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December 10th, 2014

Top Tips to Avoid a Dental Emergency During the Holidays

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

The winter holidays are a time filled with family, gift giving, and a time to enjoy some of our favorite foods and treats. During this season, we also see a few common food offenders that can result in dental emergencies.

Take a look at the biggest offenders:

1. Popcorn.

Maybe you’ve snacked on Grandma’s caramel popcorn, or even received some gourmet popcorn as a gift. Either way, popcorn makes the list because of the “shells” that seem to wedge their way into hard-to-reach areas near and around your gum. Sometimes we don’t even know a “shell” is in our gumline or between our teeth. Also, popcorn can be problematic because of the risk of chomping down on a piece that has not fully popped. Imagine how we can shock the teeth as we bite down—pretty hard in many cases—on what the mouth feels is soft food. Unknowingly, we can come across a hard, un-popped piece, and crack or damage our teeth in the process. If you do have to eat your share of caramel popcorn this year, try to be careful as you chew. Also be sure to floss and brush after to remove those “shells” that you might not even realize are in or around your gum and teeth.

hagen dental dental emergencies 2. Baguettes or Biscotti.

It’s no secret that many people like to indulge in pastries during this time of the year. The only problem when you sink your teeth into a hard or extra crisp pastry, is that you run the risk of cracking or damaging your teeth as a result. Just think of it as one hard surface hitting another hard surface. Aim to make sure your bites are small so you don’t compromise your fillings. Sometimes ensuring you do not eat your pastry too fast can also help.

 3. Sticky and gooey desserts and candies.

Peanut brittle anyone? Or maybe it’s that bowl of jelly beans laying out at the office party? Or maybe Grandmas’ brownies with caramel on top? Whatever your favorite winter or holiday treat is, often times it’s something gooey or sticky! Realize these hard or sticky substances can stick to your teeth, and then pull out (or partially remove) a crown, bridge, or a filling. Other treats can actually get stuck in between your teeth. If you eat any of these this holiday season, continue your good oral hygiene habits, including brushing your teeth and flossing.

4. Jerky or other “tough” snack meats.

Even though our teeth’s enamel is extremely strong, we still get ourselves into trouble when we snack on chewy, dry meats—most notably beef or turkey jerky. Sometimes people can be guilty of treating their teeth as if they were determined to rip apart a piece of tough jerky. Well, our teeth can’t be treated like tools. They may be strong, but we still shouldn’t be reckless as we eat. Instead, look to savor food, which means chewing and biting off smaller size bites. If your jerky is too tough to eat comfortably, you know you might have to look for a more tender kind of meat to snack on.

This year for the holidays, be mindful as you select your holiday treats—meaning what you choose to eat, and how you go about eating it!

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November 25th, 2014

Did the Pilgrims and Native Americans Have Good Oral Hygiene Habits?

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

Pilgrims and Native Americans Oral health

Back in 1620, when the Mayflower landed on the shores of Cape Cod, people did not have the access, or information, that we have in terms of our overall health and wellbeing. In fact, the life expectancy of people during this time was anywhere between 35 and 40 years, on average. Today our average life expectancy is around 78.

Oral hygiene routines were much different for our ancestors.

Today we call the settlers who landed on Plymouth Harbor the Pilgrim Fathers, or simply the Pilgrims. Back then, the pilgrims did not have toothpaste, or even what we’d recognize as a toothbrush (more on that to come!). In fact these two core components of good oral hygiene habits had not entirely been refined yet. Nylon toothbrushes were only created in the 1930s and fluoride-enriched toothpaste came in the 1950s.

Having a reliable way to clean teeth would have been a luxury then, although Pilgrims did learn some from the Native Americans.

Pilgrims would use salt, sticks or other objects they had access to in order to do their best to clean their teeth. According to some historians, some even used hog’s hair, or other animal hair, to make what would resemble a toothbrush.

These brushes were an effort to try to clean at the buildup on their teeth. Knowing all of this, it probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that Pilgrims faced mouths full of decay!

How did Native Americans Compare to the Pilgrims When it Came to Dental Health?

Compared to Pilgrims, it has been reported the Native Americans had less plaque and dental decay, generally speaking.

Some Native American tribes took care of their teeth by using combinations of herbs and sage—they used these in ways comparable to how we use toothbrushes today. Also, a tarragon and sage combination worked as a breath freshener for the Native Americans. It’s also been recorded that certain Native American tribes took the Cucacua plant and made a paste that was used in a way similar to our current-day toothpaste.

And what else contributed to the difference in oral health between the two groups?

Diet! Recall that these first Pilgrims had just come across the Atlantic, on a ship where they had relied on food that could be preserved as long as possible. Compare that to how Native Americans were maintaining a steady diet off the land, or more of what we might see as whole foods today. When you compare the salted dried meat, dried fruits and hardtack (the Pilgrims’ diet) to that of meat, nuts, berries, and other vegetables (the Native Americans’ diet), you can see why the Native Americans were better at combating gingivitis and tooth decay.

You can see how far we’ve come since the time of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians’ harvest celebration, or what we know of as the “first Thanksgiving.” We know one thing: we sure are thankful this Thanksgiving to have good teeth care in reach!

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November 15th, 2014

How Acid Reflux Can Damage Your Teeth

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

Dental erosion: it’s when acids wear away at the enamel on our teeth.

Eating lots of acidic foods is one of the major reasons we see erosion. Once this erosion occurs, the teeth can look shiny and a bit deficient compared to the parts of our teeth that do not have erosion.

When we lose or damage our enamel, it cannot be brought back. This erosion is a problem because our enamel is what gives our teeth their structure, and shape. We then see the underlying dentin being exposed.

Hagen Dental DDS BlogIt’s safe to say that most of us want to avoid any loss of tooth structure. So what are some signs you may have tooth erosion? Here are a few:

  • Sensitivity
  • Change in tooth form/shape
  • Cracks in the edges of teeth
  • Small dent-like appearances on your teeth
  • Discoloration
  • “Transparent” looking teeth

Knowing that acid reflux directly contributes to teeth erosion, let’s examine acid reflux a bit more.

What’s acid reflux and how does it happen?
We have a muscular ring between the end of our esophagus and our stomach. This ring is what helps keep our day-to-day stomach acid within the stomach, where it helps us digest properly. In some situations, this sphincter muscle does not work as it should, and as a result, our stomach acid comes up into our esophagus. (Sometimes you’ll hear this muscle called the LES, short for the lower esophageal sphincter muscle.)

But is this muscle all to blame as the cause of acid reflux? The answers is that as much as 90 percent of most heartburn cases are due to the foods/beverages we eat, meaning that for many of us, we are able to avoid or keep our heartburn to a minimum.

Besides being a major culprit for teeth erosion, acid reflux also contributes to bad breath. That’s just one more reason to be aware of how we to work to avoid acid reflux.

One of the ways to avoid tooth erosion (and of course the discomfort) that come with acid reflux is to look at the foods you are eating, as well as when you are eating them.

Although it varies from person to person, we compiled a list of some of the biggest offenders.

  • Meats, with especially acid sauces or chicken/buffalo wings
  • Grains, especially those with tomato sauces added
  • Dairy, including sour cream and even ice cream
  • Specialty drinks such as coffee, liquor, wine or tea
  • Fats, certain oils, and sweets. This can be chocolate, donuts, butter cookies, or even potato chips.

This list shows that across all categories of food, we can find highly acid foods and drinks that can contribute to acid reflux.

So what’s missing from this list?

You guessed it: juices, fruits, and vegetables. Most of us recognize how orange juice, lemons, lemonade, grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, tomato or raw onions are some of the foods that are also on this list.

In general, look to neutralize the acid in your stomach when acid reflux does occur, and also be sure to tell us if you are having a problem. If you do have extreme gastric-related issues, or a chronic problem with acid reflux, we can also help. Also be sure to tell us if you smoke, since that’s a major contributor to acid reflux that leads to teeth erosion for many people. Link to hagendds.com

Look to cut back on the number of acidic foods you are snacking on throughout the day. This way, you are minimizing the amount of time acid is exposed to your teeth.

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November 4th, 2014

From 1 to 100—Taking Care of Our Teeth Throughout Life

Category: cincinnati dentist

Do you want to live until you are 100?

Take a moment and imagine the state of your teeth and overall health at that age…

Truth be told, it can be hard for us to even imagine life at that age, let alone the state of our oral health at that point.

Start by imagining the current state of your teeth. Let’s imagine you are cavity-free and have healthy teeth and gums. Also imagine that you have very little tooth sensitivity, you have good daily oral health habits, and you feel confident about your smile each day.

Now just envision how much longer we want this state of oral health to last. With that in mind, let’s examine how we can maintain a healthy smile for a lifetime.

Childhood: Setting Our Families Up For Good Health

One of the great reasons you have a family dentist is the guidance we can provide you for your baby as she grows. You will truly lead the process for children until they take over the daily oral hygiene process for themselves.

One tip is keeping beverages away from young children at night. Bottles and sippy cups leave sugar or other substances exposed to our children’s teeth…all night long if they take it with them to bed! When our baby’s teeth are exposed to that sugar or beverage all night it can speed up decay.

Adolescence: Adult Teeth Are In

These are the years that many of us get our wisdom teeth removed. Also at this stage, we have our adult teeth fully in, and we’ve become accustomed to taking care of them. We’re starting to create dietary habits that can have a lasting impact on our health, including our oral health, at this time.

Flossing can seem like a pain to children who haven’t yet made it a part of their routine, but the bacteria in-between teeth is just as important to get rid of as the bacteria we’re removing when we brush. Let children know that 30-40 percent of our teeth’s surface area is in-between teeth.

Young Adulthood

During this stage of life, many people are moving away from home to go to college, or to start a career. It’s during some of these transitions that we sometimes see lapses in regular dentist visits. Just as you’d look for a new physician or other doctor, make it a point to continue caring for your mouth during these exciting times.

Midlife: Our Past Habits Become Increasingly Evident 

Unfortunately for some, it’s at this point in many people’s lives when there can be some regret about a lack of oral hygiene in one’s past. That’s because at this age, those habits have really caught up to us. (Of course our blog readers are far less likely to have to worry about that!)

Luckily, Hagen Dental has the latest and greatest when it comes to technology and services to be sure you have the smile you deserve. We make sure you still can have a healthy mouth you can be proud of at any age.

hagen dds cincinnati ohioSenior Years

Over the years, it’s possible that our gums have receded. It’s also possible that certain medications we’ve taken over time have lessened the saliva in our mouths. Our saliva helps naturally “clean” our mouths, so over time, some of those medications may have negatively affected our teeth and gum by this stage in our lives.

Beyond inflammation or tenderness, we also see bone loss at this stage.

If gum disease eats away at the bone enough, our faces can change in appearance. If the tooth is gone, the bone reacts as if it has no reason to be in that space. That’s when we see some notable changes in the lips and cheeks area of seniors.

With longevity in mind, the best thing we can do is to regularly see a dentist to prevent and to manage what we can for the sake of our total health. Second, and just as important, is a commitment to protect our teeth each day, especially if we want them to last for the long haul.  

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October 27th, 2014

The Wonders of Xylitol Gum—Is it All True?

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

Xylitol Gum

Can tasty chewing gum also be good for our teeth and actually prevent tooth decay? We explore Xylitol chewing gum, and where you can get it.

 

What is Xylitol?

Some of us may have baked with it, and others may have noticed it is an ingredient that’s been added into some children’s toothpaste…Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is found in small amounts in vegetable and fruit fibers.  

Because it is a sugar alcohol, it isn’t a sugar, or alcohol. You can think of it as a carbohydrate that acts similar to sugar. After all, most of us have heard of, or want to know about Xylitol, because of how it sweetens.

As a sugar substitute, Xylitol has received attention because of how it lacks some of the harmful effects that table sugar has on our health. It’s actually as sweet as table sugar, but it is metabolized as fewer calories. It also has a lower glycemic index than table sugar, which is appealing to people with certain diets, such as people with diabetes. 

Where does Xylitol come from?

As mentioned, it can be found naturally in plants. It also can be manufactured. Because it’s not classified as an artificial sweetener, food or beverages that contain Xylitol can use the words “all natural” on their label.

How does Xylitol benefit our health in comparison to other sweeteners?

Back in the 1970s, researchers looked at typical chewing gum versus Xylitol-sweetened chewing gum. What they found is that the bacteria in our mouth prefer sugar or disaccharides. Xylitol, on the other hand, is non-fermentable and has a 5-carbon structure (most carbohydrates are six-carbon monosaccharides). Researchers saw how Xylitol acted in a way where it actually worked to stop, and actually prevent bacteria reproduction.

In simple terms, that’s partially because of the unique structure it has: the Xylitol does not “link” with the other sugars in our mouth. Combine this factor with how Xylitol acts as a natural way to bring saliva into our mouths, and we have a healthy combination that helps prevent tooth decay.

What else should we know about Xylitol as a substitute for regular chewing gum?

Hagen dental

Xylitol is approved by the FDA as well as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. If you’re looking for some of the preventive benefits of Xylitol gum, or maybe looking for a substitute for your Halloween candy this year, here are a few places that carry it:

  • Whole Foods Market
  • Trader Joes
  • Select Kroger stores in the specialty aisle
  • Online, such as Amazon or other health outlets

Be sure to confirm on the nutrition label it is Xylitol-containing gum. When consuming Xylitol, keep in mind some people can have side effects such as an upset stomach, bloating, or diarrhea because of how Xylitol is digested. (Also keep in mind it could take large quantities of consumption in order to have any negative side effects, but speak to us, or your primary care physician if you have any questions.)

Read this PDF on Xylitol for more information.

 

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October 20th, 2014

How Bad is Halloween Candy for Your Teeth?

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

Just how bad is one night of trick-or-treating?

Some might be thinking about the impact eating a handful of Airheads, Gummy Worms, or Snickers and Milky Way candy bars may have when it comes to their waistlines…and that’s certainly true.

We’ve talked about before how nutrient dense foods often are foods that are also good for our oral health—imagine that!

Actually, most candy we consume on Halloween falls short when it comes to nutrient density, and they have nearly no fiber as well. (For more on the idea of nutrient density and our health, visit here.) When we’re eating a lot of candy in one sitting, it means we’re increasing our caloric intake, without any nutritional benefits, and so we’re also less likely to get in the kind of complete nutrition we should be consuming.

halloween and your teeth hagen dental cincinnati ddsTake for example Candy Corn, which is almost pure sugar. 19 pieces of the Halloween favorite offers 36 grams of carbs and 32 grams of sugar, with 140 calories. (Perhaps the name of this candy is fitting!)

Not all Candy is Created Equal

We’ve covered how candy is not a source of nutrition to fuel our bodies, but we understand that Halloween is about having a treat.

Let’s say we come home from a night of trick or treating with a bag full of Laffy Taffy, Sprees, and Warheads, among other tasty treats…

Consider how our bodies breaks down and metabolize that sugar that makes up those candies…your teeth will be exposed to what can best be described as a very acidic environment. Some of those candies are so acidic they end up burning our gums and cheeks while we chew.

What other kinds of candies create this acid that “sits” on our teeth, you ask? 

Sour Patch Kids, Licorice, Skittles, and any candy that contains caramel (and many more!) are just a few examples of candies that can cause lasting and permanent damage to our teeth.

These treats actually break down the enamel of our teeth in as little as 20 minutes…and remember, if we damage our enamel, our teeth are prone to decay.

The Chewy, Stick and Hard Truth

But keep in mind the sticky and chewy candies add another layer of potential harm for our teeth. Chewy and/or sticky candies can include Gummy Bears and related candy, Starbursts, or even Swedish Fish.

These chewy candies get stuck and stay even longer on our teeth. Of course the longer that sugar is exposed to our teeth, the more harm it can do. The same holds true for gel or powder-based candies and hard candies, such as lollipops, Jaw Breakers, or Jolly Ranchers. A general rule is that citric acid translates to tartness in our mouth…so you could say that while all sugar-based candy is harmful for our teeth and gum, the fruity flavors in particular can be even worse on our enamel.

If you ever see a candy or snack label that touts that it is fruit-based or fruit-flavored, don’t mistake that candy for being healthy or non-harmful to your teeth. In fact, those fruity flavored treats typically have very high acid levels.

Just think: some of the acid these candies produce is the equivalent of putting battery acid onto our teeth.

Can’t Avoid the Halloween Treats Altogether? Aim for Moderation

We suggest sharing with your family what eating too much candy can do to their teeth.

We don’t want to spook you, but if you want to be cavity-free, keeping the treats to a minimum is best.

Also, if you can, steer those willing to listen away from the hard and chewy candies that can do more damage in a shorter amount of time. Those sweets also happen to be the candies that are harder for our saliva to naturally break down. Look to rinse our your water and then neutralize acids if highly acidic candy has been eaten.

Sugar-free candy or gum with xylitol are examples of some substitutes that can make it feel like you aren’t missing out this year. Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar which is better for our oral health since it won’t lead to dental erosion. We don’t expect people to completely avoid candy this Halloween. At the very least, however, we’d like our readers to make informed decisions so they know the potential impact they are having on their oral, and total body, health.

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October 9th, 2014

Why Should We Consider Using a Powered or Electric Toothbrush?

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

Are electric toothbrushes better than “normal” or traditional toothbrushes?

Talk about the great dental debate!

Putting aside some of the research that has been done in this area, when it comes down to electric versus manual, it’s difficult to say whether one way is (always) better than the other. Since we don’t know your unique mouth, or how you brush and floss your teeth with each approach, we prefer not to make a general statement on which is always best.

The approach you take to your overall health, and the consistency and overall effectiveness of how you take care of your teeth and gums, is really what is going to matter most.

With that said, there are many benefits of using electric toothbrushes. One of the benefits we see with many powered toothbrushes is people become more aware of the length of time that they are brushing. In some cases with a traditional toothbrush, people think they are brushing for two minutes, but less than a minute has actually passed.

Why Use a Powered Toothbrush?

Let’s take a closer look at the Sonicare toothbrush, one that we recommend and that you can purchase from us. This is a newer model of electric toothbrush design where the technology allows the toothbrush to better clean beyond the “reach” of each of the bristles. You know that part of the reason why we floss is that the bristles of a toothbrush can’t get in all the hard-to-reach places—for example, the gaps between our teeth. With the Sonicare toothbrush, thanks in part to the oscillating power brush, the bristles are creating a motion that better allows the toothbrush to get into those hard-to-reach places.

You can think of the technology powering the Sonicare toothbrush in two ways. First, you have a scrubbing action we’ve described. This is helping you keep the surface area of your teeth as bacteria free as possible. (This of course, is the same as your manual brush.) But then there’s the second component—how the bristles are vibrating, which results in a more effective cleaning action beyond the normal scrubbing action with a traditional toothbrush. Imagine this: the Sonicare brush head actually vibrates more than 30,000 brush strokes per minute you brush. That’s more than a manual brush delivers in a month of brushing.

hagen dental examines sonicareThe result is that we are better able to disrupt dental plaque between our teeth, and below the gum line.

This “bristle tip velocity” benefit is not the same with a manual method of brushing. In some situations, we also see that for those who manual brush, they brush too hard, which can be harsh on our gums over time…If that sounds like you, a Sonicare toothbrush can also help eliminate that problem.

Ready for a gentle massage of your gums? Remember there is also a Sonicare toothbrush for children. Ask us about a Philips Sonicare toothbrush and we would be happy to answer any of your questions.

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October 1st, 2014

Ready for a Pain-Free Smile Makeover? All About Snap-On Smile™ at Hagen Dental

Category: cincinnati dentist, dental health

Implants. Veneers. Zoom! Teeth Whitening. Crowns. CEREC technology We have the latest and greatest when it comes to cosmetic dentistry so that you can improve your smile, have a natural look, and of course so that you can have confidence when you smile, meet new people, or just when you go to eat.

A new approach that’s earned a lot of buzz lately is Snap-On Smile™. Part of the reason it’s getting so much attention is that Snap-On Smile™ is an ideal combination of comfort and function. Not only is it a non-invasive alternative for a brand new smile, but it can easily (and with no pain) give you that smile you’ve been missing!

What is Snap-On Smile?

Simply put, Snap-On Smile™ is a removable, cosmetic dental appliance that has been custom-made for your smile. Snap-On Smile™ is a strong, thin material (hi-tech dental resin) that can still give you a beautiful smile. This approach requires no adhesives or glue of any kind. We are talking no tooth removal, bonding, drilling or shots!

So how does it work? Just like the name suggests, Snap-On Smile™ works easily and with no pain: all you have to do is put your new smile over your current teeth by “snapping” them into place. This approach was built to fit comfortably over your existing teeth, while still looking natural, which is what most people desire in a new solution for their teeth.

This means even if you have discoloration, any stains, gaps or missing teeth, you can take advantage of Snap-On Smile™.

Snap on Smile at Hagen Dental Cincinnati Ohio

Who Else Benefits from Snap-On Smile?

Snap-On Smile™ is extremely easy to use—all you have to do is “snap” it on. We make sure it fits perfectly to your teeth so that you can be comfortable, and can easily remove your fitting when desired. For that reason, many people look to Snap-On Smile for a solution to a better smile.

Some people who choose Snap-On Smile™ currently have:

  • The desire for a new smile, but reluctant for any drilling or procedures
  • Missing teeth (some that show when they smile, others that do not)
  • Gaps or crooked teeth
  • Teeth “heights” that vary
  • Stains or discoloration

Do you already know you are not a candidate for bridges or implants? Ask us about Snap-On Smile™ because this may be the solution for you!

We also see people with older, removable/partial dentures coming to us for a solution that can be functional and more aesthetically pleasing. Come on in and we can see if this is finally the solution that can give you back full confidence in your smile.

You Can Get A Beautiful Smile with Snap-On Smile™

Interested in a pain-free way to close the gap between your teeth? Or maybe you are looking to cover your existing crooked teeth! It’s time for smile enhancement, with no drilling or extractions necessary. Even if you have sensitive teeth, this is a solution that can work for you.

What Else Should I Know About Snap-On Smile™?

When you come in for your visit with us, let us know you are interested in learning more. From there, once we know you are a candidate, we can pick the style and shade of your new smile. We will make a pain-free impression of your teeth, and your next visit with Hagen, you will have your new smile fitting.

At the fitting, we simply make sure that your new smile fits just as it should—then you get to walk out with your brand new smile! Your smile makeover can be just that easy and quick, and your fitting can last as long as 5 years.

One more benefit of Snap-On Smile™ is that you can eat and drink when you have your Snap-On Smile™; this is part of what makes it so popular. Last, maintenance and care of your new set of teeth was designed to be minimal. We will provide you with cleaning solution, and just exactly how your simple, at-home care of your new smile, will work.

Have questions about this affordable alternative? Set up your appointment with us today to learn more.

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September 19th, 2014

Top Questions: Your Child’s Oral Health

Category: cincinnati dentist

childrens dentist cincinnati ohio hagen

This week we answer 4 questions about children’s oral health.

1. Can my children have the kind of tooth sensitivity I have?

When adults have tooth sensitivity, the medical term for it is “dentin hypersensitivity.” If you’ve been reading our blog, you’d know that it’s a result of gum recession or exposed roots. (This kind of teeth sensitivity is often caused by improper brushing habits, gum disease or early stages of gum disease, and it can be made worse by what we eat or drink.)

To answer the question, however, it’s pretty unlikely your kids will experience this kind of uncomfortable feeling when they go to eat their favorite foods, or hot/cold drinks.

If they do mention having some kind of tooth or gum sensitivity, it might be from a cavity, which is of course a major source of sensitivity or pain!

What else might be causing some kind of sensitivity?

If a tooth breaks or cracks, our kids can also have some discomfort.

Look to make sure your children are not biting on ice, using their teeth as tools (biting things open, etc.), and make sure they wear a mouth guard when they play sports.  If they show resistance to wearing a mouth guard, remind them of how common it is for professional athletes to now wear mouth guards! It can save their teeth (not to mention prevent damage to their jaw), so it’s definitely worth getting into the habit of wearing.

These are ways to prevent some of the most common ways we can crack or break our teeth, but even with these precautions, our children may experience discomfort in their mouth, or they may unfortunately experience injury to their mouth in general. Be sure to bring them in to us to discuss all their options if either is the case.

2. I know the value of going to the dentist, but why do we need to bring our young children in for regular visits?

Of course you want your children to have confidence when it comes to their entire health…and that includes confidence when it comes to smiling—both now and in the coming years. Our kids learn a lot of positive dental habits at a young age, and the idea of going to the dentist fits into this category as well.

But also recall that the most common childhood disease is actually cavities or tooth decay. Going to the dentist is one of the key ways we can look to prevent this with our children.

Find that difficult to believe?

Tooth decay actually affects one in four kids in the US that are between the age of 2 and 5. When you look at children a bit older, between 12 and 15, that ratio jumps to one in two, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since this kind of tooth decay can typically be prevented with habits and dietary choices, it goes to show how starting early is important.

It’s also possible that if baby teeth do decay, and as a result fall out sooner than they would have normally, the adult teeth don’t have as much room as they should when they come in!

That’s just one more reason to come visit the dentist, right alongside your other childhood doctor visits.

3. My child appears to be grinding their teeth. What should I do?

Come in and see us! Without giving specific recommendations, in general, we want to treat a child who is grinding their teeth differently in order to protect their teeth over time.

This may require wearing a custom appliance or mouth guard at night, but we’d also want to better determine what could be the cause of the teeth grinding. It’s good that these types of behaviors are being identified, but it’s also a situation where you should come in to the office to speak with Dr. Hagen to see the right solution for your child.

4. Speaking of which, as a parent, what should I be telling Dr. Hagen when it comes to my child’s oral health, or overall state of health, when we come in for a visit?

That’s a great question. We are all about two-way, transparent communication at Hagen Dental. Be sure to tell us any concerns you have, and that includes any questions you or your children may have.

You will hear us ask about medications that your children may be taking. See this blog for why that’s so important when it comes to their dental care.

Besides letting us know any concerns or questions you have, also tell us any other health conditions we should know about. It’s not that we are nosey, rather, this is about your child’s entire health, and the mouth can really give us insight about your child’s current state of health—that is, when we are informed!

The kind of information you’d want to tell us includes any medical conditions (including history), any kind of pain or abnormal mouth/gum issues a child has had, and things such as allergies, asthma, diabetes, or other health-related conditions you would discuss with your other doctors.

It might not seem to be related to dental care, but more often than not, it is. Have any questions about your children’s teeth or gums? Schedule a visit with us today

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September 11th, 2014

What Teeth Whitener Can—and Cannot—Do

Category: cincinnati dentist

Just like with other technology, we’ve had the latest and greatest when it comes to teeth whitening in our office.

Even if we have good oral hygiene, teeth do get darker as we age. And yes, it is true that even if you have oral health habits that would make the dentist smile, that doesn’t mean you don’t eat or drinks beverages that can stain teeth over time as well!

Teeth stains are different than “normal” discoloration as we age, but both can contribute to a less-than-perfectly-white smile.

Our Pearly Whites…Or Not Quite So Pearly White!

Discoloration can be broke down into intrinsic and extrinsic color. Think of intrinsic as our teeth’s natural shade. People born with a hint of grey, or brown or yellow teeth would likely be more aware of this, as their teeth have this as their natural shade. This would refer to a color or shade of that is not due to their habits over time.

And as you can likely guess, when we drink coffee or wine, or have a certain medicine that alters our teeth, the extrinsic part of our teeth is what is being affected. What also affects our teeth’s shade includes other behaviors we can control such as smoking, which is one habit that can greatly reduce any efforts at keeping our teeth white.

teeth whiten cincinnati

When we purchase an OTC whitener from a drugstore, there are quite a variety of brands to choose from based on your desired goals, as well as your tooth sensitivity.

They also come with varying levels of success in terms of whitening efficacy because the bleach in them will vary, and the trays or ways in which they are applied will also effect their ability to work on any given person’s teeth. They do, however, provide more whitening benefit than your whitening toothpaste since they will have more bleach in them in comparison.

No matter if you use OTC whiteners, or Zoom! Whitening at our office, if you do not take good care of your teeth, it will be hard to keep your teeth white…and it can even be hard to get them whiter through the use of bleach in general.

Knowing this, the difference between the OTC brands and Zoom! is the level of intensity, effectiveness, and safety.

With Zoom!, we apply hydrogen-peroxide formula to your teeth. Then, we cover your surrounding gum so that you can avoid teeth sensitivity, or so-called “Zingers”.

If you use a kit at home, this process can be harder to setup so that you can whiten without any sensitivity. If you have a cavity or gum that is pulling back from the teeth, you could be exposing harsh bleach to those areas…you can see why that might hurt! Next, Zoom! Whitening uses a ultraviolet light that we directly shine onto your teeth. This way, within an hour you can fight the discoloration and be on your way. With many OTC options, that whitening process could take several weeks, or up to several months.

Since it happens much quicker, is the Zoom! Whitening option safe?

Zoom! Whitening at Hagen is in fact safe. It it were not in your best interest, we would let you know. On the other hand, if you want to use an OTC agent, ask us before proceeding so we can talk to you about your options, including the effectiveness and the safety of your kit from the store. Our real concern would be to avoid over-use, general misuse, or doing some damage to your teeth or gums. We don’t want to see you in excruciating pain.

“I’m not ready for any teeth whitening, but what can I do to prevent as much stains as possible?”

Pigmented molecules in food and beverages are actually watch latch onto our enamel. You probably know some of these offenders that are chromogen-rich in particular:

  • Black coffee
  • Dyed sweets
  • Red wine
  • Pop
  • Deeply-colored sauces (such as soy sauce)
  • Blueberries, cranberries, pomegranates or other dark berries

Certain gums and hard candies, in some situations, also fit into this category. If desired, you can avoid these foods and beverages. Also remember that smoking is very detrimental to any teeth whitening efforts.

Also on the list are foods with tannins, or with high acidity. These are things such as tea, pop or carbonated beverages with dye, sports drinks and acidic fruit. Some of these are not so brightly colored, but they still can work against our pearly whites.

Want to know more about our cosmetic dentistry procedures? Find out more here and let us know any questions you may have.

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