Good oral health habits such as twice-daily brushing and flossing are important to ensure your smile stays bright, healthy and beautiful, but it is also important to understand the powerful cleansing properties of simple, everyday foods.

There are several foods that are amazing building healthier teeth and gums, as well as prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

Fruits and Vegetables

The value of fruits and vegetables in the diet cannot be understated. In addition to the nutritional benefits, high-fiber fruits and vegetables can actually scrub the teeth similar to the way your toothbrush might and stimulates saliva production.

Cheese

Cheese is a superfood, combating acid erosion of the teeth. Since breads, sweets, citrus, or soda, exposes your teeth to decay causing acid, pairing these foods during meals with cheese, or eating cheese as a dessert after a meal can counteract the acid.

Vitamin D

If the body does not have enough vitamin D, it cannot absorb the calcium your body needs to protect your teeth and gums from disease. Foods rich in Vitamin D, such as salmon and other fatty fish will ensure the calcium on your diet provides all of the disease-fighting benefits.

Citrus Fruits

Even though the acid in citrus does have a negative effect on the enamel of the teeth, the vitamin C in citrus strengthens the body’s blood vessels and connective tissue and reduces inflammation slowing down the progression of gum disease. As such, citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit and other citrus are beneficial—as long as you wait a half hour after eating to brush and rinse with water after eating.

Water

Water is vital in the production of saliva—which has a critical role in your oral health. Optimum levels of water in your saliva keep it from thickening and aids in the breakdown of food, neutralizing pH and preventing tooth decay. Also, rinsing with water after staining foods and beverages such as coffee, tea and red wine, will keep teeth whiter.

Tea

Polyphenols, found in green and black tea, interact with the bacteria that cause plaque by killing or suppressing them. Bacteria feed on the sugars in your mouth and, once they’ve had their feast, they excrete tooth enamel destroying acids. Tea, after a meal, suppresses the presence of these acid producing bacteria in the mouth.

If you have questions about what you should (and should not) eat and drink to keep a healthy smile, please ask us next time you are in the Shalimar Family office. We are always eager to help educate you on your oral health choices.

Brushing, flossing, and regular dentist appointments will certainly go a long way toward protecting your child’s teeth against tooth decay. However, these habits will not make the teeth completely resistant to tooth decay. Dental sealants, however, can provide additional protection for your child’s teeth against cavities and decay.

What are Dental Sealants?

Sealants are a preventive treatment that can save your child’s teeth from the damage and pain and of decay. Sealants are plastic resin coatings applied to molars. They are molded to the grooves on the surface of the tooth and form a barrier between plaque-causing bacteria and the tooth’s enamel to prevent tooth decay. The dentist simply paints the sealants on the teeth and then hardens it using an ultraviolet light. The entire process just takes moments. Although sealants are often applied to children’s teeth, adults who want to prevent tooth decay can also benefit from them.

What Do Dental Sealants Look Like?

Dental sealants are invisible and only takes a few minutes to apply. Once they are applied, the can protect the teeth for up to a decade. No one can tell you have had sealants when you smile—they are invisible!

Why Children?

There are many advantages to choosing dental sealants for your child. Each time your child eats or drinks, bacteria form a biofilm called plaque develops on the surface of the teeth. If plaque is not removed quickly, you can start attacking tooth enamel and cause tooth decay. Because many children do not brush their teeth immediately after eating, and are often unable to completely remove plaque from teeth, sealants are usually a great option while good oral health habits are being established.

Sealants Save Money Too!
Dental sealants can mean preventing your child from losing a tooth to tooth decay or having to undergo fillings or root canals to restore decayed teeth. Dental sealants can help save on dental bills, as they avoid the need for these treatments. Best of all, most dental insurance covers sealants for children!

If you want to protect your child’s molars and premolars against decay by sealing the grooves and cracks that trap food chunks while protecting plaque tooth enamel and acid attack–there is a quick and painless option. This simple and easy measure saves teeth! We look forward to seeing you and your children at Shalimar Family Dentistry here in Tempe soon for a dental sealant application.

The dental aisle of your local grocery store or pharmacy is likely stocked full of toothpastes, rinses, flosses, and other dental products—so many that it can be hard to choose. If you have questions, our Shalimar Family dentist can give you specific recommendations about what you should purchase based on your specific needs and your current dental health. However, there are some things that are pretty standard go-to recommendations that you can follow.

Generally, dentists do have some common suggestions when it comes to oral care. For example, toothbrushes with soft bristles are preferred to hard bristles to avoid damage to the teeth and gums. Toothpastes should contain fluoride and be ADA (American Dental Association) approved. Mouthwash should be ADA approved. Floss should be chosen based on your preference and need.

Other common advice includes using an electric toothbrush if possible. Electric toothbrushes have been shown to better remove plaque than manual toothbrushes, and can also be especially helpful for people with grip-challenges or other disabilities.

Many people have their favorites when it comes to dental products, however, there may be an option that is more effective or a “better-fit.” We recommend that if you are not seeing the results from your oral care products that you would like, that you consider purchasing a trial-size version. These “trail-sizes” are not just for travel—they are in fact for “trying” out the product. Small versions of toothpaste, mouthwash, and dental floss can be purchased in a variety of options and the new brand may suit you better than what you have been using the last many years. Since new products make it to the market each year, it is important to keep an open mind, especially if you are not happy with the state of your teeth.

We would love to talk to you about the products you are using and measure the effectiveness with you. If you would like to know what we recommend, or if you would like to request an appointment, contact Shalimar Family Dentistry today!

Bad breath: We have all been embarrassed enough to reach for that box of mints. Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be caused by many issues.

Here are the Most Common Causes of Bad Breath:

1. Dry mouth. A lack of saliva will create dry mouth. Dry mouth could be a side effect of smoking, mouth breathing, or even some medication. It is recommended to talk to your dentist about what are the best remedies for both dry mouths.

2. Dental issues. Halitosis can be caused by dental issues such as cavities, crowded teeth, or gum disease. See your dentist for an evaluation and to rule out any self-care options.

3. Tobacco. Smoking or chewing tobacco can cause bad breath. It can also create other complications such as oral cancers, irritated gums, or even stained teeth. The best solution for this is to consider a tobacco-free lifestyle.

4. Disease. There are a few common diseases such as tonsillitis, diabetes, sinus infections, or even respiratory issues can result in halitosis. Prescribed medication may also result in dry mouth that can make the bad breath even worse. Make sure to discuss with your doctor what are the side effects and have him address any concerns you have.

5. Bacteria. If you don’t properly brush, floss, and visit your dentist on a regular basis, bacteria will habitat in the crevices of your mouth. The collection of the bacteria will lead to bad breath because the bacteria consumes the sugars you eat and excretes an unpleasant odor. If you follow the American Dental Association’s recommendation of flossing daily, brushing twice a day, and routine visits to your dentist will help you keep your teeth clean.

6. Food. There are some foods that can give individuals temporary bad breath. For example, garlic, onions, spicy foods, coffee, or fragrant foods can all leave your mouth absent of a fresh breath. It’s recommended to either brush your teeth, use mouthwash or chew sugar-free gum to obtain fresh breath.

If you would like to address your bad breath, you first need to find out what is causing this issue. The majority of the time bad breath can be easily avoided by having a consistent oral care routine – brushing twice a day and flossing each day – living a tobacco free lifestyle and visiting your dentist for an evaluation at least twice a year. If you would like to schedule an appointment with your local dentist you can contact us anytime.

The enamel of teeth is amazingly strong. However, teeth do occasionally chip and will need to be checked by a dentist as soon as possible for treatment. There are a ton of ways that teeth can be chipped.

1. Bottles. Glass bottles (or glasses) are sometime brought up to the mouth a little too fast, especially after a beer or two, or in a crowded bar. Front teeth are the most commonly chipped by bottles and glasses and generally, they are small chips that can be fixed at the dental office with some dental bonding, which is a tooth-colored composite resin.

2. Hard candy. Lollipops, gobstobbers, gumballs, and other hard candy are sometimes chewed or bit-down-upon causing damage to a molar. These chips sometimes go very deep and should be seen by a dentist as soon as possible.

3. Water fountains. Public water-fountains are often a cause of dental chips as someone comes into to take a drink, but miscalculates the fountain location.

4. Trampolines/bouncy houses. Trampolines, jump-gyms and bouncy houses are all the locations for common dental injuries including chipped teeth. Often this is because two kids “bounce” into each other, loosening or chipping front teeth.

5. Kissing. Kissing is sometimes the cause of a tooth chip too! A moment of passion can sometimes go awry and lead to a miscalculation and ultimately, a trip to the dentist.

6. Childbirth. Giving birth is a beautiful thing, but as that new life is coming into the world, some mothers grind their teeth so hard as they push and work through the pain—they accidently chip a bit of tooth. In these cases, it is best to focus on the issue at hand (the baby!) and recover a few days before getting the tooth fixed. However, as soon as it is reasonable, please make an appointment and we can get the issue addresses and fixed up.

7. Surgery. Often surgeries require anesthetic equipment which need to be put into the mouth and throat. Occasionally, the doctors and technicians working on the patient hit the edge of a tooth, chipping or breaking it. Usually these are small and easily fixed after the important surgery is completed and the patient has recovered.

Chipping and breaking teeth is all too common, even when we are careful to avoid injury. However, these chips are very easy to fix at the dentist office. If you find yourself with tooth issue – we are here for you at Shalimar Family Dentistry – just give us a call at (480) 418-6559 to set up your appointment today.

Apart from yearly dental check-ups, there can be many other factors indicating that you need to consult a dentist. Here is how you can spot these signs.

Signs You Should See a Dentist

You floss, brush twice a day but when it comes to tongue cleaning, it’s confusing – to brush or not to brush? Here are some healthy tips to keep your tongue clean.

To Brush or Not to Brush – the Tongue
Does your tongue need to be brushed? The answer: probably not. A perfectly healthy mouth does not need additional cleaning of the tongue. However, if you are suffering from a cold or disease, additional steps can be taken. While there are a lot of different tongue-cleaning options, they basically come in 2 options. You can choose to brush the tongue with you regular toothbrush, or a tongue scraper.
Tongue scrapers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and each person may have a preference, but they all generally work the same way, by providing an edge on which to scrape the top of the tongue. Users should start at the back and pull the scraper forward towards the front teeth. Rinse with a mouthwash afterwards for a fresher smile.
It is important to note that cleaning the tongue alone will not prevent bad breath or improve halitosis (chronic bad breath). Bad breath can exist because of disease, infection, or poor hygiene and cleaning just the tongue will not solve these problems.
However, if you like the way your mouth feels after you clean your tongue, it can certainly be part of your daily dental routine along with brushing and flossing.
Get a supervised cleaning routine, contact us a Shalimar Family Dentistry by calling at (480) 771-9273.

A regular dental cleaning and exam by a dentist is imperative to ensure proper oral health. While daily brushing and flossing removes the bacteria and food particles – missing twice-yearly appointments with your dentist could put you at risk for both tooth decay and periodontal disease.

Plaque that is not removed from teeth with a toothbrush or floss can turn into calculus (tartar). This is a hard deposit that is very hard to remove with the standard toothbrush and usually forms in a hard-to-reach area where brushing cannot be as thorough. When the softer dental plaque is not removed it builds up and hardens turning into calculus.

The calculus sticks to the teeth so strongly it is impossible to remove with brushing and flossing alone. Dentists use a special tool called a scaler to remove plaque. Keeping calculus from forming is ideal, however, it is does, it is imperative it is removed by a dentist to reduce the risk of dental disease.

Other factors, such as heredity and diet play a role as well, however the most important thing you can do for your oral health is to maintain a regular dental hygiene routine and see your dentist at least twice a year. Protect your teeth and gums! You will be glad you did.

If you would like more information on how effective home-dental care or about in-office treatments and services, please contact us or schedule and appointment today.

We always ask – “How is the brushing and flossing going?” Most of the patients we see in the office brush at least once and sometimes twice a day… but when it comes to the question of flossing, not all our patients can answer with the same exuberance.

Just about everyone knows that flossing is the most effective way to clean between teeth. Brushing and flossing together remove the plaque that causes tooth decay—and the between-the-teeth cleaning is especially important. Most cavities actually start on the side.

Despite the fact that it is not a popular activity, flossing is easy and can be added into the regular dental routine. Here are some tips for integrating flossing into you every-day-routine.

1. Reward Yourself – New habits are easier to integrate when there is something to be gained from it. Try allowing yourself something you like – such as 5 minutes extra of TV before bed while you are flossing!

2. Track Yourself – One of our patients shared a clever trick with us that she used to remember to floss each night: On Sunday, she put 7 pennies in a dish on the left side of her sink and an empty dish on the right. Each night after flossing she moved one penny over until the right dish was full. Then the next Sunday she switched the dishes and started over again. This simple act is a cognitive trick to recall and track, while making flossing a regular habit.

3. Leave Your Floss Front and Center – Out of sight is out of mind. After using your floss each night, put it IN the sink. You will have to pick it up each time you wash your hands, and each time your brush. In this way you make it impossible to ignore!

Regular dental cleanings also fight tooth decay and gum disease. So, keep up the good work with the brushing—add in the daily flossing and come see us here at the office every 6 months!

Chipped & Broken Teeth: The human tooth is very strong. The average tooth can remain functional and heathy for eighty years, or even longer with proper care. However, that is a lot of years of use, stresses, and “life” that these teeth must endure, and sometimes that can result in a small chip or break.

Here Are Just a Few Reasons Teeth Can Break:

Pain

Depending on the location of the break, there may or may not be immediate pain. When the break reaches the nerve, there may be pain or sensitivity to hot or cold food or beverages. Even if there is no pain at all, it is important to have the tooth checked by a dentist as soon as possible. If you do experience discomfort, over-the-counter pain medications will help in the short term Don’t wait, and suffer in pain. If you’re experiencing tooth pain, call us today for a same day emergency appointment.

Treatment

Fractured or broken teeth can be small inconveniences, or very big problems. Depending on the severity of the break, we may suggest a repair that just smooths down the edge and is repaired with a filling. Majorly broken teeth will require a more complex treatment such as a root canal or a crown.

What To Do If You Experience A Broken Tooth:

If you have suffered a break, chip, or other dental problem, we are available for emergency appointments. Please give us a call at (480) 447-1901 to schedule your treatment.