Dental Health = Better School Performance

Dental Health Better School-Performance lincoln ne

Back to School Tips from Our Lincoln Dentist for Children

Your child may have the latest, coolest wardrobe, tons of fancy new school supplies, and sports equipment for the upcoming school year, but do they have a healthy mouth and all the skills and tools they will need to maintain it? Our Lincoln Dentist for Children, Dr. Kelly O’Hara, shares her ideas on preparing kids for school and assuring that dental problems will not interfere with school performance.

Our Lincoln Dentist for Children says: “According to the American Dental Association, an examination for oral health performed by a dentist is just as important as the immunizations and booster shots children need. A dental exam and cleaning should be incorporated into the checklist parents make to prepare for the upcoming school year. Tooth decay affects U.S. children more than any other chronic infectious disease as noted by statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 20 percent of children ages 2 to 19 years old have some form of untreated tooth decay. Dental pain and or disease can lead to difficulty in many tasks including eating, speaking, playing, and learning as well as countless hours of missed school.”

back to school checklist Lincoln NE

Best tips from Lincoln Dentist for Children for the back-to-school checklist :

# Regular, routine dental examinations to diagnose, treat, or prevent any dental problems. Catching dental problems early on can save your child from pain and missed school and in turn, save parents money. Often, parents and teachers may not realize there’s a dental problem, so regular checkups are very critical. Your Lincoln Dentist for Children may suggest things such as fluoride treatments or sealants that can help prevent decay. Routine brushing with fluoride toothpaste along with flossing can help to prevent further decay.

Read more about bad breath in kids

# Make life easy and while you are out shopping for school, be sure to head for the dental care aisle either before or after getting those awesome new notebooks, binders, and pencils. If parents buy several toothbrushes at a time, it’s much easier and more convenient to have their child change to a new toothbrush every three months or so, or after being ill. If remembering when to change toothbrushes becomes a daunting task, replace it every time your child’s report card comes out. Your Lincoln Dentist for Children can also give you recommendations on timelines for changing your child’s toothbrush.

# Pack healthy lunches and snacks. Include portable, healthy lunch items and snacks in your child’s sack lunch including grains, milk, cheese, raw vegetables, yogurt, or fruit. If your child eats in the school cafeteria, review healthy, balanced food choices with your child before the first day of school. Cut back on sugary foods and soft drinks.

Read more about the importance of healthy lunches

# Wearing a properly fitted mouth guard while participating in organized sports, PE classes or playground activities.

We make custom made and affordable mouth guards at any of the Nebraska Family Dentistry locations. The price for a well fitted, custom mouth guard is only $70.

We often get questions from parents about snoring, bad breath or needing mouth guards and below you can find common questions and answers.

Lincoln Dentist for Children scenario of child brushing teeth with family

How old does my child need to be to brush independently?
Lincoln dentist for children answers…

Generally, small children under the age of 9 years old have limited dexterity and sensory capabilities to do a thorough job of brushing and flossing their own teeth. At this age, it is important for parents to help them brush on a daily basis. For children ages 6 months – 5 years old, parents should brush twice a day for them, as well as floss teeth that are touching at least 3-5 times a week. Often young children are not cooperative for brushing and flossing. We want to encourage parents that restraining children during brushing and flossing is sometimes necessary to thoroughly clean the teeth and prevent cavities. If a routine is followed, eventually the child will cooperate. At age 6-9 years old, children can brush independently in the mornings and parents can brush and floss for them in the evenings. Teaching children to follow a consistent brushing and flossing routine will help them maintain healthy habits as adults and ultimately help them avoid having to receive a lot of costly dental work in the future.

Lincoln Dentist for Children scenario of baby with baby teeth

Are baby teeth really important?
Lincoln dentist for children answers…

Keeping baby teeth healthy is important for proper growth and development. If children suffer from extreme tooth decay and begin losing baby teeth too early, it can affect their ability to chew healthy foods and develop the muscles and structures of the jaw and face normally. Losing teeth too early can lead to crowding and orthodontic complications. Children who lose baby molars too early often struggle with maintaining good oral health throughout their lives due to orthodontic problems.

Lincoln Dentist for Children scenario of child with bad breath

What to do if your kid has a bad breath?
Lincoln dentist for children answers…

Bad breath in children is not typical, but if you have noticed that your child has bad breath, there are a variety of potential causes. Many children suffer from allergies and have a tendency to breathe through their mouths due to nasal congestion. This creates more opportunity for plaque and tartar to adhere to the teeth and results in a higher concentration of bacteria that can cause a bad odor. If a child has untreated tooth decay, gingivitis or tonsillitis, they may suffer from bad breath. It is a good idea to have regular dental exams to rule out dental problems that may be contributing to bad breath. If there are no dental problems, your child may benefit from a physical with their pediatrician to address any systemic causes.

Lincoln Dentist for Children scenario of kids doing sports

Which sports should use mouth guards?
Lincoln dentist for children answers

Trauma to the teeth is one of the main causes of dental emergencies for pediatric patients. In general, kids are more likely to take a fall from bikes or climbing on playground equipment, but children who play contact sports are at a higher risk of sustaining trauma to the head and face. Sports like baseball, football, basketball, volleyball and soccer pose a risk of injury to the face. Mouthguards can be purchased over-the-counter and made to fit, otherwise your dentist can create a custom-made sports guard.

Lincoln Dentist for Children scenario of sleeping child grinding teeth

What do you do if your child grinds teeth at night?
Lincoln dentist for children answers…

Children who are between the ages of 4-13 often grind their teeth at night. This is a very normal part of development. As permanent teeth develop and erupt below the surface of the gums, they create a feeling of pressure in the jaw. This causes children to involuntarily grind their teeth during the night. It is a very normal part of growth and development.

Lincoln Dentist for Children scenario of a snoring child

Your child snores, what does it mean?
Lincoln dentist for children answers…

Children may snore at night because of enlarged tonsils or sinus congestion caused by allergies. Some children with extensive crowding of the teeth may not have adequate space for the tongue to relax when laying down which may cause the tongue to fall to the back of the throat and partially obstruct the airway. If your child snores, talk to your dentist and pediatrician to rule out any potential causes. Children need to have restful sleep to grow and develop properly, and snoring is typically linked to poorer sleep quality.

Read more about bad breath in kids

We love helping kids to have healthy teeth and grow up enjoying seeing dentists. We hope to see your kids at any of our locations soon.

Your Lincoln Dentist for Children,

Dr. Kelly O’Hara



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Pediatric emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE?

pediatric emergency dentist in lincoln ne Lincoln NE

Pediatric emergency dentist in Lincoln, NE? 

Typically most dental emergencies occur in children from trauma during sports, activities, or from teeth with large cavities that have become infected. Below are some of the most common dental emergencies seen in children and advice on what parents can do to help until their child can be seen by a pediatric emergency dentist.

baby enjoying outside with balloons after Pediatric emergency dentist

Pediatric Emergency – Professional advice about how to handle a baby tooth that has been knocked out

For children who have knocked out a baby tooth, the tooth can be placed in a sterile saline solution such as contact lens solution, or even a container of milk until the child can be seen by their pediatric emergency dentist. If a permanent tooth has been knocked out, carefully rinse the tooth with sterile saline or clean water only handling it by the white part of the tooth. Once it has been cleaned, it can be carefully reinserted into the socket and the child can bite gently on clean gauze or paper towel to provide stability. Make sure you schedule an emergency dental appointment with the child’s emergency pediatric dentist as soon as possible.

Pediatric Emergency – Professional advice about fractured or broken baby teeth

For teeth that have been fractured, make sure to clean the area with antiseptic and a clean cloth. Apply an ice pack if needed for swelling and pain. Dental wax can be applied to any sharp edges to prevent cuts on the lips or tongue until the child can be seen by an emergency pediatric dentist.

child after Pediatric emergency dentist in the daylight in Lincoln NE

Pediatric Emergency – Professional advice about canker sores

For soft-tissue injuries like a lip or tongue that has been bitten or injured, carefully clean the area with a clean cloth and antiseptic solution. Apply pressure on the bleeding area. You may apply an ice pack to reduce swelling. If bleeding continues for more than 25 minutes, the child needs emergency medical care.

For soft tissue sores or ulcerations like canker sores, the child can rinse with an oral cleanser, and Orabase paste or Orajel can temporarily reduce discomfort. Usually, canker sores look like white lesions and occur on the inside of the cheeks, under the tongue, or sometimes on the gums. If the sores do not improve or go away within two weeks, the child should see a pediatric dentist for an evaluation.

pediatric dentist Lincoln NE

Pediatric Emergency – Professional advice about a sharp toothache in children

For children suffering from sharp toothaches, clean the teeth thoroughly by brushing and flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash. If there is swelling an ice pack may be applied to the face near the swelling. It is best to avoid using heat packs, as the heat can intensify pain. You may give the child Ibuprofen or Tylenol and make an appointment with the child’s emergency dentist as soon as possible.

caqs to Pediatric emergency dentist

Commonly asked questions to a pediatric emergency dentist.

What should you do when your child gets a cut on their gums? A pediatric emergency dentist answers…

Some kids may be dealing with a cut on the gums. This can occur from brushing or flossing too hard, eating sharp foods, or an injury to the face. Usually, gum cuts heal on their own within two weeks, but occasionally they need treatment. If the cut is minor, carefully rinse with antiseptic and apply pressure with a clean cloth. You may also apply an ice pack to the face or give the child a popsicle to help reduce swelling.

If the bleeding does not stop after a period of 15-20 minutes, make an appointment with an emergency dentist. Sometimes gum cuts require stitches to close the wound.

Medical attention is necessary if the wound is longer than ½ inch, was a puncture wound, was caused by a rusted object, or was caused by trauma such as an animal bite. If the child does not have an updated tetanus vaccine or the wound appears infected, medical attention is necessary.

Playing sports raises the risk of injuries to the mouth. Wearing a mouth guard not only protects the teeth, but the soft tissues of the gums as well. Mouth guards can be purchased at pharmacies and made to fit, or custom-made by a dentist.

What to do if a child gets something stuck between their teeth?  A pediatric emergency dentist answers…

Sometimes food debris or objects can become stuck between teeth or below the gum line. You may use dental floss and have the child swish vigorously. If the object cannot be removed, call the child’s dentist.

If your child is experiencing any of these emergencies or others not listed here, feel free to call Nebraska Family Dentistry, we are your children’s emergency dentist in Lincoln. We are available on weekends and after hours to provide emergency care.



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Common Dental Emergencies and Conditions in Elderly

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Mature man in cap looking for dental care for geriatric patients in Lincoln, NE

Geriatric Patients and Dental Emergencies

Elderly patients are at higher risk of infection and complications from dental problems. It is important to recognize the signs of a dental emergency and seek professional treatment as soon as possible.


Below are the most common dental problems that lead to dental emergencies for elderly patients.

Elderly woman example for dental care for geriatric patients in Lincoln, NE


Toothaches can be caused by moderately sized cavities or from exposed dentin. Patients can take ibuprofen and Tylenol to help manage their discomfort. If there is swelling, a cold pack can be applied to help reduce swelling until the patient can receive treatment.

If the toothache only occurs when the tooth is exposed to cold liquids, it is likely dentinal hypersensitivity. Although this condition is reversible, it is a good idea to see a dentist to rule out anything more serious. Clove oil can be applied to temporarily relieve some of the sensitivity until a patient can see their dental provider.



broken filling about dental care for geriatric patients in Lincoln, NE

Broken Filling or Crown

Over time, dental work can wear out and chip or break off. This can become serious if bacteria enters the inner part of the tooth and the tooth becomes infected. Until they can be seen by a dentist, wax can be placed into the broken part of the tooth to help cover any sharp edges. They may take over the counter anti-inflammatories and apply clove oil if the tooth is sensitive.


Cracked tooth about dental care for geriatric patients in Lincoln, NE

Cracked or Broken Tooth

Cracks and fractures can occur from hard foods or an accident such as a fall. Not all fractures are serious or require emergency treatment, but if the area is causing pain, patients should see a dentist as soon as possible. They may take ibuprofen and tylenol as needed to manage pain until they can be treated. If a large piece of the tooth broke off and they still have the fragment, it can be placed in milk or water and brought to the dental appointment. If there is bleeding where the tooth was fractured, light pressure may be applied with clean gauze or cloth. Ice packs can be applied to reduce any swelling of the face.


dentures illustration about dental care for geriatric patients in Lincoln, NE

Broken Denture

Depending on the severity of the damage, our lab may be able to repair the denture within 24 hours. If the denture is damaged beyond repair, they may need a new denture.

If they are unable to see a dentist immediately, they may purchase a denture repair kit at a pharmacy. This will temporarily hold the denture together until permanent repairs can be made. Trying to repair a denture at home does pose some risk to damaging it further, so if they can wait until their dental appointment, it is generally better to have it repaired professionally.


infected tooth illustration about dental care for geriatric patients in Lincoln, NE

Dental Abscess or Infection

Severe pain can be a sign of a dental abscess. It is important to call a dental office to schedule an emergency appointment as soon as possible. Use ice to help reduce swelling, but avoid using heat. Heat will intensify the pain. If you notice a pimple on the gum tissue near the tooth, you may drain it using a sterile needle. This will temporarily relieve the pressure. Give the patient  ibuprofen and tylenol until their appointment to control the inflammation and pain.


missing tooth illustration about dental care for geriatric patients in Lincoln, NE

Loose or Dislodged Permanent Tooth

Try to only handle the dislodged tooth by the crown (white part) to avoid damaging it further. Rinse it using water, milk or saline. You may reinsert the tooth into the socket. Once it is in place, the patient may gently bite against a piece of gauze to keep the tooth stable. If you are unable to reinsert the tooth, place it in milk to keep it viable until you arrive a the dental office. Be sure the patient sees a dentist as soon as possible.


Mature woman looking for dental care for geriatric patients in Lincoln, NE

Bleeding Gums

Bleeding gums when brushing can be a sign of gingivitis or periodontal disease. Abrasion of the gum tissue from brushing aggressively or eating crunchy foods can cause bleeding gums. If the gums do not heal within 1-2 weeks, you may need to make a dental appointment to examine the area.

The best way to avoid dental emergencies is by receiving routine dental care. It is important to have a dental exam at least twice a year to make sure teeth and gums stay healthy.


10 Most common dental conditions that affect the elderly population:

Gingivitis example about dental care for geriatric patients in Lincoln, NE

#1 Gingivitis

More than 500 different species of bacteria can be found in the oral cavity. Many of these bacteria are necessary to maintain health. When an imbalance of good and bad bacteria occurs, the body responds by creating inflammation. In the mouth, this usually presents with red, swollen gums. Usually with regular professional cleanings and improvements in daily plaque removal, this inflammation can be resolved.


Tooth Decay and periodontal disease about dental care for geriatric patients in Lincoln, NE

#2 Chronic Periodontitis

If the inflammation in the gums goes untreated and become chronic, the bone which surrounds the teeth can be compromised. This leads to tooth mobility and eventually tooth loss. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. This condition typically has very few symptoms, and does not hurt until it is in the very advanced stages. Treatment for this condition includes a deep cleaning under local anesthesia followed by regular maintenance cleanings every 3-4 months to control the inflammation and stabilize bone levels. If patients have already lost significant bone around teeth, replacing teeth is necessary. Patients would benefit from taking a probiotic to help regulate the balance of good and bad bacteria in the body as well as supplementation of vitamin D if needed. Avoiding refined sugar in the diet, staying hydrated and quitting tobacco products will help improve immune function and positively impact periodontal disease.


Tooth Decay xray about dental care for geriatric patients in Lincoln, NE

#3 Tooth Decay

Geriatric patients often take a variety of medications for pre-existing medical conditions. Many of these medications cause dry mouth. Saliva is one of the body’s natural protective mechanisms for the teeth. It contains enzymes which neutralize acids from the food we eat, maintaining an ideal pH level in the mouth to support enamel strength.

As we age, muscles in the face lose elasticity. This prevents a natural self-cleansing mechanism of the muscles moving against the teeth while we chew from occuring. This results in food particles becoming trapped against teeth and contributes to tooth decay.

Patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may have difficulty remembering to brush and floss their teeth, leading to cavities.

Patients with a history of bone loss around the teeth may have exposed root surfaces. This part of the tooth’s structure is more porous and susceptible to tooth decay. Arthritis causes limited dexterity in the hands, make brushing and flossing difficult.

The solution to this is improving oral hygiene habits, avoiding excessively sugary foods or drinks between meals, using fluoride mouthrinses and visiting a dental provider regularly for checkups and cleanings.


Elderly man with bad breath looking for about dental care for geriatric patients in Lincoln, NE

#4 Halitosis (Bad Breath)

There are a number of different reasons why patients may suffer from chronic halitosis. Failing dental restorations with recurrent decay or infection, chronic gum disease from an overpopulation of harmful bacteria, stomach or GI issues, dehydration and poor oral hygiene are all common causes. Patients should see a dental provider regularly for checkups and cleanings to rule out tooth-related causes. If halitosis persists, they should see their physician to rule out any systemic causes.


Oral Thrush example about dental care for geriatric patients in Lincoln, NE

#5 Candida or Oral Thrush

This is a fungal infection caused by overgrowth of candida albicans. It is more likely for patients with reduced immune function. Severe cases can be treated with antifungal medications. Milder cases may be managed with probiotics and coconut or sesame oil-pulling.


broken dentures example about dental care for geriatric patients in Lincoln, NE

#6 Poorly-fitting Dentures

When patients have had teeth removed, the bone in the jaw begins to dissolve over time. This causes dentures to stop fitting properly. Patients with poorly fitting dentures have difficulty chewing and speaking. Reduced chewing makes eating healthy foods difficult, which has a negative impact on managing other health problems or preventing inflammatory conditions.


Red Tongue glossitis about dental care for geriatric patients in Lincoln, NE

#7 Red and Ulcerated Soft Tissue Under Poorly-Fitting Denture

Movement and rocking of a poorly-fitting denture during chewing causes sores and allows food to become trapped underneath the denture and irritate the soft tissues during meals. Patients with poorly fitting dentures should see a dentist to make adjustments to their denture or place a more permanent tooth replacement option for them.


painful red tongue example about dental care for geriatric patients in Lincoln, NE

#8 Red Tongue (glossitis)

A shiny, painful red tongue may indicate that a patient has a vitamin B12, folic acid or iron deficiency. It can be related to other medical conditions as well like the herpes virus, undiagnosed celiac disease or allergies to medications.


Non healing Mouth Sores examples about dental care for geriatric patients in Lincoln, NE

#9 Non-healing Mouth Sores

This could be from a chronic source of irritation like a poorly-fitting denture or something more serious like oral cancer. Sores that do not show improvement or healing in two weeks should be evaluated for a biopsy.


Angular Chelitis exmample about dental care for geriatric patients in Lincoln, NE

#10 Cracked, Dry Skin in Corners of Mouth or Angular Chelitis

This can be from an overgrowth of candida, inflammation from bacteria or vitamin B or iron-deficiency from poor nutritional absorption. The cause should be evaluated by a physician.

Importance of Dental Health in Elderly Population


Presentation about oral hygiene in the elderly banner

What does it mean to have a healthy mouth?

According to the latest research, these are the things we discuss with elderly patients:

oranges is a good source of vitamin c for oral hygiene in the elderly in Lincoln, NE

  • Taking Probiotics
  • Taking Vitamin D/ Vitamin C
  • Flossing Daily
  • Brushing
  • Drinking lots of water
  • Not drinking anything with acids: pop, sport drinks, juices
  • Getting professional cleanings
  • Eating fresh, unprocessed foods

elderly couple image for oral hygiene in the elderly in Lincoln, NE

The challenges we encounter as dental professionals is that only a few patients actually do these things. We see dental problems every day. Following those guidelines for a healthy mouth becomes a real challenge among some of our elderly patients.

Our dental professionals spend time with elderly patients focusing on:

  • Connecting the importance of dental health to overall health.
  • Giving tips on how to help elderly patients have optimal dental health and how to recognize a potential problem at hand.


the human body in correlation of oral hygiene in the elderly in Lincoln, NE

Dental and Overall Health Connection Explained

Lately, in the news, we have heard many messages about dental health and the relationship to overall health.

According to the latest research, it is more than that. It is about our mouth being a main source of bacteria: good, bad, and a mis-balance that can lead to acute or chronic Inflammation which in turn, can affect overall well-being.


Inflammation in the Mouth

More than 500 species of bacteria can be found in the oral cavity of a healthy mouth. They can be beneficial or harmful to the health of your mouth. The “good” bacteria, also referred to as probiotics, can aid in digestion, synthesize vitamins, and protect our mouths from the “bad” bacteria. The bad bacteria is often what causes diseases as well as various mouth-related health problems. Some of which may include bad breath, gingivitis, periodontitis, cavities, and plaque build-up.

Taking note of the bacteria and toxin levels in our mouths isn’t just crucial for the health of our mouths, but our entire bodies. Infections and bacterial overgrowth in the mouth can affect the entire body, moving throughout and causing other health problems such as heart disease, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, and low birth weight.

diagram about infected gums and the body for oral hygiene in the elderly in Lincoln, NE

The mouth is a window into our body

Taking good care of teeth and gums is not only about preventing cavities, gum disease or bad breath. It is about preventing inflammation in our mouth and preventing overall health problems associated with this inflammation. The most common signs we see in the oral cavity that are associated with an increase of systemic inflammation are gingivitis, periodontal disease, and generalized cavities.

mouth linked overall health diagram for oral hygiene in the elderly in Lincoln, NE

Dental and Overall Health Connection Explained

Research is showing a relationship between periodontitis and other inflammatory conditions like RA, celiac disease, thyroid disease, heart disease, atherosclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. These conditions share autoimmune characteristics, but which came first? Is there a causal link between them?


The answer is not yet clear.

We do know that in patients with uncontrolled periodontal disease or decay, we see an increase in certain conditions:

Those conditions correlated with an increase in oral inflammatory markers.

  • Endocarditis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Respiratory:
    Bacteria can be aspirated into the lungs and cause bronchitis, emphysema, and pneumonia.
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • GI problems

Elder male patient on topic of oral hygiene in the elderly in Lincoln, NE

What occurs as people age?

The top three things affected in geriatric patients and oral health.

  • Decreased Dexterity: Inability to brush and floss.
  • Dry mouth due to medications taken.
  • Ill fitting dentures.

If any of the conditions mentioned happen, there is a mis-balance of bacteria leading to more harmful bacteria. Therefore, increasing the likelihood of certain conditions:

  • Dry mouth
  • Periodontal disease
  • Candida in the mouth
  • Ulcers

hydration examples for oral hygiene in the elderly in Lincoln, NE in Lincoln, NE

Decreased salivary flow is a common side effect of most medications.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over 400 commonly used medications can contribute to dry mouth.

Let’s go over some common dental problems we see in elderly patients. I will also give you ideas of easy ways that you can help the elderly prevent and recognize dental problems. Basically, it’s helping them decrease the bad bacteria and increase the good bacteria.

Some of them may apply and some may not…


Problem #1 | Decay on teeth:

Decay on teeth or failing dental work


See a dentist because most cavities do not hurt and actually have no symptoms unless, it reaches the nerve of the tooth. Many teeth have nerve space that shrinks over time and cavities may never hurt unless there is an abscess that forms.

  • Brushing daily to prevent more cavities.
  • Using a special toothbrush for patients with poor dexterity.


tooth decay illustration for oral hygiene in the elderly in Lincoln, NE

Tooth Decay xray for oral hygiene in the elderly in Lincoln, NE

Problem #2 | Acute Inflammation-Gingivitis:

Presents due to plaque accumulation around the gum-line which is constantly forming on the teeth


Gingivitis is easily reversible by controlling the plaque. Brushing thoroughly twice daily, flossing, and receiving professional cleanings regularly can reverse gingivitis within just a few days.

  • Brushing daily to prevent more cavities.
  • Using a special toothbrush for patients with poor dexterity.


Gingivitis example for oral hygiene in the elderly in Lincoln, NE


Problem #3 | Chronic Inflammation-Chronic Periodontitis:

Chronic inflammation is due to an imbalance of bacteria leading to bone loss


To treat Periodontal disease

  • Complete the deep cleaning treatment at the dentist office.
  • Regular daily plaque control at home, including brushing and flossing.
  • Using a special toothbrush for patients with poor dexterity.
  • Take probiotics, vitamin D, and drink lots of water.
  • Have maintenance cleanings at the dentist office every 3-4 months to keep periodontal disease in remission.

Tooth Decay and gum disease for oral hygiene in the elderly in Lincoln, NE

Problem #4 | Bad Breath:

Overpopulation of bad bacteria from failing dental work or gum disease.


Using coconut oil for coconut oil pulling

The antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties of the medium chain fatty acids/triglycerides (MCTs) found in coconut oil make it a perfect solution to inactivate microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast, fungi, and enveloped viruses.

  • Listerine is not a good choice as it dries mouth even further.
  • Drink more water.
  • Tongue scraping.
  • Take probiotics.
  • See a MD for GI problems.


doctor helping elderly woman for oral hygiene in the elderly in Lincoln, NE


Problem #5 | White patches in a mouth/Candida

Fungal infection caused by overgrowth of candida albicans. More likely to occur in patients with reduced immunity.


Depending on the severity

  1. Severe Cases treated with antifungal prescription
  2. Not so severe treated with coconut oil as it can dramatically reduce white patches.
  • Tongue Scraping
  • Taking Probiotics


Oral Thrush example for oral hygiene in the elderly in Lincoln, NE


Problem #6 | Red ulcerated areas under dentures

Ill fitting denture


See a dentist to adjust partial or denture. Orabase or orajel can help with areas of sensitivity or pain.


Red Tongue glossitis for oral hygiene in the elderly in Lincoln, NE


Problem #7 | Ill-Fitting Denture

Bone loss due to wearing dentures and not having implants.


  • To keep partials as long as possible to allow retaining of HEALTHY natural teeth.
  • To avoid dentures for the elderly.
  • To learn about implant retained dentures and Hybrid Prosthesis.


bone volume after tooth loss for oral hygiene in the elderly in Lincoln, NE

It is never too late.

The Story of Dan:

When Dan came to see Dr. Brad Alderman, he was complaining of soreness in his mouth and had a desire to extract his remaining teeth. From talking to his friends and family, Dan knew he did not want traditional dentures. Dan was looking for a permanent replacement of his teeth. He wanted to have something that would look and feel like the natural teeth he used to have.

Dan story image for oral hygiene in the elderly in Lincoln, NE

Besides wanting a permanent solution for replacing his teeth, his health was affected by his remaining infected teeth. Dan’s physician suggested removing the teeth as soon as possible to eliminate the bacteria and inflammation. Dan’s doctor was positive that removing the diseased teeth would improve Dan’s health.

Dan proceeded with the hybrid prosthesis. In his recent check-up appointment, he stated: “It took about two weeks after the implant placement for my implant bridges to feel better. After two weeks, I started having more energy, and the general drowsiness was gone. I had an easier time controlling my diabetes and my doctor confirmed it with a blood test. I enjoy eating with my new teeth, and it is great to know that I do not have to use any denture glue or need a cup to put my dentures in overnight.”


Problem #8 | Red Tongue

Increase in bacteria and inflammation. Caused from folic acid, B12, or iron deficiency.


Visit dentist and physician to verify cause of red tongue.

Problem #9 | Oral sore that does not heal

Oral cancer or ill fitting denture


See your dentist to verify the next step such as a biopsy.


painful red tongue for oral hygiene in the elderly in Lincoln, NE


Problem #9 | Oral sore that does not heal

Oral cancer or ill fitting denture


See your dentist to verify the next step such as a biopsy.


Oral Cancer can occur Anywhere in the Mouth for oral hygiene in the elderly in Lincoln, NE


Problem #10 | Corners of a mouth dry

Inflammation leading to redness and cracks on the corner of the mouth. Usually due to deficiency in vitamin D and C.


  • Check in with a physician to check on deficiency and cause.
  • Vitamin C deficiency is the most common. Apply Vaseline to the corners of the mouth.
  • Check for an ill fitting denture. Patient may be over closing due to poor fitting denture.


Angular Chelitis for oral hygiene in the elderly in Lincoln, NE



What is the best teeth whitening system for fast results?

banner for best teeth whitening system for fast results in Lincoln, NE

 Do You Want To Get Your Teeth White, Fast?  

You May Be Wondering What Is The Best Teeth Whitening System For Fast Results?

You may have seen the Crest commercial for Crest 3D White Strips that features two women talking about whether or not their smile can pass the “Tissue Test.”

The commercial has been airing for several months. If you have not seen it yet, you can check it out on YouTube.

Is The Crest “Tissue Test” Giving Patients Realistic Expectations For Whitening? NO 

While it is great for patients to feel motivated to improve oral hygiene habits and utilize whitening products to keep their smiles beautiful, this particular commercial propagates the idea that an unnatural level of whiteness indicates health. It also suggests that patients whose teeth are not at this “ideal” shade, should be embarrassed.

In the commercial, Crest is encouraging people to compare the shade of their natural teeth to a piece of facial tissue. The message is that if your teeth cannot pass the “Tissue Test,” you need to buy their products. This commercial leads people to have an unrealistic standard for a shade that is achievable from whitening their natural teeth. The “Tissue Test” is not a viable representation of realistic outcomes from using over-the-counter or prescription whitening products. Trying to achieve the same color as a tissue will lead patients to spend money on products that simply cannot deliver the promised results leaving them broke, frustrated and self-conscious about their smiles.

The truth is, natural teeth come in a variety of shades. Not everyone needs to have the same shade of teeth in order to have a beautiful, “white” smile. Whitening products are safe to use as directed, but if they are used excessively or improperly, they can lead to severe tooth sensitivity.

Let’s get real and give you real results.sensitive teeth best teeth whitening options Lincoln NE dentist


Teeth Whitening Process at Nebraska Family Dentistry

What Factors Determine How White My Teeth Can Realistically Become By Using Bleaching agents?

There are many factors that determine how white an individual’s teeth may become from using tooth whitening products. Some of these factors are manageable and some are not. It is difficult to promise patients that their expected outcome will be achievable because of these factors.


  • Initial Tooth Shade

One of the factors that can determine the ability of teeth to whiten is, initial tooth color. Patients who naturally have a more yellowed hue to their teeth typically have a greater response to the whitening agents than those with grayish or brown hues. Gray discoloration can be seen in individuals who have taken certain medications at varying points in the development of their tooth enamel. Tetracycline is associated with gray staining. Brown stains are often from overexposure to fluoride found in natural water sources during development. These types of factors can influence the outcome of whitening treatments.


  • Unique Whitening Potential

Every person has a certain level of lightness that can be achieved. It is impossible to whiten teeth beyond this level. This varies between individuals and is controlled by genetics and determined by the “value” our teeth have naturally. When we whiten teeth, we cannot change the hue or value of the teeth, we can only brighten it.

Best Teeth Whitening before and after


  • The Strength Of Whitening Agents and Active Ingredients

Over-the-counter whitening products have lower concentrations of active ingredients. These types of products will take longer to yield results and will need to be re-applied frequently to maintain results. Professional whitening systems have higher concentrations of active ingredients and provide a more controlled method of application.

Teeth whitening solutions with higher concentrations of active ingredients will give faster results. Typically, over-the-counter products have hydrogen peroxide listed as the main active ingredient at 9-15% strength. Professional systems use carbamide peroxide at varying percentages, up to 45%. 


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Why Do Zoom Whitening Gels Cause Sensitivity?

Every whitening product on the market can cause sensitivity at varying degrees. One of the main reasons for this is that during bleaching, the tooth becomes dehydrated. When UV or LED lights are added to the active ingredient, this intensifies the dehydration and increases the sensitivity. Light-based whitening systems have been heavily marketed and this gives consumers the idea that lights are critical for better results. The truth is that teeth indeed appear lighter immediately after a Zoom whitening session due to the severe dehydration of the teeth. Once the tooth rebounds, this temporary extra-white shade only lasts for about 5-7 days.

Why Do  Crest White Strips Cause Sensitivity?

Crest White Strips do not dehydrate the teeth as intensely as Zoom systems and have a weaker concentration of active ingredients. Thus, the sensitivity with these products is usually due to the lack of control of the solution on the strips. The gel on the strips touches gum tissue, mixes with saliva  and  makes patients more likely to swallow it, leading to sensitivity of the soft tissues in the mouth.


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What Systems Do We Recommend at Nebraska Family Dentistry?

Learn about Professional Teeth Whitening Process at Our Practice Here.

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We use Opalescence brand whitening gels at a concentration of 35%. The reason why we choose to use this system is that the main ingredient is carbamide peroxide which is a slow-release whitening agent at a 35% concentration. The slow-uptake of this compound into the tooth increases patient comfort during application. Opalescence also has desensitizing agents (potassium nitrate and fluoride) within the solution to help prevent sensitivity.

  • Patients will see results in a shorter application period and only need to wear the trays for 30 minutes per session.
  • Trays are custom made. This prevents irritation and burning of gum tissue during whitening, which eliminates one of the main causes of discomfort during whitening treatment. Trays can also be used to apply sensitivity toothpaste between whitening sessions.

For patients who would like a more immediate result, in-office whitening treatment utilizing custom trays and a stronger concentration of whitening agents can be applied under the supervision of a dentist. The benefit of this method is that the patient gets the value of taking home their custom trays for future touch-ups after treatment.


How Often Will I Need To Touch-Up After Initial Whitening?

This varies between individuals. Drinking coffee, tea, red wine, tomato-based sauces and smoking can stain teeth faster between bleaching sessions. It is recommended to avoid such foods for at least 24-48 hours after you have finished bleaching your teeth to allow them to re-hydrate so they do not stain immediately. Using a whitening toothpaste can also help reduce surface stains between whitening sessions. The use of charcoal to whiten teeth has been gaining popularity because of the natural ingredients. There is limited research on the safety or effectiveness of this whitening method. It is likely to help remove surface stains from tea and coffee, but the ability of these products to bleach the teeth has not yet been proven.


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Professional Whitening Did Not Give Me the Results I Wanted

When professional whitening does not deliver the results a patient desires, often this is due to the factors mentioned above and include teeth which are very translucent, have a grayish hue or severe discoloration from fluorosis.
Thus, teeth may not whiten to the desired brightness. The option for these patients is to place veneers on the teeth. Veneers allow us to completely change the color and shape of your teeth.

Learn more about Dental Veneers

Veneers before and after for whiter teeth


Does Charcoal Toothpaste Work For Whitening Teeth?

There is very little scientific evidence or clinical research to support claims of charcoal toothpaste efficacy or its safety as a whitening agent. Although charcoal tooth products can make teeth feel extremely clean and smooth, there are some disadvantages to using them on a regular basis. Charcoal is more abrasive than particles found in toothpaste. Repeated use could potentially erode tooth enamel, which can actually make teeth more prone to collecting stains. Enamel erosion can increase sensitivity and contribute to the recession of the gum tissue around the teeth. Gum recession can make teeth more prone to decay. Any time highly abrasive substances are applied to the teeth, enamel is eroded which can expose the inner layer of dentin beneath the enamel. This actually creates a more yellow tooth appearance over time due to the thinning of the enamel layer.

Ingesting activated charcoal tablets or other products has potential side effects. Diarrhea, vomiting, GI damage, black tongue and improper absorption of certain medications like digoxin, acetaminophen, theophylline, tricyclic antidepressants, diabetes medications and some birth control are just some of the potential side effects.

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Is Charcoal Toothpaste Better Than Professional Whitening?

Charcoal toothpaste does not contain whitening agents and there is currently no data to support any claims that it can lighten tooth enamel. Due to the abrasive nature of charcoal, it may be effective at removing surface staining from coffee or smoking, but it will not bleach the teeth. There are also disadvantages of using charcoal toothpaste for an at-home surface stain removal method. If a patient desires a whiter, brighter smile, professional whitening is the only proven method to lighten tooth enamel.

I have sensitive teeth, can I do anything to decrease sensitivity?

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