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

 

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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

 

Neglecting Dental Care is Madness

Are you feeling lucky? Do you think you can fill out a perfect March Madness bracket? The odds are 1 in 9 quintillion. March Madness is known for last second game winners and unexpected wins. Games will have your heart beating quickly and have you on your feet to see what’ll happen next.

We all know about the thrillers and defeat that takes place during the tournament. But what we don’t know is what happens behind the scenes. Some injuries are kept quiet; such as dental injuries. If a player were to go down with a torn ACL, ruptured Achilles, or sprained ankle it’s well broadcasted. The University of California conducted a study about dental injuries in sports and found that basketball players suffered the highest amount of dental damage compared to all other intercollegiate sports.

_BlogBody1Believe it or not, basketball is considered a ‘non-contact’ sport. Mouth guards are only required in contact sports such as football, hockey, and boxing. The American Dental Association says that 1/3 of dental injuries are because of sports. The three most common types of tooth injuries are: cracked teeth, fractured roots, and tooth intrusions.

While playing basketball it is common to catch an unexpected elbow to your face and mouth. this can cause you to chip or lose teeth. During games, it’s important to communicate with your teammates which can be challenging while wearing a mouth guard. This is a possible reason why a mouth guard isn’t popular for basketball players. The University of California study also reveals that only 7% of collegiate basketball players use a mouth guard.

Basketball has a variety of protective gear for players. There are high top shoes to help support your ankle along with ankle braces. There are also padded compression shorts and shirts that are worn under your jersey to protect your body from any unpredictable falls. In a way, padded compression clothing is similar to a mouth guard. Both protect your body from experiencing the full force of a hit helping prevent greater injuries which can be expensive and time consuming to heal.

There are three different types of mouth guards: custom-made, Boil and Bite, and stock. A custom-made mouth guard is seen as the most comfortable and offers the best protection. They need to be manufactured by your dentist or in a specialized lab. Most athletes prefer to have a custom fit one but one downside is they can be a pricey investment. You can think of the Boil and Bite as DIY custom fit mouth guards. The plastic pre-formed shape can be found in sporting stores. You simply boil it then bite into it for a custom fit. Stock mouth guards are the most inexpensive but don’t fit well and aren’t very comfortable. They can be bulky making breathing and talking a challenge.

The loss of a tooth or multiple teeth is not the only thing at risk for basketball players. Tooth loss can also cause bone damage to your jaw and tissues and rip your gum or lip. These injuries often lead to implants or root canals.

Over the years, wearing mouth guards have gained popularity throughout the sport. Top NBA stars like Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry are known to wear mouth guards while playing. Did you know they have flavored mouth guards for better a better taste?

_BlogBody2.pngInjuries are unpredictable but the best way to protect yourself is by taking precautions. As we now know the importance of wearing mouth guards lets share our knowledge. Hopefully, we will begin to see more star athletes and players wearing them. Change always starts small! So we encourage you and your family to play with your health in mind!

It’s going to be a heart-wrenching month of basketball. Here’s to our teams conquering the title or to us for that 1 in 9 quintillion!

 

Dr. Maxwell C. Elliott, DDS 

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

 

 

Tips & Tricks for Teeth Grinders

Bruxism, the medical term for teeth grinding and jaw clenching, affects both kids and adults. While often caused by high levels of stress, bruxism can also be triggered by a misaligned bite and sleep disorders. Regardless of your underlying issue, here are a few tips and tricks to help:

  1. Take Notice –Throughout the day notice if you’re clenching or grinding. Take a few deep breaths and place the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This helps the muscles in your jaw relax.Untitled design (1)
  2. Stop Chewing – On non-food items that is! Pencils, ice, etc. This also includes avoiding gum because it trains your jaw to clench and encourages teeth grinding.
  3. Cut Back – Avoid foods with added sugar, especially for children. Adults may find drinking alcohol intensify their condition. Cutting out liquor and limiting caffeine is recommended.
  4. Relax! – Especially before bedtime. Take a long bath, listen to mellow music, find what works best for you and enjoy it.
  5. See Your Dentist – It’s important to be properly diagnosed. We’ll partner together to find the best treatment plan for your well-being! Call and schedule an exam today (281) 534-7112

Dr. Maxwell C. Elliott, DDS 

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

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. PicklesPickling

Pickles? 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 FruitDried Fruit

In small doses, dried fruit is a healthy alternative to sweets such as chocolate bars and ice 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.

Dr. Maxwell C. Elliott, DDS 

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

4 Risk Factors of Gum Disease to Discuss with Your Dentist

Have you ever had something caught in your teeth for days? It’s likely because it was lodged deep between a tooth and your gums. That gum tissue is what keeps our chompers in place. There are three stages of gum disease and all are treatable.

The mild form of gum disease is Gingivitis. This is where plaque and other byproducts irritate the gums. It makes them swollen, tender, and more likely to bleed. Periodontitis is stage two. The gum tissue starts deteriorating as it detaches from the teeth forming pockets around the roots. This leaves teeth exposed and more susceptible to decay. Finally, Advanced Periodontitis can set in. Tooth pockets get deeper as the severe gum recession leads to bone loss causing loose teeth.

Common Risk Factors of Periodontal DiseaseGum Disease Sigh.jpg

  • Genetics – it’s hereditary and some of us are just unlucky! While you may be more susceptible to periodontitis, having a good oral hygiene routine with regular dental visits can help your smile stay healthy. Talk to us about finding the right balance for your needs.
  • Health – underlying medical conditions like diabetes and Crohn’s disease, as well as lowered immunity from illnesses and treatments often affect gum tissue. Medications, hormonal changes and obesity are also culprits and should be discussed.
  • Bad Habits – chewing on ice, not brushing or flossing daily and using tobacco are the most common behavior changes we encourage you to ditch. However, substance abuse and a diet lacking in vitamin C will also impact your smile.
  • Stress – it’s inevitable. But keep an eye on exactly how much it’s weighing you down. High levels or chronic stress can lead to poor hygiene habits. Anxiety can also lower your immune system from effectively fighting off bacteria that causes gingivitis (stage 1).

When to Seek HelpCapture

Common red flags of gum disease include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Gums look bright red
  • Teeth wiggle

There’s no home remedy to cure gum disease. Only professional treatment can help, so call and schedule an exam today (281) 534-7112

Dr. Maxwell C. Elliott, DDS 

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

3 Summer Treats for a Healthy Smile

Summer is about vacations, group activities, family time, and great food. With the warmer weather comes the abundance of fresh fruits and veggies. You may even be growing your own. Choosing the right snacks can both satisfy your sweet cravings and help your smile shine.Summer Treats - image

Strawberries

Strawberries are the perfect choice for boosting your oral health. Candy lovers and sweet addicts can snack on strawberries in place of surgery, teeth-eroding junk. Packed with vitamin C, this summer super food is a good source of calcium, which is essential for all of our bones- including our teeth.  Just one cup of strawberries is filled with maximum amounts of magnesium, folate and potassium: all necessary for a glowing smile!  To top it off, strawberries are also known to help clean your teeth. The seeds can work as tiny scrubbers helping to remove some plaque build-up.

Watermelon

Summer BBQs are never complete without giant slabs of juicy watermelon. Not only is it a tasty and refreshing treat on hot days, watermelon is also great for your teeth.  Being mostly water, this fruit stimulates saliva flow, which is very effective in maintaining a healthy, bright smile.  Watermelon, like strawberries, is also packed with antioxidants and tons of Vitamin C which are great when going through any kind of recovery. Snacking on watermelon will also fill you up with Vitamin A, which is great for your skin and a fantastic complement to your beautiful smile!

Yogurt

Ok, yogurt IS available all year long. Packed with probiotics, calcium and protein, stick with no added sugar flavors for the healthiest choice. Healthy doesn’t mean boring, try mixing in those fresh strawberries for the perfect sweet and creamy snack. Beat the heat by turning them into frozen yogurt pops. Kids and adults will love this healthy swap!

Maintaining your smile is as easy as keeping your regular dental check-ups and having a little mindfulness. Look for small, healthy swaps, and embrace the delicious fresh options summer can bring to your family’s table.

Dr. Maxwell C. Elliott, DDS 

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