How to Keep a Healthy Tongue | Tacoma WA Dentist

When it comes to oral health, protecting your teeth and gums are often the focus. However, did you know that your tongue needs proper care as well? Your tongue is responsible for many essential functions like swallowing, tasting, and talking, but it can harbor bacteria that harms your oral health. Learn how to keep your tongue healthy by following these four treatment tips. 

Practice Optimal Oral Hygiene 

Brushing and flossing twice a day will protect your mouth from pesky bacteria, but make sure to brush your tongue as well. As an alternative, try using a tongue scraper once a day. Tongue scrapers will scrape away any build up that has formed on your tongue. 

Drink Plenty of Water 

If you are dehydrated, it’s possible for your tongue to lose moisture and become uncomfortable. Drinking water ensures your hydration and will wash away food particles and bacteria from the surface of your tongue. Proper hydration can also prevent bad breath. 

Maintain a Healthy Diet 

Your tongue is a muscle, and what you eat can affect its health. Fill your diet with foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, calcium, lean protein, and fiber. Avoid eating processed foods and treats that are filled with sugar. 

Visit our Dental Office 

By visiting your Tacoma WA dentist at least twice a year for a routine cleaning and examination, you can protect your tongue, teeth, and the rest of your mouth. During these visits, we will thoroughly check all aspects of your oral health. We will then work with you to create an oral health plan that is tailored to your needs. 

Don’t let your oral health slip by neglecting proper care for your tongue! Put these four tips into practice so you can enjoy a bright and healthy smile. Contact Barrett Family Dental of Tacoma today to learn more about proper oral care or to schedule your next appointment. 

Barrett Family Dental of Tacoma
Phone: (253) 572-6670
2520 N. Alder Street
Tacoma, WA 98406

Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks | Tacoma WA Dentist

Many sports drinks contain electrolytes which can be helpful to maintain energy levels when engaging in physical activities. You may believe that sports drinks are healthy but the truth of the matter is, they are not healthy. Energy drinks are those like Monster and Rockstar. Sports drinks and energy drinks are also seen as a tasty alternative to water when it comes to staying hydrated. It is important to know the negative effects and damage that these drinks do to your teeth.  

Up to 62 percent of children of the same age drink at least one sports drink per day and between 30 and 50 percent of teenagers in the United States drink these types of beverages regularly. With these numbers being so high it is important to take notice on the negative effects these drinks can have on teeth. The danger to both children and adults in sports drinks and energy drinks comes not only from the sugar content but also from the acidity. These types of drinks contain a significant amount of acid that they begin destroying the teeth of the person drinking them in as little as five days. 

There is a lot of damage being done to your oral health when consuming sports drinks and energy drinks. Energy and sports drinks can damage tooth enamel, increasing the risk of cavities and tooth decay. These drinks erodes or thin out the enamel of the teeth, leaving them more susceptible to decay and sensitivity. Athletes drink these beverages to remain hydrated and sip them frequently during exercise. This increases the time that teeth are exposed to the acidity and high sugar content of sports drinks, leaving them vulnerable to decay. 

While sports drinks and energy drinks can be an alternative to water, there are ways to promote great oral health. The best way to promote oral health is to keep yourself hydrated with water to prevent negative effects that sports and energy drinks bring. If you feel that you must use sports drinks, rinse your mouth with water afterwards and do not brush your teeth right after you have consumed a sports drink. Also, read the ingredient labels before you consume drinks. Avoid high amounts of acid and sugar, especially if you already have teeth problems. 

Getting healthy is great for your body and your mouth, but sports and energy drinks are not a necessary part of well-being. There are many alternatives, it’s just a matter of finding what works best for you. One must maintain oral health to make sure to have a lasting smile. Talk to your Tacoma WA dentist about preventative care for your oral health. Contact Barrett Family Dental of Tacoma today.

Barrett Family Dental of Tacoma
Phone: (253) 572-6670
2520 N. Alder Street
Tacoma, WA 98406

I Chipped a Tooth! What Can I Do? | Tacoma WA Dentist

It usually starts pretty innocently. You’re biting into your favorite hard candy and suddenly you realize that there’s one little hard piece in your mouth you can’t seem to dissolve. You check it out and fear overcomes you when you see it’s a little chipped piece of a tooth. 

Enamel may be one of the hardest substances in the body but like most things in life, it has its limit. Whether you are chewing on ice or grinding your teeth at night, there’s always a chance of putting your teeth at risk. If you have chipped your tooth, there’s no need to panic. Here are a few things we can do to restore your beautiful smile: 

Tooth Bonding 

Tooth bonding has many structural uses, and it can be very helpful for repairing chipped teeth. Tooth bonding is a simple procedure that doesn’t require any numbing. The bonding materials and porcelain used are natural in color and can be designed to perfectly match your teeth. Your smile will look good as new, and people will have a hard time noticing you ever chipped a tooth to begin with.  

Dental Crown 

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that helps protect your teeth, while at the same time improving its appearance. An AACD (American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry) dentist will likely use a tooth colored crown made out of porcelain or zirconia to look identical to your teeth. Crowns will also provide the durability and strength your teeth need to withstand daily use. You may only need a partial crown if our Tacoma dentist sees that the chip doesn’t affect the entire tooth.  

Porcelain Veneers 

Porcelain laminate veneers are made up of several thin layers of ceramic used to repair chipped teeth. They will be bonded to the teeth to replace the original enamel of the tooth with a special adhesive. Dental veneers are a fantastic way to get your tooth to look whole and healthy again.  

If you have a chipped tooth and would like more information on these methods, or to schedule a consultation, contact Barrett Family Dental of Tacoma today.

Barrett Family Dental of Tacoma
Phone: (253) 572-6670
2520 N. Alder Street
Tacoma, WA 98406

Protect Your Oral Health: Recognizing the Signs of Periodontal Disease | Tacoma WA Dentist

Periodontal disease, commonly referred to as gum disease, is a serious oral health condition that affects the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It’s caused by the accumulation of bacteria and plaque on the teeth and gums, which can lead to inflammation, bleeding, and eventually tooth loss. In this blog, we’ll discuss the signs of periodontal disease so that you can recognize them and take action to protect your oral health.

  1. Bleeding gums: One of the most common signs of periodontal disease is bleeding gums, particularly when brushing or flossing. This is caused by the inflammation of the gums, which makes them more susceptible to bleeding.
  2. Swollen or tender gums: If your gums are swollen or tender, this could be a sign of periodontal disease. This is because the inflammation caused by the disease can make your gums feel sore and sensitive.
  3. Bad breath: Bad breath, or halitosis, can be caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. In the case of periodontal disease, the bacteria can be found in the pockets that form between the teeth and gums.
  4. Receding gums: As periodontal disease progresses, it can cause the gums to recede, or pull away from the teeth. This can make your teeth appear longer and can expose the roots, which can lead to sensitivity and other issues.
  5. Loose or shifting teeth: As the disease progresses, it can cause the bone and tissue that support the teeth to break down, which can lead to loose or shifting teeth. If you notice that your teeth feel loose or seem to be moving, this could be a sign of periodontal disease.
  6. Pus between the teeth and gums: In some cases, periodontal disease can cause the formation of pus between the teeth and gums. This is a serious sign of infection and requires immediate treatment.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Your Tacoma dentist can assess the health of your gums and teeth and recommend the appropriate treatment to prevent further damage and improve your oral health.

Treatment for periodontal disease may include a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing, which removes plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums. In more severe cases, surgery may be required to repair the damage caused by the disease.

In conclusion, periodontal disease is a serious oral health condition that requires prompt attention and treatment. By recognizing the signs of the disease, you can take action to protect your oral health and prevent further damage to your teeth and gums. So be sure to schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings, and practice good oral hygiene habits at home to keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong. Contact Barrett Family Dental of Tacoma today to schedule an appointment

Barrett Family Dental of Tacoma
Phone: (253) 572-6670
2520 N. Alder Street
Tacoma, WA 98406

How Long Does a Temporary Crown Last? | Tacoma WA Dentist

If you have recently seen our Tacoma WA dentist for root canal therapy, you likely have a temporary crown placed over the tooth until the permanent crown is molded and created for your unique mouth. While some patients are eager to get through the entire process, some patients may be less eager to return for additional, necessary dental work and wondering how long they can get away with wearing the temporary crown.  

So, how long can you wear the temporary crown? Well, the answer is, “It depends.” The permanent crown is typically placed within a few weeks to a month after dental procedures. The tooth and soft tissue are given time to heal, and the lab needs time to manufacture the one-of-a-kind crown. Placing the final crown may be delayed if our Tacoma dentist has recommended other dental procedures. Ideally, the permanent crown should be placed as soon as possible. 

What Happens if the Temporary Crown Has Been in Longer than a Few Weeks? 

The longer the temporary crown is in your mouth, the more likely the crown is to significantly wear. This can cause a shift in tooth position and the occlusion. Barrett Family Dental of Tacoma will advise you on how long your temporary crown can last based on placement and your oral habits. 

Barrett Family Dental of Tacoma
Phone: (253) 572-6670
2520 N. Alder Street
Tacoma, WA 98406

Is Gum Good for Your Oral Health? The Surprising Answer! | Tacoma WA Dentist

Chewing gum is a popular habit for many people, and it has been around for centuries. While some people chew gum for the flavor, others do it to freshen their breath or simply to pass the time. But the question is, is gum good for your oral health?

The answer is yes, but with a caveat. Sugar-free gum can actually be beneficial for your oral health because it stimulates the production of saliva, which helps to neutralize the acid in your mouth and wash away food particles and bacteria. This, in turn, can help prevent cavities and tooth decay.

However, not all types of gum are created equal. Gum that contains sugar can actually have the opposite effect and be harmful to your teeth. The sugar in the gum can feed the bacteria in your mouth, leading to the production of acid that erodes your tooth enamel and causes cavities.

When choosing gum, it’s important to look for those that are sugar-free and contain xylitol, a natural sweetener that has been shown to reduce the risk of cavities. Xylitol works by inhibiting the growth of the bacteria that cause cavities and helping to neutralize the acid in your mouth.

Another benefit of chewing gum is that it can help to freshen your breath. This is because it stimulates the production of saliva, which helps to wash away the bacteria that cause bad breath. Additionally, many types of gum contain flavorings and essential oils such as mint or cinnamon, which can also help to freshen your breath.

While chewing gum can be beneficial for your oral health, it’s important to remember that it’s not a substitute for proper oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and visiting your dentist regularly are still essential for maintaining good oral health.

In conclusion, chewing sugar-free gum can actually be good for your oral health because it stimulates the production of saliva, which helps to neutralize the acid in your mouth and wash away food particles and bacteria. However, it’s important to choose gum that is sugar-free and contains xylitol to avoid the risk of cavities. And as always, proper oral hygiene is crucial for maintaining good oral health. So, go ahead and chew that gum, but make sure it’s the right kind! For more information contact our Tacoma WA dentist today.

Barrett Family Dental of Tacoma
Phone: (253) 572-6670
2520 N. Alder Street
Tacoma, WA 98406

Effective Prevention for Healthier Smiles  | Tacoma WA Dentist

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease for children and adolescents. About ¼ of children and more than half of teens currently have this illness. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 90% of adults over age 20 have some amount of tooth-root decay. However, tooth decay is highly preventable. By providing effective dental care during childhood, better long-term oral health may be achieved. 

Here are some practices that can help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues at every age: 

Hygiene 

Brush teeth twice each day with a soft-bristled brush. Clean your tongue gently with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper. Use fluoride toothpaste to help strengthen enamel. Children should use only toothpastes designed for kids’ use. Replace toothbrushes every 2-3 months. 

Clean between teeth daily. Use dental floss or another interdental cleaner. Talk to your hygienist for a recommendation and instructions for effective use. 

Diet 

Eat healthy foods and limit sugary and acidic foods. Drink plenty of water. 

Sealants 

A recent study on the effectiveness of sealants was published jointly by the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). They found that sealants can prevent up to 80% of tooth decay in permanent molars when used for children and teens. Adults may see similar benefits from use, as well. Additionally, no adverse effects have been reported with use of sealants on patients of any age. Talk to our dentist about whether dental sealants may help you prevent tooth decay. 

Fluoride 

Fluoridation of public water has been listed by the CDC as one of the great achievements in public health in the 20th century. Studies have shown tooth decay in children who have fluoridated water sources is reduced by up to 40%. If you have concerns about tooth enamel weakness or if you live in an area without fluoridated water, ask our Tacoma WA dentist whether supplemental fluoride may be right for you. 

Dental Care 

Visit our dentist in Tacoma for a professional cleaning and thorough exam at least twice each year, or as instructed. Seek treatment right away if issues are identified. 

Effective preventive care saves time and money and can help ensure a lifetime of healthy, beautiful smiles. For more information about tooth decay prevention, contact Barrett Family Dental. 

Barrett Family Dental of Tacoma
Phone: (253) 572-6670
2520 N. Alder Street
Tacoma, WA 98406

What is Endodontic Retreatment? | Tacoma WA Dentist

Endodontic, or root canal, treatment is a safe, effective solution for treating an infection in the tooth root or surrounding tissues. In most cases, this preserves the natural tooth, allowing it to remain healthy for many more years. While it is rare, there are occasions when an infection can return months or even years after treatment. When this occurs, an endodontic retreatment may be recommended. 

When is endodontic retreatment recommended? 

Though it is rare for retreatment to be needed, it may be recommended to preserve a previously-treated tooth in certain cases. The most common reason for needing retreatment is infection, which can be caused by: 

  • New tooth decay 
  • Loose, cracked, or broken crown 
  • Delayed placement of the crown following initial treatment 
  • Fractured tooth 

How is endodontic retreatment performed? 

Retreatment is completed in the same manner as the initial root canal treatment. Our dentist in Tacoma will remove the crown and filling materials, remove the infection, and clean the canals before refilling them to prevent recurrence of infection.  Once healed, a new crown will be placed. 

If you are experiencing discomfort in a tooth that has previously had root canal treatment, contact Barrett Family Dental for an evaluation. It could save your tooth. 

Barrett Family Dental of Tacoma
Phone: (253) 572-6670
2520 N. Alder Street
Tacoma, WA 98406

Why See an Endodontist? | Tacoma WA Family Dentist

Whether you were referred by your general dentist or looking for a second opinion on a recommended treatment, we’re here to help. An endodontist, like our doctor, is a dentist with specialized training and experience in performing root canal treatment and preserving natural teeth. 

Why is an endodontist different from a general dentist? 

An endodontist has two or more years of advanced training in the diagnosis and treatment of issues involving your tooth roots and connected tissues. Unlike a general dentist who provides a wide range of services, our office specializes in endodontic treatments exclusively. Our doctor is an expert in root canal therapy, dental trauma, endodontic surgery, and similar treatments. 

When should I see an endodontist? 

You may want to see our doctor for a variety of reasons. Some of these include: 

  • Being referred by your general dentist for endodontic treatment 
  • Wanting a second opinion on a tooth that was recommended for extraction 
  • Trauma affecting your tooth root 
  • Root canal treatment recommended by your dentist 
  • You have a painful and/or infected tooth 

Since our practice is solely focused on endodontic care, office is equipped with advanced technology for your comfort and high-quality treatment. If you have had dental trauma, are experiencing tooth pain, have been advised to have root canal treatment, or would like to see if a tooth can be saved, contact our office

Barrett Family Dental of Tacoma
Phone: (253) 572-6670
2520 N. Alder Street
Tacoma, WA 98406

Daily Flossing | Best Dentist Tacoma WA

We’ve all been told at least once in our life that flossing daily is crucial. Here are four reasons why flossing may be beneficial for your oral health routine:

  1. Preventative care. Food and bacteria buildup between your teeth is unavoidable. Over time, these bacterial colonies lead to tooth decay and the destruction of your dental health. Flossing helps remove food and bacteria from areas that your toothbrush can’t reach. 
  2. Helps prevent gingivitis and gum disease. Your teeth aren’t the only part of your mouth that needs attention. Many people take care of their teeth but ignore their gums. Researchers at the New York University College of Dentistry explain that the people who floss regularly experience much lower instances of periodontal pathogens, gum bleeding, and decay-causing bacteria in contrast with people who do not floss. 
  3. Protects your smile. Flossing does more than just prevent cavities—it also preserves the bones that support your teeth. By preserving the height of that bony structure as well as a healthy smile, you’re maintaining a healthy and youthful appearance that will benefit you for years to come. 
  4. Gives you better overall health. Gum disease doesn’t just affect your mouth and jaw. It has also been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even respiratory diseases. Flossing daily is more than just an optimal habit—it can help keep you healthy as you age. 

We are pleased to offer a variety of oral health solutions to keep your smile healthy. We are also able to customize a health plan tailored to your specific needs. Book your appointment with our dental team today.

Barrett Family Dental of Tacoma
Phone: (253) 572-6670
2520 N. Alder Street
Tacoma, WA 98406