Ooltewah TN Dentist Blog
Wednesday, 26 June 2024 13:25

A Dentist’s Guide to Child Teeth Care Tips

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Preventative dentistry when paired with healthy habits at home can really ensure that you and your children maintain healthy teeth and smiles.

Every parent wants to ensure their child grows up healthy and happy, and these child teeth care tips are essential for maintaining their overall well-being. While we often focus on nutrition and physical activity, pediatric dental health is just as important! Establishing good dental habits early can prevent cavities, gum disease, and other dental issues.

At Tedford Family Dentistry, we care about your family's health and have compiled these child teeth care tips to help you succeed in caring for your child's dental needs. Here’s what you need to know to keep your child’s smile bright and healthy:

Start Early with Dental Care

  • Infant Dental Hygiene: Begin cleaning your baby’s gums with a soft, damp cloth even before their first tooth appears. Once teeth emerge, use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush with water. This is one of the first child teeth care tips you can implement.
  • First Dental Visit: Schedule your child’s first dental visit by their first birthday. Early visits help identify any potential issues and familiarize your child with the dentist.

Daily Dental Routine

  • Brushing: Help your child brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Use a pea-sized amount for children aged 3 and up. Ensure they brush for at least two minutes and spit out the toothpaste afterward. This routine is part of essential child teeth care tips.
  • Flossing: Begin flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they have two teeth that touch. Teach them the proper flossing technique and supervise until they can do it independently. Including flossing in your routine is a key part.

Encourage Healthy Habits

  • Lead by Example: Children learn by watching. Brush and floss your teeth together to show them the importance of good oral hygiene. Setting an example can have a lasting impact.
  • Make it Fun: Let your child choose their toothbrush and toothpaste. There are many kid-friendly options with fun colors and favorite characters. Use a timer or play their favorite song to make brushing for two minutes enjoyable. 

Monitor Diet

  • Limit Sugary Snacks: Too much sugar can lead to cavities. Encourage healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables, and cheese. Dietary choices are a crucial aspect of child teeth care tips.
  • Avoid Sugary Drinks: Water and milk are the best choices for your child. Limit sugary drinks like soda and juice, which can harm their teeth. Keeping an eye on their beverage choices is one of the important child teeth care tips.

Regular Dental Visits

  • Start Early: The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children who are at risk of childhood cavities visit a pediatric dentist by the age of one. At Tedford Family Dentistry, we recommend starting early to ensure your child’s oral health is on the right track.
  • Frequent Check-ups: Schedule dental check-ups every six months. Regular visits help maintain dental health and catch any problems early. During these visits, our skilled staff will introduce children to teeth cleanings and dental examinations gently, ensuring a comfortable experience. Regular check-ups are essential child teeth care tips.
  • Positive Associations: Early dental visits are crucial. They help your child develop positive associations with the dentist, reducing any anxieties about dental care as they grow up. Our goal is to provide an enjoyable dental experience for your children and teens./li>
  • Monitor Development: Early appointments allow us to check for cavities and monitor the effects of common childhood practices like using pacifiers and thumb-sucking. These habits can affect the development of the jaw and teeth and lead to tooth decay.
  • Preventive Measures: Our preventive approach includes sealants to protect against cavities, fluoride treatments to keep teeth strong, and regular cleanings. We also provide jaw corrections to eliminate teeth grinding and use dental radiographs (x-rays) for thorough examinations when necessary.
  • Emergency Care: In case of a dental emergency, such as toothache, excessive bleeding, or a chipped tooth, contact our office immediately./li>

Keeping Your Child's Smile Bright

By following these child teeth care tips, you can help your child develop a lifetime of good dental habits and maintain a healthy smile. At Tedford Family Dentistry, we’re here to support you and your family with expert care and advice. We believe that a healthy smile is a happy smile, and we’re dedicated to making dental care a positive and enjoyable experience for your little ones. Schedule your next appointment with us, and let’s work together to keep those smiles bright and cheerful!

Preventative dentistry when paired with healthy habits at home can really ensure that you and your children maintain healthy teeth and smiles.

Dental care for children all comes down to routine. Having a routine can help you incorporate healthy habits for your kids, especially when it comes to dental hygiene. Summer time can be a little lax when it comes to kids though, right? Without school and normal routines, some of our structure tends to go out the window. But with school starting up again and some sense of normalcy returning to the days, you can help engrain those healthy dental habits for your kids. Chattanooga Preventative dentistry and intentional home care can culminate in a much healthier mouth.

Starting around age 3 you should:

  • Help your child brush their teeth with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and make sure your child spits it out after
  • Help your child brush for at least 2 minutes twice per day
  • Start helping your child floss his or her teeth when they begin to touch
  • Start letting your child brush their teeth with supervision to instill good dental habits
  • Visit us at Tedford Family Dentistry every 6 months for cleanings and exams

For older children and preteens:

Encourage your child to practice regular brushing and flossing As your child becomes more conscious of his or her appearance, encourage proper dental care to keep teeth healthy and looking their best Teach them about how good dental hygiene results in fresh breath If your child grinds his or her teeth at night, or plays sports, ensure they have the proper mouth guards to protect their teeth If your child wears braces, make sure he or she flosses and power brushes thoroughly to avoid spots when the braces are removed Remember to stay on top of regular cleanings and exams to avoid costly and painful dental issues

When it comes to preventative dentistry, we’ve got a few more tips for helping teach your children how to both care for their smiles at home and work closely with your family dentist.

  1. Lead by example! Show your kids how important dental care is to you by practicing good habits, and keeping your regular dental care appointments.
  2. Reward system. Reward your kids for taking some ownership of their own personal dental hygiene habits. Positive reinforcement can be very helpful in this arena.
  3. Let them choose their oral care products. When kids get to have a say in which toothbrush and toothpaste they use, it can help them feel more engaged and excited about the process. Make sure dental experiences are positive ones. If your children have negative experiences at the dentist’s office, that may deter them from seeking dental care in the future.
  4. Make sure you find a dentist to work with who makes your child feel comfortable and safe in that dental chair.

If you are looking for exceptional dental care and preventative dentistry, come see our excellent staff at Tedford Family Dentistry in Ooltewah. We will take great care of your family!

Friday, 04 August 2023 18:43

Coughs, Colds and Cavities

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dentist office Ooltewah TNJust as candy, sweets and sports drinks can increase your risk for tooth decay, so too can liquid medications. There are a variety of ingredients commonly found in cough drops and syrup medications that can leave you more susceptible to tooth decay and cavities, especially when the medicine is taken consistently over long periods of time.

To create a better taste, many medicines contain high fructose corn syrup and sucrose. These sugars can contribute to decay when bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugars and attack the enamel of your teeth. The citric acid in these syrups can also break down the enamel on the teeth. The alcohol found in the syrups can also have a drying effect on the mouth. With less saliva to rinse the sugar and acids away, the more increased risk for decay.

With a few simple steps you can ensure that the cough and cold medicines that you are taking do more harm than good. There are several precautions you can take to ensure the sugars and acids of liquid medications don’t affect your teeth.

  • Avoid taking liquid medicines before bedtime. Since there is a decrease saliva flow at night, the residue won’t wash away as quickly.
  • After taking medication brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Rinse your mouth well with water or chew sugar-free gum if you are not able to brush your teeth after taking liquid medicines.
  • Calcium supplements and topical fluoride can help to preserve the health of your teeth.
  • Take medicines with meals to help wash away the sugars and acids left behind from the syrup.
  • Pill form medication is less harmful to your teeth than the liquid varieties.

With proper oral care and precautions, you can keep cavities, as well as colds away this winter.
Friday, 28 July 2023 19:45

Should I Go to the Dentist If I’m Sick?

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You may be asking yourself this question if you have a dentist appointment but are feeling a bit under the weather. As many dental appointments can be difficult to reschedule, you might find yourself uncertain of what to do. To cancel or not to cancel? Here’s a guide on whether you should cancel your appointment if you’re sick.

How Sick Am I?

The first thing you must decide is, “How sick am I?” The type of ailment, depending on your symptoms, can greatly affect your appointment. You must evaluate the severity of your sickness, and the level of pain and discomfort. Patients who are unable to sit still through an appointment should consider rescheduling.

Am I Contagious?

Contagious? If you don’t want to infect others, always reschedule.

However, you might not always know if you are contagious. If you are coughing or sneezing, you may have a common cold, a virus, or maybe even the flu. In this case, you should carefully listen to your symptoms.

Even if you are no longer sick, but have been feeling under the weather over the past several days, you might still be carrying the virus. Studies report that carriers can remain contagious to others for up to one week.

What Should I Do If I Keep My Dentist Appointment If I’m Sick?

In the event that you are experiencing congestion, let our Tedford Family Dentistry staff know. Patients who often have trouble breathing through their nose may also struggle through dental procedures, as their mouth is occupied at times during treatments or exams. If you choose to keep your dental appointment, always communicate to your hygienist, dental assistant, or Dr. Tedford, if or when you experience any discomfort during your visit.

Cancelling My Dentist Appointment

Whether you have a dental emergency or are getting a routine checkup, as a general rule of thumb, we recommend that patients only cancel an appointment in the event of an emergency (sickness included).

While the majority of dental offices understand the need to cancel at times, we do urge you to keep your appointment to avoid any unnecessary cancellation fees. Plus, rescheduling appointments may take time, depending on availability.

If you are sick or contagious, contact our office today and ask us about our policy for these situations. It’s likely we’ll reschedule you for a different date. Get well soon!

Saturday, 08 July 2023 15:20

Why Do I Need to See a Dentist in Ooltewah TN

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When it comes to your smile, the importance of preventative care cannot be overstated. For many people, dental cleanings are something to be avoided. In reality, there are many reasons why they shouldn't be. Your Tedford Family dentist in Ooltewah TN is always happy to help, regardless of the date of your last visit.

Gum disease can be prevented by a dentist in Ooltewah TN.

Did you know that one of the best ways to detect gum disease is by visiting your dentist regularly? Gum disease has multiple stages, and we're able to detect early phases in patients before symptoms like red and swollen gums appear. By diagnosing gum disease early, we can put a treatment plan in place to save your teeth.

Plaque can be prevented by a dentist in Ooltewah TN.

If you've ever been to a dentist and been informed of plaque buildup, even though you brush and floss multiple times a day, then you know how frustrating plaque can be. It’s a sticky substance that adheres to your teeth and contains all sorts of bacteria you don’t want in your mouth. That buildup of plaque often leads to tartar, which causes your teeth to discolor. Unfortunately, removing plaque or tartar is only possible with the help of a dentist.

Tooth decay can be stopped by a dentist in Ooltewah TN.

Tooth decay leads to many problems including sensitivity, pain, and even tooth loss in extreme cases. If the tooth is beyond repair, it can be costly to replace the decayed tooth with a dental implant. Regular dental checkups allow us to spot any causes of decaying teeth so that we can save them before it's too late.

Get in touch with your dentist in Ooltewah TN!

Our dentists at Tedford Family Dentistry are prepared to help you with your unique smile, whether you're always on time for cleanings or it's been a while since you had one. We're the best place for dental care in the Ooltewah area, so schedule a cleaning with us today!
Friday, 26 May 2023 14:08

Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions
What are veneers made from?

The thin shells are created from porcelain or resin and can be customized for a desirable color and shape.

What caused my gums to recede?

Over time, it is natural and common for gums to recede.

Can bridges fall out?

No, bridges are non-removable, they are permanently cemented in place.

How many shades of whitening can be applied in a single session?

Our teeth whitening procedures are used to brighten the appearance of a patient’s smile by as many as 5 to 10 shades in one session.

I have a receded jawbone, can I get dental implants?

Even if your jawbone has receded, bone implants might be an option that allows you to be a candidate for implants.

Don't dentures slip around in the mouth?

Our technology at Tedford Family Dentistry anchors the denture plate so securely that it won’t wander.

How can I avoid needing dental surgery?

Basic preventative care and regular checkups will help you fix dental pains before surgery becomes necessary.

Senior Oral Health

We all know that dental health habits are important at any age, but as we grow older, we may face more oral health concerns than we did in our earlier years. This is why it’s important to establish and maintain great dental hygiene routines and to foster a relationship with a great dentist to help meet dental challenges as they come.

Aging and Dental Health

What happens to our teeth as we get older? The fact of the matter is, as our bodies age, we sometimes find ourselves dealing with ailments that were not a problem in our youth. This can apply to our teeth and gums as well. Most of these dental problems that can arise in seniors are easy to identify, resolve, and even prevent when you know what signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for. Here are a few things to be aware of when it comes to senior oral health.


Attrition simply means wear and tear, something your teeth see a lot of over the years as they help you chew your food, speak, and function normally. Years of use, eating, grinding, and general aging can take their toll on your teeth. Also as your healthy tooth enamel wears down over time, they leave your teeth more susceptible to decay and cavities.

Dry Mouth

Aging in and of itself does not necessarily make the symptoms of dry mouth more likely; however, certain factors that come along with it can, such as chronic conditions, medications you may take, and so on. If you are experiencing dry mouth, it can be indicative of issues you’ll need to address with your dentist.

Gum Disease

Gum disease happens to be one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults. Also referred to as periodontal disease, this dental issue is caused by plaque forming on the teeth, and being left untreated. Gum disease symptoms include red, puffy, or bleeding gums, consistently bad breath, pain, and tooth sensitivity, all of which can be prevented by diligent oral care. Gum disease is also reversible when detected and treated early.


Some also find that tooth sensitivity is more of an issue as they age. Gums naturally recede over time, and that can leave areas of tooth exposed that are not well-protected by enamel. Sometimes sensitivity can be an indication of a bigger problem such as a cavity or a cracked or fractured tooth.

Tooth Root Decay

Often as a result of gum disease, the roots of your teeth can become exposed as gums recede over time. This can cause tooth decay to develop at an increased rate, which can then lead to a whole host of other dental problems that will require the attention of your dentist.

Senior oral health tips

Tips for Senior Oral Health

Of course, maintaining oral health for seniors looks a lot like it does for folks at any age, and keeping your teeth and gums in prime condition just takes a little bit of effort. Combat dental problems that can become more likely with age through the following practices:

  • Brush and floss daily! You should be brushing your teeth at least twice each day for at least two minutes using an FDA-approved toothpaste that contains fluoride. Floss at least once per day too.
  • See your dentist regularly. Don’t skip those dental check ups. Regular dental exams and x-rays are a critical part of maintaining your oral health, and preventative care is always the best kind.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash. Mouthwash might not be part of your regular oral care routine, but maybe it should be. Swishing with an oral rinse can help reduce the build-up of plaque while killing bacteria that can lead to other issues. Plus, it leaves you with fresh breath!
  • Avoid tobacco use. The use of tobacco products has been linked to an increased risk of oral and throat cancer, as well as many other serious health conditions. Chewing tobacco can even lead to more decay in the mouth.
  • Be mindful of sugar intake. Candy, soda, and sugary, starchy snacks can also contribute to tooth decay. Be aware of how often you indulge in these items, and when you do, try to brush your teeth shortly thereafter.
  • Up your calcium intake. The American Dental Association suggests that older adults need 1,000 mg of calcium per day to prevent osteoporosis, which can, of course, affect the bones surrounding your teeth.
  • Take care of your dentures. If you wear dentures, it’s important to remember that they require special care. Make sure you carefully follow your dentist’s instructions regarding how to clean and care for your dentures, and reach out if you have any problems.

Our team at Tedford Family Dentistry is here to support families in their oral health regardless of age. We offer preventative dental care for children, adults, and senior adults, and we want to help you achieve your greatest possible oral health at every age! Contact our team to schedule an exam or cleaning, or to address any dental issues you may be experiencing.

Friday, 28 April 2023 19:37

6 Tips for Healthy Gums

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Tips for healthy gums

When it comes to oral health, it’s about so much more than just teeth. Your gums play a critical role in maintaining a healthy mouth, and even in ensuring your teeth remain healthy and strong. Even if your teeth are cavity free and aesthetically beautiful, that doesn’t mean you are immune to gum disease. Gum disease can oftentimes be completely painless, and therefore difficult to detect.

Understanding Gum Disease

Gum disease affects 47.2% of adults ages 30 and up, according to the CDC. It begins with plaque that builds up under and along the gum line, and can cause infections that hurt the gum and bone, leading to tooth decay and other issues. The presence of plaque can also cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Gingivitis can cause your gums to become red, tender, swollen, and inflamed, and can cause bleeding as well. As unpleasant as that sounds, the upside is that this damage is completely reversible.

Periodontitis, however, is a more advanced stage of gum disease, and can impact the bones that hold your teeth in place within the mouth. If left untreated, this can be the ruin of gums, bones, and tissues inside the mouth. The final and most serious stage of gum disease is advanced periodontitis, and in this phase, the fibers and bone supporting your teeth are destroyed. This can result in issues with your bite as well as tooth loss.

Per the American Dental Association (the ADA), signs that you may have gum disease include:
Consistently bad breath A consistently bad taste in your mouth Separating or loose permanent teeth Gums that easily bleed Gums that are red, swollen, or tender Gums that have pulled away from your teeth

Keeping Gums Healthy

A positive thing to note here is that gum disease is completely preventable, and here are a few tips for healthy gums that will help you evade these problems when it comes you your own oral health.


Just do it, ok? Floss your teeth at least once per day to help remove plaque and food particles that are beyond the reach of your toothbrush. It doesn’t really matter that much when you do it, just do it!


Brush at least twice a day, or even better yet, after every meal. Brushing your teeth removes food bits and plaque that can build up on your teeth and gums. You’ll also want to brush your tongue, which can be a hotspot for all sorts of problem-causing bacteria (and stinky breath). Your toothbrush should ideally have soft bristles and fit comfortably in your mouth.


Let your fluoride toothpaste be your oral health ride or die. Your toothpaste aisle might have you a little overwhelmed with options, but no matter what you do, be sure to choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride and has the ADA seal of acceptance. Type, flavor, brand is all completely your call.


The next tip for healthy gums is to use an over the counter therapeutic mouthwash. This can help reduce plaque, prevent gingivitis, and reduce the speed at which tartar develops in the mouth. More than that, the actual act of swishing and rinsing helps to loosen and remove food particles and debris that can take up residence in the mouth. Just remember mouthwash is not a suitable alternative to regular brushing and flossing, but an additional step that can do a lot of good!


Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your gums. Smoking is strongly associated with the development of gum disease, and even makes it harder to fight off gum infections by weakening your immune system, according to the CDC. Smoking also makes it harder for your gums to heal after facing damage.


The final tip for healthy gums is to prioritize dental cleanings and exams. Your dentist can help diagnose any issues that arise early, and help ensure you get the treatments necessary for maintaining your overall oral health. Professional dental cleanings are also necessary for removing tartar build up on the teeth and along the gumline, which can cause problems if left untreated.

If it’s time for a dental check up, contact our team at Tedford Family Dentistry today, and we’ll get you taken care of. In the meantime, make your oral health a priority with these tips for healthy gums. We assure you, you won’t regret the extra effort!

Friday, 07 April 2023 19:37

Tooth Mishaps

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Children's Dental Emergencies– What Parents Should Know

Children's dental emergencies and what parents should know

Dental accidents can occur anytime, anywhere, and parents need to be prepared for these unforeseen situations so they can react quickly and appropriately. Knowing what to do when faced with a children’s dental emergency can mean the difference between your child losing a tooth forever or saving that permanent tooth by taking the right actions immediately. No matter what the dental emergency is, it’s imperative that you take your child to the dentist or the closest emergency room as soon as possible.

What do I do if my child cracks a tooth?

If your child cracks a tooth, rinse the mouth out with warm water to cleanse the area, and put a cold compress on the face to help reduce pain and swelling. See the dentist as soon as possible for the next steps.

What should I do if my child knocks a tooth out?

First of all, make sure your child doesn’t have a more serious injury in addition to the knocked-out tooth—it’s important to assess the entire situation. For a knocked-out permanent tooth, it’s important to keep it moist at all times. Ideally, place the tooth in a container of milk, or use a tooth preservation product marked by the ADA’s Seal of Acceptance. Then, get to the dentist’s office as soon as possible. A primary tooth, or baby tooth, does not need to be placed in milk, but should still be brought to the dentist if possible.

What do I do if my child bites his or her tongue or lip?

If your child accidentally bites his tongue or lip, clean the area gently with water, then apply a cold compress. Contact your dentist or primary care doctor to determine how severe the bite is. If the bite is severe, go to the emergency room as soon as possible.

How can I treat my child’s toothache?

For toothaches in children, rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Gently floss the area to remove any debris that could be causing the pain. If the pain persists, visit your pediatric dentist ASAP.

What do I do if my child has an object caught between teeth?

If your child has something caught between his or her teeth, first try to remove it gently with dental floss. Don’t ever use metal, plastic, or any other sharp tool to attempt to remove a stuck object between teeth, as this can cause more damage. If you are unable to remove the object, contact your dentist immediately.

What do I do if my child chips or breaks a tooth?

First, rinse the mouth with warm water, then use a cold compress on the area to reduce swelling. Try your best to find the broken-off piece of tooth, and then contact your dentist immediately.

What should I do if I think my child has a broken jaw?

If you believe your child’s jaw may be broken or fractured, it’s important to exercise caution. VERY gently apply a cold compress to help control swelling and pain, and get to your dentist or ER immediately. Try your best to stabilize the jaw to keep it from moving.

Call On Us

Our team at Tedford Family Dentistry is equipped to handle your children’s dental emergencies. Contact us if you need assistance, and if it’s after hours, be sure to contact our emergency line or go to the nearest emergency room for immediate care.

Friday, 31 March 2023 15:56

Am I Using the Right Oral Care Products?

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How to Choose the Best Toothpaste for You and Yours

How to choose the best toothpaste for your dental health

If you’re toothpaste shopping at your local store or supermarket, you’ll probably find yourself presented with an almost overwhelming number of choices. Rows and rows of boxes of toothpaste from different brands, with different claims– tartar control, whitening, sensitivity, fresh breath. So how do you choose the best toothpaste for you? We’ve got a few tips to help you narrow down your choices, and of course, your dentist at Tedford Family Dentistry is always happy to answer any questions about choosing the right oral care products.

First ask yourself some helpful questions about your teeth and gums. Do you have sensitive teeth? Are you looking for whitening help? Do you need extra tartar protection? Do you have gingivitis or any other gum disease? Are you looking for a toothpaste that will appeal to your kids? No matter what the situation, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before purchasing a toothpaste.

Is it ADA approved?

Step one is going to be to check for that ADA stamp of approval on the toothpaste you’re considering. To earn this seal, toothpastes must meet the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs requirements for safety and efficacy in reducing tooth decay. Essentially, you know the toothpaste will be safe and effective at cleaning your teeth so long as it has been ADA approved.

Does it contain fluoride?

It’s imperative that the toothpaste you choose contains fluoride. This natural mineral fights cavities and protects your enamel, or the outermost layer of the teeth. According to the ADA, “Fluoride strengthens teeth to help prevent tooth decay and remineralizes tooth enamel in the early stages of tooth decay.” The fluoride in your toothpaste can strengthen weakened and compromised teeth, and serve as a preventative defense against future dental problems.

Beware of Abrasive Ingredients

Some toothpaste options contain ingredients that can be potentially harmful to teeth and their delicate enamel. Again, the ADA approval seal will ensure your chosen toothpaste is effective and safe to use, so that’s the first line of defense against toothpastes with potentially abrasive ingredients to steer clear of. For example, a relatively newer trend in dental care involves the use of products that contain activated charcoal. If used regularly, charcoal can be rather abrasive, and could potentially damage tooth enamel or even contribute to increased tooth sensitivity in the long term. Though activated charcoal does have some proven health benefits, there isn’t enough solid scientific evidence to prove dental whitening is among them. Furthermore, charcoal dental products generally don’t contain fluoride, which, as we’ve established, is critical for proper oral care.

If you have any questions or concerns about the dental products you’re using or how to choose the best toothpaste for you, discuss your situation with your Chattanooga Tedford dentist at your next visit. If you need to schedule an appointment, cleaning, or exam, contact our team today!

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