If you’re scared of the dentist you are not alone and you NEED to hear what this guest has to say. This week we talked with dentist Dr. Marie Jackson to answer questions about oral hygiene. She gives her BEST tips for taking care of your teeth and debunks common oral care myths, like are whitening toothpastes legit? Is fluoride safe? Do you actually need to floss? Tune in to get all your dental questions answered (even questions you didn’t know you had).
What we cover:
- How many times a day should you brush your teeth?
- Why should you brush your teeth before bed?
- Tips to avoid morning breath
- Is mouthwash important?
- What does Fluoride do?
- Are bad teeth an indicator of bad health?
- Are bad teeth due to genetics?
- Do you REALLY need to floss?
- Should you use a soft or hard toothbrush?
- Are electric toothbrushes better?
- How to STOP skipping brushing your teeth at night
- How often you should go to the dentist
- Is fluoride beneficial?
- It’s ok if your gums are black
- Are whitening toothpastes legit?
- How often should you change your toothbrush?
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Instagram: @Stellar_Smile
- Website: stellarsmilecenter.com
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Wendy: So I was IG stalking you, and I saw that you have several posts up about the importance of brushing your teeth before you go to bed. And we just wrapped up a relationship series.
And so I have a question that kind of integrates both relationships and dental hygiene. Is it a deal breaker for you? if your partner doesn't wanna brush before bed. For me,
Dr. Marie: absolutely . Yes. Big deal breaker for me. I can't speak for others , but it's for me now. One of the reasons is because, one, it's critical for your dental health to brush your teeth before bed.
You wanna make sure you get rid of all the stuff that is between your teeth in your mouth, on your teeth as you've gone through the day. And that. Not doing that can actually increase your rate of cavities and decay and all types of dental issues. So that's dental standpoint. The other is that when you don't brush your teeth before bed, you are going to have really, really bad morning breath.
You can actually almost eliminate morning breath by making sure you brush thoroughly loss. Clean your tongue and use an antiseptic mouthwash before you go to sleep. So that is a huge aid in preventing these types of issues.
Jess: Okay, that's very helpful. Um, you said antiseptic mouthwash, that is a question we have later on, but since we're on the topic, what does that mean and what are your thoughts on mouthwash?
Dr. Marie: Okay, so, um, an antiseptic mouthwash is a mouthwash that kills germs and the germs that prevent, that build up in your mouth that. , um, flat breath plaque, gum disease. So I am a fan of one. I, uh, actually do some work with, uh, one of the antiseptic brands. And so I guess I do have some bias, but I have bias because of the research behind it.
So I tell patients, when you look for products, you wanna look for things that have the ADA seal of approval. That means it's been proven scientifically to do something for you. And so that's why I'm a fan. The other thing I was gonna also mention with a mouthwash. Um, the other, uh, reason a person may use a mouthwash besides, you know, killing germs and freshening their breath is, uh, you may wanna use a mouthwash to help prevent decay.
And there are some in the market that have, uh, fluoride that'll help prevent decay. So that's another use for that as well.
Jess: Okay, so one thing many people may not know about me, I don't know why they would, but, um, I have a cavity in every single tooth, but my front four teeth and some teeth have two cavities.
Um, which is a little concerning, but I'm wondering, As someone who has kind of horrible teeth, um, are teeth an indicator of overall health or if you get your, wait, sorry, lemme start that over. . As someone who has pretty bad teeth, should I be concerned because teeth are an indicator of overall health or does it not really have a correlation?
Dr. Marie: Well, we can say the mouth can be an indicator of overall health, but not necessarily teeth. So sometimes, uh, some people are more prone to cavities because we each have our own natural, what we refer to as bacteria load in our mouth, and that is literally transferred to us by a caretaker when we are an infant growing our first teeth.
So that's out of your hands. So someone may have a really great number of bacteria that. Just how it is. And someone may have lucked out and has very little bacteria, and that kind of puts them up in terms of their rate of cavities as they get older. So it's little things where you can make sure you are, you know, brushing, flossing, you're using fluoride products if you're prone to decay and.
It's not your fault in that case because this is kind of what you just kind of lucked out with. And I will say we are, when we're looking at a person in their mouth, we're looking at everything. So we're checking out their tongue, we're checking out the, um, inside of their cheeks. All of these areas that can sometimes indicate issues like, so if I see someone with really pale gums, that can be a sign that they're anem.
If I see a person who has, uh, some issues like with taste in the back of their tongue, that can be an issue where they may have an, um, an acid reflux problem. So those are other things we're looking at, not just themselves.
Wendy: Okay. That's really good to know. And I mean, I wanna like backtrack and start with basic dental hygiene.
Um, yes, because there's a lot of conflicting information about like how often people should be brushing, how often people should be flossing, how long you should be brushing for. Mm-hmm. . Um, so how many times should we be brushing and flossing every.
Dr. Marie: So generally speaking, the rule is for brushing the rule of two, so two full minutes, two times a day, and you want them to be pretty much the book ends of the day.
So, You know, in the morning, brush your teeth. And I will say it depends on when you're eating breakfast. If you have breakfast. Ideally, if you are not on the run eating breakfast, if you can brush your teeth, um, after breakfast, that would be great just to get rid of the stuff that's been on the teeth. But what's really critical more than anything is the end of the day brushing the other thing.
I recommend flossing at night to get rid of the stuff between the teeth that's accumulated through the day. The other thing is not just how long we brush, but how we're brushing is important. We wanna make sure we get all of the areas of the mouth, but a lot of times people are guilty of, um, scrubbing, like it's a Brillo pad in the pants, just kind of really roughing it up.
I've been guilty of it too, , and I think we think of it. Scrubbing feels clean. But when it comes to your teeth, you don't wanna scrub hard because you can actually brush away some of your gum tissue and even, uh, brush away some of the enamel. When it's done repetitively, repetitively, year after year, day in, day out, that can cause some damage.
So I tell people, when you're brushing, you always wanna use a soft or extra soft brush, and you wanna use the same force you would use brushing hairs on a baby's. Very gentle. Mm-hmm. . Cause we're cleaning away Soft plaque. Plaque is soft. It's not. You have to jack hammer it off. And if there's something that's built up a little bit more, you can't brush it off.
That needs to be removed professionally.
Wendy: Hmm. Okay. That's really good to know because I am definitely a heart brusher thinking that I'm actually doing something, but it sounds like I'm not, and sometimes my gums will bleed probably cuz I'm doing the most, um, now you're not
Dr. Marie: alone, you're in good company.
So that's why I say it. I say it all the time for a reason.
Wendy: And then with electric, like is mm-hmm. , is it better to use an electric toothbrush? Um, or does it actually make a.
Dr. Marie: I'm a fan of electric brushes. Um, I'm a fan because for a few reasons. One is pretty much all the electric brushes out there are using soft toothbrush heads, so that's one.
Another reason is the more modern runs now have indicators to show if you're brushing too hard, so you'll see a little light that turns red if you're pressing too. That's kind of the little, Hey, ease up. Don't brush your teeth away. So, uh, that's one of the reason. And then a lot of them now have timers, so the two minutes I mentioned, they're built in.
Now some of these toothbrushes have even, um, apps. I've seen this, um, a couple of the brands out there where you download something on the phone and it's Bluetooth connected to your toothbrush and it literally followed you through your mouth to track Have. Got into this area, or you're missing a spot. So it helps guide you to make sure you're being thorough in your brushing.
Jess: Ooh, do you have the name of any apps or one you recommend?
Dr. Marie: So usually it's the app tied to the toothbrush you buy. Okay. So I know Oral B has one, SonicCare has one. So it literally is connected to that toothbrush and kind of follows you around your mouth. Okay. We, we
Jess: use brus. Um, wish I gotta check on that.
So is someone who just started flossing at 34 and
Dr. Marie: that's you. Started. Started. That's cute.
Jess: Yeah, and it was, and brushing my teeth at night . And it was, um, really a challenge for me. I just could never do it. And every time I went to the dentist, it. pretty much scolding me, right? Like making me feel bad. The shame approach and it did not work.
Um, no. Can you talk about in your perspective as a dentist, if shame doesn't get someone to do these important dental hygiene things? What
Dr. Marie: does? I'm not a fan of shaming because we have enough to deal with as it is, so I have never been one to do that. What I will say is I. It's up to dental professionals to lead patients and meet them where they are.
So in the same way, if someone had never worked out and they sign up and work with a personal trainer, they're not gonna sit there and load up all the weights and like, okay, go ahead and do this. They have to explain what's going on and kind of work their way there. So, I actually tell patients all the time when I know they're not brushing at night, I don't pick on 'em.
I say, look, you're not alone , but we wanna make sure we find shortcuts that work for you. So what I usually will recommend is brushing and flossing after dinner, because usually at the end of the night, like you know when it's like really late, you're tired, you wanna go to sleep, and that's why people skip because it's like one more step.
That's a barrier to going to. Sleep, like sleep is king. So , no one wants to miss that. But if you can brush and floss after dinner, then you've gotten the bulk of the day's material off of your teeth. Now, sometimes people may have a snack or something to eat after that. At bare minimum, they can even just rinse like an antiseptic mouthwash for a good 30 seconds, and that's gonna help get rid of something so, Is it ideal?
No. I would like a person to brush, floss, you know, clean everything, use a mouthwash, and then go to sleep. Great. But if I can get a person at the end of the day to do that, that's gonna make a huge difference. And it becomes like habit stacking where first, you know, You eat and you have your meal, and then you think about, okay, it's time to brush and floss.
So that makes it a little bit easier to adapt into your lifestyle. So I tell people, it's just a matter of kind of where are you? What are you doing? All right? If you can't do two minutes of brushing, let's try putting the time on your phone and maybe doing an additional 30 seconds and then kind of working your way up so it doesn't seem like this daunting task because were you we're used to, honestly, most of us tend to brush our teeth for like 25, 30 seconds, so two minutes feels like an eternity.
So if you time it for like a minute, you can kind of build your way up slowly week after week. Cause we're trying to have lifetime habits, not like one time, two time thing. And that's it. Yeah,
Jess: I, I will say that's exactly what worked for me. Um, I finally went to a dental hygienist who mm-hmm. . She didn't shame me.
She said, there's still time, because everyone's like, oh my God, your teeth are horrible. Like, you suck. But she was like, no, you still have time. Like, let's work on this. We can do it. And the first time I did nothing and, and when she didn't scold me for doing nothing, I was like, oh, okay, like, maybe I can do this.
And then the second time, mm-hmm. , sh I met her, she met me where I was at, and she's like, well, how many days? You in, and we started with like two, and then now I'm, you know, years later, doing every single day. So it does work every
Dr. Marie: day. You go , there you go. . It's the baby steps.
Wendy: Yeah, the baby steps, right?
Sounds like you need to be my dentist, , because I feel like everyone is just scared of the dentist. Like, oh yeah, that's, that's a huge thing. And. My God, sorry, I just choked on my saliva. Uhoh . And it's not until you go to a good dentist that you're like, oh my God, this is actually an experience to look forward to.
Um, cause I have friends who like literally will delay it for years cuz they're just like, they had the worst experience. Um, so can you talk to us, like, how often should people be going to the dentist? Hopefully, you know, if they find a good one, .
Dr. Marie: So ideally a person should be seeing a dentist for their, uh, checkup, cleanings, and oral cancer screening twice a year.
So it varies. Now, there are some people who have some gum disease issues who may need to be seen quarterly, but every mouth is a little different. Generally speaking, twice a, the twice a year is the rule of thumb. So, I understand. I think, uh, being afraid, even though I'm the dentist, I don't love the dentist.
I hate saying that, but that's the truth. , it's, you know, it's something where when you're in the chair you feel vulnerable. You don't know what's going on. Everything kind of sounds a little wacky, smells and tastes a little wacky. It's a very foreign to you. So it's really important to find someone you can trust, because as I mentioned, You're not just having your teeth cleaned and and checked for decay.
We're looking for other signs of disease. We're looking at your tongue, under your tongue, under your lips and your cheeks. People sometimes end up with, um, oral cancer or sometimes signs of other issues, and. No one's checking those areas besides a dentist. So it is really important to have those things looked at, because otherwise you could have something lurking and you wouldn't know.
But I will say, luckily, we're in a day and age where we are super connected, so you know, Every person finds can find someone who's a service provider that works for them. So the same way, you might like one nail salon, someone else likes another one. Same thing with hair. Someone finds a stylist they love.
Someone might like another person. I think it's the same way with dentists. It's really important to find a dental home where you feel, uh, cared for. Safe and you feel like you can approach them and have things taken care of in a way that's helpful. Just like you said, Jessica, that you've meant that hygienist who kinda worked, met you where you were without shame, that helped change your entire outlook in terms of your habits.
Yeah. Yep. That's a great
Wendy: point. Cause I didn't even think that like. You guys are, are looking for other things. It's not just like cleaning your teeth. Mm-hmm. , it's like, you know, I, I didn't even, um, consider that. Uh, I just had a cleaning done in Dominican Republic. I have a great dentist in Dr. Um, However she was booked and I was like, I'm just gonna try my luck with someone else.
And I went and my cleaning was at most 10 minutes and I was like, wait a minute. I was like, this is . I was like, I'm done . He was like, you're done, right? Um, and then I went on Google and I'm like, wait a minute. How long is the cleaning supposed to be? Because I don't know if I'm bugging cuz my usual dentist will take.
45 minutes with my cleaning. Um, so how long should a cleaning be and how do you know that they did a good job?
Dr. Marie: Hmm. Okay. That's a good question. So I think I will say there is some variation between patient to patient and even provider to provider. But I wanna say when you have dental visit, usually at minimum you wanna see at least half an hour.
It can range anywhere from half an hour to an hour. But that, uh, when I say that, usually you're not just having your teeth cleaned. Uh, a lot of times you're also having x-rays to check between the teeth to make sure nothing's going on. It's lurking that we can't see with a naked eye. Uh, in some cases you may be having digital scan of your teeth just to kind of see positions of teeth and see where they are.
And sometimes even intraoral pictures, pictures inside your mouth to kind of blow things up to see, Hey, this is what's going on here, or, The other thing is, like I mentioned, the oral cancer screening. That's all part of that. So the cleaning itself is one component of that visit. So, Can be anywhere from 20 minutes on the lower end to maybe even 40 minutes on the longer end.
But all of those other things may be taking place. And usually X-rays are just once a year. And you know, if somebody has a pristine mouth where they're really diligent with their home care and nothing is going on, it may be a quicker visit. And that's usually what we see. Hmm. Good to know. Fluoride.
Jess: I feel like there's a lot of mixed information on the internet about it.
Either it's the worst thing in the world or it's mm-hmm. amazing. Um, and it's also in, I believe it's in public water, right? And, and in toothpaste. Um, is it
Dr. Marie: beneficial? Okay. So, uh, it is beneficial in terms of keeping teeth hard. It is not in water everywhere. Most states have fluoridated water. However, think about how many of us drink bottled water.
I just had a sip. You know, uh, a lot of times we're drinking, uh, purified water, so we may not be getting the fluoride in the water. The other thing is this, um, I tell patients the science is a science, so our enamel is the hardest substance in our bodies. It's made up of something called hydroxy appetite.
These little miniature crystals that make up the enamel. And what happens to fluoride is fluoride combines with hydroxy appetite, something called floral appetite, which becomes even harder. So correct in. There are rumors out here where if you ingest a bunch of fluoride, it's not good for you in the same way a lot of other things aren't good for you.
Uh, being ingested, this is really something where, generally speaking, we're talking about fluoride with toothpaste, mouthwashes, it's topical, meaning just in your mouth, just on your teeth not to be swallowed. So it's something where if you are, you know, a a, an adult who's able to control that, you're not swallowing that.
And, um, It's one of those things where we do see a benefit. Like I said, the research is out there. We see that the teeth can be made harder with that. And I've even had an experience, um, Earlier in practice when I had a patient who came in for, um, an issue, he had an x-ray taken, and on the x-ray we actually saw a soft area, which was the very early onset of a cavity.
So I marked and I told him, Hey, you know, just so you know, it looks like it's the start of a cavity. Now, if it's a very tiny area, within a certain point in the enamel, it can re harden. And by chance I saw him about three months later and that soft spot was completely hardened. I. What did you do? I had to ask him.
I was like, what did you do? Cuz I need to know . And he actually started by chance, independent of um, anything I told him he started using a fluoride mouthwash every day. Wow. Once I saw that, I said, okay, you know, that's it. I'm sold. I understand there are concerns with, you know, anything we're taking in. Of course.
So I think. You always, as an individual should talk to your own dental provider and see what they say. Everyone's mouth is at different risk. Everyone may need different things and um, you know, I tell patients there's some people who need prescription strength, Florence. Some people I can say you don't even really need fluoride.
So it just depends on the person and what their individual needs are.
Jess: Okay. That's good to know. Gum health. I was . I was on a walk with my husband this morning and I said, we're interviewing a dentist. Do you have any questions? And his question was, he, he showed me his gums and he's like, my gums are black.
Is that a problem? Okay. And he's black, by the way. Um, so. Is that a problem if you have black
Dr. Marie: gums? No. And then, okay, so look at me. I tell you this. I'm chocolate brown right here. I'm a black girl, chocolate brown. You look at my gums, you can see shades of pink and purple and dark, this, that, and other. We think of gums as everything completely pink because of what we see.
In media what we're told, there is no problem. That's melanin. That's how it shows up. Just like some people who are black, you'll see different shades on their nails. On their nail beds. It's kind of the same thing. So there is no harm with gums that are. You know, different colors due to melanin where things are a problem is if, um, we see gums that are really red from severe gingivitis or periodontitis, which is gum disease.
Or, um, if somebody has been smoking a lot and they've had a change in their gums, Now there are some circumstances where someone can have an issue, um, that is, uh, going on with hormones in their body and they can see a change in color of gums. So when we see changes, That's where it's like, Ooh, what's going on?
Maybe it's time to get some blood work with your primary care doctor to find out if there's some underlying issue and let's find out and rule out anything else. But in and of itself, not at all. I always, I, you know, um, I have pictures of my guns cause we're wearing masks all the time now. And I'll show patients like, no, no, you have guns like me, we match.
You're good. Yeah. Oh,
Jess: that's so helpful to know cuz I. That a lot of black people are sitting around worried that something's wrong, and it's just, that is the color of
Dr. Marie: your gums. That's, yep. It's, it's natural. Yeah. Is there
Jess: anything that you can do for gum health? I know you mentioned flossing is one, not brushing, uh, too intensely.
Anything else? .
Dr. Marie: So I would say flossing is the key one. Making sure you're not brushing, like you said, uh, too hard is key. The other thing is, um, uh, mouthwash, it's antiseptic because we do see that there is a change in terms of people who had gingivitis going from, uh, bleeding guns to a reduction in bleeding.
When you see. Gums that are bleeding, bleeding a lot, uh, bleeding all the time when someone's brushing, bleeding all the time when they're flossing, that's not good. We wanna make sure, uh, gums can respond to brushing and flossing without heavy bleeding. So, uh, I would say mouthwash would be the, uh, anti septic mouthwash would be the other addition, I would say, to kind of help with gun health.
Okay. And when
Wendy: you say antiseptic, uh, do you mean with alcohol? Cause I know that's a thing where there. Mouth washes that have alcohol, mouth washes that don't, which do you recommend?
Dr. Marie: So again, it's one of these things where it depends on the patient. So right now there are really only a couple of, uh, antiseptic mouth washes on the market.
Now, keep in mind this is always regulated by the fda. So there have been non-a alcohol mouth washes and research that have been proven to be as effective as those with alcohol, uh, the active ingredients. So for example, list. They're, they have the four essential oils. Those are what are the active greens that kill germs.
And so with that, the ones that are alcohol free aren't technically antiseptic as per FDA rules, but have been proven to be just as effective in terms of, uh, germ killing. And in other parts of the world, they are labeled that way. So
Jess: what brand
Dr. Marie: do you recommend? I am a huge fan of limine. Uh, I pretty much, I'm always giving out samples of that.
I use it myself. Okay. And that, um, the fluoride one is what I recommended, what I saw with that patient who had that difference with the soft to heart spott. That's what sold me, I think, years ago. Okay, great.
Wendy: Okay. Now for people that have bad breath, What's happening? Is there an imbalance going on? Is, you know, because it's like, I think for some people they've tried all the things and it's just like, mm-hmm.
it's like an underlying something that's going on where like the bad breath is just not
Dr. Marie: going away. Good question. So the number one reason for bad breath, dry mouth. If you see me sipping water, like I'm always sipping because dry mouth means bad breath. So if we increase our water, that'll be one way to help combat that.
However, there can be a, a multitude of causes, so, Somebody who may have a gum disease issue. You may have heard me mention a moment ago, peritonitis, that's gum disease. That particular gum disease causes an accumulation of certain types of bacteria. I'm not gonna lie, they're funky. So in dentistry, we refer to someone who has bad breath from periodontitis and having perio breath, like we actually, there's a very distinct smell from that because of that bacteria.
So a person would need to have some appropriate. If periodontal disease is the reason for bad breath. So that may involve, um, some deep cleaning and also making sure they're really good with their home care and staying on top of flossing. Another reason may be our tongue. So, um, a lot of times we're not always cleaning our tongues.
I don't necess, they're clean my tongue every day. But I try to make sure I do at the end of the night. A lot of the, uh, manual toothbrushes these days on the backside will have little scrubber you can use to clean your tongue. You can also find, if you look online or if you go like into a big box store, you'll see there are tongue scrapers and tongue brushes specifically to help clean the tongue.
I always tell patients you don't wanna go super rough. Like if you're, like, if you're scraping your tongue and it's bleeding, uh, that's a little too. , you don't need to be aggressive to clean it. Well. Mm-hmm. . Uh, another reason people may have bad breath is gerd or acid reflux. That can cause, uh, sometimes people have like a sour taste, something along those lines that can also be a reason for bad breath.
And, uh, sometimes certain foods just make our breaths a little hot. You know, like, um, look, I like garlic. I'm not giving it up. But, you know, after I eat something that's garlicy, I need to kind of at least rinse out or get some water to kind of get that going. Okay, that
Jess: is helpful. I just got a tongue scraper a few months ago and I really love it.
Um, and the reason I got one is I'm always terrified that I will have bad breath and not know it. Is there a way you can know on yourself if you have bad breath? Cuz I feel like most people who have it don't know .
Dr. Marie: That, that that is true. Now I can't say this something I necessarily learned in dental school, but I heard.
Back and I decided I was gonna be a dentist. I was 15 years old and I heard this back when I was like 15 or 16. And it's true, I've tried this. So if you lick your wrist, let it dry, and then go back and kind of smell it, that gives you an idea of what's going on. . That's good. So I guess it's your own self assessment because we don't necessarily know what we have because we're sitting there breathing in our breath all day.
Yeah. And I also think when Covid hit and everyone was wearing masks all at once, you may have heard that phrase, mask, breath. Mm-hmm. , that mask breath was always there. So if you were a person who may have experienced masks, mask, breath, that might have been a sign that, um, You know, it's a little ripe in your mouth, so yeah, little ripe ,
Dr. Marie: right?
Bacteria is swimming
Wendy: Oh my God. Okay. I wanna talk about teeth whitening because I've tried all types of products. I've done, you know, the mouthwash, the strips. Recently I did this like uv. Applicator. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . Um, and then of course you can like pay to have these expensive treatments with your dentist. Sure. Are these mm-hmm.
recommended, like are the DIY ones effective or a
Dr. Marie: waste of money? That's a great question. So there are some that actually do work their diy, and I'll kind of run through my whole spiel. I went with patients. When you're in the store and you see the whitening mouth washes and toothpaste, they are a lie. I wish they were true, but a lot of what they base their claims on is, say if someone hasn't been to dentist in 20 years, they've been drinking black coffee all day, and they use these products, it will help remove surface stain because the surface stain is so aggressive.
So you'll hear commercial looks like, oh, you'll change 10 shades if you use this for two months. Yeah. If you haven't been to dentist in 20 years and had that stain removed, yeah, it's gonna do something. Uh, what I will say is effective in terms of an over-the-counter product, um, are, um, I'm a fan of white strips.
Because they stay on the teeth and that active ingredient will work if you use it as directed. I've seen it. I'm not saying it's for everyone, but I also tell patients you wanna make sure you're getting something whiten that can be whitened. So sometimes people will have, um, decay or maybe even sometimes have dental work on their front teeth and.
Don't change color unless they're changed out or the decay is treated. Now getting into some of the professional options, you'll see, uh, different types of in-office whitening. So for example, uh, zoom is one brand. There's a bunch of others out there. Uh, but. You go into the dental office and you're assessed to make sure that you're a good candidate for whitening, and then you have a gel and light place over your teeth, and then after a certain amount of time it does jump shades.
I do tell patients if you are sensitive, you are not a good candidate for that type of treatment. The other thing to be aware of is when you have in-office whitening, I do, you know, tell people, very frankly, after a period of time that tends to fade what I'm the biggest fan of and what was really the first thing put out on the market, which is if you look at research, Tends to, tends to last a test of time.
Our take home custom trays made by your dentist that is loaded with a whitening gel. And the reason a fan for that of that is because, One. Um, we find the best longevity. I have a patient who did his maybe like, oh gosh, 12 years ago, still really, really bright, white stayed, and it's lasting. The other reason is if you're sensitive, there are sensitive formulas out there that you can use.
Based on what your needs are. They work a little bit slower, but again, that longevity is still there. And the biggest thing with that is just making sure you're applying it appropriately, making sure your dental professional shows you and I, I also tell people, you know, if you choose to get professional lightning.
You wanna make sure you really do get it from someone who's a licensed dental professional. There's a lot of stuff that pops up here and there, and I've seen people who have gone for whitening with someone who's not a dentist or dental hygienist and they're like, well, this didn't whiten. I'm like, it can't whiten.
That's, that's a cavity . That's not gonna work. That's not how this happens. You know, we're here to assess these things, but also we're doing it in a safe manner. We're making sure we have the appropriate product for you. People can get actual burns in their. If they're not applied correctly and safely. And also, you know, even the materials you're using, it's either disposed of or if there's some type of a metal instrument in your mouth, it's autoclaved.
Meaning it's sterilized. You don't have that in a setting. That's not a professional setting. So it's not supposed to burn? No. Well, okay. You can have some sensitivity. Sensitivity is within normal range burning. No. Okay. Absolute no, no, no, no, no, no.
Jess: Because I did it and it was with my dentist and my mouth felt like it was burning off.
And uh, I was like, this is not for me. But I probably wasn't APP doing it. Right.
Dr. Marie: And I don't think it was custom. You have the best, so it, depending on what it was, what the product was, if it was something that you placed yourself, there's a chance you may have overloaded the tray. There's a tray you place some material into.
I literally sit there and I have like a little demo model, and I'll show patients like, You only need about half a grain of rice in each air where the teeth are. If you're loading it and it's all over, it will hurt. It's uncomfortable. So that's when you've gone a little too far with that material. Okay, good to know.
Jess: I don't, maybe I'll try again. I was like sworn off of it, but, um, oh yeah, I, my d dentist is amazing. I don't know what happened. Um, . So what foods or drinks will darken your teeth? Uh, I hear coffee, all the.
Dr. Marie: coffee is a big one. Uh, tea, especially like, um, just plain simple tea without any like milk added to it.
One thing I've seen recently, uh, with a lot of more, so it's, it's like surface staining. We'll see kombucha. So it's like the fermented tea that really like adheres to the teeth for some reason. Uh, even I tell patients anything that's like dark that can darken a white T-shirt that can potentially put something on your teeth.
So, um, berri. Um, berry juices, cranberries, things like that. Now I tell people, keep eating them cuz they're good for you. A lot of the times it's just surface stain. If it's something where it's, a lot of that can be polished off and that's what we see a lot of. So I'll see someone who comes in and they were there three months ago.
I'm like, Hmm, what's going on? How come there's so much pain? What are you eating or drinking? That's different. And usually I'll find out, oh, I've been having, you know, blueberries every morning. I'm like, look, keep eating your blueberries. Keep getting your antiox. But we can polish this off and they may need to use something.
Like I've mentioned before, those whitening mouthwash washes and toothpaste, they don't actually whiten, but they do help prevent stain. So if someone is having some of these dark products, I'll say, Hey, use this daily. That will help. And electric toothbrush will also help. Even just rinsing out with water after taking in for this stuff will be helpful too.
Jess: Good to know. Um, I have a question and this is our last one before we do our fire round , but um, , yeah, we have a fire round with listeners submitted questions. So enamel, that's another I feel thing I hear about all the time. Um, you know, you hear don't drink the lemon water because it'll have an impact on enamel, um, seltzer water, things like that.
A. Like, are there things that can er what? Well, actually, what does erode enamel and can you get enamel
Dr. Marie: back? Good question. So to answer the last part, you cannot get enamel back. So that's something to be aware of. And yes, there are things that erode enamel. Almost anything acidic. So if you have someone who's putting lemon to their teeth, that can do it.
Um, even things that are, um, processed, carbohydrates stay in your mouth in a long time. So somebody has, um, a cough drop in the corner of their mouth and it's like a sugar cough drop or certain mints that have sugar in them, like the red and white mints. We see if they're holding 'em in the area, the bacteria, your.
Kind of attacks that, uh, the same candy or mint or whatever it is, and it leaves behind an acid byproduct that actually eats away at your teeth. So CEL water can do it if it's an excess. Um, anything that's really acidic can do it. So anything that's like, um, if someone's having like a little shot of apple cider vinegar in the morning, out a little bit of water after.
Those are things that kind of slowly erode and wear away the enamel. So you do wanna be mindful of those types of things, but even, um, processed carbohydrates kind of have a very similar impact as well to these acidic things. Now, I'll tell you this. I'm a hardcore self awarded addict. I'm not giving it up, but what I do is I generally will have self water with my meal, so I'm not sipping on it all day.
I'll have it with something else. If it was up to me, I would just sip it, drink it, bathe in it. I like, I'd want only comfortable think that I'm, that's it. I'm a LA lady all day. Yes. But, um, . . But, but, um, there, there is, uh, an acidic component to it. It's is, it's bad as soda. No bec uh, when it comes to what it does to your teeth, because soda also has the sugar in it.
But is it ideally sipping on all day? No, unfortunately it's not. So I tell people if you're gonna have those things, try to space them out rather than having them into your mouth all day and then follow up with some water. Okay.
Jess: Last really quick follow up about the enamel. Should you brush your teeth? I know we talked a little bit about it, but for people who are like, oh, should I brush after every meal?
Or does that like mess with your
Dr. Marie: enamel at all? So usually the rule of thumb is after you eat, when, wait about maybe half an hour because like I mentioned, the bacteria in your mouth leave behind a little bit of an acidic, um, byproduct from carbohydrates that we eat. If you can wait about half an hour, have a little water, then brush, that's best.
Um, I'm not gonna lie, I only brush my teeth twice a day. If someone wants to brush after every. Great, go for it. But maybe wait that little bit of time if you can, so that you aren't, um, brushing away more than you need to be. Mm.
Wendy: Okay. Got it. So it
Dr. Marie: sounds like the acid makes things weaker. Oh, I see. So you have to let it settle a little bit.
Yep. Your mouth will return. Its, um, pH kind of to the neutral stage after about half an hour. Mm-hmm. . Okay.
Wendy: That's great to know. Okay, we're ready for our fire round cuz I mean we could, we could keep this interview right for days. Um, so we're just gonna shoot some questions at you and you can quickly answer them as best as you can.
What is gingivitis?
Dr. Marie: It's a swelling of the gum or we refer to as a gingiva, so it's bleeding of the guns. We don't wanna see that brush thoroughly floss to help reduce and then eliminate. , is
Jess: there anything wrong with aluminum
Dr. Marie: fillings? So similar feelings that you see? No, they're not as typically done anymore just because now the tooth colored feelings have really stepped their game up over these last, gosh, 15, 20 years.
So that they're pretty much as strong as those. I have 'em, I tell people, don't be afraid of them, but I don't place them here cuz I don't even keep the materials anymore. So if they're in good shape, they're okay. I think a concern is, uh, mercury exposure. Uh, when you have one placed, you're exposed about as much mercury as you would from eating a tuna fish.
Oh, okay. Not much. . Ready here. First,
Wendy: how to avoid root canals of your prone to them.
Dr. Marie: Making sure that you go into regular care. If you have a cavity, you wanna make sure it's sniffed in the bud before that cavity grows to become a problem, to get into the nerves. So when that cavity reaches the nerve, it's either had that tooth out.
Or have a root canal. So if you go in for regular checkups, make sure you're good with your home care. That will help prevent a lot of that. Great
Jess: tips for tooth grinding. Is a night guard helpful or is there anything that you recommend?
Dr. Marie: So usually a night guard is helpful. You usually wanna get one professionally fitted cause some can cause more grinding depending on how they fit.
The other thing is, in some severe cases, patients can actually have a Botox injection to help reduce that. Like tension in the muscle doesn't really do anything in terms of looks. It may slim the jaw a little bit, maybe for some, but it helps kind of reduce that heavy duty clenching that some people will.
Wendy: Teeth straightening, do
Dr. Marie: they work the kit? I would recommend highly against them because you're literally pushing teeth through bones. What does that mean? Um, in, in, in a case, if someone's healthy and all is well and they're lucky, great. You know, but there's a reason that there are orthodontists who went to three years of additional training.
To know how to do this and know how to do it safely. I've had patients who have done some DIY stuff and I've seen, um, someone not too long ago who actually has had four her teeth removed, because unbeknownst to her Yeah, that's what I said. I said, wow, I wish you saw first. Oh, why did you do this? I, I wanted to cry.
She's, I, um, she didn't know she had issues with gum disease that would've needed to be. First, and then really she should have been treated with an orthodontist, moving things extra slow to help prevent further issues.
Jess: But as long as you're doing it with an orthodontist, it's okay. Like Invisalign?
Dr. Marie: Yes.
Okay, cool. Correct. If you're doing it with a dental professional, be it a dentist who's trained in that or an orthodontist, then you're in good shape. Okay. At
Jess: what age should your kids start going to the
Dr. Marie: dentist? By age one, Uhhuh, , uh, even though, yeah, usually you, I always refer to have patients see a pediatric dentist at that age because things can go wrong.
And, um, you know, you also wanna make sure, um, parents know what to do to help prevent decay because you can see cavities in kids as little as like two or three. And in that case, sometimes, uh, a child with that age really needs to be seen in an operating room. Get treatment. So the idea is to prevent that and get in there early and learn what you should or shouldn't do to help prevent decay.
Wendy: Hmm. Okay. Charcoal toothpaste. Does it have any benefits?
Dr. Marie: Don't do it. Don't do it. No. . If you want to have abrasion on your teeth and sensitivity, if you wanna wear away enamel, go for it. But I highly, strongly recommend against it. It became like the big thing on ig and I've had so many patients come in like, oh, I'm using this.
I'm like, oh, I'm so sorry. I don't wanna hurt your feelings. But I have to, and I've had so many patients come in with sensitivity after erosion and basically abrasion from the charcoal product. Wow. So, I, I'm, I am a don't do it type of, Wow, when you're looking at toothpaste, look for the ADA seal of approval on your toothpaste.
There's a reason that it's fair. The American Dental Association has done some background work on it, and it's been proven to be beneficial for you. Dang. Okay. Yeah. Cause
Wendy: there's a lot of them out there.
Dr. Marie: There's a lot of marketing behind them. There's so many. Yeah. Oh yeah. No, I, I see. Good to know. I've seen the aftermath too.
Jess: Well, that's the thing, it's like a dentist is the best person to go to because you actually see the, before the, after the things gone wrong. Oh yeah. It's like the botch plastic surgery thing, unfortunately, what not to do. Right. Okay. Hookah, somebody asked, is hookah bad
Dr. Marie: for your. I guess maybe smoking. Okay.
It's like smoking. I tell people cigars, cigarettes, hookah, weed, all of the above. If you smoke it, even vaping, anything that's smoked dries your mouth. It increases your risk of cavities, decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. So you're saying people should do. Edibles minimize. Well, technically, I mean, I guess it's identified to say don't do the gummies if you're going to do them, because it'll sit in your teeth.
So, oh, if someone's gonna indulge, stay away from anything that is smoked only because of the, um, effects on your teeth. You know, this is the reality of it. Smoking in any form is harmful to your mouth and increases the risk of oral cancer. There's just no getting arou around. Wow. Okay.
Wendy: UV lights for whitening.
I recently told you that I, I tried this, like UV kit. I put the gel on it. Uh, are they effective? I noticed a, a little bit of an improvement, but I think it kind of went away.
Dr. Marie: The gel is really what does the work, so usually these, uh, gels that you place on the teeth white. That's what's really doing the trick, um, in a professional setting.
We do have, uh, other types of lights we're using, but the key component ingredient is the gel. So the at home UV lights really aren't doing too much, but the gel that is part of that kit usually is. Okay. That's, that's the meat potatoes of it. The gel
Jess: last fire round question. Um, how, and this is a really good one, , how often should you change your
Dr. Marie: toothbrush?
I tell people every season, so okay, it's the first day of spring, summer, fall, winter. So every three months I just change it. Literally, once the season changes, I pop off my toothbrush heads, toss out any e manual brushes and swap it out. So it should be every three months. Now, if you've been brushing like the BRI pad and you have like bristles that are looking like, they're like, Pompoms, you know, oh, you have to call me out.
Laid out. Sorry, you.
Wendy: No, this is good. This is everything. Yeah. I gotta change my, I've been using that too, right? Head for, I don't even know how long. Fine for dear life happens. .
Dr. Marie: It happens. Yep. If it's on last leg, let it go.
Wendy: Right, right. Okay. Oh my God. Well, Dr. Marie, this was incredible. Thank you. Yes. So much for sharing all of these necessary.
Tips with us. Um, tell us like where you're based, if people wanna work with you, where they can find you, where they can connect with you
Dr. Marie: online. Well, thank you for having me. I appreciate being on here. I love your work. Uh, you can find me on Instagram. Uh, my office is named Stellar Smile Tenter. My Instagram handles at Stellar Under Smile.
You can also find me on Facebook or stellar smile center.com. I'm based in Montclair, New Jersey. Amazing. Yay. Thank you. Thank you so much. That was
Wendy: great. You, I learned so much. I,
Jess: this is a life, a life-changing, um, type
Wendy: of thing. Things we need to know.
Dr. Marie: Yeah. For real. I hate, I hate busting everyone's bubbles though.
I will say when it comes to, um, the charcoal thing, I feel like I've heard everyone's feelings in the last couple years. I'm like, I'm so sorry. That's why we have professionals
Jess: to keep it real because it's like a lot of this, it's
Wendy: a fun line. It's a lot of scammy out
Dr. Marie: there. It's, and it's um, it's, you know, when you see like the aftermath, I'm like, oh, we don't, I don't like pain.
That's the bottom a line. If we can do things to help avoid pain in a healthy manner, then I'm here for it.
Wendy: Okay. And then one last question with the uv. So you're saying, I don't even need to put, but when you light on, we have a call, . I know, I know. I emailed him. Ok. Oh, ok, cool. Um, so I don't have to put the light on.
I could just put the gel and it'll be okay.
Dr. Marie: It'll be okay. It's not harmful. The light doesn't really do much. Not doing much to tell you the truth. Yeah, it's really all about the gel.
Wendy: It's another scam. Okay. Cuz it looks so, you know, glamorous and stuff. Well,
Dr. Marie: that's part of it. It's part of the sale of that.
And I will say if you're buying it yourself, there's a limit to how far that'll go because you can only get so many things over the counter. Um, the, the actual gel itself has limit in terms of how high of, um, the active ingredient they can go in terms of concentration. Mm-hmm. , mm-hmm. . So, you know, you can get something from professionals that you can't get everywhere else.
Wendy: Right. Okay. All right. Well, Dr. Murray, thank you. We do to go. Thank. Okay. This was,
Dr. Marie: thank you so much. Bye bye. Bye. Thank you for your patience with me, . Thank Of course. Take
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