Holidays are cause for celebration, spending time with friends and family, and decadent feasts. Many people have concerns regarding the traditional dishes served during the holidays. Here, we’ve addressed some common questions about a few favorites.
Q: What are the nutritional benefits of pumpkin?
A: Pumpkins are low in calories and fat, and loaded with healthy antioxidants and vitamin-A (or beta-carotene), vitamin-C, and vitamin-E. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of dietary fiber, protein, and good fats that benefit heart health. These tasty seeds are also great source of iron, niacin, selenium, and zinc. Continue reading “Holiday Nutrition for Reno Smiles”→
Halloween is all about spooks and scares, candy and crazy costumes, and ghosts and giggles. It can be a fun, festive, fright night for the whole family, but your dentist may not feel the same way. Halloween has earned its spot on your dentist’s worst nightmare list.
Candy is one of the best parts of Halloween, but it’s also the number one reason why your dentist may not be celebrating with you. Sugar is the archenemy of your teeth, and too much of it can cause cavities and tooth decay, which is the most widespread childhood disease. To protect your teeth on this spooky holiday (and every other day of the year), consider the following:
Eat sweets with meals rather than as snacks. Saliva production increases during a meal, which helps to rinse food particles from the mouth and neutralize plaque acid.
Avoid sticky candies for a few reasons. First, they adhere to your teeth, keeping them in your mouth for longer. The longer your teeth are exposed to sugar, the more time the bacteria has to create acid that weakens tooth enamel, encouraging the growth of cavities. Secondly, sticky candies, such as caramels, taffy, and gummies, have the potential to damage dental work, including fillings, dental crowns, and bridges.
Tooth sensitivity may not seem like a big deal…that is, until you have it. The shooting pain that comes when you bite into an ice cream cone or take a sip of hot coffee is just unbearable. If you have severe tooth sensitivity, even an icy cold wind can leave your teeth in pain.
What causes tooth sensitivity? Enamel erosion might be to blame, and the same goes for tooth decay.
To understand what enamel erosion is, you first need to understand what tooth enamel is. Enamel is the hard, white coating that covers your teeth. This coating is your teeth’s natural defense system, and nature knew what it was doing when it designed the human body because tooth enamel is the second hardest naturally occurring substance in the universe, second only to diamonds! This means that it can protect your teeth from the extreme pressures, temperatures, and elements your teeth come in contact with on a daily basis.
Still, however, your enamel isn’t indestructible. While it’s unlikely that your dental enamel can chip off, it’s very likely that it can wear away, and this can happen for several reasons. In most cases of enamel erosion, acid is to blame. Every time we eat or drink, acids form in our mouths and, if not removed by proper brushing, flossing, and rinsing, can begin to eat away at our tooth enamel. Enamel erosion is often present in people with acid reflux disease and GERD because of the high levels of acid that come up from the stomach to the mouth. Frequent vomiting and consuming foods and drinks that are high in sugar and carbohydrates expose your teeth to even more acidity. Continue reading “The Inside Scoop About Enamel Erosion”→
Everyone knows that you need to brush, floss, and go to the dentist regularly to maintain a healthy smile. Avoiding staining foods and drinks and limiting your sugar intake also contribute to a healthy and attractive smile.
What you may not know, however, is that how you use your teeth greatly impacts the health and appearance of your smile.
Do you crunch on ice? Cool it!
Anytime you crunch on a hard, solid object (whether it is food or something else), you run the risk of cracking, chipping, or otherwise damaging a tooth or several teeth, your tooth enamel, or existing dental work. Ice cubes, due partially to their cold temperature, increase this risk.
Also, because of its temperature, ice can potentially shock a nerve in your tooth, causing the need for root canal therapy.
Your Teeth Are Not Tools
Do you use your teeth to rip tags off of clothing, open wrappers, open bottles, and hold things when your hands are full? If so, you’re putting yourself at risk for severe dental damage and infection. Our teeth are meant to bite, chew, help us speak properly, and help us smile- that’s it. They’re not pliers, scissors, or spare hands.
They’re also not nail clippers. Biting your nails is one on the worst things you can do for your teeth. The pressure from pulling your fingers away from your teeth can cause misalignment, cracking, chipping, and damage to existing dental work. Also, your sharp nails (which are covered in bacteria, by the way) can scratch and cut your gums, causing an open sore in your mouth for bacteria to infect. Continue reading “Your Teeth Are Not Tools”→
All of your life, you’ve been told that plaque is bad. The rules are: brush twice a day, floss once a day, and go to six-month checkups and cleanings so that you can keep plaque from destroying your teeth and gums. While you know that plaque can wreak havoc on oral health, do you know what’s in plaque? Do you know why it’s bad?
In every milligram of dental plaque, there are about ten billion bacteria of approximately 400 types. The matrix of plaque is made from saliva and bacteria, and it includes proteins, lipids (fats), polysaccharides (sugars, calcium, and phosphorus).
Plaque is the yellowish buildup that makes your teeth feel fuzzy or rough. It naturally accumulates on our teeth every day. Many people don’t know that and plaque plays a role in building up our immune system. Teeth don’t shed an outer layer like skin does, so we have to purposefully remove dental plaque to ensure bacteria do not get out of control. Continue reading “What’s in Dental Plaque?”→
The Super Bowl is over. That means an end to football season, right? Wrong. Many high schools and colleges start spring training to prepare for the fall season. While the athletes may not be in full dress, they are wearing protective gear, including their mouthguards.
I am a proponent of the athletic mouthguard. Athletes should wear mouthguards because collisions are unavoidable in some sports, and accidents happen in all sports. There are several types of athletic mouthguards and with that, different degrees of protection.
The stock mouthguard: These can be purchased at sporting goods stores, are limited in size, and are the least protective. They stay in place by the athlete biting down on it. They are bulky, uncomfortable, interfere with speech and breathing, but offer some protection.
Boil-and-bite mouthguard: This is one of the most common mouthguards on the market. They, too, are limited in size and may not cover the back teeth. This mouthguard is softened in hot water, placed between the teeth, and molded to fit your bite when pressure is applied. While some people like boil-and-bite mouthguards, others find them ill-fitting and bulky. Athletes often bite through this mouthguard during the forming and fitting, thus increasing their chance of injury.
Custom-made mouthguard: This is the best choice of mouthguard, because it is specially made for the athlete’s mouth. When creating a custom mouthguard, I take an impression first, then fabricated the appliance to fit the athlete’s bite and mouth shape. The thickness is uniform, which increases comfort and protection. Custom-made mouthguards also offer more protection against concussions, jaw fractures, and neck injuries.
I’m Dr. Brian Evans of Wager Evans Dental. If you are interested in a custom fitted mouthguard, please contact my Reno office at (775)829-7700. These necessary parts of your athletic equipment are reasonably priced and should be worn for all sports. Bottom line is, with a comfortable mouthguard, you’ll be better protected and more likely to wear the appliance.
One of the most important things your child can learn early in life is how to maintain healthy hygiene. While hygiene is important for every part of the body, oral hygiene is particularly important because it has such a power over your overall health.
As family dentists, the Wager Evans Dental team wants to help you instill quality habits in your child, and it’s never to early to start. Teaching your child how to brush their teeth properly is a great way to break the ice.