Surviving the Holiday Dental Woes

It’s time for good cheer, gift giving, and making merry this holiday season. There are so many things to consider such as what gifts you’ll get for friends and loved ones, what you’ll wear to holiday parties, and how to navigate family get togethers. It’s been said that the holiday season can be one of the most stressful times of the year. Indeed there’s a lot to consider. However, sometimes we forget about our health, more specifically oral health.  All those sugary cookies, desserts, and sweet treats you’ll be eating over the holidays this year can take a toll on your teeth.

Here’s are four easy steps to combat the holiday dental woes.

Step 1: Put a limit on sugar consumption (ahead of time).

We all are familiar with the infamous relationship between sugar and oral health. Sugar plays a very large role in our overall food consumption here in the United States. The effect of sugar on our overall health can be quite sobering if you dare to look into it. Consequently, sugar’s impact on oral health is staggering. The truth is sugar in and of itself does not cause harm to your teeth. Rather, it’s the unfortunate chain of events occuring after eating that delectable sugar cookie that causes the harm. You see, unhealthy bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar molecules. This process is what creates plaque buildup that eventually leads to tooth decay. Therefore, eating less sugar during the holidays would be a smart way to avoid suffering from cavities, or worse tooth loss. Put a limit on how much dessert you will eat. Eat your dessert on smaller plates so it feels like you’re eating more.

Step 2: Plan to drink more water.

Water can be described as the magic elixir of life. It can do wonders for your body including hydration, flushing toxins out of your body, and aiding in digestion. Additionally, water can help rinse your mouth out and pass any extra sugar digestive tract preventing it from sitting in your mouth and attracting bacteria. Drinking more water also helps to fill up your belly and give you a more full feeling which can deter overeating.

Step 3: Brush.

It may seem extra hard to get your twice daily tooth brushing in during the holidays. But it can make a big difference. Brushing your teeth twice a day especially after eating sugary foods and consuming acids, will help keep your smile bright and clean. Remember to make your each brushing time last for two minutes in order to reap the maximum results.

Step 4: Schedule your dental cleaning after the holidays.

Just in case you do build up extra plaque during the holidays, you can clear it out with a dental visit. Plan ahead and schedule a visit with your dentist to coincide with the holidays. Having a dental visit right after the holidays will help you to remain accountable to yourself in order to be prepared for the visit. Also, the timing of the visit right after the holidays will ensure you have a teeth cleaning done right as the new year kicks in.

You don’t have to let your oral health take a back seat during the holidays. Be proactive with yourself and your family so that you can survive the holidays with a healthy smile.

How to get your Stubborn Husband to go to the Dentist

How to Get Your Stubborn Husband to go to the Dentist

Whether the man in your life has an innate fear of the dentist or he just doesn’t deem it important enough to go, you may understandably be frustrated with his lack of attention to his oral health. After all, you know the importance of regular cleanings every six months as well as flossing and brushing twice daily. But he may not realize it. Check out these tips to encourage your husband to make an appointment.

Recite the Stats

Many men think well in terms of numbers, of hard and true facts. Learn the statistics and let him know what you find.

  • 31% of adults aged 20 to 44 have untreated cavities, according to the CDC.
  • Only 64% of adults aged 18 to 64 visited a dentist in the past year.
  • Large amounts of bacteria in the mouth caused by poor dental hygiene can allow germs to invade the bloodstream. This can lead to infections and diseases, says Medical Daily.
  • The American Dental Association says that those who are at a high risk of developing periodontal disease should visit their dentist more frequently.
  • One in four adults admit they don’t brush twice a day, including one-third of men.
  • Only 9% of men have oral health that is deemed excellent.
  • 51,000 of people will get oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer this year, says the American Cancer Society. About 10,000 of them will die.
  • Oral cancers are more than twice as common in men as in women.

Address the Root Problem

The #1 reason people avoid going to the dentist? Fear. In fact, three out of four adults report at least some anxiety when facing a dental visit, from feeling slightly afraid to feeling terrified, according to the Dental Fears Research Clinic. Approach the issue gingerly and ask your husband if he feels anxious about going to the dentist. You may be rebuked at first, but be persistent. It’s actually quite common for men to feel fear due to the lack of control they experience in situations like dental visits. In a society that puts a lot of pressure on men to be in control and never show emotion, it’s no wonder your guy is having a hard time admitting this.

Common sources of dental anxiety include the fear of pain or injections, the sound of drills and other instruments, lying flat in the chair, and simply that lack of control that comes with being at the mercy of someone else.

Problem is, men who proclaim they hate the dentist simply avoid going to appointments. While this calms the fear initially, it leads to the need for more in-depth cleanings, more cavity fillings and other procedures when they do go. This results in more pain and loss of control, so they stop going for awhile again and the cycle repeats itself. Bottom line, if men kept up with their six-month cleanings, the visits would be far more pleasant than if they were to wait until bigger issues crop up.

Another top reason for avoiding the dentist is cost. With many families going without dental insurance due to the high cost of this insurance on top of standard health insurance, many men forgo their own dental visits in favor of saving money. They may stress the importance of dental care with their wives or children, but when it comes to themselves, they feel their money is best spent elsewhere.

Luckily, the office of Gary Demetriou, DMD, can remedy both of these situations. We accept many different insurance plans, and for those who don’t have insurance, we offer affordable payment plans that work with your budget. In terms of allaying fears, our staff is well aware that many people — including men — may feel anxious when visiting us. That’s why we do all we can to put you at ease.

Keeping Your Kids Teeth Safe in Sports

Preventing dental injuries in your kids is of paramount importance when you’re a parent. The National Institutes of Health says 30 million children and teens are involved in sports in this country, and more than five million knocked-out teeth occur each year to the tune of $500 million in dental care costs. Common dental injuries that happen in sports include anything from tooth fractures to extrusion to temporomandibular joint dislocation. Knowing this, you may decide it’s easier to just keep your kids in a bubble. But while you can’t exactly anticipate or prevent all of these potential injuries, you can be prepared for them. Check out these tips:

Use a mouth guard: As your first line of defense against sports injuries to the mouth, these guards are imperative. No, they can’t prevent every type of injury, but they’re the best option we have at this time. They should fit properly so as not to affect speech or the ability to breathe. Even kids with braces should wear mouthguards, which they can get from their orthodontist. Everyone else can use a custom mouth guard, which adheres to the shape of the teeth when you boil it in water first so it becomes pliable. Mouth guards don’t just keep teeth from getting knocked out. They can prevent cuts on the tongues and lips too, particularly if your child wears braces.

Try a face cage: Some sports require the use of a face cage, such as with hockey goalies or baseball catchers. These can prevent trauma to the face by blocking flying objects such as balls and pucks.

Wear a helmet: These will guard against concussions due to impact. While they don’t primarily protect the teeth, they do protect the head and support the jaws, and most come with an attached mouth guard.

Properly store and clean your orthodontic appliance: If your child wears a retainer or headgear, make sure they don’t use these appliances when playing sports. They could slice the skin or mouth if hit by a ball, for example. It’s always a good idea to keep retainers and other orthodontic appliances clean. Also, make sure your child knows to store it in the proper container, never a tissue, which could get thrown out. While we’re on the subject, heed these tips for keeping your teeth safe.

  • Remove headgear and wear a mouthguard when playing sports.
  • Don’t eat hard, sticky or crunchy foods.
  • Don’t pull on your braces or pick at them.
  • Use orthodontic wax on sharp ends of wires to protect your cheeks and gums.
  • Store the appliance in the proper case it came with.
  • Clean your mouthguard or orthodontic appliance regularly.

Follow the above safety tips to keep your kids safe AND avoid unnecessary dental bills.

Call Gary Demetriou DMD today at 978-794-0010 for more tips on avoiding dental injuries from sports. Or, feel free schedule a regular cleaning appointment. Don’t hesitate to call us if you experience a dental trauma.

How To Achieve A Holiday-Ready Smile

The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes parties, cookie swaps, plays and plenty of get-togethers with friends and family. It’s so easy to get swept up in the gifts and the shopping and the food that you can inadvertently put your own appearance on the back burner. All that coffee and tea you’ve been swigging to get through the craziness of Black Friday is now showing its effects on your teeth. Take a good look in the mirror: do you see yellow and brown tints or spots that really detract from your smile? If so, you could benefit from some teeth whitening to get them looking more attractive. After all, you’ll be meeting and greeting lots of people this holiday season.

You spent a lot of time and effort on planning your outfits and jewelry for all the holiday parties you’ll be attending and hosting this month, and your smile should match your spectacular attire. If you think it’s too late to get a holiday-ready smile, think again. Check out these things you can do now to get a brighter smile.

Use a Whitening Toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste is good to have on hand, but it works gradually and it’s not as effective as whitening trays or strips. Definitely, use it as a complement to your oral care regimen so you can remove stains and prevent stain build-up over time.

Nix the Coffee and Soda

For all you coffee and soda lovers out there, this can be a tough one to swallow. But if you cut back, or at least sip through a straw to minimize contact with the teeth, you will reap the rewards in the form of better-looking teeth. After drinking, rinse out your mouth with water.

Eat Plenty of Vegetables and Fruits

Maintaining a healthy diet can also do wonders for your teeth. Fill your plate with celery, carrots, and apples for extra vitamin C, which works to improve your saliva production. The more saliva flowing in your mouth, the better it works to wash debris away from the teeth.

Use an At-Home Whitening Kit

Pick up a kit or some strips from the store if you have a few days or a week before that party. They’re fairly affordable and have been known to lighten stains somewhat; however, they contain a mild peroxide which works minimally at dissolving surface stains. For better results, go pro.

Schedule a Professional Appointment

If you’ve gone through all of these suggestions and they haven’t quite worked, or you need something more immediate, make an appointment with your dentist for in-office teeth whitening. This is the most effective and quick way to achieve the results you need. Prepare to see amazing effects that can brighten your teeth several shades in just one appointment.

Dr. Demetriou offers in-office teeth whitening for fast, effective, long-lasting results. Call us today at 978-794-0010 to make an appointment before all those holiday parties!

5 Signs That Mean You Need to See Your Dentist

Whether you have been skipping your regular six-month cleanings or you go religiously but face an issue in between visits, sometimes there are dental problems that can trigger a special trip. These can range from tooth pain and inflamed gums to toothaches and white spots on the teeth. Here are five signs that mean you need to see your dentist.

A sore that doesn’t heal: If you notice a sore in your mouth, a lump, or a red or white patch on your cheeks, gums or tongue that doesn’t go away within a couple of weeks, call your dentist, advises Reader’s Digest Best Health. Oral cancer is a possibility, but the good news is that when caught early, the chances of recovery are good. At every cleaning, your dentist likely scans for signs of oral cancer, but you can do self-checks at home each month with a mirror and the proper lighting.

Toothache: A nagging toothache can be annoying but it can also signal a cavity or abscessed tooth. Persistent dental pain is not something you should just live with. If you let it go, that cavity could get larger and eventually kill the root of your tooth. That leads to a root canal, dental implants and crowns, which all involve many dental visits at great expense. Remember, the pain won’t get better without treatment, it will only get worse.

Swollen gums: While sometimes you may get a little bleeding and soreness after vigorous tooth brushing and flossing, it becomes a more concerning issue when your gums are constantly red, bleeding and swollen. This could signal gingivitis or gum inflammation. This is an early stage of gum disease that can be reversed with proper oral care and professional help to remove the soft, sticky plaque that coats your teeth and gums.

Jaw pain: Waking up with jaw pain is something that afflicts millions of Americans. It’s got a pretty common root cause, usually, the result of teeth grinding while sleeping. However, jaw pain could also signal TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder, a misaligned bite, an abscessed tooth, osteomyelitis (an infection that travels through the bloodstream to affect the bones and surrounding tissues), gum disease and cavities. You may be prescribed antibiotics or you may be given a mouth guard to wear at night to prevent grinding. Your dentist will determine the root cause and come up with a treatment plan accordingly.

White spots on teeth: These can be the first signs of dental decay, involving an infection in the tooth caused by dissolving of the enamel. This is due to the acid produced by bacteria. White spots can also be caused by dry mouth, consuming too many acidic foods and beverages, high-sugar diets and acid reflux. Your dentist can fix this through polishing, whitening, bonding or veneers.

If you suffer from any of the above, make an appointment with Dr. Gary Demetriou at 978-794-0010.

Tips and Tricks to Great Oral Health

Tips and Tricks to Great Oral Health

Oral hygiene is a must if you want to keep your brilliant smile. Most of us know to brush and floss each day, but there are many other ways to ensure good oral health, from positive dietary choices to a thorough daily tooth care routine. Check out these tips and tricks to achieving a smile you can be proud of:

1. Brushing. You may know you need to do this at least twice a day, but are you doing it right? The right brush is imperative. Choose a soft, nylon brush with round-ended bristles so as to avoid irritation of the teeth and gums, recommends the American Dental Hygienists’ Association. HOW you brush your teeth is important too. Be sure to position the bristles at the gum line at a 45-degree angle so that they reach the tooth surface and gums. Use a gentle back-and-forth rolling motion, beginning at the gums and moving towards the tooth surface.

2. Flossing. Despite the recent news that says flossing isn’t necessary for health teeth, dental professionals and organizations still tout its benefits. You’ll need about 18 inches of floss to start. Hold it tightly between your fingers and make sure you’re getting up into the gums when you floss so as to remove accumulated food particles that can cause plaque.

3. Healthy eating. Get your recommended daily allowance of calcium from milk, supplements, low-fat dairy products, salmon, nuts and green leafy vegetables. You’ll also need vitamin D to absorb calcium, which comes from the sun, milk, and salmon. Don’t forget Vitamin K to ensure strong teeth, from sources like meats, fish, eggs, whole grains, bananas and spinach.

4. Fluoride application. You can achieve this via a direct application at the dentist or as part of oral supplements. Reader’s Digest says fluoride fights decay and reduces the rate of cavities by as much as 60 percent. Many communities fluoridate their water supply, or you can even get it through fluoridated toothpaste or beverages.

 

4 Reasons You Need Preventive Dentistry Services

 

5. Quit smoking. This can lead to gum disease and tooth decay, as smoking can weaken and stain your teeth — not to mention it causes chronic bad breath.

6. Visit the dentist regularly. The ADA says both adults and children should get cleanings from the dentist twice per year. Your dentist can take a look at your teeth to make sure they’re in good shape, check for cavities, and take x-rays that can detect structural problems. If you fail to go to the dentist regularly, you could be setting yourself up for developing infection, gingivitis, and tooth decay.

7. Don’t eat sugary, sticky foods. We all know that cookies and cakes can cause cavities. But did you know you should also avoid crackers, fish crackers, chips, dried fruits, and raisins? Those foods can stay in the teeth for a long time, convert to sugar, and cause cavities. Steer clear of fruit snacks, cookies, bread sticks, taffy and hard candy. If you do splurge, brush your teeth afterwards to get the extra food particles out before they do damage.

Schedule your next cleaning with Dr. Gary C. Demetriou, D.M.D. today at 978-794-0010. We would be happy to go over some more tips and tricks for good oral health!

4 Dental Care Products Every Family Should Have

Your teeth are an extremely important part of your body. Taking good care of them is an absolute must! Brushing twice a day is a great way to keep up with your dental hygiene. To go above and beyond, you’ll need these products:

Tongue Cleaner:

Often times, people forget to clean their tongue when brushing their teeth. The problem is, tongues are full of bacteria build-up, food debris and fungi. A tongue cleaner is a cheap and simple tool that allows you to eliminate the risk of these things causing oral health problems.

Home Irrigator: 

These are a great way to control plaque. Using this as part of your dental hygiene routine, you will eliminate up to five times as much plaque as you would just brushing alone.  A home irrigator is a great way to prevent any problems caused by plaque.

Another great benefit of home irrigators are their ability to help control gum disease. It can reduce inflammation and provide better oral hygiene. Having a home irrigator will definitely benefit your household.

 Sugar-Free Chewing Gum

Did this one surprise you? Us too! But, sugar-free chewing gum can help protect your teeth in between meals. It also can reduce the acid in your mouth (which is caused by bacteria and the food you eat) by producing more saliva, a natural defense against acid. Added bonus? Fresh breath!

 Fabric Toothbrush Shield

 Many people use plastic toothbrush covers to protect their toothbrushes from bacteria. Unfortunately, these plastic covers act as a petri dish and breed germs around the toothbrush. The solution to this is a fabric toothbrush shield. It acts as a surgical mask for your toothbrush and is laboratory tested to be 99.9% effective against bacteria. This sanitary way to protect your toothbrush will drastically reduce the amount of bacteria on it.

Be sure to to try these products and see how much they can transform your dental hygiene! Your pearly whites will thank you.

Top Reasons to get Invisalign Today

Facing braces as an older teen or adult can seem like a scary proposition — after all, your awkward days of middle school are far behind you — why go through braces now? As an adult, you now realize the importance of a brilliant smile. Perhaps you could never afford to get braces, or maybe you didn’t really need them when you were a kid. Maybe you always just put it off til later. Well, that “later” is now!

Invisalign is a whole different ball of wax than traditional metal braces, so throw all your preconceived notions out the window and check out these reasons to get Invisalign:

No Brackets and Wires

The biggest reason adults love Invisalign is that there are no uncomfortable metal braces with brackets that can stick and poke. Instead, Invisalign can correct a variety of orthodontic issues through the use of molded plastic aligners to gently reposition the teeth in stages. Fore example, after two weeks wearing one customized aligner, you get a new one to wear all day long except during meal times.

Correct Orthodontic Issues

You can look great AND get your orthodontic issues corrected at the same time. Invisalign can address a variety of issues, such as:

  • Overcrowding
  • Crooked teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Cross bites
  • Over bites
  • Under bites

Of course, you’ll need a consultation with your orthodontist to be sure, but in most cases, Invisalign is an ideal solution for many adults.

No Adjustments

There’s no longer a need for painful adjustments at the office where your braces are tightened and turned, leaving you with a headache for two days. This is because customized aligners are used in succession, working to gently correct your orthodontic problem over a period of months. As such, you won’t experience the pain or discomfort that come with traditional braces. Invisalign products are soft and molded from plastic, resulting in a more comfortable fit.

Quicker Results

Compared with traditional braces, which can take up to two years to work, Invisalign can achieve the desired results in half the time. As an adult or older teen, this could be the main selling point with Invisalign because you can get back to enjoying an active social life or interacting confidently with colleagues at work.

Good Orthodontic Care

Visiting your dentist every six months and getting the proper orthodontic care is crucial, especially for adults. According to MedlinePlus, neglect can lead to:

  • Cavities
  • Gingivitis (inflamed and swollen gums)
  • Periodontitis (destruction of ligaments and bone that support the teeth)
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Abscesses, pain and the inability to use teeth
  • Health problems such as preterm labor and heart disease

Give us a Call

Contact Dr. Demetriou DMD for a consultation on whether you’re a good candidate for Invisalign. The first step will be to take x-rays, pictures, and impressions of your teeth to develop a 3D image from which the doctor can map out a precise treatment plan. Soon after, you will receive your custom aligners based on your personalized treatment plan. Call us today at 978-794-0010 to learn more!