FOR MANY OF US, SUMMER MEANS it’s time for a vacation! But just because you’re taking a break doesn’t mean your oral hygiene should do the same.
Travel can throw off our good routines. During odd hours, long plane rides, and close quarters, it’s easy to skip dental care and end up with “traveler’s breath”. Protect your teeth while traveling by packing these four essential items:
1. A Water Bottle
Always travel with a water bottle. Having a dry mouth can increase the amount of cavity-causing bacteria in our mouths. If you have a soda or some juice, rinse with water afterward. This will help get rid of any remaining sugar and acid in your mouth.
2. Tooth-Friendly Snacks
Being on the road makes it easy to indulge in lots of delicious food, and that’s OK! If you’re smart about it, your teeth don’t have to suffer. Carry healthy, tooth-scrubbing snacks like apples, celery, and carrots. These foods will help your mouth clean itself and resist plaque buildup.
Additionally, many travelers find themselves with a dry, stale mouth because they haven’t eaten! Skipping meals and going long periods of time without food means a decrease in the healthy saliva stimulation that happens whenever you chew on food. Keep healthy snacks handy for those gaps between meals.
3. Sugarless Chewing Gum
Often when we are traveling, stopping to brush our teeth just isn’t practical! In a pinch, chew some sugar-free gum. It will freshen your breath and help clean your mouth.
4. Your Toothbrush
As you’re packing your bags, don’t forget your oral health basics: floss, toothpaste, and a toothbrush.
- Keep it dry and clean. Toothbrush caps or bags are great for keeping bristles clean in your luggage.
- Keep travel-sized options in your carry-on. That way if your luggage gets lost or delayed, your teeth won’t be neglected.
More Cool Packing Tips
We hope these tips will come in handy the next time you travel. Do you have any travel tips YOU would like to share? Comment below. We would love to hear your ideas!
Thanks for being wonderful patients and friends!
YOUR MOUTH SAYS A LOT… Even when you’re not speaking. It can tell us if you’ve been brushing and flossing. It also provides clues about your overall health.
Dentists have been aware of this for a long time. Lately, an increasing number of general practitioners are putting a renewed focus on oral evaluations during health checkups.
There Are Significant Links Between Oral Health And Systemic Diseases
Studies continue to show links between our oral health and comprehensive health. Our mouths can affect the health of the rest of our bodies. For example, periodontal (gum) disease has been linked to complications with diabetes, and pre-term labor in pregnant women. There is also a high correlation between poor oral health and Rheumatoid Arthritis, Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease.
When Your Physician Says, “Say Ah”
A traditional evaluation at the beginning of a doctor’s appointment is termed “HEENT” (head, ears, eyes, nose, and throat). Recently, health professionals have been pushing for a modification to that standard evaluation, changing it to “HEENOT” instead (head, ears, eyes, nose, oral cavity, and throat).
During oral exams, health professionals can catch signs of potential systemic conditions. They can also evaluate oral health and send up a red flag if it’s time for that patient to see a dentist in order to improve oral health.
Don’t Skip Routine Dental Checkups
The fact that your doctor is checking your oral health is not an excuse to skip your regular dental appointments. We’re professionals in oral care, and regular maintenance from our team helps keep you healthy. Be sure that each time your physician checks your mouth, she’ll find it happy and healthy.
If you have any questions about your oral health, please contact us! We love talking with you.
Thanks for being our valued patients and friends!
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!
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
- Read labels, and check for hidden sugars.
- Cook more at home so you know exactly what’s going into your food.
- 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!
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.
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
- Stress – Stress can weaken your immune system, making it easy for canker sores to form and irritate your mouth.
- 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.
- Foods – Foods that are high in acidity like strawberries, tomatoes, pineapples and lemons can trigger canker sores. Sour candies are also a common culprit.
- Dental Appliances – Having braces or ill-fitting dentures could also cause canker sores, since it increases opportunities for irritation in your mouth.
- 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!
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!
OUR BODIES ARE ECOSYSTEMS where a change in one area affects other areas. This connection is becoming clearer as scientists continue examining the links between oral health and cardiovascular health. Recent studies suggest that taking care of your gums through great oral hygiene could cut your risk of a heart attack or stroke!
Important Links Between Gum Health And Heart Health
Inflammation caused by gum disease could contribute to an increased risk for heart problems. The mouth is the gateway to the body, and gums that are infected or bleeding provide easy access for bacteria to get into the bloodstream. Once inside, certain types of bacteria cause low-level inflammation of blood vessels without causing a full-blown blood infection. Because of this, treatment is very difficult once the bacteria have become established. The constant low-level inflammation can induce atherosclerosis–the hardening of arterial walls–and lead to blockages.
Mom Was Right—An Ounce of Prevention…
Beyond diet and exercise, it’s hard to know what to do to prevent heart disease. However, gum disease and tooth decay are completely preventable!
- Brush twice daily for two minutes, gently massaging the gums.
- Floss once daily.
- Brush or rinse with water after eating or drinking.
- Don’t miss your regular cleanings and check-ups with us.
As such studies continue, it’s likely more evidence will be found linking gum disease and heart disease. In the meantime, there are already enough reasons to take charge of your oral health! Establishing good dental hygiene habits now and sticking to them will help prevent tooth decay, gum disease and a host of other problems.
Stay Healthy For The People You Love
We’re proud to assist you in your pursuit of comprehensive, lasting health. We look forward to seeing you during your next visit.
Thank you for allowing us to be your lifelong health partner. We appreciate you!
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
- Applying or sucking on ice can relieve the stinging. Gargling cold water or eating ice cream are other options.
- Drinking milk can coat the scorched area.
- An over-the-counter pain reliever can help, if the pain is really distracting.
- Avoid acidic, crunchy, and other hot foods, or even very salty and spicy dressings. This will stop the burn from getting irritated further.
- Squeezing Vitamin E from a capsule over the wound can speed up healing. It will regenerate new tissue and heal the wound.
- 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.
- 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!
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!