Valleydale Dental

Teeth Whitening: What You Need to Know

Sparking, pearly whites—we all know people who have a brilliantly white smile. Maybe you’re one of those people; maybe not. If you’re not, you may be wondering how white teeth are achieved. Could it be whitening toothpastes, strips, or treatments?

When it comes to teeth whitening, several strategies exist and everyone takes a different approach. So, what approaches can you take?

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5 Mistakes People Make When Brushing Teeth

Ever since toddler years parents have stressed the need to brush teeth. “Go brush your teeth and go to bed,” parents command in the evening.

It’s a morning and evening ritual for all of us now, but each ritual varies from person to person, especially technique. Did you know there is a proper way to brush your teeth? You probably did. But you might be making a few mistakes when you go to the sink to grab your toothbrush and toothpaste.

Here are five of the most common mistakes we’ve all made and continue to make:

#1 – Not brushing long enough 

How long do you brush? If you’re like most, you probably don’t know the exact amount of time. Dentists agree that between two and three minutes of brushing is best. Divide your mouth into quadrants and spend 30 seconds brushing each quadrant with great technique.

#2 – Poor Technique 

We’re all guilty of plopping the toothbrush in our mouth and brushing with harsh horizontal strokes. It’s time to stop that. Angle your brush at a 45-degree angle and brush with short strokes up and down your teeth. Strokes should be vertical or circular in motion. No more horizontal strokes.


#3 – Starting in the same place

We’re creatures of habit. You may not notice but you probably place your toothbrush in the same position to start every time. By the time you reach the end of your ritual you’re tired of brushing and the last portion of your teeth suffer from lazy technique.

Mix it up. Start in different places to avoid ending poorly in the same place each time.

#4 – Skipping inner tooth surfaces

The exterior and tops of your teeth look great, but what about the inner side that your tongue touches? Yes, this area is often overlooked. Make sure you spend equal time on the exterior, inner and tops of your teeth each time you brush.

#5 – Rinse your brush after

If you forget to rinse your brush after, it’s time to change your habit. Not rinsing will leave bacteria on your brush and the next time you brush, you’ll put old bacteria back in your mouth. Yuck.

Once you’re done brushing, flip the water on, give your brush a quick rinse and leave it to dry till next use. You’ll keep the bacteria away.

Worried about your oral health or just want a quick checkup? No problem at all. Here at Valleydale Dental we offer everything dental in Birmingham, AL: regular teeth cleaning, cavity fillings, root canal therapy, whitening, crowns and so much more.

Read what others are saying about our Birmingham dental office on Google. Call our office for any questions you have: 205.991.7797.

We look forward to taking care of you!

3 Ways to Avoid Cavities

“You have a cavity.” If you’re like everyone else, you sigh and shake your head a little when your dentist tells you the news. Cavities ruin any day. But it’s not our dentist’s fault, it’s our eating, drinking and dental care habits that have led to a cavity. The worst is when we’ve been working hard to keep cavities away and then one is discovered.

If it’s about habit and discipline, then what can we all do to minimize the formation of cavities? How can we change what our dentist says from, “you have a cavity” to “everything looks great”?


It comes down to choice and a few simple daily habits to keep cavities away:

1.  Fill Your Cup with Water 

No, water isn’t the most exciting beverage on the planet. It doesn’t attract because of the taste. But water is the ultimate way to keep your mouth clean and healthy. If you’re reaching for sugary beverages like soda, juice and sports drinks throughout the day, you can expect the liquid to leave sugar deposits on your teeth.

With water, there’s no sugar to deposit, which means there are no cavities to form. Also, water is a natural cleanser and liquid to wash away food debris in the mouth. Swish a little around in your mouth after you eat and remove particles between your teeth.

If you can discipline yourself to choose water, you won’t hear your dentist mention cavities as often.

2. Cheese, Are You Serious?

Yes, indeed some researchers and dentists recommend eating cheese because of the nutritional benefits for teeth. Cheese is rich in calcium and casein, a protein that acts as protection for teeth, building stronger teeth.

Since teeth are partly made of calcium, adding calcium to your diet through dairy products like cheese is a great way to strengthen your teeth and keep them healthy. Just be careful with dairy products loaded with sugar—yogurt and ice cream. Cheese is great because of its low sugar content (depending on the kind you consume).

So, next time you make a run to the grocery store, think about grabbing some cheese.

3. Chew Sugar-Free Gum on Occasion

Gum is great for not only ridding yourself of awful breath. Gum causes your mouth to produce saliva, which is great for the health of your teeth. Saliva is a natural tooth cleanser, keeping decay and deposits from adversely affecting your teeth.

This doesn’t mean you need to binge on chewing gum. Instead, keep a pack around so you can chew a piece after a meal or in the afternoon when you’re struggling to stay awake.

And remember to select sugar-free gum; otherwise you’re inviting cavities to set up residence in your teeth if you chew gum with sugar.

So, what are you going to do to take control of your dental woes? Are you going to keep getting cavity fillings or is it time to adjust your habits to keep your teeth cavity-free?

We’re here to help if you have questions or need some guidance about keeping cavities away. Our Birmingham, AL dentist office is your one stop location for everything dental.

Call us today if you have questions—205.991.7797—or submit information through our contact form.

Teaching Your Kids How To Brush Well at Home

Best practices and habits start at home and at a young age. Whether it’s studying for school or caring for oral health, it’s best to teach children early and teach them right because what they learn in their early years will last a lifetime.

When it comes to oral health, take a moment to sit down with your children and teach them how to brush their teeth with great care. It doesn’t have to be boring or dull. Give them incentives, make it fun and keep reminding them of the benefits.

If you’re unsure of what to say or how to teach your kids best brushing practices, well, you’re in for a treat today. Sit back, grasp what we have to say and then go forth and teach your children.

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What’s the best age to start? 

Around the age of 2 or 3 is the best time to start. This is early enough to expose your child to the necessity of brushing, but also allows enough time for them to actually have teeth to brush. Just know, teaching and guidance will need to continue until they are between the ages of 6-8 when they can take responsibility on their own.

How do you start teaching? 

Everyone has a different method, but one of the best for teaching anyone anything is by showing them. Whenever it’s time for your child to brush, take out your toothbrush and brush with them. Get down on their level, show them the brushing motion and teach them how long they need to brush.

If necessary, take their toothbrush and demonstrate on them with your hand on theirs, guiding them through the motion. Once they start to feel the proper motion, it will be become more natural. As you walk through the process tell them why each motion is important and explain the different areas of the teeth and gums to brush.

How can you make it fun? 

Children love games. They love to laugh and have a fun time, so make brushing teeth a fun experience. Maybe play their favorite music in the bathroom while you’re teaching them and dance a bit. Offer rewards for brushing well, such as being able to watch another TV show or a little bit of extra time playing with their toys. Rewards encourage children to do things they don’t particularly understand or like.

Purchase children’s toothbrushes and toothpastes. Take your child to the store with you and let them select their toothbrush and toothpaste. If they’re excited about the toothbrush then they’re more likely to use it.

How can you keep up good brushing habits? 

Set a regular time for brushing every morning and evening so the child gets in the habit of brushing at that particular time. As this becomes habit, they will more naturally go to the bathroom to brush during this time. It will take some encouragement and endurance through some fits, but it’s worth it.

What else should you do to help your child? 

Don’t forget about regular checkups at your local dentist. Your children need to see the dentist as they grow and their teeth mature. Did you know that 40% of children have cavities by the time they enter kindergarten?

To prevent cavities and to address them if they become an issue, make it a point to visit the dentist. If you don’t have a dentist or are searching for a new one in the Birmingham, AL area, then it’s time to consider Valleydale Dental.

Dr. Gonzalez provides great dental care for the entire family and the Valleydale Dental staff makes everyone feel right at home. Going to the dentist is no longer a fear for those at Valleydale.

4 Healthy Foods for Your Teeth

We all want to grab for that candy bar or ice cream cone from time to time. The sugary delight is addictive, but while it’s not bad to consume every once in a while, it can become a problem for not only your stomach and weight—it can cause some serious problems for your teeth.

When we select food at the supermarket or at a restaurant we typically concerned with calorie count along with other nutritional information. The last thing we think about is how this food might affect our teeth. Strange thought, I know, but it’s one more we ought to consider.


So, have you considered which foods might be healthy for your teeth and your weight? If not, time to consider.

1. Milk and Dairy

Perfect, ice cream is dairy, so it’s good for your teeth right? Wrong. When we make mention of dairy, we’re considering milk, yogurt, cheese and other products with low sugar contents. Milk is a great enforcer and protector of tooth enamel. Milk provides much needed calcium and phosphorus that teeth need to remineralize. That means minerals are added back to your teeth after they’ve been removed by acid-heavy foods and drinks, which is a plus for your tooth health!

2. Firm/Crunchy Fruits

The term “firm/crunchy” is interesting, but what we’re referring to here are fruits like apples and pears. These foods are high in water content, which dilutes the amount of natural sugar they have in them. They also cause saliva production, which protects against tooth decay, acidic buildup and food particles getting stuck within your teeth. Some term an apple as “nature’s toothbrush.”

Be careful with acidic fruits, such as lemons, pineapples and other citrus, as these contain greater amounts of acid. If you prefer citrus fruit, eat them with other foods so acid is not left on your teeth.

3. Fish

Yes, fish is actually good for your oral health. Particularly, salmon and Atlantic mackerel contain healthy amounts of vitamin D, which is great for oral health because it assists the body in absorbing and using calcium. So, if you consume fish and dairy together, you’re giving your teeth a serious boost of health.

4. Water

Wait, water isn’t a food! True, it’s liquid, but it’s one we can’t help but emphasize whenever we can. Water does so much good for the body. It boosts saliva production, which keeps teeth healthy and from decay. Water washes away food debris in your teeth. And water keeps you away from all those sugary-drink alternatives. A healthy mouth is one filled with life’s best fluid—water.

Now you know what foods to focus on in your diet. It’s up to you to take control of what you eat to benefit the health of your teeth. We’re here to assist in your oral health as well.

If you have any other questions about food or drink regarding your oral health, please don’t hesitate to contact our Birmingham dental office. We enjoy teaching and educating all of our patients about great dental practices.

Not one of our patients? Not a problem. You can get started today at Valleydale Dental in Birmingham. Call our office at 205.991.7797 or fill out the contact form on the right, and we’ll be in touch!