Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Wish, a Gift, and a Goal

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A Wish, A Gift, And A Goal

The season of giving is upon us. And no matter your religious, philosophical or political leanings, one thing is clear this time of year – people throughout the land look for opportunities to help others, and help themselves wrap up the year on the right foot. So with that in mind, we thought we'd suggest three simple, dental-oriented ideas that can help you start the promise of the year a bit early, and in good stead.

  • The Wish: There’s really no better wish to ask for, regardless of the season, than good health. With that in mind, we’d like to point you to a marvelous resource developed with the health of you and your entire family in mind – our dental services page  ( A repository of knowledge about how to protect your mouth throughout life. Over the years, we’ve realized many people are just not as informed as they should be about the effects of certain habits they may possess, or of better ways to take care of their teeth. This section of the website was built with that in mind. Check it out, and make that wish for good health in the New Year a certainty.
  • The Gift: Over the past few years, you may have become aware of charity organizations like Mercy Ships, which assist children and adults in poor areas of the world with mouth and facial reconstruction surgery. In certain parts of the world, children who grow up with these concerns are often shunned from their villages and grow up to lead ostracized lives with little hope to regain entry to a society where being a part of the community is a fundamental factor to living. During this season of giving, perhaps you might consider a donation to a charity, or cause in which you believe, in exchange for something you might purchase for yourself. The internal reward we experience when we give to others in need always remains with us for far greater a time than does our latest gadget choice, so consider helping someone or some charity you hold dear this season. 
  • The Goal: Goals are commonplace this time of year, and many times we don't quite make it through to fulfilling most of them. Even something as simple as flossing nightly easily falls prey to life's ordered chaos. To fare a little better this year, consider checking out a few books that offer great actionable advice that can help you stay on top of our commitments, reign in distractions and battle that ever weakening “muscle” named willpower. This way, you can actually floss and save your teeth for later in life. Here are our two of our favorites to get you started: Getting Things Done, by David Allen; and, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney. There are more tips and tricks in these books to last a lifetime. Enjoy!
Have a truly wonderful close to your year, and we wish you a pleasant, joyful, successful New Year to come.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Home Teeth Whitening Remedies: What You Should Know

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Should You Whiten up Your Holiday Smile at Home?

These days, it seems like whitening products are everywhere. It doesn’t take more than a trip to your local supermarket to encounter a dizzying variety of trays, gels, strips or toothpastes designed to take your teeth from their current state to one of fantastic luminescence. So what is a good consumer to make of it all, and should you trust all the home remedies we read about online and see on television? Here’s what you need to know when considering whitening your teeth at home.
  • Speak With One Of Our Dentists First: But why? With seemingly every single toothpaste brand containing whitener these days, that's a fair question. The reason is because your dentist knows your teeth – the thickness of your enamel, orthodontic implications (are you wearing braces as an adult?), your overall state of oral health, and a host of other things that you just won't know about without asking first. Just picking out the whitening kit with the best box design isn’t the way to go about caring for your teeth. Ask first.
  • Avoid Any Remedies That Suggest Fruit: The Internet is a wonderful research tool, but it's also rife with misinformation. When it comes to home whitening suggestions, much inaccurate guidance revolves around the suggestion to rub fruit acid on teeth. It is a terrible suggestion. When it comes to our teeth, the goal is always to avoid highly acidic products, not increase your intake. And it’s never a good idea to literally brush one’s teeth with lemons, apples or strawberries as is often suggested. Excessive fruit acid can irreversibly damage the tooth enamel - not the goal at all.
  • Baking Soda – a Mixed Bag: Once again, here’s another option that sounds simple and safe enough, but when used at home, has more risk than most consumers are aware. Baking soda, while effective as a whitening agent, is very abrasive. True, it is used in many toothpaste products today. But the truth is, baking soda included in such toothpastes is incorporated at levels far below what you would get applying it straight out of the box at home. Because it’s difficult for you to use the right amount and in the right way, it’s probably best to skip this baking soda as a home remedy.
  • Peroxide. Bleaches Hair and Teeth? Peroxide is the main ingredient in home whitening kits, and is included in these kits because it does, in fact, whiten teeth. But digging under your bathroom cabinet with the thought of swishing around undiluted peroxide is a no-no. While research does suggest diluted concentrations of peroxide can benefit some people, there is also research that suggests just the opposite. Better to err on the side of caution. Once again, consulting with your dentist first is your best bet, and save the peroxide bath for white-washing your jeans instead.
If you’re considering at-home or in-clinic whitening and want to know what you’re safe options are , check with one of our dentist first or visit our cosmetic page.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Could The Paleo Diet Be Good For Your Teeth?

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Could The Paleo Diet Be Good For Your Teeth?

When it comes to diet trends, there are a few heavyweights that top the list, including the low-carb, low-fat, South Beach® and Atkins® diets. There are, however, a few others gaining speed, including vegan, slow-carb and Paleo. All of these diets have negatives and plusses, and generally speaking, most physicians advise patients to pursue a “balanced” approach appropriate to your physical makeup, habits and lifestyle. The open-ended question is: are these diets good or bad for your teeth? We’ve looked at a few others already, so let’s look at The Paleo Diet®.

What is The Paleo Diet?

The Paleo Diet takes its lead from the food consumption habits of humans who lived in the Paleolithic era – the period between about 2.5 million and 20,000 years ago. These hunter-gatherers, who lived during the period more commonly referred to as The Stone Age, lived on a diet of wild plants and animals. The Paleo Diet is modern man’s attempt to mimic that consumption pattern.

Meat, Fresh Fruit, and Veggies. What’s not to Like?

At first glance, Paleo’s recommendation to focus on lean meats, fish, fruit, and vegetables, seems like the perfect plan for healthy living. And, to a large degree, if you were to fill your refrigerator with these foods, your doctor would be pretty happy with your decision.

That said, because Paleo excludes dairy and grains, your doctor and your dentist might ask you to aim for a bit more balance once you’ve achieved any weight loss goals you might be chasing. Let’s see how the Paleo plan stacks up when it comes to your teeth. 

Positive Oral Health Aspects of a Paleo Diet

  • Fiber: We could all use more fiber, and with all the fruit and vegetables you’re going to be consuming, getting the 22-34 grams a day recommended for adults should be a breeze. Your teeth will love you for it as well, because fiber has somewhat of a detergent effect on your mouth, scrubbing away plaque and debris as you chew. This is one reason why celery is great for teeth – it’s like built-in floss!
  • Potassium: Bones (like the ones that comprise your jaw and hold your teeth in place!) love potassium, and it’s a difficult nutrient to get unless you’re consuming a ton of bananas and V-8® juice. Muscles, too, thrive on potassium, so if you’re an athlete, or just someone who likes to remain active, you’ll likely notice the boost you’re getting from higher numbers of fruits and vegetables.
  • Vitamin B-12: Thank your lean meats and fish for good numbers in this area. B Vitamins are essential for healthy gum tissue, and on a Paleo diet you’ll have no problem accumulating the recommended 2.4 micrograms a day.
  • Vitamin C: We all know Vitamin C is good for us, and once again, it’s fruit to the rescue. Vitamin C is critical in the development of collagen and healthy gum tissue and has the added benefit of keeping you free from the ravages of scurvy. Not a bad deal.
  • Low-Glycemic Carbs: Since you’ll be avoiding all sorts of refined sugars and starchy vegetables on The Paleo Diet, your teeth are going to get a break from the sticky sugars that are the primary cause of teeth decay. As we always say, what’s good for your waistline is often good for your teeth.
  • Unprocessed Oils, Nuts and Seeds: Healthy fats from olive and sesame oils, avocados, nuts and seeds protect teeth by helping them re-mineralize. When it comes to nuts, though, binge eating is a real concern – don’t eat too many if you’re concerned about your fat intake.
  • A Healthy Reliance on Water: The Paleo Diet shuns beverages that are bad for your teeth. Nut milks are okay when unsweetened, but water remains the beverage of choice for the majority of Paleos. Is water good for your teeth? You betcha. Swish it around and remove all that junk from your teeth, stimulate saliva flow, and keep that oral cavity properly hydrated!

Oral Health Concerns with the Paleo Diet

  • Getting Energy from Sticky Fruit: Carbohydrates provide the fuel our bodies need to function, and the majority of us meet those needs with grains first, and vegetables second. However, since The Paleo Diet avoids grains, and consuming the larger volumes of vegetables necessary to get the same amount of energycan prove difficult for most adherents, many opt to get their carb boost from the natural sugars in fruit.

    While this isn’t a terrible idea (fruitarians, for example, consume only fruit), many Paleo dieters rely on dried fruit – which give you energy in spades, but are bad for your teeth because they tend to stick. So, keep a toothbrush and floss handy if you find yourself overdoing it on dried fruit.
  • Excessive Fruit Acid: Lots of fresh fruit means lots of fruit acid – and, that’s bad for tooth enamel. Choose less acidic versions as often as possible, and keep a bottle of water handy to rinse between portions. Also, be sure to wait at least 30 minutes after eating before brushing. Doing so earlier can drive the acids in your mouth deeper into your teeth. Not good!|
  • Lack of Vitamin D, Magnesium, Calcium and Iron: While supplements can appear to solve just about any nutrient deficiency, any doctor or nutritionist will also tell you there’s nothing like getting your nutrition in its original package. Paleo fans will find they’re lacking in a few vitamins essential to healthy teeth and bones (not to mention an overall healthy body), and may wish to consider supplementation if on the diet long term. Please know that it can be harmful to over consume some nutrients, especially if you’re already taking a multi-vitamin, so do not supplement without consulting with your physician.
  • No Dairy: No yogurt. No cheese. No milk. No exceptions. You’ll find many arguments for and against dairy out there, and for some populations with allergies, or intolerance, it’s something that has to be avoided no matter what. The trouble for Paleo dieters, though, is without a medical necessity preventing the consumption of dairy, avoiding this entire food group does lessen opportunities for teeth to repair themselves through the natural process of re-mineralization. And while meat does play a role in re-mineralizing, dairy is by far the bigger player.
As you can see, the ancient diet of Paleolithic men and women does contain some very solid health benefits. However, it’s not a panacea. Do your homework, think smart, eat smart, and consider all of your options!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Things You Should Know about Your Teeth as You Age

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Things You Should Know About Your Teeth as You Age

If you've ever considered the prospect of living without teeth as you age, it's probably caused you considerable amount of distress just thinking about it. Multiple tooth loss can indeed be traumatic and costly, and, for some, the remedies are less than ideal. That said, you'll be pleased to know that aging itself isn't much of a contributor to tooth loss, and that many people live their entire lives with nearly all of their natural teeth intact. So what's the best way to ensure you're among this coveted group?

Let's face it. We all want to keep our natural teeth. Here are a few ways to ensure you do just that as you move along in years. And remember, there is no defined age where problems start to arise, so thinking ahead regardless of your current age is always a good idea.

  • Periodontal Disease: Without a doubt, periodontal disease is the number one destroyer of smiles. There is no cure for this leading cause of adult tooth loss in North America, and once it begins, it can only be proactively and professionally managed. So, here's the familiar refrain: maintain your regular visits, and if you're placed on a periodic maintenance routine where you visit your dentist more than twice a year, be sure to keep those appointments. Keeping those appointments will help you keep your teeth.
  • Systemic Disease: There are a host of diseases that can adversely affect oral health, (diabetes, heart disease, etc.) so being mindful of this connection, and maintaining an open door of communication with your doctor and dentist while undergoing treatment may help you minimize the effects these diseases can have on your teeth.
  • Poor Habits: We all know a diet high in sugar, starch and acid harms surface enamel and lessens a tooth's ability to protect itself from decay. You may not know, however, that smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can also do significant harm. For example, both cigarette smoke and alcohol rob gum tissue of the moisture needed to keep it healthy, leaving it acidic and prone to decay, and smoking can interrupt the mouth's natural healing mechanisms. More benign habits can also damage teeth and consistently gnawing on objects not designed to be in the mouth all day, like pencils, pipes, paper clips and ice cubes, are not good habits to pursue. Additionally, using your teeth as a vice to open bottles and rip apart bags is best left to those among us committed to losing teeth, not keeping them.
  • Prescription Medication: Lastly, certain prescription medicines can dry out the mouth in ways similar to smoking and alcohol, so if you're taking prescription drugs, be sure to keep your hydration in check as per your doctor’s recommendations, or use chewing gum with Xylitol to help maintain saliva production throughout the day. 
So, as you can see, allowing your “permanent” teeth to live up their name really isn't that difficult. The old TV image of every grandpa throughout the land dropping his teeth into a bedside jar at the close of the day is far from a reality for the majority of today's seniors, and it doesn't have to be for you either. Maintain a solid oral care routine (see how on our preventative web page), and ask us about keeping a healthy mouth throughout your years, and you'll be well on your way to ensuring your teeth stay just where you want them to be – in your mouth.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Thanksgiving Snacks Kids Will Crave Their Whole Lives

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Thanksgiving Snacks Kids Will Crave Their Whole Lives

In the United States, November is a month of both celebration and change. Sundays are filled with football; plans for Thanksgiving preoccupy our minds; and for most of us, temperatures edge closer to freezing as the sun seems to have better places to be past 4pm. There’s also the sudden rise in the appearance of moustaches across the land as “Movember” launches and men align in solidarity to support men’s health issues – the “Mo” being short for moustache, and all. In the spirit of these two themes (celebration and change), we thought we’d offer-up a few dead-simple, good-for-you food switcheroos to help you celebrate!

Thanksgiving Snacks Set the Stage

When it comes to the perfect opportunity to ingrain good habits early on, there’s hardly anything better than testing out a few new food tricks at Thanksgiving. After all, you’ve got a captive audience, your kids will be starving by the time they get to grandma’s, and most times, they’ve even got their own table! Why not use this opportunity to slip in some healthy snacks and see what happens? Here are two super easy ideas that have worked forever for families all across the land:
  • Fresh fruit: You wouldn’t believe how quickly kids will devour fruit when it’s all cut up into bite-sized pieces. For parents everywhere, half the struggle of getting kids to eat more fruit is overcoming the labor of all the cutting and peeling. You know how good fruit is for them – so if you find yourself in that boat, swing by the supermarket and pick up a fruit platter. Then watch it disappear at the kid’s table.
  • Dips: Thanksgiving doubles as game day for football fans, and with the family gathering around the TV before and after the meal, snacks are going to be in high demand. Moms, dads and kids all love feasting on de rigueur snacks like chips with ranch dip -- but there are so many substitutes that even the staunchest fan of creamy ranch will enjoy.
Hummus, tzatziki, baba ganoush, guacamole, salsa and nut butters will all be received well, so try them on for size. There are also a host of healthier chip options out there too that’ll keep many a chip fan happy. Bean chips, taro chips, you name it – it’s all available. Even seaweed, which is so good for teeth and bones might win a few folks over.

Oh, and don’t forget grandma’s favorite! Fresh carrots and celery. Kids will love the crunch all throughout the game, and you’ll be providing their teeth with self-cleaning fiber that’ll keep ‘em healthy for many years to come.

Festive snacking doesn’t have to be a guilty indulgence – in November, or any other time of the year. Getting your kids to snack healthy this month can help establish a great, healthy habit to last them a lifetime.

Checkout our children daily care page to see more helpful information on preventative dental care.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

5 Teeth-Friendly Ways to Enjoy Halloween

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5 Teeth-Friendly Ways to Enjoy Halloween

Fill those candy bags, October is here! The month every kid across the land dreams could take place every day, and the only day when dressing up and eating gobs of candy is not only allowed but encouraged. Now, that's a good deal for a kid. But what if you're a parent? Everyone knows healthy snacks are the way to go every other day of the year that is not Halloween, so how do you give in a bit and let your children enjoy the festivities while keeping these healthy habits top of mind? Here are five teeth-friendly habits that'll ensure you're still communicating the right message.

  1. Divvy it up:  One solution is to partition out a child's candy throughout the month so it's still seen as a treat instead of something to gorge on over the course of a single week. Since candy has a notoriously long shelf-life feel free to stretch it out as long as you can.
  2. Make a game out of it: Another tip that can work is to use candy as if it were winnings for a certain school challenge, or maybe even in games the family plays together. To make this work, you'll have to get your child to agree ahead of time to the arrangement, but the deal can be a sweet one for them and you. This way, at game time, instead of $5 in Monopoly® money, someone might earn a Snicker's® Bar!
  3. Let your kids play tricks on you: This is another twist on trading out the candy for another time, and it's a way to allow the “trick” in “trick or treat” to last for months on end. Since most kids really don't do much with the “trick” aspect of Halloween, challenge them to come up with creative and safe ways to trick you or other family members in order to earn the candy back as a reward. Your kids can take this as far as their creativity will allow, and your nerves will handle.
  4. Barter:  Adults love a candy jar at work (shhhh …. !), and children of all ages love a good trade.  Offer to trade a bunch of that candy for something else they'd rather have in exchange. This one shouldn't be that hard really, because after a while everyone gets rather tired of what's left in the “trick or treat” bag, and this is one way to replace that cavity-inducing candy with something (hopefully!) more rewarding.
  5. Put some cash in their piggy bank: Every kid loves the feeling of looking at a full piggy bank, especially when they become lender to your late night pizza ordering runs. So, why not have a candy “buy-back” where you offer them money in exchange for a portion of the candy they’re hoarding? Trust us, in the long run, it will be cheaper for you than fixing their teeth.
The goal should be to let them enjoy Halloween, and to show them how to make the enjoyment of the day last beyond its initial weekend. If you make the agreement with your children ahead of time how the candy is going to be handled, you'll have little problems moving forward, and in this way, everyone wins.  
Visit our Pediatric Services page for more information and videos on children dental care.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tips for Saving On Your Kids' Dental Expenses

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Tips for Saving On Your Kids' Dental Expenses

Saving money when it comes to dental care is about preparation. Knowing what to plan for, knowing what to look out for, and when and how much to spend on recommended care. To lend a helping hand, we thought we’d lay out a few simple ways for you to stay on top of your game when it comes to keeping your kids in good health, and keeping your hard-earned money where it belongs – in your pocket!

  1. Remind Them to Wear Their Retainer: Ask any adult who has worn braces, which piece of orthodontic advice they WISH they had adhered to, and overwhelmingly they’ll say they wish they wore their retainer more often. Without question, ensuring your kids wear their retainer as often as their orthodontist suggests, and in every suggested situation, is the key to avoiding an early return to shifting teeth.

    And while some shifting is natural as kids grow into adulthood, for those who don’t wear their retainer, that shift might come much, much sooner than desired – sometimes while they’re still in their teens. That could mean a return to some form of orthodontic appliance, another round of braces, and quite likely, if they’re still under your purse strings, another big bill. 
  2. Teach Them Proper Brushing Technique: Most kids, and most adults for that matter, still have no idea how to brush properly. And that’s a problem, because all that back’n’forth rapid-fire brushing is wearing away precious tooth enamel. Long-term, this sort of habit can lead to premature deterioration of tooth enamel, resulting in expenses to repair those teeth with bonding. Even worse: gum grafting procedures. Teach them to go soft, and in small circles. If necessary, repeat the instruction while with the dentist … and often.
  3. Promote Foods That are Good for Their Teeth: Certain kinds of foods help protect and remineralize teeth. And what’s best isn’t always what you’d think. Take cheese for example … who would have thought all that mac’n’cheese served a purpose? Good food keeps away decay, which keeps away fillings, which keeps more money in your pocket.
  4. Visit the Doc: It bears mentioning that maintaining regular visits to the dentist is important. Why? Because life gets away from us and sometimes we forget. Or, when kids are young, we just think it’s not that necessary. By the time that first tooth comes in, though, they should already be visiting the dentist, and by the time they’re seven, a quick consult with the orthodontist is usually in order as well. Regular visits always help to catch small problems before they become major ones. 
  5. Keep Pushing the Water: We all know kids love their energy drinks. Their teeth, on the other hand, can’t stand them, and decay and enamel wear tend to be the eventual result. So, put a wedge between decay and costly repair by ensuring your kids are drinking a lot of what mother nature has gifted us with: water. Water. Water. Water. It should be a mantra … 
  6. Shop for a Mouthguard: The American Dental Association has said that 200,000 oral injuries to the mouth could be prevented each year simply by wearing a sports mouthguard. The cost of a custom guard is infinitesimal compared to the cost involved in repairing and or replacing several teeth. Get one today if you have a child who participates in sports. This can’t be stressed enough.
  7. Stop the Comparison Game: Kids love to compare. Johnny has this, Sally has that. And, when kids start to notice their appearance, the game gets kicked up a notch. But remember when you were a kid? Before whitening agents were in seemingly every toothpaste, and when kids were actually proud of the space between their teeth? Not everything needs to be “fixed” right away. There is a time for these treatments if they’re so desired, and they’re best only when you and your family decide they are. Not when Johnny and Sally say they are. So, save your money. Remember, it’s okay to be a kid. There’s plenty of time to grow up and be “perfect” later in life. 
  8. Use Your Flexible Spending Account: Many parents waste away the money in flexible spending accounts. Don’t do that. Here’s how to prepare so you don’t lose your hard-earned money.
  9. Stay Educated: Good dentists are interested in creating a base of educated patients. That’s why they send out newsletters (like this one)! So be sure to read up on what’s being sent to you – it’ll help you keep abreast of concerns you need to be on the lookout for, or methods you can share with your kids to help them keep their teeth in great shape. The content here is always evolving, and designed to help you stay on top of your kids’ health and budget.
This list could really be book-length, but these are some of the biggies. Follow them, and you’ll win twice-over: good health and good finances.

For more information and videos please visit our Pediatric Services page

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Should You Pull Out That Loose Tooth?

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Should You Pull Out That Loose Tooth?

Should You Pull Out That Loose Tooth?

You’ve seen the videos. The string tied to the loose tooth. The other end tied to something that moves fast – a rocket, a slamming door, a javelin … count to three, then let ‘er rip and out she goes! While these techniques make for some great cinema, they might not always be the best route to emancipating that wiggly little friend. There are three questions you need to ask to answer before you prepare that tooth for the tooth fairy.

  1. Should the tooth in question be loose right now?
    Baby teeth come and go on a fairly routine schedule that corresponds to our age. So, knowing which teeth should be loose and which shouldn’t can help you in determining whether you should intervene, or leave your kids’ teeth alone. In the dental world, we call the arrival of a tooth an “eruption.” Here’s a handy dandy dental eruption chart from The American Dental Association you can print that’ll help keep you in the loop as those teeth start loosening up. If the tooth in question corresponds to the age timeline, than allowing it to get progressively looser until it’s ready to fall out should be your plan.
  2. But how loose is “loose”?
    You’ll never know. But you know who will? Your child. Think of a tooth like a hangnail … would you rather yank it or clip it on your own, or have someone else do it for you? Pain is specific to the individual, and no amount of assuming will ever get you close to understanding how much, or how little, pain your child is experiencing. So if weeks have gone by and your kid is ready to get that sucker out of there, let THEM do the yanking.

    A good rule of thumb is to look for considerable back and forth movement, if your child has been fiddling with a loose tooth for weeks and can move it back ’n forth and sideways with little to no discomfort, and they feel comfortable wanting to get rid of it, allow them to try. Nine times out of ten, the tooth will fall out on its own, though, so you can just wait if you’d like. 
  3. How should we pull it out?
    Believe it or not, there really is no single “correct” way to do it. When a tooth is ready to come out, it really won’t take that much effort to remove it, and that’s why you hear so many creative stories about how people finally lost their baby teeth.  A little fun goes a long way! Would you like a few ideas? Check out these videos of kids gearing up for that inevitable moment! If you’d rather do it without a rocket attached, here’s a good guide to follow as well. 
Baby teeth. We all lose ‘em. But, not all of us have cool stories (and videos) to share with the world when the moment of truth comes. Be safe, let your kid do it, and … maybe, record it for posterity.

Check out our children dentistry page for other dental related questions you may have.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Do Your Children Need Fluoride Supplements?
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Do you wonder if your child is getting enough fluoride to protect their teeth from cavities? With 25 percent of children experiencing their first cavity before kindergarten, it’s certainly a question worth pondering. Even the American Dental Association’s Council on Scientific Affairs (CSA) does the same, continually reviewing research to ensure their recommendations are up to date with scientific opinion. What, then, is your best strategy? First, you’ll need to ask a few more questions.

Determining whether your child may need supplemental fluoride (in the form of pills, lozenges or liquid) generally hinges on the answers to these three key questions:
  • What is the source of your child’s drinking water, and how much of it are they consuming on a daily basis?
  • How old is the child?
  • What other sources of fluoride might they be exposed to?

What Is the Source of Your Child’s Drinking Water, and How Much of It Are They Consuming on a Daily Basis?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are roughly 196 million Americans who receive their drinking water from an “optimally fluoridated” community water system.

This means the level of fluoride in these community water supplies is between 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter; levels the CDC suggests are “highly unlikely” to result in an over-absorption of fluoride, and sufficient enough to aid in the prevention of decay.

To get a feel for the levels of fluoride in your local water supply, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's website and access a water quality report (called Consumer Confidence Reports) for your community. Alternately, you can check out the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) fluoridation Website, "My Water's Fluoride" for similar information.

If your family obtains its water from a water-well system, you’ll need to have the water tested independently to discover your system’s fluoride level. Also, keep in mind that if your family generally drinks bottled water, your children are only getting trace amounts of fluoride from that specific source.

How much fluoridated water is enough? Guidelines suggest between a pint to a quart a day, dependent on age. Speaking of age …

How Old Is the Child?

Because our teeth erupt and mature in stages that closely parallel our age, too much or too little fluoride during these stages can cause problems.

For example, fluorosis, which is caused by the consumption of (or, application of) too much fluoride at too early an age, can result in white, blotchy teeth. In contrast, with too little fluoride, the possibility of increased cavities becomes the concern. It’s all about balance. The American Dental Association’s “Facts About Fluoride” article covers this concept in much detail, and even includes a Fluoride Supplement Dosage Schedule, that illustrates the levels a child should have based on their age, from birth through age sixteen.

What Other Sources of Fluoride Might They Be Exposed To?

If supplementation is being considered, in order to cover all bases, your dentist or pediatrician will need to consider all of the child's dietary and non-dietary sources of fluoride. And it’s a long list.

For instance, a child in a home where only bottled water is consumed may actually end up getting an adequate dose of fluoride if they drink a lot from a fountain at school, or from the tap at a neighbor’s house. Also, certain foods contain levels of fluoride due to processing or pesticide residues, and certain environmental exposures may add to fluoride exposure.

As you can see, determining the level of fluoride appropriate for your child ultimately comes down to specifics related to your child, the community in which you live, and your own personal belief surrounding fluoride supplementation. Your best ally in this quest is your child’s dentist, so speak with them throughout your child’s development for the answers to all of your fluoride related questions!

For more information, videos and to schedule an appointment please visit our Pediatric page.

Friday, August 5, 2016

How to Choose Your Next Best Toothbrush!

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How to Choose Your Next Best Toothbrush!

Here’s a tip. When you’re packing to go back home from your upcoming or next summer vacation, toss your toothbrush. We all know bringing home a used toothbrush is a messy adventure, complete with wet Dopp kits and crushed bristles. And, when was the last time you replaced that thing, anyway? Changing your toothbrush after a trip is a great way to get into this good habit. And now that you know you’ll be shopping for a new one, here are some tips to pick one that’s the best fit for you.

Choosing the right toothbrush comes down to two specifics: what’s recommended, and what’s good for your own mouth.

The Standard Recommendations:

  • Go soft: Overwhelmingly, soft bristles are better for your teeth and gums. Yes, you can buy medium bristles and stiff bristles, but unless your dentist has recommended that specific type of brush for your mouth, go soft.
  • Go round: This confuses a lot of people since the shapes and patterns of bristles are mostly at all sorts of whacky angles. Nothing really appears to be “round!” What round actually means is that the bristles are “end-rounded,” meaning the rough edges of each bristle have been smoothed out to avoid hurting sensitive gum tissue.
  • Go for the seal: The seal of the American Dental Association (ADA), that is. Believe it or not, there aren’t many toothbrushes allowed to display the ADA seal, which certifies the product as safe and will hold up to regular use. As in the bristles won’t fall out and the handle won’t break. This does happen with cheap toothbrushes! Here’s the full list.

The Personal Recommendations:

  • Pick the right size: The head of the toothbrush should fit comfortably in your mouth so you can reach the surface of each tooth (front and back). This includes your back molars too, so if you can’t do this with your current brush, it’s likely too big.
  • Pick the right handle: The shape and design of the handle all depends on how you like to hold your toothbrush when you’re brushing. There are a myriad of ways to hold your brush. A little experimentation here is probably best. Non-slip handles are typically a good jumping off point. Also, most of us hold our toothbrush a bit too aggressively, so the next time you’re in the office, bring your favorite brush with you to the office, and ask your hygienist to help you tweak your grip a bit. Your gums will thank you!
  • Pick the right bristle shape: Bristles, bristles, bristles! Oh, so many shapes, angles and colors. Which to pick?! Experts say to pick the one that feels best in your mouth. That’s not much guidance, we know. But the basic idea is that bristle design will feel different to different people depending on how big their teeth are, whether they have a lot of spacing, braces, prosthetics … a million things, really. So, again, “feel” is most important. That’s why these are personal recommendations after all!
And that’s it, really. Choose any color you’d like. We won’t offer any advice on that!

Visit our preventative services page to see how you can prevent oral diseases and tooth pain.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Apps for Healthy Teeth!

Apps for Healthy Teeth!

You may think only kids need help staying on task when it comes to brushing their teeth. Not so! Without parental supervision, a lot of us seem to have lost our way … not brushing long enough, not in the right pattern, too hard, too soft. A number of app developers have caught on to our failures in tooth brushing, and have come to our rescue. Be careful, though, these apps might have you so enamored with your oral health, your phone might spend more time in the bathroom than the boardroom!
Dental apps tend to fall most easily into themes. Below you’ll find the three most popular:

Two Minutes, Twice a Day

Brush DJ is a popular app aimed at getting you to brush twice a day, for two full minutes each time. To help you achieve that goal, the app picks a random song from the music library on your phone and plays two minutes of it before stopping. So, when using the app, if you’re brushing and still hearing music, it means you should keep brushing!

Disney lovers might enjoy “Disney Magic Timer” from Oral B. With this app, the screen displays a character that brushes along with you as part of a game to reveal clues as you brush. Technically speaking, the app is aimed at kids (with stickers to collect, and all that jazz), but who cares? If you’re a big fan of Disney, and still consider yourself a kid at heart, go for it … we won’t tell.

Mouth Design

Virtual Dentist allows you to upload a picture of yourself to see what certain kinds of dental work would look like on your face. If you’ve ever used an app that allows you to test out a certain hairstyle by using a photo of yourself, you’re already familiar with how this sort of app works. If you’re planning any dental work, it’s a neat way to check out a variety of different looks: braces, veneers, fillings and even clean teeth vs. not-so-clean-teeth are all part of the experience. Teens might also enjoy it to get a good idea as to what certain cosmetic procedures would look like in their own mouth.

Creating Good Habits is Not Easy

Maintaining good oral health begins and ends with good habits. For example, some of us are great at brushing, but not flossing. Some need help sticking to at least two minutes. Others need help with all three! If you’re willing to recognize you need help establishing better oral care habits, here is a great list of tools that can help you work on habits of ALL kinds! Test one or two out for good measure on all your habit-creating tasks!

Schedule your appointment now and start your journey to oral health.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Should You Have Your Amalgam Fillings Removed?

Should You Have Your Amalgam Fillings Removed?

If you have “silver” fillings in your mouth, you’re well aware of how they affect your smile. Shiny, right!? If you’ve ever thought about having them removed, and had any concerns as to whether it was the right thing to do, the safe thing to do, or even an affordable thing to do, we’re here to help. We’ll cover these questions, and a few other common concerns that tend to pop up when the dentist is asked: “Can you do anything about all that metal in my mouth?”

How much does it cost?

The cost to remove an old amalgam filling and replace it with resin, varies. But, you should expect it to fall somewhere between $115 and $300. Here’s an interesting online dental cost calculator you could play around with to get a feel for what you could be looking at in your market.  You can also contact us to get an exact quote.

Are there risks involved in removing fillings?

Yes. Generally speaking, if an amalgam filling remains strong and free of decay, the Food and Drug Administration recommends it be left alone. Disturbing a successful filling means a greater portion of the tooth would need to be removed, and working on an amalgam filling can also exposing you to mercury vapor you could otherwise avoid.

But, which is safer? Amalgam or Resin?

This is the perennial question. With amalgam, there is concern over the metals used, and with resin it's the BPA. The American Dental Association has information regarding the safety and efficacy of both solutions, so if this issue concerns you, you can get an accurate understanding of the risks by clicking the links above. Coming to a conclusion that’s right for you is something only you can do. So, educate yourself as much as possible, using Eagle Valley Dental web site and well-researched medical sites to help you get there.

When it really comes down to it, the decision as to whether to leave in or switch out amalgam fillings with resin is up to you and your dentist. Your X-rays, the health of your gum tissue, and your teeth and bone structure will be shared with you; and one of our Woodbury Mn dentists would help you decide as to what’s best for you. After all, your teeth are as unique as you are!

Schedule your appointment
Eagle Valley Dental

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Perfect Road Map To Oral Health

The Perfect Road Map To Oral Health

On July 3rd, 1806, two years into their journey to chart the unchartered West of America, pioneer explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark reached a challenge of epic proportion – the Rocky Mountains. What next, they wondered? Without a map, they were forced to do what explorers do – explore, and hope for the best. So, that got us thinking. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a handy map you could use to chart your own dental health? With that in mind, and in honor of our “Dog Days of Summer” explorers, here are a few mile markers you can use to stay on top of your health today, next year, and for years to come!

18-25 years old

This is a time where work, college, and sometimes marriage start to get in the way of our parental-guided dental care regimens. It’s also a time when even as college students, we tend to find money for the things we “want” instead of the things we “need.” Given that we’re generally healthy at this time in our lives, there isn’t too much we have to worry about when we visit the dentist. Yet here are a few conversations you might want to have with the doctor when you come in for your periodic cleaning:

26-39 years old

These are the years where decades of wear-and-tear start to catch up with you. They’re also bridge years for having kids, and you’ll feel as though life is pulling you in a million directions. Ignoring the dentist during this timeframe is risky. Here’s how you can stay ahead of the game:
  • Cosmetic dentistry: Consult with your dentist about cosmetic services like teeth whitening, veneers, etc. And, don’t let the “costmetic” banner scare you off. Something as simple as bonding can help seal-in worn away enamel and spaces between teeth – both which can lead to erosion and cavities. Best of all, these procedures can be done in a snap with the technology available in your dentist’s office.
  • Restorative dentistry: If you have an old crown, root canal or filling, you might need to have it tuned-up or replaced. Many practices offer same day restorations that will have you off and running in no time.
  • Start thinking about maintenance: Sonic toothbrushes, oral irrigators, disclosing tablets, Xylitol gum are all items that can keep your teeth healthy year after year. Consider investing in a few of them and use them regularly as you move into your forties.

40-65 years old

With maintenance and repair top of mind, you’ll want to start to educate yourself on the sort of procedures that will help you keep your healthy teeth, and strengthen or replace those that are weak. Consider:

65+ years old

At this age, you’ll need to consider a multi-disciplined approach to your dental care. Aside from aging teeth, you may also have other health concerns that disrupt your typically healthy mouth. Some things to consider are:
  • More vigilant in-office routines: You may need to increase the frequency of your cleaning visits – ask your doctor for their best advice.
  • Systemic Health Education: There is a link between oral health and other health factors, so be sure to keep your dentist in the loop with regard to all medications you’re taking, and particularly keep them informed as to any heart disease, diabetes, or other conditions you may have.  Most importantly, because your mouth is the “window” to the rest of your body, your dentist can sometimes discover these conditions in their early stages because of the effects they have on the mouth. So, please don’t neglect your visits at this age!
Staying on top of your oral health isn’t as hard as you think, and if you keep this schedule of events to watch out for handy, you’ll be ahead of most of your neighbors when it comes to a healthy mouth and body. Come to think of it … why not share it with them as well? They’ll thank you for the help!

Schedule your appointment now and start your journey to your oral health.
Eagle Valley Dental

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Science Behind Why Veggies Are Good for Your Mouth

The Science Behind Why Veggies Are Good for Your Mouth

The Science Behind Why Veggies Are Good for Your Mouth

We all know eating our veggies is good for us … but why exactly? Sure, they’re colorful, and taste yummy (they do, right?), but what is it about the chemical compounds found in vegetables that make them good for our teeth? And, why worry about it now? Well, because it’s Eat Your Veggies Day on June 17th, and we thought we’d share with you a cornucopia of knowledge as to what makes veggies tick. Ready? Here we go!

Protein: We tend to think of protein as something we get from meat, but ask a vegetarian (or vegan!), and you’ll find there are plenty of plant sources chock-full of protein. Protein helps strengthen our teeth, helps keep our immune system robust (good with all that bacteria we’re inhaling all day long), and aids in mucosal and connective tissue development. Favorite sources: Peas, spinach, potatoes, broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts

Calcium: Kale, broccoli, garlic, spinach and okra each pack a mean calcium-punch: an essential nutrient for healthy teeth.

Phosphorus: Like calcium, healthy teeth also need phosphorous.  Seeds and nuts are the winners here, and as you know, not vegetables. But they are healthy, so we thought we’d include them! Broccoli and garlic are the big veggie winners.

Zinc: Our immune system, as well as our mucosal and connective tissues (gum tissue) love zinc. That’s why veggies rich in this mineral are a must-have for a healthy mouth. Favorite sources: Peas, shiitake mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes and napa cabbage.

Antioxidants: Hmmm… antioxidants. How about all vegetables under the sun?! Consume away, and juice ‘em every once and a while as well. Antioxidants are great for maintaining healthy mucosal and connective tissues and, as just about everything else on this list, a healthy immune system!

Folate: Asparagus, broccoli, collard greens, peas, spinach and endive are your folate friends. Eat them with much joy and your gum tissue will thank you.

Iron: If you’re looking for more iron to boost your immune system, look no further than dark green leafy vegetables. They’re packed with the stuff, and our bodies absorb it readily when coupled with vitamin C (antioxidant!). What area of our mouth likes iron? Gum tissue!

Vitamin A: Gum tissue needs Vitamin A to remain healthy. Carrots, cabbage, collard greens, lettuce, spinach and sweet potatoes are all good sources.

Vitamin C: Peppers, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, top the favorite list of vegetables packing a lot of vitamin C. Some of these guys even have more Vitamin C than oranges! Your mouth thrives on Vitamin C for collagen development, to maintain the integrity of the periodontal ligament; mucosal and connective tissue development, as well as overall immune health.

Omega-3 fats: Yummy fat. Do veggie sources have fat? Yep! Gum tissue needs fat to stay healthy, and it helps temper inflammatory response. Of course, as with most of these, our immune system gets a boost as well. So, go ahead and eat fatty vegetables! Here’s a huge list! P.S. Avocados and olives are fruit!

Vitamin D: Do you like mushrooms? Great! Cause they’re your go-to source for Vitamin D when it comes to veggies. Healthy gum tissue, a good immune system, and enamel remineralization are the gifts they provide.

B vitamins: Like all the cells in our body, the epithelial cells in our mouths have a regular rate of turnover where old cells are replaced by new ones. Helping that process along are the B vitamins we can find in sweet potatoes, spinach, mushrooms, winter squash, lettuce, spinach and artichokes. Make a salad!
So, there you have it – tons of info on how those veggies you’re consuming contribute to your overall oral health. Eat well and be well!

We’re indebted to the Precision Nutrition’s “Dental Diet,” which served as inspiration for this article. Please visit their site for even more amazing insight into eating for your teeth!

Eagle Valley Dental

Friday, March 18, 2016

Dental Sealants: What They Are and How They Work

Dental Sealants: What They Are and How They Work

Every dentist wants to ensure children’s teeth are as healthy as possible, and one of the first preventive measures they will usually recommend is dental sealants.  In fact, The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends placing dental sealants on the first and second set of permanent molars, which generally come in at 6 and 12 years of age. But what are dental sealants, how do they work, and why should you choose them for your child?

Dental sealants are hardened plastic shields, placed on the chewing, or occlusal, surface of molars and pre-molars, which seal the surface of the tooth. Sealants work by keeping food and other bacteria-causing material from getting trapped in the tooth and causing decay -- which can ultimately lead to cavities. In one study, kids who got sealant treatment had half the tooth decay of children who brushed regularly but didn’t get sealants. 

The cost for dental sealants is modest, roughly $30 to $40 per tooth, which is usually covered by dental insurance, and the sealants can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years. Dental sealants were first given approval by the ADA in 1976, and while in the past there had been questions about the use of sealants and if they can be used safely, a new study concludes that sealants are safe if dentists make sure to rinse or wipe away residue after treatment. The journal Pediatrics states that the benefits sealants provide in preventing cavities outweigh any possible risks.  

Sealants can help prevent food from getting into the places where a child might have difficulty brushing. Without a sealant, it is more likely that your child could develop a cavity in an otherwise unprotected tooth. Cavities require fillings, which run the risk of failure over time.  If you want to give your child’s molars the best protection against potential cavities, dental sealants are a great place to start. Ask your child’s dentist about the possibility of sealants for your child. 

Eagle Valley Dental

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Five Ways To Get Your Green On This St. Pat's

5 Ways To Get Your Green On This St. Pat's

As the saying goes: “On St. Patrick’s day, everyone is Irish!” Gallant parades flow down city streets, and Irish music flows out of public houses … shamrock pins are dusted off from the year prior … and liquids of all sorts turn a shade greener on this special of special days for the nation’s Irish.
And, when it comes to the health of our bodies and our teeth, green is most certainly a good thing. Here are five edible goodies that’ll allow you to ring in St. Patrick’s Day in all its green glory!
  1. Drink Up: Do you enjoy a cup of tea from time to time? If so, you should consider going green. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants that reduce inflammation, promote good breath, and reduce the overall level of cavity-inducing bacteria in the mouth. Plus, it tastes great too!
  2. Get Crunchy: Green apples are wonderful allies in what should be an ongoing effort to boost saliva flow and keep your mouth hydrated throughout the day. An “apple a day” is indeed still good advice. Want some more crunch without the sugar? Try the mighty celery stalk. Eaten raw, it’s somewhat akin to nature’s toothbrush, cleaning your teeth and massaging your gums as you eat. And, like apples, celery helps toward getting that saliva flow going!
  3. Hit The Garden: Broccoli, kale, and zucchini are fabulous at remineralizing tooth enamel – a critical part of keeping your teeth healthy. Combine them with their orange brethren, carrots, sweet potato and pumpkin for a Vitamin-A infused tooth bath that’ll make your dentist proud.
  4. Go For The Herbs: When it comes to fighting the oral bacteria that promote tooth decay, food that has antibacterial properties is your friend. Basil and oregano can be your champions in this battle, helping to prevent cavities and fight gum disease at the same time. Not bad for a couple of tasty herbs most of us wouldn’t mind loading up on our pasta any day of the week.
  5. Take a Trip “Down Under”: That green fuzzy fruit that gets its name from the national symbol of New Zealand (a bird that resembles the kiwifruit) helps support the collagen network in gum tissue – certainly something we’d all like to keep looking and feeling healthy. To help in peeling them, get yourself a good paring knife. The outer skin will come right off with a good knife.
Even though St. Patrick’s Day celebrations come but once a year, give your teeth a healthy boost and keep green on your mind (and on your plate!) all year round!

Eagle Valley Dental Clinic