Dental Implant Aftercare: What to Expect

Woman talk to dentist in dental clinic

If you’ve made the big decision to have dental implant surgery, congratulations are in order! Choosing to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant is an excellent, long term solution to tooth replacement and will keep you smiling for years to come.

But what happens next? And how can you expect to feel after your dental implant procedure? We’re here to help you know exactly what you can expect so you can be as prepared as possible in how to take care of your new implant.

What to Do Immediately After Implant Surgery

Immediately after implant surgery, the most important thing you can do is not disturb the wound. Your mouth and your body just went through a lot, so avoid any rinsing, spitting or touching of the area on the day of surgery.

You can expect:

Bleeding. Some bleeding or redness in the saliva is normal for about 24 hours. Excessive bleeding where your mouth fills up rapidly with blood can be controlled by biting on a gauze pad placed directly on the bleeding wound for 30 minutes. If bleeding continues, give us a call and we can discuss what to do next on a case by case basis.

Pain. You can begin taking pain medication as soon as you feel the local anesthetic wearing off. For moderate pain, take two Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Advil, or Motrin every 3-4 hours as needed to help manage pain. For severe pain, the prescribed medication should be taken as directed by your doctor.

Antibiotics. Take the prescribed antibiotics as directed to help prevent infection.

Swelling. Some swelling is normal and expected to occur after surgery. To minimize swelling, apply an ice bag wrapped in a thin towel on your cheek over the area of the surgery. Applying ice or a cold compress as much as possible for the first 48 hours will help to minimize swelling and promote healing.

Diet. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid any hot liquids or food. Soft food and liquids should be eaten on the day of surgery, and return to a normal diet as soon as your body is comfortable and ready.

Dental Implant Success Begins with Home Care

Good oral hygiene is essential to promote good healing. The night of surgery, use the prescribed Peridex Oral Rinse before bed, if it was prescribed to you. The day after surgery, the Periex should be used twice daily, after breakfast and before bed. When rinsing, be sure to rinse for at least 30 seconds, spitting the liquid out afterwards. Warm salt water rinses should be used at least 4-5 times a day, especially after meals, to help aid the mouth in healing properly and as quickly as possible.

Brushing your teeth and the healing abutment is not an issue, but be gentle initially with brushing around the surgical areas.

Letting Your Body Heal

Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery, and allow your body to rest and recover. If you are considering exercise, throbbing or bleeding may occur, where you should discontinue exercising immediately until your mouth has had proper time to heal. Consider delaying exercise until you’re able to return to a normal diet so your body has the proper fuel and ability to exercise.

Remember, rest is your friend when it comes to a recovering body, and pushing yourself will only delay healing.

What Happens Next on My Implant Journey?

You may need additional surgery to place the abutment, or the piece where the crown will eventually attach. This minor surgery is typically done with local anesthesia in an outpatient setting.

To place the abutment:

  • Your oral surgeon reopens your gum to expose the dental implant
  • The abutment is attached to the dental implant
  • The gum tissue is then closed around, but not over, the abutment

In some cases, the abutment is attached to the dental implant metal post, when the post is implanted, which means you won’t need this extra surgical step.

It’s perfectly normal to feel a bit nervous about getting a dental implant, but Cherrywood Dental Associates are here to make the process as easy and manageable as possible. If you have any questions before, during or after your dental implant procedure, we’re here to help and are just a phone call away!

Been Years Since You’ve Seen a Dentist? Here’s How to Prep

patient at the dentist appointment

If dental anxiety is the reason behind why you’ve been putting off going to the dentist, it probably took a lot for you to make that exam appointment. Maybe the reason behind you finally scheduling a visit is consistent discomfort from tooth pain, or perhaps you have decided to conquer your fear of the dentist once and for all.

We have some tips to help ease you back into the dental chair and put your mind at ease when it comes to recommitting to dental checkups.

Identify the Potential Cause of Your Dental Anxiety

Try to think back to when your anxiety over visiting the dentist began. For most patients who experience dental anxiety, it’s something that’s been with them for years, sometimes even since childhood.

What are the main causes of dental anxiety?

Fear of the Unknown

The unknown is the root of many other types of anxiety, and not knowing exactly what is going to happen when you visit the dentist office can cause someone to become fearing and worrisome. Having fear of the dentist finding issues such as cavities, gum disease, or even something more serious like a root canal can have a patient worrying about potential treatments, pain, and the unknown costs to fix these types of issues.

Negative Past Dental Experiences

If you’ve had an uncomfortable dental exam or procedure in the past, then you will find it more difficult to be open to future dental care. These experiences often stem from childhood, as children are nervous about what their exams might be like and what the final outcome will be.

Fear of Needles

Other fears that can be related to dental care can also cause someone to have dental anxiety. You may have another phobia such as a fear of needles or sensitive gag reflex, and these stressors can prevent you from receiving dental care comfortably.

Find a Dentist You Feel Comfortable With

The right dental office should feel comforting and soothing. Crowded facilities and dated equipment will only heighten your dental anxiety. Finding a practice with a friendly and communicative staff will help you in easing your anxiety. Before choosing a provider, check out testimonials and reviews of the office ahead of time so you can have a glimpse of what being a patient of that practice is really like (for better or worse).

When looking for a provider that is a good fit for you, be sure to:

  1. Look for a provider that makes you feel listened to and cared for
  2. Read patient reviews online
  3. Ask around and find out what friends and family members have a dentist they love and would recommend
  4. Let your dentist know you have dental anxiety and are a little nervous! We’re here to help calm your nerves!

Focus on the Positives

If you experience dental anxiety, it’s probably been longer than 6 months since you were last seen by a dentist for a checkup. Scheduling an exam will help improve your anxiety for a few reasons.

  1. The sooner you see a professional, the sooner you can know exactly what’s going on in your mouth. You may have gingivitis or gum disease, cavities, or other conditions that are causing you to live in discomfort and pain.
  2. You’re more likely to avoid serious dental problems by receiving regular preventative care, and catching issues while they are still small and inexpensive to treat.
  3. Replacing negative dental experiences with positive ones will help reduce bad memories and replace them with great new ones.

Signs of dental problems that will be resolved with an exam

There are certain signs that it’s time to see a dentist sooner, than later.

  • Yellow teeth – This can mean plaque buildup and poor oral hygiene. A teeth cleaning will help remove external stains and eliminate plaque for a fresh start.
  • Swollen gums – Gums that are swollen or bleeding are a sign you may have gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease. Gingivitis is simple to treat, and can be improved with better oral hygiene care.
  • Bad breath – Can signify you have a cavity, and can also be a sign of gum disease from increased bacteria in the mouth.
  • Receding gums – Your gums can recede for reasons related to gum disease, or it could be an effect of long-term teeth grinding. Too much recession can lead to tooth loss.

Don’t let fear stop you from having a healthy smile. Cherrywood Dental Associates will do everything we can to ensure you feel comfortable and relaxed through all of your dental checkups and treatments, and we are proud to offer laser dental treatments that offer a more pleasant dental experience to our patients.

Can’t remember the last time you walked through the dentist door? Schedule a checkup with us today!


Considering Dental Implants? Ask Yourself These Questions

Woman thinking about getting dental implants

Moving forward and committing to tooth replacement with implants is a big decision. Dental implants will restore your smile and leave you satisfied with long term results that can last you a lifetime.

Is a dental implant the right option for you? Ask yourself these questions!

Am I a likely implant candidate? Will I need to take steps to prepare for implants?

To determine if you’re a candidate for a dental implant, there are a steps that need to be first completed before your final procedure.

Bone Grafts. If your bone mass cannot adequately support a dental implant, you may need additional bone grafted to your jaw so that the implant will be able to properly fuse to the bone. A bone graft requires several months to heal before receiving the implant.

Periodontal Treatment. If poor gum health was the cause for your tooth loss, you will need to receive periodontal treatment to remove infection and treat periodontal disease so your implant can be surrounded by healthy gum tissue.

Excellent Oral Health. Your oral health must be good to receive an implant without complications.

Will my insurance cover implants or provide any assistance?

Most dental insurance does not include dental implants as a covered benefit. Insurance providers typically cover a portion of the required extractions and diagnostic steps that can be necessary before getting a dental implant, and steps to prepare you for your implant, such as bone grafts.

Before you begin treatment, have our offices check with your dental insurance provider so you can most accurately estimate your out of pocket costs beforehand.

Am I feeling less confident due to missing teeth?

If you’re missing a tooth in a place where it’s easily visible, it can easily affect your self esteem and your smile. With dental implants, you can replace entire missing teeth without resorting to removable restorations and bridges that leave you feeling unnatural.

Do I often struggle to eat comfortably or speak properly?

After going years with a missing tooth or multiple teeth, it’s easy to forget what it’s like to speak or chew with ease when you had all of your natural teeth. Replacement teeth will renew your ability to do so and make daily activities easier by removing frustrations.

Am I aware of the benefits of implants vs. more conservative options like bridges or partials?

The long term benefits of dental implants outshine more conservative options like a bridge which can be more cost effective.

The top benefits of a dental implant are:

  1. Implants feel just like a natural tooth, making you more confident in your restoration and the way it functions
  2. There’s no risk of food and bacteria causing decay on an implant which improves your long term oral health
  3. Allowing you to chew, bite and speak the exact same way you did with all of your natural teeth
  4. The most cost-effective tooth replacement in the long run, saving you time, effort and money

Implants can be more expensive upfront, with longer healing time, but in the big picture, a dental implant is a better option for tooth replacement in patients because it is a long term solution.

Am I interested in a more involved restorative treatment if it yields a greater payoff?

Many patients are nervous about the surgical procedure involved with dental implants, and this causes them to first look to other tooth restoration options with quicker healing periods. But dental implants preserve your health by:

  • Protecting bone density
  • Improving periodontal health
  • Reducing the risk of cavities
  • Preventing denture-related issues
  • Stopping teeth from shifting

Am I invested in caring for my implants properly, during the recovery period and in the years to come?

After your dental implants are placed, you go through a lengthy healing period. There are some implant care steps to take in order to reach the place of implant success including:

  1. Keeping your mouth clean to prevent infection or complications
  2. Eating recommended foods, like foods that are soft and nutrient rich liquids
  3. Getting plenty of rest to allow your body to properly heal
  4. Following your personal care instructions from Cherrywood Dental

Do I know which type of implant might be best?

Feeling overwhelmed by all of your implant options? Don’t stress! Cherrywood Dental is happy to help you get all of the facts on your tooth restoration options. It’s helpful to do research on your own, but nothing will be as personal and helpful as scheduling a complimentary implant consultation!


5 Ways to Encourage Your Kids’ Healthy Eating Habits
Happy family preparing a healthy meal together

It may seem tough to get your kids excited about eating healthy food, but here are some methods to try!

Kids are naturally drawn to foods that are high in sugars or starches, because they taste delicious to their tiny taste buds, and kids don’t view foods the same way as an adult would. For moms and dads, it’s vital to feed your children nutritious foods that will promote healthy growing and learning.

Convert your picky eater into a fruit and veggie lover with these 5 ways to encourage healthy eating habits for your kids.

Getting Your Kids Involved

Start at the source and teach your kids where their food comes from. A Saturday morning outing to the local farmer’s market allows your kids to see foods in a different setting than in the traditional supermarket. Introduce them to the working hands that grew the produce, and let them pick out the foods your family will eat for the next week together.

Have a green thumb? Planting things like tomatoes, lettuce, and berries in pots is a great way to show your kids the process of how foods grow and encourages a child to try the fruits of their own labor.

Keep Healthy Snacks An Arm’s Length Away

Keeping your kitchen and pantry stocked with exclusively healthy treats in convenient grab-and-go bags is the best way to get your kids reaching for the healthy alternatives. Keep the snacks in convenience places so kids can help themselves.

Mom Hack: Invest in a few plastic containers and label them with the days of the week for snacks. Taking a few extra minutes on grocery day and planning snacks out ahead of time will help to eliminate the “mom, I’m hungry” complaints and make your kids more self sufficient.

Let Them Decide

Kids love to get their way – don’t we all? But no parent wants to be a short order cook for their little ones, especially if you are cooking for multiple people in your family. Instead of fully assembling meals and plating everything for your kids, try the fixings bar approach, like this example for taco Tuesday:

  1. As you prepare ingredients and components, place items like rice, beans, whole wheat tortillas, and taco meat like chicken or beef on plates.
  2. Let your kids dress up their own tacos with fresh tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, salsa and sour cream
  3. Your kids eat exactly what they like and choose for themselves without being forced to eat

The fixings bar approach works well for family meals like taco bars, pasta bars, veggie bars and snack time with veggies and dips. Get your kids involved and give them the responsibility to make their own choices.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

A recent study found that young children’s food tastes are significantly related to foods that their parents like and dislike. Having your child watch you order fresh and healthy options at restaurants rather than a burger and fries through the drive-thru encourages them to cultivate healthy eating habits both at home and out.

Keep Offering Foods In Different Ways

Studies show that most children require multiple exposures to new foods before they willingly eat them on their own. Offering broccoli between 5-10 times, prepared different ways, will help the new food become familiar to your child – then they’ll be more willing to eat it when it’s put on their plate.

Establish Healthy Eating Habits Early On

Getting your kids to eat healthy foods starts when they’re babies, and the process continues as they develop into their toddler years. If you need help in coming up with some tips and strategies for getting your little ones on board with healthy changes, ask us for some recommendations at your child’s next dental checkup. Just like healthy eating, your child’s oral health begins at a young age too!


Understanding Your 2018 Dental Insurance

dentist showing patient a tablet

Health insurance is always changing – and the average consumer struggles to keep up with the shifting landscape. But your dental insurance is crucial to your oral health – it should allow you to receive affordable preventive care and avoid more serious problems.

Your general dentist and their team will help you understand exactly what kind of coverage you can expect. At the same time, you can take steps at home to gain a better comprehension of your dental coverage, especially if you have an upcoming procedure.

Coordinating with Your Dentist

Your dentist is the first line of support when attempting to decipher insurance benefits. While dental insurance can quickly become confusing to you, the staff at your dentist office works with different dental insurance plans every day and can help you in deciphering what you’re covered for, and what out of pocket costs you can expect.

Your dentist office may also be able to assist you in getting an allowance towards the cost of a procedure that’s not explicitly covered in your insurance plan, and can help you in putting the money you would have gotten for one procedure, such as a bridge, towards a similar product like an implant.

Your dental office is your resource in getting the most out of your coverage, and many offices can help you with paying for what’s not covered under your insurance. Many offices offer payment plans that allow patients to make payments over time so issues don’t go untreated and become much bigger problems.

Typical Dental Insurance Benefits

When it comes to how you view your dental insurance, the best piece of advice is to look to your policy as more of a “discount card” than a traditional insurance policy like you have for your car or your home.

Dental insurance is structured as a way for employers to help their employees offset some of the costs of dental care, and to maintain optimal dental health through routine exams and cleanings.

Basic Coverage

While every dental insurance policy is different in what it covers, a standard employer-provided PPO should cover between 70 and 100 percent of the costs for treatments like:

  • Regular checkups
  • Teeth cleaning twice a year
  • Fluoride treatments for children under a specified age
  • Sealants for children under a specified age
  • Root canals
  • Fillings

More Expensive Procedures

Dental insurance plans typically have tiers of coverage, with basic options meant to cover the average preventative expenses associated with your oral hygiene. Depending on the type of coverage you have selected, your insurance may also cover a certain percentage of more expensive procedures such as:

  • Orthodontic coverage for braces
  • Referrals to orthodontic specialists
  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Partial Dentures
  • Veneers

Staying In-Network

Most PPO dental plans have provisions for fee reductions when a patient has services rendered by a participating network provider. The participating providers have already agreed to an itemized fee schedule with your insurance provider, so most covered services have fee reductions from 10-35% off the regular fee when you stay “in-network”.

Preventive Care is the Best Bet

The number one way you can save money on dental procedures is to maintain good oral health by going to your routine dental exams and cleanings at least twice a year. By scheduling routine exams, you stay on top of potential problems and nip them in the bud before they become bigger problems that your insurance will not cover.

Always practice good oral hygiene at home and follow your dentist’s instructions for maintaining oral health, reversing gum disease and preventing cavities.

If you have questions on how to make the most of your 2018 dental insurance benefits, ask our team to review your coverage details with you at your first annual cleaning!

Why Am I Grinding My Teeth?

causes for teeth grinding

Teeth grinding is an involuntary habit which causes destructive effects in the mouth as well as other facial structures, and it is a condition that affects individuals at any age. People are often made aware of the fact that they are grinding their teeth in different ways, whether it’s by being told by your partner, your dentist noticing signs of damage, or by catching yourself mid-clench in the car or during a stressful situation.

To be able to successfully manage teeth grinding, the first step is to figure out the cause.

Possible Reasons You’re Grinding Your Teeth

Stress and Anxiety.

The most common cause of teeth grinding is stress and anxiety. A person who is constantly stressed and is often put in a stressful state manifests their stress during sleep. The over-activity of the muscles in your jaw cause you to unintentionally clench and grind your teeth together without you even realizing you’re doing it.

Sleeping Disorders.

Sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea are often found to be associated and related to teeth grinding in patients. Studies have shown that those who suffer from various types of sleep disorders are at a higher risk of developing the habit of teeth grinding.

Side Effects of Certain Medications.

Teeth grinding is a known side effect of medications that patients take for psychotropic drugs including antidepressants and antipsychotics. Teeth grinding can also be one of the side effects of a digestive issue.

Uneven Bite.

When a patient loses a tooth or is missing teeth, migration of the teeth changes the way a patient bites down causing an uneven alignment. An uneven bite destabilizes the occlusion of the jaw, bringing considerable stress that causes one to grind their teeth.

Long-Term Side Effects of Bruxism

Long-term effects of grinding your teeth come when the short-term effects are not given remedies. People with severe Bruxism often suffer from:

  • Untreated Migraines
  • Facial muscles that are taut and tight around the jaw area
  • Popping or clicking of the jaw
  • Tooth loss
  • Tooth wear

Can I stop grinding my teeth on my own?

If you think you grind your teeth, the first step is to see a dentist who can check your symptoms and look for typical wear spots on your teeth to indicate if you are in fact suffering from Bruxism.

Your dentist  will more than likely recommend a mouthguard that is made of a soft moulded plastic that fits over your teeth while you sleep to protect them from the effects of grinding.

While a mouthguard will help to reduce the effects on your teeth from grinding, it will not make the habit go away. If you’re grinding your teeth from stress or anxiety, seeking counseling or stress-management services may a way for you to treat underlying drivers behind your bruxism.

When to See a Professional

Teeth grinding can cause different symptoms including facial pain, headaches, and abnormal tooth wear. If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist to have your teeth evaluated before you cause permanent damage.

Possible symptoms of teeth grinding include:

  • Headaches
  • Facial muscle pain
  • Earaches
  • Tightness and stiffness in the shoulders
  • Pain and stiffness in the jaw joint
  • Disruption of sleep for either you or your partner
  • Worn teeth
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Tooth loss
  • Gum inflammation or receding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Difficulty opening your mouth

Making an appointment and talking with your dentist will help you work out the possible causes of why you’re grinding your teeth, and together we can create an appropriate treatment plan. Schedule a consultation with Cherrywood Dental Associates to help manage your stress and keep your teeth healthy.


What are Minimal & No-Prep Veneers?

info on minimal to no prep veneers

When you think of traditional dental veneers, your mind may immediately go to thoughts of drilling away enamel and your natural teeth to set the veneers into place. But forget about everything that you think you know, because the dental game is changing and Lumineers are the new key players in restoring the positive aspects of tooth restoration.

Why your veneer type matters

Lumineers are specially made porcelain veneers that allow a patient to get even better results than traditional veneers without the extreme commitment. Ultra-thin veneers combine incredible aesthetics with lasting power, and offer a no-prep procedure to boot.

Depending on your personal preferences and cosmetic needs, lumineers will leave you completely satisfied with stand-out features like:

  • Looking as natural as real teeth
  • Matching the appearance of your natural enamel color so they blend into your existing teeth
  • Lasting through many years of life with consistent brushing and flossing
  • A no-prep procedure that allows you to retain most to all of your natural teeth
  • Strengthening your existing teeth by covering exposed roots and lowering sensitivity

Overcoming dental anxiety through comfortable treatment

If you’ve dealt with dental anxiety for years, it’s probably kept you from the dentist office and those changes you’ve always wanted to see in your smile. The fear of what might happen in the dentist chair is typically much worse than anything that would actually take place, and there are things you can do to help relieve some of that dental anxiety to make your appointments more relaxing.

If you suffer from dental anxiety, try some of the following at your next appointment:

  • Communicate.

Once we know that you’re feeling nervous, we can help by talking you through your appointment so you know exactly what to expect and nothing is left to your imagination.

  • Book a morning appointment.

Being one of the first appointments of the morning will help to get your exam over with and you on with your day.

  • Ask for nitrous oxide.

Dental sedation helps prevent your body from triggering anxiety responses, and keeps you feeling calm throughout your appointment. Even better, nitrous is administered by a small mask over your nose and there are no needles involved.

  • Listen to music.

Listening to soothing music during your appointment will help to block out some of the background noises that might be causing your tension.

  • Find a dentist that you love.

Being comfortable with your provider that makes you feel listened to is a big step in feeling comfortable and cared for. Read patient reviews based on previous patient experience when looking for a new office.

Why we offer Lumineers

Porcelain veneers are superior in their durability, thinness, and ability to mimic light in the way natural tooth enamel does. Our dentists want to provide our patients with the best possible porcelain veneers, to make treatment as pleasant as possible with the best outcome possible.

Dr. Barzgar has been providing Lumineers for over a decade and is skilled with the delicate placement and contouring. Our Lumineers smiles are so natural they are indistinguishable from regular teeth leaving our patients feeling confident and happy.

Am I a candidate for Lumineers?

Schedule a consultation with Dr. Barzgar or Dr. Pakpour and learn more about how Lumineers can transform your smile and if you are a good candidate for the procedure. A few of the most common changes patients seek with Lumineers include:

  • Gapped teeth
  • Short, or worn down teeth from grinding
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Stained teeth that refuse to whiten
  • Dramatic transformation without invasive treatment
  • Smile makeovers with subtle changes

Ready to take the first step in transforming your smile into a stunner with the help of Lumineers? Call Cherrywood Dental and schedule your consultation today!

Risk Factors For Your Oral Hygiene – At Any Age

risk factors for oral hygiene - at any age

As you grow and evolve in life, so do the potential risks for causing harm to your teeth. Find out what the main risks are to avoid dental decay at every stage of life.

Negative Impacts On Baby’s Teeth

From the moment your child was born, you have done everything in your power to ensure they are living a healthy and happy life. Make yourself aware of the common threats to your child’s teeth and give your toddler a chance to stay cavity-free while developing strong teeth.

Baby Bottle Decay.

Your baby’s bottle may be a symbol of comfort and nurturing, but after a certain age the bottle may be doing more harm than good. While it’s perfectly safe for your tot to use their bottle during the day, falling asleep while sucking on the bottle is harmful to their developing teeth. Remaining milk in the mouth causes tooth decay throughout the night.

Pacifiers and Thumb Sucking.

Crooked teeth can happen from some unavoidable causes such as genetics, but others can be easily prevented. If your toddler continues to use a pacifier after the age of four, or sucks their thumb as a way of comfort, they’re at risk for changing the alignment of their front teeth. Help them quit these habits early on to avoid braces down the line.

Sippy Cups.

Transitioning to a sippy cup and away from the bottle is a milestone all parents are happy to see. Selecting the right type of sippy cup is just as important as filling the cup with nutritious liquids that don’t cause early tooth decay. Offer your child water over sugary juices, and if they do drink juice, have them rinse their mouth with water afterwards.

Proper Care For Young Children

Even though your child’s baby teeth do eventually fall out, baby teeth play an important role in helping your child eat, speak correctly, and also save space for the important permanent teeth helping guide them into the correct placement.

Properly care for your child’s teeth from the very beginning by:

  1. Scheduling a dental checkup for your baby by their first birthday
  2. Wipe your child’s gums with a clean, damp washcloth as an infant
  3. Brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush and water
  4. Introduce a fluoride-free toothpaste to your child if under the age of two
  5. Once your child learns to properly spit, begin using a fluoride toothpaste as part of your brushing routine
  6. Avoid sugary snacks and drinks in your child’s diet

Adolescents and Negative Impacts On Their Oral Health

Transitioning into the teenage years comes with many new body changes and your child’s oral health is one of them. Teens often place a low priority on maintaining good daily oral hygiene and contributing factors are:

Dietary Habits.

Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease among youth 6 to 19 years old. Poor eating habits that contribute to tooth decay include frequent snacking on refined carbohydrates, sugary snacks and sweetened beverages. Help your teen’s teeth fight back by ensuring your child has proper brushing habits that include using a fluoride toothpaste and dental floss.

Oral Piercings.

You may not be a big fan of your teen’s tongue ring or lip ring, and neither are their teeth. Oral health problems associated with oral jewelry include swallowed jewelry, speech impairment, fractured or chipped teeth, and gingival recession.

Smoking and Alcohol Consumption.

Along with other major health risks, there is an increased chance of developing cancer of the mouth with tobacco usage, and excessive consumption of alcohol. Negative dental outcomes are also linked to smokeless tobacco, such as gingival recession, periodontal disease and bone loss.

Dental Risks For Adults

The longest period of your life is the time you are an adult. You’re at a higher risk of developing oral health problems if you:

Use of Tobacco Products.

Adults who use tobacco products, either smoking or chewing tobacco, have a higher risk of severe gum disease and tooth loss. Tobacco users are also at high risk of developing cancers of the throat, mouth, tongue or lips.

Have Poor Oral Hygiene.

Not properly brushing for a full two minutes, twice a day and flossing can cause tooth decay which left untreated can lead to tooth loss.

Poor Genes.

Unfortunately, some oral health problems may be genetic. If you have a close family member that experiences more tooth decay or gum issues, that same problem may run in your family.

Diet and Nutrition Habits.

Not eating a balanced diet full of nutrients can have a negative impact on your oral health. If your diet consists of processed foods with refined sugars and carbohydrates, you are directly impacting your teeth in a negative way.

Perfect Your Oral Hygiene

Establishing good oral hygiene starts at the very beginning stages of life and never fades. Ask us how you can improve on your child’s oral health, or maybe even your own, at your next appointment.


Getting Your Kids Excited About Healthy Eating (without Too Many Tears)

Child's hand and healthy vegetable lunch

The holiday season is full of many sweet moments, but it’s important to remember the sugary sweet treats your kids consume during the holidays can lead to entering 2018 with cavities. We’re not saying you have to eliminate them completely; for many kids, sugary treats can feel like the reason for the season.

So how do you navigate the road of moderation for your family without temper tantrums every time your child spots a Christmas cookie?

The secret to mastering this skill is to have patience and the right approach, and we’re going to show you how.

Kids Can Change Their Eating Attitudes – Even Toward Vegetables

A healthy diet is a key component in building your child’s development . The problem with getting your kids on a healthy diet is, many of the nutrients your child needs to thrive are hidden in those “yucky” vegetables that get shoved off the plate during meal times.

What’s the big secret in getting kids to eat a healthy and balanced diet?

Studies have shown that exposing your children to try a small amount of a vegetable each day can lead to big changes in their attitude towards that specific food. Even as little as 1-2 bites can make a big difference in how your child views that food!

Working Toward Happy Children with Healthy Diets

If your child is still challenging you on eating certain vegetables, try one of these tips:

  • Make food more fun – Turn your child’s plate into a piece of artwork full of colors and shapes that visually appeal to them.
  • Think on their level – Children typically prefer flavors to remain separate on a plate, so make small piles of sliced or steamed vegetables that were prepared separately. Let them explore each flavor one by one.
  • Use flavor enhancers – Adding flavors your child likes to plain vegetables makes them tastier and more likely to become a hit. Try cooking their vegetables in butter or garlic, or add in some cheese or bacon for fun flavor additions.
  • Provide rewards – Offer a simple sticker or stamp on their hand as a reward for positive food experiences and avoid sugary treats as a reward system.
  • Don’t preach all or nothing – It’s all about exposure and introducing vegetables in new, fun ways to create positive experiences. Forcing kids to finish a plate can lead to negative experiences and can intensify picky eating.
  • Trying at least one bite – Sometimes a bite is just as big of an accomplishment as eating an entire plate. Research shows children who initially rejected a food change their mind after 8-10 tries, so keep consistent and offer the same foods often so your child can get comfortable.
  • Be persistent – Don’t give up on a food if your child rejects it initially. If you’re consistent, habits will eventually change and good eating habits lead to healthy eating habits.

Moving Away From Sweets as Rewards

Move away from offering rewards such as a tasty dessert for finishing a meal, and aim for experiences instead of edibles as a treat. This advice is by no means exclusive to children – adults are just as guilty of using sweet treats as rewards for themselves too.

Showing your child you’re invested in your own healthy eating is the first step in leading by example. Your eating patterns impact your children, so make a healthy lifestyle a family affair.

Want more information? Cherrywood Dental Associates is dedicated to helping your family create healthy eating habits!

Chewing Gum & Other Surprising Recommendations for Better Oral Health

young girl making a bubble from a chewing gum

Reaching for a piece of minty-fresh chewing gum after a meal out may already be part of your routine when you’re out with friends, but did you know that chewing sugar free gum does more for you than just freshening your breath?

Thanks to the role it plays in helping prevent tooth decay, chewing a piece of sugar free gum after eating or drinking may save you thousands on potential dental treatments, and here’s why.

Why Gum Could Boost Cavity Prevention

Studies are always showing that tooth decay is preventable, but could it really be as simple as chewing one additional piece of sugar free gum per day?

New health economic research published in the British Dental Journal has demonstrated that adding sugar free gum into families oral health routines could easily and effectively reduce tooth decay.

Their research was based solely on 12 year olds, and showed that collectively, chewing one additional piece of sugar free gum per day could save over 3 million dollars on dental treatments a year, almost 4 million dollars a year with two pieces, and over 9.5 million dollars by chewing up to 3 pieces per day.

Their research also showed that if this model was to be applied to the whole population, anyone over 7 years of age could benefit from chewing sugar free gum and reap the benefits of substantial savings.

How chewing gum can give you healthier teeth

Chewing gum works by creating additional saliva in the mouth that helps in washing away any residual foods or sugars that may be left behind after a meal. It can also promote the remineralisation of tooth enamel.

While dental foundations still recommend that the best and most effective way to keep teeth clean is by brushing for two minutes, twice a day, this new information on chewing gum may be a simple and exciting way to help in keeping your families mouths clean when brushing your teeth may not be available. Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal, and throughout the day can be simple and effective in breaking down lingering foods and neutralizing harmful plaque acids that cause tooth decay.

Xylitol gum may have additional benefits

Xylitol is a natural sweetener that is found in many fruits and vegetables. Originally used as a natural alternative to sugar, it is used as a sugar substitute in many brands of sugar-free chewing gums. Xylitol can have many health benefits including the most well-documented, in oral health. Because of Xylitol’s anti-adhesive quality, it helps to promote oral health and prevents harmful bacteria from adhering to teeth.

Other Lesser-Known Ways to Get Healthy Teeth

There are other ways to get healthier teeth, some of which are less known, but just as simple and effective. Try a few of these tips and tricks to achieve a healthy and bright smile.

Drink Water – All Day

Water is better for your teeth – and your entire body – than nearly all your other beverage options. Drinking water helps to wash away left behind food debris, and also keeps your saliva levels high so your mouth is always in clean mode. Keeping your body hydrated is your best defense against tooth decay because of the proteins and minerals contained in your own saliva that fights against enamel-eating acids. Can your daily can of soda do that? We’re afraid not.

Set a Flossing Reminder

Struggling to get into a flossing habit? Set nightly reminder on your phone, and leave containers of floss in your lounge areas for convenience so there are no excuses. Research suggests that it takes a full 21 days to form a habit, so stick with it!

Avoid These Secretly Dangerous Snacks

What’s good for your body might not be the best choice for your teeth. Before you begin a new diet, make sure it’s not going to result in damaging your smile. Some of these food options may be secretly causing you dental decay without you even knowing:

  • Juicing – The sugar and citrus in fruit juices can wreak havoc on your enamel and these drinks are filled with acidic compounds that wear away your tooth surface and welcome cavities.
  • Dried Fruits – This snack sticks right to the surface of your teeth, kickstarting decay. What you thought was a healthy snack, just turned into candy.
  • Dark Beverages – dark-colored drinks have a staining compound that washes over your enamel and stays there. These drinks can cause discoloration and the weakening of your tooth enamel.

Need help in picking out the perfect chewing gum to combat cavities? Ask us which brands we recommend at your next dental exam.

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