How Often Should I Change My Toothbrush?

The toothbrush has been around for thousands of years, and it’s an integral part of your daily routine. Without it, your oral hygiene will suffer, and you don’t need to be a dentist to know that’s the truth!

As an essential tool, it’s only right that you treat it with respect it deserves. That means changing it regularly to ensure it does an excellent job at keeping your teeth and gums clean.

But, when are you supposed to throw it in the garbage and invest in a new one? How long should you leave it before it’s too late? Continue reading to find out.

The ADA

The American Dental Association recommends changing your toothbrush every three to four months. Any longer and you run the risk of a build-up of bacteria and the brush becoming ineffective.

However, this is a general recommendation and doesn’t apply to every toothbrush.

Manual Versus Electric

Manual and electric brushes have their pros and cons, and you should choose one that suits your needs the best. To help you understand when it’s time to change your toothbrush regardless of the type, here are the signs to look out for with both.

Manual

Firmness: The firmness of the bristles is essential for manual brushes because people often make a common mistake. While hard bristles have their advantages, they can remove the enamel from your teeth if they are tough, leaving your teeth exposed. Therefore, they should be soft with a little give. However, they shouldn’t be soft to the point they are frayed or coming loose.

Head shape: Lots of manual brushes have rectangular heads, but circular ones age better. Why? It’s because the round and diamond-shaped ones can reach the areas that rectangular heads can’t. So, they are more useful for longer.

Electric

Power charge: Both bristle firmness and head shape apply to electric toothbrushes, but the main factor to consider is how effectively it keeps its charge. Electric brushes that regularly cut out negate the point of buying one in the first place. If you need to put it on charge or keep it plugged in, you should opt for a new one.

Other Factors

Illness and disease are two considerations that should always be in the back of your mind. The reason is simple: toothbrushes don’t fight against infections or sickness. So, if you’ve suffered from an ailment recently, there’s a chance it will linger on your brush. The next time you use it, you could feel ill and have to go through the process again.

As well as illness, you might want to change your brush if:

  • If you had a sore throat
  • If you had a mouth sore such as a canker sore

How To Maintain Your Brush For Longer

  • Use a bristle guard: A guard stops bacteria from forming while preventing the bristles from fraying.
  • Rinse it: And do it thoroughly to remove all the excess bacteria from your mouth and the toothpaste.
  • Don’t share it: Sharing a toothbrush might not be too disgusting for partners, but it’s unhygienic.

Please contact us with any other questions regarding your toothbrush.

The Link Between Oral Health and Systemic Diseases

Most people associate poor oral hygiene with dental issues such as cavities, mouth infections, and gum disease. However, poor oral health isn’t only linked to problems with your teeth and gums. Numerous studies have shown that your oral health can have a significant impact on the rest of your body.

What are systemic diseases?

Systemic diseases are illnesses that affect your whole body, as opposed to just one part of your anatomy. A small cavity in your molar is a localized issue, for example, whereas an infection, like gum disease, that enters your bloodstream affects other parts of your body and is systemic.

While any health issue can have far-reaching effects, systemic diseases are particularly concerning. As the entire body is affected by a system illness, a number of complications can arise. In some cases, system diseases can be life-threatening, so it’s important that they are avoided and contained wherever possible.

Why is oral health linked to systemic diseases?

The link between oral health and systemic illnesses has been well-known for quite some time. It’s believed that bacteria in your mouth can make its way to other parts of the body, thus causing a systemic illness to occur.

Although it is natural to have some bacteria in your mouth, an excess amount increases the risk of health problems. As well as causing cavities and dental infections, bacteria in the mouth could cause inflammation and infection in other parts of the body if it migrates from your mouth.

Furthermore, our mouths are regularly exposed to a wide range of bacteria. When you eat, talk and even breath, you’re introducing new bacteria into your system. This enables particularly harmful bacteria to access your delicate system and wreak havoc.

If bacteria aren’t removed swiftly, there is a greater chance of it migrating to other parts of the body. By brushing your teeth, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly, you can remove excess bacteria and minimize the risk of dental and systemic diseases developing.

What illnesses are linked to oral health?

There are a considerable number of system diseases that are already linked to oral health. Endocarditis and cardiovascular disease are two heart-related conditions that are known to be associated with oral health, for example. As both of these conditions can cause life-threatening complications, it’s clear that your oral health plays a major role in your overall well-being.

Furthermore, systemic illnesses can have an impact on your oral health, too. Conditions such as diabetes and osteoporosis can cause bone weakening and reduce the body’s ability to fight infections, for example. If you have been diagnosed with any type of health condition, it’s important to determine how this could affect your oral health and seek guidance from Dr. Kevin F. Postol.

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums can drastically improve your overall health, as well as minimizing the risk of localized dental issues. To find out more about the impact your oral health may be having on your well-being, contact us today.

Diabetes and Oral Health

Diabetes is a condition that affects millions while over 750,000 are diagnosed with the condition each year. Moreover, it is suspected that up to seven million are living with it and aren’t even aware of it. There are three categories of diabetes, which are:

  • Type 1 diabetes: the type that is present from birth and often diagnosed in childhood
  • Type 2 diabetes: the most common type, which is often diagnosed in adulthood
  • Gestational diabetes: the type that affects pregnant women, usually in the last trimester

Whichever type of diabetes is experienced, the inability to produce and use insulin in a normal manner can have serious negative impacts on your health and daily life. Oral health is one of the areas where you could notice those influences.

How diabetes impacts oral health

Diabetes results in increased blood sugar levels, which ultimately creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria in your mouth. This can lead to plaque, tartar, and the consequential conditions that stem from this. Gingivitis, tooth decay, and periodontal disease are likely to develop in diabetes patients. In turn, this can increase the likelihood of problems stemmed from oral health issues, including;

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Respiratory problems

Over 70% of diabetes sufferers are believed to have gum disease, with one in three showing signs of advanced periodontal problems. Therefore, anyone with diabetes should pay extra attention to their oral health at all times. Otherwise, the repercussions can be damaging.

Maintaining oral health in the face of diabetes

The key to keeping your mouth healthy when you have diabetes is to prevent sugar build-up. This means employing a solid daily cleaning ritual in which you complete all of the major steps, including brushing and flossing. Other steps include;

  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Avoiding sugary foods and soda
  • Incorporating mouthwash into your hygiene habits

While a strong daily routine will provide the foundation for success, it’s also necessary to see a dentist on a frequent basis. Regular cleaning and exams will ensure that tartar build-up is identified and removed before it has a chance to develop into gum disease. Making an appointment every six months is essential. In some cases, every 4 months may be recommended.

Take control of your oral health today

If you believe that you may have diabetes, it’s important to get this checked out by a doctor. In the meantime, you can take control of your oral health by booking an appointment with Dr. Kevin F. Postol today!

Health Risks Associated with Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition which is characterized by prolonged episodes of abnormal breathing while you sleep. If you suffer from sleep apnea, you’ll experience interruptions in your normal breathing pattern during sleep, and excessive snoring is often a problem as well. Sleep apnea can be serious and potentially even life-threatening because your body isn’t getting enough oxygen, and it requires careful management. If you think you may have sleep apnea, it’s wise to arrange a consultation with Dr. Kevin F. Postol. The earlier sleep apnea is diagnosed and addressed, the better.

What exactly is sleep apnea and what are the symptoms?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder which obstructs your airflow, causing pauses in your breathing while sleeping, robbing your body’s organs of oxygen. It’s common to feel like you haven’t slept well even if you’ve been in bed for several hours when you have sleep apnea. Additional symptoms include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Labored breathing
  • Prolonged pauses in your breathing (these will usually be noticed by another person)
  • Gasping to get your breath when you sleep
  • Waking to go to the bathroom frequently
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches in the mornings
  • Feeling tired and irritable during the day

There are different types of sleep apnea, and it can affect patients in different ways. In the most severe cases, when breathing ceases for long periods, sleep apnea requires immediate treatment.

Health risks associated with sleep apnea

Sleep apnea can be incredibly dangerous, and in some cases, it can prove fatal. This is because breathing is interrupted during sleep, which can prevent oxygen from traveling around the body normally. For example, when there is a lack of oxygen, the body will support the brain and the heart muscle with oxygen first, stealing it from other parts of the body, such as the bladder, for example. This is why you may feel the need to get up to use the bathroom several times during the night. When there isn’t enough oxygen to go around, the body could shut down.

There are several illnesses, conditions, and symptoms that are linked to sleep apnea. In addition to breathing troubles and an elevated risk of respiratory problems, sleep apnea can also cause memory loss, high blood pressure, an increased risk of cardiac complications, and a weakened immune system. People who suffer from sleep apnea may also be prone to depression, confusion, fatigue and a loss of libido. As sleep apnea can get worse if left untreated, it’s crucial to seek advice as soon as you start to notice symptoms.

What can be done for sleep apnea?

There are various sleep apnea treatment options available, and the type of therapy used will often depend on the severity of symptoms. Dr. Postol often recommends oral appliance therapy as a means of opening up the airway while you sleep. Oral appliances are non-invasive, and they can be hugely beneficial for those with mild or moderate sleep apnea. The appliance is designed to prevent the airway from collapsing while you sleep, and it can provide an alternative to CPAP therapy. In more severe cases, additional options, including using a CPAP machine, may be explored.

If you’re worried about sleep apnea, or you think you or your partner might be suffering from breathing problems during sleep, Dr. Postol can help. If you do have symptoms of sleep apnea, it will be possible to carry out tests and determine the best course of action based on the findings. As sleep apnea has the potential to cause severe symptoms and impact the major organs, it is beneficial to get your symptoms checked out as quickly as possible.

To arrange an appointment with Dr. Postol, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

Why Choose Dr. Postol

When you come to see Dr. Kevin F. Postol, you will have all your questions answered, and leave feeling confident that he has your best interests at heart during every step of the treatment plan that is recommended, and that you and he have discussed together. Dr Postol is a family and cosmetic dentist in Ballwin, MO, and he is able to offer general, cosmetic, restorative, and emergency dentistry services in an office that is designed for your comfort.

About Dr. Kevin F. Postol

For as long as he can remember, Dr. Kevin Postol wanted to be a dentist who cared about his patients above everything else. Inspired by his own childhood dentist, Dr. Postol decided to study the necessary medicine so that he could offer a new type of dentist-patient relationship; one that puts the patient first and treats them like family. Twenty-four years later, Dr. Postol is still doing exactly that. Now married with three children, Dr. Postol is still bringing excellence to the dental community while spending time with his family and hobbies outside of his practice.

Education

As a St Louis native, Dr. Postol achieved a B.S. in Mathematics from Creighton University before deciding to pursue his DDS from the University of Missouri, Kansas City. His general residency was completed at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and it’s also there that he completed his post-graduate hospital training across multiple areas. Before starting his own practice, he worked in several different St. Louis practices to build up his experience and hone his own skills.

Even now, Dr. Postol has committed to expanding his learning. He takes courses and educational classes in new dental technology and developments, techniques, and practices. You would be choosing a dentist who is keen to stay updated with the latest medical practices purely to give you the best possible dental care. Some of the subjects that Dr. Postal continues to develop include:

Dr. Postol is one of six Diplomates in the state of Missouri and was honored to receive his Diplomat status from the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine for sleep apnea treatment. His commitment to continued self-improvement is evident in his techniques and in his office, and in his team.

A Respected Dentist

Dr Postol is a well-respected member of the dental community. He belongs to several associations in the U.S., and he chooses to hold free dental days in the office in Ballwin, including an annual Veteran’s Day event. If you are looking for a dentist who cares about his patients, does what he can to learn more to improve his own knowledge of updated procedures and gives his patients confidence in their dental treatments, then you are going to be in the right place with Dr. Postol. Please call us today to schedule an appointment.

Dr Postol Awarded St Louis Magazine’s Top Dentists 2019

We are thrilled to announce that our very own Dr. Postol has been awarded St. Louis Magazine’s Top Dentist 2019!

St Louis magazine is published monthly in St Louis, Missouri; covering themes such as lifestyle, history, dining and health. The magazine offers its readers info on the best in town; from restaurants to doctors (and of course-dentists)! The list is based on evaluations of the dentists by their own peers, and Dr. Postol has taken the top spot.

We are delighted that Dr. Postol continues to be recognized as a key figure in the community that he loves. Dr. Postol is admired greatly by his team, and it’s not hard to see why. At Kevin F. Postol, DDS, our team creates a warm working atmosphere whereby we work hard and inspire each other day-to-day. It’s great to be a part of a dental practice with such a great community feel as this. Our office manager Robin says that “The best thing about working for Dr. Postol is that he knows his patients personally and makes each patient’s specific needs the priority in their treatment.”

In celebration of this achievement, let’s hear a little more about Dr. Postol’s journey in dentistry! Dr. Postol graduated from St John Vianney High before achieving his B.S. in mathematics from Creighton University. After this, he gained his D.D.S from the University of Missouri Kansas City. The next part of his studies took place at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where he obtained postgraduate hospital training. He worked in several practices around the area of St. Louis before founding his very own practice in Ballwin back in 1995.

If you consult with Dr Postol, he’ll happily tell you that he has always wanted to be a dentist. His dentist as a child told him that being a dentist is not only about the procedures, but about the relationships. Dr. Postol enjoys being able to make a positive difference to his patients’ lives and enjoys having that personal relationship with them all. He values the idea that his patients should be treated by a great professional who treats them like part of the family. This fantastic attitude is also reflected in the great relationships that Dr. Postol has with his team.

It’s not always easy to work in a profession for 24 years and still be loving it, but Dr. Postol is managing just that! Perhaps the key is lifelong learning? Dr. Postol has always pushed his knowledge to new heights by training in a wide variety of different subjects. He has a plethora of knowledge about everything from lasers in dentistry to gum rejuvenation and relaxation in dentistry (for those with fears of the dentist)! Dr. Postol is also famed for his revolutionary sleep apnea treatment!

So a warm congratulations to Dr. Postol for his award of St Louis Magazine’s top dentist. His contribution to dentistry keeps on growing in the community due to his continuous learning, great values and the support of his excellent team and family.

Top 5 Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry

The popularity of cosmetic dentistry has rapidly increased throughout the years. This is due to the numerous benefits that it gives to patients. The procedures are designed to improve the appearance, strength, stability and feel of the teeth. Gaps, stains and more can be targeted through a variety of cosmetic procedures, from porcelain crowns to teeth whitening and dental implants.

Dr. Kevin F. Postol will help to transform your smile into one that you’re happy to show off. If you’re still unsure as to whether cosmetic dentistry is right for you, here are the top 5 benefits of it to help you make your decision:

(1) It will prevent future damage from happening to your teeth

Cosmetic dentistry isn’t just about creating a beautiful smile. It’s also about protecting your teeth from wear, gum disease (as it removes plaque from below the gums) and tooth decay (by repairing cracks and chips). Long-lasting, the appearance and health of your teeth will be altered quickly and safely.

(2)  They are quicker and have a short recovery time

Cosmetic dentistry procedures are fast and efficient. As the field develops, so does the techniques used by Dr. Postol. Many people might also fear that cosmetic dentistry has a long recovery time after the procedure. But no need to worry! One of the top benefits of the procedure is that there is a short recovery time with limited pain whilst you are recovering.

(3) It will make you look younger

Over the years, dental erosion and discoloration tend to become more prevalent in our smiles due to the enamel of teeth getting worn down. This can be due to a poor diet, diseases, medications, etc. At Kevin F. Postol, DDS, we will fix the discoloration and rejuvenate the appearance and feel of your teeth making you feel more confident.

(4) It will make you feel more confident

Following on from the above point, as cosmetic dentistry will improve the look of your smile, you will feel more confident and seem more approachable. This will give you the self-esteem that’s needed to attend job interviews and be more sociable. It’s a great first impression that will help you to rise throughout the job ladder and it will enhance your personal life.

(5) It has numerous health benefits

As well as protecting your teeth from future damage, cosmetic dentistry can help with a number of health issues. For example, if you have misaligned teeth it can result in painful headaches and sore teeth. If you notice this occurring, it’s important to get in contact with our dental practice as soon as possible. It can also help to reduce the stress that you might be feeling if you are conscious of the way that your smile looks.

Why patients should contact Dr. Postol for treatment

Awarded Top Dentist every year since 2008, Dr. Kevin F. Postol has knowledgeable, health-oriented and highly trained staff that will help you to improve your oral hygiene health and achieve a smile that you’re happy with. Using state-of-the-art dental techniques, our caring team are on hand for all of your cosmetic dentistry needs. Want to find out more? Contact us today with any questions or to schedule an appointment.

Regular Teeth Cleaning

You’re taught from an early age to clean your teeth regularly. But what are the consequences of not doing so? And why is cleaning your teeth twice per day so vital to your long-term oral health?

Our mouths are home to billions of tiny microbes that feed on the food that we eat. In our evolutionary past, people used to eat the kinds of foods that were beneficial for oral health, like roots and tubers. There were no toothbrushes for thousands of years, yet people generally had healthy teeth. The reason for this, researchers think, is because of healthy foods select for beneficial mouth bacteria – the kind whose byproducts do not inflame the gumline and lead to gum disease.

The bacteria which thrive on modern, sugary foods, however, are different. Over time, sugar-eating bacteria churn out inflammatory factors that damage the lining of the gums. If someone neglects to clean their teeth for a couple of days, they induce microscopic damage to the gumline as the bacteria begins to penetrate the tight seal between the gum and the tooth. Within a few days of not brushing on a high-sugar diet, the gum becomes visibly red and inflamed and may start to bleed if brushing resumes.

The Dangers Of Gum Disease

Gum disease is harmful. Not only are gum infections painful, but they can lead to tooth loss, tooth decay, and even bone loss. Gingivitis is the initial stage of gum disease where the byproducts of all those sugar-eating bacteria damage the gum to the point where it loses its integrity and begins to bleed. Gingivitis, in turn, can lead to the more severe condition of periodontitis.

Periodontitis occurs when the seal between the gum and the tooth fails, and a gap opens up. Food and plaque bacteria get into this gap and thrive in the moist warm environment. Periodontitis is a serious condition which can result in facial bulging, the breakdown of surrounding bone, and damage to the structure of nearby teeth, including the root canal.

How To Prevent Gum Disease And Tooth Decay

The good news is that you can take steps to prevent gum disease or tooth loss from emerging in the first place.

First, you need to brush your teeth at least twice per day, once in the morning, and once in the evening, with fluoride toothpaste. Manual toothbrushes are okay, but many dental professionals recommend electric toothbrushes, thanks to their superior ability to clear plaque. If you have gaps between your teeth, you may also want to brush once per day with interdental brushes to scrub areas inaccessible to conventional brushes.

The second step is to visit your dentist regularly. If bacteria have managed to penetrate the gumline, then regular brushing will be less effective. A dentist can use special tools to eliminate bacteria below the gum, preventing flareups and possible damage to your teeth.

If you’re a new or existing patient and you want to schedule a checkup or have any questions, contact us today!

Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy

Are you suffering from issues with sleep apnea? It’s quite possible that you are experiencing this condition without even realizing it. Problems here can cause long term issues in your life and discomfort.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes the throat to close in on itself while you are sleeping. This can lead to temporary breaks in your breathing that can last anywhere from a few seconds to a couple minutes. The physical signs of this condition are usually loud snoring. You probably won’t notice this unless the condition is so severe that it causes you to wake up in the middle of the night. However, your partner may have spotted the problems with your breathing.

Sleep apnea can also cause you to get a poor night of sleep leaving you exhausted in the morning. It’s also quite common for patients to experience painful headaches during the first hours after they wake up.

You might be wondering what treatment options are available to you. One possibility that you should consider is the use of oral appliance therapy.

Benefits Of Oral Appliance Therapy

There is a massive level of benefits of using oral appliances to treat your sleep apnea. You might be worried that something that fits in your mouth is going to be uncomfortable. On the contrary, since these slip fully inside the mouth, they do not disrupt your movement in your sleep. You can lie however you want which isn’t always the case with sleep apnea treatment when using a CPAP. Instead, you are usually confined to sleeping on your back. Since the device is small enough to fit inside the mouth it can also be easily and quickly adjusted if it does become uncomfortable.

Another big benefit is that these have been proven to be an effective form of treatment with limited side effects. Some sleep apnea treatments cause issues with dry mouths and noses that feel blocked or even a rash around the mouth. Oral appliance therapy doesn’t involve these issues and as such will not be removed halfway through the night to provide relief. This leads to a higher level of success for all patients.

Furthermore, since these devices are small they can be taken anywhere. Whether you’re heading to a hotel, going on vacation or travelling internationally on a business trip, these can fit in your backpack or your pocket. It also means that you won’t have to spend even a couple of nights without the device you need.

Importance Of Oral Appliance Therapy

Sleep apnea is more serious than most people realize. Those who suffer from this issue are more likely to experience conditions including strokes, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and issues with high blood pressure. Thankfully, with oral appliance therapy, the condition can be treated without surgery or a CPAP. Instead, patients can get the relief they need and ensure that these risks are greatly reduced, simply by using a device that fits into the palm of your hand.

We hope this helps you understand why oral appliance therapy is so useful and beneficial for treating sleep apnea. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

Is Beer Good for Your Teeth?

This may come as a surprise to most of you but beer may actually benefit your oral health. But before you get too excited know that there are, of course, stipulations to this theory. However, it is good to know that when it comes to the effects that beer has on your health, the news is not all bad. Your dentist in Ballwin MO has some surprising information about the benefits beer can have on your teeth.

Benefits Of Beer For Your Teeth

One of the benefits that beer can have is that it dissolves biofilm on your teeth. Biofilm is that slimy coating that you can often feel on your teeth in between brushing. When biofilm accumulates that means that harmful bacteria is being collected on the surface of your teeth. It creates a slimy and mucky environment and if not taken care of is harmful. It can appear yellowish and if not brushed away can lead to periodontal disease or gingivitis.

Beer that is high in hops contains tannins which are antioxidants. This can inhibit the growth of plaque causing bacteria and can even kill it. This helps your teeth to stay clean longer and will even protect gum health.

Beer can also strengthen teeth. Calcium and silicon are elements that protect and reinforce teeth, both of which are found in beer. Of course beer should not be your main source of calcium, but it’s still good to know that it’s helping strengthen your teeth.

While it’s exciting to know that some of the beer you drink has some dental benefits, drinking too much is not wise for not only your dental but overall health. Here are some tips to keeping your teeth healthy and drinking in a safe limit.

  • Drink plenty of water. Even drinking water between sips of beer will help wash away the acid before it can cause harm. It will also help to keep a clear mind.
  • Brush and floss daily. Doing these simple steps after you’ve been drinking is especially important for keeping your teeth healthy.
  • Chew sugar free gum. This helps stimulate the flow of saliva in your mouth. It can help to wash away the alcohol and will give you fresher breath.
  • Drink responsibly. While occasional drinking is enjoyable especially when this time is spent with friends, it’s important to do it responsibly. Be aware of how it’s affecting you and take the steps necessary to stay safe.

One last tip from your Ballwin family dentist: schedule regular dental cleanings! This is so important. Don’t put it it off or miss it. This is a no brainer when it comes to keeping your teeth healthy. Dr. Postol is one of the best dentists in Ballwin. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!