Does your toothbrush look like this?

When it comes to dental health, can there be too much of a good thing? Actually, yes, if you’re brushing your teeth too hard.

Brushing Too Hard is Harmful

Brushing your teeth too hard or vigorously is known as overbrushing. This may happen to people who have the best intentions to keep their mouth clean, but they’re simply using too much force or too hard of a toothbrush. Most people who are overbrushing have no idea that they’re doing it and have excellent dental habits.

Although your teeth do need to be brushed twice a day, every day, overbrushing can actually harm your enamel and gums – and lead to dental problems.

Signs of Overbrushing

Chances are, your dentist will be able to identify signs of overbrushing at your dental visit. These may include:

  • Receding gums

  • Enamel wear

  • Cavities on the roots of the teeth

Fortunately, you can stop overbrushing and minimize your risk of these problems. Even if you don’t think you’re overbrushing, there are some simple steps to follow to keep your mouth healthy and avoid this habit.

Gum Recession can cause your teeth to become highly sensitive when the root starts to become exposed. If you brush your teeth too hard or the wrong way, it can cause the enamel on your teeth to wear away and your gums to recede. Insufficient dental care. This can lead to gum recession.

Watch Your Brush

Replace your toothbrush every three months – or as soon as it shows signs of wear. If the bristles are fraying or don’t look new anymore, you’ve probably worn away the softened edges of the bristles. This means you are now scraping your teeth with jagged ends that aren’t meant to touch your teeth.

Keep track of how long it takes before your toothbrush shows signs of wear. If your brush looks frayed after just a month, this is a sign that you’re brushing too hard in general. A quality toothbrush will typically last at least two months. Make sure you choose a brush that is approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).

Be Gentle

Plaque is soft, so don’t scrub your mouth like you would the kitchen sink. As long as you gently but thoroughly reach all the areas of your mouth, you’ll be getting your teeth clean without damage. You shouldn’t be forcefully pushing the bristles against your teeth until they bend. Also, don’t use a back and forth, saw-like motion. Use small, circular strokes to cover each tooth on all sides. Your enamel won’t grow back once it’s gone, so treat it like gold!

Get the Right Brush

There’s no need to buy medium or hard bristle toothbrushes. Soft or even extra soft brushes can do just as an effective a job at cleaning your teeth, and are less likely to damage your enamel. If you have tooth sensitivity, a soft toothbrush is a must.

Don’t forget to floss every day, as this is crucial to removing bacteria and plaque between your teeth, where even the best brushing can’t reach.

Seeing your dentist every six months is the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy and avoid problems like overbrushing, cavities, and more.  Contact Lakebrink Dental at 816.792.4455 in Liberty, MO to schedule your next dental cleaning and check us out at LakebrinkDental.com .

Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Snoring may not be something you take seriously. You might even laugh or joke about it. But the fact is, anytime you or your partner snore to the point of waking, it could be a sign of serious health problems.

Sleep Apnea and Its Effects

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is potentially dangerous, and the most common symptom is loud snoring. Breathing repeatedly starts and stops throughout the night, and you wake up feeling tired. Other serious effects from sleep apnea could be potentially dangerous to your health if left unaddressed.

Besides losing a good night's sleep, you may experience difficulty concentrating. Depression, risk of heart attack, irritability, high blood pressure, memory loss, sexual dysfunction, and chances of stroke all increase when sleep apnea is not treated.

Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax to the point of inhibiting natural breathing. The muscles used to support the soft palate relax and the airway closes, causing breathing to stop for ten to 20 seconds. This lowers the oxygen level in the brain. As the brain senses the inhibited oxygen levels it rouses the sleeper awake so the airway can reopen. Normally, the reawakening is so brief the person won't remember it.

If you think you may have sleep apnea, visit our Liberty, MO office and let Dr. Lakebrink and Dr. Caye determine what treatment is needed. Without it, you could risk losing more than a restful night's sleep.

Prevention and Treatment

Anyone can develop sleep apnea, but it is more common among middle-aged adults who are overweight. Dr. Lakebrink and Dr. Caye can help you determine the cause and suggest positive treatment.

A common treatment for apnea is the placement of oral devices that are designed to help keep the airway open. By bringing the jaw forward, the device opens the airway and thereby discourages snoring. We are experienced in sleep apnea appliances, and Lakebrink Dental's doctors can prescribe a fitted device and monitor its success with follow-up therapy.

A continuous positive airway pressure mask, known as a CPAP, is among the other treatment options. A mask is fitted over the mouth and forces oxygen through the throat while you sleep. The pressure holds the soft tissue and throat muscles open.

Our professionals at Lakebrink Dental can advise you of other ways to prevent sleep apnea, including weight loss, avoiding alcohol, or alternative sleeping positions. We can help you sleep return to easy sleep, knowing you are safer and healthier during your resting hours.

We're always here to help! - LD Staff

Helpful Tips for Healthy Smiles at Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner and we all know that for children, Halloween means candy and lots of it!

However, when your child consumes sugary food or drinks, the bacteria (germs) in the dental plaque on the teeth mix with the sugars in the candy to make a mild acid. This acid attacks the hard outer layer of the tooth, called the enamel. If the dental plaque isn’t removed every day by brushing and flossing, over time, the enamel gets soft and a cavity forms. The damage to the tooth depends on how much sugar goes in the mouth and how long it stays there. In other words, the longer and more often sugar touches the teeth, the more damage it can do.

Healthy Halloween tips

Have a game plan
Before heading out, take a minute to talk about expectations. How long will trick-or-treating last? How much candy will be eaten when getting home? What will be the treats-per-day limit?

Eat treats (only) with a meal
Be a role model by sitting with your kids, distraction-free, and enjoy a treat after a meal. Mention what you like about the treat you chose. Bonus points: Mention what you like about your main course too!

Use a small bag and ditch non-favorites
One solution to avoid waste is to use smaller trick-or-treat bags to start. Another solution: a mid-November visit from the "Switch Witch" who trades remaining candy for something like a small toy or passes to an indoor waterslide park!

The right fit
It is important to make sure that your child's costume fits properly to prevent trips and falls. Avoid items such as oversized shoes, high heels, long dresses or capes.

Avoid masks
Masks make it hard for children to see what's around them, including cars. Try a hypoallergenic (less likely to cause an allergic reaction), non-toxic make-up kit instead.

Check your treats
Tell your child not to eat any treats before they get home. When home, you can look through your treats together to make sure everything is safe to eat and doesn't contain any ingredients that your child may be allergic to.

Set a treat time
To resist constant snacking, it is best to limit snacking to particular times. Frequent snackers are at a greater risk of tooth decay as the mouth has constant acidic conditions that wear away at tooth enamel leading to cavities.

Eat a balanced meal.
Healthy meals and snacks should always come before candy and treats. Send the kids trick or treating with a good healthy meal. A satisfied stomach will indulge in less sweets.

Brush, floss, and rinse
Sticky candy can get stuck in between teeth and cause tooth decay. Brushing and flossing after a snack is ideal, but rinsing with a glass of water after eating a sugary treat will also help wash away some of the sugars and acids.

Have Fun!
Show your family there is more to Halloween than the candy- enjoy time being active outside together and exploring your neighborhood.

Halloween with braces can be sweet!
Halloween candy can be a nightmare for someone who wears braces, but it doesn’t have to be. Trick-or-treaters who wear braces should avoid nuts, popcorn, tortilla chips, hard candy, caramel and other chewy candies to keep their braces safe and intact. However, there are plenty of other things that trick-or-treaters who wear braces can enjoy, like chocolate!

Have a spooky day! - Lakebrink Dental

5 Ways to use your Dental Insurance (HSA FSA HRA) before END OF YEAR

This year is quickly coming to a close…NOW is the time to review any remaining benefits available on your dental insurance plan for 2015. Most insurance plans have an annual maximum benefit available. If you do not use this maximum amount, the remaining balance is lost at the end of the year. It does NOT roll over to the next year.

Let our staff help you figure out what you have left and how to make it work for you!

FSA - HSA - HRA

5 Reasons to use Your Dental Insurance Before the End of the Year

Did you know that you could actually save hundreds of dollars by using your dental benefits before the end of the year? While some dental insurance plans run on a fiscal year, most run on a calendar year. If your dental insurance plan is on a calendar year, these 5 reasons will show you why you should make a dental appointment now.

1. Yearly Maximum The yearly maximum is the most money that the dental insurance plan will pay for your dental work within one full year. This amount varies by insurance company, but the average is around $1,000 per year, per person. The yearly maximum usually renews every year (on January 1 if your plan is on a calendar year). If you have unused benefits, these will not rollover.

2. Deductible The deductible is the amount of money that you must pay to your dentist out of pocket before your insurance company will pay for any services. This fee varies from one plan to another and could be higher if you choose an out-of-network dentist. However, the average deductible for a dental insurance plan is usually around $50 per year. Your deductible also starts again when your plan rolls over.

3. Premiums If you are paying your dental insurance premiums every month, you should be using your benefits. Even if you don’t need any dental treatment, you should always have your regular dental cleanings to help prevent and detect any early signs of cavities, gum disease, oral cancer and other dental problems.

4. Fee Increases Another reason to use your benefits before the end of the year are possible fee increases. Some dentists raise their rates at the beginning of the year due to the increased cost of living, materials and equipment. A fee increase can also make your copay higher.

5. Dental Problems Can Worsen By delaying dental treatment, you are risking more extensive and expensive treatment down the road. What may be a simple cavity now, could turn into a root canal later. Call your dentist and schedule an appointment to use those benefits.

Children
If your child has dental treatment to be completed or has not had a dental check-up this year, why not call today to schedule an appointment and take advantage of your remaining benefits for this year?

Taking care of needed treatment today can alleviate emergency dental visits, prevent missed time from work and school, and prevent dental problems from developing into more costly dental procedures. In many cases, we can assist you in utilizing your maximum benefits for 2012. Early planning will allow you to maximize your dental insurance coverage.

Our goal, as always, is to provide you with the highest quality of dental services. We will be glad to help you in this process. We look forward to hearing from you!

How to Handle an Unexpected Dental Emergency

Regardless of the type of dental emergency you experience, it is important that you visit Lakebrink Dental for emergency dental care as soon as possible. A chipped or cracked tooth requires professional attention, as bacteria may gather in these areas, potentially causing infection that could require a root canal. Remember, you may be capable of managing pain, bleeding, and swelling at home, but by visiting our office for immediate treatment, you can fight infections and minimize lasting damage to your mouth, teeth, and gums under the expert care of our emergency dentist.

Lakebrink Dental is proud to offer emergency dental care M-F. Whether you have a broken tooth or if you have bitten through your tongue, do not hesitate to visit us or call us at a moment's notice. Until you arrive at our office, however, there are some helpful steps you can take if you encounter a serious dental dilemma.

Managing Your Dental Emergency

If a toothache is causing problems, you can probably keep the discomfort under control until our emergency doctor can treat you. Start by checking the gums that surround the affected tooth for inflammation, bleeding, or foreign objects. There may be food lodged in the gum that could be removed by flossing. You can control pain by placing a cold compress against your mouth, or by using an over-the-counter oral numbing agent.

More serious situations may be extremely time sensitive, and require immediate emergency attention. For example, if a tooth is completely knocked out, carefully clean it with water. Try to place the tooth back into its socket or briefly store it in a cup of milk if it will not fit back into the gum. Never pick up a tooth by the root or force it into the socket. Come straight to our office, as your tooth will need to be replaced within a short amount of time. Similarly, if you have bitten through your lip or tongue, the American Dental Association recommends carefully cleaning the area before coming as quickly as you can to our office for treatment.

Remember, there is no reason you should live with discomfort. By visiting our Liberty, MO office immediately in an emergency, you can take control of your oral health comfortably and safely.

Have a great day! - LD Staff