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Chocolate’s Surprising Dental Health Benefits

woman eats chocolate

When it comes to talking about food choices that are good for your teeth, your dentist in Georgetown has some not-so-surprising go to selections such as veggies, cheeses, and dairy products packed with calcium. But it may surprise you to hear that our dental office in Georgetown is also a fan of chocolate.

Fight Cavities, Eat Chocolate!

Recent research conducted on the oral health effects of chocolate have caused dental professionals across the world to take a closer look at the sweet treat. It probably comes as no surprise that dentists typically shy away from sugar-packed snacks such as chocolate. But several studies have shown a positive benefit between consuming dark chocolate and lower amounts of decay.

It’s Not Magic, It’s Science!

It may seem like magic that something so delicious may actually have a host of health benefits, but there’s a solid scientific explanation behind why dark chocolate is actually good for teeth. To better understand the science behind the benefits, we need to take a closer look at what makes up our favorite dark chocolate snacks.

The Good Stuff

The compounds found in dark chocolate, or more specifically the cocoa bean husk, have antibacterial and plaque-fighting properties. One of the main components of dark chocolate, CBH, may even find its way into over-the-counter dental products in the future thanks to the positive research on its beneficial effects. Studies surrounding CBH support the idea that this ingredient may be better at fighting decay than fluoride treatments. But don’t go and pass up the fluoride just yet. More research is needed to truly determine the entire host of CBH benefits.

How Does It Work?

Usually when we eat foods with a lot of sugar content, we leave our teeth exposed to the dangers of the sugars. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars and produce acid as a byproduct. This acid eats away at protective enamel and leaves teeth susceptible to cavities. However, the compounds in dark chocolate counteract the high sugar content and the damaging effects that go along with it by releasing their antibacterial properties and fighting off plaque.  

Not Just Any Chocolate Will Do

Keep in mind that these studies look at the benefits of dark chocolate. Milk chocolate as well as white chocolate have a higher sugar content, and eating too much of either may contribute to higher rates of decay.

Following a well-balanced diet can do wonders in helping you keep your mouth healthy and cavity free. Add in a few dark chocolate indulgences, brush and floss regularly, and maintain hygiene appointments at our Georgetown dental office for the best preventive approach to good oral health.

Feeling Thankful at our Georgetown Dental Office

woman expressing thanksIt’s that time of year when you sit down and think about all of the things that you’re thankful for. At our Georgetown dental office, we’re so grateful and thankful that we get to serve our patients and bring healthy smiles to our community. We have so many things to be thankful for that we thought we’d share a few with you…

We’re thankful for:

Our Planet – we do everything we can to help minimize our impact on the environment so that generations to come can enjoy this beautiful world we live in.

Yoga – Yes, we’re thankful for yoga! The mental and spiritual benefits of yoga are far reaching and help to make us better, stronger people.

Compassion – we’re so lucky to be able to give back to our community in a number of ways, from helping with donations to the Hope Alliance to helping the local dog shelter or donating free dentistry to someone in need. We’re also lucky to have community events like the Georgetown Farmers Market to help bring us together with other members of the community.

Clean Water – In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Maria, we’re thankful to have clean water and running electricity, as some people who were affected by the storms are still living without these daily necessities.

Our Team – The Trade Winds Dental team is family! It’s wonderful to be able to get up in the morning and know that we’ll get to work with such wonderful people who truly want to make a difference in people’s lives.

And of course…

Our Patients You are the reason that we attend continuing education, why we learn the latest techniques and technologies, and why we are so proud of what we do. It’s the smile on someone’s face who finally has healthy teeth after years of pain or low self-esteem that makes everyone’s day here at our little dental office in Georgetown. Know that making you smile makes us smile, and we’re thankful that you allow us to be a part of your journey to health and wellness.

We hope that you’re thinking about what you’re thankful for this season, and be sure to tell us when you come in for your next appointment!

The Great American Smokeout

great American smokeoutThe mission of the American Cancer Society is to eliminate cancer as a widespread health problem through research, service, and education. One of their larger events of the year, the Great American Smokeout, occurs on the third Thursday in November. This annual event strives to encourage all tobacco users to designate a quit date and work towards a smoke-free life. The mission at our dental office in Georgetown is to help our neighbors live a healthy, happy life, and not using tobacco is directly related to us fulfilling that mission. So this November, we’re going to highlight a few benefits of quitting as well as a few tips to help.

Smoking & Oral Health

Most people are aware of the various health issues that go along with smoking. And those are absolutely serious. But your dentist in Georgetown focuses more on the many oral health problems that tend to accompany years of tobacco use. Some of these concerns include:

  • Dry mouth and, in turn, decay
  • Yellowing teeth and bad breath
  • Slowed healing time after dental treatment

Tips to Quit

Quitting smoking isn’t easy, and sometimes people try several times before they stop once and for all. And that’s ok. Whether this is your first try or your twentieth, we believe in you and want to help by providing a few of the best tips we’ve found to help you quit.

  • Gather a support system by recruiting friends and family to help you manage cravings. Having a solid support team is one of the key ingredients to a successful quit plan.
  • List out your reasons for quitting and refer back to them whenever you feel yourself start to slip. Reminding yourself of the money you’ll save or the health you’ll get back can snap you out of a potential fallback.
  • Be aware of your triggers and work to either avoid them or change your habits surrounding them.
  • Keep healthy options handy to keep your hands and mouth busy. Chew sugar-free gum or snack on crunchy carrots to help satisfy your cravings.

If you’re looking for help to finally quit smoking, or perhaps you’re ready to get your mouth healthy after quitting, we welcome you to call our Georgetown dental office to schedule an appointment. Even it’s been awhile since you’ve been to the dentist or you’ve been a smoker for years, you don’t need to worry about a lecture with us. We believe that supporting you through your journey is much more helpful to getting you healthy.

October is National Dental Hygiene Month

hygiene appointmentWhen most people think of October, we doubt they immediately think of their teeth. In fact, they might not think about teeth at all except if a piece of Halloween candy does some unexpected damage. That’s where we’re a little different. At our dental office in Georgetown, when we think of October, we think of National Dental Hygiene Month, our dental hygienists, and their dedication to keeping patients’ mouths healthy.

About National Dental Hygiene Month

Every October, the dental community celebrates National Dental Hygiene Month. Sponsored by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program (WOHP), National Dental Hygiene Month is designed to increase awareness of how proper dental hygiene is crucial to maintaining a healthy mouth and healthy body. According to the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH) there is a link between oral health and several whole body concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and others.

The Daily 4

The main focus of National Dental Hygiene Month this year is on the top four necessary components of a proper at home oral hygiene routine. These four aspects include:

  • Brushing
  • Flossing
  • Rinsing
  • Chewing

Read on to learn more important information from your dentist in Georgetown.

Brushing

We all know we should brush our teeth everyday, but according to American Dental Association (ADA), there are certain guidelines you should follow to get the most out of your brushing routine. Make sure to brush twice a day for two minutes each. You should select a soft-bristled toothbrush and a small, gentle circular motion instead of a back and forth scrubbing technique to reduce potential damage to your enamel.

Flossing

Sometimes we’re asked if flossing is really necessary. The short answer? Absolutely. Why? We’re glad you asked. When you only brush your teeth and don’t floss you’re missing out on cleaning about 35% of each tooth. That’s a lot of opportunity for bacteria to get comfy and start the decay process. Make sure you’re removing as much bacteria and plaque as possible by flossing in between each tooth and up under the gum line.

Rinsing

Mouthwash may seem like an unnecessary part of an oral healthcare routine. However, the right product can help reduce bad breath, gingivitis, decay, and plaque. Look for one that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. This means the product has been scientifically tested and evidence supports the claims made on the label.

Chewing

Brushing your teeth after you eat is ideal, but we realize that may not be possible for everyone all the time. When you can’t brush after a meal, chew a piece of sugarless gum instead. Chewing gum helps produce saliva which aids in neutralizing bacteria that may be left over from your meal.

We encourage every one of our patients and neighbors to follow The Daily 4 diligently for a healthy, happy mouth. However, it’s still important to maintain dental cleanings and bi-annual appointments with your dentist. These visits help remove stuck-on plaque or tartar that you just can’t get at home and ensure there are no problems lurking in your mouth. If you’re looking for a new dental team, we’re always accepting new patients and would love to see you. Give our Georgetown dental office a call to schedule an appointment.

Halloween Candy can be SCARY for Teeth

Halloween teensIt won’t come as a shock to you that Halloween is typically not your Georgetown dentist’s favorite holiday. Yes, of course we love the dressing up and bobbing for apples, but we definitely aren’t crazy about all that candy and the impact it can have on your smile. While we know that tons of sweet treats will be available to you and your children all month long, we’d like to give you some advice to keep all that candy from harming your teeth.

1 – Go For the Chocolate

We know, it sounds weird, but if you have one type of treat to choose from in your trick or treat basket, choose chocolate. Why? Chocolate dissolves more easily and doesn’t hang around on your teeth like sticky or hard candies. That makes it less likely to cause decay.

2 – Avoid the Ooeys and the Gooeys

Sticky, chewy candies like toffees and caramels can cling to your teeth, allowing bacteria to thrive. They’ve also been know to pull out fillings and loosen other dental restorations from time to time, especially hard candies that you have to bite into. It’s better to pass on these.

3 – Consider a Healthier Alternative

If you’re hosting a Halloween party this year, consider having some non-candy alternatives on hand like small bags of pretzels, sliced up apples, or dippable veggies. You can even get creative with your snacks by finding easy recipes on Pinterest, or try these spooky treats from Delish.com

Finally, remember that a little candy goes a long way. If you or your children are going to indulge in sweet treats, try to dole them out in moderation or as rewards for getting things done around the house. This will keep your Georgetown dental team from having a fright when you come for your next dental cleaning!

Have a Spooktacular Halloween from your Trade Winds Dental team!

Do I Need a Dental Night Guard?

dental night guardDental night guards are usually recommended for patients who suffer from nighttime tooth grinding, also known as bruxism. According to the American Dental Association, bruxism affects around 10-15% Americans, so it’s a pretty common problem. While night guards are typically the treatment of choice for bruxism patients, our dental office in Georgetown would like to explain why, how they help, and options you may have.

Why is a Night Guard Used to Treat Bruxism?

Many people who grind their teeth do so during sleep when they are unaware of the problem. And since they’re unaware, they can’t do anything consciously to help correct it. This is when a night guard can help. Night guards are appliances that are fitted individually to each patient and designed to wear while sleeping. They help keep the patient from grinding their teeth together and limits jaw movement. If bruxism is left untreated, the chance of chipped, cracked, or broken teeth, and problems with TMJ/TMD are increased.

Types of Night Guards

There are two types of night guards that may first appear very similar, but are actually quite different. Night guards you can buy at any drugstore are usually cheaper and follow the boil-and-bite method of molding. While they can work to stop tooth grinding, they’re not always the best choice. Custom-made night guards created by a dentist are usually the better option. These professionally crafted night guards use precise molds of your teeth for a tight, proper, comfortable fit. Your dentist will also look at your jaw positioning during the fitting process to ensure your jaw is aligned properly. This may help avoid additional problems with your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) later on.  Custom night guards can also last up to 10 years as opposed to the over-the-counter night guards which may only last a few months before you need a new one.

Other Ways to Treat Tooth Grinding

Night guards are the most commonly recommended treatment method to combat tooth grinding, but just because it’s the most common doesn’t mean it’s the only option. Depending on the case, treatments may include orthodontics, stress reduction exercises, limiting caffeine intake, or considering an alternative medication that may include a stimulant.

Know the Signs of Bruxism

Your dentist in Georgetown may suspect bruxism before you do, but there are signs you should be aware of.

  • Flat or chipped teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Waking up with sore jaw muscles
  • Neck or facial pain
  • Headaches

Bruxism can be treated following a proper diagnosis from a dentist. There’s no need for you to live with pain or at risk for tooth damage and TMJ problems in the future. If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth at night, we encourage you to give our Georgetown dental office a call to schedule an appointment. We’ll evaluate your individual needs and recommend the best treatment option for you.

Back to School Brushing and Dental Care

teen football player with mouthguardIt’s back to school time! Signal the groaning of children and the celebration of parents everywhere!

Getting back into the routine of getting ready for school is vital, no matter if you’re a child, a teenager, or a college student.  Everyone has to jump out of bed and get ready to take on the day’s classes, exams, and after school activities. Be sure that each morning starts with a thorough brushing and flossing of your teeth. Not only will it remove plaque and that ‘morning mouth’ feeling, it will also help to wake you up! Besides, no one wants to go to class with morning breath.

Once classes have started, consider storing a travel toothbrush and a small box of dental floss (or floss picks) in a plastic bag inside your backpack. Because that bit of lettuce from your lunchtime salad doesn’t need to be a part of your smile all afternoon long. Or worse, that garlic smell that seems to linger on your breath from that yummy shrimp pasta. Taking a moment to brush and/or floss will keep you feeling fresh, and more confident, as you continue your busy day.

Many students have sports practice after school. Don’t forget your sports mouthguard! Your Georgetown dentist will tell you that more than 5 million teeth are knocked out every year, with up to 39% of them being from sports injuries. Of those, 80% of dental injuries involve the top front teeth. No matter what age you are, no one wants to deal with the pain (and cost!) of damaging your smile when it can so easily be prevented. Ask your Trade Winds Dental team about sports mouthguards so that you can be sure you have the proper type for your activity level.

Going back to school might not always make you want to smile. But with properly cared for teeth, and your Georgetown dental team here to support you, those confident pearly whites should take you to the head of the class.

Paying it Forward

illustration of concept Pay it ForwardHave you ever been zipping through the drive through to get your morning cup of coffee, already stressing about the meetings and tasks to complete that day, and as you pull up to the window, you receive the pleasant surprise that the person in front of you has paid for your coffee? A total stranger just chose to do a nice thing for you, and that positive feeling makes you smile and perhaps changes your entire outlook on the day. At Trade Winds Dental, we know all about this concept and call it by it’s more well known name….. Paying it Forward.

You may be thinking, what in the world would my Georgetown dental office know about paying it forward? You may be surprised to know that our team tries to perform random acts of kindness whenever possible. You might not know about it, because we aren’t looking for recognition or anything in return. That’s why we wanted to tell you how these little things in life can not only give you an incredible feeling of satisfaction, but also can create a ripple effect from one recipient to the next.

Take for example our toothbrush donation program. If you are replacing your toothbrush (as the ADA recommends every three months or so), bring the old one into our office for recycling. In addition to removing that plastic from landfills, we also take the time to donate $ 1 per toothbrush to Hope Alliance. It’s not something that we HAVE to do, it’s something small that we CAN do that makes a big impact.

Dr. Hennington and his staff also donate dentistry throughout the year to people in need right here in our community. For example, a local veteran on a reduced income who also takes care of his mother had put off dental work to the point where it affected his ability to chew properly. The team at the Georgetown dental office was more than happy to assist this man at no cost to him…. We simply asked him to pay it forward.

So the next time you’re in line to buy your coffee, or maybe having lunch at a diner, consider picking up the tab for a stranger. Or spending the day volunteering at a shelter instead of another Netflix binge day. Or simply helping your neighbor out and mowing the part of the lawn that you share. You never know, this simple act of Paying it Forward could result in something life changing.

Call our Georgetown dental office today to schedule your next appointment, or to ask for suggestions to perform your own random act of kindness.

Start This School Year with a Healthy Smile

back to school baby
As we all gear up to head back to school, loading up on folders, notebooks, pencils, and backpacks, the team at our dental office in Georgetown wants to send a friendly reminder to our patients and neighbors about the importance of getting your child (or yourself) to the dentist before school starts.

Dental Checkups Help with Overall Health, Too

While we encourage all of our patients to see us at least biannually, we also like to see them prior to starting a new school year. Visits to your dentist in Georgetown not only help keep smiles healthy, they also help keep whole bodies healthy. Poor dental health has been linked to:

In fact, the National Institutes of Health reported that 20-30% of children have chronic health conditions due to oral health. Regular dental exams and cleanings are key in catching any problems, or potential problems, early to avoid these serious diseases. It may also be recommended that your child receive protective sealants to aid against decay and cavities.

Keep Kids in School

It’s our goal to keep kids healthy and in school so they can learn, thrive, and get good grades. However, recent research has suggested that poor oral health has been linked to poor grades. According to the American Journal of Public Health Dentistry, children in elementary school missed 6 days of school on average each year. Of those 6 days, 2 of them were because of dental problems. As we all know, when kids aren’t attending class, they’re missing key elements of their education. What’s more, when they’re in pain due to a toothache brought on by a cavity, their ability to pay attention to lessons diminishes.

Hygiene at Home

Back to school dental visits are a great preventive step to ensure your child is starting the school year off healthy. But a good hygiene routine at home is equally important. Make sure your child is brushing every morning (after breakfast!) and every night for two minutes each time. Also, don’t forget to have them floss once a day.

Following a proper hygiene routine and maintaining appointments with our Georgetown dental office can keep you and your child smiling and in good health all the way through to summer break.

If you’re looking for a Georgetown dentist, schedule an appointment today!

Top 10 Habits That Ruin Teeth

woman opening bottle with teethAt our dental office in Georgetown, we like to focus on preventive dental care to ensure the health of our neighbors. This usually means seeing us for regular dental visits at least every six months and following a proper hygiene routine at home. But there are other things you may be doing on a daily basis that are harming your smile and you don’t even know it. In this week’s blog, we’d like to cover the top 10 most common habits that ruin teeth.

Brushing Too HardYour dentist in Georgetown recommends brushing your teeth twice a day using small, gentle circles. If you vigorously scrub away at teeth, you can damage gum tissue and cause it to recede, making teeth super sensitive.

Crunching Ice Cubes – Ice cubes are hard and aren’t meant for crunching. Their tough texture can cause you to break teeth, damage dental restorations, or create tiny chips in the enamel where bacteria can thrive.

Eating LemonsThese bright yellow fruits are packed with acid, and when the acid comes in contact with teeth, it can easily erode enamel.

Biting NailsThe angle your jaw adjusts to while nail biting can cause problems with your jaw, also known as TMJ or TMD. Nail biting may also result in chipped teeth.

Using Teeth as ToolsYour teeth are meant for chewing, not opening packets or holding things. When they are used in this manner, cracked teeth are incredibly common.

Playing Sports without a MouthguardPlaying any sport without a mouthguard isn’t only potential dangerous for your smile, it’s also dangerous for your brain. Mouthguards protect teeth from elbows, hockey pucks, or baseballs and can help minimize the risk of concussions.

Drinking SodaSoft drinks are usually packed with sugar, and as we all know, sugar is terrible for teeth. When sugar is in a liquid format as in soda, it can be even more damaging since it’s being exposed to the entire mouth, usually over a long period of time.

Chewing on PencilsJust like you should use your teeth as tools, you also shouldn’t hold or chew on your writing utensils. Pencils and pens alike are hard and can damage teeth pretty easily.

Smoking or Using TobaccoNot only is tobacco use bad for overall health, it’s also detrimental for oral health. Smoking or chewing tobacco can discolor teeth and has been linked to gum disease and oral cancer.

Clenching or Grinding TeethWhether you clench or grind out of stress or while you sleep, you’re essentially banging your teeth together over and over again. Habitually clenching or grinding can result in broken teeth or jaw problems(TMJ).

If you found yourself identifying with any of the habits above, we would encourage you to work on breaking them. In the meantime, if you happen to damage your teeth, whether from a bad habit or any other reason, we’ll be happy to get you back to smiling. Give our Georgetown dental office a call to schedule an appointment.