5 Ways to Put Oral Health on Your Resolution List

There’s something special about the start of a new year. Maybe it’s because it’s a blank slate—a new beginning that is full of promise. A new year is also a milestone, which is a great time to take stock of the important things in our lives, such as our health – specifically our oral health.

Oral health plays a role in our overall health. If our oral health is poor, that can put us at greater risk for disease. That’s enough reason to add oral health to your New Year’s resolutions for 2015!

If you want to resolve to take better care of your mouth and teeth this year, here are five ways you can help improve your oral health in 2015.

Resolution #1: Improve your brushing and flossing habits. Brushing after each meal and flossing at least once a day will help to remove the food particles that would otherwise decay in your mouth, potentially causing damage. For a refresher, consult these videos on how to brush your teeth and how to floss your teeth.

Resolution #2: Take care of delayed dental treatments. Now is the time to complete that dental work you’ve been putting off, or head to the dentist’s office if you haven’t been in awhile. If you’ve been avoiding treatment because you have a phobia of the dental chair, this video offers tips to help you fight your fear of visiting the dentist.

Resolution #3: Eat a healthy diet that benefits your teeth. Maintaining a healthy diet promotes strong teeth and bones. That includes plenty of fruits and vegetables! Choose foods rich in vitamin C, including leafy vegetables; foods with folic acid, such as spinach and broccoli; and foods with vitamin B12, such as dairy and meat. Dairy foods contain calcium, and yogurt has phosphates that can help remineralize teeth. Egg yolks are excellent sources of vitamin D, and the vitamin C in vegetables contributes to strong gums. Limit your exposure to acidic drinks and sugary treats, which can harm the enamel on your teeth. Be sure to talk with your physician before making any major diet changes.

Resolution #4: Quit smoking. Easier said than done, I know, but the effects of smoking on oral health are not appealing. They include yellow teeth, increased buildup of plaque and, of course, bad breath. Not smelling great is the least of your worries, though, as the habit also increases your risk of oral cancer. Mouth cancers are among the toughest cancers to treat. For inspiration to quit, watch this video on the health and cost benefits of quitting smoking.

Resolution #5: Wear a mouthguard during contact sports. Mouthguards aren’t just for kids. These essential appliances absorb and distribute forces that impact the mouth, teeth, face, and jaw when an athlete takes a hit. If you play competitive sports with a risk of contact,wearing a mouthguard can prevent chips, fractures, lacerations, displaced or dislodged teeth, and other trauma.

Practice these five resolutions and you’ll have plenty of reasons to smile in 2015!

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Tips for Looking After Your Teeth

Who doesn’t want a perfect smile that seems to brighten up the room when they walk in? While it’s great to have a dazzling set of pearly whites, it doesn’t come without any effort. Unfortunately, like most good things in life, you have to put in a decent amount of effort in order to achieve beautiful teeth. Although you may not have perfectly straight teeth, you can still make them look amazing if you take proper care of them, and here are a few tips to help you along.

  1. Choose a good toothpaste

Don’t choose the cheapest toothpaste because you’re on a budget, since although they will clean your teeth, they don’t really work the best. However, don’t fall for the highly expensive toothpastes which boast that you’ll magically have shiny white teeth in a couple of weeks. Most of these will slightly enhance your teeth depending on how badly stained they are, but the adverts are mostly exaggerated. Choose a fluoridated toothpaste, since these lessen the risk of getting decay in your teeth.

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  1. Brush regularly (but not too much!)

It can actually damage your teeth if you brush them too much, so don’t be under the impression that you can brush your teeth 6-7 times a day and they’ll be perfect. You should aim to brush your teeth twice a day, and not much more than 3-4. Be careful at which times of the day you brush too, since brushing after drinking acidic drinks can damage them. While it’s good to brush your teeth fairly soon after drinking or eating, it all depends on what you have been consuming.

  1. Be careful with the beverages you choose

You should avoid tea, coffee and fizzy drinks such as Pepsi if you want to have lovely white teeth. These drinks will stain your teeth badly, and unfortunately, once they have been stained, it’s much more difficult to get the stains off and reverse the procedure. Drinking water is very good for your teeth (and the rest of your body), so it pays to drink plenty of this. Water is also the safest thing to drink, so you don’t have to worry about it staining your teeth at all.

  1. Fix any problems

If you have any problems with your teeth, don’t be afraid of going to the dentist. If you’ve had fears of the dentist your whole life (which many people have), try changing dentists and trying out some of the others in your area. There are dentists which really try to put people at ease, making the whole experience much more pleasant than usual. If you have any damage to your teeth, it is worth considering going to a cosmetic dentist Scottsdale who will be able to repair any damages or cracks in your teeth. This will prevent any further damage occurring and will make it easier to look after your teeth.

  1. Don’t forget the floss!

Many people either completely forget about floss or just skip it since they find it much too time-consuming. However, this is actually a very important part of your daily dental hygiene, and is arguably more important than brushing. When you do floss, don’t floss too quickly, or your gums can end up bleeding. You should floss in a steady, slow motion in order to achieve the best effects.

  1. Avoid artificial whitening

There are dozens of artificial whitening products out there on the market, and there are also beauticians who have teeth whitening equipment. However, this isn’t the same as getting them cleaned and polished by your dentist, and artificial whitening treatments can damage your teeth. It also makes your teeth look somewhat unnatural and almost too white, so think carefully before taking up the appealing offer of having your teeth whitened by somebody other than a dentist.

  1. Keep sugary foods to a minimum

While sugary foods are incredibly tasty, your teeth won’t be thanking you for it in the long term. Keep these types of foods to a minimum if you want to have beautiful, healthy, white teeth. It will also prevent gum decay, which is ultimately what causes your teeth to fall out as you grow into old age.

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9 Easy Dental Care Tips

We tend to assume our teeth will always be there, but having healthy teeth and gums may take a little more effort than just gliding a toothbrush across them once a day. Strong, functional teeth should not be taken for granted, especially as we move on in years. Issues such as dry mouth due to medications, sensitivity to temperatures and textures and painful gums are all common dental complaints.

I recently heard a report on the radio about how baby boomers are concerned about not being able to afford dental care insurance. Interestingly, according to a new WellPoint survey that examines how we view dental coverage benefits, “Americans over age 45 understand that good oral care can positively affect their overall heath.” But, the survey adds, “while 83 percent of Americans surveyed say they have medical coverage (from either an employer or the government), only half as many are covered by dental insurance.” With retirement around the corner, the cost of dental care coverage is being weighed strongly.

Proper dental care is essential throughout the life cycle, no matter what your age. Here are some tips that should bring a smile to your face:

1. Your teeth and gums are made up of calcium, so you can imagine how important it is to make a deposit in the calcium bank. Eating foods such as yogurt, cheese and soybeans will keep your teeth strong. For breakfast, try having yogurt topped with a crunchy whole-grain cereal and fresh fruit to start your day off right.

2. Vitamin D, most of which we get from the sun’s rays, helps us absorb the calcium in our body. This is just another benefit of getting outdoors and exercising. If you don’t know what your vitamin D level is, it’s easy to check with a simple blood test.

3. Diets that are deficient in vitamin C can cause severe dental problems, including loose teeth and bleeding gums. Try a salad with citrus fruits, such as orange or grapefruit sections, to boost your body’s ability to fight those destructive symptoms, as well as plaque. Be sure to buffer citrus fruits by including them as part of a meal, because their acid content could potentially erode tooth enamel.

4. Although it seems like a “duh” statement, avoiding sugary foods is pivotal to help ensure dental health. Foods high in sugar, like candy (particularly the sticky types), convert to acids inside your mouth and can cause the harmful decay you’re trying to avoid.

5. Saliva is one of our body’s strongest soldiers battling bacteria. Foods that promote saliva production, such as tart or sour foods including lemons, limes, cherries and cranberries, can help your body fight bacteria in your mouth. Drinking water is another great way to produce saliva, clear bacteria and cleanse your oral cavity. Foods that have a high water content also help to thwart the process of decay by diluting the sugars in the foods you consume. In other words, eat your fruits and veggies.

6. If you can’t find your floss during the day, opt for Mother Nature’s toothbrush. Hard, crunchy foods, such as carrots and apples, can clean your teeth naturally.

7. Make sure you are brushing and flossing twice-a-day – every day! Flossing should be a part of your morning routine, and both brushing and flossing after dinner could even help you lose weight by discouraging bedtime snacking.

8. See your dentist every six months. Your teeth may not look dirty from the outside, but bacteria and plaque lurks in places you cannot see in the mirror.

9. Rinse out your mouth with mouthwash, or at least water, after every meal. This practice will help kill germs and prevent others from knowing you had onions on your sandwich.

Remember that a smile speaks every language – it’s the only thing that depicts “one size fits all.” A healthy smile wouldn’t be the same without shiny teeth to lend their support.

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Educational tips and tricks

Like many technologies, patient education systems work best when used to their full potential. Through my experiences, I have a few tips and tricks to help every practice maximize its patient education system and create a better patient experience.

1. Use patient education systems during all stages of the appointment

Patient education systems can and should be used before, during, and after an appointment, not just when a patient is in the chair.

Before – Hygienists now have the opportunity to begin educating patients before they even walk through the door. Sending the patient an email with a quick video of a procedure they’re about to undergo is a good way to prep for the appointment and ensures the patient knows what to expect. If the patient is a child, CAESY Cloud offers the “Andy” video series, which aims to calm the nerves of children before their first dental visit.

During – There are often natural breaks during an appointment that allow hygienists to present educational videos to a patient. While waiting for the dentist, play a video for the patient regarding any problems you’ve noticed or to help clear up any questions the patient might have asked about during the visit.

After – Education doesn’t have to end when the appointment is over. Send a follow-up email to answer any lingering questions a patient may have or to give information on a procedure you feel a patient would benefit from. This helps keep the dentist top-of-mind for the patient and positions the hygienist as a valued source of information.

2. Personalize for each patient

Every patient learns differently, so hygienists should present information in a way that best suits each patient. CAESY Cloud offers several types of presentations that allow hygienists to tailor their message. Some videos allow users to stop, slow down, and rewind an animated diagram of a procedure while the hygienist explains what is happening in his or her own words. A personalized presentation allows a patient to ask questions and helps foster great conversation and a more meaningful relationship.

A good use for this tool is when explaining a root canal. Many patients have a very scary perception of the procedure, but when it’s explained to them, they realize the procedure isn’t nearly as frightening as they initially believed. By going through each step of the procedure with the help of CAESY, a hygienist can watch a patient’s reactions and relieve any concerns he or she may have with specific segments of the video. When patients feel they’re being treated as individuals, they can feel more at ease and comfortable with a decision.

3. Educate while patients wait

The waiting room is a great opportunity to educate patients before an appointment starts. If the hygienist knows a patient has asked about specific dental work, he or she can play a video in the reception area to address that specific treatment. This can help a patient remember he or she had asked about a treatment previously and encourage action. This can often be the spark the patient was waiting for when it comes to selecting a procedure.

Displaying general videos about cosmetic dentistry also creates an opportunity for patients to mention they’ve been thinking about certain cosmetic treatments, and for hygienists to present more information regarding the options available.

4. Build relationships

Repeat patients are key to a successful and thriving practice. A patient education system such as CAESY Cloud can act as a trusted third-party resource to educate patients in an unbiased way. Several videos in CAESY’s video library offer patients lessons in preventive care on topics such as proper brushing and flossing techniques. Although these lessons may sound basic, prevention videos show patients you care about their long-term health and are committed to providing them the best overall dental care. And best of all, it only takes 60 seconds during an appointment, so you can put it on while getting the instruments ready.

By knowing a patient’s needs and providing them with this resource in an appropriate manner, you can help them feel more comfortable and encourage them to be more loyal to you and the practice.

5. Start slow

Implementing new workflows may be challenging. If you want to integrate CAESY videos into your daily routine – but want to do it slowly – create manageable goals for the number of patients with whom you and your team are going to use your education system. A great starting point is two patients a day. At the end of the day, have every team member meet and go over best practices. Sometimes a team might discover certain personality types were more perceptive to the videos and responded favorably.

With the whole office working together and gaining confidence using the system, patient education will become second nature.

When used properly, patient education systems empower hygienists to be an even greater source of information to patients and help foster relationships based on trust. By personalizing each presentation to the patient, hygienists can maximize the effect of patient education systems and help increase case acceptance throughout the practice.

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Coconut Oil Health Benefits: Dental Care, Skin Care, Immunity Among Them

The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, cholesterol level maintenance, weight loss, boosted immune system, proper digestion and regulated metabolism, according to organicfacts.net.

. It also provides relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV, and cancer, while helping to improve dental quality and bone strength. These benefits of oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and their respective properties, such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, antibacterial and soothing qualities, according to organicfacts.net.

Cardiovascular disease

In a randomized clinical trial, 40 participants were given either 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or 2 tablespoons of soybean oil once a day for 12 weeks. The coconut oil group did not experience a significant change in their cholesterol numbers but were more likely to have a higher HDL level.

Diabetes

Diets high in MCTs have been shown to improve glucose tolerance and reduce body fat accumulation when compared to diets high in LCTs. MCFAs have also been shown to preserve insulin action in, and insulin resistance in rat studies. Coconut oil may also improve insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetics.

Liver

The presence of medium chain triglycerides and fatty acids helps in preventing liver diseases because those substances are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing the work load of the liver and also preventing accumulation of fat.

Kidney

Coconut oil helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases. It also helps to dissolve kidney stones.

Bones

As mentioned earlier, coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals. These include calcium and magnesium which are necessary for the development of bones. Thus, coconut oil is very useful to women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age.

Dental care

Calcium is an important component of our teeth. Since coconut oil facilitates absorption of calcium by the body, it helps in developing strong teeth. Coconut oil also stops tooth decay.

Skin care

Coconut oil is an excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skin, including dry skin. The benefit of coconut oil on the skin is comparable to that of mineral oil. Fortunately, unlike mineral oil, there is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin from the application of coconut oil. Coconut oil therefore is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays the appearance of wrinkles and sagging of skin which normally accompany aging. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections.

Immunity

Coconut oil is also good for the immune system. It strengthens the immune system because it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Digestion

Internal functions of coconut oil occur primarily due to it being used as cooking oil. Coconut oil helps to improve the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion-related problems including Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have antimicrobial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion. Coconut oil also helps in the absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

Potential health risks of consuming coconut oil

While there is credible evidence suggesting that the link between saturated fats and heart disease may not be as strong as we had previously thought, the USDA Dietary Guidelines continue to suggest avoiding saturated fats, including tropical oils like coconut.

Some health professionals argue that the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil have a positive effect on HDL and total cholesterol levels while others claim that MCTs have just of a negative effect in increases LDL levels, negating any positive heart healthy benefits.

Other critics of coconut oil insist that the studies being performed are for short periods of time, the number of study participants is too small, and many of the results stated have not been significant enough to prove any benefit to coconut oil consumption. Research is more sound and established in backing the health benefits of unsaturated fatty acids.

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Good dental care starts at an early age

On the long to-do list that comes with new parenthood, dentistry usually takes a backseat to more urgent matters. Local dentists, however, urge parents to begin practicing proper dental habits before teeth even begin to surface as the foundation for a lifetime of good health.

Establishing a dental home

Dr. K. Jean Beauchamp recommends taking children to the dentist by age 1. “A main reason that we like to see them so early,” she says, “is simply so that we can ensure that teeth are erupting properly. Additionally, we like to encourage parents to establish their child’s dental home.”

By building a relationship with a dentist, she explains, parents have a familiar place to turn in the event that their child becomes injured or suffers from unusual dental pain.

Dr. Larry Deeds of the Children’s Dentist explains that if your child should experience an accident involving their teeth, it is important to bring them to the dentist, even if you believe that there is no damage to their teeth. “They need to bring them in immediately so that we can check the teeth and take an X-ray,” he says. “Damage isn’t always seen with the naked eye, but children can crack a root which then damages adult teeth.”

First visit

Barring an accident, of course, a child’s first visit to the dentist is relatively simple. “We never require a child to sit in the chair,” Dr. Beauchamp explains. “We prefer to allow them to sit in their parent’s lap while we look at their teeth.”

Dr. Deeds uses the same practice and says that it allows children to remain comfortable while they check for proper tooth eruption and dental hygiene.

“We use the first visit,” Deeds explains, “to talk to the parents about what they’re doing to take care of their child’s teeth as they begin to come in, which is usually around six months for their lower front teeth.”

“We look,” Dr. Beauchamp says, “at what they’re eating, drinking, how they take it. We go through a questionnaire and do a risk assessment based on parental history. Once we do all of the talking, we look at the child’s hard and soft tissue, their bite development, look for future issues that might come up.”

The most important thing for Dr. Beauchamp, however, is leaving the child with positive memories of the experience. “We try to send them off with a toy and a balloon and make it a happy visit.”

Addressing common mistakes

Both Dr. Deeds and Dr. Beauchamp agree that there are a few mistakes that they, as dentists, are passionate about correcting. “We see so many parents that think that they’re doing good things for their young children by giving them juice,” Dr. Deeds says. “If they want juice, give them some fruit, but never give them juice in a bottle or a sippy cup. It just dissolves their teeth.”

Dr. Beauchamp concurs. “If your child does have something with a great deal of sugar, take a damp cloth and simply wipe their teeth.”

When to use a toothbrush

By the time children are 15 months old, it is recommended that they begin using a toothbrush with parental assistance. “Many parents aren’t aware,” Dr. Deeds says, “that children don’t have the fine motor skills to adequately brush their teeth until around age eight. Parents should be checking to make sure they’re brushing well.”

Dentists agree that fluoride should be avoided until at least age 2, but Dr. Deeds recommends holding off until age 3. “Even then,” he says, “use a very small, pea-sized amount.”

‘Make things fun’

Perhaps the most important thing a parent can do for their child is instill in them a sense of pride in their personal dental hygiene. “Modeling is a great way to do that,” Dr. Deeds says. “Brush your teeth with them or with an older sibling. They’ll want to be one of the big kids.”

“Always make sure, as well,” Dr. Beauchamp says, “that you make things fun. Get a toothbrush that plays a little song, buy a special toothbrush timer and always, always make coming to the dentist a fun, special day!”

Dental care, hydration crucial for athletes

Everyone needs to take care of their teeth, but athletes can have a special burden. The sugary drinks, dry mouths, sweating and falling can each take a toll, some more than others, says Dr. Sharon Colvin, an athlete and an assistant professor in the department of general dentistry at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. Here’s an edited transcript of a Q&A with Colvin.

Q: What’s most damaging to an athlete’s mouth: extra sugar and carbs in sports foods and drinks, extended periods of dry mouth, sweating or falling?

A: By far, what’s most damaging is the extra sugar found in sports drinks such Gatorade and protein shakes and sports foods like protein/meal replacement bars. Surely dry mouth coupled with heavy consumption of sports drinks, protein shakes and food bars high in fermentable carbs (sucrose, fructose, and glucose) would be the most damaging to the athletes’ dentition.

Dry mouth is the result of the absence of a normal flow of saliva, or “spit,” throughout the oral cavity. Without normal salivary flow, the food which remains in the mouth after a meal is not washed away; the acid produced by specific bacteria in the mouth, which penetrates the tooth and causes decay, is not neutralized; and the first-line defense, the immune property found in saliva to prevent bacterial overgrowth, is diminished. These factors, coupled with a heavy consumption of sports beverages and foods high in sugar, can lead to rampant tooth decay.

Q: Are athletes better off sticking to water, and how often should they take a drink?

A: Water, without question, is considered the ultimate thirst quencher for the endurance athlete, and it is better for teeth. However, low-sugar sports drinks (like G2, which is a low-sugar Gatorade) offer the water necessary for hydration plus the carbs and electrolytes that tend to provide the energy we need to stay strong in the race to the end with less sugar. Plus, the flavors found in the sports drinks help to take the monotony out of drinking just water. During my half-marathon race, I found that drinking a small amount of water and Gatorade (G2) every two to three miles helped me. However, everyone is different, and athletes should gauge the amount of hydration they need, and how often, while training for a given race.

Q: Can sugar-free gum help, or are there other methods to help athletes protect their teeth?

A: I have found that when I am engaged in training for a race or in the actual race, gum chewing of any kind gets really “slimy” and a little distracting, so I don’t chew gum during my endurance activities. There are fluoride mouth rinses that can be used before and after a race. Also, rinsing with regular tap water, which contains fluoride, can provide protection against tooth decay caused in part by a high consumption of sports drinks, protein shakes/food bars.

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