A Gift You Can Give All Year Long

Holday SmileFor most of us, gift-giving is just a holiday thing. Every year, we spend the time between Thanksgiving and December 25 looking for the perfect gift for those who are most special to us. But did you know there’s a very simple gift you can give your loved ones, and even strangers, any time you want? It’s your smile!

Believe it or not, smiling can have a remarkable impact on you and those around you.  According to scientific studies, it can improve one’s mood and even relieve stress.

Here’s how it works. When you smile, particular muscles in your face are stimulated. These muscles will, in turn, stimulate the part of the brain responsible for creating warm and pleasant feelings. Meanwhile, for those around you, a smile is simply hard to resist. Smiling at someone who’s having a hard day may inspire them to smile back, triggering those same pleasant feelings in them. That’s how smiling can easily become a gift you give someone else.

So, is the busy holiday season starting to wear you down? Practice your smiling. You may find that you start feeling better in no time. And why not make a New Year’s resolution to smile more throughout 2014. Just like regular brushing and flossing and twice-yearly checkups, committing to smiling throughout the year will help you enjoy better overall wellbeing and confidence.

How Can Green Tea Help Your Smile?

Green TeaMany of us could use a little pick-me-up in the morning, and coffee is largely the drink we turn to. Sure, it causes tooth stains and bad breath, but go into any Starbucks on your way to work and you’ll see a packed house. But what if I told you that switching from coffee to green tea could help you improve your oral health and reduce your visits to the dentist?

It’s true!

Green Tea and Overall Health

Green tea has been consumed for centuries due to its medicinal benefits, which includes improve heart health, regulating body temperature, promoting digestion, and improving mental processes. In America, black tea is often the tea of choice, but it contains far fewer antioxidants and more caffeine. The unfermented leaves of green tea, on the other hand, contain much higher concentrations of polyphenol and catechin—important antioxidants—which are important for treating high cholesterol, cancer, diabetes, liver disease, and more.

Green Tea and Oral Health

Besides supporting your overall health, research has also shown that green tea can:

  • Reduce periodontal inflammation
  • Kill oral cancer cells
  • Inhibit the formation of plaque
  • Repel odor-causing bacteria

If your daily routine involves one or more cups of coffee, give green tea a chance to see what kind of difference it could make in your life.

Eight Tips for Keeping Plaque in Check

general dentistryHave you ever noticed that your teeth feel a little…well, fuzzy at the end of the day? What you’re feeling isn’t fuzz, of course, but plaque. You may have heard your dentist talk about plaque before, but do you know what it is?

Plaque is a sticky biofilm made up of hundreds and hundreds of naturally-occurring bacteria. These bacteria feed on the food we put in our mouths, and they especially love foods high in sugar or other carbohydrates. As these bacteria feed on these particles, they create an acidic byproduct that damages tooth enamel, resulting in cavities.

So, given how destructive plaque, bacteria, and this acidic byproduct can be, you may be wondering what you can do to keep it in check. Below are eight tips for managing and getting rid of plaque.

Tip #1

Brush at least twice a day, but if possible, after every meal.

Tip #2

Floss at least once a day. Flossing will help you remove pieces of food or particle of plaque from beyond teeth, where they can contribute to decay.

Tip #3

Consider adding an antibacterial mouthwash to your at-home oral health regimen.  Reducing the amount of bacteria from your mouth will reduce your vulnerability to decay. A fluoride mouthwash can also help you strength your tooth enamel.

Tip #4

Chew sugarless gum after and in between meals. Gum helps remove particles of food from between teeth and stimulates the production of saliva, which neutralizes acid.

Tip #5

Reduce the amount of sweet or starchy foods you consume. Even a natural snack like raisins can be problematic.

Tip #6

Avoid smoking or any kind of tobacco use. Besides being bad for your health, smokers routinely have higher amounts of hardened plaque.

Tip #7

Make regular checkups and cleanings with your local dentist a priority. A cleaning by a professional hygienist will help you get rid of plaque in places that are hard to reach with normal brushing and flossing.

Tip #8

Dental sealants protect the chewing surfaces of teeth from bacteria and plaque with a thin layer of plastic. This effective option works especially well for back teeth and may help children who are more vulnerable to decay.

Do you have questions about plaque or how to prevent it? Has it been more than six months since your last checkup or cleaning? Call your local dentist today for an appointment.

How Antioxidants Can Help You Support Your Oral Health

antioxidantsYou might have heard that certain foods or beverages are high in antioxidants, and that antioxidants are good for your health, but do you know why? In today’s post, we offer a brief explanation.

First, you have to understand something about the human body. Our bodies are made up of cells, which are themselves made up of molecules. If you were to look inside these molecules, you would see atoms, which are composed of two positive protons and two neutral electrons.

For reasons as diverse as stress and poor eating to pollution or tobacco use, an atom may lose one of its electrons, destabilizing it. To make up for losing one of its electrons, this unstable “free radical” will steal an electron from a nearby atom, leading to a chain reaction of electron-stealing. This is what’s known as oxidation.

If oxidation isn’t treated somehow, it can contribute to a range of health problems that includes:

  • Diabetes
  • Gingivitis
  • Heart attack
  • Cancer

But treating oxidation is simple. An antioxidant is a molecule with a spare electron. They combat oxidation by donating their spare electron to free radicals, neutralizing them and preserving surrounding atoms that were at risk.

Where will you find antioxidants? In coffee and green tea, fruits and vegetables, legumes and seeds, and more. In short—nutritious foods in general are an excellent source of antioxidants.

How many servings do you need each day? As little as five and as many as nine.

Want to learn more about fighting oxidation with antioxidants? Talk to your local dentist today for more information and for tips on what to eat to improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Set a Good Oral Health Example for Your Child

general dentistryHow much do you think you influence your little one? If you think the answer is “Not much,” guess again. According to a study published by the Journal of Dental Research, parents have an enormous amount of influence on their children, and that extends to areas of health and wellbeing. The study found that if a mother had a cavity, her child was twice as likely as other children to also have a cavity.

The takeaway? Teaching your son or daughter about brushing and flossing—not to mention practicing what you preach—can help your child develop healthy habits that will stick with them throughout their life.

Also important are regular dental visits every six months. Regular visits will give your doctor a chance to look for common oral health conditions and provide treatment if necessary. Conditions like gum disease and tooth decay need to be caught early so they can be treated quickly, before they have a chance to become more serious.

How long has it been since you or your child saw a dentist for a regular visit? If it’s been more than six months, call your local dental office today to reserve an appointment. During your and your child’s visit, your doctor can talk to you both about brushing and flossing and can offer helpful advice you both can use on a daily basis.

Remember, the behavior you model at home makes a real difference. Help your child develop diligent brushing habits by demonstrating them yourself.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

tooth sensitivityOne common issue patients raise with their dentist is tooth sensitivity. Many experience it without knowing what causes it. In today’s post, we’d like to look at that question.

Often, tooth sensitivity occurs when the gums have receded, leaving tooth roots exposed. Tubules in the roots lead down to the tooth’s nerve. These let stimuli like hot and cold reach the nerve, creating a shock of sensation.

Gum recession is spurred by a variety of factors, including:

Gum Disease

Also known as periodontal disease, this is the primary cause of gum recession. What’s more, it’s been estimated that a majority of American adults have some form of the disease. Gum disease can be treated or prevented through regular oral care at home and regular visits to your local dentist.

Brushing Technique

How you brush can impact your oral health. When you brush aggressively using a hard-bristled toothbrush, you aren’t doing your smile any favors. This kind of brushing can harm your gums and your teeth alike. Brush thoroughly but gently, and ask your doctor for advice on what kind of brush you need.

Teeth Grinding/Cracked Teeth

Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding is a common sign of stress. Over time, grinding will damage teeth, possibly to the point that teeth become cracked. When teeth are cracked, bacteria can gain access to a tooth’s pulp, causing sensitivity. See your dentist about treating your teeth grinding with an oral appliance.


It’s not uncommon for patients between 25 and 30 to experience sensitivity. If that fits your situation, talk to your doctor about what you can do to treat your discomfort.

Is sensitivity putting a damper on your sense of health and wellbeing? Call your local dentist. Sometimes changing hygiene products is all it takes to tooth sensitivity. You don’t have to live with your discomfort. A long-term solution is possible!

Use Your Current Dental Benefits Before the Year Ends

general dentistryWith November underway, there are less than two months until the start of 2013. Before you know it, Thanksgiving will be here, and then Christmas and New Year’s. With everything that’s coming, the last thing on the minds of most people is dental insurance. But keeping dental insurance in mind is important. Here are a few reasons why:

Yearly Maximum

Every year, insurance companies help patients by paying for a certain amount of important dental work. But this amount doesn’t rollover at the end of the year. Instead, it’s renewed. That means if you don’t use what you have now, you’ll lose it when 2013 comes.


With a new year comes a new deductible. Often, this amount is around $50, and it must be paid before insurance companies will start covering care. Have you paid your deductible for 2012? Make the most of your insurance by reserving an appointment with your dentist today.

Insurance Fees

A new year might also bring difference premiums or co-pays. Because you don’t know what these will be for 2013 yet, it’s a good idea to see your dentist this year. That will allow you to pay this year’s fees instead.


Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to avoid a dental emergency. Other times, though, a regular checkup and cleaning can actually prevent an emergency from happening. Avoid a dental emergency this holiday season by using your benefits to see your dentist now, rather than later.

The New Year is on its way, but there’s still plenty of time to take advantage of your current dental insurance benefits. Call your local dentist today to schedule a visit.

Tooth Sensitivity and Your Smile

tooth sensitivityEvery year, dentists all across the country hear complaints from their patients about tooth sensitivity. As a common oral health problem, tooth sensitivity is caused when the gums recede, exposing tooth roots. When hot or cold stimuli come into contact with these roots, a sensation is passed through the tubules in the roots directly to the nerve of the tooth, creating pain.

But, you might be wondering, what causes the gums to recede in the first place? Here are five of them:

Age – Believe it or not, aging plays a role in the level of tooth sensitivity you might experience. Research indicates that patients who are between 25 and 30 could experience more sensitivity than patients of other ages.

Brushing Technique – Depending on how you brush, you could be wearing down the enamel on your teeth, in the process exposing the sensitive dentin underneath. What’s more, brushing incorrectly can also harm the soft tissue of the gums and cause tooth roots to become exposed.

Bruxism – Bruxism is a medical term for something more simple and common—teeth grinding. Patients who struggle with teeth grinding may, over time, cause hairline fractures to develop in their teeth, making them vulnerable to hot or cold stimuli. What’s more, teeth grinding can also wreak havoc on tooth enamel, resulting in erosion of this protective barrier.

Cracked Teeth – When cracks develop in a tooth, it’s possible for bacteria to find a way inside, where it can irritate the interior pulp. As a result, teeth can respond negatively, with the end result being sensitivity.

Gum Disease – Gum disease is caused by bacteria and plaque that have built up around the teeth and gums. If left untreated, this common oral health problem will eventually result in the loss of gum tissue. As a result, tooth roots are exposed and left vulnerable to outside stimuli.

How Can I Protect My Teeth?

If you have problems with sensitive teeth, here are a few tips to keep in mind. First, try using a toothpaste brand that treats sensitivity. For many patients, this can bring the much-needed relief they’ve been looking for. Second, finish your brushing and flossing routine by rinsing with a fluoride rinse. Fluoride draws important minerals to teeth, strengthening them in the process. And lastly, visit your local dentist. By talking to your dentist and letting him or her see your smile, other recommendations can be made about how to help your smile.

What Should I Look For When Choosing a Dentist?

choosing a dentistNo matter your age, your profession, or how busy your schedule might be, finding a good dentist is one of the most important things you can do. It can also be a struggle. So, how can you get started? What should you keep in mind as you look for a dentist for yourself and your family? Here are five things to consider.


Find out beforehand if the doctor you’re considering has any testimonials or before-and-after pictures you can see. Some states—Texas, for example—don’t allow testimonials, but others do and this can be a great way to get to know a dentist and his or her work.


Knowing where a dentist studied, how long they’ve studied, what associations they’re a member of, and what awards they’ve one can all help you decide on a dentist. Typically, you can find information like this on a doctor’s webpage, under the “About the Office” or the “About Our Team” page. If the practice you’re considering is a new practice, what does this mean to you? Are you comfortable with the dentist’s expertise and training? Continue reading What Should I Look For When Choosing a Dentist?

Foods and Drinks That Can Help Your Smile

nutrition and oral healthYou already know how important brushing and flossing are for the health of your smile. But did you also know that certain foods can benefit your oral health too? Any number of specific foods can be beneficial, but today we’re targeting just a few general foods or drinks that can help you.

Green Tea

As we mentioned in an earlier post, green tea has been used medicinally for ages and is consumed by millions of people around the world every day. It has a higher number of antioxidants than black tea, which helps explain its many benefits for patients. Among the oral health benefits to look forward to, green tea actually kills cancer-causing free radicals and can reduce periodontal inflammation.

But that’s not all. Green tea is also known to aid in the reduction of dental plaque and can interfere with the production of hydrogen sulfide, which causes bad breath. Continue reading Foods and Drinks That Can Help Your Smile