Category

Health & Wellness

Keep Your Athletes Smiling

By | Featured, Health & Wellness, North Muskegon Blog Article

Imagine what it would be like if you suddenly lost one or two of your front teeth. Smiling, talking, eating—everything would suddenly be affected. Knowing how to prevent injuries to your mouth and face is especially important if you participate in organized sports or other recreational activities.

Mouthguards, also called mouth protectors, help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw. They typically cover the upper teeth and are a great way to protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining.

When Should You Wear a Mouthguard?

When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouthguard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age. While collision and contact sports, such as boxing, are higher-risk sports for the mouth, any athlete may experience a dental injury in non-contact activities too, such as gymnastics and skating. The best mouthguard is one that has been custom made for your mouth by your dentist.

Protecting Your Braces

A properly fitted mouthguard may be especially important for people who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. A blow to the face could damage the brackets or other fixed orthodontic appliances. A mouthguard also provides a barrier between the braces and your cheek or lips, which will help you avoid injuries to your gums and cheeks.

Mouthguard Care and Replacement

Talk to your dentist about when is the right time to replace your mouthguard, but replace it immediately if it shows sign of wear, is damaged or ill fitting. Teens and children may need to replace their mouthguards more often because their mouths are still growing and changing.

Between games, it’s important to keep your mouthguard clean and dry. Here are some tips for making sure your mouthguard is always ready to go:

  • Rinse before and after each use or brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Regularly clean the mouthguard in cool, soapy water. Then, rinse it thoroughly.
  • During your regular dental checkups, bring your mouthguard for an evaluation. Your dentist may also be able to give it a thorough cleaning.
  • Store and transport the mouthguard in a sturdy container that has vents so it can dry and keep bacteria from growing.
  • Never leave the mouthguard in the sun or in hot water.

 

Is it important to brush your tongue?

By | Featured, Health & Wellness

Think of your tongue as a storm shelter for bacteria. While you’re vigorously brushing away food debris and tarter from your teeth, the bacteria that cause bad breath, gum disease, and cavities are hiding out in the crevices of your tongue. Since bacteria like warm, wet, atmospheres, your mouth is an ideal place for these “sugar bugs” to hang out and easily transfer back to your teeth and under your gums when you’re done brushing.

To get your mouth fully clean, it’s a good idea to brush you tongue every time you brush your teeth.

Other benefits of a clean tongue are improved sense of taste (think of it as cleaning your taste buds!) and improved breath.

 

Bleeding Gums

What causes bleeding gums?

By | Featured, Health & Wellness

It’s human nature to avoid things that cause discomfort, and bleeding gums are pretty uncomfortable! It would seem logical to avoid irritating them further by brushing and flossing, and possibly even to seek medical attention. Bleeding gums are primarily caused by plaque which is irritating the gum line. As the gums become irritated and inflamed, they become more sensitive to brushing and flossing and may bleed. Although it is counterintuitive to continue to brush or floss when your gums are bleeding, it is necessary. Bleeding gums are a sign of Gingivitis, the earliest form of gum disease. Gingivitis is preventable with good oral hygiene and regular dental care.

Nearly half of all people – and nearly 70% of adults 65 and older – have periodontitis, or the more advanced form of gum disease. Periodontitis means the plaque has spread beneath the gum line. At this point, the plaque is forming a space between the gum and the tooth causing more space for it to grow and more irritation. Periodontitis can lead to deterioration of gum tissue and eventually tooth loss.

If your gums are bleeding, keep brushing! Also check with your dentist to make sure there are no serious health concerns. Even if you brush regularly, there is likely plaque that only a dentist’s instruments can remove.

 

Sealants for Kids

Sealants for Kids

By | Featured, For Kids, Health & Wellness, Pediatric Dentistry

A protective barrier is a great way to keep the things we value safe. From fingernail polish to decks, we use sealants to protect a lot of things in our lives. Did you know there’s even a way to seal your children’s teeth from cavities?

Sealing your children’s teeth is an easy way to provide an added layer of protection against the sugars, bacteria, and acid in their mouths. Just as a sealant covers the inconsistencies, dents, and divots of a piece of wood, sealants for teeth cover the areas of your child’s tooth where sugar and food may be unlikely to be touched by a toothbrush or floss. Often, sealants are recommended for newly emerged molars, protecting the tooth as soon as it is exposed.

Sealing teeth is a quick and painless procedure that involves “painting” the sealant on a cleaned and dried tooth. It can be done during a regular visit to the dentist and does not take a significant amount of time. While there is an investment required to seal teeth, the cost is recouped with the first cavity avoided, not tot mention the savings of time and discomfort.

 

Will a vegetarian diet hurt my teeth?

By | Featured, Health & Wellness

A vegetarian lifestyle can have many health benefits, including a reduction in cholesterol, fat, and possibly even calories. Unfortunately, the removal of meat from a diet also reduces the intake and absorption of several important vitamins and minerals, a few of which can impact the health of your teeth. The Academy for General Dentistry has found that eating a vegetarian diet for a prolonged period of time can increase the risk for gum disease due to a potential deficiency in Vitamin D and Calcium.

The good news is that there are plenty of good habits and food choices that can help offset any deficiencies from a vegetarian lifestyle. A few of these include:

  • Avoid frequent snacking on high-carbohydrate foods, including dried fruit and sweets. A good rule for anyone since these high-sugar foods can be hard to clean from your teeth.
  • Eat a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, legumes, and grains to ensure you’re receiving the proper nutrition.
  • Include green leafy vegetables in your diet every day. Meat and seafood include nutrients which help to remineralize teeth and neutralize the acidic environment in our mouths. Fortunately, most green leafy vegetables also have these demineralizing attributes.

Most importantly, do not skip your regular dental checkups! Your dentist is an important player on your healthcare team and may help identify any nutritional deficiencies before they become issues.

 

Tooth Enamel

Enamel Erosion: Symptoms, Signs, and Solutions

By | Health & Wellness

We’ve all heard the importance of protecting and caring for our tooth enamel, but few know why it is so important and what exactly we can do (other than brush our teeth) to protect it.

Two great analogies for what enamel is and does are fingernails and cars. When you get a manicure, a clear topcoat is applied to your nails to protect the paint underneath as well as the body of your fingernail. On a car, a similar practice of adding a clear coat of paint helps protect the vehicle from scratches and damage. Your enamel functions in a similar fashion as the protective coating of your teeth.

Many people think it is the enamel that makes your teeth white – it isn’t. The enamel protects a softer material called dentin, which is white and comprises most of your tooth. When teeth become discolored, it is the dentin that has become stained. While it’s not the enamel that is discolored, a yellowing of your teeth may be a sign that your enamel is damaged, allowing the dentin to become stained.

Other common signs that your enamel has been compromised include increased sensitivity, roughening of the tooth, and chips or jagged edges.

While there are treatments to restore the protection that enamel provides, you cannot regenerate enamel. The best preventative measure is to protect it by brushing often with a fluoride toothpaste, but also brushing correctly. Being too aggressive with your brush may do more harm than good. Avoiding acidic foods and drinks is also important. Soft drinks and citrus-based foods and drinks can erode the enamel of your tooth.

Visiting your dentist regularly will help identify any concerns related to your enamel. As with most health concerns, prevention is the best solution.

 

Xylitol Gum

How do you say Xylitol? (And what is it?)

By | Health & Wellness

How often do you grab a quick lunch and then finding yourself reaching for a stick of gum? Gum has the ability to cover all sorts of lunch time taboos. Spinach in your teeth? Gum will floss it away. Onions on your sandwich? A minty gum will eradicate (or mask) your bad breath. Chewing gum, by design, can be good for your mouth so long as you stick to sugar-free and non-acidic brands. Before you reach for your favorite bubble-making brand at the store, consider this:

Xylitol (pronounced zy-li-tawl) is a sugar alcohol much like what is used in popular low-calorie sweeteners like Stevia or Truvia. The amazing attribute of this alcohol is that it fights tooth decay by balancing the pH (acid) levels in your mouth and prevents bacteria from sticking to your teeth. Xylitol has a naturally minty and sweet flavor, so it is common in dental products, such as floss and toothpaste, as well as gum. Xylitol gum is a popular product that has come on the market in recent years. While levels of Xylitol are contained in some popular brands like Trident, other products contain 100% Xylitol and have benefits like being free of Aspartame and other harsh additives.

Next time you reach for that post-lunch stick of gum, make it one that will help keep your smile healthy!

 

Healthy Trick or Treat

Tricks and Treats for Kids’ Healthy Teeth

By | For Kids, Fun Stuff, Health & Wellness

Eating healthy foods has a positive impact on just about every area of our kids’ lives. From focus in school to performance in athletics making healthy food choices has major benefits, including fostering healthy teeth.

Some foods, however, which are positioned as “healthy” can have a negative impact on teeth. While sports drinks help to rehydrate kids during or after activities, they also bathe teeth in sugars and acids much like soda and other sugar soft drinks. Dried fruit is another common snack provided to kids to offer a boost of energy. While dried fruits are a great source of carbohydrates and fiber, they’re also full of simple sugars and due to their sticky composition can get caught in the crevices of kids’ teeth.

High fiber fruits and veggies act as natural teeth cleaners by scrubbing away food particles left from less healthy snacks, as well as providing minerals and increasing saliva production which neutralizes the acid in your mouth. Eating healthy snack items such as apples, celery, or carrots at the end of their lunch will help kids to keep their smiles clean and healthy.

Looking for the best solution? Water is always best for keeping kids hydrated and it has no bad side effects. Fresh fruits and veggies, cheese, and other natural, no-sugar-added snacks will provide kids a healthy boost of energy while helping to keep their smiles bright and healthy.

 

Choosing A Dentist

Things to consider when choosing a dentist

By | Featured, Health & Wellness

Many things impact our decisions when it comes to decisions on care providers. Reputation, location, and insurance are just some of the practical considerations. While those things are important, they are not indicators that we will have a positive experience with a physician, dentist, or any other care provider we entrust our health and wellbeing to. Here a few less conventional, but perhaps more important, things to consider…

 

  1. Am I comfortable with this person and their team?
    Open communication…and an open mouth are key elements of a good dental checkup. Your dentist and his/her team should be someone you’re comfortable sharing concerns with and being in close proximity to. If you can’t relax, chances are you will not reap the full benefit of your cleaning or your dentist’s expertise on any issues you may be experiencing.

 

  1. Is the office clean, comfortable and equipped with the latest technology?
    A clean, sterile, and comfortable environment are important things to look for. Not only do these matters speak to the dentist’s investment in his/her work, they’re indicators of excellence. Equipment in disrepair or a dirty lobby can and should be unsettling. Most importantly, from teeth whitening to the ability to mold a crown in-house, the technology behind dentistry is quickly developing. Does your practice stay ahead of the curve and offer you the latest advancements?

 

  1. What is the dentist’s approach to care?
    A cavity does not heal over time nor does a broken tooth mend itself. Does your dentist take a proactive approach to care? Catching issues early and caring for teeth in proactive fashion saves time, money, and discomfort. Be wary if you dentist suggests “keeping an eye on something” rather than treating it.

 

  1. Do your kids dread the dentist?
    They shouldn’t. The first dental checkups your children have should be fun, educational, and set a trajectory for life-long dental care. Choosing a dentist who uses terminology that kids understand and engages with them is important.

 

  1. What happens when care becomes more complex?
    Its important to learn how advanced/specialty care and orthodontic procedures are addressed with your dentist’s office. Having a strong referral base or in-house specialist capabilities are the assets of a great dental practice that has oversight and concern for your family’s total care. When something goes wrong, you want to rely on an expert opinion – not Google.
MouthMyths

Common myths concerning your mouth

By | Health & Wellness

Myth #1: Putting Aspirin on your tooth will reduce pain.
Aspirin need to enter the bloodstream to be effective. Placing an aspirin on an aching tooth will not help resolve the pain—in fact, it may add to your pain by producing a chemical burn on your mouth from the acid!

Myth #2: Brushing your teeth after you eat is a good habit.
It is best to let at least 30 minutes pass between eating and brushing teeth. This allows the acid from foods you eat to neutralize in your mouth. Brushing can actually accelerate acid’s attack on your tooth enamel.

Myth #3: Don’t brush bleeding gums!
Although brushing may be the immediate cause of bleeding, it is ultimately more brushing and cleaning of your teeth that will resolve the issue. Bleeding gums is most often caused by tarter below the gum line. An improved cleaning regimen (flossing, mouthwash, brushing) will help remove the plaque and tarter that are causing the bleeding.

Myth #4: Whitening teeth damages tooth enamel.
Your tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in your body and is comprised of “tubules” that can only be seen under magnification. Whitening treatments flow through the tubules to the layer of tissue beneath the enamel called the “dentin.” It is on this dentin layer that the whitening magic happens.