Wellness Blog

Posts for: November, 2017

November 29, 2017
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Preparing Your Smile For The Big Day

With all that goes in to planning a wedding, it can be easy to forget a very important accessory: your perfect smile! There are several products and treatment options available to help you achieve your dental goals, no matter what they may be. Before posing for hundreds of photos, make sure your smile is in tip-top shape.

Whitening: Home Versus Professional

When it comes to teeth whitening, strips, toothpastes, and rinses are the most cost-effective options. They are relatively inexpensive and you can do them yourself. However, abrasive toothpastes can damage your enamel and the results will not be as good as with professional whitening. It is critical to start the whitening strips at least one to two weeks in advance, and at least a month in advance if you go with toothpastes and rinses.

Another option is take-home custom whitening trays. These trays do cost more, but they result in better whitening as long as you follow the instructions carefully. We recommend starting whitening trays about one month before the wedding or any important photoshoots. The highest quality, safest, and fastest route you could choose is professional whitening. Whitening sessions will take place at the dental office and can be pricier than take-home options, but the great results are worth it!

Straightening That Smile

Whitening alone will make a beautiful difference in any smile, but sometimes there are other issues to address before the big day, such as straightening teeth.  Orthodontic appliances can be expensive, but the results are life-changing.  Having straight teeth and a healthy bite are huge confidence-boosters that provide health benefits in addition to looking great. Braces or invisible aligners generally require at least a year, so do not wait too long to schedule a consultation if you hear wedding bells in your future!

Repairs For Chips And Cavities

One of the factors that determines our oral health is genetics. Unfortunately, that means that even the most diligent brushing, flossing, and avoidance of sugary treats are not always enough to keep cavities at bay. Also, even when we are being careful, accidents happen, and a tooth might get chipped. If you find yourself facing one of these setbacks before your wedding, veneers and bonding are both great options to consider.  Veneers are color-matched to blend in with your natural teeth, resulting in a beautiful, natural-looking smile. Tooth bonding is a process that covers damaged or discolored teeth with plastic resin. These do not last as long as veneers, but they can be applied in just one visit. On the other hand, it takes about two weeks after an impression of your teeth to receive your custom veneers.

We Are Here To Help Make Your Special Day Perfect!

We know how hectic it can be to plan a wedding, so we want to make things easier for you by helping you prepare your smile. Whether that is as simple as a regular cleaning appointment or something more involved, you can count on our practice! Call (217) 698-9300 to schedule an appointment today!

Wishing our patients all the happiness in the world!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

November 22, 2017
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UNDER MOST CIRCUMSTANCES, dentists are not fans of candy because the sugar in candy is the favorite food of bacteria that cause tooth decay. However, when it comes to chocolate, certain types may actually be good for oral health! To be clear, this is not a blog post in which we give you a free pass to eat all the chocolate you want. Only certain types of chocolate have any health benefits, and too much of even the healthiest chocolate could be harmful to your oral health.

All Chocolate Is Not Created Equal

Determining how processed chocolate is can be difficult, so knowing a little about how it is made can be helpful. The most important ingredient in chocolate is the cocoa bean. After fermenting, the beans can either be roasted and made into cocoa powder or cold pressed into cacao powder, which retains more of the original nutrients. You will get the most nutrients from cacao nibs or powder, but it is pretty bitter and the chocolatey taste is not as strong.

If you would rather stick with the chocolate you are used to, there are still factors to consider. The main ingredients in a chocolate bar are cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, and milk (if it is milk chocolate). White chocolate is made with cocoa butter and sugar and has no cocoa solids, therefore it contains no beneficial nutrients. Milk chocolate tends to contain, at most, ten percent cocoa solids. The tiny amount of nutrients from the cocoa beans is offset by a ton of sugar, making milk chocolate an unhealthy option. However, dark chocolate is different.

The Benefits Of Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate, particularly kinds containing 70 percent cocoa (or cacao) or higher, has been deemed a “superfood.” That is because the cocoa bean is full of healthy antioxidants (specifically, polyphenols, flavonoids, and tannins) and dark chocolate has enough cocoa in it to retain them.  Another bonus is that dark chocolate does not contain much sugar!

Antioxidants have several benefits for overall health, but we will focus on their oral health applications. Saliva is the mouth’s first line of defense against tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. Antioxidants play a crucial role in all of these by helping to stabilize and strengthen your own oral tissues, protecting against cell mutation, and making it harder for harmful bacteria to flourish.

Chocolate Still Is Not Everything

As sated before, this blog post is not a license to eat as much chocolate as you want. No matter how full of antioxidants it is, dark chocolate still does not replace other important oral health habits like brushing, flossing, and regular dental appointments. If you love to snack, however, you might consider swapping a few items heavy in processed sugars for dark chocolate or cacao nibs. Your teeth will thank you!

Your healthy teeth are our pride and joy!

November 15, 2017
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WE ALL REMEMBERwhat it was like to be children with loose teeth. For some, this was a pretty stressful time, while others found ways to speed up the process so they could get those Tooth Fairy payouts faster. No matter what, the prospect of losing that first tooth is new territory for every child, and it can seem very strange and frightening to them. That is why we are here to help you calm your child’s nerves as they approach this milestone.

Perspective: This Is A Rite Of Passage

One of the top priorities of young children is proving to everyone around them that they are “one of the big kids.” They are growing taller, they can tie their own shoelaces, and they are learning new things every day. Few things symbolize maturity better to kindergarteners and first graders than a gap-toothed smile. A great way to help your child look forward to losing that first wiggly tooth is to help them focus on what an important rite of passage it is and how grown-up they will feel after the tooth comes out.

Parental Dos And Don’ts Of Wiggly Teeth

Even when your child has the right attitude and is excited to gain ‘Big Kid’ status by losing a tooth, it can still seem scary. Perhaps another child or an obnoxious uncle has filled their imagination with horror stories about the pain of losing teeth. You can ease their fears and make the experience more positive by following a few tips:

  • Do not use pliers or other scary tools, especially if the tooth is barely loose.
  • Encourage your child to gently wiggle the loose tooth on their own with either a clean finger, their tongue, or a tissue.
  • Wait for your child to ask for your help pulling the tooth instead of forcing the issue.

Incentivize It!

There are many ways parents can reward their children for successfully losing their first tooth. The Tooth Fairy is a particularly popular one, with different versions of the tradition practiced all across the world. Other families reward their children with tasty treats like ice cream or a new toy befitting a child who just became a big boy or girl. If you are looking for a more creative way to reward your child, just scroll through a few list articles until something strikes your fancy!

We Cannot Wait To See You!

After talking to your child, if they are still worried about their loose teeth, bring them in to see us! We love helping children get over their fears of losing teeth. Other reasons to come to us regarding loose teeth are:

  • If the tooth has been loose for a while and does not to want to come out.
  • If your child’s teeth are not becoming loose when they should.

As a team, we wish you and your child the best of luck!

Top image by Flickr user DSC_3020 used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

November 07, 2017
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THE AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION estimates that 23.1 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes (whether it be type 1, type 2, or gestational). At least another 7 million remain undiagnosed, and that does not include the additional millions who are considered pre-diabetic. But what does diabetes have to do with oral health? Unfortunately, quite a lot.

Diabetes And Gum Disease

Diabetes is a chronic disease that either means the pancreas does not produce insulin (type 1) or that the body does not use it effectively (type 2 and gestational), both of which cause elevated blood glucose. The most serious impact elevated blood glucose has on oral health is that it simultaneously weakens the immune system and provides more food for the bacteria that attack teeth and gums. This two-pronged attack is why 22% of diabetics also have gum disease, whether in the early stages of inflammation (gingivitis) or in the advanced stages (periodontitis) that threaten the teeth, gums, and supporting bone. The bacteria that causes gum disease can also travel through the bloodstream and make it even harder to regulate blood sugar. In addition to increasing the risk of gingivitis and periodontitis, uncontrolled diabetes can also lead to a variety of other oral health problems, such as:

  • Dry mouth
  • Burning mouth syndrome
  • Impaired or slower healing
  • Increased severity and frequency of infections
  • Fungal infections
  • Salivary gland enlargement
What You Can Do

Now for the good news: even with diabetes, good oral health is within reach. Even better: keeping your teeth and gums healthy will also make the diabetes easier to manage! Make sure to brush twice a day for two minutes with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash, floss daily, use a non-alcoholic mouthwash, do not smoke, and use a water flosser or interdental brush where indicated. Carefully regulating your sugar intake is a major factor as well.

The Dentist’s Role

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, the standard two dental exams per year may not be enough. To stay on the safe side, we recommend that you increase the number of yearly visits to three or four. It is also crucial for us to know how you and your doctor are working together to get the diabetes under control. Likewise, your doctor needs to know how we are working with you to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Call (217) 698-9300 to schedule an appointment today!

We can help you win the fight for your dental health!

Top image by Flickr user Kolin Toney used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

November 03, 2017
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BACK IN THE GOOD old days before the 1930s, toothbrush bristles were made of animal hair.  We are pretty happy to live in the era of nylon bristles, but how can we tell which toothbrush will be best for our teeth and gums?  How hard should the bristles be?  Are electric toothbrushes better than manual ones?  Read on to find out!

Soft Versus Hard Bristles

It is true that hard bristles make it a little bit easier to scrub away the plaque from your teeth, but those hard bristles can also scrape away enamel and even agitate your gums to the point of putting you at greater risk for gum recession, which could be permanent.  In the case of hard bristles versus soft, the risks of hard bristles clearly outweigh the benefits, which is why dentists always give out and recommend soft-bristle brushes.

Powered Versus Manual Brushes

In the past, there was not a significant difference between the effectiveness of electric toothbrushes versus manual ones.  However, technology has come a long way, and modern electric toothbrushes are better at getting plaque out of hard-to-reach spots.  Electric toothbrushes reduce plaque by up to 21 percent more than manual toothbrushes and reduce the risk of gingivitis by 11 percent.  Using an electric toothbrush also makes it easier to brush for the recommended two minutes and makes it less likely that you will apply too much pressure.

That still leaves a lot of different electric toothbrushes to choose from.  Luckily, whether you choose an oscillating brush (spinning tops) or a sonic brush (vibrate from side to side), you will still see better results than with a manual brush.  If you are not sure which brush would be best for you, feel free to ask us about it at your next appointment!  Generally, we recommend a rechargeable brush with a small, circular head.

Taking Care Of Your Toothbrush

Once you have found the ideal toothbrush, it is important to store it properly so that it does not become a breeding ground for bacteria.  Store your toothbrush upright somewhere it can dry out, preferably as far away from a toilet as possible.  Also, do not forget to replace your toothbrush or the head of your electric toothbrush regularly (about every 3 months), because even the best bristles fray and lose their effectiveness over time.

We Look Forward To Seeing You!

Having the right toothbrush and taking proper care of it are essential to good dental health, but there is no replacement for regular, professional dental cleanings.  Make sure you are scheduling appointments twice a year.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

Good habits and the right tools make all the difference for your teeth!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license.  Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.