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What kind of toothpaste should I use?

With the plethora of choices that we are posed with everyday, it can be difficult to determine what type of toothpaste is right for you. First, there are several brands to choose from as well as for different purposes. Are you looking for something to whiten your teeth, help your enamel, and prevent cavities or another reason? Another huge factor that goes into choosing the right toothpaste is the flavor. Do you like spearmint, regular mint, or possibly cinnamon?

Well, with all of these options, where do you even begin?

American Dental Association

Next time you are on the lookout for new toothpaste, keep your eye out for the ADA’s seal of acceptance logo. This means that this toothpaste is marked as safe and effective by the ADA and that the claims on the packaging are found true.

Cavities

We are all at risk of getting cavities from our diets and our dental care. If you are looking for toothpaste to help with cavity prevention, make sure your choice contains fluoride. If you choose toothpaste with the ADA seal of acceptance, it will contain fluoride. (Flossing will also help eliminate the risk of getting cavities.)

Enamel strengthening

When you eat a highly acidic diet, your dental enamel could be at risk. This softens the outer most layer of the tooth, putting it at risk of further damage. By utilizing a remineralization toothpaste, you can strengthen your enamel over time.

Sensitive teeth

There are special toothpastes made especially for tooth sensitivity. This would be useful for root canals or patients with periodontal disease. These products contain ingredients to reduce the pain associated with these conditions.

Flavor

This one is up for personal preference. Some form of mint is most popular, giving your breath a fresh scent.

With all of the options out there, we hope that you can determine which option is best for you. Perhaps you have several uses you’d like to include in your toothpaste, sometimes you can find a brand with several benefits.

Overall, it might be more beneficial to consult your dentist for a specific recommendation, from brand all the way to use.

If you’d like to meet with us in regards to your toothpaste choice, let us know.

If you have other questions or concerns surrounding your dental health, we would love to work with you and find a solution for your specific case.

Acidic foods and your enamel

Enamel is a very strong substance used to protect your teeth from damage. It does a great job preserving your teeth from normal wear and tear while eating except for when it comes to acidic foods. While other issues can cause enamel to deteriorate, such as grinding or other abrasions, acidic foods can eat right through your most protective layer of your teeth, exposing the vulnerable layers to harsh substances and other factors. Deteriorating enamel can lead to countless other dental issues, so we want to go over how certain foods you eat can damage your teeth and what you can do about it.

So what exactly causes the erosion of enamel?

We’re sure, at this point, that you are aware of the effects that acidic foods have on your teeth. Basically, foods with a low pH level, less than 7, may cause erosion of your enamel. While candies and sodas are sugary and oftentimes harmful to you teeth, they also contain acidic qualities. Many candies contain seriously low pH levels as well as most sodas.

What foods should I avoid?

Surprisingly, foods across all spectrums can be very acidic. Many fruits and vegetables contain low pH levels, while they are healthy, they can also damage your enamel. As listed above, candies and sodas are not good for your overall health. They are also harmful to your tooth enamel.

So what kind of diet should I try to maintain?

This is a better question for your dentist, as they can take a look at your current condition and give you professional suggestions based on your case specifically. However, a general rule is to maintain a diet of a higher pH level or more alkaline.

Specific things you can do to help keep your enamel healthy:

  • Drink water throughout the day to rinse the mouth of dangerous acids.
  • Use a straw to drink acidic drinks.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Chew sugar-free gum to create more saliva to rinse the mouth of dangerous acids.

We hope you take it upon yourself to look at your diet and make changes accordingly to ensure that your enamel stays healthy to protect your oral health. Talk to your dentist and schedule a check-up at least twice a year. They will be able to give you a more personalized plan, should your enamel need extra care.

If you have any questions or if you’d like to make an appointment with us, give us a call.

What are the effects of teeth grinding?

Many people around the world suffer from teeth grinding and are usually unaware of their habit. While there are symptoms that you can look out for as signs of teeth grinding, there are usually other factors involved causing you to grind your teeth. As with other dental issues, dental health and overall health are very connected with one dependent on the other and vice versa. So we want to take a look at what causes teeth grinding in the first place and what can we do to control it or ease the symptoms?

Causes of teeth grinding

Grinding your teeth is usually accompanied by increased stress or anxiety. This happens to people of all ages. If you have a lot of stress or anxiety in your life, you could be grinding your teeth and not even realize it. While most of us do grind our teeth occasionally, it really becomes an issue if it is a constant habit, causing oral health problems.

Symptoms of teeth grinding

Since most harmful teeth grinding occurs during sleep, it can be hard to tell if you have an issue. The most common symptoms to keep and eye out for are headaches, sore jaw muscles, tooth sensitivity and others.

Effects on dental health:

Teeth grinding can cause serious dental issues and it can do damage to previous dental care. Grinding can cause wear on tooth surfaces, chips or cracks in the teeth, increased tooth sensitivity, tooth loss, gum recession, dental decay, and more.

So how can we treat it?

Some home remedies can be to reduce your stress and anxiety. Try to calm down and relax. Learn to give your jaw a break. You can massage the jaw muscles to release tension or use a warm wash rag to hold on your jaw to help relax the muscles. In addition to these, it is highly recommended that you see your dentist right away if you are experiencing teeth grinding. It is best to catch the issue early and do the least amount of damage possible.

If you or someone you know is experiencing teeth grinding, take a closer look at the issue and try to prevent any further damage. If you have and concerns or if you would like to schedule an appointment with us for your teeth grinding, give us a call. We look forward to helping you get back on track and get your teeth looking as healthy as can be.

Purpose and process of dental sealants

You can feel and see that our teeth, especially our molars, have several groves and dents. The way that our teeth are shaped presents a risk for food particles and plaque to get caught in, causing decay. By sealing our teeth with a thin coating, we provide an extra barrier of protection for our teeth, keeping them healthier, longer. Sure we can brush and floss our teeth, as we should, but sometimes bacteria can get caught in the crevasses of our teeth and cause cavities.

Sealants are made of different types of materials and the specifics vary from dentist to dentist. The basic principles are the same. Your dentist will prepare your tooth by cleaning it thoroughly; adjust the tooth’s surface to ensure a secure and solid bond, and apply the sealant to the tooth while ensuring that it dries quickly and properly.

Sealants are recommended for almost anyone that would like to maximize the protection of their teeth. However, most often, sealants are performed on children and adolescents that are developing their adult teeth. By sealing the teeth at this cavity prone age, you and help protect your child’s teeth from cavities for about 10 years post-sealant!

Upkeep for sealants is simple, have your dentist check for chips in the sealant and monitor the wear to best project when you may need to get your teeth resealed.

To keep your sealants in tip top shape, avoid eating especially hard or gummy foods such as jawbreakers, licorice, caramels, etc. as these foods could cause your sealant to pop out of place.

Sealants are a major factor in preventative dental care. Protecting your teeth from harmful decay and cavities will save you a lot of time, money, and hassle in the future.

Most dental insurance providers cover dental sealants, however, it is always a good idea to check beforehand, just in case. We recommend contacting your insurance provider directly before making an appointment for dental sealants.

Once you’re ready, make an appointment with your dentist! Getting dental sealants is a fairly simple dental procedure and will really benefit your overall dental health in the long run. You already brush and floss your teeth, now is the time to take your preventative dental care to the next level.

To schedule an appointment with us to discuss dental sealants or to seal your teeth, give us a call!

How to avoid dental injuries

As we see summer come to an end, we can expect school to be right around the corner. In no time, football games, swimming and diving competitions along with so many other contact sports will be in full swing. With all of these physical activities comes some concern for dental injuries. So how can you protect your children’s smiles while encouraging them to participate in extracurricular activities?

The most common solution to preventing dental injuries from sports is the use of a mouth guard.

With almost any major sport that children participate in, mouth guards are recommended or required. These typically cover the upper teeth to protect broken or chipped teeth as well as damaged lips. For those of you with some other form of orthodontia, talk to your dentist for recommended solutions.

So how do mouth guards work exactly?

There are several different types of mouth guards to choose from, however, it is necessary that whichever moth guard you chose does not restrict your breathing and fits properly or it could not work as well as it should.

Custom mouth guards are designed by your dentist to fit your teeth as comfortably as possible and provide you the best protection against dental damage.

Boil and Bite mouth guards are made in a pre-formed shape that is designed to be altered after boiling in hot water and biting down on the plastic for a recommended amount of time, offering a decent fit and comfort. Be sure to follow directions closely to ensure the best fit and protection.

Stock mouth guards are ready to wear when you buy them, however they provide the least protection and worst fit, but it is better than no protection!

Whichever style of mouth guard you decide to choose for your needs, make sure you change it out every so often as it can get quite nasty with all of the bacteria present in your mouth. To reduce the amount of times you will need to change it out, take extra precaution to keep it clean.

When it comes time for you or your children to shop for a mouth guard for sports related uses, talk to your dentist for recommendations and help deciding which option will be best for you.

If you have any additional questions about dental safety and sports or if you would like to ask us specific questions related to your dental needs, give us a call.

Health benefits of having straight teeth

We all know how important it is to care for our teeth and overall oral health. Brushing is a must and don’t forget to floss! We want to keep our teeth in tiptop shape, avoiding harmful foods that can destroy our enamel and cause us cavities. But one area of oral health that we often overlook is straight teeth! Orthodontics is mainly thought of as a cosmetic dentistry treatment. So how can having straight teeth help benefit your oral health?

Here are some of the benefits to having a straight smile:

Healthier gums –

Having straight teeth allows for your gums to fit properly around your teeth, reducing the risks of periodontal disease. When teeth are too crowded, it can be difficult to clean in between teeth, which will ultimately cause gum issues.

Cleanliness –

To piggyback off of the prior benefit, having an orderly set of pearly whites makes space for easier brushing and flossing. There will be fewer crevasses and spaces open for food or plaque build up. Build up of food particles and plaque will eventually lead to tooth decay.

Less tooth wear and abnormal bite –

With straight teeth, they sit in each other, for less wear on enamel. When teeth are crooked they can rub on each other, wearing them down over time. Along with the rubbing, crooked teeth can cause an abnormal bite, whether it be an overbite or under bite. Having a serious bite issues can cause difficulty chewing.

Reduces headaches –

Crooked teeth can cause stress on the gums and jaw, oftentimes resulting in misalignment of the jaw. When the jaw is out of place with tension and stress placed on it, you may experience headaches.

Overall health –

It has been proven that when you improve your oral health, you will in turn improve your overall health. You will reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, gum disease and many other health concerns.

If you are interested in straightening your teeth and improving your smile as well as your health, we have several options you can choose from. You are welcome to give us a call or set up an appointment to discuss which option may be best for you.

We want you to look and feel the best that you can. Let us know how we can help you and we will do our best to accommodate you and improve your oral health.

 

 

 

 

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.

Overcoming your Fears

shutterstock_152466515For some people a fear of Dental work is a very real thing and it can affect their whole lives. Poor Dental health can lead to problems in their physical health as well as creating insecurities about their appearance.

One of the goals in my practice is to make sure that everyone feels comfortable in my chair having work done. I want coming to see me to be a fun occasion that we can both enjoy. So here are some quick tips to help overcome a fear of seeing a Dentist.

 

Come in for an initial meeting. This is something that I think a lot of people overlook. If you’re not comfortable with your dentist on a personal level, then you won’t feel comfortable with them poking at a sensitive part of your body. Schedule an initial appointment to come in and meet your dentist. Ask questions. Talk to them. Make sure that you two can communicate clearly with each other in a way that you can both listen effectively. Communication is an excellent place to begin feeling comfortable.

 

Make an extra long appointment. If you know that you’re going to need some extra time to get your anxiety under control or will just need some time to work through things slowly, then make sure it’s scheduled. If your dentist has set aside a longer block of time than normal for your procedure than they won’t feel rushed to push you through things so they’re not late with their next patient. And if you schedule a longer lunch hour or make sure your schedule is clear well after your appointment then you won’t feel pressured to rush through things. Remember, if you push yourself through something you’re not quite ready for you will only be reinforcing that fear. Take your time!

 

Baby Steps. If fear of the Dentist has been a problem for too long then a lot of damage can happen. And a lot of damage can mean a lot of work. This can be really intimidating. Don’t feel like you need to take care of all of the problems all at once. Start with one thing at a time and give yourself a chance to begin to feel more comfortable in the Dentist’s chair. Start with a simple exam. Come in to talk about your treatment plan – sometimes just sitting in the chair without any work being done can train your mind to realize it’s not always going to be a horrible experience. Then come in for a basic cleaning. Don’t jump right in to the root canals or extractions until you  feel as though your trust in you Dentist is in place.

 

Bring headphones. Studies have shown that music can reduce pain and anxiety levels. When you come in for your procedures bring your iPod, old Walkman, phone, or whatever you use to listen to music. Not only will the music help you to relax but it can also block out any noises that might be an additional source of anxiety. Just make sure that you’ve worked out a way to communicate with your dentist without hearing – prearrange a signal to pause the music.

 

Get professional help. For some people the Dental phobia is too strong to work out on their own, and that’s okay. Many people have benefited from seeking the help of a therapist to help them overcome their fears. I’ve also heard of people having great success with alternative treatments such as hypnotherapy or even acupuncture.