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3 Teeth friendly ways to eat sugar

October marks the start of the celebration season filled with sweet treatsand delicious hot drinks. It also means that our mouths and teeth will  have to fend off constants attacks from sugar. If we are being honest  with ourselves, there is absolutely NO WAY we won’t be consuming any of the delicious treats and drinks offered up this season. Fortunately,  there is a better way we can consume sugary treats that will keep our  mouths and teeth safe from harm. Read on for our 3 tips to help you  safely enjoy  your treats this fall and holiday season.

1. Length of time it takes you to eat or drink your treat

For your teeth it is less about the amount of cavity-causing foods and drinks you are consuming and more about how long it takes you do so. The duration our teeth are exposed to sugar the better. Bacteria in our mouth convert sugar to acid, it’s the length of time your teeth are exposed to this acid that can cause the most damage. For example, sucking on a hard candy or slowly sipping on hot chocolate can cause more damage than eating a piece of chocolate or cookie monster-ing a cookie.  

2. Wait 30 minutes before brushing your teeth

It may be tempting to brush immediately after eating but it is best to wait for at least 30 minutes after consumption. The acid created by the sugar consumed can make your tooth enamel (top layer of the teeth) weak making it easier to be scrubbed away by a toothbrush. Waiting 30 minutes will allow the enamel to re-strengthen and become safe to brush. If you can’t wait the 30 minutes then our third tip- drinking water- is your best option!

3. Rinse with or drink water

There is a good reason why water is the champion of beverages! Among its many benefits, water will also dilute the acid and help to wash it from your mouth, reducing its potential to cause harm. Eat your  treats with water instead of hot chocolate or alternate drinking water with a sugary beverage. If you can remember to swish it around yourmouth before you swallow (or spit) it that will help to remove most ofthe acid from your mouth and teeth.

Why are my teeth suddenly sensitive?

We all know the feeling. A sharp unexpected pain when you bite into  your sandwich, take a sip of water or a breath on a cool day. It does not feel good and can even make you wince. So, the question is- what  happened? Why are my teeth suddenly sensitive?

While tooth sensitivity can happen for many reasons the root cause  generally can be explained by one of a handful of common issues, which your dentist can expertly help identify by using a method called  differential diagnosis. Differential diagnosis is a process that medical  professionals use to correctly identify the cause of tooth pain in an  instance where multiple alternatives are possible.

First, your dentist will need to know if the pain is associated with  multiple teeth or one tooth. There are specific reasons for one or a few  teeth to suddenly become sensitive such as a cavity, crack, fracture,  receding gums, or an abscess. If one or more of your teeth have any of  these issues then your dentist will help you identify the next steps to  take and treatment options to help you get back on track with the goal of a pain free healthy mouth.

If none of your teeth have any of those described issues then your  dentist will know that your teeth/tooth has become sensitive as a result  of an outside factor such as:

Are you stressed? Even when we think we are dealing with our stress  levels very well on the outside our bodies can still show signs of wear  and tear as a result, and one of the first places to experience any  discomfort is our mouths. We clench and grind our teeth when stressed, most of the time without even realize that we are doing it. Which is why when your jaw is tired and your teeth hurt it can feel like it came out of  nowhere, when in reality it has slowly been building overtime. Have you ever woken up with a sore or tired feeling jaw and sensitive teeth? It’s  because often times we do the most clenching and grinding in our sleep, and if we are not aware of it during the day it is almost impossible to be aware of it while asleep.

Have you been sick? Sinus colds will make all of your teeth feel  very sensitive to any type of vibration from even the softest steps, orfrom the constant coughing and nose blowing. Also, the cough drops that we all have the best intention of only sucking on but sometimes crunch and chew after a while may have caused a crack or fracture.

Did you whiten your teeth? Using any type of teeth whitening products, whether over the counter or in your dentist’s office can result in a temporary sensitivity of your teeth.

Have you had any recent dental work? Sometimes, the slight  change in your bite from a new filling or simply holding your mouth  open for a longer period of time can cause you to begin to clench  and grind your teeth causing tooth sensitivity and pain. This is why  your dentist asks you to bite down on a colored piece of paper after a filling or crown. The colored paper leaves marks on your tooth  surfaces recording your bite so that your dentist can see if all your  teeth are hitting in the right spots. They also rely on you to tell them if it feels comfortable since sometimes our mouths can look fine but  feel slightly off. It is also normal to feel like your bite is fine in the  office but within a few days realize that it actually feels slightly off. Simply call us and we will get you right in for a bite adjustment.

Do I have to live with tooth sensitivity forever? Absolutely not!  Luckily there are many ways that we can help you defeat tooth  sensitivity! Occlusal guards can help relieve the clenching and  grinding. Fluoride toothpastes and treatments, which are available inour office, will help protect and strengthen your enamel against  sensitivity resulting from acidic foods and whitening. In office  sealants and fluoride treatments will also help to prevent the  development of cavities and reduce the likelihood of sensitivity due  to tooth decay or compromised tooth structure. Most importantly if  you are experiencing tooth sensitivity that you feel is negatively  impacting your life and has not resolved with a bit of time and  attention on your own, call us so we can help you get back to your  life tooth pain free! The more information you can give the better andwe have the years of knowledge to help you quickly get back to your life with stronger teeth and a healthier mouth!

The link between Periodontal Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease

 

In recent years there has been a plethora of studies revolving around the links that exist between your oral health and systemic health (total body  health).  These  studies have  consistently revealed that inflammatory diseases, such as periodontal disease, compromise the body’s ability to fight infections and can worsen systemic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. More recently a link has been discovered that inflammation in your mouth, such as periodontal disease, can affect your brain health and function, contributing to the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). It is important to make note that there  have been no studies that have proven that periodontal disease causes AD, only that there is a plausible link between specific types of bacteria associated with periodontal disease  and the increased risk of developing AD.

How can there be a link between the bacteria in your mouth and the rest of your body? The most common ways bacteria can reach other areas of your body is through the bloodstream. If your gums bleed when you chew, floss, and brush, bacteria from your mouth (periodontal bacteria) will enter your bloodstream and travel throughout your body. The bacteria is usually contained by the immune cells of the body. However, in people with a reduced or weakened immune system, the bacteria is able to travel throughout the body more easily.

In two different studies with 2,415 subjects over the age of 60, it was found that those who did not have AD at the start but developed it over the course of the study had periodontal dental disease present prior to developing AD. The subjects which developed AD did have higher levels of antibodies to the periodontal bacteria suggesting that they body was already attempting to fight the bacteria, support the timing that the infectious periodontal disease was present before the AD developed.

What Does This Mean For You?

It means that taking care of your teeth and gums at any age is important. Whether you have or have not been diagnosed with periodontal disease, continue your regular visits to your dentist as prescribed, maintain a consistent and effective oral hygiene routine at home, and keep the rest of your body as healthy as possible.

Making these healthy choices is going to help reduce and/or eliminate the presence of periodontal disease. Using products that help reduce tooth decay such as fluoride and sealants,mouth rinses or gels, getting regular professional dental cleanings, and monitoring bone loss with regular exams and x-rays are also important steps in maintaining a healthy mouth. Your Dentist and Dental Hygienist are experts in the topic of oral and total body health and can help provide education and suggestions for improving home care in between visits. They are your partners in health and want you to say as healthy as possible! So the next time you see them ask as many questions as you can think of. Write them down as you think of them and bring your list to your next appointment! If you have any concerns, no matter how “small” you think it may be, please mention it. To us, it’s all important!

How Important are Sports Mouth Guards?

 

CLEATS? CHECK! HELMET? CHECK!
SHIN AND SHOULDER PADS? CHECK AND CHECK!
ADEQUATE SPORTS MOUTH GUARD?
PROBABLY NOT!

Recent studies have shown that most people are not aware of the frequency and severity of trauma to the mouth from both contact and non-contact sporting activities. Many sports-related traumatic dental injuries are preventable with the use of a proper fitting sports mouth guard. We know using proper fitting protective equipment works, it’s the reason we all take the time to fit ourselves and children with the right helmet or chest pads before we even consider walking onto the field. Including a properly fitted sports mouth guard in your equipment check list each season is an easy way to be sure that you protect your teeth, gums and brain from trauma associated with impact from elbows, balls, punches, head-butts and sticks to the face and head.

Typically sports mouth guards cover the upper teach (statistically these are the teeth that carry the greatest possibility of injury), however if you have braces, implants, bridges or other dental work on your lower teeth your dentist may suggest a guard to protect these areas as well.

THERE ARE 3 TYPES OF SPORTS MOUTH GUARDS TO CONSIDER WHEN RESEARCHING  YOUR OPTIONS:

Stock guards. These come out of the package preformed and ready to wear. These are easy, quick and are the least expensive option. Unfortunately the one-size fits all model does not work very well in your mouth and these guards are often bulky and lose, making it difficult to speak and breath easily. The rubber material that they are made of is soft and does not provide the impact resistance needed to reduce the rate and severity of concussions, and trauma to the mouth and teeth. Also, stock guards will not provide protection in areas that have missing teeth or orthodontic appliances (such as braces). I would recommend using they type of guard only if you are in a pinch and your option is a stock guard or no guard.

Boil and bite guards. These come in a preformed shape with a firm hard exterior, and moldable interior which can be altered by boiling the guard in water and then biting into the warm rubber for a more customized fit. These guards can create a better fit than stock guards, since you are fitting it to your mouth and teeth. Unfortunately you are still constrained by the general sizing (often only youth and adult) which may not fit correctly. Similar to stock guards, the materials these are made of tend to be softer and will not provide the protection needed to reduce the rate and severity of concussions, and trauma to your mouth and teeth. Cost varies depending on the brand. While a boil and bite guard may provide more protection than a stock guard will, it still lacks in the ability to provide the protection needed especially if you are missing teeth or if you have anything other than an “average size” mouth. I would recommend using a boil and bite as your “extra” guard and keep one in your sports bag at all time just in care a custom guard is not available.

Custom Made. These are made by your dental office and custom designed to precisely fit your mouth. A custom made guard will provide you with the most comfortable fit and best protection for your mouth. Most athletes prefer to use a customized mouth guard because the fit is superior to the others and therefore it interferes less with their performance (breathing, speaking, running etc.). The materials used for custom guards are designed to withstand a hard hit and provide the protection needed to reduce the rate and severity of concussions, and trauma to your mouth and teeth. Also, any missing teeth. orthodontic appliances or other specifics would be accounted for and therefore provided the best protection for your mouth. Talk with your Dentist about what would be right for you and ask them to make your guard with your name, team colors or jersey number on it! I would recommend a custom made guard for any contact or non-contact sport where you may incur trauma to your mouth and lower face i.e. mountain biking or skateboarding.

How does a sports mouth guard protect me against concussions?

There have been studies conducted that showed athletes wearing store bought mouth guards suffered more traumatic brain injuries/concussions than those wearing custom made guards. While all mouth guards will help to absorb shock, stabilize the head and neck, and limit movement caused by a direct hit to the jaw, not all guards do this equally. The main difference of protection is thickness-store bought guards are on average 1.65 millimeters (mm) thick versus a custom guard witch is on average 3.50 mm thick. The difference 2 mm makes is huge when considering the amount of shock absorbance and barrier protection provided from direct hits. Also, the type of material the mouth guard is made of can have an impact on how much protection it provides. Most store bought guards are made of a soft pliable rubber material and custom guards are made out of a stiff laminated material. If you do sustain a hit to the mouth your custom guard made from a thick stiff material will provide much more protection that a thinner pliable rubber guard.

IT IS ESTIMATED THAT ABOUT 80% OF SPORTS PARTICIPANTS WILL SUSTAIN A DENTAL  INJURY, WITH INJURIES PEAKING IN HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS.

A large portion of these injuries consist of cuts, cracked or broken teeth and broken jaws. Considering the cost of replacing or repairing a permanent tooth has been estimated between $5,000-$20,000 not including the emotional stress and time it takes to deal with an injury, investing in a well made mouth guard seems like a small price to pay for a highly reduced risk of sustaining an injury allowing you to enjoy your participation in sports and activity with reduced worry.

 

Eat Your Way to Your healthiest Mouth Yet!

Our teeth, small but mighty, are a lot more important to our health than we may realize. Without teeth, you would’t be able to eat popcorn at the movies, a big juicy steak off the grill or sweet strawberries right of the vine. You need healthy teeth (and gums) to eat nutritious food, and we need nutritious food to keep our teeth and bodies healthy. Tooth development and health is influenced and affected by the foods you eat as a child. As an adult, the foods you eat help to maintain the foundation you built as a child. The conditions of your teeth and gums can often be the first indication of a larger systemic issue going on in your body. The mucosal cells, which is the tissue inside your mouth that covers most of the oral cavity apart from the teeth, completely regenerate every seven days. This means that any nutrient deficiencies or excesses will show up in your mouth tissue before they have the opportunity to travel and be noticeable in other areas of your body.

Okay-so, when you are standing in the grocery store list in hand, what foods are you picking up to get your your healthiest mouth yet?

We’ve made you a chart to help sort it all out!

 

 

There may be a drill free option for for your child’s cavities

We are excited to announce that we now offer a new way to treat cavities in children that is easier, faster, lower cost and can be done drill free! Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF). SDF is an antibiotic liquid that is easily brushed onto to the cavity to control the decay and prevent further  progression of the disease. SDF may not be an option for every child depending on the location or severity of the cavity needing treatment, but it  is  definitely a treatment option worth consideration.

Getting to the heart of your gum health

Gingiva (gums)- we tend to not spend much thought on them, unless they hurt or are bleeding, but they are an important link to our total body  health, and deserve some attention. Periodontal disease (gum disease) is linked to premature birth, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic  health problems. Treating, or even better preventing, periodontal disease can lead to better overall health and lower health care costs.

The earliest form of periodontal disease is gingivitis, and this can be prevented or reversed by the daily use of tools we all already have at home-toothbrush and floss! At your hygiene visits your hygienist will assess your periodontal health, record your periodontal tissue levels, and review  your home oral care habits. The doctor will review this information preform an examination to look at your teeth, jaw, palette, and gums to asses  if there are any unusual bumps, colors, or damage that need to be monitored, further evaluated or treated. Our goal is to keep you from  developing any level of periodontal or other diseases, and we will do all we can to help you achieve this goal.

When we look in your mouth we can see indications of many health conditions that affect parts of your body located nowhere near your mouth.   Keeping regular visits with us gives you two opportunities to speak with a medical professional and have a part of your body assessed that your  primary medical doctor does not spend much time looking at, and may not be as familiar with. The intricate and subtle nature of oral diseases and oral presentations of systematic medial problems are best evaluated by your Dentist.

If left untreated gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease, where the gum pull back from the root of the tooth creating a space where bacteria  can enter your body causing an infection and inflammation of the bone in your mouth, and potentially traveling to other parts of your body like  your heart. Research shows that the common thread between periodontal disease and chronic health conditions is inflammation-the body’s  natural response to an infection or injury. The build- up of inflammatory substances in the blood seems to worsen heart disease, diabetes, and  other chronic conditions.

The take away is probably not surprising: Continue to visit your dentist, and brush and floss effectively to prevent inflammation. We even give you the tools and knowledge before you leave so that we know you have what you need to keep your mouth in tip top shape!

 

3 Tips to keep your child’s mouth healthy and thriving

Healthy teeth do more than look nice in your family pictures, they allow your child to eat all types of foods and keep good nutrition habits,  develop proper pronunciation and clear speech, and to have a positive self-image as they grow. But we understand the battle of brushing and flossing may be one that sometimes, you chose to surrender after a particularly challenging morning or evening.

With that being said, tooth decay remains the top disease affecting our children. Hope is not lost though, even the loudest protester to a daily   brushing and flossing routine will not be destined to a lifetime of tooth decay. Here are 3 low cost  and time saving commitments you could make today that will help streamline your daily brushing and flossing routine AND protect your child’s teeth against decay and the occasional wave of  the parenting white flag.

1. Sealant and Fluoride Treatments
Prevention always costs less than fixing something once it becomes an issue. Sealants and fluoride are easily applied on the teeth and, as research shows, provide effective  protection against bacteria and tooth decay. While sealants and fluoride are not a replacement for good brushing and  flossing habits, they can provide an extra layer of protection, especially for those hard to reach teeth.

2. Early and regular visits the dentist. Studies have shown that bringing your child to the dentist early, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends your child has their first appointment by the age of one (1) and, making regular (every 6 months) visits greatly reduces the likelihood of early childhood cavities. The first couple of appointments are intended to look at the child’s teeth, and educate the parent(s) on  preventative care habits. Establishing an early and regular routine for a child allows them to become comfortable during their dental visits and  educate them on the importance of brushing and flossing, and the potential problems it prevents.

3. Make it fun instead of a chore. 
Even adults have trouble keeping up with a regular oral hygiene routine, so it’s not a surprise that children do not run squealing with delight when it’s time to brush. Find a fluoridated toothpaste flavor they enjoy, use hand held flossers with kid friendly designs, and let your child choose  where in the home they want to brush their teeth. The best routine is one that is easy to complete and maintain, so if hanging upside down off the couch gets your child to brush then let them do it, also some of those positions actually let parents see and brush all the teeth much better.

Our teeth are one of the only structures in the body that at certain points cannot repair itself, this makes it even more important to keep a good oral hygiene routine. Choosing even one of these tips to try, will go a long way to helping you and your child maintain a healthy mouth, body, and the active lifestyle that you and your family enjoy.

Why do we choose to treat baby teeth?

Sometimes we are asked, why we would fix a baby (primary) tooth that is just going to fall out anyway?  The reason is simply because- they are important.
1. The purpose of all teeth is to chew food and maintain proper nutrition and health.
2. Decay in baby teeth has the potential to affect the development of the permanent teeth, unhealthy     bacteria can pass from primary teeth to permanent teeth.
3.They help guide proper eruption of the permanent teeth. If a child loses teeth to early the adjacent    teeth may drift and tilt into empty spaces and block the eruption of permanent teeth.
Primary teeth are more than just place holders for permanent (adult) teeth, which is why we do all we can to keep them healthy and intact.

Dental Anxiety? Doing these 3 simple things can help!

Dental appointments can make your heart skip a beat and feel butterflies in your stomach, but not in the i’m super excited to be here kind of way.  It’s more of the, I’d rather be standing in line at the DMV kind of feeling. We get it, believe us, we do. We want you to feel comfortable from moment  you walk through our doors, and we try our best to make that happen.
Here are three things that you can do to help us help you during your next visit.

1. Speak Up
We will ask you a lot of questions to help you be and stay comfortable before and throughout your visit.Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and let us know what would help you and how you are feeling. There are many things we can do and change to help, and we are glad to do it. Let us know what you  need,  you may be surprised how much we can help and how you will feel after you SPEAK UP!

2. Distract Yourself
Taking your mind off your appointment may seem impossible but with a tweak or two it may actually  be a possibility! Make a list of all the things you want to say and ask (this is your speak up list) before  your visit, this way you won’t have to spend your day thinking and rethinking about all the things you want to remember to say. Bring headphones so you can listen to music, podcast, movie or television show during your appointment. Bring  something to occupy your hands. Those fidget spinners may annoy teachers across the country but there is a real utility behind them when used in  the appropriate situation.

3. Mindfulness
If you can meditate and use visualization to help relax then you should continue to do that, but for most of us those techniques are very hard to master.Try instead to focus and lean what specifically triggers anxiety for you. Is it a noise, a certain item, a smell, or a combination of these? Once you can identify what might be causing your anxiety you can begin to work through it and better ask those around you for help.

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