23
Apr

Cosmetic Vs. Therapeutic Mouthwash

SWISH, GARGLE, SPIT – simple, right? Mouthwash is usually seen as an addition to your oral health, the cherry on top of your hygiene routine. But are you using the right kind, and are you using it correctly?

Cosmetic Mouthwashes Mask Bad Breath

Most people think all mouthwashes do the same thing, but there are key differences you need to know! Cosmetic mouthwashes only serve to mask bad breath and leave your mouth with a pleasant taste – like a mint but with fewer calories.

Therapeutic Mouthwashes Attack Plaque

Therapeutic mouthwashes serve clinical purposes, like attacking bacteria and plaque, or strengthening teeth with fluoride. When buying therapeutic mouthwash, look for the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance on the bottle. Products that feature this logo have been evaluated by experts and meet specific standards for safety and effectiveness.

Read The Instructions

As with any health product, make sure you thoroughly read the instructions – yes, even for mouthwash! Here are some important things to note:

  • Some products recommend diluting before use. (Again, check the label!)
  • Most mouthwashes are not recommended for children under seven.
  • Rinsing right after a meal helps to inhibit bacteria growth and bad breath.
  • Avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes after using a fluoridated mouthwash. This gives the fluoride more time to strengthen your teeth.

Mouthwash Doesn’t Replace Other Oral Health Habits!

Regular brushing and flossing are far more important than using mouthwash. Mouthwash is not a substitute for the more important dental care habits.

If you have a specific issue, like periodontal disease, chronic bad breath, or tooth sensitivity, talk to us about it! We may recommend a specific therapeutic mouthwash for you. Other times, problems we address with mouthwash can be a sign of a larger issue. If you have any questions, ask us below, or talk with us about it next time you visit.

Thank you for being our patient and friend!

Top image by Flickr user colink. used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
16
Apr

How Much Sugar Are You Really Eating?

MODERN DENTISTRY, fluoride treatments, and preventive care alone can’t stop tooth decay when our diets are filled with sugar!

Sugary Foods Cling To Our Teeth And Cause Cavities

When sugar clings to teeth, bacteria feeds off of those sugars, producing an acid byproduct that wears away tooth enamel.

Studies repeatedly find that as sugar consumption increases, so do cavities. The World Health Organization’s 2014 study found that in one population, when daily caloric intake of sugar increased from 0% to 5%, the amount of tooth decay doubled.

Cut Sugar Intake In Half

After the study, The World Health Organization cut their recommendations for sugar consumption in half, from 10% of our daily caloric intake, to 5% (and ideally, less). Currently, the average American gets 12-15% of his or her daily calories from sugar—and America isn’t even the highest consumer of sugar worldwide!

Beware Of Hidden Sugars


How do you cut back on sugar? In addition to cutting back on sweets, it’s important to be aware of hidden sugars in our diets. Even a “nutritional” food can be packed with sugar! On our food labels, sugar goes by numerous aliases, including:

  • Molasses & Maltose
  • Corn syrup, Malt & Dextrose
  • Sorghum syrup

This list is only a sampling. Keep an eye out for anything ending in “-ose,” “sugar,” or “syrup,” and educate yourself on more alternate names here.

3 More Tips For Cutting Back On Sugar

  1. Read labels, and check for hidden sugars.
  2. Cook more at home so you know exactly what’s going into your food.
  3. Cut back on soft drinks, fruit juices, granola bars, yogurt, and sugary cereal in addition to regular sweets.

A Healthier Diet = A Healthier Mouth

You don’t need to cut out sugar entirely to have healthy teeth. That’s why brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are so important! Let us know if you ever have any questions about your oral health. We’re passionate about helping you have a healthier, happier lifestyle!

Thanks for being our valued patients and friends!

Top image by Flickr user Tom Page used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
8
Apr

Feel Inspired By Mouth Painter, Mariam Paré

HOW OFTEN DO WE PAUSE to appreciate our own amazing gifts and abilities? It’s easy to take things that come easiest for granted. Mariam Paré’s inspiring story not only gives us courage and motivation to be our best, but it helps put life into perspective.

Paralyzed By A Bullet Wound, Mariam’s Life Changed In An Instant

Mariam, a promising 20 year old painter, dreamed about all the things her artistic future held. Today, 18 years after a tragic event that changed her life, she’s painting just as she dreamed—but she’s doing it a little differently than she imagined.

Mariam paints with her teeth, patiently and precisely clenching brushes between them as she continues to express her remarkable artistic gift.

We Can All Take Lessons In Showing Gratitude

First, let’s all be grateful for our healthy mouths and teeth. For all the things they do for us… Speaking, chewing, nourishing, smiling, and in Mariam’s case, even painting—let’s be grateful for our healthy smiles and show our appreciation by taking great care of them.

Second, we are grateful for you—our valued patients. Without your support and friendship we couldn’t do the things we love to do each day. We treasure the trust you place in us. We’re honored when you recommend us, or refer one of your friends or coworkers. Always let us know how we can best serve you.

Were you also inspired by Mariam’s story? Please share your thoughts with us below. Thanks.

2
Apr

5 Common Canker Sore Triggers To Avoid

CANKER SORES ARE SELDOM SERIOUS, but they can drive us crazy! These small, shallow ulcers pop up in our mouths and on the inside of our lips unexpectedly and sometimes take days to heal. The good news is that they’re fairly easy to prevent, once you understand their triggers.

5 Common Triggers To Avoid

  1. Stress – Stress can weaken your immune system, making it easy for canker sores to form and irritate your mouth.
  2. Tissue Injury – If you already have cuts or scrapes inside of your mouth (from biting your cheek, for example), you’re more vulnerable to canker sores.
  3. Foods – Foods that are high in acidity like strawberries, tomatoes, pineapples and lemons can trigger canker sores. Sour candies are also a common culprit.
  4. Dental Appliances – Having braces or ill-fitting dentures could also cause canker sores, since it increases opportunities for irritation in your mouth.
  5. Sickness – If you already have an infection in your body, the chances are higher for canker sores.

Some Simple Remedies

Once you learn your triggers, canker sores become much easier to avoid. Limit problematic foods. If braces are irritating your mouth, ask for more dental wax, or have the trouble-spots checked. If stress is contributing to canker sores, try stress-reduction techniques.

After checking your triggers, if you find that you’re still getting frequent canker sores, check your oral care routine.

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid irritating oral tissue.
  • Try using toothpaste that doesn’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
  • Rinse your mouth each day with salt water.

Do you have any personal remedies and tips that help your canker sores? Share below! We’d love to hear them and pass them along.

Thank you for being such wonderful patients and friends. We appreciate you!

Top image by Flickr user Jeramey Jannene used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
26
Mar

Numb Lip? Fillings Keep Small Problems From Becoming Big Ones

YOU’RE RETURNING TO WORK after your dental appointment with a numb lip, thanks to a filling! We know it can be annoying. A filling may not be welcome news, but they’re often an important part of your preventative care plan, and much preferable to the alternatives!

If you’re ever been tempted to postpone getting a filling, think about this:

Decay Leads To More Decay… Until It’s Stopped

When decay erodes part of your tooth, fillings help us seal off and cover the compromised area. We place fillings because once a tooth starts to get decay, it’s very likely the decay will progress.

  • A cavity indicates that the area is decay-prone, whether that’s due to chewing habits, cleaning habits, or the bacterial climate.
  • Cavities can create crevices in your mouth that trap plaque and food particles, encouraging further decay.
  • The tooth’s outer enamel layer is much stronger than the inner, dentin layer. If decay breaches the enamel, it can progress dramatically, leading to severe pain and permanent tooth damage.

Fillings Need To Be Maintained, And Sometimes Refreshed

Occasionally, we may recommend that you replace a filling. The materials used in fillings can break down and weaken over time, which can lead to further decay and damage. During a replacement, we make sure that there’s no decay under the filling, and that the area is not compromised.

Be Proactive In Your Dental Care

Don’t postpone getting a filling if it’s recommended. Protect your oral health by being proactive. Save time and money by fixing the problem while it’s still small.

Let us know if you ever have any questions or concerns about the care that we recommend for you and your family. We value our relationship with you and we want to be sure that you’re always comfortable and happy with your service.

Thanks for being our patients and friends!

11
Mar

Next Time You Burn Your Mouth On Pizza…

SOMETIMES YOU JUST CAN’T RESIST! It’s SO cheesy and saucy—right out of the oven! You dive in and take your first bite…

Uh oh! Too soon! You’ve got “pizza burn!”

Pizza Isn’t The Only Culprit

You’ve probably burned your mouth before on coffee, soup, and other scorching hot foods. Soon afterward, you may have noticed that the roof of your mouth, and perhaps your tongue, is very tender. In some cases, you may even have blisters! Unfortunately, your mouth will probably hurt for a few days. However, there are a few things you can do to relieve the pain and irritation.

How To Soothe Your Mouth And Help It Heal

  1. Applying or sucking on ice can relieve the stinging. Gargling cold water or eating ice cream are other options.
  2. Drinking milk can coat the scorched area.
  3. An over-the-counter pain reliever can help, if the pain is really distracting.
  4. Avoid acidic, crunchy, and other hot foods, or even very salty and spicy dressings. This will stop the burn from getting irritated further.
  5. Squeezing Vitamin E from a capsule over the wound can speed up healing. It will regenerate new tissue and heal the wound.
  6. Maintain good oral hygiene while your mouth is burnt, keeping it as clean as possible to promote healing and prevent further infection. Warm saline rinses can also be helpful.
  7. Resist touching the burned area. This may be difficult, but by touching the affected area, the lesion may become irritated further.

If It’s Not Feeling Better In A Few Days, Call Us

Pizza-type burns tend to heal within three to seven days. If soreness and blistering continue beyond a week, please call us! In the meantime, have fun enjoying that delicious, cheesy pizza—that is, once it’s cool!

Thanks for being our valued patients and friends!

Top image by Flickr user m01229 used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
4
Mar

Don’t Like To Floss? Here Are Some Helpful Ideas

WE KNOW SOME OF YOU DON’T LIKE TO FLOSS. You may be surprised to hear us say, “we understand!” Flossing each day can be difficult. Perhaps you have sensitive gums, your mouth is small, or you feel like floss wrapped around your fingers cuts off your circulation. There are lots of seemingly good reasons not to floss—and as you can imagine, we’ve heard them all.

However, today there are options that can help make flossing easier.

Many, Many Varieties Of Floss

Try ribbon-style floss instead of thread-style. Try waxed versus unwaxed. Try one that’s specially designed to glide easily. Try a different thickness, or a different flavor. The type of floss you use doesn’t matter nearly as much as the fact you’re doing it!

Consider Tools Like Flossers And Flossing Sticks

After trying several of the various options suggested above, if no brand or particular type of floss seems to be doing the trick for you, look into other tools that are designed to help.

Flossers and floss sticks eliminate the need to wrap floss around your fingers. These tools can also make it easier to reach back teeth without having to stick your hands in your mouth. They can also help you more easily maneuver the floss for better coverage.

The are many different tools and many different brands available to try. And again, which tool you use isn’t nearly as important as the fact you’re doing it!


Never Underestimate The Value Of Flossing!

Flossing is an essential part of effective, daily oral hygiene care. Flossing helps guard against gum disease, the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. In addition to the woes of gum disease, some studies suggest that gum health is linked to systemic health issues including diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

Make Flossing A Daily Priority

If you have questions about how to make flossing easier, please visit with us. We want to help you be successful.

Thanks for being our valued patients and friends!

Top image by Flickr user Hey Paul Studios used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
25
Feb

Over 50? Be Aware Of These 5 Dental Issues

WE’RE KEEPING OUR TEETH longer than ever before. But in order to stay in optimal health, we need to be vigilant against potential problems. Certain risks can increase as we age.

#1 Tooth Decay Risk Increases

Aging can cause the base of teeth to become softer. In addition, roots can become more exposed. These two issues can cause cavities either around the base or root of the tooth.

#2 Dry Mouth Is A Common Problem

Thanks to medications, hormonal shifts, and the natural results of aging, dry mouth risk increases with age. Saliva is one of the main warriors against tooth decay, and without it, your risk of tooth decay and gum disease spike. Sipping water throughout the day, or chewing sugar-free gum can help stimulate saliva.

#3 Gum Disease Is The Most Common Cause Of Tooth Loss

Untreated gingivitis (inflamed gums) can easily become periodontitis. Gums pull away from the tooth and create pockets, where infections develop. Periodontitis can cause tooth loss and deteriorate jaw bone. If you have bleeding, red gums, talk to us. More frequent dental cleanings can help us keep your gums healthy.

#4 Oral Cancer Risk Goes Up

Oral cancer incidences increase as we age. Oral cancer is linked to heavy alcohol use and smoking, but even folks without those risk factors should be regularly screened at our office for early signs.

#5 Crowded Teeth Make Dental Health More Difficult

Many people experience shifting teeth as they age. Teeth can become crowded and more difficult to clean, and put extra stress on your gums and your jaw. Keep your oral health manageable, and your smile beautiful with more frequent cleanings, and perhaps orthodontic treatment to get a retainer or spacer.

Pass This Message On To Someone You Care About!

Even if you’re not over 50, you know and care for someone who is. Share this message and let them know that you care about their healthy smile!

If you have any questions about your own oral health, or that of someone you care for, give us a call. We’re always happy to talk with you.

Thanks for being our valued patients. We appreciate you!

Top image by Flickr user slgckgc used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
9
Oct

Why Biting Down On Aluminum Foil Hurts

HAVE YOU EVER accidentally bitten down on a little piece of aluminum foil? Have you experienced that quick zap of pain?

That Jolt Is Called Galvanic Shock

Perhaps a little piece of foil was clinging to the tortilla when you unwrapped your taco during lunch. When that foil came in contact with metal in your mouth (such as an amalgam filling, a metal crown, or braces) it created a little electrical shock!

Here’s How It Works

The discomfort comes from two different types of metal interacting with each other. These dissimilar metals—with help from our saliva—create something akin to a very low powered battery. When we bite down the stored electric charge flows through the teeth to our nerves, and our brain interprets the nerve’s signal as pain.

4 Aluminum Foil Uses That Are Better Than Biting It

  • Sharpen dull scissors. Just fold up a few strips and start cutting!
  • Soften brown sugar by wrapping it in foil and baking it for 5 minutes at 300° F.
  • Moving a couch? Put foil (dull side down) under the legs to glide across the floor.
  • Clean your iron by ironing over a piece of foil to get rid of build-up.

Share Your Story OR A Foil Recommendation

Steer clear of sneaky foil pieces in food! If you have another useful tip for using aluminum foil, share it below!

Thanks for being a part of our practice family!

30
Sep

3 Rules To Follow For A Smile-Healthy Halloween

HERE IT COMES! The season of ghosts, ghouls, witches, and, of course… candy! If you’re savvy about it, there’s no reason for your Halloween fun to come at the expense of your dental health.

Rule 1: A Little Candy All At Once Is Probably Better Than Candy All Day Long

When it comes to your oral health, if you must have some candy, a little “candy-binge” is better than grazing on that Halloween loot all day long (or all month long!). Our mouths are always working to restore optimal pH balance and to utilize our saliva to cleanse our smiles. So enjoy your candy once, and then brush and floss.

Rule 2: Keep Eating Good, Healthy Meals

Continue eating three nutritious, square meals a day. This has two purposes. First, being full of good food will make you less likely to indulge too much in unhealthy candy. Second, eating a little candy with a meal continues to stimulate saliva production, and helps your mouth clean itself and restore a good balance.

Rule 3: There’s Bad Candy… And There’s Worse Candy

Some candies are more harmful than others. The biggest bad candies you need to watch out for are:

  • Sour ones, which are loaded with acid.
  • Chewy ones that stick on and between your teeth for a long time.
  • Hard ones, like suckers, that rest on your teeth for a long periods of time—and can crack or chip teeth.

Chocolate Can Be A Less Harmful Choice

On the other hand, most chocolates, especially dark chocolates, may be better for your teeth than those listed above. Chocolate dissolves quickly and doesn’t linger as long on your teeth.

Contrary to popular belief, not all dentists hand out toothbrushes and floss at Halloween. Over half say that they give out candy. And of those who give out candy, about 80% of them choose to hand out chocolate over other candies.

Don’t Go TOO Crazy Healthy… You Don’t Want This!

If You Have A Little Extra Time…

Of course, there are some fun non-candy options for Halloween treats, too:

Check out some others by clicking here.

Have A Great Holiday!

We hope that you have a great Halloween. If you have any questions, please give us a call. Check out our Facebook page for more Halloween fun.

Thanks for being a part of our practice family. We appreciate you!