The Most Common Dental Questions We Get Asked, Explained

As one of the best know family dental practices on the NorthShore we have had our fair share of questions. Today our team decided to compile a list of our most common questions that we get asked by our patients with the answers along with them. Here is our list of common dental questions we get asked and the answers to each.


What toothpaste should I use?

What Toothpaste should I use is one of the most popular questions we get asked when someone comes to visit our office. Like many dental questions, this question depends on the person. Many factors come into play including age, tooth sensitivity if you smoke, and many other factors. However, a great rule of thumb is looking for a brand that has at least 1,000 fluoride parts per million (PPM). You should also look for a product with the ADA Seal. This means that the product has received independent review and validation of its product claims. You can view the seal below:

What is plaque and why is it harmful? 

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. Bacteria in plaque produce acids after you eat or drink. These acids can destroy tooth enamel and cause cavities and gingivitis (gum disease).

Plaque can also develop under the gums on tooth roots and break down the bones that support teeth. Untreated plaque can harden into tough-to-remove tartar. Proper oral hygiene, including daily brushing and flossing, gets rid of plaque leaving you at a lower risk for cavities.

How often should I floss?

Top dentists recommend that an average adult should floss at least once a day. This is an extremely important part of any person’s dental hygiene and also happens to be the least followed. a survey done by the dentists’ association found that only 4 in 10 Americans floss every day; 20 percent never do. For more information on flossing check out one of our previous blogs here.

Are electric toothbrushes better than manual brushes? 

According to recent studies Electric toothbrushes clean teeth and gums much better than a manual toothbrushes. Top dental scientists found that people who use an electric toothbrush have healthier gums, less tooth decay, and also keep their teeth for longer, compared with those who use a manual toothbrush. When looking for an electric toothbrush make sure to always look for the ADA seal, and look for sonic-based products.

What causes bad breath? 

Bad breath is caused by odor-producing bacteria that grow in the mouth. When you don’t brush and floss regularly, bacteria accumulate on the bits of food left in your mouth and between your teeth. The sulfur compounds released by these bacteria make your breath smell. Bad breath can also be caused by the lack of moisture in your mouth.

It’s been a long time since I’ve visited the dentist. What do I need to do? 

Fantastic question. Our staff loves helping people who haven’t been to the dentist in a while. What we ask is that our patients make sure to brush and floss before coming to our practice. We will then need to do a full work-through of your dental records and get new X-rays to see how your teeth are doing. Once checking to see that there are no major issues we will get you the cleaning you deserve and get you out there to show off your bright smile. To Schedule your appointment today click the link below:


How many times a year should I have my teeth cleaned? 

Woodland Family Dental recommends that our patients get their teeth cleaned at least once every 6 months. For those who smoke, drink coffee, or do other damaging things to your teeth you may need to come in more often to ensure healthy teeth.


When will my child get their first tooth? 

The average baby’s first tooth usually appears around 6 months of age but can take up to a year. Most children have all their baby teeth by age 3.

When should I take my child to the dentist for their first check-up? 

Our dental team recommends that you bring your child for their first dental visit by 12 months of age, or within 6 months of the first tooth coming in. The first visit often lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Depending on your child’s age, the visit may include a full exam of the teeth, jaws, bite, gums, and oral tissues to check growth and development.

My child’s baby teeth have cavities. Should they be filled? 

The short answer is always yes. Even though the baby teeth will eventually fall out, they are still an important part of the health and overall care of your child. To avoid any problems moving forward, we would need to fill a cavity as soon as it is found.

My dentist says I have a cavity and that I need a filling. But why doesn’t my tooth hurt? 

If you are experiencing a cavity that is not painful, it would mean that the cavity is shallow and has not extended below the enamel layer. You do not want a cavity to extend below the enamel. Under your enamel is another hard layer, though softer than enamel, this hard layer is called dentin. Getting a cavity fixed before it gets deeper is great for your mouth and can prevent a lot of pain in the future. This is one of the big reasons why getting a check-up every 6 months is so important.


How Can I Improve the Whiteness of My Teeth?

A beautiful smile with clean, white teeth is a huge confidence booster. Most people experience some discoloration of teeth over the years, either from surface stains or internal ones. Treat stains caused by coffee, wine, tobacco, and pigmented foods with at-home whitening or have professional, in-office whitening done regularly. For internal discoloration, consider composite bonding or the application of veneers to the affected teeth, which provides a more permanent solution.


What if a tooth gets knocked out in an accident? 

If an accident or injury occurs and a tooth gets knocked out, you’ll need to act quickly and get to the nearest dentist immediately. A knocked-out tooth is an emergency situation. If you don’t get help soon, it will be impossible to save the tooth, and the socket can become badly infected. By taking quick action, you can save both the tooth and the socket.

Here’s what you need to do if your child loses a tooth:

  1. Find the missing tooth
  2. Pick it up by the crown, not the fleshy root. If the root looks dirty, give it a soft quick rinse with a sterile saline solution, milk, or saliva. Don’t scrub it or touch it — you could wind up losing vital tissue.
  3. Have your child open their mouth
  4. Put the tooth back in its socket. Then hold it in place with gauze or a clean washcloth until you get to a dentist.
  5. If the tooth won’t go back in place, put it in a glass of milk or sterile saline solution. Don’t put it in water. (Water doesn’t preserve the tooth as well, which can make it more difficult to reimplant.) You can also carry the tooth tucked between your gum and cheek until you get to the hospital or dentist’s office.
  6. Get to a dentist immediately. (And don’t forget to bring the tooth!)
  7. If a dentist isn’t available, go to a hospital emergency room.
What are my options for replacing a missing tooth? 

When someone is missing a tooth there are really three options.

  • 1) leave the gap
  • 2) get a denture
  • 3) Get a dental implant

For more information on dental implants vs dentures check out this blog:

Who is Woodland Family Dental?

Woodland Family Dental is one of Duluth, Minnesota’s top family dental offices. with over 50 five-star reviews on Google and Facebook, our team makes it our mission to provide the best dentistry for anyone that needs it. Our experienced team of dentists offers a wide array of dental services including general cleaningscosmetic dentistry, and dental implants. Woodland Family Dental is here to help you with your dental needs. Not to mention our great location on Miller Trunk Highway right next to the mall in Duluth, Minnesota. Woodland Family Dental cares about helping our patients and accepts almost all insurances. Set up an appointment today and see why so many families love us. Also, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date, get more tips, and learn about what our team is up to.

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