Category Archives: Dental Hygiene

Why aren’t my gums healing after a crown?

It’s been two months since I had a crown done. The dental assistant kind of warned me that my gums were very angry during the placement of the permanent crown. She encouraged me to use saltwater rinses after the treatment for several days. I don’t think they have healed properly because they still are extremely tender and bleed when I brush in the area around the crown. Any idea what’s up?

-Paul in Wisconsin


Any time there is pain or bleeding, infection is a possibility. But if you don’t have swelling or any abscess occurring, then it isn’t likely. Your gums should have healed by now. Do you have any other physical health issues? Most generally healthy individuals should have healed after a couple months.

Dental crowns can irritate the gums. Sometimes they are aggravated when an individual flosses around a new restoration. Bacteria can flourish in and around the crown if it is difficult to floss, which may cause some redness and inflammation which may cause bleeding. If this sounds like a possibility for you, try switching to a floss pick and brush a bit more carefully in the area that is bothering you.

The bleeding and redness should taper off in the coming weeks. Also, saltwater rinses will encourage healing. Keep this up until the tissue appears normal again.

If these steps do not improve your gum irritation, you need to be seen. It is possible that the margins on the porcelain crown may be bothering the soft tissue. The crown will likely need to be redone if this is indeed the issue. So, start with changing up your oral hygiene habits and if there is no improvement in a couple weeks, go back into your dentist to figure it out.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

My gums won’t stop bleeding. Help!

It has been almost a decade now since my wisdom teeth were extracted. But I have had extreme sensitivity around those areas ever since the extractions. If I start to brush over the area of the gums where the teeth once were, my toothbrush is red by the time I’m done. I hate going to the dentist because they are so rough. And when they look back there and begin poking around, the bleeding occurs. But I have had it checked out and was told everything was normal.

But how can it be normal if that area bleeds if I brush back there?  I’m sick of dancing around that area after almost ten years.

– Betsy in Indiana


It wouldn’t hurt to go back into the dentist to have everything re-evaluated by another dentist. And it sounds like going to the dentist isn’t on your top ten list. So instead of letting the dentist poke around back there and then dealing with the discomfort, talk to him or her prior to the exam. If they know your are anxious, they can be sure to use gentle dentistry techniques. A little communication and understanding by both parties goes a long way during an exam.

But since it has been quite some time since those wisdom teeth extractions, the questions needs to be asked how often the area is brushed. Good oral hygiene means twice per day. But since you state, “if” you brush, it leaves the impression it may not occur daily. Therefore, the bleeding may ironically be a result of the lack of brushing.

If the area isn’t brushed regularly, plaque and bacteria can build up on that teeth closest to the area. This makes the gums inflamed and even the slightest touch at that point will cause irritation and possible bleeding. So brushing (even if you see blood) is the way to remedy the situation.

The bleeding is highly unlikely due to any issue with the old wisdom teeth. After ten years those extractions sites should be completely healed. The bone has had time to reshape and the tissues should serve as if the wisdom teeth were never even there.

So, look for a gentle dentist in your area if you would like a second opinion to rule out any gum disease. In the meantime, try increasing the frequency of brushing at home.

Good luck!

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

How to get rid of bad breath?

If I can smell my bad breath, I know it’s bad. I swear I brush my teeth in the morning and night. But my breath stinks. Do you have any recommendations. I am a CEO and this is frankly, very embarrassing!

– Bert in Indiana


Bad breath has many causes. A bad smell can still occur even if you practice good, regular oral hygiene.

The main culprit or cause of bad breath is bacteria. We all have bacteria in our mouth, some more than others. Keep up with the regular brushing. But, do you floss everyday? You should definitely incorporate that into your oral hygiene routine. If that doesn’t help, then you may be interested in a tongue cleaner.

You can contact a dental retailer or even go to your local drug store. for more powerful dental care products that are associated with bad breath. For example, BreathRx is a good one, available at some dentists and local stores. There are bad breath toothpastes or mouthwashes that may also be worth a try.

First things first, step up the flossing and brushing. If this still doesn’t seem to get a handle on it, just stop talking. Just joking! There are several dentists that are passionate about helping patients that struggle with odor. Look for one on Google in your area. Good luck!
This post is sponsored by Lakewood dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Sick of canker soures. Looking for a gentle dentist.

I have continuous canker sores in mouth. Therefore, I despise going into the dentist and getting my cheeks and lips tugged at. How do I go about finding a gentle dentist? I know I should probably get my teeth checked, it’s been years.

– Ted in Michigan


Canker sores are the worst. It is understandable that you are on the hunt for a gentle dentist. Whether you realize it or not, if the canker sores are reoccurring ,it is likely that you have some level of anxiety that is keeping you away too. So it would be wise to look for a “cater to cowards dentist” in your area. Yes, the terminology is funny but a dentist that advertises in this manner is likely going to be very gentle. They will take the time to listen and take things slow.

More importantly, have you figured out what is causing these ongoing canker sores? You may have heard that acidic foods like tomatoes, oranges, and grapefruit tend to cause them. This is true. But what you may not realize is that your toothpaste could be a contributing factor to those annoying sores. Common in many toothpastes is an ingredient called Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. This is one of the ingredients that makes toothpaste foam and it can be harsh on soft tissues. That irritation can lead to canker sores. Unfortunately, it is found in nearly 99.9% of toothpastes. It is also found in shampoos and soaps.

It may be difficult to find toothpaste without Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, if you don’t know where to look. But there are products out there that do not contain it. Start by checking out a natural, health food store in your area that also carries hygiene products.

Here are several for your consideration:

  • Squigle Enamel Saver Toothpaste
  • Rembrandt Gentle White Toothpaste
  • Auromere Ayurvedic Toothpaste  (found on-line)
  • Biotene Dry Mouth Toothpaste Fresh Mint Original Flavor
  • Tom’s of Maine Natural Clean and Gentle Care, SLS-Free Antiplaque plus Whitening Spearmint Toothpaste
  • Herbal Toothpaste Cardamon-Fennel
  • JASON Natural Cosmetics Powersmile Toothpaste Peppermint

You can’t expect that these toothpastes will foam like you may be used to, but they can still be used to effectively clean your teeth and gums. Hopefully, this will help get the canker sores under control. then you can get back on track with regular preventative dental cleanings and exams.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.


What Dr. Oz said about Thyroid Cancer & X-rays

Not sure where I saw it but I came across this Dr. Oz clip that was correlating an increase in thyroid cancer and dental x-rays. It was mainly documenting that women were showing the increase. Does that mean we should avoid dental x-rays? What do you think?

– Loretta in North Carolina


Cancer is a hot button it seems and can easily scare the public, which is understandable. But we must further investigate and research the facts between the alleged correlation. We don’t need patients to be scared of the dentist over the possibility of an x-ray.

If you look deeper, you will learn that thyroid cancer in women is actually very low at approximately three percent of all types of cancers, only one percent with men, and about one and a half percent in kiddos.

If you examine the time frame between 1980-2007, you will notice that thyroid cancer numbers did increase up to 100,000 annually for women. This is a relatively noticeable increase, but we must remember how much technology has advanced during this same time period. The advances in early cancer detection are increasing everyday, so we need to take that into account when calculating these updated percentages.  Also, 87% of these new cases that have been diagnosed likely would not have been found without this sophisticated technology. It is also important to realize that the American Cancer Society has not seen an increase in thyroid cancer deaths. In fact almost all, approx 97% of diagnosed patients survive.

So when a correlation is attempted between dental x-rays and thyroid cancer, it is also important to realize that it is the cumulative radiation exposure that is the problem. In order to support good dental health, it is vital that x-rays are used in the diagnostics. Problems can be detected early on and taken care of before they turn into most complex problems. Tumor or abscesses, small cavities, and other dental problems can be addressed early with very minimal radiation exposure.

There are precautions that need to be taken at every oral hygiene appointment. During dental x-rays, these precautions include use of fast speed or digital film, as well as a thyroid collar and apron should always be worn by the patient. In fact, digital x-rays are the preferred option because they allow 75% less radiation exposure. The frequency of dental x-rays should be examined on an individual basis and if you are ever concerned, speak up. Communication is key in any type of dental procedure or treatment.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Related link: oral cancer screenings

Does smoking pot harm the teeth?

The short answer is yes. Smoking of any kind, whether it’s marijuana, cigarettes, or a pipe, does increase an individual’s risk for tooth decay. This is mainly due to the fact that smoking obstructs the production of saliva. You may not realize how important saliva is in keeping the surfaces of our teeth clean. When an individual smokes marijuana for an extended period of time it will weaken the immune system as well. The immune system helps to keep your body and mouth health.

In addition to causing tooth decay, marijuana can lead to infection and tumors because THC gets in the way of calcium absorption into the body. And since calcium is imperative for healthy teeth, marijuana smokers tend to see an increased risk with tooth decay. If tooth decay isn’t treated, porcelain crowns may be required and eventually a root canal treatment will be needed to save the tooth if the decay reaches the nerve of the tooth.

Smokers also experience staining and a higher risk of gum disease. The effects on the gums are related to the decrease of oxygen in the blood. When there is a lack of oxygenated blood, healing becomes more difficult for the body. Another side effect of smoking is dry mouth which can cause a build up of plaque, which in turn results in the progression of gum disease.

Do whatever it takes to stop smoking, not only for your general health but for healthy teeth and gums.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Why The Tongue Gets Sore After Eating Sour Candy.

Sour candies contain high concentrations of citric acid. So when one chews or sucks on sour candy over a long period of time it burns the epithelial layer of the tongue off. Any type of chemical burn will cause sloughing of the superficial layer of the oral mucosa. The tongue will most likely heal within five days therefore it really is nothing serious to worry about.

Remember anything in excess is usually not a good thing. Try to avoid sour and spicy foods as well as foods that are too cold or too hot for about seven days or so. Making up a baking soda and water solution to rinse with will help ease the pain. Take a teaspoon of baking soda and mix it with eight ounces of warm water. Swish and spit until the entire glass is empty. Do this several times a day for about three days. There are also some topical agents you can buy at your local store that contain benzocaine, which is a numbing agent to help relieve pain symptoms, however if you have any heart conditions bezocaine is not recommended. If your problem still persists after a week we recommend you visit your dentist. Sometimes schedules are booked out weeks or months, so you may need to visit an emergency dentist appointment to be seen sooner.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

My tongue is white.

I don’t know what’s going on but I’m sick, have a sore throat, and am coughing. I also have a runny nose and my tongue is white. What does this mean?

Thanks, Kelly in Massachusetts

Dear Kelly,

Bacteria collect on our tongues just like it sticks to our teeth. The longer bacteria stays on our tongues the more discolored our tongue becomes. The main reason for a white tongue is poor oral hygiene. It’s just as important to brush your tongue as it is your teeth. Our tongues are a common feeding ground for bacteria to grow and accumulate; therefore daily cleaning of the tongue is important. One may use a toothbrush or a tongue scraper to clean the tongue. Your tongue could be white for a couple of reasons. It could just be plaque built up from lack of cleaning it. Also you have a cold and sore throat which could be an indicator you either have a streptococcal infection or other type of bacterial infection. If you’re on any type of antibiotic for your cold or sore throat you may also have oral thrush which is a yeast infection, however this white coating would be thick, impair your taste buds, and cause bad breath. We recommend you drink plenty of water to help keep your mouth moist and clean your tongue thoroughly. After a couple of days if your tongue is still white either see your physician or dentist to make sure you don’t have oral thrush or any other condition with your tongue going on.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

You may also be interested in learning more about teeth cleaning


Drooling from lip piercing.

I have noticed that I sure drool a lot more after I got my lip pierced. Do you have any recommendations to stop drooling? I like to sleep on my back and don’t have any allergies. So do you know if this increase in drool is from the piercing?

– James in Nebraska


Well you may not have realized this side effect before you went ahead with the piercing, but oral piercing does stimulate the salivary glands. This means you may deal with excessive drooling. It may calm down for you over time, but will likely be an issue you have as long as you wear the piercing.

There are other risks that may result from oral piercings, like:

  • Tooth aggravation – Depending on where the ring is, you may notice tooth wear over time.
  • Talking and eating annoyance – Sometimes your speech is affected if the piercing does not enable you to close your mouth all the way. This could also present some issues when eating.
  • Irritation to gums – Sometimes a lip ring can irritate the gum from rubbing them. This does have the capability to cause long term damage. If you have piercings on your lip, tongue, or cheek you may also be at a higher risk for periodontal disease.
  • Increase in inflammation – The piecing site may become inflamed or swollen. This may indicate an infection that needs to be treated right away so you don’t deal with a dental emergency.
  • Bacterial infections – The American Dental Association has stated that those with oral piercings are at a risk for bacterial infection from piercings. This is because our mouths have bacteria and the opening from the lip ring may become infected.
  • Metal allergy – Some individuals are allergic to certain types of metal.

You must keep up with regular six month dental cleanings and exams, as well as clean and treat the piercing site regularly for optimal dental health.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Related link: emergency dentist

I don’t think I need fillings.

Last week I decided to see a different dentist. Let me start by explaining that I have excellent dental hygiene. I brush and floss everyday, both in the morning and at night. I stay away from sugary foods and soda too. I work really hard to take good care of my teeth and my previous dentist has told me that my teeth are in great shape. Well, the new dentist I just saw told me that I have five cavities on my back teeth. I had them filled with the composite material.

Ever since that dental appointment, I have been in pain. It hurts when I bite down and I really am wondering if I really had any cavities in the first place. I’m suspicious enough to take my recent x-ray to a new dentist for a second opinion. I saw that x-ray and I didn’t see anything. I know I’m not a dentist but I guess I kind of want to find out if there were really cavities or not. It all just seems fishy to me that I’m now in pain and at my last check-up last year I didn’t have any cavities.

– Rhonda in Oregon


It may be a possibility that you did have cavities last year and your previous dentist didn’t see them. Sometimes dental x-rays may not be done at the appropriate angle, so it is not out of the realm of possibilities that your last dentist missed them.

Although, if you are feeling suspicious than that is a valid concern. You can request the x-rays and take them for a second opinion. If you decide to follow through with this than you need to tell the new dentist very little to let them make the determination on their own. Also, don’t share the name of the dentist you are checking out. Simply request a second opinion on some recent dental work you had done without planing any seeds of doubt or suspicious activity. You don’t want the dentist to agree with your assessment just so you will come to see him. Also, if the dentists are acquaintances you may not get the best opinion because they may not want to criticize the other one. If you really are after an honest, unbiased opinion you can always go to another city.

In regard to your concern about the pain after your white composite fillings. It is possible that they were not bonded correctly. One way to test that theory is when you clench your teeth together, does it hurt? Or is the pain only while chewing? If the pain happens only when you are chewing, there may be an issue with the bonding. If clenching your teeth hurts, a simple bite adjustment may do the trick. But if the pain continues, it is possible the fillings may need to be replaced.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Related links: mercury-free dentist, holistic dentist