Austin Smile Creations – Austin Dentist Blog

A blog about implant dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, general and family dentistry and a healthy living.

Archive for teeth and your health

The Ugly Truth About Your Toothbrush

Your toothbrush may be nastier than you think. Find out when to ditch it.
By Stephanie Watson
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Do you know what’s lurking on your toothbrush?

Your toothbrush is loaded with germs, say researchers at England’s University of Manchester. They’ve found that one uncovered toothbrush can harbor more than 100 million bacteria, including E. coli bacteria, which can cause diarrhea, and staphylococci (“Staph”) bacteria that cause skin infections.

But don’t panic. Your mouth wasn’t exactly sterile to begin with.

Mouthful of Bacteria

“The bottom line is, there [are] hundreds of microorganisms in our mouths every day,” says Gayle McCombs, RDH, MS, associate professor and director of the Dental Hygiene Research Center at Old Dominion University.

That’s no big deal. Problems only start when there is an unhealthy balance of bacteria in the mouth. McCombs says.

“It’s important to remember that plaque — the stuff you’re removing from your teeth — is bacteria,” says dentist Kimberly Harms, DDS, consumer advisor for the American Dental Association. “So you’re putting bacteria on your toothbrush every time you brush your teeth.”

Could Your Toothbrush Be Making You Sick?

Probably not. Regardless of how many bacteria live in your mouth, or have gotten in there via your toothbrush, your body’s natural defenses make it highly unlikely that you’re going to catch an infection simply from brushing your teeth.

“Fortunately, the human body is usually able to defend itself from bacteria,” Harms says. “So we aren’t aware of any real evidence that sitting the toothbrush in your bathroom in the toothbrush holder is causing any real damage or harm. We don’t know that the bacteria on there are translating into infections.”

Still, you should exercise some common sense about storing your toothbrush, including how close it is to the toilet.

Don’t Brush Where You Flush

Most bathrooms are small. And in many homes, the toilet is pretty close to the bathroom sink where you keep your toothbrush.

Every toilet flush sends a spray of bacteria into the air. And you don’t want the toilet spray anywhere near your open toothbrush.

“You don’t store your plates and glasses by the toilet, so why would you want to place your toothbrush there?” McCombs says. “It’s just common sense to store your toothbrush as far away from the toilet as possible.”

You also wouldn’t eat after going to the bathroom without first washing your hands. The same advice applies before brushing your teeth, McCombs says.

Toothbrush Storage Tips

Once you’ve moved your toothbrush away from the toilet, here are a few other storage tips to keep your brush as germ-free as possible:

  • Keep it rinsed. Wash off your toothbrush thoroughly with tap water every time you use it.
  • Keep it dry. “Bacteria love a moist environment,” Harms says. Make sure your brush has a chance to dry thoroughly between brushings. Avoid using toothbrush covers, which can create a moist enclosed breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Keep it upright. Store your toothbrush upright in a holder, rather than lying it down.
  • Keep it to yourself. No matter how close you are to your sister, brother, spouse, or roommate, don’t ever use their toothbrush. Don’t even store your toothbrush side-by-side in the same cup with other people’s brushes. Whenever toothbrushes touch, they can swap germs.
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Austin's Dentist Standard of Care. Planning in Dentistry.

Clinically, planning is everything in dentistry. It’s what we believe at Austin Smile Creations, your Westlake Dentist. We drive this point home among colleagues, patients and, well, really anyone we have the pleasure of meeting. Planning is the difference between success and failure, we believe. While any dentist may experience success without planning, it’s the risk they are willing to take at a patient’s expense. Planning goes hand-in-hand with perfection in all areas of dentistry, and because we strive for perfection in all areas of dentistry, the key to reaching that is all in Dr. Gotun’s expert planning.

So what does this mean for the patient? Put simply, we give each patient the best quality and most individualized care that can be offered in dentistry. When we say Dr. Gotun tackles each case on a case-by-case basis that’s exactly what we mean. He dissects each case individually, after thorough examination and in-depth diagnostics. Remember all those x-rays that are taken at an initial appointment- 18 to be exact? Or what about the gooey impression material needed to create exact replicas of each individual’s teeth and bite? Or maybe a 3D image called a CBCT scan- Cone Beam Computed Tomography– basically a 3D map of both head and jaw? All are diagnostics, which are part of necessary planning in what we consider our only option at Dr. Gotun’s office: taking really good care of people. Because we care about each patient’s health in it’s entirety (did you know your dental health affects your overall health? More on that later…), we are absolutely keen on proper planning for patient’s to recieve only the best dental care.                                                  

From a patient perspective, if you ask me, there’s nothing else I would want more than knowing and trusting I’m getting the best dental care. Any dentist has the ability to cement a crown, but is that dentist looking at how that crown will affect your bite? Does the dentist look at the way the temporomandibular joints align and possible tension on those muscles and joints naturally? Do they study if a procedure will affect your comfort? Are they using a semi-adjustable articulator to analyze your models before even beginning to plan treatment? Do they complete in-depth research of what will treat the problems and not just the symptoms? This is our standard of care at Austin Smile Creations, because this is the philosophy we all believe in.

Ultimately, we want patients to know what kind of quality they receive in our practice. We want patients to be involved, understand and ask about treatment options. We dedicate ourselves to finding the longest lasting results, because we want to have the happiest patients! For the team at Austin Smile Creations to reach these goals and provide exceptional dental care all begins with proper planning in every stage of dentistry.

Happy Healthy Smiles in Westlake Hills. Family and Cosmetic Dentistry in Westlake Hills 78746.

Here it is! The warm and bright Texas spring sun is here and the gorgeous breezy sunsets are to die for. Spring is our favorite time of the year, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Just as you get inspired to clean out your closet, don’t forget to take a good look at your smile. Is it healthy? Are you happy with it? Are you proud to show it off? If you answered no to any of these questions – you need to give us a call. Dr.Gotun and our entire team are at your service to help with any concerns or any desires for improvements. We CAN make you proud of your smile!

We are happy to take care of your family and friends as well, and we are greatful for your continuing referrals and appreciation of the quality of care we offer. So go ahead, spread the word!

A Confident Smile Will Change Someone’s Day

Give them a smile: a happy, friendly, and genuine smile. Go ahead, flash it!  It’s contagious, it’s infectious, it’s the universal expression of happiness.  A simple smile can change someone’s day.

Some people are a little nervous about smiling. They don’t think their smile looks good, or they think that smiling makes them look unprofessional or vulnerable. No matter how professional, intelligent, or “together” you think a serious face makes you appear, people almost always respond better to a smile.

We all know of someone we consider to have an “infectious” smile.  Infectious smiles always start with confidence.  If you’re not 100% confident in your smile, we’re here to help.

We’re more than happy to discuss with you the many options available to help you achieve a smile worth sharing and a smile that will change someone’s day –including your own.

You or Your Car? Why oral health is often a key to overall health.

Sometimes it seems that we will faithfully change the oil in our cars on a regular basis while putting off routine dental care for ourselves. . . unless we run into a speed bump such as a toothache. Pain is a powerful motivator, and a lot of us depend on emergencies or roadblocks like that to persuade us to change the road we’re on. But maintenance of your dental health can be one of the most important routines you can establish! Whether you are old or young, good dental care can even become the deciding factor in maintaining quality of life – or life itself. It’s not just a matter of filling cavities!

Probably the most widespread and insidious cause of dental health-related problems is gum disease. Studies indicate that 3 out of 4 adults will develop it in their lifetimes, and if you’re a man with gum disease, you’ll run twice the risk of a heart attack and three times the risk of a stroke. There is a strong connection between gum disease and diabetes; if gum disease is under control, most diabetics see an improvement in their overall health. Ladies, hormonal changes affect gum disease, especially if you are pregnant, and it can complicate pregnancy in a variety of ways. The development of rheumatoid arthritis may be aggravated by gum disease. And for those of us over 40, studies link gum disease with dementia. Who needs all that?

Don’t forget, each time a patient comes in for a procedure, Dr. Gotun always checks for any suspicious signs of oral cancer. Oral cancer is one of the deadliest forms because it so often goes undetected until it is advanced. It is becoming more common than some of the more well-publicized forms of cancer. Early signs are often subtle: most patients don’t even know they have it. It is not hard to diagnose, yet the survival rate is low just because it is often found so late. Smokers or those who chew tobacco run a special risk, but everyone diagnosed with human papilloma virus (HPV) should be checked on a regular basis, too. Any sore spot in your mouth that does not heal within 14 days should be seen, and we are here to help you if you need an appointment. Learn more about oral cancer…

Are you putting off getting those recommended fillings because you half-humorously tell yourself “I can always get dentures”? Do you like food you have to chew? Dentures are a good solution for severe problems, but they only provide about 10% of the chewing capacity of your own teeth. So if you like a good, chewy slice of ciabatta or you are a steak lover, plan to keep your own teeth!

In other words, the next time you look at that little sticker on the windshield and think it’s about time to schedule another oil change, let that be a reminder to take care of yourself as well. After all, you are more important than the car. Call for an appointment: we’ll be glad to “take a look under the hood” and keep you on the best route to good health!

Dr. Gotun and Staff.