water splashing with text: better hydration for better smiles

Better Hydration for Better Smiles

With the heat of summer on the horizon, many of us will need to drink more water than ever to stay hydrated. How does drinking water affect our teeth? Here are some ways that consuming water not only increases your overall health, but your dental health, too.

No Sugars, No Acids

Water is the best beverage partly because of what it doesn’t contain instead of what it does—that is, sugars and acids! These can erode your enamel over time and cause tooth decay, but drinking water helps cleanse your mouth and remove these substances from your teeth. It can reduce the amount of damage done over time and help keep your smile looking younger.

Decreases Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a common occurrence that can be lessened by drinking enough water. It can lead to uncomfortable side effects like bad breath, sore throat, and difficulty swallowing. It is important to note that increased water intake is not a permanent solution to dry mouth but is a first step toward better oral health. It is a good idea to talk about permanent dry mouth solutions with your dentist at your next appointment.

Fantastic Fluoride

If you are reading this, then the odds are good you live in a town or a city that includes added fluoride in their drinking water! According to the CDC, as of 2016, over 200 million people drink fluoridated water, which has been proven safe over the span of more than 75 years to help reduce cavities. To find out whether you have fluoridated water in your area, you can contact your local water utility provider or check if your state participates in the My Water’s Fluoride program and look up the information on the CDC’s website. If your water does not have added fluoride, speak to your dentist about how you can best supplement fluoride in your routine.

carbonated water

Carbonated Water

For people who prefer fizzy drinks, carbonated water is a popular way to stay hydrated and healthy. But does carbonated water make an ideal substitute for plain water? Mostly, the answer is yes, but there are some differences to keep in mind.

  • Sparkling water is more acidic than regular water, with a lower pH value. However, the good news is that studies have shown that the lowered pH value of plain carbonation is not enough to erode enamel! This can vary slightly depending on the flavor of the water—citrus flavors, because of their naturally occurring citric acid, are more likely to cause mild enamel erosion.
  • As a rule, carbonated waters do not contain added fluoride, nor do most plain bottled waters, so consuming a lot of sparkling water can mean you are not getting enough fluoride to provide cavity protection. This is a good reason to mix up your water intake and include tap water.
  • Some sparkling waters add sweeteners for flavor, and this takes carbonated water from a healthy beverage to one that can increase your risk of cavities.
  • Plain sparkling water or non-citrus, unsweetened flavored sparkling waters are the best for pearly white and healthy teeth, though citrus unsweetened waters are fine in moderation.

As you can see, staying hydrated is full of dental benefits, and is an all-around excellent idea for your health. Keeping up on your water intake can lead to a happier, healthier you!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

elderly woman holding dentures

Aging and Oral Health: Know the Facts

It’s a fact that getting older results in changes to our dental health, so have you ever wondered what you can do to make sure that your teeth withstand the test of time? Is it inevitable that as we age, we will lose teeth and require dentures? Let’s talk about aging and the realities behind senior dental hygiene!

A leading reason for tooth loss amongst seniors is gum disease. What starts as mild gingivitis can advance to a severe gum disease called periodontitis, which can lead to the loss of teeth and irreversible gum damage if left untreated. According to the CDC, “70.1% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease,” which is not a comforting statistic! However, it is a myth that senior adults need to lose their teeth, and with preventative care, there is no reason that gum disease leading to tooth loss cannot be kept in check.

Another age-related oral health occurrence is stained and weakened enamel. Our teeth aren’t immune to showing the signs of aging, and years of eating and drinking will eventually make themselves known on the surface of your teeth. Acids and sugars wear away enamel over time. This, too, can be slowed down significantly through measures such as a balanced diet with less acidic foods and standard oral hygiene.

A few more things to watch out for are decreased nerve sensitivity, dry mouth caused by medications, and gum recession. Decreased nerve sensitivity can lead to an absence of pain, but that does NOT mean that no problem exists–this can mask issues and lead to delays in treatment. Dry mouth can cause gum infections and increase the chances of tooth decay. Gum recession can expose the sensitive root of a tooth and provide a haven for bacteria to accumulate.

Unfortunately, in addition to all of the above, aging and its associated health problems can create physical limitations that make it more difficult to properly maintain oral health. Chronic health conditions can lower morale and lead to mental health issues like depression, which can make daily tasks more likely to fall by the wayside. Lower energy levels can mean prioritizing other health needs instead of oral care. In order to combat these factors, consider ideas like using a water flosser, setting tooth-brushing alarms on a phone or an alarm clock, and using a toothbrush with an extra-large handle.

This may all sound grim, but the good news is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Knowing how to find and treat problems is most of the battle when it comes to dental health. Plus, technology is always advancing, and new treatments will only get better with time. Following the below tips can help make sure your natural teeth will last for a lifetime!

  • Make sure you have adequate calcium intake to support your teeth.
  • To treat dry mouth and prevent enamel loss, stay hydrated and moderate your intake of beverages with alcohol or caffeine.
  • To minimize gum recession, gently brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste and speak with your dentist to see what mouthwash may be right for you.
  • Consider an electric toothbrush to be sure you are brushing more thoroughly and for a long enough time.

And, of course, two of the most crucial ways to maintain your overall dental health as you age are also the most obvious:

  • Visit your dentist on schedule, ideally every six months, for routine cleanings
  • Brush twice a day and floss daily

With care, knowledge, and a bit of luck, you can keep your entire mouth feeling healthy and looking fantastic no matter your age!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April, a month that’s filled with beautiful spring weather, the sun is out longer, which means summer is getting closer. April is also the month to raise awareness of a cause very important to us, and one that could affect us all. It’s Oral Cancer Awareness Month. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, approximately 54,000 people in the United States will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer this year. That means, 132 new people will be diagnosed every day here in the U.S. So, let’s take this opportunity together to highlight the importance of early detection and examine why oral cancer screenings are important for everyone’s health.

Signs & Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Did you know that oral cancer refers to any cancer that impacts the lips, tongue, gums, inside of the cheeks or roof, or floor of the mouth? Although it is less talked about than the other common cancers, oral cancer is the sixth most common type of cancer in the world. The signs and symptoms are easily overlooked and brushed off as “small problems.” Unfortunately, this makes oral cancer even more deadly as most are diagnosed in the later stages. One of the most common signs of oral cancer includes a lingering sore in the mouth or on the lips. The kind that doesn’t go away or ever fully heal. Other symptoms include:

  • Loose permanent teeth
  • Discoloration inside the mouth (red or white patches of skin)
  • Unusual bleeding, pain, or numbness in the mouth area
  • Difficulty swallowing and chewing
  • Mouth and/or ear pain

What Causes Oral Cancer in People?

It’s also very important to note that one or more of these symptoms does not mean you have cancer, only that if symptoms are present for more than two weeks, you need to make an appointment to see us, your dentist. Now that we’ve talked about the symptoms of oral cancer, let’s dive into some of the reasons that could cause it to appear. The greatest causes of oral cancer, after tobacco, are:

  • Alcohol use
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
  • Excessive sun exposure to the lips

Most people will develop oral cancer from their tobacco use. According to the American Lung Association, cigarettes, the most common form of tobacco, causes 90% of all lung cancer. People who smoke are at 10x higher risk for oral cancer compared to non-smokers. In addition to that, cigarettes contain more than 60 known cancer-causing agents. If you need help to quit smoking, talk to us!

How Safe is Vaping?

By now, we’ve all heard about e-cigarettes, vape pens and vaping. A lot of young people, including under-age teens, prefer getting their nicotine intake from various vape devices. Originally advertised to help regular smokers separate themselves from cigarettes, vaping sounded like the safest option. It’s now proven to not be safe at all, just slightly less detrimental to one’s health than smoking. But is it common knowledge to know what’s inside of them and how it can eventually lead to oral cancer? E-cigarettes/vape pens are portable devices that heat up nicotine (extracted from tobacco). They can include flavorings and often have a myriad of other chemicals to create an aerosol that’s inhaled. In 2020, there was a huge outbreak of lung injuries and deaths that were associated with vaping, which checks out because it was reported in 2020 that an estimated 3.6 million U.S. middle and high school students said they’d used or tried using e-cigarettes. In February 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 2,807 cases of e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury and 68 deaths that were connected to vaping.

The statistics for the next year weren’t any better because according to the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey, more than 2 million U.S. middle and high school students reported using e-cigarettes in 2021. With more than 8 in 10 of those using flavored e-cigarettes. Flavor vapes are a prime attraction to try and start regularly using vape pens. Young people and adults find the lack of smoke appealing, with no overpowering smell, e-cigarettes have reduced the stigma of smoking. A lot of people are attracted to the taste of e-cigarette flavors, which also contributes to people incorrectly believing that vaping is a less serious health risk compared to smoking actual cigarettes.

    We should all know by now that cigarettes and secondhand smoke go hand in hand, but a lot of people do not know that secondhand vaping can also affect those who are around to breathe in the smoke. Nonsmokers get exposed to ultrafine particles from secondhand vape aerosol, which may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease as well. Secondhand vape aerosol can affect anyone, but certain groups have a higher risk. Those groups include infants and children, pregnant people, and people who have lung conditions. Secondhand vaping may seem like it’s no big deal, but the aerosol being exhaled from vaping contain a lot of the same chemicals that have been resulting in serious health problems for people who vape and those around them.

    After realizing how smoking cigarettes and vaping could lead to cancer and cardiovascular disease, the question that lingers is… now what? What can we do? No one wants to live in fear of getting oral cancer or worry about the risk factors so, let’s talk about what we can do to lower our risks:

  • Stop using tobacco or don’t start: If you use tobacco, try to stop now. Using tobacco, whether it’s smoked or chewed, exposes the cells in the mouth to dangerous cancer-causing chemicals.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation: Excessive alcohol use can irritate the cells in our mouths, which will make them vulnerable to oral cancer. Always make sure to drink alcohol in moderation. For healthy adults, that would mean only one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than 65, and up to two drinks a day for men aged 65 and younger.
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure to the lips: Always try to protect the skin on our lips from the sun by staying in the shade as much as possible and using a good amount of sunscreen.
  • See the dentist regularly: As part of a routine dental exam, ask your dentist to inspect your entire mouth for any abnormal areas that may indicate oral cancer or any severe changes.

    Due to low public awareness of the signs, symptoms, and risks, most diagnoses and death from oral cancer is because of late detection. This month is dedicated to saving and improving the lives of patients and survivors, increasing awareness, and providing education to those who have no idea how harmful oral cancer can be if not taken seriously. Oral cancer is a highly preventable disease and it’s also very treatable if caught early. We should all make sure that everyone knows what oral cancer is and how we can better our health to avoid any complications. If you’re smoking cigarettes, or puffing vapes and want to quit, talk to us. We can help, schedule now https://www.smithvalleysmiles.com/request_appointment_info/

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

Historical Women in Dentistry

    March is filled with so many special days that we often celebrate or engage with. St. Patrick’s Day, daylight savings, the first day of Spring, Pi Day, but did you know that March is also Women’s History Month? Women’s history month is a celebration of the role of women in American history, so let’s dive in together!

HISTORY OF WOMEN’S MONTH

   The origin of women’s history month as a national celebration started in 1981 when Congress passed Public Law 97-28, designating the week beginning of March 7th, 1982, as “Women’s History Week”. Between the years of 1988 – 1994, Congress passed resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to declare March of every year to be known as “Women’s History Month”, and it worked. Since 1995, Presidents have been issuing proclamations declaring March as women’s history month which celebrates the contributions and achievements women have made to the United States.

So, with no further ado, we bring you the trailblazing women of dentistry!

DR. LUCY HOBBS TAYLOR

    Born Lucy Beaman Hobbs on March 14th, 1833, in Constable, New York, in 1859, Hobbs moved to Ohio to pursue a degree in dentistry. She was denied admission at the Eclectic Medical College and the Ohio College of Dentistry in Cincinnati because she was a woman. A recent graduate of one of the schools, Dr. Samuel Wardle, agreed to tutor Hobbs in an apprenticeship at his new office. Later, she opened her own practice in 1861. Hobbs moved her practice to northern Iowa in 1862 and became a member of the Iowa State Dental Society and served as a delegate to the American Dental Association Convention of 1865. Mainly, because Hobbs gained trust through her practice, the school finally changed its attitude towards admitting women. She was finally allowed to enroll as a senior at the Ohio College of Dentistry. This was only the second dental school in the nation at the time. In 1866, she became the first woman to receive a doctorate in dentistry. After a while, she moved her practice once more, this time to Chicago where she married Civil War veteran James Myrtle Taylor. Dr. Hobbs then began to teach him dentistry. Together, they created one of the most successful dental practices in Kansas.

In 1886, her husband died. A year later, she retired and started to devote her time to charity and other social causes especially ones for women’s rights. Today, the American Association of Women Dentists recognizes outstanding women in the dental field with the Lucy Hobbs Taylor Award. Which is one of the most prestigious honors the organization grants. Hobbs was the first woman dentist in the United States to receive her doctorate, paving the way for Emeline Roberts Jones to be the first practicing woman dentist.

EMELINE JONES

   Emeline Jones was born in 1838 with dreams of wanting to become a dentist. At 18, she married a dentist, Dr. Daniel Jones. He was quite reluctant to teach her, as he believed that women were not suited for dentistry because of their “frail and clumsy fingers”. Emeline persisted anyway and started to secretly practice doing fillings and extractions on teeth, and she was successful at it too. In 1855, it was only after she was working on hundreds of teeth and demonstrating her skills in secret that her husband finally took her seriously and allowed her to work on some of his patients. In 1859, she became his partner and became publicly known as a skilled dentist.

After her husband died in 1864, Jones had two small children and herself to support, so she continued her practice alone to support her family by traveling with her portable dentist chair to eastern Connecticut and Rhode Island. In 1876, she moved to New Haven, Connecticut where she established her own successful practice that she maintained until her retirement in 1915. Emeline Jones was nationally recognized as the first woman dentist at the 1893 World’s Columbian Dental Congress and in that same year, she became the 18th dentist to be licensed in Connecticut.

    Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, society, and cultures. Every year, the National Women’s History Alliance chooses a theme for the month and this year’s theme is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope”. This theme works very well because where would we be without dentists? Women dentists? Lucy Hobbs and Emeline Jones provided both healing and hope, and we recognize them for their contributions and achievements this month. Remember oral health impacts your total health. Schedule your spring dental cleaning today!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

   Matters of the Heart! and Tips to De-Stress

 It’s that time of year… love and happiness is in the air! It’s also a month that brings awareness to big topics. February is Children’s Dental Health Month and American Heart Month (AHM). While many of us have kids, we all have hearts, so let’s talk about that. Our heart is the most vital muscle in our body and can become quite vulnerable.

    One main topic that we can focus on during this month is the battle against heart disease. Heart disease doesn’t have a clear definition because there are different forms. It is a range of conditions and disorders that affect the heart. The most common form in the United States is coronary artery disease (CAD). This is when arteries that supply the blood to the heart start becoming hardened and narrow due to a buildup of cholesterol, which is also known as plaque. If CAD is not treated, it can lead to major health issues like heart attacks, stroke, heart failure, and an irregular heartbeat.

    Some of the most common risk factors for heart disease include:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Poor diet
  • Obesity
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

    While there are many different forms of heart disease, they all share common symptoms, and the warning signs are all the same. It’s very important that we are aware of these symptoms in case of an emergency or much-needed treatment. Symptoms that we should be aware of include:

  • Chest pains
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating, cold sweats
  • Pain in the upper body, arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach
  • Fatigue
  • An irregular heartbeat or increased heart rate

    Sounds scary, but it’s only scary if we do not take care of ourselves. Either preventing the occurrence, or for many of us, acting as soon as we become aware of the signs. For a lot of people, risk factors can develop because of our environment and family history. For example, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are the two most widespread health concerns that we have in America. Those are the two big factors that will increase the chances of having a stroke or developing heart disease.

    Statistics show that heart disease risks do increase as we get older, which means that our loved ones who are a lot older than us could be more at risk. Starting from an early age, we can try to keep our hearts healthy in a lot of ways. But here we are now! We need to start making changes in our everyday lives. Here are examples of real actions to get us started:  

  • Move Around (exercise): Physical activity is a great way to improve heart health. The American Heart Association recommends that we should exercise for at least 2.5 hours per week to meet the basic requirements. Uncomfortable jogging the neighborhood? Don’t want to go to the gym? Pace your hallway, take extra trips up and down the stairs, you can do this!
  • Quit Vaping (quit smoking): It’s time. There are a lot of benefits to living a smoke-free life, such as reducing the risks of developing certain types of cancers and improvements in circulation. For chronic smokers, you can expect to see an increase in your lung capacity in as little as two weeks!
  • Eat Healthy (whole foods, limit sugar): Limiting ourselves from eating saturated fats, salt, and food that has high cholesterol will do our hearts a big favor. Shopping the perimeter of the grocery store is your best bet for keeping your fridge stocked with fresh, healthy ingredients. Pro Tip: frozen veggies are a great time saver!
  • Watch Your Numbers: Get regular check-ups to monitor health conditions that could affect your heart like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
  • Sleep: Sleep is very beneficial as we all know. Always getting a good night’s rest helps the brain and immune functionality, metabolism, and emotional well-being. Pro Tip: set an alarm… to go to bed.
  • De-Stress: A lot of stress will eventually affect the heart in a negative way, which can result in heart disease. To combat stress, find healthy outlets to relieve it, that will lower the risks of getting heart disease. Some of our favorites include reading, walking the dog, taking a long bath, stretching on the floor while binge watching old TV shows. 

    For the month of February, let’s try to focus more on our hearts, not just for Valentine’s Day but for our overall health. American Heart Month should be used as a reminder for us to take care of our bodies and our health as we age, to reduce the risks of developing heart disease or any other health conditions. It’s never too late to start taking care of our bodies the right way, let’s start today!  

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

5 Causes of Sensitive Teeth

2022 is here, and so is winter! January is a very cold month; with the stormy weather, we may notice that the cold air is causing a sharp pain at the base of a tooth… or two. What exactly does that mean and why is it happening? The most common answer is tooth sensitivity.

    What is tooth sensitivity? It is exactly how it sounds, pain or discomfort in the teeth as a response to hot or cold temperatures. When the enamel in our teeth starts to wear down, exposing the dentin, or if our gums are receding, it will expose the layers where the nerves are. This is what triggers it. The pain could be temporary, or it may linger a bit becoming a chronic issue. It can affect one tooth or multiple teeth at the same time. So, what triggers tooth sensitivity? The cause of it could be for multiple reasons:

  • Tooth decay (dental caries/cavity): Tooth decay is caused by bacteria in our mouths that create acid attacks on the surfaces of teeth. An untreated cavity can lead to an infection in your tooth, this is referred to as a tooth abscess.
  • Cracked teeth: Chipped or broken teeth become filled with bacteria from plaque and will start to enter the pulp, which causes inflammation.
  • Teeth grinding: Chronic grinding or over clenching our teeth can cause tooth enamel to wear down over time. This leads to the dentin underneath being exposed.
  • Brushing too hard: Over time, brushing our teeth roughly or using a hard-bristled toothbrush (use the soft ones!) can also wear down the enamel and cause the dentin to be exposed. Did you know that using a hard toothbrush can also cause a receding gum line?
  • Acidic foods: Certain food, especially ones with a high acid content can also make our teeth sensitive. Foods such as citrus fruits, sour candies, tomatoes, pickles, and tea can cause the enamel to wear down.

    Sometimes, other conditions will lead to tooth sensitivity that we wouldn’t even think about. One could be gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). GERD occurs when stomach acid frequently flows back into the esophagus that connects our mouth and stomach. Acid that is constantly coming into our esophagus can wear down our enamel over time. It is important to always be aware of what can potentially damage our teeth.

If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity or if you’re ready to have your teeth checked out, schedule your appointment today. We’ll check to see if there are any potential problems and catch them while they’re small. Remember, often cavities and tooth cracks show up on x-rays long before we feel that they’re there.

    Fear not, having sensitive teeth is very common and treatable. The treatment you receive is based on what is causing the sensitivity. If the sensitivity you’re feeling is mild, several over-the-counter options can help alleviate the discomfort. Changing your toothpaste can make a difference. Remember to choose a toothpaste that is made specifically for sensitive teeth. These will have desensitizing ingredients that help block the discomfort. Sensodyne is a great example of a toothpaste that can help with sensitivity. Other common treatments for sensitivity include:

  • Alcohol-free mouthwash: The absence of alcohol, it’ll be less irritating for sensitive teeth. Some mouthwash use fluoride as the main ingredient to help strengthen the enamel and minimize sensitivity. These are also a good choice, especially for kids.
  • Root canal: If decay is present in the root, your tooth needs cleaning out, and then re-packed with a filling. After that, a crown is set on top to protect the tooth from further damage.
  • Surgical gum graft: This is used when root exposure is the cause of sensitivity. Soft tissue is taken from another part of your mouth and used to fill in the gaps. Since there are many types of gum recession, your oral surgeon will work with you to recommend the best treatment for your oral health.

    With sensitive teeth, it’s very important to remember to keep up with your daily dental hygiene. It is very common and can affect anyone. Brush 2x a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, use fluoride mouthwash, and floss daily. Our teeth should always be a priority because our smile is the first thing people notice about us… after we unmask!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

5 Holiday Stocking Stuffers to Make a Smile Brighter!

 The Holidays are now in full swing. It’s getting colder, the sun is setting a little earlier, but the decorations are out and shining bright. The holidays are a time where people get together and celebrate friends, family, good health, happiness, and festive foods! With all the holiday sweets and desserts that we usually eat around this time, we don’t stop to think about the effects all that sugar can have on our teeth. Just like you, we know it’s not easy staying healthy over the holidays. For this Christmas, we’re striving to be more mindful of our oral health, do what we can to prevent any sugar overload, and invite you to take that on as well. Since we’re thinking about our oral health and what we can give out for gifts (because there’s still time!), let’s discuss some healthy and useful stocking stuffer options, that are also affordable for all budgets.

  • Toothbrush covers: When we’re done brushing our teeth, our toothbrushes sit uncovered, and they start to collect all kinds of bacteria before we start using it again. It’s super gross to think about it, but a simple toothbrush cover can help protect the bristles. It’s also convenient to have, especially when traveling. The cover is a great idea to give as a gift because it can keep our brushes hygienic and dust-free. PRO TIP: Just like your toothbrush, remember to replace them frequently.
  • Sugar-free gum: Candy is a common stocking stuffer and whether it’s sugar-free or not, who doesn’t love gum?! Sugar-free gum is the healthiest option for teeth, especially kids. Gum also helps us produce more saliva. More saliva prevents dry mouth and helps clean bacteria and clear food particles that tend to linger after meals.
  • Travel toothpaste and mouthwash: Small, travel size toothpaste and mouthwash are convenient to have around. Be it preparing for a trip, sleep over, or unexpected guests.
  • Fun Flossers/Floss Picks: If we want to start them off early, fun flossers are a way to encourage kids to start flossing daily. Fun flossers brands like DenTek and Plackers come in unique shapes and colors to make flossing more fun for kids. Some flossers out there even come in different flavors with fluoride coating, which we all need for our teeth! Floss picks are another option that we can give out to people who procrastinate with a flossing routine. Stick a container of floss picks in their stockings, the picks are much easier to use than the regular traditional string floss.
  • Electric toothbrush: Electric toothbrushes clean teeth and gums much better than the traditional manual ones we’re used to. Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr. Nigel Carter OBE says people who use an electric toothbrush have healthier gums, less tooth decay, and also keep their teeth for longer. There are also ones for kids that come in different colors and cartoon characters, that’ll get them excited to start brushing their teeth. PRO TIP: unsure if electric is for you? Try the battery powered ones.

    That should take care of our stocking stuffer gifts, but what about when we’re with our family and friends? We should be able to enjoy the holiday season without worrying about cavities or plaque. If you need a list to keep you on track to maintaining a clean and healthy mouth, we got that covered! Check out our list of what we can do this holiday season to keep our teeth healthy.

  • Avoid overdoing it: Candy canes, cookies, cakes, and popcorn, all the wonderful classics we’ll eat during Christmas time. All the sticky, hard, gummy, and chewy foods are tasty, but can be difficult to get out and off our teeth. If we’re constantly snacking on something, we run a higher risk of tooth decay. Let’s try slowing down on the sugar and brushing after every meal. PRO TIP: Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal, can also help for those times you don’t have a toothbrush handy.
  • Eat more of the healthy foods: If we’re worried about eating too much sugar, we can eat more fruits and vegetables just to balance out what we’re eating. Winter favorites like apples, carrots, and celery help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breaths.
  • Stick to our daily routine: Brushing and flossing may sound tedious, but if we want to keep our teeth in great shape, we must stick to our daily routine. By brushing twice daily, flossing, and using mouthwash, we can keep up our good oral habits. PRO TIP: just brush and floss the teeth you’d like to keep!
  • Drink plenty of water: We all know that drinking water has many benefits, and those benefits can work for us especially around the holidays. When we’re going out to see friends and family, it’s very important to stay hydrated. Aside from hydration, water can freshen breaths and it’s a quick way to get rid of debris in our teeth.

    The holidays are always a great time, we spend 11 months looking forward to this time of year. While we are having fun and enjoying ourselves, we can also be mindful about caring for our teeth. Keeping up with our daily routines and going the extra mile can assist in preventing dental problems down the line. Share these helpful tips with family and friends so they can be aware of what to do around this time and support you as well. Happy Holidays and keep those teeth shining bright!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

Things You Need to Know About Dental History

    The dentistry field has come a very long way from where it started. One of the oldest medical professions, it dates back to 7000 B.C. during the Indus Valley Civilization. However, descriptions that date back to 5,000 B.C document knowledge and presence of dentistry and tooth decay. Back then, people thought the cause of tooth decay came from tooth worms, but that was proven to be false in the 1700s. Over time, dentistry has seen many improvements and changes. Its modern-day use has evolved to better utilize preventative care and treatment. Learning about dental history is a wild ride, so hop in, and let’s go down memory lane!

    The concept behind today’s dentistry got its start between 1650 and the 1800s, and the man who started it all was Pierre Fauchard. Fauchard was a 17th-century French physician, and he was properly named “The Father of Modern Dentistry”. But, did you know that as far back as the Bronze Age (3500 BC), barbers were the go-to people for concerns about teeth? These early dentists were known as “Barber-Surgeons”. They not only groomed faces but also performed minor surgeries. The barber dentists usually pulled teeth to treat tooth decay, but they also knew how to fill cavities.

    Humans have been attempting to clean their teeth for a very long time. One of the earliest tools that were used came from the ancient Babylonians and Egyptians. They were made from twigs that were chewed and worked on in the mouth. They were used to help get rid of leftover food debris. This tool was properly named “chew sticks”. The first bristle toothbrush was invented by the Chinese during the Tang Dynasty (618 AD – 907 AD). This toothbrush was most likely made from pigs’ hair for the bristles and bone or bamboo for the handles. Today, we have all varieties of toothbrushes, both manual and electric that come in all shapes and sizes. Toothbrushes now are mostly manufactured with plastic handles and nylon bristles.

    But what about toothpaste, you ask? Ancient toothpaste was used to treat the same concerns that we all have today, keeping our teeth and gums clean, whitening teeth, and freshening breaths. However, the ingredients that were used were a lot different than what we have today. Ingredients back then included powder of ox hooves, ashes, and burnt eggshells that were also combined with pumice (volcanic rock). The Greeks and Romans liked to use crushed bones and oyster shells for theirs. The Romans also added powdered charcoal and bark to give the toothpaste more of a flavor to aid with bad breath. The Chinese ingredients contained ginseng, herbal mints, and salt, which is the closest to what most of us use today. It’s also worth noting that some cultures used urine for whitening as early as the 18th century!

   The development of toothpaste in modern times started around the 1800s. The early versions contained soap and chalk. After 1945, soap was replaced by other ingredients to make the paste smoother. The soap was replaced by sodium lauryl sulfate, which remains a common ingredient today.

    Dental implants are considered the most advanced solution to replacing missing teeth. Before titanium implants were invented, people replaced teeth using a variety of methods. In 2000 B.C. carved bamboo pegs were the go-to for teeth in China. In the 18th century, researchers used a blend of gold and alloy to create implants. While that ended up not working out, it did plant the seeds for more research in later years.

  After that, almost 2,000 years ago, it was common to try and replace teeth with actual animal teeth and from other humans, specifically someone who was considered lower class. How crazy is that? Those often failed to work out because of rampant infections and the presence of decay. The issues with a lot of dental implants from previous years were the rejection of the foreign material by the body. Currently, dental implants have over a 95% success rate. Titanium roots that are used now are placed into your jawbone and fuse over time, and function just like a natural took.

    Modern dentistry has improved the lives of many people. Throughout the years, dentistry has continued to develop, improve, and introduce new techniques and materials to make our experience going to the dentist more comfortable. With modern dentistry, there is less pain, less anxiety, and more available treatment options to consider. Dental care is very important, and with the help of modern dentistry, a lot of people don’t have to suffer in silence. Let’s keep taking care of our teeth and maintaining good oral health!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

5 Easy Tips to Keep Your Teeth Healthy for Halloween

Halloween is approaching and we’re all looking forward to celebrating a little more freely this year! Vaccinations are out and people are feeling more comfortable going outside and participating in the festivities. Halloween brings out our inner child. It gets us excited to dress up, decorate the house, and share candy. It is also a time where we all feel comfortable enough to eat as many pieces of candy as we want, because what’s Halloween without sweets?

Kids come back home with hefty bags of candy, and it’s very hard to resist the temptation as we help them sort through it all. Candy is quite tempting, more so for some than others. Maintaining our oral health is vital, especially during these coming holidays that revolve around sweets. Remember, eat the candy that you like, BUT don’t let it ruin your smile! With that in mind, here are 5 easy tips to keep your teeth healthy for Halloween:

  • Eat candy at a specific time: The saliva in our mouth increases when we start to eat, and saliva helps cancel out the acid that gets produced by bacteria from the bits of food that linger after a snack or meal. The prime time for eating candy is right after lunch or dinner. Being full from a meal will also help with portion control while satisfying that sweet tooth. PRO TIP: Rinse away any left-over food particles with water once you’re done eating anything. 
  • Choose candy carefully: It’s very important to choose wisely what type of candy to eat especially if you’ve experienced dental problems in the past. Avoid those hard candies or the ones that stay inside of our mouths for too long. Anytime sugary foods linger; we are at risk for tooth decay. PRO TIP: Sugar-free candy is always a great option for kids and adults. 
  • Avoid sticky situations: A lot of us love sticky candy, so let’s all be mindful to this fact. Sticky candy clings onto our teeth, making it very difficult to remove even with regular brushing and flossing. This has candies like taffy, marshmallows, caramel, and gummy bears take longer to get washed away with our saliva. When candy gets stuck in our teeth, we’re at a higher risk for tooth decay. PRO TIP: Save these for special occasions
  • Drink water: Since we’re all concerned about tooth decay, one of the things that we can easily do to avoid it while eating candy is drinking more water. Drinking water helps keep our teeth healthy and free of food debris. PRO TIP: Drink water with fluoride. Fluoride helps alleviate some of the sugars from sticking to our teeth.
  • Brush and floss daily: With Halloween approaching, we must remember to brush our teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. We have to make sure that we get out all of the candy and food particles so we can keep a clean, healthy mouth. Flossing should also help with getting in between the places that our toothbrushes cannot reach. PRO TIP: Remember that flossing cleans about 40% of your teeth surfaces!

With all these helpful tips being shared, we also want to take a moment to share that October is National Dental Hygiene Month. Truly a time to reflect on our habits and double the efforts on those we may be casual about. Since we’re all getting ready for Halloween, let’s be sure to schedule an appointment to maximize our dental benefits before they expire at the end of the year.

Be safe out there, have fun, and remember to protect your teeth!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

From Tooth Decay to Tooth Loss

    September is almost finished! Which means fall is right around the corner. It’s National Gum Care Month, and it’s a great time to brush up on routines that can keep our mouths clean and healthy. A simple action, like brushing teeth, is very beneficial to our oral health and overall wellness. Skipping out on a good oral hygiene routine can cause a lot of problems down the line. Especially choosing not to go to the dentist for checkups. That always leaves us with unnoticed problems until it’s too late. Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is a lifelong commitment that everyone should be able to do. For us to take care of our mouths and gums, first, we must go over what could happen if we don’t have the proper oral care.

    According to the National Institute of Health, our mouths can carry up to 700 strains of bacteria. So, what happens when bacteria are left to linger inside our mouths? Well, it happily feeds on the sugar from the food and drinks that we consume throughout the daily. Bacteria also likes to break down tooth enamel, which in turn, making the enamel weaker and leading to tooth decay. Tooth decay and cavities are some of the most common health problems, but this can also lead to gum disease as well. 

    Our gums are not supposed to bleed when we brush or floss our teeth. If that does happen, you may have gum disease. Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums that when left untreated can deteriorate the jawbone supporting our teeth. Gum disease starts because of the bacteria that form and stays on teeth. If the bacteria are not removed daily with brushing and flossing, the plaque builds up and the bacteria starts infecting the gums and teeth. Left untreated, teeth will eventually start to fall out or will require professional extraction. There are three stages of gum disease: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.  

  • Gingivitis: This is the earliest stage of gum disease. If plaque builds up at the gum line, it will cause inflammation and the gums can become swollen and red. If the plaque is not removed, it can irritate the gum tissue that is around our teeth, which causes gingivitis. At this early stage of gum disease, you might notice bleeding gums after brushing or while flossing. If caught early enough, this stage of gum disease can be cured with your dentist.
  • Periodontitis: This is the second stage of gum disease. At this stage, the tissue and the bone that holds our teeth in place are damaged. When bacteria stay on teeth long enough, plaque builds up, which then turns into tartar, and tartar is a lot harder to clean off of our teeth. At this stage of gum disease, if it is not treated, periodontitis heavily recedes the gums and tooth loss is imminent.
  • Advanced Periodontitis: This is the final and severest stage of gum disease. At this point, the tissue and the bone that hold our teeth in place are well deteriorated. The gum tissue has pulled away from teeth, which then creates pockets for even more bacteria to build up and cause further damage and infections. When this happens, it’s very easy for teeth to become dislodged and fall out.

How to Stop Gum Disease

Now, the best way to stop gum disease is to prevent it from starting. Brushing and flossing twice per day and using fluoride toothpaste are the best we can do at home to keep gum disease from developing. However, if symptoms of gum disease are already present, visiting a dentist or a periodontist, a dentist that specializes in gum disease, is the best option for getting back on a healthy track. When you come in for a perio appointment, the first step is a consultation exam to develop the best treatment options to fit your needs. This may include non-surgical and/or surgical methods.

  • Nonsurgical Treatments: Some nonsurgical treatments can help the early stages of gum disease. Deep cleaning, where scaling and root planning are used to remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line.
  • Surgical Treatments: Some of the surgical treatments that periodontists can perform to help with gum disease include bone grafting, flap surgery, and tissue regeneration.

So far, we’ve talked about oral care and what could happen if we don’t take the time to properly care of our teeth. As adults we know this, but what about kids and teens? It’s important for them to know what they can do to take care of their teeth and gums. While conversations with your children and their health will vary by age, here are the best examples of what to share and demonstrate with them at home:

  • Brush their teeth twice a day
  • Floss daily
  • See the dentist at least twice a year
  • Eat healthy meals
  • Be mindful with sugary drinks and snacks

It has been said before that the mouth is the gateway to our overall health, so we should try to protect it as much as possible. Practicing good dental health doesn’t start at the dentist’s office, it starts with us. Us taking care of our teeth at home is where the real magic happens. Maintaining a consistent oral hygiene routine is a lifelong commitment that we can all commit to… and it’s always OK to re-commit as well! 

Happy National Gum Care Month

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388