Sunday, August 31, 2014

How to Have Strong and Healthy Teeth at Any Age

Although a glistening white smile is thought to be an indicator of healthy teeth, it's not exactly true. In fact, over zealous whitening techniques can weaken tooth enamel and place one's teeth in jeopardy. Regular brushing and flossing certainly contribute towards making teeth strong. So, why should you want your teeth to be strong instead of simply gleaming white and cavity-free? Strong teeth are more resistant to decay and cracks that may occur as we age. Aside from brushing and flossing, there are other ways to make your teeth heavy weight champions when it comes to strength:
  • A good multi-vitamin that is fortified with minerals and other essential nutrients helps to keep the teeth safe from damage and makes them stronger.
  • Vitamin C helps strengthen gums and raises one's resistance to fight off some illnesses. Fruits like kiwis, oranges, grapefruit and strawberries are a great source of Vitamin C because they can prevent harmful bacteria from colonizing and contributing to gingivitis, which is an inflammation of the gums.
  • Snacking on seeds is an easy way to fortify the strength of the teeth. Seeds are high in healthy fats, which help the body resist harmful bacteria. There are also nutrients and minerals in seeds that help to reinforce tooth enamel, make them stronger and thereby more impervious to cavities. Try incorporating pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds into your family's diet. Eat them out of hand or add them to baked goods and salads.
  • Eating raw, crunchy fruits and vegetables help keep the teeth clean and make them stronger. They are a much better choice than overly processed sugary or salty food options. Designate a snack basket or area of the fridge and stock up on apples, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, and radishes. Your teeth will thank you!
  • Dairy products have been recognized as a pro-dental health food source for ages. Low-fat yogurt, cheeses, and milk are excellent choices when it comes to foods that make the teeth stronger. These dairy products raise the pH levels in the mouth and reduce the effect of the acids produced by dental plaque. In turn, the raised pH prevents tooth decay. Dairy products are also rich in calcium and vitamin D. These nutrients adhere to the tooth enamel and act as a defense against acids.
    When choosing dairy products, read the labels, especially on yogurt brands to make sure they are not loaded with sugar. One way to beat sugar at its game is to add fresh or dried fruits, seeds and nuts to plain yogurt. Plain, Greek yogurt topped with grated apples or pears, toasted pecans or walnuts, with a dash of cinnamon is surprisingly delicious!
  • Many people are always shocked to hear that chewing some brands of sugarless gum is actually good for the teeth! It turns out that the right chewing gum is very efficient in polishing tooth surface and removing food debris from the crevices. It also increases saliva production, which acts as an anti-bacterial agent. Only buy the brands with the official American Dental Association's symbol of approval.
  • Drinking plenty of water and making H2O the "go-to" beverage is a no-brainer as a pro-dental health strategy. In addition to washing away food particles, establishing the water drinking habit immediately prevents the consumption of soft drinks, which have zero benefits, especially for the teeth! The sugars and acids in soda are direct causes in the buildup of plaque, cavities, and enamel breakdown. Furthermore, even the sugarless varieties wreak havoc because of their high acidity and artificial ingredients.
Please allow us to guide you in the right direction towards optimal dental health. Our team of dental professionals is skilled and experienced in the latest strategies and treatments for improving the dental health and hygiene of our clients. Simply call 919-782-0548 to schedule an appointment.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Back to School Means Back to Sports - Got That Mouthguard?

Back to school time goes hand-in-hand with millions of our nation's kids participating in sports that place their teeth and gums in the danger zone. As you collect school supplies, book bags, lunchboxes, clothing, and sports gear, make sure to put one essential item on your list: a mouth guard. It is an inexpensive little accessory that can save a priceless amount of pain and expense, should an accident happen. This school year alone, thousands of young athletes will experience injuries to their teeth, gums, cheeks, lips, and tongues that a properly fitted mouth guard could have prevented. 

If you think that only the kids who play contact sports such as boxing, football or lacrosse should wear a mouth guard, think again.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that participants in many non-contact sports also wear a mouth guard.  Here is a partial list of sporting activities that the ADA feels should encourage the use of mouth guards:
Equestrian events
Field hockey
Ice hockey
Inline skating
Martial arts
Water polo

An effective mouth guard should have several features: it should be durable, resilient, and comfortable. Mouth guards should also be easy to clean and not restrict the athlete's speech or breathing. There are three different types of mouth guards:
  1. Ready-made
  2. Boil and Bite-which when heated, conform to the user's mouth
  3. Mouth guards custom-made by a dentist
To decide which type of mouth guard is best, it's best to discuss the matter with your dentist. Regardless of which type you choose, it should always be rinsed after each use with antiseptic mouth rinse before and stored in a firm container that is perforated to allow air circulation. Be sure to inspect the mouth guard regularly for wear and tear, and replace it to ensure optimal protection.

Protecting a young athlete's mouth provides piece of mind, allows them to concentrate on the activity and gives everyone something to smile about!

Simply call 919-782-0548 to schedule an appointment.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to School Already? Give Your Kids Something to Smile About!

As another summer comes to a close, give your kids a reason to smile. Along with making a shopping list for supplies, new backpacks, lunch boxes and school clothes, include a dental checklist as well. With a new school year ahead, give your youngster the tools for a successful and healthy start. Just as establishing an organized routine goes hand in hand with doing well in school, the same holds true for achieving excellent dental health.  

Just follow this simple checklist that will help create positive dental health practices:
  • Schedule routine dental checkups for your children. Use a calendar to stay on top of everyone's appointments. Regular cleanings help dental professionals detect any problems early before they get out of control. Annual checkups are the best way to monitor the growth and overall condition of a young person's teeth and gums. In addition to cleaning and polishing the teeth, dental visits are necessary to ensure that all is well with the jaw, tongue, and oral tissue.
  • Oftentimes, attention to dental care details slacks off during the lazy days of summer. Reinforce the importance of brushing after meals and sugary snacks. Also, make sure that your kids know how to floss properly.
  • Want your youngsters to get an A+ after their next visit to the dentist? Set them up for success by providing them with an arsenal of tools to fight tooth decay and maintain a dazzling, healthy smile. Choose products they will be enthusiastic about using such as toothpaste flavors they like, a new toothbrush, colorful floss pics, and their own bottle of anti-cavity rinse. Do not assume that just because you like spearmint gum and floss that it is your child's first choice. They will be more likely to reach for products they enjoy using.
  • Clarify that it can only be enjoyed after school and then buy some gum. Yes! That's correct-numerous clinical studies have revealed that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following a meal is effective in preventing tooth decay. Purchase the sugarless brands that have received the ADA's Seal of Approval. Non-cavity causing sweeteners such as aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol sweeten them. Using chewing gum can be an added bonus to your family's dental health regime because when sugarless gum is chewed, the flow of saliva increases which in turn helps wash away food particles. Extra saliva also neutralizes acids made by the mouth's naturally occurring bacteria which creates disease-fighting ingredients in the mouth.
  • Explain that correct and frequent brushing is vital to prevent cavities, healthy gums, plaque buildup and bad breath. Make things fun with several packets of "disclosing tablets." They are made from harmless vegetable dye and detect spots that children missed when brushing. They are a great way for kids to see what happens when they forget to brush the right way!
  • Since the ADA recommends brushing for a full 2-minute period, find a fun to use timer to help the little ones keep from rushing the process of brushing their teeth.
  • Stock up on healthy snack and lunch box options. Fresh fruits, whole grain crackers and cookies, popcorn, nuts, and cheeses are the way to go. Invest in a few BPA-free water bottles and promote water as the beverage of choice.
Remember, just like good study habits, practice makes perfect when it comes to achieving excellent dental health! If you have any questions, you can reach us at 919-782-0548 or visit our website at

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Summer Tips for Dental Safety

Summer time can be risky for one’s dental health. Lots of folks have more time for leisure sports or try new ones while on vacation. There is also the temptation to go overboard with warm weather favorites like ice cream, popsicles, sports and soft drinks. With those points in mind, here’s a quick checklist for keeping your dental health in tact this summer.

Mouth guards should be a requirement for any contact sport including lacrosse, soccer, football, and although they are not contact sports-baseball, softball, rollerblading and skateboarding. An inexpensive mouthguard can protect your teeth, gums and lips from disaster.

Take the necessary precautions when it comes to water sports. Surfboards and Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boards can do quite a bit of damage when they come in contact with your mouth. If you are just beginning these sports, take a few lessons and learn how to protect yourself from dental injuries.

Avid swimmers should be aware that chlorinated pool water has other chemicals that can hurt the teeth. According to the ADA, “Pool water has higher pH than saliva due to the cleaning chemicals. As a result, salivary proteins break down quickly and form organic deposits on the teeth.”  Hard, brown deposits form which are known as “swimmers’ calculus.” They usually appear on the front teeth and can cause yellow or brown discoloration. The good news is that a visit to your dentist for a thorough cleaning should clear up the problem!

Scuba divers need to be aware that the pressure encountered on deep dives, can cause jaw joint pain, gum tissue problems, or what’s known as “tooth squeeze,”-pain in the center of the tooth. Another issue is “diver’s mouth syndrome” (barodontalgia), which is caused by the air pressure as well as divers biting too hard on their scuba air regulators. Anyone with a large cavity, a temporary filling, gum disease, periodontal abscess, or incomplete root canal therapy, is likely to experience pain from the added pressure. Before making plans to scuba dive this summer, it would be a good idea to have an oral exam first.

Make water your “go-to” beverage. Sports drinks and of course soda are loaded with a variety of ingredients that are guaranteed to wreak havoc on your dental health.

Also make smart snack choices by reaching for fresh, crunchy fruits and veggies, low-fat dairy products, wholesome nuts, and wholegrain crackers, pretzels, and popcorn-(unless you have braces, that is.)

If accidents do happen be sure to give us a call right away. We are here to help with injuries to the mouth and teeth and any other issues that may come up during the summer months. You can reach us at 919-782-0548.