Wellness Blog

WHEN WE THINK OF SUGARY FOOD, we usually picture things like candy, cake, pie, ice cream, and soda, but there is sugar hiding in many of the foods we buy at the grocery store — even foods we do not think of as sweet.  This is bad news for our oral health, because the harmful bacteria in our mouths love all that sugar, whether we know we are eating it or not.

Sugar’s Many Disguises

Unfortunately, finding the sugar in the food we buy is not so simple these days, because it hides behind many tricky-sounding names.  Here are some of the terms to look for when checking ingredient lists:

  • The “-ose” words: Fructose, sucrose, dextrose, lactose, maltose, glucose.  All of these are scientific names for types of sugar molecules.
  • The syrups: Corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, maple/rice syrup, etc.
  • The sugars: Brown sugar, malt sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar, coconut sugar, etc.  Whether brown or white, liquid or powder, sugar is still sugar.
  • The “natural replacements”: agave nectar, honey, evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrate, 100 percent fruit juice.  While whole fruit is definitely a healthier snack than a candy bar, fruit juice is not any better for your teeth than soda.
  • Molasses.

While these are the most common disguises sugar may take, there are plenty more.  A good clue is in the “added sugars” line on the nutrition labels.  Unfortunately, these sugars can be found in everyday foods we often think of as healthy, or at least not unhealthy, like Raisin Bran, fruit-flavored yogurt, ketchup, barbecue sauce, granola, and most types of bread.  This is why it is important to always read the labels!

Our Recommended Daily Sugar Intake

With sugar hiding in so much of our food, avoiding it entirely can be a difficult task, but our teeth (and the rest of us) will be healthier and happier if we can keep the overall amount to a minimum.  The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) a day for women and 36 grams (9 teaspoons) for men.  That might not seem like much, but the good news is that the longer you go with less sugar in your day, the less you will miss it!

Healthy Sugar Replacements

How we consume sugar is just as important as the amount we consume.  The reason whole fruit is healthier than fruit juice is that the sugar in fruit comes with a lot of water and fiber, making it harder for our bodies to absorb.  Whole fruit is also more filling, whereas we could drink the equivalent of several oranges in juice and still have room for bacon, eggs, and toast.  That is the difference between natural and processed sugars.

But what about when you get those sweet cravings and fruit just will not cut it?  That is when sugar-free sweeteners like Stevia, xylitol, and erythritol or low-sugar alternatives like applesauce, bananas, dates, and figs come in handy.  You will also have an easier time avoiding those insidious added sugars if you stick to whole foods.

Check On Those Teeth!

Luckily for all of us, cutting down on sugar is not the only way we can take care of our teeth.  We can also keep them healthy and bright by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and scheduling our regular dental cleanings.  If it has been more than six months since your last appointment, do not hesitate to schedule your next one today!

Our practice has the world’s sweetest patients!


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.

DO YOU SPEND A LOT of time worrying about how to keep your child’s teeth cavity-free?  Teaching them to brush and floss are critical steps towards ensuring that they can take good care of their teeth for life.  Once those permanent teeth come in, there is something we can do at the dental practice that will give them even more protection against tooth decay- applying dental sealants.

Bacteria Versus Your Child’s Teeth

The reason it is so critical to teach our children good oral health habits at an early age is that 40 percent of children develop cavities by the time they start school because of poor oral hygiene and consuming sugary snacks and drinks.  Every human mouth contains numerous species of bacteria that excrete acid onto our teeth when we consume sugar, and this acid wears away at our enamel and leads to tooth decay.

Brushing, flossing and limiting our sugar intake are all important ways we can keep that bacteria in check.  But even when we do all these things, there are crevices in our teeth where bacteria can hide, and these can be difficult to reach with a toothbrush.  That is where sealants come in to play!

What Are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are a protective tooth-colored material we place on the chewing surfaces of teeth to "seal them off" from plaque and bacteria that can cause cavities.  Dentists started using sealants in the 1960s, and they have been popular ever since.

Typically, sealants are applied to the molars because these teeth are the ones that do the most chewing and have those deep crevices where bacteria can hide.  The sealant will fill in and cover any crevices on the tooth to act as a shield from the bacteria.  What makes them even better is that the sealant application process is quick and painless!

When Should Your Child Get Sealants?

The best time to bring your child in for dental sealants is when their adult molars erupt, which is usually around age six.  The sooner they sealants are in place, the less opportunity the oral bacteria will have to build up in the crevices of the molars.  However, sealants are still beneficial when applied later.  Older children and even adults can get them and have their teeth protected too!

Schedule Your Child’s Next Appointment Today!

Whether your child needs sealants or just a normal twice-yearly dental cleaning, do not hesitate to schedule their next appointment!  If you have any concerns with the way your child is brushing, flossing or with how the food they eat might be affecting their teeth, be sure to let us know so that we can help.

Our top priority is protecting your child’s smile!


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.

MOVING TO A NEW AREA comes with a long to-do list, and one important item on it is finding the right dentist.  There are a few factors to take into account when choosing a dentist in order to make sure they are a good fit for you and your family.

Why Decide Now?

Dental care should be about preventing problems before they have a chance to get worse, not waiting until they have become an emergency.  That means it is important to find a dentist ahead of time so that you can start making regular checkup appointments to keep your teeth healthy.

Another benefit to choosing your dentist ahead of time is that the pressure is off!  You do not have to rush and take a risk with a practice nobody can vouch for.  If you start early, you will have plenty of time to make sure you have only the best dentist for your needs.

Our Top 5 Tips For Choosing A Dentist

You might have other items you would include on your own list, but these are five we feel are particularly important for any patient.  Still, it is up to you to decide which items on the list are a higher priority for you!

  1. Location.  A crucial thing you should be looking at is if the office is within a reasonable distance from your home.  How far are you willing to drive twice a year for your checkups? Answer that question for yourself, then choose from dentists within that range.
  2. Reputation.  Once you have decided how far you are willing to travel for your appointments, research your local dentists to find the ones with great reputations.  You can check their Google reviews and Yelp pages for quick information, but you can also ask your friends, coworkers, and neighbors for recommendations.
  3. Cost.  While the quality of the dental care should always be high on the priority list, cost is an important consideration as well.  Determine your household’s dental care budget, research dental insurance options, and remember that good preventative dental care now will always be cheaper than dental repair work down the road!
  4. Specialization.  Are you looking for a family dental practice, or do you need a pediatric dentist for your kids?  This will make a difference in your final choice.  If you know you need more complicated work than a regular cleaning or filling, you might want to learn about nearby periodontists or endodontists as well.
  5. Comfort.  Even if a dentist meets all four of the other requirements, it may not mean so much to you if you cannot relax while you are in their office.  This is why it is a good idea to go in beforehand to get a feel for the team and the overall environment of the practice.  A good dentist will always look after your comfort!

We Look Forward To Meeting You!

If you still are not sure how to find the best dentist for you, we can help!  Come visit our practice and we will answer any questions you may have.  We want to make sure every new member of our community has their dental health needs looked after.  In the meantime, keep up your daily brushing and flossing habits!

Help us help you keep your smile healthy for life!


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.

WE ALL KNOW WHAT it is like to have a cold, with a nose so stuffy that you cannot breathe through it.  At times like that, we breathe through our mouths instead, and that is pretty much how it should work.  Mouth-breathing is an emergency backup, not the default.  There are many negative effects of mouth-breathing full-time, particularly if the habit begins in childhood.

Why Does Mouth-Breathing Become A Habit?

Many things can lead to a mouth-breathing habit.  A small child might get a cold and then simply continue breathing through his mouth when his nose clears.  A problem with bite alignment can make it difficult to keep the mouth closed.  Persistent allergies, overlarge tonsils, or a deviated septum could make nose-breathing difficult or impossible most of the time.  Fortunately, these problems can often be solved by orthodontic treatment or surgery.

Why Mouth-Breathing Is A Problem

In the short term, mouth-breathing leads to a variety of issues, including:

  • Dry mouth: mouth-breathing dries out the mouth, removing the first defense against oral bacteria.  This can lead to consequences such as chronic bad breath and tooth decay.
  • Lack of energy: getting less oxygen by breathing through the mouth will result in poor sleep quality and lowered energy levels overall.  For kids, this means difficulty paying attention in school, and for adults, work productivity can suffer.

The negative effects of mouth-breathing do not stop in the short-term.  They can actually be life-altering, particularly when the habit begins in childhood and goes unchecked.

  • Facial structure: mouth-breathing can actually lead the bones of the face to develop differently, yielding flat features, drooping eyes, a narrow jaw and dental arch, and a small chin.
  • Sleep apnea: the risk of sleep apnea goes up with mouth-breathing, and this can make it difficult to get a restful night’s sleep.
  • Orthodontic treatment: the narrowed dental arch of a chronic mouth-breather rarely has enough room for the full set of adult teeth, and this will require orthodontic treatment to correct.

The Benefits Of Nose-Breathing

Breathing through the nose does not just help you avoid the effects of mouth-breathing; it comes with additional benefits too!  Here are just a few of them:

  • The nose acts as an air filter, delivering clean air to the lungs and reducing the amount of allergens that get in.
  • Nose-breathing produces nitric oxide, which helps with oxygen absorption and sterilizes the air.
  • Nose-breathing strengthens the immune system by activating immunoglobulin production.

Need Help Building Healthier Breathing Habits?

If you or your child has a mouth-breathing habit, it can be tricky to break, especially if the cause is a physical obstruction that requires treatment.  Schedule a dental exam right away so the cause can be detected and you can get on the road to healthier breathing and all the benefits that come with it!

We love our wonderful patients!


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.

September 18, 2018
Category: Uncategorized
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THE EXCITEMENT OF LOSING a tooth and waiting for the Tooth Fairy to come is something almost every child looks forward to, but how can parents make sure this rite of passage lives up to the hype?  If you have been looking for ways to improve your Tooth Fairy game, we have a few ideas you could try!

The Tooth Fairy’s Origins

The idea of a fairy who quietly swaps a child’s tooth for money or a small gift overnight is not a very old one, but there have been traditions associated with children losing their first tooth since the time of the Vikings, when the teeth were often buried to ensure a happy life for the child or considered good luck in battle.  These days, many cultures have the Tooth Fairy or a Tooth Mouse, but exactly how the tradition operates varies from household to household.

A Few Fun Tooth Fairy Ideas

If you or your children are getting bored with the old dollar-under-the-pillow routine, it might be time to help your Tooth Fairy out.  Try out one or more of these to really bring the magic back:

  • Tooth Fairy pillow: Sew a little pillow big enough to hold the lost tooth!  When the Tooth Fairy comes, she will replace the tooth with whatever item she brings and put it in the same slot the tooth was in.
  • Fairy Dust: Sprinkle a coating of glitter over the Tooth Fairy money to make it seem like it is covered in magical fairy dust!
  • Tooth Fairy note: Leave a signed note from the Tooth Fairy to let your child know they are doing a great job on their oral hygiene and encourage them to keep it up!
  • Tooth box: A good way to make sure the tooth does not become lost is to put it in a cute little box!  Your child can decorate the box to make it even more special, and then the Tooth Fairy can put the reward in the box when she takes the tooth.
  • Tooth Fairy door: If your child’s room does not have a window that opens (or if you want to do it just for fun), you could provide a special door the Tooth Fairy can use!  A simple, fairy sized, door is a great way to make sure she does not get stuck outside!
  • Capturing the Tooth Fairy: Can you catch the Tooth Fairy on camera?  There are websites and editing apps that will help you get this amazing footage.  But remember, the Tooth Fairy is very tricky and might be hard to catch!

Close Colleagues: The Dentist And The Tooth Fairy

A great way to make sure everything is going well with your child’s incoming adult tooth and the rest of their teeth is to bring them in for a check-up and cleaning!  We can also offer more Tooth Fairy ideas and tips on how to handle those loose teeth.  Do not forget to tell us your Tooth Fairy stories!

We cannot wait to hear how things went with the Tooth Fairy!


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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.

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