Food That’s Good for Your Teeth

Whether we’re sitting down for dinner, digging through the fridge for a midnight snack or grabbing a quick bite to eat with some friends, our choice of foods are usually governed by our stomachs and our taste buds. Keeping a balanced diet may also come into play as well, but chances are most of us don’t really think a whole lot about what’s good for our teeth while browsing the menu.

But the fact is, there are is a plentiful array of great foods and drink that offer some superb benefits for your dental health. So the next time you dine, think about giving your teeth a little boost with these tasty (and healthy!) vittles.

Cheese

Here’s the thing about cheese that most people don’t know – it makes it really hard for plaque to prosper in your mouth. Cheese has a natural ability to raise the acidity in your mouth while increasing saliva production, making it tough on bacteria that have intentions on nibbling away your enamel. Cheese gets extra credit points for also being rich in calcium and protein – nutrients essential in strengthening your teeth.

Yogurt

Another calcium-rich dairy delight, Yogurt is naturally good for your teeth just based on nutrients alone. But it’s got another unique benefit that’s also great for your gums as well as your teeth – Probiotics. The good bacteria in probiotics make for bad company amidst the harmful microbes trying to make cavities, and often prevent them from growing or causing additional damage. Also, yogurt is super tasty – one of its best benefits – just try to avoid varieties with lots of sugar.

Green or Black Tea

Tasty treats that boost your teeth aren’t just limited to food. Drink your way to dental health with delicious green and black teas. This particular beverage contains unique, toxin-fighting micro-nutrients called polyphenols and help to mitigate bacterial growth in your mouth. Furthermore, tea has fluoride in it, adding even more protection against cavities.

Fish

For good dental health, you really want to look for the ‘fatty’ fishes like salmon. They’ve got lots of essential minerals in them, plus a healthy dose of Vitamin D. You really can’t go wrong with a good grilled salmon, and your teeth will thank you for it!

Meat

Sure, this is kind of a broad category, but most meats are an essential part of a healthy diet for you and your teeth. Red meats are especially beneficial due to the high protein and nutrients that strengthen your bones, muscles teeth and gums.

Leafy Greens

We’ve covered meat and dairy, it’s time we appeal to all you herbivores. Veggies like broccoli and spinach are packed with tons of great vitamins and minerals. Plus they’re a low calorie offering that fits nicely into just about any meal. Furthermore, leafy greens have folic acid which is widely known for numerous health benefits including oral health.

Milk

And of course, we can’t round out our list with anything but the most famous dental health consumable we all know and love – Milk. There’s a reason we drink lots of this stuff from infancy and on throughout most of our lives. We even produce milk to feed our young, making it pretty much a sure-fire nutritional powerhouse. Super rich in calcium and other vitamins, Milk strengthens our bones and teeth, fortifies our immune systems and it’s a great place to put cookies – for just a couple seconds before eating them.

When Should I take my Baby to the Dentist? (And Who’s Going to Help Me Through IT?)

If you’re a new parent or perhaps expecting the newest addition to your family soon, one question you may have on your list is “When should I start thinking about a dentist visit for my little one?”.

Surprisingly, the answer frames a timeline earlier than most parents expect. The ideal time recommended for bringing your child to his or her first dental visit is at the first sign of a tooth coming through. The reason: Cavities can happen even in just one tooth! It is important to stay proactive about your baby’s dental health.

If you do decide to wait a little longer before that first dentist visit, make sure your baby gets a checkup no later than his or her first birthday. We understand -A trip to the dentist with a young tot does not sound like it’ll be the most pleasant experience.

But don’t fret – we’ve got some tricks up our sleeves that may help abate some of those fears and help you prepare for a hassle-free dental appointment for your little one.

Throughout the first few months of your baby’s life, you’ll see a lot of opportunities to focus on good dental habits. The teething phase may be particularly tough, and there are lots of solutions and treatments available to get your child (and you!) through that tearful time. As your child progresses towards the 8-12 month mark, you’re likely to see a tooth or two make an appearance.

When you start seeing teeth, begin preparing your child for that first visit to the dentist. Explain to your child what the dentist is all about. Reading children’s books about the dentist, or watching similar videos with your child can help prepare the little one for what’s ahead.

Establishing a pleasant, positive dental hygiene routine with your child can help tremendously. Using a soft bristle baby toothbrush, you can get your child acclimated to the usual dental health regimen. You may even find it more enticing by making it into a game.

During toothbrush time, do some mouth-opening exercises with your child and explain how we have to sometimes hold our mouths open big and wide so the dentist can see everything that’s going on.

Once you and your little one feel comfortable and prepared for that first dentist visit, contact the dentist’s office and ask if you can prepare any necessary paperwork ahead of time, before you schedule the appointment. This will save a ton of time and hassle in the waiting room.

You may also want to prepare a list of questions ahead of time that you’d like to ask your dentist. If you have particular concerns about any abnormal symptoms you may have noticed, make sure to include those things on the list as well and get feedback from your dentist.

Try to schedule your appointment in the early afternoon, as it’ll make it easier to make sure your child has had nap and a lunch before heading to the dentist visit (make sure to brush after eating!). Make the trip to the dentist a fun and uplifting ride and encourage your child with a treat for being good at the dentist. Need any more tips? Have any further questions? Contact us today, we’re here to help!

Sensitive Teeth – What Causes Sensitivity and How to Control the Pain

Just about everyone has, at one time or another, endured the pain of sensitive teeth. Whether it’s triggered by cold foods and liquids or simply chewing regularly, tooth sensitivity can become a bothersome burden if left unchecked.

Did you know that our teeth are most sensitive between the ages of 25 to 30? While your age could certainly be a causative factor in your tooth pain, the sensitivity usually comes from other sources.

The most common causes of tooth sensitivity are often related to some form of damage to the affected tooth (or teeth). Here’s a roundup of the usual suspects causing your dental discomfort:

  • Chipped, cracked or broken teeth can become infected and inflamed
  • Grinding your teeth (often while sleeping) can cause wear on your teeth
  • Some Tooth-Whitening products have been linked to sensitivity
  • Acidic foods and drinks can wear away at your tooth enamel
  • Some dental procedures can cause short term sensitivity
  • Loose or lost fillings can expose sensitive parts of your teeth
  • Cavities, tooth decay and gingivitis are common culprits of sensitivity
  • Plaque build-up can reach the surface of your roots and prompt the pain

While the above list isn’t entirely exhaustive, it is prudent to practice preventative care and avoid all of the possible causes therein. Proper dental care is the surest way to avoid tooth sensitivity.

So now we know what usually causes our sensitive teeth, but you may not be able to hop into the Dentist’s chair right away – so how do you cope in the mean time?

  • Continue to brush and floss regularly
  • Use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth
  • Use a fluoride rinse after each brushing
  • Use an antiseptic mouthwash at least once per day
  • Try a soft-bristled tooth brush, or look for a toothbrush designed for sensitive teeth
  • Use a mouth guard at night to prevent teeth grinding while sleeping
  • For acute, high intensity pain from sensitivity, try an over-the-counter oral ointment

Furthermore, you may find relief in avoiding certain things that tend to cause more pain, such as:

  • Piping hot coffee or tea, soups and similar hot liquids
  • Ice-cold or frozen beverages and foods
  • Chewing hard candy, cough drops, ice and other hard crunchy foods
  • Sugary foods, sweets or chewing gum
  • Acidic foods, citrus fruits, sodas

Remember that the best solution for sensitivity is preventing it before it can manifest, which means proper dental hygiene and regular checkups with your dentist. Let us help you relieve your sensitive teeth and put the proper preventions in place today!

Why Most Americans Have Some Sort of Gum Disease

About eighty percent of all Americans have some sort of periodontal gum disease (source: American Dental Hygienists’ Association). Mostly seen in adults, the percentage of those with the disease increase as age increases. Here are a few interesting facts regarding Gum Disease from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • The condition is more common in men than women
  • 65.4% of people living below the poverty level have gum disease
  • 66.9% of people with less than a high school level education have gum disease
  • 64.2% of smokers have gum disease

It is also 100% preventable, so why do so many U.S. adults live with it? The sad truth is that the one of the primary reasons that people have gum disease is lack of motivation for home care. This is not the case for everyone; other reasons include genetics (hereditary), health related issues like diabetes, AIDS, or even hormonal changes such as pregnancy. Some reasons are self-inflicted. Smoking, stress, and poor oral hygiene are examples of these. While many hereditary or health causes cannot be prevented, the self-inflicted reasons can and should be reversed.

Gingivitis is the most common form of periodontal disease. Signs of gingivitis are swollen, red gums that can bleed. If not treated, this can lead to periodontitis that includes bone loss and even loss of teeth. There are warning signs that can let you know if your gums are unhealthy. First and foremost, check the color. Healthy gums are generally a nice pink color. If your gums are red and or swollen, you are displaying a warning sign of gum disease. Other signs include bad breath, painful chewing, sensitive teeth, bleeding gums when you brush and/or floss, or gums pulling away from your teeth.

Treating Gum Disease

As established earlier, one of the primary reasons for gum disease is lack of oral hygiene care. This should not be the case, but sadly many do not take proper care of their teeth and gums. The good news is that in the early stages of periodontal disease, the condition is reversible and treatable. The best way to prevent or reverse gum disease are two simple solutions.

  • Brush AND Floss twice a day
  • Get cleanings at your local dentist twice a year (or more as recommended)

Pretty simple, right? If you practice these two simple steps, your dental health has a great chance of being the best it can be. If you have more questions about your dental health, or think that you might have periodontal disease, make sure to schedule a visit to talk with your dentist today.

Bad Dental Habits That you Should Avoid

When it comes to having a healthy and beautiful smile, patients in and around the greater Denver area can count on the team at University Dental Arts. We offer comprehensive general dentistry services, including tips and basic do’s and don’ts for lastng dental wellness.

With that in mind, let’s look at some common bad dental habits that you have to avoid if you want to have healthy teeth and gums.

Not Brushing Your Teeth Enough

People really should brush their teeth at least twice a day, but you might be surprised how infrequently some people brush. To have the best dental health possible, consider brushing after every meal.

Not Flossing Your Teeth Enough

Flossing should be done once a night, but most times people can’t even manage that, which is unfortunate since food particles and plaque get trapped between teeth. Ideally you should consider flossing after every meal.

Brushing and Flossing Too Aggressively

Sometimes people brush and floss enough, but they do it too aggressively. This can harm the gum tissue and make gum recession more likely. Be gentle when brushing and flossing, and be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Using Tobacco Products

Smoking and using chewing tobacco are bad habits in and of themselves that cause many health issues, including cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. Tobacco can also lead to bad breath and tooth discoloration. These are just other reasons to finally quit for good.

Biting and Nibbling Inedible Items

Sometimes as a nervous habit, people may bite their nails, chew on pen caps, nibble on straws, or chomp down on ice cubes. All of these can potentially weaken teeth and cause chips and cracks to occur. Consider avoiding these kinds of actions.

Using Your Teeth Like a Pair of Scissors

Sometimes when a bag or some packaging is difficult to open, people use their teeth to open it rather than scissors. This can result in serious damage to the teeth. When you need scissors, just grab scissors.

Not Wearing Mouth or Face Protection

If you play contact sports or participate in combat sports, potential injury to the head and face is a risk you take. To avoid serious injuries to the mouth and your face, wear proper mouth guards and protective gear.

Snacking on Sugary Foods

Junk food really can rot your teeth out since the oral bacteria in the mouth loves sugar and carbs. Think of healthier options for snacks if you’re feeling hungry.

Drinking Too Much Soda

Soda and other kinds off carbonated beverages can lead to changes in the pH of your mouth, weakening the enamel of your teeth. Go easy on the soda so your teeth can stay healthy for years and years.

Not Staying Hydrated

Dry mouth is sometimes caused by not being hydrated properly. Drink water throughout the day to hydrate. It will keep your mouth moist, remove food particles between teeth, and help control bad breath to a certain degree.

Not Visiting Your Dentist Regularly

Twice a year may not seem like too much, but meeting with you dentist can make a world of difference for preventative care and more advanced treatments. Be sure to meet with your dentist today if you haven’t in a while.

Schedule a Consultation at University Dental Arts

If you would like more information about good dental health habits and how you can improve the quality of your smile, bee sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The entire team at University Dental Arts will work with you to address all of your concerns.

Root Planing and Scaling: The Deep Cleaning Process

At University Dental Arts, we are committed to helping patients in the greater Denver area achieve excellent dental health and wellness. This includes the latest in advanced restorative dentistry to ennhance dental health. That said, the old standbys are still important when it comes to general dental wellness, which is why root planing and scaling is important for achieving excellent dental health results.

What is root planing and scaling?

Also known as deep cleaning, root planing and scaling is an important part of achieving good dental health and wellness. This process involves the removal of plaque and tartar deposits down at the gumline. By performing root planing and scaling, dentists are able to prevent and treat tooth decay and gum disease, helping their patients be their healthiest and smile with confidence.

How does root planing and scaling differ from traditional dental cleanings?

While some people may assume that root planing and scaling is synonymous with a routine dental cleaning, that is not the case at all. In fact, they are quite different.

During a routine dental cleaning, the teeth are flossed, an electric toothbrush is used to polish the teeth thoroughly, and minimal scraping is involved.

By comparison, root planing and scaling gets deep down to the gumline to ensure that it is free from plaque and tartar, and it involves more precise and targeted scraping.

Ideal Candidates for Root Planing and Scaling

The best candidates for root planing and scaling are people who have significant build up of plaque and tartar along the gumline. They should have realistic expectations about the nature of treatment and what it entails, and also have a positive understanding of how the procedure helps prevent future dental health issues.

The Root Planing and Scaling Procedure

During root planing and scaling, local anesthetic is used in order to minimize pain and discomfort. Only one-quarter to one-half of the mouth is treated in a session in order to ensure reasonable treatment times. Breaking up treatment like this also reduces the inconvenience that patients face after treatment with regard to local anesthetic used on the mouth.

While root planing and scaling are often thought of as synonymous, there are actually two distinct actions. Root scaling is the removal of plaque and tartar, while root planing is smoothing out of root surfaces once infected or damaged tooth structure has been removed.

What to Expect After Root Planing and Scaling Treatment

After root planing and scaling treatment is completed, patients can expect temporary tooth sensitivity and tender gums. Avoiding foods and beverages that are hot or cold will prevent issues with tooth sensitivity, as will avoiding spicy foods. Patients should brush and floss at night as usual, though they should be extra-gentle.

Contact University Dental Arts

If you would like more information about root planing and scaling and how it can help you have a healthier and more beautiful smile, be sure to schedule a consultation at our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team here at University Dental Arts looks forward to your visit and helping you achieve optimal dental health and wellness.

Teeth Grinding Treatment: Reducing Pain and Preventing Damage

The team at University Dental Arts has provided patients in the greater Denver area with the latest in advanced restorative dentistry, with a focus on improving dental health and total wellness. This approach is especially important when addressing teeth grinding (bruxism), a problem that many people experience. Let’s take a moment right now to consider the causes of tooth grinding and how it can be properly treated.

What causes tooth grinding (bruxism)?

When it comes to tooth grinding, there are two common causes:

  • Stress and Anxiety – Excessive stress is a common trigger for teeth grinding. When worry runs high, it’s more likely for teeth grinding to occur.
  • Poor Dental Alignment – Teeth tend to grind when the upper and lower dental arches cannot find a comfortable at-rest position.

It’s not uncommon for these two causes of tooth grinding to be simultaneously present. In fact, if you have poor dental alignment, stress can make and already existing case of tooth grinding far worse.

In order to address tooth grinding effectively, it’s important to address the root cause of the problem and take multiple approaches to minimize damage and remedy the condition.

Bite Guards – Protecting Teeth from Damage During Sleep

The use of a bite guard is very common when treating tooth grinding. A bite guard is a protective mouthpiece that is worn in order to prevent direct contact between the teeth of the upper dental arch and the teeth of the lower dental arch. By preventing contact, the stress on the teeth and jaw joint is reduced. This means less pain of the teeth and gums, and a much lower chance of tooth damage occurring.

Stress Management and Relief for Tooth Grinding (Bruxism)

While wearing a bite guard, patients may be advised to look into stress management options. This can be anything from meditation and breathing exercises, the use of anti-anxiety medications, or even involve getting more exercise to help with stress. All of these options can be discussed in greater detail during your visit.

Orthodontic Care Can Relieve Grinding

If crooked teeth and poor dental alignment are the cause of the tooth grinding, orthodontic care is a great option to consider. By improving the alignment of the teeth, patients will be less likely to suffer from tooth grinding and will also prevent potential dental health issues down the road.

TMJ Disorders and Tooth Grinding: Why There Is a Link

A TMJ disorder refers to issues with the proper function of the jaw joint (aka the temporomandibular joint). Teeth grinding is one of the causes of TMJ disorders given the stress that is placed on the jaw joint from the gnashing and clenching of the teeth. This is another risk that’s run if a case of tooth grinding isn’t treated as soon as possible.

What to Do to Address Bruxism and TMJ Disorders

Treating TMJ disorders generally involves similar steps as treating tooth grinding since these are minimally invasive yet highly effective treatments to consider. If the TMJ disorder is severe or more advanced, other treatment options can be discussed in greater detail with your dentist.

Schedule a Consultation at University Dental Arts

To learn more about treating tooth grinding and how to enhance your overall dental health, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. At University Dental Arts, we will help you get the dental treatment that you need to smile with confidence.

Dental Care Services for Families

As your child is growing, it’s important that he or she undergoes regular dental treatment. Those childhood years are crucial for overall growth and development. In fact, good habits and good dental care as a child can help improve overall wellness and dental health in the long run. That’s why it’s important that your child visit with a family and cosmetic dentist as soon as he or she starts teething.

Right now we’d like to devote special attention to children’s dentistry and pediatric dental care services. This will give patients a basic idea of what to expect when it comes to early dental care needs.

Dental Health Issues That Children Face

Some of the most common dental health issues that children face include:

  • Teething
  • Loss of baby teeth
  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth misalignment
  • Malocclusion
  • Tooth damage/injury
  • Growth of permanent teeth

Why Pediatric Dentistry is Important

Pediatric dentistry is a way for dentists to address the evolving concerns of a child’s dental health as he or she grows older. Like doctor visits, pediatric dentistry is so important because it helps identify and treat health issues as soon as they occur. Early detection and action is better than delaying treatment for later in life.

Below are some common pediatric dentistry services.

Basic Checkups and Dental Care

One of the most important things that a dentist can do for your child is the basics. When your child makes a routine dental visit, their teeth can be professionally cleaned, x-rays can be taken to monitor overall growth and development, and basic care can be provided.

Treating Tooth Decay

During these routine dental visits, many young patients may receive dental fillings to address cavities (dental caries). This is a common dental treatment for children and adults, and it helps save a tooth from extraction and serious problems down the road. For major tooth decay, inlays, onlays, and dental crowns may be used instead, though working conservatively tends to be the best for overall wellness.

Pediatric Orthodontics

In general, treating tooth alignment issues earlier in life when a child is still growing is much easier than treating the same issues when a patient is an adult. Pediatric orthodontics can help improve spacing and position of the dental arch, health of the jaw, overall dental alignment, and more.

Dental Care Emergencies

Accidents can happen, and it can be especially scary when such accidents involve your child. We can address many different kinds of dental care emergencies. We simply ask that children seek necessary medical attention first if the accident involves more than just tooth damage, tooth loss, or other forms of oral injury.

Patient Education

One of the most important things that we can offer young patients is education, whether it means discussing the causes of tooth decay or letting them know how to properly brush and floss. At each visit, we will do our best to help patients develop good habits that will last a lifetime. This can result in great dental health well into a patient’s adulthood.

Learn More About Your Dental Care Options

For more information about all of your options for advanced dental care, be sure to contact our Denver dental care center today. The entire team looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you and your child achieve excellent dental health for the road ahead.