The 6 Cavity-Causing Culprits You May Not Know About

woman looks at teeth in mirrorThere are many widely known causes of cavities including eating too much sugar, not brushing or flossing your teeth enough, or avoiding regular visits to your Baton Rouge dentist. But there are also plenty of lesser known cavity-causing culprits out there that you should be aware of…

Teeth with Deep Grooves

Many people naturally have teeth with many deep grooves. Most commonly found in the back molars, these grooves can make it difficult to fully remove food particles and bacteria. This makes them the perfect place for bacteria to bury in and create tooth decay.


Our genes play a large role in our overall health, including the health of our mouths. Some genes make certain people more susceptible to having large amounts of mouth bacteria while others can be responsible for brittle teeth. Both of these concerns are likely to increase the person’s risk of cavities.

Certain Medications

Dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications and even some cancer treatments. While this may seem like no big deal or simply an unpleasant feeling, dry mouth can be dangerous to oral health. When someone suffers from dry mouth, they aren’t producing enough saliva to rinse away bacteria or neutralize acid. This allows the bacteria to hang around and decay teeth and the acid to damage protective enamel. Without enamel, teeth are at even more risk for decay.


Just like the rest of our bodies, our oral health changes as we get older. Our teeth may become weaker, our mouths drier, and our gums may even recede. All of these things allow bacteria to attack our mouths and teeth, increasing the likelihood of cavities.

Dental Restorations

Dental restorations such as fillings are designed to fix problems such as cavities. However, if done improperly they can have an adverse effect. Loose fillings or ones that are too large can allow bacteria to get under them. If this happens, the decay can continue to affect the tooth. Most likely, the filling will need to be replaced.

Grinding Your Teeth

Tooth grinding is common among the U.S. population. Whether done during sleep or as a response to stress, it can not only damage teeth, it can also make it easier for cavities to form. The repeated tooth-on-tooth grinding wears away enamel. As we learned earlier, less enamel means more risk for cavities.

We recommend doing your best to avoid the controllable lifestyle choices above that contribute to dental decay. And while you may not be able to totally avoid or change the others, our dental office in Baton Rouge can help reduce the effect they have on your teeth. We welcome you to schedule an appointment so we can work together to prevent cavities or other oral health problems.

Does Charcoal Toothpaste Really Whiten Teeth?

charcoal toothpasteThe charcoal toothpaste craze seems to be everywhere, and it also seems like everyone is using it to finally get the white smile they’ve always dreamed of. But can this messy black stuff that looks like it’s sure to stain teeth actually whiten them? The team at our dental office in Baton Rouge has the answer.

Is Charcoal Toothpaste Really Charcoal?

The stuff charcoal toothpaste is made out of is much different than what you may be imagining. And if you’re visualizing the gray rocks used to heat up the grill at a summer BBQ, you’re thinking of the wrong stuff. Charcoal toothpaste is made from something called activated charcoal, which is a treated form of carbon. The treating process makes the carbon porous. It’s these pores that are reasonable for the claim that charcoal toothpaste can whiten teeth. Essentially, it’s believed that these pores can pull stains, tartar, and bacteria away from teeth.

Is Putting Charcoal Toothpaste in Your Mouth Dangerous?

Activated charcoal has been used as a trusted medical treatment for over 2,000 years. In fact, the ancient Romans used a powder form to brush their teeth. Following the same thought that the porous nature of activated charcoal helps absorb anything it’s path, it’s also been used to help treat people who have been poisoned. This treatment may still be practiced at modern hospitals.

Will Using Charcoal Toothpaste Whiten Your Smile?

We’re happy to report that charcoal toothpaste can effectively remove surface stains on teeth, allowing them to take on a brighter, whiter appearance. However, if your tooth discoloration is below the surface, you may not see a difference after using charcoal toothpaste. Additionally, the American Dental Association (ADA) has a few warnings about the stuff. Since charcoal toothpaste isn’t only porous but also pretty abrasive it can be damaging to teeth. Regularly brushing your teeth with a highly abrasive toothpaste can wear away tooth enamel and leave your teeth at risk for cavity-causing bacteria. A thinner enamel may also mean a duller discolored smile.

Other Whitening Options

Charcoal toothpaste is only one option when it comes to whitening your smile. Other things you can consider include:  

The best way to whiten your smile is to start by scheduling an appointment at our Baton Rouge dental office. Give us a call today!

Top 4 Ways to Get a Better Smile

woman hides her smileWhen you look in the mirror and smile, what do you see? Are you happy with the way your smile looks, or are your teeth not quite white enough, not quite straight enough, or just overall not quite what you’d like? If you’re looking for ways to improve your smile’s appearance, look no further than our dental office in Baton Rouge.  

Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments to Transform Your Smile

Professional Teeth Whitening

The most common form of cosmetic dentistry is a professional smile whitening treatment. An in-office or professional strength at-home tooth whitening product from your dentist in Baton Rouge can brighten a dull and discolored smile better than their over-the-counter alternatives. These professional whitening solutions are also often more customized for your needs and your teeth.

Dental Veneers

While professional whitening can be really successful for many people, there are times when it’s just not enough to transform a stained grin. In these situations, dental veneers can work wonders. Dental veneers are usually made from ceramic, and are custom-crafted for each patient to match their natural tooth shape. They’re also effective at creating a straighter smile, fixing cracked teeth, or eliminating gaps between teeth.

Composite Bonding

When it comes to covering up and fixing darkened decayed teeth or chipped teeth, composite bonding is an easy and effective solution. The process is simple. Your dentist removes the decay, covers the area with the safe composite material, and artfully molds it into shape to match the rest of your smile. The composite is then hardened and the transformation is complete.

Smile Makeover

A more comprehensive approach to a smile transformation is typically considered a smile makeover. After an in-depth discussion with your dentist to address all of your concerns, your smile makeover may consist of a combination of cosmetic dentistry treatments to give your smile the appearance you’re looking for.

As we ring in the new year and focus on the self-improvement resolutions that tend to come with the celebration, commit to giving yourself a smile that you’ll be proud to show off. Call our Baton Rouge dental office today to get started!

Wine & Oral Health

festive dinner with wineWe are all aware that there are certain foods your dentist in Baton Rouge just isn’t a big fan of. These foods typically include super sweet candies and treats, popcorn with hidden damaging kernels, and of course sugary sodas and juices. But there may just be one more to add to that list: wine.

How Does Wine Affect Oral Health?

Let us start by saying that we aren’t here to tell you that you shouldn’t enjoy a glass of wine after a stressful day or with a nice dinner. As long as you enjoy it responsibly and in moderation, go ahead and treat yourself. However, we do want to let you know about a few oral health problems that can happen as a result of too much wine.

Dry Mouth

Any alcoholic beverage has the tendency to dry out the mouth, and the rest of the body. However, in relation to oral health, a dry mouth is the perfect place for bacteria to flourish and decay to occur as a result. Normally our mouths produce a lot of saliva. This saliva rinses away bacteria before it has a chance to work on decaying teeth. Without it, teeth are at increased risk for cavities.

Calcium Reduction

Wine contains a lot of acid, and acid is bad news for teeth. When we eat or drink highly acidic foods or beverages, the acid begins to attack tooth enamel, first softening it. As enamel softens, some of the calcium within it leaks out and weakens it. Once enamel is weak, it leaves teeth exposed to bacteria, decay, and cavities. If it continues to diminish, tooth roots and nerves may begin to surface, causing painful sensitivity.

Tooth Discoloration

Loss of enamel has even more additional negative side effects, including tooth discoloration. As the enamel weakens, the inner part of the tooth becomes more visible. This inner tooth, or dentin, has a dark, yellowish color. Without the white, calcium rich enamel, teeth can appear dull and yellow. What’s worse is the color of red wine can cause your teeth to take on a reddish hue. Usually this discoloration can be reversed through professional smile whitening or cosmetic dentistry.

Don’t Panic

Before you get bummed out at the thought of ditching your nightly glass of vino, our dental office in Baton Rouge has a bit of potentially good news. Several studies have suggested that red wine, or at least elements in red wine, may actually help protect teeth against decay by getting rid of mouth bacteria. But more research is definitely needed to support the claim.

Whether you’re a wine drinker or not, if you happen to notice signs of tooth discoloration, an unusually dry mouth, or have any other dental concern, we always welcome you to call our Baton Rouge dental office to schedule an appointment.

Bad Breath Remedies

kiss under the mistletoeBad breath is an embarrassing ailment that affects many people. Sometimes bad breath is a temporary side effect of especially stinky food, other times it’s a chronic issue that never seems to go away. At our dental office in Baton Rouge, we have a few helpful tips that may help remedy bad breath with a little bit a time and diligence.

Brush Up on Your Brushing

Brushing our teeth has been a habit since we were young. And when we do something that’s so simple for so long, it’s easy to skimp on doing a thorough job. Start brushing with a purpose, paying attention that you’re cleaning each surface of every tooth using gentle circles. Two minutes of proper brushing twice a day can do wonders for fighting bad breath.

Drink Plenty of Water

Being properly hydrated isn’t only great for your body, it’s incredibly beneficial for your mouth too. A hydrated mouth helps rid your mouth of bad breath germs and bacteria by washing it away.

Quit Smoking

Immediately following a cigarette, bad breath is guaranteed. However, this ‘smoker’s breath’ can last hours after smoking. The lungs and the throat can hold on to stinky smoke particles, releasing them into the air with every breath. Quitting isn’t only a great way to get fresher breath, it’s best for your overall health.

See Your Dentist

Regular visits to your Baton Rouge dentist are they best way to combat bad breath. Professional dental cleanings remove stuck on tartar and bacteria that can’t be touched with at-home brushing. You should see your dentist twice a year, perhaps more if you need more thorough, deep cleanings.

When Bad Breath Gets Serious

You can try every trick in the book to alleviate bad breath, and even then it may not disappear. If this is the case, it may be a sign of something more. Bad breath could be a symptom of:

  • Gum Disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Sinus Infection
  • Diabetes
  • Liver or Kidney Problems

If you’ve been living with the embarrassment of bad breath and are ready to fix it, start by scheduling an appointment at our Baton Rouge dental office. We’ll work with you to determine its cause and talk about the best way to get you back to freshness.

Show Your Teeth Some Appreciation This Thanksgiving

woman expresses thanksThanksgiving is day dedicated to giving thanks for all that we have in our lives. The typical thankful sentiments of life, health, family, and friends usually top the list. This Thanksgiving, the team at our Baton Rouge dental office wants to give you one more thing to be thankful for, something that’s typically overlooked: your teeth.

We know it may sound silly to give thanks for your pearly whites, but trust us, after we list the top reasons you should appreciate your teeth, you’ll be praising them in no time.

Your Teeth Are One of Your Most Defining Features

According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), your smile is one of the first things someone notices about you. It can also impact your life and others’ perceptions of who you are. In fact, the same AACD study concluded that 74% of those who took the survey believe an unattractive smile can negatively affect someone’s career. But don’t worry, if you’re not proud to show off your grin, cosmetic dentistry from your Baton Rouge dentist will transform your smile and maybe even your life.

They Help Us Communicate

Teeth are an essential part of speaking. Without them, we’d have difficulty pronouncing certain letters and sounds such as ‘f,’ ‘v,’ ‘s,’ ‘th,’ and so many more. Go ahead and give it a try. Can you say a full sentence without touching your teeth together or bracing your tongue against them? We’re guessing it was a bit challenging. Those who struggle to pronounce sounds correctly can benefit from seeing a dentist, undergoing orthodontics, or working with a speech therapist.

Teeth Allow Us to Eat All of the Delicious Thanksgiving Treats

One of the teeth’s main purpose is to help us break down foods into more manageably sized pieces so that we can swallow easier. Different types of teeth have a different jobs when it comes to aiding in eating. For example, incisors (the front four teeth on top and front four on the bottom) help us bite bits of food while the molars and premolars are responsible for mashing and chewing the food.

They Can Improve Digestion

Also related to eating, there’s more that the mouth does to help prepare food for proper digestion other than simply chewing. As we chew, our saliva production increases to help further break down the food particles. The saliva contains enzymes that kick start the digestion process. If we don’t chew well or fully, proper digestion can’t happen.

We hope our few reasons to be thankful for your teeth this Thanksgiving, and all year around, makes you appreciate a healthy smile. If there’s any concern about your smile, whether it’s cosmetic or functional, we welcome you to call our dental office in Baton Rouge.

5 Tips to Help You Avoid The Flu

couple with the fluAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the months of October and November are when influenza activity begins to increase. And although flu season doesn’t tend to peak until December through February, getting ahead of the flu and preparing yourself and your family to avoid it is half of the battle. Our dental office in Baton Rouge compiled the top tips to help you prevent the flu this year.

Keep Things Clean & Sanitized

One of the easiest ways to come down with a bug is to touch something that was recently touched by another person who was loaded with germs. Some germs that can make us really sick can live for a long time on surfaces. To protect yourself and your family make sure you clean and sanitize often. Consider areas that are touched a lot like door knobs, toys, toilets, and faucets.  

Wash Your Hands

This is the most common advice given by doctors and mothers alike. And with good reason. Washing your hands goes a long way in removing any germs we may have come in contact with throughout the day. Ideally you should use warm water and soap to clean in between each finger, all over the palms, and even under fingernails. If you won’t have access to a sink and soap, carry an alcohol-based sanitizer.

Don’t Touch Your Face

The CDC sites that a common way germs are transferred from one person to another is by first touching an infected surface then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. These body parts act as a direct route to the rest of your body, and if germs enter one of them, you’re almost guaranteed to get sick. Keep your hands away from your face.

Eat Well

Following a well balanced diet can keep your body performing optimally and in good germ fighting condition. Make sure you’re eating plenty of fruits and veggies and enough protein to keep you strong. In fact, research shows a diet with too little protein can lead to a weak immune system.  

Drink Well

Along with eating well, drinking enough fluids, particularly water, keeps your body working the way it’s intended to. A well-hydrated body keeps white blood cells healthy and ready to fight off germs. Plus, it will make your dentist in Baton Rouge happy, too.

The team at our Baton Rouge dental office hope you and your loved ones avoid the flu this season, but if you happen to come down with it we encourage you to use sugar-free medications to keep your mouth protected.

The Not So Scary Truth About Root Canals

root canal modelSo your dentist in Baton Rouge told you that you need a root canal. And you’re a little bit scared because, let’s face it, a root canal doesn’t sound like much fun. After all, everything you’ve ever heard about root canals make them sound painful and scary. Root canals have had a bad reputation for years, but we’re here to set the record straight.

Root Canals Relieve Pain, Not Cause It

If you happen to need a root canal, chances are you’re suffering from some intense tooth pain, and the last thing you want is something that supposedly hurts even worse. However, the truth is, root canals stop the tooth pain and don’t contribute to it. A root canal is usually necessary if a tooth has severe decay or a deep infection, and the treatment itself removes the diseased part of the tooth, easing the pain.

How is a Root Canal Performed?

First and foremost, your root canal treatment will begin by numbing the area. It may take just a few minutes for the numbing agent to take effect, but once it kicks in, you shouldn’t feel anything. After you’re nice and numb, your dentist in Baton Rouge will make a teeny, tiny hole in the infected tooth, allowing access to the inner tooth (known as the pulp chamber). This is where the root canals are located. Inside the root canals you’ll find pulp, nerves, and blood vessels. These inner workings of the tooth are removed, alleviating any feeling in that tooth. Your dental team will then thoroughly clean the area and seal the canals to keep anything from entering. Lastly, the tooth is capped with a dental crown restoration to further protect it.

Signs You May Need a Root Canal

One of the most obvious signs that may indicate the need for a root canal is tooth pain. But just because you have a toothache doesn’t automatically mean a root canal is the solution. Keep an eye out for other symptoms including:

  • Increased pain while chewing or with applied pressure
  • Sensitivity to heat or cold that doesn’t go away quickly
  • A small, raised bump on the gums near the tooth that hurts
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Gum swelling or pain  

If you notice any of these signs, we welcome you to call our dental office in Baton Rouge to schedule an appointment. We’ll perform a thorough exam to find the cause of the problem. If you happen to need a root canal, we promise to recommend the best treatment possible so that you experience relief in no time.

Safest Halloween Treats for Braces

halloween teensThis Halloween season is just like any other — packed with costume preparations, decorating with ghosts and pumpkins, and preparing for a night of trick-or-treating. At our dental office in Baton Rouge, we love all the fun that Halloween brings to our patients and neighbors. But as you may have guessed, we do have some insight on the best treats. In celebration of both Halloween and National Orthodontic Month, we decided to take a different approach to talking about Halloween candy this year and are catering our top choices for braces wearers.

If you have braces, have a child who has braces, or have had braces in the past, you’re well aware that there are some guidelines to what you can safely eat and what’s best to avoid. These guidelines don’t go away for the holidays, unfortunately. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of delicious treats that are safe for braces.

Safe Candy for Braces

When it comes to selecting candy that’s safe for braces, consider if the texture of the treats is sticky, chewy, or hard. If you can label a candy as any of those, it’s best to choose another option. Candy that’s too hard can break brackets whereas sticky and chewy sweets can bend wires. Neither is ideal for successful orthodontic treatment.

The best candy for those with braces are ones that are easy to bite and chew and aren’t sticky. Some safe options include:  

  • 3 Musketeers
  • Peanut Butter Cups
  • Peppermint Patties
  • Milky Way
  • Crunch Bar/Krackel Bar
  • Pure Chocolate Bars

Worst Candy for Braces

Now that you know of some safe, yet yummy, Halloween candy options for those with braces, it’s important to also take a look at some that aren’t so great. The following treats are best avoided to reduce the chance of damage to brackets or wires:

  • Hard Candy
  • Gum
  • Caramels
  • Jelly Beans
  • Nuts or anything containing nuts

The team at our Baton Rouge dental office hopes all of our patients and neighbors have a safe and happy Halloween!  

Are Your Work Habits Hurting Your Oral Health?

workspace covered in snacksWhether you work a typical 9 – 5, Monday through Friday job, or your schedule typically varies, the truth is Americans spend quite a bit of time at work each week. No matter what your job responsibilities are, several of the most common workplace habits can affect almost every type of occupation. Some of these habits can negatively affect your overall health. In this blog, our dental office in Baton Rouge would like to focus specifically on the top work habits that are most likely to harm your oral health.

Habit #1: Using Teeth as Tools

Teeth are designed for one purpose — to help us chew our food. However, this doesn’t stop us from trying to use our teeth as tools occasionally. Whether you’re trying to open a package or rip off a piece of tape, avoid using your teeth to help. The force placed on teeth during these activities can wear down tooth enamel or even break or chip a tooth. To fix damage like this, your dentist in Baton Rouge will most likely recommend a restorative dentistry treatment.  

Habit #2: Snacking Throughout the Day

Whether you snack on a handful of pretzels, slowly sip your coffee, or nibble on other treats throughout your workday, you’re leaving your teeth constantly exposed to damaging acids. As we eat, bacteria in our mouths feed on the food particles left behind. These bacteria then release acid as a byproduct. Usually saliva helps neutralize and rinse away this acid. But without a break in snacking, your saliva doesn’t have a chance to catch up. This allows the acid to eat away at enamel and leaves teeth at risk for decay.

Habit #3: Taking Smoke Breaks

We all know by now that smoking has been linked to several very serious, sometimes life threatening health issues. Your oral health isn’t any different. Smoking, as well as using smokeless tobacco, increases the risk of oral cancer, gum disease, and tooth loss. We understand that smoking is a hard habit to break, but we know you can do it. Try chewing sugarless gum or talk with your doctor about ways to quit.

Habit #4: Chewing on Pens

Either done out of boredom, stress, or nervousness, chewing on pens or pencils is a workplace habit that affects many people. Sometimes we do it and don’t even realize it. This habit can easily damage teeth by either chipping or breaking them or by wearing away at enamel. Instead of chewing on a pen, try something else that may satisfy the craving but is less dangerous for your smile like eating a few carrots or pieces of celery.

If you find yourself doing any of these habits at work, or perhaps at home, we encourage you to work diligently to stop. Our Baton Rouge dental office is here to help, so give us a call to schedule your next appointment.