Love Pumpkin? Your Smile Does Too

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‘TIS THE SEASON FOR everything pumpkin. As the poster child of fall, pumpkin doesn’t just star in our autumnal decorations, it shows up on our menus too. And as far as we’re concerned, that’s a good thing. Pumpkin is great for your oral and overall health!

Pumpkin: Fall’s Superfood

We’re glad pumpkin has so many health benefits because it sure is delicious! Pumpkins are high in fiber and are a great source of beta-carotene, which are both important for our health in various ways. They’re also full of potassium which can help lower blood pressure. But the reason we dentists love pumpkin is that it’s great for your smile!

Pumpkins benefit your oral health because they are:

  • A great source of zinc. Zinc is considered an anti-plaque agent and is often added to toothpaste to prevent buildup. It also strengthens teeth and bones and boosts gum health.
  • Rich in vitamins. Vitamin A found in pumpkin aids in the flow of saliva, keeping your teeth clean and protecting them from decay. Pumpkin’s vitamin C contributes to a healthy immune system, helping you to fight off oral infections.
  • High in magnesium. In tandem with calcium, magnesium strengthens tooth enamel and prevents decay. Without magnesium, our enamel would be much weaker and more susceptible to cavity-causing bacteria.

Not All Pumpkin Treats Are Good For You

Now before you go running off to Starbucks for that pumpkin spice latte or the bakery for a batch of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, there are a few things you should know. Not everything you encounter with pumpkin in it is going to benefit your health.

A lot of the most popular pumpkin snacks–pumpkin pie, bread and cake, in addition to the aforementioned treats–should actually be considered desserts because of their high sugar content. So when it comes to these sugar-filled pumpkin treats, consume them in moderation.

Here are some healthier ways to satisfy your pumpkin cravings this fall:

  • Baked pumpkin seeds–a guilt-free, vitamin-filled snack
  • Pumpkin smoothie–perfect for breakfast or as a dessert substitute
  • Pumpkin soup–a great way to warm up in the colder autumn weather
  • Roasted pumpkin–make it the main course, use it as a side dish, or throw it in a salad

Enjoy The Fall Season

Nothing says autumn more than the big orange fruit. When you’re eating all that pumpkin this fall, remember that you’re not only satisfying your tastebuds, but you’re also boosting your oral and overall health! So go ahead, eat more pumpkin.

Wishing a wonderful autumn to all our patients.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Don’t Let Your Insurance Benefits Go To Waste!

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THE END OF THE YEAR IS approaching fast! Before year’s end, our team wants to remind you to take a look at your dental insurance benefits!

Insurance Benefits Typically Don’t Roll Over To Next Year

Each year your dental insurance company probably gives you a maximum amount of available benefits. Since those benefits don’t typically roll over into the following year, you’ll want to contact us now to get your appointment scheduled!

We all know how it is, once the holiday season is upon us—hectic! Life can get really busy and some things fall between the cracks. So remember that your dental health needs your attention too—not just for the sake of your teeth, but for your overall health. If you’re due (or overdue) for an appointment, make sure to talk to our office. Take advantage of those dental insurance benefits before time is up!

Dr. Allen and Morrison Add…

Near the end of the year, we are at our busiest. People are trying to get in last minute to maximize their benefits. Calling and scheduling earlier can make sure that you can get an appointment before all our spots are filled up. Waiting until the last minute may not guarantee that we will be able to see you before the end of the year, and you may lose any benefits remaining and delay any necessary treatment you may need.

Do you have any questions about your dental insurance benefits? Call us! We’re happy to work with you to create a dental health plan that works for you!

Thanks for being our valued patient!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Make Your Game Day Snacks More Smile-Friendly

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WATCHING FOOTBALL IS ONE OF AMERICA’S GREAT TRADITIONS. Many families and friends gather together on a weekly basis to watch their favorite teams go head to head. And while people come for the football, we all know what they’re really there for… the food!

Traditional game day snacks may be delicious–think wings, sliders, nachos, pizza–but they are certainly not the healthiest for our bodies, or our teeth for that matter.

Make Healthier Choices On Game Day

October is one of the busiest sports months of the year. For all you sports fans out there, you’re going to have a lot of games to watch and, as a result, a lot of unhealthy finger food you may be planning to eat. Making healthier choices for the big game is easy… and well worth it!

For more smile-friendly snacks, try these healthy alternatives to traditional game day food:

  • Veggie-filled wraps instead of sliders. Leafy greens contain vitamins essential for healthy teeth and gums.
  • Yogurt instead of ice cream. You know dairy is good for your teeth! But watch out for added sugars you can find in ice cream and some yogurts. Make a greek yogurt parfait or a yogurt-based dip for fruit to protect those chompers.
  • Bruschetta instead of pizza. Fresh-made bruschetta, especially with calcium-rich cheese on top, is a great substitute for greasy pizza.
  • Vegetables instead of chips. Refined, starchy foods can be worse for your teeth than sugar. Bake your own kale chips or substitute cucumbers, celery, and carrots for greasy chips. You’ll get that crunch factor you crave as well as protect your teeth from decay.
  • Zucchini or sweet potato fries instead of french fries. Bake your fries instead of deep-fry them. Sweet potatoes have a lot of vitamin C which promotes healthy gums. Zucchini has an extremely high water content which will get your saliva flowing.

You could even try this healthy spinach and artichoke dip at your next watch-party!

Here’s another fun fact: including apples and strawberries in your snack game plan can actually help whiten your teeth! These fruits contain malic acid which removes surface stains from your teeth and whitens enamel.

In addition, nuts, celery, carrots and again, apples, are great finger foods that work as natural toothbrushes. That’s right! Because of their abrasive texture, they naturally remove bacteria and plaque. They also increase saliva production, helping to wash away food particles and bacteria in your mouth. So the next time you want to just eat the wings and leave the celery, think again.

Eat Right For A Winning Smile

We know you want your team to win the big game, but it’s even more important to have a winning smile! What are your favorite healthy game day snacks? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to get some more ideas!

Happy watching to all our football fans!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Abdulla Al Muhairi used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Are You Prepared For A Dental Emergency?

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ACCIDENTS ALWAYS SEEM to happen when we least expect them. When those accidents involve tooth damage, it’s important to know what steps to take. Being prepared before a dental emergency occurs can save a damaged or knocked out tooth, prevent infection and decrease the need for extensive treatment.

Step One: Find Your Dental Home

The most important step to being well-prepared for a dental emergency is establishing a dental home. This means finding a dental practice that is right for you and sticking with it. When the worst happens unexpectedly, it can be a great help to have a dentist and practice you trust by your side.

If you have found your dental home, you will likely be more familiar with their hours and know if and when your dentist provides emergency services. With an already established relationship, you know your preferred practice will be able to provide high-quality care, advice and support.

Step Two: Be Prepared

We all know accidents happen. Being “prepared” simply means knowing what to do in certain situations before a mishap actually occurs. In a dental emergency, time is of the essence–it could mean the difference between saving or losing a tooth.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), here’s how you should handle these dental emergencies:

When a baby tooth is knocked out…

If this happens to your child, contact their dentist as soon as possible. The tooth will most likely not be replanted because of potential damage to the developing permanent tooth.

When a tooth is fractured or chipped…

Contact your dentist immediately as prompt treatment is required. Rinse out your mouth with water and find any broken tooth fragments. Place the fragments in cold milk or water and bring it with you to the dentist.

When a permanent tooth is knocked out…

Again, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention from your dentist. Most knocked-out teeth can be saved if a dentist is seen within 30 minutes to an hour of the accident. In the meantime, find the tooth and rinse it gently in cool water (no soap), without scrubbing or cleaning it. Replace the tooth back in the socket, if possible, and hold it there with clean gauze or a washcloth. If you cannot put the tooth back in the socket, place the tooth in a container with cold milk, saliva or water.

Also, do not put aspirin directly on the affected area. This could lead to burns and additional discomfort.

We’re Here For You

If you have a dental emergency, call us immediately. We make it our priority to be here for you, rain or shine! We always have a dentist on call, even on the weekends or holidays. Do you have any more questions? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

Thank you to our wonderful patients!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Sebastiaan ter Burg used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

See The Full Picture On Dental X-Rays

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IF YOU COULD HAVE any superpower, what would it be? Would you choose super strength? How about the power of flight? Maybe you’d like the ability to see through solid objects! Although super strength and flight may not come too easily, you don’t have to search far for x-ray vision (in a manner of speaking)!

Today, we want to share with you a little bit about x-rays and how we use them in our practice to spot troublesome cavities and other issues before they have a larger effect on your smile!

X-Rays Were Discovered By Accident!

X-rays were first observed in in 1895 by German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen (1845-1923). Roentgen accidentally made this discovery while conducting an experiment testing whether cathode rays would pass through glass. After covering the glass cathode tubes he was using for his experiment, he noticed a glow coming from a nearby chemically coated screen. He was unsure what rays were causing the glow so he dubbed them “X-rays” for the time-being, and the name stuck!

Roentgen is also credited with discovering the medical use of X-rays. The first photograph of a human body part using X-rays is actually his wife’s hand!

Dental X-Rays Help Spot Problems Early

X-rays have become an incredibly valuable tool in modern medicine—especially for dentistry! We learn a lot from visually examining your teeth, but not everything is visible to the naked eye during a routine dental exam.

Dental X-rays allow us to detect and diagnose tooth decay between teeth, on hard-to-reach surfaces, and under existing dental work. X-rays can even be helpful in identifying dental and orthodontic issues that exist beneath the gum line—something that was impossible without invasive procedures before X-rays became widely available.

We Have Your Safety In Mind

Both traditional and digital X-ray exams are safe. Though low levels of radiation are used to capture the X-ray images, each technique is designed to limit the body’s exposure to radiation. A leaded apron and thyroid collar are often used to minimize exposure to the abdomen and throat during an examination. These protective measures are helpful for everyone, but especially recommended for women of childbearing age, those who are pregnant, and children.

If you are pregnant and in need of dental X-rays, be sure to tell your dentist. They will be sure to use the leaded apron and thyroid collar during your exam to protect you and your fetus from any radiation. Dental X-rays do not need to be delayed if you’re breastfeeding or trying to become pregnant, but talk to your dentist if you have any questions or concerns.

Prevention Is The Key To Healthy Smiles

We want to keep your mouth as healthy as possible and preserve your beautiful smile. That’s why it’s essential that we discover and diagnose the earliest sign of a problem. X-rays are an essential tool in helping spot these problems that might otherwise go unnoticed. If you have any questions about dental X-rays, please let us know! We’d love to speak with you about this or any other questions you may have.

Our patients brighten our day!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Bashar Al-Ba’noon used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

What Is A Dental Assistant?

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PEOPLE ARE COMMONLY CONFUSED about what the exact role of a dental assistant is. What does an assistant take care of vs. a dental hygienist, for example? We want to set the record straight! Our dental assistants are an invaluable part of our team and practice–to be honest, we couldn’t get much done without them!

Dental Assistants Are Specially Trained To Serve You

Our dental assistants are specially trained to serve YOU–our valued patients!

The dental assistants at Rio Rancho Family Dental Care must complete one year of post high school education and receive their certification from DANB (dental assisting national board). Every year, they must also complete and earn 10 CEs (continuing education) for a total of 30 every three years in order to maintain their DANB certification. Their duties include, but are not necessarily limited to, providing patient comfort, setting up the dental operatory for the dentist, taking x-rays, and general assisting of the dentist. Our dental assisting staff here at Rio Rancho Family Dental Care provide steller dental care, and we would not be able to provide the amazing service we do without them. Every member of our dental assisting staff is like a part of our dental family, and we appreciate each and every one of them.

Our Patients Are Our Priority

Our priority is providing the highest quality of care to our patients. And we couldn’t do it without the amazing dental assistants in our office! Do you have any questions for our assistants? Let us know in the comments below!

As always, thank you for choosing our practice. We love our patients!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Véronique Debord-Lazaro used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Why Does Food Taste Funny After Brushing?

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HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED why certain foods taste unpleasant after brushing your teeth in the morning? Most of us have experienced that bitter sensation a time or two, but what exactly causes it?

Your Mint Toothpaste Flavor Isn’t To Blame

It’s a common misconception that mint-flavored toothpaste causes the unpleasant taste when eating that first meal after brushing. In reality, it’s a chemical found in most toothpastes called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or other variants like sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). These compounds are known as surfactants, which are foaming agents which make it easier to spread toothpaste evenly as you brush.

Aside from helping toothpaste clean your teeth, surfactants also affect your tastebuds.

Surfactants Affect Your Tastebuds

Surfactants like SLS affect your tastebuds in a couple of different ways. First, it suppresses receptors that pick up the sweet taste in food and drinks. This is why some foods just taste a little more bland if you’ve recently brushed your teeth. The second way surfactants affect your taste is it enhances bitter flavors, so sour food and drinks taste especially bitter.

This effect is especially noticeable in orange juice. Believe it or not, your morning glass of OJ is actually surprisingly sour if you take away the sugar. So when you take a sip of orange juice after brushing your teeth, not only will SLS inhibit your ability to taste your drink’s sweetness, it will enhance the underlying sour flavor and make it really bitter.

Don’t Worry, It Doesn’t Last Long!

Fortunately for us, the effects of SLS don’t linger too long in the morning. After about 30 minutes, your saliva will have diluted the leftover surfactants and things begin to taste normal again. In order to avoid the unpleasant taste after you brush, take a little time to read the paper or accomplish other to-do’s in your regular morning routine before you eat. Rearranging morning activities is an easy way to help your breakfast taste sweet!

Don’t let the off-putting taste discourage you from brushing! Brushing twice a day is the best way to fight cavities and to leave your teeth happy and healthy.

We Have A Pretty Sweet Gig

We love making our patients smile. Whether it’s through fun tips like this or answering questions about your unique oral health situation, our priority is keeping your teeth happy and healthy. Do you have any more questions about how your morning oral hygiene routine? We’d love to answer them! Call us or let us know in the comments below!

Thank you for giving us a reason to smile!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

4 Tips To Soothe A Toothache Before Your Appointment

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SUDDEN TOOTHACHES ARE painful and far from convenient in today’s busy world. However, getting to a dentist as quickly as possible is the best thing you can do to treat and relieve your pain as well as prevent any further problems.

Your Dentist Can Provide Effective Treatment And Long-Term Relief

It’s important to remember that there is always an underlying cause for a toothache, such as decay, gum disease or tooth enamel erosion. They usually never go away on their own and only get worse–and more painful–over time.

Paying a visit to the dentist as early as possible is the best course of action for tooth pain. Your dentist will not only relieve your pain and provide long-term relief, but will also work to treat the cause of your toothache, preventing further discomfort and damage in the future.

Take a page out of our crocodile friend’s book…

In The Meantime…

With that being said, we know that not everyone can come in to see us the moment they feel tooth pain. We also know that the time between the start of a toothache and actually getting to the dentist can be excruciating. Between making your appointment and getting to the dentist, try some of these at-home, temporary toothache remedies to help relieve your pain.

Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers

OTC pain relievers–such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and the like–can provide short-term pain relief. If you use aspirin, swallow it as you normally would. Do not put it right on your tooth or gums as this will not relieve any pain and can damage the soft tissues of your mouth.

Salt Water

Swishing salt water around your mouth can help clean out an infected area and loosen any food debris present. This can help relieve some discomfort, depending on the cause of your toothache.

Garlic

Garlic is said to have properties that help it inhibit the growth of bacteria and temporarily relieve pain. Simply chew some garlic or mash a clove of garlic into a paste and apply it to your tooth.Warning: this remedy may cause severe bad breath!

Clove or Peppermint Oil

Both clove and peppermint oil contain natural anesthetics and can act as numbing agents. They are very strong and can do damage to your mouth’s soft tissues, however, so you’ll want to be careful. Drip a drop or two of oil onto a cotton ball and apply it to the throbbing tooth.

Be sure to check with your dental or health care provider before you try any of these at-home remedies, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.

Don’t Wait To Treat Your Toothache

Remember, toothaches only get worse over time, so don’t wait to come in and see us. These at-home toothache remedies are meant to help with short-term pain relief and are in no way a substitute for the treatment and care you’ll receive from the trained professionals in our practice!

Our specialty is serving YOU!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Flossing Is Essential To Your Oral Hygiene

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WE’VE MENTIONED IT TIME AND TIME AGAIN… Flossing is an essential part of good oral hygiene. Many people don’t see the need for flossing when they already brush their teeth; others simply hate the task. We understand that it can be tedious! But as your trusted dental professionals, we want to assure you that flossing will greatly benefit your dental and overall health.

So, How Does Flossing Benefit My Health?

Did you know that when you don’t floss, you miss cleaning 35 percent of tooth surfaces in your mouth? That’s because brushing simply cannot get into those hard-to-reach spaces between your teeth. Unfortunately, however, bacteria can! Flossing completes brushing by cleaning the spaces your toothbrush can’t.

Regular flossing can:

  • Prevent cavities. Have you ever flossed, even after brushing your teeth, and were surprised to find a remnant of your last meal? Flossing removes food debris and plaque, preventing cavity formation between the teeth, a common place for tooth decay.
  • Fight bad breath. If food or plaque are left in between teeth, they will eventually release a bad smell. Yuck!
  • Inhibit tartar buildup and gum disease. If left on teeth for too long, plaque hardens into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional. The presence of tartar can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Gum disease is associated with other systemic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
  • Improve your appearance. Food debris and plaque make teeth look more yellow and gritty. Clean, healthy teeth always appear whiter and brighter!

From years of experience, we can confidently say that flossing makes a big difference in your oral and overall health.

For Flossing To Work, It Has To Be Done Correctly

To reap the benefits of flossing, it has to be done correctly. In a 2006 study, researchers wanted to see whether flossing at home had the same benefits as having daily flossing done by professionals. The study showed that participants who were flossed professionally had a 40 percent decrease in their risk of cavities than their at-home flossing counterparts. The researchers concluded that flossing, when done properly, has a substantial, positive effect on oral health.

Many people simply snap the floss in between their teeth and pull it back out. The correct way, however, is to curve the floss around the tooth, as if the floss were hugging it. Still curved around the tooth, move the floss up and down to scrape the plaque. Do the same on the other tooth.

Take The Flossing Challenge

We’d like to challenge you to make daily flossing a part of your oral healthcare routine. We promise you’ll feel the difference! If you still have questions about flossing, call or come in to see us. Seeing our patients is the best part of our day!

Top image by Flickr user angela n. used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.