5 Ways to Say “No Way!” to Sugar Cravings

This is the time of year when sugary sweets and candy seem to be lurking around every turn of the grocery or pharmacy aisles. There are so many ooey, gooey, colorful, delicious treats we want to eat. But as we all know, your dentist in Boerne will tell you to step away from the sweets because they’re bad for your teeth. Now, we’re not saying you can’t enjoy fall-flavored fun this month, just remember to brush your teeth too!

There are some super easy things you can do to avoid those cravings for candies and cakes. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ways you can help steer clear of sugar.

1) Stay Hydrated – Sometimes, when our bodies don’t get enough water, we crave things or become extra hungry, even “hangry.” If you find yourself daydreaming about Devil Dogs or Coffee Cakes, try drinking a full 8-ounce glass of good old water. If you want to make it tastier, try adding some fruit for an infusion that can dress up any beverage.

2) Find Fruit – Refined sugars are very bad for teeth of all ages and stages of life. Instead of having a candy bar, bite into a piece of fruit like bananas, apples, oranges, pears, and watermelon. Sure, fruits contain sugar too, but they’re better for you than sweets.

3) Get SleepYour Boerne dentist will tell you that when you’re not sleeping right, it can cause issues throughout your body. When you’re feeling tired or rundown, it’s easy to gravitate towards foods that are not-so-healthy and filled with sugar. Getting the right amount of rest should help ward off cravings and restore your clarity and the ability to make healthy diet choices.

4) Stop Stress – Just like when you’re a sleepless zombie, being crazy stressed is just as bad for your diet. Excess stress leads to cravings for things that we know aren’t good for our oral and overall health. Fighting these urges when you’re stressed and tired can be a big battle. Remember to relax and do your best to stay mindful and in the moment each day.

5) Eat Regularly – This ranks right up there with our first tip. If your body is out of water or food, then you’re basically out of fuel. Your body is going to take whatever it can get for some much-needed calories. Sometimes our bodies tend to go right for the sweets when we’re hungry instead of healthy options like fruits, veggies, proteins, etc.

The easiest way to avoid a sugar craving is to not be around it at all. We know, it’s not easy to do that this time of year. If you have a bite here and there, please remember to brush and floss. We don’t want sugar taking your smile from healthy to scary. Don’t forget to call our dental office in Boerne if you have any questions about your oral health! We’re always here for you and happy to help. 

Why a Healthy Mouth Means a Healthy Body

In this latest blog, we’re going to talk a little bit about the big connection between your oral and overall health. What’s going on inside your mouth is almost like a snapshot of what’s going on in the rest of your body. 

Let’s take a look at what clues your oral health can give your dentist in Boerne about your overall health. We’ll learn how problems with your mouth can negatively affect your whole body’s health and wellbeing.

It’s All About Bacteria

Most of them are entirely harmless, but at any given time, your mouth can host up to 500 different types of bacteria! When you miss out on regular brushing and flossing, you’re giving harmful bacteria a place to make a home. This can lead to tooth decay and infections in your gums known as periodontal disease. Because your mouth is also an entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts, infection and bacteria can cause issues and serious diseases.

According to the Mayo Clinic, recent studies are revealing new evidence that oral bacteria and inflammation due to gum disease are related to health issues such as: 

1) Diabetes – Research shows that folks who have diabetes tend to have a higher risk for red, swollen gums, and even tooth loss. Doctors and dentists believe diabetes has this effect on a person because it tends to reduce your body’s ability to resist infections.

2) Cardiovascular Disease – If you have gum disease that is more moderate to advanced, evidence now shows that there’s an increase in your risk for heart disease and stroke. Scientists have yet to make a direct correlation that one causes the other; however, gum disease shares similar risk factors to heart disease like smoking, bad eating habits, and diabetes.

3) Kidney Disease – If you’re continually experiencing bad breath or a lousy taste in your mouth, it could be your body’s way of telling you there’s trouble with your kidneys. When they’re not working the way they should be, your kidneys have difficulty breaking down proteins, and a by-product of this is bad breath or a funny taste. 

4) Oral Cancer – Did you know that oral cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer diagnosed each year across the United States? It can be challenging to diagnose, but your mouth will often have common indicators such as lumps, bumps, bleeding, sores, and more. Your Boerne dentist will always check your mouth for any abnormalities while also playing close attention to your neck, head, cheeks, and more.

5) Premature Birth – Premature births and babies with low birth weights have been linked to gum disease. Research shows that bacteria that upset your gums can target a fetus, leading to complications that cause premature birth or a lower than normal weight at birth. 

At our Boerne dental office, we’ll always stress the importance of taking care of your teeth so the rest of your body can stay healthy, too. We can’t wait to see what research uncovers as science and technology progresses each year. Always remember that giving your mouth the same attention you give the rest of your body is going to help ensure you’re able to live a long, happy life. Talk to us about scheduling your next dental visit today!

4 Steps to Take if Your Dental Filling Falls Out

One of the most common restorative treatments your dentist in Boerne uses is fillings. Whether they’re specially crafted for you out of an amalgam (metal) or composite material, we want them to stand the test of time. If your bite isn’t right, then there’s a good chance your filling or dental restoration could fail or even fall out. 

If you have a dental filling that’s fallen out, there’s no reason to panic. We’re going to walk you through what you need to do in just four easy steps. Take a deep breath and read on.

Step #1 – Remove and Replace

If your filling comes loose, you must get it out of your mouth ASAP. You don’t want to run the risk of swallowing it or choking on the material. It might not be a bad idea to keep your filling and bring it with you to your dental appointment. We will be able to determine if it can be cleaned and restored, or if you’ll need a whole new filling. 

Step #2 – Take Action

If your filling is loose and comes out, it’s also important that you see a dentist right away. But if you’re unable to get to the office, you can take some preventive tips to help preserve your smile health. An unfilled tooth is a welcoming environment for harmful bacteria to make a home and destroy your tooth. Be sure to brush gently and carefully. Rinse with water to make sure you’re removing any debris. (Pro Tip: Saltwater works wonders. One cup of warm water and just a teaspoon of salt will do the trick.)

Step #3 – Find Temporary Pain Relief

Your Boerne dentist would recommend that you take over-the-counter pain medication to help with any sensitivity or discomfort. Be wary and cautious of any temporary dental cement, as it can be messy and make your issue worse.

Step #4 – Avoid Certain Foods

Until you have a chance to see the dentist, it’s probably a good idea to avoid certain foods and drinks that could affect your damaged tooth now that the filling is gone. Stay away from hard or sticky foods that could get stuck in your tooth. Be careful with extremely hot or cold foods and drinks too, as your tooth will probably be a little sensitive. Keep your diet simple and soft until you see us!

If you have a filling that’s come loose, the best/first thing you need to do is call our Boerne dental office. The simple steps above are meant to be a temporary solution to your dental issues. One of the first steps we’ll need to take is a thorough diagnosis and state-of-the-art photos of your smile. We want to understand why your restoration or filling failed in the first place. We’ll take a look at your tooth, and if it hasn’t deteriorated, we should be able to replace your missing filling. We may need to do a little preparation of the tooth, before getting it filled for you again. Either way, we’ll make sure you’re comfortable and pleased with the results!

If you have questions about how fillings work or if there’s something we didn’t cover here today, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re always happy to be your dental partner and make sure your smile gets the very best, VIP treatment – no matter what your dental needs might be!

Vaping and Oral Health

Vaping seems to be almost everywhere nowadays — on TV commercials, print advertisements, and radio spots. Sometimes the ads even claim that vaping is a healthier, safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. But how much of that is true? At our dental office in Boerne, we looked into vaping and just how ‘safe’ this safer alternative is. Let’s see what we found. 

Whole Body Concerns

Vapes, or e-cigarettes, have been in the U.S. since 2007, but their popularity seems to have increased rapidly over the past few years. Because of this dramatic surge in popularity, science and research regarding these devices is a little behind. But recent studies show us that maybe vaping isn’t as safe as we may have thought. Vaping may be linked to an increased risk of pneumonia, rapid heart rate, congestive heart failure, and stroke. So while we may have once believed vaping was a safer alternative to smoking, that simply may not be the case. 

Oral Health Concerns

More research on how vaping affects oral health is needed, but more and more studies continue to find that there are certain risks involved, including: 

Dry Mouth 

Many vape liquids include the ingredient propylene glycol, which is known to cause dry mouth. Dry mouth, if not treated, can greatly increase the risk of decay, cavities, and gum disease. Not to mention, dry mouth can also cause some serious chronic bad breath, which can be a challenge to overcome. 

Inflamed Gums

A 2016 research study found a potential link between vaping and gum disease. To be more specific, vape juice caused an inflammatory response in the gum tissue that can put you at risk for gum disease. 

Cell Damage

Vaping may also destroy cells’ DNA and inhibit their ability to divide a grow. Basically, vaping can kill cells and cause bad breath, bone loss, tooth loss, and gum disease. 

Focus on Quitting

Even though some people may have started vaping to help them quit smoking, there’s conflicting research regarding its effectiveness.  For example, one study found that e-cigarettes helped current smokers reduce the number of cigarettes they smoked by about half, while another suggested that smokers who use e-cigs are 59% less likely to quit. Instead of trading one habit for another, try to focus on proven ways to break away from nicotine once and for all. Consider:  

  • Work on limiting the number of cigarettes you smoke a day, and decrease over time. 
  • Try quitting without the use of nicotine replacements — fair warning, this can be extremely difficult.
  • Find different ways people have quit. You never know what may work for you. The American Lung Association is a great resource for smokers who want to quit. 

Finding what works for you may take time, but don’t give up. Quitting greatly reduces your risk of health problems caused by smoking and vaping.

If you are a smoker or use e-cigarettes, make sure you always see your dentist in Boerne every six months to keep a proactive eye on your oral health and so that any problems such as oral cancer or gum disease can be caught early.   

Oral Health for Seniors

August 21st is Senior Citizens Day, and there’s no better way for our dental office in Boerne to celebrate than by sharing some oral health information for the favorite senior citizens we have in our lives and their families.  

The truth is, our oral health needs will vary as we celebrate more birthdays, and needs will also differ from person to person. That’s one reason we believe in treating each person with individualized, custom care. When it comes to the senior population, there are a few unique things to be aware of. 

  • Discolored TeethWhile anyone can experience discolored teeth, there’s usually an explanation. Maybe morning coffee is to blame, or perhaps smoking or red wine. But when it comes to seniors, discoloration may occur without any obvious explanation. Most commonly, tooth discoloration as we age is a typical sign that the white outer layer of our teeth (enamel) is wearing away and becoming thinner. When this happens, your teeth can become a little transparent and the inner workings of the tooth become more visible. As it turns out, the insides of teeth are not as white as the outsides, and the more we’re able to see them, the more dark or yellow teeth can appear. 
  • Dry MouthDry mouth is another condition that can happen to anyone, but it does tend to be more common in seniors. Many times, medication is to blame. There are tons of over-the-counter medications and prescription medications that list dry mouth as a side effect. When these medications are taken regularly, saliva production slows down and the mouth becomes dry… and there is nothing bacteria like better than a dry mouth. Without saliva on hand to rinse away bacteria and neutralize acid, teeth are at an increased risk for developing cavities. If these cavities aren’t treated, they could lead to the need for a root canal, cause tooth sensitivity, or even tooth loss. If you’re experiencing dry mouth, do not stop taking your medication as prescribed, but do talk to your dentist in Boerne
  • Tooth LossLet’s start by saying that there’s no guarantee that we’ll lose our teeth as we get older. There are plenty of people who keep their teeth for a lifetime, especially if they see their dentist regularly and practice good oral hygiene habits. However, tooth loss can be a real concern for many people. The best ways to reduce the risk of tooth loss is to avoid smoking or using tobacco, limiting alcohol intake, and seeing your dentist in Boerne every six months. These preventative dental appointments help identify problems early while they’re still often easily treatable and can help save your teeth. 
  • Gum DiseaseOne of the more serious concerns for seniors’ oral health is gum disease. In fact, research suggests a strong link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and stroke. Gum disease occurs when bacteria isn’t removed and it works its way under the gum line. Once this occurs, it becomes difficult to remove and can lead to an infection or advanced gum disease. If not treated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. The common signs of gum disease include red, bleeding, and inflamed gums. 

Unfortunately, there’s no way we can stop ourselves from getting older. But there are things we can do to help protect our teeth for life. Always brush twice a day and floss once a day, and get a professional dental cleaning and check-up at least twice a year. If you’re overdue for your dental appointment, we welcome you to call our Boerne dental office to schedule a visit with us today. 

All About Dental Implants

Even though our teeth are made up of one of the toughest materials in our bodies, the truth is, sometimes our natural teeth won’t last forever. Whether it’s due to trauma, gum disease, or decay, it’s not uncommon to have a tooth fall out or to have one removed. If this happens, there are many tooth replacement options available, but a favorite choice of your Boerne dentist is a dental implant. 

What is a Dental Implant

A dental implant, or even multiple implants, is a superior way to restore your smile and give you a permanent replacement for your tooth. They are usually preferred over a dental bridge or dentures because the implant itself essentially replaces the entire tooth’s structure, not simply the crown. This helps restore your mouth to full function, and oftentimes, you won’t even be able to tell you were ever missing a tooth. In short, dental implants create a natural feel that can last a lifetime. 

Benefits of a Dental Implant

We already know that a dental implant can give us back full functionality of our smiles, but there are many other upsides to this tooth replacement option such as: 

  • Improved appearance and speech. Since dental implants replace the tooth’s natural root system and the post is integrated into the bone, dental implants continue to provide stimulation to the bone. This can help reduce the look of wrinkles and lower your risk of bone loss in the jaw. And since an implant functions very much like a natural tooth, you’re able to speak clearly and do not have to deal with any annoying slippage that can often occur with dentures. 
  • Easier eating. One common complaint of denture wearers is that they can’t eat what they want when they want to. Dental implants eliminate that restriction and leaves people free to enjoy the foods they love the most. There is no worry of a denture slipping or food stuck getting under one. Overall, those with dental implants can eat without worry. 
  • Enhanced oral health. Another difference between a dental implant and its denture counterpart is that a dental implant is a permanent structure. This means there’s no need for overnight soaking or the extra cleaning that comes with a removable denture. You can care for a dental implant just as if it’s your natural tooth. 

What to Expect During an Implant Procedure

The first step in determining whether a dental implant is right for you is to schedule a consultation with your dentist in Boerne. This visit will allow your dental team to exam your specific situation and determine if an implant is the best tooth-replacement option. If it is, your team will review the treatment plan and schedule the procedure. The procedure itself is pretty easy and consists of a few parts: 

  • Place the post. Your dentist and your team will insert a titanium post into your jaw bone. While it may sound scary, the procedure itself is mild to moderately painful. 
  • Healing time. After the post is implanted, you will be fitted with a temporary crown while your bone integrates into the post, building you a super-strong foundation.
  • Add the abutment. Once the post is sturdy and healing time is complete, your dentist will custom make you a permanent crown that will be affixed to the post. 

Overall, getting a dental implant is an easy and straightforward treatment that can bring your smile back to life. 

If you’re missing a tooth or are at risk for losing teeth, give our Boerne dental office a call to schedule an appointment today. We’ll be happy to identify the best treatment option for you and your individual situation. 

A Checklist for Your Next Dental Appointment

A visit to your dentist in Boerne is a pretty easy thing to check off your to-do list. But did you know that there are things you can do prior to your visit to make the process even easier? In this week’s blog, we provide you with a free checklist that you can use to make sure you’re prepared for your dental appointment. 

Appointment Confirmation

Many dental offices will send a pre-appointment reminder to you via text or email or call you directly to confirm your appointment. However, if your dental office doesn’t provide this service, you should confirm your appointment 24-hours in advance. These reminders not only help keep your appointment on schedule, so your dental team is able to be courteous of your time, but they’re also a great way to remove any chance of miscommunication. 

Know Your Medical History

Whether you’re visiting a new dentist in Boerne for the first time or you’ve been going to the same place for years, make sure you know your medical history as well as any changes that may have happened since your last visit. Things to remember include, new medications along with dosage, a new diagnosis or changes to overall health, and of course any concerns you may have with your dental health. 

Be Ready To Share

If you have any concerns about your oral health that you want to discuss with your dentist, make sure to be ready to share those concerns. The more specific you can be, the better. Consider things such as: 

  • If there’s pain and when it started 
  • The level of discomfort and where you feel it 
  • Any signs that worry you including bleeding or swollen gums 
  • If you’re unhappy with your smile and ideally what you’d like to change 

Being open and honest with your dental team will help make sure your appointment is catered just to you and your concerns or desires. 

Look Six Months Ahead

Most people will see the dentist every six months, and you should be prepared to schedule your next appointment at the end of your first visit. Take a quick look at your schedule six months down the road so you know what you may need to avoid. Coming in with dates in mind will help make sure you’re appointment remains on the schedule and you can be seen when you want to be seen.  

However, even though you’ll be set to see your dentist again in six short months, you should always continue to do your part in between appointments to keep your teeth and mouth healthy. Make sure to brush and floss regularly, take it easy on the acidic and sugary foods, and don’t smoke or use tobacco. 

If you’re overdue for a dental appointment, call our Boerne dental office to schedule one today. We’ll be happy to see you! 

Summer Foods That Your Smile Will Love

As you’re enjoying the sun this summer and the foods that tend to go along with long summer days and nights, the team at our Boerne dental office wants to share a few snack ideas with you that your smile will love. 

Top 4 Summer Foods for Your Smile

When choosing what to eat this summer try this basic rule of thumb: if it’s good for your body, it’s good for your teeth. Try some of the following: 

  • Cheese – Cheese is a great snack for your teeth and your bones. It contains both calcium and vitamin D which work together to keep teeth and bones nice and strong. Cheese can also increase saliva production which will help rinse away bacteria and sugar. 
  • Chicken – Enjoying a piece of grilled chicken breast may sound perfect, after all, it’s healthy and delicious. But the drumsticks, thighs, and wing can be more beneficial for your smile since they contain collagen. Collagen is incredibly important for strong, healthy teeth and gums. 
  • Vegetables – Crispy, uncooked vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and celery are fantastic snack options for similar reasons as the other foods. Raw veggies rub away buildup on your teeth as you chew and protects your smile against decay. This quick cleaning may also help keep bad breath away. 
  • Water – So this one isn’t really food, but it is really important. Keeping your mouth hydrated by drinking plenty of water will help rinse away food particles and bacteria before they have a chance to settle in and cause damage. 

What to Avoid

The truth is, not all summer snacks are great for your teeth. There are some that can increase your risk of decay and cavities such as:

  • Condiments
  • Soda
  • Alcohol

These foods and drinks either have a lot of sugar, are acidic, or can dry out your mouth — all of which can increase the chance of decay and cavities. 

 
Choosing healthy snacks (and drinks!) this summer can go a long way in protecting your teeth against decay. But that doesn’t mean you have to completely avoid some of your favorites if they’re on the “avoid” list. Just remember to enjoy those in moderation and of course, see your dentist in Boerne regularly.

Dental Emergency? Try These Tips.

Emergencies of any kind can cause fear and discomfort. Dental emergencies are no different and can be particularly concerning. What exactly are you supposed to do if you experience a dental emergency such as a broken tooth, a knocked out tooth, or a painful toothache? The team at our Boerne dental office is here to give you some advice on how to handle some of the most common dental emergencies.

Top Dental Emergencies & Treatment Tips

It’s important to note that any dental emergency, including injuries to the mouth, teeth, or gums, should be treated by a dentist in Boerne as quickly as possible. But if you can’t get to the dentist right away, there are some things you can do to help minimize discomfort and protect your tooth.  

Chipped or Broken Tooth – Whether caused by a pesky popcorn kernel, sports injury, or grinding your teeth, a chipped or broken tooth may cause you to panic. Not to worry, there are many forms of cosmetic dentistry that can restore your tooth and smile. However, right after the injury happens, you may be in some pain or bleeding. The best thing to do is to rinse your mouth with warm water, apply gauze and a bit of pressure to help stop any bleeding, and use a cold compress to help reduce any swelling.

Knocked Out Tooth – Having a tooth knocked out can certainly be scary. If this happens, the first thing you should try to do is stay calm and remember the following tips:

  • Only touch the crown of the tooth. Do not touch the roots.
  • Try to replace the tooth into the socket.
  • Place the tooth in a glass of milk, store it in a cup of spit, or keep it safely under your tongue and get to a dentist. Your tooth has the best chance of survival if it’s returned to the socket within an hour.

Toothache – A toothache is usually the mouth’s way of telling us that something isn’t right, and it definitely shouldn’t be ignored. See your dentist as quickly as you can to increase the chance of easier and successful treatment. Prior to your appointment, you can ease the pain by using a cold compress or over-the-counter pain reliever.

We never want our patients to experience a dental emergency, but the truth is, they happen. If they do, we welcome you to call our dental office in Boerne. We’re here to help protect smiles and treat them if something happens. Call us today.

Dental X-Rays, Who Needs ‘Em? (You Do!)

If you see your dentist in Boerne regularly, then you’ve probably had a dental x-ray or two taken in your life. The reason we rely on x-rays so heavily is that they’re absolutely a crucial part of creating a custom treatment plan that’s going to address your dental issues and needs, the right way.

We know it may seem like they’re just any other x-ray and you might even wonder why you actually even need dental x-rays in the first place. The truth is, these images can save your smile and maybe even your life. Let’s learn more about what x-rays are and what they do for you.

Why Do We Need X-Rays?

Radiographs or x-rays are relied on heavily for preventive dentistry or to help fix issues such as cavities, decay, and breakage. Generally, dentists rely on 2D or 3D imaging to gain a better understanding of what’s going on inside your mouth, highlighting your jaw bone health and tooth structure that lies beneath your gums and enamel. It gives us the added ability to find out if something is going on inside your mouth or teeth that’s not 100 percent visible to the naked eye.

Are Dental X-Rays Going to Expose Me to Radiation?

Most of the x-rays used in dental offices across the country today give off a minimal amount of radiation. It’s important to note that you should always limit your exposure to x-rays and avoid repeated use as it can damage cells over time due to the small, continued radiation aftereffects.

Dental x-rays are certainly safer than ever thanks to advancements in dentistry over the years. Dentists now rely on using lower x-ray dosages, higher quality film, film holders, and well-designed, full-body aprons lined with lead. It’s important to note though that most of the modern dental x-ray technology that’s available today give off very little stray radiation.

How Do Dental X-Rays Work?

The process of obtaining a good dental x-ray image can occur a few ways. Usually, a dentist or a dental specialist will cover you with the iron apron for protection before putting a small plastic device in your mouth and asking you to bite down. Your bite is going to hold the x-ray film in place for accurate, immediate results.

In instances like this where we’re x-raying the inside of your mouth, it’s referred to as obtaining intraoral photos. There are also several extraoral x-rays that your Boerne dentist and orthodontists can use to help fix a smile, with extra meaning outside of your mouth. These images are useful in seeing your jaw bone and entire skull as a whole how it relates to your mouth and oral health.

If you’re experiencing a problem or if you feel like something isn’t right with your smile, please call our Boerne dental office. We may need to use one of these super cool x-ray techniques to help get you and your smile back into tip-top shape.