Posted by & filed under General, General Dental Articles.

Alcohol and oral healthIt’s around this time of year when we’re bombarded with parties, family celebrations, and impromptu get-togethers. It’s also when we tend to have more alcohol available to us than any other time of the year. While we know you understand the serious complications drinking too much alcohol may have on your body, all of us at our Erdenheim dental office want to make sure you also know how alcohol can affect your teeth.

Why Is Alcohol Bad for Teeth?

Alcohol is naturally dehydrating — both to the body and to your mouth. When your mouth becomes dry, enough saliva isn’t produced. This is a problem. Saliva rids your mouth of unwanted, dangerous bacteria and neutralizes damaging acid. Without it, your teeth are vulnerable to acid attacks and decay. What’s more, alcohol is high in both sugar and acid. When you combine those ingredients and take away the saliva that’s meant to wipe them away, your teeth are left exposed to the dangers of enamel wear, decay, cavities, and more.

What Can it Do?

Over-consumption of alcohol not only increases the risk for decay and cavities, it may also lead to more serious oral health concerns like oral cancer and gum disease. In fact, recent research has shown that excessive drinkers are three times more likely to suffer from serious gum disease than a non-drinker. Gum disease is a dangerous problem that not only affects the mouth, but can lead to more complicated issues throughout the body like heart disease, increased risk for stroke, and diabetic complications.

How to Protect Your Smile.

  • Brush & Floss — It’s recommended you brush twice a day and floss once a day. After drinking an alcoholic beverage, wait 20 minutes, then brush. It can help decrease the negative effects alcohol has on the mouth.
  • Limit Alcohol Consumption — The best way to avoid problems caused by alcohol is to reduce the amount you have. Also try to drink a glass of water in between multiple adult beverages.
  • Seek Help if Needed — If you suspect you have an addiction to alcohol, we encourage you to seek counseling.
  • Visit Your Erdenheim Dentist Regularly — At least every six months is crucial for catching any problems early.

At our dental office in Erdenheim, we’re dedicated to the health of our patients — both their oral health and overall health. Many times the first signs of an alcohol problem show in the mouth. This is one reason we recommend keeping up with regular appointments. If you’re overdue on your checkups, give us a call. We’ll be happy to see you.
Serving patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.

Posted by & filed under General, General Dental Articles.

teethingThere’s nothing more precious than the smile of a child. However, getting to the point at which your little one is sporting a tooth or two in that little grin can be rough. Teething can cause pain and lead to a fussy kid. At our dental office in Erdenheim, we have some tricks you can try to squash the ouch and make baby a little happier.

Try These!

  • Ice, Ice, Baby. While we don’t recommend using actual ice, a little cooling can help relieve teething pain. Wet a washcloth, seal it in a bag, and freeze it. After an hour, your child will have a soothing, cold washcloth to suck and bite on.
  • Give a Massage. Using a clean finger, gently rub your baby’s gums.
  • Under Pressure. Adding a bit of pressure to your finger massage can provide a bit of extra relief to sore gums.
  • Teething Rings. The soft, rubbery nature of teething rings combine the power of massage and pressure into one and make a great teething companion.
  • Wooden Teethers. For moms who are looking for an all-natural teething solution, a wooden teether does the trick. It may also be perfect for babies who seem to need a bit more pressure.

If none of these tips seem to work for your little one, call your Erdenheim pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists are specially trained to work with children and know even more tricks you can try to ease your child’s pain.

A Few Warnings

  • Don’t put a pacifier or teething ring in the freezer. They can become too hard and hurt your baby.  
  • Don’t use topical pain relievers that contain benzocaine. They’re not recommended for use in infants and children, and could lead to serious health issues.

How to Tell if It’s Teething Pain

Your child may not always become fussy and need a remedy, but there are some tell-tale signs to determine if your child is teething. If she’s constantly nibbling on fingers, putting almost everything in her mouth, or drooling excessively, there’s a good chance a tooth is working its way through the gums. If you’re still not sure, you can feel around the gum line for a tiny tooth ready to make its appearance.

If your little one is starting to sprout some teeth, it’s also time to start thinking about scheduling her first appointment at our Erdenheim dental office. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children see the dentist no later than six months after their first tooth, or by age one.
Welcoming patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, Chestnut Hill.

Posted by & filed under General, General Dental Articles.

Oct2 gumDo you have a pack of gum near you? Most of us do. Pick it up and check out the ingredients. Does it contain sugar? How about high fructose corn syrup? Saccharine? We don’t recommend any of these. In fact, if your gum does not contain one key ingredient, we don’t recommend that you bother chewing it at all. Here’s the deal: While chewing traditional gum may help remove a little bit of the sticky foods and plaque from your teeth, it’s also contributing to –not fighting– tooth decay.

The Magic Ingredient

The chewing gum the team at my Erdenheim dental office DOES recommend is one that contains Xylitol. Xylitol is not only a fantastic tasting sweetener that can help reduce blood sugar and aid in the prevention of obesity, it’s also a powerful oral health aid that can:

  • Prevent tooth decay
  • Starve bacteria
  • Prevent oral inflammation
  • Reduce your risk for gum disease
  • Increase remineralizing saliva production.
  • Reduce the acidity of your saliva.
  • Help your body better absorb calcium which we all know can strengthen your teeth.

How Xylitol Gum Protects Your Mouth

Streptococcus mutans is one of the most common bacterial causes of oral health problems. This bacteria feeds on sugars and carbohydrates that linger in your mouth. Since Xylitol does not produce the carbohydrates the plaque needs to live, when the bacteria eats Xylitol, it starves. And yes, that means your oral oral bacteria levels drop — sometimes by up to 75%!

Xylitol is Good for the Rest of Your Body

Xylitol has other health benefits as well.  For example, it can:

  • Fight the yeast Candida Albicans
  • Reduce ear infections in children
  • Increase collagen production in skin and connective tissue
  • Act as a prebiotic and aid in digestion

To learn more about the incredible benefits of chewing Xylitol gum or using other Xylitol products, call my dental office in Erdenheim today. We are here to help you smile more every day.
Serving patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.

Posted by & filed under General, General Dental Articles.

Oct Ped2You just got it: That dreaded call from the school nurse. Sally fell from the top of the slide. Danny was smacked in the mouth with a baseball. Dylan ran face first into a glass door. You try not to panic as you grab your keys and head out the door. Who should you call? What will you do when you get there? What if there are missing teeth?

At our Erdenheim dental office, we are very familiar with childhood accidents. We see them almost everyday and we know how upsetting they can be to children and parents alike.

Here are a few tips to get you through the difficult moments leading up to care:

  1. Call our office right away. Even if you decide to head to the emergency room once you assess the situation, we want to be informed of any and all mouth, face, or head injuries. We keep that information in our records in case of future issues. If the injury seems to be primarily a dental emergency, we will discuss the situation with you and if necessary, get you in to see a doctor right away. If the injury seems minor, we will give you advice on how to deal with the pain and swelling at home. We will schedule an appointment to check everything out when your little one feels better.
  1.  If there has been a head trauma, do not hesitate: Go directly to the emergency room.
  1. Speak calmly to your child. If there is blood, do not overreact. Head and mouth injuries tend to bleed profusely. It’s common and not necessarily a cause for alarm, and staying calm helps your child stay calm as well.
  1. Stop bleeding with a cold compress or clean gauze. Light pressure will usually not cause pain and it typically stops bleeding very effectively. If the bleeding does not stop within about fifteen minutes, please take your child to the emergency room.
  1. If a tooth is knocked out, do not handle it by the root or wash it. Light rinsing is ok if necessary, but preserving vital tissue is crucial. If the tooth does not look damaged, and your child will allow it, place the tooth back in the socket and have your child lightly clamp down on a piece of gauze. If you can’t replace the tooth, put it under your tongue, in a glass of milk, or a container of saliva. It is really important that we see your child right away.
  1. Do NOT place aspirin on the gums in case of a toothache. This can cause tissue damage. Instead, control your child’s pain with a cold compress and some pain reliever medication. These can help with swelling too.
  1. If a tooth is missing, talk about what fun a visit from the tooth fairy will be. Even if we are able to replace the knocked out tooth, your kid deserves a reward for bravery!

For more information about what to do in a pediatric dental emergency, please feel free to give our office in Erdenheim a call. We love little smiles, and keeping them safe is our job!

Welcoming patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.

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Sept2MouthwashAt my dental office in Erdenheim, we recommend brushing for at least two minutes, twice a day, every day. But we know there are times when brushing may not be an option. Perhaps you forgot your toothbrush or ran out of toothpaste. When these things happen, it’s common to turn to the mouthwash instead. But is mouthwash an acceptable replacement to proper brushing?

Masking the Problem

Let’s face it, the purpose of mouthwash is to freshen breath. But is it really doing its job? No. Mouthwash is only a quick fix for a fast burst of freshness, and using it repeatedly doesn’t fix source of the bad breath. Often the bad breath is a symptom, rather than the problem.

When breath is chronically a little sour, it could be a sign of something more serious like gum disease. Gum disease is a scary problem that could lead to whole-body problems including increased risk for stroke, heart attack, or diabetic complications. That is why it’s important not to mask all signs of bad breath, but to recognize it as a warning to make an appointment with us as soon as possible!.

Making it Worse

Using mouthwash as a substitute to brushing, or even more often than recommended, may actually cause additional damage. Many mouthwashes contain some level of alcohol. And too much alcohol is bad news for your mouth: It causes decreased saliva production which leads to a super-dry mouth, which means more bacteria. The more bacteria in the mouth, the worse the breath tends to smell. The only way to combat bad breath bacteria is by properly brushing and flossing at least twice a day and maintaining regular visits with your Erdenheim dentist.  

What to Do

It’s normal to experience periodic bad breath, especially after eating or drinking certain things like garlic, onion, alcohol, and coffee. If you find yourself in a lunch-induced bad breath situation, choose a sugarless gum instead of mouthwash. It’s better for your teeth and works just as well, if not better than, mouthwash. But if you or a loved one is suffering from chronic bad breath, call my Erdenheim dental office. We’re here to help work with you to identify the problem and get you on a path to resolve it.

Welcoming patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill

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Sept Ped2CalciumCalcium is important for all of us, but especially for growing kids. A proper intake of calcium and vitamin D helps build strong, decay-resistant teeth.  But exactly how much calcium does your child need? Just ask your Erdenheim pediatric dentist!

How Much Is Enough?

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, only one in five children meets the minimum recommendation for calcium intake. That means there are a lot of kids who aren’t getting the proper nutrients for their growing bodies and smiles. So let’s look at the Institute of Medicine’s guidelines for calcium consumption by age.

  • Up to 3 Years: 500 milligrams
  • 4-8 Years: 800 milligrams
  • 9-19 Years: 1,300 milligrams

To put those amounts in perspective, an eight ounce glass of milk contains about 300 milligrams of calcium, and eight ounces of yogurt has about 400 milligrams.

Where To Get It

The most common way to ensure your child is getting enough calcium is by having him drink milk. But what happens if he really doesn’t like it or is lactose intolerant? Don’t worry, there are other ways to get him the nutrients he needs.

  • Other dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and custard (only if lactose isn’t an issue)
  • Beans, broccoli, and spinach
  • Calcium-fortified products like orange juice, soy milk, breads, and cereals

In addition to supplying kids with calcium through their diets, they should get active, too. An adequate intake of calcium paired with physical activity can go a long way toward building strong bones and teeth that could last a lifetime.

To make sure your child is developing teeth that are tough and strong, maintain regular appointments at our pediatric dental office in Erdenheim. Call today for an appointment!

Welcoming new pediatric patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill

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Aug hygiene

You wake up each morning, eat your breakfast, then head to the sink to brush your teeth and give your grin a thorough flossing. You’re doing everything correctly, right? Maybe. The truth is, oral hygiene isn’t as simple as just making sure you brush and floss. At our Erdenheim dental office, we’d like to talk about a few common oral health mistakes and how to fix them.

1. Snapping Your Floss.

We love that fact you’re flossing, but it’s important that you’re doing it correctly. A common flossing mistake is pulling the flossing down between teeth and causing it to snap. According to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, you should never snap floss between your teeth or it could damage gum tissues. Instead, use a gentle back and forth motion in between each tooth and up under the gum line.

2. Brushing Too Hard.

It’s natural to always scrub hard and quickly when cleaning pretty much anything. But your teeth are much different and deserve a gentler approach. Too much pressure while brushing can damage gums, cause them to recede, and even erode enamel. Enamel protects teeth against decay, and without it, your teeth are left exposed to dangerous bacteria. Try using small, gentle circles with your toothbrush angled at 45 degree angles.

3. Brushing Right After Meals.

If all of our patients could brush after every meal, we’d be one happy dental office. But we understand sometimes it’s just not possible. In these situations, a quick rinse with water can help dilute acid and wash away food particles. But what if you can brush after a meal? By all means, please do. Just make sure you wait about a half an hour. Some foods that are high in acid weaken enamel immediately after consumption. If you brush during this weakened state, you could actually do more harm than good. Just wait a bit then brush away.

4. Skipping the Tongue.

We know how important it is to brush our teeth. But what about the tongue? The tongue is covered with tiny grooves where dangerous bacteria love to hide. This makes a gentle tongue brushing each and every time you pick up the toothbrush extremely important. If skipped, tongue bacteria can cause some serious bad breath and even tooth decay. If you can’t brush your tongue without gagging, try using a tongue scraper instead.

Following the proper guidelines of great oral hygiene is crucial for a healthy smile. But it’s only half of it. Maintaining regular visits to our dental office in Erdenheim is also incredibly important. Routine visits ensure there are no problems that may be caused by your at-home care and allow us to catch and treat any issue we may find quickly and more easily.

Welcoming patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill

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Aug Ped1

Everyone is born with a full set of teeth sitting in the jaw, just waiting to erupt through the gums. Even though you can’t see them, except with an x-ray, they’re still extremely important for your child’s development. At our pediatric dental office in Erdenheim, we’d like to explain the importance of baby teeth.

The Timing of Baby Teeth

It’s always an exciting moment when your child gets his first tooth. This typically happens around three to four months old, but can fluctuate. Some infants are even born with teeth! Usually by age three, all 20 baby teeth will be visible, and your child’s smile will look like an adult grin, just tinier. While these teeth will eventually fall out, they’re important for several reasons.

The Reasons for Baby Teeth

  • Chewing. Primary teeth start to come in around the same time your child is ready for solid foods. This is no accident. Just like adult teeth, baby teeth help your child to chew easily and properly so you can start them on the right track of proper nutrition.
  • Talking.As your child ages, she’ll most likely start chattering non-stop. Talking is an important step in child development as it aids in speech development, social skills, and communication. Teeth make speaking easier and allow children to pronounce words more quickly, easily, and clearly.
  • Space Holders. We develop teeth at an early age to help us grow and learn many of the basic elements of life But baby teeth also play a really important part in oral health. Primary teeth act as space holders for our permanent adult teeth. Until they’re ready to pop through, baby teeth reserve the space. If a baby tooth is lost too early due to an accident or other injury, it’s important to make sure that not only is the adult tooth below it safe, but that there are no concerns for overcrowding once all adult teeth come in.

If your child is proudly sporting some tiny teeth and hasn’t been to the dentist, give our Erdenheim pediatric dental office a call. We’ll make sure everything looks healthy, no problems are lurking, and their grins are all set for a lifetime of smiles.

Accepting patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles.

July2FlossWe get this question a lot at our dental office in Erdenheim. While it’s not a cut-and-dried answer, we can definitely explain a few pros and cons behind both of the common flossing methods.

Floss Picks Pros

  • Ease of Use. Many people prefer floss picks over traditional floss because they’re easier to use. The way floss picks are designed make them much easier to get to those hard-to-reach places in the back of the mouth.
  • Effective. Floss picks remove food and bacteria in between teeth, just like regular floss, sort of. See cons below for more info.

Floss Picks Cons

  • Not as Effective. Due to the design of floss picks, it’s very difficult to thoroughly clean around each tooth and into the gum lines. This means that sometimes, floss picks are not the ideal choice.
  • Not so Easy to Use. Yes some people choose floss picks because of their usability. However, others stay away from floss picks because they can’t fit it between their teeth. If your teeth are close together, floss picks may be troublesome.

Regular Floss Pros

  • The Best of the Best. There really is only one pro when it comes to regular floss, not because there’s only one good thing about it, but because it’s all encompassing. Regular floss really is the best way to ensure a healthy mouth. It’s flexible so you can reach all around each tooth. It’s been proven to help prevent bacteria buildup. It’s ultimately the best choice.

Regular Floss Cons

  • Difficulty Level. Traditional floss can be difficult to use, especially for those with mobility complications. If this is the case and you’re able to use a floss pick with more ease, it’s much better than not flossing at all.

No matter which form of floss you choose, what matters to all of us at our Erdenheim dental office is that you’re flossing. Flossing removes the bacteria between teeth that can’t be reached with a toothbrush alone and is a crucial part to maintaining a healthy mouth. So choose the floss that feels best and get to flossing!

Accepting patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill

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

can kids get gum diseaseGum disease is often considered an adult problem, but the truth is, kids, teens, and young adults are also susceptible. At our dental office in Erdenheim, we’re here to explain the dangers behind the disease and provide you with some key signs and symptoms to look for.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, occurs when the tissues and bones that support the teeth become inflamed. If left untreated, gum disease can result in some serious side effects including tooth loss. It has even been linked to scary whole-body issues like heart disease and risk of stroke.

Some people are at greater risk for gum disease than others. For example, heredity can play a role in someone’s risk level, but many times the risk factors are life choices and can be controlled. For examples, starchy foods and sugary snacks are major contributors to gum disease. In addition to limiting or totally avoiding these culprits, here are tips to help keep your child’s smile healthy and disease free.

    • Start good oral hygiene early. Make brushing and flossing a habit and teach your child the importance of doing them every day.
    • Keep regular dental visits. The best way to treat gum disease is if it’s caught early. This makes regular dental appointments extremely important.
    • Pay attention to smiles. Check your child’s smile for any signs of gum disease and schedule an appointment right away if you notice something isn’t right.

Signs of Gum Disease

Some of the most common signs of gum disease are:

  • Bleeding, especially while brushing or flossing
  • Red, swollen gums
  • Gums pulling away from teeth
  • Bad breath that doesn’t go away

If you notice any signs of gum disease in your child’s mouth, or if it’s time for a professional dental visit, give our Erdenheim dental office a call today. We’ll check for any potential problems and work with you and your child to treat anything we find.

Welcoming patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill