Don’t Leave Oral Health Behind During Holiday Travel

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10 Tips to Keep a Healthy Mouth on Holiday Trips

We don’t have to tell you: the winter holidays mark one of the busiest seasons of the year. With shopping, parties and vacations jam-packed on the calendar, it’s no wonder that many people take shortcuts when it comes to oral health maintenance during this time. If you are traveling during the holiday season and you want to avoid a January surprise cavity (or worse), here are some simple tooth travel tips to help you keep your smile intact.

1.      Don’t leave home with a toothache! If you suspect you have any lurking problems in your mouth, schedule an appointment prior to your travel date so that you don’t end up with a tooth emergency while out of town. Research emergency dental clinics in your destination city and have those numbers handy to ensure that your time off is as relaxing as possible.

2.      No one ever regrets buying travel-sized gear. Keeping a travel toothbrush, floss and toothpaste on hand in addition to trial sizes of your favorite toiletries reduces your packing time, and not just during the holidays.

3.      Carry a travel kit. If your luggage gets lost, at least your oral health won't be compromised.

4.      Splurge on probiotics! Diseases and germs run rampant in buses, airports and other communal places that you might encounter during your trip. Researchers believe that probiotics are not only good for the gut; they may help maintain optimal oral health too!

5.      Chewing gum is a limitless oral-health-on-the-go tip! Bringing sugar-free gum with you has multiple benefits; not only does it taste good and make your breath smell fresh, but the gum can help remove food that may be stuck in your teeth as well, acting as a secondary toothbrush.

6.      Instead of digging out that spare toothbrush that stays in your travel kit, consider spending the spare change and buying a new one for your next trip. Old faithful has served you well, but travel toothbrushes tend to get tossed around in a variety of germ-ridden environments. While you’re at the store, purchase a toothbrush cover with holes for ventilation and some extra floss in case your current supply unexpectedly runs out (it happens to all of us).

7.      Pack smart. Make sure everyone has packed their own toothbrush. Sharing toothbrushes can spread cavity–causing bacteria, even among family members.

8.      Use a toothbrush cap. Protect your toothbrush from germs with a travel toothbrush cap. Once you reach your destination, make sure to take the cap off because it can lock in moisture and create a breeding ground for germs.

9.      Keep healthy snacks around. Pack healthy snacks such as veggies, nuts and string cheese. Avoid crackers and chips, which will stick around in your mouth and can feed the harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay.

10.   Drink plenty of water. Drinking water rinses away bad-breath–causing bacteria that sit at the back of your tongue. The bacteria can also result in gingivitis and other oral health issues.

And of course, keeping up with regular brushing and flossing is as important as ever! Don't let your oral health routine fall by the wayside just because your regular work and school schedules are disrupted.

Sources: DeltaDental.com, HighlandParkPerio.com

 

 

12 Significant And Quirky Facts That Make Flossing Essential!

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How important is flossing in the health of your teeth? According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), flossing is the single most important weapon against plaque. In fact, it can be even more important than brushing (and takes less time!) when it comes to preventing tooth loss, cavities, and periodontal gum disease.

Floss removes plaque and debris that sticks to teeth and gums in between teeth, polishes tooth surfaces, and controls bad breath. By flossing your teeth daily, you increase the chance of keeping them for a lifetime and decrease the chance of getting gum disease.

Most people cite lack of time as a reason for not flossing. However, the AGD says flossing even two or three times a week has its benefits and is far better than not flossing at all.

So let’s get right down to it! Here are 12 significant facts that make flossing essential!

·        Flossing removes plaque between our teeth that our toothbrushes miss. This is something we all know, but did you know that when you don’t floss, food that sits between your teeth is actually rotting and can be a main cause for bad breath? Gross!

·        It has been thought that flossing before brushing can help the fluoride from our toothpaste better reach between our teeth.

·        In order to floss efficiently, you need to use a piece of floss that is 18 to 20 inches long.

·        Improper and irregular flossing leads to bleeding gums.

·        You should use a clean section of your floss to clean around each tooth. This will avoid transferring food and bacteria from one tooth to another.

·        There are two main types of floss: monofilament (plastic/rubber type) and multifilament (nylon/silk floss).

·        Both types of floss mentioned above come in flavors (and unflavored) such as mint, cinnamon, bubblegum and even bacon. Yes, I said bacon-flavored floss.…

·        Flossing saves you money. It plays an essential role in maintaining healthy teeth and gums. An unhealthy mouth can lead to a number of ailments and diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.

·        Seventy-three percent of Americans would rather go grocery shopping than floss!

·        Americans spend $2 billion a year on dental products—toothpaste, mouthwash, and dental floss.

·        Men floss less than women do.

·        Brushing your teeth without flossing is like only washing 70 percent of your body.

Teeth Are Always in Style!

Flossing takes up very little time in your day, but the impact of not flossing is greater to not only your teeth, but your overall health as well! Americans are living longer and keeping their own teeth, too. Yes, it is possible: with a good oral health routine and regular dental checkups, you can have your own teeth for as long as you live!

 

Sources: ModernDent.com, DeltaDentalIns.com

 

Can’t Afford Dental Care? You Can With This Plan

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Lehigh Valley Smile Designs Dental Care Membership Is Just $199

At Lehigh Valley Smile Designs, you will find gentle, affordable, convenient dental care. With our special Dental Care Membership, you will no longer worry about overwhelming dental expenses. Our membership is limited to allow for maximized dentist to patient time insuring a truly unique dental experience.

Why offer this membership?

People who do not have dental insurance often put off their care. Small issues grow into major problems such as root canals that could have been avoided with timely preventive care.

Better than employer-sponsored programs

Employer-sponsored dental programs result in payroll deductions, but don't cover all of the services. Dropping employer-sponsored plans can result in saving money and receiving better coverage at the same time. Plus, you don’t have to deal with deductibles, yearly maximums, and no waiting periods to begin treatment. The Dental Care Membership begins immediately on membership registration.

How Our Plan Works for You

For a flat fee you will receive the following dental services:

No Additional Charge Services

  • Adult dental cleanings (twice per year – does not include patients with periodontal disease)
  • Dental examinations (twice per year)
  • Digital bitewing X-rays (once per year
  • Digital full mouth X-rays (once every 5 years)!

20% Off Services

(deducted from our usual and customary fees)

  • bruxism appliances
  • non-cosmetic crowns and bridges
  • implants
  • inlays and onlays
  • partial dentures
  • tooth-colored fillings
  • periodontal therapy visit
  • root planing and scaling
  • ZOOM!TM or BOOSTTM in-office whitening

10% Off Services

(deducted from our usual and customary fees)

  • Invisalign invisible bracaes
  • full dentures and implants
  • multi-unit cosmetic crowns or bridges
  • porcelain veneers
  • simulations (a way to view your new smile_
  • smile makeover
  • velscope

With our special Dental Care Membership, you will no longer worry about overwhelming dental expenses. Call us today for additional details or to get signed up.

 

 

 

10 Tooth Brushing Techniques to Improve Your Smile

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To get the most benefit from brushing, you have to do it correctly.

Most of us learned to brush our teeth when we were children. We have stuck with the same brushing technique into adulthood. Unfortunately, many of us learned how to brush the wrong way. And even if we learned the right way, we might not always stick to it. Brushing correctly is tricky. You want to remove plaque without brushing too hard and damaging your gums.

Brush at least twice a day. One of those times should be just before you go to bed. When you sleep, your mouth gets drier. This makes it easier for acids from bacteria to attack your teeth. Also try to brush in the morning, either before or after breakfast. After breakfast is better. That way, bits of food are removed. But if you eat in your car or at work, or skip breakfast, brush first thing in the morning. This will get rid of the plaque that built up overnight.

Brush no more than three times a day. Brushing after lunch will give you a good midday cleaning. But brushing too often can damage your gums.

Here’s the correct basics of brushing:

Place your toothbrush bristles at a 45 degree angle to the gumline.

Use just enough pressure to feel bristles against your gums and between teeth. (Don’t squish the bristles.)

Move the brush back and forth, using short strokes. The tips of the bristles should stay in one place, but the head of the brush should wiggle back and forth. You also can make tiny circles with the brush. This allows the bristles to slide gently under the gum. Do this for about 20 strokes or 20 circles. In healthy gums, this type of brushing should cause no pain. If it hurts, brush more gently.

Roll or flick the brush so that the bristles move out from under the gum toward the biting edge of the tooth. This helps move the plaque out from under the gum line.

Brush chewing surfaces straight on. Clean the inside surfaces of front teeth by tilting the brush vertically and making up-and-down strokes with the front of the brush.

Your toothbrush can only clean one or two teeth at a time. Move your brush frequently to reach every tooth and make sure you brush for two minutes.

Watch yourself in the mirror to make sure no tooth is left behind.

Brush lightly. Brushing too hard can damage your gums. It can cause them to recede (move away from the teeth). Plaque attaches to teeth like jam sticks to a spoon. It can't be totally removed by rinsing, but a light brushing will do the trick. Once plaque has hardened into calculus (tartar), brushing can't remove it. If you think you might brush too hard, hold your toothbrush the same way you hold a pen. This encourages a lighter stroke.

Brush for at least two minutes. Set a timer if you have to, but don't skimp on brushing time. Two minutes is the minimum time you need to clean all of your teeth. Many people brush for the length of a song on the radio. That acts as a good reminder to brush each tooth thoroughly.

Brush your tongue. Oral bacteria can remain in taste buds. Brush firmly but gently from back to front. Do not go so far back in your mouth that you gag. Rinse again. 

Keep It Clean

Do you always rinse your brush? You should. Germs from your mouth and teeth can stay on it if you don’t. It will also get rid of leftover toothpaste that can harden bristles.

You shouldn’t use a disinfectant to cleanse your toothbrush. Just rinse it and let it air dry. Don't put it in a case where it will stay damp for a long time.

Most of us store our brushes in the bathroom -- not the cleanest place in the house. To keep yours tidy, stand it up in a holder. If you leave it on the counter, you could expose it to germs from your toilet or sink. Don’t let brushes touch each other if they’re stored together.

Let it air dry - a moist brush is more likely to grow bacteria. Use a cover that lets air in when you travel.

When it comes to preventive care, there is no “bad” time to dive in. There are different ways to brush correctly. Your dentist or dental hygienist can show you the method that might be best for you.

 

Sources: Web MD, Delta Dental, Simple Steps Dental, Mouth Healthy (ADA)

 

 

 

 

 

Need Dental Care But Feel Like You Can’t Afford It?

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Lehigh Valley Smile Design’s Affordable Dental Care Membership May Be Just Right For You

As low as $199 for an annual membership

Why offer this membership?

People who do not have dental insurance often put off their care. Small issues grow into major problems such as root canals that could have been avoided with timely preventive care.

Better than employer-sponsored programs

Employer-sponsored dental programs result in payroll deductions, but don't cover all of the services. Dropping employer-sponsored plans can result in saving money and receiving better coverage at the same time. Plus, you don’t have to deal with deductibles, yearly maximums, and no waiting periods to begin treatment. The Dental Care Membership begins immediately on membership registration.

How Our Plan Works for You

For a flat fee you will receive the following dental services:

No Additional Charge Services

  • Adult dental cleanings (twice per year – does not include patients with periodontal disease)
  • Dental examinations (twice per year)
  • Digital bitewing X-rays (once per year
  • Digital full mouth X-rays (once every 5 years)!

20% Off Services

(deducted from our usual and customary fees)

  • bruxism appliances
  • non-cosmetic crowns and bridges
  • implants
  • inlays and onlays
  • partial dentures
  • tooth-colored fillings
  • periodontal therapy visit
  • root planing and scaling
  • ZOOM!TM or BOOSTTM in-office whitening

10% Off Services

(deducted from our usual and customary fees)

  • Invisalign invisible bracaes
  • full dentures and implants
  • multi-unit cosmetic crowns or bridges
  • porcelain veneers
  • simulations (a way to view your new smile_
  • smile makeover
  • velscope

With our special Dental Care Membership, you will no longer worry about overwhelming dental expenses. 

 

How Long Do Americans Spend Brushing Their Teeth?

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And What Percentage of Americans Make Their Partner Brush Before Kissing?

 The common advice when you brush your teeth is to spend a minimum of two minutes brushing. How do you compare to what is recommended – and how do you compare with the national average? And what about that kissing question – do you know the answer?

 The Results Are In

 Most Americans do it twice a day – once at bedtime and once after getting up in the morning – for an average of one minute and fifty-two seconds. These are some of the findings on tooth brushing from a recent national survey by Delta Dental .

 Nearly seven of 10 Americans (69 percent) brush their teeth at least twice a day, the amount recommended by the American Dental Association and other dental health professionals. However, that means more than 30 percent of Americans aren’t brushing enough.

On average, Americans brush for just under the two minutes recommended by dental professionals. African Americans brush 18 seconds longer than Americans as a whole, while younger adults ages 18 to 24 spend 16 seconds longer than average brushing.

Nearly six of 10 Americans brush their teeth at bedtime and as soon as they wake up in the morning, while 38 percent brush after breakfast. About 17 percent brush after lunch, and 21 percent brush after dinner

According to the Delta Dental survey, 91 percent of Americans brush most frequently at home in their bathrooms over the sink. However, about 4 percent say they most frequently brush in the shower. Americans ages 18 to 44 are twice as likely to brush in the shower.

Brushing Habits Linked with Oral Health

 Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste is key to good oral health. In fact, according to the Delta Dental survey, people who brush at least twice a day are 22 percent more likely to describe their oral health as good or better compared with those who brush less frequently.

Unfortunately, 23 percent of Americans have gone two or more days without brushing their teeth in the past year. Nearly 37 percent of adults ages 18 to 24 have gone that long without brushing.

Flossing is another area that could use some improvement. Only four of 10 Americans ( 41 percent) floss at least once a day, and 20 percent never floss. The survey showed a strong relationship between flossing daily and reporting good oral health.

Brush First, Please

 Through one of the lighter topics addressed in the survey, Delta Dental found that one-third of Americans (33 percent) have made their partners brush their teeth before a kiss. Men were less likely to require brushing before kissing – one of the activities made possible by good oral health.

 

SOURCE: Delta Dental

 

 

 

Is Sugar the Only Food That Causes Cavities?

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No, All Carbohydrates Can Impact Oral Health

Many people assume that only sugar causes cavities. Reduce or eliminate sugar from your diet, and you are safe from cavities. That’s actually not correct. You see, cavities occur as a result of tooth decay, and tooth decay occurs when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) such as breads, cereals, milk, soda, fruits, cakes, or candy are left on the teeth. So exactly how does that deliciously wonderful slice of bread that you had this morning turn into a tooth-killer cavity? It’s really a quite simple (and deadly) process that involves five steps:

  1. You eat something containing carbohydrates (remember, both sugar and starches fall into this category).

  2. Bacteria that live in the mouth digest these foods, turning them into acids.

  3. The bacteria, acid, food debris, and saliva combine to form plaque, which clings to the teeth.

  4. The acids in plaque dissolve the enamel surface of the teeth.

  5. Once the enamel is dissolved, holes form in the teeth and are called cavities, or caries.

However, the real issue is not the amount of sugar or starch in a particular food, but how long it tends to remain on your teeth. For example, some of the most damaging foods are those that mash into the tops of the molars at the back of the mouth and don't dissolve quickly -- like gummy candy or starchy chips and crackers. Lollipops, juice, and soda are also major offenders since they douse teeth in sugar for minutes at a time.

To reduce the impact of carbohydrates on your teeth and to head off the five-step process that leads to cavities, try these simple approaches:

  • Water, water and more water. Drink water with every meal and be sure to actively swish it around your mouth at the end of the meal. This will wash away the acids that formed and help remove debris.
  • Chew a piece of sugar-free gum at the end of your meal – it helps produce saliva, which aids in naturally cleaning your teeth, and it also will often remove food debris from the meal.
  • Avoid really sticky foods that stay on your teeth for hours.
  • Brush twice a day and floss daily.
  • Make sure to drink water with fluoride to strengthen your teeth – this is especially important for kids.
  • Give your kids calcium-rich cheese. It is a great cavity-fighting snack, since it can actually stimulate the flow of saliva (a natural tooth cleaner) and neutralize the mouth acids that wear away enamel.

Soda or Pop? By Any Name, It's Trouble for Your Teeth

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Carbonated Soft Drinks Erode Tooth Enamel and Lead to Tooth Decay

It's called "pop" in the Midwest and most of Canada. It's "soda" in the Northeast. It goes by a well-known brand name in much of the South. And in Pennsylvania, “pop” and “soda” are used depending on if you live in the eastern or western part of the state. But however people say it, they're talking about something that can cause serious oral health problems – carbonated soft drinks.

Soft drinks have emerged as one of the most significant dietary sources of tooth decay, affecting people of all ages. Acids and acidic sugar byproducts in soft drinks soften tooth enamel, contributing to the formation of cavities. In extreme cases, softer enamel combined with improper brushing, grinding of the teeth or other conditions can lead to tooth loss.

Sugar-free drinks, which account for only 14 percent of all soft drink consumption, are less harmful. However, they are acidic and potentially can still cause problems.

We're Drinking More and More

Soft drink consumption in the United States has increased dramatically across all demographic groups, especially among children and teenagers. The problem is so severe that health authorities such as the American Academy of Pediatrics have begun sounding the alarm about the dangers.

 How many school age children drink soft drinks? Estimates range from one in two to more than four in five consuming at least one soft drink a day. At least one in five kids consumes a minimum of four servings a day. Larger serving sizes make the problem worse. From 6.5 ounces in the 1950s, the typical soft drink has grown to up to 20 ounces today.

 Children and adolescents aren't the only people at risk. Long-term consumption of soft drinks has a cumulative effect on tooth enamel. As people live longer, more will be likely to experience problems.

What to Do

Children, adolescents and adults can all benefit from reducing the number of soft drinks they consume, as well as from available oral care therapies. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Substitute different drinks: Stock the refrigerator with beverages containing less sugar and acid such as water, milk and fruit juice. Drink them yourself and encourage your kids to do the same.
  • Rinse with water: After consuming a soft drink, flush your mouth with water to remove vestiges of the drink that can prolong exposure of tooth enamel to acids.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse: Fluoride reduces cavities and strengthens tooth enamel, so brush with a fluoride-containing toothpaste. Rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash also can help. The dentists at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs can recommend an over-the-counter mouthwash or prescribe a stronger one depending on the severity of the condition. They also can recommend a higher fluoride toothpaste.
  • Get professionally applied fluoride treatment: Your dental hygienist can apply fluoride in the form of a foam, gel or rinse. 

Soft drinks are hard on your teeth. By reducing the amount you drink, practicing good oral hygiene, and seeking help from your dentist and hygienist, you can counteract their effect and enjoy better oral health.                         

SOURCE: Colgate