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!

5 Important Facts About Oral Cancer

oral cancer awareness

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and all month long is dedicated to educating the public on the seriousness of the disease. At our dental office in Georgetown, we’d like to help our community by discussing some current oral cancer statistics, sharing the most common symptoms, and talking about some factors that can put you at increased risk.

Oral Cancer Cases Continue to Grow in America

According to the American Cancer Society, just over 51,500 people in the United States will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year alone. That’s an increase of over 1,750 from 2017.

Death Rates Have Remained the Same Over 10 Years

Even though the survival rate for oral cancer is 65%, it still takes the lives of thousands of Americans every year. In 2018, an estimated 10,000 will die. Advancements in treatment options helped reduced the mortality rates in the past, however they have remained steady over the past 10 years.

Catching Oral Cancer Early Can Save Your Life

One of the contributing factors to the 65% oral cancer survival rate is due to early diagnosis and treatment intervention. The best way you can help protect yourself is by recognizing the signs of oral cancer and seeing your dentist in Georgetown as soon as possible if notice any of the common symptoms including:

  • A sore in the mouth that doesn’t go away and bleeds easily
  • A chronic white or red area
  • Difficulty swallowing, chewing, or moving the tongue
  • A lump on the cheek, tongue, or throat
  • Coughing up blood
  • Ear pain

Tobacco Use Increases the Risk of Oral Cancer

It’s a well known fact that smoking causes lung cancer, but it can also cause other types of cancer including oral cancer. In fact, 80% of those who have oral cancer smoke or use other forms of tobacco. Quitting can help reduce your risk.

So Does Drinking Alcohol Excessively

Approximately 70% of all those diagnosed with oral cancer consume alcohol heavily. And if someone both drinks excessively and smokes, their risk for oral cancer may be as high as 100%.

Prevention

Avoiding known risk factors such as smoking and drinking too much alcohol can certainly help lower your chances of developing oral cancer. However, there are other factors that we can’t control. For example, men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women and those over the age of 55 are most commonly affected by the disease. While we can’t do much to change those risks, we can do our best to protect ourselves by practicing good oral hygiene and maintaining dental checkups every six months. These appointments can help in catching oral cancer early when chances of successful treatment and survival are highest.

We welcome all of our neighbors to call our Georgetown dental office to schedule an appointment with us. We’re here to keep your smile, and your whole body, healthy.

4 Things You Need to Know About Calcium

foods with calicumWhen most people think of calcium, they often associate it with building super strong bones. While that’s certainly part of its benefits, the team at our dental office in Georgetown also knows that calcium is crucial for a strong smile, too. But before you start diving in to a calcium-rich diet, consider some important facts to keep your body, and mouth, healthy.

Know How Much Calcium You Need

Your recommended level of calcium intake depends on your age and your gender. The following chart from the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) shows just how much calcium each age group needs each and every day.

  • 0-6 months = 200 mg for both males and females
  • 7-12 months = 260 mg for both males and females
  • 1-3 years = 700 mg for both males and females
  • 4-8 years = 1,000 mg for both males and females
  • 9-18 years = 1,300 mg for both males and females
  • 19-50 years = 1,000 mg for both males and females
  • 51-70 years = 1,000 mg for males, 1,200 mg for females
  • 71+ years = 1,200 mg for both males and females

Too Much Calcium Is a Real Thing

While you should always try your best to get your recommended daily intake of calcium, there’s no need to go overboard. In fact, your Georgetown dentist wants you to know that ingesting too much calcium can have adverse effects on your oral and overall health. Excess calcium can lead to gum disease, plaque deposits, and has even been studied to potentially increase the risk for heart disease. Just like most things in life, calcium is best in moderation. Make sure to follow the recommended amount for your age and gender.  

Mix in Some Vitamin D

Even if you’re getting your recommended intake of calcium daily, it may not be enough to keep your bones and teeth strong. In order for calcium to be absorbed into the body properly, it needs an adequate amount of vitamin D, too. Your body needs both vitamin D and calcium to function, so read the nutrition labels on your food and provide yourself with a nice mix of the two.

Look Past the Dairy Aisle

The most common way to get calcium is to eat or drink dairy products such as yogurt, milk, and cheese. And while those are excellent sources of calcium, and usually vitamin D too, there are plenty of other non-dairy options to explore including:

  • Sardines
  • Salmon
  • Soymilk
  • Orange juice
  • Calcium-fortified cereal

Our Georgetown dental office strives to keep our patients as healthy as possible, and not just their smiles. That’s why we encourage each and every one of them to eat well balanced meals and get enough calcium and vitamin D. That, along with maintaining bi-annual dental visits and brushing and flossing regularly, will help keep their smiles and bodies strong, for life.

How Your Oral Health Can Affect Your Heart

heart health monthFebruary is nationally recognized as Heart Health Month. Every year the American Heart Association and medical professionals across the country join together to publicize the seriousness of heart disease and educate the population on how to reduce your risk. At our dental office in Georgetown, we want to help do our part and bring awareness to how your oral health is directly linked to your heart health.  

The Oral Health, Heart Health Connection

It’s been said that your eyes are the window to the soul. While that may be true, another phrase we should be promoting is that your mouth is the window to your overall health. Throughout the years, researchers have discovered a strong correlation between oral health and overall health, including its link to heart disease.

It’s All About the Gums

When you come to see your dentist in Georgetown, your dental team is looking at more than just your teeth. We’re also taking an incredibly close look at the health of your gums. Your gums play an important role not only in your oral health and keeping your teeth in place, but also in the health of your heart. If gum disease is present and left untreated, the infection can transfer into the bloodstream. When this happens, your body responds by producing more C-reactive protein (CRP). Higher than normal levels of CRP can cause some serious health issues including:

  • Inflamed arteries
  • Blood clots
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes

Signs of Gum Disease

Since gum disease can develop quickly, it’s important to be aware of the most common signs so that you can get it treated immediately. Early intervention is the key to a easier and more successful treatment. If you notice any of the signs below, contact your Georgetown dentist as soon as possible.

  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing
  • Puffy, tender gums
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth

Protect Your Gums, Protect Your Heart

Prevention of gum disease is one way you can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Make sure you brush your teeth, floss every day, and maintain visits to our Georgetown dental office at least twice a year. These bi-annual appointments help remove buildup on teeth that, if left alone, could develop into gum disease or other oral health problems.

Don’t put yourself at risk to the seriousness of heart disease. Schedule an appointment with us today.

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.

Have You Used Your Dental Benefits?

smiling girl with puppyThe end of the year is fast approaching. Before you know it, we’ll be making resolutions and writing 2018 on our paperwork. Take a moment and think – have you made the most of your dental insurance benefits this year? It’s time for an end-of-the-year benefits check!

The staff at our Georgetown dental office is here to help you maximize your dental benefits to be sure that you’ve received the treatments you need or want within the calendar benefit year. This includes your regular hygiene appointments every six months and taking care of any cavities that may have appeared during that time. But have you thought about other options, such as:

  • Cosmetic Dentistry like dental bonding to fix chipped or discolored teeth
  • Restorative Dentistry like dental implants to replace a missing tooth
  • Or even Invisalign clear aligners to straighten your teeth comfortably and quickly. In fact, if you start Invisalign therapy now, you may have the straight teeth you’ve always wanted before Christmas of 2018.

Don’t forget that your Georgetown dentist is also here to help with nightguards to help you stop grinding your teeth at night, especially at this time of year when life tends to get a bit more…shall we say…. stressful?!

Your Trade Winds Dental team is here to help you achieve and keep that healthy, happy smile that we love to see every time you walk in our door. So if you have a concern or a dental need, it’s not too late! Call our office today to discuss your end-of-the-year benefits status with our staff and also to answer any questions you may have about our services.

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.

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.

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.