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Sparkling Water

Is Sparkling Water Bad For Your Teeth?

Is the satisfying fizz of your favorite sparkling water putting you at risk for tooth decay? Any drink with carbonation—including sparkling water—has a higher acid level. Some reports have questioned whether sipping sparkling water will weaken your tooth enamel (the hard outer shell of your teeth where cavities first form).

So, Is Sparkling Water Affecting My Teeth?

According to available research, sparkling water is generally fine for your teeth and here’s why – in a study using teeth that were removed as a part of treatment and donated for research, researchers tested to see whether sparkling water would attack tooth enamel more aggressively than regular lab water. The result? The two forms of water were about the same in their effects on tooth enamel. This finding suggests that, even though sparkling water is slightly more acidic than ordinary water, it’s all just water to your teeth.

Tips for Enjoying Sparkling Water and Protecting Your Teeth

  • Sparkling water is far better for your teeth than sugary drinks. In addition, be sure to drink plenty of regular, fluoridated water, too—it’s the best beverage for your teeth. Water with fluoride naturally helps fight cavities, washes away the leftover food cavity-causing bacteria feast on and keeps your mouth from becoming dry (which can put you at a higher risk of cavities).
  • Be mindful of what’s in your sparkling water. Citrus-flavored waters often have higher acid levels that does increase the risk of damage to your enamel. Plan to enjoy these in one sitting or with meals. This way, you aren’t sipping it throughout the day and exposing your teeth over and over again to the slightly higher level of acid it contains.
  • Sparkling water brands with added sugar can no longer be considered just sparkling water. They are a sugar-sweetened beverage, which can contribute to your risk of developing cavities. So remember—sparkling or not—plain water is always the best choice.
Special Needs

Planning Ahead for Patients with Special Needs

When it comes to dental exams and procedures, patients with special needs may require a little extra care and planning. Although most dentists can accommodate for special needs, there are things you can both consider to help plan ahead for your patient’s appointment. To help you get started, we’ve put together a checklist of things to keep in mind. Before you schedule, we encourage you to discuss these items with your dentist’s office, to ensure the comfort, well-being and safety of your patient.

Here are some things you may want to consider:

Parking – Where is the best entrance to the building for your patient?

Accommodations – Can the hallways and exam rooms accommodate your patient’s means of movement? Will someone from the office be available to help with access?

Comfort – Is there something that you or the dental team could do with lighting, distractions or sounds that could help your patient relax?

Time – Consider scheduling during a time of day that is best suited for the patient (when they are least tired, not hungry, etc.).

Needs – Be sure to let the dentist know about your patient’s emotional needs ahead of time. This can help with communication, comfort and trust.

Medical History – Have your patient’s medical information available. This includes any medications, allergies, surgeries and the patient’s primary care physician’s contact information.

If you have additional concerns or questions, be sure to bring them up to your dentist before your procedure or exam. And if you are looking for a dentist or specialist near you, you can search for one here to get started.

Flossing tips

5 Tips for Better Flossing

We’ve already established that despite controversial news, flossing should still be incorporated into your daily oral care routine. But we know that sometimes, flossing can be tricky. That’s why we are sharing our five favorite tips to help your flossing become easier and more effective:

1). Use a good amount of floss so that you can hold it correctly. Don’t skimp – you’ll need at least 18 inches of floss.

2). Tighten the floss by holding it between your thumb and index fingers and use an up and down motion to guide it between your teeth.

3). As you hold firmly against the tooth, curve around the base making a “C” shape to go gently below the gum-line. Don’t force it, as you may accidently bruise or cut your gums.

4). For cleanliness, use fresh sections of floss as you go.

5). If it’s difficult, use a tool like floss picks or interdental brushes. These can be especially helpful for older or younger people who have a hard time flossing correctly.

Have questions about your flossing routine? Schedule an appointment with your dentist. Find a dentist near you here.

Mouthwash

Should You Be Using Mouthwash?

Q: Should I Be Using Mouthwash?

A: Mouthwash, also called mouthrinse, can be a great addition to your oral care routine. Traditionally, mouthwashes have been used to help reduce bad breath. However, only some types of mouthwash can help reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease. Whichever type you choose, mouthwash should not replace daily brushing and flossing. If you are unsure, schedule an appointment with your dentist to find out their recommendation.

 

Q: What type of mouthwash should I buy?

A: There are two types of mouthwash: cosmetic and therapeutic. Therapeutic mouthwash is available over the counter and by prescription. This type has active ingredients that can help control plaque, gum disease and tooth decay. Cosmetic mouthwash can help mask bad breath (halitosis) temporarily, but will not reduce risk of gum disease or tooth decay. Typically, flavoring agents will only last for a few hours.

 

Q: Can children use mouthwash?

A: Children under the age of six, should not use mouthwash. Swallowing mouth wash should be avoided as it can cause vomiting and intoxication.

 

Q: What are the benefits to using therapeutic vs cosmetic mouthwash?

A: Using the right type of therapeutic mouthwash can reduce plaque and gingivitis, prevent tooth decay and freshen breath as cosmetic mouthwash will only have temporary results to reduce bad breath.

 

Schedule an appointment with your dentist to see if you need a mouthwash and what type to use. Still need to look for a dentist in your area? Search for one here.

New Year, New You

Need help picking a healthy New Year’s resolution? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 New Year’s resolutions that you’ll definitely want to steal.

1. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eating a well-balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables will not only keep you healthy, but will decrease your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease.

2. Start exercising. Don’t feel like exercise has to be all or nothing. It’s good to start in small doses. Try working out a few times a week for 20-30 minute sessions. Once that’s easy, you can build up duration and frequency from there. Remember, exercising can be as simple as walking through the park.

3. Quit smoking. There is no time like the present to kick that tobacco habit. You already know of the dangers smoking has on your teeth and overall health, so what better way to ring in 2018 than to be completely smoke free.

4. Get cooking. Make it a goal to cut back on fast food and cook more meals in your kitchen. By doing so, you’ll have more control over the nutritional value in every meal.

5. Power down devices. Decrease your stress levels and increase quality time with your family by putting away your devices. Set aside a time each day where you and your family turn off phones, computers and tablets. It doesn’t have to be a long period of time – try 20 minutes or maybe while you eat dinner.

6. Do a little Spring cleaning. That’s right, get out your mop and broom a little early this year. With cold and flu season upon us, now is a perfect time to tidy-up, disinfect and get rid of the things you don’t need. After all, a clean, germ-free house will keep illnesses at bay and brighten anyone’s day.

7. Make a dentist appointment. Overdue for an exam? Make an effort to see your dentist at least twice this year. Exams and cleanings are recommended every 6 months.

8. Floss more. Set a goal to floss once a day. Keep floss in multiple places like your car or desk, to give you less chance of forgetting.

9. Sleep more. Staying up too late? Get back on a better sleeping schedule by hitting the sack earlier. Try getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night so you can start your day refreshed and rested.

10. Drink more water. Opt for drinking water when you can as juice and soda will leave unwanted sugar on your teeth. Water cleans your mouth by washing away residue, helps with dry mouth and will keep you hydrated throughout the day.

vision health

Your Eyes Are What You Eat

Yes, it may be true. Eating a diet rich in certain nutrients may help support vision health and keep major age-related issues at an arm’s length (and no, we’re not just talking about carrots). How you ask? Vitamins and minerals from particular foods can reduce your risk of macular degeneration (impaired vision caused by deterioration of the retina), cataracts (cloudy areas in the eye lens) and other age-related vision issues. Luckily, we already know some of the best food sources –  so you can start loading up your plate right away. It’s one of the easiest ways you can begin protecting your vision now for the years to come.

Here are five surprising foods that may help keep your eyes healthy and your vision sharp:

  1. Green leafy vegetables
    • Leafy greens, like spinach, kale and collards, contain certain antioxidants that can lower risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.
  2. Egg yolks
    • Egg yolk contains antioxidants (luetin and zeaxanthin) and as zinc, both of which can reduce cataract and macular degeneration risk.
  3. Fatty fish
    • Fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel are all rich in DHA. When DHA is low, it can be linked to dry eye syndrome. DHA may also be important to retinal health.
  4. Vitamin C
    • Which can be found in oranges, berries or other citrus fruits. Vitamin C can reduce risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
  5. Almonds
    • Rich in vitamin E, which can slow macular degeneration.

And if you want to find more food sources for healthy vision, check out this list here. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/top-foods-to-help-protect-your-vision

10 Tips for Overcoming Fear at the Dentist

Do you regularly get nervous before your dentist appointment? You are not alone. Visiting the dentist can be stressful for many people and mild fear is common. The good news is, that dental appointments are never as bad as they seem and there are effective ways to manage your anxiety. So as your next appointment approaches, keep these tips in mind to help overcome fear of the dentist: 

  1. Meet your dentist first. Before any treatment takes place, ask to meet your dentist in person. Dental offices are usually more than willing to schedule consultations.

 

  1. Schedule an early appointment. Get your appointment done first thing in the morning to help eliminate the chance of stewing over it all day.

 

  1. Talk to your dentist about it. Be upfront and honest about anxiety at your appointment. Have your dentist explain everything beforehand and ask him to speak out loud as he is performing tasks.

 

  1. Use a signal to stop. Before you begin, agree on a sign that you can use to stop if things get too uncomfortable.

 

  1. Bring a family member. Feel free to bring along a close friend or family member; a good support system can go a long way.

 

  1. Listen to headphones. Most offices supply these, but bring your favorite pair of earbuds just in case. Listen to some relaxing music or a podcast to help time move quickly.

 

  1. Consider meditation. Distract your mind by concentrating on deep breaths or repeat a calming mantra in your head.

 

  1. Picture yourself elsewhere. Drift away to your favorite relaxing place. Think of the sounds of the ocean, the view from a picturesque mountaintop or the cool breeze among of quiet field of flowers.

 

  1. Hold something. Release tension by bringing along stress ball or something soft to squeeze.

 

  1. Close your eyes. Try to relax by closing your eyes. Maybe even bring your own sunglasses if it helps you stay comfortable.
Pregnant

Pregnant? Time to Visit Your Dentist.

Are you pregnant or planning to have children soon? Now, more than ever, would be an ideal time to visit your dentist.

The American Dental Association recommends that all expectant mothers receive dental care and maintain good oral hygiene throughout their pregnancy.

Pregnancy is a crucial time to maintain oral health as it is directly related to you and your baby’s overall health. Dental issues have been linked to premature delivery, gestational diabetes, intrauterine growth restriction and preeclampsia.

But even with your current, normal dental care routine, some expectant mothers will be more prone to developing oral problems. One of these is called pregnancy gingivitis, which happens to cause inflammation of the gums that can cause excessive bleeding and tenderness. To avoid more serious forms of the disease, your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings during pregnancy.

Also while pregnant, many women can accumulate more tooth decay and cavities. And because morning sickness can increase the amount of acid your teeth are exposed to, your enamel can diminish and cause even further damage.

Lastly, some women experience overgrowths of tissue on their gums. These are called pregnancy tumors and they usually occur during the second trimester. These red, raspberry looking growths are not cancerous and are thought to be related to too much plaque. Usually they will disappear after delivery.

Although things like sensitive gums and a strong gag reflex can discourage women from brushing twice a day, it’s important to stick with a good oral hygiene routine, including regular dental exams. So schedule your next dental visit, and be sure to let your dentist know you are pregnant as treatments may be postponed until after your pregnancy.

Here is to a happy, healthy pregnancy.

Fluoride

True or False? The Truth About Fluoride

There is a lot of contradicting information put out into the world regarding fluoride, especially when it comes to children’s dental health. Fluoride is a mineral, that occurs naturally in water sources; when used correctly, it can improve early stages of tooth decay. Let’s explore some more facts about fluoride to help you and your children establish a well-rounded oral hygiene routine.

 

Fluoride is one of the best ways to prevent cavities.

A: True. Studies have indicated that fluoride is effective and the most efficient way to prevent tooth decay, one of the most common childhood diseases. Fluoride can be applied directly with toothpaste, mouth rinses or professionally administered with treatments by your dentist.

 

Fluoride protects teeth, makes them stronger from the bacteria that is in the food and beverages we consume.

A: True. As fluoride is absorbed, it provides added protection as it improves and repairs tooth enamel. The minerals that are deposited into your enamel will strengthen teeth, making them to resistant acid and bacteria.

 

Fluoride toothpaste is recommended for babies (with teeth) and toddlers by the American Dental Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry.

A: True. Stated safe and effective by each of these credible organizations, with the belief that fluoride use will help children have stronger teeth over their lifetime. Unless recommended otherwise by your dentist, the ADA recommends that once the first teeth start coming in, you should start using a fluoride toothpaste.

Guidelines

  • Begin brushing with a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste (a smear, or the size of a rice grain). If they happen to swallow the fluoride, it will only be a small amount.
  • If your child can spit the toothpaste out, you can then use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Ideally, kids should be assisted with brushing their teeth until the age of five or six.
braces

More Than a Pretty Smile: How Braces Keep Your Teeth Healthy

Just about everyone knows that braces can help accomplish straight, beautiful teeth. But did you know that orthodontic treatment can also improve the health of your teeth and gums? As a matter of fact, they can. So if you’ve been putting off orthodontic treatment, you may want to read on.

Here are three surprising ways that braces will keep you smiling from ear to ear.

1). Straight teeth are in general, healthier.

Think about it, when your teeth are lined up correctly and straight, they are easier to keep clean and maintain. And we all know that good oral hygiene leads to less dental problems.

2). Orthodontic treatment can create a better bite.

Fixing a bad bite (also known as malocclusion) will lead to more effective chewing and even better speech. However, a bad bite can lead to many problems including: tooth decay and gum disease, jaw problems, abnormal wear to enamel, speech problems and tooth loss.

3). Straight teeth are less likely to be injured.

If you have teeth that protrude or stick out, they are more susceptible to trauma. But properly aligned teeth can decrease risk of wear and tear from abrasive grinding.

And if you weren’t convinced just yet, did you know that Dental Select offers individual plans with orthodontic benefits? Check out our individual plan page for more details. Our co-insurance plus plan offers orthodontic coverage at 50% for children 18 and under and a 20% discount for adults. With proper care now, it may actually cost less than more serious dental issues that can develop down the road. And remember, treatment can begin at any age, although it’s ideal to begin orthodontic treatment in younger years.