Tag Archives: Oral Health

Preventing Gum Disease at Home | Palm Harbor Dentist

Even the most subtle dental problems signal periodontal disease. These symptoms include simple gum inflammation, swollen gums, sensitive teeth, and pain when chewing. The ramifications of periodontal disease are detrimental to your oral health. Not only does periodontal disease causes your gums to constantly bleed, but the disease can lead to the loss of your permanent teeth.

Luckily, preventing periodontal disease is simple. Here are some ways to easily prevent periodontal disease:

Brushing your teeth. The number one way to prevent periodontal disease is to brush after every meal. Avoid brushing only twice a day and carry a toothbrush everywhere you go. Brushing after every meal prevents plaque from building up in the mouth.

Floss. Flossing is extremely important in preventing periodontal disease because it removes plaque and bacteria that accumulates in the mouth.

Watch what you eat. Your diet is key is preventing periodontal disease. For this reason, replace sodas and junk food with water and veggies.

In extreme cases, patients experience bleeding gums and permanent tooth loss. Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria buildup in the mouth which aids in the formation of a sticky plaque on teeth. Plaque is extremely harmful to individuals because if hardened, patients risk the formation of tartar, which cannot be removed by brushing or flossing.

In order to prevent periodontal disease, it is essential to keep your gums and teeth healthy. Extensive brushing and flossing are recommended, along with frequent visits to ensure that no dental problems arise. By preventing or treating periodontal disease, you will not only save a significant amount of time and money, but your will save your smile from decay and permanent loss.

If you’re interested in learning more about keeping your gums healthy and strong, contact Dr. Lieberman at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.

Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.

Is Easter Good for Your Smile? | Palm Harbor Dentist

Springtime is a wonderful time of year. The sun shines brighter, nature is blossoming – there are lots of reasons to want to smile during this time of year. And with springtime comes the Easter season. Pastel colors, baby farm animals and colorful hidden eggs abound. But is the Easter Bunny hurting your smile?

Easter baskets. One of the staples of Easter is the egg hunt – this necessitates the use of a basket. For some little ones, these baskets are filled with candies and other little gifts from the Easter Bunny. We all know that candy isn’t good for our teeth, but in moderation, everything can be enjoyed. Try to stay away from overindulging in hard, sticky candies. Not only do they stay in your mouth longer as they dissolve, but they can break teeth or other dental appliances, like braces. Believe it or not, but chocolate is the best for you, especially the darker varieties. Fancy a chocolate bunny?

Easter eggs. A childhood favorite during this cheerful holiday is dying hard-boiled eggs. The designs and colors not only dazzle the eyes during egg hunts, but it’s a family activity that really brings home the reason for the season. Fortunately, eggs are a great source of protein, and our teeth need protein to stay strong. One large egg contains 95 mg of phosphorus and its protein to phosphorous ratio is excellent. Since the yolk of an egg contains vitamin D also, eating them is an easy way to get two needed tooth nutrients in one shot.

But beyond pretty eggs, lots of the foods we eat during our Easter feast are great for our teeth. Fruits, veggies and meats all have bits that can benefit our smiles. Happy Easter!

If you’re interested in learning more about keeping your teeth healthy and strong, contact Dr. Lieberman at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.

Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.

Is Bleaching Your Teeth Dangerous? | Palm Harbor Dentist

When we think about the perfect smile, many of us associate it with bright white teeth. Not only does it improve our smile, but it brightens our overall demeanor. After all, who doesn’t like to show a gorgeous smile? With improved self-esteem comes an improvement on daily life. And so, we purchase products over the counter and schedule whitening treatments through our dental professionals. But where did this need to whiten our teeth come from?

Whitening strips and bleach trays may be an invention of the past 30 years, but techniques for teeth whitening go back centuries. In the 1100s, physicians would recommend scrubbing teeth with elecampane (a yellow flower) or a sage and salt mixture to make “them firm, white and healthy” or “clean, white, and sweet,” Trevor Anderson, an osteoarchaeologist, notes in a 2004 paper on medieval dentistry.

Later on, some would use acid washes in an attempt to strip away stains, but unfortunately, these rinses mostly stripped away all the enamel on the teeth, leaving them crumbling, says Dr. Scott Swank, curator of the National Museum of Dentistry in Baltimore.

It wasn’t until the advent of Hollywood and Technicolor movies that there was widespread interest in whitening teeth, usually through whitening toothpastes, he says. Enter the 1980s and in-office bleaching treatments, and it only took off from there, Swank says.

Unfortunately, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Overbleaching your teeth causes your teeth’s enamel to wear down. Not only will that cause your teeth to become sensitive, weak and prone to decay, but it also defeats the purpose as teeth’s natural underbody is yellow and becomes exposed by overbleaching. Teeth whitening is a safe procedure but must be used in moderation.

If you’re interested in learning more about teeth whitening, contact Dr. Lieberman at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.

Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.

What Type of Sleep Apnea Do You Have? | Palm Harbor Dentist

We all crave a good night’s sleep. Not only does it refresh our minds and bodies for the next day’s activities, but it is also the time of day our body uses to heal itself and ensure things are running smoothly once we wake. The issue lies when we don’t get a solid sleep. Research has linked sleep apnea to inflammation in the body, which increases the risk of various conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. In order to understand how to deal with our sleep apnea issues, it’s important to know which type you have:

The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. OSA becomes more prevalent with age, especially in males, people with excess body weight, pregnant people, and people who sleep on their back. Some symptoms include:

  • waking during sleep or feeling very tired when awake
  • waking panicked
  • snoring or gasping for air
  • frequent headaches
  • dry mouth
  • feeling confused or unable to concentrate

Unlike with OSA, in central sleep apnea, the body does not try to breathe, so there is no snoring. Instead, because the brain and nervous system do not consistently send a signal to breathe, the person stops breathing. Some people have no symptoms, but others may notice bouts of insomnia, daytime sleepiness or trouble concentrating. Some potential causes include:

  • insomnia
  • waking up short of breath or feeling panicky
  • daytime sleepiness or trouble concentrating

Complex sleep apnea syndrome combines and central sleep apnea. The symptoms are similar to those of OSA and include:

  • brief wakings from sleep
  • daytime fatigue
  • confusion on getting up
  • headaches or dry mouth
  • insomnia or poor-quality sleep

If you’re interested in learning more about sleep apnea, contact Dr. Lieberman at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.

Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.

Turning Your Dental Checkup into a Sci-fi Movie | Palm Harbor Dentist

When we think of the dentist, we don’t necessarily think about a sci-fi movie, but lasers are being used more and more in the dental industry. Because when patients were asked about what they feared about dental procedures, they mostly associated it with pain and discomfort. By implementing dental lasers, not only are dental professionals getting a more precise effect but there is no real pain as lasers don’t use heat, vibration or pressure to the patient the way a traditional drill would.

We can all agree that dental anxiety is a real affliction; and it’s mainly due to the sound of the drill. After all, most menacing dentists we see in movies love to torture their patients with that high-pitched sound. A thus, a lot of patients associate a trip to the dentist with that sound, making it very difficult to keep their appointments. Today’s dental checkups aren’t like our grandparent’s checkups because of the use of laser dentistry. And it may surprise you, but lasers have been used in dentistry since the early 1990’s.

So, what does a dental laser do? One of the most common uses of dental lasers is as a tool to kill bacteria – the laser is powerful enough to kill bacteria beneath the surface without removing the tissue, making treating infected or diseased tissue in difficult places easier than with normal tools.

The dental laser provides a number of advantages for both patient and dentist – the laser is quieter than the drill, allowing the patient to enjoy a more relaxed experience. The bacteria-killing nature of the laser and its more precise use can lead to better results and shorter healing times. When used by a trained dentist, the dental laser is a fantastic technical advancement that both patients and dentist can appreciate.

If you’re interested in learning more about dental lasers, contact Dr. Lieberman at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.

Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.

Celebrating National Toothache Day | Palm Harbor Dentist

It’s true – there is a national day to celebrate the toothache. Something no one hopes to experience in their lives, the toothache is one of those pains that can drive someone insane. Not only because a toothache is painful, but it is a constant pain that can be caused by a number of issues.

If you find that you are developing tooth sensitivity to hot or cold, it may be brought on by exposed dentin from thin enamel or receding gums. A cracked tooth is a different type of pain, rooted deep in your jaw or gums when you bite down. The pressure of biting can cause the cracked tooth to spread, putting pressure on nerves, and causing an intense pain localized to a single tooth.

Throbbing pain on one side of the mouth may be caused by an infection below the tooth, often related to periodontal disease or dental abscess. If left untreated, the infection may spread to the bone, jeopardizing one or more teeth, and potentially causing loss of gum tissue.

There are even some mouth pains that have nothing to do with your teeth. Sinus issues and problems of the TMJ (jaw/skull joint) can both cause pain in the mouth and face but aren’t necessarily problems your dentist can solve.

So, if you find that you have woken up with a toothache, best bet is to schedule a dental appointment as soon as possible to avoid further issues down the road. In the meantime, there are loads of over-the-counter products that can help soothe your pain. Soaking a cotton ball in vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar, tea tree or oregano oil, or baking soda with some water will soak into your sore tooth for optimal relief.

If you’re interested in learning more about toothaches, contact Dr. Lieberman at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.

Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.

Biting Your Nails Is Damaging Your Teeth | Palm Harbor Dentist

There are lots of bad habits that can damage your teeth. For one reason of another, many of us use our teeth as tools for anything but eating. We drink teeth-staining beverages, we use our teeth as a knife, we smoke tobacco. But there is one bad habit that starts from childhood and progresses through adulthood – nail biting.

You may think that biting your nails is a harmless habit to have, but it really does a number on your smile. Not only can you chip a tooth, but you can also expose your mouth to bacteria that is hidden beneath your nail surface, which can wreak more havoc than a cosmetic issue.

If you are a chronic nail biter, you really need to consider stopping before your smile is damaged. Here are a few tips:

  • Keep your nails trimmed.
  • Apply bitter-tasting nail polish to your nails. This over-the-counter option is safe, and the awful taste deters the most avid nail biter.
  • Get regular manicures. Spending money to keep your nails looking attractive may make you less likely to bite them.
  • Replace the nail-biting habit with a good habit, like a stress ball.
  • Identify your triggers. By figuring out what causes you to bite your nails, you can figure out how to avoid these situations and develop a plan to stop.
  • Try to gradually stop biting your nails. Start with your thumbs and eventually you can work your way to both sets of nails.

Making small steps towards quitting a habit is a great way to ensure you’re breaking the habit. The goal is to get to the point where you no longer bite any of your nails, so slow and steady will win the race.

If you’re interested in learning more about the effects of biting your nails on your teeth, contact Dr. Lieberman at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.

Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.

When It’s Time to Buy a New Toothbrush | Palm Harbor Dentist

If you really think about it, we will have thousands of toothbrushes in our lifetime. Not only do they need to be changed out every three months, but also when we catch a cold. When you choose a toothbrush, it needs to be convenient and can reach all the nooks and crannies of our mouth for the ultimate clean. Here is a quick reference to help you think through your choices. After all, we use this little gadget twice a day – we should make it count, right?

Electric and manual. As a general rule, electric toothbrushes tend to outweigh the manual variation. They’re more effective at reducing plaque and they may better reduce the risk of gingivitis, but they are also more expensive.

ADA seal. The American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval signifies that a product is both safe and effective.

Opt for a soft-bristled brush. Hard bristles are very abrasive on your teeth, they can cause damage. Instead, choose a soft-bristled brush.

Customization is key. Not all mouths are the same size, so it makes sense to select a toothbrush head size that’s the right fit for you. Also consider the head shape—some are more tapered, others broader.

It’s all about the grip. As with head size and shape, grip is also something to consider. There is no right or wrong, so just choose one that feels good in your hand. Don’t be afraid to try out the feel of different toothbrush handles before committing to a purchase.

When in doubt, just ask. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, ask a professional. They will give you ideal recommendations based on your particular case.

If you’re interested in learning more about toothbrushes, contact Dr. Lieberman at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.

Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.

Do You Need a Filling or a Root Canal? | Palm Harbor Dentist

Keeping our smile clean and healthy is important – not only for your general health, but in order to dodge any extra trips to the dentist. Because when we develop tooth decay, it is important to see a dentist as soon as possible because it will only get progressively worse the longer you ignore the issue. And when we hear the words ‘cavity’ or ‘root canal’, we regret ever skipping a day of dental hygiene. But do you know why these two dental issues strike fear in the hearts of so many? Let’s take a moment to explain the differences. After all, knowledge is power – the more we know, the easier it is to change poor habits.

Now, a cavity is a hole in a tooth left behind by dental decay. And this is the biggest issue with decay – it spreads like wildfire. If you find that you have a cavity, your dentist will clean out the decay and fill it with a special composite resin. This dental filling material is not only safe but also tooth-colored to blend in with your natural teeth.

When it comes to a root canal, decay is not damaging the outside of the tooth, but the pulp inside of a tooth. This pulp becomes inflamed or infected, possibly leading to an infection spreading to the surrounding teeth and affecting your overall health. It is at this point you will need root canal therapy, where the affected tooth pulp is removed, thoroughly sterilized to remove any leftover debris, then then filled with a special material to seal the tooth and prevent the further infection and a crown.

If you’re interested in learning more about tooth decay, contact Dr. Lieberman at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.

Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.

The ABCs of Tartar Buildup | Palm Harbor Dentist

One of the first instances of poor dental habits is the development of tartar. This is why it’s so important to practice good dental hygiene each and every day. And if you find that you are developing tartar, don’t ignore the issue and visit the dentist for treatment. Tartar is just the jumping off point that leads to further dental issues, like gum disease and tooth decay, down the road. That said, let’s take a look at what tartar is and how we can prevent it.

Tartar, sometimes called calculus, is plaque that has hardened on your teeth. When plaque isn’t removed regularly by brushing and flossing, it can harden and become tartar. It forms at, underneath, and above the gumline and can irritate gum tissues and lead to cavities and gum disease. When tartar collects above the gumline, the tissue can become swollen and may bleed easily.

Symptoms. Unlike plaque, a colorless film of bacteria, tartar is a mineral buildup that’s fairly easy to see if it’s above the gumline. The most common sign of tartar is a yellow or brown color on the teeth or gums. The only way to detect tartar — and to remove it — is to see your dentist or dental hygienist.

Prevention. Proper brushing, especially with a tartar control toothpaste, and flossing are essential in reducing plaque and tartar buildup. Regular visits to the dentist also help. Because once tartar has formed, only your dentist or dental hygienist can remove it. During a scaling, a dental professional uses special instruments to remove tartar from your teeth above and below the gumline, all the way down to the bottom of the tooth pocket.

If you’re interested in learning more about tartar, contact Dr. Lieberman at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.

Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.