Archive for October 2013

How Often Should I Visit My Boise Dentist?

Image via Flickr by J. McPherskesen

Even if you take great care of your teeth every day and have even made use of our self exam checklist, you still need to visit a dentist on a regular basis for a Boise dentist teeth cleaning and a dental checkup. Here are some good guidelines to follow:

For Kids: A Dental Checkup Every 6 Months

Since kids are constantly growing, changing the way their teeth are situated, most Boise dentists recommend a dental checkup every six months. That way we can take a look at how their teeth are coming in as well as help keep their teeth clean and healthy as they grow with a Boise dentist teeth cleaning. Not sure when to start bringing your kids in? Start when they turn one year old, or when their first tooth comes in.

For Adults: A Boise Dentist Teeth Cleaning Every 6-12 months

Once or twice a year for a Boise dentist teeth cleaning is a pretty good rule of thumb to stand by, but certain people may need to come in more or less. People who rarely get cavities and who keep excellent daily dental hygiene may only have to come in once a year. Those who have soft teeth or are prone to cavities, however, will need to come in every six months or more.

For High-Risk Patients: Every 3-4 Months

Some people are more prone to cavities, infections, and other dental problems. These people will need to see our Boise dentists for a dental checkup more often so that they can keep any dental problems at bay. Wondering who may be at a higher risk? These people should definitely get a Boise dentist teeth cleaning and dental checkup more often:

  • Smokers,
  • Diabetics,
  • Those with weak immune systems,
  • Those with gum disease.

Otherwise: Whenever You Feel Pain!

Remember that you won’t always notice a cavity or infection. In fact, oftentimes you don’t. If you are experiencing pain when chewing, sensitivity to hot or cold, or other problems, something is definitely wrong. And don’t be fooled if the pain goes away, either—the problem is still there and will only get worse. And here at Summit Dental, our Boise dentists would much rather catch problems early.

Now that you know how often to come in, have you made your latest appointment? Stop by or call our Boise dental office to set it up or ask us more about preventative dental care.


Brush Til You Bleed? (Addressing New Myths about Teeth)

Image via Flickr by luv life

Have you heard one of the more popular myths about teeth, “brush until you bleed”? It suggests that you haven’t brushed your teeth well enough if you haven’t made your gums bleed. Is it true? Nope. Here are some facts to clear up these myths about teeth:

Truth: If Your Teeth Bleed Every Time You Brush Them, Something Is Wrong

As far as dental care advice goes, this one is pretty straightforward. If you brush your teeth regularly, your teeth should not bleed every time you brush them. For example, say you brush your teeth without fail twice a day, and therefore your teeth generally bleed twice a day. That is cause for concern, so you should probably talk over your brushing habits with our Boise dentists. Below are the three most common problems:

Problem #1: You Aren’t a Regular Brusher

Let’s say you only get around to brushing your teeth once or twice a week, and every time you brush, your teeth bleed. This is a little more understandable since your teeth aren’t used to it.

The solution, of course, is to brush your teeth more often so that your teeth are not bothered by brushing. Remember that you only get one set of teeth, so treat them well and keep them happy with good dental hygiene and cavity prevention by regular brushing.

Problem #2: You Brush Too Aggressively

You can brush your teeth every day and still have your gums bleed. In fact, some Boise dentists see this as their number one problem. By brushing too aggressively, you can irritate your gums and even wear away the enamel on your teeth, leaving them more vulnerable to cavities and infection.

The solution? Take a longer, gentler approach. It shouldn’t hurt to brush your teeth. Take your time to gently cover each area for the best cavity prevention, being careful not to press too hard.

Problem #3: You Have Gum Disease

If you are brushing regularly and know that you are not brushing too aggressively, you could have gum disease. With gum disease, your gums become sensitive, swollen, and red. They will bleed much more easily. This is usually caused by bacteria getting trapped in or around the gums, but it can also be aggravated by smoking, some medical conditions, and some medications.

The solution: Talk to our Boise dentists to create a treatment plan to get rid of the gum disease as well as to address the aggravating source.

Do your gums bleed when you brush?


Save Your Teeth! 3 Boise Dental Tips to Keep Teeth Healthy

Image via Flickr by nhanusek

Once you pass adolescence, you only get one set of teeth. It can be easy to forget about this in the rush of everyday, but when you think that your teeth need to last you 80 years or longer, you may find the time to keep them at their best for as long as possible. Here are three Boise dental tips that can help ensure that you don’t need dentures in retirement:

Brushing: Cavity Prevention

Dentists recommend brushing at least twice a day. It is not just important to brush, however. You must brush properly for true cavity prevention. This includes these Boise dental tips for brushing:

Brush with Fluoride-containing toothpastes. Fluoride fights off cavities and helps seal your teeth enamel. The natural food movement has recently been pushing for Fluoride replacements like xylitol, but the results are not in yet to see if these are effective replacements.

Brush often and softly. It’s one of the common myths about teeth that you can get away with brushing harder less often instead of brushing two or three times a day more carefully. The truth is that brushing harshly can actually damage your enamel and hurt your gums. Instead, take the time to brush gently, and you’ll better protect your teeth and gums.

Brush thoroughly. Even regular brushers can get caught with a cavity or tarter (teeth get tarter, a more difficult substance to remove, if plaque isn’t taken care of) if they don’t reach the plaque-catching areas. Here’s a few more Boise dental tips: trouble spots are molars in the back of the mouth and wide gaps between teeth. If you have a retainer or other dental hardware, be extra attentive around the areas it touches the teeth or gums.


It is not secret that flossing is an important part of your daily dental hygiene routine. However, even though our Boise dentists tell this to our patients at every dental appointment, it seems that many patients still struggle to floss regularly. While traditional flossing is still the best, here are some other alternatives to start getting in the habit:

  • Use a waterpick
  • Use a toothpick carefully after meals
  • Use a floss holder to avoid sore fingers

Avoiding Sugar: The Most Underestimated Dental Care Advice

Finally, the last of our Boise dental tips is to avoid sugar. This includes candy, sugary drinks, and sugary foods. For example, toffees and other sticky candies have a tendency to get stuck in between your teeth. Not only do they trap plaque there, but the bacteria that breaks down enamel feeds off of sugar. Sugary drinks create a similar problem as the sugary substance coats your teeth, providing plenty of food for bacteria. What is worse, the corrosive nature of sodas also breaks down enamel while feeding more cavity-causing bacteria.

While they sound simple in practice, these three tips are hard to execute on a daily basis. Why not try tackling one this month? Which one do you have the most trouble with?

For more information, check out:


A Dental Self-Examination: What To Look For

Image via Flickr by Holtsman

Image via Flickr by Holtsman

While no replacement for a semiannual Boise dentist check up, you can also give yourself a self-exam to make sure that your teeth are in good health with these five steps:

1. Missed Plaque

The most important thing you can do is make sure that you are properly brushing your teeth and removing plaque. You can do this by purchasing a disclosing tablet or solution, which stains the plaque on your teeth and can reveal where you are not reaching with your brush. The process is simple:

  1. Brush your teeth carefully.
  2. Use the disclosing solution as directed.
  3. Check in a mirror to see where the solution has shown up.
  4. Brush again, more carefully, to see if you can remove all the areas of plaque

2. Hot/Cold Sensitivity

If your teeth are sensitive to hot and cold, you may have a cavity, root canal, or other problem that our Boise dentists should know about. It could also mean that you have sensitive or soft teeth, in which case our Boise dentists may suggest that you use special toothpaste. The test for hot and cold sensitivity is even simpler:

  1. Drink a mouthful of cold water and hold it in your mouth for several seconds. Take note of any areas that are sensitive to this.
  2. Take a sip of a hot liquid and swish it around your mouth. A sensitivity to hot things is less common and tends to be caused by more serious problems, so the pain from this should be very noticeable.

3. Bite Sensitivity

Bite sensitivity could be a sign of several dental issues including teeth grinding, cavities, or an abscess. To check for this, bite lightly but firmly onto the handle of your toothbrush to see if this causes pain. You can also lightly tap each of your teeth, keeping track of any teeth that react poorly to this. If you experience pain, come in for a Boise dentist check up and see if you need a Boise night guard.

4. Loose Teeth

Yet another sign of teeth grinding and also a warning of a root canal, abscess, or similar problem, you can easily check this by seeing if you can wiggle any of your teeth. If you can, immediately schedule an appointment with our Boise dentists to see what is wrong.

5. Red or Bleeding Gums

While you can have the same about of redness or bleeding around all of your teeth, you can also only have redness and swelling in certain areas. For instance, you may find your gums look unhealthy in hard-to-reach areas that you have difficulty brushing, or you may find that the gums around dental hardware (like a retainer) is especially inflamed. Take care to carefully brush and floss the areas to see if you can restore the gums. If not, come or an appointment for a Boise dentist teeth cleaning.

By looking into these five steps for a dental self-examination, you can further help keep your teeth healthy and happy every day of the year, not just the days you have a Boise dentist check up.

Have you ever given yourself a dental self-exam? What did you discover?

For more information, see: