How Often Should You Get a Dental Cleaning?

Children, teens, and adults should see a dentist every six months for a dental cleaning and oral exam. Infants should see a dentist for the first time when they get their first tooth, or reach their second birthday. Patients with active gum disease, a history of cavities, certain dental restorations, or pregnant patients may benefit from more frequent cleanings. 

Benefits of Regular Dental Cleanings

Seeing your dentist regularly offers preventive and early detection benefits. As a preventive treatment, regular dental cleanings remove plaque and tartar from the teeth. Plaque is to blame for a variety of oral health problems including cavities, gum disease, infections, and tooth loss. As a bonus, plaque removal also keeps your teeth looking their best.


Regular cleanings include a comprehensive oral exam which affords for the earliest detection of small problems before they become more significant problems. For example, your dentist may diagnose early-stage gum disease (gingivitis), before you begin experiencing symptoms such as pain, bleeding, and swelling as the disease progresses. Likewise, tiny fractures in the teeth may be found in a digital X-ray that can be treated with a filling or crown, before an infection develops, requiring a root canal

Do I Need to Go to the Dentist if I Have Good Teeth and Oral Health?

Dental cleanings, and accompanying oral exams are preventive treatments. No matter how diligent you are about brushing and flossing, plaque will build up on the teeth that your at-home oral hygiene habits just cannot remove. 


Failing to have the plaque and tartar that builds up between dental cleanings removed will ultimately lead to problems such as:


Reasons to See the Dentist More Frequently Than Every Six Months

The recommendation for a cleaning and oral exam every six months applies to people without known oral health problems. Patients who are susceptible to gum disease may need to see the dentist every three months to manage the condition. Likewise, patients who are prone to decay (cavities) may benefit from more frequent dental cleanings and exams. 


Patients with diabetes or a weakened immune system may also benefit from more frequent dental visits.  During pregnancy, it can also be beneficial to see the dentist more frequently as hormonal changes and dietary changes can lead to excess acid or sugar in the saliva, leading to gum disease or cavities.   

Preparing for Your Dental Cleaning

Before you arrive for your dental cleaning, you should make note of any changes in your oral health that you’ve noticed since your last check-up. Be sure you remember any issues with pain in the gums, teeth, or jaw.  Unexplained morning headaches or facial pain should be shared with your dentist.


Likewise, you should make a note of any health diagnosis, or change in medications and share them with your dentist. If your dental insurance has changed since your last appointment, make sure you bring your new insurance information.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a dental cleaning take?

Dental cleanings take 30-60 minutes. Your appointment, including your exam, and any future appointment scheduling is almost always completed within 90 minutes. 


Are dental cleanings covered by insurance?

Most dental insurance policies do cover preventive care including dental cleanings and oral exams. To confirm your specific coverage, contact your insurance carrier. 

Schedule a Dental Cleaning in Holyoke, MA

If it’s been six months or longer since your last dental cleaning, book an appointment at Oakdale Dental Associates in Holyoke, MA by calling 413-536-1782. To best serve patients, appointments are available as early as 8:00 am Monday-Friday. Oakdale Dental Associates accepts insurance, credit card payments, and CareCredit financing.

How Much Does A Composite Filling Cost in Holyoke, MA?

Composite fillings, also known as white tooth fillings or tooth-colored fillings, are the most natural in appearance when it comes to choosing a material to fill cavities. Given that dental fillings are the most common type of restorative dental treatment, it is understandable that patients would want an option that most closely resembles the look and feel of their original teeth.

Even if you are diligent about taking great care of your teeth, you may find yourself with a cavity from time to time. The great news is that fillings have come a long way since they were first introduced. If you are in need of a dental filling, here are some things to keep in mind as you evaluate your next step.

How Much Do Composite Fillings Cost?

While pricing can vary greatly depending on location, the cost of a dental filling is usually determined by the severity of the decay. A typical composite dental filling can range from $200 and above in Holyoke. An exam and consultation with your dentist will help to understand the extent of the work needed and thus a more specific price for your procedure.

Depending on how involved the cavity is that needs to be filled, the procedure can be completed in one visit. The decay is removed and the tooth is then filled with a white composite material that matches the look of your natural tooth. The material will harden immediately once it has been filled into the tooth.

Do Composite Fillings Cost More?

The material that was formerly most commonly used for fillings was dental amalgam. You may have heard this referred to as silver fillings, but it is actually a mixture of metals including liquid mercury and a powdered alloy of silver, tin and copper.

White or tooth-colored fillings are made of a composite material that matches the color of your tooth for a more aesthetically pleasing appearance. Because of their natural look and feel, along with the absence of mercury, composite fillings have now become a more popular choice than metal fillings. While composite dental fillings are more expensive than amalgam fillings, most insurance will now cover the cost of this choice.

How Long Do Dental Fillings Last?

Today’s composite fillings last an average of 7 years, although patients often have them for a decade or longer before they need to be replaced. Amalgam or silver fillings have tended to last for about 15 years before replacement is needed. However, with the new, more advanced option of composite fillings, many patients now elect to have their existing silver fillings replaced with composite fillings for a more natural, comfortable look and feel.

Does Insurance Pay for Composite Fillings?

Coverage can vary from one provider to the next, but most dental insurance companies offer coverage for composite fillings. We recommend contacting your insurance company directly to talk with them about the benefits that are included in your specific plan. Our billing team is happy to work with you to help make sense of your benefits as well.

Learn More About Dental Fillings

Ready to learn more about your options for dental fillings, including the cost of getting dental fillings in Holyoke? Contact our office today by calling 413-536-1782 or request an appointment online with Dr. Lalchandanior at Oakdale Dental Associates.

How To Clean A Mouth Guard?

Investing in a mouth guard means you are taking strides toward better oral health. Most often they are recommended by dentists if there are some signs of bruxism - clenching or grinding - which can be dangerous for your teeth in the long run. By regularly using a mouth guard, sometimes referred to as a night guard since it is worn at night, you are going to reap long-lasting benefits. 

Of course, as with any investment, you want to make sure you take proper care of it so that it lasts you for years to come. Cleaning your mouth guard should become a part of your oral hygiene routine. Here’s what you need to do. 

Rinse Thoroughly

Your mouth guard sits inside your mouth for hours. That means when you remove it, the very first thing you should do is thoroughly rinse it with warm water. This will help to remove anything that is stuck to it - including plaque. 

Brush Your Mouth Guard

Once you have rinsed off your mouth guard, it is time to brush. You can use your own toothbrush, or get one specifically for this task. Either way, it needs to be a soft-bristled brush so that you don’t cause any damage to its surface. 

You may want to avoid the toothpaste, though, as it can be too abrasive and may even cause damage to your night guard. 

Dry it Out

Bacteria love a moist place to flourish - and you do not want your mouth guard to give them that. So, before you place it in its storage case, be sure to allow it to dry completely. You can wipe it down with a soft cloth and let it air dry the rest of the way. Or, just set it on a towel and allow it to air dry entirely. Just don’t forget to securely store it once it has dried. 

Storing Your Mouth Guard

Your mouth guard is an investment and is necessary for your oral health. That’s why you need to care for it safely by storing it properly. Put it in its case and it will remain clean and protected. 

On a side note, because your night guard spends its days inside the storage container, it is a good idea to wash your case regularly with some dish soap and warm water. 

Weekly Cleaning

Deep cleaning your mouth guard weekly can be a great help in maintaining its health and longevity. There are a couple of different ways you can do this - and we have listed them below. Talk to your dentist for any recommendations regarding the best method of deep cleaning for your specific mouth guard. 

In a glass or bowl, mix a capful of mouthwash with water (enough to fully submerge your mouth guard) and let it soak for about 10-15 minutes. Or, as an alternative, you can mix equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide for the same effect. However you choose to soak them, just be sure it is thoroughly dry before you put it back into its storage case. 

Cleaning tablets, purchased at your local drugstore, can be used in much the same manner. You drop a tablet in a glass or bowl of water and let your mouth guard soak for about 10 minutes, then rinse, dry, and store. 

Get Your Mouth Guard Questions Answered

Receiving and wearing a night guard can be an integral part of your journey to better oral health. But, at Oakdale Dental Associates, P.C., we want you to understand its benefits, as well as how to use it and properly care for it. 

To learn more or have your mouth guard questions answered, call Oakdale Dental Associates, P. C. at 413-536-1782. Or, request an appointment online.

Do I Have a Cavity? How to Tell and What It Feels Like

From your first visit to the dentist, you learn about cavities and how not having a cavity is cause for celebration. Many of us strive to care for our teeth between dentist visits just so we can hear those words, no cavities!

But what exactly is a cavity? What does it feel like? And how do you know if you have one?

What is a Cavity?

A cavity is a hole in your tooth that was caused by the buildup of acids in plaque. The longer it is allowed to sit there, the more damage it can do - even destroying the tooth entirely. 

Plaque forms as the result of food debris and bacteria that are left on and around the teeth. Without proper oral hygiene to remove it, such as brushing and flossing, it will begin to form a sticky substance that will make itself at home on your teeth and gums. 

This damaging plaque that causes cavities can be found between your teeth, along your gum line, and on the surface of your teeth. It is important to seek treatment early for a cavity as what may start as something small can turn into serious tooth decay if left untreated.

Signs of a Cavity

Having a cavity will feel different for everyone. Some people will complain of tooth pain and find getting through the day to be tough - while others may not feel anything at all. There are a few signs that you can look to that may signal a cavity has formed. 

Toothache or Tooth Pain

When your cavity is left untreated, it can start to ache. This pain often starts small, such as when you bite down on something hard. But, without treatment, it will progress to pain as you chew soft foods, and, eventually, a constant pain. 

Sometimes it is hard to pinpoint the exact tooth that hurts, but rather you find pain in the general area of the cavity. 

Sensitivity to Temperature and Sweets

When a tooth has a cavity, it may be a bit sensitive - or a lot sensitive - when it comes to things like temperature and sweets. Eating and drinking things that are hot or cold may immediately impact a sensitive tooth. Eating sweets may do the same, but with sweets and a cavity, the pain often lingers. 

If you find that you have unusually sensitive areas in your mouth when you consume hot or cold food or beverages, or sweets, you may have a cavity. 

Dark Spot or Markings on a Tooth

Cavities that have not been addressed often become visible. There may be discoloration or just a dark spot in gray, brown, or even black. This is the sign that bacteria have begun to make their way through your enamel. 

A tooth with discoloration is a definite sign that you need to see a dentist. 

A Hole in Your Tooth

If you are looking for a surefire sign that you have a cavity, you can’t get any more solid proof than a hole in your tooth. Looking at your teeth in the mirror, you may not even realize you are looking at a hole. It could appear just as a dark spot. A closer examination or running your tongue over it may allow you to feel that it actually is a hole. 

Don’t ever delay in seeking dental treatment at any stage, but especially this one. You can end up with an infection that may cause an abscess and more damage. As a result, you may need a root canal rather than just a filling for your cavity. 

Seek Treatment for Your Cavity at Oakdale Dental Associates, P.C.

Are you experiencing any signs of a cavity? If so, then it is time to reach out to Dr. Lalchandani at Oakdale Dental Associates, P.C. before your cavity turns into something bigger. 

Having regular dental cleanings and examinations - and continuing good oral care habits at home - will reduce your chance of cavities. And, that’s cause for celebration!

If you are in or around the Holyoke, MA area, call Oakdale Dental Associates, P.C. at 413-536-1782 to set up a consultation. 

Or, you may request an appointment online.

The Long-Term Benefits of Regular Dental Visits

Everyone knows that regular dental visits are important, but their benefits go far beyond simply preventing cavities. Here are some of the reasons you should make your routine dental visits a priority.

Your Oral Health Is Linked to Your Overall Health

When your mouth is unhealthy, it impacts your entire body. In particular, research has shown that gum disease is closely linked to cardiovascular issues and diabetes. It’s believed that the inflammation caused by gum disease may increase levels of inflammation in other parts of the body. The best ways to prevent gum disease are to brush well, floss daily, and get professional dental cleanings every six months to remove the plaque and tartar that cause periodontitis.

Because all of the systems of your body are interconnected, there are some diseases that may manifest in the mouth even before you experience other symptoms. Diabetes, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis can cause symptoms in the teeth, gums, and other soft tissues of the mouth. Dentists can’t diagnose or treat these conditions, but we can identify abnormalities during your regular dental exams and refer you to a specialist for diagnosis. Oral cancer, too, is often identified by dentists during routine exams.

Preventive Care Is Less Expensive Than Restorative Care

You’ve probably heard the saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It’s true for many things in life and it’s especially applicable when it comes to dental care. Visit the dentist regularly for exams and cleanings and you’ll prevent the need for restorative treatments that cost more money and take more time. Restorative treatments like crowns, dental implants, bridges, and fillings are effective ways to restore damaged teeth, but it’s easier to prevent the need for such treatments in the first place.

Your Dental Appointments Will Be Easier

If you practice good oral hygiene habits at home and visit the dentist every six months, your dental cleanings will be a breeze. When patients don’t visit the dentist regularly, they come to dread dental cleanings because they anticipate that they’ll be uncomfortable and take a long time. The more often you have your teeth cleaned, the easier your appointments will be because you simply won’t have as much plaque, tartar, and stains to remove.

At each dental cleaning, your teeth are polished, which creates a smooth surface that makes it more difficult for plaque and tartar to accumulate. This is another way in which regular dental visits can help keep your teeth healthy between appointments.

You’ll Feel Better About Yourself

While having healthy teeth is most important, you probably also want to have a beautiful smile. Regular dental visits help you achieve that. During your dental cleanings, stains and tartar are removed for a more radiant smile. When you feel good about your teeth, it can improve your self-confidence. You’ll never hesitate to smile, you won’t worry about having bad breath, and you’ll know that you’re doing what you need to do to take care of yourself.

Schedule a Dental Exam

If it’s been a while since your last visit to the dentist, it’s time to get back on track! Contact us today at 413-536-1782 to schedule an appointment.

3 Key Benefits of an Electric Toothbrush

Do you brush your teeth with a manual toothbrush? Brushing is important to remove food particles and plaque from your teeth, and a manual toothbrush can do a pretty good job. Unfortunately it leaves a lot of room for error. It’s easy to miss spots and brush too hard or not hard enough. 

These days dentists are recommending brushing with an electric toothbrush for best results. Why? Because there are distinct advantages when it comes to your dental health. Consider these 3 key benefits of an electric toothbrush. 

1. Reach Difficult Areas.

An electric toothbrush can help you reach all of the easy to miss places on your teeth. When you move your manual toothbrush in various motions and directions, you are attempting to access all areas of your teeth to scrub off food particles and plaque. An electric toothbrush does the scrubbing for you. All you have to do is move it around your mouth to reach all of your teeth and it does the work. Some electric toothbrushes move back and forth, some rotate, and others do both. You can more easily reach the back of the farthest molars without limited range of motion.

2. Remove More Plaque.

With moving and rotating bristles, an electric toothbrush can remove more plaque than a manual toothbrush. It moves faster and has more power than a manual toothbrush in all the right ways. It allows you to brush longer without your arm getting tired, which leads to better plaque removal. It can also scrub along the gumline better than a manual toothbrush, removing the plaque that collects along and under the gums that can cause gum disease and tooth decay.

3. Apply Appropriate Pressure.

Did you know that brushing too hard can actually damage your teeth and gums? When you brush too hard for too long you can actually wear the enamel off your teeth, which can never be completely restored. The enamel is the hard, outside layer of your teeth that protects against decay. Your teeth can also become more sensitive as a result of the enamel thinning and exposing pores leading to the nerve inside the tooth. 

Brushing too hard can also damage your gums. The gum tissue is sensitive and can be easily irritated and inflamed, which can lead to gum disease, an infection of the gum tissue. If your gums bleed when you brush, you may be brushing too hard or you may be suffering from gum disease already. An electric toothbrush help you avoid damaging your gums when you brush. 

Best Electric Toothbrush Brands

If you’re considering getting an electric toothbrush, there are certain brands that dentists recommend most. 

Ask your dentist which electric toothbrush they recommend. 

Oakdale Dental Recommends Using an Electric Toothbrush Between Visits

In between your twice yearly dental cleanings, you can keep your teeth clean and remove more plaque if you use an electric toothbrush. An electric toothbrush resembles the tool your dentist uses to clean and polish your teeth, which is why it is so effective. It’s like getting a professional cleaning every time you brush. 

Are you due for a dental cleaning? Call Oakdale Dental Associates today at 413-536-1782 to schedule or request an appointment

4 Tips to Protect Your Teeth As You Get Older

Oral care can sometimes become more difficult as you age. What may have been sufficient in the past may not be enough to keep your teeth and mouth healthy throughout your lifetime. Aging brings about changes, such as a higher risk of health issues, an increase in medications you may take, and lifestyle changes. As a result, you’ll need to pay more attention to your oral health than you may have done in years past. 

The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to help protect your teeth from the effects of aging. Try these 4 tips to keep your teeth healthy as you get older.

1. Visit Your Dentist

It is even more important as you age to keep up with your regular dental visits. If you aren’t currently going to the dentist for cleanings every 6 months, you should absolutely start now. Some people stop going to the dentist after they retire and no longer have dental insurance. Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t cover dental care, but you can purchase insurance plans through AARP and other providers.

Your teeth, just like the other bones in your body, will weaken as you age. You’ve had those same teeth in place for many years and the long term toll of chewing, grinding teeth, and diet will wear on them. Professional dental cleanings and exams are more important than ever before in your life.

2. Upgrade Your Home Dental Tools

Are you still using a manual toothbrush? As you age you may find it difficult to brush your teeth as effectively with a manual brush. If you have more frequent cavities or gum issues than you’re used to having, it could be helpful to upgrade to an electric toothbrush. Advanced technology has made electric toothbrushes nearly as effective as professional dental tools for removing plaque from teeth. Ask your dentist for a recommendation on the best brand to purchase.

You may also consider purchasing a waterpik for getting to those hard to reach places like between your teeth and around dental work such as implants or bridges. A waterpik can clean between teeth as well as flossing.

3. Be Aware of the Risks Associated with Your Medications

Some types of medications can increase your risk of dental issues, such as those that cause dry mouth, which includes nearly 500 common medications. A dry mouth allows bacteria to thrive and increase your chances of developing cavities. Drugs that are calcium-channel blockers or anti-seizure meds can put you at a greater risk for periodontal (gum) disease.

Another unfortunate side effect of aging and medications is that the nerves in your mouth become desensitized, meaning you are less likely to be aware of a problem with your teeth or gums because you may not feel as much pain. This is another reason that keeping up with your regular dental appointments is crucial.

4. Avoid Habits that are Bad for Your Teeth

While it’s best to avoid bad habits all the time, it becomes even more important as you age and your teeth are more susceptible to decay. Avoid smoking, consuming sugar, and chewing tobacco. If you can’t give up these things, at least brush your teeth afterwards. Not only are tobacco products bad for your teeth, they increase your chances of oral cancer and other cancers.

Oakdale Dental Associates Want to Help You Keep Your Teeth for Life

When you take care of your teeth they can last for your entire life. Unfortunately, some patients care for their teeth well all their lives only to let aging get the best of them. Don’t give up on good oral hygiene. You can enjoy healthy teeth as you age by following just these 4 tips. 

Visit Oakdale Dental Associates every 6 months for cleanings and examinations. Call 413-536-1782 to schedule a visit or request an appointment

Top 10 Causes of Bad Breath and How to Prevent It

Are you worried about having bad breath? It’s a common fear, because it is difficult to tell when your own breath is less than fresh. Halitosis, or chronic bad breath, can be caused by many different factors. But there are ways to prevent it and correct it.

Consider the top 10 causes of bad breath and learn what you can do to keep your breath fresh.

1. Poor dental hygiene.

If you aren’t brushing and flossing your teeth daily and going to the dentist regularly, you may have poor oral health. Tooth decay as a result of food and bacteria that builds up on the teeth makes for foul breath. Take better care of your teeth and you’ll improve your breath.

2. Gum disease.

Another side effect of poor dental hygiene is gum disease. When the gums become infected, the bacteria responsible for the infection can cause bad breath. This bacteria builds up under the gum line where it is more difficult to remove. It may require a visit to the dentist or periodontist for gum treatment, after which, your breath should improve.

3. Dry mouth.

If you have chronic dry mouth due to medication or other factors it can cause bad breath. Saliva is responsible for controlling the amount of bacteria in your mouth. When you don’t have enough saliva to keep the bacteria at bay, they run amok and the result is foul smelling breath. Try to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water or ask your dentist about medication that can help.

4. Digestive conditions.

If you have acid reflux, bowel issues, or other digestive conditions it can cause bad breath. Reflux causes the contents of your stomach to come up into your throat and sometimes even into your mouth, which does not have a positive effect on your breath. See your doctor about these conditions and make sure they are effectively managed to keep them from affecting your breath.

5. Eating strong-smelling foods.

Sometimes you may cause your own bad breath from eating strong foods like onions, garlic, and spicy foods. If you enjoy these foods and don’t wish to give them up, consider brushing your teeth, flossing, and using mouthwash after eating them, which may help some.

6. Drinking coffee.

Coffee is highly acidic and can give you a dry mouth from the caffeine, in addition to the strong smell of coffee on your breath. Altogether, this is not a good combination for your breath. Brush or chew gum after drinking coffee to freshen your breath.

7. Eating foods high in sugar.

Sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth, which are the source of your bad breath. So eating a high sugar diet could be part of the problem. Try reducing the amount of sugar you consume or brush and floss your teeth after eating or drinking something containing sugar.

8. Following a low-carb diet.

Carbohydrates are a necessary part of a healthy diet. Reducing your intake of carbs is one thing, but eliminating them altogether can alter your body chemistry and metabolism which affects your breath. Also, if you’re eating more protein in place of carbs the digestion process produces sulfur gas that gives you bad breath. Try to eat a balanced diet as much as possible with normal daily amounts of carbs and protein.

9. Drinking alcohol.

Alcohol slows down saliva production, which we already know is a leading cause of bad breath. Drink in moderation and you should experience less of the effects.

10. Using tobacco.

Whether you smoke or chew tobacco, it does your breath no favors. In addition to the smell of smoke or tobacco on your breath, the habit leads to gum disease, which we already mentioned as a cause of bad breath.

Proper Oral Care is Your Best Defense Against Bad Breath

The best way to keep your breath fresh is to maintain good oral health. Part of that is practicing good oral hygiene at home, by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly. A tongue scraper can also help to remove bacteria from your tongue that can cause bad breath. But equally important is staying on a regular schedule with your dental visits.

We recommend cleanings and oral exams every 6 months for optimal oral health. Cleanings remove tartar and plaque buildup on your teeth and examinations alert your dentist to any oral health issues you may have from cavities to gum disease. Preventive care visits are an important step in preventing bad breath.

Oakdale Dental Associates provides comprehensive dental services in Holyoke, MA and the surrounding area. Call (413) 536-1782 today to schedule a visit or request an appointment. We look forward to helping you achieve better oral health and fresher breath.

5 Foods & Drinks Notorious for Tooth Discoloration

Do you want a bright white smile? Whitening treatments are some of the most commonly purchased dental products. Over the counter whitening treatments can help, but professional whitening treatments tend to give you better results.

But before you spend money on whitening products, you may want to consider what is causing your tooth discoloration in the first place. Here are 5 foods and drinks that are notorious for tooth discoloration.

Foods That May Stain Your Teeth


  • Berries. Bright colored berries can stain your teeth. Some of the worst ones are cherries, blackberries, blueberries, and pomegranates. 
  • Candy. Candy is often full of artificial food dyes that can discolor your teeth. If it stains your tongue, it is probably also staining your teeth.
  • Curry. The bright yellow color of curry tends to remain on your teeth after you eat it, especially if it is a regular ingredient in your diet.
  • Soy Sauce. The dark brown color of soy sauce can stain your teeth when you add it to your food. If you’re eating a lot of Asian inspired foods, you may find that soy sauce is often an ingredient.
  • Beetroot. While it is healthy, beetroot stains your hands whenever you touch it, which may have the same effect on your teeth.

Drinks That May Stain Your Teeth


  • Tea. The same properties that make tea an effective stain for material is also what causes it to stain your teeth. 
  • Coffee. Whether you drink your coffee black or with cream, it can still linger on your teeth.
  • Wine. Wine, or red wine specifically, can stain your teeth. Rose wine that is on the darker side may do the same. White wine probably has the least effect on your teeth.
  • Softdrinks. Soda, pop, soft drinks, or whatever you call them are some of the worst teeth staining drinks. Brown sodas are worse, but even orange, grape, or cherry soda is full of dyes that can discolor your teeth.
  • Fruit Juices. Juice made from the berries listed above can stain your teeth just as much as the fruit itself can. And while grapes may be safe to eat, grape juice is also a potential tooth stainer.

Foods That Can Help Whiten Teeth

While the foods and drinks above may contribute to the discoloration of your teeth, the following foods can actually help to whiten your teeth. 

  • Strawberries. As opposed to other berries, strawberries have been known to help whiten teeth. Their acidity can help to remove stains from the surface of your teeth.
  • Oranges. Citric acid has stain removal properties that can also remove stains from your teeth.
  • Pineapple. Tart fruits like pineapple help increase the production of saliva in your mouth, which can wash stains off your teeth and prevent them from clinging on in the first place.
  • Apples, Celery, Carrots. Crunchy vegetables serve to scrape plaque and stains off of the surface of your teeth. They also promote healthy saliva production to naturally rinse teeth.
  • Dairy. Milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products are also saliva production boosters and the lactic acid and calcium strengthen tooth enamel, making it more resistant to staining.

Professional Teeth Whitening at Oakdale Dental Associates

If your teeth have picked up some stains or have become discolored over time, professional grade whitening treatments are the most effective. Oakdale Dental Associates offers Opalescence Teeth Whitening System that is available in-office and in a take-home version. This whitening system gives you noticeably brighter teeth and also makes your teeth more resistant to further staining.

Call 413-536-1782 today to schedule a teeth whitening consultation or request an appointment. We look forward to helping you achieve a brighter, whiter smile.

How to Properly Brush Your Teeth

From an early age, we are told how you should take care of our teeth, but are you supplied with the knowledge and techniques on how to properly take care of them?  Many people learn ineffective or damaging habits over time.  Without properly addressing your at home oral care, not only can these bad habits inflict a variety of problems on your teeth, but your overall oral and general health as well.

Frequency and Duration

Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth twice per day for at least two minutes each time. Many people make a mistake by only brushing once, typically when they wake up. During the day, your mouth is exposed to a lot of things that can cause decay when not removed. Brushing your teeth at least twice per day can be more important than you think. Your teeth cover a lot of surface area and each surface needs to be cleaned thoroughly. Allotting two minutes per brushing cycle twice a day aides in ensuring that  you are spending enough time cleaning each part of your mouth.

Choose the Right Brush

You are probably aware of the vast, extensive, and rather overwhelming selection of toothbrushes at your local grocery store.  Choosing the right tool for the job has great significance in providing a profound effect on success with your at home care. You want to choose a toothbrush that has soft bristle. A brush that is too hard has the potential to wear down the enamel on your teeth, and even cause damage to your gums.  A hard brush is useful in removing stuck on or stubborn build-up, but a soft brush is recommended for routine  maintenance.

Not only should you choose the correct toughness of your toothbrush, but you should also consider the shape and length of your brush head, and what works best for your mouth and teeth. Within the multitude of options down the grocery store aisle, there is also a selection of brushes with different shapes designated for different purposes that should be selected based on what you want to accomplish. It is recommended that you replace your toothbrush every three months, after colds or illness, and/or the bristles are damaged and worn down.

The Benefits of an Electric Toothbrush

When put into perspective, an electric toothbrush is essentially doing the fine motor skills that you should typically be doing with a manual toothbrush.  Electric toothbrushes provide more motion and attention to your tooth’s surface per second that the human hand and a manual brush can do.  This is why electric toothbrushes are found to decrease more plaque and gingivitis than manual toothbrushes.

Like manual brushes, there are different options for electric toothbrushes as well.  While most electric brushes are considered to be better and do more than your manual toothbrush, how do they compare to other electric toothbrushes?  There are many differences in these as well, but studies have shown that oscillating or rotating toothbrushes seem to work better than a toothbrush that simply vibrates.

Brushing Your Teeth

There are multiple methods on how to brush your teeth.  A helpful tool to help ensure proper and thorough brushing is to focus on one section at a time.  If you draw an imaginary line in-between the top two front teeth, and the bottom two front teeth, you now have four different sections: top right, top left, bottom left, and bottom right.  Considering it is suggested to brush your teeth in two-minute intervals, this leaves thirty seconds for each section.  Starting in whichever section you prefer, use circular strokes avoiding horizontal scrubbing.

The toothbrush should be held gently to the teeth and angled to ensure plaque disruption at the gum line, along with the tooth’s surface, without directly or firmly brushing gums in order to avoid damage such as scratches.  Scratches or scrapes have potential to become infected over time.  Following a pattern can help you obtain the best results and make certain you do not miss any areas.

Follow Up with Other Oral Hygiene Habits

While brushing is a great way to improve your oral health, you need to follow up with other oral hygiene habits.  Flossing at least once per day to get in-between the teeth and areas a toothbrush cannot reach, as well as incorporating a daily mouth rinse to aid in removing residual plaque are just as important as brushing. Combining several cleaning methods is the best way to ensure that you are practicing effective home care.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are looking for assistance in maintaining your dental health, contact Oakdale Dental Associates at 413-536-1782 to schedule your appointment. Our dentist and hygienists can help you come up with an effective and personalized plan tailored to your needs to improve your oral health.

Root Canal Myths

The term “root canal” has become synonymous with “painful” and “unpleasant”. However, that is not really accurate. With advancements in modern dentistry, a root canal is no more painful than a routine cavity filling or any other basic dental procedure. Along with this myth, there are many others that deserve to be debunked. If you need a root canal, don’t avoid it for any of these common misconceptions.

Myth: Root Canals are Painful.

As with any other dental procedure, local anesthesia is administered to numb the area beforehand so that the patient won’t feel any pain. This myth is likely due to the fact that the main nerve of the tooth is located inside the soft pulp of the tooth and its root. If the area was not numbed first, it would be painful, which is why local anesthesia is used. If for any reason a patient still does not feel comfortable having the procedure done with just a local anesthetic, general anesthesia can be used to put the patient to sleep during the procedure.

Myth: Root Canals Can Make You Sick.

There is no evidence to support this. Somehow it was believed that getting a root canal procedure would cause the patient to be more likely to become ill from the bacteria causing the infection inside of the tooth. This is simply not true. In fact, by removing the infection from the tooth and filling it to prevent any chance of infection in the future, you are less likely to become sick.

Myth: A Root Canal Means Going to the Dentist a Lot.

A root canal can typically be taken care of in as little as 2 appointments. During the first appointment the infected soft pulp is completely removed from the inside of the tooth and root. Then there is a waiting period of a few days to allow the infection to clear up, after which the inside of the tooth and root are filled and the tooth is sealed up. Barring no issues, you’ll go back to visiting the dentist on a normal schedule (only twice a year) following the procedure.

Myth: A Crown Can Cause the Need for a Root Canal.

Getting a crown does not automatically cause you to need a root canal. In fact, the crown may prevent the need for a root canal by helping to solidify the tooth and keep infection from getting into the soft pulp inside the tooth. These two procedures do not have a cause and effect relationship.

Myth: A Root Canal Procedure Removes the Tooth Root.

This one really doesn’t make any sense. The root of a tooth is necessary for it to be held in place securely. It is simply the inside of the tooth root that is removed to preserve the tooth and its root.

Myth: If the Tooth Doesn’t Hurt, it Doesn’t Need a Root Canal.

Often the symptom that alerts a patient to the need for a root canal is extreme tooth pain. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes the inside of the tooth including the nerve is dead. You won’t feel anything, but the tooth will weaken, dry out, and become brittle or loose. You could lose the tooth without realizing there was anything wrong. One of the telltale signs of a dead tooth root is discoloration of the tooth, usually gray or brown.

Myth: Pulling the Tooth is a Fine Alternative.

Some people may think that a root canal is a waste of time and money, and that just pulling the tooth would be better. There are actually quite a few reasons a root canal is a better option. For one, all of your teeth are there for a reason, to help you chew. Each tooth is also a place holder, and pulling one can cause the rest of your teeth to shift out of proper alignment. Finally, when a tooth is pulled or missing, the jaw bone that once held it in place resorbs creating a weak spot in your jaw. Replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant is expensive. Keeping the existing tooth in place is the best case scenario.

Don’t Let These Myths About Root Canals Keep You From Proper Dental Treatment

If your dentist recommends a root canal, don’t avoid it. The procedure can save your tooth and allow you to keep it for the rest of your life. If you have any other questions about having a root canal, ask your dentist to be sure you get accurate answers.

Call Oakdale Dental Associates today at (413) 536-1782 to schedule a consultation or request an appointment.