• 24 JUN 15
    • 0

    Think Before You Gulp That Sports or Energy Drink

    They Rehydrate and Recharge but Wreak Havoc on Your Teeth

    You just finished a strenuous workout or you’ve got a long day ahead – so what do you reach for? If you’re like a lot of people, you chug a sports drink or gulp down an energy drink. It may make you feel better short-term, but your teeth definitely won’t feel better long term. Research has shown that prolonged consumption of sports or energy drinks could lead to erosive wear on teeth, according to studies by the International Association for Dental Research and Academy of General Dentistry.

    iStock_000020130648Large - GatoradeThe studies found that an alarming increase in the consumption of sports drinks, especially among adolescents, is causing irreversible damage to teeth—specifically, the high acidity levels in the drinks. With a reported 30 to 50 percent of U.S. teens consuming energy drinks, and as many as 62 percent consuming at least one sports drink per day, it is important that parents and young adults know about the downside of these drinks. Research looked specifically at the way sports drinks affected dentin, the dental tissue under enamel that determines the size and shape of teeth.

    Studies found that sports and energy beverages can damage tooth enamel more so than soda — due to a combination of acid components, sugars, and additives. Any beverage that has high acid content can weaken the enamel, making the teeth more susceptible to bacteria that can sneak into the cracks and crevices in the teeth. Sugar can exacerbate the situation, encouraging the bacterial growth. Sugar is bad, and acid is bad and many of these drinks have both. The combination can cause irreparable damage.

    Harmful effects include:

    Tooth enamel erosion, corrupting the glossy outer layer of the tooth.

    Sensitive teeth to touch and temperature changes.

    Susceptibility to cavities and decay.

    The researchers found that damage to enamel was evident after only five days of exposure to sports drinks, although energy drinks showed a significantly greater potential to damage teeth than sports drinks. Bacteria convert sugar to acid, and it’s the acid bath that damages enamel, not the sugar directly. By incorporating a high acid load in a drink, we are just cutting out the middleman on the way to tooth decay.

    If sports drinks become your soft drink of choice (your fluid), you run the real risk of very significant effects because they are very acidic. You could see etching on teeth which is actually eroding the dentin if you have exposed roots.

    There may be a role for sports drinks for rehydration among endurance athletes under intense training conditions, but they make little sense for anyone else.

    Athletes and even sports enthusiasts don’t have to give up their sports drinks completely. The most important factor is exposure. Drinking a sports beverage in one sitting is not as damaging to your teeth as sipping on one throughout the day.

    How to displace harmful Sports Drink effects:

    Sip through a straw to help bypass tooth surfaces.

    Drink plenty of water to flush the mouth.

    Wait at least an hour to brush teeth, otherwise you will be spreading acid onto the tooth surfaces, increasing the erosive action.

    Energy drinks are the worst culprits. The acidity levels vary among brands and flavors of energy drinks, but caused twice as much damage as the sports drinks.

    The big misconception is that energy and sports drinks are healthier than soda for oral health. Sugar may rot your teeth, but acid in energy and sports drinks will also do some irreversible damage to those pearly whites, say researchers. Science tells us that individual susceptibility to both dental cavities and tooth erosion varies depending on a person’s dental hygiene behavior, lifestyle, total diet and genetic make-up.

    If you are absolutely unable to give up these drinks, the best advice is to minimize drinking and rinse with water afterwards.

    Sources: KnowYourTeeth.com, Web MD, CNN



    • 17 JUN 15
    • 0

    Your Child’s First Trip to the Dentist

    How Can You Help Create a Fun, Fear-Free First Trip to the Dentist?

    Taking your child to the dentist at a young age is the best way to prevent problems such as tooth decay, and can help parents learn how to clean their child’s teeth. After all, decay can occur as soon as teeth appear. Decay in baby teeth also increases the risk of decay in permanent teeth.

    Dentists now recommend that kids have their first checkup by their first birthday. The idea of such early dental visits is still surprising to many new parents. However, national studies have shown that preschool-aged children are getting more cavities. More than one in four children in the United States has had at least one cavity by the age of four. Many kids get cavities as early as age two.

    Importance of Primary (baby) Teeth

    The most frequently mentioned reason for children who have never visited the dentist was that “the child is too young” or “doesn’t have enough teeth yet.”

    It’s very important to keep primary (or “baby”) teeth in place until they are lost naturally. Primary teeth are important for many reasons including:

    Helping children chew properly.

    Involvement in speech development.

    Helping save space for permanent teeth.

    Promoting a healthy smile.

    Prior Preparation for the First Dentist Visit

    Before the first appointment, ask the dentist about the procedures of the visit so there are no surprises. To save time and make the first checkup easier, ask the dental office to mail or email you all the forms you will need to fill out. The forms may inspire a list questions or concerns that you want to discuss at the visit.

    Practice Patience

    Patience and calm on the part of the parent and reassuring communication with your child are very important. Be relaxed when talking about the dentist and be careful not to use any negative words. Keep ill feelings in check (if you have any) and let your child enjoy their first dental visit with the same enthusiasm as a visit to Grandma’s (without the candy, of course).

    Create Excitement

    Talk to your child about what to expect, and build excitement as well as understanding about the upcoming visit. Practice brushing with your child beforehand, too, so they will be used to having a toothbrush in their mouth. Learn more about it. Lots of books and online resources are geared toward teaching children more about dental health and dentist visits. Delta Dental’s children’s web site www.mysmilekids.com has stories and fun activities to help children learn about their teeth.

    Play around. Take turns being the dentist and the patient with your child. Examine each other’s teeth with a mirror or use your fingers to count each other’s teeth so that your child will be familiar with the feel of a dentist examination. Your positive attitude can help a lot. After all, going to the dentist these days can be lots of fun!

    What to Bring

    Provide the dentist with a list of any medical conditions your child has or medications they take. Keep your pediatrician’s phone number handy too, in case the dentist needs additional health information. Bring a favorite toy, blanket or other familiar object. This will help your child to know that the dental office is a comfortable and safe place.


    What to Expect at the Visit

    Your child may fuss during parts or all of the dental visit. Child appointments should always be scheduled earlier in the day, when your child is alert and fresh. However, parents may be surprised at how accepting infants can be when the dentist examines them. They may enjoy the attention and novelty of the visit.

    The dentist will want to check the growth and development of your child’s teeth and observe any problem areas.

    Expect a gentle but thorough examination of the:





    Oral tissues

    To prevent early childhood cavities, parents first have to find out their child’s risk of developing cavities. They also need to learn how to manage diet, hygiene and fluoride to prevent problems.

    But cavities aren’t all that parents need to learn about their child’s dental health. The age one dental visit lets parents discuss:

    How to care for an infant’s or toddler’s mouth

    Proper use of fluoride

    Oral habits, including finger and thumb sucking

    How to prevent trauma to your child’s mouth

    The dentist will be able to answer any questions you have and try to make you and your child feel comfortable throughout the checkup. Short, successive visits are meant to build the child’s trust in the dentist and the dental office, and can prove invaluable if your child needs to be treated later for any dental problem.

    Dental exams and proper care at home are the keys to ensuring pearly whites throughout childhood. Bringing your child to the dentist early and often leads to a lifetime of good oral care habits and acclimates your child to the dental office, thereby reducing anxiety and fear, which will make for plenty of stress-free visits in the future. Most experts recommend that children see the dentist about every six months so don’t forget to schedule your child’s second appointment on your way out the door!

    Sources: Parents.com, KnowYourTeeth.com, Colgate.com, DeltaDentalIns.com










    • 10 JUN 15
    • 0

    Mouth Problems You Shouldn’t Ignore

    Go See Your Dentist Before These Signs Become Serious

    Whether it’s traces of crimson on your toothbrush or that nagging sensitivity that seems never to go away, it’s easy to neglect your oral health. Persistent tooth or mouth pain generally indicates a serious problem. Symptoms could include a tooth sensitive to touch or changes in your gums. Keep in mind that even if the pain does go away after a day or two, you could still have a problem and should see your dentist.

    iStock_000035729244Large  mouth painTake the time while cleaning your teeth to look at your cheeks, your tongue and underneath your tongue to spot any changes. Basically, you’re checking for anything that wasn’t there before. Any changes of color, such as white or red patches that aren’t going away and are getting bigger, or lumps that have formed in places which previously were smooth, should be investigated.


    Bad Breath

    Everyone experiences stinky breath, but brushing and flossing (including brushing your tongue) should nip bad breath in the bud. What about when it doesn’t? It could be a sign of advanced gum disease, so it’s important to talk to your dentist before this oral condition ruins perfectly healthy teeth.

    Most of the time, however, the biggest bad-breath culprit is your diet. Onion, garlic, and pungent spices will produce mouth odor for hours after consumption.


    Swollen or Receding Gums

    Swollen gums are a sign of gum disease. Even if you believe you have healthy teeth, swollen gums absolutely require a visit to the dentist. Your dentist or dental hygienist will be able to tell right away if you have gum disease — but you can check for swollen gums yourself by drying your gums with a napkin or a tissue and looking in the mirror. Although your swollen gums may feel fine, if they tend to bleed during brushing, they are a sign you should see your dentist right away.


    Eroded Enamel

    During dental erosion, the surface of a tooth or teeth gradually wears away. Once that happens, you are much more susceptible to cavities and other issues. Any source of acid can erode the tooth enamel of healthy teeth, including acid from citrus fruits and soda. One of the most common sources of acid in the mouth is due to gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, a condition in which acid from the stomach comes up the esophagus, causes heartburn, and reaches the mouth.


    Sour Taste in Your Mouth

    If you frequently have a sour taste in your mouth (which is often mistaken for bad breath), it could be another sign of GERD, especially if it’s accompanied by a sore throat, chest pain, and a hoarse voice, Besides this oral condition and dental erosion, GERD can lead to other problems such as an esophageal ulcer and inflammation of the esophagus. If you suspect you have GERD, get tested and treated as needed.


    Dry Mouth

    Dry mouth is a very common oral condition, especially as you age. There are also more than 425 medications that include dry mouth as a side effect. Dry mouth can be related to issues beyond dental health. If you have chronic dry mouth, you should be concerned and talk to your dentist.


    Loose Teeth

    Loose teeth are another dental health symptom not to ignore because this may be a sign that you have gum disease. Bacteria that grow below the gum line can cause tissues and bones to break down, leading to the separation of the teeth from the gums. As more tissue and bone is destroyed, the more likely you are to lose healthy teeth as they become loose and need to be pulled.

    Loose teeth may also be a sign of infection or scleroderma, a disease of the connective tissue that causes changes in the skin, blood vessels, muscles, and organs.


    Mouth Sores

    A white or red patch on the tongue or lining of the mouth is the most common sign of oral cancer. Don’t be alarmed: Mouth sores are completely common and the chance your sore signals cancer is low. To be safe, show your dentist any sores in your mouth that don’t heal after two weeks.


    Burning Mouth

    If you’re experiencing a moderate to severe scalding sensation in your mouth, lips, or tongue, it could be an oral condition called burning mouth syndrome. When it does occur, it can be caused by a number of medications, certain specific oral conditions, or other health issues, including nutritional deficiencies, fungal infections in the mouth, and hormone changes in women.


    With regular dentist visits, you should be able to keep on top of any problems that might affect your mouth. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware of those symptoms that warrant a quicker appointment—especially if you leave more time than you should between visits to your dentist.


    Sources: Every Day Health, Best Health




    • 02 JUN 15
    • 0

    Manual or Powered: Which Toothbrush is Best?

    The Pros and Cons to Consider When Making the Decision

    iStock_000019201572_Large - Toothbrush - electric vs. manualThe effectiveness of cleaning your teeth with a manual toothbrush compared to an electric toothbrush is commonly debated today. There’s an assumption that the modern day electric replacement is far superior to the good old-fashioned manual toothbrush. In saying this, there are some pros and cons to consider when making the decision to use a manual or electronic toothbrush. Here’s a rundown of how different toothbrush types can enhance your dental routine:


    Manual Means More for Less


    Manual toothbrushes will thoroughly clean your tongue and inside cheeks when you’re doing your two minute routine brush. The circular headed electric toothbrushes perform poorly at cleaning your tongue. However, some do come with tongue cleaners.

    Manual toothbrushes are more flexible. Unlike electric toothbrushes with tightly compacted bristles, manual toothbrushes are so easy to maneuver around your mouth. Their flexible bristles can bend back far enough to reach those stubborn teeth at the back hiding food.

    They’re easy to travel with. How many times have you traveled with an electric toothbrush thinking it was fully charged, but it was actually dead? And without a charger, you had to rely on using the complimentary hotel toothbrush – or even had to run to the corner store where you ended up buying a cheap manual toothbrush anyway.

    Manual toothbrushes come in a much larger variety. They’re available in soft, medium and hard bristles with a small, standard or larger head. Now if you’re an adult with a tiny mouth, you’re going to need a lot of luck finding a small head on an electric toothbrush that doesn’t have a Disney prints all over it. 


    Powered Up With Features


    Advanced electric toothbrushes include an automatic timer in their design, which makes it easier for users to know when their two minute brush is complete. This ensures a proper clean is achieved to maintain oral hygiene.

    You get what you pay for. While the popularity surrounding electric toothbrushes have made them readily available, dentists recommend that you spend money to get a quality product.

    An electric toothbrush is ideal for people who suffer from arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and any other painful or movement-restricting conditions. Since the electric toothbrush’s rotating head does all the work, the user is exempt from constantly applying effort with their wrists and hands; making dental care a much easier task.


    Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing:

    Cost. Although there are some more affordable powered toothbrush options being sold, electric toothbrushes cost many times more than manual toothbrushes. In addition to the initial expense of an electric toothbrush, you will need to replace the removable toothbrush head every three or four months. Of course, if using an electric toothbrush helps you keep your teeth cleaner, you may make up for the expense with a reduction in dental bills.

    Likability. When it comes down to it, the best toothbrush for you is going to be the one you’re most likely to use — and use well. Some people may not like the vibrating feeling of a powered toothbrush. Others might find an electric variety easier to use to clean all tooth surfaces. This may be especially true for people with conditions that limit mobility, such as painful arthritis. If you enjoy using your toothbrush, you’re more likely to brush for the recommended length of time – two minutes.

    Effectiveness. Numerous scientific studies have been conducted to investigate whether manual or powered toothbrushes are more effective at reducing gum disease and eliminating plaque. A review of nearly 30 studies comparing disposable and electric toothbrushes found that, overall, there was not a significant difference between electric and manual toothbrushes in their ability to remove plaque and prevent gum disease. But, evidence suggests that a certain type of powered toothbrush called a rotation oscillation toothbrush (the bristles spin around and move back and forth) is more effective than manual toothbrushes.

    Safety. Although all toothbrushes with an ADA Seal of Approval have been tested for safety, there may be certain individuals for whom a particular type of toothbrush is safer. If you tend to brush too vigorously, which can damage your gums and teeth, a powered toothbrush may make it easier for you to be gentle on your gums and teeth and get them clean at the same time


    As long as you clean your teeth regularly for a recommended two minutes and use proper brushing technique, you should be able to reduce plaque build-up and keep your gums healthy with either a manual or powered toothbrush.


    Sources: Delta Dental, Denticheck.com



    • 29 MAY 15
    • 0

    20 Festivals That Offer a Summer of Celebration – Right Here in The Twin Cities

    Stay in Town and Find Something New to Do Every Weekend This Summer

    minnesota-state-fairNo summer vacation planned? No worries. The metro area offers an array of festivities to fill your weekends.

    From Grand Old Day to The Great Minnesota Get Together, the warm weather season is packed with events that celebrate family and fun with exhibits, concerts and culture. With a new affair each weekend, your calendar will fill up fast. Music will play, art will be displayed and of course, food will be served. Here is a list of 20 top Twin Cities summer events:



    June 7: Billed as the Midwest’s largest one-day festival, the first Sunday in June marks the first rite of summer. The frivolity begins with a parade at 9:30 a.m. that starts at Dale Street and rolls down Grand Avenue to Fairview Avenue.  Five “festival gardens” are filled with live music, food vendors, a sports district and a family fun district. 651-699-0029 or grandave.com/grand-old-day.



    June 13: From dusk ’till dawn, the city of Minneapolis offers itself up as home to dozens of eclectic art projects for this all-night arts festival at various locations across the city. northernspark.org.



    June 19-21: Gear heads can expect more than 11,000 classic cars parked along the streets of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. The Minnesota Street Rod Association’s annual event features a classic car auction and swap meet with a model car contest and Cruise N Art Craft Fair. You won’t need to put a dime in the jukebox to hear the live music from the 1950s on Friday and Saturday nights. msrabacktothe50s.com



    June 19-21: Polka music will fill the air as sausages and kraut fill the bellies. The second GermanFest at St. Paul’s Historic Schmidt Brewery and Schmidt Artist Lofts, 822 W. Seventh St. in St. Paul, is a family-friendly three-day event that will focus on German culture through food, music, art, dance … and beer. germanfest.org.



    June 20-21: The popular Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis serves as the background to this annual festival featuring an art park, Father’s Day car show, live music and a food market. Stone Arch Fest’s Riverfront Concerts are June 17-20. 952-473-6422; stonearchbridgefestival.com.



    June 25-27: The Twin Cities Jazz Festival is one of the largest civic jazz festivals in the Upper Midwest each year, attracting more than 35,000 people to the vibrant, joyful sounds of jazz. Festival events are held in and around beautiful Mears Park, in the heart of downtown Saint Paul’s historic Lowertown. You’ll also find jazz in neighborhood bars and restaurants all weekend. 651-209-7195 or hotsummerjazz.com/



    June 27-28: A celebration of the GLBT community includes a festival at Loring Park (Oak Grove Street and Hennepin Avenue) along with a parade on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. 612-255-3260 or tcpride.org.



    June 28: Check out some wheels with meals in Uptown (Lake and Hennepin – 31st & Holmes). Participating food trucks at the fair will have a specialty dish that you and your friend can share for $5. This way, you will have the ability to try multiple food trucks all in the same day. 507-358-7592 or mnfoodtruckfair.com/



    July 2-5: Food, music and fireworks. What else can you ask for over the 4th of July weekend? Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday; admission is free until 1 p.m., then $10 which includes $5 in food and beverage tickets. Kids 12 and under are free with an adult. Admission is free for Military, Police, Fire and EMT with ID on the 4th of July. Music begins at 11:30 a.m. each day on the Taste Stage and 2:30 p.m. on the Main Stage. Fireworks July 2-4, shows will be held on site starting at 10:20 p.m. Shuttle service and free parking available. Location: Carver County Fair Grounds, 501 West 3rd Street Waconia, MN 55387. 651-224-3228 or atasteofmn.com/



    July 10-11: Praise the Loud is the theme as big name bands (including headliners Weezer July 10th and Wilco July 11th) take multiple stages and rock The Basilica of St. Mary. Proceeds are directed through The Basilica Landmark to fund the continued renovation of The Basilica and its campus. In addition, a portion of all proceeds go to The Basilica’s St. Vincent de Paul outreach program, which provides services to those in need. Location: 1600 Hennepin Ave Minneapolis, MN 55403. 612.317.3457 or basilicablockparty.org/



    July 11-12:  Two days of colorful, traditional dances and music showcase performance arts of Asia in the backdrop of Lake Phalen Park in St. Paul. Take in martial arts demonstrations, food vendors and – the centerpiece of the festival – ornate, colorful dragon boats racing on the lake. The festival includes a 5K run on Saturday. dragonfestival.org



    July 17-19: This three-day St. Paul neighborhood fest at Cleveland Avenue and Ford Parkway includes a community picnic, live music, beer tent, juried art fair, petting zoo, business fair and an inaugural All Ford Car and Truck Show, commemorating 86 years of the Twin Cities Ford Assembly Plant. highlandfest.com.



    July 18: They toss trees and hammers and burlap bags filled with mulch and stones. They dance in kilts and step over swords at this one-day festival at Faithful Shepherd Catholic School, 3355 Columbia Drive in Eagan. There are bagpipes, of course. There are tartans and clans and a British car show, Celtic music all day and a Scottish Marketplace. It’s all things Scottish and then some. mnscottishfair.org.



    July 18: St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood, which was ripped up when Interstate 94 cut through it the 1960s, is remembered with this annual celebration. The festivities include a parade, entertainment and a 5K run/walk. The 2015 event is planning to return to the Rondo Education Center’s Outdoor Field at 560 Concordia Ave. (Old Rondo Avenue). rondoavenueinc.org.



    Third full week in July: Fireworks, sandcastle-building competitions and boat races are just some of the activities during this annual summer celebration that takes place at various Minneapolis locations. 612-376-7669 or aquatennial.com.



    Aug. 7-9: August is the unofficial month of outdoor art festivals in Minneapolis, which features three of them in the same weekend – the Uptown Art Fair (Aug. 7-9; Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue; 612-823-4581 or uptownartfair.com), the Loring Park Art Festival (Aug. 8-9; Oak Grove Street and Hennepin Avenue; 612-203-9911 or loringparkartfestival.com ) and the Powderhorn Art Fair (Aug. 8-9; 3400 15th Ave. S.; 612-767-3515 or powderhornartfair.com ).



    Aug. 7-9: No need to wait until St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate the Irish. This three-day free festival on St. Paul’s Harriet Island includes dancing, music, Gaelic sports, a Celtic marketplace, cultural displays, native Irish dogs, a traditional tea room and Irish food and drink. 651-645-0221 or irishfair.com.



    Weekends Aug. 22-Oct. 4: Damsels and knights and ye other olde characters make at least one expedition to Shakopee each fall to revel in all that is medieval at the annual Ren Fest. Jousting knights, themed weekends, more than 250 vendors, performers on 16 stages and throughout the grounds and massive turkey legs perfect for a-gnawing are just a nibble of the feast of attractions. Prices vary; renaissancefest.com.



    Aug. 23: Live music, dancing, performances and martial arts demonstrations are followed by the lighting of six stone lanterns and 300 floating paper lanterns on display throughout the Japanese Garden pond and Frog pond at St. Paul’s Como Zoo. 651-487-8200 or comozooconservatory.org.



    Aug. 27-Labor Day, Sept. 7: The Great Minnesota Get-Together has abounding greatness. The final 12 days of summer are an extravaganza of music, food, exhibits, rides, displays and people, people, people at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in Falcon Heights. It’s hot, it’s greasy, it’s hilarious, it’s massive. And it’s all ours. Prices vary; mnstatefair.org.

    Sources: St. Paul Pioneer Press (twincities.com)

    • 27 MAY 15
    • 0

    Comfort is King When Choosing a Toothbrush

    Americans Invest Nearly 1,000 Hours Each Brushing Their Teeth over a Lifetime

    iStock_000014189379_Large - toothbrushesNever before has there been such a dizzying array of toothbrushes on the market. Consumers are inundated with new designs, materials, attachments, and colors. How do you choose your toothbrush? Perhaps you have a steady fave bought out of habit, or maybe you’re always on the lookout for a sale, jumping from toothbrush to toothbrush when the price is right. You might spend extra money for style, considering the handle’s shape or color before any other attributes. All of these strategies will get you a toothbrush, but none gets you the best one for the job. Let’s brush up on some history for perspective.

    The Toothbrush through Time

    Toothbrush design and materials have come a long way and, fortunately, we now have a far better selection than our ancestors did. Early forms of the toothbrush have existed for nearly 5000 years.

    Circa 3,000 BC: Ancient civilizations used a “chew stick,” a thin twig with a frayed end. The sticks were rubbed against the teeth to remove food.

    500 (or so) Years Ago: Toothbrushes were crafted with bone, wood or ivory handles that held the stiff bristle hair of hogs, boars or other animals.

    The 20th Century: The nylon-bristled toothbrush as we know it today was invented in 1938.


    When to Buy a New Toothbrush

    Buy a new toothbrush as soon as the bristles begin to look worn or frayed (usually every three months). A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth.

    Always replace your toothbrush after an illness. Germs can linger and make you sick again.

    If you can’t remember the last time you changed your toothbrush, it’s probably time for a new one.


    Components of a Toothbrush

    Bristles: Soft is Safe

    Most dentists agree on using a toothbrush with soft bristles. Go gently, too. You may have a penchant for scrubbing your teeth with a stiff-bristle toothbrush; however, this habit can damage teeth and gums. A survey of 700 dentists found that brushing teeth too hard was a leading cause of sensitive teeth.

    Hard bristles may cause:

    Gum tissue to pull back from teeth, which can expose the tooth root and lead to increased sensitivity to heat, cold or certain foods and drinks.

    Damage to enamel on teeth, which can leave them exposed to cavity-causing plaque.

    Head: Size Matters

    Consider the toothbrush’s head shape when selecting your tool of choice. Some toothbrush shapes will suit some mouths better than others.

    Make sure the head allows your toothbrush bristles to comfortably reach your back molars, as some brush heads may be too large or wide.

    Brush in front of the mirror to make sure you cover every tooth. If it doesn’t, swap your toothbrush for one that does.

    Handle: Get a Grip

    The handle of the brush should be long enough to hold comfortably. It should neither be too thick nor too thin to hold.

    Some toothbrushes today have wide handles. This helps you control the toothbrush better. So, choose a toothbrush with a handle that is long enough and wide enough for you to use.

    A lightweight, plastic handle is very comfortable to use. It helps you to easily maneuver and clean from all directions.


    Don’t Buy Dollar-Store Toothbrushes

    Five no-name toothbrushes in a package may seem like a steal at a handful of pennies each, but consider the risks. Seeing as you put a toothbrush in your mouth two or more times per day, it’s worth going with a reputable manufacturer.

    Leave the Cheap Ones on the Shelf:

    The product could be from a manufacturer who doesn’t care about safety or efficacy.

    The toothbrushes could be made of inferior or unsafe materials.

    They’re better suited for cleaning grout than oral hygiene.


    Get the Right-Size Toothbrush for Children

    Babies need baby toothbrushes because of their tiny mouths, so it also stands to reason that small children need toothbrushes with smaller heads than adult versions.

    Tips for a Toddler Toothbrush:

    Instead of promising a small toy or sugary treat to reward good behavior at the supermarket or drugstore, let kids choose a new toothbrush with fun colors and graphics from the oral hygiene aisle.

    Don’t forget to replace a child’s toothbrushes every three months when you replace your own, or possibly more often if they are hard on their brushes.


    The ADA Way

    The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you buy the one that you will use and one that displays the ADA Seal of Acceptance. A company earns the ADA Seal for its product by producing scientific evidence that the product is safe and effective. The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs carefully evaluates the evidence according to objective guidelines for toothbrushes.

    To Qualify for the Seal of Acceptance, the Company Must Show That:

    All of the toothbrush components are safe for use in the mouth.

    Bristles are free of sharp or jagged edges and endpoints.

    The handle material is manufacturer-tested to show durability under normal use.

    The bristles won’t fall out with normal use.

    The toothbrush can be used without supervision by the average adult to provide a significant decrease in mild gum disease and plaque.


    Toothbrush Selection Bottom Line

    At the end of the day, the best toothbrush is the one you’ll actually use. That means the toothbrush handle should fit comfortably in your hand and the toothbrush head should feel comfortable in your mouth and be able to reach every tooth surface. Look for the ADA Seal, your assurance that the product has been objectively evaluated for safety and effectiveness.


    Sources: The American Dental Association (ADA), Best Health Magazine, Dentalsolutionscreatingsmiles.com


    • 22 MAY 15
    • 0

    Twin Cities Offers Wide Array of Memorial Day Events

    For nearly 150 years, Americans have gathered in late spring to honor the sacrifice of those who have given their lives in service to their country. This Memorial Day weekend many local destinations commemorate this day of remembrance.

    Cadets, alumni and volunteers from St. Thomas Academy worked with Fort Snelling National Cemetery staff to put up hundreds of American flags ahead of the Memorial Day weekend,  on Wednesday,  May 21,  2014 . (Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi)

    Fort Snelling Cemetery features hundreds of American flags during Memorial Day weekend . (Photo courtesy of Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi)

    Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868, by General John Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic who said the day was, “designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.” Originally called Decoration Day, it was observed on May 30 with General Logan noting that it would not mark the anniversary of any particular battle.

    It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. Renamed Memorial Day in 1971, it was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress and was placed on the last Monday in May. This helped ensure a three-day weekend for Federal holidays.

    More than 20 towns claim to be the holiday’s birthplace. Here’s a list of events in and around the Twin Cities where you can pay tribute to our Nation’s fallen heroes.

    Afton: 11:15 a.m. Monday at Evergreen Community Cemetery, just west of Memorial Lutheran Church on County Road 18. Hudson VFW Post 2115 honor guard, vocal music by MaryLou Clymer, speech by the Rev. Bob Kleinke and recitations by Afton-Lakeland Elementary students.

    Bayport: American Legion parade beginning at 8:30 a.m. Monday at Minnesota 95 and Central Avenue and proceeding north on Minnesota 95, west on Seventh Avenue, south on Fifth Street and west on Fifth Avenue to Hazelwood Cemetery, where there will be a memorial ceremony with music by the Stillwater Area High School Band. Parade grand marshals will be brothers Jim, Ralph and Warren Utecht, ages 87, 85 and 83, respectively, who are veterans and grew up in Bayport.

    Cottage Grove: 1 p.m. Monday at the Veterans Memorial outside City Hall, 12800 Ravine Parkway S. Speech by Washington County Commissioner Karla Bigham, music by the Park High School Choir and Brass Quintet.

    Forest Lake: 9 a.m. Monday at Lakeside Memorial Park, 56 E. Broadway Ave. Speakers, rifle salute, dedication of new pavers for Veterans Memorial.

    Fort Snelling: Prayer Vigil for Peace from 8:30 a.m. Saturday to 6:30 a.m. Sunday. Fort Snelling Veterans Memorial Chapel, 1 Tower Ave. People are welcome to light candles for the Memorial Garden, where 343 white crosses represent casualties of the Global War on Terrorism. The chapel sanctuary will be open for prayer. 952-888-1525 or info@fortsnellingmcf.org.

    Fort Snelling: Non-denominational Christian worship service, 11 a.m. Sunday at Fort Snelling Veterans Memorial Chapel, 1 Tower Ave. Sermon by U.S. Army chaplain Col. Kenneth Beale Jr., retired. Worshippers will be invited to silently visit the Memorial Garden to place poppies at the crosses. 952-888-1525 or info@fortsnellingmcf.org

    Fort Snelling National Cemetery: Parade at 9:30 a.m. Monday, followed by program at 10 a.m. featuring music, speakers, display of military vehicles. 7601 34th Ave. S. 612-726-1127.

    Hastings: 9 a.m. Monday at the Minnesota Veterans Home, 1200 E. 18th St.

    Historic Fort Snelling: Opening weekend for 2015 includes special events from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Monday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. On Monday, events will include a living timeline of military life and weapons demonstrations. Admission $6-$11, free for veterans on Monday. 612-726-1171 or mnhs.org.

    Maplewood: 10 a.m. Monday at Union Cemetery, 2505 E. Minnehaha Ave. Guest speaker the Rev. William Baer of Transfiguration Catholic Church, Oakdale. Living cross presentation by the Msgr. Ravoux Assembly, Knights of Columbus.

    Mendota Heights: 10 a.m. Monday at Resurrection Cemetery, 2101 S. Lexington Ave. Mass and address by the Rev. Harry Flynn, archbishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

    Minneapolis: 10:30 a.m. Monday with gospel quartet led by Robert Robinson and keynote address from James Fischer, president of the Minnesota State Council of the Vietnam Veterans of America, at Lakewood Cemetery, Hennepin Avenue South and 36th Street. Walking tours, trolley tours, classical music concerts, horse-and-carriage rides, streetcar rides at various times during the day. LakewoodCemetery.com.

    Minneapolis: 1:30 p.m. Monday in Building 19 of the Minnesota Veterans Home, 5101 Minnehaha Ave. S. Musical prelude by the Minnesota Police Pipe Band and speech by Army National Guard chaplain Col. John Morris.

    River Falls, Wis.: River Falls American Legion Post 121 will present an honor guard salute Monday at 7 a.m. at Kinnickinnic Cemetery; 7:30 a.m. at Mann Valley Cemetery; 8 a.m. at Glass Valley Cemetery; 8:20 a.m. at Cherma Cemetery; and 9 a.m. at St. Bridget Cemetery. A program will begin at 10 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial at Greenwood Cemetery, featuring speaker Air Force Sgt. Pete DeSancitus, retired. Lunch will follow at the Legion post.

    St. Paul: 9 a.m. Monday at Elmhurst Cemetery, 1510 N. Dale St. Speech by Maj. Chris Fields, U.S. Marine Corps, retired. Cretin-Derham Hall JROTC Rifle Squad.

    St. Paul: 11 a.m. Monday at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, 1800 Edgerton St. Music, presentation of wreaths. Lunch following program at Arcade-Phalen American Legion Post 577, 1129 Arcade St.

    St. Paul: 10 a.m. Monday at Riverview Cemetery, 340 E. Annapolis St. Address by Philip Ewerdt, U.S. Army 13B Cannon crew member. Music and readings by students from St. Croix Lutheran High School in West St. Paul.

    St. Paul: Memorial Day music on Monday featuring the Roseville Community Band with a 21-gun salute at 3 p.m., the Minneapolis Southside Singers at 5 p.m., and the The Vallee de Croix Chorus, a four-part a cappella chorus based in Stillwater, at 7 p.m. Como Park Pavilion, 1360 N. Lexington Parkway.

    South St. Paul: Parade beginning at 9:30 a.m. Monday at Sixth and Marie avenues, east to Fifth Avenue, then south to Southview Boulevard and ending at Oak Hill Cemetery, 15th Avenue North and Marie Avenue. Memorial service at 10:15 a.m. at the cemetery. Grand marshal will be Hank Rollins, a Korean War veteran and the chaplain for VFW Post 295. The parade is being organized by the VFW post and American Legion Post 481.

    State Capitol Grounds: 1 p.m. Monday at the Korean War Veterans Memorial. Guest speaker Col. Rodney Gerdes, U.S. Marine Corps, retired.

    State Capitol Grounds: 9:30 a.m. Monday by Veterans for Peace at the Minnesota Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

    Stillwater: Ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday at the Stillwater Veterans Memorial, Third and Pine streets. Address by U.S. Navy Capt. David Ratte, retired, plus music, a flyover and a rifle salute.

    Woodbury: 11 a.m. Monday at the City Hall Campus, Valley Creek Road and Radio Drive. Address by Cmdr. Greg Schlichting, Woodbury’s fire commander, who served more than 25 years in the Navy as an active duty and reserve officer.

    Sources: History.com, MemorialDay.org, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, St. Paul Pioneer Press

    • 20 MAY 15
    • 0

    Caring for Your Child’s Baby Teeth

    When Should You Take Your Baby For A First Visit to the Dentist?

    Happy young mum with the baby

    If you have a new baby at home – or know someone who does – did you realize that a dentist should examine a child within six months after their first tooth comes in and no later than the child’s first birthday?  A whopping 97% of parents were unaware of the first-year, first-visit recommendation, according to a 2010 AAPD survey.

    Primary teeth, or “baby teeth,” are as important as permanent adult teeth. Primary teeth typically begin to appear when a baby is between age 6 months and 1 year. Primary teeth help children chew and speak. They also hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums.

    On a child’s first visit to a dentist, the dentist can show you how to clean the child’s teeth properly and how to evaluate any adverse habits such as thumb sucking. But there are other compelling reasons for early checkups. Tooth decay is a leading chronic childhood disease, more common than asthma, and it’s almost entirely preventable according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


    Teething is Tough

    Most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are 3. When they first come in some babies may have sore or tender gums. The process as each tooth emerges is called “teething.” It can be a trying time for you and your baby.

    Teething Symptoms:


    Swollen gums

    Slightly higher than normal temperature

    Teething is uncomfortable. That’s why your baby cries and fusses in the days or weeks before each baby tooth pops up. You can start caring for baby’s gums right away. But at first, the care won’t involve a toothbrush and toothpaste.

    Easing Teething

    Gently rub your child’s gums with:

    A clean finger

    A small cool spoon

    A wet gauze pad

    A clean teething ring to chew on can also ease the discomfort as well. Avoid giving your child anything that is small enough to choke on. Avoid a teething ring with liquid inside that could break open.

    DO NOT give your baby topical pain relievers. Not only does saliva quickly wash the medication away, but the FDA warns against dangerous, potentially life-threatening side effects caused by such products.

    NEVER give your child aspirin. If your child is unusually irritable or inconsolable, call your pediatrician and ask if you can give your baby Tylenol (acetaminophen) occasionally to relieve pain first.


    Preventing Cavities

    In addition to caring for baby teeth, you need to protect them. To prevent cavities, only fill your baby’s bottle with:


    Breast milk


    Avoid giving your child fruit juices, sodas, and other sugary drinks. Sweet drinks, even container milk can settle on the teeth. This can lead to baby tooth decay – also known as “baby bottle tooth decay.” Bacteria feed on the sugar from sweet drinks and produce acid, which attacks baby’s teeth.

    If you have to send your baby to bed or naps with a bottle or sippy cup, fill it with water only. Also avoid putting anything sweet, such as sugar or honey, on your baby’s pacifier.

    When the first baby teeth start to pop up, you can graduate to a toothbrush. Choose one with a:

    Soft brush

    Small head

    Large handle

    At first, just wet the toothbrush. As soon as teeth erupt, you can start using a bit of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice. You can increase this to a pea sized amount when your child is 3 years old. Brush gently all around your child’s baby teeth, front and back.

    You should brush your baby’s teeth until he or she is old enough to hold the brush. Continue to supervise the process until your child can rinse and spit without assistance. That usually happens at around age 6.

    Keep on the lookout for any signs of baby tooth decay, brown or white spots or pits on the teeth. If you or your pediatrician notices any problems, take your child to a pediatric dentist for an exam.


    Thumb Sucking

    Sucking is a natural reflex and infants and young children may suck on thumbs, fingers, pacifiers and other objects. It may help them relax or make them feel safe or happy. Most children stop sucking by age 4. If your child continues to thumb suck after the permanent teeth have come in, it can cause problems with tooth alignment and your child’s bite. The frequency, duration and intensity of a habit will determine whether or not dental problems may result. Children who rest their thumbs passively in their mouths are less likely to have difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs.

    Your baby needs help to establish a solid oral health foundation. See your dentist early and talk to them about how to care for your child’s primary teeth.


    Sources:  MouthHealthy.org, CNN, WebMD



    • 13 MAY 15
    • 0

    Jaw-Dropping Insights Into TMJ Disorders

    More Than 15 Percent of American Adults Suffer from Chronic Facial Pain

    Sensitive teeth giving you a pain?If you have pain or tenderness in your jaw, or persistent headaches or neck aches, you may be suffering from a temporomandibular (tem-puh-roe-mun-DIB-u-lur) joint (TMJ) disorder. For many sufferers of TMJ disorders (TMD), the dentist is a logical first stop in trying to diagnose and treat this problem.

    The temporomandibular joint acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. It lets you move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can talk, chew, and yawn.


    Signs and symptoms of TMD may include:

    Pain or tenderness of your jaw;

    Aching pain in and around your ear;

    Difficulty chewing or discomfort while chewing;

    Aching facial pain;

    Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth;

    Headaches and neck aches.

    TMD can also cause a clicking sound or grating sensation when you open your mouth or chew. But if there’s no pain or limitation of movement associated with your jaw clicking, you probably don’t need treatment for a TMJ disorder.


    The parts of the bones that interact in the joint are covered with cartilage and are separated by a small shock-absorbing disk, which normally keeps the movement smooth. We don’t know what causes TMD. Dentists believe symptoms arise from problems with the muscles of your jaw or with the parts of the joint itself. Jaw pain may occur on one side or on both sides, depending upon the cause.

    Painful TMD can occur if:

    The disk erodes or moves out of its proper alignment.

    The joint’s cartilage is damaged by arthritis.

    The joint is damaged by a blow or other impact.

    Grinding or clenching your teeth (also known as bruxism), puts a lot of pressure on the joint.

    Stress, which can cause you to tighten facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth, is thought to be a factor in TMD. Even strenuous physical tasks, such as lifting a heavy object or stressful situations, can aggravate TMD by causing overuse of jaw muscles, specifically clenching or grinding teeth.


    When to see a Dentist or Doctor

    Seek medical attention if you have persistent pain or tenderness in your jaw, or if you can’t open or close your jaw completely. In about 90 percent of the cases, says the Delta Dental Plans Association, your description of symptoms, combined with a simple physical examination of face and jaw by your dentist, provides useful information for diagnosing these disorders.

    What to Expect

    You may be asked some of the following questions:

    Is your pain constant or do your symptoms come and go?

    Does any activity seem to trigger the pain?

    Does your jaw click or pop when you move it? Is that clicking painful?

    Is it difficult to open your mouth normally?


    Tests and Diagnosis

    During the physical exam, your doctor or dentist will probably:

    Listen to and feel your jaw when you open and close your mouth;

    Observe the range of motion in your jaw;

    Press on areas around your jaw to identify sites of pain or discomfort.

    If your doctor or dentist suspects a problem with your teeth, you may need X-rays. A CT scan can provide detailed images of the bones involved in the joint, and MRIs can reveal problems with the joint’s disk.

    Treatments and Drugs

    In some cases, the symptoms of TMJ disorders may go away without treatment. If your symptoms persist, your doctor or dentist may recommend a variety of treatment options. Many practitioners, especially dentists, are familiar with tried-and-true conservative treatment of TMD.


    Your dentist might suggest a muscle relaxer to relax your jaw if you grind or clench your teeth. Taking over-the-counter or Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like naproxen or ibuprofen, can relieve muscle pain and swelling.

    A splint or night guard. These plastic mouthpieces fit over your upper and lower teeth so they don’t touch. They lessen the effects of clenching or grinding and correct your bite by putting your teeth in a more correct position. What’s the difference between them? You wear night guards while you sleep. You use a splint all the time. Your dentist will tell you which type you need.

    Dental work. Your dentist can replace missing teeth and use crowns, bridges, or braces to balance the biting surfaces of your teeth or to correct a bite problem.

    Relaxation techniques. Consciously slowing your breathing and taking deep, regular breaths can help relax tense muscles, which can reduce pain. Ask your dentist if you need physical therapy or massage. Also consider stress reduction therapy.

    Lifestyle and Home Remedies

    Becoming more aware of tension-related habits — clenching your jaw, grinding your teeth or chewing pencils — will help you reduce their frequency.

    Avoid overuse of jaw muscles. Eat soft foods. Cut food into small pieces. Steer clear of sticky or chewy food. Avoid chewing gum.

    Stretching and massage. Your doctor, dentist or physical therapist may show you how to do exercises that stretch and strengthen your jaw muscles and how to massage the muscles yourself.

    Heat or cold. Applying warm, moist heat or ice to the side of your face may help alleviate pain.

    If more treatment is needed, it should be conservative and reversible. Avoid, if at all possible, treatments that cause permanent changes in the bite or jaw. If irreversible treatments are recommended, be sure to get a reliable second opinion.


    Sources: The Mayo Clinic, Web MD, Delta Dental


    • 30 APR 15
    • 0

    Bad Bites That Can Harm Your Teeth

    Foods That Are a Treat to Eat Often Can Do Serious Damage

    potato_chips-t3Your mouth is a busy place. Especially for bacteria – tiny colonies of living organisms are constantly on the move on your teeth, gums, lips and tongue. Having bacteria in your mouth is a normal thing. While some of the bacteria can be harmful, most are not harmful and some are even helpful.

    Bad Bacteria Basics

    Certain types of bacteria, however, can attach themselves to hard surfaces like the outside covering of your teeth called enamel.  Enamel is very hard, mainly because it contains durable mineral salts, like calcium. Mineral salts in your saliva help add to the hardness of your teeth. Mineral salts, however, are prone to attack by acids. Acid causes them to break down.

    If bad bacteria are not removed, they multiply and grow in number until a colony forms on the tooth enamel. Eventually, the bacteria colony becomes a whitish film on the tooth called plaque. If it doesn’t get washed away by saliva or brushed away by your toothbrush, it produces acid.

    Acid Produces Cavities

    This acid is produced inside the plaque and can’t be easily washed away by your saliva. The acid dissolves the minerals that make your tooth enamel hard. The surface of the enamel becomes porous and tiny holes appear. After a while, the acid causes the tiny holes in the enamel to get bigger until one large hole appears. This is a cavity.



    Sugar plays a harmful role in tooth decay. The bacteria that form together to become plaque use sugar as a form of energy.

    They multiply faster and the plaque grows in size and thickness. Some of the bacteria turn the sugar into a kind of glue that they use to stick themselves to the tooth surface. This makes it harder for the bacteria to get washed away with your saliva.

    Sugar is sugar whether it’s refined white sugar, brown sugar or honey. It’s not the amount, but how often you eat it. The acidic environment in your mouth created by sugar persists for about two hours after it’s consumed. If you eat or drink a little bit of sugar every few hours, your teeth will be continuously bathed in the acid, which directly dissolves tooth enamel.

    Hard Candy. While hard candies may seem harmless, eat too many and the constant exposure to sugar damages teeth. Hard candies also put your teeth at risk because in addition to being full of sugar, they can also trigger a dental emergency such as a broken or chipped tooth. Included are:


    Hard Candies

    Breath Mints

    Cough Drops

    Tasty Tip: They might soothe your symptoms, but many cough drops have as much sugar as hard candy, experts warn. And because you suck on them for several minutes, and tend to pop them all day long when you have a cold, dental damage can be hefty. Skip the drops in favor of soothing your throat with herbal tea and water, or opt for sugar-free drops if necessary.

    gummy candyChewy Candy. Sticky candies get stuck between braces and teeth, allowing plaque to build up. Plus, a chewy candy in the wrong place at the wrong time can easily take a filling or a whole tooth out. Beware of:



    Sugary Gum

    Tasty Tip: Chew sugarless gum that carries the American Dental Association Seal.

    Carbohydrates. Carb-heavy foods are processed as sugar when digested and food particles tend to linger by sticking in the grooves of teeth, creating a breeding ground for acid. The simple sugars quickly dissolve inside the mouth, causing a surge of acid that can erode tooth enamel. These include:

    White Bread


    Potato Chips

    Tasty Tip: They might go in your mouth light as air, but the texture of potato chips (crunchy at first, then gummy post-chewing) means they tend to linger in your mouth. When chip particles get stuck between teeth, acid-producing bacteria indulge in a snacking attack that ups your risk of tooth decay. And since we tend to chomp on chips over a long period (hey, no one can eat just one), that means a non-stop period of acid production. If you choose to indulge in snacks like these, take extra care when you floss that day to remove all the food particles that can lead to plaque build-up.

    Citrus.  Citrus fruits are great sources of vitamin C for healthy gums, but they’re also high in enamel-damaging acid. Because of the acidity it adds, even putting lemon slices in water can be a danger. Look out for:





    Tasty Tip: Continue to eat fruit for the vitamin content, but enjoy these foods in moderation to minimize their impact on your teeth. Also, drink a glass of water when you consume fruit – it will wash away the acid as you enjoy your snack.



    MH_sodaSugary Drinks. Be especially cautious of drinking them over a lengthy period of time, which promotes prolonged exposure to sugar and acid. Even something as innocent as lemonade is a destructive combination of acid and sugar that leads to tooth decay and cavities. These include:


    Fruit Juices

    Energy Drinks

    Sports Drinks

    Tasty Tip: Sports drinks sound healthy, don’t they? But for many sports and energy drinks, sugar is a top ingredient. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, while sports drinks can be helpful for young athletes engaged in prolonged, vigorous physical activities, in most cases they are unnecessary. Before your next sip, check the label to make sure your drink of choice is low in sugar. Not sure? Drink water instead.


    Fortunately, foods like candy and soda that don’t always play nice with our teeth are generally harmless in moderation.  It’s important to see your dentist before a cavity forms so that the plaque you can’t reach with your toothbrush or floss can be removed.

    SOURCES: Healthyteeth.org, besthealthmag.ca, prevention.com

    • 22 APR 15
    • 0

    Top Foods for Stronger and Whiter Teeth

    What You Eat Can Help Fortify and Brighten Your Smile

    Think of the enamel on your teeth as a fortress and plaque like a marauding horde bent on their destruction. You can build up defenses in your mouth with healthy eating habits and use nutrition to fight off the corrosive attack of plaque. Small changes in your meals and snacks will yield big benefits for your teeth.

    Enamel is the thin outer covering of the tooth. This tough shell is the hardest tissue in the human body. Enamel covers the crown which is the part of the tooth that’s visible outside of the gums.

    When you eat, the bacteria in plaque use the sugars in your food to produce acids that deteriorate tooth enamel. Repeated attacks cause the enamel to break down, eventually resulting in a cavity (or hole) in the tooth surface. If tartar (plaque that hardens after being left on teeth too long) collects then gingivitis, an early stage of gum (periodontal) disease can develop. Gingivitis is reversible with good oral hygiene and professional treatment, but one preventative step you can take every day is by giving a little extra attention to what you eat.


    Chew On This

    milkCalcium. Your teeth are made mostly of calcium, and without enough in your diet, you lower your resistance and increase your risk of developing tooth decay and other problems. Low-fat or fat-free dairy products add important minerals for oral health, but don’t add unhealthy saturated fat to your diet. Foods full of calcium include:


    Hard Cheese

    Plain Yogurt


    Snack Fact: Replacing that bag of chips at lunch with hard cheese will help neutralize the acids found in foods that threaten tooth enamel. Drink a glass of milk at meal times for another splash of healthy calcium.

    Other good sources of calcium are green leafy vegetables which deliver a healthy boost of vitamin C, too.


    Bok Choy


    Brussel Sprouts

    Snack Fact: Eating a bowl of spinach or beans is a bit like running your teeth through a car wash: All that chewing generates saliva, and the food itself physically scrubs your teeth as it’s mashed up into little pieces.

    Vitamin D.  Foods with Vitamin D absorb calcium, which builds and maintains healthy teeth. These include:

    Egg Yokes

    Shiitake Mushrooms


    Snack Fact: Shiitake mushrooms contain lentinan, a sugar that actually prevents mouth bacteria from creating plaque. Try adding four or five sliced shiitake mushrooms to soups and stir-fries.

    271285-strawberriesVitamin C. Foods full of vitamin C are necessary for healthy gums, which help keep your teeth firmly in place. Citrus fruits like oranges are also high in vitamin C, but you have to be careful of their acidity. If you don’t get enough vitamin C, research shows that the collagen network in your mouth can break down making your gums tender and susceptible to periodontal disease.


    Red Peppers

    Sweet Potatoes


    Snack Fact: Strawberries may help whiten teeth because they contain an enzyme called malic acid, which can be found in some whitening toothpastes. You can mash up strawberries, add some baking soda and rub it on your teeth.  Their fiber removes bacteria from your mouth and leaving the juice on your teeth for a minute before rinsing makes for a natural whitener.


    Add Crunch When You Munch

    The crisp texture of crunchy fruits and vegetables can help wipe away plaque-causing bacteria on your teeth. They can also increase the production of saliva, which helps fight bacteria in your mouth.





    Snack Fact: Eating apples, celery and carrots stimulate saliva which neutralizes tooth damaging acids and contain calcium and phosphates that help rebuild minerals in your mouth. These foods are also high in vitamin C which prevents gum disease and kills odor causing bacteria. Fruits with high water content clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath.

    Onions. Packed with powerful sulphur compounds, onions are serious bacteria killers.

    Snack Fact: The prospect of munching on a raw onion doesn’t appeal to you?  Try slicing them up and adding them to salads and sandwiches for a little crunch, less stink and a bacteria blaster.

    Edible-NutsNuts.  According to fossils, our Paleolithic ancestors had very strong teeth. Anthropologists suggest that this is partly due to the cleansing action of primitive foods like nuts and seeds which slough off plaque and help build enamel.  Many nuts contain vitamins and minerals that help your teeth.

    Peanuts (calcium and vitamin D)

    Almonds (high levels of calcium)

    Cashews (stimulate saliva)

    Walnuts (fiber, folic acid, iron, thiamine, magnesium, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium and zinc)

    Snack Fact: If you’re watching a movie or a TV show and have a snack attack, try a small bowl of mixed nuts to sample the varieties and get all the healthy benefits.

    Sesame Seeds. Best combined with bread and rolls, sesame seeds dissolve plaque and help build tooth enamel. They are also rich in calcium, which will keep your teeth and jawbone healthy.

    Snack Fact: Sprinkle sesame seeds on salads and steamed vegetables a few times a week for a gentle teeth cleaning.


    Drink To Your Health

    Green Tea. Teas contain compounds called polyphenols that interact with plaque and suppress harmful bacteria, preventing them from producing tooth attacking acid. This not only helps to prevent cavities, but also reduces inflammation and the chances of gum disease.  Green tea contains substances called catechins that kill the bacteria in your mouth that turn sugar into plaque. Catechins also wipe out the bacteria that causes bad breath.

    Snack Fact: Make a thermos of green tea to take to work. The night before, steep 3 to 4 green tea bags in 4 cups of boiling-hot water in a covered thermos for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the bags. Serve the tea the next day over ice or after reheating it.

    glass-of-waterWater.  One thing we can’t live without and absolutely essential to healthy teeth is water. Like saliva, water helps wash sugars and acid off teeth. It also contains fluoride, a mineral that protects against tooth erosion and is found in toothpaste and some mouthwashes. Fluoride occurs naturally in water (including some bottled spring water), and most tap water in the United States is also fortified with it. Water helps to clear toxins in your body which can create tooth decay. It also keeps your gums very well hydrated and washes away all the minute left overs from the teeth.

    Snack Fact: The best way to keep your teeth decay free is by drinking sufficient amount of water after every food intake.


    Gumming Things Up

    Sugarless Gum. Chewing sugarless gum after meals and snacks can help rinse harmful acid off your teeth to help you preserve enamel. It’s actually beneficial to your teeth as chewing helps dislodge food that becomes stuck to your teeth and also increases saliva flow to buffer mouth acids. Some gums contain ingredients that can reduce cavities as well as heal areas on the teeth where cavities are beginning. Many varieties of sugarless gum are sweetened with xylitol, an alcohol that reduces bacteria. On the flip side, gum with sugar increases your chances of developing a cavity.

    Snack Fact: Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating foods with high acid content helps deter the harmful effects.

    You are what you eat and your diet directly affects the health of your teeth. Good choices can yield great results, but any food can be decay-causing if you don’t routinely practice good oral hygiene, get regular cleanings and additional dental care as needed.

    Make sure to watch for the next posting on Bad Bites that can be harmful to your smile.

    SOURCES: Everydayhealth.com, WebMD, Natural Health Magazine, Delta Dental, Health.com

    • 15 APR 15
    • 0

    Need Dental Care But Feel Like You Can’t Afford It?

    Personal Care Dentistry’s Comprehensive Dental Care Plan May Be Just Right For You

    man_wife_smilingYou can have quality dental care at an affordable cost even if you don’t have health or dental insurance. 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.