Things to Know about Oral Bacteria | Tyngsboro Dentist

Woman smiling with braces

We all know that oral microbiota contributes to our overall oral hygiene. Good bacteria and harmful bacteria coexist, and certain behaviors can advance one or the other. In general, a good oral care routine and healthy eating will keep the harmful bacteria at bay without any serious issues. Here are some things you should know about the bacteria that exist within your mouth.

Harmful Bacteria

Streptococcus mutans is specifically found on tooth surfaces and difficult-to-clean areas like pits and fissures on the teeth. It feeds on the sugars and starches you eat, leading to the formation of cavities. This bacteria is the main cause of tooth decay in humans because it produces enamel-eroding acids and thrives in a low pH.

Periodontitis is a serious inflammatory disease that affects the tissues and the alveolar bone that support the teeth. While this disease is caused by several types of bacteria, Porphyromonas gingivalis is strongly linked to it.

Helpful Bacteria

lactobacilli bacteria can fight several kinds of harmful bacteria and may help restore a healthy balance in your mouth. This bacteria can be found in some types of chewing gum and people with gingivitis may be asked to use it every day by their dentist.

Streptococcus Salivarius helps suppress oral pathogens like Streptococcus Pyogenes and Streptococcus Pneumonia that cause infections and autoimmune disorders. It also provides immune support to help reduce symptoms of oral and respiratory viral infections while crowding out other potentially harmful oral pathogens.

To learn more about our practice or view the beautiful smiles Dr. Yankowskas has created, visit us online at www.tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

Dr. Yankowskas proudly serves patients from Tyngsboro and all surrounding areas.

Your Tongue May Indicate Overall Health | Tyngsboro Dentist

Your tongue can be an indicator of overall oral health or intricate bodily ones. If you have never analyzed your tongue or had a dentist mention anything about it, it’s likely not sharing anything in particular about your oral or overall health. Yet, it’s important to recognize that it could, and monitoring it isn’t a bad idea.

A Short History

In Ayurvedic medicine, the health of the tongue is an indicator of whole-body health. The practice of tongue scraping has been performed for centuries in cultures around the world but is considered an ancient Ayurvedic practice. Today, with modern advances in medicine, we now understand what these indications mean.

Indication of Health

Different indicators are known to share different aspects of your health. White patches mean there may be an overgrowth of candida, a yeast that is treatable with an anti-fungal rinse or pill. If your tongue is black and hairy-looking, it may indicate diabetes, yeast infection, poor oral hygiene, or the result of cancer therapies. Red and white spots mark areas where your taste buds have naturally worn, but this is common. Redness on the other hand can mean a deficiency In folic acid, B12, or iron as well as potentially indicating fever or strep throat. A webbed or striped look can mean you have oral lichen planus, caused by your immune system attacking your cells. Bumps along the tongue indicate canker sores and herpes commonly known as cold sores.

If you are worried about the health indications your tongue may express, consult your dentist to better understand what may be going on, and find solutions for our oral healthcare.

To learn more about our practice or view the beautiful smiles Dr. Yankowskas has created, visit us online at www.tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

Dr. Yankowskas proudly serves patients from Tyngsboro and all surrounding areas.

Oral Care Myths and Misconceptions | Tyngsboro Dentist

Oral care and hygiene are paramount to our ability to maintain and retain our teeth as we age. With so much information about oral care practices online, we felt it was important to demystify some of the most common dental myths and misconceptions we hear and offer advice on how to move forward.

Myth 1. Hard Brushing Cleans Better.

This action is counter-productive, as excess pressure on your teeth can work to damage enamel rather than support it. Hard brushing also hurts our gums and can lead to a recessed gum lining over time. We recommend taking care to brush gently with a soft-bristle brush.

Myth 2. Chewing Gum Helps Clean Teeth.

Chewing gum is certainly not a replacement for brushing. Chewing gum can be a great way to combat sugar cravings or a candy habit, but while it makes your breath smell better, it cannot replace the benefits of brushing.

Myth 3. Baby Teeth Don’t Need Brushing.

Good oral care practices begin when we are young and proper oral care for a child’s first set of teeth matters. Tooth decay in a baby tooth can lead to complications as an adult, so we recommend a twice-daily brushing routine as soon as the child has teeth.

Myth 4. Sugar Causes Cavities.

Sugar itself is not the cause of cavities, though the bacteria that eat the sugar can be. The starches and sugar themselves attract bacteria that thrive on the surface of your teeth and release an acidic compound that promotes tooth decay. Regular brushing and rinsing after eating particular sugary foods will go a long way toward preventing decay.

Myth 5. Enamel Loss Causes Sensitivity.

We may experience sensitivity for many reasons, and enamel loss doesn’t happen overnight. Tooth grinding, abrasive toothpaste, aggressive brushing and lack of regular proper oral hygiene all contribute to both sensitivity and a loss of enamel. Should you lose your enamel, however, you will likely experience tooth sensitivity as well.

Interested in learning more about proper oral care or if you may be experiencing an infection? Visit us online at www.tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

Dr. Yankowskas proudly serves patients from Tyngsboro and all surrounding areas.

Dry Mouth Causes and Symptoms | Tyngsboro Dentist

Dry mouth can be caused by a natural inability for your glands to produce sufficient saliva, medication, aging issues or as a result of radiation therapy. Dry mouth is a condition in which one’s salivary glands produce an insufficient amount of saliva to keep your mouth wet.

Saliva is important because it naturally prevents tooth decay by neutralizing acids, limits bacterial growth and washing away food particles throughout the day. It also makes the consumption of food easier as enzymes in the saliva aid in the breakdown of food. While dry mouth is an inconvenience, it can also have a notable impact on your general and oral health.

Common symptoms include:

– Dryness or sticky mouth feel

– Bad breath

– Dry or grooved tongue

– Difficulty chewing, speaking and swallowing

Dry mouth complications:

– Increased plaque

– Mouth sores

– Tooth decay

– Gum disease

– Sores or split skin around the mouth

Due to the variety of causes for dry mouth, it’s important to discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor. Your dentist however may be a good resource for suggestions about how to protect your teeth.

Some suggestions may include a fluoride tray or rinse to prevent cavities. There are also  prescription or over-the-counter artificial saliva or moisturizers to lubricate your mouth. These can be effective means of alleviating discomfort in addition to suggestions made by your physician.

At-home remedies:

– Sip water or chew ice chips during the day and during meals

– Chew sugar-free gum

– Over-the-counter saliva substitutes

– Breathe through your nose

– Utilize a humidifier

Dry mouth habits:

  – Consumption of caffeine and alcohol

– The use of tobacco, antihistamines, and decongestants

– Consumption of sugary, acidic, spicy or salty foods

If you are curious about whether or not these symptoms apply to you, or have dry mouth and would like suggestions from a dental professional, visit us online at www.tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

Dr. Yankowskas proudly serves patients from Tyngsboro and all surrounding areas.

Mouthwash for Oral Health | Tyngsboro Dentist

oral cancer

For many, mouthwash is an unnecessary extra step and added cost to their oral care routine. Mouthwash isn’t exactly the first thing a dentist will mention when reviewing your regimen, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. Mouthwash, after proper brushing and flossing, can provide peace of mind to individuals who struggle to keep cavities at bay, despite their best efforts.

Mouthwash is advertised to kill bacteria and give you fresh breath, but that isn’t the whole story. Mouthwash reduces the bacteria in your mouth and reduce the amount of plaque it forms. Regular use helps prevent periodontal disease, and those with fluoride work to reduce cavities when used as directed.

What ingredients in mouthwash make it effective?

The bacteria-fighting active ingredient(s) in mouthwash are what make it an effective addition to your routine. Ingredients such as cetylpyridinium chloride, zinc gluconate, or quaternary ammonium are commonly found in washes. Just one of these will provide the bacteria fighting benefits that enhance your routine.

Are natural mouthwashes effective?

Some people advocate for fluoride, and others want little to do with it. Many brands make natural alternatives, utilizing essential oils or harvested ingredients like garlic as an astringent. Whatever the formula, natural mouthwashes have been shown to be effective at preventing gum disease without adding to the rise of antibacterial- resistant bacteria.

Is mouthwash safe for children?

Children under the age of 6 should not be utilizing mouthwash, as they are likely to consume it. Once your child has developed the muscle reflexes necessary to swish and spit the wash, with adult supervision, they can begin to incorporate it into their care routine.

While mouthwash isn’t going to make-or-break your oral hygiene, it is a great way to round out your routine. Mouthwash may bring you peace of mind between visits or be an effective way to keep bacteria at bay for cavity-prone teeth.

To learn more about oral care practices, or to schedule an appointment today, visit us online at www.tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

Brighten and Whiten with a Professional Whitening Session | Tyngsboro Dentist

Interested in getting that brighter and whiter smile you’ve always wanted? You aren’t alone. Whitening products and treatments are some of the more common dental requests. Not only because there are loads of products over-the-counter to purchase, but because whitening is a simple, immediate way to improve your smile.

Generally, there are two types of professional teeth whitening services offered. And here is how it all breaks down:

Professional bleaching and laser whitening. This is what we all know as professional whitening. This in-office procedure is done by applying hydrogen peroxide or other similarly strong active agents to the teeth to help remove both deep and surface stains. Although more expensive, you can opt for laser whitening, which involves the use of similar active agents only with the addition of a strong laser to help speed up the bleaching process.

Whitening trays. The use of whitening trays is mostly an in-home procedure. The dentist simply creates a custom mouthpiece you’ll wear for several hours every day or even overnight for as much as two weeks. In most cases, the mouthpieces can be used again.

Prior to the procedure, dentists will usually take an extensive oral health history, checking for previous and current cases of tooth sensitivity and discoloration. There are potential side effects worth taking note of, including irritation, sensitive teeth, and sore throat during and after the treatment.

Once you are done with your treatment, realize the work falls on your hands to keep your teeth bright. Proper dental hygiene and avoiding bad habits is imperative to keep your smile looking gorgeous for as long as possible.

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

Dr. James Yankowskas proudly accepts patients from Tyngsboro and all surrounding areas.

Cavities: How Do They Happen? | Tyngsboro Dentist

When it comes to dental health, the first issue we get exposed to is the cavity. The culprit to most of our childhood dental ails, the cavity is both treatable and preventable. If you find that your dental visits consist of getting fillings, take a look at what it is that you’re doing in regard to dental health. If you aren’t practicing good dental hygiene habits, you are likely going to continue to develop cavities and other dental maladies.

Acidic foods cause tooth decay. Acidic foods such as lemons, citrus juices, or soft fruit drink don’t cause cavities, but they put enamel in danger, weakening the tooth and making it more prone to getting a cavity. At the same time, acidic foods naturally help to clean off our teeth and brighten it a bit. The solution? Enjoy them but try to keep your acidic food intake to a minimum.

Children aren’t more prone to cavities. The rookies to dental hygiene and lovers of all things sweet are definitely more susceptible to cavities, but there has been an increase in cavities found in older people because some medications dry out the mouth and reduce saliva. Saliva is vital in fighting tooth decay because it helps neutralize acids.

Sugar and cavities. We may have been taught that sugar causes cavities, it’s the acid produced by bacteria in your mouth that cause cavities. Sugar is bacteria food. The longer you leave it in your mouth, the longer the bacteria have to dine on it and cause cavities.

As you can see, cavities are a common dental issue that is quite easy to avoid. Keeping up good dental hygiene practices and dental appointments are key to a healthy mouth and bright smile.

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

Dr. James Yankowskas proudly accepts patients from Tyngsboro and all surrounding areas.

Tips to Make Your Veneers Last as Long as Possible | Tyngsboro Dentist

We all want that perfect smile, but for many of us, it doesn’t happen naturally. In fact, most of us need a bit of dental work to achieve the smile we’ve always wanted. Thanks to modern medicine, porcelain veneers are one of the top cosmetic dentistry procedures and can really turn your smile around. But the longevity of your porcelain veneers greatly depends on how well you take care of them. So, pay attention to aftercare instructions from your dentist and these simple tips for optimal longevity:

Practice good dental hygiene. Good oral care at home helps to prevent periodontitis, which can cause your gums to recede. Veneers are placed right at the gum line. If your gums do start to recede the appearance of your veneers could be compromised.

Avoid excessive force. This is a habit for many of us, but your smile doesn’t like it. Things like biting your nails or chewing ice can break or dislodge a veneer, and for some, could be the reason you have the veneer in the first place. Make a conscious effort to stop these types of habits.

Quit clenching and grinding your teeth. By grinding your teeth your veneers can be chipped or broken due to the force generated by these actions. If you suffer from bruxism at night, find out about getting a night guard to protect your teeth and veneers.

Limit foods and drinks that stain. And lastly, while porcelain veneers are very resistant to staining the cement used to hold them in place can stain over time. Try to avoid coffee, tea, soda, wine and tobacco.

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

Dr. James Yankowskas proudly accepts patients from Tyngsboro and all surrounding areas.

Mouthwash: Is It Necessary? | Tyngsboro Dentist

Many of us believe that dental hygiene is a three-step process – brushing, flossing and rinsing. Mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing, but it does add a layer of protection to your smile while also freshening your breath. This is why it is a good idea to incorporating into your routine each day – it’s perfect for eliminating bacteria.

So, how should you use mouthwash if you choose to incorporate it into your oral hygiene routine? Here are a few tips to making the most of your daily dental hygiene experience:

Wait thirty minutes. Some people rinse their mouths with mouthwash and/or water immediately after brushing. But because toothpaste contains fluoride, it needs to set on your teeth. Using mouthwash literally rinses the all the fluoride benefits before it has a chance to strengthen your teeth. If you want to reap the full benefits of your hygiene, wait a half hour before using mouthwash.

Rinse after flossing. The point of using a mouthwash is to freshen your breath, it is also the perfect way to remove food debris you’ve just loosened by flossing. Using mouthwash or some water is the cherry on top of your smile’s health.

Use mouthwash at lunch or after other meals & snacks. A great way to utilize your mouthwash’s benefits, use it between meals. Many of us don’t carry a toothbrush around but having a travel size bit of mouthwash handy is a great way to improve your smile throughout the day. We all know that ideally brushing after each meal is ideal, but a quick rinse with mouthwash will help kill bacteria and remove food particles, preventing plaque and acid buildup in your mouth.

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

Dr. James Yankowskas proudly accepts patients from Tyngsboro and all surrounding areas.

Dental Prosthesis: Three Ways to Improve Your Smile | Tyngsboro Dentist

In the quest for the perfect smile, the options can be a bit overwhelming. You and your dental professional will sit down to discuss what you would like to see in your smile, eventually finalizing a treatment plan. And depending on your particular case, a dental implant or two may be called for. And while the artificial tooth roots are all made of titanium screws, not every dental prosthesis is the same.

Dental crowns. A dental crown is a cap that fits over the top of a tooth and is made to match the color and shape of the natural tooth. To place an implant-supported crown, the natural tooth will first need to be extracted, an implant screw is placed in the jawbone and an abutment is attached. Once the implant site has healed and the bone has fused with the implant, a permanent dental crown replaces the temporary crown.

Implant-supported dental bridge. While a dental crown is a single cap, a dental bridge is made up of two dental crowns with a fake tooth or teeth between them. Implant-supported bridges are used when the natural teeth are unable to support a dental prosthesis. The placement of a dental bridge is similar to placing a dental crown, but instead two dental implants are placed.

Implant-supported denture. Dentures are artificial teeth and gums that are used to restore an entire upper or lower arch of teeth. Although dentures can be used as a removable dental prosthesis, fixed dentures used dental implants for permanent stabilization in the mouth. Placing an implant-supported denture requires the placement of at least four dental implants and the extraction of any remaining decayed or damaged teeth.

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

Dr. James Yankowskas proudly accepts patients from Tyngsboro and all surrounding areas.