Five Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid This Holiday

thanksgiving foods, foods to avoidThanksgiving is one of the few days of the year when you can throw your diet out the window. Even so, we believe you should avoid or limit certain types of foods. We outline some common Thanksgiving foods to avoid for the sake of your dental health.

1. Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is a fall staple and goes great as a topping for both sweet and savory dishes. Cranberries are naturally tart and sour, which is why most premade cranberry sauces are loaded with sugar. Any family dentist will tell you that foods with high sugar content and zero fiber are a no-no.

2. Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potatoes are healthy. However, common casseroles with sweet potatoes often contain marshmallows as a surface topping. Marshmallows are not only sweet but also sticky, a deadly combination for your teeth. If you love casserole, consider a savory alternative with natural herbs and spices. Continue Reading →

Five Worst Halloween Candy For Your Teeth

worst Halloween candyFor kids, Halloween means dress-ups and loads of free candy. As dentists, we can’t help but cringe a bit when we see a child’s candy stash. Of course, not all candies are the same. Some have graver health implications. We’ll identify the worst Halloween candy for your teeth and general health.

1. Snickers

Kids and adults alike love Snickers. However, the candy bar has everything that’s bad for your teeth. This includes mounds of sugar, sticky nougat filling, and even stickier caramel. This combination invites tooth decay. Our endodontists especially caution against sticky and sugary treats.

2. Candy Corn

Candy corn is made from gelatin, dextrose, artificial coloring, and sesame oil. The rest of the ingredients? Sugar, honey, and corn syrup. That’s sugar in three different forms! Continue Reading →

Do You Know Your Gum Tissue Type?

gum tissue typeThe dental industry recognizes two gum tissue types, or periodontal biotypes. While subtypes exist, they more or less all fall back into the two we are about to explain. Knowing which gum type you have and how it affects your dental care will help you take better care of your teeth.

The Two Gum Tissue Types

The two types are thick/flat and thin/scalloped. Each has its respective pros and cons.

Thick/flat

People with thick/flat gums have flatter teeth. The part where the top of the teeth and gums meet create a flat surface, giving teeth a square-shaped appearance.

People with a thick gum type are more susceptible to gum pocket formation, which creates an opening for bacteria. Left untreated, gum pockets can lead to jawbone loss. 

Thin/Scalloped

With thin/scalloped gums, the top of the teeth appears more rounded or arched. This creates a pointy or triangular appearance at the point where the gums come in between each tooth. People with thin gums are more prone to gum recession since the gums are thin to begin with. Continue Reading →

Be Aware of Tongue Piercing Risks

tongue piercing, oral piercingWe understand why some people gravitate toward oral piercings. It’s the sign of a rebel, as well as a fashionable way to be different. However, such fashion statements also pose serious dental risks. We’ll explain the potential dangers and risks of tongue piercing. Find out why our family dentists don’t recommend them.

Why Tongue Piercing Is a Problem

In one study, 6% of people with a tongue piercing experienced some sort of dental problem. This may seem like a fairly low percentage, but the risk is still very real. Risks include bleeding, nerve damage, and permanent scarring. Oral surgeons also warn that it can elevate risk of periodontal disease. In rare cases, the tongue and the floor of the mouth may become infected, requiring intravenous antibiotics.

Risk of Tooth Damage

A tongue barbell is solid metal. As you move your tongue around, it can ram against your teeth, causing them to chip. One study found that half of people with a tongue piercing for at least four years exhibited teeth damage. The damage was especially prevalent in the back teeth. Continue Reading →

How to Prevent In-Flight Tooth Pain

in-flight tooth painDo you have summer travel plans abroad? During your flight, you may experience in-flight tooth pain. Then you ask: Why is this happening at 35,000-feet of altitude? Am I going to be miserable for the entire duration of the flight? Our oral surgeons understand this phenomenon quite well.

What Causes In-Flight Tooth Pain?

Just about everyone has experienced the popping sensation in their ears as their flight takes off. This occurs due to the change in cabin pressure. The same popping sensation can also manifest in your tooth.

An infected or decayed tooth is especially prone to in-flight pain since the tooth may contain tiny pockets of air. You may not notice anything wrong at ground level. However, once your elevation increases significantly, the pressure change causes you to experience distressing symptoms.

As unpleasant as it is, an in-flight toothache does have a silver lining. It may alert you to a hidden dental problem. Continue Reading →

Is Fluoride Safe for Toddlers?

fluoride for toddlersA lot of concerned parents wonder whether fluoride is safe for toddlers. This is especially the case considering recent news that fluoride exposure causes long-term health problems. Do children at such a young age need fluoride when they haven’t even learned how to brush yet?

The Truth About Fluoride Safety and Toddlers

Fluoride is available naturally in water. The compound strengthens teeth enamel and prevents decay. It also makes the tooth more resistant to acid erosion. This is why our oral surgeons recommend it.

The American Dental Association recommends that parents brush their children’s teeth starting from one-year of age. The ADA also said parents can use a “smear” of fluoride toothpaste as soon as their child’s teeth begin to show. Most parents don’t do this, though; instead they give in to their uncooperative child.

The Research

The ADA’s recommendation arose as a result of recent findings by the Center for Disease Control. Research showed an increase of cavities among preschoolers who aren’t exposed to fluoride. In some of the more severe cases, children had cavities in more than half their baby teeth. Continue Reading →

The Benefits of a Saltwater Mouth Rinse

saltwater mouth rinseYou may have heard of a saltwater mouth rinse as a home remedy for treating a number of ailments. Does salt really have healing properties? Do I really need to rinse my mouth with salt if I already use a normal mouthwash? Find out what our family dentists have to say about this.

Why Is a Saltwater Mouth Rinse Beneficial?

Salt doesn’t kill bacteria directly. Instead, it increases the pH balance inside your mouth. This results in a more alkaline environment, making it harder for bacteria to survive. Germs tend to thrive in an acidic environment.

Uses for Saltwater Mouth Rinse

Swishing saltwater in your mouth alleviates a number of ailments. It’s good for:

  • Reducing sore throat
  • Reducing soreness or infection after oral surgery
  • Removing food particles lodged in your teeth
  • Freshening your breath. This is a good alternative if you’re sensitive to alcohol-based mouthwash
  • Temporarily relieving canker sore pain. Mix the salt and water with baking soda to form a paste to specifically target the region.
  • Relieving soreness associated with braces. Our endodontists usually recommend this to patients after installing traditional metal-wire braces.

Continue Reading →

How to Floss With Braces

floss with bracesFlossing is vital for long-term oral health; that’s a given. However, most people find flossing a burdensome task; hence 20% of Americans never floss. For those with braces, flossing is even more of a perceived hassle. We’ll explain how to floss with braces efficiently. Yes, you may not feel like doing it, but you know it’s a daily necessity—as much as brushing.

Use the Right Floss

Before you begin, wisely choose the type of floss. We advise sticking with wax-coated floss. The unwaxed variety is more thread-like and prone to getting caught in the wiring. You can also use a floss threader; this is an easy-to-use tool that simplifies flossing around the braces. You may also elect to invest in a water flosser to make the process even easier. Continue Reading →

Six Uses for an Old Toothbrush

old toothbrushOur family dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every three months. Over the course of your life, that is a lot of brushes that you temporarily use and throw away. However, you don’t necessarily have to throw them in the trash. Consider these alternative uses for an old toothbrush; give it renewed life.

Old Toothbrush Alternative Uses

1. Clean the Bike Chain: Many people have reported that they use their old brushes for cleaning a bike chain before giving it a lube. The brush is just small enough to reach the small nook and crannies.

2. Keep It in the Bathroom: It may no longer clean your teeth, but you can now use the brush to clean some parts of the bathroom. The brush is effective for cleaning tile corners and the underside of the toilet bowl rim. Continue Reading →

Are You at Risk of Jailbreak Bacteria?

jailbreak bacteriaYour mouth is full of bacteria, both good and bad; that’s a given. However, the bad bacteria can affect your well-being beyond your oral health. This occurs due to jailbreak bacteria, which escapes your mouth and relocates to other areas of your body.

What Is Jailbreak Bacteria?

The term describes bacteria that “jailbreaks” from the mouth and enters the blood stream. This is why bleeding gums is a serious matter. Plaque-causing bacteria uses the blood system as an escape route where they reach internal organs and cause blood clots.

Why Jailbreak Bacteria Can Be Deadly

Bad bacteria in the mouth is known as streptococcus bacteria, which causes periodontal disease. When they reach the bloodstream, they use a protein to bind together in the blood, eventually creating a clot-inducing clump. This also leads to inflamed blood vessels that block blood flow to the heart and brain. Continue Reading →