A Closer Look at Sugary Snacks

yogurtMost of us know that sugar is bad for teeth. So it should come as no surprise that our dental office in Georgetown encourages our patients to limit their sugar intake in order to keep teeth healthy and decay-free. But sometimes it’s not so easy know just how much sugar is in the foods we eat. We’re here to help take a closer look…

How Much Sugar is Recommended?

Before we dive into some foods that are high in sugar we should talk about how much sugar we typically need every day. While sugar intake limits vary person to person, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the following maximum of added sugars daily:

  • Men – 150 calories per day (or 9 teaspoons)
  • Women – 100 calories per day (or 6 teaspoons)

A Quick Note on Added Sugars

There two types of sugars found in food — natural sugars and added sugars. Natural sugars occur naturally in foods and added sugars are, well, added in. While both can negatively affect teeth, added sugars are worse for oral health and overall health.

Sugar-Packed Snacks

As we look at some snacks that are high in sugar, there may be some that surprise you. Remember, you don’t need to avoid these snacks entirely, but try to limit your intake of added sugars and do all you can to follow a well-balanced diet. To try to put the sugar content into better perspective, we’ll be using teaspoons for reference.

Yogurt

Yogurt is usually considered good for you, but certain types can contain loads of sugar. Varieties that have added fruit or flavors are particularly guilty. Some may even top out at more than 6.5 teaspoons of sugar in only a 6 ounce cup.

Granola Bars

Here’s another snack that normally finds its way onto the healthy list. Granola bars can be a quick and easy snack, but there can also be a lot of sugar hiding in these handheld treats. In fact, some may have nearly 3 teaspoons of it.

Soda

This one should come as no surprise. Certain types of soda can have as much as 11 teaspoons in a 12 ounce can!

Candy

Another pretty common sugary snack comes in the form of candy. And while different types of candy pack a different sugar punch, most of them contain at least 7 teaspoons and some have as much as 17 teaspoons!

When it comes to nutrition and snacking smart, read the labels on food carefully and pay attention to serving size to truly know how much sugar (and other stuff) you’ll be putting into your body. If it helps you to picture sugar content by the teaspoon, keep in mind that 4.2 grams is equal to 1 teaspoon.

As always, when it comes to keeping your smile healthy and your teeth in tip-top shape, make sure you brush them twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist in Georgetown biannually.

We’re always accepting new patients at our Georgetown dental office and welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today.

Your Oral Health Doesn’t Take Vacations!

smiling woman on vacationYaaaay Summer! This is the season for quick weekend getaways, trips to the beach or the river lot, and trips to see relatives all over the place for family picnics. One thing that should never take a vacation is your oral health. Is it possible to take really good care of your teeth when you’re away from home? Your Georgetown dental team knows … and it’s easier than you might think.

Pack Wisely

When you’re packing for a trip, even if it’s just for one night, don’t forget your toothbrush and toothpaste. Try setting your toiletry bag out in the bathroom the night before, and then you’ll remember to put your toothbrush, paste, and floss inside the bag when you’re done brushing in the morning.

Road Trip

If you’re planning a long road trip with the family, bring your toothbrush in a bag inside the car. You can always brush your teeth at rest stops and other places when you take a bathroom break, or those much-needed breaks just to get out and stretch.

Kids are Picky

If your child only likes brushing with her Frozen toothbrush that lights up and plays the theme song to make sure she brushes her teeth long enough, be sure to bring it along. Even if you’re staying somewhere that you could borrow a toothbrush, like at a family member’s house, your child may not want to use that one because… as she might say, “it’s just not the same!”

What if You Forget

Let’s say you planned ahead, but you still get to your destination and realize that you forgot your toothbrush. If you can’t get to a drug store or supermarket to get a temporary one, wrap a slightly damp paper towel around your finger, apply a little bit of toothbrush, and make do with your temporary “finger-brush.”  If you’re stuck being the driver on that long road trip we mentioned, try chewing some sugarless gum or nibbling on a carrot while you drive.

Your Georgetown dentist wants you to get out there and enjoy all the summertime adventures that you can…. But don’t forget the importance of good oral health while you’re out there having fun. When you get back, be sure to call our office to set up your next hygiene appointment, and tell us about your trip!

What’s the Big Deal About Metal Fillings?

woman asking whyYou may have seen us mention the danger of metal fillings (we call them amalgam fillings) in our social media posts or even heard us mention it during an exam at your Georgetown dental office. Even though our office is GreenDoc Gold-Certified, believe it or not, the environment isn’t the only thing that we’re trying to protect by not using metal fillings. We’re also worried about your overall health.

What exactly is in an amalgam filling?

The mixture that is used in metal fillings is made up of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy mix of silver, copper, and tin. About 50% or so of the total mixture is mercury, and when that liquid mercury reacts chemically with the powdered items, it binds all those particles together to form an amalgam (hence the name).

Liquid Mercury — like in old thermometers?

YES, exactly right. Most newer non-digital thermometers use alcohol or another non-toxic substance in them, but those older ones that you remember, perhaps from your childhood, contain about .61 grams of mercury. If you break one of those thermometers, or otherwise accidentally spill liquid mercury, it rolls itself into a sphere shape (like a ball-bearing) and requires hazardous materials training to clean it up. You also have to contact the local health department to dispose of the mess, and keep people and animals out of the area for at least 24 hours. No, we’re not kidding.

YIKES. So that’s why it’s bad for my health?

That’s only one reason it’s bad for your overall health. Mercury can also leech out of amalgam fillings in the form of a vapor as it gets older and wears down. People who are more sensitive, like children or people with existing health problems can develop what’s called “mercury poisoning” from the toxins being released into their bodies. Women and mothers who are breastfeeding are especially susceptible to it’s effects. In fact, the UK, Canada, and Australia have all banned the use of amalgam fillings in pregnant women.

So, what do I do?

Your dentist in Georgetown only uses ceramic and tooth-colored composite materials for dental fillings…. NEVER amalgam. If you have existing amalgam fillings that may be old or damaged, talk to us about replacing those fillings with safer composite materials. We use a special amalgam separator during the removal process to be sure that none of that toxic material enters our water supply, which is a whole other realm of environmental danger that we addressed in a previous blog.

At Trade Winds Dental, we’re concerned with not only your oral health, but also your overall health today and well into the future. Call us today to schedule an appointment.

Tasty Treats that are also Good for Teeth

applesIt’s Spring! FINALLY! The staff at our Georgetown dental office is excited to get outside and get active with family and friends. We’re also thinking about eating healthier and lighter, and shaking off the heavy comfort food that we indulged in all winter long. We wanted to tell you about some healthy snacking ideas for spring that are not only tasty, they’re also good for your teeth!

Cheese Please!

Cheese is a great, healthy snack for kids and adults because of all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients inside, including calcium for strong tooth enamel. But that’s not all…. Chewing on a piece of cheese also increase the saliva in your mouth, keeping bad bacteria and sugars from lingering on your tooth surfaces.

An Apple A Day

Apples are great for your teeth because eating them also increases the saliva in your mouth. Not only that, the rough texture of apples stimulates your gums as it lightly scrubs against your teeth. (Apples are also full of fiber, which is great for your overall health.)

Almonds and Sunflower Seeds

Nuts like almonds and seeds like those from our happy sunflowers are a great source of protein and calcium while still being really low in sugar. Maybe try some in homemade hummus! (YUM!)

Low-Fat Yogurt

You’ve probably heard those commercials for yogurts with probiotics in them that are so good for your tummy. Well guess what? All that good bacteria is great for your gums, blocking out the bad bacteria that can lead to cavities.

If you’re getting hungry, consider going to one of the three local Farmers Markets here in Georgetown to stock up on those healthy snacks!

On Thursdays from 2:30-5:30 p.m., visit The Farmers Market in the Republic Shopping Center at 900 N. Austin Ave. The Sun City Farmers Market is every Tuesday, 9 a.m. till Noon at 2 Texas Drive, and the Wolf Ranch Farmers Market is every Saturday, 9 a.m. till 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the Wolf Ranch Shopping Center.

Your Georgetown dental office is full of great ideas for healthy snacks that are also great for your oral health. Ask us about it at your next appointment!

“Is Drinking Wine Bad for My Teeth?”

romantic valentine's dinnerWith February being the month of celebrating love, we’re sure there’s a few of you that will be planning a candlelight dinner with your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day. One question that our Georgetown dental team often hears involves that lovely glass of Syrah or Merlot or Pinot Noir served alongside that beautiful steak…. “Is drinking wine bad for my teeth?” Let’s look at the facts…

All Wines are Acidic

Whether we’re talking white wine, red wine, or a rosé, all wine is highly acidic. Those acids can break down tooth enamel and cause teeth to look dull or yellow. A lack of enamel also leaves the teeth at risk for bacteria and further decay.

What About Organic Wines?

We’re obviously big fans of organic wines here at our Georgetown dental office, since these wines are produced without harmful pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemical compounds that are bad for the environment. BUT, even without those extra chemical additives, organic wines still have the same high acid levels that can affect your protective layer of tooth enamel.

So… Should I Not Drink Wine Anymore?

As long as you’re enjoying your glass of wine safely, responsibly, and in moderation, we’re certainly not going to tell you to banish that bottle down to the cellar. Consider these helpful hints:

  • Swish your mouth with water after drinking a glass of wine. The water will help neutralize some of those acids and wash them away from the surface of your teeth.
  • Don’t brush your teeth immediately after that glass of wine. (YES, we know that sounds weird coming from your dentist). Brushing too soon can actually spread the acids around your mouth more, exposing more teeth to it’s damaging effects.

The bottom line is, your Georgetown dentist wants you to keep an eye on your teeth, and if you do discover some discoloration, whether it’s due to a gambit of grenache or a moderate malbec, we have cosmetic dentistry solutions to get your teeth back to bright white in no time. And of course, we’re always welcoming new patients and would happy to see you no matter what your riesling….. or reason…may be.

5 Signs That It’s Time to See a Georgetown Dentist

man has tooth painWhile we always recommend visiting your dentist at least every six months, there are times when people fall out of the habit and miss a few appointments. Oftentimes a move to a new city or even a fear of the dentist can make it all too easy to pass on seeing the dentist as often as you should. However, the team at our Georgetown dental office want you to know that there are a few signs and symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore…

It’s Like a Desert In Here!

Experiencing dry mouth isn’t only uncomfortable, it’s also concerning. Having periods of occasional dryness is normal, especially with some forms of medication. However, if it becomes an ongoing issue and you just can’t seem to quench the dryness, you may want to see your dentist. Chronic dry mouth leaves the mouth exposed to bacteria and increases the risk for decay.  

There’s An Unpleasant Smell

Sometimes bad breath is unavoidable (think a garlicky pasta dish). But when bad breath becomes chronic, it can be concerning. Bad breath that doesn’t go away is a symptom of gingivitis, or early gum disease. If gingivitis isn’t treated quickly and effectively, it can easily progress into gum disease and lead to tooth loss and other serious health problems.

Red & Puffy Gums

Any gum discomfort or discoloration should raise some red flags for you. Gums are supposed to be a healthy shade of pink, painless, and are definitely not supposed to bleed. Any inflammation, soreness, or blood when you brush or floss are all signs that your dentist will want to know about as soon as possible. These symptoms may indicate gum disease which, if left untreated, can lead to whole body problems such as stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.

You’re Feeling Sensitive

We don’t mean emotionally sensitive, but rather the zinging surge of pain associated with tooth sensitivity. Whether you notice an increase in sensitivity with eating hot or cold foods or while brushing, it’s something you should bring to the attention of your dental team. Sensitivity may be caused by something as simple as brushing too hard, but it can also be a sign of eroding enamel receding gums, both of which need professional treatment to fix.

You Have a Toothache

The most obviously sign that it’s time to schedule an appointment with a dentist in Georgetown is suffering from the unique pain of a toothache. The uncomfortable feeling of tooth pain isn’t something you should ignore, and it probably won’t go away on it’s own. Getting in to see a dentist is the best way to determine the root of the problem and get you some relief.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, we recommend scheduling an appointment at our dental office in Georgetown sooner rather than later. Many of these dental concerns can be treated easily and successfully if caught early. Don’t let the problem continue to worsen. Call to schedule a visit today.

Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

smiling selfieAs we roll into 2018, we all make grandiose lists of resolutions. In our minds we think of all of the things that we want to do to improve upon ourselves, our health, our finances, or our lives in general. But let’s be honest, by the end of February, most of those resolutions have fallen by the wayside. Our Georgetown dental office has some suggestions for some health- related resolutions that you can actually keep… and feel really good about at the same time.

1 – Quit Smoking

Ok, so this one might be the hardest of all to keep, but we know you can do it. Both regular and smokeless tobacco comes with increased risk of heart disease, any number of cancers, yellow teeth, plaque buildup, and general stinkyness. If you need help or resources for putting down the pack, just ask at your next visit.

2 – Turn off the Tap

We’ve told you all year long about our ‘Save 90 a Day’ program in partnership with the Eco-Dentistry Association. Leaving the water running while you brush your teeth wastes almost 90 glasses of water A DAY. A DAY! Make an effort to turn off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth to help conserve water and help the environment.

3 – Eat More Fruits and Veggies

Crunchy fruits and veggies like apples and carrots can remove tooth plaque and freshen your breath. Plus, these healthy snacks are packed with antioxidant power to help kill bacteria and prevent inflammation, not only in your teeth and gums but in your whole body.

4 – See Your Dentist

Your 6 month cleaning is much more than ‘just a cleaning’… we’re checking for decay, cavities, and also gum disease. We’re also looking for early warning signs of larger, whole-body issues that can first appear in your mouth. Plus, this is a great time to talk about any cosmetic concerns that you may have, or plan out treatments to improve the look of your smile.

There’s never been a better time to make some resolutions that you can actually keep, and improve your health and the environment while you’re at it! Schedule your appointment at our Georgetown dental office today and let us help you make 2018 the best year ever!

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!

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.

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.