Category Archives: General Health

Why Is Mouthwash Important? | Indianpolis Dentist

periodontal disease

Using mouthwash isn’t necessary. However, it is highly recommended. Quick and easy to use, mouthwash doesn’t just help make your mouth feel and smell fresh. In fact, both prescription and over-the-counter mouthwash can significantly help improve your oral health and reduce your risk for cavities and gum disease.

Benefits of Using Mouthwash

Brushing and flossing should be more than enough to control plaque growth and prevent cavities and gum disease. At least, in theory. Unfortunately, most patients do not brush or floss their teeth thoroughly enough to properly keep dental plaque in control. And, that is where mouthwash comes in.

By using mouthwash in addition to your regular care routine of twice-daily brushing and daily flossing, you help add an additional layer of protection for your teeth against tooth decay and gingivitis, which promotes healthier teeth and gums.

Mouthwash can help fresh breath, prevent plaque build-up, remove any loose particles and food debris in your mouth and stop cavities from farming. However, the keyword here is “in addition”, which means that mouthwash shouldn’t be considered as a replacement to brushing and flossing. Instead, you should look at it as a way to keep your teeth and gums healthy in between brushing and flossing your teeth. As such, the ideal time to use mouthwash wouldn’t be straight after brushing your teeth, but instead, after lunch when you don’t really have time to brush or floss your teeth.

Choosing The Right Mouthwash

If you’ve considered adding a mouthwash or mouth rinse to your oral care routine, it’s important that you understand what options are available to you. More importantly, you should know what factors you should consider when making your choice.

Here are some factors that you should take note of:

  • Alcohol or no alcohol? Alcohol is found in plenty of mouthwashes and rinses. This can be a huge problem if deliberately swallowed, which is a very possible if you’re a recovering alcoholic, or someone in your household is. Also, if you want to buy just one type of mouthwash or rinse for the whole family, the safer choice would be to go with alcohol-free mouthwash products available in the market.
  • Sensitivity – Certain ingredients found in mouthwash can be irritating, especially if you have sensitive gums or if you’re recovering from a dental procedure. If either is the case for you, consider buying an alcohol-free or natural mouthwash. The latter often contain ingredients such as aloe vera and/or chamomile that generally make them gentler and more soothing on your teeth and gums.
  • Plaque control – While all types of mouthwash help protect your teeth against bacteria, some are specialized to be just much more effective. Consider dental rinse containing anti-plaque ingredients if you want to provide even more protection to your teeth and gums.

If you’re still not sure about using mouthwash, or if you think you wouldn’t like the taste or sensation, consider asking your dentist for a free sample on your next visit. Also, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist for their thoughts and suggestions regarding using mouthwash in daily oral care.

 

How to Keep Your Breath Fresh | Indianapolis Dentist

Chewing GumDo you suspect you have bad breath? If so, it might be an indication of other problems and not just a lack of proper oral hygiene. With perpetual bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may be a warning sign of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. Bacteria cause the formation of toxins, which irritate the gums. If gum disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone.

The medical condition dry mouth (xerostomia) also can cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, neutralize acids produced by plaque, and wash away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth may be a side effect of various medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous breathing through the mouth.

Many other diseases and illnesses may cause bad breath. Here are some to be aware of: respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems.

Below are five easy ways to keep your breath fresh all day:

Stay hydrated. If you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, drinking a lot of water can help speed up the process of cleaning harmful bacteria and debris from between your teeth, by rinsing your mouth out as well. Drinking milk can even help deodorize some offensive breath odors. So make sure you drink your daily intake of water and avoid sugary drinks!

Keep coffee use to a minimum. It may be tasty, but coffee is a tough smell to get off the back of your tongue. If you feel like you can’t function without it, don’t quit completely. Instead, keep the intake to a minimum and have a toothbrush or sugar-free gum handy for afterwards.

Stay away from tobacco products. Cigarettes, pipes, and snuff can not only make you more susceptible to health issues, but smoking gives people horrible breath. Keeping them out of your life will have multiple benefits.

Cut back on alcohol. Alcohol can lead to a dry mouth. Too much beer, wine, and hard liquor can make your breath smell less than fresh for up to eight to 10 hours after you finish drinking.

Chew sugarless gum. Wait for a good half hour after a meal before popping in a piece of sugarless gum. It can help with saliva flow, cleaning cavity-forming bacteria from your mouth before they can do any damage. Gum that’s 100% xylitol-sweetened can help reduce cavities, so feel free to indulge in this sweet treat after a good meal.

For more information regarding bad breath and/or to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website dentalimplantsinindianapolis.com.

Dr. Kirtley gladly welcomes patients from Indianapolis, Spring Hill, Beech Grove, Wynndale, Speedway, Rocky Ripple, Warren Park and all surrounding areas.

Your Dental Visit Doesn’t Have to Be Scary | Indianapolis Dentist

Dental treatmentIt will always be a nerve-wracking time preparing to see any sort of health professional. As adults, we seem to try dodging these appointments whenever possible. You aren’t exactly sure why, you just know you don’t want to go. For many, the thought of the unknown is the worst part about these meetings. So after years of deflecting the inevitable, don’t you want to understand why?

The good thing about returning to the dentist after a long hiatus is that our first encounter is going to be virtually painless. The goal for this visit is to basically get to know you and your oral health. It’s going to be a breeze, so make your appointment to get that first consultation taken care of. Every journey begins with a proverbial first step, even if that step is your mouth’s.

When you appointment begins, your dentist is going to do is ask about your health history. It may seem intrusive because dentists focus on oral health, but a lot of issues can be determined via the mouth, so it’s important that everyone is on the same page when it comes to your general health.

Typically, next will be x-rays. They’re necessary in order for your dentist to monitor your bone & jaw health. If you have recent ones, bring them with you to bypass this step. But prepare to have them done. Once they are done, your dental professional will clean your teeth. This will help them see any issues, like chips and cavities that may be developing due to your daily oral care or other health issues. Once that is done, not only will your mouth feel amazing, but your dentist can give you a better idea about things you need to do in order to take preventative measures. We want to stay ahead of anything that may happen in the future, so a good cleaning will help see the current state of your teeth.

And that’s basically it as far as the exam is concerned. Now it’s your turn to ask the questions. Take this time to discuss any questions or concerns you have going forward. They will have the best ideas about how to treat any issue they find necessary and prepare you for any surgeries that may need to take place. Be thorough. They are there to help you feel more at ease about your health, so don’t hesitate to mention any fears you may have.

Don’t worry. This first dental visit isn’t anything to worry about. In fact, it’s your first step to a beautiful smile. That in and of itself is good news.

For more information regarding and/or to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website dentalimplantsinindianapolis.com.

Dr. Kirtley gladly welcomes patients from Indianapolis, Spring Hill, Beech Grove, Wynndale, Speedway, Rocky Ripple, Warren Park and all surrounding areas.

Why Athletes Have to Worry About Their Teeth | Indianapolis Dentist

thinkstockphotos-166340009When we think about athletes, we think about strong healthy individuals that take their sport by storm with all of their physical ability. They train hard, they eat well to give their bodies the proper nutrition in order to perform at their peak. But what if I told you that athletes actually have more to worry about when it comes to their oral health. It’s true. We may all have the same basic guidelines when it comes to oral care, but an athlete’s lifestyle isn’t the same as ours and needs to be treated as such. During their training, athletes often have high-carb diets and drink lots of energy drinks to keep up with things. Those two things alone are driving sugars and acids into their mouths, and these are the main causes for tooth decay and cavity-causing erosion. What they don’t realize is that when you have issues in your mouth, it can progress to cause pain. These pains may not be directly involved in the sport, but it can cause issues with sleeping and training in general, two necessities for all athletes to perform their best. So, if you are an athlete looking to better your overall performance on the field, track, court, or ice, you should look into your oral health!

Recent studies done and published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2012 showed that 18 percent of athletes who attended the dental clinic of the London 2012 Olympic Games reported that their oral health damaged their training and performance in the games.

Researchers surveyed and examined 302 athletes from 25 sports and concluded these results:

  • Fifty-five percent had dental caries, the disease that causes cavities
  • Forty-five percent had dental erosion
  • More than three-quarters had gingivitis and 15 percent had gum disease
  • More than 40 percent of athletes were “bothered” by their oral health with 28 percent saying it impacted their quality of life and 18 percent saw an impact on their training and performance
  • Nearly half of the participants had not had an oral exam or hygiene care in the previous year

This just goes to show that oral health is an important tool and element of overall health, as it can effect one’s overall performance. And if you are in a sport that is more physical, make sure to see your dentist for a custom-fit mouthguard to ensure your teeth are protected from those tough hits. Preventative measures are key to keeping your entire athletic machine running in tiptop shape.

For more information on dental care for athletes and/or to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website dentalimplantsinindianapolis.com.

Dr. Kirtley gladly welcomes patients from Indianapolis, Spring Hill, Beech Grove, Wynndale, Speedway, Rocky Ripple, Warren Park and all surrounding areas.

DIY Remedies: The All-Natural Edition | Indianapolis Dentist

Vector cartoon sick tooth. Decay and destroy tooth.There are lots of dental problems that arise as we progress in life, and they range from minor to serious. Sometimes you don’t have time to make it to the dentist, and sometimes you are just waiting for your appointment. There must be something you can do in the meantime to help remedy a few of the more common problems that may present itself. There are loads of different over-the-counter remedies to counter these issues, but there are also natural remedies you could actually have in your home at this very moment. The following is a list of things you can do at home for a quick fix to various dental issues, listed from minor to major:

Bad breath. No one likes to know they have bad breath. It’s awkward and embarrassing, for everyone involved. Try chewing on fennel seeds or parsley. Fenugreek leaves boiled into a tea can be used as a mouthwash. Grab a handful of leaves and swish the tea around in your mouth twice a day.

Discolored teeth. There are a few things you can do to gradually turn your yellowed teeth to a sparkling white grin. Make a paste with some baking soda and water and brush your teeth with it once a week. Turn some strawberries into a paste and rub it onto your teeth. It may sound strange but the acids in strawberries scrub your teeth in the most delicious way possible. If you are looking for something a bit more exotic, mix mustard oil with holy basil leaves. The paste is fantastic for fading your teeth’s tinge.

Gum infections. If you find that your gums have become inflamed, chances are you will need to take a trip to the dentist. But in the meantime, rinse with warm saline water three times a day. It will keep the area clean and plaque-free. Chewing basil leaves is also known to sooth gums so have some handy if you begin to feel some discomfort. Mustard oil come in handy here too. Mix a little with a pinch of salt to help relieve any mild infection, or loose tooth, you may have.

Toothaches. If your pain has progressed all the way to full-blown toothache, it may feel like nothing will help it. Would you believe it can be fixed by pressing a clove of garlic on the pain? It works. Turmeric powder pressed on a cavity will work wonders on a cavity. Similar to a topical anesthetics we use for cuts, clove oil will do the same anti-bacterial things, but for your mouth.

Dental problems are bound to happen at some point. It’s natural. And as you can see, there are lots of natural ways we can help relieve some of our dental problems. They may not be total solutions, but they will work great until you can get into the dental chair.

For more information on dental emergencies and/or to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website dentalimplantsinindianapolis.com.

Dr. Kirtley gladly welcomes patients from Indianapolis, Spring Hill, Beech Grove, Wynndale, Speedway, Rocky Ripple, Warren Park and all surrounding areas.

Bad Breath: A Social Faux Pas | Indianapolis Dentist

Fresh Breath

We all want to maintain fresh breath throughout the day but if we don’t have a toothbrush at our disposal how do we accomplish that? Nobody wants to hear, “You have bad breath.” It should come as no surprise, the main way to keeping your smile pretty is to brush and floss every day. In fact, some of us go so far as to do it after each and every meal. I personally find it to be incredibly difficult to keep up with doing so after every meal, but a couple times a day was definitely doable, especially with my mom’s constant reminders. What I didn’t know was that we are naturally given a tooth decaying weapon to fight against cavities & gum disease – saliva.

I know it seems difficult to believe but the answer is already hanging out inside your mouth. You see, tooth decay happens when bacteria feed off of the sugars we are consuming through food and drink. This plaque latches on to your teeth and begins to eat through the enamel on your teeth. So this makes sense to brush after every meal. There leaves less time for this oral menace to do a whole lot of damage. But even more than that, when the saliva glands are activated in our mouths, it naturally helps rinse off the bacteria.

How do we activate this handy dental friend? Chewing. Every meal you eat, every snack you nosh on, every piece of bubble gum you chew is all creating saliva to help fight against germs and bad breath. But keep in mind, it takes 20 minutes for sugar to be cleared from your mouth after its consumption. The more often you are chewing on something sugary, the more often you are exposing your teeth to more bacteria. Try to keep your munchies less sugary and a lot healthier. Sugar-free gum & candy is great, but so is a handy bottle of water. Keeping a nice balance will not only get those salivary glands working, but will also help out the cause when you don’t have a toothbrush handy.

Below are five easy ways to keep your breath fresh all day:

  • Stay hydrated. If you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, drinking a lot of water can help speed up the process of cleaning harmful bacteria and debris from between your teeth. Drinking milk can even help deodorize some offensive breath odors. Avoid sugary drinks!
  • Don’t drink too much coffee. It may be tasty, but coffee is a tough smell to get off the back of your tongue.
  • Don’t smoke or use other tobacco products. Cigarettes, pipes, and snuff can foul your breath. Smoking gives people horrible breath!
  • Cut back on alcohol. Alcohol can lead to a dry mouth. Too much beer, wine, and hard liquor can make your breath reek for up to eight to 10 hours after you finish drinking.
  • Chew sugarless gum. Doing so 20 minutes after a meal can help with saliva flow. Gum that’s 100% xylitol-sweetened can help reduce cavities.

For more information and to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website smilesbygeorge.com

Dr. George Kirtley welcomes patients from Spring Hill, Beech Grove and Warren Park

 

The Terrible Ten Smile Saboteurs | Indianapolis Dentist

Beautiful smile with withe teethThere are lots of reasons our teeth may not be the brightest at all times. We go to the dentist for regular cleanings, but in the end, they always seem to go back to the way they were. But why? What are we doing to make our smile dingy or flawed? A lot of times, it isn’t how well we clean our chompers. In many cases, discolored or damaged teeth are the result of our own bad habits, says Indianapolis dentist George Kirtley; other problems are caused by chemicals that entered teeth during childhood. The way we eat,what we put into our mouths, even habits you don’t realize you’ve picked up, like biting your pencil, can all do small damages to our teeth. The biggest offenders he sees in Indianapolis:

  • Drinking tea. Hot or cold, tea stains teeth more than any other kind of drink.
  • Smoking, because tobacco yellows teeth.
  • Drinking coffee; it stains the teeth.
  • Drinking red wine; it stains the teeth.
  • Consuming too many soft drinks, which leave sugars on teeth that can create cavities.
  • Eating highly acidic foods, including starchy snacks such as potato chips and tortilla chips. They can drive enamel-busting acids deep into teeth, breaking the teeth down.
  • Ingesting too much fluoride during childhood, which can actually damage teeth.
  • Treating childhood diseases with antibiotics, such as Tetracycline, that can discolor teeth.
  • Chewing ice or your nails; it cracks teeth.
  • Grinding teeth; habitual grinding damages teeth.

For more information on habits that can cause damage to your smile and/or to make an appointment, call Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves patients from Indianapolis, Spring Hill, Beech Grove, Wynnedale, Speedway, Rocky Ripple, Warren Park and all surrounding areas.

Oral Health & Overall Health | Indianapolis Cosmetic Dentist

With overwhelming evidence that oral health and total health are connected – the mouth is part of the systemic whole – it’s important to understand how food affects your teeth & gums. Food is not just sustenance, not just fuel and certainly not just a diversion. Food nurtures and heals. So the type of food you eat affects your health and wellbeing.

The right foods help you feel energetic, sleep better and prevent sickness.

Generally, good nutrition is beneficial for oral health as well as total health. Fill your diet with fresh produce, nuts & seeds, legumes, lean meats and whole grains. These contribute to a more alkaline state in the body, which defends against bacteria and inflammation.Avoid food with artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, food coloring, high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, refined flour and partially hydrogenated oils. These contribute to a more acidic state in the body, which increases bacteria and creates inflammation.

Here is a list of 10 foods for great oral health will benefit your mouth. But they’re also good for the rest of you!

Kiwi: Most fruits contain Vitamin C, which is vital for the health of your gum tissue, but kiwis contain the highest amount. Without Vitamin C, the collagen in your gums breaks down, the gums become tender and more susceptible to the bacteria causing periodontal disease.

Cheese: High in phosphate and calcium, cheese helps balance the pH in the mouth, killing bacteria and preserving tooth enamel. This prevents cavities and gum disease.

Celery: As a crunchy vegetable made mainly of water, chewing celery produces saliva, neutralizing the bacteria that causes cavities. It’s also a naturally abrasive food that massages gums and cleans between teeth.

Green Tea: Enjoyed for centuries in Asia, green tea contains catechins that kill the bacteria leading to plaque while preventing gum disease and cavities. It also inhibits the growth of bacteria leading to bad breath.

Sesame Seeds: High in calcium, sesame seeds preserve the bone around the teeth & gums. They also help slough off plaque while helping build tooth enamel.

Onions: Onions have powerful antibacterial sulfur compounds, making them terrific for oral health. They are strongest when eaten fresh and uncooked.

Shiitake Mushrooms: These mushrooms contain lentinan, a naturally occurring sugar that prevents mouth bacteria from forming plaque.

Raisins: Sweet and tasty, raisins contain phytochemicals like oleanolic acid that inhibit two species of oral bacteria to prevent cavities and gum disease.

Sweet Potatoes: Along with carrots, pumpkin and broccoli, sweet potatoes have high amounts of Vitamin A, which is essential for tooth enamel formation and promotes healing of gum tissue.

Water: Water is effective at swishing away stuck particles and residue from teeth. It also keeps your gums hydrated while stimulating saliva – the best defense against bacteria.

For more information and to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website smilesbygeorge.com

Dr. George Kirtley welcomes patients from Spring Hill, Beech Grove and Warren Park

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month | Indianapolis Cosmetic Dentist

While some think this is a rare cancer, mouth cancers will be newly diagnosed in about 115 new individuals each day in the US alone, and a person dies from oral cancer every hour of every day. If you add the sub category of laryngeal throat cancers, the rates of occurrence (about 12,000 additional new cases per year) and death are significantly higher. When found at early stages of development, oral cancers have an 80 to 90 % survival rate. Unfortunately at this time, the majority are found as late stage cancers, and this accounts for the very high death rate of about 43% at five years from diagnosis (for all stages and etiologies combined at time of diagnosis), and high treatment related morbidity in survivors. Late stage diagnosis is not occurring because most of these cancers are hard to discover, it is because of a lack of public awareness coupled with the lack of a national program for opportunistic screenings which would yield early discovery by medical and dental professionals. Worldwide the problem is far greater, with new cases annually exceeding 450,000.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Oral cancer refers to cancer that develops in any of the parts that make up the mouth. Oral cancer is one of several types of cancer grouped in a category called head and neck cancers. Mouth cancer and other head and neck cancers are often treated similarly.

If you notice any of the below changes, contact your dentist or health care professional immediately.

What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Swellings/thickenings, lumps or bumps, rough spots/crusts/or eroded areas on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth
  • The development of velvety white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
  • Persistent sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within 2 weeks
  • A soreness or feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
  • Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice
  • Ear pain
  • A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together
  • Dramatic weight loss

How Is Oral Cancer Diagnosed?

As part of your routine dental exam, your dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening exam. More specifically, your dentist will feel for any lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, face, and oral cavity. When examining your mouth, your dentist will look for any sores or discolored tissue as well as check for any signs and symptoms mentioned above.Your dentist may perform an oral brush biopsy if he or she sees tissue in your mouth that looks suspicious. This test is painless and involves taking a small sample of the tissue and analyzing it for abnormal cells. Alternatively, if the tissue looks more suspicious, your dentist may recommend a scalpel biopsy. This procedure usually requires local anesthesia and may be performed by your dentist or a specialist. These tests are necessary to detect oral cancer early, before it has had a chance to progress and spread.

 

See your dentist on a regular schedule. Even though you may be conducting frequent self exams, sometimes dangerous spots or sores in the mouth can be very tiny and difficult to see on your own.

The American Cancer Society recommends oral cancer screening exams every 3 years for persons over age 20 and annually for those over age 40.

During your next dental appointment, ask your dentist to perform an oral exam. Early detection can improve the chance of successful treatment.

For more information and to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website smilesbygeorge.com

Dr. George Kirtley welcomes patients from Spring Hill, Beech Grove and Warren Park

When Sleep Decreases, Your Overall Risk Increases

When sleep decreases, your overall risk increases.

“Coming up on the 6:00 news. A fatality on our roads today as the driver apparently fell asleep at the wheel . . . “

Their annual summer vacation was all but over and the Brown’s were driving down the highway. They were on their way back home, the kids all safe and fast asleep in the back seat. Suddenly, a truck on the opposite side of the highway swerved into the ditch and continued to roll a dozen times before completely stopping just short of a telephone pole.

The Browns were shocked and the next morning made a point of scanning the paper to determine the fate of the occupants in the vehicle. The paper reported the lone inhabitant was pronounced dead at the scene and the crash was a result of the driver falling asleep at the wheel.

A major cause of accidents is impaired sleep. Plain and simple. Carelessness and fatigue resulting from sleep loss play a huge factor in far more disasters than ever get reported on. When polled, more than one-third of all people who said they have driven while drowsy, indicated they have fallen asleep at the wheel.

It comes as no surprise to learn that lack of sleep alters emotions and moods. What may be a surprise to learn is sleep deprived individuals compared to someone under the influence of alcohol – have similar reaction times. Recently a study showed more than half of all road accidents are committed by sleep deprived individuals.

Your reaction time and attentiveness are affected by inadequate amounts of sleep. An estimated twenty percent of all workplace related injuries transpire because of a person’s sleepiness. Accidents in the workplace result in financial burdens affecting corporations, society, the health care system and the individual.

You get behind the wheel when you are tired and you don’t think twice about it. Driving while sleepy sounds harmless enough. Going about your day when you are a little tired doesn’t appear to be hurting anyone. The truth is – it’s hazardous and risky. Sleepiness is a liability that doesn’t discriminate. It impairs your reaction time, your mental and physical ability and your capacity to make judgments and process information.

For more information and to make an appointment call, Dr. Kirtley at 317-841-1111 or visit his website smilesbygeorge.com

As seen on SleepDallas.com

Dr. George Kirtley welcomes patients from Spring Hill, Beech Grove and Warren Park