Love waking up to the smell of coffee? Think twice before you reach for a cup! Your daily dose of Joe — and other habits that can easily escape your notice — could be giving you a bad case of morning breath. But fear not! Bad breath, or “halitosis”, doesn’t have to ruin your day. Nip the problem in the (taste)buds by giving these simple tips a try:
- Cut the caffeine.
Coffee isn’t the only beverage in town that can leave your breath less than fresh. Gulping down certain teas and energy drinks for a morning buzz may result in bad breath if they contain caffeine, which can inhibit the production of saliva. When the mouth is too dry, it allows oral bacteria, the main purveyor of halitosis, to flourish. To jumpstart the mind and body without this unpleasant side effect, turn to morning stretches and a refreshing smoothie or citrus-infused water instead. If you have to consume caffeinated beverages, be sure to hydrate with multiple glasses of water.
- Stop smoking.
Besides putting you at risk for lung cancer, smoking cigarettes can stain your teeth and cause your breath to smell bad, dealing your oral health a double whammy. From the combustion of chemical additives to the tiny smoke particles left in your throat and lungs, it’s almost inevitable that your breath ends up tasting and smelling stale. If you feel the urge to take a puff in the morning, distract yourself by doing light chores, or going for a quick walk. Obviously, a smoking habit may cause a more chronic breath problem, so quitting cigarettes and other forms of tobacco is your best bet for a more permanent solution.
- Don’t skip breakfast.
Pass on the coffee and cigarettes, but eat breakfast — and a nutritious one at that! After a long night’s sleep, your mouth could benefit from a boost in saliva production, and a good meal is the perfect way to do it. Grab an apple for its high water content and crunchiness, both of which can help cut down on odor-causing bacteria. Yogurt and eggs can also promote saliva production while giving you a healthy serving of calcium and vitamin D. Get creative, but be selective, as some of your favorite breakfast foods may include not-so-breath-friendly ingredients such as garlic or onions.
- Do a better job of brushing and flossing.
You’re running late, but if there’s one thing you shouldn’t rush, it’s your morning dental routine. From stuck food particles to gingivitis and even nasty tonsil stones, it all adds up to one major case of halitosis if left unchecked. For mornings where standard brushing and flossing doesn’t seem to do the trick, get a deeper clean by scraping the gunk off your tongue and gargling with mouthwash. If you find yourself flying out the door and forgetting about your oral hygiene frequently, keep a travel-sized dental kit in your bag or at the office for convenience.
- Check (and change) your sleeping habits.
More often than not, bad breath is noticeable the moment you wake up. The problem may not be what you eat or drink, or even how your brush and floss. Instead, it could be how you breathe during your sleep. Breathing orally throughout the night can quickly turn your mouth into a haven for oral bacteria, resulting in a parched sensation and an unpleasant odor. Depending on the severity of the situation, your dentist may recommend surgery, but something as simple as having a glass of water, sugar-free lozenge, or a humidifier on hand at night can help keep your mouth moist.
Let Your Dentist Have a Look
In some cases, morning breath that persists despite your efforts to remedy it may signal something more serious, from cavities and tooth infections, to diabetes and liver and kidney problems. Play it safe by seeing your dentist. He or she can help you determine and treat the root cause more efficiently, and provide you with a personalized treatment plan to rid yourself of the problem for good.
5 Ways to Maximize Your Dental Benefits Plan
With terms like PPO, HMO, in-network, and out-of-network to describe dental benefits, it’s no surprise that many don’t understand how to make the most of their plan. This means you may be overlooking benefits that are critical to maintaining your oral health.
Don’t settle for just what you understand as part of your coverage. Read on for 5 simple tips to take advantage of everything your plan has to offer.
Tip #1: Take Time to Understand Your Plan
The best way to take advantage of your plan is to ensure you know the type of plan it is and its deductibles, copayments, and annual maximums.
There are two main types of dental plans:
HMO Plans – With an HMO, you’ll be required to choose a dentist in your primary network to handle most of your needs. You are charged a relatively low co-payment for office visits, procedures, etc. There is no coverage if you visit an out-of-network provider. HMOs typically have no deductible or maximum.
PPO Plans – With a PPO, you have the option to see both in-network and out-of-network providers, but coverage is better if you stay in network. Once you hit your deductible, you are reimbursed for a percentage of office visits, procedures, etc. The percentage may vary depending on the treatment and is much higher if you see an in-network dentist.
Key things to understand about your plan are its:
- Deductible – The dollar amount you must pay for covered services prior to claiming benefits under your plan.
- Copayment – A fixed dollar amount you must pay when you visit your dentist. Some plans with copayments don’t have a deductible whereas others may have both.
- Annual Maximum – The maximum amount a plan will pay for dental care for an individual or family during a specific benefit period (often, benefit periods last for 12 months).
Tip #2: Take Advantage of All Benefits Covered Under Your Plan
In addition to understanding the basics of your plan, it is important to explore all of the associated benefits.
Most individuals are aware of and will use diagnostic and preventative services for professional cleanings every 6 months. These services are often covered in full by HMO plans and between 80% and 100% by PPO plans.
However, there are other benefits that should be included both in your plan booklet and online. These benefits may cover restorative care (like fillings), major restorative care (like crowns and bridges), as well as orthodontic care. By doing your research, you can determine what procedures are covered, what limitations each procedure has, and if there are any exclusions.
Tip #3: Use a Dentist in Your Network
One of the most significant challenges for many individuals is determining whether or not a dentist is in their network. This can be particularly difficult for plans that have multiple networks because dentists may participate in all or some of them.
If you choose a dentist that is out of your network, the amount of insurance coverage you receive for your treatments will vary. As such, seeing an in-network dentist allows you to maximize your benefits.
Coverage will differ if you go out of network on either type of dental plan:
HMO Plans – If you visit a dentist other than your primary or a referred specialist, your services won’t be covered (even if that dentist is also in your network).
PPO Plans – PPO plans allow you to visit any licensed dentist and you will still be covered. However, choosing a dentist in your network offers top savings (allowing you to maximize your benefits and coverage).
Tip #4: Control Expenses with Treatment Plans
To maximize your benefits, it is best to schedule treatments in advance to align with your annual maximum. In many cases, you can strategically plan multi-stage treatments with your dental professional to minimize your costs as much as possible. Of course, it is also important to be prepared for unforeseen dental emergencies.
Tip #5: Track Claims and Remaining Benefits
Track claims as you receive treatment so you are aware of when you are approaching your annual maximum. After each appointment, review your treatment summary to see what your carrier covered. Then, subtract this amount from your annual maximum to calculate your remaining coverage for the given benefit period.
Get What You Pay for by Maximizing Your Benefits
You sign up for dental insurance for the benefits and you should receive what you paid for. By utilizing each of the tips above, you can make the most of all your benefits and keep your smile looking great.
Dental Benefits Expire Soon!
The end of the year is fast approaching. Have you made the most of your dental benefits? If you have any benefits remaining, there’s still time to use them before you lose them!
From cleanings to crowns to dentures, or even getting started on more complicated dental work, we can help you maximize the dental care you are still eligible to receive based on your coverage.
Major procedures such as crowns, bridges and dentures can take several weeks to complete so don’t wait until the last minute to get in.
Halloween COVID Tips
Halloween is around the corner! In addition to shopping for your kid’s costume (as well as yours if you are a kid at heart!), you must now worry about COVID. Here are some tips that will help your safety:
Take hand sanitizer with you and use often when trick-or-treating
Have your children wear a mask and gloves (more than just ones that go with a costumer)
Avoid congregating in groups
If you are giving out candy, consider putting the candy into a bowl or getting some mechanism (like a picker) that will allow you to maximize distance between you and trick-or-treaters when giving out candy
Wash your hands for at least 30 seconds and consider taking a shower before eating any candy
And, of course, don’t forget to brush your teeth really well after eating any candy or sweets!
If you have further question, please call us or visit our website for information on all the dental services we provide.
***Reminder – most dental plans expire in December so contact us to “use-it-so-you-don’t-lose-it***
It is National Gum Care Month! Is your smile supported by strong, healthy gums? With gum disease now linked to larger health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and dementia, keeping your gums in excellent condition is critical for your overall well-being.
For gums that glow, make sure these key practices are part of your dental routine:
- Always brush along the gum linein short back-and-forth strokes to loosen plaque build-up
- Floss against the shape of each toothto dislodge food particles swept into the gum line
- Try an oral irrigator instead of toothpicksto be gentler when removing stubborn foods
- Use an anti-microbial mouthwashafter brushing and flossing to minimize oral bacteria
- Schedule twice-yearly professional cleaningsto tackle hardened build-up and hard-to-reach areas
If your gums show signs of swelling, inflammation, or bleeding, they could be at risk for disease and need professional attention. To schedule a consultation and exam, call (803) 661-8412
You can also visit our website for information on other dental services that may be right for you.
Garners Ferry Dentistry
Back Open for Business – Monday, May 18
This coming Monday, May 18, Garners Ferry Dentistry is planning to open full time to see our valued dental patients for all their dental needs. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be exercising additional precautions which may include those below:
- Following check in, we will ask some patients to remain in their cars until they are called back for treatment.
- Unless the patient is under 18, no one will be able to accompany the patient into the treatment rooms. In this case, only one visitor is allowed.
- Patient’s temperature will be checked with a no touch external thermometer upon arrival.
- Patients will be asked a series of questions including whether they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, experienced symptoms of the virus or have been exposed to anyone who has had it.
Garners Ferry Dentistry reserves the right to refuse service to any patient they believe presents a risk to their staff or other patients. In addition, our policies and procedures may be modified at any time without notice.
Please note that safety guidance is constantly evolving and may impact our ability to continue to see patients in this manner. We are making best efforts to go beyond the guidelines established by the American Dental Association, OSHA and the CDC.
Thank you for your patience and trust in us during this challenging period and apologize for any inconveniences. If you would like to make an appointment or have any questions about your dental health, please do not hesitate to contact us by one of the methods below or through our website.
Garners Ferry Dentistry
What would you do without some or all of your teeth? As you can imagine, talking, chewing, and even smiling would be a challenge! So, how do you protect your teeth? One great way to do so is with a mouth guard.
Unfortunately, not everyone who should wear a mouth guard actually does. Whether you’re participating in a sport or grinding your teeth at night, a mouth guard could be critical. By learning more about them, you can make an informed decision as to whether to wear one.
Key Benefits of Wearing a Mouth Guard
A mouth guard covers the teeth and prevents injuries from contact sports like basketball, football, soccer, wrestling, and also damage from teeth grinding. Key benefits include:
- Protection Against Tooth Fractures, Displacement, and Loss– If you play a sport, you’re at an increased risk of tooth fractures, displacement, or loss depending upon how hard you’re hit. A mouth guard can help minimize the impact, protecting your teeth and preventing costly dental repairs.
- Protection Against Soft Tissue Injuries– If you play a sport, you could easily injure your tongue or cheeks with your teeth by applying too much pressure. A mouth guard will keep you from biting too hard and protects vulnerable soft tissues.
- Protection Against Jaw Fractures– When you sustain a blow or pressure to your head, your teeth may knock together and, if the pressure is too great, it can result in a jaw fracture. A mouth guard can cushion the blow and potentially prevent an oral health disaster.
- Protection Against Issues Caused by Teeth Grinding– If you grind your teeth, you may experience popping and clicking of the jaw joint or even migraines due to spams in the muscles around your jaw. Wearing a mouth guard at night will protect your teeth and jaw from grinding and clenching.
Types of Mouth Guards
There are three primary types of mouth guards:
- Stock Protectors – These are an inexpensive solution and can be purchased at sporting goods stores and drugstores. Most stock protectors require the jaw to be closed to hold them in place and are bulky and ill-fitting.
- Boil and Bite Protectors – Also sold at most sporting goods stores and drugstores, boil and bite protectors are made from thermoplastic and can be shaped around teeth after being placed in hot water. These protectors are slightly more expensive than stock protectors, but are more effective.
- Custom-Fitted Protectors – These are available at dental offices and are far superior in terms of quality and the protection they offer. They are designed from exact models of your teeth, which ensures a comfortable and proper fit.
Prevention is Key to Maintaining Good Oral Health
Good oral health begins with preventative measures including flossing daily, getting regular dental cleanings, and possibly wearing a mouth guard. Whether you play sports or grind your teeth at night, a mouth guard offers essential protection to keep your teeth safe and your smile looking great.
Contact us about protecting your or your child’s teeth with this type of product.
Most insurance benefits reset in January. This can be an advantageous time to get your needed treatment done before your condition becomes more painful and costly.
Some studies more than three quarters of the population in this country have some form of periodontal disease. This is caused by oral bacteria that hardens and forms plaque on your teeth. Brushing and flossing can help but only a licensed dentist or hygienist can adequately remove hardened plaque also known as tarter. If not removed, this can lead to periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease can lead to:
- Bad breath
- Gums that are red, swollen, painful and/or bleeding. Gums may also recede making teeth appear “longer”.
- Sensitive or loose teeth.
Smoking, diabetes, medication and other ailments can contribute to acquiring periodontal disease.
Our Columbia, SC dentist and staff are trained to deal with periodontal disease in its early stages. We have expertise in many procedures that will reduce the severity of this disease and, with proper continual care, allow our patients to manage this condition.
If left untreated, this condition may require you to see a specialist which will increase your out-of-pockets costs and time away from family, work or leisure activities. Some studies have indicated that if periodontal disease treatment is ignored, it can lead to severe health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain forms of cancer.
Please contact us to schedule your appointment and discuss any concerns you have.
***Insurance Benefits are Running Out for Most Dental Insurance Plans –
Please call us to get you scheduled***
Have you made your holiday gift list and checked it twice? If you’re still on the hunt for good ideas, why not give your loved ones something to make their smiles merry and bright?
Whether you’re looking for stocking stuffers or a much grander present, dental health gifts can fit the bill at any price range. Here are just a few ideas:
- For everyone’s stockings: floss or soft pics, travel-sized toothpaste and/or mouthwash
- For friends and co-workers: sugar-free chocolates, candies, and desserts
- For a special family member: an electric toothbrush
- For your spouse or yourself: cosmetic dental work such as teeth whitening, dentures, etc.
Who wouldn’t love to give their teeth the royal treatment after a sugar-laden holiday diet? If you choose to gift yourself or a loved one with professional dental care, we are at your service. For more information about the dental services we offer, visit our website. To schedule an appointment, call 803-661-8412.
Garners Ferry Dentistry
Don’t Forget Your Benefits: The end of the year is approaching fast. Have you made the most of your dental benefits this year? If unused benefits remain, there’s still time to use them before you lose them! Please read our September newsletter on how to make the most of your benefits. This is our busiest time of the year and we want to ensure we have the time to allow you to fully maximize your benefits.
This is a great time of the year as we get the opportunity to spend time with friends and family. However, please don’t forget about your teeth:
- It is not just sweets that can be problematic: Starches such as dressing and bread can leave acidic sugar on your teeth that, if not removed promptly, can lead to tooth decay.
- Be careful what you bite into: Biting down into bones in turkey and chicken can damage (and sometimes break) your teeth.
- Keep ’em white: Colorful food such as cranberry sauce and drinks such as tea and wine can leave stains on your teeth.
We hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Please do not forget your oral health and contact us to get those issues taken care of before the end of the year!
Halloween is around the corner and it is time to start shopping for your kid’s costume (as well as yours if you are a kid at heart!) Don’t forget to protect your smile from the sugary sweets that lay ahead. You can enjoy the season without sabotaging your oral health.
To keep cavities at bay from Halloween through the rest of the year, try to do these things daily:
- Sip beverages through a straw
- Brush and floss after every meal (as well as finishing a pile of candy)
- Drink plenty of water
- Brush after and limit snacking
- Use sugar-free gum
Should a cavity emerge despite your best efforts to prevent it, be sure to get it filled before it can turn into a more costly and painful crown or root canal.
Also, don’t forget that most dental insurance benefits expire at the end of this year. Please do not let money spent on insurance premiums go to waste! Our Columbia, SC dental team is here to answer your questions and provide you top-notch service.
If you have further question, please call us or visit our website for information on all the dental services we provide. Please check out our new chat function on the home page!