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6 Reasons You Need Your Teeth Cleaned 2x a Year

We all know getting your teeth cleaned and taken care of is important, many people still neglect to get their teeth cleaned twice a year. Regular teeth cleaning and checkups are not only good for your mouth but your overall health, there are several benefits of having good oral health. Good oral health is maintained by regular cleanings and checkups with your dentist.

There are so many benefits of having a clean and healthy smile, not only will your mouth thank you but you will feel better having clean teeth! Call our office today to schedule your first visit!

5 Ways Your Dental Health Affects You

5 Ways Your Dental Health Affects You

Dental health: it’s about much more than white teeth and good breath. While it’s true that oral and dental hygiene can help you prevent bad breath and other mouth-related disorders, it goes much, much deeper than that. In fact, the health of our mouths has a significant impact on the health of the rest of our bodies – from our cardiovascular systems to our immune function. 

Sound serious? It is! The great news, though, is that you can protect your health by investing in your dental health. Here’s what you need to know:

The Mouth: A Viewfinder into Your Body’s Complete System

If the eyes are the window to the soul, the mouth is a window to your overall health. According to the American Dental Association (ADA):

“The mouth is filled with countless bacteria; some linked to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Researchers have found that periodontitis (the advanced form of periodontal disease that can cause tooth loss) is linked with other health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and bacterial pneumonia. Likewise, pregnant women with periodontitis may be at increased risk of delivering preterm and low-birth-weight infants.”

To put this another way, a healthy mouth is a sign of good overall health. A mouth riddled with gum disease, loose teeth, and bad breath, though, may be a sign of serious underlying health issues. 

5 Ways Dental Health Impacts Overall Health

By now, you know that your body function and your dental health are closely linked. How, exactly, does the health of your mouth impact the health of the rest of your body, though? Here are a few key points we like to tell our clients about:

1. Oral Health Impacts Cardiovascular Health

In recent years, several studies have shown that gum inflammation causes a statistically significant increase in the risk of heart disease and stroke. The reason for this comes down to systemic inflammation: gum disease increases inflammation throughout your body and can lead to inflammation in the soft tissue of the heart. 

According to the Canadian Academy of Periodontology (CAP), people with periodontal disease are at higher risk of heart disease and have twice the risk of having a fatal heart attack than people without periodontal disease. Additionally, gum disease that results from extended bacterial exposure can eventually lead to severe cases of heart disease and inflammation. 

2. Poor Oral Health Can Lead to Lung Infections

People with periodontal disease have a higher level of bacteria in their mouths. As such, they’re more likely to inhale bacteria and germs down the windpipe, creating an environment in the lungs that leads to severe lung infections, pneumonia, and other conditions. This risk is increased significantly in people who have pre-existing lung issues like COPD

3. Oral Health can Contribute to Diabetes

People with diabetes are at a higher risk of gum disease. What scientists have recently realized, though, is that there may be a reverse causal relationship, as well. People with gum disease may be more prone to developing diabetes since bacteria in the mouth can impact the body’s ability to control blood glucose levels. 

According to the Canadian Diabetes Association:

“Because periodontal disease is an infection, bacteria produce toxins that affect carbohydrate metabolism in individual cells. It is also thought that the host response to periodontal bacteria can increase insulin resistance and, therefore, blood glucose levels.” 

This link is an excellent illustrating factor for anyone who still isn’t convinced that taking care of their teeth is essential. 

4. Oral Health can Impact Pregnancy

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it’s wise to pay careful attention to your teeth. According to recent studies, pregnant women who suffer from progressive gum disease are more likely than their healthy-mouthed counterparts to deliver premature babies or babies with low birth weight or to develop gestational diabetes. 

As your pregnancy progresses, be sure to visit your dentist regularly. Not only will your mouth thank you, but your pregnancy will progress more normally thanks to your healthy, clean mouth. 

5. Dental Health and Blood Pressure

If you’re letting your oral health slide, you may also be putting your blood pressure levels at risk. According to a study published in October of 2018 by the American Heart Association:

 

“Poor oral health may interfere with blood pressure control in people diagnosed with hypertension. Periodontal disease — a condition marked by gum infection, gum inflammation and tooth damage — appears to worsen blood pressure and interferes with hypertension treatment. Study findings underscore the importance of good oral health in blood pressure control and its role in preventing the adverse cardiovascular effects known to stem from untreated hypertension.” 

If you’re currently taking blood pressure medication, you can increase the efficacy of your therapy by protecting your oral health, as well. Brushing and flossing regularly, and making routine trips to the dentist are all key factors in this process. 

Good Oral Health Leads to Good Overall Health

It’s easy to assume that our mouths operate as independent systems – that they have as little to do with our hearts, blood pressure, or pregnancies as a baker would with a spaceship launch. This couldn’t be more misguided, though. Our oral health has a massive impact on the health of our overall body systems. When our mouths are clean and healthy, the rest of our body systems benefit, as a result. 

A clean mouth reduces the overall level of bacteria in the body, contributing to a healthier immune system, lower blood pressure, less inflammation, and a reduced risk of disease. If you’re ready to start taking better care of your oral health, the first step is getting to a dentist for a routine checkup. Working closely with a dentist keeps your mouth clean and healthy and ensures you’ll catch any troubling dental problems before they become major issues. 

Our team is happy to assist you with this process. Give us a call today to schedule your check-up appointment and start protecting your oral health.

Christmas Treats That are bad for Your Teeth (& What to Eat Instead)

Christmas Treats That are bad for Your Teeth (& What to Eat Instead)

The holiday season is just around the corner, and we all know what it feels like to be surrounded by dozens of tempting treats. From candy canes to cookies to cakes and beyond, there are so many things to love about the holiday season. Unfortunately, these tasty treats present a real risk for your dental wellness. When consumed in excess, tasty Christmas treats can cause cavities, dental decay, and more.

Fortunately, you can keep your family’s mouths healthy and happy by avoiding certain foods and drinks which are bad for your teeth, and substituting them with healthier alternatives this holiday season.

Here’s what you need to know:

5 Christmas Treats That are Bad for Your Teeth

They’re attractive, they’re delicious, but they’re terrible for your teeth. To keep your mouth healthy and happy this year, avoid these five Christmas treats:

1. Candy Canes

Candy canes are synonymous with Christmas, but they aren’t great for your teeth. In fact, candy canes are the definition of a food that’s bad for your teeth. Because they take forever to eat, they coat teeth with sugar, sticky residue, and dye. Over time, this produces a nice, slimy treat for the bacteria in your mouth, which feed on the sugar and produce acid.

This acid, in turn, increases the risk of cavities and erodes enamel. The enamel, which is a protective layer on the teeth, can create weak areas when it’s damaged. While you’re avoiding hard candies, you’ll also want to avoid the candies you see in candy dishes and other easy-to-grab locations during the holidays.

2. Caramels

Caramels are some of our favorite Christmas treats, but they’re also some of the worst for teeth. If you’d prefer not to kick off the new year having cavities filled, stay away from them this Christmas season. Whether it shows up in a Christmas cookie or drizzled over sweet popcorn, caramel is one of the worst foods for your teeth.

Because it’s sugar that sticks to and coats teeth, caramel can wear away tooth enamel and increase the risk of dental decay. Other sticky treats, like peanut brittle, should also be avoided.

3.  Baked Goods

Baked goods abound during the Christmas season. Cookie plates seem to be everywhere, and it’s easy to grab a few Christmas cookies without even thinking about it. Unfortunately, this can spell a severe issue for your teeth.

Cookies, brownies, cakes, and other delectable baked treats are high in sugar, which is terrible for your teeth.

Even dried fruit in foods like fruit cakes and more has a high sugar content. To make matters even worse, small pieces of these treats may lodged between teeth, causing cavities and dental decay. If you decide to indulge (in moderation, of course), be sure to brush and floss your teeth immediately after eating.

4. Sugary Drinks

While a glass of eggnog or hot cocoa might be comforting and warming on a chilly December day, these drinks are chock-full of sugar, which increases your risk of tooth decay. That risk becomes even higher if you add accessories, like marshmallows or whipped cream.

With this in mind, enjoy these drinks mindfully and stay away from drinking them daily. As always, remember to brush and floss your teeth after consuming these drinks to stave off cavities and keep your teeth healthy and happy.

5. White Wine

Planning to have a few glasses of wine with holiday dinner? If dental health is your top priority, it’s wise to reach for red wine instead of white. Because red wine contains good bacteria that can actually banish bad bacteria in the mouth, it can help stave off tooth decay and leave your mouth healthy at the end of the night.

White wine, on the other hand, is higher in acid and will erode the enamel on the dental surface. This makes the teeth more vulnerable to decay and damage. Worried about discoloration caused by red wine? Brush your teeth after finishing your drink.

Foods to Eat Instead

If the treats above are off-limits, what can you eat this Christmas? And what kinds of tasty foods will support your dental wellness and help keep your teeth healthy? While the foods and beverages on the forbidden list may be some of the most delicious holidays treats out there, that doesn’t mean you can’t ever eat any of them. Instead, focus on eating them sparingly, and ensuring you brush and floss your teeth immediately afterward. If you’re interested in learning about some healthy substitutes, there are plenty of tasty alternatives you can enjoy. Keep your teeth strong and healthy this Holiday season by swapping out some “must avoid” foods for the ones on the list below:

  • Cheese: Did you know that eating cheese boosts saliva production? Saliva also strengthens and improves dental enamel, thanks to its high calcium content. Finally, eating cheese can lower your mouth’s pH balance, which may help to stave off cavities.
  • Vegetables: Vegetables are a great source of fiber, and will provide outstanding protection against cavities. For best results, reach for options like broccoli and celery, which boost saliva production and help protect against cavities. Broccoli also contains a high level of vitamin A, which fortifies tooth enamel for a healthier mouth.
  • Nuts: In the mood for a salty treat? Grab some nuts instead of Christmas candy. Nuts are chock-full of essential fatty acids, which keep your mouth and gums healthy. Need more evidence? Check out this 2010 study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The one thing to avoid? Opening the nuts with your teeth rather than a nutcracker.

How to Keep Teeth Healthy During the Holidays

When it comes to the holidays, you can keep your teeth healthy with just a few simple hacks. Follow these tips to enjoy seasonal sweets and maintain your cavity-free smile throughout. These tips can help keep your mouth healthy and cavity-free for years to come.

Lay off the Candy

Again, you can enjoy candy; you just have to do it sparingly. While the holidays present a nonstop buffet of sweets, they can destroy your teeth quickly. Instead of overdosing on sweets, eat a single dessert and brush your teeth immediately afterward. This approach will allow you to expose your teeth to less sugar and reduce your risk of dental decay.

Use a Nutcracker

Save your teeth from breaks and cracks by using a nutcracker, not your teeth, to crack nuts. If there’s no nutcracker in sight, choose a different snack. One poorly-placed bite can easily break teeth, leading to expensive, long-term dental issues.

Maintain a Routine

The holidays make it tough to maintain a routine, but doing so is essential to your dental wellness. Don’t let the holidays throw you off schedule – keep brushing two times a day. If you have trouble remembering to do this, put a toothbrush in your bag and step away from a party or gathering for a quick bout of dental wellness.

Make Appointments With Your Dentist

Throughout the holiday season, maintain your appointments with your dentist. Skipping dental exams can make it harder to spot issues and may put you at risk for cavities and dental decay.

Healthier Teeth Start Here

Keep your teeth healthy throughout the holiday season with these simple tips. While The holidays present all sorts of troublesome challenges, these tips can help your teeth stay healthy and happy throughout.

 

Keep the good dental health going by booking a Holiday follow-up appointment with us now!

A Healthy Diet for Healthy Teeth

A Healthy Diet for Healthy Teeth

You’ve heard the saying “you are what you eat,” but it’s more true with your teeth than anything else. Sugary, acidic, and processed foods can all cause tooth decay, and create some expensive trips to your dentist’s office. So, what should you eat instead?

Here’s our list of the top tooth-healthy foods:

5 Health Benefits of Having Straight Teeth

5 Health Benefits of Having Straight Teeth

Straight teeth are beautiful, but did you know that they also present some serious health benefits? From reducing your risk of contracting heart disease to improving your mindset, straight teeth can do a lot more than just make your selfie smile as stunning as possible. Here are five surprising health benefits of having straight teeth:

Brace Face: Finding the Right fit for Your Kids’ Teeth

Brace Face: Finding the Right fit for Your Kids’ Teeth

Braces: some of us wanted them, some of us didn’t, some of us were lucky enough to never think twice about them.

Regardless of what side of the aisle you fall on, though, it’s your responsibility as a parent to help your child adapt if he or she requires braces. No matter what your child is thinking about braces, you likely have many concerns and questions of your own.

How will you pay for the braces? How long will the child have to wear them? How do you make sure the braces fit your child’s teeth?

Here’s a complete breakdown of everything  you need to know to ensure your child’s braces are up to snuff.

Why Kids Need Braces as They Grow

First things first, why do kids need braces? The answer, as it turns out, is varied. Kids need braces for a wide assortment of reasons, including overcrowded, overlapping, and crooked teeth, or a mismatched bite (also know as malocclusion).

Malocclusion happens when there is a marked difference in the size of the top and bottom jaws, or when the upper jaw is larger than the lower jaw. This latter condition is known as an overbite. Underbites, on the other hand, happen when the mouth lower jaw is bigger.

In some cases, a child needs braces because they’ve lost their baby teeth too soon, because they’ve had an accident that impacted the alignment of the teeth, or because they’re suffering from a bad dental habit, like thumb sucking or extended pacifier use.

In most cases, a child’s dentist is the first person to realize they need braces. Orthodontists can identify jaw or teeth alignment issues and decide whether a child needs braces and, if so, what kind of braces will work best for your child’s mouth.

While children typically get braces at a young age, there’s no set age for the first braces application. In some cases, children get braces when they’re six, ten, or fifteen. As a child grows older, issues like uneve bites and overcrowding become progressively more apparent, so it’s common for teenagers to have braces to correct dental issues.

The First Orthodontist Visit

If you suspect your child may need braces, the first thing you can do is take your child to the orthodontist. During this first visit, the orthodontist will do a general overview of your child’s mouth. He or she might ask your child to close their mouth, bringing their teeth together, and may ask if the child has issues chewing, swallowing, or ever experiences clicking or popping in their jaw.

After asking these questions, the orthodontist may order some new or updated X-rays of your child’s mouth. These x-rays will identify the position of teeth, and determine if the child has permanent teeth that haven’t come in yet. In some cases, the orthodontist may also order molds or impressions of your child’s teeth, which can allow the orthodontist to determine which treatment options will be most effective, and figure out which braces fit will work best for your child.

The Types of Braces Children May Wear

Braces work to correct alignment issues by creating steady pressure, which shifts the teeth into the correct position over an extended time. For braces to do their job correctly, though, they need to fit as well as possible.

The way they fit, of course, depends on what kind of braces they are.  Most children need braces that use wires, rubber bands, and brackets to attach to teeth. In this type of brace setup, the wire tightens gradually, which helps line teeth up properly and solve alignment issues. These braces are also popular because rubber bands come in dozens of bright colors, which children get to choose.

If your child doesn’t get metal braces, clear or white ceramic braces are an option. These braces are much noticeable, and some may even sit behind teeth. The latter are known as lingual braces.

There are often transparent, removable braces that align teeth with the help of plastic trays known as aligners, instead of wires or rubber bands. These are available, but are only right for some types of dental issues.

In some cases, depending on your child’s needs, additional devices may be required. Headgear that is worn at night is one option, as it can provide more force to move teeth and expedite the resolving of dental issues.

How to Care for Braces

No matter what kind of braces your child wears, you’ll have to care for them. This can provide a serious hurdle for kids and parents. After all, if you never had braces yourself, it can be tough to figure out how to care for them on your child’s teeth. Fortunately, it’s not an impossible question to solve. Here are a few must-dos for long-term braces care:

  • Floss daily. Braces may help realign teeth, but they add structures to the teeth that can make it easier for tiny food particles to become trapped in the teeth and cause cavities and decay. With this in mind, it’s essential to floss daily around braces. A dentist can provide a special flosser designed to fit into the spaces between braces. Routine dental cleanings and checkups are also essential.
  • Avoid certain foods. Popcorn, sticky or hard candy, sugary juices, gum, and sodas all contribute to dental decay, which means that children with braces should avoid them as much as possible. If your child wears clear plastic aligners, they should take them off when it’s time to eat.
  • Take OTC pain relievers for discomfort. Braces create traction in the mouth, they can (and will) feel uncomfortable at times. This is especially true after the child has visited the orthodontist for adjustments. Fortunately, taking an over-the-counter pain reliever can help cut down on some of this discomfort.
  • See your dentist at any sign of loose wires or brackets. If your child’s braces have a loose wire or bracket, or anything at all is sticking into the child’s mouth and causing pain, see the dentist right away. If the orthodontist doesn’t identify any problems, your child can use orthodontic wax to cover sharp spots on the braces and prevent them from rubbing up against the gums or inside of the mouth.

Finding the Right Fit for Braces

The final consideration for braces is to find a fit that works for your child. This is easier said than done, and requires the assistance of your dentist and orthodontist. When it comes to considering fit, you want to make sure you find something that fits your child’s physical mouth structure, as well as their lifestyle.

While bracket and wire braces are still the most popular options out there for children, there are many reasons they may not work for your child. As such, it’s essential to work closely with your dentist to ensure that the braces you choose suit your child’s teeth, growth, and lifestyle. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your orthodontist to clarify.

Braces and Kids: A Smarter Approach

If your child needs braces, you likely have many questions. Fortunately, there are lots of answers out there. By understanding which braces options are right for your kids, and how to care for these options, you can ensure a healthy mouth and a long life of good dental care for your child.

Does your child need braces? Contact our team today to schedule your braces consultation and information session!