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Healthy Foods for Your Teeth

almonds in and around a white bowl

Getting a healthier, brighter smile could be as simple as having a delicious snack. In addition to brushing and flossing your teeth, eating certain foods can keep your teeth strong and beautiful.

Apples

Just the simple act of biting into apples automatically cleans your teeth, because their fibrous texture acts like a sort of natural toothbrush. On top of that, apples also contain plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that support healthy teeth too.

Spinach and Kale

Leafy greens like spinach and kale are rich in folic acid, which has been proven to prevent gum disease.

Strawberries

Strawberries contain malic acid, which can actually whiten teeth! Just be smart when eating them because they are highly acidic: pair them with low-acid foods like nuts and bananas and rinse your mouth with water after eating them.

Yogurt and Cheese

Dairy products like yogurt and cheese lower the acidity in your mouth, which prevents tooth decay. They also contain calcium to strengthen teeth.

Ginger

Ginger boasts a lot of health benefits. It instantly freshens your breath while also killing bacteria in your mouth.

Almonds

Nuts like almonds have plenty of calcium and protein to support good oral health. They are also crunchy and full of fiber, so they clean your teeth as you eat them.

Vitamins that Support Healthy Teeth

Foods that contain protein, zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, B Vitamins iron, phosphorous, and folic acid are all great for your teeth and gums!

Foods to Avoid

Snacks rich in sugar like dried fruit and candies make your mouth more acidic, leading to cavities and tooth decay. Hard candies like lollipops are especially bad for your teeth, since your teeth are exposed to sugar for a longer amount of time. Soft drinks and sports drinks like soda or Gatorade are also high in sugar and can wear down tooth enamel.

Remember, although diet is an important factor in maintaining a beautiful smile, you must also consistently brush, floss, and schedule twice yearly dental cleanings. At Growing Smiles, we’re committed to helping you and your family maintain optimal oral health.

Contact us to schedule an appointment!

What to Do in a Dental Emergency

woman with dental emergency in pain

If you’re experiencing a dental emergency, don’t hesitate to see your dentist. From toothaches to post-surgical complications to chipped or knocked out teeth, we can save your smile if you act as quickly and calmly as possible.

Is it a Dental Emergency?

Before you hit the panic button, ask yourself: is this really a dental emergency? If you have nonstop bleeding, pain, or have broken or lost a tooth, you should see your dentist right away. If you’ve recently had an oral procedure, make sure that you are not experiencing any abnormalities that your dentist described to you.

Even if it may be a false alarm, if you think you need to see a dentist, don’t wait. You could make the potential problem even worse.

Be Prepared

Have your dentist’s information on you in case of a dental emergency. At Growing Smiles, we are available to provide same-day emergency care but not all dental offices do. Make sure you ask your dentist if they offer emergency dental care or if they can recommend someone else who does.

Take Necessary Steps Before You See Your Dentist

Did you knock out a tooth? Take a deep breath, try to relax, and make sure that you put the missing tooth in a glass of milk in order to preserve it. Your dentist may be able to reattach it if you do!

If you have pain and swelling, try doing a salt water rinse to kill bacteria around the affected area and ice your cheeks in 10 minute increments to relieve the pain and reduce swelling.

How to Prevent Dental Emergencies

There are a few simple ways to prevent a dental emergency. Brushing and flossing daily will keep your mouth healthy and decrease your chances of developing gum disease, which can lead to many complications down the line. If you play contact sports, always wear a mouthguard to protect your pearly whites.

If you or your child has a dental emergency, Growing Smiles is here to help. Contact us to schedule an appointment!

Is Sedation Safe for Kids?

two young boys in yellow shirts

Today, visiting the dentist is more comfortable than it has ever been. At Growing Smiles Family and Pediatric Dentistry, we do everything to ensure that our patients feel happy and comfortable throughout their treatments. However, we understand that not everyone is a fan of going to the dentist, and those who suffer from dental anxiety need a little bit more comforting. It is especially harder for younger patients to feel relaxed or be able to sit still for an extended period of time in the dental chair. Sedation dentistry is a wonderful way to put even the most nervous patients, including children, at ease.

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is a way to relieve nerves, anxiety, and fear when it comes to dental treatment. It comes in a variety of forms. For example, our office offers nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and general anesthesia. You and your child’s safety are our priority, so we will review your medical history and current medications before suggesting a sedation option.

Sedation Dentistry for Kids

Sedation dentistry is absolutely safe to consider for your younger ones! In fact, all of the sedation techniques that we use at our office are approved by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Plus, we have a licensed, experienced professional there to monitor the sedation.

In addition to offering sedation dentistry, we also have video games, cartoons, pillows and blankets, treasure chest, and balloons to make visits to the dentist something our young patients can look forward to.

Our dental office sees children of all ages, and our staff is expertly trained at communication with young patients. It is our goal to make your children realize the importance of maintaining their dental health all while having fun. Contact us today to set up an appointment and see the difference at Growing Smiles Pediatric and Family Dentistry!

What Happens if Your Baby Chips A Tooth?

baby looking away

Accidents happen. If your baby has a chipped tooth, however, you shouldn’t brush it aside even if your child doesn’t seem to be in pain.

Baby teeth are small and fragile. Therefore, any sort of chip, as small as it may seem, can actually be damaging to the tooth root and expose the area to infection. There may even be small cracks in a tooth even when there doesn’t seem to be any damage at all. While you should contact your dentist right away if your baby chips a tooth, there are simple solutions that you can do at home before you go to the dentist’s office.

1. Don’t Panic

Panicking is only going to make things worse. Take a deep breath, stay calm, and proceed with a clear mind. It may seem impossible to do, but it will prevent you from making any rash decisions that may actually harm your baby more than help it.

2. Save the Evidence

If possible, save the tooth fragment in case your dentist can reattach it. Do not attempt to do this yourself, especially if your baby completely knocks out a tooth. This could be very damaging to your baby’s dental development.

3. Rinse and Compress

First, rinse your baby’s mouth with water to prevent any bacteria from growing in the affected area. Then apply a gentle cold compress on his or her face to prevent or reduce any swelling.

Depending on the extent of the damage, your pediatric dentist may suggest that they reposition the tooth or that your baby get a filling. We offer tooth-colored fillings to make sure that your baby has the most natural-looking smile!

At Growing Smiles, our dentists know exactly how to help babies, children, and adults alike feel comfortable and happy in the dentist’s chair. We understand how nervous and uneasy young patients can be, and we know exactly how to communicate with them so that they know that they are in trusted hands. If you need a dentist for your baby or child, contact us today!

The Most Unique Specialties of Dentistry

aerial view of dental chair

There is more to dentistry than just learning how to clean teeth. Many dental offices offer services in a variety of specialties, from children’s dentistry to repairing missing teeth. Here is a list of the most fascinating dental specialties:

Endodontics

Endodontists and dentists with a specialty in endodontics focus on the dental pulp, or a part of the tooth center. They are well-versed in the issues that affect the pulp and commonly perform root canals. A root canal is the process in which the infected pulp is removed, the inside of the tooth is deeply cleaned, and then filled. At Growing Smiles, we offer gentle root canal therapy for patients that have pulp inflammation and infections.

Orthodontics

Orthodontists and dentists with a specialty in orthodontics focus on abnormalities in tooth formation and growth. If you need braces, you will see an orthodontist. For adults that want a more cosmetically appealing option than conventional braces, they can consider both Six Month Braces® and Invisalign® to have a beautifully straight smile without feeling self-conscious while getting it. We are proud to offer all three options at Growing Smiles.

Pediatric Dentistry

Children’s teeth aren’t quite like adults’ and require more careful attention and care. From the moment an infant’s first tooth first erupts, pediatric dentists are there to make sure that he or she will grow up to practice healthy dental habits. Moreover, not all dentists are comfortable with interacting with children, which can be tough when a young patient is nervous in the dental chair. Pediatric dentists are trained to communicate with their younger patients and anticipate their unique needs. Our staff provides gentle and thorough care for young patients and even provides kid-friendly amenities like cozy blankets and cartoons to help your little one have the most comfortable visit possible.

Prosthodontics

Prosthodontists and dentists with a specialty in prosthodontics are trained in the replacement and repair of missing or damaged teeth. Depending on the severity of the patient’s case, a prosthodontist or dentist with a specialty in prosthodontics can supply crowns, dental implants, bridges, or dentures, all of which are relatively painless procedures and can help patients regain their smiles and their confidence. Growing Smiles offers a variety of restorative procedures to fit your needs.

If you are looking for a dental office that can cater to your every need, look no further! Contact us today and set up an appointment.

How to Overcome Dental Anxiety

young man sitting and looking worried

Do you get nervous before you visit the dentist? You are not alone. Studies show that over 75% of adults experience some sort of fear around dental visits. There’s even a scientific term for it: odontophobia. But how can you maintain optimal oral health if you can’t find the courage to face the dentist?

Why Do People Fear the Dentist?

Many people develop dental anxiety based on traumatic past experiences at the dentist or from hearing about other’s traumatic past experiences. Dealing with an impersonal, cold dentist or a enduring a very painful procedure could leave a lasting negative impact on one’s outlook towards dental care. Some people also don’t like the feeling of losing control, especially over being able to speak, even if they are only in the dentist’s chair for a short period of time.

The first step in overcoming your fears is to keep in mind is that not all dentists are created equal: there are many easy ways to research top-rated dentist in your area that prioritize your comfort and care. Dental procedures have also come a very long way in terms of lessening and even eliminating pain, too. In other words, the likelihood of having a bad experience with a dentist is much less than it was even a few years ago.

Ways to Manage Dental Anxiety

Even with the modern comforts many dental clinics have to offer, visits can still trigger unwanted memories and fears. After finding a dentist that you know you can trust, try closing your eyes and taking deep a few breaths before your appointment to ease your nerves. You can also ask your dentist if you can listen to your favorite music when you sit in the dentist’s chair as a distraction.

If simple relaxation techniques don’t do the trick, you can also opt for sedation dentistry, which we offer here at Growing Smiles. Also known as sleep dentistry, sedation dentistry uses laughing gas, oral conscious sedation (which is given in pill form), or general anesthesia to ease patients into relaxation. All three are safe even for children, effective, and will help you feel at ease during any type of procedure, be it a cleaning or wisdom tooth removal. Depending on which sedation type you choose, you can be conscious or in a deep sleep during your appointment.

To learn more about sedation dentistry and to discuss your treatment options, give us a call today.

Best & Worst Snacks for Your Teeth

man eating doughnut looking worried

It’s well-known that daily brushing and flossing helps keep teeth and gums healthy and that regular check-ups with a dentist prevent small issues from growing. However, did you know that certain foods can hurt your dental health while others can improve and protect it? What people choose as daily snacks makes a difference to their smile. Here are some foods to enjoy and some to avoid:

ENJOY

Cheese

Studies show that eating cheese raises the pH levels in the mouth. This lowers the risk of tooth decay. Cheese also has calcium and protein, which help the tooth enamel stay strong.

Yogurt

While yogurt is also high in protein and calcium, it also has good bacteria. This bacteria crowds out the bacteria that can cause tooth decay. It is important that the yogurt be sugar-free to gain these benefits.

Celery

Celery acts similar to a toothbrush when eaten. It scrapes away particles and bacteria. It is also high in vitamins A and C, and these two antioxidants promote gum health.

Apples

While they are high in sugar, apples are a good food for oral health. The vitamins in apples promote gum health, and the fiber forces chewing, which promotes saliva buildup and helps wash away food particles and bacteria.

AVOID

Refined White Breads

If you can, you should avoid breads made from refined white flour. This type of bread quickly breaks down into a pasty starch that sticks to teeth and in crevices. This can increase cavities. Going for whole wheat breads is a good option as they don’t have as much sugar and don’t break down as fast.

Alcohol

It is safe to say that most know excessive drinking is detrimental to health. It is also hard on the teeth and gums. Alcohol dries out the mouth, and saliva is important for washing away particles. The added sugar of mixed drinks can also damage teeth.

Carbonated Drinks

It’s common knowledge that sugar in drinks hurt teeth. However, most don’t know that carbonated sodas enable plaque to produce more acid. This attacks tooth enamel and weakens teeth. Sodas also dry out the mouth, reducing saliva. Instead of sodas, go for water.

Potato Chips

The starch in potato chips becomes sugar as it breaks down. This can get stuck in between teeth and feed bacteria.

Next time you reach for a snack, take the time to consider its affect on your dental health. Your smile will thank you for it! If you want more tips or you’d like to schedule a check-up to ensure that you or your child’s teeth are in great health, contact us at Growing Smiles! 

Sugar: Not Only Bad for Your Teeth, but for Your Whole Body!

You’ve probably known since you were a little kid that sugar is bad for your teeth and gives you cavities, but with sugar making headlines in health-related news lately, it’s becoming clear that it’s also the underlying cause for many health issues. Here are some of the main reasons why sugar is bad for your health and why you should eat less of it.

Acidity

The main reason why sugar is a leading cause of tooth decay is its acidity. When you consume sugary foods like candy or drinks like soda and juice, you create an acidic environment in your mouth, which is ideal for the bacteria that cause tooth decay to thrive. Now imagine what this does to the rest of your body. A diet high in sugar leads to acid reflux, candida, hypertension, and even hormonal imbalances such as adrenal fatigue and thyroid dysfunction, and eliminating it from your diet can have immediate benefits.

Insulin Resistance

A high level of sugar consumption is one of the leading causes of type 2 diabetes. When you consume too many sugary foods, your body has to produce lots of the hormone insulin in order to process all of it and put it to good use in the body’s cells. Eventually, your body begins to develop resistance to its own insulin and needs more of it in order to get the job done. This is essentially the cause of diabetes and is the reason why diabetics must carefully maintain their sugar levels through dietary restrictions and insulin injections. Eating a diet higher in protein and lower in sugar and carbohydrates requires the body to use less insulin, which stabilizes blood sugar levels and helps prevent the onset of diabetes.

Empty Calories

When the majority of your diet contains sugar and refined carbohydrates, you are missing out on more nutrient-dense foods that your body needs. Sugar consumption is now considered a leading cause of obesity, heart disease, and even certain types of cancer. Eating sugary foods often leaves you feeling unsatisfied and hungry again a short while after eating, making you reach for even more sugary foods to pull you out of your energy slump. Getting caught in a cycle of eating sugar all day long to keep yourself from crashing means you are getting an overload of empty calories that lack the nutrients that your body needs.

Eliminating sugar from your diet is tricky since it finds its way into everything from tomato sauce to chicken stock, but there are ways to keep your sugar intake under control. Drinking plenty of water and sticking to unsweetened beverages can save your teeth from decay and your waistline from unnecessary calories. Avoiding processed foods and eating a diet high in protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates keeps you feeling satiated and gives your body the vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients that it needs for everything from building and repairing tissue to manufacturing hormones.

Growing Smiles Pediatric and Family Dentistry knows that good oral hygiene and healthy habits begin in childhood. Encouraging your child to eat a nutritious diet and practice good dental care will set them up for a lifetime of good health and happy smiles. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

Give Kids the Gift of Healthy Teeth This Holiday Season

young girl with holiday gift

Every parent knows how challenging it is to establish good dental hygiene habits in kids, but the holidays are the perfect time of year to encourage them to take care of their teeth with gifts that make dental health fun and easy.

Smart Toothbrushes

Gone are the days of using regular manual toothbrushes as stocking stuffers. Splurge on your kids’ teeth with the Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush or the Kolibree smart toothbrush. Both brushes include apps for your smartphone that have interactive brushing games that monitor your child’s brushing habits and encourage them to brush more thoroughly by challenging them to advance in the game. They’ve been known to be so effective that Sonicare had to change the game to end after brushing was finished so kids would stop playing!

Water Flosser

Flossing is never a fun activity, and the dexterity needed for efficient flossing can be frustrating for little hands. The Waterpik WP-260 water flosser for kids makes flossing easy, quick, and fun, and it is a great option for kids with braces. They won’t have to wrestle with regular string floss and you’ll know their teeth are being cleaned effectively.

Sugarless Caramels, Chocolates, & Lollipops

Sweet treats are an inevitable part of the holiday season, but you can help curb the damage all of that sugar does to your kids’ teeth by including some sugar-free options in their stockings. Founded by a dentist who wanted to make sweet treats healthier for teeth, Dr. John’s makes xylitol-sweetened lollipops, hard and soft candies, and chocolates that are completely sugarless and can actually help prevent tooth decay and heal tooth enamel. Drop a generous handful of these in your kids’ stockings and they won’t even miss the sugar.

Everyone at Growing Smiles Pediatric & Family Dentistry wishes you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season. We specialize in dentistry for kids, and it’s never too early to start your children on the road to good dental hygiene. Start the new year off on the right foot and contact us today to schedule appointments for your child.

Four of the Worst Holiday Treats for Your Kids’ Teeth

holiday-treats-kids-teeth

The holidays are a time for indulgence, but kids probably have it harder than adults when it comes to moderation. Not only do they lack impulse control, but they also get bombarded at this time of year with a virtually limitless array of colorful treats designed to appeal specifically to them. And they want to try them all!

Unfortunately, some of those treats are bad news for your kids’ teeth and should be avoided (or at least consumed in limited amounts). Here’s a short list of treats we think are worthy of the Grinch treatment:

  • Rice Krispies Treats – These are a holiday favorite for kids, especially when they’re cut into snowmen and candy cane shapes and decorated with candy. But sticky treats are almost always the worst because they adhere to the inside of the mouth, putting sugar paste in contact with the teeth and gums for longer and increasing the risk that small bits of food will remain hidden in the crevices of your kids’ teeth after a less-than-thorough brushing before bed.
  • Sour Candies – Older kids love these for a stocking stuffer, but sour candies are highly acidic foods that break down tooth enamel, leaving teeth vulnerable to cavities. Best to avoid them entirely.
  • Hot Chocolate – This is a tough one, because sipping hot chocolate is virtually indispensable from a fireside holiday gathering. Still, liquid sugar can penetrate those hard-to-reach crevices of teeth that a toothbrush may miss. Worse, hot chocolate contains chromagens that stain tooth enamel, and children don’t need to get a head start on yellow teeth.
  • Candy Canes – Like sticky foods, hard candies remain in contact with the surface of teeth for longer than other sugary foods do, and their sugars dissolve more slowly than other kinds of sweets do–which increases the opportunity for cavities. The smaller the chunk of peppermint candy, the better. Avoid giving children full-size candy canes or novelty peppermint logs.

 

Of course, you’ll want to pick your battles, and you’ll definitely want to supervise your kids’ brushing habits a little more closely during the holidays. Remind them that forgoing a few of their favorite holiday treats may save them an unpleasant trip to the dentist in the spring. We look forward to healthy smiles at your kids’ next visit.

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