A Few Helpful Tips To Keep your teeth & Gums healthy...

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1.     You’re using your toothbrush for too long.

  • Toothbrushes should be replaced every 3 months, or when your bristles start to fray. Old toothbrushes will not effectively clean the teeth.

2.     You aren’t brushing long enough!

  • On average, people only brush for 45 seconds. The recommended time to brush is 2 minutes, 2 times a day! We love electric toothbrushes like Goby and Oral-B that run for a full 2 minutes. It makes it easy to know you’re brushing long enough to remove plaque and bacteria that causes cavities and periodontal disease!

3.     You’re using a hard-bristled toothbrush.

  • Hard toothbrushes are too abrasive on the gum tissue and actually lead to gum recession, or exposed root surface. When the gum tissue is scrubbed away it does not grow back on its own. Gum recession can lead to sensitivity and weakened teeth. Be sure to use a soft bristled toothbrush to avoid causing damage to your teeth!

4.     You’re brushing after eating.

  • Whenever we eat or drink, we create a more acidic environment in our mouths. Because of this, you want to wait at least 30 minutes after a meal to brush in order to avoid brushing away your enamel and tooth structure.

5.     You’re brushing your teeth at the wrong angle.

  • We recommend our patients hold their toothbrushes at a 45-degree angle and make short circular motions with the toothbrush. This allows for the toothbrush bristles to effectively clean beneath the gum tissue and also ensure that the toothbrush bristles are not being too aggressive on the gums.

To our patients...seriously, thank you!

It has been 8 months since we opened our doors and started seeing patients. Wow! I  am still in disbelief that a dream I have had since the 5th grade is now the real life. I am so lucky to wake up every morning and have the opportunity to work in a beautiful office doing what I love. I am so incredibly grateful for our amazing patients in this spectacular city that I get to call home. I just wanted to take the time to say thank you! Without you, Abundant Smiles would not exist. Thank you for helping to make my dreams come true and for being the reason that I can say I absolutely love my job!

Much love and all the best,

Dr. Jessica 

They put what in my toothpaste?!

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I recently became more interested in the ingredients in my cosmetics and toothpaste. I felt that I should be more aware of the products I use every single day on the largest organ of my body (my skin). When I started to look at what was in my toothpaste, I was terrified. I quickly realized I needed to find an alternative to my toxic, cancer causing toothpaste for myself and my patients. I want to share with you all the surprising discoveries I made and a couple alternatives.

So what are all of these hard to pronounce ingredients?

There are a few common ingredients in toothpaste that do not belong there! Here’s a quick ingredient list and some of the nasty health concerns tied with them:

  1. Triclosan - An antibacterial that was commonly found in antibacterial hand soaps before the FDA banned its use. Triclosan is a known endocrine disruptor, skin irritant and may be contributing to antibiotic resistance. If it’s no longer allowed in soap, do you really want to put it in your mouth? Another issue with Triclosan is its negative environmental impact. Triclosan is being found in large amounts in aquatic environments and is known to be toxic to algae and fish. 
  2. DEA - Used as a foaming agent. DEA is also a skin irritant and also a respiratory toxin and a possible carcinogen . DEA has been banned in the use of cosmetics in other countries.  
  3. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)-  SLS gives toothpaste the foaming action. If you are someone who gets canker sores, you may want to consider avoiding toothpaste with SLS. Multiple studies have shown that SLS can increase the incidence of aphthous ulcers (canker sores).

Have no fear, we found some pretty great alternatives for you!

  1. Make your own! One of our patients shared her favorite toothpaste recipe with us, and she has beautiful teeth. 
    • Ingredients: 
    1. 5 parts calcium/magnesium powder
    2. Your favorite essential oil for taste
    3. 15 drops traceminerals
    4. 3-6 parts coconut oil (helps determine texture)
    5. 3 parts xylitol powder
    6. 2 parts baking soda

2. If you’re not much for the DIY trend, we found Hello toothpaste to be a great store bought option that still contains fluoride. As a dentist, I firmly believe in fluoride. I have worked in rural areas of the county and have seen the detrimental effects no fluoride takes on the teeth. The best part is it can be found at most stores, including Target!

Have You Been Screened For Oral Cancer Lately?

Years ago, I was sitting in my childhood dental office when my hygienist asked if I was interested in an oral cancer screening for an additional cost. Being a poor college student, I asked if the screening was actually necessary. I mean come on, I would have rather spent $30 on late night Chipotle. I remember my hygienist stated oral cancer is more likely to effect the older population with a history of drinking and smoking, so I opted out.

Over the past few years, the thought process dental practitioners previously had on prevalence of oral cancer has changed drastically. It is currently estimated that 132 individuals are being diagnosed with oral cancer daily in the United States, and that many of these individuals are in the younger and non-smoking population.

How is this possible? Studies have now shown that HPV is now the fastest growing segment of the oral cancer population, with HPV-16 being the main culprit. HPV-16 is also one of the leading causes of other cancers, such as cervical cancer. There are currently 79 million Americans with HPV and it is now estimated that the majority of the US population will contract HPV at some point in their lifetime. Most individuals will fight off the virus without ever knowing they had contracted it; but for those that don’t, we have to be proactive in the way we screen for cancers.

At Abundant Smiles, we know early detection can save lives, which is why we have the ability to provide our patients with an additional cancer screening tool called the VELscope. An oral cancer screening with VELscope only adds a few extra minutes to your routine dental appointment. The device uses a bright blue fluorescent light that can help detect unhealthy tissues that are sometimes undetectable to the human eye. When cancerous or pre-cancerous lesions are detected early the survival rate can be as high as 83%. Unfortunately, when detected in the later stages, this survival rate drops to about 50%. Early diagnosis is always key in fighting cancer and catching lesions before they spread. If you are interested in this extra service, make sure you mention it at your next appointment!

How Botox Helped Me Stop Grinding My Teeth

So, no shame guys…let’s talk about Botox. We all know the celebrities that have gotten WAY too much Botox to the point they can no longer make any sort of facial expression. Happy, mad, surprised…they all look the same! But what happens when Botox is done in the right amount? Can you still move your face? Do you still look natural? I’m here to tell you yes, and check out these pictures to prove it!

Now I bet you are wondering why a DENTIST is talking about Botox, aren't you?!  Well, over the past 10 years a growing number of dentists have started providing Botox treatments to patients for both cosmetic and therapeutic uses. Botox as a therapeutic agent is shown to help muscle related dental problems caused by the tremendous amount of pressure we put on our jaws- over 20% of adults clench and grind their teeth in stressful situations and while sleeping.  Such prolonged pressure on your teeth and jaw can result in constant headaches, restless sleep, and even fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. Eeek!

Even I grind my teeth at night, which I didn’t realize until recently was causing my restless nights. I have always been one to wake up constantly throughout the night and I just thought this was normal, but that has all changed thanks to Botox and here's how.

I decided recently to take a course on Botox, mostly because I wanted the cosmetic benefits and was hoping someone in the class was looking for a “practice patient”. Like I said, no shame. I didn’t realize that this class would actually change the way I sleep and feel throughout the day. Lucky for me, someone in my class was in need of a practice patient and I was more than thrilled to fill the spot! After a thorough exam, it was determined that my masseter muscle was enlarged. This is a huge muscle of the face that helps us chew and close our mouths. This resulted in a pretty large dose of Botox put straight into the muscle. I am a needle-phobe and still can’t believe I sat through this procedure without fainting. If I can do it, you can too!

Within a few weeks I started to notice that I was sleeping through the night. I was also finding myself waking up before my alarm and actually feeling rested. My jaw is no longer stiff when I wake up and my teeth have stopped aching. On top of all of this amazing news, I also look 5 years younger. Who knew Botox had more than just a cosmetic benefit!

Are you wondering if you could benefit from Botox just like I have? Well you are in luck! Abundant Smiles offers both cosmetic and therapeutic Botox treatments for our patients. Schedule an appointment today to see how Botox can improve your life!   

Still not convinced or want to read about more surprising Botox uses?  Check out this article by TIME magazine: 11 Surprising Uses For Botox

Healthy Holidays Dark Chocolate Bark

Holiday Treats

'Tis the season for sweet treats!

With Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas back to back, your teeth and overall health can be neglected thanks to an abundance of sweet holiday treats & desserts. That is why we have decided to make some holiday treats that will satisfy your sweet tooth and are good for it too!

Dark chocolate has been shown to help fight cavities, plaque, and tooth decay. Add that with nuts and berries, which are high in vitamins and powerful teeth-healthy micronutrients such as phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and calcium, you have yourself a sweet treat that will make you want to smile all day long!

Here are three healthy and super easy recipes for Dark Chocolate Bark. Make some for your family or give them away as gifts!

Cranberry Pistachio Bark

Cranberry & Pistachio Dark Chocolate Bark

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 11 oz Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 4 oz Dried Cranberries
  • 4 oz Pistachios

Walnut & Pomegranate Seed Dark Chocolate Bark

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 11 oz Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 4 oz Walnuts
  • 1/2 cup Pomegranate Seeds
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Almond & Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Bark

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 11 oz Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 6 oz Sliced Almonds
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a double boiler, slowly melt 11 oz dark chocolate over low heat. Stir chocolate occasionally until it is smooth and all chunks have melted.
  3. Pour the melted chocolate onto the parchment lined sheet and spread with spatula until it reaches your desired thickness
  4. Evenly sprinkle on toppings for the bark (Cranberry & Pistachios, Walnuts & Pomegranate Seeds, or Sliced Almonds & Sea Salt)
  5. Place cookie sheet in freezer for 20 minutes or until chocolate has set.
  6. Once the bark is frozen, break into small pieces and serve or store in the freezer.

 

3 Healthy Halloween Treats

3 Healthy Halloween Treats

All of us at the office have a bit of a sugar tooth and love the fact that Halloween gives us an excuse to over indulge in sweets. Because of this, we wanted to find some fun treats to make that are healthier for the body than processed sugar and junk that comes with candy, but still sweet and delicious. Here are a couple of our favorite healthy Halloween treats recreated from Pinterest :) 

Rein In Your Anxiety

At Abundant Smiles, we are well aware of the anxiety that some patients feel about a dental appointment - even if it is only to have their teeth cleaned.  Dr. Jessica in particular understands how nerve-wracking visiting the dentist can be. Her dentist, and fiancee, has made several attempts to get her to find a new dentist (in a joking manner of course) because of the stress she experiences while in the dental chair!

Most dental anxiety is created by anticipation and previous negative experiences. For some people it is the fear of pain, for others it is the factor of embarrassment caused by the poor condition of their teeth or gums.  

We want to be sure you have the best experience possible and want to know about your stresses and anxieties so we can offer solutions to make visiting us more tolerable. We want to know what we can do to make you feel at ease and because of this offer many accommodations for our nervous patients.  

We have the ability in our office to put on your favorite TV show, or play music that helps you feel more relaxed. We also offer nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, to ease some of the stresses you may experience. If these options are not enough, we can also explore oral sedation to help you feel less anxious before you even have to step foot in our door.

Most patients with dental phobias who visit our office will overcome their fear with time. Having good experiences at the dentist and knowing we care about each of our patients can make visits easier each time!

At Abundant Smiles we care about you, our patients! If you would like to discuss options available for your appointments, please feel free to reach out to us and chat! Call 303-317-6990 or drop us an email at info@abundantsmilesdental.com.