What brand/type of toothpaste do you personally use?

I use Oxyfresh® toothpaste and rinse. Both have no alcohol (alcohol dries out your mouth, and dry mouth is one of the most common factors causing bad breath), are low abrasive, and contain chlorine dioxide, which kills bacteria and works as a deodorizer.

What should someone look for (or stay away from) when choosing a toothpaste?

The most important thing to look for when choosing a toothpaste is to find one that is low-abrasive. You should definitely avoid the tartar-control and whitening toothpastes because they very abrasive and wear away the tooth enamel, which make the teeth appear darker in color and more sensitive.

What is the correct way to brush your teeth? What is the recommended number of times to brush daily? How long?

Brush your teeth in small circles, two teeth at a time, at a 45-degree angle to the tooth enamel. Brush your teeth at least two times per day slowly for one to two minutes. Ideally, you should brush your teeth after every meal and especially after eating sugary foods.

How often should I replace my toothbrush? What are the recommended types/brands of toothbrushes? Electric vs. manual?

Toothbrushes need to be replaced as soon as the bristles start to bend. Any brand of toothbrush is fine as long as it has soft or extra-soft bristles. Using a Sonicare electric toothbrush feels good and prevents people from brushing too hard.

What type/brand of toothbrush do you use personally?

I use a Crest manual toothbrush and a Sonicare® electric toothbrush. I replace it about once a month.

Are there certain foods to avoid to keep your teeth healthy and white?

Avoiding excessive amounts of soda pop, coffee, and tea will reduce stain build up. Soda pop will not only stain your teeth but also, due to its acid content, will also chemically erode the enamel. Thinner enamel allows the darker under color of the tooth to show.

If you are still going to indulge in these foods, what do you recommend to combat the consequences?

More frequent professional cleanings, sometimes four per year, will help to keep staining to a minimum. Rinsing during the day, especially after snacking, can also help reduce staining and enamel erosion.

What is the best way to combat bad breath?

There are a number of effective ways to combat bad breath (halitosis). Drinking more water is one of the easiest ways to help alleviate halitosis. Contrary to what advertisers would like us to believe, sugary gum, breath mints, and candies don’t get rid of bad breath; they actually worsen bad breath by feeding the bacteria that cause bad breath, so it is wise to avoid them. By far the best way to control bad breath is by having a clean, healthy mouth. This means regular visits to your dentist and frequent professional cleanings. I have found that using Oxyfresh® products also have been very successful. They do not contain alcohol and are very effective in killing the bacteria that cause odor as well as deodorizing the mouth. It is also important to clean your tongue. I have found the Oxyfresh® Oolitt tongue scraper to be helpful and more effective than a toothbrush for tongue cleaning.

Any tips or advice to get into the habit of flossing daily? Also, should you floss in the morning or at night?

People tend to hate flossing, and it’s hard for some people to stay motivated. There isn’t a cause and effect with immediate improvement and visible results by flossing your teeth like there is by brushing your hair. I can’t stress enough how important flossing is for the long-term health of your teeth and gums. Try to think of it as an investment in your future and of the money you will save by incorporating a simple step into your daily routine. Flossing both after breakfast and before bed is ideal. If you were to do it only once per day, evening is better. When we sleep, we produce less saliva, which irrigates food from your teeth. Flossing before sleep reduces decay and gum disease.

What whitening procedure do you recommend? How do you know if someone will be a good candidate?

Whitening your teeth is one of the fastest, easiest, and most economical ways to jump-start a makeover. Many people are good candidates for teeth whitening, but people who are not good candidates are those who have enamel erosion. Examples of this include erosion from drinking excessive amounts of soda pop or brushing too hard with abrasive toothpastes. Less enamel equals less improvement. Existing old fillings or crowns do not change color. I recommend a combination of ZOOM whitening treatment with night white trays (for touch ups) or the trays by themselves for seven to fourteen days.

How often should someone visit the dentist?

It is recommended that you visit your dentist at least every six months. Some patients have specific needs, requiring them to see the dentist more frequently. Patients who are pregnant or those with gum disease should see their dentist for checkups and cleanings four times per year.

Some people are still a bit nervous about going to the dentist. How do you advise them that dental care is important and that a good smile could possibly change their life?

Ultimately, the health of your teeth and mouth affects all aspects of your life…medically, socially, and professionally. Since 1978, I have been “changing lives….one smile at a time.” Once a patient enters the relaxed living room-like atmosphere of my office, I can show them countless examples of life-changing photos of before and after cases. Once they are comfortable, I can educate and motivate them to seek care.

Any new advancements in dental care that you would recommend?

Dentistry is a constantly changing and evolving field. One of the most important aspects of choosing a dentist is making sure that they stay current with all the new technology and procedures in their specialty. The dental field is constantly improving, and continuing education to stay current is a must. From simple improvements like more comfortable chairs to changing to digital x-rays (which expose patients to 50 percent less radiation), improved porcelain (stronger and more life-like), adhesives, and bleaching products, staying current is paramount. I am proud of my state-of-the-art office that incorporates all the latest technology and equipment.

In general, what’s the best advice you can give someone about improving their smile?

It is important to take the time to ask your dentist questions, showing him or her pictures of what you think great teeth look like. Patients are not used to communicating in the realm of teeth. Pictures speak volumes. Communication and your dentist’s ability are key to improving your smile.