• 7 Dental Gifts for Dad On Father’s Day

    Father’s Day is this Sunday, but if you haven’t done your gift shopping yet, we have 7 unusual gift ideas that are sure to put a smile on your father’s face on June 16. Plus, they’ll help keep his smile bright and his oral health in good shape.

    Electric Toothbrush: If your Dad likes power tools, then an electric toothbrush is the way to go. You’ll find a wide variety of types and prices for electric toothbrushes, but if they make brushing less of a chore for your Dad, then they are worth the money you spend.

    Travel Kit: Does your Dad like to camp or hunt, or does he travel regularly for business? If he does, then give him an oral health travel kit. Include a toothbrush made for traveling, a small tube of toothpaste, floss and flossers in travel packs, and a mini bottle of mouthwash. Plus add a small bottle of over-the-counter pain medication, latex gloves, and cotton pads – all things he will need if he has a dental emergency.

    Water Pick: Lots of Dads get electric razors for Father’s Day, but how about giving him something for the inside of is mouth? Water picks – also called water flossers – are a great way to remove particles of food and plaque from your teeth. If your Dad isn’t a fan of flossing with floss, this is the perfect gift.

    Mouthguard: If your Dad likes to still play hockey with his buddies, or maybe plays rugby or lacrosse, then a sports mouth guard is the perfect Father’s Day gift. You can make an appointment for yourDad with your dentist to have a custom-fitted mouth guard made. They are less than $100 and will provide your Dad with many years of protection for his teeth and gums.

    Teeth Whitening: Help your Dad brighten his smile with a teeth whitening program. A recent research study found that after their teeth were whitened, 58% of the study participants were more likely to be hired and 53% were offered a higher salary. Purchase an in-clinic teeth whitening program from your dentist and make an appointment for your Dad to help him brighten his smile.

    Unique Toothbrush Holder:  Does your Dad have a favorite sports team or hobby? Do some research online and you’re bound to find him a toothbrush holder with his team’s logo on it or shaped like something from his hobby (golf bag, bait bucket…you get the idea).

    Headphones – Noise Canceling: Here’s a gift that your Dad can enjoy just about anywhere – including when he visits the dentist. Wherever he is, he’ll be able to listen to his favorite music or podcasts without having to listen to sounds around him – including dental tools when he’s at the dentist.

    Sources: DeltaDental.com 00000

  • 7 Tips to Help You Choose the Right Toothbrush

    You’ll spend more than 1,500 hours during your life brushing your teeth if you’re brushing two times per day (and two minutes per time). So it’s kind of important for you to choose the right type of toothbrush if you’re going to be that “close and personal” with this bristly tool!

    We have 7 tips below to help you enjoy your toothbrushing and to make the two minutes twice as day as impactful as possible on your oral health.

    Buying a New Toothbrush: You should be switching to a new toothbrush as soon as the bristles on your current one start to fray or look worn. Figure that will happen about every 90 days if you are brushing twice a day for two minutes per brushing. Also, if you’re ill, toss your current toothbrush. Those germs from your illness can stick to the head of your toothbrush and make you ill again. 

    Soft is Safe for Bristles: Soft is the way to go when it comes to the bristles on your toothbrush and the way you brush. Toothbrush heads with stiff bristles can actually damage your gums and teeth. The stiff bristles cause your gum tissue to recede from your teeth, exposing the root and leading to increased sensitivity to hot or cold food and beverages. In addition, the hard bristles can scratch the enamel on your teeth, exposing them to plaque (which causes cavities).

    Head Shape Is Important: Be sure to take into account the shape and size of a toothbrush’s head when you are choosing a new one. You should be able to easily brush your back molars with the toothbrush head, and the toothbrush should be comfortable in your mouth when you are brushing.

    Get A Grip on A Good Handle: Comfort is the key here, since you’ll be using your toothbrush twice a day. The handle of the toothbrush should be comfortable to hold, and long enough to reach all areas of your mouth. Also, be sure your toothbrush handle is wide enough for you to get a firm grip so it doesn’t slip while you are brushing.

    Don’t Be Cheap: Buying a dozen no-name toothbrushes at a big-box store might seem like a steal for your pocketbook, but the real steal is from your oral health. If you purchase a toothbrush from a manufacturer you’ve never heard of, can you be sure the materials used to make the toothbrush are safe? Will they actually help your oral health or hurt it? Invest in a recognized brand for the best oral health care.

    Make It ADA: Be sure to buy toothbrushes with the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Acceptance on the packaging. The ADA only awards its Seal if a company can prove through scientific evidence that its toothbrush is safe – and effective.

    Is Color Important: If you consider the color of your toothbrush a big deal, then be sure to buy a color you adore. You’ll be spending time twice a day holding that toothbrush, so the happier it makes you, the better!

    Sources: The American Dental Association (ADA)

  • Toothpaste Ingredients Through History Included Oyster Shells, Soap, and Charcoal

    When you reach for a tube of modern-day toothpaste, do you ever wonder what exactly is in that tube? You probably know there is fluoride in the paste, which is a great cavity fighter. Often it will include a whitener for brighter teeth, plus ingredients for flavor, color, smoothness and moistness.

    But have your ever thought as you reached for your tube of toothpaste, “I wonder what the ancient Greeks or Romans used to keep their gums and teeth clean?” Or “How did they whiten their teeth and freshen their breath?” Well, we have the answers!

    The Egyptians were using a paste for teeth-cleaning (approximately 5000 BC) even before they were using toothbrushes. The ingredients for the Egyptians’ tooth powder included the ashes from the hooves of oxes, eggshells that had been burned, and volcanic pumice. It was guaranteed to scrub away plaque but the taste must have been something not to look forward to using.

    However, the Romans – and Greeks – liked their tooth cleaners to be even more abrasive. So their ingredients often included bones that had been crushed and the shells from oysters. Flavoring was added by the Romans (thanks goodness), but they also added bark and charcoal that had been powdered (yuck!).

    For the Chinese, toothpaste often included ingredients such as herbal mints, salt and ginseng root.

    By the early1800s in England, the technology of toothpastes still hadn’t advanced much beyond what the Egyptians were using 7,000 years previously. In England, the betel nut was included in toothpastes, which brought a smile to users faces since betel nut juice is a mild narcotic. Additional ingredients included soap (you washed your own mouth out!), chalk and ground charcoal (which would kind of ruin a bright smile).

    Plus – even in the early 1800s – all of the recipes for toothpastes were still based on creating a powder. It wasn’t until the mid 1800s that the first “modern” toothpaste was developed. It came in a jar and was named “Cream Dentrifice”. It wasn’t until the early 1870s that Colgate began mass-producing toothpaste in jars. Twenty years later, Colgate brought toothpaste-in-a-tube to consumers.

    Fluoride was added as a key ingredient in 1914 to aid in preventing tooth decay. Soap continued to be a key ingredient in toothpastes up until the mid 1940s because of its usefulness in making the toothpaste smooth and emulsifying the paste. Soap was replaced with sodium lauryl sulphate, which is still used in today’s toothpastes.

    Specific conditions and diseases were the focus of toothpaste development after the 1940s. These included tooth sensitivity and low-abrasive toothpastes.

    Recent advances included adding Triclosan to toothpastes. This ingredient offers additional protection against cavities, plaque, disease of the gums, and bad breath.

  • Tips to Help Your Child Avoid Cavities from Their Baby Bottle

    Here are nine tips for baby bottle usage to help you keep your little one free of cavities.

    Avoid Sugary Beverages

    Sports drinks and fruit juices are packed with sugar and are not recommended for your baby’s bottle. That’s because lots of sugar leads to tooth decay and can create a host of dental problems as their baby teeth start to show. Plus, cavities in your baby’s teeth can sometimes create problems in their new adult teeth when they start to appear.

    Be Sure to Wipe Their Mouth After a Meal

    Fifteen minutes after each liquid or solid meal, wipe out your baby’s mouth with a clean, damp cloth. This will remove sugar and residual food and beverage than can increase the chance of cavities.

    Beware the Bedtime Bottle

    A bottle at bedtime might seem like a good idea for an infant, but it can negatively impact their teeth and gums. The sugar in formula, breast milk and milk can lead to infection if a bottle is regularly given to a child at bedtime. That’s because you won’t be able to wipe out your child’s mouth before they go to sleep, so that sugar will stay in their mouth all night. Try to develop a routine at bedtime that doesn’t involve a baby bottle, or if it does, use water in the bottle.

    Encourage a Drink Before Bedtime

    Encourage your child to develop a routine that involves them taking a long drink before they go to bed. This will help them avoid wanting a bottle at bedtime.

    Skip the Microwave

    Don’t heat a formula-filled baby bottle in the microwave. Granted, it’s more convenient and quicker, but your microwave won’t heat the formula evenly and may produce formula too hot for your baby to drink. Also, the plastic in your baby bottle may be damaged from the heat produced by the microwave.

    Use Warm Water to Heat

    Your best approach to warming a baby bottle is to use a pot on the stove filled with water. Be sure to use a pan that will allow you to completely cover the baby bottle with water. Use a low to medium setting, warm the water for five minutes, then put the baby bottle in the warm water and heat for up to two minutes. Squeeze a drop on the inside of your forearm before giving the bottle to your infant – it’s a good way to check the formula’s temperature.

    Walking and Baby Bottles Don’t Go Together

    Avoid letting your child walk around while drinking from a baby bottle. They are bound to fall when they are learning to walk, and a fall with a bottle in their mouth can result in a facial injury.

    Lidless Cups Should Be the Goal

    Around the time your child begins to walk (generally 12 to 18 months) is when you should start to wean your child off their bottle. Start by having them drink from a sipping cup at mealtimes, or even from a cup without a lid. There’s bound to be a good deal of spilled liquids initially, so start with water (or a beverage without sugar) because it’s easy to clean up.

    Regular Check Ups

    The #1 way to help your child avoid tooth decay is by making sure they see a dentist before they turn one. It’s important to have your child become relaxed about going to a dentist. It will make their check up every six months much easier and set them up for a lifetime of good oral health.

    Source: Healthychildren.org

  • Dr. Walter Hunt: Practicing the Golden Rule of Dentistry Since 1977

    Most people are familiar with the Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And most of Personal Care Dentistry’s patients know that the Golden Rule guides the dentists and staff at the clinic when they are assisting or treating patients. But when did Dr. Walter Hunt, DDS, the founder of the practice, start implementing the Golden Rule as a driving force at Personal Care Dentistry?

    From the first day he opened his practice in 1977 on Hamline Avenue, Dr. Hunt emphasized the Golden Rule of Dentistry.  According to Dr. Hunt, “Our practice has always taken the time to really listen to our patients and provide close, personal attention to best customize their care. I know the kind of care that I demand as a patient, and that is the kind of care that I strive to provide. I call it ‘Golden Rule Dentistry.’ It is a philosophy shared by all of our staff members.”

    But you have to go back even further than 1977 to learn about how and why he developed his approach to dentistry that focuses on compassionate care.  Dr. Hunt grew up in northwestern Indiana in a small town named Merrillville. By the time he was in high school, he had become an accomplished athlete in both football and baseball. It was then that he also reached a defining moment in his life, one that has influenced his approach to life and dentistry.

    “My family didn’t have much money. We lived in a poor neighborhood in Merrillville so I had a lot of friends who were also poor. But because I was a good athlete, I also had a group of friends who came from families with money. And I didn’t like the way the kids with money would treat the poor kids. It was then that I vowed that I would always treat everyone equally with the same amount of caring and respect,” emphasizes Dr. Hunt. “The worth of a person should not be defined by what they have or how they look.”

    For Dr. Hunt, being a dentist and the founder of Personal Care Dentistry is not a job. It is a passion. He has had the same goal for almost half a century — treat people with dignity and respect, and as a dentist, provide them with the best care possible.

    “This is my passion, and this is how I can contribute to helping other people have better lives,” he says. “Even today, I still feel like I get more out of caring for others than they do. I love being here at Personal Care Dentistry,” concludes Dr. Hunt.

  • How to Overcome Dental Anxiety

    If you feel anxious or afraid at the mere thought of  going to the dentist, you should know that you’re not alone. More than 33% of Americans feel the same emotions about dentists. Often, people who suffer from dental anxiety or fear never go to the dentist, and then are faced with a lifetime of poor oral health, pain, and potential adverse effects to their overall health.

    Interestingly, patients who are anxious or fearful of a dental visit often find that an actual dental procedure isn’t nearly as “scary” as they expected. Patient surveys done prior to and after some of the most fear-inducing dental procedures (i.e. root canals or wisdom tooth removal) found that patients’ expectation of discomfort was not matched by the actual discomfort they experienced.

    Common Reasons for Dental Anxiety – And Tips to Overcome Them

    Not knowing what will happen: The unknown is often at the root of many of our fears, so sitting down with your dentist to discuss your situation and what dental procedures would be used to help you can be critical in reducing your anxiety level. Also, to make you feel more comfortable, bring along a friend for your dental visit. Your familiarity with them will help overcome the unfamiliarity of a dental office.

    Physically feeling uneasy: Simple techniques like controlled breathing can help reduce the physical manifestations of fear and anxiety. For controlled breathing, take a big breath, then hold it, and finally let it out slowly (pretend you are a leaky tire). A second technique you can try is progressive muscle relaxation – tense and relax muscle groups one after another.

    Dental equipment: Not understanding what those often odd-looking tools are used for during your dental visit can create lots of anxiety. Ask your dentist if you can hold the tools and examine them so you don’t feel like alien objects are going to probe around in your mouth.

    Gag reflex: Dental X-rays are often difficult to cope with if you are anxious about your dental visit because of the tabs that are put in your mouth. Luckily, most dentists now use digital X-rays, which don’t need tabs.

    Loud noises: The sound of a dental drill or other dental instrument often generates anxiety or fear in patients. Ask your dentist for earplugs or headphones that will eliminate sounds during your visit.

    Lying back in a dental chair: For some patients, lying back in a dental chair creates anxiety because of the loss of control. For other patients, they may have back issues. Ask for your dental chair to be only put halfway back. Or also ask for pillows to reduce aches and pains in your back when the chair is lowered.

    Breathing through your mouth: If you tend to breathe through your mouth, then you probably feel like your breathing is impaired when you are in a dental chair. After all, the dental care team will need to be working in your mouth during the visit, which can make it tough to breathe. You might try a nasal strip to open up the air passages in your nose. Or ask for nitrous oxide, which will help you relax and will make breathing easier while you are in the dental chair.

    Sources: WebMD, Huffington Post ffffffff

  • Six Reasons Why Dental Implants Might Be the Best Option

    Missing teeth can have a huge impact on a person’s health and confidence. Often, those missing teeth make it difficult to chew, which affects your diet. Facial features can change if there is bone loss in conjunction with the missing teeth. And for many people with missing teeth, their confidence takes a hit because they are so self-confident about how they look and how they eat.

    Historically, dental bridges and dentures have been the primary solution to helping people with missing teeth. But the development of dental implants has provided patients with a new choice that can be a “game-changer” for a patient’s life.

    Here are six reasons why a dental implant might be the right choice for you if you are missing teeth.

    Prevents Bone Loss

    If you replace a lost tooth with a dental implant, it will prevent the bone from starting to reabsorb because it replaces the root. If you don’t take this approach, you may eventually require a bone graft because of the bone reabsorption process. You will need to make sure that too much time doesn’t pass between when you lose your tooth and begin the dental implant process.

    Enhances Your Quality of Life

    Implants look and feel like your own teeth, so your quality of life is bound to be improved. Dental bridges and dentures can be difficult to take care of and wear, and dental crowns can feel and look like they aren’t natural.

    Eating Is Easier – Which Helps You Be Healthier

    With dental bridges, dentures and crowns, eating can be a hassle. You may have problems with certain types of foods (crunchy or sticky foods can be difficult) adversely impacting the crown, denture or bridge. If you have a dental implant, you won’t have to worry about a bridge or denture slipping or a crown coming off.  Crunchy vegies, chewy steak, sticky caramel rolls – none of them will present a problem chewing if you have implants. And since you will be able to thoroughly chew your food with implants, your digestion will improve and so will your health.

    Stop Worrying

    Your dental implant won’t slip or move when you chew food, laugh, cough or sneeze. They are permanently attached to your jawbone and are as sturdy as natural teeth that are healthy.

    Naturally Restores Your Mouth

    An implant is the best dental approach to replicating the original tooth that you lost. It matches the structure of the original tooth as close as possible and is the sturdiest and most natural looking option available.

    Food Can Have Flavor

    For folks who wear an upper denture, the full flavor of any food they eat is seriously reduced. With a dental implant, you won’t have that problem. You’ll be able to enjoy the full flavor of whatever food you are eating.

    If you would like more information about the advantages of dental implants, the procedure to put them into your mouth, and their cost, meet with a dentist at Personal Care Dentistry for a complimentary consultation.

    Source: Worldental.org, American Dental Plan

  • Whatever You Call A Soft Drink, It’s Bad For Your Teeth

    The soft drink has many names in the United States. On the East and West coasts, they call it soda. In the Midwest, many people refer to it as pop. And in the South, it’s often called Coke (even if it’s Pepsi). But no matter what you call a soft drink’s sugary concoction, it’s a recipe for disaster for your oral health.

    Why? Because a soft drink is full of acids and sugar byproducts that are acidic. The combination softens your tooth enamel, which is the first step on the road to a cavity. While sugar-free soft drinks are slights less impactful on your oral health, they are still acidic and can negatively affect your teeth.

    Soft drink consumption in the United States has been declining for many years, but Americans still consume an average of 400 12-ounce servings per person per year. That’s 3,200 teaspoons of sugar ingested annually! Long-term consumption of soft drinks over many years increases the odds that you’ll suffer tooth decay problems at some point.

    That consumption of all that sugar and the acid in soft drinks is especially damaging to the oral health of children and teenagers, whose teeth are still in the formative stages.

    So what should you do to reduce the impact on your oral health and protect your children’s developing teeth? Here are some ideas to implement in your household:

    Try different drinks: Skip the soft drinks and fill your fridge with beverages low in sugar and acid. These include water, milk and pure fruit juice. Unsugared ice tea is another good option to avoid sugar.

    Rinse, rinse, rinse: Be sure to reach for a glass of water if you do consume a soft drink. It’s a great way to flush all the sugar and acids deposited in your mouth by the soft drink you just drank.

    Grab the fluoride: Fluoride strengthens the enamel on your teeth and lowers the risk of cavities. So be sure to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and for an extra dose of fluoride, rinse with a mouthwash that contains fluoride.

    Get professional help: Be sure to visit your dentist twice a year for a dental hygiene visit to get all the gunk off your teeth that built up over the last six months. You can also request a fluoride treatment during your visit.

    While soft drinks are tough on your teeth, you can reduce their impact on your oral health by following our four tips.

    SOURCE: Colgate

  • Why Are All Mouth Guards Not Created Equal?

    Using a custom-fitted mouth guard in contact sports can both protect your teeth and enhance your sports performance.

    Mouth guards are designed to reduce the risk of a blow to the face injuring – or breaking – your teeth or hurting your tongue, lips, face and jaw. They generally cover the teeth in your upper jaw and are especially important for the oral health of any athlete involved in a contact sport – football, lacrosse, hockey, wrestling, rugby, and boxing. Mouth guards can also prevent injury in sports that don’t feature constant contact, like baseball or basketball.

    While wearing any type of mouth guard is better than not wearing a mouth guard at all, certain types of mouth guards provide superior protection and have less impact on an athlete’s speech, breathing, and comfort while wearing the mouth guard.

    Did you know that athletes who don’t use a mouth guard are nearly 60 times more likely to suffer an injury to their mouth? And did you know that the mouth guard you choose can have a huge impact on how well your son’s or daughter’s teeth are protected from a blow to the face? Losing a permanent tooth can create a lifetime of problems for a young athlete, including impacting their smile, speech, eating and self-image.

    So what are the three main types of mouth guards?

    Stock: These mouth guards are relatively cheap and you purchase them already formed and ready to wear. However, they are usually bulky and ill-fitting and negatively impact breathing and talking. Those issues usually reduce an athlete’s performance.

    Boil and bite: You can purchase this type of mouth guard at most sporting goods stores and often at drug stores or big box stores like Walmart or Target. You soften them initially in boiling water, then insert them into your mouth so that the softened mouth guard can shape itself to your mouth.

    Custom-fitted: These are the best type of mouth guards because they are one-of-a-kind and made just for you. Your dentist will personally fit these to your mouth – it takes just 30 minutes for the fitting –  and the custom manufacturing takes less than a week.

    Among the benefits of a custom-fitted mouth guard from your dentist are:

    • Comfortable fit
    • Clear speech
    • Enhanced breathing
    • Better protection
    • Ease of drinking
    • Customizable colors
    • Different thicknesses

    Give your dentist at Personal Care Dentistry a call about making an appointment for a custom-fitted mouth guard. Your son or daughter involved in sports will thank you for protecting their mouth for a lifetime!

    SOURCE: American Dental Association

  • All About Root Canals

    You might think of a root canal as being especially painful, but the truth is that most people who have one reported much less pain than they expected. In fact, many compare it to getting a crown or filling. Most importantly, the benefits to your oral health from a root canal can be huge.

    So what is a root canal? It is a procedure designed to save a tooth that is infected or badly damaged. The actual term “root canal” refers to the canals inside the tooth’s root.

    If your dentist suspects that you may need a root canal, they will initially take an X-ray or review X-rays previously taken to see where the decay is located. After administering a local anesthesia, the dentist removes the area of the tooth that is damaged, called the pulp, and then cleans and disinfects the area before filling it and sealing the opening. Most often, the root canal is needed because the pulp has been impacted by a cracked tooth, an especially deep cavity, or trauma. If you have severe anxiety about getting a root canal, your dentist can provide you with a sedative prior to the dental procedure.

    What Are the Advantages of a Root Canal?

    Inflammation Relief: When the nerve inside of the tooth become inflamed, it can often ache when you consume cold or hot liquids or when you bite. Usually, the only way to stop the inflammation (and the pain) is to remove the pulp through a root canal.

    Infection Control: The pulp in your teeth usually can’t recover from an infection because of its limited blood flow. Bacteria are able to get into the tooth and fester, causing infection, inflammation and pain. Even if you are able to successfully treat the bacteria with antibiotics, the pulp is often partially destroyed. This means you may still feel pain in that area.

    Decay Deterrent: Tissue in your mouth will gradually decay if the damage to the pulp is not dealt with by your dentist. This can spread to the gum and bone tissue and eventually impact other teeth. In addition, the dead tissue can become a bacterial breeding ground. A root canal will prevent additional damage to your mouth.

    Prevention: If you have teeth that are at severe risk for additional pulp complications, your dentist may recommend a root canal to prevent serious problems from occurring in the future. This preventative approach can prevent what are called asymptomatic abscesses from forming. These lack pain, so you don’t notice them, but they can lead to additional problems with your other teeth and impact your overall oral health. The reason these don’t create pain is because the infection site is draining through a fistula, which is a tissue tunnel that prevents pressure from increasing in the tissue in the affected tooth – which would then cause you pain, which you would notice.

    By deciding on a root canal, you can usually save the affected tooth from having to be completely removed. Remember, the dentist doesn’t remove your tooth or its roots. Rather, the canals around the root are cleaned of any infection, and pulp and nerve tissue are removed. This rids the area of all the bacteria, which is where the infection came from in the first place. 

    Root canals are 95% successful and almost always are able to save the affected teeth. Because a crown or filling is added once the root canal is completed, it is impossible to tell that you had a root canal.

    Sources: Worldental.org, Colgate, WebMD