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It might be the most wonderful time of the year, but if your one-horse open sleigh finds you dashing through the snow to an unexpected dental emergency appointment, you may be lacking in that jingle bell spirit! And after the holidays, no one wants to ring in the New Year with their top resolution being to "Get My Cavities Filled!" Take a look at these common seasonal treats and their dental connection.
- CANDY CANES. Innocently biting down on these much-harder-than-expected pieces of candy can chip your teeth and dental work. While peppermints and other hard-candies are potentially bad for your teeth when you crunch away, they can pose an even greater concern if you let them slowly dissolve in your mouth! Caution is a definite must with treats in this category.
- GUMDROPS. While one of the sweetest ways to decorate for the holidays, these treats are essentially made of corn syrup and sugar that is then rolled in sugar. Unfortunately, this sugar-laden treat is extra-gummy, which causes it to stick between your teeth and take an extra long time to dissolve.
- TOFFEE, CARAMELS, TAFFY. Although this Holiday treat is usually packaged in a ribbon decorated box, these extremely sticky foods are not a gift for your teeth. These chewy candies stick to enamel, dental work, and braces.
- GINGERBREAD HOUSES. While nothing says the holidays like a gingerbread house, these chewy, sticky gingerbread sugary iced covered gumdrops and peppermints make for a better addition to your Christmas decor than to improve your dental health.
While this list wasn't very jolly, and candies and sweets are normally on the Dental naughty list, Scooges we are not! Indulging in a treat or two is part of the Holiday fun. Take a look at a few ways to help you "Dentally" navigate this season.
- BE CHOOSY. Just like you search for that perfect present for your family and friends, take the time to choose the perfect holiday treat for yourself. If you are concerned about cavities, wear braces, or are generally concerned with your oral health, stay away from the sticky, hard, and excessively sugary desserts.
- EAT SWEETS WITH A MEAL. Saliva does more than keep mouths from getting dry. It also helps prevent cavities by washing away food particles and neutralizing the acids from food and bacteria, which damage enamel.
- RINSE AFTER EATING. Rinsing your mouth with plain water after a meal or snack, especially a sugary one, also helps wash away the sticky sugars and carbs, which oral bacteria convert into enamel dissolving acids.
Ho-Ho-Hopefully these tips can provide you some direction as you make your holiday dessert list and check it twice! Remember to increase your brushing and flossing if you are indulging in some seasonal treats. By giving yourself these two gifts, you'll be ringing in the New Year with a beautiful, healthy smile that truly is "Sweet!"
Have you ever wondered why some people have dull and yellow teeth, while others have bright, white smiles? It's more than luck!
Everyone's teeth naturally dull over time because of aging and the contact our teeth experience with staining foods, such as chocolate and coffee. However, teeth-whitening treatments can give you the whiter smile you've been after.
- GET REGULAR TREATMENTS. Unfortunately, the effects of teeth-whitening or bleaching treatment are only temporary, but regular treatments can help you keep your teeth white much longer. The effects of in-office bleaching can last for several months to a year, so you may prefer to repeat your use of at-home bleaching kits every few months to maintain your white teeth. Whitening toothpastes do not contain bleach and are safe to use daily.
- REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS. Not everyone's teeth can be tuned bright white. Some just don't respond to whitening treatments. If your teeth are a light yellowish color, they may readily respond to teeth-whitening procedures, but bleach will not likely work on grayish teeth. Brownish teeth tend to fall somewhere in between.
- PRACTICE GOOD ORAL HYGIENE. For the best whitening results, it's necessary to keep your teeth in good health. Visible fillings, implants, or bridges that are metallic stand out against the white color that you'll want to achieve. Maintaining good oral hygiene will help you avoid tooth decay and keep your smile bright. In addition to brushing your teeth for two minutes twice daily, these actions can help to promote a healthy mouth:
- FLOSS DAILY
- PROFESSIONAL DENTAL CLEANINGS AT LEAST EVERY SIX MONTHS
- LIMIT SUGARY AND STARCHY FOODS AND BEVERAGES THAT CAN STAIN TEETH
We all want our best and brightest smiles, and today there are many options that we can explore at home to make those beautiful smiles a reality. From healthy habits, a healthy diet, a whitening toothpaste, or a do-it-yourself home product, everyone has the opportunity to achieve whiter teeth.
HEALTHY HABITS. Proper brushing is the first step in keeping your teeth stain-free. Two minutes twice a day is the key. One of the highest missed areas is between and at the base of each tooth.
HEALTHY DIET. While most everyone considers that red wine, coffee, and tea can cause some of the worst enamel stains, acidic drinks like soft drinks and citrus beverages can cause even more problems by dissolving tooth enamel, exposing the yellowish dentin underneath. Moderation and rinsing with water can reduce the potential damage.
WHITENING TOOTHPASTE. Toothpastes are available that can remove surface stains, which can keep your teeth their whitest after a professional whitening. However, the whitening ingredients won't penetrate the enamel surface or change the natural color of your teeth.
OTC WHITENING KITS. These products provide a peroxide-based gel that can be applied in a tray or with strips. If you choose a tray application, make sure that the trays fit properly so sensitive areas in your mouth are not irritated. If you decide on the strip method, always make sure that ALL of the tooth surfaces are covered to avoid uneven whitening.
While all of these whitening methods can be helpful, there are some circumstances when a professional whitening is best. Professional gel whiteners are more powerful, and can be more effective on darker stains that OTC products can't remove. On the other hand, some conditions, such as deep stains from trauma or medication, may require a different dental cosmetic procedure like veneers to achieve whiter teeth.
A smile makeover is usually a combination of one or more cosmetic dental procedures. To achieve your desired result, our dental team may perform or suggest a variety of options. The entire process is designed specifically for your unique cosmetic needs, and we will make sure that all of your concerns regarding your smile are addressed.
Check out the most common procedures available in dentistry today:
- TOOTH WHITENING: Whiter teeth are achieved through a bleaching process typically using hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Yellower teeth usually respond well to this procedure, while brown-colored teeth stained by fluorosis or taking tetracycline do not respond as well to whitening. Tooth whitening is not for everyone; if you have sensitive teeth, gum disease, or poor enamel can be common contraindications.
- ORTHODONTICS: Braces are one of the tried-and-true ways of achieving a healthier smile. Braces are typically worn for about 24 months to reposition the teeth in a straighter and safer alignment. There are several different types of braces, clear ceramic braces, lingual braces, and clear aligners.
- VENEERS: Veneers are thin, tooth-colored material designed to be placed on the front surface of teeth to improve their overall appearance. They can be used in cases where the color, shape, size, or length is not as desired. Veneers are usually used in cases where teeth are discolored, chipped, worn down, misaligned, irregular, or have gaps.
- IMPLANTS/BRIDGES: Dental implants and bridges are used to replace missing or broken teeth. Nowadays, both implants and bridges are commonly performed procedures. Implants integrate directly with the jawbone, while bridges are placed over the adjacent teeth to the missing tooth. Implant technology has advanced a great deal in recent years and highly biocompatible ceramic materials are becoming more commonplace.