5 Bad Habits That are Harming Your Teeth

Even if you brush twice a day, floss once a day, and maintain regular visits to my dental office in Lenexa, you may be causing damage to your teeth without even knowing it. There are many common habits that most of us do subconsciously, and these habits can be detrimental to teeth.

1.    Teeth Are Not Tools. No matter how easy it may seem to simply use your teeth to open that bag of chips, remove that tag from new clothing, or open that jar of nail polish, it’s definitely not worth it! Using teeth as tools to open any pesky package can result in serious damage like chipped teeth and broken restorations. Saving a few seconds by using teeth instead of grabbing the proper tool just isn’t worth it.

2.     Brushing Softly is Best. There’s no need to vigorously scrub your teeth. In fact, doing so can create serious damage. Hard bristles and rough brushing can contribute to sensitivity, worn down enamel, and irritated gums. Instead, choose a soft bristled toothbrush and gently brush teeth at a 45 degree angle for best results.

3.    Cool it on Ice Crunching. Ice is one of teeth’s worst enemies. It’s not only super hard, it’s also super cold; two things that don’t go well for teeth. Crunching on ice is a great way to fracture teeth and get tiny cracks in them. Down the road, these tiny cracks lead to much bigger problems.

4.     Keep Fingers Away! Biting nails is another dental habit that leads to tooth damage, among other things. Your fingernails are dirty and biting them allows all the germs hiding underneath to enter the body (yuck!). Also, fingernails are hard, really hard, and chronic biting can cause teeth to shift, break, or crack.

5.     And Pens Too! Like nail biting, it’s a common habit to park a pen or pencil between your teeth at meetings or when deep in thought. This, too, places a lot of pressure on teeth, causing them to shift, crack, or damaging dental restorations.  

All habits are hard to break, and dental habits are no exception. So try your best to catch yourself and work on fixing them. Need some tips for helpful ways to break a habit? Talk to any of us at my Lenexa dental office!

Accepting patients from Lenexa, Overland Park, Kansas City, and surrounding areas.

Sunshine and Your Oral Health

The daylight hours in the winter months are few are far between. Those rare times when the sun is shining, we’re usually stuck inside at work or it’s just too cold to enjoy it. This is particularly troubling for all of us at my dental office in Lenexa.

What’s So Great About The Sun?

It’s warm, soaking up the rays feels good, and it helps keep our planet from turning into a giant sheet of ice. It also provides us with several awesome health benefits. It can make our immune systems stronger, give our moods a boost, and supply us with a lot of vitamin D.

Benefits of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is crucial to both your overall health and a healthy smile. This powerful nutrient is our first line of defense against germs since it regulates our immune systems. It also assists the pancreas and making insulin, can lower blood pressure, and helps absorb calcium. Calcium is key to building strong bones and teeth, so we’re big supporters of getting an adequate supply of vitamin D every day.

Other Ways to Get Vitamin D

During the winter months, daylight is shorter and it’s difficult to get outside to soak up the sun when it is out. This when turning to an alternative supply of vitamin D can help. Besides supplements, some vitamin D rich foods include:

  • Fatty Fish (Salmon is a good choice!)

  • Eggs

  • Milk

Getting enough vitamin D is obviously crucial to your oral health. But if you’re not consuming enough of it, it’s not only your mouth that will suffer. Recent research has linked vitamin D deficiencies to osteoporosis, serious cancers like breast, colon, or prostate, and increased risk for type 1 diabetes.

At my Lenexa dental office, we want to keep your mouth and your whole body as healthy as possible. Vitamin D can certainly help. So go catch some rays or enjoy some vitamin-D-rich foods, not just for your smile, but for your whole being.

Welcoming patients from Lenexa, Overland Park, Kansas City, and surrounding communities.

Tooth Sensitivity: What to do When Both Heat & Cold Bother You

Cold drinks, hot soup, and a whole lot of pain. If you’re struggling with eating what you want without pain, especially if it’s common with hot or cold foods, you’re probably suffering from sensitive teeth. At my Lenexa dental office, we hear this often and we’d like to help.

The Why

There are many reasons your teeth could be susceptible to pain while eating or drinking something hot or cold. One of the most common is the tooth’s root structure has become exposed. This anatomy of the tooth contains a lot of nerves, and when it’s open to contact with elements, the pain can be extreme. The root structures typically become exposed through gum recession or eroded enamel, both of which can be caused by grinding, a lot of acidic drinks, and even aggressive brushing.

How to Fix It

  • Toothpaste Choice. By simply changing your toothpaste, you can help ease pain caused by sensitivity. If you have sensitive teeth, it’s wise to avoid toothpastes that contain sodium pyrophosphate, which is found found many whitening and tartar-control pastes. Instead, choose a toothpaste that designed specially for sensitive teeth and use it regularly.

  • Softer is Better. When selecting a toothbrush, make sure you choose one that has soft bristles. Hard-bristled brushes can contribute to wear and tear on the tooth’s enamel and put you at increased risk for sensitivity. Additionally, brushing too hard can lead to similar results. If your brush’s bristles are sporadically angled, chances are you’re brushing too hard.

  • Easy on the Soda. And acidic juice and food. The more acidic the food or drink, the more damage to your tooth enamel and the more likely you’ll suffer from sensitivity pain. Choosing water over soda is always wise.

If sensitive teeth are keeping you from enjoying the foods and drinks you love and you can’t seem to ease the pain, call my dental office in Lenexa. We’ll work with you to determine what may be causing your sensitivity and talk about proper treatments to get you back to eating and drinking without pain. Some common treatments may include application of a desensitizing agent, bonding, or sometimes a root canal.

Accepting patients from Lenexa, Overland Park, Kansas City, and neighboring areas.

Are You a Nail Biter? 5 Reasons to Stop

Nail biting is one of the most common habits of humans, and the behavior is typically triggered by stress, boredom, annoyingly long fingernails, or excitement. However, at my dental office in Lenexa, we want to warn our nail biters that this habit can also contribute to a multitude of dental and whole-body problems.

  1. Germs, germs, and more germs. Fingernails can hold a lot of germs and bacteria, almost twice as much as your hands. Nail biters are at increased risk for transferring those germs and dangerous bacteria into the body. What’s even scarier is that if gnawed of nails are swallowed, all that gross stuff that lives under the nail enters the body and may lead to stomach issues.
  2. Save some dough! According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), nail biters spend an average of $4,000 more on dental bills throughout their lives than non-biters. This is mostly due to the fact that nail biting can lead to some serious dental concerns.
  3. Tooth damage. Nails are hard, and when we bite them, the chance for chips and cracks greatly increases. Nail biters experience more cracks or chips in their pearly whites. Even more, nail biting can lead to bruxism, or clenching and grinding of the teeth. Bruxism itself can cause jaw pain, wear and tear on teeth, and headaches.
  4. Take a break! Like other parts of your body, your teeth also need to rest. Your teeth are there to help you chew and eat, but in between meals, they should take a break. If you’re a nail biter, your teeth are constantly working. This may cause them to wear down quickly or could lead to a bad bite.
  5. Ouch, my jaw hurts! Chronic nail biting can be detrimental for your jaw. In fact, constantly chewing your nails can cause TMJ Disorder. TMJ Disorder brings on its own set of issues like jaw pain, headaches, or popping or locking of the jaw.

At my Lenexa dental office, we’re always here to give you the advice you need to make sure your smile and your body are healthy. If you’re a nail biter, talk to us about it. We have tips that may help you quit, we’ll examine your mouth for any signs of damage, and work with you to get your smile in its best shape.

Serving patients from Lenexa, Overland Park, Kansas City, and nearby communities.

Top Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season

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The holidays are well upon us, and there’s never been a better time to celebrate friendships, spend time with family, and be grateful for our health. However, with the hustle and bustle of parties every weekend, fulfilling wish lists pages deep, and all that food, it’s also a time when our health is at increased risk. At my dental office in Lenexa, we’re always focused on our patients’ health, and not just in their mouths, but throughout their entire bodies. With that philosophy always at the forefront of everything we do, this holiday season we’d like to share some tips for making your holiday season a healthy one.

Be Stress Free

Over the holidays, life seems to become so incredibly busy, it’s like there’s never a chance to breathe, let alone enjoy it. Try breaking the cycle of constantly being stressed by following these tips.

  • Don’t overcommit. If you’re inundated with piles of invitations to holiday parties, don’t feel obligated to accept them all. Overcommitment to more events than you can handle can lead to loss of sleep and an increased risk of getting sick. Politely pass on some of those parties and stay in to relax instead.

  • Stay within budget. Start your holidays by setting a budget, then stay within it. Managing the amount of money you’re comfortable spending on gifts, food, and travel can keep your stress levels low and give you one less thing to worry about.

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry – Just Not Too Much

One of the best parts of the holidays is the variety of food and drinks available at every turn. While we’d never tell to you skip out on enjoying a holiday feast, your dentist in Lenexa will encourage you to monitor your intake of food and alcohol. Overeating can lead to an upset stomach, so watch how much you consume. The same thing applies to alcohol. If you’re of age, partaking a glass of wine with dinner or a dessert of eggnog is absolutely acceptable, just don’t overdo it. Alternate every alcoholic drink with a glass of water, and try to limit yourself to two adult beverages per party. Nothing compromises your immune system or makes you feel sicker than a hangover that belongs on the naughty list.

Wash Your Hands Often

During the holidays, we interact with more people, visit more houses, and are presented with more opportunities to swap germs. This makes washing your hands well and often really important. Scrub with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds to rinse away harmful germs that can make you sick and put a damper on your holiday.

Everyone at my dental office in Lenexa wishes you and your family a safe and happy holiday season. Following these tips can help make it a healthy one too.

Welcoming patients from Lenexa, Overland Park, Kansas City, and surrounding areas.

What to Expect if You Haven’t Been to the Dentist in Awhile

What to Expect if You Haven’t Been to the Dentist in Awhile

 

Several things can keep you from visiting the dentist every six months as normally recommended. A bad experience, a fear of the dentist, finances, or maybe you’re just too busy. However, when you make the decision to get back in the dental chair, you may still feel reluctant. The team at my Lenexa dental office wants to ease your concerns and help you understand what you can expect at your first visit.

A Lecture-Free Zone

One of the main fears patients have when they’re getting ready to come back is fear of a lecture. When you visit your dentist in Lenexa, we don’t want you to be afraid of getting chastised. Our philosophy doesn’t include making our patients feel guilty, but rather we talk with you about your concerns and work together to ease them. With us, you’re never in trouble and we’re always here to help.

A Longer Visit

Your first visit after a hiatus will typically warrant a longer visit. This isn’t to scare you but because we like to spend time getting to know our patients personally and familiarizing ourselves with their mouths. We’ll also perform a thorough evaluation that will most likely include x-rays, a comprehensive exam, and cleaning. We’ll move at your pace and constantly ensure that you’re at ease.

Cavities

If it’s a been a few years since you’ve seen a dentist, there is a good chance that you have some decay and cavities. However, they’re nothing to fear. Most people, even those who do see the dentist every six months, get several cavities throughout their lifetime. But thanks to improvements in dental technology, treatment is easier, less painful, and faster than ever before. Getting a cavity filled is a much better option than leaving it untreated as a cavity that is left to fester can lead to more serious problems.

Whether it’s been a few months, years, or decades since you last visited the dentist, we’re here to welcome you to my dental office in Lenexa. Our goal is not only to get your mouth healthy, but to make sure you’re comfortable and that you’re an active part of your health care team. We welcome you to talk to us about your concerns so we can help ease your worries and get your smile back to health, beauty, and strength.

Welcoming patients from Lenexa,Overland Park, Kansas City, and surrounding areas