oral hygiene

The Way You Eat Fruit Matters For Your Teeth

FRUIT IS AN ESSENTIAL element of a well-balanced, healthy diet. It is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and eating it on a regular basis helps boost your immune system and reduces your risk of illness and chronic disease. There are a lot of ways people get their fruit, however, and when it comes to your teeth, some ways are worse than others!


Beware Dried Fruit

Many people think dried fruit is a great healthy snack. Unfortunately, dried fruits have a lot of sugar in them, not to mention the added sugar that many packaged dried fruits come with. Because they’re dehydrated, most of the water is lost from the fruit, but none of the sugar is, making it highly concentrated.

As we’ve said in previous blog posts, more sugar, more cavities! Harmful bacteria in our mouths consume the sugar and produce acids as a by-product, which can cause tooth decay. Dried fruit is also extremely sticky, meaning it sticks to your teeth longer than most other foods.

Can The Canned Fruit

Most canned fruits you find are bathed in sugary syrup. It may taste good, but it can wreak havoc on your teeth if you’re not careful! Even those that are labeled “light syrup” often have a high sugar content. If you’re a fan of canned fruit as a healthy snack, make sure it doesn’t have any added sugar or is packaged in 100 percent fruit juice.

Watch Out For Fruit Juice

Fruit juice, even if it’s all natural, contains a lot of sugar. What’s worse is that many fruit juices, especially those marketed for children, have added sugar in them. In fact, the majority of fruit juice sold in stores contain just as much sugar as soda, sometimes even more!

Sugar isn’t the only problem–fruit juice is also very acidic. The combination of sugar and acid doesn’t bode well for your teeth: while acid weakens tooth enamel, sugar feeds cavity-causing bacteria and contributes to decay.

Do What’s Best For Your Teeth

As a general rule, try to eat your fruit fresh! Not only is it better for your teeth, but the fiber in whole fruit slows the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, making it much healthier for your body. Of course it’s okay to have juice and dried or canned fruit every once in awhile. But remember to rinse with water after and brush and floss to protect your pearly whites!

Have you scheduled your next appointment? Call us today and we’d be happy to help!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Want To Get Rid Of Bad Breath?

WE ALL KNOW THAT FEELING… you wake up in the morning to sun shining, birds chirping and happily lean over to your significant other to say hello! Instead you are greeted by the horrible smell of morning breath. Or maybe you run into friends after work and suddenly become conscious of that bad taste in your mouth.

We've had lots of questions about it recently (mostly from mother's of teenage boys).  But I want you to know that we’ve all been there! Unfortunately, bouts of halitosis, or bad breath, are pretty much inevitable. Today we’re going to explain why that is, what causes that nasty smell and what you can do to keep bad breath at bay!

It All Starts With Bacteria

We’re not the only ones who need to eat to stay alive, so do the bacteria living in our mouths. When they snack on whatever’s left behind from our last meal, they release foul-smelling odors as a by-product, causing bad breath.

What you can do: Clean your teeth after every meal by brushing and flossing. This will eliminate food debris and bacteria from your mouth and prevent bad breath. Braces can trap a lot of food in them, so you may be more susceptible to bad breath during orthodontic treatment if you don’t clean your teeth frequently and properly. A clean mouth, is a fresh mouth!

Choose Breath-Friendly Foods And Beverages

Keep in mind that certain foods and beverages can make bad breath more likely, such as sugary foods and drinks, garlic, onions, coffee, and alcohol.

What you can do: Choose breath-friendly foods and beverages! Water washes away food debris and increases saliva flow in your mouth, protecting your teeth and mouth from bacteria. Healthy food choices such as carrots, celery and apples are high in water content and actually work as a natural toothbrush, scrubbing plaque bacteria from the surfaces of your teeth. Remember to cut these foods up into smaller pieces so as not to risk breaking any of your brackets!

Good Oral Hygiene Can Reduce Morning Breath

Morning breath seems to be an especially pungent offender. Why is this? It’s mainly because of dry mouth. During the day, saliva works to wash away food debris and keep bacteria in check. When we sleep at night, however, our saliva production goes down, causing our mouths to become dry and allowing bacteria to proliferate. If you sleep with your mouth open, it can be even worse.

What you can do: To make your morning breath less offensive, follow a good oral hygiene regimen. By brushing and flossing your teeth before bed, you’re giving bacteria less food to munch on, which will help your breath be better in the morning.

In addition, we highly recommend cleaning your tongue by either brushing it or using a tongue scraper, since this is where most bad breath-causing bacteria are found. Another tip is to keep water by your bedside. When you wake up at night, take a drink! Keeping your mouth moist will combat the spread of those smelly bacteria.

We’re Here For You

For the most part, bad breath is manageable. If you feel like your halitosis is severe however, especially if you follow the steps above, it can be a sign of something more serious such as gum disease, diabetes, sinus problems, gastric reflux or liver or kidney disease. If this is the case, we may refer you to a health care provider. If you have any more questions, let us know. We are here to serve you!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Our patients’ smiles make it all worthwhile!  We are proud to serve the Snoqualmie Valley!

How Your Oral And Overall Health Are Linked

WE’VE SAID IT BEFORE AND WE’LL SAY IT AGAIN… taking care of your teeth and mouth is more than just about cosmetics, it’s about your health! When you think of being healthy, your mouth probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But your oral and overall health are more intertwined than you think.


Your Mouth Is The Gateway To The Rest Of Your Body

According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s 2000 report, “Oral health and general health should not be interpreted as separate entities. … As the gateway of the body, the mouth senses and responds to the external world and at the same time reflects what is happening deep inside the body. … You cannot be healthy without oral health.”

Periodontal Disease And Its Connection To Chronic Diseases

Not only can many illnesses and medications have a direct effect on your mouth, your oral health can also affect your body. This is especially true of periodontal or “gum” disease.

Diabetes

Did you know that gum disease affects 22 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes? People with diabetes have a decreased ability to fight off harmful bacteria and are thus more susceptible to gum disease. In like manner, bacteria from the mouth can cause blood sugar to spike and fluctuate, making diabetes harder to manage.

Heart Disease

While health care professionals aren’t completely sure as to why, heart and gum disease often go hand in hand. In fact, up to 91 percent of patients with heart disease have gum disease. It is believed that the link between these two conditions is inflammation.

Cancer

These statistics may surprise you, but researchers have found that men with gum disease were 54 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, 49 percent more likely to develop kidney cancer and 30 percent more likely to develop blood cancers.

What’s more, cancer treatments often have oral manifestations. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause sores in the mouth, sensitive gums, jaw and facial pain and dry mouth.

Other Complications

Gum disease has also been linked with stroke, kidney disease, osteoporosis, certain lung conditions and rheumatoid arthritis. Pregnant women with gum disease are more likely to have preterm births and low birth-weight babies.

The Health Of Your Mouth Is In Your Hands

As you can see, there is a strong connection between oral and overall health. That’s why it’s important to make your dentist a part of your health care team by going to your regular dental appointments and updating them on your medical history. We care about your whole body health!

The good news is that, for the most part, dental disease is entirely preventable. Brushing twice a day and flossing daily can keep gum disease at bay and protect you from cavities. Your oral health is in your hands, so choose to be mouth-healthy!

Thank you for supporting our practice!  We are proud to serve Snoqualmie and all the surrounding cities: North Bend, Fall City, Duvall, Carnation, Maple Valley, Sammamish, Issaquah, etc.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Björn Söderqvist used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Smoking Puts Your Oral Health At Risk

DID YOU KNOW that smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States? It’s well known that smoking can lead to a number of lung-related diseases but in reality, the negative effects of smoking can be seen in almost every part of the body, especially the mouth.


Smoking Compromises Your Oral Health

Among other cancers, smoking puts you at a much higher risk of developing oral cancer. In fact, approximately eight out of 10 patients with oral cancer are smokers. Smoking remains the biggest controllable risk factor for this deadly disease.

Tobacco use is also related to severe gum disease. Because smoking weakens your body’s ability to fight infection, bacteria build up more easily in your mouth in the form of plaque and tartar. Bacteria in plaque irritate the gums and cause them to pull away from your teeth, resulting in bleeding and sensitivity. This can ultimately lead to tooth and bone loss. Those who smoke are two times more likely to develop gum disease than a nonsmoker.

Other dental problems that can be caused by smoking include:

  • Bad breath
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Coated or black hairy tongue
  • Tooth decay
  • Dulled sense of taste and smell
  • Dry mouth
  • Slowed healing after tooth extraction or other surgery
  • Lower success rate of cosmetic dental procedures

Watch the video below to see how smoking affected Brett’s smile:

A Note About Electronic Cigarettes

Within the past couple of years, electronic cigarettes have gained popularity, especially as a “safer” alternative to smoking. Since e-cigarettes are relatively new, not much research has yet been published about their long-term health effects. What we do know is that while e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, most contain nicotine, which is known to cause damage to the mouth.

Because nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, it reduces the amount of blood that can flow to your gums. This means that the gums don’t get the oxygen and nutrients they need, causing gum recession and tooth sensitivity as well as putting you at a higher risk of cavities. The reduced blood flow to the gums caused by nicotine use can also mask the signs of gum disease, making it harder to detect and diagnose. This delays treatment and allows the disease to progress.

Until further research is done, we can’t really know how safe e-cigarettes are. As health care professionals, we advise you to avoid them until their long-term effects are known.

Count Us As A Part Of Your Support System

Our patients are more than just patients–they are friends. We care about your health and well-being and want you to count us as a part of your support system to help you quit smoking. If you aren’t quite ready to quit, continue to see us regularly as recommended so we can help you maintain your oral health as best as possible. Talk to us about quitting today and how we can help you!

Thank you for your friendship and loyalty!  We are proud to serve Snoqualmie Ridge and surrounding cities: North Bend, Fall City, Duvall, Carnation, Maple Valley, Issaquah, and Sammamish.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Diabetes And Your Oral Health

DIABETES IS ONE OF THE MOST prevalent chronic diseases today. In fact, 29.1 million people in the U.S. have diabetes and millions more living with the condition don’t even know they have it.

You may know that diabetes can result in other health complications such as vision loss, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. But many are surprised to learn of the impact diabetes can have on your mouth.

Diabetes Is Linked To Oral Infection And Disease

Periodontal, or gum, disease affects 22 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes. What’s more, one in five cases of total tooth loss is linked to diabetes. These statistics can be distressing, but a proper understanding of the association between these two diseases is the first step in preventing complications.

So, first and foremost, why does diabetes affect oral health?

We have billions of bacteria living in our mouths. If that bacteria is allowed to build up, it can lead to gum disease–swollen, bleeding gums as well as bone and tooth loss. Because people with diabetes have a decreased ability to fight off harmful bacteria, they are more susceptible to gum disease. Poor blood glucose control also increases the likelihood of gum problems.

The relationship between diabetes and gum disease, however, is two-way. Because infected gums are an easy access point for bacteria to enter the bloodstream, bacteria from the mouth can cause blood sugar spike and fluctuate, making diabetes harder to manage.

Beyond gum disease, there are other oral infections and problems associated with diabetes including thrush, dry mouth, cavities and ulcers.

 

Keep Your Dental Team Involved

Keeping us involved is the most important thing you can do to prevent gum disease and other oral complications linked to diabetes. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes or if there are changes in your condition, let us know. Keep us informed of your medications and your doctor’s recommended treatment plan. Be sure to regularly visit your dentist as well–every six months or more if deemed necessary.

Other things you can do to manage your oral health and diabetes include:

  • Develop good oral hygiene habits
  • Quit smoking
  • Control your blood sugar

Your Health Matters To Us

Every aspect of your health is important to us, not just your the health of your mouth. If you have questions about how your dentist can help you manage your diabetes, contact us. We are your partners in ensuring both your oral and overall health.

Thank you for being our valued patients and friends!  We are proud to serve Snoqualmie Ridge, North Bend, Fall City, Carnation, Duvall, Maple Valley, Issaquah, and Sammamish.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Brett Monroe used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
 

The Professionals vs. The Headlines: What’s Up With Flossing?

WE’VE MENTIONED IT TIME AND TIME AGAIN… Flossing is an essential part of good oral hygiene. Many people don’t see the need for flossing when they already brush their teeth; others simply hate the task. We understand that it can be tedious! But as your trusted dental professionals, we want to assure you that flossing will greatly benefit your dental and overall health. 

Recent articles stating that flossing doesn’t do any good for your oral health have left many feeling shocked and confused. As your trusted dental professionals, we’re here to set the record straight!

It all started with an article by the Associated Press stating that the benefits of flossing have been unproven. Unfortunately, haters of flossing were quick to take up their torches and pitchforks against the practice. In response to the Associated Press article, the American Dental Association released a statement saying that flossing is “an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums.” And we’re going to tell you why.

So, How Does Flossing Benefit My Health?

Did you know that when you don’t floss, you miss cleaning 35 percent of tooth surfaces in your mouth? That’s because brushing simply cannot get into those hard-to-reach spaces between your teeth. Unfortunately, however, bacteria can! Flossing completes brushing by cleaning the spaces your toothbrush can’t.

Regular flossing can:

  • Prevent cavities. Have you ever flossed, even after brushing your teeth, and were surprised to find a remnant of your last meal? Flossing removes food debris and plaque, preventing cavity formation between the teeth, a common place for tooth decay.
  • Fight bad breath. If food or plaque are left in between teeth, they will eventually release a bad smell. Yuck!
  • Inhibit tartar buildup and gum disease. If left on teeth for too long, plaque hardens into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional. The presence of tartar can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Gum disease is associated with other systemic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
  • Improve your appearance. Food debris and plaque make teeth look more yellow and gritty. Clean, healthy teeth always appear whiter and brighter!

From years of experience, we can confidently say that flossing makes a big difference in your oral and overall health.

For Flossing To Work, It Has To Be Done Correctly

To reap the benefits of flossing, it has to be done correctly. In a 2006 study, researchers wanted to see whether flossing at home had the same benefits as having daily flossing done by professionals. The study showed that participants who were flossed professionally had a 40 percent decrease in their risk of cavities than their at-home flossing counterparts. The researchers concluded that flossing, when done properly, has a substantial, positive effect on oral health.

Many people simply snap the floss in between their teeth and pull it back out. The correct way, however, is to curve the floss around the tooth, as if the floss were hugging it. Still curved around the tooth, move the floss up and down to scrape the plaque. Do the same on the other tooth.

We Care About Our Patients

We only recommend flossing because we care about your oral and overall health! Through our years of experience, we’ve seen the difference that flossing can make. So, ignore the headlines and take it from the professionals: flossing works! Keep up the good flossing habits and we promise you’ll feel the difference.

Have any more questions about flossing or your oral hygiene?  Call us or come in today!

We are proud to serve the Snoqualmie Valley and surround cities:  Snoqualmie, North Bend, Fall City, Carnation, Duvall, Maple Valley, Issaquah, Sammamish, and the Snoqualmie Pass!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user angela n. used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

 

 

 

 

How To Care For Your Teething Baby

TEETHING IS NO FUN for babies or parents. Some babies’ teeth erupt with no problems at all but for others, it could be a long and painful process.

Besides giving your child plenty of tender loving care, here are some things you can do to care for your child’s mouth during the teething phase.

Be Aware Of Teething Signs And Symptoms

When your little one finally starts teething, it’s normal for them to be fussy and irritable. Common symptoms are difficulty sleeping, decrease in appetite and increased drooling. It’s also normal for their temperature to increase slightly when they’re teething, however, high-grade fevers are not normal. If your child seems overly cranky or has a high fever, call your physician.

When teething begins is different for each child. While the average time teeth begin to appear is around 4 to 6 months, teething can begin anywhere between three and 12 months.

You Can Keep Your Child Comfortable With These Tips

Your baby may seem inconsolable while teething but here are some things you can do to soothe and ease their pain:

  • Massage their gums. The counter pressure of your finger helps ease teething pain.
  • Use teething rings or toys. Even a simple chilled washcloth will work. Chewing soothes the baby as counter pressure relieves pain. When chilling toys or rings, remember to refrigerate instead of freeze.
  • Relieve pain. Talk to your child’s doctor about pain relief if your little one seems to be having a more difficult time. Appropriate dosage of acetaminophen may be beneficial during especially painful teething episodes. Avoid teething medications that contain the pain reliever benzocaine.

And when your baby is in the thick of teething, just remember what an important milestone it is. Teething, like crawling, walking, and talking, shows that your child is on the right track developmentally.

Once Teeth Appear, Take Proper Care Of Them

The American Dental Association recommends taking your child to the dentist as soon as the first tooth appears and no later than their first birthday. Once the teeth appear you can also begin brushing. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, start brushing your child’s teeth twice a day. Since very young children have not yet learned not to swallow toothpaste, use only a smear of fluoridated toothpaste or the size of a grain of rice.

We’re Here To Help From The Very Beginning

Good oral care starts from the beginning of your child’s life. We’re here to help you every step of the way! If you have any questions concerning infant oral health care or teething, call or make an appointment with us today. Baby teeth may be small but they’re important!

We can’t wait to see your little one’s bright smile!

We are proud to serve Snoqualmie Ridge and the surrounding cities: North Bend, Fall City, Carnation, Maple Valley, Duvall, Preston, Issaquah, and Sammamish.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Don’t Let Gingivitis Keep You From Smiling

YOU’RE SITTING IN THE DENTAL CHAIR, everything going as planned at your checkup, until your dentist tells you that you have gingivitis. If you haven’t heard of gingivitis before you’re probably thinking, “What is gingivitis? Is it serious? Is it treatable?”

We’ve compiled all the information you need to know about gingivitis so you can keep your smile healthy!

What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums characterized by gum irritation, redness, swelling and sometimes bleeding. Symptoms of gingivitis are fairly mild and can even be painless. Visiting your dentist regularly is important so gingivitis can be diagnosed, especially if symptoms are not obvious.

Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal, or gum disease, and should be taken seriously. If left untreated, gingivitis will progress to full-blown gum disease, which can lead to receding and damaged gums as well as bone and tooth loss.

What Causes Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is usually the result of poor oral hygiene. When plaque is not removed by proper brushing and flossing, bacteria-filled plaque hardens and turns into what is called tartar. Plaque and tartar buildup around the gum line cause gum irritation and inflammation or, in other words, gingivitis.

Other factors may contribute to the development of gingivitis such as hormonal changes (especially during pregnancy), smoking, certain medications or illnesses and genetic predisposition.

Is Gingivitis Reversible?

Finding out you have gingivitis can be worrisome but here’s the good news: good oral hygiene habits and professional dental cleanings can, in most cases, rid you of gingivitis.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiFVMikAg70

Proper oral hygiene not only prevents gingivitis, but treats it as well. Professional cleanings as recommended by your dentist, daily brushing and flossing, and regular use of an antibacterial mouthwash can keep bacteria found in plaque at bay, effectively preventing and treating gingivitis.

So, yes, gingivitis is reversible! By treating it early and following the instructions of your dental care provider, you can treat gingivitis and smile on!

Keep Your Smile Healthy

A smile shouldn’t only be happy, it should be healthy too! Your oral health is the gateway to your overall health and wellness. So if you’ve been diagnosed with gingivitis, practice proper oral hygiene care and you’ll have your healthy smile back in no time.

If you have any questions regarding your oral health, call us today or leave us a Facebook message. We’re always glad to address your concerns!

We are proud to serve Snoqualmie Ridge and the surrounding cities: North Bend, Fall City, Carnation, Maple Valley, Duvall, Preston, Issaquah, and Sammamish.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Image courtesy of Flickr.