At-Home Dental Tool Kit

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When you go shopping for a new toothbrush or floss, the amount of options can be overwhelming. Do you need soft bristles or medium bristles? Do I need waxed or non-waxed floss? We have put together a list of dental tools that are great to have at home to have a healthier smile.

Toothbrush

Choosing the right toothbrush can be tricky with all of the choices available. When considering the type of bristles, sticking with soft bristles is always the best way to go unless we’ve told you otherwise. Medium and hard bristles can damage your gums because most people have a tendency to brush to hard. If you are unsure, you can always ask us when you come into the office.

The “Right” Toothpaste

Many different ingredients are hiding in toothpaste that do different jobs. You may be able to tolerate a whitening toothpaste, but for some of you who are more sensitive, that toothpaste may irritate your mouth and teeth. Sometimes, as you get older, the types of toothpastes you use may need to change. If you have any questions about which toothpaste is right for you, please ask at your next appointment.

Floss

 

Flossing at least once a day removes those particles between your teeth and around your gum line that regular brushing can miss. If your teeth are close together, wax floss will make it easier to floss. If your teeth have some space between them, unwaxed floss would be the best option.

Mouthwash

Different mouthwashes can do a variety of different things for your oral health. Certain mouthwashes are great for killing bacteria in your mouth while others may help with teeth whitening. In addition to freshening your breath, swishing mouthwash may remove any particles or help with other areas that can’t be reached by your toothbrush or floss.

Other Dental Products

We’ve covered the main products that you should keep at home, but there are some others that are nice to have. You may have heard of using a waterpick to clean your teeth. While this is a nice product to use to clean debris out of hard to reach areas of your mouth, plaque is not removed during this process. A waterpick should not be used as a substitute for brushing.  If you or your children play sports, a mouthguard is a must to protect your mouth during sports, especially contact sports.

If you have questions or need any suggestions for great dental products, check with us at your next appointment or call our office.

Foods to Avoid at Holiday Gatherings

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With the 4th of July coming up, we thought now would be a great time to talk about foods to avoid. Every year during the holidays, we are presented with a variety of foods, but how do we know which ones to avoid? We have compiled a list of five ingredients that are common to many holiday foods that you should avoid if possible.

 

Sugar

While it’s difficult to dodge sugar at holiday gatherings, it’s important to keep in mind that sugar can damage the enamel on your teeth. The sugar reacts with bacteria on the teeth damaging the enamel by forming plaque. Some of the worst foods containing sugar are sticky and hard candies. They stick to your teeth and can remain for long periods of time. Sugary drinks should also be avoided, especially sipping them throughout a gathering. Water or milk are the best beverage choices for promoting healthy teeth.

Acidic fruit juices

Lemonade, beer, wine and mixers are some favorite 4th of July beverages. Many of the mixers include acidic juices. Out of all acidic juices, lemon juice is the worst for your teeth. Orange juice is the best for your teeth out of the acidic fruit juices, so it may be wise to check the ingredient list before drinking.

Starches

One family favorite during the holidays is a cheese ball with crackers. Crackers and other breads tend to break down in your mouth and turn to a mush that sticks to your teeth or gets in the spaces between your molars which is not a great for your teeth. If you do partake, make sure you drink plenty of water afterwards.

 

Vinegar

Vinegar isn’t discussed in very many places because it’s not something we consume alone, vinegar is an ingredient in many foods and can damage our tooth enamel due to its acidity. Foods that include vinegar are mustard, barbecue sauces and pickles. Some of the common holiday foods that include vinegar are deviled eggs and potato salad.

Coffee/Tea

While coffee and tea are often promoted for good health. They are not good for teeth health. Out of all beverages, these are two of the worst culprits for staining your teeth. Even though many of us can’t make it without our caffeine fix in the mornings, it comes at a cost.


We know that it’s impossible to avoid all of your holiday favorites. Just be aware of these ingredients and attempt to drink plenty of water after consuming them if your tooth brush and floss are not readily available. Happy Fourth!

 

Always Remember to Never Forget

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Memorial Day was first celebrated many years ago as a day to reflect on the lives lost during the United States Civil War, which brought more bloodshed to our own soil than any other event in U.S. history. Since then, the day has become a national holiday and a time for us to remember all American casualties of war. Here are several ways that you can use Memorial Day to honor lives that were lost:

Pause at 3:00 p.m.

In 2000, President Clinton signed into law the “National Moment of Remembrance Act.” Take at least one moment at 3:00 p.m. to reflect on all of the men and women who made sacrifices for us to have the freedoms that we enjoy in our country today.

Presidential Memorial Certificate

If you have a family member or family friend who is a deceased veteran, you can apply for a Presidential Memorial Certificate signed by the current president of the United States that honors your family member or friend for their service. Keep in mind that it may take several months to actually receive your certificate but the application process is fairly painless.

Say Thanks

One of the most important things you can do is thank a veteran for their service or the family of a deceased veteran for their sacrifices made for this country and the freedoms you currently have. A simple “Thank you for your service!” can be a meaningful expression to a veteran or the family of a veteran who served.

We hope you’ll keep these important things in mind and enjoy your Memorial Day!

Dental fear? 5 Ways to Make Going to the Dentist Mentally Easier for Yourself

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So many people fear going to the dentist that psychologists have difficulty quantifying it. People are afraid for many different reaso
ns. Some fears may stem from past experiences that were negative, some people just simply fear anything that may bring them pain and others just don’t like the unknown. Here are five ways to mentally prepare yourself for whatever that trip to the dentist may bring.

Understand that Being Fearful is Normal

It is estimated that anywhere from 9-15% of people avoid the dentist due to anxiety and fear. Although some people are generally more anxious than others, it is completely normal to be fearful of the unknown, especially a dental procedure that you’ve never had. It can ease the nerves a little just knowing that you’re not alone.

Find a Dentist You Trust

Make sure you go to a dentist that makes you feel comfortable and that cares about you as a person rather than just your teeth. There aren’t very many dentists that specialize in dealing with dental phobias, but dentists with certain personality types may make you feel more comfortable than others.

Know Your Procedure

If you are familiar with your dental procedure rather than being blindsided by what’s happening, that can ease anxiety or reduce fears. Make sure to ask your dentist or hygienist all of the details that you want to know in advance.


Try to Distract Yourself During the Procedure

Ask your dentist to play music or having a TV on (if available) can distract you from the procedure. If those options aren’t available, you can always try counting the ceiling tiles or other methods of distracting yourselves.

Try Relaxation Techniques

If you find yourself getting extremely anxious, you can try special breathing techniques or focusing on the sound of your breathing to ease your anxiety. If those don’t sound like something that would relax you, you can always find additional relaxation techniques online.

If you have any fears at all about coming to our office or your procedure, please call to talk with us!

5 Benefits of Preventative Care Dentistry

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Every time you step foot in a dental office, you hear some common dental advice: “brush twice a day,” “floss daily,” and “eat less sugar.” But your question may be, “Why do all of that?” We have five benefits of good preventative care to share with you today.

Cut Down on Cavities

Flossing and brushing regularly keep plaque from building up on your teeth and in the cracks and crevices of your teeth. Less plaque means less decay and less decay means less cavities.

Avoid Gum Disease

Plaque can build up along the gum line without effective brushing and flossing. This can lead to gum irritation and the formation of bacteria that leads to gum disease. More serious forms can lead to periodontal disease and advanced gum disease has been linked to heart disease.

No Bad Breath

Brushing and flossing regularly can cut down on bacteria in
the mouth that can lead to bad breath. Bad breath can cause someone to feel uncomfortable in their own skin or make others around them uncomfortable.

Save Money and Time

We all need more money and time in this life. With good preventative care and regular dental check-ups, you can avoid more serious issues. Extensive treatment for serious issues can land you with unexpected bills and spending more time at the dentist to get those problems taken care of.

Make sure you are following good dental health practices daily to reap the benefits of good preventative care.

Tips on Taking Your Child to the Dentist the First Time from Real Moms

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Taking your child on their first trip to the dentist can be either a truly enjoyable experience or a complete nightmare. We solicited tips from real moms to gain some insight on what you can do to ensure your child’s first trip to the dentist is a successful one.

Mom #1: “The night before my children’s first dental visit, we read them the Little Critter’s ‘Just Going to the Dentist.’ This mentally prepared both of my children for what they were about to experience the night before.”

Mom #2: “I know it sounds silly, but we played dentist. I explained what tools the dentist might use. Then had them practice opening their mouth wide and gently tapped on their teeth with the end of a spoon. They were pretty relaxed and their first visits went very well.”

Mom #3: “Dentistry is done a bit differently here (in England), but they encourage us to take our babies as soon as we can so they can get used to the idea. Our dentist had my children sit in our laps while he counted their teeth, etc.

Mom #4: “When I took my daughter to the dentist the first time, the toothbrush scared her, so I stood beside the dental chair and held her hand. Just being in close proximity can calm their nerves.”

 
Most moms recommend preparing your children in advance of the visit and not waiting until your child can sit still. If they visit the dentist at an earlier age, they will be more comfortable with visits as they grow older. If you have any other tips, we would love to hear them!

Preparing for a Dental Emergency

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Having a dental emergency? Thousands of dental emergencies—from injuries to a painful, abscessed tooth—take place every day. Would you know what to do if your child broke a tooth or had a tooth knocked out while playing outdoors? What if you had a bad toothache in the middle of the night and couldn’t get to the dentist until the next day? Knowing what to do can lessen the pain and save a tooth that might otherwise be lost.

Keep our dental office phone number and our emergency number (see bottom of this page!) where we can be reached after hours with other emergency numbers, such as your family doctor and fire and police departments. Some families post these numbers on the refrigerator or inside a kitchen cabinet door near the phone.

Toothache: Rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss or an interdental cleaner to remove any food or other debris that may be caught between the teeth. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller on or near the aching tooth, nor against the gums; this could burn gum tissue. If the toothache persists, see the dentist. Don’t rely on painkillers. They may temporarily relieve pain but your dentist should evaluate the condition.

Knocked-out (avulsed) tooth: This is a common dental emergency! First, try to find the tooth! This may not be as easy as you think if the injury took place on a playground, basketball court or while skateboarding, so try to stay calm. Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse the root in water if it is dirty. Don’t scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If it’s possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket while you head to the dentist. If that’s not possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk, saline or saliva and bring it to the dentist. Time is critical for successful re-implantation, so try to get to your dentist immediately. If it is over 60 minutes, the success of re-implantation is poor.

Broken tooth: Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area. Use cold compresses on the outside of the cheek to help reduce the swelling.

Tongue or lip bites or wounds: Clean the area gently with a clean cloth and apply cold compresses to reduce any swelling. If the bleeding can’t be controlled, go to a hospital emergency room or clinic. You may be able to reduce bleeding from the tongue by pulling it forward and using gauze to put pressure on the wound.

Objects caught between teeth: Never use a sharp instrument to remove any object that is stuck between your teeth. Try to gently remove the object with dental floss.

Possible broken jaw: Apply cold compresses to control swelling; immobilize the area, get to the hospital emergency room immediately.

Keep a Great Smile in 2017!

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new-years-eve-1905142_640You are making resolutions for lots of other areas of our life, so make a resolution to keep your smile healthy in 2017. We encourage you to make a resolution to get your teeth cleaned regularly this year (if you don’t already). Here are some great reasons why!

A Bright Smile

Regular dental cleanings help remove stains that build up on our teeth over long periods of teeth. Coffee, tea, wine, tobacco, and dark sodas can lead to stains on your teeth that can sometimes leave them looking darker or like they have cavities. Get those embarrassing stains removed!

Keep Breath Fresh

Regular teeth cleaning along with healthy habits at home can keep your breath fresh and odor free. Gum disease is a culprit of bad breath and can be prevented or treated with regular trips to see you dentist.

Prevent Cavities

Plaque is the white film that builds up on your teeth and can lead to cavities if left unattended. Regular dental cleanings can help remove plaque in areas that you are not getting very well with your regular brushing and flossing before it leads to cavities.

Prevent Gum Disease

Gum disease begins when plaque builds up on your teeth and if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. If you visit the dentist regularly, gum disease is often prevented. If not, your dentist can help treat it and assist you with developing good oral hygiene habits before it leads to tooth loss.

Improve Overall Health

Many studies have shown that regular dental cleanings can lower your risk of cardiovascular diseases among other illnesses. Another great reason to visit your dentist!

If you haven’t set up your dental appointments for the year, call today to increase your chances of getting days and times that work best for you. Keep up your healthy habits for a great smile in 2017!

Three Things You Can Do Right Now to Have Whiter Teeth

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Your dental hygienteethwhiteninge is your path to social life. We want to make sure your smile doesn’t hinder you in that area. Here are three things you can do right now to make sure we keep those pearly whites as white as possible.

What Causes Yellow Teeth?

Underneath the surface of the enamel on your teeth is a brown substance called dentin. Although coffee, tea and cigarettes get a bad wrap, the culprit could be the result of thinning enamel. As people age, the enamel thins naturally. However, sometimes the loss of enamel can be caused by certain acids you consume, such as candies, certain fruits, and soda.

What Can You Do to Whiten the Enamel?

Professional whitening in the dental office is the best option. While it may be a little more expensive up front, the results last longer and can be achieved much more quickly than take home or store whitening kits. Best results often occur with one treatment, but if your teeth are extremely stained, you may have to come in more than once to get your teeth as white as you want them.

The next best option is purchasing a take home whitening kit from your dentist. The results aren’t achieved as quickly as an office visit; however, your teeth can get nearly the same results. This type of treatment involves a custom mouthpiece, and several weeks of wearing it to get best results.

The most inexpensive option is over-the-counter whitening products. These have lower concentrations of active ingredients. These products generally don’t achieve the same results as professional products but can be a great way to brighten your smile at a slower rate.

Choose one of these options and make it a priority over the next several weeks to have a white Christmas! If you choose a dentist in-office visit, make sure to schedule your appointments quickly. They fill up fast with the approaching holiday season.

Trick or Treat or Cavities?: Best Halloween Candies for Your Teeth

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pumpkin-1739407_640No candy is actually good for you. Sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth allowing them to flourish on your teeth. This leads to tooth decay, plaque, and eventually cavities. While it’s not likely that children will not eat candy at all, it is possible to make better decisions about the candy that we consume. The following list of Halloween candies and foods will hopefully help you make better decisions about your candy.

Dark Chocolate/Milk Chocolate

If you have the option of dark chocolate, it is the better option when it comes to chocolates. It contains less sugar and some studies say it’s good for your heart. Any kind of chocolate is a better option when it comes to the sticky candies that stick right to your teeth and often stick there for a good while after you eat them.

Sugarless Gum

If your child winds up with any sugarless gum in their Halloween stash, gum is a great option. Chewing stimulates saliva which can protect the teeth against food sticking to them. Sugarless gum may also help get rid of some of those pests that are found sticking to your teeth.

Candy Bars with Nuts

Candy bars that contain nuts can sometimes contain a little less sugar than a candy bar that doesn’t. The nuts also keep the sticky parts of the candy bar from sticking to your teeth as much.

Powdery Candy

This may come as a surprise, but sugary candies such as a pixy stick are better for your teeth than sticky candies such as gummy candies. Although they contain a lot of sugar, most of it will likely go down rather than hanging out on your teeth.

Again, there are no good candies for your teeth, but we hope you’ll consider these best options for your teeth when consuming the candy stash. Enjoy your Halloween!

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    Monday: 7:30am-4:30pm

    Tuesday: 7:30am-4:30pm

    Wednesday: 7:30am-2:00pm

    Thursday: 7:30am-6:00pm

    Friday: 7:00am-2:00pm

    Saturday: By Appointment Only

331 East Amsler Road, Rensselaer, IN 47978

219.866.7117

Hillcrest@HillcrestDental.net