6 Common Dental Habits

Is it cliche to have a New Years Resolution? Probably, but there are a few habits you’d like to kick to the curb! It’s common for people to want to start living a healthy lifestyle. Why not be completely healthy and improve your dental health too? Poor oral health can put you at risk for heart disease.

6 Habits That Harm Your Teeth

Nail biting can chip or crack teeth. It can even fracture the enamel on your teeth from chewing on hard surfaces. Also, it has an impact on your jaw and as a result, you can develop TMJ. Do you realize how dirty your fingers are? Even though we wash our hands, it’s hard to keep them clean. Nail biting also leads to gingivitis, there is a lot of dirt under our fingernails we aren’t aware of.

Are you grossed out yet? Need tips to stop the biting? Cut them short! If you prefer the longer nail look, paint it with bitter-tasting nail polish. If you don’t like color, you can always opt for a clear coat! Because nail biting is often stress-induced, get a tiny stress ball or something to fidget with to keep your hands busy.

Chewing on ice can break your tooth or filling. Ice and your teeth are both fragile and when you push them both together one will break. Most times its the ice, but from time to time it can be your teeth. Slow down the chewing and try drinks without ice so you won’t be tempted. If you insist on ice, drink with a straw and a lid to keep the ice out of sight.

Teeth as tools may seem convenient at the time but are not good for your teeth. They aren’t supposed to open bags, rip tags off, hold things, or open bottles. They are strong but using them as tools can result in cracks and fracture or even worse, oral and facial injuries. Biting or chewing metal can cause serious damage. We have real tools made especially for things so you don’t have to use your teeth. Such as bottle openers, scissors, and bags. Teeth are for chewing and smiling.

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Hard brushing can cause damage to your gums. Soft bristles are the best for your gums. This can be tricky because it’s good to brush twice a day, but how do you know if you are brushing too hard? A sign is a frayed toothbrush, yes that’s common with an old toothbrush. But it starts to fray within the first three months, relax on the brushing. If you also begin to notice your gums receding, soften up on the brushing! Don’t squish the bristles against your gums! Think about brushing as a gentle massage, slow and steady win the race!

Smoking and use of other tobacco products increase your risk of oral cancer. It can turn your teeth yellow or brown. You are also at risk for tooth decay, gum disease, bone damage, and tooth loss. Over time your gums get weaker and will have trouble properly holding your teeth in place.

Not visiting your dentist is a no-brainer! It’s important to see your dentist every 6 months to avoid issues. Regular dental cleanings prevent tartar from eroding your teeth which helps prevents cavities and gum disease. Besides having your teeth professionally cleaned, you get checked for other abnormalities that could be a larger health issue.

Repeat this to yourself: New Year, New me. Cross things off your list, spice up your oral routine, go crazy at the gym, and eat healthy trendy foods. And most importantly, share how important a solid oral health routine is. Smile at all camera opportunities, and show the benefits of a healthy smile.

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Dickinson Dental

1915 FM 517 East
Dickinson, TX 77539
281-534-7112

 

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Be A Breath Of Fresh Air This Holiday Season

It’s the season to get together! Do you always avoid one family member because their breath stinks? Or do people avoid you? Either way, nobody wants to be “that” person at gatherings. As time goes on, people don’t forget who the culprit is. Don’t let it be you!

Typically, we all wake up with bad breath because there is no constant saliva flow as we sleep. Saliva helps wash away bacteria growth. A reminder to why we brush and floss before we go to bed and when we wake up.

Did you know that over 40 million people in the U.S have bad breath? Most of the time you aren’t able to smell your own breath! Because of the embarrassment, often times we don’t mention it when we smell others breath.

What is Bad Breath?

It’s your oral bacteria which are living, eating, and breeding organisms. You know how all living things need food and needs to dispose of it? That’s what is happening in your mouth! Use this as motivation to start a better dental routine!

What Causes Bad Breath?

  • Smoking and Chewing Tobacco
  • Poor Dental Hygiene
  • Dry Mouth
  • Diet

The worst cause is smoking because it reduces saliva flow. Dry mouth occurs when your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva. It is your mouth’s natural defense and without it, plaque and bacteria build up faster. Certain drinks like alcohol and coffee dry your mouth out as well. Sugary foods and drinks are bacteria’s favorite, it helps them grow/multiply faster. It’s important to brush and floss to help prevent plaque build-up.

You might want to keep a closer eye on your tongue as well. Your tongue doesn’t have a smooth surface; food debris, bacteria, and dead cells can be trapped there. Over time, a coating forms across and as it gets thicker, your odor becomes stronger.

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This year, don’t be the one with the breath that clears a room! Have a solid oral hygiene routine, a good one that includes dental cleanings every six months! If you are stuck on what to bring for your gathering try peppermint bark. It’s a nice breath refresher for anyone that needs it!

Pro Tip: Use dark chocolate chips – it’s good for your teeth (in moderation)!

If you are questioning, “How in the world is dark chocolate good for my teeth?” The answer is dark chocolate contains polyphenols which helps fight the growth of bacteria in your mouth, reducing risk of tooth decay. It can also offset bad breath!

Have a great holiday season!

 

Dickinson Dental

1915 FM 517 East
Dickinson, TX 77539
281-534-7112

How To Sort Your Kids Halloween Candy

When you think of October, what comes to mind? Fall, pumpkins, or Halloween… Did you know that its National Dental Hygiene Month? It was created to increase awareness of the importance of oral care to your mouth and body.

The Daily 4

  • Brushing
  • Flossing
  • Rinsing
  • Chewing

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You’ve heard it before, brush twice a day. For best results, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to create small, gentle circular motions to reduce potential damage to your enamel.

How important is flossing? Brushing your teeth doesn’t completely clean your teeth. Flossing removes about 40% of plaque from your teeth. Tooth decay and gum disease will develop when there is plaque build-up.

Do you use mouthwash? It may seem tedious after brushing and flossing but it’s more beneficial than you think! Rinsing can help reduce bad breath, gingivitis, decay, and plaque.

Chewing? Yeah, you’re probably thinking “how does that help my teeth?” Chewing sugar-free gum after snacks or meals stimulates saliva glands that help clean your teeth.

Also, this month is for giving our hygienists a special shout out! Every day they work hard to make our smiles healthy. Share your healthy smile, tag us and use #DentalHygieneMonth

With Halloween around the corner, you might be spooked on how to maintain your healthy smile. Of course, by now you know that candy isn’t good for your teeth. That doesn’t mean don’t have any, remember moderation is key! What are the chances of people giving out sugar-free candies? Slim- to none, cause that takes the fun out of trick-or-treating. But some sugary candy’s are worse than others. You can separate the candy into piles to limit sugar intake.

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Gummy candy is clingy and it would take a while to be washed away. They stick to your teeth increasing risk for tooth decay. Some examples are taffy, gummy bears, or gummy worms. Sour candy are a double shock to your teeth, they have a lot of sugar and are highly acidic.

The number one concern for hard candy is biting into it breaking or damaging your teeth. Candy in your mouth for a long time can also bring more sugar into your mouth.

Surprisingly, dark chocolate is good for you it has less sugar and dissolves quickly. It also contains calcium making your teeth stronger and fights bacteria and plaque. Also, powdery candy is not sticky and dissolves quickly giving bacteria less time to cling to teeth.

The Halloween season comes to an end but taking proper care of your teeth is never ending! Go through your kid’s pile of candy and make sure they are eating in moderation. Note that for yourself too, we know how tempting candy is!

Be sure to always brush twice a day, floss, rinse, and keep sugary snacks to a minimum Celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month with us by scheduling your dental checkups today!

Dickinson Dental

1915 FM 517 East
Dickinson, TX 77539
281-534-7112

 

How Much Do You Know About Your Teeth?

Do you consider your teeth as living things? They contain nerves and living tissues and our mouth constantly produces bacteria. They are always active with chewing, biting, talking, and grinding. Dental problems are hardly enjoyable, but on the bright side, most are preventable. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, regular check-ups, and proper eating is important for preventing future dental problems. The more you know the healthier and cleaner your mouth will be.

Common Dental Problems For All Ages

  • Tooth Decay- Cavities (caries)
  • Gum Disease- Periodontitis

Common Dental Problems For Children

Just because baby teeth aren’t permanent doesn’t mean that they should be neglected! Their tooth enamel is 50% thinner than the enamel on adult teeth. When it starts to decay it will cause more damage faster. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria using sugar from foods and drinks to create acid that deteriorates your teeth.

Are your kid’s thumb suckers? It is a natural self-soothing reflex for them. It’s a hard habit to break but the earlier you try to get them to stop, the easier. After permanent teeth come in it can cause problems with the palatal growth and teeth alignment.

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Long-Term Effects of Thumb Sucking

  • May form a lisp because of jaw positioning
  • The roof of the mouth changes or can become more sensitive
  • Teeth are pushed around and can result in an overbite or an underbite. Other orthodontic treatment might be needed as well.

Common Dental Problems For Teens

Did you know that about 75% of teens need orthodontic treatment after their adult teeth have grown in? Common problems are teeth being overcrowded, crooked, or having a lot of space in between them. Misplaced teeth are more challenging to clean and maintain leading to problems down the road.

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Does your teenager play contact sports? #PlayItSafe More than 200,000 injuries to the mouth and jaw occur every year. Protect them with a mouthguard! Be sure to keep it clean by rinsing and leaving it in the container when not actively using it.

Avoid oral piercings! A tongue or other mouth piercings can easily chip teeth when asleep, eating, or talking. After the piercing, many experience swelling, which can lead to infections or trouble opening and closing your mouth to speak and eat.

Common Dental Problems For Adults

We have a third set of molars, known as wisdom teeth that typically emerge after the rest of our adult teeth. They can cause pain and create crowding leading to more dental problems in the future. 85% of adults have their wisdom teeth removed. They are often harder to clean leaving them more susceptible to tooth decay.

Have you been dreaming of a bright white smile? One of the most common dental cosmetic procedures is teeth whitening. As you get older tooth discoloration occurs from constant exposure to certain foods and drinks. This can be done only after they are cleaned and cavity free. Otherwise, the whitening solution can penetrate the inner part of the tooth causing pain and sensitivity to those unhealthy teeth.

The average adult between the ages of 20 and 64 have three or more decayed or missing teeth. Your jaw is constructed to function with 28 teeth, once one goes missing neighboring teeth begin to drift into the vacant space. This makes your good teeth more prone to decay and gum disease. After you lose a tooth, the bone around it begins to shrink over time altering your face leading to that sunken jaw look.

Options To Replace Missing Teeth

  • Dental Implants
  • Bridges
  • Dentures

Dental implants are popular because they look and feel like your natural teeth. They are also the new standard of care. With good oral hygiene, they can last up to 20 years or more. A bridge consists of both a false tooth with the support of two abutment crowns. Think of them as “bridging” the gap left by the missing tooth.

There are several types of dentures; partial, complete, and implant supported. A partial replaces some of your teeth using surrounding teeth as an anchor. A complete denture is removable and replaces all teeth. Implant supported dentures are recommended if you have a healthy jaw for support and would like a more secure fit.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

Bacteria flourish in a dark and wet environment that contains plenty of sugar which is why your mouth is usually their home. Without regular maintenance, they tend to stick around and create plaque on your teeth causing tooth decay and gum disease. Take care of your teeth, you only get one set!

Dickinson Dental

1915 FM 517 East
Dickinson, TX 77539
281-534-7112

 

What’s In A Kiss?

In 2006 International Kissing Day was established and it’s celebrated on July 6th. In our society, a kiss is a sign of affection or a warm greeting. Did you know a single kiss can spread up to 80 million bacteria?

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We are not born with the bacteria that cause cavities. Studies have proven that parents often infect their child before 2. Once your child becomes exposed they are prone to cavities in baby and permanent teeth. In fact, babies can also begin to develop them before their first tooth erupts!

Tooth decay is a disease known as dental caries. It is caused by specific germs and is easily spread throughout families by sharing a cup, utensils, or toothbrushes, and lasts a lifetime. Did you know it’s more common for a child to have cavities than any other chronic illness? Bacteria loves sugar and attacks the structure of teeth by diminishing calcium. It also creates plaque which builds even more enamel-eroding acid.  

Can tooth decay be spotted early?

Early tooth decay can be hard to see. A sign is a white strip along the gum line at the base of the teeth. During the early stages, you might be able to see brown spots on the teeth, and gums are red and inflamed. When more advanced, the spots are blackened.

If you have had your fair share of troubles with your teeth, it’s important to take precautions when it comes to your child’s dental care. It’s recommended to bring your child to the dentist six months after the first tooth erupts or by their first birthday. The best way to limit cavities is to brush and floss with your kids daily. Setting the example, helps create and reinforce these healthy habits.

 Tips for keeping decay away from your children:

  • Wipe down your baby’s gums with a washcloth after feedings, even if the first tooth has not erupted.
  • Start brushing with fluoride-free toothpaste as the first tooth erupts.
  • When your child is two or three years old, begin using toothpaste with a small amount of fluoride, and begin flossing when two teeth are touching.

What can happen to untreated cavities?

 Cavities don’t go away by themselves. If you ignore a cavity, it continues to grow. They are small holes in your teeth that will become wider and deeper making your teeth more fragile, increasing the risk to crack. If left untreated, the cavity will next reach your tooth’s nerves, which is likely to cause severe pain. Depending on your situation, your tooth will either need a root canal or require extraction. If your tooth is infected you will need antibiotics along with cavity treatment.

stages of perio.pngWhat is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an infection at your gum line which may result in damaged jaw bone. There are three different stages: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Gum disease is caused by bacteria and plaque. If not removed it hardens and turns into tartar while plaque continues to form more build up. The only way for it to be removed is by visiting your dentist for a professional cleaning.

Warning Signs of Gum Disease

  •  Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing
  •  Gums that are pulled away from teeth- making teeth look longer
  •  Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • Swollen, red, or tender gums
  •  Bad breath

 What happens if I don’t treat my Periodontitis?

The first stage of gum disease might be easy to miss, but if left untreated it will result in larger problems. If you notice any of the warning signs or think you may have gum disease contact us today. Lack of treatment results in tender gums, receding gums, sensitive teeth, loose teeth, and eventually leads to tooth loss. Let’s prevent that together!

Have you ever wondered why we kiss with our eyes closed? Maybe it’s because when oral care wasn’t popular nobody wanted to see others teeth up close… Just kidding! But because of dental advancements, it’s easy to keep your smile in tip-top shape. Protect you and your family from bacteria and tooth decay by requesting your appointment today!

Dickinson Dental

1915 FM 517 East
Dickinson, TX 77539
281-534-7112

 

Suns Out Gums Out

What time is it? It’s summertime! It’s the season to enjoy sunny poolside days and warm nights under the stars. Summer is known for spontaneous adventures, relaxation, and most importantly, unconditional smiles that you want to capture forever! Along with showing your smile off! Another staple of summer is delicious foods, snacks, and drinks. Summer diets can make your taste buds happy but it may cause harm to your teeth.

We hear it all year long, soda is bad for us! But with the warmer weather and vacations, it may be your go-to drink. Have a look at the nutrition facts before quenching your thirst!

Drinks to be aware of:

  • Soda
  • Sport Drinks
  • Fruit Juices

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Soda contains enamel-destroying acid and contains plenty of unwanted sugars. Because of the summer heat, you might want to grab a sports drink to replenish any lost minerals from sweating. It’s been proven that sports drinks contain a high level of sugars and acids which can lead to cavities. Fruits contain natural sugars and often times store bought juices have additional sugar added, resulting in damaged teeth.

The acid in these drinks exposes your teeth to more bacteria, which attracts the sugars in your favorite drinks! This bacteria sneaks into the cracks of your tooth enamel and causes tooth decay.

Foods to be aware of:

  • Popsicles
  • Ice Cream
  • Corn on the cob
  • Barbecue Sauce

Warm days call for cold cravings, but popsicles, freezes, and ice cream can actually harm your smile! They are loaded with sugars and are in constant contact with your teeth. Sugar sticks to your teeth and gums to create bacteria that attack your enamel. Did you know? A single cup of vanilla ice cream has five teaspoons of sugar!

Are you looking forward to enjoying a sweet corn on the cob? Eat it with caution, as they’re known to knock loose fillings and even chip teeth! Kernels can also get stuck in between your teeth and if not properly maintained causes plaque build-up.

Did you know barbecue sauce is high in sugar and acid? Just like it sticks to meat, it also clings to your teeth. The main ingredients are vinegar and ketchup, which are loaded with acid. Because barbecue sauce is a dark color, it can also stain your teeth.

This doesn’t mean to avoid these foods and drinks completely! Just keep in mind moderation is key!

Tips:

  •  Sipping sugary drinks with a straw reduces the contact of the liquid with your teeth.
  • Brushing your teeth immediately after drinking a soft drink, can damage your enamel.
  • Make homemade fruit juices without adding additional sugar!
  • Cut your corn off the cob.
  • Don’t use your teeth to open plastics or anything, they are for food only!
  • Water is the best source for staying hydrated.
  • Healthy Snacks for Your Smile

Are you wondering what snacks are good for your teeth? Instead of a bag of potato chips, go for the fruit platters! Apples, pears, peaches, or seedless watermelon is refreshing! Veggies trays are also a good snack, raw broccoli, celery, and carrots. These snacks can be seen as a natural toothbrush, it can scrub off any plaque build-up and stimulating saliva to clear your mouth of unwanted particles.

1,2,3 say cheese! Dairy products contain low sugar and are rich in calcium and phosphorous which strengthens and protects your enamel. The more dairy you eat it can lower your chances of developing gum disease!

If you are hosting any gatherings this summer, you can serve seedless buns and keep dental floss picks handy! You may also want to offer sugar-free gum rather than mints. Chewing gum gets your saliva flowing and fights acids from cavity-causing bacteria that eat away at your teeth.

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Because of the wide range of food and drinks you’ll be consuming this summer, maintaining proper care is important. You wouldn’t want anything to ruin your summer fun! Have a great summer, and keep smiling.


Dickinson Dental

1915 FM 517 East
Dickinson, TX 77539
281-534-7112

 

How Green Is Your Dental Routine?

 Go green for Earth Day! In 1970, 20 million Americans rallied in streets, parks, and auditoriums for a sustainable environment. Later Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin Senator created Earth Day. After the first Earth Day, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was created. Every April 22nd Earth Day is celebrated worldwide.

We’re focused on global warming and clean energy. Everything we do, from brushing our teeth to eating and driving all contributes to polluting the environment. Did you know that toothbrushes are plastic and nylon which can’t be recycled? When you throw your toothbrush away it sits in our landfill forever. Every year 50 million pounds of toothbrushes get added to our landfill and plastic doesn’t biodegrade because it’s not in nature’s food chain.

Landfill.pngA completely plastic-free dental routine might not be possible, but small changes can make a big difference. For instance, there are toothbrushes made of bamboo or wood. The wooden toothbrush bristles are made from pig hair which is recyclable and will reduce the amount of plastic in landfills. A shocking one billion toothbrushes get thrown away yearly in the US.

Change isn’t easy. If you aren’t ready to make the change to pig hair bristles then stick to your regular toothbrush. And when it’s time to get rid of it and get a new one, keep it and reuse it for household cleaning! Toothbrushes are great for cleaning bathroom tiles, toilets, computer keyboards, jewelry, and even shoes.

Bamboo and wood toothbrushes aren’t your only options for a healthy smile and environment. There are plastic toothbrushes made from recycled materials such as yogurt containers and the bristles are a new plant-based plastic . There are also compostable cornstarch toothbrushes that won’t clog landfills.

Floss is wax covered nylon and comes in a container that has metal. This means that floss and it’s container are not recyclable. Good news, there is plastic free and refillable floss! Refillable floss is sold in a glass container with a protective label which protects the container from dropping. The bundle of floss comes in a clear compostable bag and it also has a plastic-free spool. It is completely made from silk and coated with vegetable-based wax.

Toothbrush Tip

Show your gums some love! Don’t brush with all your strength, it’s not good for your gums or your toothbrush! Every time you brush your teeth it affects your toothbrush. The harder you brush your teeth the quicker you will need to replace your toothbrush. Protect your gums and the lifespan of your toothbrush!

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.pngThese are the three R’s when protecting the environment. Do you leave the water running while brushing? If so try filling a small glass and set it in reaching distance to rinse after brushing. Another tip is don’t leave your electric toothbrush plugged in all day every day. The average toothbrush lasts up to several weeks. Unplug!

Ready, Set, Go Green!

Are you ready to make the change to help save our environment? We know this is a lot of information at once, and it’s okay to take small steps and make one change at a time. It’s as simple as sharing with your family and friends about the environment and how they can help sustain it too!

Remember to brush twice a day for two minutes and floss daily! We hope you have a Happy Earth Day!

Dr. Maxwell C. Elliott, DDS 

Dickinson Dental
(281) 534-7112
1915 FM 517 East
Dickinson, TX 77539