Monday, December 7, 2015

Smile Care During the Holidays

Smile Care During the Holidays
Taking care of your smile during the holidays is important for many reasons. For one thing, you want the brightest, healthiest smile for your holiday pictures and gatherings with family and friends. However, the holidays also often mean a busier schedule. This can make keeping up with your diligent oral hygiene habits difficult during the holiday season. Make sure you don’t neglect smile care during the holidays, eat right, and visit your dentist as scheduled.
Keeping Your Teeth White
The first thing you will want to do is keep your teeth looking their whitest. Aside from brushing and flossing regularly, there are some other things you can do to maintain your bright smile for holiday pictures.
Start by chewing foods that naturally remove stains from your teeth, such as celery, carrots and apples. There are also foods that prevent staining of the teeth, including green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach. These foods create a barrier over your teeth, reducing decay and staining. Finally, sip water after drinking red wine or coffee, as this can help to prevent staining.
Be Careful with the Sweets
Eating sweets and the holidays seem to go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, sugar is also linked to bad breath, tooth decay, staining and gingivitis. Try to keep the sweets to a minimum, brush after eating a lot of sugary treats if you can, and drink plenty of water after eating a sweet.
The Importance of Nighttime Brushing
You already know to brush your teeth before going to bed every night, right? This routine is even more important during the holidays. If you have an extra cookie after dinner, don’t forget to brush your teeth before bedtime. Small morsels of that sugar-laden cookie can end up sticking to your teeth while you sleep, which can lead to tooth decay. Try to make it a point that you always brush your teeth before bed, so the sugar and food particles don’t remain on your teeth and gums overnight.
Visiting Your Dentist
If you have a routine dental visit scheduled during the holidays, don’t put it off because you’re too busy. Not only do you need the dental cleaning, but your dentist may notice oral health problems that need to be addressed. If you put off getting dental work, the issue can escalate and lead to a serious infection, when you might have just needed a simple procedure.
Taking good care of your smile during the holidays is about preventative care and paying close attention to what you eat and to your oral hygiene.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Reasons to Be Thankful for Your Smile

Thanksgiving is the time to be thankful, and that includes being thankful for your smile. If you’ve been focusing on your oral health and proper dental hygiene, you have a lot to be thankful for.
First, you can smile confidently, knowing you always have fresh breath and a clean, bright smile. What’s more, when you have a healthy smile, you can improve your overall health and reduce your risk for serious medical conditions. Here are some important reasons to be thankful for your smile.
Having a Confident Smile
The first reason to be thankful for your beautiful smile is that it can help you feel more confident, and improve your self-esteem. The cosmetic reasons for a good smile are important because you feel happy to smile wide and show your pearly whites. You know your breath is always fresh and your teeth are aesthetically pleasing. The confidence you portray makes it easy to be around you, because you feel good about yourself. That makes others enjoy being around you too. People are just naturally attracted to people who smile.
Improved Health
More and more research contends that proper oral health care can improve systemic health. Gum disease and periodontal disease have been linked to more serious health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. For example, gum disease causes an excess of inflammation, which can lead to blocked blood vessels and can up the risk of stroke and heart disease. There is also a link between gum disease and diabetes. Be thankful that you are improving your overall systemic health when you have good oral health.
Prevention of More Serious Issues
The preventative measures of good oral health are considerable. By taking good care of your teeth and getting regular cleanings and checkups from your dentist, you can prevent more serious dental issues and costly procedures. This includes periodontal disease, as well as procedures like root canals or extractions.
You can also be thankful for saving yourself quite a bit of money by not requiring these extensive procedures. Many of them can be avoided simply by seeing your dentist on a regular basis. Regular check-ups also help your dentist look for signs of oral cancer, which can be treated early.
This is the time of the year for being thankful, and having proper oral health is a wonderful thing to be thankful for.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Pitfalls of Poor Oral Hygiene

The Pitfalls of Poor Oral Hygiene
Maintaining proper oral hygiene techniques at home can mean the difference between a healthy, happy smile and a discolored, embarrassing one. So what can you do if you’re not happy with your smile? The answer is simple: visit your dentist regularly. Then, while you’re there, ask the right questions. Ask them what kind of toothbrush you should use, how to floss properly and whether or not you should be using any special appliances or tools. You can search all over the internet for proper oral hygiene techniques, but in reality, your dentist knows your history and can recommend the best products and behaviors to help maintain a healthy smile.
After your appointment, you need to apply those techniques to your everyday brushing routine. Here’s an idea of how you can improve your oral hygiene at home:
  • Brush twice a day – Brushing is great for your teeth and gums. It is recommended that you brush after every meal and right before you go to bed.
  • Floss once a day – Making sure to floss before you go to bed is one of the best ways to maintain healthy gums.
  • Preventative care – Patients are recommended to visit their dentist at least twice a year. Preventative treatments allow your doctor to monitor and treat any possible problems.
  • Stay clean – Clean your toothbrush regularly and understand when to replace an overused toothbrush.
Healthy teeth are not just white; they are thoroughly cleaned and have no cavities or bacteria buildup. Healthy gums are pink and firm, they should never bleed while brushing. If you do not maintain a regular brushing or flossing routine, you might notice that your teeth have become discolored, your gums bleed easily and plaque has built up in the small, hard to reach areas of your mouth.
Plaque is a sticky combination of bacteria and food that begins to accumulate on your teeth within 20 minutes of your last meal. If you do not clean your teeth well enough, plaque will build up and eventually develop into tartar. Untreated tartar buildup can lead to serious periodontal issues. These conditions include:
  • Cavities – Small holes that damage the structure of your teeth and often cause pain after eating sweet, hot or cold foods and drinks.
  • Gingivitis – Swollen, inflamed and bleeding gums. This is treatable through various professional cleaning procedures.
  • Periodontal Disease (gum disease) – If gingivitis goes untreated, it can lead to gum disease. This condition causes the destruction of the bone and ligaments that support the teeth, often leading to tooth loss.
  • Halitosis (bad breath) - Bad breath that is most commonly related to poor oral hygiene and is caused by the release of sulphur compounds by bacteria in the mouth. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Making your braces stylish

Growing up is hard enough without adding braces into the mix. Some kids would rather live with crooked and spaced teeth for their entire lives rather than spend 18 months in braces. As parents, we can empathize with our children’s apprehensions.  The companies who are responsible for developing new dental technologies understand as well. That is why they have created many ways to sport braces without embarassment!

The Invisalign® system uses custom fit, clear aligners to move teeth into place. The aligners are fitted every few weeks to shift the teeth into the desired position. Invisalign®  is also very convenient for teens who play sports as the aligners can be removed before physical activity. Patients who choose Invisalign®  also need fewer checkups.

There are also mini braces that are 30% smaller than regular metal braces. They also come in gold and glow in the dark! Lingual braces are another way to straighten the teeth. The brackets are attached to the backs of teeth and no one will know they are there unless you tell them. Lingual dental braces can be worn by almost anyone unlike some of the other treatment options.

The new options in braces allow teens to use dental braces as a fun way to make a fashion statement. The brackets, which previously only came in silver, now come in clear, tooth-colored, and even gold. The wires and bands come in an almost infinite number of shades including metallic, neon, and every color in-between. The colors can easily be changed during routine visits with the orthodontist. Some teens match the colors to the holidays and others choose their school colors to show their spirit.

Despite the wide range of colors and options that dental braces offer, they are still an adjustment. As a parent, be sure to discuss the reality of wearing braces and the maintenance that is required for treatment to be successful. The new fashion options that braces offer are an added bonus that makes the treatment that much more bearable. Your orthodontist can share actual patient pictures of the various styles of braces and band colors to make the patient more at ease with the appearance of them. Orthodontists are skilled at explaining the pros and cons of dental braces and addressing any apprehension your teen may have.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Back to School, Back to the Dentist

Back to School, Back to the Dentist

For kids, it marks the end of summer fun and start of a new school year. For parents, it’s a happy return to regular bedtimes, baths and household routine, but with the added stress of afterschool activities and regular PTA meetings. And for both parents and kids, it often means a return to the dentist for a cleaning, checkup, new toothbrush, and hopefully a cavity-free bill of oral health.

Why is back-to-school such a good time to schedule a dental appointment? For kids who have likely enjoyed a summer full of sugary candy, soda, ice cream, slumber parties and campouts--when brushing and flossing could have easily been forgotten-- a return to the dentist is an important time to address any cavities that may have occurred and provide the teeth with a thorough cleaning. A back-to-school dental appointment also provides kids with the sense of a fresh start and a return to routine, which helps them stay diligent with twice daily brushing and flossing. If there’s any need for orthodontics, sealants or other dental services, it’s best to undergo such treatments prior to the start of the school year, making any adjustments easier to implement along with other changes. Any developmental oral health problems that could affect speech or diet are also best addressed before they potentially affect your child’s school life.

Since family life gets especially busy once classes resume, parents will find it much easier to take care of dental appointments before the need to sign kids out of school or skip activities arises. Back-to-school is important for more than just grade school students. For high school and college aged kids it’s a good time to consider wisdom tooth removal. Wisdom tooth extraction is often simple and straightforward, but it still requires a few days of rest and recovery, which is best done without the stress of homework, new classes and coursework.

Teachers and educational administrators should also use back-to-school as a time to take care their own need for an exam, cleaning, and dental work. This ensures that you needn’t miss any days of work to take care of your oral health or endure any pain due to unaddressed issues.

Even if your days in class are long behind you, back-to-school can be a chance to catch up and start a new beginning for everyone. Why not do so with a smile? If you or your child is due for a dental visit, now is a great time to make your back-to-school appointment.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Tooth Sensitivity – What Causes It and How Can I Treat It?

Tooth Sensitivity – What Causes It and How Can I Treat It?

Summer has arrived, and for individuals with sensitive teeth, the thought of ice cold treats could have you cringing instead of cheering. Tooth sensitivity can make dental visits, procedures, and a variety of foods and beverages very uncomfortable to experience. While it may be considered a minor problem in the realm of various oral health disorders, tooth sensitivity should be addressed and treated to ensure that your dental checkups and hygiene habits go smoothly and comfortably, and that you can enjoy a reasonable variety of food and drink without pain.
Tooth sensitivity most frequently occurs when the nerves of tooth are not adequately protected. When tooth enamel is worn down due to improper or abrasive brushing, tooth decay, gum disease or infection, then hot and cold temperatures will easily stimulate the tooth nerves and cause sensations of pain and discomfort. A dental checkup is the best bet in identifying the primary factor or combination of factors that could be causing your tooth sensitivity-- whether it’s a cavity, weakened filling, gum tissue recession, bruxism, or need for a root canal.

Once the issue has been identified and treated with a necessary procedure, tooth sensitivity should subside shortly thereafter. If, however, you experience tooth sensitivity on a regular basis and no periodontal issue has been determined as the cause, there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce and manage your tooth sensitivity.
First, ensure that you are brushing and flossing properly, and with the right tools. Use a soft bristled toothbrush and waxed floss. Do not attempt to “scrub” your teeth clean when you brush. Instead, brushing should be completed gently, in short strokes. If your toothbrush bristles appear frayed at the ends, you’ve discovered a telltale sign of rough brushing and your teeth have likely sustained damage from toothbrush abrasion.
The toothpaste you choose could also contribute to or alleviate tooth sensitivity. Whitening toothpastes often contain abrasives and can easily add to tooth sensitivity—so too can teeth whitening products like gels and strips. Use toothpaste that is specified as desensitizing. Desensitizing toothpastes can be purchased just about anywhere under a variety of generic and brand names. Look for potassium nitrate as the active ingredient, as this substance works to block and protect exposed dentin and nerves.

Finally, make smart choices when it comes to oral health and hygiene. Good smile care habits reduce plaque and tartar, and minimize your risk of gum disease, cavities and other issues that result in tooth sensitivity and more serious problems. Avoid tobacco products and reduce intake of foods and beverages high in sugar, acid or alcohol. If you have issues grinding or clenching your teeth, take care to minimize stress and consider using a mouth guard to prevent enamel damage and discomfort.
Follow these steps and you’ll be more likely to scream for ice cream, not because of it. Don’t forget to brush and floss afterwards.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Mouth Guards and the Importance of Protecting your Teeth During Sports

Mouth Guards and the Importance of Protecting your Teeth During Sports

If you or your children play a contact sport and you neglect one very important piece of equipment, you’re increasing your risk of injury by 60%. That piece of equipment is the athletic mouth guard, and neglecting to wear one could result in injuries that include tooth chipping or breakage, nerve damage and even tooth loss.

To prevent such problems, a mouth guard is simple, straightforward and highly effective. Both kids and adults should utilize them when playing contact sports or when playing on or with specific equipment, including bicycles, gymnastic apparatuses or even skates. Athletic mouth guards are designed to be comfortable and nonintrusive, and are available in a variety of forms to suit any athlete’s needs. If you play a contact sport or engage in physical activity with some risk of impact, consider any of the following mouth guard types:

  • Custom Fabricated Mouth Guards: Custom mouth guards are created from an impression of your teeth and are laboratory fabricated to perfectly suit your smile. Many athletes prefer custom mouth guards as they’re especially comfortable, long lasting and discreet. If you’re a serious athlete, it may be wise to make an investment in a custom mouth guard, but keep in mind they do require some time and preparation to complete. If you plan on adjusting the structure of your smile with any cosmetic dentistry, your custom mouth guard may no longer fit.

  • Boil and Bite Mouth Guards: A boil and bite mouth guard allows for a type of at-home mouth guard customization. By heating a specialized thermoplastic, manually shaping and biting it and allowing it to cool, the mouth guard is formed.

  • Stock/Standard Athletic Mouth Guards: Standard mouth guards are designed to be one-size-fits all and are readily available at most sporting goods stores. Since stock mouth guards are mass produced, they may not feel as comfortable or provide adequate protection. If you really want to protect your smile and feel comfortable wearing your mouth guard, some degree of custom fitting is needed.  

If you have questions about selecting the proper mouth guard for your specific needs, please feel free to contact us!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sleep Apnea – How Your Dentist Can Help

Sleep Apnea – How Your Dentist Can Help

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious condition in which tissues of the mouth and throat create reoccurring respiratory obstruction. This typically occurs when the body is asleep and can most often be identified through the issue of persistent snoring or even gasping and choking. Millions of Americans are affected by obstructive sleep apnea, whether they themselves experience the issue or their sleep partners are kept awake by the volume of the snores. Since sleep apnea reduces air intake, it interferes with oxygen entering the lungs and the circulatory system, resulting in immediate effects like daytime drowsiness, fatigue, depression and irritability, as well as potentially serious long term health risks like stroke, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and heart failure.

Sleep apnea should be treated promptly. While it is easily identified through chronic snoring, if you sleep alone or if snoring is simply dismissed, sleep apnea can easily go unnoticed and the effects and risks will only persist. Anyone can develop sleep apnea, but being overweight or obese, middle-aged or older, male, a frequent drinker, smoker, having a fuller neck circumference, or family history of sleep apnea amount to an increased risk of sleep apnea. Additionally, if you’ve ever gasped awake or you often awake feeling groggy, breathless and experience headaches and dry mouth, you could be affected by sleep apnea and should consult your doctor about being screened.

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, there are a number of treatment options to choose from, and in many cases, your dentist will be able to help. Treatment of sleep apnea requires that the nightly respiratory obstruction is prevented. This can be accomplished through several treatment methods.

A CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is frequently used to treat moderate to severe cases of sleep apnea. Through this therapy, a mask and hose is attached to machine which delivers constant air pressure. As the mask is worn at bedtime, the light air pressure keeps the airways of the nose and throat open. This is the most common treatment approach for sleep apnea, although many patients must adjust to wearing the mask and relying upon the machine. Some sleep apnea patients never fully adjust to CPAP therapy and some are simply unable to tolerate this method. While CPAP can be effective, there are alternatives for those sleep apnea patients who are unable to comfortably rely upon this treatment.

Many dental offices can provide sleep apnea oral appliances. This device looks similar to a night guard used for TMJ treatment, but instead of absorbing stress, it’s used to position the jaw so that the tongue and tissues of the oral cavity no longer block the throat. The device is fairly discreet and contained in a way that makes it easy to wear and travel with. Most sleep apnea oral appliances are custom fabricated to ensure the utmost in comfort. A sleep apnea oral appliance can serve as an alternative to CPAP or even as a supplementary treatment. When worn with the CPAP mask, the effects can actually be enhanced.

As a last resort, surgery can be performed to remove excess tissue from the back of the oral cavity or to permanently reposition the jaw so the opening to the throat is expanded. There are also lifestyle modifications that can be used to help minimize sleep apnea, including weight loss, reduction of tobacco use and alcohol intake, regular exercise and changes in sleep position.

No matter the treatment that works best for you, the most important thing is that sleep apnea is controlled and no longer a detriment to your health.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

At what age should you begin orthodontic care for your child?

at what age should you begin orthodontic care for your child?
Why should I consider Orthodontic care for my child?

Seeking orthodontic care for your child is a personal decision. Some parents are very concerned with the aesthetics of the child’s mouth, while others a comfortable with some spacing or crowded teeth. Many children live with overbites or other alignment issues without the parents feeling the need to seek out orthodontic treatment.  Some people feel that orthodontic treatment is considered to be a cosmetic and an optional treatment, thus it is not sought out by parents as a result. 

Unlike strictly cosmetic procedures, orthodontic care has long-term medical benefits on your dental health. Teeth that are properly aligned allow proper brushing and flossing, and reduce the opportunity for bacteria and tooth decay to develop. Misaligned bites cause chewing and speech difficulties. Finally, misaligned teeth cause additional wear on tooth surfaces. 

When to begin treatment?

It is quite common for parents to be confused over when to begin orthodontic treatment for their child. The opinions differ among orthodontists as well. Depending on the patient’s condition, the best age to consider orthodontic treatment will vary. Orthodontic treatment corrects overcrowding, underbite, overbite and crossbite. Depending on the age of the child, growth milestones, and the timing that the orthodontist is brought into the equation, the treatment may begin at a very young age. Inversely, children who start too early with treatment can end up needing a second phase of treatment in their teenage years.

Class II malocclusion, commonly known as overbite or buck teeth, is best treated in the adolescent and teen years. Early treatment is recommended for Class III malocclusion, commonly referred to as underbite to align and influence growth patterns of the jaw. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, most orthodontic treatment programs typically begin around 9 years old. The average patient’s treatment plan lasts from 1 to 3 years. (

How is a parent to know?

The best way to assess your child’s individual situation is to begin a relationship with an orthodontist at the first signs of any abnormality or misalignment. Regular orthodontic checkups will allow your child’s condition to be assessed over time, which allows the orthodontist to make an informed decision about the necessary treatment. Regular visits to the orthodontist also enable treatments to be scheduled around growth spurts or certain milestones.

Unsure of how to proceed? Then make an appointment with an orthodontist. Have your child assessed and ask questions about recommended treatments. Once you take the first step, the rest is easy.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Oral Cancer and Dentistry

Oral Cancer and Dentistry

When a patient goes to the dentist for a checkup, the last thing he wants to think about is serious illness. Many people think that worrying about decay and periodontal disease is quite enough.
Nevertheless, the mouth is a complicated place. While there are pathological processes unique to the mouth, many diseases not generally thought of as "oral" may also occur or manifest themselves in this location. One such disease is cancer. There are nearly 30,000 new cases of oral cancer each year in the United States, and eight thousand people die each year (2-3% of cancer deaths). 1-3 For all the advances of modern medicine, five-year survival has changed little in several decades.1-3
The risk factors are well known, and have been for years. Tobacco use, alcohol, and chronic sun exposure are all associated with oral cancer. Most victims are male and over 40 years old.
2-3 People who both use tobacco and drink are at much greater risk than those who have only one of these risk factors.4 It should be noted that smokeless tobacco appears to be no safer to the mouth than smoking. Smokeless tobacco has gotten increasing attention as it has become more popular.5 Chronic irritation from ill-fitting dentures and human papilloma virus have also been implicated.
Since early oral cancers are painless, they may be easily overlooked. According to James Sciubba, professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, SUNY Stony Brook, "Pre-cancers and early stage oral cancers cannot be adequately identified by visual inspection and may easily be overlooked and neglected even by highly trained professionals with broad experience."
Patients who do not receive regular dental care may never have their mouths examined for signs of cancer, and even those who have regular care may never have an adequate screening. The American Cancer Society observed as long ago as 1967 that:
"the dentist too frequently looks only at the patient's teeth; the otolaryngologist, pediatrician, and general practitioner tend to concentrate on the tonsils; the internist on the tongue; and the general surgeon on the thyroid, lateral part of the neck, and lower lip. The angle of the mandible is the “no man's land” in which all these specialties converge, none as yet having staked out a valid claim. Nor has any specialty laid claim to the extracranial head and neck as a whole."

The US Department of Health and Human Services, in its program Healthy People 2010, has a reduced mortality rate from oropharyngeal cancers as one of its objectives.10 Dentists thus must be professionally responsible for providing a comprehensive oral cancer examination for their patients.11,12 There is evidence that recent dental school graduates are more likely to screen for oral cancer risk factors and are more likely to conduct regular oral cancer examinations.13 Screening for risk factors and preventive measures, such as counseling patients regarding the use of tobacco and alcohol, may be even more important than efforts aimed at early detection.14 This counseling may be difficult for dentists who have historically felt unprepared to provide tobacco or alcohol cessation education.13
In May of this year, Surgeon General David Satcher released Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General. It is likely these services may be more easily implemented by referral to appropriate health care facilities.
15 The report found a large disparity in awareness of important oral health issues between different racial and socioeconomic groups. Minorities and the poor were found to be more poorly informed regarding oral health and its implications for general health. This had led to a "silent epidemic" of oral disease among the poor. The Surgeon General called for action to promote access to oral health care for all. Satcher's findings are borne out by the significantly higher mortality rates from oral cancer in blacks, when compared with whites.
 Increased vigilance of dentists, combined with the acknowledgement of the importance of all aspects of oral care by both health care workers and patients, will go a long way toward decreasing the toll taken by this terrible, largely preventable disease.

1. Greenlee RT, Murray T, Bolden S, Wingo PA. Cancer statistics, 2000. CA Cancer J Clin 2000;50:7-33
2. Silverman S. Oral cancer. 4th ed. American Cancer Society. St. Louis: Mosby-Year Book; 1998:1-6
3. Swango PA Cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx in the United States: an epidemiologic overview. J Public Health Dent 1996;56(6):309-18
4. Mashberg A, Samit A. Early diagnosis of asymptomatic oral and oropharyngeal squamous cancers. CA Cancer J Clin 1995;45(6):328-51
5.ADA news release--Oral Lesions from Smokeless Tobacco Dissipate after Stopping Use of Tobacco Products, Study Concludes: July 1999
6. Maden C, Beckmann AM, Thomas DB, et al. Human papilloma viruses, herpes simplex viruses, and the risk of oral cancer in men. Am. J Epidemiol 1992;135(10):1093-102
7. Fouret P, Monceaux G. Teman S, Lacourreye L, St. Guily JL. Human papillomavirus in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas in nonsmokers. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1997;123(5):513-6
8. ADA news release--New Oral Cancer Scanner May Help Save Lives, Study Says: October 1999 |
9. American Cancer Society: The paradox of oral cancer. Brochure, 1967.
10. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy people 2010, conference edition. Washington: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2000:3-16-17
11. Horowitz AM, Goodman HS, Yellowitz JA, Nourjah PA The need for health promotion in oral cancer prevention and early detection. J Public Health Dent 1996;56(6):319-30
12. Meskin LH. Do it or lose it (editorial). JADA 1997;128:1058-60
13. Horowitz, AM, Drury, TF, Goodman, HS, Yellowitz, JA Oral Pharyngeal Cancer Prevention and Early Detection: Dentist' Opinions and Practices, JADA April 2000
source: Mark Bornfeld

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sweet, Smile Friendly Valentine’s Day

Sweet, Smile Friendly Valentine’s Day
Is there anything sweeter than letting someone know they’re special on Valentine’s Day, and vice versa? Just as sweet gifts and gestures come in many shapes and forms, the same can be said of Valentine’s treats. From candy conversation hearts to huge boxes of assorted chocolates, Valentine’s Day is can be just as sugar packed as any other holiday.
Around this time of year, heart-shaped treats are offered in abundance around the office and in schools. For the sake of your teeth and your health, as well as those you love, the smartest way to express your Valentine feelings to choose a gesture or gift that bypasses the sugary, sticky sweets. That doesn’t mean having to spend more on holiday staples like flowers, jewelry and themed gifts. A special note, or gift that reflects the receiver more than the holiday, will surely mean more and last longer than a box of their favorite candy (no matter how big it is).
Still, if you can’t imagine a proper Valentine’s Day without sweets, you can find smile-friendly options that won’t ruin the mood. Here are some things to consider when treat shopping for your sweetie.
  • Go Dark – Dark chocolate typically contains less sugar than milk chocolate or white chocolate, which has more sugar and fat than cocoa content. The rich flavor of dark chocolate also means you can feel satisfied with a smaller amount; it’s a matter of quality over quantity.  
  • Skip The Assortments – Caramel, marshmallow, molasses, maple and other sticky fillings are very common in Valentine’s assortments. These chewy, sticky substances cling to the teeth, where it easily decays your enamel, and even worse, can dislodge dental work. Since chocolate assortment boxes are filled with these decadent downfalls, it’s better to choose a decorative box of one type of candy without a sticky filling, like a ganache truffle, chocolate covered nuts, or a bar of your special someone’s favorite chocolate. Assortment boxes also make it easier to pick and nibble throughout the day, prompting you to consume a lot more sweets than you realize.
  • Rely on Xylitol – Xylitol based candy is both diabetic friendly and a natural cavity fighter. Gum, lollypops, mints and more classic candies are available in Xylitol varieties. If you’re going to be baking your own treats this Valentine’s Day, the sweetener can be purchased by the pound and used just like sugar.  
Regardless of how sensible or sweetly you indulge this Valentine’s Day, always make sure to brush and floss after sweets and schedule a comprehensive cleaning if you’re due. Remember, there’s more to Valentine’s Day than gifts and sweets. Make sure you’re wearing a clean, fresh and kissable smile as well!


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Your 2015 Brushing and Flossing Routine

Your 2015 Brushing and Flossing Routine
Getting a better job, learning a new language, taking a class, losing weight, saving more money, quitting tobacco, and more are among the most popular new year’s resolutions. These are all great pursuits for improving your life and health, but did you know that only little more than half of Americans brush and floss on a daily basis? When you think about how important these two actions are to preventing the many pains and complication that result from gum disease, one would expect daily brushing and flossing to be somewhere on the list of popular resolutions; troublingly, it is not!
If you are making 2015 your year to lose some stubborn pounds, eat more greens and stay away from tobacco, you’re making a great choice--- and if you don’t do it already, why not add in a change that only takes minutes of your day and could add years to your health?
To help you make a new commitment to daily brushing and flossing, here are some tips to get you started and help you stick with it!
Fit It In With Your Current Routine
As you start and end your day, you probably have a routine that doesn’t vary that much from one day to the next. Whether it’s getting the kids on the school bus or checking your email before you head to work, find a way to work in an extra few minutes to care for your smile. Brushing and flossing is ideally done about thirty minutes after you eat. Simply brushing and flossing your teeth right when you leave the house in the morning and before you go to bed at night is an easy method of establishing routine.
Make It Easy
Since brushing and flossing only take a few minutes, it’s not something one can easily dismiss because they’re too busy. But if the act of brushing and flossing seems difficult or uncomfortable, it may be because you’re making it harder than it has to be. When you understand the proper way to do something, that means the habit is all the more likely to stick. Think about it; when you gave up resolutions in the past, your reason for doing so was probably because it felt too difficult or unnatural to keep up. Preparation and comfort makes it possible to avoid downfall. Try these steps for comfortable brushing and flossing:
  1. Get a soft bristle toothbrush that’s easy to operate.  Soft bristles are better for your tooth enamel and more comfortable, but they should be sturdy enough to do the job of removing plaque. If a thick rubber handle, arched neck or electric toothbrush is preferable for your grip, stick with a type that works best for you. The advantages of one type of toothbrush over another really depends on what best suits the brusher, and which you’re able to use with greatest ease.       Remember to replace your brush every three months, after you’ve been sick, or if there is visible wear on the bristles.
  2. Get toothpaste you like. There are countless flavors and formulas available in the toothpaste aisle. Find a taste you enjoy, just be sure it contains fluoride and is ADA approved.  An opaque white paste is best for those who are concerned with teeth staining. Toothpaste with potassium nitrate is great for individuals with sensitive teeth.
  3. Try a waxed dental floss. Waxed floss cuts down on a lot of the mechanical difficulty of getting the floss between your teeth. Flavored floss can make the process more pleasant for some people, but keep in mind that flavored dental floss is slightly thicker, which can make a difference when you have smaller spaces between your teeth or dental work.
  4. Try dental tape. Dental tape is thicker than regular dental floss, but patients with sensitive gums can find it more comfortable.  It also covers more of the tooth’s surface, making the flossing process more thorough.
  5. A flossing aid or alternative is better than nothing at all.  If you can’t get into the habit of flossing with traditional dental floss, or find it tough to grip or get around dental work, using a floss pick or dental brush is better than nothing at all. Start out with one of these flossing aids and make an effort to transition into proper flossing.
Make It Rewarding  
As you commit to daily brushing and flossing, remind yourself of the rewards. You’ll have fresh breath, fewer stains and plaque, and a cleaner feeling as you face the day and settle for rest. Your teeth with remain stronger and healthier year after year. You’ll protect yourself from periodontal infections that are costly to your health and your finances. You’ll also have a better experience when you come in for your checkup. Think of how great it will feel to experience all of these benefits, and when you’re asked if you brush and floss every day, you can honestly say yes!