oral cancer colorful word with stethoscope on wooden background

Free Oral Cancer Screening

April is Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month, and Stonehaven Dental is offering free oral cancer screenings throughout the month! The goal of offering free screenings is both to promote awareness and education of oral cancer, and to help with early detection.

To schedule your free oral cancer screening at any Stonehaven Dental location, call (801)-701-9799.

About Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is commonly associated with alcohol consumption and tobacco products. However, recent studies have found other causes for oral cancer as well such as HPV. An oral cancer screening uses technology to check or abnormal cells or lesion in the oral cavity. Any abnormality detected will indicate the need for more advanced screenings and tests.

Oral cancer is typically thought to be caused by smoking and tobacco use, but there are many other causes that are often ignored. There is a growing number of young adults that have been diagnosed with oral cancer, due to human papilloma virus (HPV). According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, close to 45,750 people in the United States will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year.

Woman having checkup at dentist

Outdoors portrait of a pretty girl eating apple

Apples: Dental Hygiene Facts

We’ve all heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But apples may keep the dentist away too. Apples are a naturally sweet, low-calorie alternative to cavity-causing, sugary snacks like candy and fruit juice – plus they clean your teeth while you eat them!

Benefits of Apples

  • Apples make your gums healthier. Apples contain about 15% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C, which helps keep your gums healthy. Without this vitamin, your gums become more vulnerable to infection, bleeding and gum disease. If you have periodontal disease, a lack of vitamin C increases bleeding and swelling.
  • Apples are nature’s toothbrush.  Chewing the fibrous texture of the fruit and its skin can stimulate your gums, reduce cavity-causing bacteria and increase saliva flow. Like other crisp, raw vegetables and fruits, apples can also gently remove plaque trapped between teeth.
  • Apples strengthen your bones. Apples have potassium. Potassium improves bone mineral density. Your teeth are made from bone. ‘Nuff said.
  • Apples help weight loss. Loaded with soluble fiber, apples can help lower your cholesterol and improve your blood sugar regulation.
  • Apples fight heart disease. Although the research hasn’t proven it yet, there’s an apparent link between gum health and heart health. Periodontitis and heart disease share risk factors such as smoking, age and diabetes, and both contribute to inflammation in the body. Apples contain antioxidants that lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke.

Is the acidity in apples bad for my teeth?

According to a study published in the Journal of Dentistry, apples may be even more acidic than soda. But the negative effects of acidity in any foods you eat, like processed meats and coffee, can easily be prevented if you follow these tips:

  • Eat your apple with another snack. Maybe you’d like a small serving of cheese, a glass of milk or crackers. Whatever you choose, other foods will help neutralize the acid in the apple – especially if they’re high in calcium.
  • Rinse with a glass of water. In general, it’s just a good idea to drink a glass of water or rinse after eating. Water helps rinse away acid and food particles that have collected between your teeth.
  • Wait to brush. Brushing immediately after eating any sugary food is not a good idea. The sugar will act like sandpaper and damage your tooth enamel. Wait at least 30 minutes after sugary snacks to brush.
Smiling young woman receiving dental checkup

Thinking about Whitening Your Teeth? This FAQ is For You.

We get a lot of questions from people who are interested in whitening their teeth. After all, your smile is often the first thing someone notices about you. But many things, including coffee, tea, red wine and tobacco, can stain them and cause them to darken. Here are answers to some of the questions we hear most often from people who want a brighter, whiter smile.

How does tooth whitening work?

Whitening products contain a peroxide-based bleach that breaks up both deep and surface stains in tooth enamel. The degree of whiteness that can be achieved will vary based on the condition of your teeth, how much staining you have, and the type of bleaching system you use.

Does whitening work on all teeth?

No. It’s important to talk with your dentist before deciding to whiten your teeth because whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration. Yellow teeth usually bleach well, brown teeth may not respond as well, and teeth with gray tones may not bleach at all. In addition, whitening will not work on caps, veneers, crowns or fillings. And it won’t be effective on tooth discoloration caused by medications or injury to the tooth. (American Dental Association)

What types of professional whitening systems are available?

  • Tray-based, at-home whitening. With this method, the dentist creates a mouthguard-type tray from an impression of your upper and lower teeth. A tray made by a dentist is customized to fit your teeth exactly. It allows for maximum contact between the whitening gel and the teeth, and also minimizes the gel’s contact with gum tissue. When it’s time to use the tray, you fill it with a prescription whitening gel and wear it for a specified period of time. That may range from a couple of hours a day to overnight for up to four weeks or longer, depending on how much discoloration you have and your desired level of whitening.
  • In-office whitening. This is the fastest way to whiten teeth. With this type of bleaching, the whitening product is applied directly to the teeth. It may be used in combination with heat, a special light, or a laser. Results can be seen in just one 30- to 60-minute treatment. For the most dramatic results, more than one appointment may be needed.

Can a person with very sensitive teeth have their teeth whitened?

In almost all cases, yes. A number of steps can be taken to address the issue of sensitivity:

  • The strength of the bleaching solution as well as the length of time teeth are exposed to it can be adjusted.
  • The length of time between treatments can be extended.
  • A high fluoride, remineralization gel or over-the-counter product such as Crest® Sensi-Stop™ Strips can be used to help stop sensitivity after treatment.

Be sure to discuss your sensitivity problem with your dentist.

There are also things you can do to lessen sensitivity. Take ibuprofen before your treatment and while teeth are sensitive. Avoid foods that are very hot or very cold. Use a prescribed gel or toothpaste made for sensitive teeth along with a soft-bristle toothbrush. And try to avoid foods citrus fruits and foods that are highly acidic.

How long does whitening last?

Teeth whitening isn’t permanent. If you expose your teeth to foods and beverages that cause staining, whitening may start to fade in a little as a month. However, if you avoid those things that stain, you may be able to wait as long as a year before another treatment or touch-up is necessary. (WebMD)

If you have any other questions as you consider whitening your teeth, be sure to call a Stonehaven Dental office near you.

Girl at the dentist holding and x-ray and looking at the camera smiling

5 Big Reasons To Choose a Children’s Dentist

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, a great time to focus on kids!

Getting kids off to a good start with their oral health is what pediatric dentistry is all about. “A child’s attitudes and habits about caring for their teeth are established very early,” says Dr. Kim Hansford, a board-certified pediatric dentist. “A good experience with the dentist when they’re young can influence the way they take care of their oral health throughout their lives. The dental care they receive while they’re young can also prevent problems down the road, and set them up for healthy smiles for life.”

5 Big Reasons To Choose a Children’s Dentist for Your Little Ones

1. In addition to completing dental school, pediatric dentists must complete an advanced residency program in their specialty. The program is usually two to three years in length, and provides an in-depth education in the unique dental needs of babies, children and adolescents.

2. Training in pediatric dentistry also covers child psychology, growth and development, and caring for special needs patients. Kids’ dentists are well prepared to help anxious or frightened children feel at ease, and to provide a positive experience for them.

3. Children’s dentists know the importance of providing a fun and welcoming atmosphere for kids. As Dr. Kim explained, “Toys and videos can keep children occupied before their appointments and take their minds off anything that might be worrying them. Being around other children can bring kids an additional level of comfort. And we always send them home with a little reward, such as a toy or stickers.”

4. A children’s dental office will usually feature smaller chairs and dental equipment sized to fit little mouths. That can make a big difference to a child’s comfort. In addition, “During a child’s treatment,” said Dr. Kim, “we explain what the different tools do in an age-appropriate way. It helps ward off fears they may have.”

5. With a strong focus on preventive care, a children’s dentist can help ensure a lifetime of good dental health for your child. You can count on the dentist to stay up to date on preventive treatments that are especially important to kids, such as fluoride treatments and sealants. And, a kids’ dentist is an excellent source of advice and answers to questions about your child’s dental needs.

African American girl having tootache.

What to Do if Your Child Has a Toothache

Toothaches are common for young children. But as parents, we worry anytime our child is in pain. A child’s toothache can have many causes—tooth decay, plaque buildup, incoming teeth, cavities, broken teeth or food trapped between teeth—and sometimes what feels like a toothache might be just pain caused by something else entirely! So what do you do when your child has a toothache? Follow our 6 easy steps to identify the problem, help ease your child’s pain and get them the treatment they need.

Ask Questions

The first thing you want to do is try to find the cause of your child’s toothache. If they are old enough, ask them to point at or describe the pain. If they are younger, look for swelling, redness of gums and cheek, tooth discoloration or broken teeth. If you find a tooth that is loose, discolored or broken, you’ve likely found the cause.

Help Your Child Floss

Next you want to help your child remove any food particles that may be trapped between their teeth. Remember to be gentle and careful while flossing, because your child’s gums might be sensitive. If your child struggles with flossing or has braces, consider purchasing a Waterpik Water Flosser for Kids to make it easier.

Rinse with Warm Salt Water

Mix about a teaspoon of table salt into a small cup of warm water. Have your child rinse with the solution for about 30 seconds and spit. This will kill bacteria in or around the affected area and encourage faster healing.

Use a Cold Compress

Apply a cold compress to your child’s outer cheek near the painful or swollen area. If you do not have a store-bought compress, you can make one by wrapping ice in a small towel or cloth. Try icing for 15 minutes and taking another 15 minutes off.

Use Pain Medication or Clove Oil

If pain continues, your child can take anti-inflammatory medication like acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Remember to make sure that any medicine you give your children is safe for them: Read the Drug Facts label every time, look for the active ingredient and give the right amount.

Under no circumstance should you rub aspirin or any painkiller on your child’s gums – it is very acidic and can cause burns. If you need a topical treatment, a home remedy that others have suggested is clove oil – an antimicrobial, anti-fungal essential oil that was used as far back as Ancient Greece. Gently dab clove oil with a cotton swab to the affected area around the tooth for temporary pain relief.

Call Your Child’s Dentist

Flossing, rinsing, icing and medicating are of probably not permanent solutions to the problem. If your child’s toothache is caused by a cavity, they’ll need to see a dentist for a filling, root canal or possibly an extraction. If your child is experiencing extreme pain, fatigue or fever, you’ll want to call your pediatrician immediately.

Children are at a greater risk for dental infections than adults. If your child’s toothache is not going away—especially if the toothache persists for over 24 hours—you should call your dentist to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Even if your child’s pain goes away, there is still a chance they have a cavity which can develop into a painful abscess. If you have any doubts, please call us or schedule an appointment online.

Family having traditional holiday dinner with stuffed turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, vegetables pumpkin and pecan pie.

The 3 Best Thanksgiving Dishes for Your Teeth

As you sit down for your Thanksgiving meal this year, you might think about how it’s affecting the scale or your belt buckle — but what about your dental health? We’ve talked a lot about the link between dental health and overall health on our blog, so it’s no surprise that some foods are better for your teeth than others. Find out what’s inside some of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes and the positive effects they have on your teeth and gums.

Roasted turkey served on plate with a variety of vegetables, ready for dinner on Thanksgiving

Turkey

What’s inside: Protein, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorus, Potassium and B Vitamins

Effects on your teeth: The star of the whole meal is probably the best thing for you on the table. Turkey is low in fat and high in protein, which strengthens teeth and your immune system. The minerals found in turkey — iron and zinc — promote healthy mucosal tissues that act as a barrier between your gums and dangerous bacteria. Phosphorous is important to bone health because it maximizes the benefits of calcium. And B Vitamins not only give you a natural energy boost, but they can also help prevent periodontal disease and repair damaged gum tissue. In fact, one of the only downsides to turkey is that it gets caught in your teeth, so you might want to bring along a flossing pick to Grandma’s house this year.


Homemade Red Cranberry Sauce for the Holidays

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

What’s inside: Antioxidants, Vitamin C & Fiber

Effects on your teeth: Cranberries — like blueberries, kale and oatmeal — are often called a superfood because of their many health benefits. They are one of the most antioxidant-rich foods you can find, and antioxidants load your cells to protect you from disease. Cranberries are also rich in dietary fiber, which has been shown to reduce tooth decay, and Vitamin C. which strengthens your immune system. Most people go with canned cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving and we don’t blame you for saving some time, but unfortunately canned recipes are packed with sugar. Excessive sugar can damage your teeth enamel and lead to tooth decay, among other dental health problems. When you make your own cranberry sauce at home, you decide how much sugar goes in. So if you’re looking for a healthy alternative to canned cranberry sauce, check out this great recipe from Cookie and Kate.


Homemade Cooked Sweet Potato with Onions and Herbs

Yams or Sweet Potatoes

What’s inside: Vitamin C, Thiamine, Niacin, Vitamin A, Fiber & Potassium

Effects on your teeth: Yams and sweet potatoes are often interchangeable in recipes and can be prepared a lot of different ways on Thanksgiving — some of them more healthy than others. But at the heart of every yam or sweet potato dish is a vitamin-packed starch that is low in fat and high in nutritional value. Great at regulating blood sugar, their anti-inflammatory properties can help prevent periodontal disease. Healthy doses of Thiamine and Niacin in a balanced diet can decrease tooth decay. And Vitamin A promotes saliva production, which is crucial for cleaning away destructive bacteria and food particles from between teeth and gums. A lot of yam or sweet potato dishes are sweetened with sugar or marshmallows, but Thanksgiving is a time for a little rule-breaking — go ahead and splurge. Just remember to rinse your mouth with water any time you eat a sugary dish.


Happy Thanksgiving from our Family to yours!

Difference Between Night Guards and Mouth Guards

We’ve heard a few names for the plastic thing people wear to protect their teeth during physical activities or sleep. If you or your children are involved in contact sports, or if you ever feel jaw pain especially after sleep, we’ll clear up the differences between night guards and mouth guards for you. And we’ll help you decide which one you need.

What is a Night Guard?

An occlusal splint is commonly called a dental guard, night guard or bite guard. It is used to protect your teeth while you sleep. Most dentists recommend night guards to patients who grind their teeth, which is often as a result of stress or anxiety. When someone habitually grinds his or her teeth, it is called bruxism, a very common condition that affects 10% of people and as many as 15% of children. Grinding your teeth can ruin enamel, increase tooth sensitivity and chip your teeth. Too much grinding and clenching of the jaw can result in a condition of the jaw called TMJ, which can sometimes require surgery.

Close-up shot of doctors hands in gloves holding silicone mouth guard. Teeth care

Do you or your children ever wake up with jaw pain or think you might be grinding your teeth? Schedule a consultation with your dentist to discuss getting a custom-fit night guard. In just one visit, we can evaluate your grinding habits and take an impression of your smile. Some of our offices can even make your night guard in their own lab! In about 1-2 weeks, you’ll have your night guard and be sleeping easier.

What is a Mouth Guard?

A mouth guard is a protective device for the mouth that covers the teeth and gums to prevent and reduce injury to the teeth, lips and gums. The American Dental Association recommends wearing a mouth guard for many sports played in the fall and winter:

  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Field Hockey
  • Gymnastics
  • Ice Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Rugby
  • Volleyball
  • Boxing
  • Wrestling
  • Ultimate Frisbee

Custom mouth guards are recommended over store-bought, and do more than just protect your teeth. According to one study, “high school football players wearing store-bought mouth guards were more than twice as likely to suffer mild traumatic brain injuries than those wearing properly fitted, custom mouth guards.” Ask your dentist to make a dental impression for you, which will be sent off to a lab that produces mouth guards or made in one of our office’s labs.

Photo sports mouth guard and medical capacitor on a white background

National Brush Day and Stonehaven Dental logos over photos of children celebrating Halloween and brushing their teeth

National Brush Day 2016

November 1 is more than just the day after Halloween. It’s also National Brush Day, when we remind ourselves to brush twice daily and help educate our children on the importance of dental hygiene. In addition to other healthy habits, brushing 2 times for 2 minutes every day helps reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Brush 2min2x

Teaching good dental hygiene to our children is especially important, so that they can make brushing twice part of their daily routine. According to Psychology Today, habits that develop early in life can be very difficult to change — so helping your children understand the importance of dental hygiene will transition into keeping healthy habits as an adult.

The Children’s Oral Health campaign encourages parents to reduce their children’s risk of oral disease by making sure they’re brushing for two minutes, twice a day. Their website, 2min2x.org, has plenty of educational and fun resources to help parents out, including these easy Tooth To-Dos:

  • Use a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste for kids ages 3-6, and use slightly more when they’re older.
  • Teach them to spit out the toothpaste when they’re done so they don’t swallow it.
  • Help your kids place the toothbrush at an angle against their gums.
  • Make sure they move the brush back and forth, gently, in short strokes.
  • Help them brush the front, back, and top of teeth.
  • Teach them to brush their tongue to remove germs and freshen breath.

For more tips, be sure to read Colgate’s Teeth Brushing For Kids: Three Strategies For Proper Technique.

Show Your Support

If you’d like to show your support for #NationalBrushDay, there are plenty of ways to get involved on social media.

#ndhm2016 brush floss rinse chew

National Dental Hygiene Month 2016

October is National Dental Hygiene Month. For the seventh straight year, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program (WOHP) are dedicating this month to starting the conversation about The Daily 4.

The Daily 4

The Daily 4 represent the foundation for a healthy smile. Brushing, flossing, rinsing and chewing every day – also using proper technique – won’t guartantee perfect dental hygiene for the rest of your life, but they will improve the color of your teeth, the way your breath smells, the health of your gums and have a significant impact on your overall health. Are you doing the Daily 4 right? Keep reading for tips on technique and frequency, or head over to adha.org for some more in-depth information on #NDHM2016.

Brush: This one is easy. Brush for two minutes at least twice each day. Most people like to brush when they wake up and before they go to bed. But brushing after every meal doesn’t hurt! Are you using the correct technique when you brush? Click here to find out.

Floss: You might’ve seen some recent reports about the effectiveness of flossing. The ADHA and Mortenson Family Dental are united in our opinion — Flossing is still an important part of your dental hygiene routine. If you’d like to read more about it, check out this article we wrote.  And for tips on proper flossing technique, click here.

Rinse: Did you know teeth alone account for less than half of the mouth? Don’t forget about the rest! Rinsing with an antimicrobial mouth rinse helps eliminate biofilm and bacteria that brushing and flossing cannot. Talk with your dentist to figure out which mouth rinse is right for you. For a simple guide on rinsing, click here.

Chew: Believe it or not, chewing sugar-free gum is not just good at curing bad breath. Chewing sugar-free gum also stimulates salivary glands in your mouth, which helps clean out food and neutralize acids found on your teeth. So go ahead, chew some gum after your meal. Just make sure it’s sugar-free!

Show your support for #NDHM2016

Below is a poster you can print out and a banner that fits perfectly as your Facebook cover photo. If you’re serious about dental hygiene, show your support this month and help start the conversation!

NDHM_2016WebBanner_690x2002016_NDHM_Poster-page-001

NDHM_2016WebBanner_690x200

This girl think she cute flossin her stupid teeth

Stonehaven Dental Reacts to AP Flossing Report

By now, you’ve probably seen or heard about the AP flossing report that claims the “medical benefits of dental flossing [are] unproven.” Needless to say, it has been causing quite a stir in the Stonehaven Dental offices! Not because it’s changing our opinions about oral hygiene – but because the article itself is a little misleading. Read the report here, then we’ll tell you what the dental community has to say, including a response from Andrea Edelen, a Registered Dental Hygienist and the National Director of Hygiene at Mortenson Dental Partners.

 

A lack of good research doesn’t prove something is ineffective.

 

As you’d imagine, a number of dental groups have already publicly shown their support for flossing since the AP report was released. The American Dental Association (ADA) and American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) were both quick to address the duration of these studies, which in general have been conducted only over short periods of time. In the AAP’s official statement about flossing, their president acknowledges that “much of the current evidence does not utilize a large sample size or examine gum health over a significant amount of time. Additionally, many of the existing studies do not measure true markers of periodontal health such as inflammation or clinical attachment loss.” And that “because the development of periodontal disease is slow in nature and because a variety of factors can impact its progression, studies that examine the efficacy of daily flossing are best conducted over a number of years and among a large population.”

What the studies in the AP report failed to incorporate in their research were very important factors, primarily family history and the presence of other health issues. One doctor even said he doubted the patients in the study flossed correctly. So although there may be conflicting conclusions about the efficacy of flossing, it’s worth remembering that flossing is only one aspect of maintaining good oral health. Just like maintaining a good diet is only one aspect of physical health.

 

The American Dental Association still defends flossing as an essential part of taking care of teeth and gums.

 

The AP report, despite all its claims that flossing is ineffective, still never fully endorses an end to flossing altogether. In fact, the report ends with a recommendation from Dr. Iafolla, a public health analyst at the National Institutes of Health: Office of Science Policy, to keep flossing once a day. “It’s low-risk, low-cost,” Dr. Iafolla said. “We know there’s a possibility that it works, so we feel comfortable telling people to go ahead and do it.” In an August 4 release, the ADA argues that the federal government has never changed its stance on flossing and “the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) made a deliberate decision to focus on food and nutrient intake (i.e., added sugar).”

“According to the American Dental Association (ADA), interdental cleaners such as floss are an essential part of taking care of your teeth and gums. Cleaning between teeth removes plaque that can lead to cavities or gum disease from the areas where a toothbrush can’t reach. Interdental cleaning is proven to help remove debris between teeth that can contribute to plaque buildup.”

Dental hygiene care plans should be personalized.

The official statement from the American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) endorses a dental hygiene care plan that is “personalized according to the individual’s unique oral health needs, general health status, values, expectations and abilities. Not all adjunct devices are appropriate for all patients, and it is important for dental hygiene professionals to work with their patients on which interdental cleaning method fits their needs.” For some patients, this could mean using a Waterpik®, or a water-flossing product that has been proven more effective than string floss at improving gum health. For others, like the dentist in the video above, the answer could be an old-fashioned wooden toothpick. Whatever decision you make, there is no better person to help you decide what’s right for you than the person who knows your teeth the best – your dental hygienist.

 

Now that you’ve heard how everyone else is responding, let’s hear what Andrea Edelen, a real-life Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH), has to say:

Professional Portrait of Andrea Edelen

Andrea Edelen, RDH, BS, National Director of Hygiene, Mortenson Dental Partners

“We believe in dental hygiene practice that is both evidence-based and patient-centered. Our standard of care emphasizes that the oral hygiene recommendations be personalized according to the patient’s unique oral health needs, general health status, and abilities. Not all adjunct devices are appropriate for all patients, and it is important for dental professionals to work with their patients on which interdental cleaning method fits their needs. The ADA supports flossing with proper technique among other interdental cleaners being beneficial to removing bacteria, biofilm, and food debris from interproximal areas that a tooth brush cannot access.”

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