8 Reasons To Choose Invisalign Over Braces

Blog Feature Image

Back in the day we weren’t exactly spoiled for choice when it came to teeth straightening options. In fact, your only choice up until recent years (1999, to be exact) was metal braces. Nowadays, we have the freedom of choice.

Should you choose Invisalign over braces? Well, that really is up to you, the timeframe you’d like to straighten your teeth in, and your budget, of course. 

If you’re looking to straighten your teeth, correct a crowded mouth, or bite abnormalities, Invisalign could be just right for you. To learn more about why Invisalign could be a better option than traditional braces, keep on reading. 

Why Should You Straighten Your Teeth Anyway? 

Aside from creating a beautiful smile, teeth straightening has a number of oral health benefits — it’s not all cosmetic. Correcting a crossbite, overbite, or an underbite, for one, can help to eliminate jaw problems and pain. 

By evening out overcrowded teeth, you can also benefit from improved dental health as it makes it easier to brush and floss teeth thoroughly. This keeps gum disease and tooth decay at bay. 

Teeth straightening can also help with speech issues, such as lisp impediments caused by overcrowded teeth or jaw problems. 

Why Choose Invisalign Over Braces? 

Invisalign made its way onto the market about 22 years ago. Since then, it has revolutionized the type of orthodontic care offered to patients across the globe. With its patented technology, Invisalign has become the teeth straightening method of choice for both children and adults alike. 

Here are some of the standout benefits and why you might want to choose Invisalign over metal braces

1. Invisalign Is Removable 

Why is this a big deal? Simply because metal braces are completely fixed to your teeth with dental cement and a network of wires. This puts a limit on the types of foods you can eat, and also makes them difficult to clean. 

Yes, you have to wear your aligners for an average of 22 hours per day. But the upside is that you can remove them at any time. This means you have the freedom to eat and drink whatever you want. If you’re feeling self-conscious or uncomfortable you can pop them out at any time. 

The only thing you must remember to do is brush your teeth after you eat and rinse your aligners before putting them back in. Invisalign is also very easy to clean. You can start with just rinsing them throughout the day. Then soak them in a cleaning solution and gently scrub them with a toothbrush at night. 

All in all, Invisalign decreases your risk of developing tooth decay or gum infection because of how hygienic they are. 

2. Invisalign Is Comfortable 

The clear aligners are made from polyurethane plastic resin, so this means you won’t have a mouth full of metal to contend with. The efficient, patented material was designed with mouthfeel and comfort in mind. 

Not only is this material 100 percent safe to use, but it moves with the teeth in a precision-like fashion, without excessive amounts of tooth pain or sensitivity.

Your dentist will take a mold of your mouth and ensure the clear aligners match your specific diagnosis. They fit snugly around your teeth so you won’t have to worry about them digging into your gums or falling out, either. 

3. It’s Discreet, Subtle, and Professional 

There’s a reason why Invisalign has become so popular with young adults and professionals today. The aligners are almost invisible and make for a completely discreet and subtle means of teeth straightening when compared to braces. 

Basically, you can wear your Invisalign throughout your workday and not worry about them. They are ideal for all types of career professionals. They are also a great choice for teens who may be self-conscious about their smiles, too. 

Today, there is the option of choosing Invisalign Teen which is specifically designed to suit the growing mouths of children.

4. It’s Effective and Offers Proven Results 

The Invisalign design team has invested years of research into product development. So, it’s not likely that you’ll find a more reliable orthodontic tool on the market today. Not-to-mention, millions of dollars on product adjustment to ensure Invisalign offers proven, efficient results. 

Invisalign utilizes a specific type of technology known as SmartTrack™ plastic, as well as SmartForce™ attachments. As a result, these clear aligners offer faster tooth movement than any other clear aligner brand today.  

Yes, braces are an effective tool for treating a huge variety of teeth conditions. But Invisalign may be even more effective in treating specific conditions, such as open bites, for example. However, this depends on the advice of your orthodontist. 

5. You Won’t Need to Visit Your Orthodontist as Often

When you opt for Invisalign treatment your orthodontist will set out a predicted timeline and follow a series of custom-made aligners. Each set of aligners is swapped out every two weeks for the next set in the series. 

Most of the time you’ll receive a few sets in advance as well as instructions on when to swap out your aligners. All in all, this means you can maintain your Invisalign treatment from home and won’t need to physically go into your orthodontist’s office that often. 

You will only need to visit your orthodontist every 3 months or so to collect your next series of aligners. Whereas with braces, you might need to visit your orthodontist every month!  

6. You Can Whiten and Straighten Your Teeth Simultaneously 

This is yet another brilliant perk of Invisalign. The clear aligner trays can double as teeth whitening trays while you wear them throughout the night during your sleep. 

You simply apply a specialized and orthodontist-approved teeth whitening gel to the inside of your aligner trays. Then pop them in for a quick and efficient tooth whitening treatment overnight. 

7. The Entire Treatment Process Is Shorter 

As a general rule of thumb, most people have to wear braces for a period of 18 months to 2 years for full and effective treatment. The great thing about Invisalign is that the entire treatment process takes half, if not a quarter of the time. 

Due to their specialized design and technology, you can complete an entire Invisalign treatment from start to end in as little as 6 months. However, this does depend on your unique case, and how often you wear your aligners, too. 

8. It’s Not as Expensive as You Think 

Many people are under the impression that Invisalign is just not affordable, or that it’s far more expensive than braces. But the reality is that an entire Invisalign treatment costs almost the same as the extent of metal braces. 

To add to this, if your insurance offers orthodontic coverage, it should cover the cost or partial cost of Invisalign, much the same as it would with traditional braces. 

Looking for a Family Dentist You Can Rely On? 

So, should you choose Invisalign over braces? At the end of the day, this choice is highly personal. But if the above benefits were enough to sway you, then it’s best to get started with your Invisalign journey sooner, rather than later. 

At Webster Family Dentistry your oral health is our priority. Whether you’re looking for cosmetic, restorative, or preventative dentistry, we’d love to meet you! 

Get in touch with our practice if you’re based in the Webster Groves region and we’d be happy to schedule your next visit. 

Are Your Brushing Habits Harming Your Teeth And Gums?

Blog feature image

Practicing good dental habits is a crucial part of maintaining your overall health and well-being, but some brushing habits can actually do more harm than good.

Whenever you brush and floss, it’s important to make sure that you’re doing this correctly to prevent damage to your teeth and gums.

Read on to learn more about some habits that might not be great for your oral health, and what you can do to correct them.

Bad Brushing Habits: Too Much Pressure Can Cause Harm

When you brush your teeth, you might think that the harder your brush, the cleaner your teeth will be. However, these brushing habits can actually make things worse for your teeth and gums over time.

Brushing too vigorously or applying too much pressure when you brush can damage the protective enamel on your teeth, leaving them vulnerable to cavities or infection. It can also cause your gums to become inflamed, make them bleed, or just cause pain in general.

When you brush your teeth, pay close attention to how your gums feel. If they’re tender or sensitive to the touch, there is a good chance that you could be applying too much pressure with your toothbrush.

Other signs of brushing too hard include tooth pain or your teeth look darker near the gum line – an indication that the gums are receding and the dentin is exposed. To avoid these problems, simply apply less pressure and try to brush your teeth more gently moving forward.

Biting or Chewing Things You Shouldn’t

While this one isn’t a brushing habit, it’s still a common habit that many people have. If you love to chew on ice, pencils, or other hard objects, you’re putting the health of your teeth at risk.

Never try to open something using your teeth, and try not to chomp on ice cubes whenever you can avoid it. Chewing these things will eventually cause damage to your teeth and could even cause one of them to crack.

If you have fillings, chewing on hard items can cause the filling to become loose or even fall out completely. To avoid this, drink beverages with a straw and try a sugar-free gum that contains xylitol to keep those unhealthy chewing habits at bay.

For those who grind their teeth or clench their jaw, it’s important to find a way to avoid this common issue. A mouthguard that you can wear while you sleep will help to protect your teeth and keep them from grinding together.

Avoiding Visits to the Dentist

Perhaps you have a fear of the dentist, or maybe you simply haven’t made the time for an appointment. Scheduling regular cleanings are one of the most important good dental habits you can adopt.

Ideally, you should have your teeth professionally cleaned at least every six months. Not only will you get a good cleaning, but your dentist will also perform x-rays and look carefully at your teeth and gums for any signs of damage or disease.

It’s estimated that approximately 42% of Americans admit that they don’t go to their dentist as often as they should. Don’t be a statistic! Schedule an appointment to have your teeth cleaned and examined as soon as possible to keep your oral health on the right track.

When you visit the dentist on a regular basis, you’ll have a much better idea about the state of your oral health. It’s also the best way to catch any issues as soon as possible before they get out of hand so you can take steps to correct them.

Not Brushing After Meals

Another bad brushing habit is simply not brushing your teeth after you eat. When you eat food, it leaves residue behind, which will eventually wear the enamel off of your teeth and cause painful cavities.

According to the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth approximately 30 minutes to an hour after you eat to keep them healthy and clean. This allows time for the food you eat to be removed from your teeth before you brush them.

If you brush too soon after eating, certain ingredients like acids in orange juice or sugar in desserts will still be sitting on the surface of your teeth. Brushing immediately can spread those harmful ingredients out and onto the rest of your teeth and gums, causing more harm and good.

Bring a toothbrush and toothpaste with you to work, then brush about a half hour or so after lunchtime. You should do the same thing in the morning after breakfast and again after dinner or before you head to bed.

Bad Flossing Habits

Using dental floss is another part of good oral care, but you can also do harm if you don’t floss the right way. First, avoid flossing between your teeth in a saw-like motion, or else you could cut your gums.

Never re-use the same section of floss since it will already be covered in plaque and food particles. Floss gently and never use aggressive movements that can cause gum irritation and inflammation.

Finally, while flossing is important, it should never be considered a substitute for brushing your teeth. The two things should be done in conjunction to ensure that your mouth is as healthy as possible.

Start Good Dental Care Habits Today

Now that you know more about some bad brushing habits and oral care habits, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy. Remember to visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and examinations every six months for the best results.

If you’re ready for a cleaning, examination, or other dental services near Webster Groves, MO, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

7 Critical Details To Review When Buying Dental Insurance

Blog feature image

Whether or not you’re among the 26% of American adults with unrelated tooth decay, it’s important that you make visiting the dentist a priority. After all, dentistry isn’t just for those who have problems- it’s for anyone who wants to keep their teeth healthy and prevent issues from arising later.

You need to know how to choose dental insurance to get the most affordable plan possible. Here, we’re going to talk about how to make caring for your teeth easy and inexpensive to prevent holes in both your teeth and your pockets.

1. Look at Your Work Insurance Plan

68% of the US population is offered health insurance through their employer. If this describes you, it’s important that you comb through your plan’s fine print and see whether or not any level of dental care coverage is present. If so, you may not even need to invest in a 3rd party dental insurance plan.

Even so, you might want to get some supplemental insurance, but It’s best to know where you stand insurance-wise anyway. You can then only look into plans that are the most relevant for you and your family.

2. Consider the Types of Dental Plans

There are three basic types of dental plans.

Indemnity plans do not have provider networks and therefore offer the maximum amount of flexibility possible. This is beneficial to those who want the ability to visit any dentist rather than just those pre-approved by a plan. However, these plans are generally much more expensive than alternatives.

Most people opt for managed-care plans. These let them choose from a network of dental providers that have agreed to discount services to cardholders. They can be PPO or HMO plans depending on your needs.

Finally, discount dental plans are not actual insurance. Instead, they give you a discount when you see dentists that are included within your plan. They aren’t insurance because they don’t pay for any of your treatment- you still need to pay 100% of the fees, just at the discount rate.

3. Do Meticulous Research

Once you decide which type of plan is right for you, it’s time to begin researching the many plans that are out there. You can start this research simply by Googling, say, ‘best managed-care dental plans in 2021’. This will give you a shortlist of some plans that you can look over.

After narrowing your options down to 3-5 plans, look through them very carefully. Consider which provides the most comprehensive coverage and which one will best meet the needs of each of your family members.

4. Think About Your Family’s Needs

But how can you determine which plan is right for your family? It’s actually much easier than it sounds.

First, consider whether any family members have pre-existing dental conditions. If your spouse has gingivitis, for example, you need a plan that will cover treatment for gum disease. If you have a child with early TMJ, you will want coverage for TMJ-related visits.

Next, consider the ages of people in your family and the conditions that they’re most likely to develop based on age.

Children will almost always require fluoride treatments, sealants, and braces. Young adults and those in their middle age may need root canals, fillings, crowns, bridges, and wisdom teeth removals. Seniors may need dentures and full-mouth reconstruction treatments. Plan accordingly.

5. Learn Which Treatments Are Covered in Different Plans

Remember your list of 3-5 plans that you combed through earlier? Do an in-depth review of their website. Make sure that you read every aspect and condition of coverage to make sure that you don’t miss something vital before purchasing a plan.

When in doubt, call those insurance providers on the phone or shoot them an email. Ask them whether they cover certain things that you know you and your family can’t do without.

If you don’t need a lot of coverage and have no preexisting oral health issues in the family, you may even get away with ACA dental insurance. Keep this in mind as you search so that you can get the best care at the most affordable price.

6. Talk to Dental Professionals Near You

The next step is to look into the dental providers closest to you and see what insurance plans they accept. It’s unreasonable to get a plan that requires you to drive for hours to find the nearest provider. Check out your local dentist’s insurance options and compare them.

If you have any questions, reach out to the dentists that you trust. Ask any questions that are relevant to your choice in a plan. Gathering the best information can help you to narrow your 3-5 options down to 1 or 2.

7. Consider Every Relevant Cost

Many people comparing family insurance plans only look at the premium monthly cost. However, this might come back to bite you in the long run (no pun intended). You need to look at deductibles- the amount of money that you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket before your insurance coverage starts.

You also should look at the maximum yearly limit for coverage. Many plans have a cap on the number of dental treatments they’ll cover per year. You don’t want to wind up in a bind where you reach your limit and need to pay a lot of money for ongoing treatments.

Beyond How to Choose Dental Insurance

Now that you know how to choose dental insurance, it’s time to make sure your teeth are as healthy as possible. Request an appointment with our oral health professionals for a routine cleaning or for restorative or cosmetic dentistry.

You can also ask whether or not we accept the insurance plan that you’re considering and get more insurance plan options if we do not. We’re excited to help keep your smile shining, so don’t hesitate to reach out!

Protect Your Pearly Whites! 8 Common Foods That Stain Teeth

Feature image for blog

What if every meal was putting your teeth in danger?

There are plenty of common foods that stain teeth. Unfortunately, most people don’t know what these foods are until it’s too late!

That’s why we put together this simple guide. Keep reading to learn about seven common foods that are likely to stain your teeth!

1. Coffee

Most of us begin our morning with a warm cup of coffee. And coffee can provide a powerful “pick me up” throughout the day if your energy is lagging.

Unfortunately, coffee is one of the primary foods that you can count on to stain teeth. And the blacker the coffee, the more your teeth are at risk.

The good news is that you can counteract this by lightening your coffee up. Throw some milk in your morning coffee to enjoy a bit of extra calcium and Vitamin D along with whiter teeth.

2. Cola

It’s possible to lighten your black coffee up and avoid those annoying stains. But one drink you can’t really lighten up is cola.

The dark color of cola is enough to stain your teeth. And the temperature (cola is usually served ice cold) can make your teeth contract, making staining that much more likely.

If that’s not bad enough, things like citrus and phosphoric acids in your cola encourage tooth decay. When it comes to tooth color and health, you are better off switching most of your colas for seltzers or other alternative drinks.

3. Tea

Speaking of alternative drinks, many drink tea as a seemingly healthier alternative to coffee or cola. Sadly, tea is also very likely to stain your teeth!

This is mostly due to the tannins in the tea. And as with the other drinks, the darker teas are the ones likeliest to stain teeth.

That means it is best to skip out on teas like Earl Gray (sorry, Captain Picard). Instead, try out some white, green, and herbal teas to enjoy the flavor and calming benefits of tea while minimizing the risk of staining teeth.

4. Popsicles

You are likelier to consume certain kinds of food in different seasons. For example, on a warm summer’s day, it can be very tempting to cool down with a tasty popsicle.

However, anyone who has ever eaten a popsicle (or a slushie, for that matter) knows that these colorful treats are likely to turn their tongue a different color. And anything that can stain your tongue can easily stain your teeth!

You can always swap those popsicles for safer treats such as lemon ice or even some sugarless gum. But if you absolutely have to have a popsicle, make sure that’s a “sometimes food” unless you want bright and colorful teeth.

5. Tomato Sauce

There is nothing quite like Italian food. And most Italian dishes don’t come to life until you add some kind of tomato sauce (we’re partial to some homemade marinara).

However, if you eat enough Italian dishes, you eventually discover how easily tomato sauce can stain your clothes. So it shouldn’t be a huge surprise to discover that these delicious tomato-based sauces can also stain your teeth.

We would never tell you to skip the marinara or Bolognese when you’re tucking into your favorite Italian dishes. But if you can eat some kind of spinach, salad, or broccoli appetizer ahead of time, you can protect your teeth from these annoying stains.

6. Candy

If you’re looking to avoid staining teeth, we’ve got some bad news: pretty much all candy and sweets is your enemy.

That’s mostly because of the different colors of candy. Much like popsicles, any candy that stains your tongue is pretty much guaranteed to stain your teeth. 

Fortunately, candy doesn’t pose a major tooth-staining risk unless you are eating it all the time (which you shouldn’t be doing). If you ease up on the candy and maybe brush up after you eat those sweets, then your teeth should be fine.

7. Curry

If you enjoy Indian food, then you are likely to enjoy curry. And if you enjoy spicy food, then curry may be one of your favorite foods on the planet.

Unfortunately, that bright yellow curry will definitely stain your teeth. After you finish your dish, your teeth are likely to look just as yellow as the curry itself!

There is no real way to avoid this, so you should focus on what you can do after eating. Brushing your teeth would be the ideal move, but even gargling a bit of water in the bathroom of the restaurant can help you avoid stains.

8. Soy Sauce

Do you enjoy Chinese and Japanese cuisine? If so, you know what it’s like to reach for the soy sauce.

In small doses, soy sauce can help to bring out the flavor of the dish. But that dark soy sauce can easily stain your teeth if you go overboard with it.

As with most of the foods on this list, “moderation” is the name of the game. Instead of dousing your food with soy sauce, just use it in small amounts.

Honestly, this is a good move for your overall health as well as the appearance of your teeth. Soy sauce is chock full of sodium, and it’s easy to consume more sodium than is healthy for your body if you use too much of the soy sauce.

Avoiding Foods That Stain Teeth: Your Next Move

Now you know about the different foods that stain teeth very easily. But do you know who can help keep your teeth looking and feeling amazing?

At Webster Family Dental, we are basically your “one stop shop” for dental needs. From simple cleanings to root canals to tooth whitening, we’ve got your different needs covered.

Want to discover what we can do for your teeth? All you have to do is contact us today!

7 Tips for Making Teeth Brushing More Exciting for Children

Mother Daughter Brushing teeth

While many people think of oral health issues as a problem that comes with age, this is not the case. 20% of children between the ages of 5-11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth, which can cause discomfort and a plethora of other health issues. These problems include gum disease, headaches, and jaw problems that stem from biting down on food incorrectly.

Clearly, dental care for kids is important, and the main aspect of this is tooth brushing. But what can you do to make brushing more palatable for reluctant little ones? Read on to learn the answer to this question and to get some expert strategies for making teeth-brushing time more fun.

1. Brush Your Teeth Together

Children- especially small children- love to imitate the adults in their life. They view the things that you do as mature, sophisticated, and interesting, and they believe that mimicking your movements will make them develop these qualities as well.

This means that setting an example and brushing your teeth at the same time as your child does will make brushing time more fun for them. They will be happy to imitate your movements so that they can feel like an adult themselves. This strategy is great because it motivates you to brush properly as well!

2. Play Fun Music

Children tend to struggle with brushing their teeth for a long enough period of time. Even when they do decide to brush, it could last for only 10 seconds before they get bored and decide that they’re done. This is clearly insufficient, so you need to give them something fun to do for the entire interval that they should be brushing.

A favorite song can do just that. Turn on a tune that your child likes and brush your teeth for the interval that that song plays in. This will generally give your child anywhere between 2-4 minutes of brushing time and allow them to reach into every part of their mouth.

3. Get a Cool Toothbrush

It can be tempting to get your child an adult toothbrush- they’re cheap, easy to access, and come in packs that you can use as well. However, in a child’s mind, these toothbrushes are incredibly boring. They’re usually unicolor and have no fun print on them besides a brand name that kids don’t care about.

Luckily, they do manufacture toothbrushes that kids are sure to love. If your child loves Disney princesses, you can find a Mulan or Cinderella toothbrush at any department store. The same applies to other favorite characters like Toy Story, Cars, Hello Kitty, and more.

4. Make Games and Tell Stories

Kids are incredibly imaginative and they love to play games. You can make tooth-brushing into a kind of game with them where you bring in a favorite toy or doll and brush its teeth before moving onto their own.

If your child is too old for that or seems disinterested, you can play hide-and-seek with their toothbrush and toothpaste. Having them play a game of treasure hunt of hot-and-cold to find it is something that they may look forward to and associate with brushing time. This will put them in a good mood and give them a positive mindset about oral hygiene.

5. Offer Fun Rewards

Children often don’t feel like they’re getting any benefits from brushing their teeth, which makes them understandably reluctant to do so. In their mind, it’s a waste of time at best and an unpleasant bad-tasting activity at worst. However, offering them a small reward can help them view tooth-brushing as a chore that they get something out of.

Daily rewards can be something as simple as a sticker or interestingly-shaped rubber eraser (they come in bulk packs at the dollar store and kids love them.) You can also set up a larger weekly reward for brushing twice a day, such as a dinner at a favorite restaurant or an extra hour of iPad time.

6. Switch Up Toothpaste Flavors

Everyone has tried using a toothpaste that they don’t like before, and it really puts a damper on brushing time. Even adults procrastinate and outright avoid brushing when their toothpaste tastes bad or has some weird, awful texture. Children, as is to be expected, will also avoid this but on a much larger scale.

Ask your child directly if they like the toothpaste that they’re using. If they say ‘no,’ take them to the store and let them select an alternative that they think they might like. Check in again a couple of weeks later (make sure that you give them time to adjust and get used to the new toothpaste). Repeat the process if they still dislike their toothpaste.

7. Be Encouraging

Children love to receive praise because they value the opinions of their parents. Cheering your child on while they brush their teeth is a great way to make them feel good about the activity. Stand by and tell them when they do something specifically good while brushing such as hitting spots on both sides of their mouth or brushing their tongue.

Offering them a sincere ‘good job’ after they finish brushing is sometimes all that it takes to turn oral hygiene maintenance from a chore to an opportunity to please.

Get Professional Dental Care for Kids

While frequent brushing is important for children, seeing a professional twice a year is also critical to pediatric oral health. Scheduling an appointment with your local dentist ensures that your child will get the dental care that they need to maintain their adorable smile.

Schedule an appointment with our knowledgeable dental professionals. We offer both preventative and restorative dentistry solutions so little ones can get the care that they need. Feel free to also browse our webpage if you want more information before scheduling and to contact us with any remaining questions that you may have.

6 Steps to Remove Tough Stains on Teeth

Healthy Teeth

The global teeth whitening market is expected to reach 9.6 billion by the year 2027.

Millions of people around the world are looking to reduce stains on teeth, and improve the appearance of their smile. But with so many products and devices on the market, it can be difficult to tell what is effective.

For any whitening or stain-removing method, the best bet is to first consult your dentist. They can weigh in on the most effective means of teeth-whitening, and advise you of products that might actually do more harm than good. 

But in addition to these products, there are simple methods you can implement into your daily routine that will help remove tough stains.

Keep reading for six easy steps to help reduce the appearance of stains on teeth.

#1. Improve Brushing Habits

One of the most simple yet effective measures you can’t take to remove stains on teeth is to improve your everyday brushing habits.

Important factors to consider when looking to remove stains on teeth include:

  • Using a toothbrush with soft yet sturdy bristles, replaced every three months
  • Brushing for two full minutes every time
  • Avoiding brushing too “hard” or in an improper pattern
  • Using a whitening toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association
  • Cleaning your entire mouth (tongue, cheeks, etc.)
  • Waiting at least one hour after a meal to brush
  • Flossing after brushing
  • Finishing with mouthwash

This should be a multi-step process, repeated at least twice a day.

#2. Cut Down on Staining Foods

There are various food and drinks we enjoy in our everyday life that can actually cause unsightly stains on teeth.

Sauces that are deeply-colored (soy, tomato, curry) can cause brown stains on teeth. Try incorporating more light-colored sauces to avoid these stains.

The same idea comes from fruits and berries that are dark in color—like blackberries, cherries, and pomegranates. As such, paler fruits are less likely to cause stains on teeth.

Beverages can be harmful to teeth, as well. One example is coffee and tea. Frequent drinkers may experience black stains on teeth. While it may be hard to cut the caffeine cravings, your teeth will thank you.

Another beverage that can stain teeth is wine. With its acidic nature and dark, rich color, it can also discolor teeth.

Surprisingly, even white wine can stain as well. Though it does not have the dark pigment to it that red wine does, it can still add off white stains on teeth.

This does not mean you have to remove the food and drinks you love completely from your diet.

Instead, try moderating consumption to avoid building up stains on teeth. When you do consume beverages likely to stain, try using a straw and swallowing quickly to keep the liquid away from teeth.

#3. Avoid Nicotine and Tobacco Products

While there are other health benefits to avoiding these products, preventing smoking stains on teeth is a major factor.

Particles in these products stick to tiny pores in the enamel of your teeth. With repeated use, these particles build up until they become stains on teeth.

So the more you use nicotine and tobacco products, the darker and harder to remove the stains become. Consider avoiding nicotine and other tobacco products to prevent building up yellow stains on teeth. 

#4. Try At-Home Whitening

There are simple at-home whitening remedies you can try to improve the appearance of stains on teeth.

There are a variety of whitening products on the market, at all price points. Though, spending large amounts of money is not necessary to improve stains on teeth. 

One of the most common and inexpensive methods is to brush a few times per week with a mixture of water and baking soda.

This method is simple, yet effective. But, beware of overusing baking soda—studies suggest it can cause damage to the enamel of teeth.

If you are looking for products to purchase, consider starting small. Whitening toothpaste and mouthwashes can go a long way in improving the look of teeth stains.

In particular, those containing hydrogen peroxide or sodium hypochlorite can be particularly effective.

From there, you may consider whitening strips or other at-home systems. Look out for those containing carbamide peroxide, which is proven to be effective in these gel forms.

#5. Stay on Top of Dental Work

It’s important to stay on top of dental work to prevent the look of faux dental pieces from declining.

Dental fillings, crowns, and bridges will start to lose their color as they wear down over the years. Plus, metal fillings can sometimes transfer their color onto the tooth itself with time.

It’s critical that you stay on top of dental maintenance to prevent this from happening. While replacing these items can be uncomfortable, it can go a long way in preventing stains on teeth.

#6. Talk to Your Dentist

Finally, one of the best things you can do to combat stains on teeth is to visit your dentist. They have access to tools and other resources not available to the general public.

They can scrape, blast, and clean away stains. They also may be able to bleach or use other topical solutions to reduce the appearance of stains. In addition to regular cleanings and maintenance, ask them about other whitening solutions.

With their skills and experience, your dentist can best advise you on your options for teeth whitening and stain removal. There may be at-home or in-office procedures they can recommend that you would otherwise not find at a drugstore.

On your next dental visit, ask about removing stains on teeth—they are the experts, after all.

Consult the Experts for Removing Stains on Teeth

After trying at-home tips to remove stains on teeth, you may be at a loss. There comes a point when turning to the experts is necessary.

In the Webster Groves, MO area—Webster Family Dental is your solution.

The team at Webster Family Dental cares about your family. We assess and prioritize each patient’s specific dental needs with only the highest level of care and technology.

This way, patients leave our office feeling confident and excited about their smiles. Contact us today for more information on removing stains on teeth, or to request an appointment.

How to Floss Your Teeth (the Right Way!)

Webster Blog Feature Image

Sure, you brush your teeth every day, but what about the other half of your dental regime? Flossing is an essential part of dental care; however, a recent study has shown that only 30% of people floss daily, and 32% do not floss at all. We want to change those numbers with this simple guide! 

We will show you how to floss your teeth and answer some other questions along the way. Let’s get started!

Why You Should Floss 

First things first, let’s get into why flossing needs to be apart of your daily routine. Flossing helps to remove food particles that are stuck between your teeth that your toothbrush cannot get. If your teeth do not get flossed, then the food can accumulate bacteria, leading to plaque. 

Plaque can become problematic as it builds up in your mouth. It can cause issues from cavities to tooth decay and more. Flossing also helps reduce Gingivitis’s chances, which is a disease of the gums that can cause complications down the line. 

When You Should Floss

As we said, flossing helps to loosen the food debris between your teeth, so considering that you are eating each day you will want to make sure you are flossing as well! It is recommended that you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once. It is better to floss first and then follow up by brushing your teeth. 

If you are only going to floss once per day, consider making it a part of your nightly routine after eating your last meal of the day. 

Types of Floss

Not all floss is created equally! There are a wide variety of brands and types of floss available on the market.

The first type of floss is called Dental Tape. This type of floss is flat and ribbon-like in appearance. This floss’s broad design makes it easy to use and ideal for people with larger spaces between their teeth and those with braces.

Standard Floss is the more common type of floss on the market. It is made from nylon and is much thinner than Dental Tape. This type of floss has various options such as flavored floss and waxed and unwaxed options.

Waxed Floss is a better choice for anyone with tight or crowded teeth. Standard Floss is not always the best choice for anyone with braces though. 

Finally, Super Floss is a type of floss that is heavy-duty. It is ideal for people with dental work such as fixed bridges or braces because its design has three components. There is a stiffened end, a sponge-like section, and then regular floss. This type of floss can clean the gums and braces with ease.

Other Flossing Equipment 

Toothpicks with a flossing attachment are another option for flossing. They are equipped with a toothpick on one end and then a small line of floss secured by two plastic pieces at the other end. They are ideal for reaching teeth far back in the mouth, and they are convenient for on-the-go flossing after a meal. 

Water flossing tools are another option for a deeper clean. This type of flosser uses pressurized water to eliminate plaque and food debris from the teeth and gum line.  

How to Floss Your Teeth

So you know the tools that you will need, and when you need to do it, now let’s talk about how to do it! Here are the steps:

  1. Spool off around 18 inches of the dental floss of your liking.
  2. Wrap the floss around your middle fingers until only around 2 inches is left between them.
  3. While firmly holding the floss with your index finger and thumb, start to gently move the floss in a C-Shape up and around each tooth avoiding flossing the gum in a back and forth motion.
  4. Repeat the process on all of your teeth, using a clean section of floss each time.

When you reach your gum line, you should be gently working the floss between the delicate area between your tooth and gum. Avoid using any sawing motions as you could damage your gums. Once you have finished flossing, either brush your teeth or use an antibacterial mouthwash. 

Always make sure to floss your teeth in front of a mirror. This will help you better visualize the area you are flossing, which could help prevent any injury to your teeth or gums.

Pro-tip

When it comes to buying floss, you should do your best not to skimp on the floss’ quality. Cheaper flosses are made with lower quality materials, and they could easily fray. When the floss frays, it can get stuck in between your teeth and cause injury to your gum, so save yourself the trouble and buy a reputable brand.

When to Visit a Dentist

If you are new to flossing, you will most likely see a little blood when you first start getting into a new routine. This can be due to any number of things, from vitamin deficiency to Anemia; however, more often than not, it is due to the fact that you have a mild build-up of plaque or mild Gingivitis.

Aggressive or incorrect flossing can also cause bleeding, so make sure you follow this guide! The more you floss, the healthier your mouth will become, and the bleeding should stop. With that being said, if you have excessive or prolonged bleeding, it could be a sign of a more serious health issue like Periodontal Disease, which would require immediate attention from your dentist

Keeping Your Mouth Healthy

Now that you know how to floss your teeth, you can be on your way to a happier and healthier smile! This simple guide will help you find the right floss and utilize the right technique with ease. 

Good overall health starts in your mouth! Our team is here to help you achieve optimum dental health, from helping you get back your pearly smile to managing routine check-ups. Visit us today to get your next appointment on the books!

9 Common Tooth Brushing Mistakes

Tooth brushing

You brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste as your dentist recommended. So you’re doing everything right, right?

Not necessarily. It’s not just the frequency of how often you brush your teeth or the brand of toothpaste you’re using between professional teeth cleanings. If you’re not brushing your teeth properly, it can be all for naught. 

Many people aren’t brushing properly, but that can be corrected with some adjustments. Here are 9 common tooth brushing mistakes to be aware of the next time you’re tending to your teeth…

1. Choosing The Wrong Bristles

If you’re trying to get plaque buildup off your teeth, you need a hard brush to scrape it, right? That’s not actually the case. 

Just because the bristles are harder, it doesn’t mean they do a better job of cleaning. In fact, the harder bristles can actually cause some damage to the structure of the tooth and hurt the gums. 

Softer bristles can bend, allowing the bristles to get under the gumline where bacteria can hide. 

2. Letting Your Brush Wear Out

You find a great toothbrush that you love. It has a comfortable handle, and you like the color of it. 

However, at some point, you will have to part with your existing brush. You will see signs of wear on the brush as the bristles start to fray, which reduces the effectiveness of the tooth brushing. 

The official recommendation is to change up your manual (and electric) brush every three months. That’s more often than the six-month visit between dentist exams

3. Not Brushing Long Enough

When you’re brushing, you might think you’re done when you’ve reached all the corners of your mouth – which is often under a minute. But that’s not actually long enough according to experts. 

The guideline is to brush for a full two minutes each time you visit the bathroom to brush your teeth. 

For kids especially, brushing for a full two minutes can be a challenge. Aside from using a timer, there are some fun songs you can play for them to help them go the distance. 

4. Brushing Too Vigorously

This harkens back to using bristles too hard: people thing “harder” will get their teeth cleaner. However, by putting too much pressure on your teeth when brushing, you might actually cause damage to the gums.

The reality is that the plaque you’re trying to remove is soft, so you can remove it by brushing gently. It’s only hard when it becomes tartar (from lack of plaque removal), which can be taken care of during a dental visit

5. Improper Brushing Patterns

There’s an old song for kids that teaches them to brush teeth “round and round.” However, while that might’ve been the advice of the day, it’s not necessarily the accepted best practice anymore. 

The “new” standard is to brush your teeth back and forth across the length of a tooth, hitting all of the surfaces. You should also be placing the brush on the teeth on a 45-degree angle near the gum line. 

When cleaning the backs of your front teeth, turn the brush vertically and massage them with the brush in gentle up-and-down strokes. 

6. Using The Wrong Toothpaste

There are many types of toothpaste out there, from those meant for sensitive teeth to those that promise to remove stains. 

Whitening kinds of toothpaste seem to be fine (professional whitening might be more effective). Those with baking soda might actually be doing harm as they’re abrasive and can damage the enamel of the tooth. 

When searching for the right toothpaste for you, pay attention to the label. It should indicate that there are a thousand (or more) parts per million of fluoride, and there should be a seal of approval from the American Dental Association on it somewhere. 

7. Not Cleaning Your Entire Mouth

When it comes to tooth brushing, you’re probably just focusing on your teeth. And rightly so. However, you shouldn’t neglect your entire oral health picture when cleaning. 

One major component of the mouth that is often overlooked is the tongue. While you can use a tongue scraper to clean it, using your toothbrush also works

The key is to have a soft-bristle brush and allow the easiest access by sticking out your tongue. Starting from the back of the tongue using gentle strokes, rinsing the excess off the brush as you go. 

Cleaning your tongue with a scraper or brush may be a way to reduce bad breath. 

While you’re at it, you can also clean your mouth’s palette and the inside of the cheeks to get rid of any debris. Cleaning your tongue and cheeks at least once a day will help you achieve a higher overall feeling of cleanliness. 

8. Brushing Right After a Meal

You might think it’s a good idea to brush away the excess right after you’ve consumed a meal, but it’s actually a mistake. 

The reason is that you will have acid in your mouth after eating, and the abrasives from brushing can add to the erosion of the teeth. You should wait at least 60 minutes to allow time for your saliva to neutralize the acid. 

In the meantime, you can chew sugarless gum or just drink some water while you wait to head to the bathroom for a brushing session. 

9. Forgetting The Final Touches

Brushing your teeth is a big part of the equation. But there’s more to it than that to maintain optimal oral health. 

First of all, you should be using floss to get at food particles that can’t be reached with a brush. The bacteria left behind could contribute to tooth decay. 

When you’ve finished that step, use a proper mouthwash that kills germs and doesn’t contain alcohol. This will get rid of any leftover bacteria churned up from brushing and flossing. 

If you don’t have mouthwash, then swish with water. 

Brush Up On Tooth Brushing 

Brushing your teeth twice a day – properly – is a key to good oral health. Follow these tooth brushing tips for the most effective cleaning. 

Combined with regular visits to the dentist, you can help prevent cavities and catch oral health issues early!

To find out more or to schedule a dental appointment, contact us today.  

Invisalign or Braces: Which Teeth Straightening Option Is Better?

Invisalign or Braces blog feature image

Invisalign and braces are two methods used to treat crooked teeth. They offer a straighter, more beautiful smile and can improve overall oral hygiene. The similarities between these methods, though, can make it hard to decide: Invisalign or braces?

Braces are a more traditional approach to straightening a smile. An orthodontist attaches metal brackets to your teeth, each of which is connected with a series of strong wires. The dentist tightens these wires to encourage teeth toward the desired result.

Meanwhile, Invisalign is a relatively new method for fixing crooked teeth. Instead of metal brackets and wires, dentists use clear plastic trays, similar to retainers. With a new tray every two weeks, Invisalign gently encourages teeth into a more desirable alignment.

Are you finally ready to get the straight smile of your dreams? Then you need to know your options. We’re guiding you through the pros and cons of Invisalign and braces next, so check it out. 

The Pros and Cons of Invisalign

Invented in the 1990s, Invisalign is a significant step up from traditional metal braces. Yet, Invisalign isn’t for everyone. Invisalign isn’t ideal for:

  • People with bridgework
  • People whose teeth don’t meet in the back when biting down
  • People who need to move teeth up or down 

Another thing to consider is that you must be disciplined enough to leave Invisalign in for 22 or more hours every day. If you’re forgetful or tend to travel a lot, removable trays may not be for you. 

Still with us? If so, here are the top pros and cons of wearing Invisalign clear aligners over traditional metal braces to help you with your decision.

Invisalign Is Discreet

Because Invisalign trays are clear, it’s hard to tell when someone is wearing them. If you’re concerned about the stigma of wearing braces, Invisalign is the choice for you.

Invisalign Takes Less Time

Compared to traditional metal braces, Invisalign can straighten teeth in less time. Of course, the exact timeline depends on your unique smile needs. Most people only wear clear aligners for 6 to 18 months. 

Invisalign Is Foolproof to Clean

Invisalign clear aligner trays come with the proprietary Invisalign cleaning system. If you prefer to DIY it, you can also simply brush and rinse trays in warm water.

Cleaning Invisalign trays is much easier, less time-consuming, and more effective than trying to brush and floss around metal braces. In fact, studies have shown that people at risk of gingivitis are better off with clear aligners than traditional braces. 

Invisalign Is Removable

Hate the idea of not seeing your teeth for months as you wait for them to move into place? Then you may prefer Invisalign. Invisalign trays can be removed for up to 2 hours per day to allow your teeth to breathe.

Invisalign Doesn’t Require Painful Tightening

When it’s time to move onto the next step of straightening, your dentist won’t have to tighten any wires. Instead, you just pick up a new sized tray and use it for two weeks.

Invisalign May Not Work for Severe Oral Issues  

If you need your teeth to move vertically or have canines or molars that aren’t facing front, Invisalign probably isn’t for you. Invisalign also isn’t for people who need to fix certain kinds of open bites. 

The Pros and Cons of Braces

Compared to Invisalign, braces are a tried and true method for straightening teeth. They’ve been around in some form or another since the beginning of the 1900s. In 1970, metal braces became what they are today. 

One major draw to traditional braces is that there are almost no limitations to who can wear them. Dentists typically only recommend another method of straightening teeth for people who are prone to dental injuries, such as those who play rough contact sports.

Despite this, traditional braces do come with some pros and cons worth considering before going all-in with this teeth-straightening method. Check them out below. 

Braces Aren’t Discreet

Braces are made up of metal brackets, wire, and rubber bands to hold them all together. Some dentists offer more natural color rubber banks these days. Still, even the most natural-looking braces aren’t nearly as discreet as Invisalign clear aligners.

Braces Can Be Less Expensive

Depending on your unique needs, braces can often cost less than Invisalign. Traditional braces can be more than half the price of braces. That’s why traditional metal braces are perfect for someone wanting to straighten their smile on a budget.

Cleaning Braces Is Difficult

Though cleaning braces has fewer steps than cleaning clear trays, it can be infinitely more tedious. You have to ensure you’re brushing your teeth as best as possible while also making sure you’re cleaning the brackets. You may need extra tools like water picks and other devices to keep your teeth clean and free of ulcers and germs.

You’ll Never Forget to Pack Your Braces

The good news about braces is you never have to worry about forgetting to put them on. Braces aren’t removable, which may be perfect for forgetful people or people who are unlikely to wear their Invisalign trays.

Getting Braces Tightened Is Painful

Once per month, you have to visit your orthodontist to get your braces tightened. This procedure can be excruciating and cause headaches. If that sounds like a nightmare, traditional braces are probably not for you.

Braces Can Cause Tooth Discoloration

If a bracket breaks, you wear braces for a longer time, or if you have trouble cleaning your braces, tooth discoloration can result. Unfortunately, the discoloration usually happens around the bracket. That means you’ll have an unsightly white blemish where the bracket was while the tooth around it is darker in color.

Get a Perfect Smile With Invisalign or Braces

When it comes to the question of Invisalign or braces, you’ve got to consider the pros and cons. Only then can you find the method that fits with your smile needs and your lifestyle. 

Are you ready to get the smile of your dreams? At Webster Family Dental, we want you to put your best smile forward. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can do it for you!

9 Ways to Make Flossing Exciting for Children

Flossing Teeth

Do your children love eating sweets? Did their last visit to the dentist indicate early signs of tooth decay? Then you need to take their dental health more seriously. 

Though tooth decay in children is more common among the nation’s poorest families, it doesn’t mean that kids from well-off families are safe. Without proper dental care, tooth decay can develop in any child, regardless of his family’s socio-economic status. 

And apart from brushing, you should start teaching your children how to floss. But what if flossing teeth is something that your kids hate? Is there a way to develop your kids’ love for flossing? 

Continue reading below as we teach you nine effective ways to make flossing more enjoyable and exciting for your children.

How to Make Flossing Teeth Fun for Your Child

1. Flossing Teeth Early

There is a saying that a child’s mind is like a sponge. It will easily absorb anything and everything that you teach. Thus, you need to introduce flossing early to your kids. 

Starting them young comes with many benefits. But aside from these advantages, introducing them early to flossing will help establish the foundations for a lifelong habit. 

But when is the earliest time to floss your kids’ teeth? As soon as they reach 2 or 2 ½ years old, you may examine their teeth if they are ready for flossing. If you see two of their teeth touching, then you can start them with flossing. 

Generally, a toddler’s last two molars are the ones that will likely touch together. That becomes an area that their toothbrush can no longer reach. 

The younger you start, the more they will find flossing enjoyable as they grow more teeth.

2. Use the Egg Carton Mouth

Another way of making flossing exciting is through demonstration. But not with your teeth; instead, use an egg carton mouth. 

Take one of your empty egg cartons and prepare some playdough, white paint, and dental floss. Paint the entire carton white and fold it in half. You want to arrange it in the shape of your top and bottom teeth.

Take some of the playdough and fill up the spaces in-between the teeth. Take some of the floss and guide your child in flossing the teeth to remove the clay. Make sure to explain what the clay represents and why you need to remove them.

3. Turn it Into a Game

If you don’t have an egg carton at home, turn floss time into game time. You can play some make-believe where your kids can be superheroes fighting off bad guys. This time around, the bad guys are the cavities.

Tell them that by flossing, they are fighting off those evil cavities that are out to destroy their teeth.

4. Join Them

Though cavity protection is a personal matter, it doesn’t mean you couldn’t make it a family affair. Bring the excitement level up by flossing together with your kids. 

One of the secrets to developing the habit among kids is letting them see their parents floss. By joining them, they will learn the proper way of flossing teeth. Moreover, you can correct their mistakes early.

And much like riding a bike, flossing together helps make the task more engaging.

5. Let Them Choose

Since you want to make flossing more engaging, involve your kids further by letting them choose the dental floss. There are many types of flosses for kids. They come in colorful containers, as well as styles and flavors.

There are also water flossers and floss sticks that come in different shapes and sizes. Sometimes, they even come with the kids’ favorite superheroes and cartoon characters.

If your children are old enough to pick, take them to the grocery and let them choose their floss. 

6. Turn Up the Volume

Since children love singing songs, play some of their favorite tunes while flossing. Go to YouTube and search for flossing songs that you and your kids can dance to. Go for fast and upbeat songs that will keep the excitement level high.

At the end of your flossing session, make sure to celebrate by shouting “hooray!”

7.  Establish a Reward System

If you’re struggling to convince your kids to floss, introduce a reward system for motivation. Start by showering them with praises every time they finish flossing. Thereafter, you can give them a treat like reading their favorite bedtime story. 

You may also buy some stickers, which you can give as a reward. To make things more interesting, give your rewards every week. This will motivate your kids to floss throughout the week in exchange for a prize.

The prize can be a book, a small toy, or anything that will encourage your children to continue the habit.

8. Encourage Them

Speaking of encouragement, cheer on your kids as they go through the flossing motion. Shower them with words of encouragement especially when they’re struggling.

If they are wearing braces, increase your encouragement. Flossing with braces is tougher than you think, so you need to give all the support your kids need. After every session, praise them for a job well done.

Tell them how clean and shiny their teeth are.

9. Try Some Apps

Last but not least, you may download some dental apps. Some apps like “brushDJ” play music that encourages brushing and flossing. There are others like “Toothsavers” that tell stories that aim to give kids incentives if they brush and floss. 

You may also try “Chomper Chums” that make brushing and flossing a game. The app gives your kids digital coins that they earn from brushing and flossing. In turn, they can use these digital coins to buy food for the app’s different animal pets.

Protect Your Child’s Teeth, Today!

Aside from avoiding some of the most common tooth brushing mistakes, flossing teeth boosts your children’s battle against cavities. And to complete your kids’ dental hygiene, they need to visit the dentist at least twice a year.

If you’re searching for a family dentist you can trust, our practice will be more than happy to take care of your children’s teeth. Connect with us today and request an appointment. Let’s keep those cavities at bay through our quality family dentistry.