5 Teeth-Friendly Easter Basket Ideas for the Little Ones

easter basketsKids love the Easter bunny just as much as they love Santa. Celebrate the former’s arrival by preparing a teeth-friendly Easter basket for your children. Our family dentists recommend a basket filled with something other than candy and other sugar-laden treats.

Teeth-Friendly Easter Basket Ideas

1. Skip the Jelly Beans

Baskets often include those plastic eggshell cases filled with jelly beans. Jelly beans are made of sugar. And, all those color varieties are due to the liberal use of food dye. Our cosmetic dentists frown on food dye because they stain the teeth.

Instead, fill those eggs with an alternative, such as nuts, stickers, bouncy balls, or rub-on tattoos.

2. Skip the Marshmallow Peeps

Like jelly beans, Marshmallow Peeps are sticky and full of sugar. Consider other types of foods, such as cheese wedges, sugar-free gum, and 100% apple sauce pouches. Continue Reading →

Do You Know the Difference Between Plaque and Tartar?

plaque and tartarEveryone has heard of plaque and tartar and knows they’re the enemies of healthy teeth and gums. However, because most people don’t know much else beyond that, they tend to use the two terms interchangeably. At times, this has led to a less-than-clear understanding when our family dentists explain to our patients why certain treatments are necessary.

Plaque and Tartar Are the Same Thing in Different Forms

Plaque

Plaque is a film of bacteria; it’s a byproduct of proteins and food remnants that remain on your teeth and gums for a prolonged period. Plaque is soft, sticky, and colorless. It also contains acid that erodes your enamel.

Plaque is easy to remove through daily brushing. However, some plaque can also remain behind if it makes its way into the hard-to-reach areas. This is when the problem goes from bad to worse. Continue Reading →

How to Stop Nighttime Bruxism

nighttime bruxismDo you frequently wake up in the morning with a sore and tight jaw? This is a condition called bruxism and is associated with teeth grinding. Nighttime bruxism affects about 15% of American adults. We highly recommend that you see a family dentist if a painful tooth or jaw hampers your mornings.

What Causes Nighttime Bruxism?

According to the Bruxism Association, nighttime teeth grinding is prevalent among individuals with existing sleep disorders, such as chronic snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. The condition is also higher among those who use substances like sleep medication, caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. There also appears to be a strong correlation between bruxism and stress. The latter is known to disrupt normal sleep patterns.

Treatments

We typically recommend a night guard, which you can obtain without a prescription at your local Walgreens. Our dentists can also customize a night guard to fit your teeth and make it more comfortable for long-term use. Continue Reading →

4 Dental Resolutions for 2017

2017 Dental ResolutionsTaking better care of your health is a common New Year’s resolution. This should also take into account your dental health. 2017 dental resolutions are a good idea if you have been rushing through your nightly dental hygiene, or holding off your appointments with your family dentists.

1. Cut Back on Sugary Treats

Reducing sugar will benefit you in two ways. It will improve your overall health by reducing hypertension. It will also improve dental health by reducing cavities. We don’t recommend quitting cold turkey, since the cravings are often too strong. Just cut it out gradually. Perhaps you can limit the sugar to one chocolate chip cookie after lunch, or allot a weekly cheat day.

2. Floss Daily

The keyword here is “daily.” We understand that flossing seems like a hassle, but it’s only an extra two minutes out of your day. That two-minute commitment can prevent tooth decay or root canal problems that make a costly operation necessary. Continue Reading →

Dental-Related Gifts for Kids

Dental Gifts for KidsChristmas is around the corner, and your kids are going to come up with their wish list. This list probably includes that new PlayStation 4 game or that Monster High doll. In fact, your kids will probably give you that stink-face look if you give them something like a toothbrush. Believe it or not, though, there are some dental-related gifts for kids that your little ones may actually like. Here are a few items our family dentists recommend.

Dental Gifts the Kids will Love

1. Electric Toothbrush

There are electric toothbrushes where the handle comes in the form of a cartoon character. Some even play music. This is a gift we like because it will actually make your kids look forward to brushing. Continue Reading →

Best Thanksgiving Foods for Teeth

Best Thanksgiving Foods for TeethThanksgiving is the time of year when people throw their diets out the window and permit themselves to indulge. While this is perfectly acceptable, you should still exercise caution. Some foods are just as bad for your teeth as Halloween candy. Here is a short list of Best Thanksgiving foods for your teeth our family dentists recommend. Feel free to serve extra portions of these on Turkey Day.

Best, Teeth-Friendly Thanksgiving Foods

1. Turkey

Turkey is loaded with protein, which contains phosphorous. This mineral is essential for healthy teeth enamel. In fact, phosphorous along with vitamin D and calcium aid in the development of strong teeth and bones.

2. Natural Cranberry Sauce

The keyword here is “natural.” Canned and processed cranberries are loaded with sugars and artificial coloring. Our cosmetic dentists frown on the latter because it’s a common teeth stainer. Make cranberry sauce from whole cranberries; it will have a tart and sour taste, which is what makes it perfect for eating with turkey. Continue Reading →

The Worst Halloween Candy for Your Teeth

Worst Halloween Candy for Teeth │ Kenmore │ Kenmore Dental It’s October again, which means another Halloween related post. Like most people, our family dentists look forward to the holiday of ghosts and goblins. This year, we compiled a list of worst Halloween candies for your teeth. We recommend you limit your children’s intake of these types of candies. For the sake of the neighborhood kids, we also recommend you not hand these out to trick-or-treaters.

Top Halloween Candy Bad for Your Teeth

Hard candy

Everyone is familiar with the classic peppermint, butterscotch, or any hard candy on a stick. Hard candy is bad for the simple reason that it remains inside your mouth for a prolonged period. Common hard candies that are Halloween mainstays include:

  • Blow Pops
  • Jolly ranchers
  • Ring Pops
  • Generic peppermints, butterscotch, and strawberry bon-bons

Sticky Candy

Candy that’s sticky and gets stuck in your teeth are just as bad. All the sugar that gets stuck in the nooks and crannies of your teeth provides plenty for bad mouth bacteria to feed on. Our orthodontists especially frown on sticky candy because they are really bad for braces. In addition, many sticky candies contain artificial dye, which our cosmetic dentists recommend you stay away from because they can stain your teeth. Continue Reading →

Are Energy Drinks Bad for Your Dental Health?

Energy Drinks & Dental HealthWe live in a busy society. Sometimes, to keep up, some of us need a cup of morning joe; others opt for a Red Bull or a 5-Hour Energy shot instead. Speaking of these energy boosters, is there a correlation between energy drinks and dental health? Here’s our family dentists’ take on the matter.

How Energy Drinks Affect Your Dental Health

Of course, not all energy drinks are created equal, so you have to look at the ingredients. However, the typical energy drink, such as Monster and the aforementioned Red Bull, contain just as much sugar as a can of soda. Aside from caffeine, the sugar also helps deliver a sudden jolt and energy boost. Sugar, as you likely already know, is a teeth destroyer.

In addition, most brands also contain citric acid. While this ingredient extends product shelf life, it is also— as suggested in its name — acidic; so it can erode teeth enamel.

On top of that, our cosmetic dentists also emphasize that — like soda — some energy drinks contain artificial coloring. This can cause teeth discoloration over time.

There are, however, sugar-free varieties that use alternative sweeteners. Energy shots that come in miniature 2-ounce bottles are also typically sugar-free. From a dental standpoint, these are healthier options. Continue Reading →

Metal Brace Ligature Colors: Get Your Child Excited About Braces

Metal Brace Ligature ColorYour child will likely protest vehemently when told she needs braces. This is to be expected; at a young age, physical appearance is everything. Our orthodontists, however, know of several ways to persuade your child to accept braces. One method is through the use of colored metal brace ligatures.

Metal Brace Ligature Color Selection

 

Ligatures are elastic bands that go over the brackets that secure the archwire in place. The ligatures typically come in several colors. They also need to be replaced about once a month. This means an opportunity to swap out a different color during each dental visit.

The option to choose their own color may not exactly get your children hopping with joy over metal braces. Hopefully, though, it will help them to accept it, even if a bit hesitantly in the beginning. Continue Reading →

Should You Pull Out Your Child’s Loose Tooth?

Child's Loose ToothYour child may complain to you about a wiggling tooth. Should you pull out your child’s loose tooth or let it come out naturally? Our family dentists generally recommend the natural route, though it’s acceptable to intervene under certain circumstances.

Pulling Out Your Child’s Tooth May Do More Harm Than Good

By pulling a loose tooth, you risk damaging sensitive tissue. This also increases risk of infection. If it’s a front tooth, it’s even more important to leave the tooth alone. When an anterior tooth is removed prematurely, some of the posterior teeth may shift forward. This can cause crowding when the permanent teeth grow in, leading to a condition known as malocclusion. Treatment for malocclusion often requires an exam from an orthodontist, who may prescribe braces.

Let Your Child Remove the Tooth

Children are naturally curious when a tooth comes loose. Surely, you experienced this yourself and remember how it was. Didn’t you constantly “play” with it using your tongue? Let your child freely experiment with their own loose tooth in the same way until it comes out. This method allows the tooth to fall out naturally even if there was a little nudging from the tongue. Continue Reading →