charcoal toothpaste

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

There’s recently been a surge in the popularity of using charcoal toothpaste to get a whiter smile. Promoters of the charcoal toothpaste trend claim that it can help whiten teeth effectively without the risk of increased sensitivity that may result from using other products. But does it really work? Join the team at our Erdenheim dental office as we dive into the truth.

What Exactly is Charcoal Toothpaste?

Before we launch into whether or not charcoal toothpaste can really whiten your smile, let’s look into what the stuff actually is. Charcoal toothpaste uses something called activated charcoal, which is much different than the charcoal you’d use to grill a burger. Activated charcoal is a form of carbon that’s been treated in order to make it incredibly porous. Since the porous nature makes activated charcoal really great at absorption, the thought is that it can pull stains, tartar, and bacteria away from teeth.

Is Charcoal Toothpaste Safe?

The short answer is yes, charcoal toothpaste is safe for the human body. Even though the modern age of the world wide web may have popularized the use of it, its usage has a rich history dating way back to the days of the ancient Romans. In fact, a powder form of charcoal was a pretty common ingredient in their toothpastes. Besides its dental usage, activated charcoal was, and still sometimes is, used to treat people who have been poisoned.

So, Does it Whiten Teeth?

Charcoal toothpaste has been effective at removing surface stains on teeth which may help a smile appear whiter. However, using it doesn’t come without risks. Even though charcoal toothpaste is porous, it’s also fairly abrasive. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), charcoal toothpaste is too abrasive to be used regularly and may result in damage. Using an abrasive toothpaste can wear away the protective layer of enamel, making teeth not only more exposed to the dangers of bacteria, but also creating a dingy, discolored appearance.

Other Ways to Whiten Your Teeth

If you’ve tried charcoal toothpaste and didn’t see the results you were hoping for, or you’re not quite on board with its claims, there are still other safe and effective ways you can whiten your teeth.

  • Try a whitening toothpaste that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance
  • Schedule a professional smile whitening with your dentist in Erdenheim
  • Consider dental veneers to cover up any discoloration or imperfections

As always, our dental office in Erdenheim is happy to answer any questions you may have about the best way to whiten your teeth. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment!  

teen brushes teeth

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

As your child enters her teen years, she may begin to consider whitening her smile using over-the-counter tooth whitening strips. But as her parent, you’re unsure if smile whitening is safe for her growing grin. Our dental office in Erdenheim is here to provide you some insight on whitening strips and some risks of using them.

Let’s Look at the Research

As the popularity of over-the-counter white strips increases and buying them becomes easier, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) began conducting research on the safety of children and teens using whitening strips. Below we’ve outlined some of the main results found as part of these studies.

Usability

Although whitening strips come with instructions, the AAPD’s research found a high user error when kids or teens tried using the product on their own. While this may seem like no big deal, if used incorrectly, teens expose themselves to risks of leaving the strips on for too long or even swallowing the product.

Hydrogen Peroxide Content

The active ingredient in whitening strips is hydrogen peroxide. While the amount of hydrogen peroxide differs from product to product, some strips can contain as much as 13 percent. This isn’t usually a problem for adults, but the higher the hydrogen peroxide content, the more risks there are to kids and teens.

Sensitivity

As you may know a common side effect of using whitening strips is increased tooth sensitivity. This side effect isn’t limited to just teens or children either as many adults report sensitivity after using them. While it’s not clear if teens are at greater risk for more sensitivity than adults, it’s still a concern.  

So, Are Whitening Strips Safe for Teens?

According to the AAPD and your dentist in Erdenheim, more research is needed to truly take a position on whether whitening strips are safe for kids or teens. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean your child can’t do anything to brighten her smile.

Alternatives to Smile Whitening Strips

There are some surprisingly easy ways that help get, and keep, teeth nice and white:

  • Make sure your teen is brushing her teeth twice a day for two minutes each time
  • Avoid foods known to stain smiles including soda, coffee, berries, and pasta sauce
  • Have her see the dentist twice a year

The team at our Erdenheim dental office is committed to your child’s oral health and is here to get her a smile that’s not only strong and healthy, but also one that makes her feel confident. We welcome her (and you!) to talk with us about any concerns she may have about her smile so we can work together to resolve them.

holiday dinner with wine

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

There’s been a popular belief surrounding red wine and its benefits to heart health floating around for years. We even found an article suggesting that drinking a glass of red wine a day has the same type of benefits as spending an hour at the gym. But we’re not here to debunk or support any of these claims. Instead, our dental office in Erdenheim is here to talk about whether or not drinking wine is bad for your teeth.

Varying Opinions

Some online sources are passionately claiming that red wine can be good for oral health. At the same time, there are others telling us that drinking red wine can have detrimental effects on our teeth. So who’s right? Is drinking red wine really great for our smiles, or really bad? Let’s take a look.

The Claim: Drinking Wine is Good For Oral Health

A study published by the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry supports the idea that red wine can decrease tooth decay. In their research, scientists tested the biofilm of several participants. The biofilm was loaded with bacteria that’s naturally found in the mouth. After exposing the biofilm and bacteria to red wine, researchers observed that the wine removed the bacteria. And with no bacteria, there’s little risk for decay and cavities.

The Claim: Drinking Wine is Bad for Teeth

Wine, both red and white, is highly acidic. This acid can deteriorate tooth enamel and cause teeth to look yellow. Without protective enamel, teeth are also at risk for bacteria and decay. Even though your dentist in Erdenheim has solutions to fix all these problems, it’s best to avoid them in the first place.  

The Conclusion

Essentially, more research on the effects that wine has on oral health is needed before we can say the benefits outweigh the concerns. However, it’s safe to say that any risks associated with drinking wine, including risks to your oral health, can be minimized by drinking it in moderation and responsibly. To further protect your smile from any negative side effects of wine, consider:

  • Drinking water after drinking wine. Water helps neutralize acid and wash it away. It’s even better if you can rinse your mouth out.
  • Not brushing right after enjoying a glass. Brushing your teeth too soon can spread the acid expose your entire mouth to its damaging effects.

Whether you enjoy your nightly glass of wine or partake only occasionally, keep an eye on your teeth. If you notice any discoloration, call our Erdenheim dental office to talk about professional smile whitening or cosmetic dentistry. Of course, we’re always welcoming new patients would happy to see you no matter what your dental needs may be.

pregnant woman takes vitamin

Posted by & filed under Oral Health, Pediatric Dentistry.

During pregnancy, mom-to-be’s body needs adequate amounts of certain vitamins to support not only her system, but her growing baby too. Vitamin D is one of these vitamins that serves an important role. A proper intake of vitamin D helps mom’s bones stay strong, promotes healthy cell division, and supports calcium absorption. But getting enough Vitamin D during pregnancy is also important to baby’s development and, perhaps surprisingly, dental health.

Vitamin D and Baby’s Oral Health

At our Erdenheim dental office, we strive to keep our patients’ smiles healthy from the day they step into their first appointment. But recent research suggests that good dental health may begin even before your little one is born.

According to one study, children of moms who had a vitamin D deficiency were at greater risk of developing cavities during early childhood. Of the 206 women studied, 90% of them did not have adequate levels of vitamin D. Fast forward a few months to when the researchers examined the teeth of the now 16 month old children of these women. They found that nearly 22% had enamel defects, which makes teeth more susceptible to cavities, and almost 34% already had decay.  

The Link Between Vitamin D and Developing Babies

Even though you may not see your baby’s first tooth until he’s a few months old, all of his teeth are forming while he’s still in the womb. Just like bones, teeth need vitamin D to grow tough and strong. Since all of a baby’s vitamin and nutrient intake are dependent on mom during pregnancy, pregnant women need to get enough vitamin D in order to form health teeth.

How Much Vitamin D Do You Need During Pregnancy?

According to an American Pregnancy Association study, women who took 4,000 IU of vitamin D every day had a greater chance of carrying a baby full-term as well as decreased infections. Most prenatal vitamins contain only 400 IU, so additional sources of vitamin D should be added.

How to Get More Vitamin D

You can increase your vitamin D intake by eating foods with a high vitamin D content such as:

  • Egg Yolks
  • Salmon
  • Milk.

It’s also recommended to get 5-10 minutes of sun two or three times a week.

Pregnancy is such an exciting event, and we know you’re doing everything you can to keep your growing baby healthy. Once your little one is born, the best way to make sure his smile stays healthy is by seeing a children’s dentist in Erdenheim when his first tooth pops through. Seeing a dentist early is a great way to get your baby comfortable with the experience and set him up for a lifetime of good oral health.

woman expresses thanks

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

This Thanksgiving, we want to switch it up a bit and challenge all of our patients to think outside of the box when sharing their thanks with friends and family around the dinner table. Everyone gives thanks for friends, family, overall health, and perhaps love. And rightfully so. But at our dental office in Erdenheim we want you to give a few reasons to be thankful for a healthy mouth.

Dental Health & Overall Health Are Linked

We mentioned earlier that many people give thanks for their overall health during Thanksgiving praises of appreciation. But what’s often overlooked is the correlation between oral health and overall health. Poor oral health has been linked to several serious whole-body problems such as heart disease and diabetes. Some serious health problems also first show signs in the mouth. So it’s safe to say the healthier your mouth is, the more likely it is that you’re whole body is healthy, too.   

A Healthy Mouth Lets You Eat All The Food

Turkey, yams, peas, potatoes, pies for days — nearly every table in the country will be overloaded with all kinds of food on Thanksgiving Day. And in order to enjoy every bite of flavor, we need our teeth to be in tip top shape. Healthy teeth that are free of pain-causing cavities or other problems allow us to chew properly and properly digest our food.

Gives Confidence

When our smiles aren’t as white as we’d like or as healthy, they aren’t an accurate representation of who we are. If we aren’t proud of our smiles, we tend to shy away from cameras or laugh or smile with our mouths closed. This can negatively affect your entire mood. However, a bright, white, healthy smile can allow you to laugh and speak freely without worry or embarrassment. Having a brilliant grin boosts confidence and can certainly affect your mood in a positive way. If you aren’t totally happy with your smile, talk to your dentist in Erdenheim about cosmetic dentistry options that can help.

Keeps Breath Kissably Fresh

A healthy smile isn’t just a white smile. A truly healthy smile also keeps breath fresh day in and day out. The best way you can help keep your pearly whites white and your breath smelling good is to brush every morning and every night for at least two minutes, floss every day, and if you use mouthwash, use it sparingly. Many mouthwashes actually only temporarily mask bad breath and end up drying out the mouth, which can make bad breath even worse.

At our Erdenheim dental office, we’re always here to help get and keep our neighbors’ smiles healthy. If you’re in need of a dentist, we welcome you to give us a call.

young boy taking temperature

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

‘Tis the season of sniffles and coughs, body aches and congestion. It’s officially the time of year when the flu can make for a miserable few days. But it doesn’t have to take its toll on your kids or you. Our children’s dental office in Erdenheim is here to help you prevent the flu this season with some helpful tips.

Keep Little Ones’ Hands Clean

This tried and true life lesson is probably one of the best ways to avoid the flu or the common cold. Make sure your child washes his hands with warm, soapy water before meals, after using the restroom, or after touching another person. If soap and water isn’t accessible, carry an alcohol-based sanitizer to use on him instead.

Protect His Toothbrush

It may sound gross, but toothbrushes can harbor all sorts of germs. That’s why it’s important to take proper care of it. Make sure your child is thoroughly rinsing his toothbrush after each use, and make sure you store it in an upright position to air dry. Keep his toothbrush separated from yours and all family members’ toothbrushes separated from each other to avoid cross contamination. And of course, never share toothbrushes.

Give Him More Water

A body that’s hydrated it also better at fighting off germs and bacteria since it’s operating optimally. It’s recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, but during flu season you may consider increasing your child’s intake. Drinking plenty of H20 is not only great for the body, but it’s good for oral health, too.

Sanitize & Clean

Having the areas where you spend the most time clean and sanitary is key to keeping germs away. Pay attention to things that get touched the most — door knobs, remote control, toys, faucets, and toilets. Germs are invisible to the naked eye, so even if it seems clean it can’t hurt to give it a quick wipe down.

Keep His Hands Away From His Face

The CDC states that one of the most common ways germs are spread is by touching a contaminated surface then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. These body parts have mucus that can easily transport germs into the body and make us sick.

Following this these tips can go a long way in helping you prevent your little one from getting knocked down from the flu. However, if he does happen to catch the bug, our Erdenheim children’s dental office encourages you to use sugar-free medicines to help alleviate his symptoms. Not only will these medications help him feel a bit better, they’re safer for teeth, too.  

As always, having a healthy mouth can directly impact how healthy we are overall. Make sure your child brushes and flosses every day and maintains visits with his children’s dentist in Erdenheim at least every six months.

root canal

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

A root canal tends to create a lot of apprehension and fear in many patients. After all, the treatment has had plenty of bad things said about it in the past, and its inaccurate reputation of being scary and incredibly painful has stuck with it throughout the years. However, the team at our dental office in Erdenheim wants to let our patients know that the horror stories of root canals of the past are no longer relevant in the world of today’s modern dentistry.

The Painless Truth of Root Canals

When your dentist in Erdenheim recommends a root canal, it’s typically because decay has reached so far into the tooth that a traditional filling won’t fix it completely. Chances are pain levels are also pretty high. A root canal can remove the decay in its entirety and actually ease the pain. So essentially, root canals do not contribute to pain, but rather relieve it.

What’s a Root Canal Treatment Like?

When going in for a root canal, your dentist will first numb the area to reduce any discomfort and to make the treatment pretty pain free. Then the actual procedure begins. A root canal procedure typically includes:

  • Making a tiny hole to allow your dental team access to the inside of the tooth where all the roots and nerves are located that are causing so much pain.
  • Emptying the nerves, pulp, and blood vessels from the inner tooth. This makes it impossible for the tooth to feel any pain.
  • Sealing the tooth and placing a dental crown to keep the inside of the tooth protected.

What Are Some Signs That a Root Canal May be Necessary?

  • Tooth Pain. First and foremost, tooth pain is the most obvious sign that something isn’t right in your mouth and that you may need a root canal. However, not every toothache automatically constitutes root canal treatment. If the pain increases when eating, biting down, or with any pressure, you may need a root canal to make the pain go away.  
  • Sensitivity. If you experience tooth sensitivity regularly, there’s probably no reason to be too concerned. But if you have sensitivity while eating or drinking hot or cold foods or beverages, and that sensitivity pain lingers around for awhile even after the source of heat or cold is removed, a root canal may be appropriate.
  • Gum Inflammation. Just because a root canal is a treatment done on a tooth doesn’t mean teeth are the only place where symptoms appear. Gum tissue nearby the infected tooth can also exhibit some symptoms. For example, painful or swollen gums, or any small, raised bumps on the gums are usually telltale signs that a root canal may be necessary.

At our Erdenheim dental office, we always encourage our patients to call us right away if they suspect a dental problem or if they’re experiencing pain. If you are having any of the symptoms above, we welcome you to call us too. We’ll complete a thorough exam to find the source of your symptoms and recommend the appropriate treatment for you. If that treatment happens to be a root canal, don’t fear. You’ll have relief in no time.

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.