9 Oral Health Tips from Your Dentist in Rapid City

Dentist in rapid city

Dentist in rapid city

Rushmore Dental | Dentist in Rapid City, SD


Daily brushing and flossing are necessary to maintain healthy teeth and gums. However, you can do other things that benefit your overall well-being. Please read below for your dentist in Rapid City‘s nine dental health tips.


Brushing your teeth with a soft-bristle toothbrush for two minutes twice a day, known as the 2×2 rule, helps remove plaque and bacteria and keeps the teeth and gums healthy. To avoid damaging the soft tissue, brush with fluoride toothpaste and proper techniques using small circular motions. Remember to brush your tongue well to fight bad breath. 


Floss nightly before brushing to remove anything your toothbrush is unable to dislodge. Skipping this vital step will leave small food particles that can eventually decay and cause oral health problems. Flossing may cause gums to be extra sensitive, which is natural and will stop once you’ve been flossing for a couple of days. 


It would be best if you change your toothbrush every 3 to 6 months. Old, frayed toothbrushes don’t clean the tooth’s surface correctly and can damage your gums. Always rinse your toothbrush and store it upright to dry completely.


Avoiding foods and drinks that are highly processed and laden with sugars plays a massive role in long-term dental health. Including foods high in calcium that can help support strong and healthy teeth, like leafy greens and cruciferous veggies, almonds, yogurt, and cheese. 


Regular dental visits every six months will allow your dentist in Rapid City to catch tooth decay and other issues before they take hold. During this visit, your teeth get a thorough cleaning from a hygienist to remove the buildup of plaque and tartar and shine up your tooth enamel with a buff and polish.


As you know, brushing and flossing are fundamental to preventive dental health. Still, you can help keep your teeth in top condition by incorporating supplemental aids into your routine. Consider using mouthwash, oral irrigators, interdental, and tongue cleaners. These dental hygiene products can help support good oral health and should be used in addition to regular brushing and flossing.


Avoiding a dry mouth by staying hydrated helps maintain healthy saliva flow by moving food particles through your mouth. Hydration keeps food from sticking between your teeth, where oral bacteria can grow. 


Dental sealants fill in the grooves of the top of your molars and premolars to protect your teeth from cavities. Everyone benefits from sealants, but children and teens are good candidates as they often don’t brush as thoroughly as adults.


While regular checkups with your dentist in Rapid City are an excellent preventive measure, issues can develop between visits. Quickly scan the inside of your mouth as part of your oral care routine. If anything seems unusual, share this information with your dentist at your next appointment.

Visit Your Dentist in Rapid City, South Dakota

Rushmore Dental in Rapid City has many years of experience providing dental care to patients of all ages. Our passion is to help you maintain optimal oral health and a beautiful, healthy smile. Ask us about other dental services, such as cosmetic dentistry procedures and CEREC crowns. Call our office to schedule an appointment today.


It’s Time for a Dentist FAQ Session

Faq | it’s time for a dentist faq session

DO YOU HAVE questions for the dentist? There’s a good chance one of yours made our frequently asked questions list!

Question 1: How often do I need to visit the dentist?

For most people, we recommend a dental exam and cleaning twice a year. Even for patients with perfect oral hygiene, it’s inevitable that some plaque and tartar will still build up. We can give your teeth a professional cleaning to control plaque and tartar and we can catch any dental problems early, which will save you time, pain, and money in the long run.

Some people can benefit from more frequent visits, often for reasons like pregnancy, a history of gum disease, or a smoking habit. The ideal frequency of your visits is based on how healthy your gums are and how committed you are to maintaining good oral hygiene.

Question 2: Why do I need a filling if my tooth doesn’t hurt?

Not all cavities are painful. Cavities form when the acid produced by bacteria eats away at tooth enamel until it creates a hole in the tooth. Cavities usually don’t hurt in the early stages when they only affect the enamel. You don’t want to leave a cavity untreated until it hurts, because that means letting it progress until it reaches the dental pulp where the nerves are. At that point, a simple filling might not be enough.

Question 3: Is it really important to keep baby teeth healthy?

It’s true that baby teeth are temporary, but that doesn’t mean they don’t matter. Baby teeth are essential to a child’s ability to chew their food effectively, speak clearly, and master lifelong dental habits like brushing and flossing. They’re also important placeholders for the incoming adult teeth.

Question 4: What is making my teeth more yellow?

Teeth inevitably darken or yellow over time as a function of age, but trauma and environmental factors can make the effect much more pronounced. The biggest culprits of surface stains are cigarettes, wine, coffee, tea, cola, sports drinks, berries, hard candy, and even tomato sauce. If your smile is losing its sparkle, talk to us about whitening treatments.

Question 5: How bad are pacifiers and thumbsucking for my child’s teeth?

At first, they aren’t bad at all! These self-soothing habits only become an oral health concern when they continue beyond toddlerhood. Most children will grow out of them on their own, but after age three, it is time to start considering strategies for discouraging the habit, like clipping a pacifier. We can help!

Faq | it’s time for a dentist faq session

These aren’t the only habits that can damage teeth!

We Love Answering Our Patients’ Questions!

The more educated our patients are about their teeth and gums, the more confident they feel about how they’re taking care of their dental health. If you have any questions we didn’t cover here, give us a call or schedule your next appointment today!

We live for seeing our patients’ smiles!


Being Lip-Tied or Tongue-Tied

Frenum | being lip-tied or tongue-tied

IT’S COMMON ENOUGH to be tongue-tied in the sense of not being able to get your words out, but a tongue tie is also a real medical condition, as is a lip tie. These conditions are both caused by pieces of tissue in the mouth called frena. One frenum connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth, and another connects the upper lip to the upper gums. These aren’t the only two frena we have, but they’re the important ones for this subject.

Frenum | being lip-tied or tongue-tied

Normal Versus Abnormal Frena

A normal frenum is thin and very stretchy, allowing for the free mobility of the lips and the tongue, which is important for normal chewing, talking, and swallowing. If the upper lip or tongue frenum is unusually thick or tight, it can restrict movement and make each of those functions harder. This is a tongue tie or a lip tie.

A person with a tongue tie may not be able to lift their tongue to touch the roof of their mouth, causing significant difficulties for word pronunciation, chewing, and swallowing. A person with a lip tie may have a large gap between their upper front teeth and a higher risk of gum recession. In infancy, they may not be able to effectively latch while breastfeeding.

How We Treat Lip and Tongue Ties

Fortunately, with modern dentistry, there’s an easy fix for lip and tongue ties. A simple surgery called a frenectomy can be done to remove or reduce the abnormal frenum. In cases where the lip or tongue’s movement is restricted and particularly if there is pain or discomfort, the procedure is definitely worth considering.

A frenectomy is a very quick procedure with a short recovery time. In most cases, the procedure is performed by oral surgeons or periodontists (gum health specialists). They will first numb the area, then make a small incision in the frenum to release, reduce, or remove it.

Some doctors use laser surgery to cut through the tissue and shorten recovery time. A laser also lowers the (already small) risk of complications. Make sure to follow all post-operation instructions to achieve the best results with the shortest recovery.

Your Dentist Can Diagnose a Lip or Tongue Tie

For most of us, frenum aren’t something we ever have to think about because they aren’t causing us problems, but if you believe yours or your child’s might be interfering with the normal function of the lips or tongue, schedule an appointment with the dentist to find out. We can take a look and determine whether you would benefit from a frenectomy.

Taking care of our patients’ smiles is what makes us smile!

Post-COVID Dentistry: Why Dental Caries are On the Rise

Dental health is a personal investment

In September 2020 ,reiterated in 2021and 2022, the American Dental Association (ADA) Health Policy Institute released findings from an impact poll highlighting an increase in certain oral health conditions since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Doctors who participated in the ADA poll reported increases in bruxism (54.9%), chipped and cracked teeth (53.4%), temporomandibular disorder symptoms (53.4%) and caries (26.4%) among patients.

As we continue into our third year of the COVID-19, now an endemic, the ongoing health challenges that came with it continue to impact my practices, my patients, and our collective mental health. This is especially clear when you consider ADA data highlighting how doctors are seeing an increase in bruxism, chipped and cracked teeth, TMD, and increases in caries and periodontal disease.

As dental professional, what does a respiratory virus like this one have to do with an increase rate of caries in our patients? There are lot of factors that may contribute to my patients’ overall oral health—and specifically, an increase in caries and decay.

Factors that contribute to tooth decay and oral health decline:

As a dental professional, I must understand why many of my patients were suffering with a variety of dental issues during the COVID-19 pandemic, including (but not limited to) increased decay rates. Importantly, there are many factors at play that can impact my patient’s overall oral health—some directly and others indirectly.

Stress and Xerostomia

Stress has a significant impact on the immune system and the body’s ability to fight off infection. Stress also impacts our body’s overall chemistry, causing us to produce stress-related hormones like cortisol, which has widespread effects throughout the body.

Stress also impacts our overall saliva production and flow, leading to an increase in xerostomia (dry mouth), which in turn can lead to thicker and stickier plaque than what is normally rinsed away with saliva. Of course, saliva has buffering capacity to neutralize acid that’s produced from decay-causing bacteria.

When people deal with stress long enough, it can lead to anxiety and depression—which may lead my patients to be prescribed medications designed to help manage these issues. Many of these medications are helpful for managing these conditions—but a common side-effect of many of these medications is xerostomia (dry mouth).

Masks and Mouth Breathing

Some of my patients were wearing masks more than ever—which was leading many to become obligate mouth breathers. Since patients may struggle to breathe through their nose while wearing a mask, they will default to breathing through their mouths.

Mouth breathing has long been known to cause a host of negative effects on the oral environment from the constant wetting and drying of the tissues. Mouth breathing and xerostomia affect the overall oral environment, including the overall pH and the flora and microbiome of the oral cavity.

Not only does xerostomia contribute to changes, but stress also impacts our bodies’ overall chemistry. This alters the overall flora and microbiome in the oral cavity—and with these changes, then the overall balance of the bacteria changes. In many cases, this leads to an imbalance that can lead to more bacteria, which can cause conditions including caries and periodontal disease.

Changes in Diet

Another factor that may have lead to an increase in caries during the COVID-19 pandemic was secondary to stress—and that is stress eating. Classic comfort foods are often high in sugar content, which alters the overall bacteria flora in a way that is more ideal for decay-causing bacteria.

Similarly, the pandemic is likely causing changes to patients’ overall diet, including the foods they eat and the overall frequency. As patients were working more at home and less at a workplace, many patients may have found themselves eating different foods or eating or snacking more frequently at home. There again, this changes the overall oral environment. If patients have not changed their overall oral hygiene habits to compensate for this, then decay rates may increase.

Financial Changes and Oral Health

Another factor to consider is that many patients also suffered (or continue to experience) significant financial and economic changes amid the pandemic. There were massive changes in the workforce during this time and thus, many patients experience significant changes in finances.

Job changes and furloughs during the pandemic led to changes in dental benefit plans for many of our patients. Meanwhile, many dental offices were closed or saw minimum patients during the earliest days of the pandemic. This led to a significant lapse in care for many patients during this time.

For patients that have poor oral hygiene or who already have significant dental conditions, this created a perfect storm for a significant surge in the rate of caries and other dental conditions.

Final thoughts—and what to do:

The COVID-19 pandemic created a significant increase in health challenges for everyone—directly and indirectly. The overall long-term effects and issues will take years for dental profession to even begin to understand. My team and I at Rushmore Dental are more than happy to always look at factors causing this for you and to give you our best recommendations.



Chen, Lili and Zhao, Jiajia and Peng, Jinfeng and Li, Xiaoshuang and Deng, Xuliang and Geng, Zhi and Shen, Zhenyu and Guo, Fengyuan and Zhang, Qianwen and Jin, Yang and Wang, Lin and Wang, Songlin, Detection of 2019-nCoV in Saliva and Characterization of Oral Symptoms in COVID-19 Patients (3/14/2020).

Gholami N, Hosseini Sabzvari B, Razzaghi A, Salah S. Effect of stress, anxiety and depression on unstimulated salivary flow rate and xerostomia. J Dent Res Dent Clin Dent Prospects. 2017 Fall;11(4):247-252. doi: 10.15171/joddd.2017.043. Epub 2017 Dec 13. PMID: 29354252; PMCID: PMC5768958.

When Do I Need to Get a New Toothbrush?

How long have you been using the same toothbrush? Everyday we throw away expired food from our fridges, replace supplements and vitamins, and ensure that we don’t run out of beauty products. Our dental hygiene, however, does not get the same amount of attention as the rest of our daily routines. We often forget about this essential part of our body until it’s too late. So when do you need to get a new toothbrush?

Many dentists and the American Dental Association (ADA) recommend changing your toothbrush every 3 months. With each use of your toothbrush, the bristles wear down and become less useful in removing germs and plaque from your gums and teeth. Studies have shown that it is around 3 months of use that renders a toothbrush ineffective.

Another thing to consider, that we probably don’t want to, is that germs and bacteria can hide and live in the bristles of the brush. This is the reason why you should also replace your toothbrush immediately after being sick, otherwise you risk perpetuating the illness by possible reinfection.

In case you can’t recall how long you have had your toothbrush, pay particular attention to the condition your toothbrush in in. Are the bristles worn out, fanned out, or frayed? These are signs that you need to replace it. Especially watch out for dark color changes, as this is a sign of mold or fungus forming.

Effects of Not Changing Your Toothbrush Often Enough

Knowing that germs and mold can accumulate on your toothbrush should be enough to convince most people that they need to throw out their old one, but these aren’t the only issues involved with not replacing your toothbrush. When bristles wear down they become less effective in removing plaque buildup. This buildup can cause gingivitis which, left untreated, can cause some serious issues including infection and tooth loss.

If that isn’t enough, you should also know that you can get sick from using old toothbrushes. Finally, and probably the most unappealing of everything already stated, if your toothbrush is stored near a toilet for prolonged periods of time you can end up ingesting undesirable particles. I’m going to go change out my toothbrush just thinking about it, and probably go schedule a cleaning appointment with my dentist.

What to Think About When Buying a New Toothbrush

During your next checkup, ask your dentist what kind of toothbrush is right for you based on your personal needs and state of your dental health.

If you want to go get one today (like I do after writing this), you should consider these common suggestions. Look for a toothbrush with soft bristles, because hard or stiff bristles can cause damage to your teeth and especially to your gums. Look for a toothbrush with a head that contacts only one or two teeth at a time. Always use toothpaste that contains fluoride and is ADA approved, think about getting mouthwash to further fight plaque buildup, and of course don’t forget to floss!








A Patient’s Guide to Finding a Good Dentist in Rapid City

Choosing dentist 543 | a patient’s guide to finding a good dentist in rapid city

Dentist in rapid city
PEOPLE IN RAPID CITY might need to find a new dentist for all sorts of reasons. Maybe they just moved into the area. Maybe their old one retired. Maybe they’re new parents and need to find one for their child. Whatever the reason is, we recommend not waiting until an urgent dental health emergency pops up before finding a dental practice that fits your needs. Here are five important factors to keep in mind when searching for the best dentist for you.

1. Location, Location, Location!

How close is the practice to your home? To your child’s school or where they play sports? To your workplace? Make sure the distance isn’t so great that making it to twice-yearly checkups will become a major inconvenience. It’s a good idea to decide on a radius that seems doable for you and your family, then determine who the best dentist is within that radius. On the other hand, there might be a practice slightly farther away that is still worth it for other reasons!

2. Reputation Matters

What kind of reviews does the practice have? What are their other patients saying about them? Check out the Yelp and Google reviews and maybe ask around your neighborhood, coworkers, and friend group to see if anyone you know is familiar with that particular practice. While there can sometimes be hidden gems, a lot of good feedback is generally a positive sign.

3. What Specialties Can They Claim?

A dental practice that operates close to you and has fantastic reviews might still not be right for you if they don’t offer some of the services you think you’re likely to need. How good are they with child patients? Do they offer cosmetic treatments? How much experience do they have with root canal therapy or treating gum disease? Do some research into a dentist’s specialties to see if they’re a good fit.


4. How Well Do They Fit Your Budget?

Sometimes a practice’s only flaw is the cost of their services in comparison to your budget, or that they aren’t in your dental insurance network. It’s still important to find a dentist for regular appointments in this case, because those checkups are much easier on a budget than a serious dental problem that could’ve been caught and treated cheaply in an early stage. Finding a budget-friendly dentist is an excellent investment, both financially and in terms of dental health.

5. Patient Comfort

If you aren’t comfortable around a dentist or within their practice, then the other factors might not matter much to you. It’s a good idea to pay a practice you’re considering an early visit just to get a sense of the place and the staff. A good dental practice will always prioritize patient comfort, especially considering how many patients struggle with dental anxiety!

Meanwhile, keep up those oral hygiene habits!

We Look Forward to Meeting You as Your Rapid City Dentist!

If you weren’t sure how to start looking for a great dentist in Rapid City before, we hope we’ve given you a few ideas of where to begin! If you want to learn more about our practice to see if we’re a good fit for you, just give us a call or stop by. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have!

Thank you for trusting us with your dental health needs!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

5 Signs That You Need to Visit Your Dentist

Signstovisitdentist2 | 5 signs that you need to visit your dentist

There is an unfortunate tendency among many people to delay seeking treatment for dental issues. Barring an emergency or severe discomfort, many will overlook signs that should, in fact, be sending them to the dentist. Whether it be fear of the dentist or the simple hope that the issue will clear up on its own, they wait and risk having the situation grow worse.

While there are times that certain issues will resolve themselves, here are 5 signs that you need to visit your dentist.

Bleeding Gums

Under normal conditions, your gums are not supposed to bleed. If they do, it could be a sign of inflammation, which if untreated, could lead to periodontal problems such as gum recession, abscesses, and bone loss. An easy way to help monitor whether your gums are bleeding is to use white toothpaste, as the red of your blood will be more visible than when using coloured gels.

Sensitive Teeth

Your teeth may prove sensitive to heat, cold, or sweets. You may also experience discomfort from cavities or even defective dental fillings. Plaque build-up is another factor that may cause sensitivity. While there are toothpastes available to alleviate the pain of tooth sensitivity, if the pain appeared suddenly or very recently, it could be an indicator of a more serious issue.

Sensitive, Red, or Swollen Gums

Just as your gums should not bleed, they also should not hurt. If you are experiencing discomfort when brushing or eating, this is more serious than simple bleeding and you should consult your dentist. Infection or an acute abscess can be caused by food accumulating in the gum. This becomes more likely when following plaque build-up. Mild forms of gum disease are typically treatable at home with a little extra care given to your oral hygiene, but if it is a more severe case, your dentist and hygienist will need to intervene.

Signstovisitdentist | 5 signs that you need to visit your dentist

Bad Breath

It’s surprising how many people think of bad breath as normal and simply try to cover it up with mouthwash, mints, and gum. Bad breath, also called halitosis, may be the result of several different conditions including dry mouth, medication, chronic sinus infection, acid reflux, or periodontal (gum) disease. It may also be the sign of uncontrolled diabetes. If your have persistent bad breath, your dentist may be able to determine the cause.

Canker Sores

These are tiny ulcers that can be found on the inside of your lip or cheek, your gums, your tongue, or the roof of your mouth. They may occur as the result of an irritant or accidentally biting your lip or cheek and will usually heal within about a week. In other cases, they may be more severe and slower to heal. For some, it may be a frequently recurring problem. These may be caused by stress, food allergies, or something more serious like immunity issues. Cankers that do not heal after a week, or which seem to be spreading, are a sign to see your dentist.

Don’t assume that the pain you are feeling will go away on its own. Your oral health is important. Any of the above signs are reasons to see your dentist, who can prevent small issues from becoming major problems. If it has been longer than 6 months since you’ve seen or spoken to your doctor, you’re due for another visit.