.
  8. Be aware of dry mouth. Lack of saliva promotes tooth decay and bad breath. If your mouth is feeling dry, drink some water or chew sugarless gum (or mints). Be sure to tell your dentist if you are experiencing persistent dry mouth.
  9. See your dentist. If your bad breath continues be sure to see your dentist. It could be a symptom of a medical condition such as a sinus infection, lung infection, liver or kidney disease.

Dental resolutions for 2014

December 30, 2013

As it gets closer to the new year, many of us are making resolutions to exercise, lose weight and get organized. What about your teeth? Here are a few suggested resolutions to help your smile stay bright and healthy:

Brush twice a day and floss daily. Brushing your teeth twice a day fights plaque and decay. Flossing gets rid of food particles trapped between your teeth and gums that a toothbrush just can’t reach.

Use mouthwash. A daily rinse with antiseptic mouthwash will help kill germs and bacteria that you can’t reach with a toothbrush. Mouthwash will also freshen your breath and fight plaque.

Drink more water. At least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day is the recommendation. If you are drinking water, you are less likely to drink cola, tea and coffee, which can stain your teeth.

Use protective devices. Wear a custom-fitted mouth guard when playing sports (even during practice!) to protect your own or your child’s teeth.

Visit your dentist twice a year. Taking care of your teeth at home is just the first step in keeping a bright and healthy smile. Your dentist can diagnose and treat any potential problems before they become big issues.

2014 can be the year your entire family resolves to have brighter, healthier smiles.

‘Smile healthy’ holiday gift ideas for all ages

December 17, 2013

Here are some ideas for gifts and stocking stuffers that are not only fun, but will help protect the smile of a friend or family member:

‘Smile healthy’ stocking stuffers

  • Sugar-free gum or mints
  • Single-use toothbrushes, preloaded with toothpaste (Ex: Colgate Wisps)
  • Travel size dental floss, mouth rinses, toothpastes, toothbrush and toothbrush holder (can be packaged nicely in a travel bag too!
  • New toothbrushes (cartoon characters and bright colors are popular for children
  • New toothpaste and/or mouth rinses in fun flavors
  • Hourglass timer in fun colors for kids to time brushing
  • Tooth fairy pillow/box
  • Sports mouth guard (in team colors)
  • Zoom! Whitening pens
  • Electric toothbrush
  • A gift certificate for professional Zoom! teeth whitening

Another idea is to offer to pay for (or a portion of) a dental procedure your loved one has been putting off due to lack of funds or dental insurance.