Westminster, MD Dentist
Gallagher & Eden Family Dentistry
715 Baltimore Blvd.
Westminster, MD 21157
(410) 848-3866
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Posts for: February, 2017

By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
February 23, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
WithProperCareyoucanLowerYourRiskofToothLossasYouAge

While your chances of losing teeth increase as you age, it's not a given. With proper hygiene and care your teeth could last a lifetime.

But brushing and flossing can become more difficult in later years. Arthritis or strength issues in the fingers and hands make holding a toothbrush an arduous chore and flossing next to impossible.

But you can accommodate these physical changes. Many seniors find using a powered toothbrush much easier to handle and effective for removing disease-causing plaque. A tennis ball or bike handle grip attached to a manual toothbrush can also make it easier to handle. As to flossing, older people may find it easier to use floss threaders or a water irrigator, which removes plaque from between teeth with a pressurized water spray.

You may also find changes in the mouth that increase your risk for dental disease. One such issue is xerostomia, dry mouth. As you age you don't produce as much saliva, which neutralizes acid and restores minerals to enamel, as when you were younger. Dry mouth can also be a side effect of certain medications. Older people are also more likely to suffer from gastric reflux, which can introduce stomach acid into the mouth.

With these dry, acidic conditions, you're more susceptible to both tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. You can help offset it by increasing water consumption, taking a saliva stimulator, changing to alternative medications if available, and relieving gastric reflux.

Another area of concern in aging is the higher risk for inflammatory diseases like diabetes or cardiovascular diseases (CVD), which could also increase your risk of periodontal (gum) disease. Seeking treatment for gum disease and other similar systemic diseases may help ease the effects of each one.

Taking care of your mouth can be challenging as you grow older. But tooth loss and other unpleasant results aren't inevitable. Invest in your teeth and gums today and you're more likely to have a healthy life and smile all through your golden years.

If you would like more information on caring for your teeth and gums as you age, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Aging & Dental Health.”


By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
February 08, 2017
Category: Oral Health
AnyTimeAnyPlaceCamNewtonsGuidetoFlossing

When is the best time to floss your teeth: Morning? Bedtime? How about: whenever and wherever the moment feels right?

For Cam Newton, award-winning NFL quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, the answer is clearly the latter. During the third quarter of the 2016 season-opener between his team and the Denver Broncos, TV cameras focused on Newton as he sat on the bench. The 2015 MVP was clearly seen stretching a string of dental floss between his index fingers and taking care of some dental hygiene business… and thereby creating a minor storm on the internet.

Inappropriate? We don't think so. As dentists, we're always happy when someone comes along to remind people how important it is to floss. And when that person has a million-dollar smile like Cam Newton's — so much the better.

Of course, there has been a lot of discussion lately about flossing. News outlets have gleefully reported that there's a lack of hard evidence at present to show that flossing is effective. But we would like to point out that, as the saying goes, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” There are a number of reasons why health care organizations like the American Dental Association (ADA) still firmly recommend daily flossing. Here are a few:

  • It's well established that when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth, tooth decay and gum disease are bound to follow.
  • A tooth brush does a good job of cleaning most tooth surfaces, but it can't reach into spaces between teeth.
  • Cleaning between teeth (interdental cleaning) has been shown to remove plaque and food debris from these hard-to-reach spaces.
  • Dental floss isn't the only method for interdental cleaning… but it is recognized by dentists as the best way, and is an excellent method for doing this at home — or anywhere else!

Whether you use dental floss or another type of interdental cleaner is up to you. But the ADA stands by its recommendations for maintaining good oral health: Brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste; visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups; and clean between teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner like floss. It doesn't matter if you do it in your own home, or on the sidelines of an NFL game… as long as you do it!

If you would like more information about flossing and oral hygiene, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.


By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
February 07, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

You may think caring for your smile is second nature, but perhaps you could be missing a crucial piece of the puzzle.oral hygiene

According to American Dental Association, only seven out of 10 Americans brush their teeth twice a day, which means that more than 30 percent aren’t giving their teeth and gums the proper cleaning that they need on a regular basis. This is rather startling, particularly because oral care is so simple. If you are feeling as if your smile has been a bit neglected then our Westminster, MD, dentist, Dr. Patrick Gallagher, is here to step in and ensure that you are doing whatever you can to keep your smile its healthiest with these simple rules.

Brush At Least Twice a Day

Brushing should be an obvious behavior by now but the statistics above lead us to believe that a lot of you aren’t brushing as often as you should be. Brushing twice a day, in the morning and again in the evening before bed, will ensure that you keep your teeth healthy and free of plaque buildup. Of course, those who are at a greater risk for decay, as well as those with braces, should brush their teeth after every meal.

Every time you brush your teeth you should do it for about 2-3 minutes each time. Focus on getting every surface of your teeth. And check your toothbrush often and inspect the bristles. Are they starting to fray? If so, it’s time to replace them. It’s typical to replace your toothbrush head every 3-4 months, or immediately after illness.

Don’t Forget to Floss

Flossing is another major component to your oral hygiene and one that often gets overlooked. Of course, flossing is the only true way to efficiently clean between teeth to remove plaque and food particles. Even your toothbrush won’t be able to reach these inner surfaces. But flossing will prevent decay from forming between teeth. Flossing once a day is all you need (preferably right before going to bed). If you start to notice bleeding gums when you floss or brush then it’s time to schedule an appointment with our Westminster general dentist.

Visit Your Dentist

People often forget about the importance of these biannual checkups. Even if your smile feels great it doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t issues. Decay and gum disease can be silent problems, and sometimes the only time we are able to catch them is during your routine visit. This is why coming in every six months for cleanings and exams are crucial. Not to mention it’s a great way to remove surface stains and get teeth clean.

Eat for Your Smile

What you eat also impacts your oral health. This might not seem all that difficult to believe since what you eat affects your general health, so why not your teeth too? Avoiding sugar and processed foods will help reduce plaque buildup and reduce you chances of developing cavities. Opt for healthy options like fruits and veggies, lean sources of protein, dairy products and whole grains. Your body and your smile will thank you.

Do you have questions about caring for your smile? Do you need to schedule your routine exam? Then it’s time you turned to the dental specialists at Gallagher & Eden in Westminster, MD, to give you that healthy, clean smile.