toddler brushing teeth

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Pediatric Dentistry.

There are an estimated 3 million canker sore cases a year. But knowing that these annoying and painful sores affect nearly everyone doesn’t necessarily make them easy to tolerate when they happen to your child. At our dental office in Erdenheim, we understand that canker sores are uncomfortable and can hurt. That’s why we’re here to share some information about canker sores and how you can help ease your little one’s discomfort.

Signs of a Canker Sore

If you suspect your child has a canker sore, look for the following common symptoms:

  • Blister-like sores inside the mouth. The sores are usually red but can have a white or gray center.
  • The sores can be on the tongue, cheeks, or roof of the mouth.
  • Occasionally severe canker sores can be paired with a fever.

Treating a Canker Sore

Canker sores will usually go away on their own within a week or two. But asking a child to simply tolerate the pain isn’t always an option. To help, you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Other times your pediatric dentist may prescribe a topical ointment, medicinal mouthwash, or offer up additional pain relief tips. Either way, canker sores are usually nothing to be concerned about as they’re not contagious and will typically resolve without any treatment.

When to See a Pediatric Dentist for a Canker Sore

Since canker sores will heal themselves most of the time, a visit to your children’s dentist in Erdenheim may not be necessary. However, if the sore lasts longer than two weeks or is causing severe pain, it’s best to schedule an appointment. Also, if your child gets more then two or three canker sores a year, make sure to mention it at his next dental appointment.

Other Tips

To reduce the pain and discomfort associated with canker sores, you can also encourage your child to:

  • Avoid eating foods that can irritate the sore such as nuts, potato chips, spicy and acidic foods.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Try not to touch with the area with their tongue or teeth.

If you have concerns about any changes in your child’s mouth, we encourage you to call our Erdenheim children’s dental office today. We’re here to help keep your little one healthy and will be happy to see him.

ice cubes and lemons

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

By now we all know that things such as sugar and smoking can really damage teeth and oral health. But there are several other things out there that are also bad for your smile… some that may even surprise you. Join our dental office in Erdenheim as we cover some of the most surprising ways you may be damaging your teeth.  

  • Citrus Fruits & Acidic Drinks

Sugar tends to get all of the blame when it comes to cavities and damaged teeth. However, the truth is, acidic foods and drinks like citrus fruit and wine can also lead to oral health problems. Acid erodes enamel and leaves teeth exposed to the bacteria that cause decay. Losing enamel may also cause tooth sensitivity and increase pain when eating or drinking hot or cold treats.

  • Biting Your Nails

Biting your nails may seem relatively harmless, but this common habit can wreak havoc on teeth. First, the way the jaw moves when we bite our nails is unnatural, and the repeated motion can place too much pressure on the jaw joint. This can result in jaw pain and symptoms of TMJ/TMD. Second, nail biting can lead to chipped, cracked, or broken teeth that would require dental treatment to fix.

  • Eating Ice

It’s not uncommon to want to crunch on the ice floating in your drink. But these frozen cubes are really bad for teeth. Not only can they chip or break teeth, but they can also create tiny cracks where bacteria can easily hide. These bacteria can then increase the chance of decay. Damage caused by eating ice can be so severe that cosmetic dentistry may be the only fix.

  • Brushing Your Teeth Too Hard

While brushing your teeth twice a day is recommended by your dentist in Erdenheim, it doesn’t mean that just any brushing will do. A proper brushing uses a soft-bristled toothbrush and a gentle scrubbing to whisk away bacteria and plaque. Brushing your teeth too hard can have the opposite effect and actually damage teeth and gums.

  • Whitening Too Often

Most smile whitening methods, including in-office and take-home whitening products,  are safe and effective. But whitening your teeth too much can lead to damage. Using smile whitening products excessively may cause sensitivity, gum irritation, and enamel erosion.  

Keeping your smile healthy is a combination of professional teeth cleanings, regular dental checkups, brushing and flossing every day, and limiting your exposure to any environmental or lifestyle factors that can damage teeth.

smiling teen girl with braces

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Pediatric Dentistry, Prevention.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as its more common and easier to pronounce acronym GERD, is an uncomfortable problem associated with digestion. But while the issue originates in the gut it can have a negative on oral health, especially in kids. If your child suffers from GERD, our Erdenheim dental office has some insight for you.

What Is GER/GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is the medical term used to explain what happens when stuff inside the stomach comes up into the esophagus. The result is often the feeling of heartburn or indigestion. If symptoms of GER happen more than two times a week for several weeks, it could be a sign of GERD. GERD is a more serious, long-lasting problem that can lead to more health concerns. It’s important to note that if someone has GER, it doesn’t always mean they have GERD.

Dental Concerns Linked to GERD

Since GER/GERD increases the mouth’s exposure to acid, it also increases the risk for dental problems and tooth damage. In fact, acid is one of the worst things for our pearly whites. It can easily wear down protective tooth enamel, increase the risk of decay, and quite literally eat away at teeth. Children with GER/GERD are more likely to have bad breath, decay, and cavities than those without the condition. Kids dealing with the effects of GER/GERD may also experience increased sensitivity, which can be painful and make them not want to brush their teeth. However, it’s crucial that they still brush and floss regularly. Using a soft toothbrush and a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth can help reduce any discomfort.

Signs of GERD

Signs of GER or GERD vary from person to person and can even be different based on age. Besides feeling the discomfort of heartburn, there are several other common symptoms including:

  • Acidic taste in the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Holes in teeth

How to Reduce the Risk of Dental Problems

Your dentist in Erdenheim, as well as your pediatrician, may recommend certain changes in diet and habits to help reduce GERD symptoms and dental problems associated with it. Some recommendations include:

  • Avoid acidic foods and drinks
  • Stay away from sour treats
  • Limit spicy foods
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Chew thoroughly

While it’s important for all kids to visit the dentist regularly, it’s incredibly crucial for those with GERD. Dental visits at least every six months can help protect smiles from the acid produced from GERD or catch any problems early when they’re easily treatable. If your little one is in need of a dentist, we welcome you to call our dental office in Erdenheim to schedule an appointment with us today.

hygienist with patient

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

This month we’re taking some time to thank our dental hygienists, and with good reason. Every October is recognized as National Dental Hygiene Month. It’s 31 days dedicated to not only recognizing the important role dental hygienists have at our dental office in Erdenheim, but also to educate patients on just what our hygiene team does during their appointments.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Dental Hygienist?

Many people know that dental hygienists are responsible for giving each and every patient a thorough, in-depth cleaning at their appointments. But the responsibilities of hygienists go far beyond dental cleanings. These team members also help educate patients on any oral health concerns and proper at-home care, identify any problems early, and are focused on preventing these problems in the first place in order to keep patients healthy. After all, according to the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH), there is a link between oral health and several problems that can affect the entire body such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

What’s Required to Become a Dental Hygienist?

The first step to becoming a dental hygienist is to get an associates degree. As of 2017, there were more than 300 accredited dental hygiene programs available in the United States. These programs can be found at local community colleges, technical schools, and universities. To earn a degree in dental hygiene it takes about three years of schooling, including labs, clinical work, and classroom lectures. An interest in the sciences including biology, chemistry, and anatomy would make the coursework and a dental hygiene career more enjoyable. Once a degree is earned, dental hygienists are usually required to pass a licensing test.

Top Tips for Patients

When you visit your dentist in Erdenheim, you will most likely have some time with a dental hygienist. Besides preventing any dental problems from popping up, this hygienist is also responsible for passing along information on how you can keep your teeth healthy in between visits. Some of the most helpful tips are below.

  • Brush for Two Minutes

Brushing every day is great, but brushing twice a day using correct technique and for the recommended two minutes is even better. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and small, gentle circles instead of scrubbing back and forth.

  • Floss Regularly

When you don’t floss regularly, you’re leaving about 35% of each tooth uncleaned. That greatly increases the likelihood that bacteria will wear away enamel and cause decay. Flossing in between every tooth and up under the gum line can minimize this risk.

  • Use Mouthwash, But Choose Wisely

Many times mouthwash is used as a breath freshener, but if you’re using the wrong mouthwash for you it can actually make bad breath worse. If you choose to use mouthwash, choose one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance or talk with your hygienist about what’s right for you.

This October, and at every visit, we hope that you will thank your dental hygienist for doing their part in keeping your smile healthy. If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental cleaning, we welcome you to call our Erdenheim dental office to schedule an appointment today.

candy apples

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

Another candy-packed holiday is right around the corner, and our children’s dental office in Erdenheim is busy getting into the spirit of Halloween. From pumpkins and fall colors, to costumes and hayrides, there’s a lot to be excited about this time of year. But as we all know, candy is one of those things that’s scarier to us than any goblin or ghoul.

Candy Concerns

We know that when we start talking about the dental dangers of candy it may seem that we’re putting a damper on one of the biggest parts of Halloween. But there’s a good reason we encourage our patients’ parents to limit the amount of sweet treats. While sugar itself doesn’t create cavities, it does give the bacteria that live in the mouth plenty to feed on. When this happens, the bacteria produce an acid that will erode tooth enamel and a cavity can form. Even though we recommend enjoying candy and foods with a lot of sugar in moderation, there are other foods that could be even spookier for your child’s teeth.

Chips & Crackers

While the sugar in sweet snacks are often thought of as the most likely to cause cavities, there are other surprising snacks that can be even more dangerous. While often considered pretty harmless and perhaps even healthy snacks, chips and crackers can contain ingredients that put teeth at greater risk for cavities than most candies. This is because of the high starch content found in these types of foods. Starches can have a very similar effect on the body as sugars, even though they don’t have a sweet taste.

Starchy Foods & Oral Health

First and foremost, starchy foods such as crackers and chips become sticky as they’re chewed. This makes it really easy for them to leave pieces stuck in the crevices of teeth. Second, chips and crackers have something called a high glycemic index. The glycemic index is basically a scale used to explain how likely a food is to raise blood glucose level as the food is broken down. This essentially means certain non-sweet foods can have a similar effect on your body and your oral health as, you guessed it, sugar. The combination of stickiness and high glycemic index is a recipe for a scary situation. Again, bacteria are left to feed on the leftover food particles, produce the acidic byproduct, and the result is a cavity.

Protecting Teeth

Whether your child treats himself to a few pieces of candy or enjoys a few crackers this Halloween, make sure he drinks plenty of water to help wash away sugars and neutralize acid. As always, make sure he is brushing and flossing regularly and seeing his children’s dentist in Erdenheim at least twice a year.

From all of us at our Erdenheim children’s dental office, we wish you and your family a safe and happy Halloween.

embarrassed woman

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

Having bad breath can be embarrassing. But the team at our Erdenheim dental office is here to help. In fact, we help patients everyday find out what’s causing their bad breath and work with them to fix it. Today, we’re going beyond the help that we can provide in our office and providing you some tips on what you can do to help get rid of bad breath at home.

Watch What You Eat

Of course if you eat a pasta dish packed with garlic or a hot dog loaded up with diced onions your breath is going to tell everyone you talk to what you had for lunch. But your diet can affect your breath long-term, too. Eating enough fresh and crunchy fruits and veggies such as apples, carrots, or celery regularly will help rub off any bad breath bacteria that may be sticking around on teeth.

Brush, Brush, Brush

Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day not only protects your pearly whites from decay and cavities, it also helps remove any bacteria that’s built up throughout the day (or night!). Besides brushing, flossing helps get rid of the more stubborn bacteria that have wiggled their way up under gums. Don’t forget about your tongue either. A gentle brush or a swipe of a tongue scraper will take care of any bacteria that’s left over.

Fight Off Dry Mouth

There are many things that can cause dry mouth including smoking, mouth breathing, and even certain medications. While dry mouth is uncomfortable, it may also a contribute to bad breath. When a mouth is dried out there’s not enough saliva to clean away bad breath bacteria, which builds up and gives off an unpleasant smell. To protect yourself from dry mouth and bad breath drink a lot of water, talk to your doctor about possibly using a different medication, and make a plan to quit smoking.

Stop Smoking

Speaking of quitting smoking, smokers tend to suffer from something known as smokers’ breath. This unique smell is caused by the tobacco itself and also from the chemicals found in cigarettes. These chemicals bring a stench all their own which lingers around even after someone is done smoking. Quitting can help your health in more than ways than helping freshen your breath. It can reduce your risk for heart disease and several types of cancer.

It Could Be More Than Just Bad Breath

Bad breath doesn’t only affect oral health. The truth is it can also be a sign of a problem somewhere else in the body. Not all bad breath smells the same, and different smells can indicate various health concerns. For example, a slight stench of ammonia may be a symptom of liver cirrhosis. Bad breath has been tied to many systemic diseases including kidney disease, cystic fibrosis, and respiratory infections.

Bad breath should be taken seriously. If it’s a chronic problem, you should see your dentist in Erdenheim as soon as possible.

Nobody should have to live with the embarrassment of bad breath or the fear that it’s a sign of something serious. Our dental office in Erdenheim can help. We encourage you to give us a call to schedule an appointment with our trusted team today. We’ll talk with you about your health history, habits, and discuss the best solutions to get rid of your bad breath.

bowl of whole grain rice

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Pediatric Dentistry.

September is recognized as Whole Grains Month and is a 30-day celebration for all things grainy. These whole grains are beneficial for heart health, overall health, and may even boost oral health too. At our Erdenheim children’s dental office, we know that eating a well-balanced diet, including a good amount of whole grains, can help kids develop good habits and grow up healthy. In this blog we cover some quick facts about whole grains as well as some of the best ways you can help your family get enough of the good stuff.

How Many Servings of Whole Grains Do My Kids Need?

Like most things, the recommended amount of whole grains varies from age to age and even by gender. Use the handy table below from the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to determine how many whole grains each member of your family should eat every day.

Recommended Daily Whole Grain Servings

Age Female Male
1-3 2 2
4-8 2.5 2.5
9-13 3 3.5
14-18 3.5 4
19-30 3.5 4.5
31+ 3 4

Great Sources of Whole Grain

Getting enough whole grains in your kid’s diet may seem difficult, but whole grains can be found in tons of yummy foods including:

  • Cereals
  • Popcorn
  • Bread or Wraps
  • Crackers
  • Pasta

How Do Whole Grains Help Grins?

Whole grains are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are great for bodies of all ages. In terms of oral health, the B vitamins and iron found in whole grains help keep gums healthy and the magnesium keeps bones and teeth strong. Research also shows that eating a good dose of them can also reduce the risk of gum disease since whole grains help the body better process blood sugar. As we all know, sugar makes your children’s dentist in Erdenheim shiver, and anything that helps protect the body against it is welcomed.

Ensuring that your whole family is eating a well-balanced diet can go a long way in keep both bodies and smiles healthy. Getting them regular dental checkups every six months can help too.  If your child is in need of a dentist, call our children’s dental office in Erdenheim to schedule an appointment.

woman smiling

Posted by & filed under Cosmetic Dentistry, Prevention.

Whether it’s due to your daily morning cup of coffee, your nightly glass of red wine, or time itself, there are plenty of things that can make our smiles appear dull, discolored, or simply just not as white as we’d like them to be. However, at our dental office in Erdenheim, we want everyone to know that just because a smile may have become a little less vibrant, doesn’t mean it needs to stay that way. There are plenty of things you can do to help get (and keep!) your smile your ideal shade of white.

Smile Whitening

Many times tooth discoloration can be easily fixed by getting professional smile whitening from your dentist in Erdenheim. The whitening solution offered by dental professionals is different than what you can buy in the store and tends to result in more drastic results. Some dental offices offer the option of in-office whitening or take-home whitening, both of which can transform your pearly whites.

Dental Veneers

If your teeth are stained below the surface and a professional smile whitening won’t give you the results you’re looking for, you can talk to your dentist about dental veneers. Dental veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that cover your natural tooth and can help whiten a smile or even repair small chips or cracks.

Eat Well

Besides having dental treatment done to give your smile a brighter look, keeping an eye on what you eat and drink can help keep teeth white. Some common foods that can cause staining include berries, wine, tea, coffee, and pasta sauce. If you can, try to rinse your mouth out with water immediately after enjoying any staining foods and then brush about 20 minutes later.

Stop Smoking

Smoking or using any type of tobacco not only puts your oral health and your overall health at risk for some serious health concerns, it can also cause your teeth to appear yellow or have a spotty brown look. Tooth stains caused by tobacco are also more difficult to reverse.

Brush Often

Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day will help keep your teeth white and healthy. Maintaining proper oral hygiene keeps plaque off of teeth which, if left alone, could make stains harder to remove.

Visit Your Dentist

We always recommend that our patients see us at least every six months. These regular appointments not only help us keep an eye on your overall oral health, but also allow us remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth that could contribute to staining.

If you’re unhappy with the color of your smile, we welcome you to call our Erdenheim dental office to schedule an appointment today. We’ll talk with about what you don’t like and what you’d like to change so we can put together the best treatment plan for you.

family with baby

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Pediatric Dentistry.

August is National Breastfeeding Month and serves to raise awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is good for both mom and baby, produces milk that can be easier for your child to digest, and will save money. But breastfeeding is a personal choice made between moms and dads, and it may not be right for everyone. If you’re deciding whether or not to breastfeed, you’re probably reading up on the pros and cons in order to make the best choice for your family. Our children’s dental office in Erdenheim would like to help by giving you some information about how breastfeeding can affect your baby’s oral health.

Bite Development

The way our teeth develop begins very early in life, and many things such as pacifiers or bottles can disrupt the natural shape of a bite. Breastfeeding may reduce this and help babies develop a better, more aligned bite. In fact, several studies show that babies who were breastfed for the first six months of their lives had a lower occurrence of alignment concerns including overbites and crossbites than babies who never breastfed or did so for less than six months. However, it’s important to note that breastfeeding may not eliminate all chances for bite concerns as genetics and thumbsucking can also affect bite development.

Baby Bottle Decay

Baby bottle decay is a very real concern for your Erdenheim children’s dentist. Baby bottle decay typically happens due to exposure to too much sugar, and more specifically, sugary drinks including milk, formula, or juice. It often occurs when anything other than water is given to a child at bedtime when he will be exposed to the sugars for a prolonged period of time. Breastfeeding babies have a lower chance of developing baby bottle decay since there isn’t an opportunity for baby to nurse a bottle all night.

Cavities

Even though breastfeeding can reduce the likelihood of baby bottle decay, it’s important to know that cavities can still happen. Since breastmilk does contain sugar, your child’s teeth are still being exposed, just in smaller doses. To help keep cavities away, whether you breastfeed or not, remember to gently rub a damp washcloth over your child’s gums to help remove some sugars that may get left behind.

Whether you decide that breastfeeding is the right choice for you or not, it’s important to always keep an eye on your baby’s oral health and see a children’s dentist regularly. Appointments every six months will help monitor tooth eruption, bite development, as well as give your dental team a chance to catch any signs of decay early.

If it’s time for your baby’s first dental appointment, you’re in between dentists, or it’s been awhile since your child has seen one, we welcome you to call our Erdenheim children’s dental office to schedule an appointment. Our team has years of experience caring for even the littlest smiles and can keep kids calm and relaxed at every visit. Schedule an appointment with us today!

dental veneer

Posted by & filed under Cosmetic Dentistry.

At our Erdenheim dental office we often have patients who are unhappy with the way their smiles look. But thanks to cosmetic dentistry, there are a number of ways that we can help transform the appearance of smiles. One of the most common and versatile cosmetic dentistry options available are dental veneers.

What Are Veneers and What Are They Used For?

As the name implies, dental veneers are used to cover up existing teeth. Made of porcelain, veneers are incredibly diverse and can be used to fix many cosmetic concerns which may otherwise take several separate procedures. Each veneer is custom-created to mimic the size, shape, and color of other teeth so the finished look is natural and enhances overall appearance. Veneers can be used to correct:

  • Teeth discoloration that couldn’t be brightened through whitening
  • Worn teeth
  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Crookedness
  • Unevenness or shape irregularities
  • Gaps

Veneer Treatment

  • Consultation. The first step to getting dental veneers is to set up a consultation with your dentist in Erdenheim. The purpose of this appointment is to have an honest conversation about what you’d like to change about your smile to see if dental veneers are the best option for what you want. You will also review a treatment plan, discuss costs, and schedule your next visit.
  • Preparation. Your veneer procedure will begin with your dental team preparing your tooth or teeth for the veneer. This usually includes the gentle removal of a thin layer of tooth enamel. Afterwards, temporary veneers will likely be placed and your dentist will send your permanent veneers and specific instructions to a trusted lab to be custom made.  
  • Bonding. You’ll come back for a second appointment when the permanent veneers are ready. At this visit, your dentist will carefully and artfully place the veneers. That process requires a bit of scuffing to your natural tooth and strong adhesive material for tight, permanent bond.

You don’t need to live with a smile you’re just not happy with. Cosmetic dentistry can enhance your smile, your confidence, and your life. Call our dental office in Erdenheim to schedule a consultation today.