7 Tips to Prevent Gum Disease

7 Tips to Prevent Gum Disease

7 Tips to Prevent Gum Disease

To avoid gum disease, a solid oral care regime is imperative – brush twice a day, floss at night, and use mouthwash. This is the familiar refrain, so let’s step away from that simple 3-step plan and look at other ways to prevent gum disease.

Gingivitis and its advanced cousin, Periodontal Disease, are silent offenders. Most often, you may not even know you should be concerned. After all, the serious problems take place beneath your gum line where you can’t see them.

What’s worse is that a growing number of scientists believe that plaque and gum disease can also influence and exacerbate conditions like heart disease and stroke – certainly conditions we do not want to encourage by a lack of attention to good oral hygiene.

So with no further ado, here are seven easy things you can do to help protect your mouth from gum disease.

1. Eat More Chicken! This is more than just a prominent fast food slogan. Consuming more chicken, as well as other meats, cheeses, nuts, and milk does a body good.

All are believed to provide your teeth with calcium and phosphorous needed to remineralize enamel after it’s been bombarded by the acids that cause tooth decay.

2. Eat more Veggies! Everyone knows we need more vegetables in our diets. Our waistlines and our teeth love them for their water content, as well as their vitamin and mineral profiles. There’s no doubt about it, veggies are good for you.

Not a big fan? Incorporate them into soups, or in a great fruit smoothie … you won’t notice the difference, but your teeth and gums will.

3. Use an anti-microbial mouthwash: The key here is using a mouthwash that is anti-microbial. Find one you’ll actually use every day, and use it once in the morning after brushing, and again after brushing before bed.

Try to find one that’s low in alcohol or without it altogether, as alcohol dries out your mouth and can contribute to tooth decay. More saliva equals better oral health.

4. Try a toothbrush that moves: Get adventurous and test out an electronic toothbrush that’s been endorsed by the American Dental Association (ADA).

These toothbrushes are more effective than you’ll ever be at removing plaque and bacteria, and will protect your gums from aggressive brushing.

5. Chew Gum! Keep that saliva flow going after a meal with sugar-free gum that contains Xylitol — a natural sweetener derived from plants. It doesn’t break down like sugar, and can help keep a neutral pH level in the mouth.

If you want to avoid Aspartame in your Xylitol chewing gum, search online or ask your dentist. It’s difficult to find gum without Aspartame these days, but such a product does exist.

6. Get Braces! That’s right, getting braces can help protect you from gum disease.

Crooked teeth are great enablers of tooth decay, which can lead to gum disease by allowing bacteria and plaque to colonize in the areas where your teeth are not aligned.

Getting your teeth aligned eliminates these hideouts where your toothbrush cannot reach, all while straightening your smile at the same time.

7. Quit Smoking! This one is always worth mentioning. Smoking is always bad for your body, your gums, and your teeth.

7 Ways to Prepare for Fall

7 Ways to Prepare for Fall

7 Ways to Prepare for Fall

Fall is upon us! To accompany the changing of the seasons, here’s a checklist of seven new dental health ideas to carry you through this lovely autumn weather. 

1. Clean Out that Mouth! If you’re a homeowner, you’re probably thinking about cleaning out your gutters this time of year. After all, twelve months of debris raining on the eaves of your roof means you’ve probably got a lot of junk to clear. The same goes for your teeth – particularly if it’s been twelve months! Pull out your calendar early, because the schedule at your dental office can start to get busy this time of year.

2. Replace Your Toothbrush: Homeowners and renters are familiar with the time-honored drill of replacing heating and air conditioning filters with the change of seasons. It’s also a great time to switch out your toothbrush! So, when you change the filter, change your toothbrush as well!

3. Pick up a Pack of Xylitol Gum: This is one little secret that’s starting to catch on. Use a sugar-free gum that contains Xylitol – a natural sweetener derived from plants. Xylitol doesn’t break down like sugar, and can help keep a neutral pH level in the mouth. Both of which will help you avoid cavities.

4. Eliminate a Habit: Whether it’s smoking, acidic beverages, or chewing habits that can wreck your teeth, try eliminating a habit that does harm to your teeth. Doing so now is a good idea because we’re still outside the hectic holiday window. There are fewer demands on your willpower reserves, making a successful effort that much more likely.

5. Pick up a Habit: There are a lot of good dental habits that’ll help you do good by your teeth year-round. This fall, try a few you’re not familiar with and give your mouth a boost. A good habit is going with the right food choices, or wearing a mouthguard if you play sports.

6. Buy yourself an Early Holiday Gift: Who says you have to wait until the holidays to spoil yourself? Why not start now by picking up a dental care tool to make your teeth look great, your gums feel great, and your breath smell great! There are a lot of easy to use, budget-friendly options, including teeth whitening, dental irrigators,  and even tongue scrapers!

7. Check in on Your Insurance Benefits! As the end of your insurance year approaches, you’re going to want to take advantage of any unused dental benefits that may still be available. In most cases any unused portion is lost when your new insurance year starts. So, be on top of this … after all, they’re benefits you have already paid for!

Banish That Canker Sore!

Banish That Canker Sore!

Banish That Canker Sore!

There’s hardly anything more irritating than a canker sore. Sure, they’re tiny and only last a few days, but when you’ve got one, just about every word spoken and every bite taken hurts like all get-out. What exactly are those little buggers, and how in the world can you ease the pain fast?

 We’ll fill you in, and share our “canker-sore-be-gone” grocery list that’ll help save the day.

What Exactly is a Canker Sore?

To know the medically proper name for a canker sore is to understand why it hurts so much. A canker sore is actually an ulcer. An Aphthous Ulcer to be exact. These painful ulcers come in two forms, minor and major, and are surprisingly experienced by only about 20% of the U.S. population.
Minor cankers (common in people between the ages of 10 and 20), are the smaller of the two, as the name would suggest, and last about 7-10 days.

Major cankers can last from two to six weeks, have noticeable depth, and often have irregular borders. This type of sore is more common after the age of 20, and is essentially a recurrent canker, returning to a site previously impacted by a minor canker.

Who Gets Cankers?

While cankers affect both genders, girls tend to get them more often, likely because of hormonal fluctuations. Aside from that, most people are believed to get cankers due to genetics– and the condition is triggered by spicy, salty or abrasive foods.

 If you or your kids are among those unlucky people gifted with canker sore genetics, there is hope! Arrest the pain and speed up the healing process with this short shopping list:

Rinses (use four times a day)

  • Hydrogen Peroxide – Equal parts peroxide and water
  • Salt and baking soda – Add a half teaspoon of both to 4oz. of water

Numbing Agents

  • Brands like Orajel® and Kank-A® can provide relief

Protective Pastes

  • Milk of Magnesia – dab on a cotton swab and use four times daily after the hydrogen peroxide rinse.
  • Baking Soda and Water Paste

Antimicrobial Mouthwashes

If your children have a sore lasting beyond the two-week mark, make an appointment to see your doctor to evaluate their case. Prescription medications might be necessary to bring them much-needed relief.

Apps for Healthy Teeth

Apps for Healthy Teeth

We’re gonna’ bet your kids have a better handle on your smart phone than you do. So, why not utilize their savvy nature with apps that teach about proper tooth care and preparing for the dentist? Dental apps tend to fall into themes, and below you’ll find the three most popular. Be careful, though, these apps might have your kids so enamored with their oral health that your phone will spend more time in the bathroom than in your pocket!

Two Minutes Twice a Day

Disney and Oral-B’s “Disney Magic Timer” aims to get kids brushing twice a day, and for two minutes each time. The screen displays a character that brushes along with your child, brushing away clues as time passes. Kids can collect stickers in a photo album and start the game by scanning their Crest or Oral-B Pro Health Stages product so the character uses the same implement as them.

Other interesting games include Toothsavers, which has children cleaning the teeth of the various medieval and folk characters in the game, and Brush DJ, which taps into the music on your phone,

There’s also Brusheez Tooth Brushing Timer, which was created by a 3D technical artist at Disney who designed the monster app to help his two boys learn to brush properly. Neat stuff!

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. It’s a neat way to get kids involved in all the different looks a mouth can have with braces, veneers, fillings. They can also see what clean teeth look like vs. not-so-clean-teeth. Teens might also enjoy the app in order to get a good idea about how certain cosmetic procedures would look like in their own mouths.

Be the Dentist!

Tiny Dentist has scores of characters and different themes to choose from, all designed to take your kids through the fun journey of pretending to be a dentist. Kids can fix cavities, clean teeth, tend to bad breath, do whitening treatment, and even place implants!

So, there you have it. Teeth time is now fun time!