You may be causing a lot of damage to your teeth and not even know it! You may like to think that you practice good oral hygiene, but if you have any of the following habits, you are mistreating your pearly whites and putting your precious smile at risk:

Drinking Excessive Soda

Let’s admit it. We are drinking way too much soda and sports drinks. The acids in most of the soft and carbonated drinks erode the protective outer layer of the teeth, called the enamel. The teeth get stained and cavities may emerge.

Clenching and Grinding

A lot of us, when stressed or enraged, grind our teeth. Some people clench their teeth really hard, putting a lot of force on the teeth as well as the jaws. This grinding and clenching could result in chipped teeth and damaged jaws.

A Toolbox in Your Mouth

Your teeth are there to help us chew our food, not to use them like a toolbox. But, sometimes we forget that. Use your teeth as a bottle opener all you want, but you might not look good with a chipped tooth.

Thumb Sucking

Kids find thumb sucking soothing, but it may permanently change the teeth alignment or even the jaw structure. This misalignment can lead to difficulty in chewing food and in some cases even breathing problems.

Forgetting To Floss

Brushing your teeth is not enough people! Get a good quality floss and start flossing.  Using mouthwash is not a substitute for regular flossing either. Flossing is essential for healthy and bacteria-free teeth and gums.

Punishing Your Teeth with Your Toothbrush

What type of a toothbrush are you using and how hard are you brushing your teeth? To protect your gums and the precious enamel, brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Make sure to brush with soft hands in a slow circular motion.

 

To get the damage to your teeth properly evaluated, give us a call today

 

Shakopee Area Events

There’s always something going on in the Shakopee area! Check out all of the upcoming events in Shakopee, Chanhassen, Prior Lake, and the entire Southwest Minneapolis & Saint Paul metro on our events calendar. Source (http://visitshakopee.org/events/)

 

Another great website to keep up with the local events is http://www.shakopee.org/events . 

Let us know in the comments below what websites and sources you like to check to keep up with local events here in Shakopee, MN.

You probably may not be aware that a healthy diet can keep tooth decay at bay. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), what you consume can greatly determine the frequency of the occurrence of cavities and their progress. A balanced diet is recommended, which usually consists of vegetables and fruits, grains, protein and dairy.

Vegetables and fruits have a high concentration of fiber and water which aids in the stimulation of saliva which in turn wipes away the stagnant bacteria, food particles and food acids left in the mouth. Crunchy and firm foods, also known as detergent foods, like fruits and vegetables are especially of great advantage because of the their high water content. They are also rich in antioxidants, vitamins A and C. Vitamin C assists in the maintenance of healthy gums and healing wounds. Vitamin A, on the other hand, is a vital nutrient that helps in building tooth enamel.

If your diet lacks foods rich in phosphorus, calcium, and other nutrients, you need to alter it in order to incorporate foods such as dairy, poultry, meats and fish. Phosphorus and calcium in particular protects and rebuilds tooth enamel, and replaces minerals on tooth enamel that are naturally removed by acids.

If your diet revolves around too many sugary or hard foods, like chocolates, sodas and candies, limiting their intake will play a major role in preventing tooth decay and maintaining optimal oral health. These foods contain excess sugar, added colors and flavors and are loaded with empty calories that offer no nutritional value.

Another way you can keep tooth decay at bay is through consumption of water. Water not only hydrates your body but also cleans your mouth of any leftover food particles, acids and bacterial accumulation that can potentially damage the teeth later.

Add and subtract the abovementioned foods from your diet to steer clear of tooth decay.

Mature adults are often aware that dental phobia is irrational, but this fear is often hard to overcome when just thinking about going to the dentist causes fear, anxiety, and panic attacks. If you are one of these people then you need not worry as millions of other share the same fear. Next time when you feel the need to visit a dentist, plan your trip with the help of the pointers below.

FIND THE RIGHT DENTIST:

Word of mouth is your best friend. Ask your peers who their dentist is and what they think of him/her. Certain dentists are better at making their patients feel comfortable in what would usually be a nerve-reckoning situation. These dentists usually just have more experience, and know how to deal with anxiety.

TALK TO YOUR DENTIST IN ADVANCE:

Most dentists allow you to have a free consultation. During the consultation, clearly mention your fear of the procedures and whether or not you should worry about anything. Ask them how they are going to help you make the treatment as comfortable as possible.

SIT BACK AND RELAX:

As extreme as it may seem, activities such as yoga and meditation will help you relax more easily. Doing something as simple as taking three deep breaths also helps.

BRING A FRIEND ALONG:

Although some dentists will not allow anyone in the room while they are working on your teeth, it never hurts to try. If your dentist allows others to be with you, try to bring a good friend who will be able to comfort you during the procedure.

BRING YOUR MUSIC PLAYER:

 

Everybody can agree to the therapeutic qualities of music, making it a great stress breaker when visiting the dentist. Ask your dentist if you can use your music player while they operate on you, which can significantly help you relax and help overcome your fear.  

A great way to prepare yourself when starting a selection process for the right dentist is through asking questions. The answers to those questions will help ascertain whether you will be entrusting your oral health care to a professional or not. The following 5 questions are a great way to start:

1.       HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PRACTICING DENTISTRY?

The very first thing you would want to be sure of about your intended dentist is his/her experience. It doesn't mean rejecting a new-in-business practitioner altogether, but you must determine how long your dentist-to-be is in practice, and then take a decision.

2.       WHAT AREAS DO YOU SPECIALIZE IN OTHER THAN GENERAL DENTISTRY?

All licensed dentists can carry out general care practices to treat their patients. However, procedures like sedation, root canal, oral surgery and cosmetics require special training and qualification to be performed.

Know what services and treatment types your potential dentist offers outside basic care and treatment.

3.       DO YOU TREAT CHILDREN?

Not all dentists are trained to work with kids. If you are looking for a family dentist, find a dental service that provides quality oral care to patients of all ages.

4.       DO YOU OFFER DENTAL SERVICE OUTSIDE BUSINESS HOURS?

Be it a broken tooth or lost filling, dental emergencies can occur anywhere, any time. Only a 24 hour dentist can help in case of an emergency. Make sure your family dentist offers dental assistance beyond office hours so that when emergency strikes, you can turn to your practitioner without wasting any time.

5.       THE FINAL QUESTION:

 

To maintain good oral health, finding a licensed dentist who you can trust with your family’s dental health needs is important. Putting up these questions, you can rest assured you'll be getting the right dental care and treatment when in need.

General Dentistry

The general dentist

According to The Academy of General Dentistry, a general dentist provides the primary dental care for patients of all ages. Patients go to the general dentist for the diagnosing, treating, managing and overseeing of all their oral health needs. He is an expert in dental care. The general dentist is very knowledgeable and highly-trained on all aspects of dentistry, rather than focusing in just one specific aspect of dental care. Through your general dentist, you can be in contact with whatever dental specialists are needed, and have access to a wide range of dental info and techniques to help you in keeping a bright, healthy, smile.

The Academy of General Dentistry

The Academy of General Dentistry, a non-profit organization made up of over 35,000 dentists throughout the United States and Canada, is devoted to continuing the education of its members and improving dental care and treatment for patients. Started in 1952 its mission is stated “to serve the needs and represent the interests of general dentists and to foster their continued proficiency through quality continuing dental education in order to best serve the public.” Those who are members of the Academy must show a dedication to excellence that is measured by accomplishing at least 75 hrs of dental training and education every 3 years.

How is the Academy of General Dentistry different?

The Academy of General Dentistry is the only dental organization that was started for, and is governed by general dentists, dealing solely with the needs and interests of general dentists. The Academy works to protect and strengthen the dentist/patient relationship by enhancing freedom of choice for patients and raising public awareness of dental health. The Academy provides resources for information on dental health and acts in an advisory role in dealing with issues in dental health. With its dedication to knowledge and further education, the Academy of General Dentistry is committed raising the awareness of the general public on matters of dental health, and motivating and enabling patients to be able to make educated choices in regards to their dental health. Complimentary dental advice is made available to people through “SmileLine”, the Academy’s toll-free, nationwide dental hotline. Recently, the Academy established SmileLine on the web to offer patients an alternative way to get answers for their dental care concerns, using the internet. On the Academy’s website (http://www.agd.org/), SmileLine on the web allows dental patients to publish their particular concerns on a message board. Their questions are then answered by members of the Academy. The website additionally functions as a resource for people of up-to-date info and technology on dental health.

Other dental professional organizations

When a dentist is listed as a member of the ADA, AGD or other dental professional organizations, it shows they are committed to continued training and education in order to keep current on the newest processes and technologies. Like most medical fields, dentistry is always changing and growing with brand-new research and technology breakthroughs. Dentists who stay current on available treatments and processes are much better able to provide the client the range of diagnosis and treatment alternatives presently offered. Dentists devoted to continuing dental care training are showing a commitment to keep up with the latest advances and breakthroughs in their profession in order to best serve and take care of their patient’s dental health. Because of the Academy requirements for 75-hours of education every 3 years, their member’s education is constantly advancing. Current studies have found that the Academy members, on average, actually put in more than forty hours every year of continuing education. The Academy of General Dentistry is acknowledged as the national resource for the tracking and recording of dental education for general dentists. The Academy additionally offers and sponsors high-quality courses throughout the nation, using regional and constituent academies.

 

 

Waterpicks and Flosses

Plaque, a sticky material full of germs, accumulates on teeth, especially in areas between and around the teeth where a toothbrush doesn’t reach. Not handled regularly, it can cause gum disease. The simplest way to rid your mouth of plaque is to daily brush and floss your teeth. A toothbrush will clean the tops and sides of teeth but dental floss can get to spots it can’t reach and clean between the teeth. Some people like to use waterpicks but dentists consider floss the best option.

To floss or not to floss!

Flossing is very important in maintaining healthy teeth. Floss eliminates plaque and other particles that stick to the teeth and gums in the in between areas. It polishes the tooth enamel and handles bad breath. It is the most important and vital tool you can use against plaque, even more crucial than brushing with a toothbrush. A lot of men and women don’t spend enough time brushing and flossing their teeth or haven’t been taught how to clean their teeth properly. It’s good to have your dentist or dental hygienist show you proper brushing and flossing techniques.

Types of floss to use

There are several types of dental floss—waxed, unwaxed, thin or wide, flavored, etc. Dental tape or wide floss is good for people with bridgework. The tape is typically recommended for use when there are wide spaces between teeth. The different types of floss all do a good job of cleaning and removing plaque. Some people find waxed floss easier to work with and move between tight teeth and restorations. Some like the unwaxed floss because it tends to make a squeaking noise when teeth are clean. You can get bonded unwaxed floss that does not split or fray quite as easily as the regular unwaxed floss, but it tends to tear more than waxed floss does.

How to floss

The two main methods for flossing are the loop and the spool method. The most common, the spool fine for people who have good manual dexterity. Just take an 18-inch piece of floss, winding the majority of it loosely around a finger. Then, wind the remainder of the floss likewise around the same finger on your other hand. This will be the finger that gather up the floss after it is used and becomes soiled. Holding the floss between your index finger and thumb, move it back and forth between your teeth, being careful not to bring it too hard down on the gums which would hurt or irritate them. Move the floss up and down a number of times in a “C” form around the tooth, making sure you get the bottom of the tooth below the gum line.

The loop method is good for kids or grownups who have less finger dexterity, weak muscular coordination, or joint trouble, like arthritis. Just take an 18-inch piece of floss, making it into a circle. Tie it firmly with three knots. Put your fingers, excluding the thumb, in the circle or loop. Your index finger will guide the floss through lower teeth and the thumbs are used to take the floss through the top teeth. Make sure you go below the gum line with the floss in a “C” along side the tooth.

Flossing frequency

You should floss on a daily basis, at least once each day. Spend at least 2 or 3 minutes in order to give the teeth a thorough flossing.

Using floss holders

You can get pre-threaded floss holders, looking like a hacksaw, with the floss stretched on a little frame. The floss holders are convenient for individuals with minimal dexterity. They are also good for kids or people who are new to flossing, or for people like caretakers when they have to floss somebody else’s teeth.

Toothpick safety

Toothpicks are good at getting rid of food stuck between teeth, but they do not replace a proper day-to-day cleansing of plaque from between the teeth. Floss is best for that. You can get toothpicks in round or flat shapes, and thin or thick. Whenever using a toothpick, be careful not to poke the gums or push too hard, causing it to break off and possibly lodging in the gums.

Waterpicks in dental hygiene

 

Waterpicks should not be used as a replacement for brushing and flossing. However, they are very efficient to use with orthodontic braces that tend to get food stuck in spots that the toothbrush does not always get to. They do not eliminate the plaque on the tooth enamel. Waterpicks are often recommended for people suffering from gum disease. Your dentist can prescribe solutions that contain chlorhexidine, tetracycline or similar anti-bacterial agents, and can be added to the waterpick’s water tank.

As thrilling and satisfying nighttime snacking may be, there’s no denying the fact that it not only contribute to weight gain, but also adversely impacts the brain and teeth while adding to numerous health problems like liver damage, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

We tend to have this illusion that we can work and eat at anytime of the day we want. But it is not as simple as that. The circadian rhythm follows a 24-hour cycle, regulating our body’s organs and releasing hormones apprising us when it is time for bed. Disturbing this cycle of sleep-wake is bad news, as it brings along many health problems including immune system issues and type-2 diabetes. Furthermore, it negatively impacts cognitive function, especially memory mechanism and learning.

Another reason what late night snacking does is compromise your oral health. If you regularly wake up in the middle of the night to chomp down some food and then go back to sleep, here is why you need to stop and step back from that fridge right now! You just enjoyed a Mars bar, but now you are too lazy to go and brush your teeth again, or weirdly enough, you would rather sleep with your mouth still tasting like chocolate means a grand feast for bacteria feeding on your teeth.

‘So, all I need is to do is brush my teeth again and I am good to go?’ Not entirely. When we usually brush our teeth, there still remain certain sugars and tiny food bits that have not been thoroughly wiped out. That’s when our saliva comes in and removes the little particles and acids.

After dark, however, our body produces less saliva and so it may not be a great backup, encouraging bacterial build-up. Furthermore, nighttime is the period of rest and restoration for your teeth when, after the day’s wear and tear, they will finally have a time to remineralize. Disturbing this resting cycle with food is bad for your teeth.

 

Considering the above problems, it is best to avoid eating at night altogether. However, if you must, snack on healthy foods like baked tortilla chips, non-buttered popcorn and celery. 

Probably the most ignored aspect of our healthcare routine happens to be oral hygiene. We are so busy worrying about that extra pound gained, or minor headaches that we tend to overlook the value of our teeth as long as they last. Only when faced with a series of oral problem that we realize the importance of maintaining an optimal oral hygiene.

Let’s start with a few simple tips on better preserving oral hygiene, most of which we already know but choose to ignore:

1.       BRUSHING TWICE A DAY:

Yeah, we know that. Yet, we knowingly skip brushing at night as we are too tired or sleepy, or rather not mark an end to our day’s snack munching because let’s be real: brushing means no more food chomping. What this does is that the food particles sitting in our teeth overnight rot, and become a feasting ground for bacteria that in turn damage the protective enamel. Hence, it is advisable to brush or at the least gargle after every meal, and especially at night to minimize teeth damage.

2.       USING A MOUTHWASH:

We tend to assume that brushing alone is sufficient for our oral hygiene regimen, but a swirl of mouthwash ensures your entire oral cavity and gums are swiped clean of any food debris and germs.

3.       USING A TONGUE CLEANER:

Many of us out there at some point must have wondered why our mouths don’t feel or smell as fresh even though we religiously brush and floss. The answer lies in the tongue. The tongue becomes a breeding ground for bacteria as plaque and sediments intensify. A tongue cleaner is a must-have tool for a complete oral hygiene routine as it scrapes off all the undesired germ build-up.

4.       AVOID SMOKING:

Responsible for yellowing teeth, causing worms and cavities, smoking is one of the worst habits for your dental hygiene. Tobacco affects the attachment of your soft tissue and bone, and interferes with your normal gum tissue cells’ function, paving the way to gum and other oral problems.

5.       MUSTARD OIL WITH SALT:

A homemade, natural recipe for teeth whitening and quick germ removal comes from the use of mustard oil and salt’s mixture.

 

Start today with these tips to prolong the health of your mouth, your body and your personality. 

The arrival of spring after a lazy winter is as good as a new year, a fresh start for different things. One of the ways spring is celebrated is through spring cleaning, which doesn’t only have to be about your house, but your teeth and smile. Here are some spring tips to help you maintain an optimal dental health:

EAT A CALCIUM-RICH BREAKFAST:

Many people dwell on a poor breakfast routine while others decide to skip it altogether. Remember that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and should be rich in calcium to not only help you throughout the day, but also prove beneficial for your teeth and bones in the long run. Add calcium in the form of dairy products to your breakfast to help nourish your teeth and ensure its overall strength.

HYDRATE:

Not only will this help detox your body, but also wash away any acidic or sugar content left in your mouth and make survival of bacteria harder.

DON’T USE YOUR TEETH AS AN OPENER TOOL:

If you like to use your teeth when opening bottles, cans and God knows what, remember that it may seem cool now, but no one will be impressed when you wind up losing a tooth.

REPLACE YOUR OLD TOOTHBRUSH:

You should replace your old toothbrush with new ones every few months. However, if you haven’t in a long time, right now is the best time.

REPLENISH YOUR FLOSS SUPPLY:

Stock your floss supply if you floss every day. Stock your floss supply even if you don’t. If you think flossing is one heck of a daily chore, start off slow. Begin stroking the tooth twine by flossing twice a week in the first month, three times a week in the second, four times a week in third…and so forth.

VISIT A DENTIST TWICE A YEAR:

Most dentists propose a minimum of two visits annually, and more for people with relatively poor oral health. If you get a check up twice every three years, it is time you saw your dentist more often to circumvent potential problems from developing, and actually save money in the long run by avoiding costly treatments

 

These are some spring tips to preserve optimal dental health that you should start following right away. 

Dental pain is one of the worst kinds of pains, and a possible aftermath of cavities, cracked and loose teeth, an abscess or a sinus condition. The first and smartest way to keep dental pain at bay is to prevent its roots through regular checkups, eating the right foods and following a proper oral hygiene. Should prevention not work in your case, you could try the following home remedies to lessen pain until you visit your dentist for thorough diagnosis and treatment:

SALTWATER SWISH:

Boiling water mixed with a spoonful of salt is a great pain-killing mouthwash that cleans away irritating debris and draws out some of the fluid that causes swelling. Swish the saltwater around for 30 seconds before spitting it out, and repeat as often as needed.

PEPERMINT AND BLACK TEA:

Nicely flavored with numbing power, peppermint tea is a great mouthwash that relieves pain. For swelling, try black tea as its astringent tannins helps ease spasms and lessens inflammation. Try placing a warm teabag against the affected tooth for quick, temporary relief.

ICE IT:

Numb your aching tooth by rubbing an ice pack for about 5 to 7 minutes and massage it with your thumb and forefinger.

USE THE RIGHT TOOLS AND FOODS:

Instantly switch to a soft bristled brush or one designed for ‘sensitive teeth’. Avoid consuming hot and cold foods and switch to softer edibles that will be painless on your teeth. Further, avoid sugary foods that can trigger bacterial action and worsen the condition.

CLOVE OIL:

Cloves consist of a natural anesthetic, a primary chemical compound known as eugenol. Putting a couple of drops of clove oil on a cotton ball and placing against the aching tooth helps numb the area and provides relief from the pain. Avoid pouring the oil on the affected area as it can worsen the pain.

APPLY PRESSURE:

Trying acupressure helps stop toothache fast. Press the back of your hand where the base of your index finger and thumb meet with your other thumb. Apply pressure for two minutes as it helps trigger the release of endorphins, the feel good hormone. Do not try this if you are pregnant.

You should remember that these pain relief techniques are temporary and only suppress the symptoms, not cure the cause! Visit your dentist as soon as the problem occurs and get a thorough diagnosis and medical regimen.