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As Christmas grows nearer, the desire for all those little Christmas goodies are likely to increase. Whether you have a weakness for yams, candy canes, cookies, or whatever else, there’s a good chance that your willpower will be tested over the holiday.

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of indulging. Everyone does it. However, you must be cognizant of the fact that many of your favorite yuletide treats are loaded with sugar — and that can spell bad news for your teeth and overall oral health. To help you avoid such problems, here are some quick tips for you to follow:

Watch What You Put on Your Plate

Sounds simple enough, right? Yet that’s where so many people fail. After all, with everything going on — the excitement of seeing your family and friends, giving and receiving gifts, enjoying holiday music, and maybe even watching a little football — it’s so easy to get caught up in having fun, so that when everyone forms a line to get food, you just plop down everything you see. We don’t want to take away all of your enjoyment of the holiday, of course, but we suggest that you load up with some healthy items, plus some sweets on the side. Also remember to pace yourself and avoid going back for seconds.

Make Sure That Someone Brings Fresh Fruits and Veggies

Yes, we know it’s Christmas time and everyone wants to bake cookies or craft their favorite casserole. This is all fine and dandy, but there should also be healthy options, such as fresh fruit or a veggie snack tray. You can make a snack tray yourself, of course, but during such a hectic time, it’s probably easier if you just go pick one up at the store. They’re pricier than making one yourself, but they obviously take much less effort. Whether you bring it yourself or make sure someone else will, it’s always nice for those who are trying to stay healthy, for both their weight and dental health.

Bring Sweet Treats That Are a Little Healthier

If you want to indulge your sweet tooth while also limiting the amount of sugar in your desserts, try a holiday favorite that is somewhat healthier than others. Strawberries covered in dark-chocolate, homemade pumpkin pie, and fruit tarts are all better than, say, a chocolate pie with graham cracker crust. We guarantee that these items will be just as popular as anything else being offered. Yes, these items still have a good enough of sugar, but every little bit helps. Your stomach will thank you and so will your teeth.

Take a Walk Before Grabbing Dessert

Have you ever been eating a meal and instead of gradually feeling full, it just happens all at once? That’s because it takes approximately 20 minutes for your body to tell your brain that your stomach is full. This is why many health-conscious people tend to eat smaller meals, or at least to eat at a slower pace. So after you’ve eaten the main course and sides, take a walk around the block to allow some time to pass. Then, once you get back, you have a better chance at realizing how full you are, which means you’ll eat less of the dessert.

As we said, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of indulging. However, if you want to keep your teeth healthy, we recommend that you follow the above tips. In addition, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon after the holiday as possible. Instead of waiting, give Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, a call today and we’ll get you started on better dental health for the upcoming year.

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It’s that time of year again — reindeer, snowmen, fancy lights, and — for some people — gifts. Giving Christmas gifts can be a very fun and rewarding experience. It’s always the thought that counts, but why not give a person something they’ll actually love? Finding a great gift for a family member or friend often boils down to frivolous items, ranging from TVs and iPhones to video games and knick-knacks. There’s nothing wrong with these types of gifts, of course, but what do you do when someone you love prefers more practical items?

If someone on your Christmas list is conscious about their dental health, we just might have the perfect idea of something to stick under their tree. And if an item on our list catches your eye, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to unwrap one of these beauties yourself.

Water Flosser

Everyone knows how important flossing is to your dental health, but it can also be a little annoying. Years ago, certain brands made strides in the development of floss to avoid the string coming apart and getting stuck in your teeth. For many people, these new flosses were a godsend. But now, there’s an even better alternative — the water flosser. This device works by spraying a powerful water jet that removes debris and bacteria from your teeth. It has been clinically proven to be more effective than normal flossing. It’s especially useful for people who wear braces or suffer from gum disease, but will keep everyone’s teeth clean.

Ultraviolet Toothbrush Sanitizer

We’d all like to think that our toothbrushes are free from germs before we put them in our mouths, but the truth is that microorganisms and bacteria can quickly collect on your toothbrush. This is especially common when someone doesn’t replace their toothbrush often enough. Don’t lie — we know it’s a common problem. You can help keep your family member or friend healthy by giving them an ultraviolet toothbrush sanitizer, which uses UV light to kill those nasty critters. That way, the toothbrush is clean from germs every time it’s used.

Electronic Toothbrush

If you’re looking for a way to instantly improve a person’s oral and dental health, giving the gift of an electronic toothbrush is definitely the way to go. When used properly, an electronic toothbrush will clean better and more thoroughly than manual ones. Of course, it’s possible that a dental-conscious person will already have an electronic toothbrush. If that’s the case, buy them an upgrade one. And, remember — kids love them, too, because they’re fun to use. Give one a try and see for yourself!

Toothpaste Tube Wringer

We can put a man on the moon and a powerful mini-computer in our pocket, but we just can’t seem to develop a toothpaste tube that gets all of the toothpaste out. Sure, there are certain tubes that do a better job than others, but an aftermarket product like a toothpaste tube wringer is the most versatile — and effective — way to make sure that you get the most toothpaste out of that tube as humanly possible. It’s a great way to avoid waste and save money.

If you’re looking for a great gift for yourself or someone you care about, you can’t go wrong with any of these items. Just remember that even if you have the very best devices on the market meant to improve oral and dental health, you still need to be seeing your dentist on a regular basis. You’ll probably be eating a lot of food throughout the holiday, so when you’re ready for that much-needed check-up, contact Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, and we’ll get you started for 2016!

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If you have kids, there’s a good chance that you know how hard it is to get them to focus on good oral hygiene. Children just don’t have the ability to truly understand the importance of oral and dental health. To them, it’s a chore that must be done, and they don’t like that.

This is where you come in. As a parent, it is imperative that you help them to understand its importance. But even more so, you need to find ways to get your children into the habit of brushing and flossing on a regular basis. But, it doesn’t stop there. Healthy teeth are an essential part of the puzzle, but they also need to learn other basic hygiene tips. Here are a few strategies you can use for all of your child’s hygiene needs:

Lead by Example

Children mimic the things that parents do. If you don’t follow proper hygiene procedures, chances are your children won’t either. So before you start your children on any kind of plan meant to improve their hygiene, make sure that you are already doing all of those things. If not, they’ll become confused as to why you say one thing and do another.

Provide a Demonstration

Whether you’re talking about brushing, bathing, or anything in between, children need to be shown what to do. It may not stick with them the first time, so be prepared to repeat yourself until the child understands the best way to perform each task.

Positive Reinforcement

Children instinctively want to make their parents proud and will respond favorably when you provide them with positive reinforcement. A great way to do this is to create a chart that can track their hygiene activities, which can include brushing their teeth, flossing, washing hands, bathing, etc. Set up a prize at the end of a certain cycle and they’ll actually want to follow the procedures.

Books and Stories

There are plenty of books available on the market that help children realize the importance of good hygiene. They’ll teach kids about germs and bacteria, and how brushing their teeth, washing their hands, and other such activities will keep them healthy and safe. And if your child has a smartphone, you can also download apps to the phone that provide the same kind of information.

Design a Routine and Stick to It

If your hygiene routine is all over the place, it will be hard for a child to stick with it. What you need to do is design a hygiene routine for morning, day, and night, and then make sure you stick with it as much as possible. After a while, the routine will become an automatic response.

Make It Fun

Let’s face it — brushing and flossing can be an extremely boring chore. Children need stimulation if you want them to follow a routine. You’ll want to figure out what is best for your child, but two popular ideas is to use character-oriented toothbrushes and toothpaste, and to play a song that they can dance or sway along to while they’re working on their hygiene.

Good hygiene is important for everyone, and instilling that into your children is the best way to ensure that they grow up to be hygiene-conscious adults. In addition to the tips listed above, you also need to take them to see a dentist on a regular basis. If you need to make an appointment for check-up or cleaning, whether it’s for your children or you, contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, today and we’ll get your entire family started on good oral and dental health.

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We all know the importance of using toothpaste. That often minty substance that’s applied to our toothbrush and smeared all over our teeth with the help of out trusty brush is an essential part of the tooth cleaning process. And afterwards, it makes our teeth and mouth feel and taste squeaky clean, doesn’t it?

In the old days, toothpaste selection was rather simple. There were a few different brands, and while some may have included the declaration that their specific toothpaste was recommended by “four out of five dentists,” choosing a tube for your family or for yourself didn’t take a lot of brain work.

Of course, as with many things, times have changed. If you visit the toothpaste section of your pharmacy or grocery store these days, you’ll find yourself inundated by more brands and types than you can probably imagine. What are the differences between them? Let’s break it down so that you can make your choose more easily:

Fluoridated Toothpaste

This constitutes more than 90 percent of the types of toothpaste you’ll see at the store. Fluoride will strengthen enamel, which protects your teeth against damage. This is the mostly commonly used toothpaste, so if you’re not looking for anything with bells and whistles on your way to fighting tooth decay, the choice is simple.

Children’s Toothpaste

Ingesting a minimal amount of fluoride isn’t harmful, but too much isn’t good for you. Children have a tendency to swallow what they shouldn’t, so it’s best to keep them away from fluoridated types. Instead, look for children’s toothpaste. These have less fluoride than the toothpaste designed for an adult. Some are even fluoride-free. Plus, toothpaste made for kids are less abrasive, have fewer chemicals, and come in a variety of colors and flavors. Hmm… too bad adults can’t use it!

Whitening Toothpaste

If your teeth have surface stains, picking up a whitening toothpaste might be a good choice. These fluoridated toothpastes aren’t as effective as professional whitening products or procedures, but can help with mild discoloration. You shouldn’t expect immediate results, but used consistently, you should see improvement over time.

Tartar Control Toothpaste

When plaque isn’t properly removed from your teeth, it hardens and becomes known as tartar. The only way to remove tartar is to visit your dentist and have it systematically removed with a pick. If you’re prone to tartar build-up, though, a tartar control toothpaste can prevent tartar from forming, which can save you a whole bunch of time and hassle. However, don’t make the mistake of using it in lieu of flossing — you still need to do that, too.

Sensitive Teeth Toothpaste

People who have sensitivity to hot or cold when eating or drinking also have problems with discomfort when brushing their teeth. Picking up a toothpaste specifically designed for such a problem is your best bet. How does it work? Quite simply, the active ingredient in the paste blocks microscopic holes leading to a tooth’s nerve endings. Keep in mind, though, that this type of toothpaste will take up to a month to start working, so don’t give up if immediate relief isn’t realized.

Denture Cleansers

If you have dentures, you’ll probably find that regular toothpastes work quite well in getting them cleaned. Brushing denture will also clear out any food particles stuck between the teeth. However, effervescent denture cleansing tablets have been proven more effective when it comes to cleaning dentures because they get into every spot, some of which you could easily miss.

Do you need help choosing the toothpaste that is right for you? Are you due for a cleaning or dental check-up. Contact Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, and we’ll get you started on the road to dental and oral health.

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When you get up in the morning, do you find yourself experiencing a sore jaw? Or do you have a headache that hits you like a ton of bricks before you’ve even opened your eyes? We hate to break it to you, but it’s possible that you’re grinding your teeth at night.

Teeth grinding is often an overlooked condition because many people dismiss it out of hand. To them, it’s nothing more than an annoyance that they are forced to endure. What they don’t realize is that grinding your teeth can lead to damage if you don’t get it under control. It will often case erosion of your tooth enamel and may even cause damage to any dental work you’ve had done, both of which are an obvious concern that can worsen if the problem isn’t handled.

There are a few different causes of teeth grinding — medically known as bruxism — that you should be aware of. The most common causes are physical. Perhaps you have an abnormal bite or crooked/missing teeth. Other causes are mental, primarily stress or anxiety. No matter the cause, it’s a good idea to see a dentist to help you deal with the problem. Until then, you can try these countermeasures:

Relax Your Jaw

Once you’ve been grinding your teeth, your jaw is going to feel sore. What you want to do is help it to relax. You may be surprised to learn that massaging your jaw can do wonders. Doing this throughout the day in short intervals can relieve the pressure and give you a great deal of relief. Also, if you have a habit of chewing on non-food items such as nails or pencils, cut it out. You’re just making the problem worse.

Relieve Your Stress

If there doesn’t seem to be a physical source of your grinding, then you may be under too much stress. We’re not experts at stress, of course, but we’ve learned some things over the years that have helped patients out tremendously. Exercising and meditation are two fantastic ways to lower a person’s stress level. Other treatments include taking a warm bath, splurging on a spa treatment or massage, reading a book in bed, or anything else that relaxes you.

Wear a Mouth Guard

A serious problem often calls for a serious solution. A mouth guard, which can be custom-made by your dentist, can be used to help protect you from teeth grinding in the same way that one can protect an athlete while playing sports. This won’t stop you from grinding your teeth, but will keep your enamel safe when you do. It may appear a bit unsightly and take some getting used to, but this may be your best bet if the problem persists.

Be Aware of the Problem

Most people who grind their teeth during the day have no idea that they’re doing it. What you need to do is pay attention to what you’re doing, and if you find yourself grinding your teeth, relax your jaw. The biggest defense against this specific area of the problem is to stay aware of it at all times. If, however, you’re grinding your teeth at night, a visit to the dentist is the way to go.

Whether you’re grinding your teeth, trying to improve your smile, or need a thorough cleaning, visiting your dentist on a  regular basis will help improve your dental health. Everyone at the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, is dedicated to giving you the very best service — and the very best teeth — possible. Contact us today to make an appointment.

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