nutrition month

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

We always like to take a moment this time of year to dedicate a special blog to eating healthy in honor of National Nutrition Month. Ask anyone of our team members at our dental office in Erdenheim, and they’re going to tell you how important it is to make sure you’re only putting good foods into your body. This will help ensure that your smile (and the rest of you) stays healthy so that you can live a long, happy life.

How Do I Know What to Eat?

The first thing your dentist in Erdenheim is going to recommend is that you limit the amount of sugar, fats, and processed foods in your diet. Let’s take a look at some helpful, healthy replacements you can easily incorporate in both your personal diet and the foods you feed your family.

  1. Replace sugary sodas and sports drinks with: Water. It’s just that simple. Water is the best way for your mouth and your body to stay hydrated which is essential to your overall health. Think of water like a superhero when it comes to protecting your body. By drinking plenty of water every day, you’re going to wash away food and debris that can get stuck in your teeth, as well as stimulate your body to produce more saliva– which is your best defense against smile deterioration because it’s rich with minerals and proteins.
  2. Replace acidic foods with: Foods that are high in calcium and phosphorus. Both calcium and phosphorus aren’t going erode your teeth like foods that cause the formation of harmful acid in your mouth. These elements can help keep your enamel and gums going strong.
  • To get more calcium: Try cheese (aged, hard), plain yogurt, low-fat milk, fish, almonds, and tofu
  • To get more phosphorus: Try nuts, red meat, eggs, pumpkin seeds, and fish
  1. Replace unhealthy snacks with: Hard, crunchy foods that contain large amounts of water. Again, crunching and munching on these foods is going to signal your mouth to create more saliva, which is beneficial to keeping your smile free from cavity-causing bacteria. Crunchy foods can even act like a toothbrush, helping to remove excess plaque and unwanted food particles. Try raw celery, cucumbers, apples, and carrots to add an extra, healthy bite to your diet.

Do I Really Need to Avoid Sugar?

The simple answer is yes. We know it can be hard, especially when sugars are hidden everywhere. Carbohydrate-loaded foods, even though they’re not overtly overflowing with sugars, will break down into simple sugars in your body, and this is just as dangerous as eating sweets and drinking sugary beverages. Try to be more mindful of what the labels say when you’re shopping at the store for you and your family in order to reduce or even eliminate the number of carbs your family regularly intakes.

Our Erdenheim dental office knows hows challenging it can be to change your diet, especially when you’ve got a hungry, picky family to feed. If you find that you’re not eating as healthy as you should be, try taking small steps to get your diet back on track. You won’t regret making the change for your smile and yourself.

bad breath

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

Halitosis, or more commonly referred to as bad breath, can happen to anyone. It can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. But what’s more concerning for the team at our dental office in Erdenheim is that bad breath can be a sign of something more serious. Let’s take a look at what causes bad breath and some ways you can get rid of it.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Bad breath can be caused by something temporary such as fragrant food or something like coffee. This type of bad breath usually resolves itself and is probably nothing to worry about. However, when bad breath becomes an ongoing occurrence, you should consider calling your dentist in Erdenheim.

Chronic bad breath is typically caused by an overabundance of bacteria in the mouth. Now, while the bacteria themselves don’t smell bad, the byproduct they give off after feeding certainly does. This byproduct is stinky hydrogen sulfide and it’s what we’re referring to when we talk about smelling bad breath.

Why is Bad Breath Concerning?

Besides causing embarrassment, bad breath can be an early symptom of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious problem not only for your mouth but also for your body. Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss, sensitivity, and has even been linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Essentially, bad breath is something you should take seriously and seek proactive treatment.

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath

If you suffer from bad breath, there are few tips you can try.

  1. Practice Good Oral Hygiene. Making sure that you brush and floss daily is a great way to get rid of bacteria that could contribute to bad breath if left alone. Clean the surface of every tooth, under the gum line, and the tongue.
  2. Choose Water. Keeping your mouth hydrated helps wash away bacteria which can lower your risk of bad breath. When our mouths don’t get enough water, they dry out and saliva production slows, leaving bacteria free to linger around.  
  3. See Your Dentist. Maintaining regular visits to your Erdenheim dentist can not only help protect your smile from cavities, it can also help catch any potential problems before they have a chance to become serious… including gum disease. If you’re worried about your bad breath, or if it’s been longer than six months since your last dental appointment, give us a call today.

woman with toothache

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

Toothaches can happen at any time, anywhere, and to anyone. When they do make an appearance, they can cause severe pain and leave us wanting immediate relief. At our dental office in Erdenheim, we understand the discomfort associated with a toothache and are here to share our top five tips to get rid of one.

Before we dive into the best toothache remedies out there, it’s important to note that a toothache is usually a sign of a bigger problem. While there are ways you can treat a toothache at home, please note that the relief is temporary and you should schedule an appointment with your dentist in Erdenheim as quickly as you can to get treated.

Top 5 Toothache Treatments

  • Warm Salt WaterMix a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water until it dissolves then take a sip and swish the mixture around in your mouth. After a few seconds, spit it into the sink. You can repeat this a few times throughout the day. The salt can help dry out any fluid that may be putting pressure on the nerves and give you some relief.
  • Ice PacksIce has been a trusted method to treat many injuries because it can decrease inflammation. Toothaches are no different. Wrap an ice pack in a shirt or cloth and gently apply it your cheek for 15 minutes at a time. Make sure to give your skin a rest in between icings.
  • Anti-inflammatory MedicationIf you can safely take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, it may help ease your toothache pain. Take any medications as directed and never apply a pill or a crushed up pill directly to the gums or tooth. This will only result in more pain and more problems.
  • FlossFloss can be a lifesaver if your toothache is caused by a piece of food that’s wedged between your teeth. Simply take a piece of floss or a floss pick and carefully wiggle it between the painful area and try to remove anything that may be stuck in there. Don’t use too much pressure or be too rough.
  • Over-the-Counter AnestheticThere are plenty of over-the-counter oral anesthetics designed to ease toothache pain. These anesthetics can provide temporary relief by numbing the area. However, oral anesthetics are not designed to be used for long periods of time.  

Reduce Your Risk

Even though there’s no fool-proof way to completely avoid a toothache, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of one. Brushing and flossing daily as well as maintain visits to our Erdenheim dental office every six months can help protect your teeth and treat any problems before they have a chance to sneak up on you and cause a toothache.

Don’t let the pain of a toothache take its toll on you. Try the remedies above and see your dentist as soon as you can.

wisdom tooth model

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Prevention, Wisdom Teeth.

About 90% of the American population has had their wisdom teeth removed. But why is it important that we get these teeth extracted? Is wisdom teeth surgery really that important? What happens if we don’t have our wisdom teeth taken out? The team at our dental office in Erdenheim has the answers.

Wisdom Teeth Basics

Wisdom teeth tend to develop in our teens. This is when your dentist in Erdenheim should start to see these third molars on x-rays and when your dental team will start to monitor their development. Occasionally, wisdom teeth develop just fine and there are no reasons for concern. Other times people don’t get their wisdom teeth at all. But more commonly, wisdom teeth need to be removed for a few specific reasons. Let’s take a look at the top reasons why wisdom teeth extraction is usually recommended.

There’s No Room

Most people fall into the category where their mouths don’t have enough space to accommodate four more teeth. This can often be identified early through dental x-rays, and wisdom teeth removal can be incredibly easy. However, if treatment is delayed or avoided, the teeth can get trapped in the bone and become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth can be very painful and put you at increased risk for infection or an abscess. Furthermore, if wisdom teeth aren’t removed and are allowed to force their way into the mouth, other teeth will shift to make room. This will result in overlapping, crooked teeth.

They’re Facing the Wrong Way

Normally wisdom teeth will be facing crown up like all your other teeth. But sometimes wisdom teeth can come in at a weird angle or even sideways. When this happens the wisdom teeth should definitely be extracted. If not, these large teeth can cause permanent damage and severely affect the other teeth in the mouth.

When Wisdom Teeth Can Stay… Maybe

There are times when wisdom teeth come in almost perfectly and there’s no immediate need for extraction. However, wisdom teeth are difficult to care for properly. They’re hard to reach with a toothbrush and flossing requires an almost acrobatic approach. Because of this, your dentist may still recommend having them removed if only to reduce the risk of other problems down the road.

Wisdom teeth removal is incredibly common and most people have theirs removed at some point in their lives. The best way to monitor wisdom teeth development is to maintain regular appointments at our Erdenheim dental office. Keeping a close eye on how your wisdom teeth are erupting can mean a quicker treatment plan and easier removal.

child's hand holding vitamins

Posted by & filed under Home Care, Pediatric Dentistry.

Making sure your child gets enough of the right vitamins and minerals is an important part of helping them grow up big and strong. Their oral health is no different. Kids need to get the recommended amount of a variety of vitamins (and minerals!) in order to develop strong teeth and good oral health. Our dental office in Erdenheim is here to help give you a guide on what vitamins your kid needs.

Calcium

Calcium is most well-known for building strong bones, but it’s crucial for developing strong, healthy teeth too. Starting with strong teeth can help your child have good oral health for life and lower their risk for problems later on. Get calcium through dairy products, leafy green veggies, and nuts.

Vitamin D

While calcium is definitely important, it doesn’t work alone. In order for calcium to be absorbed properly, it needs vitamin D. Pair calcium-rich foods with vitamin D foods such as tuna, cheese, and egg yolks.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is often linked to developing good vision, but it’s also needed to help keep gums healthy. Vitamin A helps saliva glands produce more spit, and spit is a good thing. Saliva rinses away bacteria that otherwise could easily bury themselves into the gum tissue and cause problems. Foods loaded with vitamin A include fortified cereals, salmon, hard boiled eggs, and carrots.

Fluoride

Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that just so happens to also fight off cavities and decay. It’s also crucial in developing strong protective tooth enamel. Most public water supplies include enough fluoride to protect your child. Your dentist in Erdenheim should also provide fluoride treatments to your child regularly.  

Supplements or No Supplements?

Oftentimes a well-balanced diet complete with fruit, vegetables, dairy, and whole grain provides kids with the vitamins they need. However, doing this isn’t always easy. Life can get crazy and there’s not always time for a home-cooked meal including items from each food group. That’s ok! When there’s a chance your kid isn’t getting enough vitamins and minerals through their food, consider supplements or fun multivitamins.

Whether you choose to give your kids the vitamins they need in form of food or supplements, making sure they get enough can help set them up for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Of course, maintaining regular appointments at our Erdenheim dental office is also important for optimal dental health. Call to schedule a visit with us today!

young girl brushing teeth

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

Cavities are one of the most common dental concerns we hear about at our children’s dental office in Erdenheim. While worries about cavities are valid, since they can lead to pain, sensitivity, and more serious oral health conditions, there are many beliefs about cavities that just aren’t true. Join us as we look at some facts and some myths involving kids and cavities…

Fact or Fiction? Sugar is the main cause of cavities.

Fiction. This may be surprising to hear from your Erdenheim children’s dentist but sugar isn’t the main source of cavities in kids (or adults!). In fact, bacteria are the main cavity-causing culprits. Bacteria produce acid, acid destroys teeth, and cavities are formed as a result. But where do the bacteria come from? Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates found in bread, rice, potatoes, and yes, sugar, are the main triggers behind bacteria production.

Fact or Fiction? Kids are more likely to get cavities than adults.

Fiction. Developments in dental technology and prevention have led to a decrease in tooth decay in children by 50%  in the last 20 years. This means that children are actually at a lower risk for cavities than their grandparents. Senior citizens are at the highest risk for cavities because a lot of medications lead to dry mouth, lack of saliva production, and in turn, tooth decay and cavities. However, this still means that regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups are vitally important for keeping kids cavity free.

Fact or Fiction? Acidic foods cause tooth decay.

Fact. Foods that are highly acidic such as lemons, citrus fruits, and soda greatly increase the chance for decay. The acid found in these treats will eat away at the protective tooth enamel, putting your kids’ teeth at greater risk for cavities. Choose water over soda or even fruit juice and enjoy acidic foods and beverages in moderation.

Fact or Fiction? Gaps in teeth increase the likelihood of cavities.

Fact. Gaps in teeth or even over-crowded crooked teeth provide a great place for bacteria to hide. These gaps or overlaps are hard to reach with a toothbrush and even floss, so it’s difficult to properly clean these areas. This can make it easy for bacteria and food particles to linger behind, leaving your kids more susceptible to cavities.

A little knowledge and regular dental care can go a long way in protecting your kids’ smiles against cavities. Help them practice proper brushing and flossing, encourage them to eat a well-balanced diet, and of course, schedule dental appointments at our Erdenheim children’s dental office at least every six months.

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.