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Oral Health

4 Tasty Foods That Are Actually Horrible for Your Teeth

Even those with outstanding oral hygiene can fall victim to a few unknown cavity causing culprits. Some of our favorite treats, while seemingly healthy, can be responsible for tooth stains, bad breath and other forms of mouth destruction.  Most tooth-conscious consumers already know to limit sugar and steer clear of things like soda and hard candies to keep their dental hygiene top notch. But, here are a few surprising snacks just as capable of damaging your smile.

  1. Pickles

PicklingPickles? Yes, while not typically considered something to avoid for oral health, pickles are soaked in vinegar during the pickling process.  Vinegar is highly acidic, and acid is notorious for quickly wearing down tooth enamel. So, it’s important to keep this in mind when eating anything pickled. Drinking water or rinsing your mouth can help clear some of the acid once your meal’s over.

  1. Peanut Butter

You either love it or hate it. You may even be particular in how you eat it, straight from the jar or only in a sandwich… Have you ever tried it with pickles? This childhood staple can be a healthy snack when opting for the “no added sugar” variety. Sugar helps peanut butter better grip your teeth. While it may take some getting used to, it’s a healthier choice all around.

  1. Dried Fruit

Dried FruitIn small doses, dried fruit is a healthy alternative to sweets such as chocolate bars and ice cream. However, dried fruit has high sugar content, and is often sticky making this treat more likely to get caught in between your teeth for days. When something high in sugar is stuck in your teeth it feeds the bacteria and contributes to dental erosion. Checking nutrition labels can help you weigh the best choice for your sweet tooth.

  1. Crackers

This appetizer favorite is not typically associated with dental problems, yet consuming refined carbs is a known cause of inflammation. The significance here is that inflammation can be linked to a number of dental dangers such as gingivitis and other stages of periodontitis. Limiting carbs such as white bread and pasta, pretzels and white rice can be a treat to your weight, overall health and your smile.

Regular dental check-ups with a dedicated hygiene routine will keep your smile on a healthy track. At a glance, it looks like limiting sugar in all forms is what it’s all about. Remember sticky and pickled foods also pose a risk. No need to stress. While you’re teeth may thank you for cutting out these items entirely, moderation and awareness will serve you best.

Couch and Hammond Dentistry

Folsom Dental Office |916-805-5077
260 Palladio Parkway Suite 1001
Folsom, CA 95630
https://www.couchandhammonddentistry.com

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4 Risk Factors of Gum Disease to Discuss with Your Dentist

july blogHave you ever had something caught in your teeth for days? It’s likely because it was lodged deep between a tooth and your gums. That gum tissue is what keeps our chompers in place. There are three stages of gum disease and all are treatable.

The mild form of gum disease is Gingivitis. This is where plaque and other byproducts irritate the gums. It makes them swollen, tender, and more likely to bleed. Periodontitis is stage two. The gum tissue starts deteriorating as it detaches from the teeth forming pockets around the roots. This leaves teeth exposed and more susceptible to decay. Finally, Advanced Periodontitis can set in. Tooth pockets get deeper as the severe gum recession leads to bone loss causing loose teeth.

Common Risk Factors of Periodontal Disease

  • Genetics – it’s hereditary and some of us are just unlucky! While you may be more susceptible to periodontitis, having a good oral hygiene routine with regular dental visits can help your smile stay healthy. Talk to us about finding the right balance for your needs.
  • Health – underlying medical conditions like diabetes and Crohn’s disease, as well as lowered immunity from illnesses and treatments often affect gum tissue. Medications, hormonal changes and obesity are also culprits and should be discussed.
  • Bad Habits – chewing on ice, not brushing or flossing daily and using tobacco are the most common behavior changes we encourage you to ditch. However, substance abuse and a diet lacking in vitamin C will also impact your smile.
  • Stress – it’s inevitable. But keep an eye on exactly how much it’s weighing you down. High levels or chronic stress can lead to poor hygiene habits. Anxiety can also lower your immune system from effectively fighting off bacteria that causes gingivitis (stage 1).

When to Seek Helpjuly blog (1)

Common red flags of gum disease include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Gums look bright red
  • Teeth wiggle

There’s no home remedy to cure gum disease. Only professional treatment can help, so call and schedule an exam today 916-805-5077.

Couch and Hammond Dentistry

Folsom Dental Office |916-805-5077
260 Palladio Parkway Suite 1001
Folsom, CA 95630
https://www.couchandhammonddentistry.com

3 Summer Treats for a Healthy Smile

Summer Text with Palm is about vacations, group activities, family time, and great food. With the warmer weather comes the abundance of fresh fruits and veggies. You may even be growing your own. Choosing the right snacks can both satisfy your sweet cravings and help your smile shine.

Strawberries

Strawberries are the perfect choice for boosting your oral health. Candy lovers and sweet addicts can snack on strawberries in place of surgery, teeth-eroding junk. Packed with vitamin C, this summer super food is a good source of calcium, which is essential for all of our bones- including our teeth.  Just one cup of strawberries is filled with maximum amounts of magnesium, folate and potassium: all necessary for a glowing smile!  To top it off, strawberries are also known to help clean your teeth. The seeds can work as tiny scrubbers helping to remove some plaque build-up.

WatermelonsummerTreat1

Summer BBQs are never complete without giant slabs of juicy watermelon. Not only is it a tasty and refreshing treat on hot days, watermelon is also great for your teeth.  Being mostly water, this fruit stimulates saliva flow, which is very effective in maintaining a healthy, bright smile.  Watermelon, like strawberries, is also packed with antioxidants and tons of Vitamin C which are great when going through any kind of recovery. Snacking on watermelon will also fill you up with Vitamin A, which is great for your skin and a fantastic complement to your beautiful smile!

Yogurt

Ok, yogurt IS available all year long. Packed with probiotics, calcium and protein, stick with no added sugar flavors for the healthiest choice. Healthy doesn’t mean boring, try mixing in those fresh strawberries for the perfect sweet and creamy snack. Beat the heat by turning them into frozen yogurt pops. Kids and adults will love this healthy swap!

Maintaining your smile is as easy as keeping your regular dental check-ups and having a little mindfulness. Look for small, healthy swaps, and embrace the delicious fresh options summer can bring to your family’s table.

Couch and Hammond Dentistry

Folsom Dental Office |916-805-5077
260 Palladio Parkway Suite 1001
Folsom, CA 95630
https://www.couchandhammonddentistry.com

5 Tips for Creating Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits

Lead by Example

Family BrushingKids look to their parents to set standards in all things, including oral hygiene. How you behave is how they will act. Since the best way to teach children is by example, it is important that your child sees you brushing twice a day and flossing. Include your child in the process. Do it together, allowing them to help by putting toothpaste on your brush. Your demeanor in the dentist office will also influence how your little one behaves during their own visit. Remaining calm demonstrates that going to the dentist isn’t scary, and they’ll be much more cooperative during their own chair time.

Make Brushing Fun

Making brushing and flossing a game rather than a chore can be a great way to engage with your kids and get them excited about maintaining their oral health. Pretending the tooth brush is a hiker exploring a cave (their mouth) and the floss is a rope is one idea. Older kids can benefit from a reward system. Every time they brush their teeth they receive a gold star to add to a sticker chart. Once they get a certain number they’re rewarded with something like staying up an extra half hour past bedtime or an extra 15-minutes of electronics time.

Make a Visual Statement

plaqueDisclosingFind plaque disclosing products. These usually come in tablet form or mouthwash that turns plaque buildup bright colors. This is a great visual to help kids understand that even though they don’t see the plaque, it’s certainly there!

Teach Responsibility

Older kids get excited about the idea of having more responsibility. Provide them with the necessary tools to structure their oral hygiene routine. Have them set an alarm to alert them when it’s time to brush for bed and in the morning. They can even keep a brushing and flossing log to track the times and duration of their sessions.

Start Dental Visits Early

Teaching kids proper dental practices wouldn’t be complete without bi-annual exams. By visiting us regularly, you instill the importance of consistent exams. We love working with children, and we work hard to make the experience stress free and fun for the whole family.

Couch and Hammond Dentistry

Folsom Dental Office |916-805-5077
260 Palladio Parkway Suite 1001
Folsom, CA 95630
https://www.couchandhammonddentistry.com

Holidays & Your Teeth

The holidays are infamous for being diet-breakers, but let’s not forget the effect excessive sweets can have on your oral health! Don’t worry, we aren’t going to convince you to pass on pecan pie or skip the cider; however, it is important to continue practicing healthy habits, even with some well-deserved indulgences peppered into your seasonal celebrations. Sugar affects everyone’s teeth, no matter how old. Younger children’s smiles are still in the process of development, which means they need added care throughout the growing stages.

The Start of Gum Disease and Cavities

christmas-table-1909796_1920To better understand why it’s important to monitor sugar consumption, we must first address the development of gum disease and cavities. When you eat normally throughout the day, food particles and bacteria collect in your mouth and on your teeth. As you brush and floss, these particles and bacteria are removed with no harm done. However, the presence of sugar fuels the bacteria, which creates enamel-destroying acid; left untreated, the acids corrode a hole in the tooth that deepens over time. Additionally, infection can occur in the gum tissues and lead to swelling, bleeding, and pain. It’s important to limit the bacteria’s opportunity to spread by practicing consistent oral care, and keep your mouth free of disease and infection.

Dental Decay in Children

When teeth are still in development, the story can be a bit different. The above still applies, but the stakes are higher during the formative years of cutting teeth. It isn’t uncommon to hear “oh, they’re just baby teeth”, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Child tooth decay is a rampant condition and, although completely preventable, is five times as common as asthma. It’s entirely possible for the infection to spread beneath the gum line, and compromise the healthy adult teeth growing below. Until children are a certain age, it’s imperative for parents to teach sustainable healthy habits. Fortunately, we have a tip or two for the whole family!

To Wrap it Up

christmas-1078274_1920When it comes to limiting sugar intake, but also being practical enough to live a little (especially during the holidays!) we stress that it’s actually the timing of sugar consumption that affects dental health more than the quantity consumed. That means less sweets eaten throughout longer periods of the day can actually harm your teeth more than a large serving of dessert eaten at once. Additionally, serving sweets along with the meal can also prevent over-exposure, as they are less likely to sit on the teeth for extended periods of time. Bearing these facts in mind, we suggest instead of leaving sweets all over the house, limit consumption until meal time, and then allow yourselves and the kids to enjoy your share of holiday confections!

 

Couch and Hammond Dentistry

Folsom Dental Office |916-805-5077
260 Palladio Parkway Suite 1001
Folsom, CA 95630
https://www.couchandhammonddentistry.com

Choose Dental Health NOT Insurance

general-titleHealth insurance is a topic familiar to many, and varies from individual to individual. Providers are different, coverage fluctuates, and co-pays change as well. However, it is always important that the health of you and your family remains our number one priority.

Dental Emergency Care

An injured tooth, like any emergency situation, often presents an unexpected expense and financial hardship. It’s important to keep perspective and ensure your primary focus remains the danger it places on your body and health, not your wallet. Dental complications, like many health conditions, are degenerative; meaning, they get worse the longer you ignore treatment. Failing to address an ailment stresses the body and almost always increases the financial cost of treatment as the severity of the damage escalates. Using the example of a broken tooth, what may originally be a quick dental restoration can easily turn into an infection, decay, or cause a loss of the tooth entirely. A lost tooth results in replacement costs, and if those are ignored, can spiral into the migration or infection of the surrounding teeth. It’s easy for simple injuries to spiral into much more serious situations when treatment is neglected.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

You’ve likely heard this before, but clichés are clichés for a reason. The ounce of preventative and immediate treatment can save you a pound of further health problems, and a pound in your wallet. We care about your health and cost effective treatment options. Our office will never surprise you with unexpected bills, and we will always work with you to ensure you understand your treatment, the significance of receiving it, and the costs. If you require a treatment that presents a financial hardship, talk to us. Where possible, we will explore alternate treatment plans or discuss other solutions to ensure you are not placed in a difficult position. We do this while always keeping your health as our number one priority.

When it comes to ensuring the longevity of your health, communication is key. Don’t stay quiet about concerns of any kind – health, financial, or other: we are your health care partner and here to serve you.

 

Couch and Hammond Dentistry

Folsom Dental Office |916-805-5077
260 Palladio Parkway Suite 1001
Folsom, CA 95630
https://www.couchandhammonddentistry.com

Dental Deep Cleaning for Healthy Gums

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What is scaling and root planing? When is it recommended?

As with many aspects of general dentistry, scaling and root planing is a treatment related to keeping your mouth free of gum disease. Your routine appointments and your home care are preventative measures to maintain your oral health; but as nice as it would be to keep your oral health in perfect condition all the time, sometimes that just doesn’t happen. When we identify the onset of gum disease, we work quickly to reverse the condition and get you back on a healthy track. This is where scaling and root planing treatments play a critical role.

Often referred to as periodontal cleaning or deep cleaning, they are all the same form of treatment. The procedure removes dental plaque and tartar, specifically below the visible gum line. The spaces between your gums and teeth are prime breeding ground for bacteria and infection, so without treatment they can deepen and compromise your oral health. There are a variety of tools and methods available for periodontal cleaning, and each is designed to finely clean the dental pockets the gum disease is attacking and deepening. Successfully completed, the build-up collected around the teeth and gums will be removed, and the gums will heal tightly around the teeth for a secure and healthy fit.

Post-Treatment Follow-Up

Scaling and root planing are advantageous procedures if gum disease is present, but what about the importance of following up after you’ve been treated? Despite the fact healing and improvements will be seen immediately following treatment, the actual procedure is only the first step in arresting the periodontal disease. The true efficacy of scaling and root planing is contingent upon a number of variables, including patient compliance.

It is imperative the patient and our office collaborate to prevent the infection from recurring. Infection is often the result of negligent oral care, which will need to be excellent and diligently preformed following treatment. As it takes a significant period of time for the infection and bacteria to build-up, the remedial steps taken after scaling and root planing will not be an overnight solution – time and consistency will be necessary for a full recovery.

Subsequent appointments are often necessary in order to monitor and track the healing progress, and we will discuss the frequency and importance of these with you to ensure your understanding and comfort. Our office will be there to help through each and every step of this process with respect to your unique needs, as well as offer any resources or information necessary to restore your smile to a happy and healthy state.

Couch and Hammond Dentistry

Folsom Dental Office |916-805-5077
260 Palladio Parkway Suite 1001
Folsom, CA 95630
https://www.couchandhammonddentistry.com

Deep Cleaning: What it means to you

General-Title

You’re a good person – you pay your taxes, pick up litter, and make it to the dentist every 6 months. Now you’re being told you may need a deep cleaning…but don’t you clean your teeth every day? And isn’t a deep cleaning what the dentist always does? Not quite, although we know it can sometimes feel that way.

A regular dental cleaning is what you are accustomed to receiving every 6 months. The intention of this visit to the dentist is to maintain your healthy gums and give your teeth a little extra attention when it comes to matters of plaque and tartar, which can be difficult to remove fully with a toothbrush and floss alone. The odds are that if you are brushing and flossing every day, and taking any other steps recommended by your doctor, a regular dental cleaning is the perfect addition to your regular care that will keep your smile happy and healthy.

Deep cleaning, a necessity?

A deep cleaning, on the other hand, is what becomes necessary when the health of your teeth and gums become jeopardized by gum disease (or ‘periodontitis’). To put it in perspective, your gums are supposed to have tight and healthy seals around your teeth to protect them and keep them firmly in place. A standard part of your regular cleaning is your doctor using a diagnostic tool called a ‘periodontal probe’ to ensure this is the case; the probe is used to measure the depth of the space between your gums and teeth.

Typically 1-3mm is considered normal, and there should be very little or no bleeding at all. Upwards of 4mm is a sign that you are developing ‘pockets’, which are a space between the teeth and gums that becomes prime breeding ground for bacteria and tartar buildup. Plaque that is not brushed and flossed away left on the teeth for more than 24 hours can become tartar, which only your dentist can remove. Left unattended, these pockets can deepen and compromise the tooth and the surrounding bone structure. If the dentist uses the probe and measures 4mm or more, and/or there is significant bleeding and signs of inflammation, then a deep cleaning will be scheduled to help you get your smile back on track.

Deep cleaning is not a scary process.

Oftentimes, your dentist will break the cleaning into two separate visits to most effectively treat your mouth, this is especially important if your entire mouth needs attention so that you’ll be numbed in only smaller sections of your mouth each time, making for a completely comfortable process and quick recovery. The most common forms of treatment are ‘scaling’ and ‘root planing’. The process of scaling involves using a professional tool to remove plaque and tartar from both the surface of the teeth, and the pocket area that has been created between your teeth and gums. A scaling instrument, on the other hand, removes plaque and tartar from the surface of the root of your teeth, which is below the gum line and not visible. These tools are the only thing that can removed built up plaque, as even floss cannot reach far into deepened pockets. The good news is they do a wonderful job of cleaning up any tartar that has built up beneath the visible surface.

Periodontitis is a progressive disease, and left unattended can turn into a much more serious problem. Fortunately, the treatment is typically straight forward and as long as you follow the doctor’s aftercare instructions, the bacteria should be reduced to manageable levels and your gums should return to normal and lose any signs of redness. If you are feeling pain or sensitivity in your teeth, have red and/or puffy gums, or are experiencing bleeding during normal brushing and flossing – call us. The sooner periodontitis is identified the easier it is to treat and the less expensive it is for you, if you have any concerns about your oral health just remember that a professional evaluation is never harmful and may offer you some great information.

Couch and Hammond Dentistry

Folsom Dental Office |916-805-5077
260 Palladio Parkway Suite 1001
Folsom, CA 95630
https://www.couchandhammonddentistry.com

The Dangers of Crunchy Munchies

Blog Title-Hard Candy2

Easter means many things to different families everywhere, but one thing that remains consistent is the appearance of candy! Whether it’s hidden in eggs or just passed around, it comes at a nice nearly halfway mark in the year from Halloween. Sweets make for some excellent treats, and there is no reason not to indulge (in moderation of course)! However, all candies are not created equal, and it may be worth knowing which ones you can have relatively guilt free, and which could spell trouble for your wonderful smile.

When it comes to Easter indulgences, chocolate may make it onto the nice list – we know, this is great news to many of you. The less forgiving candies are the ones that make that all-too-familiar CRUNCH! Hard candies, like lollipops or jolly ranchers, can be an awfully tempting treat to bite. But best case scenario is they can pack hard-to-reach pieces of sugar into your gums that end up sitting there, as saliva can have a difficult time breaking them down. Worst case scenario, that crunch sound may be coming from a broken tooth, and sending you straight from your Sunday activities into our office.

We do love seeing our patients, but not at the expense of their healthy smile! It happens more often than you think, and it’s not just because of the sugar – even some who are prone to absentmindedly crunching on ice have discovered the dangers of biting down on crunchy munchies when they find a piece of their tooth broken off. Your teeth are durable for normal eating and chewing, but anything that causes too much stress can run the risk of chipping or breaking one of your pearly whites. Before you try to impress your friends with breaking that jaw breaker in half, remember that it’s earned that name for a pretty good reason.

Even if you resist that satisfying crunch, there are still a few other points of concern for hard candies that you don’t run into with other options (like chocolate!). Hard candies that you suck on tend to spend a concentrated period of time in a single location, which over-exposes particular areas of your mouth to sugar and lead to a very concentrated build-up of acid, which can be a quick way to damage the enamel. Consider this next time you find yourself unwrapping that tootsie pop or after-meal mint, and perhaps enjoy a stick of gum instead. It’s not often that the solution for a sweet treat is yet another sweet treat, but you’re in luck because this time it is! After enjoying your holiday treats, consider enjoying a piece of sugar-free gum – the increased saliva productions while chewing can actually help dislodge and break down the remaining sugar in your mouth.

Overall, we don’t want to take the enjoyment out of candy-filled holidays – enjoy your time with your friends and family, and definitely don’t be afraid to pop open that plastic egg and see what treats hide inside. If you do find yourself going crazy for the crunchy candies, we hope you chew safely…and if things go wrong, you always have your friends at our office to set things straight (:

Couch and Hammond Dentistry

Folsom Dental Office |916-805-5077
260 Palladio Parkway Suite 1001
Folsom, CA 95630
https://www.couchandhammonddentistry.com

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