4 Tasty Foods That Are Actually Horrible for Your Teeth

Even those with outstanding oral hygiene can fall victim to a few unknown cavity causing culprits. Some of our favorite treats, while seemingly healthy, can be responsible for tooth stains, bad breath and other forms of mouth destruction.  Most tooth-conscious consumers already know to limit sugar and steer clear of things like soda and hard candies to keep their dental hygiene top notch. But, here are a few surprising snacks just as capable of damaging your smile.

  1. Pickles

PicklingPickles? Yes, while not typically considered something to avoid for oral health, pickles are soaked in vinegar during the pickling process.  Vinegar is highly acidic, and acid is notorious for quickly wearing down tooth enamel. So, it’s important to keep this in mind when eating anything pickled. Drinking water or rinsing your mouth can help clear some of the acid once your meal’s over.

 

  1. Peanut Butter

You either love it or hate it. You may even be particular in how you eat it, straight from the jar or only in a sandwich… Have you ever tried it with pickles? This childhood staple can be a healthy snack when opting for the “no added sugar” variety. Sugar helps peanut butter better grip your teeth. While it may take some getting used to, it’s a healthier choice all around.

  1. Dried Fruit

In small doses, dried fruit is a healthy alternative to sweets such as chocolate bars and Dried Fruitice cream. However, dried fruit has high sugar content, and is often sticky making this treat more likely to get caught in between your teeth for days. When something high in sugar is stuck in your teeth it feeds the bacteria and contributes to dental erosion. Checking nutrition labels can help you weigh the best choice for your sweet tooth.

  1. Crackers

This appetizer favorite is not typically associated with dental problems, yet consuming refined carbs is a known cause of inflammation. The significance here is that inflammation can be linked to a number of dental dangers such as gingivitis and other stages of periodontitis. Limiting carbs such as white bread and pasta, pretzels and white rice can be a treat to your weight, overall health and your smile.

Regular dental check-ups with a dedicated hygiene routine will keep your smile on a healthy track. At a glance, it looks like limiting sugar in all forms is what it’s all about. Remember sticky and pickled foods also pose a risk. No need to stress. While your teeth may thank you for cutting out these items entirely, moderation and awareness will serve you best.

 

Smith Valley Smiles

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

This Is How To Pick A Toothbrush & Floss

We all know to brush our teeth. Check. We all know to floss our teeth. Check (okay, we know some of us skip this step but we’ll let it slide this time). But do we know which type of toothbrush and which dental floss is the best to keep our pearly whites, well, pearly and white? Today we clear the air on this important topic.

Toothbrushes & Brushing

Before getting into all your purchasing options, let’s do a quick brush up (pun intended) on proper brushing techniques to ensure your dental labors are as effective as possible.

When brushing, you don’t want to apply a lot of pressure; plaque is removed with gentle and thorough cleaning. By being too aggressive you are more likely to damage your gum tissue than clean properly. To start, place the head of the brush at a 45-degree angle and point the bristles just into the gum line. This helps disrupt buildup gathering at the base of the tooth. Avoid brushing all your teeth at once; rather, target a group of 3-4 and gently clear the surfaces before moving on to the next set. Be sure to clean all surfaces of the tooth: fronts, backs, chewing surfaces, and the sides of those hard-to-reach molars. Perfect!

Which Toothbrush Is Best?

Electronic toothbrushes are a fantastic option and do a lot to help agitate food particles and really cleanse your teeth. Manual toothbrushes also work well provided they are used effectively with our above tips. For bristles, many make the mistake of purchasing them too tough. The flexibility and gentleness of soft bristles is precisely what you want to clean without damaging. For toothbrush size, just ensure it isn’t too large that it prevents access to those back molars that can be tricky to reach. There is no single toothbrush that is perfect for everyone, so be sure you’re using the one that feels the best to you and will encourage regular use – if you have any questions, we are always here!

Dental Floss & Flossing

Onto floss – but first, the brush up:

When it comes to flossing, you make a C-shape to curve around each tooth as you bring the floss down. The point is not to drag the line straight up and down, which can irritate the gums, but rather to hug the surface of each tooth and clean from the top to the root with a gentle motion. Use about 18” of floss for a fresh portion each pass. Remember to clean both neighboring teeth each time you bring the floss down, and don’t miss any teeth!

Which Floss Is Best?

There are a few variables to keep in mind when finding your ideal floss. First is the thickness of the floss – some people have larger gaps between teeth, and others have very tight spaces that can make it hard to floss. The ideal thickness is one that is comfortable to use, but still thoroughly cleans between each tooth – for tight spaces, try a flat, ribbon-like floss. There are also options like the material the floss is made of, and then waxed versus unwaxed floss. Some suggest waxed floss may be slightly more effective, but whichever choice is most comfortable for you is the choice we recommend. Yes, a lot of our advice is related to your preferences, but if you find a dental product you like with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, you can be sure you’ve found a winner!

In fact, that is our biggest suggestion for when it comes to both brushes and floss: the right option for you is the one you will actually use. If you have more questions, give us a call – we are always happy to ensure our patients feel confident with their oral health and have all the facts.

 

Smith Valley Smiles

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

Keep Calm and Floss On

 

On August 2nd, this New York Times article was published and caused quite a bit of controversy in both the dental community and with the general public. While it is not conclusive in its findings, the overarching claim is that flossing may not be as beneficial as once thought. As dental professionals, we take very seriously the responsibility we have ensuring our patients receive the best possible education and care regarding the health of their smiles. For this reason, we feel compelled to express our disagreement with the suggestion that flossing may be overrated, and why that’s a harmful position to propagate.
Let’s first look at the article, which uses a lot of language such as:
• “…flossing may be overrated.”
• “…most of the current evidence fell short…”
• “That flossing has the same benefit is a hunch that has never been proved.”
• “…there is some mediocre evidence that flossing does reduce bloody gums and inflammation known as gingivitis.”
There is a stark difference between something ‘not having been proved’ and something being ‘disproved’. Please know that there is no evidence remotely close to suggesting the latter. In fact whether the evidence is “mediocre” or not, the only evidence the article does mention (quoted above) is in favor of flossing. A lack of ability to prove something is not cause to discourage an entire population from participating in a highly beneficial component of their health care. This is particularly true because evidence is acquired by conducting large-scale studies, which are extremely costly. It would hardly be economical to spend the research funding to prove something we already have no doubt offers a variety of benefit for your oral and overall health.
We do not agree with the article’s brash call to action, or more accurately, call to inaction, and we fear how this may increase the number of people inflicted with preventable damage to their smile. Looking again at the line “…there is some mediocre evidence that flossing does reduce bloody gums and inflammation known as gingivitis.” Gingivitis is the first stage in periodontal disease – the very condition flossing aims to combat. To reduce gingivitis is to reduce your chances of progressing into advanced gum disease, a condition more than half of Americans already suffer from (CDC).
It is unfortunate the scale of damage this article has the potential to incite; too many readers will take this “lack of evidence” as being evidence to the contrary, and feel it gives them permission to neglect a very essential part of their oral health care.
We can only do our best to keep our patients like you educated and on the path to a lifelong happy and healthy smile – a path that certainly includes consistent flossing.
CDC: “Periodontal Disease.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 Mar. 2015. Web.

Smith Valley Smiles

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

Dental Deep Cleaning for Healthy Gums

What is scaling and root planing? When is it recommended?

As with many aspects of general dentistry, scaling and root planing is a treatment related to keeping your mouth free of gum disease. Your routine appointments and your home care are preventative measures to maintain your oral health; but as nice as it would be to keep your oral health in perfect condition all the time, sometimes that just doesn’t happen. When we identify the onset of gum disease, we work quickly to reverse the condition and get you back on a healthy track. This is where scaling and root planing treatments play a critical role.

Often referred to as periodontal cleaning or deep cleaning, they are all the same form of treatment. The procedure removes dental plaque and tartar, specifically below the visible gum line. The spaces between your gums and teeth are prime breeding ground for bacteria and infection, so without treatment they can deepen and compromise your oral health. There are a variety of tools and methods available for periodontal cleaning, and each is designed to finely clean the dental pockets the gum disease is attacking and deepening. Successfully completed, the build-up collected around the teeth and gums will be removed, and the gums will heal tightly around the teeth for a secure and healthy fit.

Post-Treatment Follow-Up

Scaling and root planing are advantageous procedures if gum disease is present, but what about the importance of following up after you’ve been treated? Despite the fact healing and improvements will be seen immediately following treatment, the actual procedure is only the first step in arresting the periodontal disease. The true efficacy of scaling and root planing is contingent upon a number of variables, including patient compliance.

It is imperative the patient and our office collaborate to prevent the infection from recurring. Infection is often the result of negligent oral care, which will need to be excellent and diligently preformed following treatment. As it takes a significant period of time for the infection and bacteria to build-up, the remedial steps taken after scaling and root planing will not be an overnight solution – time and consistency will be necessary for a full recovery.

Subsequent appointments are often necessary in order to monitor and track the healing progress, and we will discuss the frequency and importance of these with you to ensure your understanding and comfort. Our office will be there to help through each and every step of this process with respect to your unique needs, as well as offer any resources or information necessary to restore your smile to a happy and healthy state.

 

Smith Valley Smiles

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

Dental Health and Pregnancy

Blog Title-ExpectingPregnantLady

Pregnancy changes a lot about the female body, which is no surprise considering all the physical and hormonal effects that take place over the course of those 9 months. All that considered, the profound connection between pregnancy and dental health can still be a shock to many.

As an example, the rapid surge in hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, can alter the manner in which gum tissue reacts to plaque. Plaque buildup affects everybody, so it’s always important to make sure your teeth are being cleaned thoroughly. However, ‘pregnancy gingivitis’ is a condition that affects the vast majority of mothers-to-be and should be carefully monitored. Prevention is always more useful than treatment, and for that reason we encourage a diet high in Vitamin C and B12 – don’t forget, baby’s teeth are developing too so it’s important to have a diet that’s nutritious for your teeth and theirs! Be sure to brush twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste and floss each evening as well.

In addition to ‘pregnancy gingivitis’, pregnant women are also at risk for ‘pregnancy tumors’. These tumors are inflamed, but non-cancerous, growths that may develop when the gums become swollen and irritated. Usually the tumors will resolve themselves post-birth, but if you find one and it’s uncomfortable or painful, don’t hesitate to call our office so we can help you proceed with the right treatment for you.

In general, if you are either currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you should always let your dentist know immediately in order to best proceed to minimize the risk of pregnancy-related complications. If needed, most procedures can be performed during pregnancy, particularly if you are in pain or have any concerns. However, we do not recommend any elective procedures until after the baby’s birth in order to minimize health risks to you or the child. Pregnancy does come with health concerns to be monitored, but as was the case before you received the news about your bundle of joy, consistent and thorough cleaning is always your best bet. Above all else, relax and enjoy this special time!

Smith Valley Smiles

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

Effects of Osteoporosis on your Oral Health

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis isn’t a new discovery, or a disease unheard of by many. That being said, many people don’t realize how closely tied to your oral health it can actually be.

In short, osteoporosis is caused by an insufficient consumption of calcium and vitamin D. It affects the bones, making them less dense and thus more likely to break. Osteoporosis is directly tied to your long-term dental health as this weakening of the bones may heavily compromise the jaw bone.  A weakened jawbone can have a host of detrimental consequences for your teeth, including increased tooth mobility, or complete tooth loss.

The best cure for the degradation of the jawbone is avoiding it all together with a balanced diet high in vitamin D and calcium, and getting a sufficient amount of exercise. Barring that, be sure to attend your dental appointments regularly so that way the structure and health of your mouth can be monitored, and any problems that may develop are addressed immediately and not permitted to deteriorate.

As it is, due to hormone imbalances and changes over life, women are most at risk to developing osteoporosis, but it can absolutely develop in either gender depending on a host of lifestyle variables, not limited to diet and exercise.

Symptoms to pay attention to that may be indicative of osteoporosis affecting the jaw include: pain and/or swelling in the gums or jaw, as well as infection; injured gums not healing in a timely fashion; teeth that become loose for no reason or after only minor strain; numbness or discomfort in the jaw; or at worst, exposed bone. If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate contacting your dentist to prevent exacerbating the issue.

Smith Valley Smiles

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

All you need to know about WISDOM… Teeth!

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are considered to be a third set (upper and lower jaw) of molars.  They typically appear during your last few teen years and early twenties.  There are some people who are lucky enough to experience no problems what-so-ever with their wisdom teeth.  If they are developing in the proper position and not causing pain or problems, there is no need to pursue any sort of treatment or extraction.

There are three main reasons as to why your wisdom teeth would need to be surgically removed:

  1.  There is not enough room for them to fully erupt.
    When there is not enough space for your wisdom teeth to pop through the surface of your gums, you run a higher risk of them being impacted.  Most commonly, this means that your wisdom teeth have made it through the bone but cannot get through the gums.
    Sometimes symptoms come along with this type of impaction.  Other times, one may not experience a single symptom.  This is one of the reasons why frequent visits to our office are very important.  In order to look in to this, an x-ray is required.
  2. The wisdom teeth are not coming in at the proper vertical angle.
    A lot of times wisdom teeth develop in different positions.  They could even be developing facing towards your other teeth instead of growing upwards.   When this occurs, people face problems with their other fully developed teeth, crowding and can even cause poor bite and jaw alignment.  As stated above, in order to see how your wisdom teeth are growing, which direction or any other abnormality, x-rays will need to be taken.
  3. Partially erupted wisdom teeth.
    Sometimes the wisdom teeth are able to poke through the top of the gum but cannot fully erupt.  If this happens, there is an elevated chance that infection may occur.  This infection is called Pericoronitis.  This occurs when bacteria from plaque or food get trapped between the partially erupted tooth and the gum surrounding it.

Warning signs and symptom to look out for include:

  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Jaw pain
  • Pain while trying to eat
  • Bad breath
  • Unpleasant taste in your mouth

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please give our office a call to schedule an appointment and x-rays to see exactly what is going and what steps need to be taken in order to get the problem treated and relieve any discomfort you may be experiencing. Wisdom teeth extractions are typically done by an oral surgeon, however, in some cases a certified dentist can extract them.  Local anesthesia is most commonly administered.  Healing time is usually less than 1 week.

Post oral surgery instructions will be explained and given to you.  It is imperative that you continue to practice good oral health care during this time and to follow those instructions carefully.  Having your wisdom teeth removed will not hinder the functionality of your mouth.  (For example being able to eat, chew, speak or your bite position.)   When an extraction is required, the younger you are when it is discovered, the better.  Wisdom teeth extractions are considerably easier to extract while the teeth are still in development.  If you are interested in your wisdom teeth and their current stage or any other information you are curious about, give us a ring today!

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

39 Tips and Alternative Uses for Everyday Dental Hygiene Items #LifeHack

 Life Hacks – The Dental Edition!Life Hacks

Today we’re sharing our office’s best tips, tricks and secrets to making difficult tasks easy and fixes for the most annoying problems. Get ready to have your mind blown because ALL of these use dental related items!

Denture Tabs

Did you know they can also be used to help clean common household items? Here are six alternative uses for denture cleanser tablets:

  1. Put them in with a diamond to spruce up that sparkle
  2. Remove mineral deposits from glass
  3. Pop a denture tablet into your coffee pot, run the water through and then rinse. Cleans up stains in a snap! BONUS: also great at removing coffee and tea stains in mugs
  4. Toss a tab in to a full toilet or bathtub and watch the grime dissipate
  5. Use to clean enamel based cookware
  6. Great for unclogging drains

Dental Floss

Be sure to use the dental floss that is flavorless, otherwise you are going to have some unsatisfactory results for some of these hacks.

  1. When your shoelace breaks and you need a fix in a pinch— lace up with floss until you can get a replacement!
  2. Got long hair? When your ponytail’s elastic band snaps off, wrap some floss to create a new hair tie
  3. Sentimental pictures stuck to your scrapbook page? Or cookies stuck to the baking sheet?  Wiggle some floss gently in between to release
  4. Slice clean pieces of bread, cheese or cakes by holding the floss taunt and gliding down the soft item you are wanting to “cut”
  5. Are you travelling and you need to “lock” you luggage? Wind some floss through the zippers to secure
  6. Create a makeshift clothes line out of floss
  7. Use as string for crafts and jewelry making
  8. Leaky faucet? Tie floss around the spout and let the rest hang into the drain to eliminate the dripping sound

Toothpaste

The miracle worker!

  1. Remove scratches from DVD’s and CD’s by applying a little white toothpaste and gently rubbing over the surfaceToothpaste
  2. Ring Around the Collar: take some toothpaste on a toothbrush (double dental life hack!) and scrub in a circular motion over the stain before normal washing
  3. Got Kids? Do they have crayons? Use toothpaste as an abrasive to scrub the crayon right off the walls
  4. Scuffs happen. Shoes, furniture, other surface areas, etc.  Put some toothpaste on a toothbrush and scrub away to watch the scuffs vanish
  5. Did someone forget to use a coaster? Rub toothpaste over the ring and wipe clean with a damp cloth
  6. Use as a deodorizer for baby bottles. Remember to rinse thoroughly after soaking!
  7. Rub toothpaste over mirrors, glass, and water goggles then wipe clean to create a fog deterrent
  8. Make your sink and faucets shine by polishing with toothpaste!
  9. Ink and lipstick stains are no longer a problem with the help of toothpaste
  10. Helps remedy stubborn pimples: dab a little toothpaste on the problem area before bed and wash your face in the morning.
  11. Foul scents lingering? Wipe some toothpaste over the area and rinse thoroughly
  12. Remove carpet stains by using the paste with a scrubber

 Mouthwash

Mouthwash can help out with more than just bacteria in your mouth and odorous breath!

  1. Use mouthwash as an antiseptic replacement when you run out
  2. “That’s going to leave a bruise!” Heal up faster by rubbing it with some mouthwash on a cotton ball
  3. Poison ivy itches! Smooth over the affected area and discard the used cotton ball to avoid cross contamination
  4. Hand sanitizer substitute!
  5. Did you forget deodorant? Swipe a little mouthwash to remove “ripeness”
  6. Great as a disinfectant
  7. Soak nails and toes in mouthwash to help with fungus and athletes foot
  8. Also works as a great for helping to soften and soothe feet
  9. Can be used as a temporary face astringent
  10. Soak smelly containers in mouthwash and rinse. Say goodbye to stink!

Toothbrush

Toothbrushes make excellent cleaning tools and are great scrubbers. Here’s a few of our favorites uses!

  1. If you need to touch up your roots, use a toothbrush to assist in the hair dying process
  2. Works wonders as an exfoliater
  3. Nail brush – work out the dirt under your nails gently

If you carry little travel sizes of mouthwash, a toothbrush, white toothpaste and some denture tabs, you are fit to solve almost any spill, scuff or stain! These items are great to always have on hand.  Next time one of these problems tries to kick you when you’re down, remember these dental life hacks!  Give them a try and let us know how well their magic works for you!

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

7 Serious Health Concerns That Also Affect Your Teeth

Mouth and Body Go Hand-in-Hand

Did you know that poor oral health care can be the cause of many different health issues within your body itself?  There are many connections between taking care of your mouth, teeth and gums and the rest of your body.

People with gum disease have a 40% increased risk of developing a chronic health condition. Bacterial build up on your teeth and gums give you a greater probability of infection which may then spread throughout other areas of your body.

Common Health Issues That Affect Oral HealthJune FB Candy (6)

  • Diabetes: causes oral inflammation and affects the body’s ability to process sugar.
  • Heart Disease: about 91% of those with heart disease are also found to have periodontitis. Inflammation in the mouth corresponds with the inflammation of blood vessels which then leads to less blood flow causing an increase in blood pressure.  There is also a chance of plaque that is attached to the blood vessel itself, breaking off and traveling to the heart and/or brain resulting in a heart attack or stroke.
  • Issues during Pregnancy: pregnant women with gum disease run the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and susceptible to developmental issues such as learning disorders, lung and heart conditions.
  • Osteoporosis: osteoporosis, like periodontitis, causes bone loss. It’s common for those with osteoporosis to also have some degree of gum disease.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: those with rheumatoid arthritis battling gum disease have found gum disease treatment may also reduce overall body pain in regards to their arthritic symptoms.
  • Smoking: bad for your health, both overall and oral.  Nicotine interferes with your gums’ ability to fight infection.  This also extends the recovery period for those gum infection treatments.
  • Obesity: those with 20% or higher body fat percentage have been linked to rapid progression of gum disease.

Taking excellent care of your oral health has a positive domino effect for the rest of your body.  Same can be said with your body – taking care of your health and body can positively affect your mouth, teeth and gums.
If you care about your health and yourself, you in-turn need to care about your mouth.  Be true to your teeth, or they will be false to you!

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