Eat for Your Best Oral Health

March 24th, 2015

ThinkstockPhotos-57577930Did you know that the month of March is National Nutrition Month as designated by The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics?  Everyone knows that diet and nutrition are critical to general health. The fact of the matter is, however, your oral health is equally dependent on and affected by nutrition. Of course there are foods to limit for the sake of your oral health, like those that are loaded with sugar or highly acidic. But there are also foods, specifically certain fruits and vegetables, which are good for your teeth and gums. And with National Nutrition Month upon us, this seems like the time to offer worthwhile tips for your oral health.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits, such as oranges, pineapples and tomatoes, are chock full of vitamin C, which is critical for the health of your gums. Without enough vitamin C, gums might become unhealthy and even bleed, an early sign of gum disease. Eventually, unhealthy gums may lead to tooth loss, so be sure to include lots of fresh citrus fruits for healthy gums and stable teeth.

Fiber Rich Fruits

When you chew fruits that are high in fiber, salivation increases to help wash away food debris and bacteria that can be harmful to teeth and gums. Some of these fresh fruits are apples, oranges, pears, and watermelons. This increase in saliva reduces the acid level in your mouth and helps avert dry mouth, which makes teeth more vulnerable to decay. In addition, as you chew fiber-rich fruits, you’re also massaging your gums.

Hard Vegetables Build Strong Teeth

Eating hard and fibrous vegetables, such as carrots and celery, provide your body with a good source of beta carotene. Your body needs beta carotene to make vitamin A, which is a nutrient that is vital to building strong teeth. These and other hard vegetables also massage your gums as you chew. And the water content in these vegetables cleans your teeth and gums.

Onions

Onions are great for your oral health, because they contain antibacterial sulfur compounds. These antibacterial compounds help kill the bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. And, of course, they are strongest when eaten fresh and uncooked, so be sure to brush your teeth or rinse with a refreshing mouthwash after boosting your oral health with onions!

So, here’s to your health… your oral health!

Understanding Bruxism & TMJ Disorder: Find Relief from Nighttime Teeth Grinding

March 10th, 2015

178901519Do you often awaken in the morning to find that your jaw is sore or that your neck and shoulders feel tense? Perhaps you suffer from frequent headaches that tend to begin in the area surrounding your temples. These symptoms are common in individuals with nighttime teeth grinding and daily jaw clenching, or bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Fortunately, treatment for these orofacial issues is typically non-invasive, affordable, and easily accessible at your dentist’s office.

What Causes Jaw Clenching and Teeth Grinding?

There are a variety of reasons that people with TMD and bruxism engage in the unconscious behavior of teeth grinding and clenching. Malocclusion, or an improper bite, is a major factor, as is daily stress. While you are sleeping, you are not able to stop the overworked muscles in the jaw and face from overtaking themselves further, leading to numerous symptoms that can affect you all day.

For many, the primary complaint related to TMJ disorder is headache pain that interferes with daily functioning. The delicate joints that connect your lower jaw to your cranium can become irritated and inflamed, causing nerve pain that can even spread to your upper back. This can lead to posture problems that further exacerbate the issue. In cases of teeth grinding, the patient is typically unaware that their jaws are placing inordinate amounts of pressure on their teeth all night. Bruxism can cause tooth fractures and enamel erosion, both of which can prove to be serious problems if not treated in a timely manner.

Bruxism & TMJ Treatment

In the majority of cases, a nighttime mouthguard is used to prevent damage to the teeth caused by clenching and grinding. This custom oral appliance fits comfortably in your mouth as you sleep, helping position the jaws properly so that the muscles aren’t unnecessarily strained. Patients who have been clenching their jaws for years are surprised to find that they experience relief from their discomfort in as few as one or two nights with their new appliance.

If you believe that you or someone in your family is suffering with the ill effects of TMJ disorder or bruxism, ask your dentist about a custom oral appliance. Relief could be a phone call away!

Can a Dazzling Smile Improve Your Professional and Social Success?

February 27th, 2015

beautiful smileA beautiful smile can make a significant difference in your life. That’s why so many patients look for cosmetic help every year. With the care provided by an experienced cosmetic dentist, you can face the people in your life with an improved sense of confidence and wellbeing.

The most common cosmetic services are:

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic services available today. Depending on your needs and your level of sensitivity, your dentist may recommend an in-office whitening solution or a take-home option. Regardless of which you use, both will help you see amazing results.

Porcelain Veneers

Veneers are handcrafted from quality dental porcelain to produce results that look natural and beautiful. Once in place, veneers can help you create a smile that looks straighter and whiter without the need for teeth whitening or braces. A complete veneers procedure is typically completed in two or three visits.

Clear or Invisible Braces

For teens and adults who want a straighter smile but don’t want to wear traditional braces, clear braces can be an excellent alternative. They’re more discreet, allowing patients to maintain their mature and professional image while going through treatment.

Tooth-Colored Fillings

Tooth-colored fillings are used to help patients treat decay, which is among the most common oral health problems. Made from composite fillings, they will blend in with your smile for results that are seamless and durable.

Cosmetic Bonding

Cosmetic bonding is a simple procedure that, similar to porcelain veneers, will help you improve the appearance of a cracked, chipped, or stained tooth. Bonding is a single-visit procedure that takes just a few minutes to complete.

If you’re seeking cosmetic help, your dentist will complete a full oral health assessment before recommending a specific treatment plan. Some patients may need just a single service to achieve the results they want to achieve while others will benefit from a plan that includes multiple services.

Call your local cosmetic dentist to schedule a consultation appointment.

Here’s Some Helpful Valentine’s Day Dental Tips

February 13th, 2015

138066200This Valentine’s Day, you’re probably looking forward to spending some quality time with your sweetheart, as well as indulging your sweet tooth with some yummy treats. Of course, it’s important to remember to show your smile some love as well! Here are some helpful guidelines for avoiding decay and making sure your teeth truly shine when you step out on the town with your date:

  • While bad breath can be a common symptom of a great meal, it’s probably not that appealing to the person you’re sharing it with. Keep some floss in your pocket so that you can quickly get rid of food particles and pesky bacteria in the bathroom; then, pop in a mint to give your smile a fresh, appealing feel. If your bad breath persists even after the minty scent has worn off, though, that means it’s time for a checkup with your local dentist.
  • Cross your fingers for chocolate on the big day! Solid chocolate (the ones without chewy or sugary centers) don’t tend to stick to the teeth like more chewy treats too, making them better for your oral health. In fact, dark chocolate is an even better option, as it contains less sugar than milk chocolate!
  • It’s best to avoid gummy candies, hard candies, and sticky caramels, if possible. These can be a nightmare for your teeth. Instead, why not give your loved one flowers, a card, or even a romantic dinner at home?
  • If you and your main squeeze just can’t stay away from the candy, it’s best to enjoy a few while our meal or just after it in order to keep from constantly exposing your teeth to sugar and harmful bacteria. Also, be sure to drink water and practice a good, thorough hygiene routine afterwards!
  • Looking to surprise your sweetheart? Teeth whitening may be just the gift your smile needs to look its very best! Your local dentist can use this common cosmetic dentistry method to erase stubborn stains and improve the color of your teeth by several shades.

Pediatric Dental Care 101: Teach Your Children to Love Their Teeth!

January 21st, 2015

158879326Teeth need love too! Especially your child’s teeth. The healthy development and maintenance of your child’s first teeth are vitally important to their future health and well being. Primary teeth help children learn to speak clearly and chew naturally. Primary teeth also forge the path that adult teeth follow when they’re ready to erupt. Healthy dental care foundations laid early in life will lead your child to positive dental outcomes in the future. You should choose a family or pediatric dentistry with a friendly environment that focuses on your child’s growth, development, and oral health education. Prevention, in the form of regular dental checkups, will help you take charge of and protect your child’s dental health.

When Should Your Child Start Seeing a Pediatric Dentist?

Children should start having comprehensive dental exams twice a year, beginning around their first birthday.  Their very first visit will establish a positive outlook towards dental care and dental practitioners.

Does your child have a fear of the dentist?

To help a fearful child visit the dentist, talk with them about the visit. Discuss the positive aspects of good dental care, and remind them that going to the dentist is a privilege for big boys and girls. Try not to use words such as fear, needle, pull, drill, or pain. There are many online resources to help you find dental language that is pleasant and non-frightening to children. Try to reassure your child that dentists and dental office helpers will always be gentle and friendly.

Choose Pediatric Dental Care for a Lifetime of Healthy Smiles

Remember, regular pediatric dental visits give children a solid foundation for a healthy life, through adolescence and adulthood. You should look for an experienced and gentle pediatric dental practice in your area. Pediatric dentists have at least two extra years of specialty training following dental school to treat the special dental needs of children. Pediatric dentists can be the primary or specialty dental care providers for infants, children, and teens. Show your love this season, and make a dental checkup appointment for your child with a qualified pediatric dentist today.

The Oral-Systemic Connection

January 5th, 2015

145991961We live in an era of health consciousness, and that’s a good thing. Many people try to exercise and eat right. But being healthy is not simply a matter of what you put in your mouth, it’s also dependent on how you take care of your mouth. More and more evidence shows that there is a direct link between oral health and overall health.

The oral-systemic connection characterizes the link between diseases and conditions in the mouth and health problems throughout the body. For example, periodontal or gum disease—called gingivitis in its early stages and periodontitis later—is caused by bacteria that can have access to the bloodstream when gum tissue bleeds, a common symptom of gum disease. Thus, preventing or treating gum disease and other oral infections early can be critical to avoiding secondary health concerns. So, those bi-annual dental checkups are more than just a matter of clean teeth. They can mean the difference between life and death.

Medical Conditions that Start in the Mouth

While research continues, the following is a partial list of medical conditions and diseases that have already been found to have a connection to oral health:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes
  • Some forms of cancer
  • Some autoimmune disorders
  • Low birth weight in newborns

Furthermore, the importance of maintaining oral health in order to have a proper diet and nutrition cannot be understated. People who have missing teeth are often unable to eat raw fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods that require chewing. Therefore, they choose softer foods that tend to be higher in saturated fats and sugar, both of which can have detrimental effects on the body when over consumed.

The Oral-Systemic Connection and You

What can you do to keep your oral-systemic connection healthy? First of all, brush your teeth and floss twice each day. Be sure to floss well below the gum line where bacteria hide. Secondly, see your dentist at least twice each year for a checkup. With regular visits, you and your dentist will better be able to recognize changes in your oral health and fend off any conditions that could compromise your general health.

Make Your New Year’s Resolution Count with Biannual Dental Checkups

December 21st, 2014

1666691562014 is rapidly coming to a close, and New Year’s Day is just around the corner. People from all around the world are coming up with ideas for their New Year’s resolutions, hoping to make this the year they make great strides toward self-improvement and better health. As we all prepare to welcome 2015 in style, we’d like to take a few moments to suggest one resolution that is not only easy to keep but incredibly rewarding as well.

Dental Checkups for the Whole Family

Biannual checkups and cleanings are critical components of any oral hygiene regimen. They present you with the perfect opportunity to ask your dentist any questions you may have about your teeth and gums, as well as any other concerns you may have at the time. These simple visits also include a thorough exam and cleaning, two things your teeth desperately need to stay healthy for life.

Unfortunately, many people still believe that it’s fine to skip out on their routine checkups because they haven’t noticed any problems that warrant a dental visit. The problem with that line of thinking is that not every oral health concern presents with noticeable symptoms. The early stages of gum disease, for example, may be virtually undetectable. Small cavities – particularly those that form between the teeth – may be difficult to see or feel until they have progressed to a more advanced stage of decay. Even a root canal infection may slip under your radar without the practiced eyes of a dentist to spot the signs with a detailed x-ray.

The great news about dental checkups is that they are covered by most dental insurance plans; you may not have to pay a single penny to get your teeth cleaned by a dedicated professional!

Make the Smart Resolution Today!

While vowing to eat healthily, save money, and get in shape are all viable and popular resolutions, we suggest placing more emphasis on your oral health this year as well. Your mouth serves as a portal to the rest of your body, and the status of your teeth and gums can potentially affect your overall health. This New Year’s Eve, make the decision to treat your smile well with routine preventive visits at your local dental office. You’ll be glad you did.

Have You Gotten the Most from Your Benefits This Year?

December 5th, 2014

calendar

Now that December is here, it won’t be long until we’re taking down our calendars for 2014 and replacing them with ones for 2015. For most, the focus of the month is primarily on gift giving and holiday preparations, but there’s something else you should add to your year-end checklist: one last checkup with your dentist. Why should you include a dental appointment in your December activities? There are a few reasons.

Yearly Maximum

Your insurance company allots a yearly maximum to help you pay for certain kinds of services and procedures. Unfortunately, that money doesn’t rollover from one year to the next. Any amount you don’t use, you will lose at the end of the year.

Deductible

Your deductible will be renewed every year, too. Before your insurance provider will start covering your care, you have to meet your deductible. In many cases, this amount is around $50.

Insurance Fees

Additionally, you may find that your premiums and co-pays from one year to another are different. But without knowing what they’ll be for 2015, it’s a good idea to take advantage of what you already have before it changes.

Another New Year is almost upon us, but there may still be time to schedule an appointment with your local dentist. Call today to see about scheduling an appointment.

Keep Your Smile Happy and Healthy This Holiday Season

November 26th, 2014

84468671The holidays are a great time for family, lots of food, and guilt-free indulgence. However, the last thing you probably want is to have to spend some quality time with your local dentist right in the middle of all this fun. That’s why it’s always important to make smart choices and be aware of potential problems that could threaten your oral health. Here are five helpful tips to keep in mind when you’re sitting down at the table with your loved ones to enjoy that big, scrumptious meal:

  • Be careful when it comes to chewy treats. Having a sweet tooth is fine in moderation, but when it comes to sticky substances, less is always more. Foods like caramel and taffy can encourage tooth decay and even yank out fillings.
  • Don’t crack nuts between your teeth. Nuts offer several valuable health benefits, but don’t treat your mouth like you would a nutcracker’s. Shelling nuts with your teeth can cause serious enamel and gum damage. You’re definitely better off removing the shells before enjoying your snack.
  • Enjoy your wine, but not too much. The high acidity levels in wine can eat away at the enamel on your teeth, which is really important to retain when it comes to fighting off decay and cavities. Avoid swishing wine around in your mouth for too long, and be sure to drink plenty of water in between glasses.
  • Don’t let stress get you down. Holiday anxiety is a very common, understandable problem, but be careful – it can lead to grinding and clenching of the teeth. Seeing your local dentist about a nightguard can help you protect your smile while you sleep and avoid unpleasant damage.
  • Feel free to feast! Yes, you heard right! When you eat, more and more saliva is produced, which can be a beneficial agent when it comes to neutralizing acids and repairing tooth enamel. Just be sure to take breaks here and there from the food so that it has time to work within your mouth.

Holiday Teeth Whitening Advice

November 15th, 2014

There are many reasons to smile this time of year. We have beautiful decorations, holiday gatherings with family and friends, delicious meals, savory desserts, and the joy of gift giving. But what will your family and friends see when you smile this holiday season? Over time, our teeth can discolor and stain because of foods and beverages like coffee, tea, and sodas. Your teeth can also yellow and stain from tobacco and alcohol use. However, they don’t have to stay that way. If you want your family and friends to see the dazzling white smile you had before discoloration and staining set in, make an appointment for professional teeth whitening today. You could brighten your smile this holiday season in just one hour with professional teeth whitening.

What About Teeth Whitening Toothpaste?

You may have already tried switching to a teeth whitening toothpaste. But whitening toothpaste is truly the least effective whitening option. Whitening toothpastes are made with mild abrasives that can only polish away shallow surface stains. They don’t contain the bleaching agents needed to truly alter the color of the enamel. It’s best to reserve whitening toothpaste to care for your teeth after you have used a more effective teeth whitening treatment.

Does Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Really Work?

These products may include whitening kits, whitening gels, whitening strips, or whitening rinses. They are widely available and they make a lot of promises. Yet, it can take several weeks of daily use to get any significant results with these products. In the mean time you’ll have to avoid any coffee, tea, soda, or wine until you’re finished with the treatment. Additionally, any misstep in their application could result in irritation or infection in your teeth or gums. The time, inconvenience, and risk of misapplication make these products difficult to recommend.

Professional Teeth Whitening for the Holidays

The easiest and most reliable choice is to visit your dentist for professional teeth whitening. Your dentist can offer you a one visit treatment or an easy-to-use take-home option. The dentist uses powerful bleaching agents that can whiten your teeth several shades in just one-hour. But, unlike the over-the-counter treatments, the dentist can make sure that your teeth and gums are not irritated in the process. Moreover, bleaching agents may not be able to remove some forms of discoloration and deep staining. Your dentist will be able to recognize this and offer alternatives like dental bonding or veneers. Don’t make the mistake of using the wrong teeth whitening method.  Get the brighter and whiter smile you deserve this holiday season with a professional whitening treatment from your dentist.