Thanksgiving will soon be here, and once again, we will be reminiscing about all the things we are grateful for. For our dental team, that means letting our patients know how thankful we are to get to care for you and your loved ones’ smiles all year round! We work hard to provide consistent, excellent dental care so you and your family’s smiles can thrive. Without you, we would not be here, helping people love and care for their smiles.
National Brush Day
November 1st is also National Brush Day, which was initially recognized in 2013 as a continuation of the Kids’ Healthy Mouths PSA campaign in August 2012. Being observed right after Halloween on October 31st, this day is designed to help parents remember to cultivate the proper brushing habits in their children for better overall dental and general health.
Remember, eating sweets is the number one contributor to cavities from tooth decay. Halloween is a time when we relax the rules and allow more sweets than normal. The same can be said for Thanksgiving pies and Christmas goodies. Most of our holidays are laden with some form of indulgence in everyone’s sweet tooth! National Brush Day is a great time to remind your children to brush and floss every day. Make it fun so their teeth can stay nice and healthy, and remind them brushing doesn’t have to be a chore. It just has two be done two minutes twice a day to get that healthy smile.
Make it fun by dancing along with a fun song while brushing. Make sure they brush around the gum line gently (their gums will thank you), and do not forget to brush in the back of their mouth. Two minutes is all it takes to make a positive difference in their oral health. You can make teeth brushing a family brushing contest, tracking results on a chart. The family member who finishes the competition with the most brushing days gets a prize!
Healthy Teeth, Healthy Body
Walt Disney may have said it best when he said, “I am rarely sick because I brush my teeth.” Indeed, daily, consistent tooth brushing removes harmful bacteria along with stray food particles from your mouth. This essential practice helps maintain healthier teeth and stronger bones, too! Tooth loss affects one in three adults over age 65, and if you have osteoporosis, you are at risk for tooth loss as the jawbone becomes less dense, resulting in tooth loss.
Eating a healthy diet with enough calcium and Vitamin D (along with taking good daily care of teeth and gums) supports strong teeth and bones. Brushing with a soft-bristle toothbrush twice a day and daily flossing is a winning combo in addition to seeing the dentist regularly during the year. This Thanksgiving, help your family be thankful for their smiles and remember that they are brushing (and flossing) their way to a healthier mouth! Better oral health means less time for children missing school and parents from missing work due to problems.
We love seeing our work reflected in your family’s oral health and helping their smiles stay healthy and strong for an even better quality of life. We are grateful to make a positive difference in the lives of our patients by providing quality dental care and giving you something to smile about! We are here for your family’s smiles and are thankful to you for allowing us to take care of your smiles and appreciate your confidence in our dental team! May you and your loved ones have a healthy, happy, and smile-filled Thanksgiving!
Halloween will be here before you know it, and your family will have delicious confections in buckets! You might as well call it candy season because of the number of treats offered at every event this season. Everyone is in the mood to celebrate the change of season and indulge in their favorite spooky treats like candy corn, caramel apples, taffy, and more!
With some careful planning, you can help your family enjoy traditional ghoulish goodies without permanently damaging their teeth. Unfortunately, consuming a lot of candy often leads to cavities because sugar creates an environment in your mouth that is actively conducive to cavity formation, thanks to oral bacteria.
While some bacteria in the mouth are good and promote a healthy oral ecosystem, the rest are bad for you because they increase in number and thrive when you eat sugar. These bacteria then release harmful oral acids that weaken tooth enamel, allowing cavities to form.
Worst Candies for Teeth
While none of them are particularly good for you, some are worse than others. Avoid hard or chewy, sticky candy like the plague they are as these break down the protective tooth enamel layer:
These sweets can also get trapped in between teeth. It makes it harder to clear this bacterial residue away. Normally, saliva works to wash away food particles except for between the teeth, so that is why you need to floss those spaces daily, especially after eating sweets. Fortunately, you have healthier options to protect your child’s teeth during the Halloween season!
Protecting Your Child’s Teeth
Festive Family Halloween Fun
We hope these tooth-friendly tips help you and your child enjoy the frightful festivities while still taking good care of their “fangs.” Halloween is just the start of the holiday season. Dressing up in fun costumes, carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns, and decorating your home with skeletons, ghosts, bats, and witches hats are a fun time for everyone to enjoy Halloween!
September is National Gum Care Month, and it is a big deal for your oral health. Good oral health is the foundation to a healthy-looking, self-confident appearance when it comes to your smile. By ensuring healthy teeth and gums – because when it comes to tooth loss, it is not just from tooth decay and cavities – periodontal disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults! It is why your daily oral hygiene care (combined with regular dental checkups) is crucial to getting the healthy, beautiful smile you want and deserve.
As National Gum Care Month gets into full swing this month, we want to encourage you to get your biannual checkup and cleaning. If you have not already, book an appointment today. We can spot and stop gum disease in its tracks.
Gum disease starts as gingivitis as bacterial infection sets into your gums. It happens if you don’t brush and floss that harmful oral bacteria away, so it builds up into plaque, a sticky bacterial film you can feel when running your tongue across your teeth. If left unchecked, gingivitis continues to thrive until it forms deep gum pockets where it deteriorates gum tissue from inflammation, bleeding, and pain. When gingivitis is found, treatment can be done, and your gums can heal. You might have gum disease if you see the following:
If your gum is aggressive, your gum tissue recession steadily worsens. It can also happen in young people because of vitamin deficiency (rather than just bacterial infection). Any advancing gum disease needs treatment as early as possible to avoid losing your teeth to periodontitis. And it is not just because unhealthy teeth and gums make you look older or because replacing teeth is costly; it is because it affects your smile and your body! Gum inflammation travels through your bloodstream to cause additional inflammatory conditions in your body, including heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune issues.
So what can you do to ensure healthy gums?
Address oral bacteria build-up
Daily brushing, flossing and using an antibacterial mouthwash help minimize germs. Otherwise, they collect and harden from plaque into tartar or calculus. Do not neglect to brush or scrape your tongue every day because it is a large surface that can hold onto bacteria. Your routine dental checkups and cleanings help get rid of tartar and calculus using special instruments. We can even recommend some devices you can use to remove oral bacteria from your teeth and tongue.
Build up your body’s immune system
Help your body resist infection so it can’t strengthen and spread. You will need vitamin C to lower inflammation (which can cause red, bleeding gums). Eat fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, berries, and leafy greens. You can get Vitamin B12 from milk, eggs, and meat, as well as B12 from fortified bread, pasta, and cereals. Omega-3 fatty acids (flaxseed oil and fish are great sources) also fight inflammation and boost gum health. If your diet is restricted, you can also take supplements for vitamin C, B12, and Omega 3.
If you have noticed that your gums are bleeding and regular, gentle flossing around the gum line and between teeth is not helping, you may need treatment. Depending on the stage of gum disease you are fighting, you may need to visit a dentist, periodontist, or endodontist to stop the bleeding and make sure your gums are not receding or leading to bone loss and tooth loss.
This year, do not let gum disease cause tooth loss in your smile. You can achieve healthy teeth and gums. Our experienced team is here to help ensure your smile and overall health are as healthy as possible!
Whenever we begin a new year, we often feel like making resolutions for better habits and better health. Along with better general health, striving for better oral health can make a huge difference in our happiness. That is because the smile and the body are intricately linked, and a healthier smile makes for a more attractive and confident smile. In fact, with proper care, a new year can bring a new smile. Here are some changes you can make to create your best smile for a healthier, happier 2021!
Brush at Least Twice a Day
Brushing your teeth removes harmful oral plaque, protecting your smile against gum disease and tooth decay. Brushing removes oral debris from the front, top and back surfaces of your teeth. It is essential to brush your teeth at least twice a day every day for two minutes each time. Skipping out on daily brushing can quickly harm your teeth as dental plaque wears down the tooth enamel needed to keep your teeth healthy, strong and cavity-free.
Floss Teeth at Least Once Daily
Brushing by itself can’t remove plaque and food particles between your teeth, especially where two teeth touch. Plaque also collects and builds up around the gum line. It doesn’t matter when you floss, morning, or evening, just as long as it is within a 24-hour period. It takes 24 hours for oral plaque to build up around your teeth, and you need to clean those areas where your toothbrush isn’t designed to clean so harmful bacterial buildup can’t harm your smile.
A good choice for flossing is using an interdental brush that fits between the teeth or a water flosser that can easily rinse those areas where your toothbrush can’t. People who floss have healthier gums, which are vital for supporting your teeth. Without flossing, oral bacteria can quickly lead to inflamed gums, bad breath, and gum disease.
Eat and Drink Healthier
A healthier diet is often on the menu during the New Year, and a smile-healthy diet is similar to a healthier diet. Avoiding sugary foods and drinks benefits your teeth, gums, and waistline. Sugar feeds the bad oral bacteria that lead to cavities, not just empty calories. Consuming more fresh vegetables and fruits high in antioxidants benefits your body, teeth, and gums. Drinking more water hydrates your mouth and your body, boosting saliva production, and washing away oral debris, and preventing dry mouth.
Give Up Smoking
Smoking is bad for your body and your smile! Smoking promotes bad breath, stains teeth, leads to cavities, gum recession, gum disease, and tooth loss, not to mention oral cancers. The new year is a wonderful time for a fresh start and a healthier body and smile! You might also enlist the help of a cessation support program if needed. Your body, lungs and smile will thank you!
Visit the Dentist
For a better smile, you need to supplement your daily at-home dental care with biannual dental checkups. In addition to removing hardened plaque from your teeth and around the gumline, our dental team will check for any dental issues you might be experiencing before it grows into something bigger. Starting 2021 with a clean bill of dental health can boost your smile and your wellbeing, setting the tone for a healthier year.
Not only can dental checkups protect teeth and gums, but this is also a time to get needed dental work done. Whether you want to brighten your smile with professional whitening treatments or replace missing teeth, a dental checkup is a great way to start making improvements.
Missing teeth can affect the appearance of your face and cheeks, inflame the gum pockets that are used to hold teeth and leave you feeling self-conscious of your smile. Feeling good about your smile is as important as feeling good about your body, and our smile-friendly habits can help you accomplish both!
Our dental team is excited to help you reach your smile goals and invite you to give us a call today to schedule your next dental visit. We are excited to help you create the healthy, beautiful smile you have always wanted. Call today!
Winter is almost here, and sports activities can find a way to bring a dental emergency into your life during the busy holiday season. Whether you are skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, swimming, or surfing, accidents can happen. It can mean running into a tree while sledding, falling on your face at an ice skating rink, or knocking a tooth out on your surfboard. Your mouth can sustain a dental emergency all year round!
Protecting Your Smile
Whether you are out having fun hitting the snow-covered hills, playing hockey with friends, or even celebrating the season with friends, you usually are not thinking about how you can prevent a dental emergency. It’s what you can do beforehand that will really count! Protecting your smile is as easy as wearing the right gear for your recreational activity, whether that’s a mouth guard, face cage, or helmet.
So, what happens when the unthinkable happens? Seeking help right away can help stop your oral pain and lower the risk of having permanent oral damage. During business hours, calling our office is simple, but what if you have an accident on a holiday, weekend, or in the middle of the night that can’t wait? It might require getting help from an emergency room visit. But first, let’s look at what constitutes a dental emergency.
What Is a Dental Emergency?
Some emergencies can wait until the next morning, but others could result in a lost adult tooth if treatment is not sought out immediately. Ask yourself the following to make that assessment:
Please call us right away if you have any of those conditions, and if you can’t reach us for emergency dental care, visiting the ER is your next best option.
What Is Not a Dental Emergency?
The easiest question you can ask yourself here is, “Can you wait to see your dentist in the next day or so?” It means that a chipped tooth that isn’t causing you pain can be delayed, but a chipped or cracked tooth that hurts or has sharp bits that hurt cannot wait. Sometimes, even a painful toothache can safely wait if it is not accompanied by an abscess or facial swelling, bumps on your gum tissue, or a rising fever. Losing a filling or crown can typically wait several days if necessary.
Dental emergencies benefit from remembering to stay calm. Knowing what to do beforehand can help facilitate that needed self-control, especially when pain is combined with stress, making it harder to think clearly. When should you visit an emergency room if you can’t reach our dentist?
Visiting Your Nearest Emergency Room
When it comes to your oral health, remember to never ignore dental injuries, illnesses, or conditions. Sometimes a problem can wait until you see your dentist, but many times, early intervention is necessary. When in doubt, call our office to make sure! And if you can’t reach us after hours, please seek help at your local ER.
In between dental visits, stay on top of your oral hygiene habits to help keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong throughout the year. And if you are participating in recreational activities this winter, wear a mouth guard and helmet as needed. Speak to our team about what you can do today to prevent a dental accident. Your smile deserves your best care!
Autumn is in full swing, and that means the cold weather is fast approaching (if it isn’t already here)! You may be tempted to hunker down with holiday goodies and snacks, but you do not want to ignore your health or even your dental health. Even if you are busy during this season, you might be overindulging in sweet and starchy treats for the next couple of months. It can spell disaster for your teeth and gums if you are not brushing and flossing daily. Besides, who wants to start the new year with cavities or gingivitis?
Now is the perfect time to feel gratitude for your teeth and gums because they work hard for us every single day. Your mouth helps you speak, chew and smile with confidence. While seasonal treats can be enjoyed, it will help if you stay on top of your daily oral hygiene routine. But that is not the only reason your smile is your ally!
Improved General Health
Healthy teeth allow you to get the nutrition your body needs. You can do this by eating fresh, crisp produce, grains, and protein that your body needs. Poor oral health, especially periodontal disease, can also lead to general health issues like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
When teeth are missing – whether from poor oral hygiene or injury – your teeth help you to speak clearly so you can converse with others each day. Unless replaced, missing teeth can harm your smile, affecting your speech and the alignment of your jaw.
Strong Self Esteem
A healthy smile is a beautiful smile, and when you can smile with confidence, the world seems brighter. Conversely, damaged or unsightly teeth can make you feel self-conscious and reluctant to smile. It can affect relationships with loved ones, friends, coworkers and other public interactions.
Healthy teeth and good breath allow you to smile, speak, kiss, and eat with ease and joy. Poor dental hygiene allows bacterial plaque to collect around teeth and under the gum line, leaving your mouth with tooth decay and bad breath. During the holiday season, take the time to brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss once daily, and, if needed, follow up with an antibacterial mouthwash to keep your mouth sparkling and clean.
When teeth deteriorate, they can be expensive to treat. It starts with fillings, but neglect can lead to decay and extraction, requiring a root canal or dental restoration. Since your dental insurance encourages and pays for your routine dental cleanings, be sure to take advantage of the benefits before they run out and resets in January.
Don’t Skip Routine Dental Cleaning
At the minimum, dental cleanings should happen twice a year unless you have a problem such as gum disease. While brushing and flossing protect your smile every day, they can’t quite remove hardened plaque or tartar. Using a dental instrument, your hygienist removes tartar and polishes your teeth. Another thing your dental team does is take X-rays to spot potential problems while they are still small. It allows them to be treated and fixed while still being economical and less invasive to repair. Preventative care is key to a healthy smile!
When you do need a dentist to address problems with your smile, you can count on us to provide you with everything from cosmetic dentistry to fix stained teeth and remove excess gum tissue. Preventative care may also include dental sealants, mouth guards for sports or night guards for bruxism. With restorative dentistry, we can replace one or more teeth with fillings, crowns, bridges, dentures, or implants.
Top-Notch Dental Care
Be sure to use your dental insurance benefits for 2020 before it resets at the beginning of the new year. Remember, if you don’t use it, you lose it! This season, express your gratitude for your smile and how hard it works for you (and for your dentist!). Together, we can make a great team and make sure your smile is healthy and beautiful all year round. Now that’s something to smile about!
Our amazing team at Real Life Dental loves welcoming patients of all ages to our office! We are dedicated to taking care of you and your family and work hard to provide that quality treatments that you need. We engage with each other and with you to meet your oral health needs and help you achieve a beautiful smile. Please call us at 540-552-5433 to make your appointment with our dentists and learn more about dental care in Blacksburg and Christiansburg, Virginia.
September is National Gum Care Month, so let’s talk about everything related to gums. This month is a good time to reflect on your dental health and commit to taking better care of your gums. Sometimes, we forget your gums help keep your teeth in their place and functioning at top capacity. When your gums are damaged, you risk losing your teeth!
Protecting your gums is simple; brushing and flossing every day is part of a personal dental hygiene practice as well as keeping routine dental cleanings. This way, tartar can be removed and your teeth polished. Your gums can also be checked for signs of trouble and to treat problems early. Stick to a balanced diet to give your gums the nutrients they need to fight disease.
The Problem With Gum Disease
Treating gum disease is most effective when done in the early stage of gum disease because treatment can reverse the progress of gum disease. Once your gums are fighting serious infection, it’s harder to treat and progressively worsens. Like most things medically related, preventative care supports your oral and general health most effectively. When teeth are lost (other than teeth that are pulled for a purpose like wisdom teeth or tooth extraction procedures), the cause is often progressive gum disease. Gum disease is a common problem in our country, affecting around 67 million Americans.
Two Types of Gum Disease
Gum disease is broken down into two types. The mild version is the early stage, called gingivitis. Over time it progresses into periodontitis, a more dangerous phase. Both are caused by bacterial toxins leading to infection. In the gingivitis stage, you’ll see your gums as red, swollen, painful, and bleeding. In the later stage, you’ll see infection from inflammation in the gums, ligaments, and bone surrounding the teeth loosening teeth that either fall out or need to be removed from bone loss.
We urge you to tell your dentist right away if you notice that your gums are bleeding, find sores in your mouth, have gum pain or find yourself with an unpleasant taste in your mouth along with bad breath. Having your gums checked and treated right away will help them stay healthier, longer, and with minimal damage.
Advancing periodontitis involves rapid gum recession. This version often appears with young people having a growth spurt. They may be deficient in vitamins that protect the gums, rather than being overrun by bad oral bacteria. Once gum disease advances because of periodontitis, you may see spurts of infection mingled with improvement as you receive treatment. But gum disease affects the rest of your health, not just your mouth. As a systemic disease, gum disease will spread through your bloodstream to other organs in the body, resulting in inflammation related to diabetes, heart disease and even autoimmune issues.
Preventing Gum Disease
Avoiding gum disease means stopping bacterial plaque in the mouth that leaves a sticky film coating your teeth that you can feel when you run your tongue across them. Brushing twice a day for two minutes each session – followed by flossing – removes harmful bacteria to keep it from building up and hardening into tartar. Some tartar buildup is inevitable around the gum line, and this is one of the main reasons you see your dentist for a professional cleaning every six months. As gingivitis progresses and the gums start to recede from the teeth, bacterial plaque hardens into tartar inside the pockets around the teeth. Without intervention, the bone and ligaments keeping your teeth in position continue to deteriorate until they loosen.
Keep your gums pink and healthy by using a soft-bristled toothbrush (replacing when the bristles start to fray) and enamel strengthening toothpaste. Don’t forget to floss and use an antibacterial mouthwash. Fend off dry mouth by staying hydrated throughout your day and chewing sugar-free gum or lozenges. Be sure to control diabetes if you have it, and quit tobacco use. Limit the sugar in your diet, and incorporate more nutrient-dense and vitamin-rich foods like fruits, vegetables and calcium.
Treating Gum Disease
National Gum Care Month is a great time to see your dentist if you have any concerns about your gums. Once gum disease is a problem for you, you may also need to see a periodontist, endodontist or oral surgeon who can help reverse gum disease. Your smile deserves the best care, so contact our team today!
The mouth is home to millions of bacteria, some of them good and some bad. In fact, half of the bacteria in your mouth can lead to bad breath! National Fresh Breath Day is observed every year on August 6th to create awareness of oral hygiene in the fight against bad breath. It is a daily battle, and how you handle it makes all the difference in the world of healthy smiles.
How Halitosis Thrives
Halitosis, or bad breath, has quite a few causes, and it’s not those garlicky, oniony foods you like so much. Eating pungent food, dry mouth, gum disease and tobacco use are frequent contributors to why your breath is less than stellar. Halitosis also shows up if you have underlying medical conditions and as a medication side effect.
Thankfully, daily brushing and flossing lessen the bacterial activity in the mouth, so your breath smells better. Cleaning your mouth is especially helpful when wearing braces because they can harbor food particles and oral residue. If you’re out and about and can’t clean your mouth after eating, you can also chew sugarless gum or sugar-free mints. These boost your mouth’s natural bacteria-fighting resource, saliva, which helps rinse away bacteria and bits of food particles. So, what can you do to keep your breath fresh?
How to Keep Your Breath Fresh
If you are struggling with bad breath, add a tongue scraper to your daily brushing and flossing routine to remove bacterial plaque. If you wake up in the morning and see a coating on your tongue when looking into the mirror, scraping it off can do wonders for your breath.
Drinking plenty of water throughout your busy day isn’t just good for your body and waistline. Staying hydrated promotes saliva production! Saliva is your mouth’s natural line of defense against oral bacteria leading to halitosis. Conversely, alcohol dries out the mouth, so limiting your consumption is a good idea.
Fun fact: Eating parsley with your meal has antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help your breath smell cleaner. Basil, mint, or cilantro also neutralize odors with their chlorophyll. Eat more plain yogurt since it fights oral bacteria, and chew sugar-free gum with Xylitol to keep your saliva flowing.
Take this month to check in on your breath to see if it’s as fresh as it can be. If you find that you have chronic bad breath, it may be time to schedule a visit with our dental team to make sure you don’t have an underlying condition like gum disease. Treating the causes of bad breath will help your mouth stay healthier, fresher and more appealing!
When it comes to your smile, taking care of your teeth is an investment in your oral health that pays many dividends. With tooth loss, missing teeth can affect you in multiple ways. Even losing just one tooth can cause problems. Some of that is emotional, as people often feel self-conscious and embarrassed to smile if a prominent tooth is missing, but losing a tooth can also impact your oral health. There are a variety of reasons that a tooth may be lost.
What Causes Tooth Loss?
Replacing a missing tooth early on is important, and it’s not just about how you look. It also impacts your mouth, jaw and body as they work together to keep you functioning. Anyone can lose teeth, not just the elderly. It often happens gradually, starting when you are younger and worsening over time if left untreated or there are no changes made.
What Happens When a Tooth Is Lost?
Each tooth is a placeholder and exists for a reason. When you lose one tooth, the rest of your teeth must work harder, placing stress on them and wearing them out sooner. As the remaining teeth shift to fill the tooth gap, it can make cleaning between them much more difficult because you can’t get in to remove harmful plaque and developing tartar. The extra space left behind from the missing tooth tends to harbor bacteria that can spread to nearby teeth. Proper brushing and flossing are essential to prevent gum disease that could lead to more tooth loss.
If a tooth is lost, you may find yourself experiencing the following:
Why Choose Dental Implants?
If you have lost one or more teeth, it is important to replace them for your dental and general health. Common tooth replacement options include a fixed dental bridge, removable partial dentures and dental implants. Thanks to advances in dentistry, dental implants are considered the gold standard for tooth replacement. In particular, implants are rooted in the jaw, preserving jaw bone health by replacing the lost tooth root.
Dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that replaces and integrates the tooth root. While dental bridges and dentures can give you a beautiful smile, your jawbone will keep deteriorating and will require adjustment or replacement in the years ahead. It is where dental implants shine as they maintain jawbone health along with your youthful appearance by preventing the facial sagging effect that can occur with other dental options.
Dental Implants Benefits:
Implants are a three-part restoration:
As you can see, dental implants are most like your natural teeth. If you want help replacing the missing teeth in your smile, dental implants are a proven dental restoration that can have you speaking, eating, and looking your best once again. Give our team a call to learn more!