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By Gerald M 01 Dec, 2017

With teeth whitening being widely available for patients to take advantage of, it’s not surprising that many request such treatments in order to perfect their smile. However, despite teeth whitening treatments being confirmed to be both effective and safe, some patients discover unwelcome white stains on their teeth following the procedure.

Wanting to brighten your smile is fairly common, but doing some research before undergoing teeth whitening procedures can be very beneficial. For dental patients who want to whiten their teeth, here is what you should know beforehand about possible white stains on the teeth.

White Stains Following Whitening Treatments

While teeth whitening treatments don’t precisely cause white stains, teeth that are already stained due to hypocalcification could see the white stains they already have made more visible by whitening treatments. Hypocalcification, defined as calcium loss in tooth enamel, can lead to discoloration and is caused by overexposure to fluoride, heavy plaque, a high sugar/acidic diet, or when orthodontic brackets and bands are taken off. Removing these stains can be challenging, given that some teeth whitening treatments can cause hypocalcified areas to look whiter, making the color difference more apparent.

Options for White Stain Treatment

It might not be possible to fully erase white stains, but other treatments are available to potentially correct the teeth’s discoloration. Per the ADA, whitening treatments that use carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide could break stains up, helping to brighten up the surrounding color and make the white spots less noticeable.

Another potential treatment for white stains includes enamel microabrasion in cases where the stains are on the enamel’s outermost layer. This treatment involves a combination of pumice and hydrochloric acid, hydrochloric acid but with silica carbide particles, or a phosphoric acid gel and extra fine grain pumice for removing stains from the enamel’s outermost layer.

Preventing Future Stains

Keeping teeth white and stain free calls for regular maintenance, given how stubborn and recurring stains can be. Dentists can have their patients come into the office for future teeth whitening treatments while also treating other possible dental issues, such as cavities. Daily oral health care, including brushing twice per day and flossing once daily, can go a long way toward preventing stains.

Through diligence in dental care, professional cleansings, and whitening treatments (after stain removal or prevention), a bright smile is something anyone can achieve. Remember to always check in with your dental professional before pursuing any kind of teeth whitening procedure, whether in office or at home, and discuss your best options for minimizing stains and enhancing your smile.

Did you know there is a New Hampshire discount dental plan for individuals, families, and small business owners that can save you as much as 20 percent off your bills? For more information about the plan, please click here .

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By Gerald M 29 Nov, 2017

When teeth start developing white stains or spots, this is a sign of the teeth’s enamel suffering from hypocalcification. This type of discoloration occurs when high acidity within the mouth dissolves the enamel’s calcium and causes it to trickle out. Another reason why the teeth’s enamel could have low calcium levels is a genetic condition called amelogenesis imperfecta. To get the fullest idea of the causes, the complications, and the treatment options available for weakened tooth enamel, check out our guide below for further information.

Genetic Condition

To begin, amelogenesis imperfecta is a genetic condition affecting teeth and causing weakened enamel, due to the fact that it does not develop normally in adult or primary teeth. The enamel becomes soft and can easily wear away, or, at the very least, a thin layer of enamel might form on top of the teeth’s dentin layer. According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, it is estimated that roughly one in 14,000 or 16,000 children in the United States have amelogenesis imperfecta.

Loss of Calcium

Acids brought on by certain acidic drinks or foods as well as mouth bacteria can break the enamel’s calcium down, a process that is also known as demineralization, which is the first stage on the way to cavities. As many children learn, calcium strengthens the teeth and their enamel. Wherever calcium is lost, the teeth become weaker, with the first symptoms of calcium loss being white stains or spots on the teeth due to the enamel structure changing. Hypocalcified teeth enamel is chalkier and more porous compared to healthy enamel. If left untreated, calcium loss will continue, the enamel will break down completely, and cavities will appear.

Treatments for Hypocalcification

Finding out what’s causing hypocalcification offers the best guide for proper treatment. If calcium loss was caused by high acidity, the enamel could react to remineralization via creams, pastes, or even fluoride treatments, thereby preventing more cavity development and calcium loss. Also, patients can strengthen enamel through brushing their teeth with toothpaste that can help replenish their natural calcium—provided the demineralization has not progressed that far.

For individuals with amelogenesis imperfecta, hypocalcification, unfortunately, has no cure, but dentists may be able to provide patients with artificial replacements for weakened enamel. Specialized dentures or full crown restorations for defective teeth cover and thereby protect dentin, thus preventing tooth decay and relieving sensitivity that patients suffering from this condition usually experience.

The teeth’s enamel provides them with the best possible protection, and lost calcium is an indication of enamel weakening. If your dentist can diagnose the problem early enough, they can stop the problem from turning into something much more serious. If patients notice white stains or spots on their teeth, they should make a dentist appointment and have the professional check out the problem, treat it, and provide advice for preventing a reoccurrence.

Did you know there is a New Hampshire discount dental plan for individuals , families, and small business owners that can save you as much as 20 percent off your bills? For more information about the plan, please click here .

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By Gerald M 27 Nov, 2017

When oral health issues start rising for patients, it is in their best interests to immediately seek the assistance of their dental professional in order to get a diagnosis and the proper treatment for whatever it is that is affecting them.

Sometimes, the issue is simple and can be addressed right then and there during their appointment. Other times, patients require dental treatment that involves local anesthesia or even surgery. When the latter scenario happens, dentists will often prescribe one of a few certain medications for their patients to take in the aftermath of their treatment.

However, before a dentist can prescribe anything, they need to know of any other medications their patient is taking to avoid a harmful drug interaction. Among the drugs that interact poorly with dental treatment medication are dietary supplements, according to the authors of a recent article in the journal for the American Dental Association (ADA). To prevent the potentially harmful effects of a drug interaction, says these authors, individuals should avoid regular doses of specific dietary supplements while they are taking medication for dental treatment as well.

These writers consisted of Dr. Mark Donaldson, who is the pharmacy services director of the Kalispell Regional Medical Center in Montana, as well as Riva Touger-Decker, Ph.D., R.D., who is a professor with the Division of Nutrition at New Jersey’s Rutgers School of Dental Medicine. Together, they performed research on interactions between medicine given by or prescribed by dental professionals and the dietary supplements that are most regularly bought in the US.

They discovered that consuming St. John's wort, ginkgo, valerian, or evening primrose while a patient is also consuming drugs that are most commonly used and prescribed in dentistry could cause clinically concerning drug interactions.

This could result in adverse effects, including the reduction of the drug’s effectiveness, blood thinning, and light sensitivity. Because of this, when patients visit their dental professional, it is crucial that they tell them about dietary supplements they are taking as well as any other prescription and OTC drugs.

This way, dentists can make the right decisions regarding the drugs they can safely prescribe or give during and after dental treatment. They could also tell their patients to stop their use of dietary supplements for some time before they can use medication for dental treatments.

"Recognition and avoidance of potential interactions between dietary supplements and medications prescribed or administered commonly will help oral health care providers optimize treatment while emphasizing patients' safety," says both Touger-Decker and Donaldson.

Did you know there is a New Hampshire discount dental plan for individuals, families, and small business owners that can save you as much as 20 percent off your bills? For more information about the plan, please click here .

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By Gerald M 22 Nov, 2017

Christmas and the many other holidays at the end of the year bring about endless opportunities for us to be relaxed, happy, and surrounded by friends and family, offering rare moments of peace. However, during these happy, and occasionally rambunctious, times, it can be easy to let our enjoyments go too far to the point of affecting our oral and overall health.

During holiday seasons, maintaining oral health, while likely not our greatest priority, must still be a priority, especially with children and grandchildren running around. To do so, here a few dental tips to help keep up proper oral health care despite the chaos of the holiday season.

Controlling Soda Consumption

Holiday season brings along with it different kinds of parties with family members, friends, and even work acquaintances. With these parties, individuals often find excessive ranges of soda—the sugary, acidic drink known for being unkind in terms of how it affects teeth. If you find yourself without the option of water in this situation, you can try drinking a soda while using a straw rather than drinking it straight from a glass. This can keep the teeth’s exposure to the soda’s acidity and sugar minimal. This method can also work for wine, which is known for staining the teeth after prolonged exposure.

Love the Turkey

Turkey is among the few holiday season foods that does not have direct consequences to both overall and oral health. “Turkey is a food that can be eaten without any worries at all since it provides protein and phosphorus. Both are the major molesters of such dental ailments as tooth decay and keeps your teeth healthy,” according to Los Angeles dental professional Dr. Shervin Louie. With this in mind, individuals should feel free to eat as much turkey during the holidays as they desire.

Don’t Overdo the Sugar

As a major contributor to tooth decay, overloading the body with sugar is a chief concern going into the Christmas/holiday season, givin the many desserts that often grace tables following family meals. The best method for avoiding harm to your oral and overall health is to at best avoid sugary delicacies or at least commit yourself to moderation. Just remember to maintain a proper oral health care routine by brushing twice daily, flossing at least once per day, and even using a mouth rinse to eliminate more harmful mouth bacteria.

Find the Fruit and Veggies Trays

While celebrating, it might be tempting to avoid the trays containing fruits and vegetables and head straight for the desserts, but it’s important to remind yourself that doing so will only hurt your teeth and health in the long run. It’s better to give the body what it needs rather than what temptation demands. While one or two sweets during the holidays may not hurt, remember to fill your plate with some nutritional value as well.

If you overdid it during the holidays, you may want to make your New Year's resolution to visit your dentist. Our New Hampshire family discount dental plan can help you save as much as 20 percent off those high family dental bills. For more information, click here .

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By Gerald M 21 Nov, 2017

With recreational marijuana use becoming legalized in more U.S. states every year, it’s unsurprising that more research is going into the product to ensure the general public has all of the relevant information regarding any possible effects it can have on the overall health of its users.

Per a study that was published recently in the Journal of Periodontology , it’s possible that individuals who regularly partake in the use of cannabis, including hashish, hashish oil, and, of course, marijuana, could have an increased risk for developing periodontal disease, which is also called gum disease.

In this study, researchers compared individuals who partook in cannabis use a minimum of once per month for one year against those who did not use it as regularly. The researchers stated those who regularly used cannabis had more “pocket depths,” which measure the amount of space between teeth and the surrounding gum tissue, on average around their teeth. These pocket depths are serious indicators for gum disease that dentists use in the treatment of their patients.

It was found in this most recent study that regular cannabis users who used the product at least once per month had 24.5 sites, on average, around their teeth that measured a minimum of eight millimeters. On the other hand, individuals who used cannabis less averaged a minimum of 18.9 sites measuring eight millimeters or more.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), periodontal disease is, specifically, an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It’s also one of the major causes of adult tooth loss, with warning signs including tender and swollen gums, gums that easily bleed, and a persistent bad taste or bad breath.

Some of the factors that will increase one’s risk of developing periodontal disease include chewing or smoking tobacco, diabetes, genetics, and overall poor oral hygiene. Now, per this study, frequent cannabis use could also be a contributing factor.

Per Dr. Terrence Griffin, who is the president of the American Academy of Periodontology, consumers must be informed of the various impacts any type of cannabis can have on their gum health, especially in a time where the decriminalization of both recreational and medical cannabis use is becoming much more common within the US. “There are a number of risk factors that contribute to the development of periodontal disease, and this report suggests that cannabis use may be one of them,” Dr. Griffin said.

If you have been smoking marijuana and have not been to your dentist lately, it is time to schedule an appointment. To learn how you can save as much as 20 percent off that next appointment with our discount dental plans , click here .

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By Gerald M 20 Nov, 2017

When there is something the matter with a person’s blood, this can affect the state of their entire health, given the crucial role it plays in terms of the body’s ability to function overall. From transporting oxygen throughout the body, carrying antibodies to fight infection, regulating body temperature, to creating blood clots for preventing excess blood loss, the importance of blood cannot be overstated, which is why it’s crucial that anyone with a blood disorder receives treatment and understands how it affects the various aspects of their health, including oral health. To get an idea of how oral health is affected by different types of blood disorders, continue reading and discover for yourself.

Neutropenia

Neutropenia patients have low amounts of certain white blood cells—neutrophils—which are people’s first defense against bacterial infections. This condition can be the result of medication, such as those for cancer and radiation treatments, that impede how bone marrow makes these cells.

Some diseases, such as cancer, AIDS, and autoimmune diseases, can result in neutropenia while some individuals are born with bone marrow production issues. For those with neutropenia, infections are much more likely, though symptoms of infection may not be noticeable.

Neutrophils are the cells that cause swelling and redness as signs of infection, but with low neutrophil levels, there might not be swelling or redness, even with infections present. This means that gum disease, oral ulcers, or similar infections could worsen quickly.

Before considerable dental treatment, neutropenia patients can receive antibiotics to help protect them against infections. Normal neutrophil counts range between 3,000 to 6,000 cells, and anything below 1,000 requires antibiotics, which patients may also have to take after treatment.

Anemias

Anemia patients lack the right amount of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen within the blood, and this can result from fluid overload, blood loss, nutritional deficiencies, decreased red blood cell production, diseases affecting bone marrow, or hemoglobin molecule defects.

For patients with anemia—iron-deficiency anemia, sickle cell anemia, etc.—their mouth’s interior might look pale, their tongue might look smooth, and x-rays might pick up changes to the jawbone.

Different variants of anemia, including aplastic anemia, have higher infection risks, so dentists can prescribe antibiotics or antibiotic mouthwash before a major procedure or even use an antifibrinolytic drug to reduce risks of uncontrolled bleeding.

For sickle cell anemia, patients should get their teeth cleaned while in non-crisis periods but keep their appointments short and get a physician’s approval first, especially before a root canal or filling.

Hemophilia

For hemophilia patients, they’re missing crucial proteins (factors) that allow blood to clot, which can lead to the mouth bleeding often. It may be best to not brush or floss as often as is recommended, since this can cause mouth bleeding, but this will leave patients more vulnerable to dental problems. Due to this, hemophilia patients may require additional blood products or factor-replacement therapy before treatment that could cause bleeding. In most cases, some safe procedures include:

·        Root canals

·        Crowns and fillings

·        Denture fittings

·        Orthodontia, but without sharp wires or brackets

Dentists will attempt to minimize any bleeding. Patients with braces must avoid cuts from wires, bands, and brackets, with attached orthodontic appliances being better than the removable kind. Regardless, the primal goal is decreasing the likelihood of bleeding.

If you are suffering from a blood disorder, it may be time to visit your dentist to see if it is impacting your oral health. To learn how you can save as much as 20 percent off your next visit with our New Hampshire discount dental plans , click here .

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By Gerald M 17 Nov, 2017

Despite almost always working, there are rare cases where root canal treatment doesn’t go as planned and fails. The targeted tooth may not have healed properly or the tooth could have experienced complications after the surgery that jeopardized it.

This type of dental situation would require immediate root canal retreatment, which involves removing the packing material and crown, cleansing the root canals, and repacking and recrowning the tooth. Basically, retreatment is very much like the first procedure besides the structural removal, holding about a 75 percent success rate.

For most patients, root canal retreatment is the better option compared to tooth extraction. If teeth have strong bone support, a sturdy surface as well as healthy gums under them, there is a strong likelihood they can be salvaged.

Also, root canal retreatment is usually less costly than the possible alternatives. Bridgework, dental implants, and aesthetically appealing prosthetics cost much more than that of working with natural teeth. These alternatives also require more maintenance and don’t feel as natural as “real” teeth.

When Do I Need Retreatment?

While the idea of more surgery is likely not a pleasant one, root canal retreatment is simple and can generally be completed within one to three visits. There are many reasons why a root canal treatment can unexpectedly fail, including the following:

·        Narrow or curved canals that weren’t originally treated.

·        Delay of placement for restorative devices after the procedure.

·        Filling material leaked from cracked crown.

·        New tooth decay.

·        Treated tooth has new fracture.

·        Saliva entered restorative structure.

·        Previously undetected multifaceted canal structures.

What is Involved in Retreatment?

To begin root canal retreatment, the dentist administers a localized anesthetic unless a different anesthetic was selected. The targeted tooth is isolated using a rubber dam, which protects teeth from saliva and bacteria during treatment. The amount of work dentists can do in one appointment will vary depending on how much inflammation is present as well as the treatment’s complexity.

The first step of retreatment is getting into the inner tooth, which involves removing the post and crown first if they were placed. The next step is removing filling material and any obstructions blocking the root canals. This process involves the use of ultrasonic handpieces, which have the advantage of vibrating any undesirable material loose.

Tiny instruments are then used for cleaning and reshaping the root canals, with X-rays possibly being taken to make sure the roots have been completely cleaned. If this stage of treatment ends up being more complex than anticipated, medicated packing material is applied, so that the remainder of the cleansing process can be done during another visit.

Once a dentist is assured their patient’s root canals are fully cleaned, they will use gutta-percha to pack in the space, which should prevent a buildup of bacteria. Lastly, a temporary filling or crown is applied to the tooth, and a permanent, color-matched crown is placed later.

These types of procedures can be expensive, but you can lessen the impact to your budget if you sign up for our New Hampshire discount plan for small business , individuals, and families. For more information, click here .

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By Gerald M 15 Nov, 2017

With the new year coming up, the perfect time to get major dental procedures done, including root canals, will soon be arriving, given the new year means refreshed insurance. At the same time, root canals are increasingly expensive procedures to take on, especially if your insurance will not cover the entire thing. There are some popular theories out there regarding possible alternatives for root canals, but patients should be warned—not every one of them is effective, and they should be considered with caution.

Root Canal Basics

Root canal treatments are recommended when infected, significantly damaged teeth need to be repaired to be saved. This level of damage usually results from cracked enamel, deep cavities, or trauma (even from repeated dental treatment).

The procedure involves several steps, starting with X-rays before removing the damaged tooth pulp while the patient is under localized anesthesia. The area within the tooth is disinfected and cleaned before being sealed with a gutta-percha material. A filling or crown then restores the tooth once the treatment has taken place.

Alternative Ideas

·         Extraction : A popular alternative to a root canal is extracting the infected tooth and replacing it with an implant, partial denture, or bridge, but, per the American Association of Endodontists, this method doesn't compare to the benefits of saving the tooth.

·         Natural remedies : Given that food choices are known to affect oral health, natural remedy proponents suggest dental infections can be healed through diet, such as avoiding processed sugars or grain products as well as eating quality protein. While embracing healthier lifestyle choices is always a good idea, eating vegetables or fruits cannot fill deep cavities or restore cracked teeth.

·         Ozone gas : Another alleged alternative is using ozone gas for irrigating the cavity. Per a study in Interventional Neuroradiology , the ozone will penetrate into the tooth’s tubules beyond the drilled area, killing bacteria, enabling dentists to save more tooth area, and potentially averting the necessity for the root canal. Despite evidence suggesting ozone disinfects the teeth beneath their enamel, the chance remains of the infection returning later, making root canal treatment necessary anyway.

·         Calcium hydroxide . Similar to using ozone gas, irrigating via calcium hydroxide solution discourages bacterial growth in teeth canals. Calcium hydroxide, an alkaline substance, also dissolves remaining dead tissue, thereby preventing bacterial growth. Because of toxicity, careful arranging within the teeth canal must be done with a needle or file.

Final Analysis

Despite these root canal alternatives sounding promising, none have the potential to offer the same long-term solutions offered by professional root canal procedures. While it might be surprising, the procedure itself doesn’t cause pain—the infected or damaged tooth tissue does. Root canals allow patients to keep natural teeth, smile confidently, chew efficiently, and all in all enjoy life.

If you need to discuss these treatments with your dentist, make sure you sign up for our New Hampshire family discount dental plan first! It can save you as much as 20 percent off your bill. To learn more about this plan, please click here

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By Gerald M 13 Nov, 2017

When someone burns their tongue, all they want is for the pain to go away and to feel better. Burning one’s tongue is a common enough nuisance whenever someone doesn't notice the level of heat their beverage or food is giving off before taking a sip or bite. This could cause the tongue’s natural bumps, which are called papillae, to disappear temporarily.

Not testing a drink or food—or even simply not giving it enough attention—is typically the reason why, but, luckily, it's an easy thing to take care of. Oral burns call for an immediate response if people want their pain to dissipate, and, fortunately, a few remedies for burning tongues are available for the next time a gulp of freshly brewed coffee or a hot bite of pizza makes you feel the burn.

Sip Cold Water

Initial responses to tongue burns determine the speed with which a person recovers. As with all minor burns, cold water will regulate irritation on the tongue immediately, so drink a glass of water to bring the burning tongue’s temperature down and to ensure the mouth is hydrated, as saliva flow is crucial for ensuring bacteria don't harm the affected area. Avoid hot drinks and foods until your tongue heals, as they would only irritate it further.

Cool Down

After burning your tongue, consume something cold and soft to numb any stinging sensations that naturally occur through the day. Foods that are easier to eat, such as fruit cups, yogurt, or applesauce can all help ease ongoing burning sensations. Also, remember to drink cold water during and after eating to wash food debris away that could still hurt the tongue.

Swish Salt Water

Once the mouth has cooled down, it helps to rinse with a salt/warm water mix. Get an eight-ounce glass of water, add 1/8 teaspoon of salt, and then swish it gently for a few moments in your mouth before spitting it out. Because salt is an antiseptic, it can reduce both pain and swelling and ultimately relieve burn symptoms.

Use Sugar

While most people don’t know it, sugar can act as a pain reliever, with a small sprinkle on the tongue being able to dull the pain from a burned tongue, per Healthline. Once you’ve sprinkled the sugar, allow it to dissolve on the tongue, but don’t overdo your proportions, given sugar isn't exactly good for teeth. Honey is another possible choice for alleviating burning sensations on the tongue.

Pain Medication

If none of the previous suggestions provide you with needed relief, standard OTC pain medication is always an available option. Use a recommended dose of ibuprofen or acetaminophen to treat inflammation. If your symptoms aren’t going away or you don’t know what’s causing them, make sure to consult with your dentist or doctor in order to rule out the chronic problem of burning tongue syndrome.

Did you know that caring for your tongue is a major part of proper oral hygiene? If you need to visit your dentist to learn how to properly clean your tongue but are avoiding him because of the high cost of dental care, consider our New Hampshire discount dental plan that can save you as much as 20 percent off your next bill. For more information, click here .

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By Gerald M 10 Nov, 2017

When most people think about their oral health, they likely imagine the health of their teeth and gums but not the tongue, despite the many important functions it serves for a person’s everyday life—from helping them speak, to cleaning the mouth, to assisting with the processes of both eating and digestion.

As with the teeth and the rest of the human body, the tongue requires regular cleanings. Deciding on the right tongue cleaner, though it may surprise many, is just as important as choosing the right toothbrush, so here is how to find the right tongue cleaning tool for you.

Why Tongue Scrapers?

For most, the main culprit behind the necessity of tongue scrapers is halitosis (bad breath), which can result from poor oral hygiene, gum disease, eating foods like garlic or onions, tobacco use, and certain medical disorders, such as postnasal drip and sinusitis. In many of these instances, the tongue develops a whitish coat that results from an overgrowth of papillae on the surface of the tongue from bacteria. Tongue scrapers are one method for alleviating any coating that starts lining on the tongue.

Tongue Cleaning Tools

Mouths—bacteria breeding grounds that they are—can see millions of bacteria develop on the tongue’s surface, so it's essential that individuals understand how they can properly clean them. There are typically three kinds of cleaning tools that are used for the tongue: scrapers, regular toothbrushes, or specially made tongue brushes. Scrapers can be metal or plastic while tongue brushes have bristles like those of toothbrushes, but tongue brushes are made specifically to reach the tongue’s crevices.

Using Tongue Scrapers

Whether using a metal or plastic scraper, begin by setting it on the back end of the tongue. Gently and slowly, pull the tongue scraper to the mouth’s front and then repeat this motion. It’s important that individuals rinse their scraper before they use it and afterward and that they scrape both of the tongue’s sides in addition to its surface.

Once the scraping process is completed, rinse the mouth out. Because tongue scrapers have various sizes and shapes, it’s best to pick one that best suits the shape of both the tongue and the mouth. For those who aren’t sure, your dentist may have some tips for selecting the best one for you.

For individuals who already brush their teeth twice per day and floss every day as well, as recommended by the American Dental Association, they likely understand the importance of maintaining strong oral health. However, as with most endeavors, there is always room for improvement, and regular tongue cleanings are perfect for this.

If you are unsure about the right tongue cleaning tools, ask your dentist. And, if you sign up for our New Hampshire discount dental plan , you can also save as much as 20 percent off that dental visit! For more information, click here

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