5 Easy Tips to Keep Your Teeth Healthy for Halloween

Halloween is approaching and we’re all looking forward to celebrating a little more freely this year! Vaccinations are out and people are feeling more comfortable going outside and participating in the festivities. Halloween brings out our inner child. It gets us excited to dress up, decorate the house, and share candy. It is also a time where we all feel comfortable enough to eat as many pieces of candy as we want, because what’s Halloween without sweets?

Kids come back home with hefty bags of candy, and it’s very hard to resist the temptation as we help them sort through it all. Candy is quite tempting, more so for some than others. Maintaining our oral health is vital, especially during these coming holidays that revolve around sweets. Remember, eat the candy that you like, BUT don’t let it ruin your smile! With that in mind, here are 5 easy tips to keep your teeth healthy for Halloween:

  • Eat candy at a specific time: The saliva in our mouth increases when we start to eat, and saliva helps cancel out the acid that gets produced by bacteria from the bits of food that linger after a snack or meal. The prime time for eating candy is right after lunch or dinner. Being full from a meal will also help with portion control while satisfying that sweet tooth. PRO TIP: Rinse away any left-over food particles with water once you’re done eating anything. 
  • Choose candy carefully: It’s very important to choose wisely what type of candy to eat especially if you’ve experienced dental problems in the past. Avoid those hard candies or the ones that stay inside of our mouths for too long. Anytime sugary foods linger; we are at risk for tooth decay. PRO TIP: Sugar-free candy is always a great option for kids and adults. 
  • Avoid sticky situations: A lot of us love sticky candy, so let’s all be mindful to this fact. Sticky candy clings onto our teeth, making it very difficult to remove even with regular brushing and flossing. This has candies like taffy, marshmallows, caramel, and gummy bears take longer to get washed away with our saliva. When candy gets stuck in our teeth, we’re at a higher risk for tooth decay. PRO TIP: Save these for special occasions
  • Drink water: Since we’re all concerned about tooth decay, one of the things that we can easily do to avoid it while eating candy is drinking more water. Drinking water helps keep our teeth healthy and free of food debris. PRO TIP: Drink water with fluoride. Fluoride helps alleviate some of the sugars from sticking to our teeth.
  • Brush and floss daily: With Halloween approaching, we must remember to brush our teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. We have to make sure that we get out all of the candy and food particles so we can keep a clean, healthy mouth. Flossing should also help with getting in between the places that our toothbrushes cannot reach. PRO TIP: Remember that flossing cleans about 40% of your teeth surfaces!

With all these helpful tips being shared, we also want to take a moment to share that October is National Dental Hygiene Month. Truly a time to reflect on our habits and double the efforts on those we may be casual about. Since we’re all getting ready for Halloween, let’s be sure to schedule an appointment to maximize our dental benefits before they expire at the end of the year.

Be safe out there, have fun, and remember to protect your teeth!

Stanford Ranch Family Dentistry

*ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS* 5800 Stanford Ranch Rd. #110
Rocklin, CA 95765
Phone: 916-435-4222

From Tooth Decay to Tooth Loss

    September is almost finished! Which means fall is right around the corner. It’s National Gum Care Month, and it’s a great time to brush up on routines that can keep our mouths clean and healthy. A simple action, like brushing teeth, is very beneficial to our oral health and overall wellness. Skipping out on a good oral hygiene routine can cause a lot of problems down the line. Especially choosing not to go to the dentist for checkups. That always leaves us with unnoticed problems until it’s too late. Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is a lifelong commitment that everyone should be able to do. For us to take care of our mouths and gums, first, we must go over what could happen if we don’t have the proper oral care.

    According to the National Institute of Health, our mouths can carry up to 700 strains of bacteria. So, what happens when bacteria are left to linger inside our mouths? Well, it happily feeds on the sugar from the food and drinks that we consume throughout the daily. Bacteria also likes to break down tooth enamel, which in turn, making the enamel weaker and leading to tooth decay. Tooth decay and cavities are some of the most common health problems, but this can also lead to gum disease as well. 

    Our gums are not supposed to bleed when we brush or floss our teeth. If that does happen, you may have gum disease. Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums that when left untreated can deteriorate the jawbone supporting our teeth. Gum disease starts because of the bacteria that form and stays on teeth. If the bacteria are not removed daily with brushing and flossing, the plaque builds up and the bacteria starts infecting the gums and teeth. Left untreated, teeth will eventually start to fall out or will require professional extraction. There are three stages of gum disease: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. 

  • Gingivitis: This is the earliest stage of gum disease. If plaque builds up at the gum line, it will cause inflammation and the gums can become swollen and red. If the plaque is not removed, it can irritate the gum tissue that is around our teeth, which causes gingivitis. At this early stage of gum disease, you might notice bleeding gums after brushing or while flossing. If caught early enough, this stage of gum disease can be cured with your dentist.
  • Periodontitis: This is the second stage of gum disease. At this stage, the tissue and the bone that holds our teeth in place are damaged. When bacteria stay on teeth long enough, plaque builds up, which then turns into tartar, and tartar is a lot harder to clean off of our teeth. At this stage of gum disease, if it is not treated, periodontitis heavily recedes the gums and tooth loss is imminent. 
  • Advanced Periodontitis: This is the final and severest stage of gum disease. At this point, the tissue and the bone that hold our teeth in place are well deteriorated. The gum tissue has pulled away from teeth, which then creates pockets for even more bacteria to build up and cause further damage and infections. When this happens, it’s very easy for teeth to become dislodged and fall out. 

Now, the best way to stop gum disease is to prevent it from starting. Brushing and flossing twice per day and using fluoride toothpaste are the best we can do at home to keep gum disease from developing. However, if symptoms of gum disease are already present, visiting a dentist or a periodontist, a dentist that specializes in gum disease, is the best option for getting back on a healthy track. When you come in for a gum disease appointment, the first step is a consultation exam to develop the best treatment option to fit your needs. This may include surgical and/or non-surgical methods.

  • Nonsurgical treatments: Some nonsurgical treatments can help the early stages of gum disease. Deep cleaning, where scaling and root planning are used to remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line. 
  • Surgical treatments: Some of the surgical treatments that periodontists can perform to help with gum disease include bone grafting, flap surgery, and tissue regeneration.

So far, we’ve talked about oral care and what could happen if we don’t take the time to properly care of our teeth. We should know this as adults, but what about children? It’s important for children to know what they can do to take care of their teeth and gums. While conversations with your children and their health will vary by age, here are the basic examples of what to share and demonstrate with them at home:

  • Brush their teeth twice a day
  • Floss daily
  • See the dentist regularly
  • Eat healthy meals and limit sugary drinks and snacks

It has been said before that the mouth is the gateway to our overall health, so we should try to protect it as much as possible. Practicing good dental health doesn’t start at the dentist’s office, it starts with us. Us taking care of our teeth at home is where the real magic happens. Maintaining a consistent oral hygiene routine is a lifelong commitment that we can all commit to. Happy national gum care month! 

Stanford Ranch Family Dentistry

*ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS* 5800 Stanford Ranch Rd. #110
Rocklin, CA 95765
Phone: 916-435-4222

Do Toothpicks Really Belong in Your Mouth?

We use toothpicks in our daily lives, and they are useful for a lot of things. The toothpick’s job is to take food particles out from teeth and sometimes, it’s a substitute for actual floss. People also tend to grab them for other things as well. For example, they are great for craft-related projects, and we can say firsthand, those things are NOT sturdy. They can get lost very quickly and tend to break easily. Especially when we use them for the fine point tip, those are the first to go. Now, can you imagine the tip breaking in your mouth or getting lodged in your gums?! Trust us! It’s a very uncomfortable experience.

If a piece of the toothpick breaks off, try and get another set of eyes to help you find it, because those pieces can be very hard to dislodge. Those broken pieces can quickly cause inflammation and will cause damage the longer they are left inside. Remember — if you are unable to remove the broken piece(s), contact us. We’re here to help… judgement free!

Toothpicks can also cause infections in the mouth. If there’s a time where we just happen to jab our gums or even accidentally poke an area of our mouth and it bleeds, that’s a problem. Leaving an open wound untreated is leaving the mouth susceptible to infection and bacteria. Bacteria can be from outside elements or even from the toothpick itself.

Did you know that toothpicks can cause havoc on your existing dental work? They are capable of damaging veneers, Invisalign buttons, bonding, and even upending fillings. If we are rough or use toothpicks often, all of this is bound to happen and is, to simply put it, just not worth saving those few minutes vs flossing and brushing instead.

The moral of the story; toothpicks, even given their name, should not be the go-to for teeth. Toothpicks are useful for dislodging food particles from between our teeth, and while they do come in handy, they are not designed for cleaning teeth especially along the gum lines.

Here are some alternatives to using toothpicks:

–         Floss: Dental floss is the best for cleaning between the teeth. It should be used gently and should never be forced. Floss is also great to use under dental work and along our gum lines.

–         Flossers with a handle. These are handy for traveling. Do use caution as many have a tempting toothpicker at the other end!

–         Waterpik: A waterpik is a device that aims a small stream of pulsating water at teeth. Like floss, they help remove food particles from teeth. They’re also great at helping to reduce bleeding and gum disease. Anyone who wishes to get their mouths cleaner will enjoy adding the waterpik to their daily oral health routine.

Any of these options are miles above using a toothpick! Avoid infections, damage, and unnecessary dental visits. Keep the toothpicks for crafts, cleaning out crevices’ and unclogging tiny holes only.

Stanford Ranch Family Dentistry

*ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS* 5800 Stanford Ranch Rd. #110
Rocklin, CA 95765
Phone: 916-435-4222