How to Choose the Right Toothbrush

Choosing the right toothbrush can feel like a frustrating task with all the options available. From bristle types to handle designs, there's a lot to consider. Dr. Sonal Desai at North Richland Hills Dentistry in North Richland Hills, TX, is here to help you make the best choice for your oral health.

Understanding Toothbrush Bristles

First things first, let's talk bristles. Toothbrushes generally come with soft, medium, or hard bristles. But here's the kicker—most dental professionals, including Dr. Desai, recommend soft bristles. Why? They effectively clean your teeth without being too abrasive on your gums and enamel. Medium and hard bristles might seem like they do a better job, but they can actually cause damage if you're not careful.

Manual vs. Electric Toothbrushes

Next up, manual or electric? It's a personal preference, really. Manual toothbrushes are perfectly fine if you use the correct technique and brush for the recommended two minutes. Electric toothbrushes, on the other hand, can be more effective for some people. They do a lot of the work for you and often come with timers to ensure you're brushing long enough. Dr. Desai often suggests electric toothbrushes for those who struggle with manual brushing due to arthritis or other dexterity issues, but they can be helpful for anyone!

Handle and Head Size

Don't overlook the importance of the handle and head size. The handle should be comfortable to hold, giving you a good grip. The toothbrush head should be small enough to reach all areas of your mouth, especially the back teeth. A compact head can make a big difference in how thoroughly you can clean.

ADA Seal of Approval

Whatever toothbrush you choose, make sure it has the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval. This seal means the toothbrush has been tested for safety and effectiveness. It's a quick way to ensure you're getting a quality product.

Replace Regularly

Lastly, remember to replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn-out toothbrush won't clean your teeth properly and can harbor bacteria.

Customized Dental Advice From North Richland Hills Dentistry

At North Richland Hills Dentistry, Dr. Sonal Desai and her team are dedicated to helping you maintain excellent oral health. If you have any questions about choosing the right toothbrush or need personalized recommendations, don't hesitate to reach out. Your oral health is our top priority, and we're here to support you every step of the way.


Three of the Best Tools to Clean Your Dental Bridge

Dental bridges are a common solution for patients who have lost or damaged teeth. Made up of one or more artificial teeth, a bridge anchors to the teeth on either end of the gap, restoring your smile and bite to its previous state. Bridges are a great temporary restoration option that can last over five years if properly cared for.

It’s important to clean around your dental bridge every day, but the structure of the bridge can make it tricky to floss and brush as you would around natural teeth. Luckily, there are several tools that can help keep your bridge and the surrounding area in good shape.

1. Interdental Brush

Interdental brushes are small handheld brushes that come in a variety of sizes. Once you find the proper size, using an interdental brush is a breeze. Simply insert the bristled end of the brush between your bridge and your gums and gently clean the area. Interdental brushes are also a great alternative to regular floss if you prefer to use them between all of your teeth!

2. Floss Threader

If you’ve ever worn braces, you’ll be no stranger to a floss threader. This handy tool looks like a soft plastic needle. By running floss through the eye of the threader and then pulling the threader through your dental bridge, you can get floss in that tough-to-reach area with ease.

3. Water Flosser

A water flosser, or oral irrigator, is a device that uses a high-powered stream of water to remove food particles and plaque from your gum line and gaps in your teeth. Just aim the water jet between your gums and your bridge and it’ll be clean in no time. While a water flosser can be pricier than a pack of interdental brushes or floss threaders, it’s a solid investment that you can use over and over.

Dental Bridges in North Richland Hills, Texas

We at North Richland Hills Dentistry are committed to giving you the best smile available. If you need a dental bridge or just want to keep yours looking good as new, schedule your next visit today!

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Why Flossing Is So Important for Your Dental Health

Professional cleanings and exams help keep your dental health in good shape, but good oral hygiene at home is essential, too. We recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing once a day. Unfortunately, many people forget about flossing. Why is it so important?

Why Flossing Matters to Your Oral Health

When you eat and drink anything other than water, a substance called plaque forms on your teeth and along your gumline. Plaque is very sticky and if it’s not cleaned, it hardens into tartar. The bacteria in plaque and tartar cause cavities and gum disease.

Brushing gets a lot of the plaque off your teeth, but flossing is the only way to remove the plaque stuck in the tiny spaces between your teeth. If you don’t floss, plaque and tartar build up between your teeth and along your gums.

What Happens When You Don’t Floss

You’re at a much higher risk for gum disease if you don’t floss regularly. In its early stage, gum disease is known as gingivitis. It often doesn’t cause many symptoms, but you may notice tenderness, redness, swelling, and mild bleeding. Start flossing right away and soon, your gum disease should improve.

More severe gum disease is known as periodontitis. At this stage, it can only be managed, not reversed. Treatments include deep cleanings, antibiotics, and in advanced cases, surgery. If gum disease isn’t addressed, it leads to tooth loss.

Gum & Dental health at North Richland Hills Dentistry in North Richland Hills, Texas

During an exam at our office, we’ll floss your teeth and check for signs of gum disease. If we see any problems, we’ll recommend treatments like improved oral hygiene and flossing. There are a few flossing tool options, so don’t hesitate to ask us which ones might work best for you. Have questions or want to schedule an appointment? Please contact us today!

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Bleeding Gums? Here's 3 Tips to Help

Let’s just put it out there: Healthy gums should not bleed. If your gums are bleeding, that could be a sign of bad oral hygiene, or it could mean something even more serious like gum disease. Since bleeding gums can be a symptom of a wide range of dental issues, what it takes to treat them can vary. That being said, here are three general tips to get your gum health under control and help stop the bleeding.

1. Reassess Your Dental Routine

Do you often find yourself skipping brushing your teeth in the morning or night? If your gums are bleeding whenever you do clean your teeth, it could be because you’re not brushing them frequently enough and it’s giving time for plaque and tartar to build up. Make sure you stick to a routine of brushing at least twice a day, and definitely don’t forget to floss!

2. Change Your Dental Tools

Another reason your gums may be bleeding is because you’re using a toothbrush with too hard of bristles that are actually aggravating your gums. Even if you’re trying to brush away food debris and bad bacteria, you should still be gentle so as not to cause damage. Soft-bristled toothbrushes are the way to go! Additionally, if traditional dental floss isn’t cutting it for you, then you may want to switch to a water flosser so you can probably clean the spaces between your teeth before plaque can settle there.

3. Consult Your General Physician

Sometimes, bleeding gums are a result of another medical condition. For instance, gums may bleed more easily during pregnancy, if you have a certain vitamin or protein deficiency, or if you’re taking certain medications. Check with your family doctor to see if there’s anything that might be causing bleeding gums as a side effect that can be adjusted.

Visit Us at North Richland Hills Dentistry for Help with Bleeding Gums

If you’ve tried all of the tips we’ve just mentioned and you’re still dealing with bleeding gums, then we recommend booking an appointment at your dentist’s office as soon as possible. You don’t want the problem to get worse, and the sooner you figure out what’s causing the bleeding, the sooner you can get it treated. Contact North Richland Hills Dentistry today to set up your visit or schedule an appointment online!

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3 Brushing Techniques!

Brushing your teeth twice a day is an effective way to prevent decay or other unwanted dental developments. But are you brushing your teeth properly? Continue reading to review three brushing techniques that can benefit your teeth!

1. Bass or Sulcular Technique

The Bass technique uses toothbrush bristles to scrub off plaque near the gums. When performing this brushing technique, you’ll hold the toothbrush parallel to your teeth then tilt it at an angle to let the bristles reach slightly under the gumline. Firmly but gently brush in circular motions roughly 20 times before moving to the next section. Repeat this motion around the mouth until the entire mouth is complete. Then vertically turn the toothbrush to reach behind the front teeth, back molars, and tongue surface.

2. Stillman Technique

Similar to the Bass technique, you will angle the toothbrush towards the gum line. However, the bristles will be half on the gums and half on the tooth surface to perform short horizontal strokes to remove plaque from the gum line.

3. Charter Technique

The Charter brushing method is ideal for patients with spaces between their teeth, prostheses, or orthodontic appliances like braces. The brush’s bristles will still be at an angle, but the tip will be pointing towards the opposite end of the tooth, unlike the other brushing techniques, which point towards the gum line. Gently but firmly brush the area using circular strokes and move around each section of the mouth, including the tongue, to complete the Charter brushing technique.

Dental Care in North Richland Hills, Texas

Whether you use an electric or manual toothbrush, brushing daily with one of these techniques can help contribute to the success of your oral health. If you have concerns or aren’t happy with your oral health, contact our North Richland Hills Dentistry team. We provide comprehensive dental care for our patients so they can achieve healthy and bright smiles!

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Why Dental Cleanings & Exams Are Important

Life gets busy, so it’s easy to forget things like scheduling a dentist’s appointment every six months. If you don’t have any major oral health problems, you may wonder if it is still important to come in for a regular cleaning and exam. The answer is, "Yes it is!" and here are three main reasons.

Cleanings & Exams Prevent Tooth Decay

Cavities are a very common problem. To prevent them, you do most of the work at home by brushing and flossing every morning and evening. However, professional cleanings and exams are necessary, too. With special tools, we remove hardened plaque (known as tartar) from your teeth, which is something you can’t do at home. We also identify teeth that are at a higher risk of decay, so you can improve your brushing/flossing and prevent a cavity from forming.

We Diagnose Gum Disease

Many people get gum disease at some point in their lives. In its early stage when it is known as gingivitis you might not experience symptoms. When you keep up with regular check-ups, we diagnose and reverse gum disease before it starts bothering you. Most of the time, all you need to do is improve your oral hygiene at home. If the gum disease is more advanced, a deep cleaning gets your oral health back on track.

Cleanings & Exams Catch Other Problems, Too

Cavities and gum disease aren’t the only issues a dentist can identify. During every exam, we always check for signs of oral cancer. That includes things like swelling, mouth sores that won’t heal, lumps, and red or white patches. If we find anything unusual, we’ll let you know what we recommend next.

Preventive Dentistry at North Richland Hills Dentistry

Keeping up with cleanings and exams is an essential part of good health. Our goal is to keep your smile healthy by preventing stressful and more expensive oral health problems. Even if you have great habits at home, we recommend visits to our office every six months. Have questions or want to schedule a cleaning and exam with Dr. Desai and our team? Please contact us today.

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Electric Toothbrush vs. Regular Toothbrush: Which Is More Effective?

Wonder if you’re doing all you can to optimize your dental routine? If you’re wondering if you’re using the right kind of toothbrush, the answer might be personal. Read on to learn about the pros and cons of manual and electric toothbrushes.

Electric Toothbrush: Pros

When it comes to dentistry, technology is your friend! Some studies have shown that an electric version can provide a superior clean. There are also some other reasons why you might consider a switch. Electric toothbrushes can be much easier for people with limited mobility to use. They also often come with helpful features, such as a built-in timer or pressure sensor. Plus, many users--kids especially--find that using an electric toothbrush makes brushing fun!

Electric Toothbrush: Cons

As with anything, there are some downsides to using an electric toothbrush. They are more expensive at the outset than a traditional toothbrush. Also important to consider: they need to be fully charged or they won't be effective. That means keeping the toothbrush plugged in or having a battery handy.

Manual Toothbrush: Pros

One of the best things about sticking with a traditional toothbrush? They're portable and easy to use. No need to charge or replace batteries, your toothbrush will be ready to go when you are. Additionally, manual toothbrushes are cheap and can be found in all kinds of stores. And most importantly, manual toothbrushes are tried and true. They're proven to cut plaque. So, you really can't go wrong.

Manual Toothbrush: Cons

Generally, the cons of manual toothbrushes are solved by an electric toothbrush. People with braces, arthritis, or other issues that hinder their ability to brush can have trouble manoeuvering an electric toothbrush. And without a motor doing most of the work for you, it can be easy to brush too hard with a manual toothbrush.

Total Care in North Richland Hills, Texas

We can’t stress this enough: manual or electric, what’s most important is that you’re brushing your teeth multiple times daily! Round out the routine with dental floss, a healthy diet and biannual visits to North Richland Hills Dentistry for your routine cleaning and exam! Contact us for all of your oral health needs!

How Is Gum Disease Treated?

Did you know that 3 out of 4 Americans have some kind of gum disease? Gum disease is very common and can have some serious consequences, but it also can be caught early and easily addressed. What is gum disease exactly and how is it treated?

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, develops when your teeth and gums are attacked by bacteria. When your teeth aren’t cleaned properly with good brushing and flossing, plaque, full of bacteria, forms and hardens into tartar. This can’t be removed at home, so if it isn’t addressed with a visit to the dentist, your gums can actually form pockets perfect for bacteria. Infections are the natural consequence and can lead to tooth and bone loss.

The very first stage of gum disease - gingivitis - is very common, but it still requires attention. Your gums become inflamed, swollen, and tender. If they bleed when you brush or flush, that’s another sign of early gum disease. When this happens, it’s time for a dental checkup at North Richlands Hills Dentistry, so we can treat the problem before it gets serious.

How Is Gum Disease Treated?

If caught early, treating gum disease is very simple. If it’s a very mild case, we might not even need to do anything special in the office beyond a cleaning, but you will need to improve your oral care at home. Flossing, which many people neglect, is very important. We may also recommend a deeper dental cleaning, a special mouth rinse, and/or local antibiotics to deal with the built-up bacteria.

Make an Appointment Today!

The best treatment for gum disease is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Good oral care at home and biannual visits to Dr. Desai can help ensure your gums and teeth are as healthy as possible. Contact us if you have any questions about gum disease treatments or to make an appointment!

Dealing with Sensitive Teeth

We will all deal with sensitive teeth at some point in our lifetime. Sometimes the cause is acute and can come on suddenly. Other times, we may deal with chronic sensitive teeth for long periods of time. Either way, it’s important to know what causes sensitive teeth and what you can do to treat and prevent this common problem.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

If you’ve noticed an unusually uncomfortable feeling when eating hard, cold, or hot foods, you may be dealing with sensitive teeth. You aren’t alone. Approximately 1 out of every 8 American adults suffers from sensitive teeth, with women experiencing this more than men. Sensitive teeth are affected by hot and cold air and food, and can feel tender upon touch or biting down. The causes of sensitive teeth are varied. Chronic tooth clenching, cavities, or a dental infection can all cause your teeth to feel pain. That’s why it’s always best to see a dentist when you notice new or worsening pain. We can help treat urgent and chronic problems and help you find relief.

How to Prevent Sensitive Teeth

Chronic tooth clenching, or bruxism, is an extremely common condition that means you grip your jaw shut. Often, this happens at night while we are sleeping. If you wake up with a sore jaw, headache, or neck ache, you may have bruxism. Bruxism can cause enamel to wear away and break down, causing sensitivity. If you think you have bruxism, a simple night guard will help prevent tooth sensitivity. To prevent other causes of dental pain, like cavities and tooth decay, you need to take great care of your teeth. Each day, brush with a soft-bristled brush for two minutes, twice a day. Be sure to floss once daily. Make sure to have your teeth regularly cleaned and examined by a dentist. All of these actions will help to prevent the causes of acute dental pain.

How to Cure Sensitive Teeth

Although chronic tooth sensitivity will come and go, there are ways to reduce your pain and discomfort. First, avoid eating and drinking foods that trigger a response. Ice, soups, hard candy, anything that may bring you pain should be avoided until the condition improves. We recommend using a toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth. These types of toothpaste contain ingredients that will help relieve pain, while building strength in your enamel.

We Care About Your Oral Health!

As always, let us know about pain in your mouth and teeth, especially if it comes on suddenly. This could be a sign of a condition that needs to be treated right away. Taking good care of your teeth is key to preventing tooth pain. If it’s time to schedule a check-up, contact us today!

The Pros & Cons of Chewing Gum

At North Richland Hills Dentistry, we have mixed opinions on chewing gum. On the one hand, it can be a great quick fix to freshen breath and clean teeth. On the other hand, it can lead to tooth decay and excess wear on your teeth. Today, we want to take a closer look at the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to chewing gum and your oral health.

The Good: Freshen Breath & Fight Cavities

When you chew gum, it stimulates saliva production in your mouth. Saliva can not only wash away leftover food residue on teeth before bacteria have a chance to feed on it and produce acid -- it also contains an enzyme that can fight off the number of bacteria in the mouth. When fewer bacteria are present, your breath smells fresher!

If you’re looking for benefits of chewing gum, reach for a pack of sugar-free gum sweetened with Xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar free sweetener that can neutralize the pH of your mouth and keep acid from wearing away on teeth and causing cavities.

The Bad: Chewing Gum May Loosen Dental Work

For folks with retainers, oral appliances, or dental work like fillings and crowns, chewing gum can create more problems. It can loosen fillings, crowns, and bridges or limit their longevity. If you have had dental work done, consult with our office if you are unsure whether you can chew gum.

The Ugly: Chewing Gum Can Lead to Tooth Decay

If you chew gum that contains sugar, you may be unknowingly contributing to the growth of cavities in your mouth. Bacteria feed on sugar to produce acid, so chewing gum with sugar may result in more bacteria and acid in your mouth. Without proper care, this can lead to cavities and tooth decay.

While chewing sugar-free gum is a great way to clean teeth and freshen breath, chewing gum that contains sugar can actually damage teeth. If you do decide to chew gum, choose wisely! To ask our team any questions about chewing gum or to schedule your next appointment, contact our office today!

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Is Chocolate Bad for My Teeth?

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, which means that you can expect to eat (or at least be tempted by) lots of chocolate over the course of the next few weeks! But if you’re trying to maintain a strong, healthy smile, will an uptick in chocolate consumption harm your efforts? We’ll share the truth behind chocolate’s effect on your teeth, and ways you can keep your smile sparkling this Valentine’s Day season.

Is Chocolate the Problem?

You’ve probably heard that chocolate and other candy can “rot” your teeth, but this isn’t entirely true. Yes, eating too much candy can harm your teeth and cause cavities in the long run, but it’s because of its high sugar content above all else. When sugar sits on your teeth for too long, it attracts plaque and bacteria that secrete acid when they snack on the sugar. This acid in turn corrodes your teeth, making it easier to develop cavities and decay. If left untreated, you can lose your teeth down the line.

How to Curb the Effects of Sugar

The number one way to avoid sugar damage to your teeth is to avoid eating sugar entirely. It’s understandably hard to do this time of year, so if you must indulge in a little chocolate here and there, you should opt for dark chocolate or even sugar free options (like chocolates sweetened with stevia or coconut sugar).

Another way to protect your teeth is to make sure that you thoroughly brush and floss your teeth after eating sugary foods. That way plaque and bacteria won’t have much time to develop on your teeth and won’t have much to consume if there is no sugar sitting on your teeth to begin with.

Other Foods to Avoid

Aside from sugary chocolate and candy, other foods you should generally avoid in order to protect your teeth are foods that are high in acid like certain fruits (including dried fruit, which is loaded with sugar), coffee and soda, and alcohol.

Foods to Eat Instead

Want something healthy that feels indulgent this Valentine’s Day? Try dipping strawberries (which are full of malic acid that can whiten teeth) in dark chocolate for a guilt-free snack. Other foods to eat year-round are fresh fruit, nuts, cheese and dairy products, dark leafy greens, and crunchy vegetables. All of these foods contain fiber and vitamins and minerals that support strong teeth!

Show love to your teeth this Valentine’s Day by opting for less sugary snacks. If you’re in need for a dental checkup this year, pay us a visit at North Richland Hills Dentistry. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

Can Poor Oral Hygiene Cause Acne?

Your oral hygiene and health has an impact far beyond just your teeth and gums. Not only does research show a link between gum disease and heart disease, it also suggests a connection between your oral health and clear skin. If you’ve been struggling with acne that just won’t go away, there’s a chance that oral bacteria may be the culprit!

The Link Between Healthy Teeth and Clear Skin

If the thought of healthy pearly whites is not enough to motivate you to practice good oral hygiene, maybe this will encourage you: studies show that oral bacteria from an infected tooth or gums can get onto your face, irritating your skin and causing you to break out. Research suggests that if your acne is clustered around your chin, lips, or cheeks, this may be a sign that poor oral hygiene is the cause.

You can limit the amount of bad bacteria in your mouth by following a good dental hygiene routine. Brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes each time, floss each day, and visit our office regularly for professional cleanings and exams. When it comes to brushing teeth and washing your face, order matters. Be sure you’re washing your face after you brush your teeth to clean away any bacteria from your mouth that may get onto your face as a result of brushing.

If you’re wondering if your oral health may be to blame for your acne, schedule a professional cleaning at our office. Dr. Desai and our team will carefully examine your mouth and note any problem areas that may be behind your skin issues. Treating your skin may be as simple as addressing your oral health.

To ask our team any questions about the link between oral hygiene and acne or to schedule your next visit to our office, contact us today!

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What Is Gingivitis?

You know from dental visits and toothpaste commercials that gingivitis is something you want to avoid. But what do you really know about gingivitis? What causes it and how can you prevent it? We have all the answers for you here.

An Overview of Gingivitis

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gum line near your teeth. It’s a mild form of gum disease or periodontitis. Symptoms of gingivitis include red or swollen gums that may bleed while brushing or flossing, bad breath, and receding gums. Gingivitis in common but can cause deeper problems if not treated, and can eventually lead to periodontitis and tooth loss.


Gingivitis is most often caused by poor dental hygiene, but the risks increase for the elderly, people with dry mouth, and those with lowered immune response. Hormonal changes like pregnancy and certain contraceptive methods can also increase risk. Gingivitis occurs when plaque builds up around the gum line, causing the tissue to become inflamed. Plaque forms when bacteria feed off of food (especially sugar) left in the mouth. This leads to tartar (the hardening of plaque) on teeth, cavities, and bad breath.


In order to prevent gingivitis, you must take good care of your teeth. Brush two times a day for 2 minutes each time. Floss daily, especially after meals. Reduce sugar intake. Oral bacteria feed on sugar in the mouth. Maintain dental appointments for cleaning. At your dental appointment, we’ll scrape off tartar and plaque that brushing can’t remove.


If we see gingivitis at your next visit, we’ll let you know. Please let us know if you notice any of the signs or symptoms. We will help guide you toward a treatment plan that is right for you. This may include a deep clean of your teeth, or simply better maintenance of tooth care at home. We also recommend you consider purchasing a gingivitis-fighting mouthwash in addition to your daily brushing and flossing. Look for the active ingredients cetylpyridinium chloride and chlorhexidine.

If you suspect you may have gingivitis, contact us today. We’ll talk you through ways to improve the condition of the gums and may want to schedule an appointment. You don’t want your condition to worsen, so please let us know if you have concerns!

Contact us to schedule an appointment today!