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Oral Health

bowl of chocolatesJust like you, your dentist in Sparks is overwhelmed this time of year by the amount of sugary Halloween treats on the market. Did you ever notice how much candy there is at every single store, from pharmacies to supermarkets? Where does it all go? (We sure would like to know.)

These little bite-sized treats are tricky because you think you can have one and just be done. You give in to your cravings and then “BOOM” the next thing you know there are wrappers everywhere and an empty bag to boot. We tried these three easy tips to help stop you from wanting to indulge in everything sugary and sweet, and they actually worked. 

Step #1 – Drink Water (Lots of It)

We’re sure you’ve been told somewhere along the way, sometime in your life about the importance of drinking enough water daily. The key is staying hydrated so that your body can function optimally and maintain a proper eating or digestive routine. If you’re craving something sweet, don’t be tempted to reach for an energy drink or a sports beverage. They’re not healthy (like they labels might lead to you believe), and they contain sugar that sticks to teeth and leads to decay. 

While opinions differ about how much water a person should consume each day, there’s a little handy, dandy trick called the 8×8 rule you can use. Most health authorities suggest drinking eight, 8-ounce glasses of water daily, or 8×8! (This is equivalent to about two liters or half a gallon).

Step #2 – Eat Healthy

Cravings for sugar are different than your body telling you it’s hungry. It’s your brain playing a little trick on you compared to when you need to refuel for energy, and your body says it’s hungry. Your mind wants you to eat the sugary treat because you’ll feel a release of dopamine as part of your body’s “reward system.” Try to opt for healthy snacks such as fruits and veggies. Go ahead and eat a meal that’s rich with protein, which is excellent for helping to curb cravings and hunger. 

We understand that eating real, healthy food isn’t the same as diving into that bag of candies or indulging in that cupcake. But your body (and your smile) will surely thank you for making the right choices now, so they’re there for you in the long run.

Step #3 – Get Enough Sleep

Your Sparks dentist will be the first one to tell you how important sleep is in our lives. It does make a difference in both your oral and overall health. Sleep loss can dramatically change the timing and release of certain hormones responsible for controlling your appetite. When you’re deprived of a good night’s sleep (especially regularly), these hormones get released in larger amounts. Your stomach also releases the hormone that makes you feel full in smaller amounts, causing a perfect storm for cravings and binge on sweets.

What’s more interesting is this: studies show that we change what kinds of foods we purchase when we’re overly tired, too! Researchers found that an increase in hormone levels contributed to us wanting to buy foods that are high in calories and sugar. Both our bodies and brains crave the rewards of unhealthy foods when we get less than seven hours of sleep each night. 

We hope you’ll give these three steps a shot, whether it’s on a small or even a bigger level. We know how hard it can be to say no to sweets, no matter what age you are. This time of year, with all of the added pressure, is an excellent opportunity for you to use these tools discussed here to keep your body and your smile healthy. If you have any questions about these tips or would like to know more about how to take care of your teeth, email or give our Sparks dental office a call!

wellness conceptHave you ever heard someone talk about the connection between your body, mind, and soul? Your dentist in Sparks thinks that maybe our mouths should be included with this special connection, too. The fact is that current research and dental technologies are continuing to evolve and improve. As this happens, new light is shed on the direct connection between your oral and overall health. Here are a few tips for understanding what’s going on in your mouth is a window to what’s going on elsewhere in your body.

Tip #1 – Keep Your Gums Healthy

There’s a reason why this is number one! Your gum health is so critically important to the rest of your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, recent studies are revealing new evidence that oral bacteria and inflammation due to gum disease are related to a variety of health issues. They include:

– Diabetes

Heart Disease

– Low Birth Weight

– Premature Births

– Alzheimer’s Disease

– Stroke

Tip #2 – Keep Plaque from Attacking Your Teeth

There’s a good chance that if you tested your mouth right now, there would be about 500 different types of bacteria hanging out there. Some of them are good. Some of them are not-so-good. The harmful bacteria have a good time sticking to your teeth, forming a colorless, sticky substance known as plaque. This stuff attacks your dental enamel and loves to create periodontal problems or gum disease. It’s important to keep your teeth clean and free from plaque buildup. You can do this by:

Brushing – Remember to brush for two minutes, twice a day. If you’re unable to brush or floss, don’t forget to try at least chewing a stick of sugarless gum to help fight bacteria. 

Flossing – Flossing recently got some bad press, questioning whether it’s necessary. We’ll always tell you to say “YES” to flossing. In fact, it’s super important to help keep your gums healthy. Flossing removes the bacteria and plaque that can get stuck between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach. Dental floss is one of your gum’s best defenses against harmful bacteria. 

Seeing Your Sparks Dentist – Remember to keep up with your regular dental appointments and cleanings. We make scheduling a visit comfortable and convenient, so you don’t have to worry about any hassle or issues. It’s important to have regular dental care so that we can monitor any changes to your gum and smile health.

Tip #3 – Keep Eating (and Drinking) Right

Remember to treat your body and your smile right by eating healthy. One of the most significant contributors to tooth decay and gum disease is sugar. Try to limit sugary drinks and foods for you and your family. This includes sodas and sports drinks that seem to be so readily available these days. Always opt for water when you’re feeling dehydrated. Having a balanced diet is a critical element of having optimal oral and overall health. Check out the “Food Plate” guidelines courtesy of the USDA to see how easy it is to maintain a proper, simple diet. You’ll get an idea of what food options are an excellent choice and which ones you should avoid altogether. 

At our Sparks dental office, we’ll always stress the importance of taking care of your teeth so the rest of your body can stay healthy too. We can’t wait to see what research uncovers as science and technology progresses each year. Always remember that giving your mouth the same attention you give the rest of your body is going to help ensure you’re able to live a long, happy life. Talk to us about scheduling your next dental visit today!

Re-posted with the permission of Perio Protect.

The end of Summer is bittersweet at best. The pool gets covered. Your sandals shuffle their way to the back of the closet. And the smell of sunscreen is slowly replaced by pumpkin spice.

But on the upside, there’s a little less chaos and a little more structure as the kids head back to school with their new haircuts and spiffy sneakers.

Though the shift may seem more dramatic than a screenager’s social media feed, back-to-school also happens to be a great time to evaluate your personal health routine along with the routines of the rest of your family. So once you remind yourself how to set the alarm clock, consider adding more thorough oral care to your morning preparations.

With Perio Protect, you can make a noticeable improvement to your oral health and minimal adjustment to your schedule.

The custom-molded Perio Trays® hold bacteria-fighting medication in the treatment zone long enough to clean deep below the gum line. But the best part is this comprehensive system won’t disrupt your morning. Consider this potential schedule.

7:00                Alarm goes off

7:09                Hit the snooze button again

7:18                Get up, panic a little

7:19                Start the water in the shower

7:20                Squeeze Perio Gel into your trays, pop ‘em into your mouth and step into the shower

It’s that easy.

7:21                Sing songs, rinse, repeat

7:30                Dry off

7:32                Hair stuff, deodorize, clothe yourself, etc.

7:35                Pop out the trays, brush your teeth

7:45                Grab a bar and hit the door

See? It’s easy. You may not have even noticed how Perio Protect snuck right in there. But give it two weeks, and it’ll be a highly repeatable habit. You’ll experience, whiter teeth and fresher breath while you fend off gum disease-causing bacteria.

Talk to your dentist about how your can augment your routine and improve your overall health while addressing oral health.

Original content posted HERE – Read More about PerioProtect

woman getting dental fillingYour dentist in Sparks will tell you that there are many reasons why a filling becomes loose or comes completely out. Let’s take a look at some common causes, and some tips you can use to help you feel more comfortable until you can see the dentist and get your filling fixed.

Why Do Fillings Fall Out?

Sometimes we put a lot of pressure on our teeth when we chew. This can cause a restoration to weaken and fall out. Also, as time wears on, your saliva can eat away at or loosen the bonding your Sparks dentist used to secure your filling. Sometimes the tooth that houses your restorative filling becomes subject to decay and deterioration. Other times fillings simply fall out because we bite down on something hard like a candy or popcorn kernel. Whatever the reason for your failing filling, be sure to have it fixed as soon as possible. Your tooth will be exposed to bacteria and unwanted food particles, causing sensitivity and even decay down the road. 

What Should I Do Now?

First things first, give our Sparks dental office a call. If you’re unable to do that or get to the office right away, we have some tips to help you with your failed filling.

Tip #1 – If your filling didn’t fall out entirely or is loose, see if you can get it out — gently. If it stays in, there’s a chance you could swallow it or even choke.

Tip #2 – Your unfilled tooth is a welcoming environment for harmful bacteria to make a home and destroy your tooth. Be sure to brush gently and carefully. Rinse with water to make sure you’re removing any debris. Saltwater is great! Mix one cup of warm water, and one teaspoon of salt then rinse.

Tip #3 – Watch what you eat so that you don’t further damage your tooth. Avoid things that are sticky or hard. You don’t want anything getting stuck in your tooth or run the risk of breaking it when you bite. Keep foods simple and soft until you get a new filling. 

Tip #4 – If you’re experiencing any sensitivity or pain, it’s usually OK to take over-the-counter pain medication to dull your discomfort. Try not to use any temporary dental cement to put your filling back in place. They tend to be messy, and you run the risk of further damaging your tooth. 

What Will the Dentist Do?

One of the first things we’ll do when you come for a visit is to assess your damaged tooth thoroughly. We might even take some digital photos, too. We’ll use our training and cutting-edge technology to figure out what’s the best fit for your smile. If your tooth has not deteriorated or if it’s not severely decayed, we’ll be able to fix it with a new filling. Whatever treatment you need, take comfort in knowing you’re always in good hands at our dental office in Sparks

We hope you learned a little something here today and that you’re able to get to the dentist soon. Failing or lost fillings are no fun! There’s no reason to panic though there’s a simple solution for every smile. We’re happy to be your dental partner and get your smile healthy and happy again!

e-cigVaping seems to be almost everywhere nowadays — on TV commercials, print advertisements, and radio spots. Sometimes the ads even claim that vaping is a healthier, safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. But how much of that is true? At our dental office in Sparks, we looked into vaping and just how ‘safe’ this safer alternative is. Let’s see what we found. 

Whole Body Concerns

Vapes, or e-cigarettes, have been in the U.S. since 2007, but their popularity seems to have increased rapidly over the past few years. Because of this dramatic surge in popularity, science and research regarding these devices is a little behind. But recent studies show us that maybe vaping isn’t as safe as we may have thought. Vaping may be linked to an increased risk of pneumonia, rapid heart rate, congestive heart failure, and stroke. So while we may have once believed vaping was a safer alternative to smoking, that simply may not be the case. 

Oral Health Concerns

More research on how vaping affects oral health is needed, but more and more studies continue to find that there are certain risks involved, including: 

Dry Mouth

Many vape liquids include the ingredient propylene glycol, which is known to cause dry mouth. Dry mouth, if not treated, can greatly increase the risk of decay, cavities, and gum disease. Not to mention, dry mouth can also cause some serious chronic bad breath, which can be a challenge to overcome. 

Inflamed Gums

A 2016 research study found a potential link between vaping and gum disease. To be more specific, vape juice caused an inflammatory response in the gum tissue that can put you at risk for gum disease. 

Cell Damage

Vaping may also destroy cells’ DNA and inhibit their ability to divide a grow. Basically, vaping can kill cells and cause bad breath, bone loss, tooth loss, and gum disease. 

Focus on Quitting

Even though some people may have started vaping to help them quit smoking, there’s conflicting research regarding its effectiveness.  For example, one study found that e-cigarettes helped current smokers reduce the number of cigarettes they smoked by about half, while another suggested that smokers who use e-cigs are 59% less likely to quit. Instead of trading one habit for another, try to focus on proven ways to break away from nicotine once and for all. Consider:  

Finding what works for you may take time, but don’t give up. Quitting greatly reduces your risk of health problems caused by smoking and vaping.

If you are a smoker or use e-cigarettes, make sure you always see your dentist in Sparks every six months to keep a proactive eye on your oral health and so that any problems such as oral cancer or gum disease can be caught early.   

seniors take selfieAugust 21st is Senior Citizens Day, and there’s no better way for our dental office in Sparks to celebrate than by sharing some oral health information for the favorite senior citizens we have in our lives and their families.  

The truth is, our oral health needs will vary as we celebrate more birthdays, and needs will also differ from person to person. That’s one reason we believe in treating each person with individualized, custom care. When it comes to the senior population, there are a few unique things to be aware of. 

Unfortunately, there’s no way we can stop ourselves from getting older. But there are things we can do to help protect our teeth for life. Always brush twice a day and floss once a day, and get a professional dental cleaning and check-up at least twice a year. If you’re overdue for your dental appointment, we welcome you to call our Sparks dental office to schedule a visit with us today. 

summer foodOne of the best parts about summer is all of the picnics and the delicious foods that go along with them. And while all of the treats are delicious, they may not all be great for your teeth. At our dental office in Sparks, we’re here to help by giving you a list of the best and worst summertime snacks for your smile. 

Best Summertime Snacks for Teeth

Yummy raw, crunchy vegetables aren’t only great for your body, they’re fantastic for your teeth, too. Snacks like broccoli, carrots, celery, and peppers gently scrub away plaque buildup and give your teeth a little bit of a cleaning. This helps protect your smile against decay and can even help freshen breath. 

Veggies sweeter cousin fruits are also a great snack option. Not only are many fruits fresh and in season this time of the year, but they can also help clean your teeth and rub away plaque. Kiwis, for example, have calcium which is always great for your bones and, of course, your teeth. Another fan favorite is raw apples.

Another tasty snack that can help remove plaque is cheese. But this yummy food is also loaded with calcium and vitamin D. The duo of calcium and vitamin D is a powerhouse that works together to build super strong bones and teeth. Cheese can also increase saliva production, which will help rinse away bacteria and sugar. 

Summer Snacks That Can Harm Teeth

Dressings, sauces, and dips can seem harmless enough but the truth is these condiments are a sneaky danger. BBQ sauce and ketchup, for example, contain a lot of sugar and are acidic — both of which are bad for teeth. 

It’s well-known that your dentist in Sparks isn’t a huge fan of soda, and with good reason. Soda is packed with tons of sugar which essentially coats your teeth when you drink it. Sugar is one of your smile’s natural enemies as it can feed bacteria, wear away enamel, and increase the risk of decay. 

Drinking alcohol can greatly increase the risk of gum disease and decay. Certain types of alcohol can also lead to tooth discoloration. Lastly, alcohol can cause dry mouth, further putting teeth in danger of decay. 

At our dental office in Sparks, we’re not here to tell you to avoid these summer treats, we simply recommend enjoying them in moderation. Additionally, it’s always wise to drink plenty of water after eating or drinking alcohol to help wash away sugar or food particles.

man with toothacheNobody ever wants to experience an emergency, including a dental emergency. Dental emergencies, including injuries to the mouth, teeth, or gums, can be painful and scary. Knowing what to do for a dental emergency depends on the nature of the injury. Our dental office in Sparks is here to give you some tips on what to do for several of the most common types of dental emergencies.

The Most Common Dental Emergencies

The best thing you can do in the event of a dental emergency is to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Sparks as soon as possible. But there are some ways you can relieve discomfort and increase the chances of an easier treatment in the meantime.

Avoid a Problem

Even though nobody can really anticipate a dental emergency, you can help reduce your risk of one by making sure you see your dentist in Sparks every six months for regular checkups. These visits can help identify any potential problems before they become a painful surprise. You can also watch what you eat and make sure you wear a mouthguard when playing sports to further protect your smile.  

The team at our Sparks dental office is here to help our patients and community stay healthy. Schedule an appointment with us today!

dental x-raysWhen you visit our Sparks dental office for a checkup, there’s a good chance we may need to take some x-rays of your teeth – especially if it’s your first time seeing us. Both you and your dentist will benefit from the valuable imaging that the x-rays have the power to collect. Since dental x-rays are so valuable, let’s get to know a little bit more about what they are and how they work.

What Exactly is A Dental X-Ray?

X-rays (also referred to as radiographs) can be 2D or 3D images that quickly become an important part of how your Sparks dentist prepares an accurate treatment plan. The images give us an idea of what’s going on inside your mouth, highlighting your jaw bone health and tooth structure that lies beneath your gums and enamel. It gives us the added ability to find out if something is going on inside your mouth or teeth that’s not 100 percent visible to the naked eye.

With the advancements in dental technology, there are many different types of x-rays available on both traditional film and digitally. Most dental offices have made the switch to digital x-rays because they tend to emit nearly 80 percent less radiation than film x-rays. Many dentists find that digital x-rays free up appointment times and are easy to save to a patient’s file for future reference and use.

Intraoral and Extraoral: The Two Main Categories of X-Rays

Besides having the ability to be either taken on film or stored digitally, x-rays are divided down into two other categories of either being intraoral or extraoral. How it breaks down is pretty straightforward, and it goes something like this:

Intraoral x-rays – involve any imaging taken from INSIDE your mouth

Extraoral x-rays – involve any imaging taken from OUTSIDE your mouth

Intraoral x-rays give us the chance to see really minute or fine details of both your supporting bone and teeth. They are the most common type of dental x-ray and provide an extremely high level of detail to help us diagnose cavities, examine your tooth roots, look over your bony areas, check the status of developing teeth or ones that have yet to erupt, and more.

Extraoral x-rays are usually relied on to help dentists and orthodontists focus on the bones in your head, particularly your upper and lower jaw. Think of them as x-rays that can help us see the big picture of what’s going on in and around your head and mouth. They help us look at growth and development, monitor impacted teeth, and assess bite issues. Extraoral x-rays tend to be less detailed than the intraoral variety.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

Most of the x-rays used in dental offices across the country today give off a minimal amount of radiation. It’s important to note that you should always limit your exposure to x-rays and avoid repeated use as it can damage cells over time due to the small, continued radiation aftereffects.

Dental x-rays are certainly safer than ever thanks to advancements in dentistry over the years. Dentists now rely on using lower x-ray dosages, higher quality film, film holders, and well-designed, full-body aprons lined with lead. It’s important to note though that most of the modern dental x-ray technology that’s available today give off very little stray radiation.

We hope you’ve learned a little bit about dental x-rays and how critical they are in helping your dentist in Sparks make sure your mouth is always in optimal health, from your teeth to your bones. X-rays can help you big time because they allow us to detect issues early before they become more costly to fix down the road. If you have any questions about your dental x-rays or when you’re due for a new set, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

foods with calciumWe believe in doing everything we can to help you have a healthy smile at our Sparks dental office, and that includes helping you decide what nutrients are good for your teeth. Today, we thought we’d focus on calcium because it’s beneficial for strong bones and teeth.

#1: Calcium can help protect your teeth.

Your bones and teeth store nearly all of the calcium within your body, according to findings from the National Institutes of Health. Calcium can make your teeth more resistant to bad stuff such as cavities and decay.

Besides making your bones and teeth stronger, calcium also helps your muscles and blood vessels work more effectively. Babies need calcium to help their teeth and bones grow strong. Young children are the same way.

#2: Adults need the right amount of calcium in their diet.

Your Sparks dentist will tell you calcium is 100% good for your smile because it can help strengthen your enamel so that you’ve got added protection against early tooth deterioration. That’s why adults should make sure that they monitor their calcium intake too, in order to avoid osteoporosis or brittle bones as they age. But what is the daily recommended amount of calcium for adults? According to the Mayo Clinic it’s around:

MEN

WOMEN

#3: Calcium doesn’t always have to come from dairy.

Helping your smile stay healthy with calcium can be tricky if you struggle with lactose intolerance… or simply don’t eat or like dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, and milk. The good news is that companies are starting to wise up and fortify their food products with calcium. You’ll see this in orange juices, waffles, and even tofu. Canned fish, leafy greens, almonds, beans, and soy milk are calcium-rich dairy substitutes you’re welcome to try at home.

Getting the right amount of calcium in your diet, no matter what your age, is very important to help keep your smile and your gums healthy. It’s really a benefit that your whole body will thank you for. We thank you for reading your blog. If you have any questions about your smile or need to schedule a visit with your dentist in Sparks, call us to get started.