A Sweet Tooth’s Guide to a Cavity-Free Holiday Season

The holiday season is synonymous with joy, celebration, and, unfortunately, an abundance of sugary sweets and drinks. While indulging in festive treats is part of the fun, it’s essential to be mindful of the impact these delights can have on your oral health. Fear not! With a few simple strategies from your dentist in Reno, you can enjoy the holiday spirit without compromising your smile.

Moderation is Key

The first and most crucial step in maintaining oral health during the holidays is practicing moderation. Rather than abstaining from sugary treats altogether, savor them in moderation. Allow yourself a reasonable portion, and try not to graze on sweets throughout the day. This helps minimize the time your teeth are exposed to sugars, reducing the risk of cavities.

Choose Wisely

Not all sweets are created equal. Opt for treats that are less harmful to your teeth. Dark chocolate, for instance, has less sugar than many other candies and contains compounds that may actually benefit oral health. Additionally, nuts and cheeses can be excellent choices as they stimulate saliva production, which helps neutralize acids and protect your teeth.

Hydrate with Water

Amidst the sea of sugary beverages at holiday gatherings, make water your drink of choice. Water helps rinse away sugars and acids that can erode tooth enamel. It’s also beneficial in maintaining saliva production, which plays a crucial role in neutralizing acids and preventing cavities. Carry a water bottle with you to stay hydrated and protect your oral health.

Timing Matters

The timing of your indulgences can impact their effect on your teeth. Enjoy sweets and sugary drinks with meals rather than as standalone snacks. The increased saliva production during meals helps neutralize acids and rinse away sugars more effectively. Also, try to avoid late-night snacking, as saliva production naturally decreases during sleep, leaving your teeth vulnerable to the harmful effects of sugar.

Practice Diligent Oral Hygiene

Holiday festivities can disrupt your usual routine, but don’t let that extend to your oral hygiene practices. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Don’t forget to floss to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth. Maintaining a consistent oral care routine is crucial, especially during the holiday season.

Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Chewing sugar-free gum can be a helpful ally in your quest for cavity-free holidays. It stimulates saliva production, which, as mentioned earlier, helps neutralize acids and wash away sugars. Look for gum containing xylitol, a sugar substitute that has been shown to inhibit the growth of cavity-causing bacteria.

Visit Your Dentist

Before the holiday season kicks into high gear, or soon after the festivities are over, schedule a dental checkup with your dentist in Reno. A professional cleaning can remove any plaque or tartar buildup, and your dentist can identify and address any potential issues before they escalate. If you have concerns about your oral health, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your dentist.

DIY Oral Health Kits

Consider creating a little oral health kit for yourself. Pack a travel-sized toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss in your bag so you can maintain your oral hygiene routine even when you’re away from home. Having these essentials readily available makes it easier to stay on top of your oral health during the busiest time of the year.

Enjoying the sweetness of the holiday season doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your oral health. By practicing moderation, making wise choices, staying hydrated, and maintaining diligent oral hygiene, you can indulge in festive treats without the guilt of compromising your smile. Remember, a little mindfulness can go a long way in ensuring a cavity-free and happy holiday season!

Does Gum Disease Increase Breast Cancer Risk?

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, your dentist in Reno has some interesting news about a fascinating connection that has gained attention in recent years – the potential link between gum disease (periodontal disease) and an increased risk of breast cancer. While it might seem far-fetched at first, researchers have been delving into this topic, seeking to understand whether our oral health could affect other parts of our body. As it turns out, the current state of research supports a relationship between gum disease and breast cancer risk.

Understanding Gum Disease

Before we delve into the possible connection between gum disease and breast cancer, let’s briefly discuss what gum disease is. Gum disease is a common oral health condition caused by an accumulation of bacteria in the dental plaque that forms on teeth. It typically starts as gingivitis, which is the milder form, and can progress to periodontitis if not treated by your dentist in Reno. But what’s most important for the sake of this blog is that it can cause inflammation of the gums. 

The Inflammatory Connection

Inflammation is a key element in both gum disease and cancer. Chronic inflammation is known to be a contributing factor in the development of various types of cancer, including breast cancer. When the gums are infected and inflamed due to gum disease, the body’s inflammatory response is activated. This chronic inflammation may lead to the release of pro-inflammatory molecules and cytokines (proteins that help control inflammation in your body) into the bloodstream. Some researchers believe that these inflammatory molecules could potentially affect distant tissues, including breast tissue, increasing the risk of cancer development.

Research Findings

While the link between gum disease and breast cancer is still under investigation, several studies have provided interesting insights. One study published in the American Association for Cancer Research found that periodontal disease was associated with an increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. An additional study shows that the risk of breast cancer was 14% higher in women who had gum disease compared to women who didn’t have gum disease. 

Oral Bacteria

One of the theories behind the gum disease-breast cancer connection involves oral bacteria. Researchers have discovered that certain types of bacteria associated with gum disease can enter the bloodstream and potentially travel to other parts of the body, including the breast tissue. Once there, these bacteria may trigger an inflammatory response that could contribute to the development of breast cancer. However, more research is needed to establish a direct causal link between specific oral bacteria and breast cancer.

The potential link between gum disease and an increased risk of breast cancer is a topic that continues to pique the interest of researchers. While some studies have suggested a correlation, it’s essential to approach this information with caution and recognize that more research is needed to establish a definitive connection. In the meantime, focusing on maintaining good oral hygiene and overall health remains the best course of action. Make sure you brush and floss daily, eat a well-balanced diet, quit using tobacco products, and see your dentist in Reno at least every six months. By taking these steps, you can reduce your risk of gum disease and potentially mitigate any associated health risks.

Importance of Regular Dental Visits

Scheduling and keeping dental appointments every six months may seem like a burden, but these preventive checkups with your dentist in Reno are crucial to maintaining good oral health. Like most things in life, your oral health needs to be checked on regularly in order to identify potential problems before they have a chance to become bigger concerns. In fact, these visits could even save your life. Join us as we talk about the importance of regular dental visits. 

Oral Cancer 

Starting off with the most serious dental disease, oral cancer is common and can lead to death if not treated proactively. In 2022 alone, about 54,000 new cases of the oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer were diagnosed, and these cancers accounted for more than 11,000 deaths. But preventive dental checkups every six months can help diagnose oral cancer early when treatment is often more successful. Anyone can develop oral cancer in their lifetime, but those who smoke, drink alcohol, or are over 55 are more likely to get the disease. This makes regular dental checkups incredibly important not only for everyone but especially for those at high risk. 

Gum Disease 

Gum disease is another serious oral health condition that can cause not only oral health complications but whole-body health concerns as well. When caught early, gum disease can often be treated and even reversed successfully. However, advanced gum disease may be irreversible and can lead to tooth loss, heart disease, dementia, diabetes, and other serious problems. Preventive dental checkups every six months with your dentist in Reno help monitor changes in oral health and can be key to catching gum disease early.  


While cavities are incredibly common and fixed easily by dental fillings, they can become big problems if they aren’t treated quickly. Small cavities may not be noticeable to the naked eye and may not have any symptoms, but this is the best time to stop a cavity in its tracks. Your dentist in Reno will be able to diagnose cavities at regular checkups through thorough exams and dental x-rays. If left untreated for too long, they can require more in-depth treatment such as a root canal, dental crown, or extraction. 


Last, but certainly not least, are dental cleanings. At each checkup, your dental team will perform gentle cleanings that remove plaque and tartar that will accumulate on teeth over time, no matter how well you brush and floss at home. Removing this buildup will help prevent bacteria from building up and reduce the risk of several problems mentioned above including cavities and gum disease. 

Don’t forget to schedule (and keep!) your dental appointments this year. They’re crucial to maintaining and healthy smile and protecting your overall health. 

What Does It Mean When You Have Too Many Teeth? 

Most people are more concerned about losing their teeth and having fewer teeth than they are about having too many teeth. But the truth is, it can happen. When someone has more than the usual 20 baby teeth and 32 adult teeth, it’s known as hyperdontia. Luckily, this condition doesn’t typically need treatment, but you should still see your dentist in Reno

What Exactly Is Hyperdontia?

Hyperdontia is a condition when too many teeth grow in the mouth. These extra teeth are called supernumerary and can grow in various places in the mouth and also be of different shapes. Usually, the additional teeth appear in the arches or the areas where teeth attach to the jaw. Hyperdontia can happen with both baby teeth and adult teeth, but it’s more common to see the condition in kids. 

Recognizing Hyperdontia

You think it’d be pretty obvious if you developed extra teeth, and it usually is. Supernumerary teeth typically pop up directly behind the already erupted teeth, so it’s pretty easy to spot. However, your dentist in Reno can also tell if there are more teeth under the gum line that have yet to show themselves by looking at images obtained from dental x-rays. This condition usually doesn’t cause pain, but a slight discomfort can happen. 

Teeth Shapes & Positioning

Supernumerary teeth, just like regular teeth, show up in different places in the mouth. The most common place where these extra teeth tend to erupt is behind the four front teeth, but they can pop up in other areas. 

  • Paramolar – extra teeth in the back by the molars
  • Distomolar – additional teeth that grow in line with the molars rather than behind 
  • Mesiodens – show up behind the front teeth

 Additional teeth can also vary in shape. 

  • Supplemental – looks like the tooth right next door
  • Tuberculate – looks like a tube
  • Compound odontoma – looks like it’s made from several growths close together
  • Complex odontoma – looks like a random grouping of tooth-like tissues
  • Conical – looks like a peg that’s wide at the bottom and pointy on top

Hyperdontia Causes

Unfortunately, hyperdontia is one of those conditions that we don’t quite know the cause of. But it has been tied to other heredity conditions, including: 

  • Cleft palate or lip
  • Gardner’s syndrome
  • Ehler-Danlos syndrome 
  • Fabry disease
  • Cleidocranial dysplasia

Treatment & Potential Complications

As we’ve mentioned before, many times cases of hyperdontia won’t need treatment. But there are times when intervention from your dentist in Reno is recommended. Occasionally, extra teeth can cause discomfort in the jaw or gums. Other times a patient is unhappy with the appearance of their smile due to their extra teeth. Most commonly, too many teeth cause problems with proper brushing and flossing and can lead to decay, gum disease, and other concerns. If any of these things are apparent, you may want to consider treatment

Treating hyperdontia can be as simple as removing the extra teeth. Sometimes, your dentist may recommend some other forms of cosmetic dentistry afterward to give you a smile you’re proud of. 

Why Does Food Always Get Stuck in Between My Teeth?

We’ve all experienced getting a piece of food stuck in between our teeth at some point, and this is common with several types of food. However, if you find yourself getting food stuck in the same places almost every time you eat, you may have something called a food trap. While this may sound like a minor inconvenience, your dentist in Reno wants you to know that a food trap could cause problems. 

What Causes a Food Trap? 

A food trap can be caused by a number of things, some of which should be diagnosed and treated by your dentist in Reno . The most common causes of a food trap include: 

  • Gaps

Larger gaps in between teeth provide a great place for pieces of food to hide. Even if you had braces when you were younger, teeth can shift over time and cause gaps. Your dentist may suggest some additional type of orthodontic solution such as clear aligners, traditional braces, or certain types of cosmetic dentistry

  • Cavities

Cavities cause tiny holes in teeth where both bacteria and food can get stuck. The longer a cavity goes untreated, the bigger it can get and the more problems it can cause. However, getting a cavity filled is often an easy treatment that you shouldn’t put off.  

  • Gum Disease

Gum disease occurs when there’s an infection in the gum tissue. This can create pockets between your teeth and up into your gums. Again, these small spaces give food a nice place to get stuck. Gum disease can be serious and can lead to other problems, including tooth loss, so it’s important to catch it early while treatment is still often successful. 

It’s important to talk with your dentist about any dental problems you may have, including if food gets stuck in your teeth, so they can take a closer look and help prevent problems. 

Food Traps Can Be Dangerous

Even if you brush your teeth twice a day, if food particles are lingering around in between your teeth all day long, they can feed mouth bacteria and increase the risk of tooth decay and other problems. This is why it’s so important to brush your teeth and floss regularly. If you do feel a piece of food stuck in your teeth, try to remove it as soon as possible. 

How to Remove Food From in Between Teeth

When you’re dealing with a pesky piece of food wedged in between your teeth, you’ll use almost anything to get it out. However, your dentist in Reno  recommends that you only use dental floss or a toothbrush. These tools are designed to be gentle, yet effective, and reduce the risk of damage. If you have something that’s really stuck, call your dentist to schedule a quick visit. 

We always recommend that our patients brush their teeth twice a day and floss at least once daily to remove bacteria, plaque, and leftover food particles that have accumulated throughout the day. Practicing good oral hygiene habits can help prevent food traps and keep your teeth protected. 

How Do You Fix Dentures That Don’t Fit?

Dentures are an excellent choice to replace missing teeth. They can not only help restore a smile and allow people to eat more foods, but they can also provide an often needed boost in self-confidence. These transformative dental devices are often the chosen solution as they’re comfortable and affordable. However, over time, changes in the mouth can affect the way dentures fit, and they can start to slip or cause discomfort. If this happens, your dentist in Reno can help. 

How Are Dentures Made?

First, let’s take a look at how dentures are initially made. Your dentist will take impressions and send them off to a lab to create a custom denture based on the specific size and shape of your mouth. Usually, the end result will be a comfortable, secure-fitting denture. Of course, there may be an adjustment period while you’re getting used to your denture, but it shouldn’t slip or cause sores in your mouth. However, over time, changes to the jaw bone and other changes in the mouth can make a denture no longer fit properly. 

Denture Relines

If your denture no longer fits the way it once did, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist in Reno. Make sure to bring your denture to this appointment so your dentist can take a close look at the device itself as well as check out the fit of it in your mouth. If it no longer fits correctly, they may recommend a reline. 

Denture relines can take the fit of your existing denture and use it to make adjustments. There are two types of denture relines – soft relines and hard relines. Soft relines can be done quickly and easily while you’re sitting with your dentist while hard relines will be sent to a lab to be recreated. Dentures with hard relines tend to last longer than those with soft relines. 

What Causes Dentures to No Longer Fit? 

As with many things, our mouths change over time. These changes can make a once-comfortable denture no longer fit correctly. For example, changes in the jaw bone can change the shape and size of your mouth and could require a new denture or reline. Additionally, damage to dentures can happen, and if there’s a crack or other damage, it can make a denture fit uncomfortably.  It’s important to know that dentures do have a lifespan and properly won’t last forever without at least a reline. 

Denture Alternatives

If your denture is no longer the right choice for you, talk with your dentist in Reno about dental implants. Dental implants are a permanent tooth replacement option that replaces the tooth root as well as the crown. No soaking is required and since implants are anchored into the jaw bone, there’s also no shifting. Dental implants can replace one or many teeth, and there are even options where a custom denture can be permanently affixed on top of a few implant posts for a brand new permanent smile. 

Your denture shouldn’t be uncomfortable, it should be secure and allow you to smile and eat with confidence. If your denture is starting to slip or cause sores, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Reno as soon as possible. 

What Causes Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a form of gum disease that affects nearly 75% of Americans at some point in their lives. Usually, when gum disease is caught in this stage it can be treated and any damage can be reversed. But if it’s left alone it can quickly progress into more severe stages of gum disease and actually affect your overall health. In fact, research shows that more serious forms of gum disease can lead to tooth loss, heart disease, and stroke. This is one reason why it’s so important to see your dentist in Reno at least every six months. 

Gum Disease, Gingivitis, and Periodontitis

Let’s start by quickly taking a look at the confusing world of gum disease. Gum disease is a term used to describe an infection in the gums. However, not all forms of gum disease are the same. There are three stages of gum disease: 

  • Gingivitis — The first and mildest stage of gum disease.
  • Periodontitis — The second stage of gum disease. Damage that occurs here can’t be reversed
  • Advanced Periodontitis — The most severe stage of gum disease which can lead to tooth loss. 

What Causes Gingivitis?

Everything has to begin somewhere, and gum disease begins with gingivitis. This early stage of gum disease occurs with too much plaque builds up on teeth and up under the gums. Plaque, which occurs naturally in the mouth, is a sticky film that adheres to the teeth. Usually, it can be removed by brushing and flossing. However, when it’s not removed, the bacteria found in plaque can wiggle into the gum tissue and cause an infection. There are several things that increase someone’s risk of gingivitis including: 

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Tobacco use
  • Chronic dry mouth 
  • Hormonal changes
  • Crooked, hard-to-clean teeth

If you notice any signs of gingivitis, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Reno as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to successfully treating gingivitis before it can progress into more severe forms of gum disease. 

Signs of Gingivitis

What makes gum disease so hard to detect, especially in the early form of gingivitis, is that sometimes there are no symptoms. This is why it’s so important to see your dentist in Reno at least every six months for checkups. Your dental team can catch what you may not see and get you treatment early. However, when there are signs of gingivitis, you may notice: 

  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • Red, swollen, painful gums

Treating Gingivitis 

As we’ve mentioned, treating gingivitis early is key to successfully reversing the disease and any damage it may have caused. This may include a deep cleaning from your dental hygienist and/or the use of prescription medications. It’s important to know that gingivitis can’t be treated at home and requires a dental professional. 

We welcome you to call us to schedule an appointment if you’re overdue for a dental checkup or suspect you may have gum disease. We’re here to help. 

Can Wearing a Mask Cause Cavities? 

Even though 2020 is over and we can start to leave a lot of that crazy year behind us, one thing remains a constant in our everyday lives — face masks. Masks have become commonplace throughout the United States to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 and are seen everywhere we go. From grocery stores to department stores, facemasks are here to stay (at least for a little while longer). But daily, long-term use of masks may cause some concerns for your dentist in Reno

*An Important Note About Facemasks 

Before we dive any further, we need to be clear that what we’re about to discuss does not outweigh the importance of continuing to wear a mask when in public or around other people. Please continue wearing masks when appropriate and use the provided tips to help combat any concerns we cover herein. 

Mouth Breathing

Most of us were not used to ever wearing a mask, let alone wearing them daily and for hours at a time. Because of this, some of our bodies needed to adjust to this new norm. One of the most common ways we adjusted was to start breathing out of our mouths instead of our noses. However, while this type of breathing may feel more comfortable, it is what concerns your dentist in Reno.

Mouth breathing, whether due to wearing a mask or for other reasons such as a stuffy nose, can quickly dry out saliva. This reduction in saliva will cause our mouths to dry out and feel uncomfortable. But the discomfort of dry mouth isn’t the only thing that’s concerning. Without saliva, bad bacteria and acids are left behind which can increase the risk of decay and other problems.  

Bad Breath & Cavities

The bacteria and acid buildup that often occurs as a side effect of dry mouth puts our teeth at risk for decay and cavities. Since dangerous acid is left behind and not neutralized by saliva, the acid can wear away at the enamel, making it easy for bacteria to settle in and cause cavities. Additionally, these same bacteria will feed on anything left behind in the mouth and continue to produce even more acid, and the cycle continues. What’s more, is these bacteria will also produce a smelly byproduct and can cause bad breath. 

Avoiding Dry Mouth

Now, while the above may seem concerning, the good news about all of this is that your dentist in Reno knows of some simple things you can do to reduce the risk of dry mouth and the concerns that go along with it including: 

  • Drinking plenty of water throughout the day to keep the mouth hydrated and moist. 
  • Sucking on sugar-free hard candies or chewing gum with Xylitol. Both of these tricks can stimulate saliva production. 
  • Brushing and flossing every day to help remove bacteria buildup. 

Dry mouth can be more than uncomfortable, but there are ways your dentist in Reno can help. Schedule an appointment with your dentist today to find the best dry mouth solution for you.

Celebrate The New Year With a New Smile

We have officially rung in the new year, which means all of the resolutions are in full effect. During this time, many people commit to transforming their lives. Whether they’ve resolved to eat healthier, lose weight, or stop smoking, the new year provides a fresh start and gives people a view of a better life. It’s also a time that you can resolve to work with your dentist in Reno to get a new smile that you’re proud of. 

Cosmetic Dentistry 

Did you know that more than one-third of Americans don’t like the way their smile looks? That’s a lot of people hiding their smiles behind closed lips. If you’re one of those people, you don’t have to live with a smile you’re unhappy with. Your dentist in Reno can help you find your perfect smile with cosmetic dentistry. 

Cosmetic dentistry includes various treatments that are designed to transform smiles. Whether you want to brighten your teeth or completely change the appearance of your grin, there’s a cosmetic dentistry solution that’s right for you. 

If You Want Whiter Teeth

Things like regular wear and tear, tobacco use, and even foods and drinks can take a once bright, white smile and make it dull and discolored. In fact, tooth discoloration is one of the most common complaints of dental patients. But there’s good news. Most tooth discoloration can be fixed through teeth whitening. While there are many teeth whitening products available, not all products will give you the result you want and there may be some that aren’t high quality. We always recommend meeting with your dentist before starting a smile whitening treatment on your own. 

If You Want a More Even Smile

Dental veneers are another form of cosmetic dentistry that can quickly and easily transform the look of your teeth and smile as a whole. These thin pieces of ceramic are individually custom-made to give each tooth an ideal shape and color for a totally natural look. Veneers bonded to the front surface of your teeth can cover up things such as discoloration, chips or cracks, and can even help fix uneven or overlapping teeth. 

If You Only Need a Tiny Fix 

Oftentimes there are small imperfections that are just big enough to bother you and if you could easily fix them, you would. Well, the good news is, your dentist in Reno can do just that. If your teeth are resistant to traditional teeth whitening solutions or if you have smaller chips you may be a candidate for cosmetic bonding. Your dentist will essentially cover the area with safe composite material and shape and harden it into a natural restoration. 

If You Want a Completely New Look

Patients who are unhappy with the overall appearance of their smile may want to consider a full-mouth restoration or smile makeover. This cosmetic dentistry solution combines several treatments and can completely transform your look. Your dentist will talk with you about what you’d like to achieve and develop a custom plan to make your dream smile a reality. 

Nobody should have to live hiding their smile behind their lips. Make a commitment to yourself to talk with your dentist in Reno about the best cosmetic dentistry treatment for your specific wants. You deserve a smile you love and we’d be happy to help you. 

Whole-Body Benefits of Good Oral Health

You may have heard the saying that the eyes are the window to the soul. While that may be true, your dentist in Reno wants you to know that the mouth is in fact the window to overall health. Years of research continues to show just how important oral health is to overall health and how issues with your teeth or gums could increase your risk for more severe health issues elsewhere in your body, which makes proper oral hygiene even more important. 

What Oral Health Can Say About Overall Health

Your mouth can actually give your dentist in Reno a glimpse at what may be happening in other areas of your body. Several whole-body problems can even first show signs in the mouth before anywhere else… and before you even suspect a problem. In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, more than 90% of all systemic diseases display symptoms in the mouth including: 

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Disease
  • Oral Cancer

Seeing your dentist in Reno regularly can help catch these problems early and get you into treatment sooner. 

Gum Disease & Your Health

The connection between oral health and overall health doesn’t end there and goes even deeper to show a link between gum disease and other diseases throughout the body. According to the Mayo Clinic, gum disease is often related to other health issues such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Preterm births
  • Pneumonia
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia 

Protect Your Teeth, Protect Your Health

Having good oral health clearly has whole-body benefits, so it’s more important than ever to practice good oral hygiene habits. Make sure to:

  • Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day. 
  • Floss daily to remove bacteria from hard-to-reach places that brushing alone won’t reach.
  • Keep sugary foods and drinks to a minimum and focus on eating a diet rich with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and proteins.
  • Avoid tobacco use.
  • See your dentist every six months. 

If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist, we’re here to help. Our welcoming team is dedicated to caring for each and every one of our patients, no matter what. There is no judgment in our office, only genuine care and an unwavering commitment to oral and overall health. Call today to schedule an appointment.