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Dentists treat a wide variety of dental issues on a daily basis. The unfortunate truth is that many people don’t take care of their oral health in the way they should, and when they visit the dentist, they’re often shocked at the condition of their teeth and gums.

The truth is, day in and day out, most issues that are handled by dentists deal are common. Which are the most common dental issues that could easily be avoided with a little time and effort? It basically breaks down to three problems:

Cavities

We’ll start with the biggie. Cavities are the most common problems that most people are likely to develop, and are often the result of our culture’s sugar-loving lifestyle. A cavity is formed when plaque, which is full of harmful bacteria, builds up on the surface of a tooth and “eats” a hole in it. Unfortunately, your teeth do not have the ability to heal themselves, which means you’ll need to have a dentist fill it.

How can you avoid cavities? The first thing you can do is limit your intake of foods that are high in sugar, which can drastically cut down on the tendency for a cavity to form. But more importantly, it comes down to proper dental care. Develop a daily routine where you’re brushing and flossing twice a day — once in the morning and once before bed — and you’ll see less cavities. The second thing you need to do is visit your dentist once a year for a professional cleaning and exam.

Gum Disease

When plaque attacks your gums, it’s known as gum disease — or periodontal disease, if you want to get fancy (or technical). The first stage of this problem is gingivitis, where gums can become red and swollen, and will easily bleed when you brush or floss. The second stage is periodontitis, where the problem has advanced to the point where your gums will begin to shrink away from the teeth and create spaces that are prone to infection. If left untreated, tooth loss becomes a real concern.

Diabetes and hormonal change can cause gum disease, and smoking is a big contributor as well. Luckily, unlike the formation of cavities, gingivitis can be reversed with regular brushing and flossing. That being said, a visit to the dentist for a proper evaluation can help you get rid of the problem before it becomes more serious.

Enamel Erosion

Think of enamel as an invisible barrier with one job — the protection of your teeth. Unfortunately, enamel can be worn down, resulting in tooth sensitivity, discoloration, cracks, and chips. Tooth sensitivity can be a big deal, because it’s often painful, while erosion of enamel also makes you more prone to cavities.

If you’ve ever visited our blog before, you’re probably well-versed in the dangers of highly acidic food and beverages, which can eat away at your enamel. Avoiding such things, especially favorites like high-fructose sodas, will go a long way to ensure your enamel’s survival. Other ways to protect enamel include drinking water throughout the day to wash away any acid, in addition to brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and soft-bristed toothbrush on a regular basis.

Teeth are essential for a good life, and that’s why it’s so important to take care of them. Brushing and flossing twice a day, in the proper manner, can go a long way to ensuring dental health, and visiting a dentist at least once a year is a great way to keep things going strong. If you’d like to know more about steps you can take or need to set up an appointment, contact Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, and he’ll put you on the path to quality dental and oral care.

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Having a great smile is one of the best ways to get noticed by others. Teens know this all too well. During that time in their lives, appearance is paramount. Looking good can improve self-esteem, and your child’s teeth is often one of the first things that get noticed. If they’re yellow or discolored, your child probably isn’t going to be heading to school as a very happy camper.

Teeth whitening is a safe, effective way for anyone to improve his or her smile, which is why it’s been catching on in recent years. However, if you’re going to allow your teen to get their teeth whitened, there are a few tips you should follow:

Tip #1: Consult with Your Dentist

Before you start any kind of teeth whitening treatment, it’s important that you speak to your dentist about it. Your dentist will examine your child’s teeth and advise you on how to proceed. Although there are at-home whitening treatments, an in-office visit is usually faster and more effective. Plus, your dentist can identify and repair any dental problems prior to treatment, such as cavities or enamel erosion, ensuring that your teen get the very most out of the treatment.

Tip #2: Whitening Toothpaste is Not a Simple Cure

The use of whitening toothpaste has increased in popularity over the years, in part because the idea of whitening your teeth while brushing every day is quite an attractive proposition. However, it’s important to realize that while these toothpastes can be effective in removing surface stains, bigger problems won’t be affected too much. You’re not going to see a drastic change in the appearance of your teeth simply by using a teeth whitening toothpaste.

Tip #3: Avoid At-home Whitening Treatments for Youngsters

The suggested age you’ll hear from most dentists for the use of whitening treatments is around 14 or 15. If your child is under the age of 13, you definitely want to avoid at-home whitening treatments. Instead, confer with your dentist to see what he or she recommends for your teenage son or daughter. If your dentist tells you to hold off a year or two, you should heed that advice.

Tip #4: Explain to Your Teen What to Expect

Teens these days have grown up in a very “immediate” world. Meaning that when they want to see a movie, listen to music, contact a friend, etc., they’re able to do so right within moments due to emerging technology that often fits in their pockets. So you may need to explain to them that teeth whitening will work a little differently. They must learn to be patient so as to avoid overuse of whitening products, which can cause intense tooth sensitivity.

Tip #5: Teach Them How to Avoid Yellow Teeth Post-Whitening

Once treatment begins, it’s important that your teens be told how to keep their teeth from going right back to yellow again. Explain to them that they must limit their consumption of teeth stainers, which include soda, coffee, and smoking. And, of course, proper dental care like the 2-2-2 rule — flossing twice a day, along with brushing twice a day for a period of two minutes — must be followed if they wish to keep their teeth in tiptop shape. And as a bonus, you’ll be able to avoid paying for a second whitening treatment.

Everyone should have a great smile. Whitening is an effective way to improve your smile, but you need to ensure proper dental and oral health in order to make the most of it. For further information, or to set up an appointment, call the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS. He’ll fix whatever problems you have and put you on a regimen to follow that will ensure your future dental health.

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A couple weeks ago, we touched on five bad habits that are ruining your teeth. But if you thought those were the only ones, you thought wrong! Now we’re back with five more bad habits that you should cut out right now or else risk damage and expensive dental work. And without further adieu, here they are:

Bad Habit #1: Brushing Too Hard

As you know, it’s important that you do a good job when brushing your teeth. If you don’t put a good amount of effort into the endeavor, you’ll often be wasting your time. The problem is that some people will get too vigorous with their brushing. If you put too much pressure on your teeth and gums, you may end up causing more harm than good. Hard brushing can wear down your enamel, irritate your gums, and increase your teeth’s sensitivity to cold. In some instances, you may even find that brushing too hard causes cavities. If you feel that you may be a little vigorous, lighten up a little and choose a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Bad Habit #2: Sucking on Lemons

You know that old insult “Go suck on a lemon!”? The funny thing is that some people actually do suck on lemons. They just love the taste of these bitter fruits, and given the fact that people now find hamburgers made with a pair of donuts instead of buns appetizing, we really can’t throw stones. Unfortunately, lemons are very acidic and sucking on them for extended periods of time can corrode your teeth’s enamel, creating a rough texture on the surface of your teeth. If you care about your dental health, this is one habit you should definitely kick right away.

Bad Habit #3: Chewing on Various Objects

As human beings, we tend to get bored very easily. For some reason, this often means that we’ll stick whatever is handy in our mouths in order to keep our brain occupied and pass the time. Certain objects, such as glasses, pens, and pencils, are especially “normal” for such chewing. But as you can imagine, chewing on plastic or wooden items is not healthy for your teeth. Teeth have been known to shift or even crack due to this habit, and it may even damage existing dental work. Our advice: find another way to cure your boredom.

Bad Habit #4: Tooth Grinding and Jaw Clenching

Many people grind their teeth or clench their jaw without ever being aware of it. These actions are typically caused by stress. The bad news is that such severe pressure placed upon your teeth can cause micro-fractures, and sometimes even full-on fractures, to occur in your teeth. Plus, if you’ve had dental work in the past, clenching or grinding can put this work at risk of damage.

Bad Habit #5: Sucking Your Thumb

While a surprising number of adults continue to suck their thumbs (just not in public, so you’ll never know), the primary focus of this bad habit is toward children. Little kids suck their thumbs for a number of reasons, but it mostly has to do with a sense of security or safety. Unfortunately, thumb sucking can cause permanent damage to a child’s permanent teeth over time, specifically misalignment. This misalignment can lead to difficulty chewing, in addition to breathing problems. The sooner you can get your child to stop sucking his or her thumb, the better off everyone will be.

If you need further help breaking these habits or simply need a dental check-up, contact the friendly office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS. We will help guide you on your way to dental and oral perfection.

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Getting your young children to brush and floss is like… well, it’s like pulling teeth, if we’re being perfectly honest. Every parent out there has experienced some kind of pushback when trying to teach and enforce proper dental care habits. Kids simply can’t understand how important brushing and flossing truly is, so they’ll do everything within their power to get it over with as soon as possible. They may even attempt to trick you into thinking they’ve brushed their teeth thoroughly, when they may not have brushed or flossed at all.

If you want a young child’s teeth to stay in good shape, you’ll have to take the bull by the horns and devise a plan to help them along. Here are some quick strategies that we would recommend:

Make Brushing and Flossing Fun

Most young kids don’t like to do anything that they perceive as work. They’ll play video games, watch TV, create Lego monstrosities, and read books until the cows come home, but things like showering, cleaning up, and brushing their teeth aren’t exactly things that make them jump for joy. To counteract this fact, you need to find ways to make brushing and flossing fun for them. Try making up an adventure story of how Super Brush and Wonder Floss are on a mission to defeat the evil Plaque Army. Another strategy is to use a catchy song where they can happily brush and floss along with the tune. Or make it into a counting exercise in the number of brush strokes. The point is, be creative!

Encourage Proper Technique

It can’t be all fun and games, so it’s important that you focus on helping your young children understand proper brushing and flossing techniques. Little kids all want to be seen as older. They emulate their parents pretty much as soon as they’re born. Keep this up in the bathroom by explaining that Mommy and/or Daddy have healthy teeth because of proper brushing and flossing. Then show them your teeth. This will help spark their interest and increase the likelihood that they’ll do a good job.

Give Your Bathroom a Theme

A pleasant atmosphere is often necessary for a child’s happiness and willingness to learn. Ask your child what kind of theme he or she would like, and then model the bathroom in that theme so that they’re more likely to see the bathroom — and perhaps even all the tasks they must perform in there — as a good place to be. The obvious choices are things like SpongeBob Squarepants, superheroes, or something similar. But you could also go for a different kind of theme. For example, one parent who was part of a “movie family” and was having trouble getting their son to brush turned the bathroom into a Jaws theme, complete with a Jaws poster, shark shower curtain, and beach-style toothbrush holder. While Jaws may be too mature for some kids, the point is to make the bathroom their own.

Post a Daily Flossing Chart

As hard as teaching a kid to brush can be, flossing is sometimes in a realm all its own because — let’s face it — flossing is boring and annoying. It’s often a chore for many adults, so just imagine what a kid thinks about it. You can fight this by creating a flossing reward chart. The chart doesn’t have to be too fancy; it just needs to get the job done. Even a printed calendar and a flashy title will do the trick. Then, pick up some stickers and each time they floss, give them one to stick on the chart. At the end of the week, if they’ve flossed each day, reward them with something small. And for a full month, they get something bigger!

Proper dental care is essential for every person, child and adult alike. The office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS understands this, which is why he and his staff are dedicated to giving you the very best treatment every step of the way. If you’d like to set up an appointment or ask any questions about dental health, contact his office right away!

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You can’t lie to us. We know what you’ve been doing to your teeth — and it ain’t pretty!

We’re talking, of course, about the ways that you are damaging your teeth by using them for tasks other than chewing food. Teeth are quite strong, but they’re not invincible. If you keep up with the four bad habits listed below, you’ll only have yourself to blame. It’s time to resist these habits and prevent your teeth from becoming a casualty.

Bad Habit #1: Biting Your Nails

Nearly every child has been told at one time or another to stop chewing their nails. Unfortunately, this habit often follows people into adulthood. In addition to the possibility of making you sick, thanks to the fact that our hands can easily pick up bacteria from everything we touch, nail-biting can damage your teeth, causing them to move out of place. Plus, this nasty habit may lead to broken teeth or worn enamel.

Bad Habit #2: Using Your Teeth as a Tool

Okay. Let’s not mince words here. We have all done this. Whether you don’t have scissors handy to cut open a package, are struggling to twist off the cap of a bottle, or one of a hundred other similar tasks, we’ve all used our teeth as a tool. Our advice? Stop it! Using your teeth on plastic, metal, or some other substance, especially where you’re being forced to exert force, can be extremely damaging to your teeth. And the funny thing is, we don’t even have to explain why!

Bad Habit #3: Chewing Ice

Think of it like this — “water good, frozen water bad” — and you’ll never go wrong. While drinking water is a great way to wash bacteria off of your teeth and gums, crunching on that same water in the form of ice can be a death knell to your teeth’s health. If chewing is the source of your habit, switch to gum. If you like the cold factor of ice, just suck on it and don’t bite down. The pressure being put on your teeth while chewing ice simply isn’t worth the problems it can cause.

Bad Habit #4: Incorrect Use of Toothpicks

The use of toothpicks can be a great way to remove food from between your teeth, especially in a situation where pulling out a string of floss might not be appropriate. The problem is that many people will either use the toothpick too frequently, be overly aggressive with its use, or a combination of both. While brushing and flossing are preferable, the gentle and occasional use of toothpicks is okay.

Bad Habit #5: Drinking Soda

It seems that every time we do a list like this, soda is at the forefront. We’ve stuck it at the bottom of our list this time, but only to give more focus to other bad habits. The truth is, when you drink a soda, what you’re doing is bathing your teeth in acid for an extended period of time. People who work desk jobs and leisurely drink a soda for hours are doing their teeth a disservice. Break the soda cycle and switch to water, which will actually cleanse your mouth of bacteria.

Are you in need of emergency dental care or looking for a new dentist to take care of all your dental and oral needs? Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS has been named a Top Dentist by 5280 Magazine for the past eight years for a reason — because he knows his stuff and he truly cares about your teeth and gums. Contact his office today to make an appointment, and we’ll get you started on a future of excellent dental and oral health.

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Peru Mission Dental Trip 2015

by on September 8, 2015 | Posted in Blog

Well, we made it! I tried to get pictures of our Peru Dental trip up on Facebook, but the internet was too slow and/or I was too tired to make it work!

So, here goes- a short recap of our recent trip to Peru…

We left Thursday morning, bright and early. We had a 15-passenger van and a pick-up with all of our luggage take 11 of us from my home to the airport. We met two more there, to bring our dental team up to 13 people. We flew from Denver to Houston, then on to Lima, Peru, landing at approximately midnight. We waited in the Lima airport for the medical team coming from California, then took probably close to 100 bags through customs!

We checked the bags on to Trujillo, in northern Peru. Then, we had almost two hours to pretend to sleep in the airport. So, an hour’s flight got us to Trujillo, then the usual adventure of getting all those bags loaded onto a chartered bus up into the mountains to our final destination, Cascas. It was about a two-and-a-half-hour trip: far better than eight years ago when we first did the trip and it took four hours! They have really improved the roads over the years.

We had a police escort the last part of the way, and as we neared town, were greeted with several excited motorcycle escorts as well. Arriving in town, we were welcomed with fireworks and a marching band! Then, we had a welcome reception from the mayor and town and county officials, with speeches, music and children’s dance performances.

We dropped off our luggage in the hotel in town, and then took the bus down to the church where the clinic would be set up. Or I should say we took the bus most of the way… the driver had great difficulty getting that big bus down the narrow dirt road, and finally gave up a quarter-mile from the clinic. So, we walked down to lunch provided by the local church folks, and got a truck to ferry the clinic bags the rest of the way down.

After lunch, we set up the clinic, turning the big empty room into a 10-chair dental clinic! Amazing how much stuff it takes! Then, the mile hike up to town and our hotel… a light dinner and crashed.

Saturday morning was church, where I had the privilege of speaking! The rest of the day was spent celebrating our Sabbath, and getting steam up for the following week.

Sunday started our “normal” routine: hike down to the clinic, breakfast at 7am, a short worship talk and orientation, and then to work. We would work until about 6pm, with lunch staggered in as we could around noon. Then, hike back up to the town, or if we were lucky, catch a ride in the old Chevy Suburban we had available. So, that was the pattern for each day.

We would have someone triaging out front, to decide what each person’s primary concern was. Then, they head into the clinic for cleaning, extractions or restorations. We had three dentists and two hygienists on our team, as well as many others doing much needed support. We even had guest appearances by some Peruvian dentists who helped us out. One morning, our two hygienists went to the local school, and did over a hundred fluoride applications, and sent some of the kids who needed further treatment down to our clinic. So, over the week, we saw over 600 patients. Exhausting work, but rewarding.

I was asked to evaluate a person who had a dental condition severe enough that we could not treat it there. I was trying to explain that to him through a translator, who told me the patient said “I cannot understand a word that foreign doctor is saying, but I see love in his face!” If that sort of thing doesn’t touch you, you may need a heart transplant!

On Wednesday night, we had our supper on top of a hill about a mile behind the clinic. Many of the local folk joined us, and we had a big bonfire and a singing competition! Watching the sun slide behind the mountains and the lights of the town blink on is a sight not to forget! But far more wonderful is the warm welcoming spirit and boundless energy of the great people celebrating with us!

On Friday, we closed the clinic down around noon, and after lunch packed up the equipment we would take home. We left a lot of unused supplies for local dentists to use.

We spent Friday night near the Trujillo airport, in a little town called Huanchaco. It is right near the beach, so we could spend a little time resting up before our trip home. Saturday night, we flew back to Lima, then a little after midnight, on to Houston and back home, roughly 24 hours after leaving Huanchaco! A long day to finish a long week!

So once again, I thank all of the team, and all of our wonderful patients who contributed to making this trip a success! THANK YOU!!!

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Oh, sugar. It’s wonderful, isn’t it? Whether your sweet tooth tends to love chocolate or leans more toward licorice or soda, the craving for something sweet can be extremely powerful. In fact, it’s often hard to ignore because not only do sweet treats taste good, some (like chocolate) can cause our brains to release endorphins, those “feel-good” chemicals that make us happy. And we all like to feel happy, right?

Unfortunately, sugary snacks can lead to a whole slew of health problems. Too much sugar aids in obesity and contributes, in part, to diabetes. But, of course, what we’re here to discuss is sugar’s effect on our dental health.

This will come as no shock — sugar is bad for your teeth. Period. Sugar can cause cavities to develop and, if left untreated, will lead to more serious dental health issues. So how do you kick that sugar habit? Here are some quick tips that might help you out:

Quit Cold Turkey

This technique works for many people, but we’re not going to mince words– it could be tough. What this means is that you’ll be making a clean break of your sugar habit and never looking back. If you can resist the urge to ingest sugar, this can help your brain reset, allowing you to lose your addiction. So if you have the willpower, go for it!

Throw Out the Sugar

It’s time to tear through your kitchen and get rid of everything (or at least most things) that contain sugar. Yes, it may be painful to remove all these sweet treats, but trust us — your teeth and overall health will thank you. However, keep two important things in mind. First, when we say to get rid of everything with sugar, we don’t mean to have a sweet tooth free-for-all and devour pounds of candy. And second, if you feel like throwing away so much food is wasteful, perhaps you should consider giving it away to someone who will eat it in moderation. Or, heck, save it for Halloween, which is pretty much right around the corner.

Check the Labels

While the high sugar content of candy bars and soda is quite clear, what you need to be on the lookout for are foods that contain sugar, but are kinda sneaky about it. Even those sports drinks that are touted as being “healthy” often contain high amounts of sugar that can be detrimental to your health. The first thing you should do is check the nutritional information on the back of a package. Next, look for anything that ends with “-ose” on the list of ingredients, as in fructose, dextrose, glucose, and sucrose. Other words to run away from are maltrodextrain, corn syrup, and malt.

Manage Your Cravings

A sudden sugar craving is often hard to ignore, especially if sugar has become a regular item for you to ingest during the day. You can manage these cravings by distracting your brain. Start off by drinking a glass of water. The sustenance could satisfy your mind and body in a similar way that sugar does as you attempt to kick the habit. If that doesn’t work, go for a walk or engage in some other activity. Being active will often cause your food craving to pass. And if not, grab a piece of fruit or other type of food with natural sugar.

Even if you kick your sugar habit entirely, that doesn’t mean that visits to the dentist aren’t important. For proper dental and oral health, it is vital for you to have regular check-ups to take care of any problem that might have developed without your knowledge and to prevent future problems from occurring. Dr. Bruce McArthur prides himself on providing the very best dental treatment money can buy, and can help you devise a plan to ensure your dental health. Contact his office today and we’ll get you started!

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Just last week, we discussed several foods and beverages that are damaging to your teeth. We’d like to switch it up for this week’s discussion and focus on a selection of foods that can actually be beneficial. More specifically, we’re going to focus on a few fruits and vegetables to add to your diet that will not only improve your overall health, but also your dental health. If you don’t already have some of these tucked away in your fridge, it’s time to add them to your grocery list and pick some up as soon as you can.

Citrus Fruits

Yes, we know. In last week’s post, we ended our discussion by explaining that citrus fruits could be damaging to your teeth because they’re highly acidic in nature. While that is true, citrus fruits are also high in vitamin C, which is critical for the health of your gums. We suggest oranges, pineapples, and tomatoes for the best results. The trick is to eat these in moderation and be sure to drink plenty of water to help wash away any acid that stays behind. By doing so, you can improve your dental health rather than harm it.

Fruits Rich in Fiber

Many people don’t realize that when you eat fruits that are high in fiber, your saliva production increases. Saliva helps wash away food particles and bacteria that can damage your teeth and gums, in addition to reducing your mouth’s acid level and preventing dry mouth. The prevention of dry mouth can be especially important, as it can make your teeth more vulnerable to decay. And as an added bonus, chewing fiber-rich fruits massages your gums, promoting their health as well. Popular fruits in this category include apples, oranges, pears, and watermelon. So add a few to your diet and enjoy the benefits.

Vegetables That Promote Strong Teeth

Your body uses beta carotene to make vitamin A, which helps to build strong teeth and bones. This is why eating hard and fibrous vegetables like carrots and celery can be beneficial to your body and dental health. The water content of these vegetables is also quite useful, as it keeps your teeth and gums clean by washing away food debris and bacteria that could otherwise be damaging. And, like fruits rich in fiber, as mentioned above, hard and fibrous vegetables will also massage your gums as you chew. If you’re not a big vegetable fan, we suggest that you grin and bear it, because you don’t want to pass these up.

Onions

They’re not just for making people cry anymore! Indeed, onions are fantastic for your oral health thanks to the antibacterial sulfur compounds contained within them. These compounds kill bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease. While cooked onions are helpful, this vegetable is at its most potent when eaten fresh and uncooked. We don’t suggest you eat one as if it’s an apple like George Costanza did, but if you choose to eat an onion in its healthiest form, be sure to brush your teeth or at least use mouthwash afterwards. Your friends and loved ones will thank you for it!

Eating the rights kinds of foods and avoiding the wrong kinds of foods is an essential part of ensuring your dental and oral health. Eating the fruits and vegetables listed above will help you stay on your path toward strong teeth and gums, but you also need a reputable dentist in your back pocket.

Would you like more dental tips to help you improve your oral health? Are you in need of a check-up or some assistance on how best to care for your teeth and gums? Give Dr. Bruce McArthur a call today and we’ll set you up with an appointment right away!

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Many foods are ingested not only for sustenance, but for enjoyment. With all the sweets, salty snacks, fried foods, and everything else that’s readily available, who can resist all of these tasty treats?

The problem is that in addition to numerous health problems when you indulge a little too much, certain foods can be damaging to your teeth. If any of the following foods are on your list of regularly eaten food, we suggest that you cut down or eliminate them from your diet entirely.

Soda

Let’s start this list with something you should cut out of your diet for a variety of reasons. We’ve touched on the dangers of soda (or pop, if you prefer), but you just can’t repeat it enough times — this sugary drink is not only bad for your overall health, but very bad on your teeth. This is especially true when working an office job or performing some other task where you may nurse your drink for hours and constantly bombard your teeth with acid and sugar.

Ice

As everyone knows, water is great for your body, and can help rinse your mouth of bacteria, thereby keeping your teeth clean. Ice, on the other, is not good for your teeth when you chew on it. Why? Because it’s a hard substance — and anything hard against your teeth can damage your enamel and make your teeth vulnerable to injury.

Hard Candies

Whether it’s jawbreakers or lollipops, the sugar contained in these treats isn’t good for your dental health. What’s even worse (or at least just as bad) is the fact that crunching on hard candies, like ice, can weaken and damage your teeth.

Sticky Foods

This can include anything from gummy bears to certain types of dried fruit. Any type of food that is sticky has a tendency to adhere to our teeth for longer periods of time than foods that are not sticky. If you can’t avoid these, we suggest rinsing your mouth after eating sticky snack, in addition to brushing and flossing carefully.

Potato Chips

Don’t get us started on how yummy potato chips are. Those little slivers of salty goodness are enough to get us excited any time of the day. Unfortunately, many types of chips are full of starch, which gets trapped in your teeth and causes damage over time. The solution is to make sure you floss extra carefully at the end of the day to avoid a build-up of plaque.

Alcohol

There’s nothing wrong with responsibly having a drink every once in a while. Many people love to wind down after a long day or especially long week. That being said, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a host of health problems, and that includes tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral problems due to a reduced saliva flow that would normally help rinse out bacteria. Plus, heavy alcohol consumption also increases the possibility of mouth cancer.

Sports Drinks

Many sports drinks are touted as a healthy alternative to sodas. You should be aware, however, that sugar is a primary ingredient in many of these drinks. This especially includes energy drinks like Red Bull. So before you grab that bottle and guzzle it down, make sure you check the labels for a low sugar content. Or, you know, stick with water.

Citrus

As we all know, fruits are good for your health. You should make them a part of your daily eating habits. However, it’s important that you limit the amount of fruits like lemons and limes because of they’re highly acidic, which can quickly erode your enamel, making them prone to decay.

Do you need more sound advice for oral and dental health? Is it time for a check-up to ensure your dental future? Contact Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS for an appointment today!

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August is the month when millions of children will head back to the classroom after a nice summer break. If they’ve been following a good summer dental routine, that’s great. But after a summer of hot dogs, swimming, and sugary drinks, it may be time to reevaluate their dental and oral health. Here are some quick tips that will help maintain this health as you send them back into the jungle of education:

Tip #1: Eat Healthy at Home

Proper dental hygiene and oral health starts and ends at home. Inside of packing your shelves full of chips and candy, fill your refrigerator with fruits and vegetables. We all know that children have a sweet tooth (many adults do, too!), and the best way to satisfy that sweet tooth is to grab a piece of fruit. Also be sure to provide plenty of whole grains, dairy products, and proteins for a balanced diet.

Tip #2: Send Them to School with Healthy Snacks

Even though kids are often inundated with unhealthy snacks at school, you can help combat this by sending them with healthy alternatives. Fruits will satisfy a sweet tooth and milk will strengthen their teeth and bones. If your child scoffs at drinking milk, send them with some string cheese instead. Also be sure that you discourage picking up sugary snacks with friends after school, especially from the ice cream truck that can commonly be found throughout the U.S. as soon as the bell rings.

Tip #3: Avoid Sugary Foods

It’s been known for decades that foods loaded with sugar aren’t good for you. In addition to multiple health problems, such as diabetes, that can develop after years of ingesting sugary foods, your teeth can become prone to cavities within mere days or weeks. Evidence can be found everywhere that there is a sugar epidemic sweeping the nation, much of which was chronicled in last year’s movie, That Sugar Film. Start off by doing small things like switching out your child’s normal applesauce with a type with no sugar added. Also cut out sticky candies like gummy bears, which are not only chock-full of sugar but can also stick in your child’s teeth.

Tip #4: Avoid Sugary Drinks

Whether you call it pop or soda, one thing we don’t have to tell you about those products is how extremely bad they are for you. Many Americans have a habit of drinking sugary drinks to such an extent that it borders on full-blown addiction. Products like Coke and Pepsi should be given as a special treat to your children, not as a way to satisfy their thirst. Think of soda as a desert. You wouldn’t want your kids to eat 16oz of chocolate cake three times a day, would you? Or, to put it into the simplest of terms, that 16oz bottle of soda is packed with the equivalent of approximately 14 sugar packets. Scary, huh?

Tip #5: Give Your Child a Refresher Course

Before you send your child back to school, it is imperative that you help them get back into practicing good dental habits, which can sometimes be difficult to stringently follow while they’re on vacation, especially if they’ve been away from home. Not only should you make sure that they’re flossing and brushing twice a day, but that they’re following the proper techniques. Getting them back on track should take less than a week or so, and the effects will last throughout the school year.

A quick trip to the dentist just before school starts or soon after can help alleviate many dental health problems. Be sure to contact Dr. Bruce McArthur for your kid’s check-up to help them maintain excellent dental and oral health. We’ll make sure that your child’s school year is a healthy one for their teeth!

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