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Pucker Up! Don’t Make This Mistake Under the Mistletoe

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

What’s The Mistletoe Tradition All About?

Did you ever wonder how the custom of kissing under mistletoe came to be? This tradition has roots that stem way back, and today’s tradition was shaped over time from several historical beliefs and practices surrounding the little herb.

Several ancient cultures touted the healing properties of mistletoe for various ailments, lending to its popularity. In the first century, it became a romantic symbol of vivacity and fertility amongst Celtic Druids, because it could blossom even during the cold of winter (1).

During Medieval times, mistletoe was thought to possess mystical powers that would bring good luck and ward off evil spirits during the month of December. It became a popular December decoration due to the beliefs about its power (2).

cincinnati dentist

Mistletoe was also considered and declared a symbol of love and friendship in Norse mythology, which led to the tradition of “stealing a kiss” under the mistletoe.

The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe is said to have caught on in England. Before Christmas trees were popular, a common decoration was a “Kissing Bunch”, or “Kissing Bough”. These were wooden hoops, composed of holly, ivy, rosemary, bay, fir, or other evergreen plants, and shaped into a ball. Apples, candles or ribbons were often used to decorate these boughs. The finishing touch on these bunches was a large mistletoe hung from the bottom (3).

The original custom stated that before you kissed someone, you had to pick a berry from the sprig of mistletoe. Once all the berries were gone, no more kissing was allowed (2)!

Don’t Be Caught With Bad Breath Under The Mistletoe

No matter where the tradition stemmed from, it’s engrained in our culture today. And with the holiday season upon us, you just might find yourself standing under a sprig of mistletoe at your next social gathering! We have tips to help you avoid being caught off guard with bad breath so that you’ll be ready for your next smooch under the mistletoe!

kissable breath dental tips

10 Ways To Stay “Kiss-ably” Fresh

The easiest way to stay fresh and “kiss-ready” is to adopt great oral hygiene habits and keep your oral cavity healthy. This prevention-minded attitude will help you maintain the freshness of your mouth and avoid problems that can creep up and lead to smelly breath. Check out this list of tips to keep your breath fresh (4)!

1. Brush Daily

You should always brush your teeth twice a day, for at least two minutes each time. This removes plaque, debris and harmful bacteria before it can accumulate and cause damage.

2. Floss Daily

Flossing reaches the third of the tooth’s surface that can’t be reached by brushing alone. If food and debris isn’t removed from between teeth, bacteria will grow and odors will develop.

3. Brush Your Tongue

Brushing or scraping your tongue will keep the folds and taste buds on the surface of the tongue clean and free of residue.

4. Mouthwash

Rinsing with mouthwash can help decrease the amount of odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. A mouth rinse can also temporarily mask the odor of an underlying dental issue. Keep in mind that we can help determine the cause of the odor and offer treatment if needed.

5. Visit Us

Regular visits to your dentist are crucial in maintaining proper oral health. These exams also give us a chance to detect any oral hygiene issues that could cause or lead to bad breath early on.

6. Avoid Tobacco

Tobacco products contribute to bad breath, dry out your mouth, and leave unpleasant smells that linger – even after you’ve brushed your teeth. We recommend quitting your use of tobacco.

7. Stay Hydrated

Dry mouth conditions can lead to bad breath. Staying hydrated with plenty of water will not only keep your mouth from becoming too dry; it will also help wash away food particles and bacteria that would otherwise lead to bad odors.

8. Chew Sugarless Gum

Wondering what to do if you are stuck somewhere and unable to brush before a social event? Sugarless gum can help stimulate saliva production and wash away food debris.

9. Munch On Fiber

Fibrous foods such as carrots, celery, apples and nuts are great low-sugar snacks to help keep teeth clean and increase your saliva production, minimizing bad breath.

10. Quick Rinse

Swishing with a quick rinse of water is another option if you are unable to brush after eating or drinking a particularly sugary meal or beverage. Swishing water is not a replacement for brushing, but can help knock down sugar buildup that would otherwise help feed odor-causing bacteria in the mouth until you are home and able to brush your teeth properly.

Regular Dentist Appointments Are Important, Too!

Keeping consistent with your professional cleanings and dental exams ensures we can catch issues early and do our part to keep your teeth, gums, and tongue healthy and ensure your breath stays fresh – all year round! Give us a call to schedule at (513) 251-5500.

 

Sources:

  1. http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/why-do-we-kiss-under-the-mistletoe
  2. https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/mistletoe.shtml
  3. https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/hollyandivy.shtml#kissingbough
  4. https://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/fighting-bad-breath.html

Mouth Sores: The Basics You Should Know

Monday, December 4th, 2017

cincinnati dentist

True dental health involves the entire mouth, so we’re trained to examine and identify problems with all the tissues of the mouth! Sores and irritations are common occurrences in the mouth.

Read on to learn about the most common oral sores, some of their causes, what you can do, and more.

Causes Of Mouth Sores

Sores in the mouth can stem from a variety of causes, including:

  • Infections from bacteria, viruses or fungus (1).
  • Irritation from a broken tooth, filling, piercing, loose orthodontic wire or other sharp appliance, or a denture that doesn’t fit (1).
  • Sores can be a symptom of a greater disease or disorder (1).
  • Immune system challenges and problems (2).

cincinnati dentist

The Most Common Mouth Sores

1. Canker Sores:

Canker sores develop in the soft tissues of the mouth, including the tongue, gums, uvula, or insides of the cheeks. They are typically white or gray sores with a red border. The good news about canker sores is they are NOT contagious. Their cause is hard to pinpoint, but could be related to other immune issues, oral hygiene issues, food irritation, stress, bacteria, viruses, or even trauma to the soft tissue (2).

Canker sores will typically heal on their own; however, it can take several days up to two weeks. If they are painful or causing problems with eating or talking, over-the-counter mouthwashes and pain killers designed for this type of sore can provide relief and help during the healing process. While a canker sore is healing, spicy, acidic, and overly salty foods should be avoided to minimize irritation and pain (2).

 2. Cold Sores:

Cold sores are also known as fever blisters. They present as a group of fluid-filled blisters around the lips, under the nose, or even around the chin. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex type 1 virus, and are VERY contagious. The initial infection of this virus will often be confused with a cold or flu. The main difference is that painful sores and lesions will emerge throughout the mouth (3).

Once a person is infected, the virus stays in the body and will cause periodic attacks. Some people notice that stress or other immune challenges can bring on an eruption. Cold sores will usually heal in about a week by themselves. If the blister is painful, over-the-counter topical medications can provide some pain relief. If the breakouts are severe or frequent, we can also prescribe antiviral drugs (3).

3. Thrush:

Thrush is a fungal infection that occurs when the yeast known as Candida albicans becomes overgrown in the oral cavity. It can reproduce rapidly in large numbers, causing an overgrowth and subsequent thrush infection (4).

Thrush is most common in people with weakened immune systems, in which the body’s own defenses can’t keep the Candida albicans in check. This population includes the very young, the elderly, or those who are affected by other diseases, such as diabetes or leukemia. Dry mouth syndromes and denture use both also make thrush more likely. Another risk factor is antibiotic treatment, which decreases the normal bacterial flora in the mouth, and gives Candida yeast a chance to flourish (4).

The best way to prevent and control thrush is focusing on good oral hygiene as well as controlling or preventing the conditions that make Candida more likely to reproduce rapidly (4).

cincinnati dentist4. Leukoplakia:

Leukoplakia are patches that form on the inside of the cheeks, gums or tongue. They are thick and whitish in color. They are caused by excessive cell growth (5).

Leukoplakia can result from irritations in the mouth, such as ill-fitting dentures or appliances, or in the case of people who are in the habit of chewing on the insides of the cheeks. These lesions are also common among tobacco users. Leukoplakia can, in some cases, be associated with oral cancer. We need to evaluate the lesion and might recommend a biopsy if the leukoplakia patch looks dangerous (5).

Removing and quitting those irritations that can result in leukoplakia are the first steps in treatment. For example, quitting tobacco or replacing anything ill-fitting appliances in the mouth are one of the first recommendations when dealing with leukoplakia from these causes (5).

We Are Here To Help!

While none of this is medical advice, these are some of the basics to know about when it comes to mouth sores. All mouth sores that last longer than a week should be examined by a dentist! Have you noticed new or recent sores in your mouth? Do you have a question about an unusual change in your oral soft tissue? It’s important that you have us analyze and take a look to rule out anything sinister or life-threatening. Whether for your next appointment or for another reason, be sure to give us a call at (513) 251-5500.

Sources:

  1. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/m/mouth-sores
  2. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/c/canker-sores
  3. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/c/cold-sores
  4. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/thrush
  5. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/l/leukoplakia

Understanding Your Teeth: Each Tooth Has A Job To Do!

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Have you ever wondered why we have so many varied teeth? What are all the types of teeth that make up our smile? These different shapes and sizes aren’t by accident – they all play a role! Teeth are important for and have various roles in chewing and digesting food, support aspects of our facial structure, and play a part in our speech and language capabilities (1,2).

cincinnati dentist

Types of Teeth

A full set of adult teeth include 32 permanent teeth, including the four wisdom teeth. These 32 teeth can be divided into four categories: incisors, canines, premolars, and molars (3).

Incisors

Incisors are the thin teeth with a sharp biting surface located in the front of the mouth. There are four on the top and four on the bottom. They are the teeth that comprise the majority of our visible smile (1,4).

These front teeth are used primarily for taking initial bites of food, cutting or shearing food into smaller chewable pieces, and pulling the food into our mouths. They also play an important role in proper speech and pronunciation as we speak. Additionally, they support the lip tissues (2, 3, 4).

Incisors are also the very first to arrive in the mouth, both in their primary form (baby teeth) and permanent, adult form (1, 4).

Canines

Canines are also known as Cuspids, or “fangs” for slang. These are located just behind the incisors, at the “corners” of the dental arches, and are our longest type of tooth. There are two canines in the top row and two on the bottom – one on each side, respectively. These are the sharpest of all the teeth, with very jagged, pointed biting surfaces. Their function is to grip food and tear it apart, as well as help guide the mouth and jaw into the best biting position (1,3,4).cincinnati dentist

Premolars

Moving further back into the mouth, we get to the premolars, which are also known as Bicuspids. These teeth have a flatter biting surface. They are used primarily for tearing, crushing, and grinding food during chewing. This part of the chewing process makes food more easily consumable and more easily swallowed. There are a total of eight premolars (1, 3, 4).

Molars

There are a total of twelve molars, including the wisdom teeth. They come in sets of four and are termed “first molars”, “second molars”, and “third molars”. Molars are the largest of all the teeth. Similar to the premolars, they have a large, flat biting surface. The function of all twelve molars is to chew, crush and grind food (1,3).

The wisdom teeth are the four molars which are often termed “third molars”, since they erupt into the mouth last; typically in the late teen years (although some people never develop them at all)! Many people get their wisdom teeth removed if they do not have enough room for them; they are located so far back in the jaw that they can cause crowding issues or bite misalignments if they are left to grow in (1, 4).

Some people consider wisdom teeth to actually be a fifth category of tooth. However, for functional classification, wisdom teeth fall into the “molar” category. For those who have room to allow their third molars to grow in, these teeth are used for chewing, crushing and grinding food – just like the other eight molars (1, 3).

A Clean And Healthy Mouth Is Good For Your Body!

Oral health is not only important for a great looking smile! The health of your teeth plays a role in ensuring ease of eating and digestion, proper speech, proper facial structure, and of course and plays a part in your overall health. At Hagen, we know the importance of keeping all your teeth healthy and strong – no matter what their shape or size. Give us a call at (513) 251-5500.

Sources:

  1. https://www.everydayhealth.com/dental-health/basics/types-teeth-how-they-function/
  2. http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/mouth-and-teeth-anatomy/article/four-different-types-of-teeth-plus-more-0115
  3. https://www.dentalhealth.ie/children/toothdevelopment/types.html
  4. https://aci.edu/five-types-human-teeth-function/

 

INFOGRAPHIC: Flossing vs. Waterpik® Water Flosser

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

Effectively Remove Plaque From Your Teeth

 

You can see the PDF version of this infographic here. 

Give Hagen Dental Practice a Call Today

We value ensuring that you feel relaxed and comfortable during your visit just as much as we value the health of your pearly whites—and we’ll do everything we can to make you feel at home. Give us a call today at (513) 251-5500 to schedule a visit!

Tooth Abscess or Gum Abscess? Everything You Want to Know

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

protect your teeth from dental abscess hagen dental practice in cincinnati

Do you have what can be best described as a severe ache in your tooth? Or are you avoiding eating on one side of your mouth because of the awful pain you have in that area when you chew?

Or…do any of these symptoms sound familiar?

  • Swollen gums
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Sensitive lymph nodes (of your jaw and/or neck area in particular)
  • Pain while chewing in one area of your mouth
  • A throbbing feeling that just won’t go away in your mouth
  • Discomfort near your jaw, neck, or ear
  • Draining sore
  • In some cases, a fever
  • Slight swelling in your face or cheek (1)

While it’s best for you to come in and see us for a diagnosis, these are the symptoms of an abscess…

What’s An Abscess?

loose tooth hagen dental practice in cincinnatiA tooth abscess is an infection in or around the root of your tooth, and typically it’s painful, although not always in its beginning stages. Many times when you hear someone has an “abscess” it actually means one of two scenarios:

  1. Gum abscess. Just as you may guess, this is caused by an infection that exists between your tooth and your gum. You may also hear this called a “periodontal abscess.” So, the question is: How can this happen? A couple ways.Generally, if food is trapped between the gum and tooth, it can cause an infection or if there is a great deal of bacteria build up, it can also lead to infection. That just makes you want to floss, doesn’t it!

  2. Tooth abscess. The other kind of abscess is inside your tooth (which is what we first described). Again, this can happen when the tooth’s nerve is dead or it is dying. The tooth’s root is where the issue starts and then it spreads to the surround bone. This kind of abscess is also referred to as a “periapical abscess,” but we don’t expect you to remember that!

Put simply, if the soft tissue in your mouth, inside the root canal dies and then becomes inflamed—by definition—you have a tooth abscess! Most of the pain you experience is because either kind can be left unchecked, meaning it worsens (1).

Because abscesses can form quickly (in just one or two days after you have an infection), if you have any of the symptoms described below, take note. After all, even if it’s not an abscess, it probably signals something is wrong in your mouth!

Fast Facts About Abscesses

Here are 5 more quick facts that you should know about abscesses:

  1. If the infection is in your tooth, in many cases, a hole will need to be made in the tooth to drain the abscess. This could entail a root canal treatment.
  2. We can see an abscess on a dental x-ray!
  3. Most ARE painful, which is why many people will in fact deal with them right away.
  4. Because it’s an infection, it can spread to other parts of your body, which shows you just how serious it is!
  5. Abscesses can lead to a “tunnel” (sometimes called a “sinus tract”) that forms through the bone and skin, which allows the pus to drain (2).

Think You May Have an Abscess?

Think you may have an abscess? Depending on how severe or how it’s progressed, there are several options for your infection. Antibiotics are often used to control the infection and to kill the bacteria; the infection could be drained and the area cleaned; in some cases root canal treatment may be needed (3).

tooth abscess hagen dental practice in cincinnati

Dental Care in a Relaxing Environment 

We value ensuring that you feel relaxed and comfortable during your visit just as much as we value the health of your pearly whites—and we’ll do everything we can to make you feel at home. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask us a question or be sure to ask us when you’re in for your next appointment.

Give us a call today at (513) 251-5500 to schedule a visit!

Sources:

  1. https://www.verywell.com/pain-relief-for-an-abscessed-tooth-remedies-1059316
  2. http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/dental-emergencies-and-sports-safety/article/abscess
  3. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/a/abscess

 

Everyday Things That Can Harm Your Teeth

Monday, September 18th, 2017

Everyday Things That Can Harm Your Teeth cincinnati dentist hagen dental practice

Your teeth reveal so much about you: including your age, what you eat, what you drink and they tell us a lot about your state of overall health. Did you know your teeth also can shed light on stressors in your life and even illnesses you’ve endured? Put simply, your teeth give us a bit of a “personal history” when it comes to your entire health and well-being.

Your daily habits make up your health…so that’s why we’re taking a look at some of the habits you might not realize are taking a toll on your teeth.

Taking a Fresh Look at Your Habits

Biting your nails. If you bite your nails, it may be time to really hunker down and quit the habit. Yes, it might be hard to quit as many folks who say they bite their nails realize they do it because of nerves or stress…but here’s good reason to quit: Long story short, biting your nails—in place of using a nail clipper—can put a lot of pressure on certain teeth in your mouth.

And, not surprisingly, it can lead to broken dental restorations, fracturing your teeth, chipping your teeth or simply damaging your teeth over time! There’s even evidence that biting your nails can cause or worsen TMJ symptoms (1). 

Opening that bag with your teeth. Do you ever use your teeth in place of a knife or scissors? Maybe you are opening a bag with your teeth or you’re ripping off a price tag on your new shirt?!

In addition to not biting your nails, put simply, you ALSO want to avoid using your teeth in place of a knife, scissors, or any kind of “tool.”

That’s because your teeth really weren’t meant to be put in that position; using them this way can lead to injury, to say the least. A general rule of thumb: If you don’t want to chip or crack your teeth, remember that they aren’t scissors!

Using the hardest tooth brush. Okay, so you’re brushing your teeth…that’s a great habit! But are you brushing your teeth too hard each day? Part of the problem could also be made worse if your tooth brush is not a soft one or electric one.

Ask us about your options so you can tweak this habit into purely a positive one.

Chewing on pencils or pens. Sure, you’re saying – ew, that’s gross! As gross as it may be, it’s true that many folks mindlessly chew on the end of their pencils. In many cases, we’re guessing they don’t even know they are doing it; whatever the case may be, if you know you end up chewing on the ends of your pens, know it’s time to kick the habit.

Not only is it potentially harmful to your enamel, it can cause stress fractures in your teeth. Knowing that chewing on that pencil can be bad for your oral health is surely enough reason to find another way to release that stress!

Too much snacking and sipping of beverages throughout the day. Snacking or hydrating/drinking beverages itself is not the problem; but what can be a problem is when someone snacks, throughout the day, and doesn’t brush or floss in between these snacks.

Think about it this way: even if you’re eating healthy snacks or drinking a healthy beverage, you can end up with food (or food debris) that stays in your mouth much longer than you intended. Over time, that leads to buildup and plaque in your mouth and along your gums.

In the case of unhealthy snacking (think: foods that are loaded with added sugars), the scenario is made even worse because sugar can really stick to the surface of your teeth and quickly do damage. The takeaway: if you want to snack and drink a lot of beverages, by all means, go ahead; but just be sure to fit in time for brushing your teeth, flossing, or at minimum – drinking a lot of water!

Gummy sweets. Fruit Gems? Twizzlers? Jelly Beans? Sour Patch Kids? Swedish Fish? Okay, you get the idea! High-fructose corn syrup found in many such sweet treats has more than a couple of downsides, one major one being that it tends to stick to your teeth long after you eat it. Because of the long-lasting, damaging effects it can have (despite often being just a quick treat!) gummy candies are KNOWN for being cavity-causers.

Not wearing a mouth guard. Did you know at least 5 million teeth are knocked out every year because people aren’t wearing mouth guards when playing sports or exercising? That doesn’t even include all the other mouth-related INJURIES that occur. That can include soft tissue injury, teeth that become loose, tooth loss, cracked teeth, and jaw issues!

One of the best habits you can adopt is wearing a mouth guard in any contact sport. They’re even becoming popular in other sports that don’t necessarily include contact, since hard blows to the mouth can still occur. Ask us about options for your custom fit mouth guard.

Drinking alcohol. Alcohol often increases your sugar intake, it can dehydrate you, and it can stain your teeth, in many cases. Those are reasons why too much alcohol aren’t going to be a positive for your oral health.

Second, know that gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth sores have been shown to be more likely for very heavy drinkers—more reason to just be aware of what you’re consuming on a regular basis (2, 3).

Chomping on ice (or even some frozen treats). Do you find yourself chomping on ice at any point throughout the day? That’s something many people do without even realizing it—whether it’s at their work desk, when they are out to eat for lunch, or just while watching TV.

Believe it or not, chewing on ice can result in cracked teeth. It can also damage your tooth enamel, without you even realizing it.

Just think of how good of a job you’re doing on your oral health habits, and how much damage this can STILL do to your teeth! Another problem we see is that when people chomp on ice, it can lead to problems related to existing work in their mouth. Needless to say, try to avoid chomping on that crushed ice! Your teeth and gums will thank you.

Sucking your thumb. Okay, sure, most folks reading this blog post are of course not thumb sucking and/or using a Pacifier! But, in the case of our children, it can be a habit that we want to be aware of and keep an eye on.

While thumb sucking can be a natural tendency for our kids, remember that after our children’s permanent teeth arrive, sucking can hold back proper growth of the mouth, and in some cases, it can cause alignment issues with teeth. Ask us for more information if you’re concerned about your child’s habit!

Chewing too much gum… with added sugar. Ever see the baseball players on TV who are chewing big wads of gum? Depending on the type of gum you’re chewing, be sure to watch just how much you chew each day. After all, some have added sugars that aren’t going to help your oral hygiene habits. Stick with sugar-free and don’t go overboard!

A lack of a bed-time routine. Okay, so maybe this is the opposite of a habit—either way, if you or a family member has NO bedtime routine (time for brushing and flossing!), it can be hard to stay consistent with our oral health habits. Be sure to model the way when it comes to good oral hygiene each night with your family. When needed, to a random check-up on kids’ mouths to make sure they are brushing at night, and brushing the right way.

Eating a lot of hot, and a lot of cold foods. It’s not to say that hot and cold foots inherently are bad for your teeth or damage your teeth; rather, eating a combination or a “rollercoaster” of very hot and very cold foods/drinks CAN mean you experience tooth sensitivity.

Keep in mind if you experience lingering pain, or sudden or sharp pain, that’s something worth checking out, as it could be a sign of a more severe problem like advanced decay or even a cracked tooth.

Major dehydration. Okay, so maybe you find yourself running from meeting to meeting, and after a long day, you realize just how dehydrated you are! Or maybe you work out in the morning and don’t tend to re-hydrate until noon.

Whatever the situation may be, if you are someone who is regularly dehydrated, know that it can also negatively impact your teeth. In simple terms, when we are dehydrated, we can develop dry mouth, and if it persists, it can contribute or accelerate the formation of cavities and/or tooth decay in the mouth.

Because we haves less “natural” saliva in the mouth if we’re dehydrated, bacteria have an easier time thriving. In summary, making sure we are consistency hydrated is what’s key here.

hagen dental keep your teeth as healthy as possible

Looking for a New Dentist? Give Hagen Dental Practice a Call

We value making sure you feel relaxed and comfortable during your visit just as much as we value the health of your pearly whites—and we’ll do everything we can to make you and your entire family feel at home. We hope to see you and your family for your next appointment. Give us a call today at (513) 251-5500 to schedule a visit!

Sources/References

  1. https://www.humana.com/learning-center/health-and-wellbeing/healthy-living/nail-biting
  2. http://oralcancerfoundation.org/understanding/alcohol-connection/
  3. http://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/what-does-alcohol-do-to-your-teeth#overview1

Dental Anxiety? Here’s How to Cope

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

dental tips from hagen dental practice in cincinnati

Ever feel uneasy while at the Dentist? Or are you nervous about your next visit? If this sounds familiar, you may be experiencing dental anxiety—and you’re certainly not alone…But the good news is we’re here to help you through your nerves!

In addition to shedding some light on the roots of dental anxiety, we’re going to provide a few options to consider to help you cope with your fear so that you can be comfortable before and during your visit.

It’s important to understand that there’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of while you’re visiting us, although you’ve probably heard that before, but it’s true!

What Causes Dental Anxiety?

Although everyone is different, there are a few common fears that patients with dental anxiety tend to share.

Negative experiences in the past – Ever eat at a restaurant and get sick the next morning? It’s safe to assume you’re probably never going back there…or at least not for awhile, right? It’s common to want to avoid something that gave you a negative experience in the past. Anyone who has experienced discomfort or pain during a past dental procedure is prone to be a little anxious at their next visit.

Concern for pain – If you’ve never been to the dentist, or if you visited the dentist before the “pain-free” era of dentistry, you might fear that your procedure will hurt, and thus have some anxiety about it.

Embarrassment – The mouth is one of the more private areas of your body. Some folks might feel embarrassed or uncomfortable when a stranger examines it, or even feel self conscious about how it looks (1).

It’s worth noting that you should never feel a sense of shame or embarrassment when coming to see us. We’re on your team and we’re here to help you improve your health, no matter where you are at today.

More On That Thought…So How Do You Cope?

Whatever your reason for experiencing dental anxiety, there are many different ways that you can cope with your fear so that you can become more comfortable—and ideally relaxed—during your visit.

Communicate with Us

If you don’t speak up, we won’t know that you’re feeling uneasy. Again, don’t be embarrassed at all to tell us your state of oral health, your health in general, or any concerns you are having.

We want to make your visit as comfortable and as relaxing as possible—so let us help you! This way, our dentists and dental team can better tailor our treatment to your needs. This tip might be the most important on the list so that we can help you!

When you schedule your appointment, mention to the receptionist that you experience anxiety at the dentist. When you arrive for your visit, remind the dental staff and dentist about your feelings.

Ask questions. If you’re unsure about something, ask. Knowing what’s going on inside your mouth can give you some peace of mind.

Take breaks. If you need a break during any time of your dental visit, it’s okay to say so! We want you to be comfortable, and sometimes it’s easier to jump back in after a little mental break.

You shouldn’t feel any pain, so let us know if you do! We always work as a team to make sure you are not in pain! If you feel pain, signal to us to stop. Some patients are embarrassed to tell us if they experience pain, or don’t want to interrupt the process. Keeping you comfortable is our first priority, so don’t be afraid to speak up! If you have any questions about this before your visit, give us a call or ask us as soon as you come in.

be sure to tell us if you have dental anxiety

Discuss Anesthetic Options with Us 

We can help soothe your fears with nitrous oxide sedation. Just ask us to learn more about the options that we have that are right for you. For many patients, these sedation options allow you to relax. In order to fully eliminate pain, local anesthetic can be administered in conjunction with nitrous oxide. Because the effects of this medication wear off quickly, you’re able to safely drive yourself home after your procedure without calling a ride.

Recall that our office also has the Wand™, a computerized system that applies anesthesia without any pain or sensitivity for the patient. That’s right that means you have a painless administration of anesthesia. No more fears of injection at our practice!

Utilize Mindfulness Techniques

Anxiety is often a mental battle. If you can calm your mind, your body will follow…For those that believe this could help consider these two tips:

Relax one muscle at a time. Concentrate on relaxing your entire body, one part at a time. You can do this slowly from head to toe. Start by focusing on relaxing your forehead, your jaw, and your neck—and continue down your body.

Breathe deep and count your breaths. Inhale and exhale deeply and slowly. Do this five times while you wait in the waiting room, and repeat during breaks of your dental visit. It will help calm your body (3).

hagen dental practice offers relaxing dental care in a caring environment

Dental Care in a Relaxing Environment

We value ensuring that you feel relaxed and comfortable during your visit just as much as we value the health of your pearly whites—and we’ll do everything we can to make you feel at home. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask us a question or be sure to ask us when you’re in for your next appointment.

Give us a call today at (513) 251-5500 to schedule a visit!

Sources:

  1. http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/dental-visits/article/what-is-dental-anxiety-and-phobia
  2. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/easing-dental-fear-adults#1
  3. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/a/anxiety
  4. http://www.thewand.com

Tips to Remedy Bad Dog Breath

Friday, September 1st, 2017

Bad Breath Dog

Ever notice that your dog has…well, bad breath?

You may normally love giving your dog kisses, but bad dog breath is one thing that’s going to keep you from doing so!

Believe it or not, while we may think of dog breath as “just bad dog breath,” there’s still reason behind the smell and foul odor, and it’s preventable. Just like with the health of our mouth, there are things you can do to either promote or take away from a dog’s oral health.

Habits That Can Contribute To Bad Breath In Our Dogs

When there’s a lot of bacteria, plaque, and/or tartar in a dog’s mouth, cavities and periodontal disease can occur. Sound familiar? That’s right—once again, that’s just like with us! But even if there are no cavities or tooth loss yet, all that inflammation and/or bacteria can still lead to bad breath.

Let’s dig deeper to see some of the top habits and factors that can contribute to poor oral hygiene in our dogs.

Diet. It may come as no surprise that a dog’s diet can negatively impact their oral hygiene, and also be a contributing factor to recurring bad breath! Does your dog routinely eat from the trash? Do you find on walks they are eating or seem interested in food or waste products they shouldn’t be getting into? Do you catch them eating or sniffing decomposing animal remains or bugs or even cat poop? (1) It’s more common than you may think.

We may cringe at the idea of what our dogs are snacking on—and for good reason—but keep a closer watch on what your dogs are eating since that can directly lead to bad breath.

Diabetes. Often times the state of our dog’s oral health tells us about their OVERALL health, too. If you notice an abnormal, almost sweet breath coming from your dog, it could be indicative of diabetes. Talk with your vet if you’re concerned this is an issue! Just like with humans, diabetes can have symptoms in the mouth, but it can also complicate your dog’s oral health and put it at greater risk.

Disease. It can be a bit gross to think about, but if your dog’s breath smells similar to urine, it can be a sign they have kidney disease. In other cases, if your dog’s breath is so bad it’s alarming and downright disgusting, it could be a sign of a liver problem, in extreme cases (1).

Once again, it’s proof that you want to take note of anything abnormal (and contact your vet!) when it comes to your dog’s breath. Bad dog breath can be a sign of poor oral health AND it can be a sign your dog’s oral health is getting worse.

Habits That Promote Better Oral Hygiene In Our Dogs

Professional teeth cleaning. Talk to your vet about the benefits of a professional deep cleaning for your dog. At the same time, your vet will be able to search for cavities, any infections or signs of infection, tissue abnormalities, tooth loss, or any other issues you should be aware of (2).

Vet-recommended chew bones and chew toys. Have you ever used chew toys that have been designed to promote oral health? Some even come with dog-safe toothpaste inside! Many of these bones or chew toys help to strengthen and support your dog’s gums and teeth. These alone won’t prevent bad breath, but they can help over time.

You want to be sure that the toy is actually intended for this purpose, and that it’s vet-approved, so that way you are not harming your dog’s teeth, putting them at risk, or wasting your money on products that aren’t effective at promoting good dental hygiene (3).

Brushing your dog’s teeth at home. One of the best ways to combat bad breath in our canine friend’s is to brush their teeth at home. Be sure to consult your vet, but know that you never want to use HUMAN toothpaste when brushing your dog’s teeth.

In most cases, you’ll end up using a toothbrush designed for dogs; like with humans, it’s basically a brush with bristles on the end. (Again, ask your vet if there’s a toothbrush or alternative to a toothbrush that is a better fit for your dog!)

There are multiple brands of pet-friendly toothpaste, which is great to use because it’s digestible and won’t do ANY harm to your dog’s stomach if they do swallow it!

How to Clean Your Canine's Canines

A few other tips that you might also hear from your vet include:

  • When possible, start when your dog is young so they get used to good oral health habits like you brushing their teeth
  • If they are an adult dog, slowly introduce new habits to your dog…that way it’s not a lot of change at once!
  • Don’t forget to run any toothbrush (or gauze/cotton swabs) by your vet before trying at home
  • Reward your dog just like you would in other scenarios when they allow you to brush their teeth
  • Aim to reach the upper molars and the canines (no pun intended!) when brushing their teeth
  • Know it’s difficult to get access to and clean the inside of your dog’s teeth; that’s normal and just getting the out-ward facing (cheek-facing) surfaces will still go a long way
  • When possible, lift their lip so you get access to much of their gum and teeth (2)

Your vet can also give you specific recommendations on how often you want to have your adult dog’s teeth professionally cleaned. A good rule of thumb: when in doubt, see your vet! It’s one more chance for your vet to make sure everything is looking as it should in your dog’s mouth (2).

Call Hagen Dental Practice to Maintain YOUR Healthy Smile

Just like with your dog, bad breath CAN indicate an infection or another problem in your mouth. One of the best ways to manage your oral bacteria (and your oral hygiene) is to schedule regular check-ups with Hagen Dental Practice. Teeth cleanings and oral examinations help to identify risks for tooth decay and gum disease. We want to help you maintain a healthy smile—so give Hagen Dental Practice a call today at (513) 251-5500!

Sources/References

  1. http://www.akc.org/content/health/articles/stanky-dog-breath/
  2. https://www.banfield.com/pet-healthcare/additional-resources/article-library/dental/do-i-need-to-brush-my-dog-s-teeth
  3. https://www.cesarsway.com/dog-care/dental-care/7-tips-for-doggie-dental-care

Are Flavored Waters Bad for Your Teeth?

Friday, August 11th, 2017

flavored waters bad for your teeth?

Are flavored waters bad for your teeth?!

With the recent emergence of many flavored water options, it’s tough to know whether or not they’re actually good for you—and more specifically, are they good or bad for your teeth?

Good news for you: we’re here to help you uncover what you need to know.

What’s the Skinny on Flavored Water?

 There’s many different flavored water brands on the market, and they’re evolving quickly. Some brands, such as La Croix, steer more towards light flavors with a bubbly taste (thanks to carbonation). Other brands, like SoBe Water and Vitamin Water, enhance their water with minerals and stronger added flavors—and often times, that can come with added ingredients.

Companies are getting creative with their flavors—not only sticking to fruity flavors, but also experimenting with unconventional flavors like basil, mint, and sage, and more (1, 2, 3).

Glass of Water

Check Out the Label

Because they typically contain carbonation and added flavors, flavored waters also can be acidic. Although flavored waters aren’t always guilty in terms of sugar, this acid can still be harmful to your teeth. Recall that acid can wear down and erode your enamel, which is the outermost layer of your teeth that helps protect them (2, 3, 4).

Sugars, along with artificial sweeteners and colors are other key—and not-so-great-for-your-health—components in many flavored waters.

That’s why step one in determining how “healthy” flavored water is for you is to look at the nutrition label to see what it’s made of.

When you look closer at the ingredients label, no matter your beverage, it can still have added ingredients, whether it be for flavor or for body. It’s good to know those added ingredients (even if just for preserving the drink!), make flavored waters—again, generally speaking—not quite as healthy as pure, good ol’ fashioned, “unflavored” water (3, 4, 5).

Flavored Waters vs. Pop

So flavored water is probably, in most cases, not quite as heathy as “regular” water. But what about as an alternative to pop?

If you’re a Mountain Dew or Dr. Pepper lover, flavored waters are typically a better option than that soda habit! A little carbonation (although not great for your mouth) can go a long way to help curb that craving.

The major upside to many flavored waters: they typically lack the high sugar content found in soda! They’re also slightly less acidic than soda. Artificial flavorings, colorings, and sugars used in soda can cause serious damage to your teeth, especially if you’re an avid soda drinker, so this CAN be an alternative in many cases.

The takeaway here: just be sure if you chose flavored water over soda that you know if your “flavored water” really is…well, water!

The Verdict: Stick to Water (When You Can)

Slanted Glass of Water

 You don’t need to avoid “flavored water” altogether by any means…just be sure to look at the nutrition label to be aware of what you’re drinking. If you’re craving a little more jazz than water has to offer, it’s a great treat.

Also consider getting a glass of water and adding in some unsweetened, organic fruit or even a vegetable such as a cucumber; that way, you get a little added taste, but you know exactly what is in your water!

Whenever possible, refresh with “regular” water since it’s very kind to your teeth, and you know exactly what’s in it, and that the pH is good for your entire mouth! A glass of water not only helps hydrate your body, but it also strengthens your teeth. Without any of the additives found in some if not many flavored waters, regular water is always a safe, healthy choice for your teeth and body.

Call Hagen Dental Practice for a Healthier Smile

We want you to have a healthy smile that you can be confident and proud of! In addition to shedding some light on the right beverages for your teeth and OVERALL health, we also have plenty of other tips on how to properly take care of your teeth from home. Don’t hesitate to call and ask us a question or schedule your next visit.

Give us a call today at (513) 251-5500 to schedule a visit!

Sources:

  1. http://www.batchelor-dentistry.com/blog/how-bad-is-soda-for-your-teeth
  2. http://www.delish.com/food-news/news/a54020/flavored-sparkling-water-tooth-enamel/
  3. https://www.trendhunter.com/slideshow/25-examples-of-flavored-waters-from-bananaflavored-waters-to-kidfriendly-fr
  4. http://www.easywater.com/the-5-worst-ingredients-in-flavored-water/
  5. http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=d&iid=303&aid=7363

Top 7 Foods That (Can) Damage Your Teeth

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

 

Young Girl Brushing Teeth

In addition to regularly practicing healthy oral hygiene habits, it’s also important to maintain a healthy diet for the sake of your teeth!

You probably aren’t surprised to hear that sugary candy can damage your teeth, but you might not know what other (even healthy, anti-inflammatory) foods can damage them.

Luckily, you don’t need to avoid these foods entirely; we’ll give you some tips on how to protect your teeth while enjoying them in moderation.

Woman Smiling

1. Chewy Candy

You might already know that chewy candy is not great for your teeth! Candy, in general, contains a high volume of sugar that can play a key role in tooth decay. Chewy candy, however, poses a bigger problem: Because it’s chewy, it tends to stick to your teeth longer. This means that the sugar has more time to make itself at home and do its damage on your teeth. This same rule applies to other sticky/chewy foods, not just candy (1).

2. Peanut Butter

Uh-oh! Who doesn’t love peanut butter?! The good news is we aren’t saying don’t eat it—just be cautious when you do.

Similar to chewy candy, most peanut butters have a tendency to stick to the roof of your mouth, allowing time to feed the bacteria that causes wear and tear to your enamel. (Another factor is that sometimes our kids have snacks that have peanut butter in them, but are also LOADED with sugar which is part of the problem. Think: peanut butter cookies, etc.)

Not only do some of those snacks have a lot of sugar, but some peanut butter brands themselves have a lot of extra sugar added in, which is also part of the problem. The solution: Find a natural peanut butter without added sugars and be sure to take care of your teeth after eating peanut butter.

3. Sports Drinks & Energy Drinks

Although most sport and energy drinks are marketed to be healthy, they typically aren’t. In fact, in most of these drinks, sugar is at the very top of the ingredient list. Unless you’re an athlete engaging in prolonged, intense exercise, you can probably do without these because they just “sit” on your teeth, doing damage in the process (2).

4. Ice

We’re not saying you need to drink all of your beverages warm, but you should refrain from chewing the leftover ice at the end of your drink. Because of its extremely cold temperature and hard texture, mindlessly munching on ice can chip away at your enamel or even CRACK your teeth!

5. Popcorn

Be careful with that big tub of popcorn at the movies. Although tasty, popcorn creates lactic acid in your mouth, which is damaging to your pearly whites. Everyone knows that popcorn gets stuck in your teeth easily, and this gives it time to do its detrimental work.

Another downside to popcorn is its pesky friends, the un-popped kernels. It’s easy to pop a few in your mouth on accident, which can quickly cause a cracked tooth (3). Yikes!

6. Bread

This one is surprising to most people but when possible, consider your intake of bread. With its light color, soft texture, and lack of sugar, what could go wrong? Unfortunately, most white breads are full of refined carbohydrates that cause your mouth to break down starches into sugars. To help avoid this, stick to whole wheat bread (5). If you can’t avoid bread, be sure to drink a lot of water and to keep up with your other oral health habits!

7. Citrus

Fruits are typically the culprit here, but citrus can also be found in lots of juices and drinks. Although healthy and full of Vitamin C, most fruits and fruit juices are full of acid that can erode your enamel. The most acidic of fruits are lemon and grapefruit (5).
By no means are we saying avoid these fruits entirely—it’s most about making sure we don’t let them “sit” on our teeth or we avoid drinks that are full of sugar and/or acid!

What Can You Do to Protect Your Teeth?

 Enjoy these foods in moderation. Again, you don’t need to eliminate these foods from your diet—part of this is just about being aware that over time, these CAN become an issue. In the case of chewing ice and candy, these are things we CAN avoid, if at all possible.

Brush your teeth after every meal. Brushing helps get deep in between your teeth to remove food particles from your mouth. The less time the food has to sit inside your mouth, the better.

Rinse your teeth with water through your meal and after your meal. While you’re eating, it’s important to drink water to help rinse away the food particles. If you can’t make it to the sink to brush your teeth after a meal, this is the next best thing.

 

Putting Toothpaste on Toothbrush

We’ll Help You Improve Your Oral Health

We want you to have a healthy smile. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask us a question or simply schedule your next check-up. We’ll not only help you protect your teeth, but also provide you with information on how you can protect them from home.

Give us a call today at (513) 251-5500 to schedule a visit!

 

Sources:

  1. http://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/worst-foods-for-your-teeth#1
  2. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/nutrition/food-tips/9-foods-that-damage-your-teeth
  3. http://www.sagedentalcare.com/blog/2013/11/20/8-foods-that-damage-your-teeth/
  4. https://mydental.guardianlife.com/blog/2016/03/8-surprisingly-damaging-foods-for-your-teeth/
  5. https://nano-b.com/blogs/news/the-25-worst-food-and-drinks-for-your-teeth-and-gums