Gum Disease: Prevention & Treatment

Gum Disease: Prevention & Treatment

Gum disease, known as gingivitis, affects nearly half of all U.S. adults over the age of 30 according to a recent study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). In addition to early warning signs, there are ways to prevent gum disease as well as ways to effectively treat your condition. At Cherrywood Dental, we offer a variety of options to get your gums back in working order.

What Does Gum Disease Look Like?

 Gum disease is caused by a surplus of bacteria in your mouth. As bacteria linger on your teeth, it can turn to a plaque which, without proper cleaning, will harden to tartar. Once the bacteria have reached this calcified state, it must be removed by a dental professional to prevent the onset of periodontal disease.

There are several ways to detect the early warning signs of gum disease, which would warrant a visit to the dental professional. The most prominent symptom would be swollen or tender gums that could result in sensitivity to temperatures and difficulty chewing. Another (rather unpleasant) sign is persistent bad breath. On rare occasions, a gum abscess can leave pus oozing from the teeth.

Ways to Prevent Gum Disease

 Gum disease can be prevented by a strict course of action that controls bacteria and prevents the build-up of plaque. Daily flossing and brushing are de rigueur, as well as regular professional cleanings to get those hard to reach areas extra clean. At Cherrywood Dental, we offer incentives to encourage you to make your oral health a priority.

Additional steps you can take to prevent gum disease include:

Stop smoking. Smokers are seven times more likely to acquire periodontitis than non-smokers, and some treatments can be less successful for those who smoke.

Eat a healthy diet. Eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables can help your teeth. Avoiding processed foods and too many fizzy, sugary drinks is also important, as well as trying steering clear of bathing your teeth in sweets like lollipops and sugar-rich gum.

Reduce your daily levels of stress: Too much stress weakens the immune system opening the door for bacteria to form on your teeth and gums – the precursor to gingivitis and other periodontal diseases.

Stop wear & tear on your teeth: Let our team at Cherrywood Dental know if you struggle with bruxism – excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching.  These involuntary habits can wear away the teeth and eventually have an effect on your gums. We can help you address this issue and let you know the options available to decrease the frequency and long-term effects.

How to Treat Gum Disease

 There are many ways in which gum disease is treated, depending on how much the condition has progressed. Surgical treatments include:

Pocket Reduction Surgery: Gum tissue is folded back and the bacteria that has built up in the “pocket” is cleaned away. Surfaces of damaged bone can also be smoothed at the same time to make it easy for the tissue to reattach itself to the bone.

Soft Tissue Grafts: Using a flap of tissue from the gum or mouth to enlarge the existing gums.

Guided Tissue Regeneration: This procedure helps bone and tissue to regrow around a tooth that is in danger. The soft tissue is pulled away, the tooth is cleaned and the infected tissues are removed. A small GTR membrane is then placed between the tooth and the tissue to separate them so that slow-growing fibers will advance to the area along with bone cells.

Bone Grafts: Similar to a Guided Tissue Regeneration, the bone is filled in with graft material to encourage re-growth after the tooth has been cleaned and pulled away from the soft tissue.

 We’re Here to Help

 At Cherrywood Dental, our goal is to promote healthy teeth and gums for life. We can guide you in the habits needed to keep your smile beautiful and robust. And if you’ve reached a point where prevention has turned to treatment, we are here for you. From dental cleanings to full mouth reconstruction, all procedures are performed by our caring, gentle and knowledgeable doctors and staff. Contact us today. We’d love to see your smile. Cherrywood Dental is a proud customer of dentist SEO services.


Your Smile Makeover: Full Mouth Reconstruction

Your Smile Makeover: Full Mouth Reconstruction

Full mouth reconstruction takes restorative dentistry a step further by giving your smile a magnetic appeal in addition to returning dental function lost from age, injury or disease. FMR addresses years of wear and tear on your once-pearly whites and gives you the confidence and livelihood associated with a dental makeover. At Cherrywood Dental, we specialize in full mouth reconstruction and rehabilitation, restoring your dental health and aesthetics.

When to Consider Full Mouth Reconstruction

The purpose of FMR is to restore your oral health and leave you with a bright and improved smile. This combination of goals ensures dental competence for years to come along with an increased confidence in your appearance and willingness to crack a grin more often!

If your permanent teeth are broken, chipped or missing, reconstruction is something to consider. Even teeth with excessive wear can benefit from FMR. Also, the consequences of incorrect bites and pain related to TMJ (chronic jaw) can benefit from procedures performed during full mouth rehabilitation.

An obvious consideration is that your dental professional recommended a full mouth reconstruction. When you schedule a consultation at Cherrywood Dental, we will address all of your concerns. After a visual exam including detailed x-rays, we will discuss an outline of recommended procedures.

Common Procedures for a Full Mouth Reconstruction

 Our goal during your full mouth reconstruction is to conserve your remaining natural teeth and restore your overall health. While each mouth is different, common procedures include crowns, bridges, fillings, teeth whitening, root canal therapy, and periodontal treatment. At Cherrywood Dental, we specialize in the following FMR procedures:



Is Full Mouth Reconstruction Painful?

The gentle and knowledgeable doctors and staff at Cherrywood Dental are committed to making your dental care as comfortable and pain-free as possible. We offer sedation options at our locations including local and general anesthesia. We also specialize in laser dentistry to assist with periodontal treatment, gum surgery, and other gum procedures.

We are diligent in our care instructions and assistance to you during your recovery period. Your entire experience will be handled with care and professionalism ensuring that your end result was worth the effort.

Let’s Get This Started

Give us a call and we’ll give you a smile. Schedule your consultation with Cherrywood Dental and let’s discuss improving your overall oral health with a full mouth reconstruction. Cherrywood Dental is a proud investor of dental SEO services. 






10 Fun Historical Facts About The Tooth Fairy

cartoon of tooth fairy and tooth

Losing a tooth as a child is considered a right of passage in many different cultures, and parents throughout history have created rituals to celebrate with their children. The legend of the Tooth Fairy is one of the most popular and iconic childhood stories in the world.

Here are 10 fun facts about our favorite dainty-dental-dealer.

She’s Not Always a Fairy

Worldwide, the Tooth Fairy varies in appearance. The majority of baby-tooth traditions around the world are connected to rodents. Depending on the culture and the nationality, the Tooth Fairy can be a squirrel, a mouse, or a rat. Cultural diversity is one of the things that make the Tooth Fairy so unique, and no matter the shape she embodies, the Tooth Fairy is one of the most magnificent magical creatures for children around the world.

She’s Younger Than You Think

When compared to Santa Claus, who dates back to ancient history, the Tooth Fairy only dates back to the early 1900s. She was first mentioned in an article in the Chicago Daily Tribune’s “Household Hints” column from September 1908. The story was further popularized by Esther Watkins Arnold in the 1927 play for children, The Tooth Fairy.

The Longstanding Celebration of Lost Teeth

While the specific concept of the Tooth Fairy is recent, cultures around the world have been commemorating lost baby teeth for hundreds of years. In the 13th century, the Middle Eastern tradition of throwing a baby tooth into the sky and praying for a better tooth to replace it was a common practice. In Turkey, Mexico, and Greece, children traditionally toss their baby teeth onto the roof of their house.

Her Rates Are Subject to Market Fluctuation

Insurance group Delta Dental has been tracking the average Tooth Fairy rewards since 1998 and comparing their results to stock market activity. Their research has found that in at least 12 of the past 15 years, trends in Tooth Fairy payouts have correlated to movement in the S&P 500. This can only indicate one thing – that the Tooth Fairy takes her stocks and investments very seriously.

She Visits Each Child About 20 Times

Children have 20 baby teeth that will fall out over the span of a few years.

The Vikings Had One Too

The Vikings, who pioneered many of the expeditions that lead to the discovery of the new world, seem to have developed something similar to today’s modern Tooth Fairy. While researching the 13th-century Scandinavian myths and poetry, The Norse Eddas, historians were able to transcribe the Viking language and successfully reference something that the Vikings called tand-fe´or tooth fee. In these writings, they described a ritual that took place between the parents and the child, in which the mother would offer a small payment to the child in exchange for its first tooth.

She Had Her Own Museum

Located in the split-level home of Dr. Rosemary Wells in Deerfield, IL, the Tooth Fairy Museum showcased art, books, dolls, and other Tooth Fairy memorabilia. Dr. Wells took it upon herself to become America’s foremost Tooth Fairy expert and even had her own business cards labeled with “Tooth Fairy Consultant.” Unfortunately, the museum closed following Dr. Wells’ death in 2000.

She Has Her Own Holiday

National Tooth Fairy Day is celebrated annually on February 28nd. However, other sources and calendars also list the holiday on August 22nd. With such a busy schedule, surely the Tooth Fairy deserves two holidays a year, right?

She Collects A LOT of Teeth

The Tooth Fairy collects about 300,000 teeth from children all over the world every night. It’s believed that the Tooth Fairy uses these teeth to build the fairy community where she lives.

She Helps To Promote Healthy Habits

Possibly the best thing the Tooth Fairy does is to help parents promote good dental hygiene from a young age. For years, many parents have told their kids that a perfect and healthy tooth is much more valuable to the Tooth Fairy than a decayed one. Schedule your child’s next dental exam with Cherrywood Dental Associates to keep their teeth as valuable as possible for future Tooth Fairy visits.


10 Ways to Recycle Your Old Toothbrush

a scattered group of different colored toothbrushes

You should be trading in your old toothbrush for a new one approximately every 3 months. Before you throw away your used one, consider the benefits it could bring to your life as a nifty little tool to keep around the house.

Here are 10 great ways to recycle your old toothbrush.

Uses For a Toothbrush in the Kitchen

An old toothbrush is the perfect cleaning tool for scrubbing off those pesky crumbs and pieces of food that fall into hard-to-reach places. The next time you’re deep cleaning the kitchen, try using an old toothbrush to help you clean kitchen appliances such as:

  • Toasters
  • Microwaves
  • Coffee machines
  • Other hard-to-reach places

Cleaning Your Chopping Board

Most cutting boards have some type of edge that can be tough to completely clean. Nothing works better for getting bits of food out of tight spaces than a used toothbrush. Unlike wiping your chopping board, a toothbrush will give you the opportunity for a deep, thorough clean.

Keeping Your Clothes Stain-Free

The real secret to getting a persistent stain out of an article of clothing isn’t what type of stain remover you are using, but scrubbing the stain out with a toothbrush. Apply a stain remover onto the spot and gently scrub the fabric with your used toothbrush to work the stain remover into the material until the stain has lifted.

Cleaning Tile Grout

Looking for a great way to clean the dirty grout lines between your tiles? Combine baking soda and water to make a paste and dunk your used toothbrush into the mixture to effectively clean out grime between kitchen or bathroom tiles. Your gleaming tiles and grout lines will thank you for this one.

Say goodbye to grout grime in your:

  • Bathroom
  • Kitchen
  • Tiled floors
  • Showers
  • Countertops
  • Backsplash

Applying Hair Dye

For quick touch-ups to cover grey hair or roots, use a toothbrush in addition to your hair dyeing kit. A toothbrush will help to blend the dye into your hair and will give you a more controlled way to apply color.

Crayon Marks on the Walls

A parent’s biggest fear during art projects is that your little one will sneak away only to be found creating a wall mural of their own with crayons. A used toothbrush and shaving cream will have those stubborn crayon marks removed in no time.

Cleaning Toys

Kids toys are a haven for dirt, dust, and germs. A used toothbrush is the perfect cleaning tool for cleaning between cracks and crevices of dolls, blocks and other toys.

Add it to Your Art Supplies

A used toothbrush is the perfect addition for your art supply box. It can work wonders when it comes to adding texture to a painting or adding details to a clay piece. Little hands love using a toothbrush in place of a paintbrush for hours of fun for free.

Clean Jewelry

An intricate piece of statement jewelry can be filled with twists, turns, and detail. Keep your jewelry sparkling clean and looking brand new by using a toothbrush to keep those tricky areas clean. One of the best secrets to keeping diamond rings sparkling is to soak the rings in ammonia and finish cleaning them with a used toothbrush to loosen any dirt or grime. Just rinse with water when you are finished cleaning for a professionally cleaned look.

Computer Keyboard

Keep your computer keys in tip-top shape with the help of a (dry!) toothbrush. Give the keys a gentle scrub to eliminate any evidence of snack crumbs or dirty fingertips.

The Best For Last

The best use for your toothbrush is…you guessed it, your teeth! The bristles in your toothbrush break down and lose their effectiveness in getting into all of those hard-to-reach corners and crevices around your teeth. Germs can easily hide in toothbrush bristles and lead to reinfection, so be sure to also change toothbrushes after you have had a cold, the flu, or an infection in the mouth.

Do you have any other great ways to recycle an old toothbrush that we missed on our list? Let Cherrywood Dental Associates know at your next dental exam.


What To Do If Your Child Injures a Tooth at School

boy holding the side of his mouth from tooth pain at school

Back to school season means sending your children back to the classroom and playground for another year of learning. The school playground may be filled with imaginary play, but it also tends to be a hotspot for injury to occur. As parents, we always aim to protect our children from experiencing a tooth injury, but it’s also important to know what to do if an injury does happen.

If The Injured Tooth is a Baby Tooth

If your child loses a baby tooth earlier than expected, there is no need to replace the tooth.

If a baby, toddler, or younger child injures the gums or a baby tooth:

Step 1: Apply pressure to the area if there is any bleeding with a piece of cold, wet gauze. If your child is old enough to follow directions, ask them to bite down on the gauze to apply pressure to stop the bleeding.

Step 2: Offer an ice pop to suck on to reduce any potential swelling, or hold an ice-pack wrapped in a soft cloth to the cheek.

Step 3: Give your child an appropriate dose of acetaminophen or children’s ibuprofen as needed for pain.

Step 4: Call your dental office to discuss the injury. Your dentist will let you know if the child should be scheduled for an appointment.

Step 5: Watch for any swelling of the gums, continued pain, a fever, or a change in the color of the tooth.


If a Permanent Tooth Comes Out Completely

If a permanent tooth comes out, it is considered a dental emergency and your dental office should be contacted right away. Permanent teeth have the best chance of being saved when replaced within 15 minutes, so it’s vital to act quickly and follow the guidelines below.

Step 1: Collect all pieces of the tooth. Only hold the tooth by the crown, or chewing end, of the tooth. Do not touch the root of the tooth.

Step 2: Place the tooth in a balanced salt solution (like Save-A-Tooth), if you have it. If not, place the tooth in a saline solution or a container of milk or your child’s saliva. Do not place the tooth in water.

Step 3: Rinse the mouth with warm water only.

Step 4: Call a dentist right away to schedule an emergency dental appointment.

Step 5: If the tooth is being stored in a container, have your child bite down on a gauze pad to relieve bleeding and pain.


If a Permanent Tooth Cracks or Breaks Off

Step 1: Collect all pieces of the tooth.

Step 2: Rinse the mouth with warm water.

Step 3: Call your dental office right away to schedule a visit.


Think Preventatively

Approximately 50% of kids experience some type of tooth injury during their childhood. Discussing the importance of playground safety and learning how to follow the rules on the playground will help to keep your kids safe and their teeth protected.

Always make sure your kids are protected with:

  • Mouthguards
  • Helmets
  • Protective gear
  • Childproofing your house


Should My Children Be Wearing Mouthguards?

There are mouthguards available that you can buy and fit yourself from the drugstore. However, the best way to protect your child’s teeth is to have a custom-fit mouthguard created by your dentist. When your dentist creates a custom-fit mouthguard, an impression of your child’s teeth is taken. Then, using dental putty, your dentist will form the groves and divisions of each tooth to make a replica of your child’s smile. The replicated mould is sent to a dental lab where the mouthguard is made of durable materials.

Store-bought mouthguards are only able to form the general shape of the tooth line whereas professional and custom-made mouthguards are built to specifications of your child’s exact tooth alignment for a better fit and added protection.

Think prevention by scheduling an appointment with Cherrywood Dental Associates to have a mouthguard made for your active children today.

The Big 3 of Oral Hygiene – Brush, Floss, and Rinse

toothbrush with toothpaste, floss, and mouth wash

Keeping your teeth strong, and your gums healthy is the best way to ensure your smile is bright and in excellent condition. There are three necessary steps to your oral hygiene routine: brushing, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash. One of the most common questions we get asked by our patients is, “which should I do first, brush, floss or rinse?”

Generally speaking, the order doesn’t matter as much as the quality of work you are putting into each task and that food particles and plaque are being successfully removed.

But Which Order Is Really Best?

The sequence makes no difference as long as you do a thorough job. Brushing and flossing is the best way to remove decay-causing plaque from your teeth and helps to maintain exceptional oral health. All three steps are essential to maintaining excellent oral hygiene. As you get older, it’s more important than ever to continue taking great care of your teeth to avoid cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay.

The primary goal of brushing and flossing is to remove plaque and to prevent tartar buildup effectively. Mouthwash can enhance those benefits while giving you fresh breath.

Should I Brush Before Flossing?

There is one main reason why brushing before flossing might make your oral care more efficient. First, most of us have a well-ingrained habit of brushing already. It’s easier to link new practices to an already existing pattern. Starting with brushing, and then adding to your oral care routine with flossing and rinsing is a great way to enhance an already established habit.

Brushing your teeth helps to remove plaque, which can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and infection. Ensure you are using the right tools by always brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid irritating your gums. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes each time.

Brushing your teeth:

  • Removes plaque
  • Removes food debris left behind
  • Eliminates other harmful bacteria from your teeth
  • Freshens breath
  • Stimulates the gums

Floss Neglected Spaces

While tooth brushing removes plaque from the surfaces of your teeth, just brushing alone cannot do the entire job of removing plaque from every surface. Cleaning between the teeth daily with floss removes unwanted debris from between your teeth where your toothbrush is unable to reach. Flossing is also important because it enables you to remove plaque while it is still soft. Once plaque hardens and forms tartar, only a professional cleaning by a dental hygienist or dentist can effectively remove it. Patients who are very susceptible to gum disease or tartar buildup may want to consider flossing twice a day.

Flossing is one of the oral hygiene habits that most often gets forgotten. Poor gum health is a major cause of patients having to undergo tooth extraction procedures and can lead to gingivitis, or gum disease.

Save Swishing For Last

After brushing and flossing, rinsing is often thought of as the final step to cleaning your mouth. You may choose to rinse with just water, though many patients benefit from using a fluoride mouthwash to kill bacteria and freshen breath. Using a fluoride mouthwash for 30-60 seconds is particularly important before you go to sleep because teeth can repair themselves from the daily damage, uninterrupted.  If you are unsure which mouthwash you should use, consult with your dentist at your next dental exam.

Are You Getting a Thorough Clean?

These three steps, combined with regular dental exams and professional cleanings, will ensure a lifetime of excellent oral health. While some professionals could argue that there is importance in the order in which you clean your mouth, what matters is that you complete all three steps.

Schedule a routine cleaning and exam with Cherrywood Dental Associates today.


The Most Common Kid’s Dental Health Questions

Little girl sitting in the dentists office

A child’s mouth continually changes as they grow. Once their teeth begin to come in, as a parent, you’ll face a variety of issues and challenges that are unique to each specific age. Sometimes the trickiest part of taking proper care of your kid’s teeth is knowing what to do and when you should be doing it.

Here are some of the most common kid’s dental health questions we hear from parents.

When Should I Start Caring For Baby’s Teeth?

Oral hygiene starts before any teeth break through the gums. Keeping your baby’s gums as clean as possible helps to get your baby used to the sensation of taking care of their mouth. Begin wiping off their gums after every meal using a damp, warm washcloth which helps to stop bacteria from accumulating on their gums.

When Should I Start Using A Baby Toothbrush?

Begin brushing your child’s teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled infant’s toothbrush as soon as teeth erupt. There are two main reasons for introducing a toothbrush early on:

  1. Brushing your baby’s teeth helps protect them from tooth decay.
  2. Brushing them as soon as they pop through the gums sets your baby up with good habits. Your child will understand as they get older how vital their oral hygiene is if they recognize the rhythm of brushing two times a day, every day.

As a general guideline when brushing your baby’s teeth:

  • Be gentle when brushing and don’t press down too hard with force
  • Brush the front and the back of each tooth
  • Use the correct amount of toothpaste for your child’s age

When Is It Safe For Children To Use Fluoride Toothpaste?

The trick to using a fluoride toothpaste is knowing how much to apply for the appropriate age of your child. Younger kids who are unable to grasp the concept of spitting are more likely to swallow their toothpaste instead of spitting it out.

For children 1-3 years old use a rice-grain-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.

For children 3+ years old use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.

At What Age Should Children Have Their First Dental Exam?

Dental professionals recommend a first dental visit by age one. The purpose of the first dental visit is to help children become more comfortable with a new environment, and it can also help to spot any potential problems early on. When it comes to saving time and money, preventative dental care is your best defense against cavities and tooth decay.

When Can Children Brush Their Own Teeth?

Kids don’t do the most thorough job of any task, so keep supervising them during brushing and flossing until it’s no longer needed. Taking a hands-on approach when teaching them will help them learn proper oral hygiene care. You should supervise your child’s brushing until they are at least 8 to 10 years old to help ward off tooth decay. Make brushing and flossing a family affair so your child can learn not only from what you tell them but from what they see you do as well.

At What Age Should Flossing Begin?

Flossing is an essential part of oral hygiene because floss allows you to reach where your toothbrush can’t. Flossing regularly can help to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Flossing is most effective when performed at least once each day, and at night so you don’t allow the food your child has eaten during the day to sit on their teeth overnight. Beginning flossing early on in life will establish great habits.

When To Expect Adult Teeth To Appear?

Permanent teeth begin to come in around the age of 6. For some children, the first permanent teeth to emerge are often molars. By the age of 13, most of your child’s 28 permanent teeth will be in place.

Choosing The Right Dental Office For Your Family

At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we pride ourselves on knowing every single patient on a personal level for the best treatment possible. Our mission is to provide healthy teeth and gums for all of our patients, at any age. Schedule an appointment with one of our two kid-friendly dental clinics today.

Tooth-Healthy Beverage Tips for a Better Smile

woman drinking coffee at a coffee shop

A health-conscious consumer knows that the best beverage for your smile, and for your overall health, is water. However, how realistic is only water, all of the time? Knowing which options are good, better, and best will help you in identifying how to order healthy choices while still satisfying a craving.

Selecting a Smaller Size

The larger a beverage, the more sugar you’re likely consuming. Enjoying a special drink in moderation is the best way to have your drink and healthy teeth too. Opting for a smaller size can also significantly reduce your calorie intake for an additional bonus.

Skimp on the Extras

Coffee shop drinks are notorious for tasty add-ins that you might not even realize are hiding underneath the lid. Between mountains of whipped cream and caramel drizzles, it can be difficult to leave a coffee shop with anything that is considered healthy. Skip these sweet extras to decrease the sugar content, or ask for less than they would typically add-in.

  • Whipped cream
  • Pumps of flavored syrups
  • Sprinkles
  • Syrup drizzles
  • Additional toppings

Less Sugar Is Best

Certain drinks are known to linger on the surfaces of your teeth and can do just as much damage as eating candy. For the best tooth-friendly options, look to:

Water. The gold standard of drinking choices, water is not only hydrating, but it is also acid neutral. Tap water or filtered water also contains fluoride which is a natural cavity fighter built right in.

Milk. The calcium content and low acidic level of milk make it an excellent alternative to many beverages. Milk still has plenty of sugar though, so always brush your teeth after drinking milk, especially at night before bed.

Herbal Tea. Green tea and other herbal teas are loaded with antioxidants. They also contain lower acidity levels than coffee, and green tea still gives you a caffeine boost. Selecting an unsweetened variety is critical, and also stay clear of black tea. Black tea is more acidic and dries out the mouth faster.

Drink, Don’t Sip

Help to lessen the adverse effects of teeth-damaging beverages by consuming them more quickly. By drinking and not sipping, you’re limiting the amount of time the liquid spends on the surfaces of your teeth. In addition to avoiding a sugar bath, your teeth will thank you for also practicing these useful tricks:

Drink In Moderation – As with anything, always enjoy sweetened beverages in moderation. Limiting the quantity you consume will limit your exposure to sugars and harmful acids. When it comes to protecting your smile, moderation is key.

Rinse With Water – As often as you can, rinsing your mouth with water after consuming a sugary or acidic drink will help your teeth to fight back against sugars. Water helps to wash away some of the harmful agents that might otherwise linger and attack your teeth.

Use a Straw – Lessen the amount of direct contact sugar has with your teeth by using a straw. Instead of coating your teeth in a sugar bath, a straw will help.

Drinks To Avoid

Soda – Liquids that are high in sugar, like soda, are incredibly damaging to your teeth. When sugar is left on your teeth, it encourages the harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay to form. Additionally, soda is very acidic, which weakens the structure of your tooth enamel and makes it more susceptible to damage.

Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks – Similar to soda, while these drinks may be marketed as hydrating and electrolyte replenishing, they are often high in acids and sugars.

Juice – The concentration of juice makes it very high in sugar, and citrus juices are also very acidic. Pro Tip: Eat your fruits, don’t drink them!

Alcohol – Always high in sugar and acidity, alcohol wears down your enamel quickly. Alcohols like red wines also have high staining powers.

Coffee –  Adding extra sweeteners to coffee not only increases the acid level but also raises the sugar content.

Still suffering from a sweet tooth? Ask Cherrywood Dental Associates for other ways to combat the hidden sugars found in many beverages at your next dental exam.


Is it Safe for Kids to Use Whitening Products?

girl smiling holding a tooth brush

Noticing your child’s smile becoming a less-than-appealing shade of yellow? Yellowing teeth may have you questioning if it’s safe for kids to use a whitening toothpaste or even other readily available at-home whitening products. Permanent teeth are not as naturally white as primary (baby) teeth, which can cause a color-contrasting smile, and bring issues like stains and discoloration to light. This leads to many parents questioning if teeth whitening is safe for children and we have your answer!

Why Your Child Has Yellow Teeth

When it comes to teeth stains, the reason why is typically the same as an adult with stained teeth. Here are a few reasons why your little one’s teeth are yellowing:

Poor Dental Hygiene

Getting your child excited about brushing their teeth and the importance of their oral hygiene is a tall order to fill as a parent. Many children do not receive the adequate brushing they should, which causes the teeth to become yellow or leads to tooth decay and cavities.

Make tooth brushing time more enjoyable by:

Using a Special Toothbrush

Letting your child pick out their own toothbrush with a character or characteristic that appeals to them is a great way to get them excited about brushing. If brushing their teeth for the full two minutes is your issue, try a musical toothbrush with a timer. Many of these are also electrical, which helps give kids a better clean.

Brushing Together

A family that brushes together has excellent oral hygiene together. Brush as a family so your kids can see that everyone needs to take special care of their teeth. If your child is under the age of 6, it’s recommended that a parent assist them with brushing their teeth to ensure a thorough clean.

Dental Fluorosis

Typically occurring in children 8 years old and under, this condition is caused when too much fluoride is consumed as permanent teeth are forming under the gums. Letting your child use a fluoride toothpaste too early, when they do not understand the importance of not swallowing toothpaste, can lead to ingesting too much fluoride and ultimately dental fluorosis.

Permanent Teeth Look More Yellow Than Baby Teeth

The side-by-side comparison of a baby tooth next to a permanent tooth can be shocking to some parents as their child begins to get their permanent teeth. Permanent teeth have a layer underneath the enamel called dentin, which is naturally gray or yellow in color, and is thicker than in baby teeth. If you’re concerned about your child’s permanent teeth being significantly more yellow than their baby teeth, just bring them in for an exam to be safe.

Are Whitening Products Safe For Children?

The first rule in whitening products for children is that if your child still has baby teeth, whiting is not recommended. Children under the age of 16 should avoid any over-the-counter whitening products because a lot of them contain high levels of hydrogen peroxide that may be too strong and harm their tooth enamel. Damage to tooth enamel can cause irreversible yellow teeth because your enamel can never be repaired or replaced.

The side effects of teeth whitening products in children are:

  • Increased sensitivity
  • Dentin Demineralization
  • Variations in tooth color
  • Damaged gum tissue
  • Injured tooth pulp or nerves
  • Interference with composite or plastic fillings
  • Enamel Pitting


Teeth Whitening Alternatives For Kids

Preserving the whiteness of enamel can be done with a few additional steps to care for your child’s teeth on a daily basis including:

  • Avoiding certain beverages that are high in sugar and dark in color
  • Establishing healthy eating habits by consuming hard fruits and vegetables
  • Limiting sugary and acidic foods
  • Maintaining a brushing and flossing routine
  • Scheduling regular dental exams and cleanings

Encourage your kids to brush and floss twice a day and brush within 30 minutes after consuming sugary or acidic foods and drinks. Consistently making an effort to remove stains that cause discoloration on the teeth is the most effective natural whitening solution. For more whitening tips, ask Cherrywood Dental Associates at your next exam.

Is Your Teen Responsible Enough For Invisalign?

Dentist showing to the female patient how to use mobile orthodontic appliance for dental correction

Invisalign orthodontic treatments are becoming increasingly popular with both adults and teens, and it’s easy to see why. With the ability to straighten a smile all while being virtually undetectable, more and more of today’s teens are asking their parents for the option of Invisalign rather than traditional braces.

Your initial thought might be that there is no way your teen is responsible enough to manage their own aligners to gradually straighten their teeth, but you may want to think again. Invisalign offers an alternative to traditional braces that many teens and parents find fits their lifestyle, and Invisalign is easier to manage than you might think.

The Difference Between Invisalign and Invisalign Teen

For the most part, Invisalign and Invisalign Teen only have two major differences. They are both similar in shape, material, and patient treatment time. The two major differences in treatment are:

The Dot

The first major difference in the two orthodontic treatment options is a small dot on the back of only Invisalign Teen aligners. This dot is used to let us know how often your teen is actually wearing their aligners. The more the aligners are worn, the more the dot changes in color from blue to clear or white. Because Invisalign aligners require being worn a minimum of 22 hours a day, this small dot allows for both doctor and patient to check their progress to ensure they are right on track with the treatment schedule.

Replacement Aligners

The second major difference between Invisalign and Invisalign Teen is the number of aligners provided throughout treatment. Invisalign provides more replacement aligners for those with Invisalign Teen just in case a set gets broken or lost because we understand that teens aren’t always as careful with where they place things as an adult would be. We want to ensure you walk away with the smile of your dreams and replacement aligners help us keep you on track with your treatment.

Why Teens Love Invisalign

Besides the obvious reasons, teens are able to transform their smile without the use of bulky and noticeable braces, and this is making for happier orthodontic patients (and parents too!) everywhere. Here are the top reasons why teens say they love Invisalign.

Style Matters

If your teen enjoys their orthodontic treatment, they are going to be more committed to following it through. Orthodontic treatments are not a one visit and done type of commitment, and it’s up to your teen to remember to wear their aligners, keep track of appointments, and take care of their teeth while going through treatment. Studies have shown that teens wear their Invisalign aligners for an average of 21 hours per day, which confirms what we already know about teens – style matters!

Easy To Use

One of the biggest benefits of Invisalign for any patient, whether adult or teen, is that this alternative to traditional braces is incredibly easy to use. Functioning like a removable retainer, your teen will take them in and out as needed because there is nothing fixed in place like traditional metal braces. This also means that there’s no risk of them eating certain foods that put their brackets and wires at a risk of breaking, and it also keeps them from missing out on things like a pizza party with friends, or taking a big bite out of a burger without worrying about food being stuck in their braces.

Healthier Teeth Post Treatment

Since the aligners are completely removable, it’s easy to keep teeth clean when going through treatment. Aligners also lessen the chance of developing stains or even cavities because food doesn’t get stuck along the brackets and underneath wires. As an added bonus, teeth need to be cleaned before the aligners are replaced after eating, so your teen will be doing some extra cleaning during treatment.

Comfort is Key

Many Invisalign patients make comments about how comfortable their treatment is. Any time you are moving teeth, there is bound to be some level of discomfort whether you’re wearing traditional metal braces or Invisalign. Switching to a new aligner will make teeth slightly sore for a day or two, but aligners do not rub sores against the cheeks and inside of the mouth like traditional metal brackets and wires do, which reduces the chances of getting sores and cuts during treatment.

To learn more about whether Invisalign Teen is an alternative to traditional braces for your teen, schedule an appointment with Cherrywood Dental Associates. Together, we can give your teen the smile of their dreams!

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