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2233 North Hamline Ave.
Suite 320
Roseville, MN 55113
(651) 636-0655
  • Crowns Are For More than Kings and Queens

    When Are Crowns For Your Teeth Necessary and What Are Your Options?

    When you’ve got a bad tooth and your dentist suggests that you need a crown, the options that you are presented with can often be mind-boggling. In this week’s blog, we’ve tried to give you an overview of what types of oral health problems call for using a crown and the types of materials you have to choose from when the crown is made.
    SMILESo what exactly is a crown? For many years, it was what royalty wore (and still do in some countries like England). But in the dental world, a crown is a covering that goes over a tooth and is known as a type of dental restoration.  Crowns can be fabricated with various types of materials, from metals to porcelain.

    A crown is needed in the following situations:

    • Damage to a tooth is so severe that it cannot be fixed by placing an amalgam or composite restoration (a filling).
    • The appearance of the tooth is less than desirable and the placement of a crown can improve the shape, color and in some cases the alignment of the tooth.
    • To protect a weak tooth due to decay.
    • To protect a weak tooth that has been cracked.
    • To hold a dental bridge into place.
    • To cover a dental implant.

    There are several steps involved when placing a permanent crown.  The doctors at Personal Care Dentistry will evaluate the patient’s needs and decide what is best for the patient.  If a crown is necessary the doctor will proceed by prepping the tooth that needs the crown.  This step entails removing any decay and preparing the tooth for its permanent crown.  This may include fabricating a build-up if there is not enough healthy tooth surface left to hold and stabilize the new crown.

    crown-procedure1-300x118An impression is taken and a temporary crown is fabricated after the tooth is prepped.  The temporary crown is seated while the permanent crown is being made in the lab.  Once the crown is finished, typically 1 to 2 weeks, the patient will return to get the permanent crown cemented into place.

    So what are the different types of materials used in crowns?

    Stainless steel crowns are prefabricated crowns that are used on permanent teeth primarily as a temporary measure. The crown protects the tooth or filling while a permanent crown is made from another material. They are often used with children’s primary teeth. The crown covers the entire tooth and protects it from further decay. When the primary tooth comes out to make room for the permanent tooth, the crown comes out naturally with it.

    Metals used in crowns include gold alloy, palladium, nickel or chromium. Compared with other crown types, less tooth structure needs to be removed with metal crowns, and tooth wear to opposing teeth is kept to a minimum. Metal crowns withstand biting and chewing forces well and probably last the longest in terms of wear down. Also, metal crowns rarely chip or break. The metallic color is the main drawback. Metal crowns are a good choice for out-of-sight molars.

     Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns can be color matched to your adjacent teeth (unlike the metallic crowns). However, more wearing to the opposing teeth occurs with this crown type compared with metal or resin crowns. The crown’s porcelain portion can also chip or break off. Next to all-ceramic crowns, porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns look most like normal teeth. These crowns can be a good choice for front or back teeth.

    dental-crownAll-resin dental crowns are less expensive than other crown types. However, they wear down over time and are more prone to fractures than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.

    All-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns provide better natural color match than any other crown type and may be more suitable for people with metal allergies. However, they are not as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns and they wear down opposing teeth a little more than metal or resin crowns. All-ceramic crowns are a good choice for front teeth.

    Temporary versus permanent. Temporary crowns can be made in your dentist’s office, whereas permanent crowns are made in a dental laboratory. Temporary crowns are made of acrylic or stainless steel and can be used as a temporary restoration until a permanent crown is constructed by a lab.

    SOURCE: WebMD and American Dental Association

  • Take Your Family Mini-Golfing This Summer

    These Courses In The Twin Cities Feature Everything From Pink Kangaroos to Original Sculptures

    Looking for something new to do this summer with your family? How about that age-old favorite, mini-golf? Here’s a list of courses in the Twin Cities that the whole family can enjoy. These courses have waterfalls, streams, windmills, castles, original sculptures and pink kangaroos. And that’s just for a start. See you on the courses this summer!


    Address: 572 Bench St., Taylors Falls

    Info: 651-465-7831, taylorsfalls.com

    Admission: $6.50 adults, $5.50 ages 12 and younger

    Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday

    Description: An 18-hole course with a pond, stream, waterfall and mill with a water wheel, plus a club house built with recycled barn wood. This retro rustic course is adjacent to the Drive In Restaurant, which has been serving hamburgers and root beer in frosted mugs along the St. Croix River since 1956.

    science-museum-golf-200x300BIG BACK YARD

    Address: Science Museum of Minnesota, 120 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul

    Info: 651-221-9444, smm.org

    Admission: $5 plus museum admission of $13 adults, $10 ages 12 and younger

    Hours: Reopens for season June 21; 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, through Labor Day

    Description: EarthScapes Mini Golf offers a lesson in how rain, runoff and rivers change the landscape. Whack your golf balls through sewer pipes, across drainage basins or down a concrete slope molded to look like the eroded gullies of Badlands National Park. The nine-hole course is part of the Science Museum’s outdoor exhibit space, the Big Back Yard.




    Mini-golf-photo-300x201BIG STONE MINI GOLF

    Address: 7110 County Road 110, Minnetrista

    Info: 952-472-9292, bigstoneminigolf.com

    Admission: $8 adults, $7 ages 8 and younger

    Hours: 11 a.m. until sundown daily through September (weather permitting)

    Description: Artist Bruce Stillman is still adding holes to the quirky course he opened in 2003 on a farm just west of Lake Minnetonka. He’s up to 14, each meticulously landscaped around his sculptures and the few odd elements, such as an upside-down 1950s Chris Craft boat. Putt across a field of plump stone pumpkins or through steel sunflowers. Then feed the goats and roast marshmallows by the Stonehenge fire pit.


    Address: 1360 Civic Center Drive., Eagan

    Info: 651-675-5577, cascadebay.com

    Admission: $2 for nine holes, $4 for unlimited golf (with paid pool admission)

    Hours: 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. daily

    Description: Splash around in Cascade Bay Water Park and then play nine rounds on Captain’s Course, a naturalistic course with brick-edged greens, a wood bridge and water.

    centennual-lakes-golf-300x122 CENTENNIAL LAKES PARK

    Address: 7499 France Ave. S., Edina

    Info: 952-833-9580, centenniallakespark.com

    Admission: $5 for nine holes, $9 for 18 holes

    Hours: 10 a.m. to sunset daily through Labor Day

    Description: As one of the few courses played on real grass, Centennial Lakes Park may have it right when it rejects the mini golf label and calls itself “golf in miniature.” The 24-acre park features a putting course with sand traps, gardens and ponds. Recommended for ages 8 and older.


    Address: 11000 Bass Lake Road, Plymouth

    Info: 763-694-7695, eaglelakegolf.com

    Admission: $6 adults, $5 ages 8-17; $2 second round

    Hours: 7 a.m.-10 p.m. through early snowfall. (Call for fall hours.)

    Description: This traditional 18-hole miniature golf course is in Three Rivers Park District’s Eagle Lake Regional Park, next to the regulation-size courses where the park runs summer youth golf programs.


    Address: 1815 Van Dyke St., Maplewood

    Info: 651-777-0500, goodrichgolfdome.net

    Admission: $6 adults, $5 ages 15 and younger, $4.25 seniors

    Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and Sunday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; closed Monday-Tuesday

    Description: No frills, plenty of sunshine and a chance to get competitive on this 18-hole course, inside a chain-link fence next to Maplewood’s big driving range dome. There’s a small patio with picnic tables.


    Address: 1066 County Highway 10 N.E., Spring Lake Park

    Info: 763-786-4994, goonygolfmn.com

    Admission: $8 for 18 holes; $4 for second round; $13 for three rounds

    Hours: 9 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. (Call for spring and fall hours.)

    Description: Goony Golf is as goofy as it sounds, with giant creatures looming over two 18-hole courses. Hit a ball up a ramp and into the pouch of a pink kangaroo or tee off under a green dinosaur. There’s also a third course for serious golfers, a video arcade and water wars.


    Address: 1349 Coon Rapids Blvd., Coon Rapids

    Info: 763-755-1450, lilliputt.net

    Admission: $8 adults, $5 kids shorter than 42 inches

    Hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily through mid-September

    Description: A fake rock castle is a highlight at Lilli Putt, which has been in business for more than 50 years. The 18-hole course includes a waterfall, a little stream and adjacent go-carts and bumper cars.

    links-at-Dred-Scott-300x197THE LINKS AT DRED SCOTT MINIATURE GOLF

    Address: 10820 Bloomington Ferry Road, Bloomington

    Info: 952-941-2444, linksminigolf.com

    Admission: $7 adults, $6 ages 12 and younger and seniors (cash or checks only)

    Hours: 3-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday June through Labor Day

    Description: If a Japanese garden were turned into a golf course, it might look something like The Links, with its rock borders, pools, waterfalls and undulating Astroturf and grass. This course boasts a more-natural look and no kitsch.


    Address: 6335 Portland Ave., Richfield

    Info: 612-861-0668, cityofrichfield.org/index.aspx?page=240

    Admission: $7.75 adults, $6.25 ages 6-17 and seniors

    Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily through Labor Day, hours vary into October

    Description: Eighteen holes and eight flavors of ice cream. What’s not to love? Putt your way through and then buy a malt to enjoy under a patio umbrella. There’s often live music in the band shell next door.


    Address: 1300 Midway Parkway, St. Paul

    Info: 651-488-0277, putterthere.com

    Admission: $2.50 for nine holes, $5 for 18 holes (cash or check only)

    Hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday through Labor Day

    Description: Putt’er There has been in Como Park for more than 50 years. A vintage streetcar doubles as the clubhouse, and the course includes an old-fashioned windmill, fountains, water traps and a castle. Play the front nine holes or all 18.

    mIni-golf-walker-art-300x199WALKER ON THE GREEN: ARTIST-DESIGNED MINI GOLF

    Address: Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis

    Info: 612-375-7697, walkerart.org/calendar/2014/walker-green-artist-designed-mini-golf

    Admission: For nine holes: $12 adults, $10 students, $9 ages 7-12; for 18 holes: $18 adults, $15 students, $13.50 ages 7-12 (free 6 and younger)

    Hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, through Labor Day

    Description: The Walker Art Center asked artists to design 18 holes next to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. There are garden-gnome obstacles affixed to twirling rods like an oversized foosball game and holes that look like a giant gumball machine, a ping pong table, a cemetery with gravestones and even a toilet. That last one is a nod to the infamous urinal that Dada artist Marcel DuChamp submitted to an early 20th-century art exhibit.

    Source: Pioneer Press


  • Blending the Latest Technology With A Gentle Touch

    Personal Care Dentistry Has Been Delivering Compassionate Care for 37 Years

     100-DISCOUNT-300x225Do you have a cavity that needs attention? Maybe a chipped tooth that could use some help? If you do, then Personal Care Dentistry would like to offer you a $100 voucher toward your dental care to test-drive our clinic. Since 1977, the team at Personal Care Dentistry has been treating patients like they were family – with compassion, respect and excellence. Our family of dentists, hygienists and office staff blend the latest technology with a gentle touch in a warm, caring atmosphere. Our never-ending quest for excellence in dental care has resulted in Dr. Walter Hunt, D.D.S., the founder of Personal Care Dentistry, being named ‘Top Dentist’ by Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine for 4 consecutive years and voted ‘Top Dentist’ by the Roseville Review for the last 7 years.
    The dentists and staff at Personal Care Dentistry provide a wide array of oral health procedures, including:

    • Gentle cleanings
    • Nonsurgical gum care
    • Lasting crowns and bridges
    • Dentures and partials
    • Periodontal treatment
    • Cosmetic whitening, bonding and veneers
    • TMJ solutions
    • Implants
    • Root canals and extractions
    • Invisalign clear braces

    Personal-Care-Dentistry-Web-3-300x200Personal Care Dentistry, located in Roseville at 2233 Hamline Avenue North, Suite 320, recently expanded their clinic to take up the entire third floor of the office building they are in. They now have more than 8,000 square feet of state-of-the-art treatment facilities for their care team to provide the very best care possible.

    Many of our patients have been coming to us for decades, notes Zach Hunt, Clinic Administrator at Personal Care Dentistry. They truly feel we are an extension of their family and that they can always depend on us to provide excellent care based on compassion, respect and personalized service. Our motto is ‘We Serve the World’s Greatest Patients’ and we take that approach with each of our patients. Personal Care Dentistry was recently awarded the Angie’s List SuperService Award for the third consecutive year.

    Personal-Care-Dentistry-Web-2-300x200According to Dr. Hunt, We take 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.”

    Zach Hunt notes that Personal Care Dentistry offers both same-day emergency appointments and early morning and evening appointments. The clinic opens at 6:30 a.m. and closes at 8 p.m. during most weekdays.

  • How Does Growing Older Impact Your Teeth?

    What You Can Do To Keep Your Smile Young as You Age

    Older-couple-smilingGiven all the chewing, crunching, biting, and gnashing they do, our teeth are surprisingly resilient. Still, everyday wear and tear and the natural aging process take a toll.

    Here’s what happens to teeth as we age — and what you can do to keep your teeth strong and sparkling for a lifetime.

    Preventing Acid Erosion

    By far the biggest threat to teeth is sugary and starchy food. These carbohydrates ferment, causing the bacteria in the mouth to produce acids. Those acids can quickly eat away at the enamel of teeth.  As a result, this creates tiny pits where tooth decay can form.

    What You Can Do:

    • Go easy on sugary foods, especially carbonated soft drinks and sports drinks.
    • Avoid frequent snacking, which causes acid levels in the mouth to remain high over an extended time.
    • If you get a craving for something sweet, chew sugarless gum. Chewing increases saliva production, which helps cleanse the mouth and neutralize acidity.
    • Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes and floss daily. Daily dental hygiene reduces bacteria levels in your mouth.
    • See your dentist every six months for a regular checkup that includes removing plaque buildup.

    Preventing Mechanical Wear and Tear on Your Teeth

    Contrary to what many people assume, teeth do not become more brittle with age, according to the American Dental Association. Unfortunately, dentists see patients all the time who have cracked or chipped a tooth biting down hard on something like an olive that still has a pit or a kernel of unpopped popcorn. Teeth that have fillings or root canals are particularly vulnerable.

    Another problem that causes wear and tear is the habit of grinding or clenching teeth. Called bruxism, it is frequently caused by stress or anxiety. Over time, bruxism can wear down the biting surfaces of teeth, making them more susceptible to decay.

    What You Can Do:

    • Avoid chewing ice and other very hard foods.
    • Double-check to make sure that pitted foods have no pits before you bite down on them.
    • See your dentist regularly. He or she can spot cracked or broken fillings that may weaken teeth. Your dentist will also check for signs of bruxism. Your dentist may recommend a mouth guard that can be worn at night to prevent grinding.

    Preventing Stains on Your Teeth

    Older-person-smilingCertain foods — especially coffee, tea, and red wine — can stain teeth. Tobacco, both smoked and chewed, also discolors teeth. Because stains typically form where there is organic build-up, or plaque, on teeth,  it’s important to have them removed as part of a regular checkup.

    What You Can Do:

    • Avoid foods that stain teeth.
    • Brush regularly to remove plaque buildup, which will help your teeth resist stains.
    • Have your teeth cleaned professionally every six months. Your dentist or dental hygienist can remove plaque and tartar that a toothbrush can’t reach.

    Preventing Gum Problems

    By far the biggest threat to healthy teeth is gum disease. The risk of gum problems increases with age, especially as pockets form at the gum line where bacteria can grow. Left untreated, bacterial infections can cause inflammation that damages connective tissue and even bone, leading to tooth loss.

    What You Can Do:

    • Brush and floss regularly to remove bacteria.
    • For added protection, use an antibacterial mouthwash.
    • Go to your dentist for a regular checkup every six months. This is particularly important for detecting gum disease early.
    • Since gum disease is an inflammatory process, eating foods that suppress inflammation may help. Growing evidence suggests that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help dampen inflammation. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fish, fish oil, and flaxseed.

    Preventing Dry Mouth as You Age

    Dry mouth can drastically increase the risk of decay and gum problems. A healthy flow of saliva helps clean teeth and neutralize acids that otherwise eat away at the tooth enamel. However, more than 800 different drugs cause dry mouth as a side effect, and many of these are medications people take as they get older, according to the American Dental Association.

    What You Can Do:

    • A drop-off in saliva levels can very quickly cause problems. So at the first sign of dry mouth, talk to your doctor.
    • A change in prescriptions may help alleviate the problem. If not, your doctor may recommend chewing sugar-free gum. Gum increases saliva flow.
    • Saliva-like oral mouthwashes are also available.



  • Personal Care Dentistry Patient Remembers Those Who Have Served

    James Kindler Has Written About Generals and Privates in the U.S. Armed Forces

    DSCN7315-Copy-300x225My first published article was titled, “A Friendly Wager with Ulysses S. Grant,” which was published in The Numismatist in April of 1999 and then earned the Heath Literary Award in 2000.  Between 2007 and 2010, I worked closely with the eminent, blue-blooded Richard B. Mather to edit, ghost write, and produce the single volume of his autobiography and his father’s biography that is titled, William Arnot Mather, American Missionary to China, and Richard Burroughs Mather, Professor of Chinese.

    Between 2011 and 2013, I authored and compiled a 326-page biography of a 94-year-old World War II veteran, who landed on Utah Beach during Operation Overlord in 1944, took part in the various battles and military operations in France and Germany (the Battle of Fôret de Parroy, the Battle of the Bulge, the Battle of the Rhine, the Liberation of Dachau, and the Occupation of Germany, including Berchtesgaden), and was deployed there through the end of 1945.

    In April of 2014, I authored, compiled, and completed another book on General Grant, and I am currently working on a narrative and pictorial history of V-E Day on May 8, 1945.

    My background? Before I became a registered university student, I completed a two-year electronic technician program in the early 1970’s and worked full-time as an electronic technician from the fall of 1972-1999.  During that period of time, I also became a full-time university student, with majors in both chemistry and Chinese. After earning a bachelor’s degree in 1983, I then went on to finish two master’s degrees (one in Chinese in 1993 and the other in Japanese in 1994). The following year, I was admitted into the PhD program at the University of Minnesota, where I pursued a dual doctorate in classical Chinese and Japanese.

    Up until 1999, I was working full-time at Pratt & Whitney, the American aerospace manufacturer with global service operations, until business and manufacturing operations in the Twin Cities were moved to Hartford, Connecticut, in early 2000. After Pratt & Whitney, I became a translator in an elite Chinese to English translation team and was active with them between 2000 and 2012, when the translation group was disbanded.

  • Is Thumbsucking Bad for Your Child’s Teeth?

    5 Quick Tips to Help Them Break the Habit and Avoid Tooth Problems

    Stop-Thumb-Sucking2Thumbsucking is a natural reflex for children. Sucking on thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or other objects may make babies feel secure and happy and help them learn about their world. Young children may also suck to soothe themselves and help them fall asleep.

    However, after the permanent teeth come in, sucking may cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and alignment of the teeth. It can also cause changes in the roof of the mouth. Pacifiers can affect the teeth essentially the same ways as sucking fingers and thumbs, but it is often an easier habit to break. The intensity of the sucking is a factor that determines whether or not dental problems may result. If children rest their thumbs passively in their mouths, they are less likely to have difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs. Some aggressive thumbsuckers may develop problems with their baby (primary) teeth.

    Children usually stop sucking between the ages of two and four years old, or by the time the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. If you notice changes in your child’s primary teeth, or are concerned about your child’s thumbsucking consult your dentist at Personal Care Dentistry.

    Tips for helping your child stop thumbsucking:

    • Praise your child for not sucking.
    • Children often suck their thumbs when feeling insecure or needing comfort. Focus on correcting the cause of the anxiety and provide comfort to your child.
    • For an older child, involve him or her in choosing the method of stopping.
    • Your dentist at Personal Care Dentistry can offer encouragement to your child and explain what could happen to their teeth if they do not stop sucking.
    • If the above tips don’t work, remind the child of their habit by bandaging the thumb or putting a sock on the hand at night. Your dentist or pediatrician may prescribe a bitter medication to coat the thumb or the use of a mouth appliance.

    SOURCE: American Dental Association

  • Practicing Golden Rule Dentistry

    Dr. Walter Hunt Always Strives to Provide the Best Care Possible

    Most people are familiar with the Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you, which is found in the Bible (Matt. 7:12). 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?

    dr-hunt-homepageFrom the first day he opened his practice in 1977 on Hamline Avenue, Dr. Hunt emphasized Golden Rule 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 town named Merrillville. By the time his family moved to Minnesota at the beginning of his junior year of 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. Even today, I still feel like I get more out of caring

  • We Practice the Golden Rule

    New Patients Can Experience the Personal Care Dentistry Difference for $69


    At Personal Care Dentistry, we care for our patients the same way we would care for our families – with compassion, respect and the highest quality. For 37 years, we’ve blended the latest technology with a gentle touch in a warm, caring atmosphere. Come experience the difference at Personal Care Dentistry by using the New Patient Special Voucher for a cleaning, X-rays and exam by one of our dentists. Just print the page or bring in your smartphone or tablet and show us the coupon from our mobile site. Whatever you do, make an appointment today!

    Personal Care Dentistry:

    • Emergency Same-Day Appointments available
    • Early Morning & Evening Appointments available
    • We accept most insurance
    • Financing available


    • Gentle cleanings
    • Lasting crowns and bridges
    • Nonsurgical gum care
    • Dentures and partials
    • Cosmetic whitening, bonding and veneers
    • TMJ solutions
    • Implants
    • Invisalign clear braces

    Personal Care Dentistry

    2233 North Hamline Avenue, Suite 320, Roseville, MN 55113

    Phone: 651-636-0655

  • Healthy Teeth for Life: 10 Tips for Families

    Keep a Sparkling Smile From Childhood to Old Age

    There are so many good reasons to keep your family’s teeth and gums healthy. Their sparkling smiles. Being able to chew for good nutrition. Avoiding toothaches and discomfort. And new research suggests that gum disease can lead to other problems in the body, including increased risk of heart disease.

    Happy-family-of-four-smiling-300x135In fact, most experts agree that almost all tooth decay and most gum disease can be prevented with good oral hygiene. We’re talking about taking a few minutes each day to brush and floss. That’s not a lot in return for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

    Fortunately, there are simple ways to keep teeth strong and healthy from childhood to old age. Here’s how:

    1. Start children early. Once that first tooth appears usually around six months you should begin a child’s dental care. Teeth can be wiped with a clean, damp cloth or a very soft brush. At about age 2, you can let kids try brushing for themselves — although it’s important to supervise. Start early and avoid your child being part of the 50% of children between the ages of 12 and 15 who have cavities.

    2. Seal off trouble. Permanent molars come in around age 6. Thin protective coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth can prevent decay in the pits and fissures. Yet only one in three U.S. kids receives dental sealants. Talk to your dentist at Personal Care Dentistry.

    3. Use fluoride. Fluoride strengthens enamel, making it less likely to decay. Three out of four Americans drink water that is fluoridated. If your water isn’t fluoridated (i.e. you drink bottled water), talk to your dentist at Personal Care Dentistry, who may suggest putting a fluoride application on your teeth. Many toothpastes and mouth rinses also contain fluoride.

    flossbrush4. Brush twice a day and floss daily. Gum disease and tooth decay remain big problems — and not just for older people. Three-fourths of teenagers have gums that bleed, according to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association. Also remember to change your toothbrush 3 to 4 times a year.

    5. Rinse or chew gum after meals. In addition to brushing and flossing, rinsing your mouth with an antibacterial rinse can help prevent decay and gum problems. Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal can also protect by increasing saliva flow, which naturally washes bacteria away and neutralizes acid.

    6. Block blows to teeth. Most school teams now require children to wear mouth guards. But remember: unsupervised recreational activities like skate-boarding and roller-blading can also result in injuries. Your dentist can make a custom-fitted mouth guard.

    7. Don’t smoke or use smokeless tobacco. Tobacco stains teeth and significantly increases the risk of gum disease and oral cancer. If you smoke or use chewing tobacco, consider quitting. Counsel your kids not to start.

    8. Eat smart. At every age, a healthy diet is essential to healthy teeth and gums. A well-balanced diet of whole foods — including grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables, and dairy products — will provide all the nutrients you need for healthy teeth and gums. Some researchers believe that omega-3 fats, the kind found in fish, may also reduce inflammation, thereby lowering risk of gum disease.

    images-of-pop9. Avoid sugary foods. When bacteria in the mouth break down simple sugars, they produce acids that can erode tooth enamel, opening the door to decay. Sugary drinks, including soft drinks and fruit drinks, pose a special threat because people tend to sip them, raising acid levels over a long period of time. Sticky candies are another culprit, because they linger on teeth surfaces.

    10. Make an appointment. Most experts recommend a dental check-up every 6 months — more often if you have problems like gum disease. During a routine exam, your dental hygienist will remove plaque build-up that you can’t brush or floss away and look for signs of decay. They will also look for early signs of oral cancer, wear and tear from teeth grinding, and signs of gum disease.