The Spirit Dental Blog | Stay In The Know

Habits That Can Wreck Your Teeth


It’s easy to get lazy when it comes to following an at-home dental hygiene routine, or when it comes to avoiding foods and drinks that you know are bad for your teeth and gums. But, over time, these tendencies could ruin your smile.   

Which habits are most liable to put your oral health at risk?

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Does My Emotional Health Affect My Dental Health?

emotional health

We all know that emotional stress can wreak havoc on your body and undo all of the hard work that you’ve put into being strong and healthy. But does the mind-body connection extend to your teeth? Could the stress of your deadlines, relationships, and other daily struggles be causing your oral health problems? The answer is yes!

All That Tension Goes to Your Jaw

Have you ever noticed that, when you’re feeling frazzled, you tend to tighten your jaw muscles and clench your teeth? This is a common side effect of stress, but it isn’t good for the health of your mouth, so being aware of this problem and getting the appropriate treatment could help prevent complications.

Bruxism refers to the clenching and grinding of your teeth, and when you are stressed, you might be doing it in your sleep without even being conscious of it. When you are frustrated, angry, or tense, you might start waking up with soreness in your jaw, or you might even have other symptoms of this condition. A few of those symptoms include the tips of your teeth looking flatter than usual, indentations on your tongue, or sensitive teeth as a result of your enamel being rubbed off.

In addition to bruxism, too much stress might cause temporomandibular disorders, also known as TMD. When you’re tense, all that grinding and clenching could really put a strain on your jaw muscles and the temporomandibular joint (your jaw joint). Signs of TMD also include flat teeth and a reduction in enamel, but you might also have pain in your jaw, or your jaw might make a clicking sound when you move it. Not fun!

Stress Could Lead to Unsightly Sores

Canker sores and cold sores might occur more often if you find yourself stressed all the time.

Feeling emotionally drained could lower your immune system’s ability to defend your body against pathogens, and canker sores—those small grayish or white spots that can pop up out of nowhere in your mouth—might be triggered by emotional distress. On top of that, cold sores, which are a symptom of the herpes simplex virus, might also appear on your lips when you are upset. How embarrassing!

If you suffer from these sores, try to take note of when an outbreak occurs. Were you feeling stressed or going through a difficult time when the sores appeared? If so, they might be the result of your body’s defenses taking a hit. Consider slowing down and taking extra care of yourself so your immune system will be able to power up again.

Even Your Gums Could Suffer

Studies have showed that when you are emotionally unwell, you have an increased risk of developing periodontal disease (that’s the fancy term for gum disease). And the more stressed you are, the more severe the gum disease could be. Who knew?!

Experts believe that, because bacteria causes gum disease, if your body is under a lot of stress and your immune system is weaker than it should be, the bacteria will be able to thrive and cause damage to your gums.

But Wait, There’s More!

Other dental problems that may arise as a result of a lack of emotional well-being include:

  • Acid reflux, which could damage tooth enamel
  • Dry mouth, which is uncomfortable and could boost the risk of tooth decay, oral infections, and gum disease

Stress could also cause you to neglect your oral hygiene routine. When you aren’t brushing and flossing every day, the risk of bacteria multiplying and causing a variety of ailments, from tooth decay to gum disease, increases.

Those who are under a lot of stress might even find it difficult to eat the right foods, or eat on a healthy schedule. This could potentially lead to nutritional imbalances that might adversely affect oral health.

Save Yourself from the Effects of Stress

The bad news is that poor emotional health can indeed adversely affect your dental health. The good news is that your dentist can provide solutions if you develop any of these problems. So in addition to taking small steps every day to minimize your stress as much as possible, whether that means taking up meditation or carving out time for yourself to do something you enjoy, it’s important to see your dentist at least once a year. And having the right dental insurance plan will ensure you can book your appointment as soon as you need it.

Your dentist has the right expertise and tools to thoroughly examine your mouth and search for signs that stress is taking a toll on your oral health. Once your dentist diagnoses the problem, whether it’s bruxism or gum disease, she can provide you with the appropriate treatments to ensure your smile will be bright and your mouth will be pain-free.      

The link between your feelings and your body is strong, even when it comes to your teeth and gums. So in addition to tackling oral problems from a physical angle, consider taking steps to sustain your mental and emotional health as well. Here’s to being happier, stressing less, and smiling more!   



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Fighting Bad Breath: The Ins and Outs

fighting bad breath

Few things are more embarrassing than having bad breath. But combating those offensive odors in your mouth can be more of a challenge than you first anticipate. So how can you be sure your breath will always smell fresh and clean, and won’t cause people to take a step back when they’re talking to you? Check out the easy bad breath fighting tips below to get started.

The Foundation: Brushing and Flossing Every Day

Okay, we know this first tip is pretty obvious, but one of the main ways to stop bad breath in its tracks is by simply brushing and flossing every day. Experts recommend that you brush at least twice a day, and for about two minutes each time. Also, floss at least once a day, but you can get even better results if you floss after each meal.

The American Dental Association (ADA) has stated that neglecting this basic cleaning routine will result in food particles staying in your mouth, leading to offensive breath. Yuck! But the good news is that just brushing and flossing can cut down on bacteria, food particles, and plaque, while also fighting periodontal disease that causes bad breath.

Don’t Forget to Clean Your Tongue!

Bad breath doesn’t just come from your teeth and gums; it can also originate from compounds that are basically a combination of amino acids and bacteria. These compounds can be found on your tongue, and they smell nasty. So in addition to brushing and flossing, you can use your toothbrush or a tongue cleaner to gently scrape your tongue and freshen it right up.  

Rinse and Repeat

A therapeutic mouthwash could be really helpful when it comes to overcoming bad breath that you can’t seem to get rid of with just brushing and flossing. Rinsing your mouth before or after your brushing routine, or even after each meal, is a good way to inhibit plaque and help prevent problems like gingivitis and dry mouth. Plus, that minty freshness will help make your mouth feel clean in between brushings.

Want to go au naturel? Try rinsing your mouth with a few drops of natural peppermint oil mixed in water. Or rinse your mouth with tea. A study found that rinsing the mouth with green tea or black tea might help to inhibit bacterial growth that leads to bad breath. Who knew?

Rinsing to no avail? Then your bad breath might be caused by something more serious, so you should see your dentist to figure out whether there’s tooth decay, gum disease, or even tonsil stones to blame. Plus, when there are other problems causing halitosis, a mouthwash might only end up irritating oral tissues and causing your breath to worsen.  

Eating and Drinking for Fresher Breath

Did you know that staying hydrated and eating right can help prevent bad breath?

  • Drink water throughout the day to keep bad breath away by essentially moisturizing your mouth and rinsing away debris. If you suffer from dry mouth, drinking plenty of water is even more important. But even if you don’t have dry mouth, drinking water after you exercise, during and after meals, and when you wake up will help keep your breath fresh.
  • Here are a few of the foods that you should avoid if you want to prevent bad breath: garlic, raw onions, high-sugar foods like cereals, and acidic foods like vinegar. After all, sugars and acids will boost the bacteria count in your mouth, and that bacteria will stink.
  • Foods that can help to naturally reduce the occurrence of bad breath include whole grains, orange veggies, dark green veggies, fruits, seeds, nuts, and beans. That’s because these foods can enhance saliva flow in the mouth, preventing dryness and helping to keep the mouth free of food debris.
  • Fresh veggies and fruits, particularly those that are crispy, can help to boost saliva production and flow, inhibiting bad breath by naturally cleansing the mouth. So if you want to have a snack, consider munching on some carrots or apples, as a couple of examples.
  • Here’s another interesting fact: fasting, along with hunger, can also cause bad breath. Rather than originating in your mouth, bad breath that’s associated with not eating is actually caused by acids building up in your stomach. Okay, gross. So go ahead and use that as an excuse to enjoy some snacks in between meals. But keep them healthy, like the crispy veggies and fruits mentioned above.
  • Chewing on some sugarless gum (keyword: sugarless) or indulging in some sugarless candy can—you guessed it—also spur on the production and flow of saliva in the mouth. Think of saliva as your body’s tool for washing away bacteria and debris that could lead to bad breath, so popping a sugar-free mint in your mouth can not only mask the odor but also actually help get rid of it.  

Smoking and Bad Breath Go Hand in Hand

Do you still smoke? If so, here’s another great reason to ditch this unhealthy habit: your bad breath could be caused by your cigarettes.

Tobacco can dry out the mouth, and the smoke you inhale has an offensive odor of its own. This combination could cause bad breath to hang around even if you brush and floss daily. So the best way to freshen your breath—and reduce the odds that you will develop other oral health issues that can arise from smoking—is to seek help so you can quit for good.

Make a Date with Your Dentist

Because there are dental and gum ailments that could lead to chronic bad breath, and because there are also systemic issues that could be causing your halitosis, seeing your dentist on a regular basis is really important. In addition to cleaning your teeth and gums, your dentist will be able to thoroughly examine your mouth to find the cause of your halitosis and prescribe the appropriate solutions so you won’t have to be embarrassed by bad breath anymore.

So there you have it. By following a few simple steps in your everyday routine, you can prevent bad breath and have the confidence to not only show off your smile, but also speak your mind, however close you are to the person next to you.


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Spring Into Action: Dental Care 101

spring into action

Oral hygiene doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple steps that can be taken on a daily basis can help you maintain fresh breath, while also reducing your odds of developing cavities and gum disease.

Want to be absolutely sure that you’re covering all of your bases when it comes to your dental care routine? We’ve outlined the basics below to make taking care of your mouth a breeze.

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What Toothpaste Should I Use?

what toothpaste

Walk down the aisle of your local supermarket or drugstore and you’ll find an array of toothpaste options. Not only are there so many brands to choose from, but each brand also has several formulations to meet your dental health needs. There’s whitening toothpaste, fluoride and non-fluoride products, and toothpaste for sensitive teeth and gums, as a few examples.

But which toothpaste should you be using? After all, having so many choices can make things even more confusing, so we’ve compiled some information below to help you make the right decision.

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How to Combat Bruxism: Teeth Grinding


Bruxism, which is the grinding and clenching of teeth, is a common condition. Ignoring it and failing to combat it could result in damaged enamel, broken teeth, malocclusion, tooth loss, and temporomandibular joint disorder.

Thankfully, there are several ways that you can stop grinding your teeth, and some of them are listed below so you can tackle this problem before it causes severe damage.  

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Comparing the Cost of Implants to Fixed Bridgework


Losing a tooth in an accident or to decay can definitely be traumatizing. Thankfully, your dentist has the tools necessary to restore your smile, as well as prevent other oral problems that could result from missing teeth. Whether you’ve lost just a single tooth or several teeth, you can choose to have dental implants set in place or you can go for fixed bridgework.

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Causes of “Dry Mouth” and How to Relieve It

Dry Mouth

The fancy word for “dry mouth” is xerostomia, and this is a condition that’s characterized by a lack of saliva throughout the mouth. Basically, the salivary glands stop producing the normal amount of saliva, leaving the mouth dry and uncomfortable.

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Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth

Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth

Good oral hygiene doesn’t end with your daily brushing routine. What you eat every day can have an impact on the strength of your teeth, as well as the color of your chompers.

So which foods have been deemed the best, and which ones are considered the worst, for tooth health? Take a look at the list below for some helpful pointers.

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Kids First Dentist Visit: Dos and Don'ts

Kids Dental Insurance

Going to the dentist can be scary even for adults. So when it’s time to bring your child to their first dental appointment, use the following tips to make the experience as anxiety-free as possible.

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$3,500 Maximum Explained

3500 max explained

Let’s face it: medical insurance, including dental insurance, can be really confusing. For example, when shopping around for the right plan, you’ll come across a slew of details, including what’s known as a maximum amount of coverage. But what is a maximum amount, and how does it affect your coverage?

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How to Avoid Teeth Stains

avoid teeth stains

Are you dreaming of a white smile? Well, it all starts with knowing what causes your teeth to become stained, and then discovering what you can do to remove stains that have already taken hold.

Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think to maintain a brilliant smile while still indulging in the foods and drinks that you love. We’ve outlined a few simple steps that you can take right away.

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When Is the Right Time to Replace Fillings?

replace fillings

After your dentist applies a filling to one of your teeth in order to restore its strength and preserve the tooth, you might think that the work is over. But the truth is that the filling won’t last indefinitely. Eventually, the fillings in your teeth will need to be replaced. The question that most patients ask is: when is the right time to replace dental fillings?

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Mouthwash - Is It a Must?

mouthwash 775

Rinsing with some minty mouthwash can be a refreshing way to conclude your daily oral hygiene routine at home.

But is mouthwash really necessary? Is it doing anything to promote the health of your teeth and gums?

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How Allergies Can Affect Your Dental Health

how allergies can affect

Allergy season brings with it sinus problems, sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, and other symptoms that make you feel miserable. But did you know that allergies could affect your teeth?

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Spring Cleaning … For Your Mouth

spring cleaning

Spring is the perfect season to refresh your routine and declutter your life. But beyond cleaning your home, you can also focus on some spring cleaning for your mouth.

As the weather warms and the days get longer, incorporate the following tips into your daily life so you can have a sparkling smile by the time summer rolls around.

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How to Prevent Cavities


Cavities: the word strikes fear in all who hear it. Put simply, when your teeth are frequently exposed to acid, sugars, starches, and bacteria, they can become permanently damaged with cavities. These tiny holes could also be the result of improper oral hygiene, and they can only be treated by your dentist. Left untreated, the holes will grow bigger and begin decaying deeper layers of your teeth, causing more problems, like a toothache, infection, and tooth loss.

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What You Should Know About Your Baby’s Teeth

baby teeth

For many new parents, the topic of baby teeth causes a host of questions. When will your baby’s teeth start to peek through the gum line? What should you expect when your child to start teething? And what are some of the things that you should know to keep your baby’s mouth healthy?  

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When Dental Implants Are Needed


Dental implants are one of modern dentistry’s best advancements. Lost a tooth—or multiple teeth—for any reason? No problem! A dental implant looks and functions just like a real tooth, so you can maintain a beautiful smile and continue eating all of your favorite foods just as you did before.

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Oral Care for Babies

Oral Care For Babies

Did you know that experts recommend cleaning your baby’s mouth even before his or her teeth begin to emerge? It’s the first step in oral care for your infant, and it will help ensure an easier transition to brushing when your child is old enough.

If you’re a new parent, don’t worry, as we’ve compiled a list of tips on oral care for babies that will help guide you as your child grows.

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Spirit Dental Insurance has been a great provider for my clients. They are timely when we submit claims and provide fantastic coverage options that leave my patients feeling secure.
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