Tag Archives: dental hygiene

Teach ‘Em Young: Halloween Edition | Indianapolis Dentist

Well, we’ve made it back to yet another Halloween night. And while this night is the spookiest of all, it is the days following that are the spookiest for your dentist. This is why it is so important to keep your dental health up during this sugary sweet time of year. There’s no reason to deny children the enjoyment of Halloween candy, in fact, it is the ideal time to teach an important lesson.

Use Halloween as a way to teach children about moderation. By teaching children to eat sweets in moderation, you’ll encourage them to practice moderation in their daily lives, including other foods that may not be the best for us. Allow your children to choose the candy they want to eat, but set a limit on the number of pieces, and remove the extras – they can be saved for a future day, frozen for later, thrown away, or donated.

It is important to know that the effect of sugar is not instant. If children eat candy for a short time period, and then brush their teeth a short time later, the impact of the sugar is fairly minimal. Set a certain amount of time for children to enjoy their Halloween candy. This allows them to prioritize their candy enjoyment, minimize the chances that they’ll consume far too much, and help prevent cavities.

Focus on fun, but effective, tooth brushing. Children don’t care about dental health, so stimulate their interest by swapping a traditional toothbrush for one that has fun characters/colors, or giving them the opportunity to pick their own toothpaste, just make sure it contains fluoride.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to maintain a healthy smile.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

Dental Checkups: What to Expect | Indianapolis Dentist

In order to maintain a healthy smile, it is important to practice dental hygiene on a daily basis and visit the dentist regularly. Not only will they give you a good deep cleaning, but they will also help to detect any issues that may be coming up on the horizon. But what are you really looking at when you sit in that dentist chair? This is a quick rundown of everything you will come to expect during your dental visit. This way, you won’t have anything to worry about.

The first thing most dentists will do when for a patient’s first visit is conduct x-rays. The x-rays not only provide a current glimpse at the state of the patient’s oral health, but they offer a glimpse at the patient’s dental history. Fillings, crowns, bridges and implants will be plainly visible, as well as any existing problems such as untreated decay.

As the dentist reviews the x-rays, it’s likely that the dentist will discuss your dental history – what problems has the patient had? What prompted the visit? What concerns does the patient have?

Based on the result of the x-rays, it’s likely that the dentist will determine that certain teeth need attention, if a professional cleaning is needed, or showing the patient has in good oral health.

You should now have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Not so bad, right? If you’re still unsure, or if you have any questions, call the dentist’s office – they’ll be more than happy to walk you through the plans, and give you more details about what to expect on your first visit.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to maintain a healthy smile.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

Contour Your Smile | Indianapolis Dentist

When we think of a perfect smile, we will tend to focus on bright, white, straight teeth. However, many patients realize that there’s another component as well – healthy, nice looking gums. You may not even think about it, but have you ever noticed that some may have gums that are too high, and others have gums that are too low? This is what we mean by nice looking gums. The causes will vary – genetics play a part, but certain prescription drugs can cause gums that cover more of your teeth than normal, and activities such as smoking can cause gum recession, causing your teeth to look longer than expected.

Gum contouring is typically considered a cosmetic procedure – most insurance plans do not consider it medically necessary and will not cover the costs. However, it is available from many dental and periodontal offices. For severe cases of gum recession, exposed tooth roots can cause gum contouring to be considered a medical necessity, as the receding tissue can contribute to long term problems such as tooth decay and tooth loss.

The procedure can be done with traditional surgical techniques or lasers – ask your dentist to determine which they recommend. In many cases, local anesthesia is sufficient, though general anesthesia may be considered for larger procedures. The recovery is typically straightforward – there is some bleeding and swelling expected, but generally the soreness will subside within a week. At the end of the procedure, the patient can look forward to a gum line that is both healthy and cosmetically appealing. Think your gums could be changing on you? Make a dental appointment for a consultation and get started on the smile you’ve always wanted.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to maintain a healthy smile.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

Keeping ‘Em White: Refrigerator Edition | Indianapolis Dentist

We all try everything to have the whitest smile we can. Brushing, over-the-counter products and professional teeth whitening procedures are all options, but have you ever thought you could brighten your grin in your kitchen? According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, certain foods naturally cleanse, brighten, and defend against bacteria that can harm your teeth and gums.

The following 10 foods were recommended by the academy for a healthy, brighter smile.

  • Pineapples can help whiten teeth. Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain, which acts as a natural stain remover. Bromelain also helps break up plaque.
  • Ginger can protect against periodontal disease, an inflammatory process that causes the loss of bone and supportive connective tissue in your mouth.
  • Carrots contain vitamin A, which is needed for healthy tooth enamel. Eating them raw stimulates saliva, your mouth’s natural cleanser.
  • Basil is a natural antibiotic that reduces bacteria in the mouth.
  • Cheese is rich in protein, calcium, and phosphorus, all of which help reduce acid in your mouth.
  • Sesame seeds help “scrub” away the plaque on your teeth. Chewing nuts can also provide this coarse, scrubbing action. Sesame seeds also contain bone and teeth-strengthening calcium.
  • Shiitake mushrooms contain a compound called lentinan, which inhibits bacteria from growing in your mouth.
  • Onions contain the sulfur compounds, thiosulfinates and thiosulfonates, which reduce bacteria that cause tooth decay. Eating them raw is a must as cooking will destroy these tooth-friendly compounds.
  • Salmon not only provides calcium but also vitamin D, another nutrient needed for healthy bones and teeth.
  • Broccoli contains iron, which helps form an acid-resistant film or barrier that can protect the enamel of your teeth.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to maintain a healthy smile.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

Do You Know Your Teeth? | Indianapolis Dentist

We all have them – in fact, we have two sets within our lifetimes. They help us eat, speak and plenty of other functions. But have you ever stopped to think, what exactly are these hard, white nuggets in our mouths? Believe it or not, but teeth are complicated structures. Let’s start from the outside and work our way in…

The visible surface of the tooth is known as enamel. Enamel is typically light yellow to white in color, but is semi translucent, so when you are looking at the color of your teeth, you are looking at both the enamel and underlying dentin.

Enamel covers the tooth above the gum line, below is covered in cementum. A yellowish substance, it contains less than half of the mineral content as enamel, making it much softer. However, cementum is to provide a surface to allow the periodontal ligaments in the gums to hold onto the tooth.

Below the enamel and cementum lies the dentin, both much softer than enamel and much less brittle. It’s also more prone to decay. Finally, within the dentin lies the tooth pulp. The pulp is soft tissue, filled with blood vessels and nerves that provide the tooth with oxygen, nutrients, and the ability to transmit ‘senses’ such as temperature, pain, and pressure.

While most people will only see the enamel surface of their teeth, you can see that there are lots of layers that make up a tooth, and all need proper dental care to maintain healthy teeth. By protecting the enamel with proper brushing, and treating cavities formed by decay before they damage the dentin or pulp, proper dental care will ensure a patient has healthy teeth – from pulp to enamel – well into old age.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to maintain a healthy smile.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

Care for a Mint? | Indianapolis Dentist

Nobody wants to hear, “You have bad breath.”

The problem is, that is generally how you find out that you do. It’s something a significant someone will likely point out to you. 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? It isn’t as difficult as you think. The main goal to keeping bad breath at bay is to keep saliva production going. The more saliva you have being produced the less chance odor-causing bacteria have to set up camp in your mouth. 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.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to find out what kind of treatment your teeth needs to be healthier and to look better.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

Lack Sleep, Gain Weight | Indianapolis Dentist

In dreamland, weight issues are non-existent. We don’t have to follow some low-carb diet. There is no working up a sweat running on a treadmill for hours. No need for herbal supplements or any magical pills. We just fall asleep and voila – we are instantly thinner.

Studies have shown that people who get frequent, good-quality sleep tend to weigh less than those who lack appropriate shut eye. There certainly is a correlation between good health and good sleep. People with sleep deficiencies have distorted quantities of a hormone that has been identified in controlling hunger. This creates an amplified appetite and increases your preference for high calorie foods.

There is an abundance of physical consequences when don’t get enough sleep. Sleep loss affects your mood, your appetite and your hormones. You’re inclined to desire comfort food when you are tired and it’s more probable that you will indulge your craving for them. Even though it may feel like you have a boost in your energy level, you will find yourself hungry more frequently. Your hunger isn’t the real problem; your sleepiness is.

For a lot of people, emotional eating is triggered when you are tired. This is because you’re less resistant to stress and stress leads to eating. Also, people will use food as a means to stay awake. Again, your body is craving sleep, not food, but in your sleepy state, you fail to recognize this.

In the end, get a good night’s sleep and wake up lighter. Sleep deficiencies increase your appetite and promote weight gain. Midnight cravings are actually a thing.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to find out what kind of treatment your teeth needs to be healthier and to look better.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

Why Are My Teeth Turning Yellow? | Indianapolis Dentist

teeth whiteningYou have all the tools you need to keep your smile bright and shiny, but for some reason the brilliant white in your teeth has begun to fade. How is this happening? Isn’t brushing the main reason our teeth stay white? The answer is yes…and no. Yes, daily dental hygiene is the way you need to keep your dental health intact. But your teeth can also begin to change because of other factors, like your diet. When you keep a certain diet regularly, the outer layers of your teeth get stained over the years. When these outside sources of staining are left to sit on the teeth until your next brushing, the dentin on your teeth becomes yellowish or darkened. Contributing factors to yellowing, stained teeth:

  • Tetracycline based antibiotics used before the age of 8 years old
  • Excessive exposure to fluoride as a child
  • Internal bleeding due to trauma
  • Discoloration due to a health condition
  • Natural aging- as time goes by enamel gets thinner and thinner and will get a yellowish hue
  • Soda
  • Wine
  • Smoking
  • Caffeine

So, now that we know what causes our teeth to become dingy looking, how do we prevent this from happening? The best way to help your stained discolored teeth is professional tooth whitening. But in between these treatments, keeping your daily dental hygiene up by brushing with a toothpaste with whitening agents at least twice a day. If a toothbrush isn’t available at the time, rinse your mouth with water several times a day with water. Sound too easy? It really is.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to find out what kind of treatment your teeth needs to be healthier and to look better.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

Play Sports? Take Care of Your Teeth | Indianapolis Dentist

When 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. 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. 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 affect 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 smile intact.

Visit Dr. Kirtley today and schedule an appointment to find out what kind of treatment your teeth needs to be healthier and to look better.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Dr. George Kirtley proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.

Halloween: Your Smile’s Least Favorite Holiday | Indianapolis Dentist

The end of October may feature one of America’s favorite holidays, but it sure isn’t your teeth’s. Yes, it’s Halloween, the nighttime holiday where kids dressed up as their favorite character and hunt the neighborhood for sweet confections. While many parents have echoed the line that candy will rot children’s teeth, there’s no reason to deny children the enjoyment of Halloween candy, but it’s important to supervise them to ensure that their Halloween is enjoyed in a way that keeps their teeth safe. Here are some helpful tips:

Moderation. Use Halloween as a way to teach children about moderation – by teaching children to eat a moderate number of treats, you’ll encourage them to practice moderation in their daily lives. Allow your children to choose the candy they want to eat, but set a limit on the number of pieces, and remove the extras so they can’t be eaten when you aren’t looking.

Snack time sweets. Allow children to eat candy during a fixed time period – rather than an all-day feast, they’ll have a fixed window for candy. This allows them to prioritize their candy enjoyment, minimizes the chances that they’ll consume far too much, and by following treats with brushing, helps prevent cavities.

Hygiene fun. Focus on fun, but effective, dental hygiene. Children often need stimulation beyond simple health to brush regularly and sufficiently, so swap toothbrushes every few months with new, fun characters/colors, and give your children the opportunity to pick their own fluoride toothpaste.

If you have questions about how Halloween impacts your children’s dental health, contact your dentist or ask at your child’s next dental appointment. Help them help your smile.

Visit Great Lakes Family Dental today and schedule an appointment to find out what kind of treatment your teeth needs to be healthier and to look better.  Call 317-841-1111 or www.smilesbygeorge.com.

Great Lakes Family Dental proudly serves Indianapolis and all surrounding areas.