Foods that can damage your teeth

8 Foods that Damage Your Teeth

Taking care of your teeth is a life-long endeavor that is well worth your time. Beyond the typical lecture, you probably got from your parents about sugar rotting your teeth, other foods that can cause some significant damage to your teeth. Here’s a few:

  • Sticky Foods: The sticky food list doesn’t just contain chewy candies like Hot Tamales or Gummy Bears. You also need to watch out for dried fruit. Dried fruit often contain significant amounts of added sugar, and since they are sticky, they tend to hang out on your teeth longer keeping that sugar around. If you enjoy dried fruits like most of us, just make a point to floss carefully after eating some and rinse your mouth out with water.
  • Soda: No real surprises here. There are a few culprits in carbonated drinks, even diets ones. They are almost all high in acid, which can erode enamel. Sugary sodas sipped over an extended period lead to plaque bacteria, and finally, the caffeinated sodas can result in dry mouth (see alcohol below).
  • Alcohol: Drinking alcohol can dry out your mouth, and excessive dry mouth can lead to some very unhealthy teeth. Saliva helps your mouth in various ways including keeping food particles from sticking to your mouth and even repairing smaller, early signs of gum disease or tooth decay.
  • Ice: On a hot summer day, it might seem refreshing to chew on some ice, but it has the potential to chip, crack or even break your teeth. If you have crowns, it even possible to loosen them by chewing on hard substances like ice. So enjoy it in your beverage and leave it there!
  • Sour Candy: Did you know that sour candies especially contain not only more but also different kinds of acids that are more damaging to your teeth? Like dried fruit, the chewiness can stick to your teeth and stay there until you brush next, meaning that the acids and sugar remain on your teeth longer than they should.
  • Bread: If you’ve ever eaten bread, especially white bread, you’re probably familiar with the embarrassing gummy paste-like substance that gets between your teeth after lunch. That’s your saliva breaking the starches in the bread into sugar. Obviously, sugars are bad for your teeth and also for your body.
  • Citrus: The acid in fruit like lemons, oranges, limes, and grapefruits can make your teeth more vulnerable to decay by eroding enamel. If you want to have some lemon water with dinner, enjoy it, just remember to rinse afterward.
  • Coffee: You knew this one was going to end up on the list, didn’t you? Drinking too much coffee will end up staining your teeth, and if you add too much sugar or sugary elements (mocha, syrups, etc.), you are back to the problem of the sugar contributing to decaying teeth.

While life may be full of choices, the ones to protect your teeth will serve you well throughout your life. It’s worth having even some of your favorite foods in moderation to protect your pearly whites. The health of your teeth affects most areas of your overall health, and if you are interested in learning more about how, contact your local, integrative health dentist.

What are the Pros & Cons of Dentures in Anchorage?

What are the Pros and Cons of Dentures in Anchorage?

Dentures have long been an affordable and practical method for improving the quality of your smile, your ability to eat a variety of foods, and even your self-confidence. Unfortunately, many people recoil at the idea, envisioning the set of teeth floating in a glass of water next to the bed. Dentures have come a long way in recent years and are worth a second look for anyone struggling with missing or decayed teeth.

Types of Dentures

There are four main types of dentures, and your Anchorage dentist can help you determine which one is best depending on your specific needs.

  1. Conventional or complete dentures are fully removable and are usually the ones people think of when they envision the teeth in the glass of water. With this style, you will usually have any remaining teeth removed, and your dentures will be fitted once your jaw and tissues have healed.
  2. Partial dentures fill in the spaces where you might have missing teeth. You must have some teeth that are in good working order that stay in your mouth for partial dentures to work.
  3. Overdentures utilize some remaining teeth as anchors, but the dentures still fit over everything, giving you a uniform, beautiful smile.
  4. Immediate dentures are removable and are ones you can wear out of the dentist’s office on the same day your old teeth are removed. This is nice because you won’t have to be without teeth while your gums heal, but immediate dentures often need to be remade once the healing is finished.

Pros of Getting Dentures

  1. Modern dentures are more comfortable than earlier models and look more natural.
  2. Dentures make speaking easier.
  3. Dentures make eating easier.
  4. Dentures give you a beautiful smile.
  5. Dentures can support your facial muscles, providing a more youthful appearance.

Cons of Getting Dentures

  1. Getting the right type of dentures for you is a process that requires multiple trips to the dentist and possible tooth removal.
  2. You will need to get used to them. They can feel a little weird at first and may even cause some soreness. You may need to learn how to pronounce some sounds differently with dentures.
  3. Eating with dentures takes some practice.
  4. Dentures are fragile when not in your mouth, and you will need to take care of them.
  5. Dentures do wear out about every five years and need to be replaced.

Depending on why you are considering getting dentures, the con list may seem like minor inconveniences to you. If you still have questions and would like to talk to someone, please give us a call to set up a consultation. We would love to chat about your many options.

Anchorage sedation dentistry safe and comfortable way to visit the dentist

Overcome Your Fear of the Dentist: The Benefits of Sedation Dentistry

If the very idea of going to the dentist feels you with fear and anxiety, you are not alone. Colgate estimates about 30-40 million people choose to suffer from tooth or mouth pain rather than face going to the dentist. Sedation dentistry is available in Anchorage and offers a safe, comfortable way to take care of your teeth.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

In sedation dentistry, medicine is used to relax you during your dental procedure. It can be a part of even the simplest procedures as well as the complicated or time-consuming. There are four standard levels of sedation:

  • Minimal sedation– you stay awake but are very relaxed.
  • Moderate sedation– you are awake, but won’t remember much of the experience, and you’ll probably slur your words.
  • Deep sedation– you are hovering on the edge of being conscious but still awake. You likely won’t remember anything at all about the procedure.
  • General anesthesia– usually used for complex surgical procedures and for extreme phobia suffers. You will be completely unconscious.

Who Can Benefit from Sedation Dentistry?

  • People with a phobia about dentists
  • If you have a low pain threshold
  • Those who struggle to sit still in the dentist’s chair
  • If you have very sensitive teeth
  • If you have an overactive gag reflex
  • People who need a significant amount of dental work done

What are the Benefits of Sedation Dentistry?

  • The dentist will be able to get the work done faster since you will be relaxed enough to not move around much if at all.
  • You can relax knowing you won’t be filling any fear or anxiety during the procedure. You can even take a pill about an hour before that can help you relax prior to arriving at the dentist.
  • Depending on the level of sedation you will fill little to no pain during the procedure due to the medication. Often your dentist will still use topical anesthesia where they are working.
  • You’ll be memory free! Especially if you have past memories of a horrible dental experience, you probably don’t want to remember this one. Especially if you go with deep sedation or general anesthesia, you will have no memories of the work that was done, just the benefits of your dentist’s handiwork.

Don’t let your fear of the dentist keep you in pain or put the health of your teeth at risk. There are options! Sedation dentistry is available in Anchorage and we can help you have the best experience possible.

Little boy sleeping. Ortho-Tain is a safe treatment for Sleep Apnea in children

Ortho-Tain Safely Treats Sleep Apnea in Kids

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person repeatedly stops breathing and then starts again. While it is more common in adult males, children can also suffer from it as well. In fact, more and more studies seem to link intention, bad behavior, ADD and ADHD with a lack of sleep and poor sleep quality in children. Ortho-Tain can help Anchorage children get better sleep and improve their quality of life.

What is Ortho-Tain?

Ortho-Tain is a removable orthodontic appliance that can not only be worn by teens and adults but also by children as young as five. The appliance is custom made to fit your teeth and can be worn during the evening as well as during the day. For many people, it is a safe, efficient and affordable alternative to traditional braces.

In addition to offering an alternative to traditional sleep apnea treatments, Ortho-Tain can treat a variety of conditions including overbite, overjet or buckteeth, spacing issues, crowding, TMJ disorders, and malocclusion.

How Does Ortho-Tain Help with Sleep Apnea in Children?

Ortho-Tain offers two appliances, the Nite-Guide and the Occlus-o-Guide, that can make a dramatic impact on the quality of your child’s sleep. Originally, both appliances were designed to straighten teeth, and they still do a very effective job at that. In additional they have been found to promote the healthy downward and outward growth and development of both the upper and lower jaw. This is critical because sleep problems like sleep apnea come from kids not getting enough oxygen while they sleep. When their upper and lower jaw has developed correctly, then their airways can expand fully providing for more oxygen and better sleep quality. The Nite-Guide and the Occlus-0-Guide are both appliances worn while sleeping and can also eliminate teeth grinding and reduce snoring.

Early diagnosis and orthodontic treatment in children as young as 5 is not something most parents traditionally consider. However, some Anchorage dentists are hoping to change that mindset. Early treatment tends to be less invasive and shorter in duration. This has many obvious benefits for both child and parents including:

  • Better sleep earlier in a child’s life can reduce or eliminate issues like anxiety, moodiness, hyperactivity, sleep apnea, ADHD, etc.
  • Shorter treatment times
  • Lower costs
  • Reduction or elimination of more traditional braces later in a child’s teens, which tend to be more expensive, invasive, and painful
  • Early treatment can catch and treat medical conditions like TMJ and stop it before it develops.

Sleep apnea can be a contributing factor if your child is suffering from behavioral issues or even just struggling to pay attention. Ortho-Tain is an option that is less invasive and expensive than traditional sleep apnea treatments and can address teeth issues in addition to the sleep problems.

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.

A Dentist Approved Halloween

candy apple

Halloween is one the most beloved holidays for children everywhere. What kid doesn’t like getting bags and buckets full of candy? As a dentist, of course this holiday brings in a lot of questions. I’m here to tell you, not all dentists are the Scrooges of Halloween.

Dentists love candy as much as everyone else. But, we’ve seen what it can do to your teeth so we have a few tips to keep up your oral health while enjoying some treats this holiday season.

  • Timing is everything. Eat candy and other sugary foods with your meal or shortly afterwards. Your saliva production increases when you eat – this will help cancel out acids produced by the bacteria that loves sugar and help rinse away food particles.
  • Choose wisely. Avoid hard candies and other treats that stay in your mouth for an extended time. The longer sugary food stays in your mouth, the more decay it will cause.
  • Pick your poison. Avoiding sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks, and flavored water will decrease your risk for tooth decay. So if you plan on drinking a soda, skip the candy. Sugary drinks on top of sugary foods will just compound your risk.
  • Avoid sticky situations. Sticky candies with, wait for it….stick to your teeth. The stronger the sticking factor, the longer they’ll take to wash away, giving those bacteria lots of chances to feast.
  • Chew on this – chewing on sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal reduces tooth decay. When you chew gum it increases your saliva flow and helps to wash away food and neutralize acids.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. But even regular water will benefit your oral health. Remaining properly hydrated will ensure that you have plenty of saliva to wash away sugar and food.
  • Eat right. Even when you’re not eating candy, you need to make sure that your diet is well balanced. The health of your body is directly connected to the health of your teeth.
  • Brush twice a day. Two minutes at a time. And remember to replace your tooth brush when the bristles look worn.
  • Get between your teeth. We can’t stop stressing how important it is to floss your teeth. Your tooth brush can’t get everywhere and sticky, chewy, nutty, candies love to hide in between your teeth.
  • Come visit me! Regular check-ups and cleanings will keep your mouth nice and healthy and ready to fight any decay that might threaten when you indulge in Halloween treats!

We also have some tips for helping your kids through this season!

  • Don’t deprive them! For a lot of kids being told they can’t have something will only drive them to want it more. This is when you get kids sneaking and hiding the candy. If you don’t know what their eating you can’t help to minimize the impact.
  • Go through the treats together. Have them pick out a predetermined number that they want right now and help them sort out another portion that REALLY want in the future. They’ll love that you trust them.
  • Out of sight, out of mind. Hide the treats they didn’t choose, donate them, or toss them.
  • Teach them. Share with them the tips we gave you above and help them make good choices. Remind them that starchy foods can be as bad as sugary foods because they stay in the mouth longer.
  • Set a treat time. This will teach them moderation and keep them from begging you all day long. Plus, it will allow you to give them their treat at the healthiest time.
  • Have a schedule for teeth brushing. Kids like to know what to expect, especially if it’s activities that they might not find the most appealing. Make teeth brushing part of bed time and morning rituals.

 

According to a Delta Dental survey in 2011 over 60% of dentists surveyed gave out candy – and of those an overwhelming 79% chose to give out chocolate. Only 5% of dentists admitted to handing out toothbrushes! So we suggest you head to your dentists house because odds are good that you’ll get chocolate!

Is Dental Work Safe During Pregnancy?

shutterstock_144260533Yes, most dental procedures are perfectly safe while you are pregnant!

Pregnancy is full of health questions, not just about yourself, but about the baby that you’re growing. We believe that pregnancy should be a time of joy, not a time of worry. So let’s get some of those dental questions off your mind.

Pregnancy is only nine months, can’t I just be a few months late on my bi-annual cleaning?
Absolutely not. You are actually more likely to experience dental problems when you are pregnant. Pregnancy Gingivitis is caused by the changing hormone levels in your body. Any change in these levels allows bacteria to thrive in your mouth and gums. And thriving bacteria means increased periodontal disease. If you notice any tenderness, bleeding, or gum swelling, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Morning sickness is also a concern to your oral health. Stomach acid from the nausea and vomiting common during the first trimester rapidly breaks down the protective enamel of your teeth. Try using a bland toothpaste if brushing your teeth is triggering your gag reflex. And always make sure to rinse your mouth with water or (preferably) mouthwash after a bout of vomiting.
Preventative dental treatments, exams, and check-ups are critical in order to avoid infections that have been linked to preterm birth.

Does my dentist need to know I’m pregnant?
Absolutely! We need to know about any changes that you’re going through. Pay close attention to anything that seems different in your mouth and let us know when you come in. We also need to know about any medications and pre-natal vitamins you may be taking as they affect your dental plan or interact with prescriptions that we might need to provide you for any infections or pain management.

Are procedures like root canals and fillings safe?
If at all possible, procedures like this should be done during the second trimester. The first and third trimesters are the most critical times during a baby’s development and it’s wise to take as few risks possible during this time. The second trimester is generally considered to be the most comfortable – relatively free of morning sickness and body discomfort.
Lidocaine is a Category B drug and can be safely used in small amounts. The most important thing during dental work is your comfort though. When you are uncomfortable that causes your body stress and that stress is shared by your baby. So if you’re pain free then the procedure will be safer for everyone involved. There are many antibiotics that are also Category B that can be prescribed after your treatment. Penicillin, amoxicillin and clindamycin are all considered to be safe during pregnancy.
All elective treatments such as teeth whitening should wait until after you deliver your baby.
Of course if you have an emergency then it can’t wait. But we will do our best to minimize any risks. The consequences of not treating an infection are far worse the risks presented by treatment.

Are X-rays safe while I’m pregnant?
Routine x-rays can usually be postponed until after birth. But if you have an emergency an x-ray might be necessary. According to the American College of Radiology, no single diagnostic x-ray has a radiation dose significant enough to cause adverse effects in a developing embryo or fetus. Advances in x-ray technology have made them far safer than in previous decades. But, if an x-ray is needed to proceed with your care, a lead apron should cover your body to add extra protection for you and your baby. You can never be too safe.

Proper oral care should be an integral part of your pregnancy plan. Make sure that you get your regular cleaning, treat any problems as soon as you notice them, brush regularly, and try to eat a healthy diet with plenty of calcium.

13 Tips to Survive Your Child’s First Dental Visits

 

baby-teeth-333x500

We all know the importance of regular visits to the dentist but the prospect can be a scary one for toddlers that have never gone before or even for parents that have had their own negative experiences. Here are some tips to help smooth your child’s first trip to the dentist.

istock_000012796663xsmallTheir first appointment should happen by their 1st birthday. It’s not a bad idea to make the first appointment after the first few teeth come through though.

  • Schedule for a time when your baby is normally happy and easy going. Avoid scheduling during their normal nap time or when they usually get hungry.
  • Let the Dentist know about any sucking habits like pacifiers, thumbs, or bottles. This will help them to properly diagnose any issues they see.
  • Examine your baby’s teeth as often as you can. This will help them get used to the feeling of fingers poking around in their mouth.
  • Avoid letting your baby fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth. Pooling liquids will promote tooth decay.

 

 

Their first Toddler appointment should happen around two years old. By this time all their baby teeth should have come in.

  • Use positive language leading up to and when talking about the visit. Focus on the good things, like the prizes at the end of the visit. Don’t say “It won’t hurt.” This dentist in New Hampshire has some great suggestions for positive language.
  • Talk to them about exactly what will happen, from the check in process, to the exam, and especially the prize at the end of the visit.doc4f999b7334d1c7318583221
  • Let them come with you to your own cleaning so they can see firsthand what’s going to happen and that you’re comfortable.
  • Know when to walk away and reschedule.
  • Stay with your child to offer comfort and reassurance. Strangers can be scary.
  • Practice brushing often so they get used to the feeling.
  • Use a pea size amount of toothpaste. This is the perfect amount for adequate fluoride coverage, but nowhere near enough for over-ingestion.
  • Use a soft kid sized tooth brush.
  • f15f3f715a3bf213db60e9fd869aaab4Find a fun, over-sized model to allow the kids to practice brushing teeth they can see. Pinterest is an amazing resource for free ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

Tips to avoid dental issues.

  • Brush often.
  • Avoid sugary and starchy foods that will stick to teeth long after eating and promote decay.
  • Rinse with water after meals if they can’t brush.
  • Stop sucking habits as early as possible.
  • Find ways to make oral hygiene fun with timers and fun brushes.

Tips to Protect Tooth Enamel

Anchorage family dentistTooth enamel is one of the most protective natural features of the body but vulnerable due to its location. It is the outermost layer surrounding the visible portion of teeth. The enamel is the part of the teeth that comes in contact with food and beverages that enter the mouth, and it is the part that typically picks up stains. Regular checkups and professional dental cleanings with a family dentist will help maintain enamel throughout life.

Instructing patients in proper at-home self-care, such as flossing, brushing, and the use of a fluoride mouth rinse, often improves the subsequent checkups. Unless there are visible signs of enamel loss, however, many patients are never instructed on ways to maintain and protect their tooth enamel. Some of the greatest dangers to enamel strength and health are foods and beverages. These substances stay in contact with enamel for extended periods of time and penetrate enamel to leave stains. Acidic foods and beverages weaken enamel, allowing cavities to develop.

A diet with excessive sugar consumption generally increases these occurrences, causing bacteria to grow faster and cavities to develop sooner. While the best way to avoid these risks is avoidance of their causes, family dentists know avoidance is not likely to work, so the next best approach is to minimize damage by rinsing the mouth or brushing after consuming foods and beverages typically high in acid and/or sugar. Flossing will improve results, and attending professional exams and cleanings on schedule will also help.

Although patients often prefer bright white teeth, it is more beneficial to have teeth professionally whitened than to use over-the-counter whitening gels and kits. These kits and gels, though at times effective, can leave teeth more sensitive and affect enamel with continued or frequent use. Discussing dental and oral health concerns at regular checkups can also help by keeping patients well-informed and clinics aware of patient concerns for future monitoring.

To learn more about maintaining tooth enamel, and other aspects of oral health, contact our skilled dental team today!

Is Your Mouth Stressed Out?

Anchorage family dentistIf you are feeling the effects of too much stress in your life, chances are your mouth is, too. The body works in unison and the effects of stress and anxiety can negatively affect your wellbeing—including your oral health. In fact, stress-related dental conditions such as bruxism and TMJ disorder are not uncommon. Fortunately, our caring and experienced family dentist offers treatment for stress-related oral health issues.

How Stress Affects Your Oral Health

Have you ever woke up after a restless night of sleep to experience facial pain or headaches? Because we internalize stress, many patients grind their teeth and clench their jaw during sleep when stressed. The longer one endures distress, the more likely this action of clenching the jaw and grinding teeth becomes a habit. Over time, patients will begin to unknowingly do these things during the daytime, too. This habit of clenching and grinding teeth is called bruxism and it can have far-reaching effects on your oral health.

Over time, bruxism leads to wear and tear on teeth. As bruxism begins to wear tiny cracks in tooth enamel, the mineralized protective coating surrounding teeth, teeth become weaker in structure and more susceptible to decay. The molars located at the back of the mouth tend to experience more wear and tear than other teeth and eventually the upper and lower sets of teeth will not line up properly. As a patient’s tooth alignment (bite) changes, they may experience painful symptoms like toothaches and facial pain.

Malocclusions, Bruxism, and TMJ Disorder

Typically accompanying malocclusions and bruxism brought on by stress, patients often develop TMJ disorder. This dental condition leads to wear and tear on teeth and diminishes a patient’s quality of life by producing painful and debilitating symptoms. The TMJ is a joint that connects the skull and jawbone and is responsible for facilitating mouth movement. With stress-induced clenching and teeth grinding, it places unnecessary strain on the TMJ and surrounding tissues and ligaments.

Our family dentist provides treatment for bruxism and TMJ disorder with custom, comfortable oral appliances. These oral appliances resemble sports mouth guards and protect the teeth during sleep.

To learn more about bruxism and TMJ treatment, schedule an appointment with our skilled dental team today.