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Teeth Are An Important Part Of Digestion

CHEWING IS THE FIRST STEP in digestion! But chewing our food only enough to swallow it down doesn’t count. If you’re rushing proper chewing—especially if it’s due to dental distress—you’re robbing yourself of some important benefits!

Chewing Helps Retain Energy And Absorb Nutrients

Chewing our food does more than simply give us time to taste flavors. The more we chew our food, the more it’s broken down into elements we can absorb and use. When we swallow minimally chewed food, some of the nutrients and energy remains locked in—making it more difficult to enter our bodies.

Chewing Aids Digestion

When saliva mixes with the foods we eat, we begin to digest it before we even swallow it. This is because saliva contains digestive enzymes that begin breaking our food down right away. In addition, un-chewed pieces of food can cause digestive discomfort.

Chewing Gives Us Time To Notice We’re Full

Often, especially when we’re wolfing down our food, we eat more than we should before our body is able to give us the “full” notification. Eating slower can help us control our portions and feel more satisfied.

If Your Bite Is To Blame, Let’s Visit

If you’re not chewing your food properly, are your teeth to blame? Malocclusion (an uneven bite), tooth sensitivity, missing teeth, or poorly fitting dentures can all cause minimal chewing. You might swallow food down earlier because chewing is uncomfortable. You might even avoid certain healthy foods just because they require more chewing.

Breakdowns in our oral health start to affect our overall health. If your teeth aren’t doing their job helping you chew, digest, and absorb nutrition from your food, don’t ignore the problem. Talk with us about it. We can get your teeth back into shape so they can better do their job.

Thanks for your trust in our practice. We appreciate you!

Top image by Flickr user Joel Kramer used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
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Yes, Soda Really Is Bad For Your Teeth

HERE’S ONE REALLY SIMPLE THING that you can do to make your mouth healthier: reduce the number of sugary, acidic drinks in your diet!

When we say sugary, acidic drinks we mean more than just soda. We’re including sports drinks, energy drinks, and even fruit juice. Read on!

Sugar + Acid Create The Worst Possible Cocktail For Your Smile

Oral bacteria in our mouths metabolize sugars in our drinks. This reaction creates an acid byproduct that erodes our teeth. If you have a healthy balance of bacteria in your mouth, you suffer less decay, but no one is completely free of harmful oral bacteria, even with great genes and perfect brushing habits.

Acidic Drinks Erode Teeth

In addition to the sugar, these drinks are loaded with acid! Acidity in soft drinks takes a more direct route than sugar, eroding your teeth without the help of oral bacteria. Each attack of the teeth lasts about 20 minutes and when you take another sip, it starts over again. This is why diet and “sugar-free” sodas do just as much damage as regular soda.

Many Of Us Drink At Least One A Day

As many as half of us drink at least one soda per day! Many people drink more. How much do YOU drink each day? Imagine how much better your enamel would feel if you replaced that soda with milk or water.

Be Kind To Your Smile

It’s not just about cavities. Enamel erosion can also lead to tooth sensitivity, and excess sugar leads to gum disease, the biggest cause of tooth loss in adults.

Have YOU kicked the soda habit? Do you have any tips that you can share with us? We’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for your trust in our practice! Let us know if you ever have questions for us.

Top image by Flickr user Aidan used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
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Smile-Friendly Breakfast Secrets

BREAKFAST MAY BE THE MOST IMPORTANT meal of the day, but for many of us it’s also the most unhealthy. A bad breakfast is not only bad for our teeth, but makes us feel sluggish before we even get out the door—setting us on a track for unhealthy choices throughout the day.

How Often Do You Eat Breakfast On-The-Go?

We usually don’t give ourselves time for healthy breakfast options. We grab something handy and rush out the door. Donuts, starchy muffins, and sugary pastries gulped down with acidic orange juice or tooth-staining coffee aren’t exactly tooth friendly. Even our morning cereals may contain more decay-causing sugar than candy bars!

3 Smart Breakfast Tips To Protect Your Teeth

  1. Choose whole grains. They’re better for you, and easier on your teeth than refined starches.
  2. Yogurt naturally neutralizes acids on teeth. Adding granola, chopped nuts, or fruit can make your breakfast more nutritious and delicious!
  3. If you eat acidic fruits, juices or smoothies, rinse your mouth with water when finished.

Smile-Healthy Breakfasts

What’s good for your teeth is usually what’s good for your body. Here are some great menu ideas:

  • whole grain, sugar-light cereal with calcium-rich milk
  • scrambled eggs and whole-wheat toast
  • yogurt with granola or muesli

What’s your favorite quick-and-healthy breakfast? Share in the comments below. We love to hear from you.

Thanks for being a valued part of our practice family!

Top image by Flickr user Jonathan Lin used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
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Know Your Gum Health Numbers!

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN LAID BACK in our dental chair wondering what the numbers mean that a hygienist calls out while examining your gums? They’re readings of the gum pocket depths in your mouth, and they’re an important part of monitoring your gum health.

Pocket Readings Help Us Measure Inflammation

Pocket depth refers to your gums’ attachment to your teeth.

If there’s an infection in your gums, they can become inflamed. The gums slightly pull away from teeth, making that pocket between your teeth and gums deeper. The deeper the pockets, the higher the risk of gum disease.

We use a labeled probe to see how deep the pockets go. 1–3 millimeters is a good reading. Any higher than that, and you may be in the danger zone!

Inflammation Leads To Gum Disease

Bacteria harbors in those deep pockets, and can cause more inflammation and detachment, so it’s important to counteract the first signs of encroaching gum disease right away. The early stages of gum disease (gingivitis) are reversible, with refocused care for your teeth and gums.

However, if the infection has progressed to periodontitis, it becomes a more complex condition to care for, requiring constant vigilance and possibly, more intensive treatments.

Take Your Periodontal Health Seriously

Periodontal disease is the most common cause of lost teeth in adults. Possibly 80% of adults have some level of gum disease. It’s something everyone needs to take seriously.

You can take responsibility for your own dental health. Talk to us about your gum pocket readings. You can even ask to have a mirror and watch as we measure. Ask us what you can do to reduce your risk. And if you have gum disease, take action to get control of the infection right away!

Proper Flossing Is One Of The Greatest Prevention Habits

Regular cleanings with our team can help to fight gum disease, especially when paired with your vigilant at-home care, including daily flossing. If you ever have any questions about your oral health, please ask us!

Thanks for your trust in our practice! Now go floss!

Top image by Flickr user Rory MacLeod used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
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This Smartphone App Makes 2-Minute Brushing Fun!

FEW OF US ARE EVER SEEN WITHOUT our smartphone in hand. We love our devices because they make our lives easier! But did you know that your smartphone can also help you keep good oral hygiene habits?

How Long Do YOU Spend Brushing Your Teeth?

Plaque is soft, but it hides away in nooks and crannies. That’s why it’s important to put in a full two minutes every time you brush your teeth. That’s simply how long it takes to thoroughly clean every corner of your mouth! Brushing harder, for a shorter period of time, isn’t going to get it done.

If Brushing For Two Full Minutes Is Hard…

Those two minutes of brush time will go faster if you’re jamming out to one of your favorite tunes! Brush DJ is a free smartphone app that will play 2 minutes of music from your own music library, shuffling songs each time. It also has a visual display guiding you on where to brush and for how long.

Brush DJ even lets you set reminders to change your toothbrush, floss and keep your regular dental appointments with us.

Of Course, Apps Can’t Do It All

Remember that your smartphone can’t provide the same oral care that our professional team does! Apps provide support, motivation, and encouragement, but nothing compares to the critical one-on-one time with us!

What’s Your Favorite App?

If you’ve used a dental-related app before, let us know which one is your favorite! Tell us in the comment section below. We truly love hearing from you and we’ll pass your suggestion along!

Top image by Flickr user Kārlis Dambrāns used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
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4 Oral Hygiene Travel Essentials

FOR MANY OF US, SUMMER MEANS it’s time for a vacation! But just because you’re taking a break doesn’t mean your oral hygiene should do the same.

Travel can throw off our good routines. During odd hours, long plane rides, and close quarters, it’s easy to skip dental care and end up with “traveler’s breath”. Protect your teeth while traveling by packing these four essential items:

1. A Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle. Having a dry mouth can increase the amount of cavity-causing bacteria in our mouths. If you have a soda or some juice, rinse with water afterward. This will help get rid of any remaining sugar and acid in your mouth.

2. Tooth-Friendly Snacks

Being on the road makes it easy to indulge in lots of delicious food, and that’s OK! If you’re smart about it, your teeth don’t have to suffer. Carry healthy, tooth-scrubbing snacks like apples, celery, and carrots. These foods will help your mouth clean itself and resist plaque buildup.

Additionally, many travelers find themselves with a dry, stale mouth because they haven’t eaten! Skipping meals and going long periods of time without food means a decrease in the healthy saliva stimulation that happens whenever you chew on food. Keep healthy snacks handy for those gaps between meals.

3. Sugarless Chewing Gum

Often when we are traveling, stopping to brush our teeth just isn’t practical! In a pinch, chew some sugar-free gum. It will freshen your breath and help clean your mouth.

4. Your Toothbrush

As you’re packing your bags, don’t forget your oral health basics: floss, toothpaste, and a toothbrush.

Toothbrush-Packing Tips

  • Keep it dry and clean. Toothbrush caps or bags are great for keeping bristles clean in your luggage.
  • Keep travel-sized options in your carry-on. That way if your luggage gets lost or delayed, your teeth won’t be neglected.

More Cool Packing Tips

Happy Trails!

We hope these tips will come in handy the next time you travel. Do you have any travel tips YOU would like to share? Comment below. We would love to hear your ideas!

Thanks for being wonderful patients and friends!

Top image by Flickr user Consumerist Dot Com used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
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General Physicians Are Putting Renewed Focus On Oral Exams

YOUR MOUTH SAYS A LOT… Even when you’re not speaking. It can tell us if you’ve been brushing and flossing. It also provides clues about your overall health.

Dentists have been aware of this for a long time. Lately, an increasing number of general practitioners are putting a renewed focus on oral evaluations during health checkups.

There Are Significant Links Between Oral Health And Systemic Diseases

Studies continue to show links between our oral health and comprehensive health. Our mouths can affect the health of the rest of our bodies. For example, periodontal (gum) disease has been linked to complications with diabetes, and pre-term labor in pregnant women. There is also a high correlation between poor oral health and Rheumatoid Arthritis, Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease.

When Your Physician Says, “Say Ah”

A traditional evaluation at the beginning of a doctor’s appointment is termed “HEENT” (head, ears, eyes, nose, and throat). Recently, health professionals have been pushing for a modification to that standard evaluation, changing it to “HEENOT” instead (head, ears, eyes, nose, oral cavity, and throat).

During oral exams, health professionals can catch signs of potential systemic conditions. They can also evaluate oral health and send up a red flag if it’s time for that patient to see a dentist in order to improve oral health.

Don’t Skip Routine Dental Checkups

The fact that your doctor is checking your oral health is not an excuse to skip your regular dental appointments. We’re professionals in oral care, and regular maintenance from our team helps keep you healthy. Be sure that each time your physician checks your mouth, she’ll find it happy and healthy.

If you have any questions about your oral health, please contact us! We love talking with you.

Thanks for being our valued patients and friends!

Top image by Flickr user Subconsci Productions used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
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Cosmetic Vs. Therapeutic Mouthwash

SWISH, GARGLE, SPIT – simple, right? Mouthwash is usually seen as an addition to your oral health, the cherry on top of your hygiene routine. But are you using the right kind, and are you using it correctly?

Cosmetic Mouthwashes Mask Bad Breath

Most people think all mouthwashes do the same thing, but there are key differences you need to know! Cosmetic mouthwashes only serve to mask bad breath and leave your mouth with a pleasant taste – like a mint but with fewer calories.

Therapeutic Mouthwashes Attack Plaque

Therapeutic mouthwashes serve clinical purposes, like attacking bacteria and plaque, or strengthening teeth with fluoride. When buying therapeutic mouthwash, look for the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance on the bottle. Products that feature this logo have been evaluated by experts and meet specific standards for safety and effectiveness.

Read The Instructions

As with any health product, make sure you thoroughly read the instructions – yes, even for mouthwash! Here are some important things to note:

  • Some products recommend diluting before use. (Again, check the label!)
  • Most mouthwashes are not recommended for children under seven.
  • Rinsing right after a meal helps to inhibit bacteria growth and bad breath.
  • Avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes after using a fluoridated mouthwash. This gives the fluoride more time to strengthen your teeth.

Mouthwash Doesn’t Replace Other Oral Health Habits!

Regular brushing and flossing are far more important than using mouthwash. Mouthwash is not a substitute for the more important dental care habits.

If you have a specific issue, like periodontal disease, chronic bad breath, or tooth sensitivity, talk to us about it! We may recommend a specific therapeutic mouthwash for you. Other times, problems we address with mouthwash can be a sign of a larger issue. If you have any questions, ask us below, or talk with us about it next time you visit.

Thank you for being our patient and friend!

Top image by Flickr user colink. used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
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How Much Sugar Are You Really Eating?

MODERN DENTISTRY, fluoride treatments, and preventive care alone can’t stop tooth decay when our diets are filled with sugar!

Sugary Foods Cling To Our Teeth And Cause Cavities

When sugar clings to teeth, bacteria feeds off of those sugars, producing an acid byproduct that wears away tooth enamel.

Studies repeatedly find that as sugar consumption increases, so do cavities. The World Health Organization’s 2014 study found that in one population, when daily caloric intake of sugar increased from 0% to 5%, the amount of tooth decay doubled.

Cut Sugar Intake In Half

After the study, The World Health Organization cut their recommendations for sugar consumption in half, from 10% of our daily caloric intake, to 5% (and ideally, less). Currently, the average American gets 12-15% of his or her daily calories from sugar—and America isn’t even the highest consumer of sugar worldwide!

Beware Of Hidden Sugars


How do you cut back on sugar? In addition to cutting back on sweets, it’s important to be aware of hidden sugars in our diets. Even a “nutritional” food can be packed with sugar! On our food labels, sugar goes by numerous aliases, including:

  • Molasses & Maltose
  • Corn syrup, Malt & Dextrose
  • Sorghum syrup

This list is only a sampling. Keep an eye out for anything ending in “-ose,” “sugar,” or “syrup,” and educate yourself on more alternate names here.

3 More Tips For Cutting Back On Sugar

  1. Read labels, and check for hidden sugars.
  2. Cook more at home so you know exactly what’s going into your food.
  3. Cut back on soft drinks, fruit juices, granola bars, yogurt, and sugary cereal in addition to regular sweets.

A Healthier Diet = A Healthier Mouth

You don’t need to cut out sugar entirely to have healthy teeth. That’s why brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are so important! Let us know if you ever have any questions about your oral health. We’re passionate about helping you have a healthier, happier lifestyle!

Thanks for being our valued patients and friends!

Top image by Flickr user Tom Page used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
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5 Common Canker Sore Triggers To Avoid

CANKER SORES ARE SELDOM SERIOUS, but they can drive us crazy! These small, shallow ulcers pop up in our mouths and on the inside of our lips unexpectedly and sometimes take days to heal. The good news is that they’re fairly easy to prevent, once you understand their triggers.

5 Common Triggers To Avoid

  1. Stress – Stress can weaken your immune system, making it easy for canker sores to form and irritate your mouth.
  2. Tissue Injury – If you already have cuts or scrapes inside of your mouth (from biting your cheek, for example), you’re more vulnerable to canker sores.
  3. Foods – Foods that are high in acidity like strawberries, tomatoes, pineapples and lemons can trigger canker sores. Sour candies are also a common culprit.
  4. Dental Appliances – Having braces or ill-fitting dentures could also cause canker sores, since it increases opportunities for irritation in your mouth.
  5. Sickness – If you already have an infection in your body, the chances are higher for canker sores.

Some Simple Remedies

Once you learn your triggers, canker sores become much easier to avoid. Limit problematic foods. If braces are irritating your mouth, ask for more dental wax, or have the trouble-spots checked. If stress is contributing to canker sores, try stress-reduction techniques.

After checking your triggers, if you find that you’re still getting frequent canker sores, check your oral care routine.

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid irritating oral tissue.
  • Try using toothpaste that doesn’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
  • Rinse your mouth each day with salt water.

Do you have any personal remedies and tips that help your canker sores? Share below! We’d love to hear them and pass them along.

Thank you for being such wonderful patients and friends. We appreciate you!

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