Keeping Cavities Away: Tips for the Holiday Season

We are entering that home stretch of the year where we celebrate holiday after holiday. From Halloween to New Year’s Day there are festivities each month where we can spend time with family and friends – and eat to our heart’s content! Such a high volume of celebratory feasting can take a toll on more than just your waistline; it can also affect your dental health.

Dental Health and the HolidaysAt All Smiles Dentistry Albion, we believe it is important to head into the holidays equipped with the knowledge to make sure your teeth remain cavity free while still allowing you to enjoy the tasty delights of the season! Here are a few tips to keep cavities at bay during the festive time of year.

First and foremost, as with many things, moderation is important. That is a general health tip, but it also applies to your teeth. If you consume sugary treats, make sure you are eating a substantial meal to dilute the caustic effect that sweets have on your teeth. It is also a good idea to eat less chewy and sucking candies, and choose something that doesn’t linger. The longer it lasts, the more damage it does.

It is always a good idea to brush or use mouthwash after consuming something sweet. Colgate reports that bacteria forms following a meal and often has roughly 20 minutes to attack your tooth enamel unimpeded. Brushing right after a meal can help stop these germs in their tracks and help keep your teeth healthy.

Keep in mind, though, that if you had an acidic treat or meal, you should wait at least 30 minutes to brush. While this may seem to counter the last tip, the reason is that foods with citric acid can actually weaken your tooth enamel, and brushing so soon afterwards can cause more damage rather than helping. Regardless, don’t forget to carry around a portable toothbrush with you to your festivities to keep your teeth fresh throughout the holidays.

One last tip: Water! After eating, you can drink water to help wash away bad bacteria and leftover food particles. Water is a safe option – and helps keep you hydrated – so drinking a glass of water after your meal can help to make your mouth a happier and healthier place.

As long as you are mindful of what you are eating and you are willing to take a few extra preventative steps, your smile will continue to sparkle and shine. You can still enjoy all of the tasty foods and desserts that the holiday season has to offer without having to come to All Smiles Dentistry Albion with a terrible tooth ache. To learn more dental tips for the holidays, chat with your dentist at your next appointment. Call us today at 585-589-0000 to schedule your next visit or request an appointment online now.

Gum Disease May Lead to More Serious Conditions

In previous blog posts here at All Smiles Dentistry Albion, we’ve discussed how gum disease can be damaging to your teeth and gums in the long run, but did you know that unhealthy gums and teeth could possibly lead to a number of other health issues?

Gum DiseaseAccording to a recent article from The Washington Post, studies are looking for correlations between gum disease and myriad other health issues, from diabetes, heart disease and stroke to at-risk pregnancies, pancreatic cancer and even Alzheimer’s disease.

While these studies are interesting and may show some relationship between gum disease and these more serious conditions, this research is still in its infancy, and there’s been no study that proves a direct relationship between gum disease and one of these other diseases. Research is also still being performed to understand the severity of the impact of gum disease and how those who suffer from gum disease may be impacted in other areas of their health.

The numbers so far are intriguing enough, however, for experts to recommend extra gum care for patients who are at-risk for these diseases. Even insurance companies have begun offering extended dental coverage to patients who are suffering from the conditions mentioned above, including diabetes, to help prevent worsening oral health.

These studies offer the first indications that there might be a cause-and-effect relationship between gum disease and other health concerns, which means that it’s all the more important to take good care of your teeth and gums. With regular brushing, flossing and dental cleanings, you can keep your mouth healthy and prevent the possibility of other health concerns down the line.

Whether you’re a patient who’s already dealing with other health issues, or a dedicated teeth-brusher who just wants to keep your mouth and gums healthy, we’re here to help. Our knowledgeable dentists are ready to answer your questions about gum health, and help you keep your teeth and mouth healthy. To make an appointment for your next cleaning, call us today at 585-589-0000 or schedule an appointment online now.

Ecigarettes and Dental Health

Ecigarettes claim to be the new “healthier” alternative to the traditional cigarette. While there hasn’t been enough time yet on the market to study the potential long-term effects of ecigarettes, it’s not hard to see the appeal of these devices. The smell is more appealing than the standard cigarette and the vapor does not taste as burnt as the regular cigarette. But does this really make the ecigarette better for you?

Dental Health and EcigsHowever, ecigarettes can still negatively affect your oral health. Most ecigarette users elect for a solution that contains nicotine as a replacement for smoking, but nicotine itself has been proven to cause oral health issues. These issues can include bad breath, masking symptoms of gum disease and gum recession

Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor which means it restricts blood flow to internal organs. When polled, ecigarette users themselves have also said that they felt mouth dryness and irritation as one of the primary side effects of vaping – symptoms of nicotine causing a reduction in saliva production This, in turn, reduces saliva production, and without the proper amount of saliva, bacteria can build up in your mouth. This can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. As a vasoconstrictor, nicotine can also lead to death of gum tissues.

Nicotine is also a stimulant. If you’re already prone to teeth grinding, this could actually make your grinding habit worse. Grinding your teeth can lead to flat teeth, crowns or even the dreaded root canal. For more information on what issues nicotine can cause, check out this article on Ask the Dentist.

Part of the appeal of ecigarettes is the flavor options, and while the flavor is certainly preferred to burnt tobacco smoke, it still may not be healthy to inhale. Diacetyl, a chemical found in some ecigarette liquids, has been linked to a respiratory infection known “popcorn lung.”

Additionally, a recent study was conducted at UCLA that tested the flavors from several different companies. The vapors tested from some manufacturers contained small particles of metal, silica and carbon – definite hazards to health!

Tests also found that the mouth’s natural defense cavity is severely weakened by ecigarette vapors. An antioxidant called glutathione is crucial to keeping your mouth happy and healthy, but the study found that glutathione levels were reduced by as much as 85 percent after exposed to ecigarette vapor.

If you use ecigarettes and want to learn more about how they affect your health, discuss your habit with your dentist at your next appointment. To schedule a visit, call us today at 585-589-0000 or request an appointment online now.

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body

Oral Health When it comes to our health, we rarely think about the impact our dental health can have on our overall health. The reality is they are very much connected and by not taking care of your teeth you run the risk of developing other serious illnesses. Let’s look at a few aspects of the mouth-body health connection.

If you don’t take care of the pearly whites in your mouth, you run the risk of developing something like periodontal disease. This condition results in a chronic inflammation of the tissue around your gums, an infection below your gum line and disease-causing bacteria in your oral cavity.

Poor oral hygiene can also increase the effects of any preexisting conditions, which can cause more serious effects to your health. For example, if you have diabetes, developing periodontal disease can lead to an increase in your blood sugar levels, making controlling the amount of sugar in your blood stream even more difficult.

The development of heart disease and incidence of stroke is also connected to your dental health. Some scientists believe that bacteria in the mouth that is associated with periodontal disease can attach to our coronary arteries, which can result in the formation of blood clots and the narrowing of the arteries that could cause a heart attack. Inflammation caused by the disease could also allow plaque buildup to lead to swollen arteries, worsening any pre-existing heart conditions such as heart disease.

However, with proper oral care, these risks significantly drop. That’s why keeping up with your regular visits to the dentist are so important. By seeing your dentist regularly, you can keep an eye on your dental health, ensuring that not only you have healthy teeth and gums, but an overall healthy body.

Whether you haven’t been to the dentist in a while or need to schedule your next appointment, All Smiles Dentistry Albion is here for you. We offer gentle, comprehensive dental care that will help keep your mouth in great shape. To schedule a visit, call us today at 585-589-0000 or request your appointment online now!

You Can Wear White After Labor Day with Professional Whitening

Teeth Whitening Taboo style rule No. 1: No wearing white after Labor Day. But in no way does that apply to your teeth!

When it comes to your pearly whites, white is ALWAYS in style. Having stained or yellowing teeth can be a big confidence drag, and that’s why All Smiles Dentistry Albion takes the whiteness of your teeth very seriously. We offer a state-of-the-art whitening program to our patients that will help keep your teeth looking healthy and white, no matter what time of year it is!

Tooth whitening or bleaching is a simple, easy and non-invasive way to whiten your teeth. We use this treatment to change the color of your natural tooth enamel so that the white lasts. The difference between having your teeth professionally whitened and using an at-home kit is your end result. While a professional whitening is not permanent and you’ll likely need to receive a new treatment every few years, at-home treatments need to be repeated much more frequently to ensure that your teeth stay their whitest white. More frequent treatments mean more expenses, more hassles, and results that won’t last as long.

If you choose to have your teeth professionally whitened, we usually need two visits for the treatment. On the first visit, we’ll make a mold or impression of your teeth. These will be used to create custom, clear plastic trays. On the second visit, the trays can be adjusted if needed, and then you’ll take them home and wear them either twice per day for 30 minutes or overnight for a certain period of time with our special whitening solution.

And, for our loyal patients and regular caretakers of their teeth, have you heard about our Free Whitening for Life Program? For every re-care appointment you attend, you may be eligible for one free tube of whitening gel to keep your teeth bright and white – even after Labor Day! Ask your dentist at your next appointment to learn more.

Schedule your next visit to All Smiles Dentistry Albion today by calling us at 585-589-0000 or request your next appointment online now.

 

Pool Swimming and Your Teeth

Swimming in the summer is the perfect way to cool down from hot, unbearably humid days. With so many different people swimming in their backyard pools and at local pools, though, pool owners must treat the water to keep the water safe for everyone. Harmful bacteria in pools are typically killed with chlorine, an antimicrobial agent.

Pool Swimming and Dental HealthWhile chlorine is a great chemical disinfectant, too much chlorine in a pool can have negative effects on your teeth. Though also found in small amounts in tap water, excessive amounts of chlorine in swimming water can prove detrimental to your enamel.

According to Colgate, pools containing too much chlorine have pH levels that can cause enamel erosion. When enamel wears down, teeth may become discolored, the edges of front teeth may look transparent and, in later stages, extreme dental sensitivity sets in when consuming hot or cold foods. Worse, once enamel erodes, chips or cracks, the body cannot repair it.

A study done by researchers at New York University College of Dentistry revealed the effects of high pH levels in swimming pools. The study was based on a 52-year-old man whose complaints included extremely sensitive teeth, dark staining and rapid enamel loss during a five-month period.

The NYU team of researchers concluded the enamel loss was due to the patient’s 90-minute swimming exercise routine he started in the summer, and improper chlorination was ruled to be responsible for the patient’s dental issues. The man had never had professional maintenance done on his pool, and ended up with high pH levels in the swimming water.

So how can you protect your teeth from too much chlorine exposure? Because the pH levels in swimming water are not visible, there are a few things to check out for before you take a swim.

If you are a homeowner and want to maintain your own pool, check your pool’s pH balance once a week at minimum, and if you can, hire a specialist to examine it upon your first use each year. If you’re going to swim in a public pool or on vacation, look at the pool linings, ladders and railings. Water that is too acidic will eat away at such surfaces and produce faded colors, and can do the same to your teeth as well. You could also consider buying some pH strips to test the water before going in. According to the CDC, pool water should register between 7.2 and 7.8 on the pH scale.

Test your swimming water this summer to avoid overexposure to chlorine and make sure your teeth stay healthy in any conditions. Of course, another part of keeping your teeth healthy is seeing your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. To schedule your next appointment, call All Smiles Dentistry Albion today at 585-589-0000 or request a time online now.

What Are the Five Worst Fair Foods?

It’s just about time for the Orleans County 4-H Fair, and we sure enjoy seeing the livestock entries from our neighbors and community members from throughout the county.
But, let’s be honest: It’s really the fair food that brings in many people, drawn one way by the aroma of fried dough and then another way on a wafting whiff of cotton candy.

We’re not going to be a wet blanket now and talk about all the things you shouldn’t eat at the fair. Well, sort of. The saying “everything in moderation” has hung around for a reason – it makes sense. So indulge yourself if you desire at the fair – we’ve heard the pickles on a stick are amazing – but we do encourage you to give your teeth a little extra flossing, rinsing and brushing when you get home.

With dental health in mind, let’s take a look at five of the fair foods that are the most troublesome for your dental health.

Kettle CornKettle Corn

It’s salty, it’s sweet, and it’s only popcorn, right? Guess again. Husks can lodge painfully between teeth, and the sugary residue can remain in your mouth long after you’ve stopped enjoying the popcorn. It’s particularly rough on mouths full of braces. If you must indulge, stop in a restroom and floss thoroughly.

Cotton Candy

We shouldn’t have to tell you about this one – it’s mainly just straight sugar. We know it’s delicious, though, and everybody’s got to have this melt-in-your-mouth confection once in a while. It’s essential that when you’re finished, though, you rinse your mouth thoroughly with plain water to get as much sugar off your teeth as possible until you get home to brush.

Funnel Cakes and Fried Dough

Everyone loves these fair classics, whether doused in powdered sugar, cinnamon powder or both! Of course, with those toppings, you know they could be trouble. The sugars and fats from this sweet treat can easily cause cavities and feed the bacteria that cause plaque. As with anything, enjoy in moderation, and don’t forget to brush – or at least rinse with water – after you’re done.

Chocolate-Covered Anything

At the fair, you can’t forget to have a deep-fried peanut butter cup. Sweet and gooey and fried – it’s a truly summertime taste of Americana. But, of course, there’s a dark side – and it’s not dark chocolate. The chocolate itself, though, is insidious because its sugars can linger on your teeth, working harder than you’d think to destroy your enamel.

Candy Apples

The candy apple is a ubiquitous fair treat, and quite frankly, it’s popular for a reason. Whether you’re in the caramel camp or want your apple in a quarter-inch of hard red glossy candy, you’re putting your teeth in some danger. The candy version offers a good chance to crack a tooth with every bite, and the caramel version isn’t much friendlier. Plus, the sticky sugars of caramel can wreak more damage after the fact, as the sugars can feed the bacteria that destroy your teeth.

We all love our fair treats, but the key is to enjoy them in moderation – and, of course, to brush and floss as soon as you can afterwards! For more dental health tips, talk with your dentist at All Smiles Dental at your next appointment. Call us today at 585-589-0000 or make an appointment online now.

Getting Down to the Bottom of What Causes Bad Breath

No one wants to have bad breath, but few people actually know the underlying causes that lead to this embarrassing problem. Foul-smelling breath cannot just be hidden by a mint or chewing gum; you need to delve much deeper to get to the root of the issue.

Getting Down to the Bottom of What Causes Bad BreathMost of the time, bad breath starts in your mouth – usually caused by the breakdown of food. If you don’t brush and floss daily, food particles can get stuck in your mouth, collecting bacteria and creating bad breath. Specific foods like garlic and onions are absorbed into the bloodstream then expelled through the lungs, contributing to your bad breath. To help decide which foods are causing your bad breath, keep a log of what you eat and the medications you take. Bringing your list of bad breath “suspects” to the dentist is one of the steps to help you resolve the problem.

It is important to take note if you start to have bad breath when you never have before as this could be a sign of a more serious medical disorder. According to Colgate, bad breath can signal local infections in the respiratory tract, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance or a liver or kidney ailment. It can also be a sign of gum disease, which is caused by the buildup of plaque on your teeth, or dry mouth, which occurs when the flow of saliva decreases.

Other causes of bad breath include smoking tobacco, poorly fitting dental appliances, severe dieting and – the big one – poor oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing twice a day is the easiest way to keep your mouth healthy and to avoid bad breath. You should also rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash and keep all dental appliances, like dentures, thoroughly cleaned. Plus, of course, you should see a dentist at least twice a year.

If you feel you have great oral hygiene, but are still concerned about bad breath, discuss this with your dentist. The professionals at All Smiles Dentistry Albion are ready to help you feel confident with your smile – and your breath. Call us today at 585-589-0000 or make your next appointment online now.

Children and Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby Bottles Starting infants and toddlers off with good oral health habits will protect their teeth in the years to come. Though temporary, baby teeth are still susceptible to cavities, and one of the most common problems with children’s teeth is baby bottle tooth decay, or tooth decay in infants and toddlers. Strong, healthy teeth are important for children in chewing their food, speaking and having a strong smile, so taking steps to prevent tooth decay is vital to your child’s dental development.

Most often occurring in the upper front teeth, baby bottle tooth decay is caused by many factors. A common cause is prolonged exposure to drinks that contain sugar. When a baby is put to bed with a bottle or when a bottle is used as a pacifier, baby bottle tooth decay can occur. An increased risk for tooth decay also occurs when your infant or toddler does not receive an adequate amount of fluoride, whether through supplements or your tap water.

Mothers or primary caregivers can pass cavity-causing bacteria to their infant through saliva. So, if you put your baby’s feeding spoon in your mouth or clean a pacifier in your mouth, this can cause bacteria to transfer to your baby from you.

Numerous ways to prevent baby bottle tooth decay exist. For starters, try not to share saliva with your baby through common use of feeding spoons or licking pacifiers. You could also wipe your child’s gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth after each feeding, suggests the American Dental Association. One of the most important ways to prevent tooth decay is to brush your child’s teeth with a child-sized toothbrush and a grain-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste until the age of 3. Increase the amount of toothpaste used to a pea-sized amount between the ages of 3 and 6.

When bottle feeding, use only milk, formula or breast milk in bottles, and avoid filling the bottle with sugar water, juice or soft drinks. Ensure your infant finishes their bedtime and naptime bottles before going to bed. Similarly, avoid sugar exposure by not dipping your child’s pacifier in sugar or honey. Lastly, encouraging your child to drink from a cup by their first birthday can also help encourage healthy oral habits.

One of the best ways to prevent, control and treat baby bottle tooth decay is with a visit to your dentist. All Smiles Dentistry Albion has a passion for helping kids enjoy their dental visits, taking great care to make your child’s visit as comfortable and relaxing as possible. Our flexible scheduling options also help accommodate your busy lifestyle. Make an appointment online now or call us at 585-589-0000 to schedule a visit to take care of your child’s dental health today!

 

Don’t Forget Mouth Guards for Spring Sports

With spring here, children are taking to the fields and playing spring sports again – if they haven’t already. Before your little athlete takes the field, parents need to think about equipping them with a mouth guard.

Mouth GuardsMouth guards help protection your children’s teeth from flying objects, namely baseballs, softballs, soccer balls, tennis balls, basketballs and anything else you can think of. While these sports are fun to play, one bad catch can crack or chip your child’s teeth, requiring sometimes-expensive dental procedures.

April was National Facial Protection Month, an awareness campaign from the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. “Many oral and facial injuries can be easily prevented with the use of sports safety equipment like helmets and mouth guards,” the organization wrote on its information page.

Mouth guards are particularly easy to use. Costing only a few dollars, they can be purchased at any sporting goods store, along with large national retailers like Target and Walmart. All parents need to do is boil them in water, softening them to be put in a child’s mouth where they can mold to your child’s teeth and create a perfect fit.

From then on, the mouth guard will protect your child’s teeth while on the field. Mouth guards prevent many injuries that could otherwise be prevented. They may also make your child feel a little bit more tough, giving them an added piece of equipment that lets them know it’s time to play.

Of course, mouth guards are also for more than just teeth, and studies have shown that wearing mouth guards can cut an athlete’s risk of concussion by more than half. For even more on the concussion protection offered by mouth guards, check out this blog from DearDoctor.com.

At All Smiles Dentistry Albion, we want to treat children with healthy teeth, and we never like to see a child come in with a broken tooth that may need a root canal or other invasive procedures. We’d rather see a child who has worn a mouth guard, taken the time to brush and has a beautiful smile. If you have any questions about mouth guards, call us or ask your child’s dentist at their next appointment. Schedule your next visit online now, or call us today at 585-589-0000.