Mouthguards: A necessary piece of sports equipment

The National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety reports that dental injuries are the most prevalent type of injury occurring during participation in sports.  In fact, the American Dental Association found that up to 20% of all sports related injuries affect the teeth.  It has also been estimated that an athlete is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to the teeth when they are not wearing a protective mouthguard.  Dental injuries during sports are easily prevented with a properly fitted custom mouthguard.

A mouth guard or sports guard is an appliance that is worn over your teeth (typically just the upper teeth) that provides protection from blows to the face and head. Wearing a mouth guard is one of the best ways to prevent injury to the teeth, tongue and lips. In addition to protecting against dental injuries, mouthguards can also reduce the risk on concussions during sporting injuries.  The American Dental Association recommends wearing mouthguards during any sport that involves falls, body contact or flying objects such as baseball, basketball, boxing, field hockey, football, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, skateboarding, skiing, soccer, softball, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo and wrestling.

Protect your smile – wear a mouthguard. 

Do you Suffer from Dry Mouth?

Do you suffer from Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, affects many people and most are not aware that it is an actual medical condition with many potential causes and options for treatment. Signs of dry mouth include foamy saliva, sticky plaque accumulation on your teeth, the desire to constantly sip on liquids to regain moisture in your mouth, or a feeling of cotton in your mouth.  Dry mouth can be caused by a number of medical conditions or a blockage of salivary ducts and can also be a side effect of many medications or radiation therapy.

What can I do about Dry Mouth?
The first step in treating dry mouth is to identify the potential causes.  Your dentist can suggest ways to alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth. These suggestions may include over the counter saliva substitutes, gums, and lozenges that can reduce the symptoms of dry mouth.  Saliva has many elements in it that protect your teeth and oral tissues. Your dentist can also suggest products that can provide additional protection when your normal salivary function is compromised.

Getting Your Kids Excited About Oral Hygiene

Taking care of your teeth is important at every age. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that all children see a dentist by age 1. It can be challenging as a parent to get your kids excited about their dental health . Here are some suggestions to make oral hygiene at home fun. 
Make toothbrushing a fun activity- Children love to mimic things they see around them. Express excitement about brushing your own teeth when your child is watching. Have an extra ‘toy’ toothbrush that your child can use to practice hygiene on their favorite toys.
Explain the importance of oral hygiene at an age appropriate level- Parents can say things like “Brushing your teeth removes all of the sticky food that sugar bugs like to eat. If we don’t remove the sticky stuff your teeth won’t be strong.” If one of the parents has any dental work, show your children what happens when they have to get a cavity filled. Avoid saying things like “getting a cavity hurts” or “you will have to get a shot”. These types of things can cause unnecessary anxiety about dental treatment.
Show and tell- Parents can purchase a plaque disclosing mouthwash that temporarily stains all of the plaque in the mouth. Have your child rinse with this mouthwash and then have them take a close look at all of the plaque on their teeth. This helps show kids where they need to focus on cleaning while they are brushing.
Use fluoride and see your dentist regularly-  Prior to age 2, children should only use a ‘smear’ of fluoridated toothpaste. From age 2-5, it is safe for children to use a pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste every time they brush. It is recommended that brushing be supervised until the child is around 7 and has developed the fine motor skills necessary to clean every surface of their teeth sufficiently. Children should have their first dental visit around their first birthday and should be seeing their dentist for check-ups and cleanings every six months.  

New Year's Resolutions for a Healthy Smile

With the New Year upon us, many people are resolving to make changes to better their health. Dental health is an important component of whole health and simple changes can be made to improve your smile this year.  
                Eat more fruits and vegetables – Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables help your body reduce inflammation and can help your immune system fight infections.
                Reduce the amount of sugary beverages you consume – Cutting back on soda or sugar in your coffee or tea can greatly reduce your risk for developing cavities.
                Quit smoking or using tobacco products – Tobacco use can cause discoloration of the teeth, cavities, gum recession, throat, lung and oral cancer. In fact, people who smoke are two times more likely to lose teeth than non-smokers.
                Brush twice a day and floss once per day – Using a soft toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride can help prevent cavities and keep your gums healthy. There is no substitute for great oral hygiene as part of your daily routine.
                See your dentist for checkups – Regular dental visits can identify problems before they cause pain or require extensive treatment. Your dentist can also suggest preventative measures to avoid dental disease.  
This year, we hope all of our patients resolve to improve their dental health by making some simple changes. We wish all of our patients a happy and healthy New Year!

Taking Steps to Prevent Dental Disease

Preventative dental care involves strategies to prevent the development of dental disease or stop the progression of dental disease by diagnosing problems early on. Preventative strategies used by dentists include dental cleanings every six months and dental exams at least yearly. Dental exams consist of x-rays, and oral cancer screening, and a general dental check up. Your dentist may also suggest additional preventative procedures based on your individual risk factors for dental cavities.
-       One type of preventative procedure is known as a sealant. Sealants are a protective covering placed over teeth to prevent bacteria from reaching the tooth surface and causing cavities. Sealants are often recommended for teeth that have a high risk for cavities due to pits and grooves. Most insurances cover sealants for children, but this procedure can be beneficial for adult patients as well.
-       Another preventative procedure is the application of a fluoride varnish. A fluoride varnish treatment involves the topical application of a high concentration of fluoride to the teeth. Fluoride is a mineral that can strengthen the teeth by remineralizing weak spots and by preventing bacteria in the mouth from causing cavities. The professionally applied fluoride varnish is a quick and pain free procedure that offers a great benefit to patients.
Be sure to ask your dentist about measures that can be taken to reduce your risk factors and prevent dental disease. Preventative dental care is the key to a healthy smile.

How Safe are Dental X-rays

Why do dentists need to take x-rays?
Dental x-rays are an invaluable diagnostic tool. X-rays are used during exams to detect tooth decay, bone levels in periodontal disease and other dental pathology. Often by the time these problems are clinically visible or noticeable in the mouth, tooth loss or more complicated treatment may be necessary.
Are they safe?
o   Our office is equipped with digital x-rays which produce 70% less radiation than conventional film x-rays. Digital x-rays are even safer now than in the past.
o   The average U.S. resident is exposed to 360 mrems of radiation per year from natural sources.
o   Four digital dental x-rays produce only 0.4 mrems in exposure.
o   During a cross country flight we are exposed to 5 mrems of radiation.
o   A full mouth series of dental x-rays is equivalent to 2 mrems.
o   One mammogram is equivalent to 15 full mouth series of dental x-rays.
While dental x-rays contribute only small amounts to our  patients’ yearly exposure, we still adhere to the safest techniques and lowest dosage possible.

Safeguarding Your Smile This Holiday Season

This time of year is often filled with the temptation to indulge in lots of sweet treats and sugary snacks.  It is possible to enjoy the holiday season without sacrificing your dental health. Here are some simple steps everyone can take to protect their teeth while still enjoying the holidays.

  •        Limit snacking- Every time you eat something sweet the acid levels in your mouth increase, which can cause tooth enamel to weaken.  Continuous snacking can create an extended acidic environment, leaving your teeth especially susceptible to tooth decay.
  •            Eat sweets along with a balanced meal-When you eat a meal, more saliva is produced which can neutralize the acid created when we eat sweets.
  •            Carry a travel size brush and toothpaste with you in your purse or keep one in your car.
  •            Although brushing and flossing is always best, chewing sugar free gum can help remove food from around your teeth when brushing isn’t possible.
  •         Rinse your mouth with water after you consume acidic beverages such as wine and soda.
  •        Avoid stress-This time of year can be very stressful. Stress can result in grinding or clenching of your teeth, which can cause wear, chips or cracks in your teeth along with headaches and jaw pain.

Give yourself the gift of a healthy smile this holiday season by brushing and flossing daily and seeing your dentist regularly for cleanings and check-ups.