Which Toothbrush Is Right for You?

Brushing your teeth seems relatively straight forward. Many dentists recommend that, in addition to flossing, brushing your teeth twice a day is a solid defense against tooth decay and general discoloration. However, there still seems to be discussion over which toothbrush is actually better for your teeth — manual or electric?

Assuming you follow proper brushing techniques, using a standard toothbrush and some toothpaste is all you really need to brush your teeth effectively. In fact, most dentists agree that the secret to preventing tooth decay isn’t the toothbrush you’re using, but how you’re using it. For most people, however, following proper brushing techniques is easier said than done.

If you have difficulty reaching all the surfaces of your teeth, an electric toothbrush could improve your oral hygiene and help prevent future tooth decay. Here are some things to think about when deciding which toothbrush is right for you.


If you travel frequently, or don’t have storage space to spare, it’s worth determining which style of toothbrush would be the most convenient for you. Electric toothbrushes come with bulky chargers and can be difficult to store if you have space constraints. Manual toothbrushes come in a wide variety of styles, heads, bristles and even colors, and are much simpler to transport and store than their electric counterparts.


Most electric toothbrushes are more expensive than standard ones. However, if you’re a lazy brusher (and now is the time to admit it), an electric toothbrush could actually save you money.  Studies have shown that, when used correctly, electric toothbrushes can remove more plaque from your teeth than manual ones.  If an electric toothbrush improves your overall oral health, the money you could save paying for fewer fillings or emergency visits to your dentist is well worth the initial cost.

Additionally, electric toothbrushes typically come with one to three replacement brushes. When the time comes to replace your toothbrush head every three months, you won’t have an additional expense.


Although your brush isn’t the make-or-break factor for keeping your mouth healthy, the pulses of an electronic toothbrush can allow you to reach surfaces of your teeth that you may not even realize you were neglecting. Your toothbrush can’t do all the work, but if you invest in a good one, it certainly can help. Moreover, you can help maintain your oral health with regular brushing and flossing and by generally avoiding tough foods.

Want to Know More?

When it comes to choosing a toothbrush, make sure you choose a brush that matches your oral health and lifestyle needs. It’s important to find a brush you like as well as one protects your pearly whites.

If you have any further questions regarding what toothbrush is right for you, or how to maintain proper oral hygiene, contact us for additional services and support.

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Brushing 101 

Whichever toothbrush you choose, the secret really lies in how you use it. Brushing your teeth correctly can help prevent tooth decay, yellowing, cavities, gingivitis and more. Use the following steps to ensure you’re brushing your teeth correctly and protecting your beautiful smile.

  1. Gently brush theouter surfaces of your upper teeth with soft, short strokes; repeat on your lower teeth.
  2. Gently brush theinner surfaces of you upper teeth with soft, short strokes; repeat on your lower teeth.
  3. Pay special attention to your gum line, harder-to-reach back teeth and any areas where you’ve had tooth decay or restoration work done before.
  4. For fresh breath, gently brush your tongue to remove bacteria.

Brushing your teeth should take a total of two minutes. Most dentists recommend using a stop watch or cell phone to time brushing your teeth until you’re comfortable doing so for the entire two minutes.

As always, remember to floss!

Oral Health for Seniors Produces Long-Lasting Smiles

Adults can develop unique dental challenges after the age of 50 that can affect how they look and feel. When a combination of appropriate materials and technologies are used by a dentist to treat these challenges, excellent results can be achieved. The quality of dental care has improved significantly over the last few decades. By today’s standards, it is realistic to expect the majority of people over the age of 50 to have most of their own teeth. A good way to increase the likelihood of this happening is by taking advantage of the many effective ways in which modern dentistry can help prevent gum diseases and help keep teeth healthy.

Regular Dental Visits

In life’s later years, even people that have previously had no dental problems can begin to develop cavities, weak enamel, plaque, tender gums, tooth sensitivity and chronic bad breath. Therefore, it is crucial that they visit their dentists at recommended intervals to screen for problems that might arise. There are also effective, over-the-counter dental care products that have been especially developed for this age group.

A Healthy Diet

Eating a healthful diet can also help alleviate dental problems in older people. By avoiding foods that contain artificial preservatives and sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar, wheat flour and partially hydrogenated oils, one can prevent the body from becoming overly acidic. Too much acid in the body can increase the amount of bacteria that can cause cavities and can increase inflammation.

Foods that are rich in Vitamin C can help promote gum health and prevent the collagen in the gums from breaking down and becoming tender. Tender gums can lead to painful gum disease. Kiwis contain a high percentage of Vitamin C, as do cherries, oranges and limes. Phosphate and calcium help keep the natural Ph levels in the mouth balanced. They also help prevent cavities and gum disease by killing unwanted bacteria. Cheese and yoghurt are rich in these nutrients. An increase in saliva helps neutralize the bacteria that lead to cavities. Eating celery can help with this, as can drinking green tea. It also helps to drink a lot of water throughout the day. Dark green leafy vegetables also provide many minerals and vitamins that can help keep the teeth healthy.


American Dental Association, “Diet and Dental Health.”

Glassman, Paul, DDS, MA, MBA. “Oral Health Quality Improvement in the Era of Accountability.” Pacific Center for Special Care. December 2011.

Mills, J; Schuman, NJ. “A Clinical Approach to Dental Nutrition Among the Elderly: a Description and Discussion of Geriatric Dental Nutrition.” Journal of Tennessee Dental Association, April 1999.

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Preventative Dental Care for Seniors

The single most important thing one can do to help achieve good oral health is to visit a dentist regularly for cleanings and oral exams. Problems that are detected early tend to be easier to treat and are much less likely to develop into more serious issues such as tooth loss.

Brushing the teeth at least twice a day and flossing once each day can also help cut down on dental problems.

Any person that has not seen a dentist in at least 6 months should schedule an appointment right away.

What Are Those White Spots on Your Gums?

Dentists use the medical term “leukoplakia” to describe white spots on gums. Leukoplakia affects the mucous membranes lining the inside of your mouth. During leukoplakia, thick white patches develop on your gums. These white spots may also develop on the inside of your cheeks, on the bottom of your mouth and, sometimes, on your tongue. You cannot scrape leukoplakia white spots off your gums or other areas of your mouth.

Leukoplakia patches are often white in color but may be gray in some areas. These spots usually have an uneven shape and have a slightly raised, firm surface. Contact with spicy or acidic foods may cause pain. Sometimes the white spots have a fuzzy appearance, a condition doctors call “hairy leukoplakia.”

Treatment of White Spots on Gums

Dentists do not yet know what causes leukoplakia but they think the condition may be the result of irritation. Rough teeth, dentures or dental work may cause oral irritation in some people, as can tobacco use – especially pipe smoking – and alcohol use. Research shows that leukoplakia is most common among elderly people.

White spots on the gums are usually harmless and go away after a few days or weeks. Avoid alcohol and stop all tobacco use, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and chewing tobacco if you use these products.

Consult with a dentist if you think dental work is irritating your gums or mouth, or if the white spots on your gums are especially painful or prevent you from eating, talking, or wearing your dental appliances. Always consult with a dentist if you are concerned that the white spots on your gums are a sign of something more serious. A healthcare professional will examine the white spots and may even take a biopsy, or small sample of the diseased tissue, to send to the medical laboratory for further examination.

White Spots on Gums May Be a Sign of Cancer

National dental organizations warn that white patches on your gums can also be a sign of gum cancer. These experts recommend you return to your healthcare professional for re-evaluation and who will consider performing a biopsy if the white spots on your gums do not heal within two weeks.

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, “Detecting Oral Cancer: A Guide for Health Care Professionals.” July 2013.

Vyas, Jatin M. MD, PhD, “Leukoplakia.” U.S. Library of Medicine. Sept 2013.

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Consult with Your Dentist About White Spots

White spots on the gums are often the result of irritation to the delicate tissues inside your mouth, especially irritation resulting from rough or ill-fitting dentures, partials and other dental appliances. Sometimes white spots on the gums are a sign of gum cancer.

Your dentist can help you determine the cause of the white spots on your gums and take a biopsy when necessary to rule out cancer of the gums. Your dentist can suggest a course of treatment and monitor the healing process to ensure the white spots on your gums fade as quickly as possible.

What Dental X-Rays Tell Us

Dental X-rays provide detailed images of your teeth and jaw bone, allowing your dentist to review the structure, number, and positioning of your teeth. In addition to helping your dentist diagnose injury, damage or disease, X-rays can uncover potential problems that a dentist cannot detect from a visible examination alone.

X-rays reveal any number of issues, including early tooth decay that’s not yet evident on the surface of the tooth and abscessed teeth that harbor interior infections. Other issues X-rays can uncover include bone damage, jaw fractures, and teeth that are misaligned or impacted.

Getting an X-ray taken involves biting down on a piece of film while the X-ray device is moved around to different areas of your mouth to capture images of specific areas. X-rays work by using electromagnetic radiation to penetrate the body, creating an image of the body’s structures on film.

Silver fillings and metal dental restorations are dense, blocking most of the light and appearing white on the X-ray results. Teeth and tissues will show up as gray, while structures containing air will appear black.

How Often Should You Get Them?

The frequency of dental X-rays depends on several factors, including your age, your overall oral health, and your risk for disease. A dentist may choose to take X-rays if you are showing any symptoms of oral disease. They may take X-rays of new patients to get a solid overview of their oral health.

Annual X-rays are often taken to catch tooth decay and other potential problems at their earliest stages. Children may require X-rays more frequently than adults, as their teeth are still developing and typically more prone to tooth decay.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Dental X-rays are considered safe, although they do use low levels of radiation. Recommendations created in 2009 by professional dental associations help dentists determine when dental X-rays would be most useful so patients are not exposed to more radiation than necessary.

Dental offices typically use precautions during X-rays. Covering the patient with a lead apron during the procedure protects the abdomen from radiation exposure. A leaded thyroid collar may also be used to protect the thyroid, which is recommended for children, pregnant women and women of childbearing age.


American Dental Association, “X-rays.” 2014.

U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health MedlinePlus, “Dental X-rays.” 2014.

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Why Do I Need X-Rays?

Dental X-rays help your dentist see problems or issues with your teeth and jaw bone that may not be visible during an examination. Early tooth decay can often be uncovered by X-rays, as can infections, bone fractures, misalignments and impacted teeth. X-ray radiation levels are low, and their usefulness as a diagnostic tool can be high. If you have specific concerns or want to learn more about dental X-rays, contact your dentist today.

Protect Yourself: Black Market Dental Products

Most people appreciate a good bargain, but there are some areas where you just can’t compromise quality for cost. Without a doubt, dentistry is such an area, yet there is a thriving black market for dental materials. Learn about counterfeit dental materials and supplies and how you can protect yourself.

Black market dental materials are more affordable because they are usually stolen or distributed in a way that allows suppliers to avoid standard fees and taxes. Some black market dental products were manufactured to be sold in other countries at lower costs, but are illegally sold in the U.S. In many cases, these products may have passed their expiration dates or be outdated, or they could not meet FDA standards for quality and safety, which could pose serious risks to patients.

One type of dental product that has been known to cause significant problems when purchased on the black market is adhesives used to hold dental restorations in place. Low quality adhesives could cause restorations to fit poorly or not be properly secured, which may lead to broken teeth, decay, or other serious oral health issues.

What’s being done to reduce the influx of black market dental materials? The FDA created stronger rules for labeling and materials of medical devices in 2011, which has allowed for better product tracking and a tighter distribution chain. Also, many manufacturers of dental products are now using different brand names and packaging for materials intended for foreign countries to make black market products more easily identifiable.

Reputable dentists take care to purchase supplies from legitimate and respected manufacturers who enforce strict testing and quality control standards. Your dentist wants you to be confident in the care you are receiving, so he or she is happy to answer any questions you may have about the source of materials and products involved in your treatment.


DiMatteo, Allison. “Gray and Black Market Dental Products: Are You at Risk?” Consumer Guide to Dentistry.

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Black market dental products are not approved by the FDA and may lead to serious health consequences for unwitting patients.

Canker Sores: Causes

Canker sores are nothing to smile about — as you may already know. These small, uniformly-rounded sores can occur, several at once, on the inside of the mouth, affecting the cheeks, gums, lips, tongue and/or throat. If you’ve had to deal with recurring appearances by these painful intruders, you may wonder why you get them in the first place. The answer to that question is trickier than you might think.

Medical science doesn’t currently have a catch-all explanation for exactly why some people are susceptible to canker sores while others are not. Research points out that there may be a combination of triggers at work; when the right combination of triggers coincide, outbreaks occur. This might be one reason why canker sores predominantly affect women between the ages of 10 and 20, since hormonal changes have been identified as a trigger. Emotional stresses can also contribute to outbreaks.

Canker sores may also appear in association with certain diseases, which has caused some speculation over whether a virus might be involved. People with suppressed or failing immune systems are known to be vulnerable to canker sores. Celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and an inflammatory condition called Behcet’s disease are possible culprits.

In fact, it also appears that the old phrase “you are what you eat” may apply to canker sores. Vitamin deficiencies due to poor diet may make the body more susceptible. Food allergies or sensitivities can irritate the mouth and bring on an attack of canker sores, especially when acidic foods are involved. The presence of certain varieties of oral bacteria may prompt outbreaks. Other oral triggers may include the constant rubbing of a dental or orthodontic appliance against the tissues of the mouth. If you use toothpaste made with sodium lauryl sulfate, a reaction to this substance could turn your daily efforts at good oral hygiene into recurring canker sore episodes.

What Can You Do About Canker Sores?

While there is no preventing the sores themselves, you can eliminate some of the potential triggers. Try switching to toothpaste containing different ingredients (as long as it’s still approved by your dentist). Have yourself checked for hormonal imbalances, food allergies, or nutritional deficiencies. Find techniques to reduce stress. Consult your dentist for other suggestions on how you can best manage your canker cores.


Colgate, “Canker Sores (Aphthous Stomatitis Or Recurrent Mouth Ulcers).”

Mayo Clinic, “Disease and Conditions: Canker Sore.”

University of Michigan,”Cold and Canker Sores.”

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Canker Sore or Cold Sore?

Canker sore sufferers may confuse their symptoms with cold sores, or vice versa. Both types of sores cause pain and tingling, take a couple of days to form, and can strike several times a year. But the resemblance ends there. Canker sores only occur inside the mouth, while cold sores frequently appear on or around the outer lips. Canker sores also appear white or gray, while cold sores display blistering. Ask your dentist for an informed diagnosis.

Learn about Green Dentistry

As consumers continue to become more educated about how to conduct business in a more environmentally-responsible manner, it’s no surprise that “green dentistry” is rapidly gaining popularity. Green dentistry is dental care focused on employing materials, procedures, and technology that are healthier for the environment. Many green dentistry practitioners also apply a more holistic approach to patient care and aim to provide cosmetic enhancements that look more natural.

Common benefits of green dentistry include:

Less Waste and Fewer Harsh Chemicals

Dental offices with an environmentally-responsible focus take great care to reduce the amount of waste generated by their practices. Many use energy-efficient washers and dryers to allow them to use cloth supplies like bibs, headrest covers, and gowns that they can wash and reuse rather than using disposable paper-based products. They also use biodegradable cleaners and steam sterilization techniques to cut down on the use of potentially toxic chemicals which could harm patients as well as the environment.

Less Radiation

Digital X-rays are a significant innovation in dental technology and are essential to green dentistry practices. Not only do digital X-rays expose patients to up to 90% less radiation than traditional X-rays, but they also reduce the need for harmful developing chemicals and X-ray film. Plus, the images from digital X-rays are immediately viewable by the dentist and are of a higher image quality.

Less Metal in Restorations

Green dentists use metal-free dental restorations (like porcelain veneers and crowns). Not only is this often safer for the patient, but new composite materials also look more natural than metal-based restorations. Metal-free cosmetic and restorative dentistry materials also cut down on heavy metal waste which may find its way to local water sources.

If you are interested in learning more about green dentistry, ask your dentist what steps he or she has taken to be more environmentally responsible.


Eco Dentistry Association, “About Green Dentistry.”

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Green dentistry employs the latest technology to benefit patients and the environment.

In-Office Whitening Treatments

Your smile is often the first thing that others notice about you, so it is no surprise that a bright, white smile can make you look youthful and happy. Unfortunately, a stained or dingy smile can have the opposite effect, making you look older than your actual age. The good news is that in-office teeth whitening treatment is an effective way to lighten and brighten stains and overall tooth discoloration.

What Is the In-Office Teeth Whitening Process Like?

The details of your treatment may vary, depending on the severity of your discoloration and other factors. In general, however, you can expect to have your teeth cleaned before your whitening treatment to remove any plaque or debris. You might also undergo an oral exam, especially if it has been a while since your last one.

The dentist or technician places a retractor in your mouth to hold your cheeks open before applying a liquid dam to your gum tissue to protect it from the bleaching agent. A bleaching gel that contains hydrogen peroxide is applied to your teeth. Often, specialized light is then applied to the gel to activate the oxygen in the hydrogen peroxide, helping to penetrate the stains. Either way, you can relax while the bleaching gel goes to work, lightening your stains. The process may be repeated a few times, for a total treatment time of about an hour. Once you are finished, you will receive a touch-up kit to use at home.

Who Is an Appropriate Candidate for In-Office Whitening?

You might be a suitable candidate for in-office teeth whitening if you have yellow, brown or greyish stains on your teeth due to: chronic consumption of coffee, dark-colored sodas, red wine or similar darkly colored beverages or foods; chronic tobacco use; or the natural aging process.

However, you might not benefit from in-office teeth whitening treatment if you:

  • Suffer from tooth or gum hypersensitivity, as professional teeth whitening can exacerbate tooth sensitivity
  • Suffer from inorganic stains on your teeth — such as those caused by the use of tetracycline antibiotics — which may actually appear darker after the surrounding teeth have undergone whitening treatment
  • Have suffered oral trauma, which may have caused the dentin in your teeth to darken
  • Have thin, transparent teeth due to age
  • Have extremely stubborn, deep stains

The only way to determine whether you are an appropriate candidate for in-office teeth whitening is to come in for a consultation. Nonetheless, don’t worry if you are not a suitable candidate for in-office teeth whitening, as your dentist will offer alternative treatment options, such as at-home teeth whitening (which is a milder form of treatment) or porcelain veneers to conceal your stains.

To find out if you are a suitable candidate for in-office teeth whitening, schedule an appointment with your dentist today. Your smile will thank you.





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The Use of Veneers for Discolored Teeth

Again, certain patients may not be suitable candidates for in-office teeth whitening. One alternative to in-office teeth whitening treatment is the placement of porcelain veneers. Dental veneers are extremely thin, tooth-colored laminates that are bonded to the front surface of the teeth. They look natural and conceal many dental imperfections, from chips and cracks to dark, deeply rooted stains.

How to Care for Porcelain Veneers

Caring for porcelain veneers at home is simple: You can care for them as you would your natural teeth. Simply brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. Make sure to keep all your regular dental exam and cleaning appointments, so your dentist can monitor your oral health, including the health of your veneers. With proper care and oral hygiene practices, your veneers should last a long time.

The Facts about Dental X-Rays

During some trips to the dentist’s office, you will be asked to have dental X-rays taken. X-rays need to be taken periodically, to allow your dentist to monitor any changes in the health of your teeth and gums and detect potential problems. When you see a new dentist, he or she will likely want to take X-rays unless you are able to provide recent images. Other than that, your dentist will decide how frequently you need X-rays by evaluating your age, oral health, and your risk for developing dental problems in the future.

Dental X-Ray Basics

To take dental X-rays, your dentist or hygienist will place thin films wrapped in cardboard into your mouth and ask you to bite down on them. You will be fitted with a lead apron to block the machine’s radiation from your body, and a number of images will be captured at different angles in your mouth. Your dentist will use these images to evaluate your teeth, gums, and jaw bone structure. He or she may also use X-rays to look for:
•    Cavities
•    Bone infections
•    Gum disease symptoms
•    Abscesses
•    Changes to your bones or teeth
•    Developmental issues in children
•    Locations of non-erupted teeth

Dental X-Ray Risks

With any form of radiation exposure, there is a slight increase in the risk of developing cancer. The younger you are when you begin to get X-rays and the more X-rays you have during your lifetime, the more that risk goes up a small amount. Some studies also show that women are slightly more susceptible to developing X-ray radiation cancer than men are.

While the amount of radiation released during dental X-rays is small, it’s still a good idea to avoid unnecessary X-rays. If you can, bring a copy of previous X-rays with you when you see a new dentist. You may also want to ask about digital, E- or F-speed X-rays, which will help reduce the amount of radiation you receive. If you are pregnant, be sure to let your dentist know, as radiation from X-rays can also be a risk for your unborn child. If you do need to have dental X-rays while pregnant, remember that the amount of radiation to which you will be exposed is small and that your oral health is also important for the health of your baby.

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Keeping Track of X-Rays

Maintaining regular bi-yearly dental appointments if important to your oral and overall health. As your dentist sees your regularly, he or she will be able to properly track your oral health and determine when you need dental x-rays. If you have questions or cannot remember the last time you had dental x-rays, speak to your dentist.

Smile Makeover Options

If you feel self-conscious or embarrassed about having an imperfect smile, you might be happy to learn that you have many cosmetic dentistry treatment options that can provide you with the smile of your dreams. From the Invisalign clear teeth-straightening system to dental implants with porcelain crowns, your cosmetic dentist can correct nearly any dental imperfection.

What Is a “Smile Makeover”?

As the name suggests, a smile makeover is not simply one cosmetic dental treatment, but a combination of treatments designed to make over your entire smile. Your dentist can evaluate your oral health needs and listen to your aesthetic concerns before suggesting a smile makeover treatment plan that will help you accomplish your goals.

Smile Makeover Treatment Options

The following are the most popular treatment options used in smile makeovers. Again, your dentist will recommend the treatment options that will best help you reach your aesthetic and oral health goals.

  • Invisalign. This is a nearly invisible way to straighten crooked or misaligned teeth.
  • Teeth whitening. This can be performed either in the office or at home.
  • Tooth-colored fillings. White fillings are a great way to replace outdated, unsightly metal fillings.
  • Dental bonding. Using a dental bonding solution, your dentist can conceal a small dental imperfection, such as a chip on the tooth or a slight gap in between teeth.
  • Porcelain crowns. A crown is placed on top of a prepared tooth, to bolster damaged or decaying teeth or to conceal dental imperfections, such as cracks or chips.
  • Porcelain veneers. These are placed over the front surface of a tooth or teeth to improve dental imperfections, such as deeply set stains, cracks or chips.
  • Dental implants. Once dental implants have healed, they provide a strong, durable foundation for overlying crowns, bridges or dentures.

Find Out More

If you are tired of feeling embarrassed about your dental imperfections, consider undergoing a smile makeover. Contact your dentist for more information about transforming an imperfect smile into a healthy, radiant one.

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Cosmetic Versus Restorative Dentistry

Perhaps you have heard the terms “cosmetic dentistry” and “restorative dentistry,” but are not sure what they mean or how they are different from one another.

Cosmetic dentistry refers to a dental treatment that corrects an aesthetic oral concern. For instance, patients with discolored or stained teeth might pursue in-office teeth-whitening treatment. Given that the goal of teeth whitening is a cosmetic one (i.e., enhancing the appearance of the teeth by improving their color), this treatment can be considered a cosmetic dental treatment.

Restorative dentistry refers to a dental treatment that restores proper oral health and function. For example, patients who are missing many teeth might not be able to speak or chew properly. This can lead to a host of medical problems, such as periodontal (gum) disease or even malnutrition. Their dentist may recommend that they get dental implants with bridges or dentures to promote sound oral health and restore full oral and dental function.

It is important to note that sometimes a restorative treatment also provides cosmetic benefits, and vice versa.