May 29, 2013

How To Maintain Healthy Teeth

We hope you care about maintaining healthy teeth.  Maintaining healthy teeth is part of maintaining a healthy smile and contributes to your overall health.  There are some simple steps for you to keep in mind.

Toothbrushing is one of the most important aspects of maintaining healthy teeth and gums.  Toothbrushing is responsible for keeping about 20-25% of your mouth clean.  It is important for cleaning the biting surfaces of your teeth, and the cheek side and tongue side of your teeth.  It is best to use a soft bristle toothbrush when brushing.  The most effective method of toothbrushing is called The Modified Bass Brushing Technique.  The toothbrush bristles are vibrated under the gums (there’s a space between the gums and the teeth), and the toothbrush is held at a 45 degree angle.  It is a very effective method for removing plaque and food particles at the gumline.  For people who have problems with dexterity, an electric toothbrush may be more effective.  A good indication that you need a new toothbrush is when the toothbrush bristles bend or every 2-3 months – whichever comes first.  If you use toothpaste, use a pea sized amount, and brush the biting surfaces first to avoid the abrasiveness of the toothpaste being placed at the gumline of the teeth, where the enamel is thinner.

Brushing twice a day, once in the morning and once before bedtime is suggested.  Three times a day (or after meals would be ideal, but who lives in an ideal world?!).  If you can’t brush after every meal, swish water in your mouth and then spit it out or swallow it after meals.  If you only brush once daily, do it at night before you go to sleep to get the most benefit because it causes much greater damage to go to sleep without brushing because we are not clearing out anything in our mouths while sleeping and food and bacteria left behind are left to do damage totally undisturbed.

Flossing protects the sides of your teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach, and that accounts for the other 75-80% of your mouth that requires cleaning.

The simplicity of maintaining healthy teeth depends on daily brushing and flossing.  The hard part is doing it, so get to work (please)!

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May 22, 2013

Health Benefits To Spicing Things Up

Last week we started a conversation about the health benefits of spices, and today we will continue with more information for you to spice up your health.

Fennel seed is surprisingly effective at relieving indigestion.  Fennel is easy to grow, and it keeps coming back year after year.  It can settle the stomach as well as many over-the- counter products.  Fennel seed relaxes the smooth muscles that line the digestive tract, relieving flatulence, bloating and gas, as well as nausea and vomiting, motion sickness, and abdominal pain.  Store-bought fennel seed also works well.  Fennel seed can be eaten whole (it tastes and smells like anise), or made into a tea by pouring boiling water over it.  Use ½ to 1½ teaspoons per cup.  There is a caution using fennel – because fennel seed can increase estrogen levels, it should be avoided by women who are pregnant or breast-feeding or who have an estrogen-sensitive medical condition, such as estrogen-responsive breast cancer.

Garlic is known for its positive cardiovascular health effects, but did you know that it also boosts immunity, so is helpful in preventing the common cold?  To help cure or prevent a cold, add a clove or two of garlic to all soups, sprinkle garlic powder on toast, and/or mix diced raw garlic with olive oil and vinegar to add to salads or as a bread spread instead of butter. 

Saffron, a spice derived from a small, blue crocus, acts as a potent antidepressant and has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for this purpose.  No one is sure how it works, but its active ingredient, corcetin, appears to enhance blood flow to the brain.  Research conducted has shown that 30mg per day of saffron powder (about one-tenth of a teaspoon) relieved mild-to-moderate depression as effectively as standard doses of the antidepressant medications Prozac and Tofranil.  Saffron can be used in herbal tea or chicken paella.

So we’ve seen quite a few spices that when added to our foods can spice up our health and quality of life. 

Remember to visit for useful dental and health information.

May 15, 2013

Spices With Health Benefits

Did you know that sprinkling cinnamon on your food helps control blood sugar levels and using ginger can ease nausea? There are other less familiar spices that offer health benefits as well. In some cases, spices can be just as helpful as medication for people with certain conditions – and safer.

Oregano helps alleviate osteoarthritis and other inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. This favorite spice for Italian and Greek cooking contains compounds that have many of the same effects as the drug Celebrex. Oregano contains dozens of anti-inflammatory compounds that act as muscle relaxants and pain relievers. Oregano actually protects the heart by helping to prevent blood clots and irregular heart rhythms, unlike Celebrex, which may actually increase heart attack risk in some people. Use oregano liberally on salads, pizza or sauces. It also can be used in mint or spearmint tea.

Calendula, or marigold, contains powerful plant-based carotenoids – particularly lutein and zeaxanthin - that help protect the eyes. In addition to being powerful antioxidants, these compounds absorb damaging blue-light wavelengths from the sun. These compounds have been associated with reduced risk of cataracts. Calendula makes an excellent addition to homemade vegetarian soup.

Onion contains blood-thinning compounds that have a blood pressure-lowering effect. Onion also acts as a natural diuretic, which lowers blood pressure by helping the body excrete excess fluids and salt. The most effective part of the onion is the thin outer skin and fresh onion is more potent than onion powder and cooked onions.

We’ll continue with more information about spices and health next week. In the meantime, feel free to visit us at

May 8, 2013

Handling Dental Emergencies

Last week we began a discussion of different dental emergencies and how to handle them, and now, to continue the subject. 

If a crown falls off, make an appointment as soon as possible and bring your crown with you so it can be recemented (or the cause of it coming off be evaluated to determine if something more than recementation is needed).  Your teeth can move if you don’t recement your crown promptly and if the teeth move, you may incur the time and expense of having to make a new crown.  Until you get to your dentist you can place the crown back using denture adhesive, Vaseline, or toothpaste.  Don’t eat with the crown placed in this way and never use glue of any kind yourself.

If you bite your tongue, cheek or lips or otherwise injure them or your gums, most likely you will bleed.  First rinse your mouth with warm salt water.  Then use a gauze or a moistened tea bag and apply pressure to the bleeding area.  You can help control pain with a cold compress placed 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off.  Call your dentist if bleeding doesn’t stop.

If a tooth gets knocked out you want to see your dentist as soon as possible.  Teeth that have been knocked out have the highest chances of being saved if the patient is seen within an hour and the tooth returned to its socket.  Please refer to two previous posts, 9/11/12 and 9/18/12, which discuss this topic in detail.

If a back tooth breaks, make sure no food becomes lodged in the tooth and avoid eating anything hard, crunchy, or sticky until you see your dentist.  If you chip or break a front tooth, you will have to see your dentist ASAP to handle this cosmetic emergency (which always seems to happen before an important event, presentation, or meeting).

We hope having discussed some of these common dental emergencies has been helpful guidance for you to handle these dental emergencies you may face.

For other dental information visit

May 1, 2013

What To Do In A Dental Emergency

What would you consider a dental emergency?  If you have pain that interferes with your ability to function, that certainly is a dental emergency and if you’ve sustained trauma to your teeth or mouth, that is a dental emergency.  There also are “cosmetic” emergencies, and those can be just as immediate as pain or injury.  What are common dental emergencies and how can you handle them?

Of course, there’s the infamous toothache.  Sometimes a toothache could happen because food is wedged between the teeth.  So use some floss and make sure there’s nothing lodged there.  If the nerve of the tooth is infected and dying, you most likely will experience spontaneous throbbing.  Your bite could feel different and you may have pain that radiates to your ear, temple or cheek.  Sometimes you can’t even tell which tooth is the culprit.  Do not put heat on your face.  If there’s swelling you can apply a cold compress until you can get to a dentist.  Never place aspirin or any pain reliever in your mouth along the gum area of the tooth.  You can badly burn your gums and cheek.  Sleep with two pillows if you can’t see a dentist until the morning.

If you have an abscess, it is because the tooth nerve has died.  The symptoms of an abscess usually start as a constant throbbing pain.  Your tooth may also hurt when you bite down, and eating hot foods or beverages may increase your pain.  If left untreated the infection can spread to your face and cause facial swelling.  Sometimes pus collects inside your mouth by the infected tooth.  This swelling inside the mouth will hurt more and more until it bursts, or your dentist drains the pus from the area.  Call the dentist immediately so that you can be prescribed antibiotics and an X-ray can be taken to diagnose and treat the abscessed tooth appropriately.

We’ve discussed the toothache and abscesses as common dental emergencies and we’ll continue discussing dental emergencies, including “cosmetic” emergencies in our next blog.  Until then visit for other dental information.