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Holiday Candy Season… Survival Guide

November 8th, 2018

Halloween has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the candy season. There are plenty of opportunities to imbibe sweets—both of the candy and pastry/cookie variety—throughout the next few months. And while those sweets are delicious and fun, there are many reasons to either consume in moderation or, in some cases, avoid some sweets entirely. Here’s why…

Sugar is an enemy to teeth, but it’s not the sugar, it’s the bacteria which feed on the sugar. The bacteria in your mouth love sugar, probably even more than you do, and as bacteria consume sugar they produce a weak acid that harms teeth. That acid is the cause of cavities.

If You’re Gonna Eat Candy Then Eat…

Chocolate! In moderation chocolate is one of the better types of candy for your teeth (there is absolutely NO candy that is actually good for your teeth). The reason? Because chocolate washes from the teeth. Some types of candies form a film or remain sticky, but chocolate can be washed away by saliva and water. But that isn’t to say that there is no damage done: the bacteria are still provided sugar and the teeth should be cleaned. And if you’re going to eat chocolate, then know that most brands of non-milk chocolate are lower in overall sugar than milk chocolate.

Sticky and Gummy (Candy, Carmel Apples, and the Like).

Try to stay away from sweet treats that are sticky or gummy. These types of sweets are more difficult to remove–some hardier-types can hide between the teeth even after a vigorous brushing (for instance, if you are going to consume popcorn balls you should floss immediately because some of the kernels can become tightly wedged between the teeth)—and the long length of time it takes to dissolve or remove the sugar from the mouth gives the bacteria more time to consume the sugars and produce harmful acids.

Have a wonderful start to the holiday season, and enjoy the sweet treats, but remember to enjoy them in moderation, and to clean your teeth whenever possible.

Dental Emergencies While on Vacation. Plus, Travel Tips.

October 12th, 2018

Usually our dental health is not our first thought when we prepare for vacation. But the truth is that a dental emergency can happen at any time, and it would be entirely unfortunate to have to undergo a sore tooth or other mouth issue that could arise while you are on a beach somewhere, or at the top of a mountain. You could have to cancel the rest of your vacation if the situation was dire enough. That’s one reason why it’s important to have regular checkups; a good time to have checkup is right before you go on vacation. Your dentist at Premier Smile should notice a potential problem before one occurs; even if a patient has a mouth disease and that disease has not yet evolved to be symptomatic. One tip to remember is to keep your Premier Smile dentist’s phone number in the contacts on your phone so that you can call in the case of emergency.

Another travel tip is to remember to keep your toothbrush clean by storing it in either a toothbrush container built for travel or in a sealed-shut plastic sandwich-type bag. Your toothbrush gets clean at home because you rinse it after use and then leave it out to dry out. When you travel, you should place it in the container until you arrive and then you should remove it from the plastic bag/container to dry out.

If you forget your toothbrush—it’s easy to do—then you can use a washrag or even the tip of your finger. Simply apply a small amount of toothpaste to either a clean washrag or finger and scrub all the surfaces of your teeth. If you’ve also forgotten toothpaste, then a firm swish-out with water and a scrubbing sans toothpaste will work to rid your mouth of some bacteria, however as soon as you are able you should pick up a toothbrush and toothpaste.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule your next appointment for a routine checkup then call your dentist at Premier Smile today.

Fluoride: Nature’s Cavity Fighter

September 8th, 2018

People are becoming wary of chemicals, especially chemicals that get added to food and water. And in most cases, it’s a good thing to be wary of certain chemical additives; however, one such additive (considered a mineral) that should not be grouped with others is fluoride. Fluoride does get added to most community water supplies (In fact, fluoride has been added to water supplies in the United States for over seventy years). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has deemed the addition of fluoride to water supplies to be one of the ten great health achievements of the twentieth century. But fluoride is added to water supplies and certain fluoride toothpastes because it helps to prevent cavities in both children and adults. It helps the outer surfaces of the teeth (the hard, protective surface is called the enamel) be more resistant to acid attacks from the bacteria that cause tooth decay.

Fluoride is added to toothpaste and into community water supplies because it helps to rebuild weak tooth enamel—tooth enamel gets broken down and weakened for any number of reasons (It especially breaks down naturally as we age)—and the rebuilt enamel resists tooth decay.

Remember that it’s important to brush your teeth twice every day, and for two minutes. You should brush all the surfaces of your teeth, and, for adults and children over the age of six (children who are unable to spit out the toothpaste should not use an adult toothpaste) you should use a fluoride toothpaste with the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval on its packaging. A child who is too young to spit out toothpaste should be supervised while he or she brushes. A child who is unable to spit out toothpaste should use no more than a slight amount of toothpaste (Generally speaking, the amount of toothpaste required should be the size of a pea, and children younger than three should use toothpaste in an amount no larger than a grain of rice).

Remember also to schedule your next appointment with your dentist at Premier Smile. A regular dental checkup is an important component to quality oral health.

Cavities and Medication

August 4th, 2018

Did you know that it’s possible to get cavities later in life? It’s true. Too often we consider youth to be the only time during which we are prone to cavities. But, unfortunately, it’s also possible to get cavities later in life, especially after we’ve aged past middle age, and the number one cause is often dry mouth. There are other reasons, too—aging is a process that affects all aspects of our bodies. (Too often we consider the teeth to be different than the rest of the body).

Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging, and it is possible to have the condition treated. But it is also important that you check the side effects of your medications, and, in the event that there’s a possibility to adjust medications to alleviate dry mouth as a symptom, you should consult your primary physician. But know that it is a possible side-effect for more than 500 different medications; these medications are varied, but include medications for asthma, high cholesterol, pain medications, anxiety and depression medications, high blood pressure, and even common antihistamines. Your dentist at Premier Smile will be able to recommend several different methods to help alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth.

Remember when you experience the symptoms of dry mouth to keep hydrated. You should carry a water bottle with you when you go out, and drink water even at the times when you’re not thirsty. You can also use sugar-free gum—make sure it’s sugarless and without hard granulated crystals—to keep your mouth from going completely dry. And avoid drinks such as coffee and alcohol.

Remember that’s it’s very important to keep your teeth clean even when you’re older. You should brush your teeth twice daily—for at least two minutes—and floss at least once. And it’s imperative that you remember to visit your dentist, regularly, so that your dentist at Premier Smile can both clean your teeth and determine any possible changes in the mouth long before those changes become difficult problems.

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