halloween teens

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Pediatric Dentistry.

This Halloween season is just like any other — packed with costume preparations, decorating with ghosts and pumpkins, and preparing for a night of trick-or-treating. At our dental office in Erdenheim, we love all the fun that Halloween brings to our patients and neighbors. But as you may have guessed, we do have some insight on the best treats. In celebration of both Halloween and National Orthodontic Month, we decided to take a different approach to talking about Halloween candy this year and are catering our top choices for braces wearers.

If you have braces, have a child who has braces, or have had braces in the past, you’re well aware that there are some guidelines to what you can safely eat and what’s best to avoid. These guidelines don’t go away for the holidays, unfortunately. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of delicious treats that are safe for braces.

Safe Candy for Braces

When it comes to selecting candy that’s safe for braces, consider if the texture of the treats is sticky, chewy, or hard. If you can label a candy as any of those, it’s best to choose another option. Candy that’s too hard can break brackets whereas sticky and chewy sweets can bend wires. Neither is ideal for successful orthodontic treatment.

The best candy for those with braces are ones that are easy to bite and chew and aren’t sticky. Some safe options include:  

  • 3 Musketeers
  • Peanut Butter Cups
  • Peppermint Patties
  • Milky Way
  • Crunch Bar/Krackel Bar
  • Pure Chocolate Bars

Worst Candy for Braces

Now that you know of some safe, yet yummy, Halloween candy options for those with braces, it’s important to also take a look at some that aren’t so great. The following treats are best avoided to reduce the chance of damage to brackets or wires:

  • Hard Candy
  • Gum
  • Caramels
  • Jelly Beans
  • Nuts or anything containing nuts

The team at our Erdenheim dental office hopes all of our patients and neighbors have a safe and happy Halloween!  

workspace covered in snacks

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health, Prevention.

Whether you work a typical 9 – 5, Monday through Friday job, or your schedule typically varies, the truth is Americans spend quite a bit of time at work each week. No matter what your job responsibilities are, several of the most common workplace habits can affect almost every type of occupation. Some of these habits can negatively affect your overall health. In this blog, our dental office in Erdenheim would like to focus specifically on the top work habits that are most likely to harm your oral health.

Habit #1: Using Teeth as Tools

Teeth are designed for one purpose — to help us chew our food. However, this doesn’t stop us from trying to use our teeth as tools occasionally. Whether you’re trying to open a package or rip off a piece of tape, avoid using your teeth to help. The force placed on teeth during these activities can wear down tooth enamel or even break or chip a tooth. To fix damage like this, your dentist in Erdenheim will most likely recommend a restorative dentistry treatment.  

Habit #2: Snacking Throughout the Day

Whether you snack on a handful of pretzels, slowly sip your coffee, or nibble on other treats throughout your workday, you’re leaving your teeth constantly exposed to damaging acids. As we eat, bacteria in our mouths feed on the food particles left behind. These bacteria then release acid as a byproduct. Usually saliva helps neutralize and rinse away this acid. But without a break in snacking, your saliva doesn’t have a chance to catch up. This allows the acid to eat away at enamel and leaves teeth at risk for decay.

Habit #3: Taking Smoke Breaks

We all know by now that smoking has been linked to several very serious, sometimes life threatening health issues. Your oral health isn’t any different. Smoking, as well as using smokeless tobacco, increases the risk of oral cancer, gum disease, and tooth loss. We understand that smoking is a hard habit to break, but we know you can do it. Try chewing sugarless gum or talk with your doctor about ways to quit.

Habit #4: Chewing on Pens

Either done out of boredom, stress, or nervousness, chewing on pens or pencils is a workplace habit that affects many people. Sometimes we do it and don’t even realize it. This habit can easily damage teeth by either chipping or breaking them or by wearing away at enamel. Instead of chewing on a pen, try something else that may satisfy the craving but is less dangerous for your smile like eating a few carrots or pieces of celery.

If you find yourself doing any of these habits at work, or perhaps at home, we encourage you to work diligently to stop. Our Erdenheim dental office is here to help, so call us today to schedule your next appointment.

teenage boy smiling

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health, Pediatric Dentistry.

As kids grow up they start to become more independent. They need less help from mom or dad with homework, laundry, and other everyday activities. Usually they’re pretty great at taking on these responsibilities with little to no trouble or risk of consequences. But when it comes to their oral health, less supervision could result in poor oral hygiene and a greater chance of dental disease. Our dental office in Erdenheim is here to help parents make the transition to having their teens care for their own oral health with our top four tips.

Buy What They Need

Teens aren’t focused on supplying their own toothbrush, and they probably won’t recognize when they need a new one. Keep an eye on how long it’s been since your child has had a new toothbrush (hint: if it’s been three months, it’s time for a new one) or if you notice the bristles starting to fray. Also make sure to keep plenty of cavity-fighting toothpaste on hand as well as floss.

Ease Up on the Snacks

We all know how bad sugar can be for our pearly whites, and teens can have a pretty wicked sweet tooth. To combat this, try to limit the number of sweet treats and soda you keep in the house. Reducing the availability of these cavity-causing snacks can go a long way in keeping teeth free of decay not only for your teen, but yourself and your whole family, too.

Make Mouthguards a Rule

Many teens are active in sports and they can begin to get more physical than ever before. Protecting their teeth should become a top priority and a crucial part of their athletic gear. Mouthguards can protect against chips, cracks, breaks, and even losing a tooth. Mouthguards can also reduce the risk of concussions and should be required every time your child plays.

Keep Regular Check Ups a Must

Visits to your child’s dentist in Erdenheim at least every six months is still necessary to keep her growing smile bright, healthy, and cavity free. These appointments help catch any potential problems early while they’re still easy to treat and before they have a chance to become painful or lead to more advanced issues. We may also recommend protective sealants to keep decay away and fluoride treatments to keep teeth strong.

While it’s sometimes difficult to watch our little ones grow up, helping them transition into being more independent and following a proper oral hygiene routine can set them up for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

If you’re looking for a dentist for your teen, we always welcome you to call our Erdenheim dental office.

woman wearing probiotics tshirt

Posted by & filed under Gum Disease, Oral Health.

Probiotic use is typically associated with digestive health and even as a “good bacteria” replacement after a round of antibiotics. But can probiotics also be beneficial for oral health? At our dental office in Erdenheim, we’ve been hearing about some research that may show a positive correlation between certain probiotics and healthier mouths. In this blog, we take a closer look at those studies to see if there is in fact an oral health benefit to taking probiotics.

What Are Probiotics?

We know that probiotics have been heavily talked about in recent years, but what are they, exactly? Basically, probiotics are live microorganisms, usually bacteria, that help support the digestive system. The term bacteria has typically always meant something negative, something that makes us sick. The truth is, there is both bad and good bacteria. Probiotics fall under the category of good bacteria, or friendly bacteria.

Different Probiotics Treat Different Things

Different probiotics tend to help with different things. Most commonly when we talk about probiotics, we’re referring to those that help in digestion. These are the ones that are found in yogurt and other foods that contain “active cultures.” But the probiotics researched in relation to oral health are different.

These probiotics are often referred to as oral probiotics. This term is not necessarily used to describe probiotics that are taken orally, but rather those that have been researched to see if they have impact on oral health. Following several studies, research suggests that there may be a positive correlation between specific types of probiotics and reducing the risk of gum disease, plaque, and bad breath.

A Closer Look at Bifidobacterium & Lactobacillus

Easier to explain than to say, the probiotic strains of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are the ones mainly associated with probiotic research in relation to oral health. These strains are naturally found both in the bodies and mouths of mammals, including humans. During several research studies involving Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, there has been evidence of a correlation between an increase in the probiotics and healthier mouths. While none of the limited amount of research available conclusively identifies the link, there have been cases where Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus have helped in the treatment of periodontal disease and halitosis, and has seemed to reduce the risk of cavities.

Again, there is still more research to be done on the relationship between probiotics and oral health. Because of this, we don’t recommend starting yourself on a probiotics regimen before discussing it with your medical team, including your dentist in Erdenheim.

back to school

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Home Care, Pediatric Dentistry.

As we all gear up to head back to school, loading up on folders, notebooks, pencils, and backpacks, the team at our dental office in Erdenheim wants to send a friendly reminder to our patients and neighbors about the importance of getting your child to the dentist before school starts.

Dental Checkups Help with Overall Health, Too

While we encourage all of our patients to see us at least biannually, we also like to see them prior to starting a new school year. Visits to your children’s dentist in Erdenheim not only help keep smiles healthy, they also help keep whole bodies healthy. Poor dental health has been linked to:

  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Heart disease
  • And Obesity.

In fact, the National Institutes of Health reported that 20-30% of children have chronic health conditions due to oral health issues. Regular dental exams and cleanings are key in catching any problems, or potential problems, early to avoid these serious diseases. It may also be recommended that your child receive protective sealants to aid against decay and cavities.

Keep Kids in School

It’s our goal to keep kids healthy and in school so they can learn, thrive, and get good grades. However, recent research has suggested that poor oral health has been linked to poor grades. According to the American Journal of Public Health Dentistry, children in elementary school missed 6 days of school on average each year. Of those 6 days, 2 of them were because of dental problems. As we all know, when kids aren’t attending class, they’re missing key elements of their education. What’s more, when they’re in pain due to a toothache brought on by a cavity, their ability to pay attention to lessons diminishes.

Hygiene at Home

Back to school dental visits are a great preventive step to ensure your child is starting the school year off healthy. But a good hygiene routine at home is equally important. Make sure your child is brushing every morning (after breakfast!) and every night for two minutes each time. Also, don’t forget to have them floss once a day.

Following a proper hygiene routine and maintaining appointments with our Erdenheim dental office can keep your child smiling and in good health all the way through the school year.
If you’re looking for a Erdenheim dentist for your child, schedule an appointment today!

woman and dentist examine x-ray

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Jaw Pain & TMJ.

You may have heard us talk about your “occlusion” during your visits to our dental office in Erdenheim. But what exactly are we talking about when we speak about occlusion? Is it something you should worried about? Let’s take a closer look at what occlusion means and examine a few concerns that are related to it.

What is Occlusion?

Occlusion is just a fancy, scientific name dentists use to describe the bite, or how the upper teeth match up against the lower teeth when the mouth is closed or while chewing. You may have heard several ways we tend to classify a “bad bite” including overbite or underbite. All of these types of occlusion can lead to unique problems that should be corrected by a dental professional.

In More Detail: Crossbites, Overbites, and Underbites

There are a variety of bite problems that happen, but in this blog we’re going to examine the three most common.

  • Crossbite
    • Signs: A crossbite is usually suspected when one or more of the upper teeth fall behind the lower teeth when the mouth is closed.
    • If left untreated: Crossbites can lead to premature wear and tear of the teeth, gum disease, bone loss, asymmetrical jaw development, and jaw problems (known as TMJ or TMD).
  • Overbite
    • Signs: When the mouth is closed and the molars are touching, if the front top teeth completely cover the bottom front teeth, there’s a good chance an overbite is to be blamed.
    • If left untreated: An untreated overbite can inhibit teeth from functioning properly, leave the person at increased risk for gum disease and other gum problems, and wear down the front teeth.
  • Underbite
    • Signs: Opposite of an overbite, an underbite is when the lower teeth fall in front of the top teeth when biting.
    • If left untreated: Underbites usually result from either undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw, or both. If not corrected, teeth may not be able to function properly and can lead to painful TMJ/TMD issues.

If you suspect any potential issues with your bite, we welcome you to call our Erdenheim dental office to schedule an appointment. We would be happy to help you to determine what, if any, treatment would be appropriate to correct the bite for a healthy, pain-free smile that lasts a lifetime.

woman and little girl brushing teeth

Posted by & filed under Pediatric Dentistry, Prevention.

When it comes to choosing the right toothpaste, the number of options can be intimidating. There are various flavors, different formulas for different needs, and even some labeled specifically for kids. But is there really a difference between kids toothpaste and adult toothpaste besides the fun colors and characters on the packaging? Our dental office in Erdenheim knows the truth.

Fluoride Content

The main difference between adult toothpaste and toothpaste designed just for kids is the amount of fluoride they contain. Fluoride is found naturally in many foods and is often added to public water sources. It’s also one of the best ways to protect both permanent and baby teeth from decay. Children’s toothpastes typically have less fluoride to help kids from getting too much of it. When kids are exposed to too much fluoride, their teeth may form little white spots known as fluorosis.

More About Fluorosis

Fluorosis occurs while teeth are still forming below the gumline, so it’s important to monitor the amount of fluoride your child is getting to help avoid getting those white, streaky spots. Even if fluorosis does occur, don’t panic. It’s not usually harmful and can be treated.

When to Start Using Toothpaste

Taking care of your child’s oral health can and should begin early. But the use of toothpaste should wait until his tiny teeth start to erupt. Until then, gently rubbing his gums with a wet, soft cloth will work well.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), you can start using fluoride on teeth as soon as they start to appear. However, your adult toothpaste probably has too much fluoride, so make sure you choose a toothpaste that is designed for kids. Use a tiny smear of a low fluoride toothpaste in kids under 2 with a toothbrush sized appropriately for tinier mouths.

As kids get older, you can start to increase the amount of toothpaste they use. Between ages 2 and 5, a pea sized amount of kids toothpaste is appropriate. Remember, your child will still need your help brushing properly and spitting the leftover paste instead of swallowing. Around age 6, talk with your dentist in Erdenheim to see if it’s time to switch your child to an adult toothpaste.

No matter how old your child is or what toothpaste they’re using, it’s always important to brush twice a day, early and night, to ensure a healthy mouth. Also, don’t forget to visit the dentist at least twice a year for regular checkups.

If you’re little one needs a dentist, we’d be happy to see him at our Erdenheim dental office. Give us a call to schedule his visit today!

woman sticking out tongue

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Home Care, Oral Cancer, Prevention.

Grab a mirror, open up, and say “ah” because we’re talking tongues today. Did you know the color and even the shape of your tongue can say a lot about what could be going on healthwise in the rest of your body? Our dental office in Erdenheim (and your primary care doctor too) are always on the lookout for signs or symptoms that your tongue may be trying to tell us! Check out these helpful tips about tongue health to learn more.

What You See: A Glossy, Raspberry Red Tongue

What it Means: Have you ever looked at your tongue and it looks like you just finished eating a strawberry or raspberry popsicle? This is actually a common side effect of having a vitamin deficiency – primarily B12. It can also indicate that your body is low on iron. Vegetarians are especially prone to this.

What You See: Wrinkles

What it Means: As we age, our tongues do too! A cracked or wrinkled appearance to your tongue is generally nothing to worry about. It’s very important to maintain good hygiene and brush your tongue to avoid infections in the wrinkles.

What You See: Painless, White Patches

What it Means: These white marks known as leukoplakia are usually caused by the growth of too many cells in one area. Sometimes they are a result of an accidental bite while we’re chewing food or maybe you have a tooth that’s rubbing you the wrong way. If you’re experiencing these kinds of patches or any other tongue troubles, it’s always good to give your dentist in Erdenheim a call to take a look!

What You See: Painful Sores

What it Means: Usually when we see patients with a sore on their tongue they all have one thing in common: they’re stressed. Sometimes when you’re run down from illness or everyday stress this causes canker sores to erupt on the tongue and cheeks. They’re usually painful for a few days and will subside within a week or two.

What You See: Unevenness, Peaks, and Valleys

What it Means: It may sound strange but there’s actually a common condition called “geographic tongue,” and it’s absolutely harmless. It makes your tongue look like it has some pretty bumpy, rough terrain and it’s actually known to affect up to 14% of the population. Doctors aren’t sure what causes the condition but it most likely has something to do with your taste buds. Geographic tongue doesn’t require any special treatment or medication. If it becomes painful, be sure to talk to your dentist.

Our Erdenheim dental office knows how important it is to keep a close eye on your teeth and your tongue because they’re pretty accurate indicators of other things that your body might be experiencing or trying to make you aware of. If you have any questions about the health of your tongue, please call!

rows of bottled water

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Pediatric Dentistry.

These days you can’t go very far without seeing bottled water, whether you’re scanning the aisles at your favorite supermarket, cheering on your kids at their latest sporting event, or perhaps packing for a trip to your favorite vacation destination. Our dental office in Erdenheim wants you and your family to stay healthy and hydrated, which may mean drinking more bottled water. There are some extremely excellent benefits to bottled H20 but did you know there are also some cons too, especially for kids?

Pros of Bottled H20: The Good News!

  1. Conveniently Hydrated on The Go

Bottled water is an excellent solution for having delicious drinking water anytime, anywhere. It’s portable and travels easily in briefcases, purses, gym bags, backpacks, and more. It’s helpful when you’re venturing to different places where potable drinking water may not be readily available. Sometimes, given your surroundings (i.e. camping or in a foreign country) it’s easier to have a bottle of water with you. It’s also able to be purchased conveniently.

  1. Storage and Taste

In the event of a disaster or other emergency, having bottled water on hand is definitely helpful and it can be a lifesaver depending on the circumstances. Because bottled water does not expire, it’s always a good idea to keep some stored away, just in case. Depending on the condition of your tap water, bottled H20 also tends to taste better too. This usually due, in part, to the purification process certain types of bottle water must undergo during the preparation process.

Cons: What’s Bad About Bottled Water?

  1. Comparing The Costs

Because there are so many additional necessary steps to ensure bottled water is safe to drink (purification, packaging, transporting, marketing, etc.), it can tend to be a bit more pricey than the water flowing from your tap.

  1. Considering The Risks

Your children’s dentist in Erdenheim wants you to know about the possible health risks associated with bottled water. Did you know commercially produced bottled water does not contain fluoride, while tap water does? Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps keep teeth strong and healthy. It’s especially important that kids get enough fluoride for their growing teeth. Some plastic bottles also contain the chemical bisphenol A(BPA) which can seep into the water before you drink it. This risk increases significantly if your water is stored somewhere hot in direct sunlight.

  1. Telling The Difference

Did you know that in some cases bottled water is just filtered tap water? It’s really no different than what’s coming out of your faucet! Some of the most popular brands of bottled water come from the same factories that produces soft drinks who simply bottle up that water. It’s not from a special source or a spring, it’s origins start in a factory. Sometimes it just makes more sense to fill your own water bottle from a source that you know is clean. It also helps cut down on waste created by the huge percentage of plastic bottles that end up in our nation’s landfills.

We hope you learned a little bit about some of the benefits and some of the potential downfalls to drinking bottled H20! Our Erdenheim dental office knows how important it is that you and your family stay healthy and hydrated. That’s why we’re here to help. If you have any questions about what we discussed here today, please don’t hesitate to give us a call! We look forward to seeing you and your family at your next dental visit.

young woman biting fingernails while studying

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Home Care, Prevention.

Nail biting is a habit that can affect not only the appearance of your nails, it can also cause damage to your oral health. As with any habit, nail biting can be difficult to break, but at our dental office in Erdenheim, we’re hoping that by providing our patients some information about the dangers of nail biting, both in regards to oral health as well as overall health, we’ll be able to help encourage nail biters to quit.

Oral Health Concerns

Nail biters have a higher incidence of chipped or broken teeth, gum damage, and worn down teeth. What’s more is according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), people who bite their nails are at increased risk for bruxism, or tooth grinding. Bruxism brings on its own host of problems like headaches, recessed gums and sensitivity, and even tooth loss. If someone is a nail biter and also wears braces, root absorption can be a real problem. Root absorption is when the tooth roots shorten, making the teeth weaker and more prone to premature tooth loss.

Whole-Body Issues

You don’t need your dentist in Erdenheim to tell you that you shouldn’t put your hands in your mouth because they’re usually loaded with germs and bacteria. Your nails are no different. Common bacteria found under nails includes both Salmonella and E. coli which can be very easily transferred into the body through nail biting. Both of these bacteria can lead to serious infectious disease and would require immediate medical attention.

Top 4 Tricks To Quit Biting Your Nails

As we’ve discussed, nail biting is a habit, and habits are hard to break. Whether you bite your nails when you’re bored, or subconsciously when you’re nervous, identifying the triggers that cause you to put your fingers to your mouth is the first step. Once you know, try the following tips to help you quit.

  • Use a nail polish (don’t worry, it’s clear) that’s designed specifically to help nail biters quit. It has a bitter flavor and can help you associate nail biting with an unpleasant taste.
  • When people bite because of stress, it’s helpful to find an alternative stress reliever. Try taking up yoga, exercise, or deep breathing to help you relax without nibbling on your nails.
  • If the kind of bacteria that tend to live in nail beds grosses you out, look at close-up images of these germs. Just prepare yourself in advance as they can be pretty nasty.
  • The longer the nails, the easier it is to bite them. Keep nails trimmed short to give you less to bite.

While you’re working on quitting, stay persistent as it may take a few tries to totally stop. If you happen to have a setback and experience any oral health damage such as a chipped tooth or gum damage, give our Erdenheim dental office a call to schedule an appointment with us. We’ll be happy to help.