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.

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!

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.

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!

Yoga For Mental Health? YES!

young woman in yoga poseMost of our Georgetown dental office patients are aware that both Dr. and Mrs. Hennington are professional yoga instructors. Xenia is actually a Kundalini Yoga Teacher Trainer,  teaching Kundalini yoga classes at Yoga Yoga in Austin, and Dr. David volunteers his time teaching yoga to Safe Alliance employees. Both understand the physical and spiritual benefits of yoga, from physical flexibility to meditation and spiritual growth. But did you know that there are specific mental health benefits from practicing yoga?

You may be thinking to yourself, how could laying on a mat in a weird pose help my mind? It all comes down to way your body physically reacts to the specific body postures and alignments of yoga. As you pose and breathe deeply, your body lowers your brain’s response to threat and stress, turning OFF adrenaline and causing sodium to leave your body’s cells. This immediately relaxes your brain, your heart, and your muscles, as well as oxygenating your blood to reduce your heart rate. Studies by the American Psychological Association have discovered that relaxing through yoga can reduce depression, symptoms of schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders. One study was performed on adult caregivers taking care of loved ones with Alzheimer’s and dementia. They found that performing yoga for 12 minutes a day over an 8 week period reduced their stress and increased levels of life satisfaction.

Think about how you feel during a relaxing weekend or after a really great night of sleep. That state of calm and balance that makes you just sit back and smile? Those same biological reactions can be achieved through the relaxation of gentle yoga poses.

The staff at Trade Winds Dental knows that yoga has a variety of benefits, from elongating muscles to helping spinal nerves, to even aiding in digestion. But your Georgetown dentist also wants you to know that a sun salutation can do more than strengthen your body… it can also help to strengthen your mind.

If you’re curious about yoga and it’s benefits, please feel free to ask questions during your next dental appointment. And until then….. Namaste… Sat Nam.

The Power of Purple Food

purple foodsPut Some Purple Power on Your Plate!

Purple is calming, uplifting, spiritual, and creative, and is the color of the crown chakra, the chakra linked to the brain, the nervous system, and the representation of pure thought. It gives you both the stimulation of red and the calm of blue. In feng shui, purple can be used in any direction to boost creativity, success, wealth, and love. But the power of purple doesn’t just stop with its mystical and psychological effects. Purple is also one of the best colors to EAT!

Which Purple Foods to Choose

When the team at Trade Winds Dental talks about eating purple, we clearly aren’t talking about grape lollipops or mixed-berry taffy. We mean the real thing – grapes, blueberries, plums, eggplant, and carrots.

But carrots are orange, you say? Orange carrots are a fairly new thing. Up until the 17th century, all carrots were purple! Purple carrots are gaining popularity again and can often be found at the local farmers market. You can also try purple cabbage, purple potatoes, and more exotic additions like acai berries.

How Purple Foods Boost Health

According to one of our favorite holistic food blogs, theholisticingredient.com, purple foods are super high in antioxidants, which fight free radicals and oxidants and can:

  • Reduce the risk of high blood pressure
  • Help to prevent obesity and diabetes
  • Lower the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases and cognitive declines
  • Reduce inflammation and therefore chronic disease
  • Assist in preventing urinary tract infections, fight ulcers, reduce liver damage and prevent other diseases contracted from cell damage

Purple foods also contain the age fighter resveratrol and can keep your arteries and blood clean, keep you looking younger and feeling stronger longer than you thought possible.

Eat the Rainbow

So while eating green is still one of the best things you can do for your body, don’t forget to add some of the mysterious and delicious beauty of purple to your everyday plate. Your body will thank you…and your family will too!

Please feel free to give our Georgetown dental office a call to ask us about tips and tricks for getting more purple in your diet. We don’t just offer eco-dentistry, we offer tips for better living everyday. 

My Morning Ritual

woman meditating against dark wallGetting out of bed in the morning can be hard. The alarm rings and you hit snooze. Then you hit it again. We have all done it. But maybe there is a way to make getting out of bed something to look forward to while also decreasing stress, and giving you an emotional, physical, and spiritual jump-start for the day – a morning ritual! “But,” you may say, “I have a morning ritual. I brush my teeth, wash my face, eat a wholesome breakfast. I even go for a quick run before I shower and dress for work. “

That’s a morning routine, not a morning ritual.

A ritual is a deeper level of self-care, one that focuses on preparing emotionally for the day, boosting your happiness quotient, and truly showing some love for yourself.

Five Things You Can Do Before You Get Out of Bed:

  1. Express gratitude
  2. Set your intentions for the day
  3. Take five, deep, long breaths
  4. Smile for no reason
  5. Forgive Yourself for yesterday’s mistakes

These take just a few minutes, and can get you started moving toward your own personal ritual.

The Benefits of a Morning Ritual

According to the online wellness hub The Holistic Ingredient by Amy Crawford, a personal morning ritual can:

  • Lift your mood, every morning.
  • Start the day with achievement.
  • Boost your focus, productivity, and happiness.
  • Give you control of your day.

Now isn’t that a wonderful way to show yourself some love?

Planning and Incorporating Your Morning Ritual

A morning ritual doesn’t have to be complicated.

  • Go to bed at a time that will give you enough full sleep cycles to get you rested. This handy sleep cycle calculator can help you choose a bedtime that fits perfectly with wake-up. http://sleepcalculator.com/
  • Consider buying or making something special to eat or drink that might tempt you out of bed and make you feel a little pampered.
  • While you are enjoying your organic tea or sprouted-grain waffle, try writing down you think might improve your health and wellness or make you happy. Anything can be added to your ritual time as long as it leaves you feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to face the day. Journaling? A bit of daily meditation? How about some yoga? We love the simple but effective sun salutation because it doesn’t take long yet uses all of your major muscle groups. Check it out here: http://www.yogajournal.com/category/beginners/how-to/sun-salutations/
  • Write down exactly what you want to incorporate in your morning ritual. A written reminder not only keeps you from forgetting your goals, it also serves as a way to make you accountable to yourself.

For more morning ritual tips,  please give our Georgetown dental office a call. The team at Trade Winds Dental is here to help you get the most out of your smile – and your life!