Eat Your Way to Pearly Whites | Tyngsboro Dentist

We all want to show off a shiny set of pearly whites. We buy products over-the-counter, practice proper dental hygiene and even have a dental professional give us the works with a whitening procedure. But did you know there is a natural way to keep those teeth bright white in between dental visits? According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, certain foods naturally cleanse, brighten, and defend against bacteria that can harm your teeth and gums. Here are the top 10:

Pinapples. Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain, which acts as a natural stain remover. Bromelain also helps break up plaque.

Ginger. Ginger can protect against periodontal disease, an inflammatory process that causes the loss of bone and supportive connective tissue in your mouth.

Carrots. Carrots contain vitamin A, which is needed for healthy tooth enamel. Eating them raw stimulates saliva, your mouth’s natural cleanser.

Basil. Basil is a natural antibiotic that reduces bacteria in the mouth.

Cheese. Cheese is rich in protein, calcium, and phosphorus, all of which help reduce acid in your mouth.

Sesame seeds. Sesame seeds help “scrub” away the plaque on your teeth and contain bone and teeth-strengthening calcium.

Mushrooms. Shiitake mushrooms contain a compound called lentinan, which inhibits bacteria from growing in your mouth.

Onions. Onions contain the sulfur compounds, thiosulfinates and thiosulfonates, which reduce bacteria that cause tooth decay. Problem is, you have to eat them raw.

Salmon. Salmon not only provides calcium but also vitamin D, another nutrient needed for healthy bones and teeth.

Broccoli. Broccoli contains iron, which helps form an acid-resistant film or barrier that can protect the enamel of your teeth.

Call Tyngsboro dentist Dr. James Yankowskas for a consultation at 978-649-7773. Also, visit our website at tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

Dr. Yankowskas proudly accepts patients from Tyngsboro, Lowell, Nashua, Dracut, Chelmsford, Dunstable and all surrounding areas.

Start the Year Off with a Set of Pearly Whites | Tyngsboro Dentist

It can be argued that a person’s smile is one of the first thing a person notices upon meeting, keeping our smiles bright and clean is something we should all make a priority. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as it seems. Diets, habits and other reasons can cause our teeth to become dingy over time. Brushing twice a day and flossing almost always works to improve your yellow teeth. But, in the times that they don’t, it’s time to consider other options. With the new year upon us, why not work better dental habits into your list of resolutions?

Avoiding smoking will do wonders for your teeth, and health overall. So too will avoiding stain-causing beverages such as coffee and soda. Although, if it can’t be avoided, you can try to minimize the stains by drinking such beverages through a straw. Or, you can also try drinking milk or water after eating or drinking something acidic to reduce the acid’s eroding effect on the teeth. Avoiding snacks in between meals also helps give your saliva enough time to dilute the acids in your mouth.

Of course, brushing and flossing remain the two most important things you can do to prevent yellow teeth and to maintain oral health. OTC products, such as whitening toothpastes, whitening trays and rinses, can all help whiten teeth by removing some of the stain build-up and providing a mild bleaching effect if properly used.

If you need further advice to whiten your smile, ask your dentist. They can give you the proper advice on how to achieve the sparkly, white smile you’ve always wanted.

Call Tyngsboro dentist Dr. James Yankowskas for a consultation at 978-649-7773. Also, visit our website at tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

Dr. Yankowskas proudly accepts patients from Tyngsboro, Lowell, Nashua, Dracut, Chelmsford, Dunstable and all surrounding areas.

What to Avoid on Halloween | Tyngsboro Dentist

Next time you go fishing for candy in that plastic pumpkin, let us offer a few suggestions for the ‘better’ choice in a sugar snack.

Candy corn. Even though candy corn is a Halloween candy trademark, it is one of the worst Halloween candies for your teeth. Candy corn has lasting negative effects on your teeth because it has a high amount of sugar, which can lead to tooth decay.

Caramel apples. Caramel apples are also a huge symbol of Halloween. However, as good tasting as they are, they are extremely bad for your teeth. Not only do they have a caramel coating that can get stuck in your teeth, but they also have a high amount of sugar that can cause tooth decay.

Chewy candy. Starburst and gummy bears are great for a fruity treat, but are some of the worst candies for your teeth because it gets stuck in the crevices of your teeth, unable to be removed by your toothbrush alone. This can lead to tooth decay.

Chocolate. Candy bars are one of the most popular items, but chocolates filled with caramel, cream, or coconut are bad for your teeth. They stick to your teeth like chewy candy, allowing bacteria to feed on it and cause tooth decay.

When brushing your teeth after eating sugar isn’t an option, rinsing your mouth out with water is a good secondary option. Keep those teeth clean, no one wants to hear the word ‘cavity’ on your next visit!

Call Tyngsboro Dentist Dr. James Yankowskas for a consultation at 978-649-7773. Also, visit our website at tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

Eat Your Way to a Brighter Grin | Tyngsboro Dentist

Let’s face it – a set of bright shiny teeth can make a smile go from pretty to incredible. But keeping up with their white sheen isn’t as simple as one thinks because much of our diet includes foods and drinks that stains them into a dingy shade of white. And there are ways to whiten your teeth, but is there a more natural way to get back the pearl back in our pearly whites? The answer is yes. The following is a list of foods that are not only nutritious, but will also help whiten our teeth at the same time:

Fruit. The crispiness of the apple is what is doing most of the work here by helping to strengthen your gums. The juiciness of the apple produces saliva, which clears out all of that bacteria that gives us cavities. Another juicy fruit that gives your teeth a good shine is the orange because the citric acid also scours your teeth. One fruit that may surprise you as a whitening agent is the strawberry, but the malic acid is the strawberry’s secret ingredient.

Vegetables. When it comes to vegetables, but we never correlate an onion as a dental secret, but this colorless veggie won’t stain your teeth and their natural alliums are actually good for you. Broccoli is probably Mother Nature’s most blatant toothbrush. Carrots and celery are the next in this line of veggies. And if you think about it, celery is kind of like nature’s floss so eat up!

Dairy. Chockful of calcium, foods like milk, yogurt and cheese strengthen your teeth and gums. The stronger your teeth enamel is, the white & healthy they become.

Call Tyngsboro Dentist Dr. James Yankowskas for a consultation at 978-649-7773. Also, visit our website at tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

Reasons You May Not Be Brushing Properly | Tyngsboro Dentist

Most people have heard that poor dental care is linked to heart disease, as well other health maladies. And while you may brush regularly, the problem may not be that you don’t do it enough, but may lie in the way you brush your teeth.

First off, your toothbrush should be the last thing your teeth touch at night. Snacking before you sleep significantly raises your risk for cavities. Saliva production slows down as we sleep, allowing the bacteria in your mouth to multiply even faster. Brush twice a day for at least 2 minutes, making sure you scrub at a 30- to 45-degree angle and rotate your wrist in a circular motion to effectively remove the plaque. This may come as a shock to you, but spitting out your toothpaste doesn’t totally remove all the harmful stuff that you loosened while brushing. Adding some type of an oral rinse to your routine will be greatly beneficial to your oral health.

Another problem you may have is your toothbrush. Pick a soft bristle toothbrush that can slip under your gum tissue and dislodge any plaque stuck there. Brushing with a medium or hard model can cause your gums to recede and expose the surface of your tooth’s roots. Pick a soft bristle and change your toothbrush every couple of months. Worn bristles won’t effectively remove plaque or bacteria.  If you’ve been sick, swap out your brush immediately. Residual bacteria and viruses from an illness can cling to the brush and potentially re-infect you.

Call Tyngsboro Dentist Dr. James Yankowskas for a consultation at 978-649-7773. Also, visit our website at tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

Don’t Let the Holidays Ruin Your Smile | Tyngsboro Dentist

Christmas homemade gingerbread cookies

During the holidays, we are generally running around like crazy, bouncing around from function to shopping mall and back again. With so many things on our plates, it is difficult for us to keep our typical routines straight. Sadly, this leads to things slipping through the cracks. One such routine is our dental health routine. Because we are surrounded by foods that aren’t exactly the best for us, it’s easy for things to go awry as we celebrate. It’s tough not to indulge – there are so many tasty treats surrounding us. It’s a true test of wills, so we need to be conscious of what we consume during this time of year. And if we take extra good care of our teeth during this delicious season, the less of a chance we will have a bad report when we go back to visit the dentist. Here are just a few tips to keep in mind as you are celebrating the season:

Indulge your sweet tooth. There are so many traditions we have that involve sugary foods, it’s easy to lose track of our intake. There’s no reason to stay away, so just keep things in moderation. After you are all done enjoying yourself, take the time to brush and floss.

Make sure to enjoy “good” foods. Staple holiday foods, like cranberries, turkey and cheese, are actually very good for your teeth. The vitamins and minerals not only benefit your body, but also help to strengthen, and even whiten, your teeth. Just remember, overindulging can have negative consequences. Cranberries contain a lot of acid that can eat away at your teeth so don’t overdo it. Too much dairy can also have negative effects.

Your teeth aren’t tools. Using your teeth for opening bottles or packages is never a good idea. Not only will you damage your teeth, but you can actually pull whole teeth out right by the root using them as bottle openers or scissors. Use the appropriate tools to get things done.

Keep up with your dental routine. It’s important to remember to brush and floss your teeth, even when there is fun to be had. And your little ones may even put up a fight, but taking the time to brush, floss and rinse every day will definitely be worth it when the dentist gives you and your family a clean bill of health. And just to make sure your holiday didn’t cause any issues, make yourself an appointment to see your dentist once the celebrations have ended.

To find out more, contact Tyngsboro Cosmetic Dentistry for an appointment today. Call 978-649-7773 or visit his website at  www.tyngsborocosmeticdentistry.com.

Accepting patients from Tyngsboro, Townsend, Westford, Hudscon, Pepperell, Pelham and all surrounding areas.

How Can I Maintain Good Oral Health at Home? | Tyngsboro Dentist

460453373Most people have heard that poor dental care is linked to heart disease, as well other health maladies. And while you may brush regularly, you may be still making some basic mistakes.

Your toothbrush should be the last thing your teeth touch at night. Snacking before you sleep significantly raises your risk for cavities. Your morning method is equally important. Saliva production slows down as we sleep, allowing the bacteria in your mouth to multiply even faster. Brush twice a day for at least 2 minutes, making sure you spend 30 seconds on each quadrant. A few straight strokes won’t get the job done. Position the handle of your brush so the bristles point at a 30- to 45-degree angle when they touch your gum tissue. Rotate your wrist in a circular motion to effectively remove the plaque. When you move behind your front teeth, you should turn your tool vertically to better reach the entire tooth. And make sure to give special attention to the back of your mouth, since that area normally hides the largest amount of plaque. And this may come as a shock to you, but spitting out your toothpaste doesn’t totally remove all the harmful stuff that you loosened while brushing. Adding some type of an oral rinse to your routine will be greatly beneficial to your oral health.

Another problem you may have is your toothbrush. Pick a soft bristle toothbrush that can slip under your gum tissue and dislodge any plaque stuck there. If plaque isn’t removed, you increase your risk of developing gum disease. Brushing with a medium or hard model can cause your gums to recede and expose the surface of your tooth’s roots. Since the root surface isn’t as hard as the exposed enamel-covered part of your teeth, scrubbing this area can wear it away more easily and cause little cavities. Pick a soft bristle and change your toothbrush every couple of months. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends buying a new brush every 3 or 4 months and this is why. The average brush contains more than 10 million bacteria, according to one study. Worn bristles won’t effectively remove plaque or bacteria.  If you’ve been sick, swap out your brush immediately. Residual bacteria and viruses from an illness can cling to the brush and potentially re-infect you.

I know this may not sound like something you should think of when brushing your teeth, but your tongue traps harmful bacteria too. Food or debris can easily get stuck in the crevices between the carpet-like strands, known as papillae, on the surface of your tongue. Run that toothbrush over your tongue as well! Keeping these few tips in mind will ensure that you will have great oral health when you go in for your dental checkups.

For further information regarding your daily dental routines and/or make an appointment, contact Dr. Yankowskas at 978-649-7773 or www.tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

Dr. Yankowskas proudly serves Tyngsboro, Lowell, Nashua, Dracut, Chelmsford, Dunstable and all surrounding areas.

Dental Terminology | Tyngsboro Cosmetic Dentist

Your mouth is a complicated place, full of teeth, your tongue, active bacteria and your gums – all play a vital roll all need to be properly cared for and controlled. As we know, so many things can go wrong inside your mouth without proper oral care. But sometimes when you go to the dentist, you may hear terms you’re not quit familiar with – or maybe you are too shy to ask. We’ve compiled a list of terms you could possibly hear during your visit so you can feel comfortable knowing you understand whats going on with your oral health.

Teeth conditions or terms you may hear at the dentist: 

  • Cavities (or caries): Bacteria evade removal by brushing and saliva and damage the enamel and deeper structures of teeth. Most cavities occur on molars and premolars.
  • Tooth decay: A general name for disease of the teeth, including cavities and caries.
  • Periodontitis: Inflammation of the deeper structures of the teeth (periodontal ligament, jawbone, and cementum). Poor oral hygiene is usually to blame.
  • Gingivitis: Inflammation of the surface portion of the gums, around and between the crowns of the teeth. Plaque and tartar buildup can lead to gingivitis.
  • Plaque: A sticky, colorless film made of bacteria and the substances they secrete. Plaque develops quickly on teeth after eating sugary food, but can be easily brushed off.
  • Tartar: If plaque is not removed, it mixes with minerals to become tartar, a harder substance. Tartar requires professional cleaning for removal.
  • Overbite: The upper teeth protrude significantly over the lower teeth.
  • Underbite: The lower teeth protrude significantly past the upper teeth.
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism): Stress, anxiety, or sleep disorders can cause teeth grinding, usually during sleep. A dull headache or sore jaw are symptoms.
  • Tooth sensitivity: When one or more teeth become sensitive to hot or cold, it may mean the dentin is exposed(Source: webmd.com).
  • Root Canal: A dentist can save a damaged tooth by performing a root canal, which removes decayed pulp from interior space of the root. The space is then filled with an inert material. A root canal is sometimes but not always followed by the adding of a crown.
  • Crown: Tooth crowns are placed over existing teeth, and are typically a way to cover teeth that have metal fillings or misshapen teeth. They are most commonly given to patients who have crooked, broken, cracked, or chipped teeth.
  • Denture: Dentures are removable (partial or complete) set of artificial teeth.
  • Dental Implant: A dental implant is a metal cylinder surgically placed in the bone of the upper or lower jaw to provide support for a dental restoration or appliance.
  • Bridge: Bridges resemble natural teeth, and are designed to take the place of areas where there are gaps between teeth. bridge is a stationary dental prosthesis (appliance) fixed to teeth adjacent to a space. It replaces one or more missing teeth, cemented or bonded, to supporting teeth or implants adjacent to the space.

A more extensive list of terms can be found at the ADA’s website at: http://www.ada.org/en/publications/cdt/glossary-of-dental-clinical-and-administrative-ter

While we encourage you to never be shy ask your dental professional to elaborate on what they’re speaking about – Dr. Yankowskas is happy to guide you!

For more information on your oral health, contact Dr. James Yankowskas and make an appointmentat (978) 649-7773 or visit our website.

Dr. James Yankowskas also proudly serves Lowell, Nashua, Dracut, Chelmsford, Dunstable, and surrounding areas.

 

Threats to Good Oral Health | Tyngsboro Cosmetic Dentist

Dental checkups and cleanings are designed to help patients keep as many natural teeth as possible. Proper brushing, flossing, and regular professional cleanings are three key components to maintaining natural tooth health. However, there are many threats to good oral health, and knowing the threats can help patients minimize risk.

Here are some common threats to consider when you think about your overall oral health:

  • Smoking damages oral tissue causing gum recession, increases risk of oral cancer, stains teeth, and causes other long term health risks.

  • Periodontal disease – infections below the gum line – can spread to teeth, gums, and supporting bone, and can cause one or more teeth to be lost

  • Obesity has been linked to an increase in oral bacteria, which contributes to increased rates of periodontal disease among obese patients

  • Patients who regularly bite their nails are more likely to chip, crack, or cause atypical wear on their front teeth, and are statistically more likely to suffer from bruxism (tooth grinding or clenching), which can cause issues with tooth sensitivity, recessed gums, and tooth loss

  • Research shows that patients who get less than six hours of sleep per night are shown to be more likely to have periodontal disease, which is generally attributed to a lowered immune response due to fatigue, as the body becomes unable to fight off oral infections

  • Patients with a diet high in sugar, especially sugary drinks, are significantly more likely to suffer from tooth decay and periodontal disease, as the presence of sugar fuels bacteria which contributes to both negative factors

  • Patients that are anemic – having insufficient red blood cells – often have pale gums and painful or swollen tongue. Extended periods of anemia (often due to poor diet) can contribute to periodontal disease and the body becomes unable to push sufficient nutrients to the gums to combat infection.

While there are certainly a lot of risks to dental health for patients, proper brushing, flossing, and professional cleaning helps protect teeth. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle in addition to maintaining proper oral hygiene routines will help fight off bacterial colonies that contribute to periodontal disease as well as keep gum tissue healthy to prevent gum recession. If you have questions about any individual threat, contact your dentist – they’ll be happy to explain oral health risks to you on your next scheduled visit.

For more information on your oral health, contact Dr. James Yankowskas and make an appointmentat (978) 649-7773 or visit our website.

Dr. James Yankowskas also proudly serves Lowell, Nashua, Dracut, Chelmsford, Dunstable, and surrounding areas.

Choosing a Toothbrush | Tyngsboro Cosmetic Dentist

Toothbrushes come in a number of different varieties – not only manual and electric, but also different bristle firmness ranging from soft to hard. Given that brushing is vital to tooth health, choosing the right toothbrush is important not only to tooth health, but also gum health. While there is some personal preference in choosing a toothbrush, there are some guidelines to help you make the right decision.

Deciding between manual and electric toothbrushes is almost entirely a personal preference, however, there are some factors that may help some people choose one side or the other. Some studies have shown that electric toothbrushes tend to be more effective at removing plaque. Electric toothbrushes vibrate much faster than manual brushes, which may allow them to be more effective with less physical pressure against the tooth. For that reason, for patients who tend to push too hard on the brush, using an electric toothbrush may help them avoid damaging their gums by brushing too hard. However, electric toothbrushes cost more money, and require regular cleaning to stay safe and effective – manual toothbrushes are cheap and disposable, and can simply be replaced regularly.

Regardless of whether you choose electric or manual, you’ll have a choice of bristle firmness. Studies have shown that all three options – soft, medium, and firm/hard – are likely to clean your teeth equally well, but softer brushes are less likely to damage gum tissue. For that reason, most dentists tend to recommend soft bristle brushes unless you have a reason to use a medium or firm brush. You should choose a brush that is comfortable to hold, and comfortable to use – ensure that you can reach the sides of each tooth, and reach to the back of your molars.

No matter which style or firmness you choose, be sure to choose a brush that carries the ADA symbol, to ensure it’s been tested for both safety and effectiveness. Also, be sure to replace manual brushes every 3-4 months, and clean electric toothbrushes according to manufacturer recommendations. Minimizing bacteria on the toothbrush will help avoid tooth decay and periodontal disease. Finally, be sure never to share your toothbrush – tooth decay is bacterial in nature, so you can transfer tooth decay causing bacteria between people who share a toothbrush.

For more information on your oral health, contact Dr. James Yankowskas and make an appointmentat (978) 649-7773 or visit our website.

Dr. James Yankowskas also proudly serves Lowell, Nashua, Dracut, Chelmsford, Dunstable, and surrounding areas.