Is Chewing Gum Bad For Your Teeth?

The sticky nature of gum combined with the repetitive action of chewing has caused many people to believe that bubble gum can be harmful to your teeth. What people don’t realize is this is just a myth and chewing gum can actually help improve your oral health.

Chewing Gum Helps Increase Saliva Production

Recent research suggests that individuals who chewed gum after eating noticed an increase in saliva production. Increased saliva production can help improve oral health by minimizing damage done to the teeth by acids and sugars that are found in the food that is eaten.

The Type of Chewing Gum Matters

While chewing gum can help improve your oral health, you have to choose a very specific type of gum. You can’t just pick any gum off the shelf and expect to see a reduction in tooth decay.

The type of chewing gum you need to use is sugar-free. Using a gum that contains sugar could actually cause more damage to your teeth. All sugar-free gums are labeled as such on the package.

In addition to sugar-free gum, you may want to look for gum that has some kind of agent in it. Some gums have active ingredients in them that can help reduce tooth decay, reduce plaque buildup, or even help restore your teeth.

Improve Oral Health by Chewing Gum

If you want to improve your oral health by chewing gum, take the following things into consideration.

  • Make sure to use the right gum (sugar-free)
  • Try to find gum that is uniquely designed to improve your oral health
  • Chew gum for approximately 20 minutes after meals
  • Promptly dispose of gum after chewing
  • Chew in a gentle manner, not in a way that puts too much force on the teeth
  • Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day
  • Do not chew gum if you have cracked or broken teeth. See a dentist to have them fixed before chewing gum


Remember Chewing Gum Doesn’t Replace Regular Trips to the Dentist and Brushing/Flossing

Even though chewing gum may be able to help improve your oral health, it doesn’t replace the benefits you receive from regular trips to the dentist or actively brushing and flossing on a daily basis.

When it comes time to have a dental checkup, come visit the friendly staff at Bridgetown Dental in Portland, Oregon. Call us today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you!

Starchy Foods and Plaque Buildup

Starchy foods are one of the most popular types of food cravings. People just can’t get enough of their rice, pastas, and breads, but did you know that all that starchy food could be the cause of any excessive plaque buildup you might be experiencing?

How Does Starchy Foods Cause Plaque Buildup?

Starchy foods, such as cupcakes, pastas, cereals, and breads, have a very high sugar content. Even foods that aren’t thought of as sweet, such as rice or bread, have components that the body views as sugar.

When you consume these foods, left over food gets left on and around the teeth. That sugary food attracts bacteria. Too much bacteria attracted to the teeth can cause excessive plaque to build up.

Why is Excessive Plaque Buildup Bad?

Excessive plaque buildup is bad because it could severely damage your teeth. The plaque and the bacteria on the teeth could do everything from cause gum irritation to the softening of enamel and even cavities.

What can You Do to Help Prevent Plaque Buildup Caused by Starchy Foods?

Even though starchy foods can cause plaque buildup, just eating this type of food is not enough to cause the plaque to build up. It is a combination of excessive amounts of starchy foods and poor dental hygiene.

If you like to eat starchy foods, there are things you can do to prevent the plaque from building up.

Brush Teeth Immediately After Consuming Starchy Foods and After Meals

The best, and most important, thing you can do is to immediately brush and floss your teeth after consuming starchy foods. This will get rid of any leftover food on your teeth. If there is no leftover food, the bacteria won’t have anything to feed off of and grow on.

There may be some occasions when you can’t brush your teeth immediately after a meal or consuming starchy foods. When this happens, you can make sure you rinse your mouth out with water. This will get rid of some of the food that is left over then you can brush your teeth when you get home.

Eat a Healthy, Nutritious Diet

You don’t have to cut out starch completely, but you do need to make sure you are eating nutritious foods. It is important that you consume a diet that is rich in calcium, vitamins, and minerals. It will improve not only your oral health, but your overall health.

Visit the Dentist Regularly for Routine Cleanings

No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to clean your teeth as thoroughly as a dentist. To prevent plaque buildup, it is important that you regularly visit your dentist for routine cleanings.

If you live in the Portland area, you can schedule an appointment with Bridgetown Dental. Our caring staff is willing to conduct a routine examination, perform a cleaning, and even provide you with tips on how to properly care for your teeth.

Cal us today to schedule an appointment.

Should You Be Flossing Daily?

If you have turned on the news or watched any of the daytime doctor talk shows, you may have heard the latest news about flossing. The latest news involves a recent report about dietary guidelines that was released by the Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services.

The report from the Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services lists numerous things that you should do on a daily basis to stay healthy, but one thing was missing – flossing. The absence of any mention of flossing has led many people to believe that flossing is no longer necessary.

Before you toss out your dental floss, we would like to explore why – even though this dietary guideline excludes flossing – you should still continue to floss on a daily basis.

Flossing Helps Keep Gingivitis Away

There are very few studies conducted on the effectiveness of daily flossing. Even though there are only a few studies, what those studies have shown is promising.

The few studies that have been performed show that daily flossing often helps prevent gingivitis. It is believes that this happens because flossing helps break up the plaque and bacteria that is present in between the teeth. When plaque and bacteria is broken up, your gums tend to stay healthier which leads to a lesser chance of gingivitis.

Proper Flossing Technique is Key to Improved Oral Health

Many people believe they are using proper flossing technique, when in reality they are not properly flossing. It is important to use the proper flossing technique because it helps to improve your oral health.

The dentists and dental hygienists at Bridgetown Dental, located in Portland, Oregon, will be willing to teach you the proper flossing technique. We will teach you how much floss to use, how much force you should use while flossing, and how to make sure that each and every tooth is cleaned properly.

Flossing techniques can be taught during a routine oral examination.

In addition to teaching you how to floss, we will gladly teach you proper brushing techniques, too. Many people are improperly brushing their teeth, which could result in bleeding gums, torn gums, or damage to their teeth. Our dental hygienists are willing to teach you how to properly brush your teeth in order to improve your oral health.

Call Bridgetown Dental today to schedule an appointment. We will be glad to see you!

Dental Sealants – Do You Need Them?

Tooth decay can be extremely destructive. It is responsible for cavities, and in extremely cases tooth loss. Dental sealants promise to provide people with an extra layer of protection against tooth decay, but the question that arises is – do you need them?

Do You Need Dental Sealants?

The simple answer is yes. Dental sealants are extremely beneficial to younger patients, as well as adult patients who may have teeth that don’t have fillings or previous dental sealants applied.

Now that you understand the importance of dental sealants, you may be wondering what exactly they are and the process involved with them. We will take a brief look at what dental sealants are and how dentists apply them to the teeth.

What are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are a clear plastic coating that is placed directly onto the surface area of the teeth. This clear plastic coating is uniquely designed to form a protective barrier between your teeth and tooth decay.

Back teeth, like the premolars and molars, could use an extra layer of protection against tooth decay. The extra layer of protection is needed because these teeth often have tiny grooves that can – and will – trap food and bacteria. When the food and bacteria becomes trapped it could lead to tooth decay that causes cavities and occasionally tooth loss.

When are Dental Sealants Applied to the Teeth?

Typically, dental sealants are applied to children’s teeth right after they have lost their first set. However, adults can get dental sealants too.

Many adults have teeth that do not have cavities or were not previously treated with dental sealants. These individuals will find dental sealants beneficial as it will help protect the health of the teeth.

What is the Process Used for Dental Sealants?

Applying dental sealant to the teeth is a relatively easy, pain free procedure. First, the dentist will clean your teeth using traditional toothpaste. The tooth, once it is cleaned, is completely dried and prepped for the application of the sealant.

The application of the sealant is a two-step process. The first step involves placing a safe acidic solution on the surface of the teeth. This solution will make the surface of the teeth porous, which help hold the sealant to the tooth. After the acidic solution is removed, the sealant is applied to the tooth. The sealant is placed on the tooth and left to harden. Once it has hardened, the tooth is sealed and you can go home.

Dental sealant is a cost-effective way to protect healthy teeth against tooth decay. If you live in the Portland, Oregon area and are interested in learning more about dental sealants, call Bridgetown Dental today to schedule an appointment. We will gladly discuss dental sealants with you and help you determine if this is a dental procedure that is right for you.

Do You Need Fluoride Treatments?

Are Adult Fluoride Treatments Necessary?

 It’s a natural, everyday occurrence, your body takes in fluoride and it loses it. Fluoride is absorbed through water intake and different foods you eat. The way you lose fluoride is through demineralization of your teeth when acids caused by plaque bacteria and sugars in your mouth attack tooth enamel. You can “put fluoride back” (as well as calcium and phosphate) into your tooth’s enamel layer by eating healthy foods and drinking fluoridated water. Another way to get more fluoride is through fluoride treatments at your dentist’s office. If you aren’t healthy foods and drinking water that contains fluoride you are going to lose it faster than it can be replaced putting you at risk for tooth decay..

 What does Fluoride Treatment Do?

 Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by defending your teeth against acid attacks caused by plaque, bacteria and sugars in your mouth. Not only can fluoride prevent tooth decay, it can also reverse early tooth decay. For children under the age of 6, fluoride is part of the the development of permanent teeth, making it difficult for acids to demineralize the teeth.

But we now know that adults can also benefit from added fluoride. Fluoride disrupts acid production in the already erupted teeth of adults, as well as children.

In addition to fluoride in foods and water, fluoride can be directly applied to the teeth through fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinses. Products containing fluoride in lower strengths over the counter at your local drugstore. Stronger concentrations require a doctor’s prescription or you can get them at your dentist’s office.

 Risk of Fluoride Loss?

 Some people have certain conditions that put them at increased risk of tooth decay, and so they will benefit from additional fluoride treatments. Here are some examples:

  • Dry mouth conditions caused by diseases or medications.The lack of saliva makes it harder for food particles to be washed away and acids to be neutralized, putting your teeth at risk of demineralization.
  • Patients who have deep pits and groovesin their teeth are prone to dental decay.
  • Patients who are frequent snackers, eat sugary foods, or have a family history of cavities are at an increased risk of tooth decay.
  • Gum recession and gum diseasecan expose more of your tooth and tooth roots to bacteria increasing the chance of tooth decay.
  • History of frequent cavities:If you have one cavity every year or every other year, you may benefit from additional fluoride.
  • Dental work present in the mouth, like crowns, bridges or braces: Some dental treatments put teeth at risk for decay at the point where the crown meets the underlying tooth structure or around the brackets of orthodontic appliances.
  • Patients who are frequent snackers, eat sugary foods, or have a family history of cavities are at an increased risk of tooth decay.

Bridgetown Dental will help you know if your teeth would benefit from additional fluoride. If they would, it’s easy to have this procedure done when you’re in for your regular appointment.



Portland Dentist- Have a Leaking Filling?

There is a common dental misconception that dental fillings are built to last forever. While dental fillings are strong and sturdy, they are not built to last and can eventually start to leak.

We will take a look at what it means to have a leaking filling, how you can tell if you may have one, and what can be done for leaking fillings.

What Happens When a Tooth Filling Starts to Leak?

A tooth filling is uniquely designed to close any crack or gap that appears in the tooth. The gap is closed using a variety of material from composite resin to porcelain. Closing a gap or crack in a tooth is necessary because it prevents bacteria from entering the gap and causing cavities to form.

While a filling is supposed to be sealed tightly against a tooth, sometimes that doesn’t happen. Sometimes the seal on the sides doesn’t fit as tightly as it should. When this happens it is known as a leak.

A leaking filling can be caused by any number of the following situations:

  • Improper placement of the original filling
  • Wear and tear that causes the sides to wear down over time
  • Shrinkage of the filling after it has been placed

How to Tell if You May Have a Leaking Filling

Most of the time, a leaking filling has no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, it is often too late and there may be a potential infection or severe cavity forming.

Some of the signs that you may have a leaking filling include:

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold that appears suddenly or several years after the filling has been placed
  • Feeling as if the filling is moving or loose
  • Appearance of a dark or grey color surrounding the filling

A dentist can often tell if a filling is leaking by taking an x-ray. The x-ray will often show an open margin between the filling and your natural tooth if a leaking filling is present.

What Treatment Options are Available for Leaking Fillings?

If you have a leaking filling, you may have several treatment options available to you. The first option available is the opportunity to replace the filling. This treatment option requires the dentist to complete remove the old filling and replace it with a new filling that has a tighter seal.

In some situations replacing the filling is not an option. If the filling has been left to leak for a while, your only option may be to undergo a root canal.

Bridgetown Dental located in Portland, Oregon can help you if you suspect you have a leaking filling. Our Portland dentist will be able to determine if you have a leaking filling and provide you with recommendations for how to treat this problem.

Call our office today to schedule an appointment with our dentist if you think you have a leaking filling.

North Portland Dentist Using Low Radiation X-Rays

Sometimes the only way to diagnosis a dental problem is with the help of x-rays. Unfortunately, in order to take an x-ray it requires our patients to be exposed to radiation.

Radiation exposure is a huge concern amongst our patients, as more and more research suggests that too much exposure could cause numerous health problems. Out of concern for their health, many patients are reluctant to have x-ray images taken, which means dental problems could go undiagnosed.

Many dentists, like those at Bridgetown Dental in Portland, Oregon, understand patients’ concerns regarding radiation exposure and have taken steps to address those concerns. The most common, and best, way to address those concerns is by making the switch from film-based x-rays to digital x-rays.

Why Digital X-Rays May Be Better for Patients Concerned about Radiation Exposure

There is no way, currently, to completely eliminate people’s exposure to radiation when they receive a dental x-ray. There are, however, ways to reduce the amount of radiation they are exposed to during the imaging process.

When digital imaging is used, the levels of radiation a patient is exposed to is dramatically reduced. In fact, recent research suggests that the levels of radiation are 80% less than film-based x-rays.

By offering patients an opportunity to have dental x-rays taken without fear of radiation exposure, dentists are able to correctly and quickly identify dental problems.

Digital X-Rays Help Keep Dental Office Staff Healthy

Low radiation digital x-rays don’t just help patients, but it helps the staff at the dental office, too. Dental office staff are no longer exposed to harmful chemicals and high levels of radiation when working with patients on a daily basis.

Dental hygienists working in an office with low radiation digital x-rays can quickly take patients’ x-rays without fear of being exposed to harmful levels of radiation. They also do not have to spend long hours working with chemicals to develop the x-ray images.

Choose a Dentist that Offers Low Radiation Digital X-Ray Imaging

If you are worried about your health or potential exposure to high levels of radiation, it is important to find a dentist that offers low radiation digital x-ray imagine. For those who live in the Portland, Oregon area you can visit Bridgetown Dental.

Bridgetown Dental has made the switch from film-based x-ray imaging to low radiation digital x-ray imaging. This switch was made in an effort to protect the health of our patients and staff.

Call our office today to schedule an appointment with our dentist. If you are concerned about radiation exposure, please let our office know and we will do everything we can to make sure you are comfortable with your experience at our dental office.

Should I Brush, Floss, or Rinse First?

It is often considered the dental world’s version of the ‘which can first the chicken or the egg’ debate. Some people believe it is best to floss, brush, then rinse with mouthwash, while others believe the proper order is brush, floss, then rinse. So, which is the right way to do it?

We will explore the answer to that question.

The Proper Sequence for Daily Oral Care

It may come as a surprise to many patients, but the order in which you perform your oral healthcare routine doesn’t matter. Almost all experts in the dental industry agree it isn’t what order you do things in; it is how well you do it.

This means you can brush, floss, and rinse in whatever order feel comfortable doing it in. The only way it will impact your oral health is if you are not brushing or flossing properly.

Tips to Help You Properly Brush Your Teeth

Proper brushing starting with choosing the right toothbrush. Take the following things into consideration when choosing a toothbrush:

  • Soft bristled toothbrush – medium and hard bristles may damage your teeth and gums
  • Comfort level – find a brush that feels comfortable not only in your mouth, but while you are holding it in your hand
  • Type of head on the toothbrush – some toothbrushes come with a flexible or extended toothbrush head. Choose one of these if you find you are having difficulty reaching the teeth in the back of your mouth

Other things to consider when brushing your teeth include:

  • Do not brush your teeth too hard or too rough, as this may cause you to tear or damage your gums
  • Clean your teeth the proper length of time – teeth should be brushed for approximately 2 to 5 minutes
  • Make sure to clean not only the surfaces of your teeth, but the sides and backs of the teeth too
  • Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride as this will help fight cavities and plaque buildup

Tips for Proper Flossing Technique

Follow these tips to make sure you are engaging in proper flossing technique.

  • Use enough dental floss. Use approximately 18 inches of dental floss every time you floss. Use clean dental floss for every section you floss in your mouth
  • Guide the dental floss around the curves of your teeth to make sure it gets all plaque and food particles
  • Don’t snap or tear at the gums
  • Hold the dental floss taunt but not too taunt that you damage your teeth

If you are worried you aren’t properly cleaning your teeth or wish to learn proper brushing or flossing techniques, Bridgetown Dental located in Portland, Oregon can help. Call us to schedule an appointment and our dentist or dental staff will gladly provide you with tips on how to properly brush and floss your teeth.

Could Dental Implants be Better Than Natural Teeth?

Dentists will often do everything in their power to save a patient’s natural teeth. This is done because natural teeth, depending upon their condition, are often considered stronger and healthier than dental implants.

While it is ideal to try to keep a patient’s natural teeth, it isn’t always possible. There are certain situations where a dental implant may be a better option than keeping your natural teeth.

We will explore some of the situations where a dental implant may be recommended in place of another dental procedure, such as a root canal or dental bridge, where you have the option to keep your natural teeth.

Excessive Tooth Decay

Some people are more susceptible to tooth decay than others. This is sometimes due to genetics, certain medical conditions or certain prescription medications. No matter how much they brush and floss, these individuals will still experience excessive tooth decay that could put their oral health, as well as their overall health in jeopardy.

One of the benefits of dental implants is they are not as susceptible to tooth decay. People who are experiencing excessive tooth decay to the point it is compromising their natural teeth may want to consider dental implants as it may dramatically slow the progression of tooth decay.

Tooth Loss Caused by Tooth Decay or Injury to a Tooth

People can lose their teeth for a number of reasons. Sometimes it is caused by tooth decay or bone/gum disease, other times it is caused by injury or damage to the tooth. Regardless of the reason for the tooth loss, dental implants could prove beneficial.

Dental implants can help people maintain the bone structure in and around their jaw. When teeth are lost, the bone will tend to wear away over time. This can cause a number of problems ranging from difficulty eating to a distorted appearance.

Even though tooth and bone loss will still occur, when a dental implant is placed in the mouth it will occur at a slower rate. This allows people to continue to enjoy the activities they enjoy without having to worry about potential tooth or bone loss.

The only way to determine if a dental implant is the best option for your unique situation is to have a evaluate your unique situation. Bridgetown Dental, located in Portland, Oregon, is dedicated to helping patients find the best dental treatment.

We are willing to help you explore your options when it comes to dental implants. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment to discuss dental implants with us. We will gladly assess your situation and make treatment recommendations that will help improve your overall health.

Proper Calcium Intake Leads To Healthier Teeth and Gums

Everyone knows that calcium directly impacts your bones. If you don’t get enough of this essential mineral, your bones become brittle over time and you put yourself at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis or breaking bones. What people don’t realize is that calcium is also linked to your oral health.

Wondering just how important calcium is to your oral health, here is a look at some of the ways calcium intake – or a lack of calcium intake – could impact the health of your teeth, gums, or jaw.

Severe Osteoporosis Could Impact the Jaw Bone

Osteoporosis weakens the bones in the body and that includes the ones in the jaw. When the jaw bone is weakened it could present problems for your teeth.

Problems with your teeth happen when the jaw bone is weakened because this bone is considered the anchor for all your teeth. If the anchor is weakened, you put the stability of your teeth at risk. Unstable teeth, over time, will become loose and eventually fall out.

If you wear dentures, the health of your jaw bone is especially important. Osteoporosis can dramatically change the shape and structure of the jaw. When this happens it can cause your dentures to not fit in the mouth as securely, which creates numerous problems.

Lack of Calcium can Lead to Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease has been linked by various research studies to a lack of calcium intake. The studies showed that those who took on average 800 mg of calcium (the recommended daily amount) were less likely to develop periodontal disease and had healthier teeth.

Periodontal disease, which includes gingivitis, plaque development, and mouth ulcers, can dramatically impact not only your oral health, but your overall health and put you at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Regular Routine Checkups can Spot Problems Before They Happen

A dentist will not be able to tell you if you are consuming enough calcium, but he or she can help you spot dental problems caused by not consuming enough calcium. Dental problems can be detected during a regular routine exam scheduled with your dentist.

During the exam, your dentist will look at the health of your teeth and gums and determine if any problems are present. This is usually done by performing an oral examination of the teeth and gums, but it can also include x-rays.

Regular examinations should be scheduled every six months. This allows your dentist to easily detect and treat problems that may arise.

If you live in the Portland, Oregon area, let Bridgetown Dental help you detect dental problems before they become extremely bad. Call our offices today to schedule an appointment for a regular routine exam.