THE AMERICAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION STRONGLY SUGGESTS that we replace our toothbrushes every 3–4 months for maximum effectiveness.
Know When To Say Goodbye
Take a close look at your toothbrush bristles. Are they frayed? Smashed? Discolored? Kinda gross? It’s time for a new toothbrush.
If you’re brushing correctly (gently), the signs of a less effective toothbrush may be less visible. That’s why it’s important to mark your calendar! After a few months, you may start noticing that although your brushing routine hasn’t changed, your teeth just don’t feel as clean.
When bristles become slanted and curved it prevents them from reaching where they need to—around the gum line and between teeth. Bristles also lose their elasticity, keeping them from achieving an important gentle-sweeping movement. Research also shows worn toothbrushes don’t reduce plaque as well as a new ones.
Turn Your Old Toothbrush Into A Playground!
TerraCycle® and Colgate® have partnered to create the Colgate Oral Care Brigade®, a free recycling program for oral care product packaging and a fundraising opportunity for participants.
Take Good Care Of Your New Toothbrush
- Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly after each use.
- Don’t store it in a closed container. Allow it to air-dry.
- Don’t share your toothbrush with others.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months!
Wondering About The Cool Toothbrush Image Above?
At the top of this blog post, there’s a closeup photo of a giant disco ball that was constructed to bring awareness for toothbrush recycling:
Share this blog post with your friends and coworkers!
Together, by sharing great information, we provide value and make small differences in our health and in our lives. We appreciate having you as our valued patient and friend!
Top image by Flickr user Jennifer Morrow used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original. In text image by Flickr user Jnzl used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
WE KNOW that frequent snacking on processed, sugary foods isn’t kind to the waistline. But what about its effects on your oral health?
As we eat, naturally occurring bacteria in our mouths feed on sugars. This produces acid. When acids aren’t cleared away, they can erode tooth enamel, which leads to tooth decay.
Two Snacking Factors Can Increase Dental Decay Risk
Two major aspects of snacking affect cavity risk. They are:
- Consumption frequency, and
- The amount of time foods are in contact with teeth
The more frequently we eat, and the longer our teeth are exposed to the sugars in our food, the more vulnerable we are to tooth decay.
Consider The Texture Of Your Snack Foods
There are clues to snacking dangers that center around the texture of foods. Soft and/or sticky foods provide a more ideal environment for bacteria to adhere to teeth and thrive over time. So, given that clue which of the following snacks would you guess is better for your teeth... A hand full of animal crackers or a square of plain chocolate? You’re right—the chocolate.
Help Your Teeth AND Your Overall Health!
4 Snacking Tips
- Avoid added sugar and acidic beverages to maintain a neutral pH in your mouth.
- Brush twice a day (or after every meal) and floss every night before bed.
- Rinse your mouth with water after snacking.
- Snack on foods like almonds, cheese, fruits and vegetables with high water and high fiber content. Carrots and apples are great!
Oral Health Is Connected To Whole Body Health
It may seem silly to state the obvious... But always remember that what goes on inside our mouths is connected to what goes on throughout our bodies. In our modern world it’s really easy to get into the habit of snacking all the time. Make good choices to keep your healthy smile looking, and feeling, its best.
Thanks for being our valued patients and friends. We appreciate the trust you place in us!
Top image by Flickr user Eleazar used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
IT ISN’T ALWAYS ABOUT looking like a movie star or supermodel. It’s about feeling confident and comfortable with your healthy smile!
Smiling’s Amazing Benefits
You may not typically think about it this way, but your smile is powerful:
- Smiles can make you healthier. Smiling immediately lowers your blood pressure, slows your heart, and boosts your immunity. Endorphins released by smiling counteract stress and pain.
- Smiles spread. Studies show that when you smile, 50% of people will smile back. Smiles are highly contagious, creating waves that help make people more productive, interactive, and satisfied.
- Even fake smiles can brighten your mood! Studies have shown that smiles (real and fake) can cause a positive-mood feedback loop between brain and body.
- Smiling makes great first impressions. Smiling makes you more attractive and can help lead to success in our professional and personal lives.
Get YOUR Smile On With These Feel-Good Facts!
Would You Like To Visit About Your Smile?
Feeling self-conscious about your smile should never prevent you from realizing the benefits of smiling! Restoring and maintaining a beautiful, healthy smile encompasses many considerations. Our goal is to always work together with you to provide the best solutions for your unique smile and circumstances.
Sometimes, something very minor like smile whitening can make a huge difference! Sometimes the answer is a gorgeous smile makeover. And sometimes we just need to help you get your smile healthy again, independent of any cosmetic considerations.
Whatever the case, we’re your trusted resource for clear information and honest recommendations. Thank you for the trust you place in our practice.
Share Your Smile More In 2015!
Make the world a better place with your smile.
Thanks for being a part of our practice family! We appreciate you.
Top image by Flickr user Josh used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
MANY PEOPLE, AFTER COMPLETING orthodontic treatment, are fitted with a fixed retainer—a thin wire that’s bonded to the back of teeth, designed to help keep teeth straight and aligned.
Fixed retainers can be great! You never have to worry about losing it! However, fixed retainers can also make it more difficult to keep teeth and gums clean and healthy. One of the most common problems that can arise is plaque and bacteria buildup around the fixed retainer that can lead to gum disease.
3 Tips For Keeping Teeth With A Fixed Retainer Clean
- Don’t Neglect Flossing, Even When It’s More Difficult: Flossing can be especially difficult, depending on your fixed retainer’s specifications. Floss threaders or Superfloss are products that may help you floss more quickly and effectively.
- Brush Your Teeth Correctly: Angle your brush in order to get all the nooks and crannies around your teeth and fixed retainer. Be thorough and gentle as you brush the back of your teeth.
- Don’t Postpone Regular Dental Visits: When you visit us for your regular cleanings, we can get to all those difficult areas on the back of your teeth and around your fixed retainer... Areas you may often miss during regular brushing. If you have a hard time cleaning around your fixed retainer at home, you might want to schedule more frequent cleanings to prevent plaque build-up, and to decrease gingivitis risk. Another important reason to not procrastinate regular checkups is because if there is a problem, we can remedy it before the problem gets bigger.
Maybe Taylor Swift Needed A FIXED Retainer Instead...
And Here’s A Cool Trick For Flossing Around Fixed Retainers...
Together, Let’s Maintain Your Beautiful Smile!
Just as your fixed retainer helps you maintain your beautiful, straight smile, smart oral care habits help you maintain your dental health. If you’re having trouble with a fixed retainer, or if you know someone having trouble, give us a call and/or pass this information along.
Thanks for being our awesome patient! We appreciate you.
Top image by Flickr user Mike Licht used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
HORMONAL CHANGES CAN AFFECT nearly every part of our bodies—including the mouth and gums. If you, or someone you love, is experiencing sore, swollen, extra pink or bleeding gums it may be a result of such changes. Studies show that changing hormones particularly affect women’s periodontal health.
Increased Gum Disease Risk
Throughout a woman’s life there are periods of time when hormones fluctuate a great deal including puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Beginning an oral contraceptive regime can also affect hormone levels. During these times, changes in estrogen and progesterone can dramatically increase the chances of developing gingivitis.
Pregnant? Be Especially Aware
Pregnancy can be hard on a woman’s teeth and gums. The changes and associated lifestyle adjustments can wreak havoc on one’s mouth, including late night snacking, morning sickness, and dry mouth. Gum disease can even impact the developing baby.
(An Important Morning Sickness Tip)
Suffering from morning sickness? Protect your teeth and gums by rinsing often with ¼ teaspoon of baking soda dissolved into one cup of water. This helps rid your mouth of harmful acids. If you experience dry mouth, drink more water and try sugarless candy or gum to increase saliva production.
Thorough Oral Hygiene During Hormonal Changes
Are you, or is someone you love, going through one of these times in life? If so, it’s important to be extra thorough with one’s oral hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing every day—without exception—is one of the most important keys to gum health. If sore or bleeding gums continue, be sure to contact us right away so we can discuss other possible solutions and avoid bigger problems.
Do You Have Questions About Gum Disease?
Let’s visit! And please share this information with the women in your life. All of us can benefit from learning more about our bodies and how to adapt to hormonal changes.
Thanks for being our valued patients and friends!
Top image by Flickr user Hendrik Dacquin used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
ENTERTAINING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON? Throw a party that your guest’s teeth can appreciate too with some tooth-healthy tips.
Consider Appetizers Light On Sugar And Starch
Sugary, starchy snacks can contribute to tooth decay. Mix up your appetizers with some of these suggestions...
- Fresh fruits and vegetables are juicy and scrubby. Eating them is a little bit like washing your teeth. They’re also full of great tooth-healthy vitamins and minerals. Try this recipe for fresh fruit skewers, or some greek yogurt onion dip for your veggie spread.
- Cheese can also have a cleaning effect on your teeth. This is especially handy if you have heavily pigmented food and drinks (like wine, berries, or curry). Here are some tips for making a great cheese plate.
A Few More Amazingly Simple Ideas
The American Academy Of Cosmetic Dentistry’s Recipes
Between the acid, the sugar, and the continuous sipping, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks can hurt your teeth. Turn holiday beverages into something that benefits your teeth instead by utilizing mouth-healthy super foods, like mint, ginger, carrot juice and lemongrass. Check out the AACD’s professional recipes by clicking on the image below:
Always Make Drinking Water An Easily Available Option
Water helps rinse our mouths between snacks and other drinks, which helps counteract tooth decay. You may even want to try something special with a beautiful, infused water. Here are some great recipes.
Let Us Know How It Turns Out!
Good luck with your parties! If you use any of our tips or the AACD’s recipes above, let us know about it! In fact, take some photos and share them on our Facebook page. We’d love to see them.
Thanks for being our valued patients and friends.
Top image by Flickr user Didriks used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
EVER WONDERED HOW THE PRESSURE of the human bite stacks up against the bone-crushing pressure of a hyena bite? We may not have the power some creatures have—but the complexity and precision of the human bite is simply remarkable.
Our Jaws And Teeth Balance Force And Precision
To demonstrate this delicate balance for yourself, try this… Pop a peanut M&M in your mouth and eat the chocolate around the nut, leaving the nut intact. Then, chew the nut. There’s a big difference in the pressure exerted when biting through the chocolate, versus biting through the nut. Also think about the coordination happening between your jaw muscles, brain, tongue, teeth and mouth to make this happen! Amazing.
Or, try this one… Bite into a fresh carrot. The force needed to do so is enough to crack your tooth enamel—yet, your jaw slows down in time to spare damage to your teeth. Our jaw control is sophisticated enough to “brake” and adjust pressure mid-bite!
The Human Bite Is Extremely Efficient
Humans have less jaw muscle mass than gorillas and chimpanzees. However, this reduced mass doesn’t mean reduced strength. It indicates increased efficiency. In fact, the design of the human jaw makes it 40-50% more efficient than a primate’s. Pound for pound, humans exert more biting force than big apes.
You can click on the image below to read more about bite studies:
Caring For Your Teeth And Jaw
Our jaws may be able to withstand lots of pressure, but our teeth are more fragile. Remember to be careful when chewing hard things like nuts and hard candies.
Here’s A Creature With A Crazy Strong Bite
If You’re Having Problems With Your Jaw, Let Us Know
Like any complex system, our jaws can develop problems. If your jaw seems unusually sore too much of the time, if it locks up, seems to be contributing to headaches, or if you’re having any other concerns, let’s visit about potential causes and remedies.
We’re not only concerned with your teeth—we’re interested in your complete oral health.
Thanks for being our valued patients and friends.
Top image by Flickr user David Bleasdale used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
FOR BOTH CHILDREN AND ADULTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS, dental care can be challenging. In some cases, limited coordination can make brushing and flossing tricky. In other cases there may be less access to professional care. Some patients may experience high anxiety levels too.
Medications that lead to dry mouth can also contribute to dental care challenges.
But despite these challenges, everyone deserves a healthy smile. Here are three tips for helping patients and caregivers:
1. Let Us Help
A dental office can feel overwhelming to those with special needs. But you know that regular preventative care training is essential—especially for patients and caregivers who may need instructions about specialized home care. Let us know what we can do to help.
2. Utilize Special Tools If Needed
The average toothbrush may not be ideal. Look into alternative options that can help.
- Electric toothbrushes can sometimes do more with less effort.
- Modifying a toothbrush with a gripping tool is often very helpful.
- A water pik can be more comfortable and a fun alternative to flossing.
- If you’re cleaning someone else’s mouth, a floss pik can make it much easier.
3. Simple Preventative Habits
Certain simple habits can curtail dental risks, especially when thorough, daily dental care is difficult.
- Minimize snacks, especially starchy, sugary ones. Opt for crisp fruits and veggies.
- Reduce soft drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks. These have lots of acid and sugar that can harm teeth.
- Drink water regularly, and rinse after each meal or snack.
We Know That Each Patient Is Unique
When we talk about special needs, we recognize we’re addressing a very diverse group from elderly men and women with Alzheimer’s disease, to children with developmental disabilities. We know each patient who comes through our door has different challenges.
Please consider us your go-to resource. If we can’t accommodate your exact needs, we will do everything we can to advise you and point you in the right direction. Please call to visit with us about your specific needs. Or, if you know someone who could benefit from this post, please pass this information along.
Thanks for the trust you place in us. We appreciate you.
Top image by Flickr user Honza Soukup used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
THE LEGEND OF THE TOOTH FAIRY has been around for ages. But you may not recognize the winged pixie you know and love from these old traditions...
Originally, Parents Hid Children’s Teeth
Centuries ago in Europe, parents buried their child’s lost tooth in a “tooth garden”. This was believed to prevent an evil witch from stealing the tooth and casting a spell on the child! The same superstition spread around the world. Early American settlers placed children’s teeth in flowerpots. Some people even believed that swallowing the tooth was the best way to protect children from evil.
The Tooth Mouse Helped Children’s Teeth Grow Strong
Another interesting idea was that if an animal swallowed the child’s tooth, that child’s new adult tooth would resemble the teeth of the animal that swallowed it! This superstition evolved into the story of the “tooth mouse”—a French story in which a fairy turns into a mouse and hides under an evil king’s pillow. To save the queen, the mouse proceeds to knock out all of the king’s teeth while he sleeps!
Eventually, Teeth Were Exchanged For Coins
As the tooth mouse tradition grew, children began putting their teeth into their shoes. While they slept, the mouse exchanged the tooth for a coin or two. Many cultures still hold to the tooth mouse tradition, but in others, the tradition morphed from a mouse to the magical tooth fairy!
The “Making” Of A Tooth Fairy?
Do You Have A Favorite Tooth Fairy Memory?
What was YOUR experience with the tooth fairy when YOU were young? What traditions have you held on to with your own family? We’d love to hear them. Please comment below, or on our Facebook page!
Top image by Flickr user IndyDina With Mr. Wonder used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
TONGUES ARE REMARKABLE ENGINEERING WONDERS. They help us nourish ourselves and clean our teeth. They’re a vital part of our oral and whole body health. How do we keep them clean and healthy?
Brush Your Tongue Daily
Your tongue hosts up to 10,000 taste buds. It also harbors billions of bacterium. That oral bacteria can contribute to tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. Brushing our teeth isn’t enough. We should be gently brushing our tongues every day while we’re in there!
Tongue Scrapers Can Be Helpful Too
Many patients find that tongue scrapers are more effective for them than simply brushing their tongues with their toothbrush. This can be really helpful in fighting bad breath too. More details in this short video...
Tongue scrapers can reduce the presence of volatile sulfur compounds significantly (caused when amino acids and bacteria interact). Tongue scrapers can also help reduce build-up in the back of your throat caused by a sinus infections or allergies. Just be gentle when you scrape.
The Benefits Of Keeping Your Tongue Clean
- Some people believe that by reducing the amount of bacteria we swallow in our saliva all the time, we can stay healthier.
- A cleaner tongue can actually make food taste better!
- When your tongue is cleaner, your entire mouth—including teeth and gums—stays cleaner.
- It’s a great line of defense against bacteria-caused halitosis!
Give Your Tongue The Respect It Deserves!
We love being your complete oral health partner. Dental health not only requires caring for your teeth, but caring for your gums and tongue as well. If you have questions, please let us know.