Food for your teeth

Having a well balanced diet and fueling your body with the proper nutrition is so important for your overall health, however, it also contributes to the health of your teeth in tremendous ways! The make up of certain foods can be damaging to your oral health and being low in certain nutrients can make your teeth more susceptible to gum disease and tooth decay. It’s pretty self explanatory that eating sugary or acidic foods is damaging to your oral health, but let’s go over some foods that are beneficial for your teeth!

Cheese

Cheese contains several nutrients, like protein and calcium that are known to strengthen tooth enamel. This helps prevent tooth decay and raise pH levels in the mouth.

 Yogurt

 Again, another dairy product, like cheese yogurt contains protein and calcium. The probiotics present in yogurt are beneficial to the bacteria in your mouth because the good bacteria kick out the bad bacteria that are known to cause cavities. Side note: Yogurt can have added sugars, so just keep an eye out for that if you decide to add yogurt to your diet for oral health benefits.

 Green veggies

 Green vegetables are healthy in almost any context. They are packed with vitamins and minerals that are known to improve oral health. Spinach and kale especially, have high calcium content, which is beneficial to tooth enamel.

 Almonds

 Bringing back high protein and calcium, almonds are a great snack to add to your diet for positive oral health results. Eat them plain or add them to a salad!

 Apples

 While we normally don’t recommend sugary, sweet foods, apples are an exception. This tasty fruit is packed with fiber and the texture is great for gum stimulation.

 Carrots

 Carrots are a quick and easy healthy snack to munch on throughout the day. They are also full of fiber and contain wonderful vitamins and minerals.

If you’re looking to change up your diet to benefit your oral health, consider adding a few of these healthy suggestions! Be sure you are fueling your body with the right stuff, giving it all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients it needs and deserves. By keeping a healthy diet, you will be sure to improve your dental situation as well.

Do you have any specific questions regarding foods for your oral health or any diet related questions, we’d be happy to get you headed in the right direction. Call us anytime!

Cavities and your Kids

We often forget that children can develop cavities at any age. From before their first tooth comes in, it is important to care for your child’s oral health. Cavities and tooth decay are almost always preventable with a healthy diet, great dental hygiene habits and regular dental cleanings and check ups. However, despite it’s preventability, tooth decay remains one of the most common childhood health issues. The rate of cavities in children and toddlers is becoming a serious issue and it is growing. We are seeing tooth decay and cavities form on baby teeth as well as permanent teeth, which can have negative effects on a child’s overall health.

Below, we will give you some tips on how you can help prevent cavities and tooth decay in your child’s teeth.

Dental Visits: When and how often?

This varies from patient to patient, but to be safe, we recommend making an appointment with your family dentist as soon as your child has their first tooth. This allows us to show you proper techniques to caring for such little teeth and preventing cavities. We will also let you know when you should bring your child back in for their next check up.

Care for your own dental health.

Sharing things like utensils, straws, or anything else that can transmit saliva can bring harm to your kid’s teeth. There are specific cavity germs that are easily transmittable through saliva, so be sure you are keeping your dental hygiene in check too!

Limit the sugar intake.

For the younger kids, it is very important to limit the sugar you allow in their diet. This not only helps their dental health but it also helps their overall health. Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle, but if you feel you have to try to stick to water.

At each stage in life, there are different guidelines to caring for your child’s teeth. This is why it is so important to visit the dentist regularly and follow their guidelines for at home care. Also take into consideration your own dental health and the eating habits of your children and your family.

We know how important it is to develop healthy dental habits from a young age.

If you’d like to meet with us about cavities in children, or if you have any other questions or would like to schedule an appointment, give us a call!

Denture Care

There are a couple different types of dentures ranging from a complete set of teeth to a partial set of teeth. This type of dental service is useful in cosmetic situations as well as functional situations, when it comes to eating or talking. The most important part about dentures is that they help you while remaining a comfortable piece of dental wear. As all dentures are custom fit for you, it is really important that you keep your dentures in good condition.

We have some tips to help you keep your dentures in tip-top shape!

Brush and Rinse:

Just like natural teeth, dentures need to be brushed and rinsed everyday. Do not use a toothbrush or tooth paste made for real teeth, instead, use products created specifically for dentures, as this will reduce the risk of any scratches or other damages.

Use a Denture Cleaner:

After brushing all of the plaque and food debris from your dentures, use a denture cleaner. Ask your dentist about which dental cleaner you should use and specifics on how to use it properly. Usually, you will submerge the dentures in the solution for a given amount of time, letting them soak to get them extra clean!

Avoid:

Steer clear of abrasive materials like rough bristles. Do not use whitening products or bleach. Hot water is also not recommended. Avoid using these things as they can cause issues to your dentures.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly:

As with any dental service, it is important to know that everything is going well. This will ensure that you are maintaining a good dental health and that your dentures fit and work properly. If you are having any issues with your dentures, your dentist will be able to work with you to fix the issue.

Keep these tips in mind while caring for your dentures. Take care of them as if they were your natural teeth and always keep your dentist in the loop. They are there to recommend specifics to all of the tips listed above.

If you have been considering dentures and are not sure if they are the right option for you, give us a call or make an appointment with us and we can discuss your situation and what options you have. We know dental care can be a tricky area to navigate, but we are here to help you through the process.

Concerns Surrounding Sedation Dentistry

We all know how important it is to visit your dentist regularly for check ups and cleanings. This is the best way to prevent serious dental issues. Visiting your dentist regularly also gives your dentist the opportunity to notify you of any other dental services you may need or that you may be interested in. Many people experience serious anxiety when it comes to visiting the dentist and sometimes sedation dentistry is recommended.

Sedation dentistry is recommended for patients that are sensitive to pain, have a bed gag reflux, have dental anxiety or are getting a more invasive procedure done.

While sedation dentistry is very beneficial, there are some common concerns we’d like to address to ease your mind in the case that sedation dentistry is recommended for your dental care.

Who can administer sedation?

Across the board, the majority of dentists can administer some form of sedation, however, depending on the type of sedation, special accreditations may be required. For example, for a very deep sedation your dentist must have completed the Commission on Dental Accreditation program. Many dental offices even have a designated dental anesthesiologist. Typically, dental surgeons are also qualified to administer sedation. And sedation techniques vary from state to state, so if you have concerns about that, talk to your local dentists office.

Is sedation dentistry safe?

As with anything health related, your dentist should go over your family’s health history for any signs of issues you may have. As previously stated, sedation techniques vary, so ask your dentist what the dosage is for your age and what the specific rules are for your state. Know about your dentist and be sure that they are qualified and have the proper training. Make sure your dentist stays up to date on dental advancements.

Sedation dentistry is proven to be safe and effective under the right circumstances. The most important part of safety when it comes to sedation dentistry is having the right dentist. Do your homework and make sure you chose a dentist that has the proper training as well as good patient reviews or testimonials. You want a dentist that takes their work seriously and puts their patients first, making sure they feel comfortable and safe so they can receive the proper dental care that they need.

If you have any other concerns surrounding sedation dentistry, give us a call or schedule an appointment to discuss your options of sedation dentistry.

 

How Often Should you Brush Your Teeth?

shutterstock_284497142_720How often do you brush your teeth?

The standard that many people grew up hearing from their dentist is “Brush twice a day.” But when should you brush? What if you can only brush one time – when should you do it to be most effective? If twice is good then would four times be better? Is there a bad time to brush?

Our basic advice – Brush twice a day for two minutes each time.

To make things a little more clear we have some additional tidbits for you to keep in mind.

The Culprits –

  • Sugary foods, especially sticky or liquid varieties that coat your teeth, is food for bacteria. As the bacteria metabolize the sugar they produce acids that lead to gum disease and cavities.
  • Acidic foods are just as detrimental to teeth for the same reasons as sugary foods. Except they’re acidic from the very beginning.
    Did you know that the pH of a diet soda is about the same as household vinegar?

The Problem –

Eating or drinking something acidic lowers the pH of a mouth and it can take a long time for it to return to normal. Acid demineralizes your teeth and weakens the tooth surface, leaving it vulnerable to decay.

The Exacerbation –

Brushing your teeth while your mouth’s pH level is too low can actually cause more damage. Your toothbrush and toothpaste are abrasive and will etch your weakened tooth surface even more. Waiting at least thirty minutes will allow your saliva to stabilize your pH.

Your toothbrush can cause more damage just by how it’s made. Nylon threads are sliced to make an even row of bristles, but the cut leaves a very jagged edge on the bristles. Most high quality toothbrushes will undergo another step that softens the edges into domes. The rounded edges are far less abrasive on your teeth but just as effective at removing debris. Even if your toothbrush had rounded edges when you took it out of the package, regular use will cause them to get worn back, jagged, and split – making them more abrasive. When you start noticing your toothbrush getting worn go ahead and replace it. If you wait until the bristles are splayed then it’s too late.

The Alternatives –

  • Rinse your mouth with water. This will help restore your mouth’s pH to a normal level. R
  • Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash will help to prevent plaque from producing more acids which is a big step in keeping your pH levels balanced as well.
  • Chew some cheese. Chewy things will make you salivate, and the proteins in your saliva help to block the acids. And the chemicals that naturally occur in cheese help to re-mineralize teeth.
    Having a little cheese with your wine is good for your health!
  • Sugarless gum is another great option. Again, the chewing action stimulates your saliva production which, in turn, helps to balance your mouth’s pH. Some studies have also shown that Xylitol, a sweetening agent, has properties that prevent cavities.

The Timing –

Bedtime is the most critical time to brush your teeth. You salivate less at bedtime which allows bacteria and acids to spend more time weakening your tooth surface. If you brush before bed then you’ll be reducing the number of culprits that can damage your teeth.

So to answer our earlier questions – You should brush before bedtime and thirty minutes after eating a sugary or acidic mea. If you can only brush once, brush before bed. Brushing more often is not necessarily better because you could potentially be weakening your teeth. The worst time to brush is after eating or drinking something acidic – rinse with water instead.

We want to see you every six months for your regular visits, but we’d prefer not to tell you that you need fillings or worse. Call us to schedule an appointment!

 

Here’s a little cheat sheet –

Brush 2x a day.
Brush for at least 2 minutes each time.
If you can only brush once, brush at bedtime.
Rinse with water after sugary or acidic foods.
Use new, good quality brushes.

Get Ready for Another Commercial!

 

img_4158_720 This week my marketing team convinced me to sit down in front of a cozy fireplace to talk about one of my passions – helping adults and children get a better night’s sleep. But there was a catch.

They were going to film it!

I love helping people to achieve their perfect smile. I enjoy creating solutions to make my patients more comfortable. I’m passionate about breathing well. And I’m eager to share these things!

We had a long talk in front of TerraBella’s fireplace and the camera crew was so amazing that I felt almost normal despite the mic and cameras surrounding us!

Over the course of the evening we talked about how I got started in my practice and all of the new things I’ve been learning and incorporating into my practice through the years. We discussed Othro-tain and braces, the connection between breathing well and sleeping soundly, the correlation between poor sleep and ADD, and my collaborations with other providers such as chiropractors and physical therapists. Another key topic came up was all of the new technology that we’ve been incorporating into the practice.

img_4152_720There are so many exciting things happening.  I would love to elaborate on everything we talked about right now but I want to keep some things a surprise for the commercial!

Look for us on your TV soon and let us know what you were doing when we came on screen!

3D is Revolutionizing Impressions

 

Trios 3 HorizontalWe have a new toy and we’re excited to share it with you!

We are now using the TRIOS 3 for taking impressions. This award winning scanner will give us a 3D color image of your mouth. There aren’t any giant machines, no messy impression trays, and no waiting for results. The Trios 3 is smaller than previous models to comfortably fit in the mouth, quickly scans what it sees, and sends the images directly to a screen.

The TRIOS 3 allows us to:
  • See your entire mouth all at one and evaluate treatment more accurately.
  • Share the images with patients so that they can see the clinical situation be more comfortable accepting treatment.
  • Have open communication with our patients about treatment plans.
  • Get high definition photos of a patient’s mouth so that we can easily see problem areas.
  • Perfectly measure the shade of teeth for an exact match.

In the past we had to have impression trays, scanners, an intra-oral camera, and inaccurate shade measures. Now we only need the TRIOS. Of course we love that we need less equipment, but we also love that we will be saving our patients’ time by doing all of that in one go.

We’re so excited to begin using this in all areas of our practice, but especially for planning implants.

Some other services we will using this for are:
  • Crowns and bridges – this will give us an accurate guide to properly sizing, fitting, and coloring so that they will look more natural.
  • Veneers, inlays and onlays – perfect color matching will make it so they look real.
  • Temporary crowns and virtual diagnostic wax-ups.
  • Removable partial dentures – you’ll have natural looking dentures with a perfect fit.
  • Orthodontics – A clear, full picture of your mouth will let us plan the best course of action with the smallest amount of time.

We hope that you’re as excited as we are to use this tool. We love being on the cutting edge of dental technology, saving you time, and giving you a perfect smile.

Use DNA to Improve Snoring

 

shutterstock_346374167_720Did you know that 27.4% of Alaskans are sleep deprived?

As we discussed the connection between Sleep Apnea and TMD we touched on some ways that we could help you with snoring and sleep apnea problems. The newest tool in our arsenal is a DNA Appliance System. As one of only two certified providers in Alaska, we are proud to begin introducing this system to our state and helping nearly a third of our state to rest better.

So what is the DNA Appliance System?dna logo

Though your genes can be a factor in whether or not you suffer from sleep apnea, in this instance we aren’t talking about Deoxyribonucleic acid or Ribonucleic acid. The Daytime-Nighttime Appliance (DNA) is a patented, FDA registered device that aims to correct the underlying issue instead of simply masking it. In combination with the mandibular Repositioning-Nighttime Appliance (mRNA) this system allows us to gently and non-surgically correct many of the issues that cause TMD, Sleep Apnea, snoring, and headaches.

The other method that we like to use to manage snoring and sleep apnea is a Mandibular Advancement Device. This simple protrudes your lower jaw in an effort to keep your airway from collapsing as you sleep. This device still has a firm place in our treatment line-up, but it does have some drawbacks. The biggest one being that it has to be worn over a lifetime.

A longer term solution is to use non-surgical airway remodeling of the upper airway so that the underlying issues can be fully resolved.

The DNA is worn during the evening and at night. It gently increases the size of your upper jaw over time. Which, in turn, increases the volume of the nasal airway. More volume means more air, less constriction, and more sleep.

The mRNA is worn at night. It corrects the position of your teeth and places them in a more natural position. It also increases the redevelops the upper airway. This combined approach helps to reduce TMD symptoms, headaches, and snoring in patients of all ages.

If you’re looking for a solution to your sleep issues that doesn’t involve surgery, drugs, pain, or injections, contact us today! We’d be happy to tell you more about the new option and see if it’s right for you.

The TMD and Sleep Apnea Connection

headache

Are you suffering from daytime drowsiness, high blood pressure, morning headaches, depression, decreased libido, or impaired concentration? Is your partner suffering with a bed-mate who snores?

You might have sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing.

Do you hear clicking in your jaw, struggle with painful chewing, have trouble opening or closing your jaw properly, feel tension in your temple muscles, have toothaches, or headaches?

Then you might have Temporal Mandibular Disorder.

Be wary though, TMD and SDB share many symptoms and occasionally TMD symptoms can mimic or mask those of sleep apnea. More often however, where there is one you will find the other because the two are interconnected.

Sleep apnea leads to TMD.
When people who suffer from sleep apnea grind their teeth or shift their jaw in an unconscious attempt to find a better position in which to breathe can cause the temporomandibular joint to become inflamed and exacerbate a pre-existing TMD.

TMD leads to sleep apnea.
If your teeth aren’t positioned correctly then your lower jaw can go back too far when it closes. If your jaw goes back too far this can cause problems with your temporomandibular joint. TMD can lead to headaches and jaw aches. Head and jaw aches cause your head to move forward, straining the neck. Ongoing neck strain can cause the normal curvature of your spine to degenerate which restricts normal movements like those needed to breath unobstructed. The DNA Appliance System is a new solution that we’re excited to begin implementing.

In most cases this cycle can be prevented. With a simple treatments such as Six Month Smiles or Ortho-tain, we can make sure that your teeth are properly aligned. And with a simple Mandibular Advancement Device we can prevent your airway from being blocked by your tongue and the soft tissues of your throat.

If you’re suffering with TMD, jaw pain, headaches, and interrupted sleep, contact us today to see if we can help you feel better.

Giving Thanks for Modern Dental Care

pilgrim

 

This is a time of year filled with family, feasts, and thankfulness. But when you’re counting all of your blessings, don’t forget to count modern dental care!

We all know the traditional tale; Pilgrims sailed over, ended up starving, and were saved by the Indians who offered to share food. We also know that’s not the whole story. Aside from the historical inaccuracies, there’s one glaring piece missing!

How did the participants of this feast chew their food? If there were no dentists back then, how did they keep their teeth healthy? Well, the simple answer is that they didn’t. People back then had tons of cavities and the closest they got to a dentist was finding someone really strong that could pull a tooth out. But, their teeth weren’t so bad that they all fell out, so obviously they had some method of oral hygiene, right?

One thing that we have in common with our ancestors is that our diets play a major role in our dental health. When we eat a balanced, nutritious diet, our mouths are stronger and more resistant to decay. Avoiding acidic foods will help keep your enamel strong too.

This factor gave the Native Americans a distinct edge over the newcomers. After months on a ship with salted meat, dried fruit, beans, cheese, beer, and hardtack as their only food, the Europeans were starving by the time they reached America. Though these foods can provide a balanced diet in the right proportions, they mostly ate hardtack. Which, unless it’s infested with protein rich weevils, is nothing but flour, water, and salt. This lack of nutrients, especially vitamin C rich fresh fruits and vegetables would have greatly weakened their immune systems, and with it their teeth. The Native Americans on the other hand were eating off a land they were very familiar with. Between what they harvested, hunted and picked they had access to fresh meat, veggies, nuts, and berries. Which is a nearly perfectly balanced diet!

Both groups also used their own versions of toothbrushes and tooth pastes! The Europeans affixed pig hairs or pine bristles to sticks or animal bones to brush debris off their teeth. The Native Americans used a similar method to brush their teeth, but they preferred herbal leaves that served double duty as a breath freshener.

Native Americans also made an early form of toothpaste from the cucacua plant. They also used to rub their teeth with sage or tarragon. The Europeans were less familiar with the local flora and fauna so they would use salt as an abrasive to remove tooth debris, or whatever leaves and herbs they found growing nearby.

So this Thanksgiving, after you’ve enjoyed an amazing meal with your favorite people, don’t forget to brush your teeth. While you’re brushing think about what it’d be like to brush your teeth with pig hair and salt. And don’t forget to make an appointment to have your teeth cleaned by a modern and tech-savvy dentist!