Why Dental Cleanings Are So Important

Professional dental cleanings aren’t just for keeping your smile bright; they can have a significant impact on your general health!  Brushing and flossing at home are essential, but to ensure teeth are healthy and thoroughly clean, you should schedule regular check-ups and cleanings. Continue reading to learn six reasons professional cleanings are so important!

Why Dental Cleanings Are Essential:

  1. Removes stains that dull and discolor your teeth, so you’ll be left with a brighter, whiter smile
  2. Prevents gum disease
  3. Reduces your chance of potentially deadly heart attacks and strokes.
  4. Saves money in the long run (reduces chance of other expensive procedures)
  5. Allows other dental issues to be detected earlier
  6. Prevents or resolves bad breath

Have you had a teeth cleaning this year? If not, schedule an appointment with us today and call 480-982-7289!

 

 

6 Health Benefits of Smiling

We all know that a smile can make you seem more likable, attractive, intelligent and even trustworthy. But did you know that smiling frequently can improve your health and help you live longer? Continue reading to learn six surprising health benefits of smiling.

Makes You Happier

Smiling can boost your mood when you’re feeling blue, which may be beneficial for people struggling with anxiety and depression. A 2010 study found that making yourself smile when you’re feeling down helps improve your mood and increases positive thoughts.

Makes You Healthier

Smiling and laughing more appear to help lower your blood pressure! A 2009 review explains that laughter causes an initial increase in heart rate, followed by a period of muscle relaxation and a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure, which helps reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

Reduces Stress

Did you know that smiling more often, whether you’re feeling happy or not, helps your body deal with stressful situations more effectively? A 2015 study published in Psychological Science found that smiling can result in a lower heart rate during stressful tasks. Stress generally causes increases in heart rate and blood pressure. So, maintaining a smile when stressed provides you with both psychological and physical health benefits.

Enhances Relationships

Have you noticed that you’re drawn to people who smile a lot? People who smile are perceived as being more likable than people who don’t smile, according to one 2014 study. Being likable makes it easier to build and maintain better relationships with people, which is important for your overall health and well-being.

Strengthens Immune System

Believe it or not, laughter  appears to help boost your body’s immune system. Mayo Clinic reports that laughter and positive thoughts release signaling molecules in your brain that fight stress and illnesses, while negative thoughts decrease your body’s immunity. One 2015 study found that laughter therapy increases immune responses in women who have just had babies. So, maybe laughter really is the best medicine.

Increases Life Span

It turns out that the fountain of youth might be right under your nose. A 2010 study found that smiling and positive emotions are associated with increased life spans. Talk about a reason to smile!

Let this be your reason to smile today! What do you think about this article? Let us know in the comments below!

Five Unexpected Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene

As a kid you probably learned all about good oral hygiene. Brushing, flossing, and rinsing with a fluoride-containing mouthwash can help prevent cavities. But our knowledgeable dentists at Snow Family Dentistry want you to know that good oral hygiene has many other benefits beyond cavity prevention.

Here are five of the unexpected benefits of good oral hygiene:

Healthy Gums

Your mouth contains a wide variety of bacteria species. Some are good bacteria that help you digest food; others are potentially harmful bacteria that can cause illness and infection. Brushing and flossing reduce the harmful bacteria in your mouth and helps remove the food particles that feed these bacteria.

Lower Risk of Heart Attack

When gums bleed due to gum disease, bacteria from your mouth can enter your bloodstream and spread throughout your body. If it travels to your heart, it could contribute to your risk of heart attack. In fact, having gum disease can increase your risk for heart attack by nearly 50%, according to the American College of Cardiology.

Lower Risk of Infertility

If you’re a woman, a spread of inflammation from your mouth to your reproductive organs could affect your ability to conceive a baby. In fact, one study found that women with gum disease took two months longer to get pregnant than those without it.

Lower Risk of Diabetes

Research has found that people with gum disease are up to 50%  more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those with healthy gums. What’s the connection? Inflammation caused by gum disease can make it harder for your body to use insulin properly, a condition known as insulin resistance.

Lower Risk of Cancer

Having gum disease could contribute to certain kinds of cancer, especially pancreatic cancer. Although researchers don’t fully understand the connection, it may be that substances from bacteria in the mouth might help boost the growth of cancer cells. There may be links to other kinds of cancer, too.

So remember, when you take great care of your teeth, you’re doing much more than just helping to prevent cavities….You’re taking care of your overall health!

10 Things to Know About Your Baby’s Teeth

Being a new parent is hard! There are so many firsts that it can be overwhelming. Here at Snow Family Dentistry, we want to help you and your little one! Continue reading to learn 10 things about the development of your baby’s teeth!

When Teeth Erupt

Your baby is born with 20 teeth below the gums, and they usually start coming through between 6 months and a year. Most children have their full set of teeth by 3 years old.

Teething Signs

Teething can be a rite of passage for babies and parents alike. As their teeth come in, some babies may become fussy, sleepless and irritable. They might also lose their appetite or drool more than usual.

When to Start Brushing with Toothpaste

Decay can happen as soon as teeth first appear. If you see some pearly whites peeking out when your little one smiles, it’s time to pick up a tube of toothpaste.

How Much Toothpaste to Use

It doesn’t take much to clean your child’s teeth. Until you’re confident that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush. If your child is 3 or younger, use a smear of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice). For children 3 or older, a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste will do.

First Dental Visit

It’s another milestone in a year of exciting firsts. Your child’s first dental visit should take place after their first tooth appears, but no later than the first birthday. Why so early? As soon as your baby has teeth, they can get cavities.

When to Floss

It doesn’t matter if you clean between your child’s teeth before or after they brush as long as you clean between any teeth that touch. You can use child-friendly plastic flossing tools to more easily clean between your child’s teeth until your child learns to do it.

How to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle tooth decay most often occurs in the upper front teeth. Frequent, prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar can cause tooth decay. This can happen when the baby is put to bed with a bottle, or when a bottle is used as a pacifier for a fussy baby.

Don’t Spread Germs

The next time your child’s pacifier goes flying, don’t pick it up and put it in your mouth because you think that makes it cleaner. Cavity-causing bacteria can be passed through saliva, so you could actually be introducing germs to your child instead of protecting him or her from them. The same goes for mealtime. It can be second nature to offer a bite of your food to your baby from your fork or use their spoon to make sure their food is ready to eat. Keep your utensils, and your germs, separate for healthy mouth and body.

Hydrate with Water

When your child has worked up a thirst, water is the best beverage to offer—especially if it has fluoride! Drinking water with fluoride has been shown to reduce cavities by 25%. While sweetened drinks like fruit juice (even those labeled 100% natural), soda and sports drinks can cause cavities. Sugary drinks also contribute to weight gain, and water is calorie-free.

How to Keep Cavities at Bay

Brushing and flossing go a long way to protecting your teeth against cavities, but sealants form an extra barrier between cavity-causing bacteria and your child’s teeth. School-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants. According to the Centers for Disease Control and ADA’s Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars.

Need some more information? Please visit our website or give us a call at 480-982-7289 to schedule an appointment!

Does Sugar Really Cause Cavities?

You’ve probably heard it all your life: Eating sweets will rot your teeth. But while a diet high in sugar certainly promotes the formation of cavities, sugar itself isn’t the real culprit behind tooth decay. Continue reading to learn what does!

What Causes Cavities?

Dental cavities are formed when bacteria living in the mouth digest carbohydrate debris left on the teeth after you eat. Such debris might include the refined sugars found in cookies, candy and other treats, but can also come from healthy foods like whole grains, vegetables and fruits.

When digesting these carbohydrates, bacteria in your mouth produce an acid that combines with saliva to form plaque.

It’s plaque — not sugar — that leads to tooth decay. Plaque starts building up after every meal, and if it isn’t brushed away frequently, it can erode the hard, outer enamel of a tooth, resulting in tiny holes in the tooth’s surface. These holes mark the first stage of cavity formation.
Those tiny holes can do a lot of damage if left untreated. Eventually, the acid and bacteria in plaque can eat through the other layers of your teeth, as well — from the softer layer of teeth under the enamel, known as dentin, to the third layer (the pulp), which contains your teeth’s blood vessels and nerves. Cavities affecting the pulp of a tooth, as well as the bone supporting the tooth, can cause severe toothaches, sensitivity, pain when eating and abscesses in the mouth.

Need to Schedule an Appointment?

Do you think you may have a cavity? Schedule an appointment on our website or give us a call!

Can Flying Give You a Toothache?

Yes, flying can give you a toothache! Continue reading to find out why and how to manage this type of pain.

Why Flying Can Give You a Toothache

Flying can cause toothaches because your body experiences a pressure change with an increase in altitude, a condition known as aerodontalgia. You may notice a pain in your ears or get a headache for the same reason. However, you should only encounter pain in problem teeth; the changes in pressure throughout a flight shouldn’t affect your healthy teeth. Also note that though flying may bring your attention to a new issue or make pre-existing pain worse, it doesn’t have an effect on your tooth health. Flying doesn’t make issues such as cavities, loose fillings, and gingivitis worse.

You may also experience toothaches on a plane because of sinus pressure. If the discomfort you experience while flying is across all your upper back teeth, it’s likely a problem related to the sinus nerves near your jaw rather than an individual tooth problem.

Managing Tooth Pain While Traveling

It’s difficult to address tooth pain in the middle of a flight if you don’t come prepared. Follow these tips to help manage your pain before and during a flight.

Before Your Flight

Have you been struggling with some tooth pain? If so, try to see a dentist before your flight.

The altitude changes will exacerbate any problems you’ve been dealing with. A dentist can curb these issues, whether you need to have a cavity filled or a new mouth guard made. Moreover, he or she can give you some advice for managing your pain while flying. Ask your dentist about painkillers if you’ll be flying soon after an appointment, and take such medications roughly a half-hour before your plane is in the air.

It’s also worth checking in with a dentist if you have a history of tooth problems. Cracks, cavities, and issues with fillings can develop before you experience any pain, but they will lead to some discomfort while flying.

During Your Flight

If you came prepared with your dentist-approved pain meds, remember to take them before you leave and to take more when you can during your flight. Also note that your teeth will still be extra sensitive during this time. Avoid cold beverages and foods, and go for water instead of coffee, tea, and other acidic or sugary drinks. If you’re still recovering from dental surgery, bring extra gauze to handle any additional bleeding from your gums that may occur during the flight.

When to Take Extra Care of Your Teeth Before Flying

The building pressure while flying can cause air bubbles to develop in your teeth. You’ll notice a growing pain that mirrors the altitude changes if any of the following apply to your teeth:

  • Recent dental work: You should be fine to fly even if you’ve recently had dental work, including surgeries, done. However, if your teeth are still feeling sensitive, you may struggle with some discomfort while flying. Consult with your dentist about your flight before departing if possible.
  • Fillings: Older fillings and fillings that need to be refilled are causes for concern during a flight. Air can enter the space between the tooth and the filling. If the pressure changes faster than that air can equalize, then the air in the tooth will expand and cause some pain.
  • Cracked teeth: Similar to the problem with fillings, cracks are especially vulnerable to pressure-related pain. Air can enter these small spaces and then expand as you change altitude, causing some discomfort during your flight.
  • Early tooth decay: Your teeth may have felt fine on the ground, but if you’ve got tooth decay that you haven’t noticed, flying may lead to some new pains.
  • Already-sensitive teeth: There are several causes of sensitive teeth, including poor dietary habits (e.g., drinking too many acidic beverages) and a receding gum line. If you’re struggling with these problems before you get on a plane, you can expect an increase in tooth pain and sensitivity during your flight.

When You Should See a Dentist About Sensitive Teeth While Flying

It’s worth checking in with your dentist if you experience any pain in your teeth while flying — even if the pain disappears once you land. This is because healthy teeth shouldn’t become sensitive because of altitude changes. Here at Snow Family Dentistry, we can check for early signs of tooth decay and correct whatever caused your sensitivity before it gets worse. Give us a call or schedule an appointment on our website!

What Are the Effects of Thumb/Pacifier Sucking?

It’s common for babies and children to suck on their thumbs, fingers, or a pacifier. However, as natural as this reflex may be for babies and children, it can cause damage to their teeth and mouths if it is carried on for too long. Continue reading to learn the effects thumb or pacifier sucking has on children’s teeth!

What Are the Effects of Thumb-Sucking?

Thumb-sucking or sucking on a pacifier often helps babies calm themselves and then fall asleep more easily. However, if children are allowed to suck on pacifiers or on their thumbs or fingers after their teeth have begun developing, major problems can arise. Aggressively or even not aggressively, sucking on thumbs can ruin the alignment of teeth and create a need for costly dental work in the future.

Long term effects of thumb sucking beyond the age of 5-6 years include:

  • Teeth pushed around, causing an overbite or an underbite to form
  • A lisp formed because constant thumb sucking can affect the jaw bone positioning
  • Germs from thumb or pacifier attacking the body
  • Altered roof of the mouth

How Do You Help Your Child Stop?

One of the hardest parts of parenting can be helping your child to stop sucking their thumb or on a pacifier. However, if these habits are not stopped at the right time, serious dental problems and speech impediments can occur.

Parents can help their children stop by:

  • Setting strict rules as to when their child can use a pacifier or suck their thumb
  • Covering their child’s hands with socks while they sleep so that they can’t get to their thumbs
  • Asking a dentist to prescribe a bitter medication to coat their pacifier or their thumb with
  • Cutting the pacifier shorter or piercing it through to get rid of the satisfaction of sucking
  • Leaving the pacifier behind on a family trip or outing to break the habit
  • Taking all of the pacifiers away and quitting cold turkey

Thumb-sucking or using pacifiers are not inherently bad things for your children, but they can create unfortunate dental problems if these habits are not stopped at the right time. Use these tips to help your child before their teeth are affected.

 

Tips to Overcome Your Fear of the Dentist

Are you afraid of the dentist? If so, don’t worry- you’re not alone!  According to Colgate, around 40 percent of the population has a strong fear of the dentist. Some even have a fear so paralyzing that it prevents them from getting the dental care they need.

Without proper preventative cleanings, these people eventually develop serious issues that lead to pain or lost teeth. Fortunately, there are several options available for dealing with dentistry fear so you can get the necessary care your mouth needs. Continue reading to learn what they are!

Be Upfront with Your Dentist

The first step in dealing with your fear of dentistry is being honest with yourself and your dentist about these worries. Dentists understand that these fears are real, and they won’t dismiss your fears or judge you. Instead, they’ll work with you to come up with a plan that will help you feel more relaxed during your appointment.

Distract Yourself

Distractions are often a good way to help divert your attention away from the procedure. Consider bringing headphones and an iPod to listen to music. Even better, choose a new album so you’ll concentrate more on the new songs that you haven’t heard before. You can also use a stress ball or run through mental exercises, like counting by three or going over state capitals.

Here at Snow Family Dentistry, we offer movie glasses so you can distract yourself by picking a movie to watch while you receive treatment!

Bring a Companion

To provide some extra comfort, bring a close friend or family member that will support you. Oftentimes, simply having someone there who understands your feelings can give you all the reassurance you need. Also, try to get one of the first appointments of the day. That way, you won’t spend the entire day worrying it.

Try Self-Regulation Techniques

Self-regulation techniques can help you stay calm during dental treatments. One popular relaxation technique to try is deep breathing. Take a deep breath in, hold it for a few seconds, and then let it out very slowly to relax your muscles and slow your heartbeat. Meditation can also slow your heartbeat. Consider practicing a few weeks before your appointment to calm your nerves when you’re in the dentist chair.

Look for Therapeutic Support

If your fear is so intense that none of the previous techniques work, you can also turn to therapeutic support. Hypnotherapy has worked for some patients. Additionally, you can sign up for counseling sessions with psychologists who specialize in addressing phobias.

Having a fear of the dentist shouldn’t prevent you from getting the care you need! If you are a part of the 40% of the population that does, no worries! Here at Snow Family Dentistry, we pride ourselves in providing a relaxing and comforting environment for all of our patients. We will work hard to put you at ease and accommodate you in any way we can. Please call us at (480) 982-7289 to schedule an appointment today!

 

What is a Dental Bridge?

If you’re missing one or more teeth, there are several different options that you could choose to replace your pearly whites and regain your smile. Dental implants are the most modern and advanced methods of replacing missing teeth, but they’re also the costliest. If you’re looking for a more affordable tooth replacement option, a dental bridge may be the solution you’re looking for. So how exactly does a bridge work? Continue reading to find out!

What is a Dental Bridge?

A typical dental bridge is a set of two crowns with an adjoined false tooth in between. The crowns are supported by natural teeth or dental implants on either side of the gap. Traditional dental bridges are usually made of ceramic material or porcelain infused with metal.

There are also other kinds of dental bridges, such as a cantilever bridge and a Maryland bonded bridge.

What’s Involved in the Dental Bridge Procedure?

Getting a dental bridge is a process that involves two visits to your dentist.

At your first appointment, your dentist will prepare the crown sites by re-contouring them to give enough room for the crowns. Next, your dentist will use impressions of your teeth to create a three-dimensional model of the bridge, false tooth, and crown. A dental laboratory will use this model to create your prosthetics – and during the waiting period, you’ll be given a temporary bridge to protect your teeth and gums.

At your second appointment, your dentist will remove your temporary bridge and replace it with your permanent bridge. Your dentist may require you to come back for a few subsequent appointments in order to get the fit just right. Once it’s been determined that the bridge is properly fitted, you’ll be given a permanent cementing treatment to fix the bridge in proper position.

A dental bridge is a great way to restore your smile if you’ve lost a tooth. With proper oral hygiene, you can ensure that your bridge stays healthy for years to come. For more information about the dental bridge procedure, or to learn whether a bridge is right for you, call Snow Family Dentistry at (480) 982-7289