Home remedies to completely remove tartar & other mythical creatures!

So I recently read an article on goodstuffbuzz.com about home remedies that claim to completely remove tartar. I could not contain my LOL’ing or WTF’s during reading this article…let me explain why!

First, let me tell you about that pesky thing called tartar aka calculus aka yuckiness. Tartar or calculus is a hard calcified deposit that forms on the teeth and contributes to their decay as well as the breakdown of soft tissue and bone. IMG_0038Even with perfect home care, everyone has bacteria in their mouths. This bacteria mixes with proteins and food byproducts  to form a sticky layer on the teeth called plaque. Plaque carries bacteria that can damage the teeth and gums. If not removed the bacteria continues to attach to plaque and will calcify into tartar or calculus. Once this calcification occurs ladies and gentleman, you CANNOT remove it by simply brushing or flossing or using these magic methods that the above article claims. To remove these hardened deposits you would visit a friendly hygienist, such as myself, and we will remove it for you (you’re welcome)! This requires ‘scrapping’ as those deposits can be stubborn, but it will make the teeth and gum tissue healthier and prevent any further (if any) bone loss from occurring. So it is so important to get professional dental cleanings!!

Ok, so here is a breakdown of some points in the article- I will be using the exact same pictures/pictures of wording that they used:


This picture shows no tartar on the teeth…this mint oil and lemon concoction may (notice how I say MAY) help with whitening, but will not remove tartar. Also, lemon is NOT great for your teeth…Please do not dip your toothbrush into lemon juice and rub it onto your teeth, as it is very acidic. Acidity causes tooth enamel to wear away, which can result in sensitivity and discoloration. Anything acidic should be done in moderation or avoided all together!

IMG_0029Coconut oil pulling has been a trend now for awhile, for detoxification and as a natural whitener (results can vary). It will not breakdown or remove calcified tartar! As for those dark brown spots in the picture…those appear to be cavities folks…removing the decay and replacing with a filling is the only fix for that!

Oranges are also high in the acidity. So again, not great for the teeth and anything acidic should be done in moderation and not intentionally rubbed onto the teeth!

This just sounds like a pain in the butt! Sounds like using a toothbrush and toothpaste may be easier don’t cha think!? Plus, these little seeds will then get caught in between the teeth causing you to have to floss…so on the other hand maybe do this!

IMG_0030This whole article stated “According to Tapoos”. Tapoos is an entertainment site…this is what their ‘About Us’ page states: “If you like your online entertainment to be a heady cocktail of viral content, crazy listicles, fun quizzes, trending videos and the latest celebrity gossip you’ve come to the right place! Add into the mix reviews of the latest movies, tales of strength and inspiration and real life stories that will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions and you can see why Tapoos is fast becoming a leading go to site for discerning web users.” Dear Tapoos…stick to the entertainment reporting and leave dental/medical advice to the professionals please. The quote about tartar is also FALSE…my friends that is what plaque is. Plaque is bacteria that gathers around the lines of our gums (as well on the rest of the surfaces of the teeth). It’s at the bottom of our teeth (all surfaces again). It’s dangerous and unhygienic – it also eventually leads to gum disease which can cause a lot of other serious problems (1 point Tapoos, only 1…actually I take that back because you thought you were talking about tartar!).

Again, plaque can be removed by brushing and flossing as well as using antibacterial mouth washes. The rinses that the article mentions could also aid in plaque removal, but will NOT remove the plaque once it has calcified into tartar. This article clearly had their definitions of plaque and tartar confused.

  • DO brush, floss and use  mouth wash to help remove plaque and to keep your mouth as healthy as possible at home.
  • DO get a professional cleaning and exam regularly.
  • DO NOT count on any magical concoction to remove tartar or calculus that has developed on your teeth!


Happy Brushing!


Pets have Teeth Too!

I have a crazy two year old fur baby…his name is Bear (pictures above) and he’s an adorable golden retriever. I got a toothbrush in there as early as possible to get him used to it and used to me looking in his mouth!


You can use a regular toothbrush or one of these handy finger brushes:





Bear likes to chew on the brush, but I am able to move it back and forth against the teeth as he is doing so. Now if you aren’t able to get a toothbrush in your furry pets mouth, don’t worry! Although brushing is the best way, there are other ways to help remove that plaque from their teeth such as dental chews, bones and toys.


Just like us, our animals may need some professional help to remove any buildup that has formed on their teeth. They do not need this professional cleaning as often as humans do (p.s. you should be going a minimum of every 6 months people!), but they should have one done once, twice or as much as needed throughout their lifetime! (The vet will advise this if needed.) Why you ask? Well here are some facts:
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There are some Dos and Don’ts for pet dental care however:

dentalchart                     57d553db123e1ec5773de3f2f1748d32

If you do not take care of those precious teeth it can result in periodontal disease, loss of teeth, dental infections and larger systemic issues, just as can occur in humans!


Ouch! That’s no way for our loving animals to live!







BUT Look what a good cleaning can do…


Bottom line: Brush those teeth at home the best that you can, offer toys and treats that will aid in the removal of plaque and take the recommendation of your veterinarian seriously when they advise a professional cleaning, because it can prolong the life of our fur babies!


Just like a real bear…My Bear has the same amount of teeth!

(less fierce, more cuddly!)

Saying Goodbye Really Sucks…

Hi all, Hope everyone had a great weekend! It was such a weird weekend here…sleet and snow on Saturday and sunshine and almost 60 degrees today! I saw people bundled up in winter coats, hats and gloves yesterday and then in shorts and t-shirts today…hey, that’s New England for ya & I wouldn’t have it any other way!


Anywho…this past week I had to say goodbye to some amazing co-workers at a hygiene job I had since May. The office that I am at for the majority of the week offered me an additional day, so I decided to stop at my other office in which I had been working one day a week. The hard part was that I enjoyed the job, the hours were a little tough and it was a further drive for me, but everyone had been so super nice and supportive!

Since this was a good ‘parting of ways’ I decided to get some little goodies for my last day! To Pinterest I went! I found a cute idea with lollipops and a sign that read “Goodbyes really suck…” PERFECT! Well, seeing as it is a dentist office I could NOT get sugar lollipops so I went to Amazon and searched for sugar-free! In the search I saw some that were teeth shaped…done!

Here they are with the sign that I made:


Since I had purchased these pops based on the simple reason that they were sugar free and tooth shaped (which was just too adorable), I hadn’t realized just how good they are for you too! Not only are they sugar free, but they are also kosher, gluten free, dairy free, nut free, non-GMO, soy free, have no trans fat, and have no artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors. My next thought… they’re going to suck! (pun intended). To my surprise they were really good!


And to make it even better they are made by a husband and wife who are a dentist and dental hygienist!

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Not only do they make these tooth shaped lollipops, but they also make oval and tooth shaped lollipops in many flavors,  hard candies in many flavors, gourmet chocolates, caramels and taffy, gums and mints! (YUM YUM YUM).

All of their products are sugar free! They use xylitol as the sweetener, which is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol. Xylitol is noncariogenic (does not cause cavities) and studies have shown that it can actually decrease bacterial levels in plaque and saliva as well as reduce cavities. As a dentist and dental hygienist this is an important factor!!

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This was absolutely a great find that I stumbled upon and I will definitely be tasting some of their other products soon!

Check out Dr. John’s website to taste these delicious treats for yourself or find them on Amazon! Your taste buds and teeth will thank you!


Have a great week!



Snow Day

Hi All! It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten a chance to blog…there’s been A LOT going on over here lately (more to come later). Tuesdays are currently my day off, but today in Mass we are having a snowmaggedon making it a SNOW DAY!!! In honor of snow storm Stella, here are some fun dental inspired snow sculptures!

If planning to go play in the snow is on you agenda for today maybe make a dental related tooth sculpture instead of those traditional snow men and women!


Sunday Funday

Yay for Sunday Funday, also known as Football Sunday during the Fall/Winter months in our house! What has my Sunday looked like this far, you ask? (ok, no one asked, but I’m going to tell you anyway). I got up early with Bear (our crazy 1.5 yr old golden retriever) and we went for our morning walk around the block. I then made some yummy tea and watched some ‘Duck Dynasty’ on demand…that’s right, I love that show! Zach (hubby) got up, I made him coffee & he made me breakfast (good trade-off, right!). We proceeded to have a lazy day by plopping ourselves on our futon, watching some of ‘The Cable Guy’ (blah), Zach took Mr. Bear for a walk to the park, we caught up on ‘Timeless’ (so good!) and now we are watching ‘Pacific Rim’ (& blogging…me, not Zach) until Football comes on! We are really gearing up for the PATRIOTS game later on…sorry not sorry (that’s the line…right!?). We both had busy days yesterday (I made bread from scratch…that’s right…I got my Sara Lee on!) so this lazy day is much needed!

Well any who, since it’s Sunday Funday, I thought I’d keep it light and share some of my favorite dental humor pictures:

Basic Math:39b90dbbe683d1a2b4dba8f9fd2648c2

Wisdom Teeth: not always that wise…6d6a502fab2bd5d8f890e5dbf4388adf

This just makes me chuckle:images

Love this song…love when my patients floss more!images-1


Here’s to hoping that Monday morning will be like the 1st picture and not the 2nd!


Hope you all have a great Sunday Funday/Football Sunday! If your teams are in either playoff game today…good luck! If not….next year!

The ‘PERFECT’ Smile

The ‘PERFECT’ smile…the one many people want. We view it as a beautifully white one with straight teeth. People get braces and buy whitening products to try to achieve this look (myself included)! Yes, the picture above is of an absolutely BEAUTIFUL smile and I’m guessing this person has had braces (if not…then what the heck!), uses whitening products, restrains from drinking coffee or red wine to obtain the whiteness (if not…again, what the heck!), and wears this red lipstick to make those pearly whites appear that much whiter (yes, red lipstick does that)!

Braces are recommended in many cases because they help to fix  issues such as crooked, overlapping, overcrowded teeth or malocclusion (a difference in size of the upper jaw and lower jaw). Having straight teeth not only improves the aesthetics of ones smile, but can make it easier to chew as well as easier to keep the teeth clean! Not everyone can afford to get braces and for minor issues, not everyone chooses to. In my line of work, I clean not only plaque and calculus (crystallized plaque) from the teeth, but also remove stain to give my patients their cleanest smile. I offer options such as orthodontic referrals and whitening procedures. These are options that many people seek, but if someone does not want them, that’s fine! Some people want that ‘perfect’ smile and others are simply happy in the beauty of their ‘imperfect’ smile. I’ve had patients who have had the slightest rotated tooth (and I mean slightest) ask if a orthodontist can fix it, as well as patients who hadn’t had their teeth cleaned in 10+ years and came in because they really wanted advice in achieving whiter teeth.  I have also seen a patient who did not like the space (called a diastema) between her top two central teeth (the central incisors, #8 and #9 to be exact). She was debating whether she wanted to have composite (white) material put on the teeth to close the space. The dentist used a white wax (as the patient was so hesitant) to show her what the teeth would look like. In the end the patient decided not to get the fillings as she said without the space it just didn’t look like her!

We see many Hollywood stars with these beautiful, dazzling white smiles and we think our teeth need to look like that! Here are some celebrities that are known for their beauty and guess what…they do not have ‘perfect’ teeth!

Julia Roberts: they are not toilet bowl white and look she has amalgam (silver) fillings!

Georgia May Jagger, Anna Paquin & Jessica Pare: they make those diastema’s look good!

Jewel, Keira Knightley & Kristen Dunstcrooked and uneven teeth and still gorgeous!

Channing Tatum & Tom Cruise: I’m guessing you didn’t notice Channing’s teeth while staring at his six-pack in Magic Mike! These leading men have it going on, uneven teeth and all!


I fully think that imperfection can be just as beautiful! I love when someone has something about their smile that isn’t conventionally viewed as perfect, but to them it is! They are comfortable to smile from ear to ear, and laugh…they are comfortable in their own skin and THAT my friends is beautiful!

With that said…if you do not LOVE your imperfect smile, ask me or your hygienist what you can do because a happy smile is the most beautiful/confident/sexy thing you can wear!

Activated charcoal tooth whitening?

I guess the newest tooth whitening trend is by using activated charcoal. I was asked about this method recently and wasn’t sure what to advise since it was my first time hearing about this. I immediately started doing some research…

First, I went onto Amazon and ordered some Activated Charcoal. I went with the brand VivaDoria- Healthy Living. It is a virgin carbon, hardwood derived, grounded charcoal that is 100% natural and vegan. The back label of this product reads: “Activated Charcoal is a fine black odorless and tasteless powder made from hardwood that have been exposed to very high temperatures in an airless environment. It is pure carbon specially processed to make it highly adsorbent of particles and gases in the body’s digestive system.” — ok, ok….all natural, great! The Directions are as followed: “Mix 1/2 teaspoon of activated charcoal powder with a glass of water and drink it to detoxify your body from toxic substances. For best results, take it once a day.” –The company clearly hadn’t planned for a tooth whitening movement!

Since I did not want to drink this powder to detoxify my system, I googled the tooth whitening procedure, which told me to:

  • Wet your toothbrush well.
  • Place toothbrush on top of a napkin, piece of toilet paper, or paper towel.
  • Gently twist open you activated charcoal capsule (or container).
  • Carefully empty activated charcoal powder onto toothbrush.
  • Gently brush for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Rinse well with water.
  • Recommend doing once daily, 3 days in a row. For more deeply stained teeth, brush 5 days in a row. Then don’t do again for a few months.

I tried this process….wet the toothbrush-check; placed toothbrush on a napkin-check; gently twisted open my container of powder-check; carefully emptied powder onto toothbrush-wowzers, powder everywhere (I used a spoon the 2nd and 3rd day); gently brushed for 3-5 minutes-paused to take in how crazy my mouth looked; rinsed well with water-rinsed really really well and then rinsed again!

I then looked in the mirror and only saw the slightest difference. I also had charcoal underneath my gums in many areas, so I went through with floss and brushed again with my regular toothpaste. The activated charcoal did have a slight unpleasant taste and was gritty on my teeth. After removing the remaining charcoal my gums were sensitive to brushing and red/tender. But for research sake, I gave it a go and repeated the steps for the 2nd and 3rd day! Here are the results:

You can see the difference as it evened out the color of my teeth and removed the regular ‘blotches’ I have, but any method of bleaching does this! The 2nd picture is pointing to the area of my gums that got really irritated in the process and shows the remaining charcoal particles between my teeth and underneath the gums before I flossed and brushed again with regular toothpaste.

Here are my final thoughts about this way to whiten teeth:

The grittiness of this method makes me nervous as it is abrasive to the enamel. Enamel does not grow back, so if you are continuing to use something abrasive on it, it will wear away which can make teeth very sensitive as well as susceptible to cavities and other issues! The American Dental Association (ADA) monitors different dental products and verifies there safety. This method of tooth whitening is not ADA approved for the very points that I have mentioned. The activated charcoal method uses abrasion to remove surface staining on the enamel whereas approved whitening products actually seep through the enamel into the dentin, which is the inner layer of the tooth. Dentin is what influences the color of the teeth so by whitening the dentin, the enamel appears whiter.

I recommend sticking to an ADA approved whitening method to ensure that you are getting that beautiful white smile safely and leaving the activated charcoal to detoxify your body!

My journey to dental hygiene…

So, I was that weird girl who would watch marathons of this show called “A Baby Story” that was on TLC. I LOVED it and so I hatched this plan to become a nurse and then eventually continue on to become a midwife. As I grew up the whole midwife plan dimmed, but I still thought nursing was for me! It took me my first semester of college in the nursing program to realize…”nope, not for me”. Now mind you, this was while I was only in my prerequisite classes and if 18 year old me had just stuck in there, it very well may have been! However, this was not the case and that freedom of being away from home (as well as the freedom to go out and drink…oh college) sent me down a different path! During the rest of my time at this particular college I was a psychology major as well as an early childhood education major before I decided to come on home and try something else! What next….well, I got the brilliant idea to take marketing and management classes at the local community college…that didn’t seem right either. (Making the decision of what you want to do with the rest of your life at that age is hard…am I right!?).

Dental came into my life because my brother was attending a technical school and I came across a pamphlet showing a 9 month dental assisting program…sure! While I was in this program, I knew that dental was for me. I worked for a few years as a dental assistant and then decided I wanted to keep on going. I started taking the prerequisites for dental hygiene at night after my full time job until I made it into the program! The program was going great (ok, ok, not great…it was stressful, oh so very stressful…but in the grand scheme of things, great!). It was my last semester and I was doing well in my classes, but had cancellation after cancellation after no show during my clinical time. Now in clinic, you need a certain amount of patients done with a certain amount of different requirements done as well to pass. This was not the case for me. I was told that I had enough to earn an incomplete, which meant that I luckily did not have to do the whole semester over (which would be ALL of the patient number needed and ALL of those requirements along the way…yuck!). Not the ideal situation, as I wanted to be skipping out of the halls and starting my journey, but ok, I can go back for a month to finish those leftover requirements! I was even allowed to walk at the graduation with my class…so yay! My advisor, who was often tough on me, knowing that the hand skills hadn’t come as naturally to me as some of my other classmates, gave me the goat card you see above at our pinning (I LOL’ed so hard when I read this card!)

I had a relaxing summer, my last one before entering the real world again at peace with the situation and I returned in the Fall. I finished those remaining requirements before my deadline and felt oh so relieved! I then received a message to come in to school to discuss something….that’s never good! I was told that with those requirements added in I failed and that I never should have been allowed to come back for the incomplete, but should have been advised that I needed to do the whole spring clinical semester over. Ummmmm…no! (The people who I had seen in the Fall semester as well as those requirements associated all got calculated into my average as 0’s therefore bringing the average down…This my friends, is not an incomplete system!). My amazing fiance (hubby now!) and I put lots of research together, gathered all the emails of my ‘incomplete’ status and the advisement’s given to me and we set out to fight this thing! Luckily the dean of health sciences and the new head of the dental hygiene program (not the one who gave me the horrible advisement/passed me off) agreed with me.

During the time taken to rectify this, I missed the testing date for the clinical exam and the next one was 5 months away.  I slowly took my other 3 exams in the meantime and finished with the clinical exam. Seeing the word “Pass” on those 4 exams and going and picking up my college degree was unbelievably bittersweet. I knew there would be no more phone calls to ‘come in to discuss something’, no more tears over how I just wanted to be done with school and no more cloudy future. This was it, I was ready to send in my licensing information and finally BEGIN as a dental hygienist! The goat finally made it up the mountain!