• 04 MAR 15
    • 0

    All Dental Fillings Are Not Created Equal

    A Guide to Options in Tooth Filling Materials

    image_07Most of us know that when you visit your dental office with a cavity, your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then “fill” the area on the tooth where the decayed material was removed. Fillings are also used to repair cracked or broken teeth and teeth that have been worn down from misuse (such as from nail-biting or tooth grinding).

    Once the decay in the tooth has been removed, you have multiple options for dental filling materials. Teeth can be filled with gold; porcelain; silver amalgam (which consists of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc, and copper); or tooth-colored, plastic, and glass materials called composite resin fillings. The location and extent of the decay, cost of filling material, patients’ insurance coverage, and your dentist’s recommendation assist in determining the type of filling best for you.





    Durability — lasts at least 10 to 15 years and usually longer; doesn’t corrode

    Strength — can withstand chewing forces

    Aesthetics — some patients find gold more pleasing to the eyethan silver, amalgam fillings.


    Expense — gold cast fillings cost more than other materials; up to 10 times higher than cost of silver amalgam fillings.

    Additional office visits — requires at least two office visits to place

    Galvanic shock — a gold filling placed immediately next to a silver, amalgam filling may cause a sharp pain(galvanic shock) to occur. The interaction between the metals and saliva causes an electric current to occur. It’s a rare occurrence, however.

    Aesthetics — most patients dislike metal “colored” fillings and prefer fillings that match the rest of the tooth.





    Durability — silver fillings last at least 10 to 15 years and outlasts composite (tooth-colored) fillings.

    Strength — can withstand chewing forces

    Expense — is less expensive than composite fillings


    Poor aesthetics — silver fillings don’t match the color of natural teeth.

    Destruction of more tooth structure — healthy parts of the tooth must often be removed to make a space large enough to hold the amalgam filling.

    Discoloration — amalgam fillings can create a grayish hue to the surrounding tooth structure.

    Cracks and fractures — although all teeth expand and contract in the presence of hot and cold liquids, which ultimately can cause the tooth to crack or fracture, amalgam material — in comparison with other filling materials — may experience a wider degree of expansion and contraction and lead to a higher incidence of cracks and fractures.

    Allergic reactions — a small percentage of people, approximately 1%, are allergic to the mercury present in amalgam restorations.





    Aesthetics — the shade/color of the composite fillings can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth. Composites are particularly well suited for use in front teeth or visible parts of teeth.

    Bonding to tooth structure — composite fillings actually chemically bond to tooth structure, providing further support.

    Versatility — in addition to use as a filling material for decay, composite fillings can also be used to repair chipped, broken, or worn teeth.

    Tooth-sparing preparation — sometimes less tooth structure needs to be removed compared with amalgam fillings when removing decay and preparing for the filling.


    Lack of durability — composite fillings wear out sooner than amalgam fillings (lasting at least five years compared with at least 10 to 15 for amalgams); in addition, they may not last as long as amalgam fillings under the pressure of chewing and particularly if used for large cavities.

    Increased chair time — because of the process to apply the composite material, these fillings can take up to 20 minutes longer than amalgam fillings to place.

    Additional visits — if composites are used for inlays or onlays, more than one office visit may be required.

    Chipping – depending on location, composite materials can chip off the tooth.

    Expense — composite fillings can cost up to twice the cost of amalgam fillings.




    In addition to tooth-colored, composite resin fillings, two other tooth-colored fillings exist — ceramics and glass ionomer.

    Ceramics – these fillings are made most often of porcelain, are more resistant to staining than composite resin material but are also more abrasive. This material generally lasts more than 15 years and can cost as much as gold.

    Glass ionomer is made of acrylic and a specific type of glass material. This material is most commonly used for fillings below the gum line and for fillings in young children (drilling is still required). Glass ionomers release fluoride, which can help protect the tooth from further decay. However, this material is weaker than composite resin and is more susceptible to wear and prone to fracture. Glass ionomer generally lasts five years or less with costs comparable to composite resin.




    Indirect fillings are similar to composite or tooth-colored fillings except they are made in a dental laboratory and require two visits before being placed. Indirect fillings are considered when not enough tooth structure remains to support a filling but the tooth is not so severely damaged that it needs a crown.

    During the first visit, decay or an old filling is removed. An impression is taken to record the shape of the tooth being repaired and the teeth around it. The impression is sent to a dental lab that will make the indirect filling. A temporary filling (described below) is placed to protect the tooth while the restoration is being made. During the second visit, the temporary filling is removed, and the dentist will check the fit of the indirect restoration. Provided the fit is acceptable, it will be permanently cemented into place.

    There are two types of indirect fillings — inlays and onlays:

    Inlays are similar to fillings but the entire work lies within the cusps (bumps) on the chewing surface of the tooth.

    Onlays are more extensive than inlays, covering one or more cusps. Onlays are sometimes called partial crowns.

    Inlays and onlays are more durable and last much longer than traditional fillings — up to 30 years. They can be made of tooth-colored composite resin, porcelain, or gold. Inlays and onlays weaken the tooth structure, but do so to a much lower extent than traditional fillings.

    Another type of inlay and onlay — direct inlays and onlays — follow similar processes and procedures as the indirect, but the difference is that direct inlays and onlays are made in the dental office and can be placed in one visit. The type of inlay or onlay used depends on how much sound tooth structure remains and consideration of any cosmetic concerns.

    Give us a call at Personal Care Dentistry and make an appointment with one of our dentists if you have a cavity that needs attention. We can go through all of your filling options and answer any questions you may have.





    • 25 FEB 15
    • 0

    The Ugly Truth About Your Toothbrush

    Your toothbrush may be nastier than you think. Find out when to ditch it.

    As you reach for your toothbrush each morning, you may not realize what’s hanging out on its bristles.Toothbrushes colorful

    “Toothbrushes can become contaminated with oral microbial organisms whenever they are placed in the mouth,” says Sharon Cooper, PhD., a clinical associate professor at the University of Florida College of Dentistry.

    Viruses and bacteria from an infected person’s mouth can live for weeks on a toothbrush surface, and continue to cause illness, notes Dr. Cooper.

    Even normal, healthy microorganisms can cause infections, especially if they enter your gum tissue due to an injury, a break, or an oral ulcer, she adds.

    Toothbrushes don’t have to be sold in sterile packaging, so they may have bacteria right out of the box, says the American Dental Association’s official statement on toothbrush care. So what should you do to avoid getting sick from your toothbrush?


    Keep It Clean

    You may not give much thought to cleaning your toothbrush, since you’re wetting it every day to scrub your teeth. However, it’s important – and easy – to do. How?

    Wash it. Give your toothbrush a thorough rinse with tap water to remove debris. If you have a systemic illness or immune disorder, you may want to soak it in antibacterial mouthwash or run it through the dishwasher, Dr. Cooper says.

    Try deep cleaning. There are many types of toothbrush sanitizers on the market, Dr. Cooper says. Some use ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms.

    Store it properly. After use, don’t pop that wet toothbrush back into your medicine cabinet, drawer, or bathroom cup and forget about it. Store it upright, in a rack or cup, where it can dry out. Look for a cover that lets air circulate and prevents mold, but isn’t completely sealed. The lack of air can foster bacteria.


    When to Call It Quits

    How long should you keep a toothbrush to prevent the ick from building up? Here are a few useful tips:

    Know when to let go. Replace your toothbrush about every 3 to 4 months, or when it shows signs of wear. “Frayed bristles will not clean the teeth and gums adequately,” Dr. Cooper says.

    Toss toothbrushes after illness. Throw away a brush you or anyone in your home used while sick. Yes, that means all toothbrushes. Treat electric or power models the same way you handle an old-fashioned one. Chuck the brush attachment after an illness or when the bristles begin to show signs of wear, Dr. Cooper says.


    No Sharing

    Tempted to lend a toothbrush to a family member? Don’t. Toothbrush sharing can transfer saliva and bacteria – even the kind that cause tooth decay. “Tooth decay is considered an infectious disease – one more reason not to share or borrow a toothbrush,” Dr. Cooper says.




    • 20 FEB 15
    • 0

    Personal Care Dentistry Earns Esteemed 2014 Angie’s List Super Service Award

    Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

    Personal Care Dentistry has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2014. This is the third straight year that Personal Care Dentistry has won the Super Service Award, having earned the award in 2012 and 2013 as well.SSA_2014_lowres

    According to Dr. Walter Hunt, who founded Personal Care Dentistry in 1977, “We practice the Golden Rule of Dentistry – caring for all of our patients the way we would care for our family – by blending the latest technology with a gentle touch in a warm, caring and compassionate atmosphere. We’ve taken this approach for 37 years, and we are thankful that our patients recognized our care team for their efforts.”

    “Only about 5 percent of the dentists in the Twin Cities have performed so consistently well enough to earn our Super Service Award,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “It’s a really high standard.”

    Angie’s List Super Service Award 2014 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

    Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality. Over the last several years, 67 of the 69 Angie’s List members who reviewed Personal Care Dentistry gave an “A” rating to the clinic.


    • 18 FEB 15
    • 0

    Don’t Let the “Bad Guys” of Oral Health Defeat You

    Why Are Plaque and Tartar So Bad for Your Oral Health?

    Most of us have grown up hearing about how you should brush your teeth after every meal and floss daily. But why exactly is that so important to your oral health? Because skipping those essentials of good tooth care opens the door to the bad guys of oral health, plaque and tartar. This “deadly duo” combines to cause gum disease, tootwoman frowningh decay, and unsightly staining of your teeth if not detected and taken care of early.

    What is Plaque?

    Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria and sugars that constantly forms on our teeth. It is the main cause of cavities and gum disease, and can harden into tartar if not removed daily. Everyone develops plaque because bacteria are constantly forming in our mouths. These bacteria use ingredients found in our diet and saliva to grow. Plaque causes cavities when the acids from plaque attack teeth after eating. With repeated acid attacks, the tooth enamel can break down and a cavity may form. Plaque that is not removed can also irritate the gums around your teeth, leading to gingivitis (red, swollen, bleeding gums), periodontal disease and tooth loss.

    What is Tartar?

    Tartar, sometimes called calculus, is plaque that has hardened on your teeth into a mineral. Tartar is fairly easy to see if above the gumline, because it causes a yellow or brown color to teeth or gums. Tartar can also form at and underneath the gumline and can irritate gum tissues. Tartar gives plaque more surface area on which to grow and a much stickier surface to adhere, which can lead to more serious conditions, such as cavities and gum disease.

    Not only can tartar threaten the health of your teeth and gums, it is also a cosmetic problem. Because tartar is more porous, it absorbs stains easily. So if you are a coffee or tea drinker, or if you smoke, it is especially important to prevent tartar buildup.

    Preventing Plaque and Tartar Buildup

    There isn’t much you can do once tartar starts to build up except visit a dentist. However, since plaque becomes tartar, a good regimen of brushing, flossing and watching what you eat can keep plaque from building up and thus prevent the problems of tartar. Personal Care Dentistry recommends the following approach:

    Brush thoroughly at least twice a day to remove plaque from all surfaces of your teeth. Use any tooth brushing method that is comfortable, but do not scrub hard back and forth. Small circular motions and short back and forth motions work well. To prevent decay, it’s what’s on the toothbrush that counts. Use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is what protects teeth from decay.

    Floss daily to remove plaque from between your teeth and under your gumline, where your toothbrush may not reach. Remember to ease the floss between your teeth. Snapping it into place may damage your gums. The best time to floss is before you go to

    Another way of removing plaque between teeth is to use a dental pick — a thin plastic or wooden stick. These sticks can be purchased at drug stores and grocery stores.

    Limit sugary or starchy foods, especially sticky snacks. Food residues, especially sweets, provide nutrients for the germs that cause tooth decay, as well as those that cause gum disease. So less is better when it comes to sweets.

    How Do I Know If I Have Plaque?

    Dental plaque is difficult to see unless it’s stained. You can stain plaque by chewing red “disclosing tablets,” found at grocery stores and drug stores, or by using a cotton swab to smear green food coloring on your teeth. The red or green color left on the teeth will show you where there is still plaque—and where you have to brush again to remove it. Stain and examine your teeth regularly to make sure you are removing all plaque.

    How Is Tartar Removed by a Dentist?

    Once tartar has formed, only your dentist or hygienist can remove it. The process for removing tartar is called scaling. During a scaling, the hygienists at Personal Care Dentistry use special instruments to remove tartar from your teeth above and below the gumline.

    Sources: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research; American Dental Association; Colgate-Palmolive, Inc.



    • 04 FEB 15
    • 0

    Are Water Picks Worth The Cost?


    For Many People, the Answer is Definitely Yes


    water pickWith the hundreds of products available on the market today for cleaning your teeth, it can be difficult for dental patients to determine which product will best meet their needs. The dentists at Personal Care Dentistry are happy to assist patients in choosing the appropriate products for cleaning their teeth, as every smile is different.

    Among the many types of toothbrushes available, the general categories are manual and electric toothbrushes.  However, a more unique solution for cleaning your teeth at home can be found with a water pick.

    How does a water pick work?

    A water pick is also sometimes referred to as a water flosser.  Water picks work by using water to irrigate the spaces between your teeth and powerfully blast away debris from other hard to reach places.  A water pick works to mimic the high pressure water cleaning that your dentist uses to prepare your teeth for procedures or to rinse them during professional cleanings.

    Is using a water pick the same as brushing?

    It is important to know that using a water pick is not a substitute for brushing and flossing your teeth.  Over time plaque builds up on the surface of your teeth. This plaque harbors bacteria and germs that can lead to bad breath, gum disease and tooth decay.

    When you use a water pick, you’re not only dislodging any particles or debris and bacteria you might have missed when brushing, you are also gently massaging the gums, which helps promote blood flow in the gums and keeps them healthy. While water picks are an excellent addition to your daily fight against gingivitis and other periodontal diseases, they are incapable of fully removing plaque, which is why the dentists at Personal Care Dentistry want to remind you to keep brushing and flossing every day.

    Is using a water pick the same as flossing?

    While water picks work to provide extra cleaning power for your smile, it is important to know that they do not ever take the place of brushing or flossing. Despite the nickname “water flosser” water picks do not get completely in between each of your teeth. Water picks may not be an effective solution for cleaning between teeth that are crooked, overlapping or tightly spaced. Floss is the only guaranteed way to eliminate debris from between your teeth.

    What are the advantages to using a water pick?

    People with painful gum disease or highly sensitive gums may find water picks useful or even therapeutic. However the use of a water pick is only advised as a supplement to regular brushing and flossing, especially in patients with advanced gum disease.

    Orthodontic patients, especially those with traditional metal braces may find added benefit from using a water pick to flush out hard to reach places within their wires and brackets.

    If you are considering adding a water pick to your daily at home dental care routine it is important to understand that these devices do not replace traditional brushing and flossing.


    So how do you choose the right water pick?

    Water picks are available for home or portable use. The home versions tend to be larger and use standard electrical outlets, while portable models use batteries. Aside from the size difference, they work in the same manner, both using pulsating water streams. A more crucial difference between water picks is the ability to adjust the pressure. Most home models will let you choose from several pressure settings, depending on how sensitive your teeth and gums are. Most portable models have only one pressure setting. If you want to use mouthwash or a dental rinse in your water pick, check the label first; some models suggest using water only.

    If you’d like more information about how to best care for your teeth at home, including information about water picks at home, contact Personal Care Dentistry today.



    • 21 JAN 15
    • 0

    No Insurance But Need Dental Care?

    Check Out Personal Care Dentistry’s Comprehensive Dental Care Plan

    slider-3a2Just because you don’t have health or dental insurance doesn’t mean you can’t have access to quality dental care at an affordable cost. Personal Care Dentistry recently introduced its Comprehensive Dental Care Plan, which is an annual reduced-fee saving plan for families and individuals that allows all members to receive quality dental services at greatly reduced prices. Unlike conventional insurance, with the Personal Care Dentistry’s plan there are no deductibles, no yearly maximums, and no waiting periods to begin treatment. The Comprehensive Dental Care Plan  begins immediately on plan registration.


    Benefits include:

    Free simple teeth cleaning (up to two per year)

    Free two annual scheduled exams per year

    All X-rays needed to complete annual exam(s)

    Free initial teeth whitening trays and mini-kit. Subsequently one courtesy mini-kit at each renewal

    Free two fluoride treatments per year

    A 20% savings on all dental procedures

    A 15% savings on all implant and Invisalign procedures


    A Comprehensive Dental Care Plan membership is $349 and only $299 for each additional family member.

    Eligible family members include spouse and dependent children under the age of 19 (up to age 23 if dependent child is a full-time student). All Care Plan membership fees are due and payable at the time of registration and are non-refundable. Plan duration is for one year from registration date. All patient portions for services received are due at time of services in order to receive benefits. Interest-free payment plans of 6, 12 or 18 months are available on request with approved credit. Repayment duration is based on service totals. When a payment plan is used, your Care Plan members savings maximum will be reduced by the percent of interest charged to us based on the duration of repayment at 6, 12 or 18 months. A missed appointment fee of 25% of treatment total will be charged for all missed dental appointments. Please notify our office at least 48 hours in advance if you must change a scheduled appointment.

    Give us a call today and we can answer any questions you may have and get you enrolled in our Comprehensive Dental Care Plan.


    • 14 JAN 15
    • 0

    Is Bruxism Damaging Your Health?


    Grinding Your Teeth – Bruxism – Can Lead to a Host of Oral Health Issues

    Most people probably grind and clench their teeth from time to time. Occasional teeth grinding, medically called bruxism, does not usually cause harm, but when teeth grinding occurs on a regular basis the teeth can be damaged and other oral health complications can arise.

    Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?

    Although teeth grinding can be caused by stress and anxiety, it often occurs during sleep and is more likely caused by an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth.

    How Do I Find Out if I Grind My Teeth?

    Because grinding often occurs during sleep, most people are unaware that they grind their teeth. However, a dull, constant headache or sore jaw is a telltale symptom of bruxism. Many times people learn that they grind their teeth by their loved one who hears the grinding at night.

    If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth, talk to your dentist at Personal Care Dentistry. He or she can examine your mouth and jaw for signs of bruxism, such as jaw tenderness and abnormalities in your teeth.

    Why Is Teeth Grinding Harmful?

    In some cases, chronic teeth grinding can result in a fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. The chronic grinding may wear their teeth down to stumps. When these events happen, bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, partial dentures, and even complete dentures may be needed.

    Not only can severe grinding damage teeth and result in tooth loss, it can also affect your jaws, result in hearing loss, cause or worsen TMD/TMJ, and even change the appearance of your face.

    What Can I Do to Stop Grinding My Teeth?

    Your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep.

    If stress is causing you to grind your teeth, ask your doctor or dentist about options to reduce your stress. Attending stress counseling, starting an exercise program, seeing a physical therapist, or obtaining a prescription for muscle relaxants are among some of the options that may be offered.

    Other tips to help you stop teeth grinding include:

    Avoid or cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as colas, chocolate, and coffee.

    Avoid alcohol. Grinding tends to intensify after alcohol consumption.

    Do not chew on pencils or pens or anything that is not food. Avoid excessive chewing of gum as it allows your jaw muscles to get more used to clenching and makes you more likely to grind your teeth.

    Train yourself not to clench or grind your teeth. If you notice that you clench or grind during the day, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This practice trains your jaw muscles to relax.

    Relax your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth against your cheek in front of your earlobe.



    • 08 JAN 15
    • 0

    Make a New Year’s Resolution for Better Oral Health

    10 Tips to Help You Achieve Your Goal

    flossbrushWhether you’re one of those people who like to make a set of New Year’s resolutions at the start of every year – or even if you aren’t – setting goals for better oral health is something that is worth doing just about any time of the year. See if you can make these 10 tips part of your regular oral health regimen and you’ll have a brighter smile and healthier teeth by the end of 2015.

    1. Go on a white-teeth diet.

    If you’re quaffing red wine and black tea, or smoking cigarettes or cigars, expect the results to show up as not-so-pearly whites. Other culprits to blame for dingy teeth include colas, gravies, and dark juices. Bottom line: If it’s dark before you put it in your mouth, it will probably stain your teeth. Brush immediately after eating or drinking foods that stain teeth and use a good bleaching agent, either over-the-counter or in the dentist’s office. For convenient teeth-cleaning action, eat an apple.

    2. Chuck your toothbrush…

    …or change the head of your electric toothbrush at least every two to three months. Otherwise, you’re just transferring bacteria to your mouth. The best way to brush is by placing your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gums and gently moving it in a circular motion, rather than a back-and-forth motion. Grip the toothbrush like a pencil so you won’t scrub too hard.

    3. Clean your tongue.

    Use a tongue scraper (available at most drug stores) every morning to remove tongue plaque and freshen your breath. One major cause of bad breath is the buildup of bacteria on the tongue, which a daily tongue scraping will help banish. Plus, using a tongue scraper is more effective than brushing your tongue with a toothbrush.

    4. Eat ‘detergent’ foods.

    Foods that are firm or crisp help clean teeth as they’re eaten. We already mentioned apples (otherwise known as nature’s toothbrush); other choices include raw carrots, celery, and popcorn. For best results, make ‘detergent’ foods the final food you eat in your meal if you know you won’t be able to brush your teeth right after eating.

    Bottle Of Cider With Apples5. Gargle with apple cider vinegar.

    Do this in the morning and then brush as usual. The vinegar helps help remove stains, whiten teeth, and kill bacteria in your mouth and gums.

    6. Brush your teeth with baking soda once a week

    This will remove stains and whiten your teeth. Use it just as you would toothpaste. You can also use salt as an alternative toothpaste. Just be sure to spit it out so it doesn’t count as sodium intake! Also, if your gums start to feel raw, switch to brushing with salt every other day.

    7. Stay fresh.

    To check the freshness of your breath, lick your palm and smell it while it’s still wet (we know, sounds a bit odd, but it works). If you smell something, it’s time for a sugar-free breath mint. Shopping for mouthwash? Make sure it is alcohol-free. Most over-the-counter mouthwashes have too much alcohol, which can dry out the tissues in your mouth, making them more susceptible to bacteria.

    8. Practice flossing with your eyes shut.

    If you can floss without having to guide your work with a mirror, you can floss in your car, at your desk, while in bed, and before important meetings. In which case, buy several packages of floss and scatter them in your car, your desk, your purse, your briefcase, your nightstand.

    9. Brush your teeth when you first get out of bed and before you get back in at night.

    They’re the two most crucial times. That’s because saliva (which keeps cavity-causing plaque off teeth) dries up at night, so it’s best to have all plaque cleaned off the teeth before sleep. It’s also important to brush first thing in the morning to brush off plaque and bacteria (morning breath!) that may have built up as you slept.

    10. Conceal with color.

    Ladies: Choose a medium coral or light red lipstick. These colors make your teeth look whiter, whereas lighter-colored lipsticks tend to bring out the yellow in teeth.

    SOURCE: WebMD and Stealth Health/Reader’s Digest

    • 18 DEC 14
    • 0

    Traveling and Oral Health: Tooth Tips for the Holidays

    Here Are 5 Ideas That Should Make Your Holiday Travels a Little Less Stressful

    airplaneWe don’t have to tell you: the winter holidays mark one of the busiest seasons of the year. With shopping, parties and vacations jam-packed on the calendar, it’s no wonder that many people take shortcuts when it comes to oral health maintenance during this time. If you are traveling during the holiday season and you want to avoid a January surprise cavity (or worse), here are some simple tooth travel tips to help you keep your smile intact.

    Don’t leave home with a toothache! If you suspect you have any lurking problems in your mouth, schedule an appointment prior to your travel date so that you don’t end up with a tooth emergency while out of town. Research emergency dental clinics in your destination city and have those numbers handy to ensure that your time off is as relaxing as possible.

    No one ever regrets buying travel-sized gear. Keeping a travel toothbrush, floss and toothpaste on hand in addition to trial sizes of your favorite toiletries reduces your packing time, and not just during the holidays.

    Splurge on probiotics! Diseases and germs run rampant in buses, airports and other communal places that you might encounter during your trip. Researchers believe that probiotics are not only good for the gut; they may help maintain optimal oral health too!

    Toothbrushes don’t last forever! Generally, our dentists recommend that you buy a new toothbrush every two to three months when at home. However if you are traveling, your toothbrush is exposed to even more bacteria. It’s best to toss it when you return home and swap it for a fresh brush, even if it hasn’t hit the three-month mark yet.

    Chewing gum is a limitless oral-health-on-the-go tip! Bringing sugar-free gum with you has multiple benefits; not only does it taste good and make your breath smell fresh, but the gum can help remove food that may be stuck in your teeth as well, acting as a secondary toothbrush. Plus, chewing gums promotes saliva, which washes away bad bacteria in your mouth.

    • 13 DEC 14
    • 0

    ’Tis the Season to Be Jolly With These Activities for the Holidays

    Amazing Light Shows, Holiday Villages, Winter Skating and Much, Much More

    There are more than enough Twin Cities activities to keep your family busy this holiday season.  From light displays to Christmas Tree Farms, performances to family outings – you’ll find something to entertain you and your family and keep everyone in the holiday spirit!


    Holiday trainCP Holiday Train at Union Depot in Downtown St. Paul

    Final stop December 13 at 6 p.m.

    The CP Holiday Train is on tour and has a final Twin Cities stop in downtown St. Paul.  The train is all decked out and is a traveling concert stage all in the name of collecting food for those in need, plus all contributions stay within your local community.


    Holiday Lights in the Park (Lake Phalen, St. Paul)

    Through January 1, 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. nightly

    Minnesota’s largest drive-through lights display wraps around Lake Phalen in St. Paul with more than 60 larger than life holiday light sculptures and animated displays. Tickets are $10 dollars per vehicle. Holiday Lights in the Park is a joint venture of the St. Paul chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the St. Paul Police Foundation with the sole purpose of creating fun and affordable holiday events that raise funds to help meet basic life needs for children and adults in the Twin Cities metro area.


    Student Designed Winter Light Show (University of Minnesota)

    December 13 at 5:30 p.m.and 6 p.m.

    Join the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering (CSE) during the first two weekends in December for a dazzling light show designed by students. The high-tech light show is bigger and better this year featuring more than 100,000 LED lights and laser projection set to music, some of which is written and recorded by University of Minnesota students.


    Holidazzle Village, Downtown Minneapolis

    November 28 – December 24

    Holidazzle Village, located on Nicollet Mall from 12th Street to 10th Street, is free to the public and will give a fresh feel to the Holidazzle experience. The Holidazzle Village will include a variety of entertainment opportunities and festivities for all ages to enjoy throughout the season.


    rice_parkRice Park Holiday Lights, Downtown St. Paul

    Rice Park powered by Xcel Energy captures the spirit of the holiday season with a tree as tall and bright as the iconic Rockefeller Center tree in New York City. The gigantic tree in Rice Park will be lit with 30,000 energy-efficient LED lights, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The park will sparkle with millions of twinkling lights, classic Nutcracker and angel statues, and other holiday decor. Make downtown Saint Paul your family holiday destination!


    Prairie Lights Choreographed Light Show

    Prairie Lights is a residential Christmas holiday lights display that is synchronized to music using computer control. Viewers tune their car radios to 88.1 FM and enjoy the animated lights dancing to music. Prairie Lights has thousands of lights synchronized to music in a repeating 15-minute show.


    Macy’s Downtown Santaland Display

    Through December 24- Hours vary

    The classic Macy’s 8th floor display has been around for what seems like forever and is always a favorite. Santa Claus will make his annual appearance through December 24 to gather the holiday wish lists of children across the land. As guests make their way to meet Santa, they will experience the animated story of Santa’s elves at the North Pole as they prepare for Christmas. FREE


    Rice Park Winter Skate

    Rice Park is all classic Christmas and is home to downtown St. Paul’s Christmas tree, and the whole park is draped with twinkling lights. Monday – Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m,, Thursday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sunday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.  FREE


    night-trains03-345x266Night Trains at Twin Cities Railroad Museum (Bandana Square – St. Paul)

    Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

    Night Trains Season comes to the dozens of model railroad layouts in a magical way, the lights are turned down, the buildings and street lights glow warmly, setting the scene for specially lighted models of vintage passenger trains. The make believe town of Matlin is buried in a blizzard, and throughout the Museum the layouts are adorned with miniature Christmas lights and decorations.  Santa Claus will be attending two Saturday Night Trains sessions leading up to Christmas (December 13 and 20), so come and ask Santa for a train set for Christmas! $10 for individuals, 4 and under FREE


    Santa Saturdays at the Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley

    Through December 20, 11:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m.

    December is a great time to visit the Minnesota Zoo. If you’re looking for that perfect holiday photo, bring your family and camera to the Zoo on Saturday, December 13, and December 20 and meet Santa. He’ll be available for photos.


    Sunken Gardens Holiday Flower Show (Como Zoo & Conservatory), St. Paul

    Through January 4

    The Holiday Flower Show tradition began in 1925 and continues to be the most anticipated and visited flower attraction at the Conservatory today. It is a visual sensation to behold featuring hundreds of poinsettias.


    Ice Skating at Centennial Lakes

    Opens mid-December – times vary

    Complementing the rink is a cozy, rink-side warming house, complete with indoor and outdoor fireplaces, restrooms, concessions and skate rental. Concession items include hot chocolate, pop, popcorn, hot dogs, chips and candy. Skate rental is available for $6 per pair, with sizes ranging from children’s Size 8 up to adult Size 13. Ice sleds may also be rented for $7 per hour.  There is no admission charge for skating. Concessions stand and skate rental hours are 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 9:30 p.m. Sundays and most school holidays. Rink opens at Noon for those with their own skates.


     Hansen Tree Farm in Anoka

    Through December 22 – Fridays 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sundays 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

    Warm up in the barn and enjoy free hot cocoa, cider, coffee, tea. On weekends, savor Christmas sausage or hot dogs. Bring the kids & well behaved dogs. Hike or take a wagon ride and explore the playhouse.
    7440 Alpine Drive NW, Ramsey, MN 55303

    For a list of dozens of additional Christmas tree farms in the Twin Cities area, visit the Minnesota Grown website.


    How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis)

    Through January 4, times vary

    The Dr. Seuss Classic comes to life with the fantastic company at the Children’s Theater in Minneapolis.  A great holiday tradition and sure to be a fantastic show!


    achristmascarol-bigA Christmas Carol (The Guthrie in Downtown Minneapolis)

    Through December 28; performance times vary

    This year marks the 40th annual production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, an annual favorite at the Guthrie that impresses every year!


    A Christmas Story, The Musical (Ordway in Downtown St. Paul)

    Through December 28, times vary

    A Christmas Story: The Musical is the hilarious account of Ralphie’s desperate quest to ensure that this most perfect of gifts ends up under his tree this Christmas.


    Sounds of Blackness (The Guthrie in Downtown Minneapolis)

    December 22 at 7:30 p.m.

    Minnesota’s three-time Grammy Award-winning Sounds of Blackness returns with its 36th Anniversary performance. The Night Before Christmas – A Musical Fantasy is a contemporary adaptation of the beloved poem “A Visit From St Nicholas.” This family-friendly musical production brings Santa, Mrs. Claus and Rudolph the Rappin’ Reindeer to life in hilarious song and dance as they learn the true meaning of Christmas.


    For lots of additional holiday activities, visit the Twin Cities Mom’s Blog.





    • 10 DEC 14
    • 0

    Five Tips to Keep Healthy Teeth During the Holidays

    Check These Tips Twice to Stay Off Your Dentist’s Naughty List This Season

    Opening bottle with your teeth v2No matter how much you love your dentist at Personal Care Dentistry, he or she probably doesn’t top the list of people you want to spend quality time with on Christmas Eve. Follow these five tips to steer clear of emergency trips to the dentist’s office this season.

    1.  Don’t crack nuts with your teeth.

    Although protein found in nuts helps keep muscles and bones strong, you shouldn’t test the strength of your teeth by shelling nuts with them. The hard surface of most nutshells can cause serious tooth and gum damage, and may even crack teeth. Your safest bet? Shell nuts before snacking on them.

    2. Pass on chewy treats.

    Holiday candy platters are often loaded with treats that can harm your teeth. Sticky substances cling to tooth enamel and encourage tooth decay, and thick candies like caramel and taffy can even yank out fillings. Eat these sweets sparingly and along with other foods to help keep the treats from sticking to your teeth.

    3. Use proper tools to open packages and bottles.

    We know you’re excited to rip into that gift from your great aunt, but your teeth are not the right tools for the task. Gripping a package or stubborn bottle cap with your teeth can crack them, possibly requiring a root canal procedure and a crown for repair. Give your mouth a great gift – reach for scissors or a bottle opener instead.

     4. Avoid chewing on hard candy or ice cubes.

    Crunching on ice or hard candy can lead to cracked or chipped teeth, which are painful and pricey to treat. Whether you’re enjoying a sweet or finishing the ice in your holiday cocktail, let it dissolve naturally in your mouth. Chewing on hard objects puts too much stress on teeth.

     5. Say “no” to nail biting.

    It’s no secret that the holidays can be stressful, but biting your nails won’t bring relief. Anxious nibbling is bad for both fingernails and teeth. Experts have linked the habit to teeth grinding, clenching, jaw problems, facial pain and sensitive teeth. If you get the urge to chew, distract yourself for a minute or two and see if the feeling goes away. If that doesn’t work, consider buying bitter-tasting polish that’s designed to dissuade you from putting your nails anywhere near your mouth.

     SOURCE: Delta Dental

    • 03 DEC 14
    • 0

    Can You Score 100% On This Fact or Fiction Quiz?

    Take the Quiz on Oral Health and You Could Win a $50 Visa Gift Card!

    MouthHealthy websiteThe American Dental Association has a great website resource for oral health care called Mouth Healthy. They have a quick five-question fact or fiction quiz that features the following statements:

    It’s OK to whiten my teeth at home if I have staining.

    If I’m not having any pain in my mouth, there’s no need to see a dentist.

    You can outgrow tooth decay.

    People should floss once a week.

    White teeth are healthy teeth.

    Answer “fact” or “fiction” on each one and see if you can score 100% on this quiz.

    And to encourage you to take the quiz and keep your mouth healthy, we’re offering a $50 Visa gift card in our Fact or Fiction contest. To enter, send us a screenshot of how you did on the Fact or Fiction quiz. You can email us with your screenshot at drhunt@comcast.net. Be sure to put “Fact or Fiction” Contest in the subject line. We’ll select a winner and post it to Facebook and contact you if you win.

    You’ll find the quiz at the Mouth Healthy website. The link is on the left hand side!

    All entries are due by 6 p.m. on December 5th, 2014.