Do You Have Any New Year’s Resolutions for Your Smile?

New Year's EveIt happens every year around this time, especially after Christmas. Soon, all the talk will be about New Year’s resolutions. Exercising and losing weight are probably the two most common you’ll hear. Eating right is another popular pick.

What you don’t hear too often, though, is “I resolve to visit my dentist every six months,” or “I resolve to brush twice a day everyday, floss at least once a day, and gargle with a quality mouthwash at least once a day.” But these are exactly the kinds of resolutions many could benefit from making.

Every year, millions of people avoid going to the dentist, whether because of anxiety or another reason. That means that millions of people may not be giving their smile the care it needs to remain strong and healthy.

Regular dental visits and daily brushing and flossing are important because they help you keep bacteria and plaque from building up between your teeth and gums. Bacteria and plaque are what lie behind tooth decay and gum disease, but they have also been linked to problems in the rest of the body, too.

So, looked at from that perspective, resolving to visit your dentist twice a year and pay extra attention to your brushing and flossing isn’t about improving your smile—it’s about keeping your whole body healthy. And that’s a resolution anyone can get behind.

How to Keep Your Teeth Happy this Holiday Season

Stuffing, rolls, pies, cakes…the holidays are a time full of carbohydrate-rich, sugary foods. This can really do a number on your oral health, but there are some simple ways you can help combat cavities while still enjoying Grandma’s pumpkin pie (or pecan if that’s your preference!).9831704

If you can, eat those carb-heavy foods such as stuffing and rolls with a balanced meal consisting of some protein. This helps to counteract some of the acids produced when sugars and bacteria in the mouth come together.

Limit your consumption of sticky foods. These foods take longer to chew, meaning they stay in the mouth longer and increase cavity risk.

Carry a travel toothbrush with you to your Thanksgiving meal destination, even if you’re just going for the day. Can’t brush your teeth immediately after eating for some reason? Rinse your mouth out with water to remove as much debris and acid as possible.

And try not to graze so much. It’s easy to spend the entire day walking around a party eating snacks, but every time you pop something into your mouth, it creates acids. Spend some time NOT eating on Thanksgiving day to cut down on the buildup of cavity-causing agents.

By following these simple holiday dental care tips, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy while still enjoying your Thanksgiving goodies. Happy holidays!

Filling in the Information Gaps about Diastema

DiastemaDiastema is a term used to describe a gap between two teeth. Many celebrities have a diastema including Madonna, Eddie Murphy, Jack Black, Lauren Hutton, Amelia Earheart, and Willie Nelson. For some people, a diastema makes their smile unique, and they choose to keep the charming midline gap.

Animal Tendencies

A diastema is a natural feature of several mammal species, especially herbivores. The diastema in the dentition of animals such as rodents, sheep, and beavers allow food to be routed into the cheek so consumption can continue unimpeded. A diastema also allows material from gnawing to be expelled through the gap. Continue reading Filling in the Information Gaps about Diastema

For This Year’s Halloween, Choose Candy Made with Xylitol!

trick or treaterYou probably have memories of your own Halloweens when you were a kid. You know what that sense of anticipation feels like waiting for Halloween to come, and that giddy, nervous sensation as you stand on a neighbor’s porch, waiting for candy.

But you probably have memories of getting a filling, too. And though getting fillings is a much more comfortable experience now than it was in the past, you’d still like to see your own little one get through Halloween cavity-free.

So why not stock up on candy made with xylitol this Halloween?

Continue reading For This Year’s Halloween, Choose Candy Made with Xylitol!

Catch a Frog Under the Full Moon … and Other Toothache Cures

caveman smallToothaches, and attempts to cure them, have no doubt been around as long as we have. In fact, researchers discovered evidence of tooth drilling that took place more than 9,000 years ago. It seems some enterprising dentist-in-training put down his spear and picked up a crude dental drill to fix cavity-ridden molars in his fellow Neolithic man. The good news is that the process was unbelievably precise and took about minute. The bad news? No anesthesia!

Tooth Worms are Eeeeeeevil!

It was long believed cavities were caused by worms that burrowed inside the tooth and caused pain by wiggling around. The earliest reference to tooth worms was in a Sumerian text dated around 5,000 BCE.  Right up until the 18th century most people, including dental practitioners, believed that tooth worms caused decay and discomfort.

Some ancient doctors mistook tooth nerves as tooth worms, and removed them. It was the barbaric version of root canal therapy. Well, except the doctors would also take out the entire tooth. Present-day dentists try to avoid extractions because tooth roots are important to the health and strength of the jawbone. Continue reading Catch a Frog Under the Full Moon … and Other Toothache Cures

Five Reasons Why It’s Worthwhile to Smile

smilesNineteenth century novelist George Eliot once said, “Wear a smile and have friends; wear a scowl and have wrinkles.”

Yet smiling is more than just a way to convince your mother that you really did enjoy that meatloaf surprise. Even the smallest upward lip curve—whether or not it’s sincerely delivered—has far-reaching emotional and physical benefits.

Here are five advantages of turning that frown upside down:

1. Studies have shown that smiling lowers blood pressure. If you need some instant Zen, then all you have to do is smile. Chanting is optional (especially if you’re standing in line at the grocery store). Continue reading Five Reasons Why It’s Worthwhile to Smile

Is Your Retainer Retaining More Than Your Teeth?

Our mouths are full all kinds of interesting little organisms. It’s sort of like a mini rainforest in there –warm, wet, and home to more than 600 different species of bacteria, viruses, fungi, 100687469and even protozoa. A few help promote good oral health, some do you absolutely no harm, and others meet their fate in saliva or your belly.

Most of us don’t give mouth germs a second thought since we brush twice a day, floss nightly, and attend routine preventive dental visits every six months (RIGHT?!). But if you wear a retainer, clear aligner, or bite appliance, you may need to take extra precautions to prevent tiny invaders from taking over. Researchers have found that Candida (a type of yeast) and Staphylococcus, both potential illness-causing microbes, are present on 50% of all retainers. YIKES! Continue reading Is Your Retainer Retaining More Than Your Teeth?

All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth!

99322812For a kid, losing baby teeth is the ultimate sign of growing up. They compare notes with their friends on how many teeth they’ve lost and who lost them first. And while your little one is just excited to show off the space where a tooth used to be, you may be wondering exactly what to expect about the departure of those deciduous teeth.

Get Lost!
Baby teeth are usually lost in the order they arrive: the bottom two incisors first, followed by the top two. Your child will probably begin losing his or her baby teeth around age five or six, though it can happen as young as four years old. Essentially, the root will dissolve as the adult tooth pushes out. Though baby teeth generally fall out by themselves, they can also become stuck in food when your child is eating and may accidentally be swallowed (totally harmless, we promise). Continue reading All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth!