31 October 2016

Halloween Candy: Your Dental Health Survival Guide

Halloween candy

With Halloween comes ghosts, goblins and goodies—and the sugar in those treats can play some unwanted tricks on your teeth if you’re not careful.

Here’s why: The bacteria in your mouth are probably more excited to eat Halloween candy than you are. When the bacteria eat the sugar and leftover food in your mouth, a weak acid is produced. That acid is what can contribute to cavities.

But don’t hang up your costume just yet. “Halloween is about candy, dressing up and having fun,” says ADA dentist Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty. “It’s OK to eat that candy on Halloween as a splurge as long as you’re brushing twice a day and flossing once a day all year long.”

To help you sort through the trick-or-treat bag loot, we have a rundown of some common candies and their impact on your teeth:

Chocolate
Chocolate is probably your best bet, which is good because it’s also the most popular kind of candy handed out on Halloween. “Chocolate is one of the better candies because it washes off your teeth easier than other types of candy,” Dr. Ferraz- Dougherty says. “Dark chocolate also has less sugar than milk chocolate.”

Sticky and Gummy Candies
Be picky if it’s sticky. These are some of the worst candies for your teeth. “This candy is harder to remove and may stay longer on your teeth, which gives that cavity-causing bacteria more time to work,” Dr. Ferraz-Dougherty says.

Hard Candy
Hard candies are also ones to watch on Halloween. “They can actually break your teeth if you’re not careful,” Dr. Ferraz- Dougherty says. “You also tend to keep these kinds of candies in your mouth for longer periods of time so the sugar is getting in your saliva and washing over your teeth.”

Sour Candy
You might want to pass on things that make you pucker – especially if they are sticky and coated in sugar. “Sour candy can be very acidic,” says Dr. Ferraz-Dougherty. “And that acidity can weaken and damage the hard outer shell of your teeth, making your teeth more vulnerable to cavities.”

Popcorn Balls
Have some floss handy if you’re enjoying one of these fall favorites. “Kernels can get stuck in-between your teeth," Dr. Ferraz-Dougherty says. "They are also sticky, sugary and can be hard.”

31 August 2016

Gum Disease and Your Heart: What You Need to Know

Did you know that there is an association between gum disease and heart disease?

Many studies show an as-yet-unexplained association between gum disease and several serious health conditions–including heart disease–even after adjusting for common risk factors. Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that support the teeth and is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Below are some of the most important things you can do to avoid gum disease and maintain good oral health (including prevention of tooth decay or cavities):

• Brush teeth twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.
• Clean between teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner.
• Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks.
• Visit your dentist regularly for oral examinations and professional cleanings.

Healthier mouths can mean healthier hearts, and we want you to know that we are here to support you. Please reach out to us with any concerns or questions.

6 May 2016

Shrek Breath and How to Beat It!

Bad breath can be an embarrassing and inconvenient thing! Halitosis can be caused by certain underlying medical conditions, foods we eat, and our oral hygiene habits.

Some of the most common triggers are:

Gum disease or tooth decay- a visit to your dentist to take care of these are necessary to treat this.
Dry Mouth- there are special toothpastes and mints to encourage saliva flow to help with this.
Medications and certain medical conditions- consult with your dentist about how to combat the specific causes you may be dealing with in this case.
Poor oral hygiene- invest in a good electric toothbrush (such as Sonicare) and make sure to brush twice a day, floss once per day and attend regular Prophylactic cleanings with your Dental Hygienist!
Foods and drinks- we all know that onions and garlic (and many other foods or drinks) can create a not so pleasant odor after consumption, just brush the teeth and tongue after you eat to fight the funk!
Tobacco use- obviously quitting would be our first suggestion, but if that is not an option for you, we encourage more frequent visits to your hygienist for a professional cleaning and really good at home care! You gotta step up your game!!

The first step in taking control of bad breath is figuring out the root cause of the problem. We can be a big help in this department. Talk to us about it!! We should always rule out any oral health problems, such as gum disease, decay or low salivary flow.

After we have done that, we can customize a cocktail of steps that can be taken to keep bad breath at bay!!!

Stay Fresh Friends!!!

 

23 March 2016

INSURANCE, SHMINSURANCE

There seems to be a love/hate relationship with good ol’ insurance. Most of us have it but sometimes we wonder what the heck is it really doing for us. Well I am here to give you a little advice on the in’s and outs of the world of dental insurance.

First, one of the biggest questions we receive about insurance is……” Are you in network or out of network with my insurance?”
This is a great question, so let’s break it down!

Sometimes dental insurance has a set of benefits for you if you see an in network dentist and a set of benefits if you see an out of network dentist. The funny thing is that often, well let’s be real, most of the time, these benefits are the same. The only difference is that if you see an in network dentist, your dentist may be writing off a portion of your procedure if the fee exceeds the allowable charge.

Let’s talk about allowable charges. You see, insurance does this interesting thing where they take a specific demographic area and calculate an average fee for a certain service and call that the allowable fee. So for dentists participating in the network with that insurance and charging more than that allowable fee, they will be writing off the difference. If your out of network dentist is charging an average fee for your area, then your out of pocket is no different than seeing that in network dentist. Make sense? So in a nutshell, if your dentist is charging average fees for your area, then you are probably not going to receive any additional benefit by seeing an in network dentist.

Our office understands the importance of you wanting to utilize and benefit from your dental insurance, but we also want you to fully understand what that means and help you to receive the most superior treatment, while also utilizing your insurance. Our office does participate with a few insurance companies; Delta Dental, Aetna and Blue Cross and Blue Shield, but we actually work with several hundred insurance companies as out of network providers and our patients are not noticing any coverage mishaps by seeing us, an “out of network” dentist.

It is no secret that insurance can be a confusing and frustrating beast at times, but please know we are here to help you understand and utilize those benefits to the fullest, so if you ever need to go through those benefits, we are here to help!!!

3 March 2016

The Ultimate Toothpaste Guide

Shopping for toothpaste can be an overwhelming process. If you’re like me, you take a look at those choices and grab for the best deal. However, we should be aware that there could be a better choice than just that week’s deal. So here is a breakdown of how a toothpaste can become a tool of prevention to help you maintain that healthy smile in between your visits with us. So let’s break it down…..

Tartar Control Toothpaste
This particular formula is a good choice for people that are prone to tartar and are looking to prevent buildup. Tartar control toothpastes contain ingredients that are effective in breaking down plaque on the teeth before it hardens into more difficult to remove plaque. Keep in mind, this toothpaste does not help to prevent tartar buildup below the gum line, but can be used to as a preventative measure.

Whitening Toothpaste
Almost every brand out there offers some sort of whitening toothpaste. You should be aware that some products contain harsh materials that gently scrub away surface stains, and some companies use peroxide to whiten. While popular, whitening toothpastes can often cause sensitivity and is not recommended for children under the age of 18.

Toothpaste for Sensitivity
Specially formulated toothpaste for sensitive teeth is a great tool for individuals that experience discomfort with hot or cold temperatures. These toothpastes are usually less abrasive and contain either strontium chloride or potassium nitrate. These compounds aid in the reduction of sensitivity by inhibiting the passageways that travel through the teeth to the nerves.

Children’s Toothpaste
We suggest you start with a “training” toothpaste for toddlers, since these are designed to be safe to swallow. Children’s Specific Toothpaste is the best choice for older kids. It is similar to adult toothpaste but typically comes in more kid-friendly flavors and contains less fluoride. If you’re still unsure which brand is best, your hygienist would be an awesome asset to ask!

Prescription Strength Fluoride Toothpaste
This toothpaste is designed for those who are more prevalent to tooth decay, or, those who suffer from temperature sensitivity that can’t be controlled with the over the counter sensitivity toothpaste. This toothpaste can be purchased from our office or at a pharmacy. The reason, is because it contains higher levels of fluoride.

Just make sure the toothpaste that you choose has the American Dental Association label on it and try to brush for a solid 2 minutes! And don’t forget, you are never fully dressed without your smile!!!

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