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Get Rid of Bad Breath – Boston, Boxborough, MA

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

To ensure that your breath is fresh, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss daily, food can become trapped in your mouth, attracting bacteria that leads to bad breath. Also, bad breath can be caused by food particles that collect between the teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue which can decay.

To prevent bad breath, brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day. Brush gently and pay special attention to the gum line. Also, use floss to clean between your teeth at least once daily. Brushing your tongue and roof of your mouth can also help remove odor-causing bacteria and debris. Mouthwashes just temporarily mask a bad odor. They don’t have a long-lasting effect. If you feel like you constantly must use mouthwash for bad breath, talk with your dentist.

More Problems and Solutions

Several other factors can play a role in bad breath. These include:

Gum disease. Bad breath that doesn’t go away can be an early warning sign of gum disease. In addition to brushing and flossing, it’s important to have regular dental checkups and professional cleanings.

Food. Certain foods can affect your breath for up to three days after eating them, including onions, garlic, and coffee. Once food is absorbed into the blood, it is carried to the lungs. There it can give exhaled air a bad odor. Brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash can mask the problem. But the improvement is short-lived, and the problem will keep coming back until your body eliminates the food. For a long-term solution, you might need to adjust your diet.

Dry mouth. Saliva helps prevent bad breath by washing away food particles and bacteria. When you sleep, saliva production slows down. This causes many people to wake up with bad breath. Dry mouth during the day can be caused by salivary gland problems, breathing through your mouth, or taking certain medications. Depending on the cause, your dentist might recommend drinking more fluids, chewing sugarless gum to stimulate saliva flow, or using artificial saliva.

Smoking. This is another common cause of bad breath—and one more good reason not to smoke. If you’re a smoker, ask your dentist or doctor for help with quitting.

Medical conditions. Bad breath can also be a sign of another medical disorder, such as chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, digestive problems, and liver or kidney disease. If your mouth is healthy, your dentist may refer you for a medical evaluation.

For more information, contact Today’s Dental of Boxborough.

Helping Teens with Their Dental Habits - Boston, Boxborough, MA

Joseph Coupal - Monday, July 06, 2015

Encouraging proper dental care and daily brushing can be a battle with young children. This struggle can sometimes get worse as your kids enter their tweens and teens.

It’s not uncommon for habits to slip as teens hit puberty. If you have a child who is susceptible to gum disease or cavities, this age period is often when major problems begin. Good dental health is particularly important to teens as older children who neglect their teeth can lead to a lifetime pattern of poor dental hygiene. Poor brushing habits can result in cavities, yellowing, gum disease and loss of teeth.

According to a recent Gallup Youth Survey, 34% of teens brush their teeth only once a day and 2% claim that they don’t even brush daily. The numbers are even more discouraging when it comes to daily flossing, which is necessary for maintaining healthy teeth and gums and preventing future problems such as gingivitis. However, few teens floss as often as they should, with the survey finding that only 13% floss daily and 44% rarely or never floss.

One of the problems is that many teenagers have yet to grasp that they have adult teeth, which are taller than the baby teeth they leave behind. Also, 12-year-old molars typically arrive between 10 and 16 years of age and many children are not aware that they need to reach further back to brush them. Additionally, motor skill development doesn’t make it reasonable to expect kids to adequately floss until they are at least 10 years old.

The following are some simple and easy tips to encourage teens to take proper care of their teeth:

  • Don’t hover. Constantly monitoring teens may make them less likely to brush. Provide encouragement, but give them some space.
  • Use positive forms of reinforcement and establish an appropriate reward system.
  • Don’t threaten. Never use a visit to the dentist as a punishment, which can create an unfounded fear of the dentist and instill a dread of dental treatments.
  • Practice what you preach. It’s important for parents to set a good example for teens and follow your own behaviors, including those related to dental care. Teenagers are more likely to develop good dental health habits if they see them displayed at home.
  • Have teens keep a travel-size toothbrush in their locker or backpack, which makes it easy to keep up with good teeth-cleaning habits after meals and snacks.
  • Explain the consequences, in detail. Describe the implications that can result from a failure to brush, including plaque buildup, tooth decay, gum surgery and root canals. Also focus on the more superficial elements of poor oral care, such as stained teeth, which should get a teen’s attention.

It’s important to make sure teens keep up with routine dental visits and exams, including cleanings, which should take place every six months. It can also be helpful to have a neutral outsider, such as a dentist or dental hygienist, talk to your teen about the importance of brushing and flossing.

For more information on teen dental health, contact Today's Dental of Boxborough.

The Record

Choosing a Pediatric Dentist for your Kids – Boston, Boxborough, Concord, MA

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?

Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years of rigorous specialty training following a four-year dental school curriculum and is the only dentist who limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are the primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs. Their residency training provides extensive study and hands-on experience in both problems specific to the growth and development of children’s mouths and in child psychology. Pediatric dentists also have a different approach in orienting children to the dental environment, and practice behavior management techniques that encourage positive early dental experiences for children.

When should my child first see the dentist?

Your child should first see the pediatric dentist by age 1, or as soon as the first tooth emerges. Although many people still wait to make their child's first dental visit at age 3, this information is no longer current. By age 3, your child may either already have cavities or have poor dietary and hygiene habits that can leave them more susceptible to cavities. Remember, big dental problems can begin at a very young age. The greatest risk of severe cavities comes from either frequent sipping on sugary drinks or allowing your child to fall asleep while drinking a bottle or nursing. The most important reason to begin dental care so young is to begin a thorough preventative program for your child. And then the dentist can spot problems, such as the early stages of decay, before they do any major damage.

Is my child at risk for dental disease?

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, your child may be at an increased risk for dental disease and cavities:

  • Do you (child’s mother) and/or any of your other children have tooth decay?
  • Does your child snack frequently? Does your child have increased between-meal exposures to sugars, including 100 percent fruit juices and/or flavored milks or sports drinks and carbohydrate-rich snacks?
  • Does your child sleep with a bottle or is your child breastfed throughout the night?
  • Does your child have special health care needs that impact cooperation or coordination?
  • Does your child have red puffy gums, chalky white spots, or visible plaque?
  • Does your child have a medical condition or take any medications that cause dry mouth (asthma)?
  • Does your child have decreased exposure to fluoridated water and toothpaste?
  • Are your child’s teeth brushed one or less times per day?
  • Has your child had cavities in the past?
  • Has it been more than 6 months since your child’s last dental visit?

Why are baby teeth so important anyway?

Although it is true that your child will lose their baby teeth, the molar teeth in the back will remain in the mouth until your child is 10-13 years old. The baby teeth have many important jobs, primarily, to save space in the mouth for the adult teeth growing beneath them. When a baby tooth is lost too early, usually due to infection from a cavity, the rest of the baby teeth near that empty space shift around. They can even prevent the grown-up tooth from growing into the mouth correctly. This can lead to crooked adult teeth and future orthodontic problems. Baby teeth also help your child to speak clearly and to chew thoroughly. Cavities in baby teeth can lead to infection and pain for your little one and can also cause damage to the grown-up teeth beneath them. Early visits encourage your child to be much less fearful of the dental environment, which in turn promotes adults with healthier teeth.

Your pediatric dentist will help your child on a lifelong journey towards good oral health. Early visits also encourage your child to become less fearful of the dental environment. Please don’t wait until it is too late — tooth decay is almost 100 percent preventable.

For more information on pediatric dentistry, contact Today’s Dental of Boxborough.

News Transcript

Dental Sealants to Protect from Cavities – Boston, Boxborough, MA

Joseph Coupal - Friday, June 26, 2015

Our teeth are covered with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. When we eat or drink anything that contains sugar – such as cookies, candy, soda, juice or sports drinks – bacteria turn the sugar into acids that can attack tooth enamel. Over time, these attacks may cause tooth decay, or cavities. The good news is that there is a way to protect teeth and prevent decay: dental sealants.

Tooth decay often begins on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. These surfaces have pits and grooves that trap plaque, bacteria, and bits of food. The pits and grooves are hard to keep clean, because toothbrushes cannot reach into them.

That is how decay starts in the pits and grooves and cavities form. To keep decay from starting here, your dentist may recommend dental sealants.

A dental sealant is a plastic material or resin applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant material flows into the pits and grooves in the teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel by sealing out plaque, bacteria, and food.

For more information on protecting teeth with dental sealants, contact Today’s Dental of Boxborough.

Space Maintainers Give Children a Healthy Smile – Boston, Concord, Boxborough

Joseph Coupal - Monday, June 15, 2015

Sometimes children lose a baby tooth before the adult or permanent tooth is ready to come in. This can lead to dental issues later on. When a tooth is missing, the other teeth shift to fill the gap. This can take up the space that permanent teeth normally occupy. As a result, permanent teeth come in crooked and crowded. This can affect your child’s speech and their ability to chew. Eventually, your child could need orthodontic treatment to correct the problems caused by one missing baby tooth.

Space maintainers are the solution to this problem. They fill the space left by a missing tooth. They are custom fitted to your child’s mouth, and they keep the primary teeth in place so that the permanent teeth can come in where they belong. The space maintainer is removed when the permanent tooth is ready to emerge.

There are several different types of space maintainers for teeth available, so be sure to discuss the options with your child’s dentist. Space maintainers can be a band or a temporary crown attached to one side of the open space with a loop or bar contacting the tooth on the other side of the space. They may be made out of plastic or metal.

Your child may have a space maintainer for years, since some permanent teeth don’t emerge until your child is 14 years old.

For more information, contact Today’s Dental of Boxborough.

Root Canal Treatment: When and Why You May Need It – Boxborough, Concord, Boston, MA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, June 04, 2015

Teeth are meant to last a lifetime. Years ago, diseased or injured teeth were usually pulled. But today, a tooth can often be saved through root canal treatment.

Today’s Dental of Boxborough can treat diseases or injuries to the teeth or dental pulp. This often results in root canal treatment.

If the dental pulp is injured:

The pulp is the soft tissue inside the tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves. When the pulp becomes inflamed or infected, treatment is needed. The most common causes of pulp inflammation or infection are a cracked or chipped tooth, a deep cavity or filling, or other serious injury to the tooth. All of these can allow bacteria to enter the pulp.

If damaged or infected pulp is not removed, the tissues around the root of the tooth can become infected. Pain and swelling often result. Even if there is no pain, bacteria can damage the bone that holds the tooth in place in the jaw. Without treatment, the tooth may have to be removed.

This often leads a root canal. When a tooth is removed and not replaced, the teeth around it may shift. This can make biting and chewing difficult and may make it harder to clean your teeth.

Root canal treatment can prevent these problems by saving your natural tooth. Also, root canal treatment usually is less expensive than a replacement tooth.

For more information on root canal treatment, contact Today’s Dental of Boxborough.

Treating Poorly Aligned Teeth – Boston, Boxborough, MA

Joseph Coupal - Friday, May 29, 2015

Correctly aligned teeth are what keeps us from biting our cheeks and let us chew and speak properly. Properly aligned teeth also allow for proper cleaning to prevent tooth decay.

Badly aligned teeth are called malocclusion. This means that the teeth of the upper jaw don’t connect properly with the teeth of the lower jaw. Different types of malocclusion are overbites, underbites, and uneven bites.

Malocclusion causes many problems. These problems include trouble biting or chewing, speech difficulties such as lisping, mouth breathing, jaw pain, unhealthy gums, and an unattractive appearance.

Children may inherit malocclusion because of the size and shape of their face, jaws, and teeth. Or they can develop it from using a bottle or pacifier too long, thumb sucking, losing baby teeth too early or late, or from an accident.

Sometimes both inherited and later problems are to blame. Signs your child might have a malocclusion include crowded, misplaced, or oversized teeth; or jaws that shift or make sounds.


Your pediatric dentist may try to prevent your young child’s malocclusion from developing. Preventive treatment means leaving enough space for permanent teeth to come in. This may require a space maintainer to take the place of a baby tooth lost too early. Or the orthodontist might remove primary teeth that don’t come out on their own.

A second type of treatment, called interceptive treatment, aims to keep a developing malocclusion from getting worse. The orthodontist may guide emerging permanent teeth into alignment by:

  • Removing teeth
  • Reducing the size of teeth
  • Holding space for permanent teeth

Comprehensive orthodontic treatment means correcting a malocclusion and making sure that the jaw works well. This treatment may take place in several phases.

Two types of appliances can correct malocclusion. Removable appliances made of wires and plastic are easy to keep clean. But to do their job, they must be worn exactly as instructed. Fixed appliances, called braces, control tooth movement better than removable appliances. But food collects around braces. So children wearing braces must be especially careful about cleaning their teeth.

For more information on preventing misaligned teeth, contact Today’s Dental of Boxborough.

Over-the-Counter or Professional Teeth Whitening? – Boxborough, Boston, MA

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic procedure done today. However, it isn’t for everyone. You may not know what’s in store with store-bought whitening products.

Grocery stores and drugstores have all kinds of oral care products. In fact, there is a staggering array of over-the-counter teeth whitening products that promise a dazzling whiter smile. Some work, some don’t.

When choosing an over the counter whitening product you don’t get your dentist’s education, training, and experience or judgment.

Although you’ll save money with store bought teeth-whitening products, the results may not be everything you expected.

Even if you want to try to whiten your teeth at home, American Dental Association experts recommend that you see your dentist first. This is because you want to rule out dental problems such as periodontal (gum) disease before you try to find the perfect over the counter teeth whitener. Whitening your teeth won’t fix those problems and can even aggravate them.

Also, many people don’t realize that previous restorations in their mouth won’t whiten along with their natural teeth. These include crowns and fillings. Tooth whiteners do not work as well on antibiotic-stained teeth either. And they do not correct all discoloration. Yellow and brown teeth respond better to bleaching than gray teeth.

Another advantage of seeing your dentist before you decide to whiten your teeth is that the dentist can explain all your options and tell you the advantages and disadvantages of each method. Perhaps you will decide to start with professional teeth whitening and then use store bought products between visits. If you elect to whiten your teeth by yourself, your dentist can recommend the best product for you. The dentist can also explain what he or she is able to do for you.

Over the counter products are not custom-fit. A dentist can make custom trays that fit perfectly in your mouth. You can use the trays at home. He or she can usually provide stronger bleaching agents than you would get in an OTC tooth whitener, too. The dentist can also offer you an in-office tooth-whitening treatment that can be done in a single office visit, using the most powerful bleaching solution. This takes about 30 to 60 minutes.

Tooth whitening can cause sensitivity in the teeth and gums in some people. If you have questions or are considering teeth whitening, call Today's Dental of Boxborough.

Teeth Whitening For the Best Wedding Photos – Boston, Boxborough, Concord, MA

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Lots of people are planning their weddings. June begins wedding season. Make your pictures and memories perfect with teeth whitening from Today’s Dental of Boxborough.

You smile is your most noticeable attribute. But teeth naturally become darker overtime because of habits and lifestyle. Smoking and drinking coffee, tea and red wine can all cause stained teeth which detracts from your smile.

But, through in-office teeth whitening you can be sure of a beautiful, bright smile. Stop worrying about your smile and your wedding pictures.

In-office teeth whitening is a simple, effective treatment that brightens the color of your teeth. It is the ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile just in time for your wedding photos.

Many people opt to try to brighten their smile by bleaching their teeth at home. But in-office whitening is more effective, faster and safer than over-the-counter products. Our teeth whitening works on the entire tooth, because teeth are opaque. Also, we make sure that your new, brighter, whiter teeth are also natural looking. You want a bright attractive smile for your wedding photos, but you don’t want a fake looking white smile.

Having brighter, whiter teeth is the number one aesthetic concern for most Americans. Visit Today’s Dental of Boxborough for a consultation on how to make your smile beautiful for your wedding photos. Be sure you have perfect, lasting memories of your special day.

Dental Sealants Protect Kids’ Teeth from Cavities – Boston, Concord, Boxborough

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Tooth decay in permanent teeth is falling among children, teens, and adults and dental sealants are playing a roll in this decrease. Dental sealants are a thin, plastic coatings that guard teeth from cavities. The CDC found that 38% of children and teens ages 12 to 19 have dental sealants.

Why Use Sealants?

Regular brushing and flossing helps remove food particles and plaque from the smooth surfaces of teeth. But your toothbrush can’t reach all the depressions and grooves. These grooves are the number one spot where cavities develop in teeth. Sealants can protect these areas on the chewing surfaces of your back teeth. Some teeth have pits where food or bacteria can collect, so those teeth are sometimes sealed as well.

Who Needs Them?

Because baby teeth save space for permanent teeth, it’s important to keep them healthy. Some of these baby teeth may need sealants, particularly if they have deep pits and grooves.

As soon as children’s permanent teeth come in, they should get sealants. Children’s first permanent molars usually come between ages 5 and 7, and their second permanent molars come in between ages 11 and 14.

The dentist will paint the sealant onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens.

For more information on sealants for your children’s teeth, contact Today’s Dental of Boxborough.

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