Tag Archives: oral hygiene

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.

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.

Four Useful Tips For A Whiter and Brighter Smile

Chewing GumGetting teeth whitened in the dentist’s office is one way to improve your confidence and make you want to smile a lot more. However, getting treatment is just a start. It’s still important that you continue to look for ways to maintain your smile, or if possible, make it whiter and brighter.

Listed below are four very useful tips for those who want to have a brighter and whiter smile.

  1. Use whitening toothpaste. Visits to the dentist are important not just to get treatment to have your teeth whitened, but also to remove the bacteria and plaque that have built up over time. Also, during dental visits, you may want to ask your dentist to recommend you a specific type of whitening toothpaste to use at home, as well as further instructions on how to use such whitening products.

 

  1. Chew gum and crunchy produce. Saliva is your mouth’s naturally means of cleaning bacteria and plaque. The more saliva you have, the cleaner your mouth will be and chewing gum has been known to increase saliva production. Although make sure that you chew gum that’s sugar-free and with Xylitol so you do not end up damaging your teeth by consuming too much sugar.

 

Speaking of consumption, munching on crunchy produce such as apples, carrots and celery can also help you keep your teeth bright and clean. Although such vegetables and fruits don’t necessarily whiten your teeth, they are naturally abrasive and help remove from your teeth the substances that can cause stains and discoloration.

 

  1. Take better care of your tooth enamel. Your smile may already be white, but it may not be as bright as you want it to be because of weak enamel. Although considered as the hardest substance in the human body, tooth enamel cannot repair itself if it breaks down. This means that if the tooth enamel has been affected by gum disease in the past, there’s no way to restore it. If it’s weak, it’s also much more susceptible to stains. As such, it is important that you take good care of your tooth enamel by providing it with necessary protection, such as by getting fluoride treatment at the dentist’s office and using a fluoride-toothpaste.

 

  1. Drink plenty of milk. Or pretty much any other dairy product you can think of. This is because dairy products are high in calcium, which helps keep your teeth white and bright. Also, aside from giving your teeth the calcium it needs to keep enamel strong, cheese can also help rid your teeth of food particles that can cause stains and discoloration.

Seeking professional treatment to have teeth whitened are certainly the best way to improve the appearance of one’s teeth. However, the effects of such treatment can only last for so long if you don’t take proper care of your teeth.

To help keep your teeth white and bright all the time, make sure that you follow the teeth whitening tips given above, practice good oral hygiene at home and of course, visit the dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups.

If you’d like to whiten your smile, contact Dr. George Kirtley at 317-841-1111 to schedule a consultation to help treat the underlying cause, or visit www.smilesbygeorge.com for information about Dr. George Kirtley and his practice.

Caring for your Implants | Cosmetic Dentist Indianapolis

177406608Receiving a dental implant(s) treatments isn’t the easiest procedure. There are many steps, visits and waiting time to go through the entire process correctly. You’ve put in a lot of time and money in to your new restorative, now how can you ensure they last a lifetime? Once you have your dental implants in place, you want to make sure they are taken care of properly.

Dr. Kirtley also wants to make sure your dental implant(s) are cared for properly as well! We’ve compiled a short list of easy steps to properly care for your new implant(s).

Proper care for your new implant(s):

-Brush and Floss twice a day – just like your regular teeth, implants need to be cleaned and flossed to prevent food particles from invading your gums and implant structure.

-Say no to Staining – dental implants can stain the same as normal teeth. Steer clear of smoking, coffee, tea, sodas and wine. Moderation is key.

-Mouthwash – special germicidal mouthwash is often prescribed by dentists for patients with dental implants. It helps reduce the risk of infection.

-Dental visits twice a year – regular dental visits are a part of normal dental hygiene; however this is especially true for people with dental implants. Your dental implants will need a thorough cleaning and plaque removal. Along with the cleaning, the condition of your gums, jaw and anchors will be checked.

Caring for restorations is just like caring for your natural teeth: brush, floss and maintain regular dental cleanings and check-ups, as scheduled. Easy, right? With proper care, your dental implants can last you a lifetime.

Contact Dr. George Kirtley for an appointment today for more information on implants at 317-841-1111 or generaldentistryindianapolis.com.

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

Dental Extractions | Indianapolis, Il Dentist

skd284147sdcThere’s a classic idiom in the English language that compares unpleasant, difficult tasks to pulling teeth. Known as dental extraction, pulling teeth is recommended in some situations. While it’s certainly true that few people are ever excited about having teeth pulled, dental extractions have come a long way, and the procedure is no longer cause for dread.

Your dentist may recommend extraction for a number of reasons:
– If the tooth is seriously damaged, either due to injury or decay, and can not be saved
– If the tooth to be extracted is a wisdom tooth (third molar), it may cause crowding, alignment problems, pain, or infection
– If the tooth to be extracted is blocking another tooth from coming in
– If the tooth to be extracted is a baby tooth that didn’t fall out in time
– If the tooth to be extracted is causing crowding, a dentist or orthodontist may recommend removing some teeth to allow braces to better adjust the remaining teeth
– If the teeth are infected, or could potentially be an infection source in high risk patients such as those undergoing organ transplants or cancer treatment

Extractions typically fall into one of two classes – simple and surgical. Dentists often perform simple extractions, where oral surgeons often perform surgical extractions. Simple extractions generally involve a single tooth that is visible in the mouth, with clear alignment – after numbing the area with local anesthetic, the tooth will be loosened using an instrument known as an elevator, and then pulled with an instrument known as forceps. For surgical removal, the surgeon may use local anesthetic, moderate sedation, or general anesthesia, and likely use a combination of tools and techniques to remove teeth that may be difficult to see (or still within the gums).

While extractions are very common and generally safe, they do have some risk. The most common complications are dry sockets (where the bone is exposed to air during healing), accidental damage to nearby teeth, and incomplete extractions (where a portion of the tooth remains in the gum). You should talk to your dentist about the risks of these complications.

If your dentist recommends an extraction, it’s likely that you have a potentially serious problem. While it’s unlikely you’ll celebrate the news, you need not fear: there are worse problems to have than pulling teeth.

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

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

What is Gingivitis? | Indianapolis, Il Dentist

Smiling woman with perfect teethGingivitis is one of those things none of us want to hear we have. Hearing you have gingivitis can be embarrassing, since it probably means you haven’t been keeping up with your home oral care. Gingivitis is not the same thing as periodontitis, although sometimes a person may be affected by both. Gum disease is mostly caused by improper oral hygiene that allows bacteria in plaque and calculus to remain on the teeth and infect the gums. Gingivitis is inflammation of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth and is most commonly a result of poor dental hygiene. Gingivitis is a very common condition and varies widely in severity. It is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed easily when teeth are brushed or flossed.

But there are other factors that increase the risk of developing gingivitis. Some of the most common risk factors are as follows:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco prevents the gum tissue from being able to heal.
  • Crooked, rotated, or overlapping teeth create more areas for plaque and calculus to accumulate and are harder to keep clean.
  • Hormonal changes in puberty, pregnancy, and menopause typically correlate with a rise in gingivitis. The increase in hormones causes the blood vessels in the gums to be more susceptible to bacterial and chemical attack.
  • Cancer and cancer treatment can make a person more susceptible to infection and increase the risk of gum disease.
  • Stress impairs the body’s immune response to bacterial invasion.
  • Mouth breathing can be harsh on the gums when they aren’t protected by the lips, causing chronic irritation and inflammation.
  • Poor nutrition, such as a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in water intake, will increase the formation of plaque. Also, a deficiency of important nutrients such as vitamin C will impair healing.
  • Diabetes mellitus impairs circulation and the gums ability to heal.
  • Medications such as anti-seizure medications promote gum disease(Source: medicinenet.com)

The longer that plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more they irritate the gingiva. If harmful bacteria is not removed from teeth, they will begin to irritate the gums and cause gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis will often extend from the gums to the bone and lead to periodontitis. When the underlying bone gets infected, it will start to recede away from the teeth and form deep gum pockets. These pockets collect plaque and bacteria as they are very difficult to keep clean, and more bone loss occurs. As periodontal disease progresses into later stages and more bone tissue is lost, the teeth may eventually become loose and fall out.

Gingivitis can be prevented by proper and consistent oral hygiene. Make certain to eat a balanced diet and visit the dentist regularly. Brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. As always, floss your teeth every day!

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

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

Dental Sealants | Indianapolis Cosmetic Dentist

Woman having teeth examined at dentistsTooth decay is likely to occur when food particles sit in the depressions, nooks, and crannies in and between teeth, allowing bacterial colonies to form, creating acid that eats holes into teeth. While brushing and flossing will do a reasonably good job of removing food particles from the depressions in teeth, dental sealants are a procedure used by dentists to help prevent accumulation of food in the depressions of teeth in the first place.

Dental sealants are a thin plastic coating painted onto the chewing surfaces of teeth – typically molars or premolars – to help keep food from settling within the bite surface. Dental sealants bond to the bite surface, providing a protective surface between the tooth and the food, so that patients are even less likely to experience tooth decay. Because sealants can not only keep food out, but also prevent treatment of existing decay, dental sealant is typically a procedure applied to young patients – often children and teenagers in their most cavity prone years (6-14).

The process for applying sealants is fairly straightforward. First, teeth are thoroughly cleaned and dried. An acidic solution is used to roughen the surface of the enamel to allow the sealant to properly bond, and then teeth are rinsed and dried again. Finally, the sealant is painted on in a thin layer, and hardened with a special light used to cure the plastic. Properly applied, a dental sealant can protect the bite surface of teeth for up to 10 years.

If you have children in the cavity prone age ranges, or if you’re concerned about tooth decay on rear teeth that are difficult to brush, ask your dentist about dental sealants. They may not be an option for every patient, but your dentist will be able to advise you about whether or not you or your children are good candidates, as well as informing you of the cost and time frame of the procedure.

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

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