The Practice of Dr. Michael Koumas

Causes, Prevention and Removal of Dental Plaque

dentist removing plaque from teeth

Dental plaque is a soft, sticky substance that builds up on your teeth. It can be colorless or yellow in color and it naturally forms on teeth. Though it builds up naturally, this does not mean it is good to have. Dental plaque forms from the foods, drinks and saliva in our mouth and collect in the deposits where our teeth and gums meet. If left untreated, plaque can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and tartar buildup.

Causes of Dental Plaque

Food, drinks and saliva create the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and flourish in your mouth, leading to dental plaque. Foods that are high in carbohydrates or sugar are particularly good at causing plaque buildup.

Prevention

To prevent dental plaque from building up, the easiest thing you can do is take care of your mouth and visiting your dentist twice a year. Brush your teeth, floss and use mouth wash daily to help fight everyday dental plaque buildup. Second, make sure to regularly visit your dentist for a teeth cleaning and checkup. Other prevention tips include using toothpaste with anti-plaque features, using an electric toothbrush, and avoiding tobacco products.

Removal

Using an electronic toothbrush can be an effective way to avoid plaque buildup at home. Remember, each brushing session should last two minutes and should be done twice a day. Consider choosing an anti-plaque toothpaste designed to help prevent dental plaque, and make sure to include flossing and mouthwash in your routine. Of course, the most important step in plaque removal is visiting your dentist regularly so they can make sure your mouth is dental plaque free.

If you would like to schedule a dental appointment, contact local dentist in Newburgh, Dr. Michael Koumas.

Sources:

Crest

How to Clean Your Tongue the Right Way

tongue out

A dirty tongue may very well be the cause of your bad breath. Getting into the habit of brushing your tongue during your daily routine is a good idea. The American Dental Association recommends we brush our tongue each time we brush our teeth, once in the morning and once at night. Using mouthwash after you clean your tongue not only kills any lingering bacteria, but moisturizes the mouth too. The lesson here is that a healthy mouth does not just entail brushing your teeth.

Using a Tongue Scraper

There is a specific tool made for cleaning your tongue, and though it is not necessary, it can be helpful. It is usually a soft plastic handheld tool that scrapes away the mucus-based layer that sits on top of your tongue, you may not even notice it. After each swipe, rinse the tool with warm water and use again. Using the bristles of your toothbrush will work just fine too, and many toothbrushes today have a built-in tongue scraper on the back of the head.

Keep in mind, you should not be using it to the point where your tongue becomes sore or even bleeds. Use light pressure when scraping to avoid soreness and focus on the center of the tongue where the bulk of the bacteria lies. After working tongue cleaning into your daily routine, you should begin to notice your breath start to become fresher.

If you would like to schedule a dental appointment, contact local dentist in Newburgh, Dr. Michael Koumas.

Source:

Colgate

The Right Way to Floss

Floss written with floss on a blue background

The American Dental Association recommends we floss once a day. It doesn’t matter if you floss before or after you brush but incorporate it into your routine at least once daily. In the morning, midday or before bed, remembering to floss can save you from cavities and gum disease.

Flossing removes debris and plaque that builds up between your teeth, which isn’t always removed from just brushing. The type of floss you use is based on your preferences, so find what works for you. If using traditional dental floss, consider the following:

  1. Start by pulling out about 18 inches of floss and wrapping it loosely around your index or middle finger on one hand. For the other hand, wrap about 2 or 3 inches around your finger, just enough to hold it in place. The reason for putting so much on one hand is that you’ll want to use a clean section as you make your way through your mouth.

 

  1. Next, measure out about 2 to 3 inches of floss to start with in between your hands. Start at one end of your mouth and place the floss in between the 2 teeth. Wrap the floss around your tooth in the shape of a C and use a zig zag motion to pull the floss.

 

  1. As you move from one tooth to the next, continue to expose a fresh section of the floss to each new tooth. Make sure you are getting underneath the gum line to help avoid gum disease.

 

If you would like to schedule a dental appointment and learn more about flossing, contact local dentist in Newburgh, Dr. Michael Koumas.

Sources:

American Dental Association

Oral-B

Teeth Whitening Methods

before and after teeth whitening

As people age, it is inevitable that our teeth will lose their white color because the outer layer of enamel becomes thinner and thinner. For many people, a beautiful smile means having bright and shiny white teeth. Along with aging, other factors that affect teeth color are food and drink stains, smoking and tartar buildup. There are many products on the market that claim to whiten teeth, but many are not safe.

Professional Whitening

The safest route to take when wanting to whiten your teeth is through your dentist. At our office, we use the latest in bleaching technology to give you that beautiful smile. We offer two different types of whitening methods, Boost and GLO Science. The difference between the two whitening treatments is that GLO Science includes a take home option and risk of sensitivity is at a minimum. With just a 75-minute appointment, you can notice significant whitening improvements. For those with severe staining or aged teeth, crowns and veneers may be a better option.

Whitening Toothpastes

Whitening toothpastes are best for removing stains on your teeth but not for changing the natural color of them. You may still notice improvements in your teeth’s color, and using whitening toothpaste can be a great alternative to having them professionally whitened. If you do have your teeth professionally whitened, using a whitening toothpaste can be helpful to make the white color last.

Unsafe Whitening Methods

Many products available over-the-counter claim to whiten your teeth but can be very unsafe. In fact, most of these products are not regulated by the FDA and can damage your teeth. These products include charcoal, whitening strips, gels and lights.

To schedule your dental appointment, contact local Newburgh, NY dentist Dr. Michael Koumas.

Before and After patients:

Before and after yellow diseased teeth to bright white teeth

Before and after yellow, aged teeth to bright white teeth

Before and after yellow and brown crooked teeth to white straight teeth with veneers

Sources:

Dental Health

WebMD

How Dentists Fix Cavities

Stages of a developing cavity

Everyday we brush our teeth to prevent cavities and we start this routine at a very young age. Even though we try our best to prevent cavities, sometimes they develop for one reason or another. It is important to visit your dentist when you notice a cavity so that they can properly fix it with a tooth filling.

Fillings

There are a few different filling options out there and your dentist will be able to help decide which one is best for your mouth.

  • Amalgam fillings: These fillings are silver in color and are often used when filling cavities in the back of the mouth due to their darker color.
  • Composite resins: This type of filling is made to match the color of your teeth, giving them a natural look. The ingredients are mixed and placed directly into the tooth where it will then harden. Composites do not last as long as the other filling options because they are plastic, on average, they last anywhere from three to ten years.
  • Porcelain fillings: These fillings are more commonly known as onlays or inlays and are customized for your teeth. They are stain-resistant and are matched to the color of your tooth. Porcelain fillings are made to order and are bonded to the affected tooth.
  • Gold fillings: Like porcelain fillings, gold fillings are made to order and are cemented into place. This type of filling can last for more than twenty years, making it the most durable type of filling.

A root canal is necessary when the tooth decay has reached the nerve. During a root canal, your dentist will remove the damaged nerve. Depending on the extent of the damage and size of the cavity, your dentist will need to evaluate to decide the best treatment option for your cavity.

To schedule your dental appointment, contact local Newburgh, NY dentist Dr. Michael Koumas.

Sources:

Colgate

Oral Cancer: Signs, Causes, and Types

dentures with cigarette and ash conveying oral cancer

Oral cancer is separated into two categories based on where it occurs in the mouth. Oral cancer can develop in the oral cavity (inside lips and cheeks, gums, teeth, roof of the mouth and front two-thirds of tongue) or in the oropharynx (middle area of throat, tonsils and base of tongue). Each year over 10,000 lives are claimed by oral cancer, but early detection can help save a life and result in positive treatment outcomes.

Symptoms

Oral cancer can develop in the mouth or throat and it is important to look out for common signs like:

  • Persisting sore or irritation
  • White or red or patches
  • Pain, sore areas and numbness
  • Lumps, rough spots or small eroded areas in the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing or moving tongue or jaw
  • A shift in your bite or how you’re used to your teeth lining up when you bite down

If you notice any of these symptoms, call your dentist and schedule an appointment with them. Though having one or more of these symptoms does not always mean oral cancer, it is best to get it checked out and to take preventative steps.

Risk Factors

Medical research has identified a handful of factors that actually increase the risk of developing oral cancer. The most at-risk group of people for developing oral cancer are smokers and those over the age of fifty who drink a lot of alcohol. Along with these groups, men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer as compared to women. Those who have contracted certain strains of HPV are also at a higher risk. Regular dental check-ups are important for everybody to have done, but especially for these at-risk groups of people.

Treatment & Prevention

If you notice a sign of oral cancer, calling your dentist and remaining calm is important. Together with your dentist, a diagnosis, treatment plan and preventative care will be created to make sure your mouth stays healthy.

To schedule your dental appointment, contact local Newburgh, NY dentist Dr. Michael Koumas.

Sources:

Mouth Healthy

The ABC’s of Kid’s Dental Care

Baby brushing teeth

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and we would like to put a spotlight on the importance of kid’s dental care from the moment their first tooth breaks through the gum. Following the 2-2-2 rule is a great way to keep your kid’s teeth healthy. The 2-2-2 rule goes like this:

  • Visit your dentist twice a year
  • Brush and floss twice a day
  • Brushing session should last for two minutes

Creating A Routine

The first step to a healthy mouth for your child is creating an oral care routine from an early age. To start off, you may want to talk to them about how important it is to take care of your teeth and to do so, use fun, age appropriate videos, pictures, and even demonstrations.

Next, set aside time every morning and night to help them brush their teeth and you can use this time to brush yours too – make it a fun activity for them. Once they are about five years old, they can start brushing on their own and after the age of seven or eight, they shouldn’t have to be supervised anymore.

Brushing Saves Time and Money

Teaching your child to take care of their teeth can save parents a lot of time and money too. According to the American Dental Hygienist Association, a parent can save anywhere from $8 to $50 in restorative dental procedures for every $1 that they spend on preventative care. Taking preventative steps and measures to a healthy mouth saves a lot of money and toothaches in the long-run.

To schedule your child’s dental appointment, contact local Newburgh, NY dentist Dr. Michael Koumas.

Sources:

Dental Associates

The Consequences of Sugar on Teeth

Toy mouth eating sugary donuts, cupcakes, and desserts

Unfortunately, sugar and your teeth are not friends. Most people know this, but don’t know the exact reason behind this destructive friendship. Sugar itself does not cause cavities and tooth decay, it’s what happens after you eat that sweet piece of candy or cake.

Tooth Decay & Cavities

As expected, there are hundreds of bacteria living in our mouths, two to three-hundred types to be exact. A handful of those bacteria live to feed off the sugar that we consume, which is what causes tooth decay. The bacteria create harmful acids that break away the vital tooth enamel, which is the outer most layer that protects our teeth. Over a period of time, the acid can create a hole in the tooth, better known as a cavity. No cavity should ever be left untreated as it will become very painful and more serious issues will arise.

Remineralization

The good news is that your mouth naturally replaces the minerals that are taken by the acids. The minerals are replaced through a process called remineralization, and saliva plays a huge role in repairing the teeth because it contains minerals like calcium. Unfortunately, this process can only replace the minerals and protect your teeth for so long before the teeth are permanently affected, and cavities are formed.

Eliminate Sugar

A great first place to start is swapping out any type of soft drink like soda or juice and replacing it with water. Soft drinks are loaded with sugar that the plaque bacteria on our teeth love to produce acids with and attack the enamel. Consider these helpful tips when consuming sugary drinks:

  • Use a straw to keep the sugar away from your teeth.
  • Swish and rinse your mouth with water after drinking soda and juice
  • Chew sugar-free gum
  • Brush twice a day

To schedule your dental appointment, contact local Newburgh, NY dentist Dr. Michael Koumas.

Sources:

Dental Associates

Mouth Healthy

Colgate

The Best Foods for Your Teeth

Pizza could actually be good for your teeth - vegetable pizza slides

For those who don’t know, your diet and oral health have a direct relationship. You are at greater risk of tooth decay and cavities when your diet consists of sugary foods like candy and soft drinks. Before we get into what the best foods for your teeth are, we want to emphasize how important it is to drink water. Drinking fluoridated water is highly recommended by dentists because the fluoride helps to keep your teeth strong and resistant to acid which causes cavities.

Dairy foods, including cheese, milk and eggs on a table

Dairy

We have great news for you dairy lovers, products like milk and cheese are good for your dental health. Not only are a lot of dairy products low in sugar, but they are full of calcium and protein which are necessary nutrients to help keep your teeth strong.

Almonds and almond milk

Protein

Increasing your consumption of lean proteins in your diet can also benefit your dental health. Protein-rich foods like chicken, fish, almonds and milk provide the protein your teeth need to stay strong. Many proteins are also low in carbohydrates which is good because carbs increase your risk of cavities, due to their bacteria activating capabilities.

Salad of greens, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, and dried cranberries

Fruits & Veggies

Last but not least, are your fruits and vegetables which are important for your overall health. The list can go on and on, but healthy choices like salads, celery, carrots and apples are a good place to start. Not only are fruits and veggies high in water content which help with the sugar content, but they clean your teeth too. Another benefit is that the act of chewing those yummy fruits and veggies actually helps to produce saliva in your mouth, which washes away bacteria and food built-up in your teeth.

To schedule your dental appointment, contact local Newburgh, NY dentist Dr. Michael Koumas.

Sources:

Colgate

Mouth Healthy

Relief for Tooth Pain from a Sinus Infection

Over 28 million people suffer from sinus infections and they can be very painful. Now, imagine on top of that pain and suffering, you begin experiencing tooth pain at the same time. Chances are that the tooth pain is actually a side effect of the sinus infection.

Sinus Infection to Tooth Pain

When you develop a sinus infection, your naval passage lining becomes inflamed and if left untreated for more than 2 weeks, it can become an acute sinus infection. Now, you still may be asking yourself what does a sinus infection have to do with tooth pain? The maxillary sinuses, the spot where the infection can live, are located right above the roots of your molar teeth. So, when the sinuses begin to swell due to the bacteria, this can put pressure on the nerve endings of the teeth and cause pain and discomfort.

Person with a sinus infection drinking tea wrapped up in a blanket

What to Do

Before automatically assuming the tooth pain is being caused by the sinus infection, you may want to visit your dentist, especially if the pain was there before becoming sick. If you’re positive the pain is being caused by the sinus infection, consider the following tips to help relieve some of that pain:

  1. Stay hydrated
  2. Take a steaming hot shower
  3. Rest & Sleep
  4. Eat spicy foods
  5. Visit the doctor
  6. Position your head correctly for maximum drainage

To schedule your dental appointment, contact local Newburgh, NY dentist Dr. Michael Koumas.

More information can be found on Tips For Relieving Sinus Infection Tooth Pain