852 W. Liberty St, Sumter SC 29150 | info@sumterdental.com

Dental Hygiene Education in Sumter, South Carolina

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions patients have about dentistry and oral health issues. If you have any other questions or would like to schedule an appointment, we would love to hear from you.
Q: What should I do if I have bad breath?
A: Bad breath (halitosis)
can be an unpleasant and embarrassing condition. Many of us may not realize that we have bad breath, but everyone has it from time to time, especially in the morning. There are various reasons one may have bad breath, but in healthy people the major reason is due to microbial deposits on the tongue, especially the back of the tongue. Some studies have shown that simply brushing the tongue reduces bad breath by as much as 70%.

    Q: What may cause bad breath?
    Morning time: Saliva flow almost stops during sleep and its reduced cleansing action allows bacteria to grow, causing bad breath.

    • Certain foods - Garlic, onions, etc. Foods containing odor-causing compounds enter the blood stream and are transferred to the lungs, where they are exhaled.
    • Poor oral hygiene habits - Food particles remaining in the mouth promote bacterial growth.
    • Periodontal (gum) disease - Colonies of bacteria and food debris residing under inflamed gums. Read more

    Q: What can I do to prevent bad breath?
    Practice good oral hygiene; brush at least twice a day with an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste and toothbrush. Floss daily to remove food debris and plaque from in between the teeth and under the gumline. Brush or use a tongue scraper to clean the tongue and reach the back areas. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months. If you wear dentures or removable bridges, clean them thoroughly and place them back in your mouth in the morning.

    • See your dentist regularly - Get a check-up and cleaning at least twice a year. If you have or have had periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend more frequent visits.
    •  Read more

    Q: How often should I brush and floss?
    Brushing and flossing help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.

    Plaque is a film of food debris, bacteria and saliva that sticks to the teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque convert certain food particles into acids that cause tooth decay. Also, if plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). If plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone, causing periodontal (gum) disease.

    Plaque formation and growth is continuous and can only be controlled by regular brushing, flossing, and the use of other dental aids.  Read more

    Q: Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?
    A: Over the years there has been some concern as to the safety of amalgam (silver) fillings. An amalgam is a blend of copper, silver, tin and zinc, bound by elemental mercury. Dentists have used this blended metal to fill teeth for more than 100 years. The controversy is due to claims that the exposure to the vapor and minute particles from the mercury can cause a variety of health problems.

    According to the American Dental Association (ADA), up to 76% of dentists use silver containing mercury to fill ... Read more
    Q: How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?
    You should have your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year, though your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend more frequent visits.

    Regular dental exams and cleaning visits are essential in preventing dental problems and maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. At these visits, your teeth are cleaned and checked for cavities. Additionally, there are many other things that are checked and monitored to ... Read more

    Q: How can I tell if I have gingivitis or periodontitis (gum disease)?
    A: Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don't know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. Unlike tooth decay, which often causes discomfort, it is possible to have periodontal disease without noticeable symptoms. Having regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations are very important and will help detect if periodontal problems exist.

    Periodontal disease begins when plaque, a sticky, colorless film of bacteria, food debris, and saliva, is left on the teeth and gums. The bacteria produce toxins (acids) that inflame the ... Read more

    Q: Why is it important to use dental floss?
    A: Brushing our teeth removes food particles, plaque, and bacteria from all tooth surfaces, except in between the teeth. Unfortunately, our toothbrush cannot reach these areas that are highly susceptible to decay and periodontal (gum) disease.

    Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.

    Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The ... Read more

    Q: How can cosmetic dentistry help improve the appearance of my smile?
    A: If you're feeling somewhat self-conscious about your teeth, or just want to improve your smile, cosmetic dental treatments may be the answer to a more beautiful, confident smile.

    Cosmetic dentistry has become very popular in the last several years, not only due to the many advances in cosmetic dental procedures and materials available today, but also because patients are becoming more and more focused on improving their overall health. This includes dental prevention and having a healthier, whiter, more radiant smile.

    There are many cosmetic dental procedures ... Read more

    Q: What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?
    A: Since teeth whitening has now become the number one aesthetic concern of many patients, there are many products and methods available to achieve a brighter smile.

    Professional teeth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile. Over-the-counter products are also available, but they are much less effective than professional treatments and may not be approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Read more

    Teeth whitening can be very effective and can give you a brighter, whiter, more confident smile!

    Contact us in Sumter, South Carolina, to inquire about our
    family-friendly dental office.