Making Halloween Healthy For Your Teeth

October 26th, 2018

HALLOWEEN IS ONE OF the most highly anticipated holidays of the year, and it’s almost here! This holiday sees kids, teens, and even adults consuming far more sugar than they would any other time, coming in second only to Easter. The problem with this is that sugar is the favorite food of the harmful bacteria living in our mouths, which means eating all these treats is very bad for our oral health.

Halloween Treats Versus Our Teeth

Any time we consume sugar, that bacteria in our mouths gets a big tasty meal, after which it excretes acid onto our teeth. If you’ve ever noticed an unpleasant sour taste or gritty feeling a little while after eating dessert, that’s why. The acid can do a lot of damage to our tooth enamel, because even though enamel is the hardest substance in our entire bodies, it is very vulnerable to acid erosion.

Fight Back Against The Sugar Attack

We can, of course, do things to minimize the harmful effects of sugar on our teeth. If we eat small amounts of candy throughout the day, then we aren’t giving our saliva time to neutralize the acids and wash away the sugar, so it’s actually better for our teeth to eat all the candy we want in one go.

Drinking water can help get rid of leftover sugars after eating a treat, and there are also other foods that work as natural cleaners and oral health boosters. Apples, bananas, vegetables, and even dark chocolate help scrub teeth clean and also supply important vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins C and D!

Another essential component of the battle against enamel erosion is a good brushing and flossing habit. Just make sure to wait half an hour after eating candy to brush, so that your saliva has time to neutralize all that acid first.

5 Delicious, Healthy, And Spooky Alternatives

Just because there are ways to minimize the effects of sugar on your teeth doesn’t mean it isn’t still better to choose healthier options for your spooky treats to begin with. Here are a few of our favorite options:

  1. Colby Jack-o’-Lanterns. The cut-out jack-o’-lantern face in the bread and the yummy, calcium-rich cheese in the middle make this one a great, healthy snack!
  2. Monster Apple Bites. Apples are full of fiber and water that help clean our teeth as we eat them, so why not make your apple slices look spooky for Halloween?
  3. Boo-nana. This one is easy. All you need are a few chocolate chips (preferably dark chocolate) and a banana. Bananas are good for the teeth because they are loaded with potassium and magnesium, which help keep teeth and gums strong.
  4. Spooky Spider Eggs. Eggs are great sources of vitamin D and our teeth need it to absorb calcium in order to stay strong.
  5. Clementine Pumpkins. Simply peel the fruit and add a stem! Clementines have a lot of vitamin C, which promotes good gum health.

Click here to see healthy Halloween treats.

We Can Help You Protect Your Teeth!

We hope every member of our practice family has a great Halloween filled with sweets and scares, but oral health should always be a priority. After you finish eating all your healthy treats and brushing and flossing your teeth, another great way to protect your teeth is to bring them in for their six-month checkup! We look forward to seeing you!

Wishing all our patients a happy Halloween!

 

Grinding Bruxism To A Halt

June 19th, 2018

GRINDING OR CLENCHING YOUR teeth is a pretty normal thing to do when you’re annoyed or stressed, and that’s nothing to worry about. However, if you grind your teeth on a more regular basis, whether asleep or awake, it can become a serious problem. This kind of chronic teeth-grinding is known as bruxism.

Why Does Bruxism Happen?

Sleep bruxism, also called nocturnal bruxism, is sometimes the side-effect of sleep apnea or snoring, while awake bruxism (diurnal bruxism) can be a side-effect of stress. However, not everyone with bruxism is dealing with a sleep disorder or stress, and everyone with a sleep disorder or a lot of stress in their lives will have bruxism. Improperly aligned teeth can also cause bruxism.

Watch this video on the link between TMJ, Sleep Apnea and Bruxism.

Bruxism Symptoms

Treatment for bruxism can sometimes be tricky because there isn’t a single clear cause, so the focus tends to be on reducing symptoms and minimizing the damage. You might not be consciously aware of a teeth-grinding habit, but if you experience at least some of the following symptoms, it could be because of bruxism:

  • Sore jaw (with sleep bruxism, your jaw will be most sore in the morning, whereas with awake bruxism, it’ll be most sore in the evening)
  • Frequent headaches from the constant strain
  • Overdeveloped jaw muscles (because you’re giving them a major workout!)
  • Shifting teeth
  • Flattened chewing surfaces of teeth
  • Exposed dentin and increased tooth sensitivity
  • Chipped, cracked, or split teeth
  • Tooth loss

Bruxism Treatment

There are a variety of treatments or approaches to either reduce the grinding or the damage it causes, depending on the type of bruxism you have.

Behavioral Therapy

You can become more aware of your clenching/grinding habits with behavioral therapy or habit-reversal techniques and consciously work to stop. Because it’s much harder to control what your jaw muscles do in your sleep, this option tends to work better for awake bruxism.

Relaxation

Relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing exercises, massages, warm baths, calming music, and a full night’s sleep can help you de-stress and stop grinding if your bruxism is stress-related.

Prescribed Medication

Medicine is rarely used to treat bruxism, especially if other treatments are helping, but muscle relaxant medication prescribed by your doctor might help you unclench while you sleep.

We Can Help You Stop The Grind!

Schedule an appointment with us if you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms. It may be due to bruxism, and we can make a plan for how to address it. You don’t want to leave it untreated until it gets to the point where it’s damaging your teeth.

Help us help you keep your teeth healthy!

 

 

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Fighting Back Against Oral Cancer

April 17th, 2018

ORAL CANCER IS A SUBJECT we’d all prefer not to have to think about, but it’s critical to have a basic understanding of risk factors and symptoms. More than 50,000 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with oral cancer last year, and that number is expected to rise. That’s why, in honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we’re dedicating a blog post to giving our patients the tools they need for early detection.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

There are several risk factors that increase a person’s chances of developing oral cancer. Some of them are out of our control, such as age and sex. Men are twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer, and it is far more common in people over 45. But there are plenty of risk factors that we can control, the biggest of which is tobacco. A whopping 85 percent of oral cancer cases are linked to some kind of tobacco use (even e-cigarettes). The next biggest avoidable risk factor is frequent, heavy alcohol consumption.

A few of the less-obvious risk factors include getting too much sun (which can cause lip cancer), HPV, and neglecting your oral hygiene, particularly if you also smoke. You can eliminate this risk factor by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and scheduling regular dental appointments!

Symptoms To Watch Out For

Unfortunately, even people with none of these risk factors will sometimes develop oral cancer anyway, which is why it’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms, which include:

  • A sore in the mouth or on the lip that doesn’t heal
  • Red or white patches inside the mouth
  • Unusual lump on lip, mouth, neck, or throat, or strange thickness in the cheek
  • Persistent sensation of having something stuck in the throat
  • Numbness of mouth or tongue
  • Difficulty with chewing or swallowing
  • Chronic bad breath

If you do have one or more of the risk factors for oral cancer, getting regular general health screenings can catch it before you even notice any symptoms. The earlier oral cancer is caught, the easier it is to beat it.

Check out this video.

Where Does The Dentist Fit In?

Another way oral cancer is caught early is at regular dental exams! In addition to checking your teeth for cavities and your gums for signs of gum disease, we can spot many of those early symptoms of oral cancer while we’re looking at your mouth, which is just one more reason why it’s so important to keep scheduling your dental appointments!

Even if you don’t have oral cancer or any of the risk factors, you can still help the people who are fighting this disease. Ask us how you can get involved!

We look forward to seeing you soon!

 

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Don’t Let Those Insurance Benefits Expire!

November 14th, 2017

2017 IS ALMOST OVER, and that means it’s time to talk about dental insurance. Most dental plans don’t let the benefits roll over into the next year if they go unused. If you haven’t yet taken advantage of all your benefits, then now is the time to do so!


Is Your Coverage Compatible?

Although our office does not participate with any insurance plans, we still submit your dental visit claim to your insurance plan so that you may be reimbursed. There is a large variety of dental plans that our patients are covered by, therefore, we are unable to know your specific benefits. When scheduling, you may want to contact your insurance carrier to determine the balance of your remaining benefits for the 2017 calendar year. Denise and Nicole are available to answer your questions or point you in the right direction.

Commonly Covered Procedures

The majority of insurance plans cover fillings at 80% and crowns at 50%.  You can always reach out to your individual plan for more specific details, as each plan's coverage may vary.  Routine clinical hygiene appointments and check-up films are typically covered at the highest percentage, so we recommend that our patients maximize their benefits by making sure they are scheduled every 6 months.

What To Do Before The Year Ends

Give our office a call. Denise or Nicole can check if you have any outstanding treatment that should be completed before the end of the year, or to make sure you are on schedule for your routine clinical hygiene and check-up appointments.

We Can’t Wait To See You!

We’re always looking out for our patients and want to make sure you’re taking the fullest advantage of your benefits! If you have any questions regarding dental insurance, stop by or call us today and we can help!

The greatest benefits are to your dental health!

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