Altoona IA Dentist | Look 10 Years Younger

Your smile is one of the first things a person will notice when you meet. If you would like to improve your smile with a simple procedure, teeth whitening may be a great option for you, especially if you have stained, dull or discolored teeth. Our dental office is providing teeth whitening services to new and existing patients.

Regardless of how well you care for your teeth, over time, discoloration will occur. The main causes of stained teeth are genetics, antibiotics, tobacco and certain foods. As we age, our teeth darken as well. While preventing tooth discoloration is nearly impossible, our experienced team can help reverse the effects of discoloration by helping to create a whiter and brighter smile.

Whether it’s an in-office treatment or at-home treatment, the principles of teeth whitening are the same. A special whitening agent is applied to the teeth in order to bleach the stains and brighten your smile. Our expert dentist will discuss your whitening needs and goals with you to determine which option is best for you.

In-office teeth whitening is the quickest method to a brighter, whiter smile. With the supervision of an experienced dental professional, a stronger bleaching solution can be used than with at-home kits. Optimal results are achieved much faster with the professional whitening treatment, and in many ways the results are much better given the nature of the bleaching agents that are used. On average, patients find they appear up to ten years younger just by restoring the bright, white smile of their youth.

During a professional teeth whitening treatment, we will first clean the teeth. They will apply a whitening agent to your teeth, carefully avoiding your gums and soft tissue. Once applied, a laser light will be directed at the teeth to expedite the process. For maximum results, the process maybe repeated more than once.

If a visit to our office for professional whitening isn’t an option for you, at-home treatment may provide the whitening you need. While you will find a vast variety of at-home teeth whitening products on the market, including whitening toothpastes, over-the-counter gels, rinses, strips,trays and more, we can fit you with custom-made whitening trays that will more accurately fit to your teeth for a more even whitening result.

At-home teeth whitening results are less dramatic compared to those achieved at the dentist. While at-home teeth whitening is easy to use, it is not recommended if your teeth or gums are sensitive.

If you are looking to brighten your smile and look ten years younger, contact our office for more information or to schedule a consultation today.

Altoona Dental Phone: (515) 967-4211 107 8th St. SE Altoona, IA 50009  altoonadental@gmail.com

Dentist in Altoona IA | 9 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About the Tongue

50009 Dentist

We use our tongues every day to talk, taste, and swallow, yet we rarely take time to think about this flexible organ. Here are 9 things you may not know about the tongue:

1.      The longest recorded tongue was more than 3.8 inches from back to tip; the widest measured over 3” across.

2.      The human tongue contains 8 separate muscles intertwined.

3.      A blue whale tongue weighs about 5,400 pounds and is roughly the size of an adult elephant!

4.      Tongues come in many shapes and have varying numbers of taste buds. This makes a human tongue imprint as unique as a fingerprint.

5.      The average person has about 10,000 taste buds in their mouth.

6.      A single taste bud contains between 50 and 100 taste cells, which may have sensors for multiple tastes.

7.      No individual taste cell can identify both bitter and sweet flavors.

8.      1 milliliter of saliva contains about 1,000,000 bacteria.

9.      Using a tongue scraper to clean your tongue is proven to help prevent osteoporosis, pneumonia, heart attacks, premature births, diabetes, and male infertility.

Health issues involving the tongue are most commonly caused by bacteria or tobacco use. Proper cleaning of the tongue can help prevent these conditions from developing. However, if you notice sores, discoloration, or other symptoms, contact our office.

Some tongue-affecting illnesses include:

·         Leukoplakia – excessive cell growth characterized by white patches in the mouth and on the tongue. It is not dangerous, but can be a precursor to oral cancer.

·         Oral thrush – an oral yeast infection common after antibiotic use, often characterized by cottage-cheese like white patches on the surface of the tongue and mouth.

·         Red tongue – may be caused by a deficiency of folic acid and/or vitamin B-12.

·         Hairy tongue – black and/or hairy-feeling tongue can be caused by build-up of bacteria.

·         Canker sores – small ulcerous sores on the tongue, often associated with stress. These sores are not the same as cold sores and are not contagious.

·         Oral cancer – most sore tongue issues are not serious. However, if you have a sore or lump on your tongue that does not heal within a week or two, schedule a screening.

Resource: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/

For more information about the tongue or to schedule a screening with our doctor, contact our office.

107 8th St. SE, Altoona, IA 50009

The One Piece of Gear Every Athlete Needs

An injury to your mouth can be a painful, expensive experience. For athletes, mouth and tooth injuries are a very real risk. Mouthguards are an excellent tool for protecting your mouth from injury and harm. Our team can help you find a solution that protects your teeth while you play.

Why Wear a Mouthguard?

Mouthguards protect your teeth. For athletes, injuries to the mouth can cause cracked teeth, or even worse, missing teeth. Additionally, your mouth is mostly made up of soft tissues, such as your tongue, inside cheeks, and lips. These areas can become injured or pierced when playing sports. Mouthguards help defend your mouth and teeth against such injuries.

Do All Athletes Need a Mouthguard?

Yes. High-contact sports such as hockey, wrestling, football, and boxing pose the greatest risk for mouth injuries. However, all athletes can benefit from being cautious. Gymnasts should consider wearing one to protect their mouth in the event of a fall. Baseball and basketball players should protect themselves from being injured by a ball or collision with another player. Mouthguards should be treated as a necessary piece of your athletic gear, no matter which sport you play.

Which Mouthguard Is the Most Effective?

Our team can help you during your next visit to our office. There are many options available, ranging from store-bought to custom-fitted mouthguards. We will work with you to determine which type of mouthguard is best for you. It is important that any guard fits properly.

If you are currently receiving orthodontic treatment, we may recommend a special type of  mouthguard. Braces can puncture your mouth if impacted, particularly during sports. Our team will help you find a solution that works.

Prevention is the best solution to oral sports injuries. Contact our office and ask about finding a mouthguard that is right for you.

Maintaining Your Oral Health During Illness

Sniffling, sneezing, and coughing. Being sick can make it more difficult to keep up with your daily routine. Don’t let your cold or flu become an excuse for overlooking your oral hygiene. In fact, when you’re sick it is essential that you continue to stick to your regular brushing and flossing routine. Here are a few tips to keep you on track and on your way to getting better.

Brush After Each Meal

When you’re sick, try maintaining a schedule of brushing your teeth shortly after each meal. Your mouth can be a prime location where bacteria breed. Being extra vigilant in your brushing routine is an excellent way to minimize the multiplication of germs and bacteria.

Be Selective with Cough Drops and Lozenges

Numerous brands of cough drops and throat lozenges contain sugar. In fact, many cough drops or lozenges are similar to candy. Candy, particularly sucking candy that lasts in your mouth for an extended period of time, can lead to tooth decay. Bacteria in your mouth feeds off sugar to create acids that damage your teeth. Consider looking for drops and lozenges that are sugar free, or those that do not include corn syrup and fructose.

Rinse Carefully

If you are vomiting, keeping your mouth clean is important. Stomach acids can damage your teeth. However, brushing right away will just cause you to rub the acids all over your teeth. Instead, rinse your mouth out with water or mouthwash and wait at least 20 minutes before reaching for the toothbrush.

Drink Plenty of Water

Staying hydrated is one of the keys to recovery. Drinking water is also an effective way to prevent dry mouth. Dry mouth can lead to decay and bad breath. Some medications you might be taking to relieve your cold or flu symptoms might dry out your mouth, so be sure to continue to drink water throughout the day.

Replace Your Brush

Once you have recovered from your illness, consider replacing your toothbrush. While it isn’t likely that you would cause yourself to get sick again, you may wish to err on the side of caution. The American Dental Association recommends that you regularly replace your toothbrush every three to four months.

When you are sick, make it a point to keep up with your oral health. Your medications or over-the-counter remedies can have an impact on your oral health. Watch out for sugar content in cough drops and throat lozenges, and stay hydrated with water to avoid dry mouth. Keeping your mouth healthy is the first step to keeping your entire body healthy.

For more oral health tips or to schedule a visit to our office, please contact us.

Dentist in Altoona | The Gum Disease – Diabetes Connection

Dentist Altoona

periodontal-diabetesNearly 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes. Almost 65 million Americans have periodontal disease. Recent studies have suggested that there is a two-way connection between diabetes and periodontal (gum) disease. Patients with gum disease have increased risk of other diabetic complications and patients with diabetes are more prone to developing gum disease.

Gum disease causes inflammation in the body, which can make controlling blood sugar more difficult for diabetic patients. Severe periodontal disease has even been shown to increase blood sugar, making it more difficult to maintain or regain good blood sugar control. In addition, when blood sugar is elevated, patients experience increased risks of additional diabetic complications.

Patients with diabetes are more prone to infections in general. This is especially true for patients whose diabetes is not well controlled. Diabetic patients with poor blood sugar control are more likely to develop gum disease than patients whose diabetes is well controlled. Less controlled diabetic patients will generally have a more severe case of gum disease and are likely to lose more teeth from gum disease, as well.

Besides blood sugar control, diabetes includes a number of other health complications. Diabetic patients are more prone to other oral health issues, such as dry mouth or thrush (a fungal infection of the mouth). Reduced saliva production or infection in the mouth can increase risks of developing periodontal disease as well.

Smoking can escalate these risks even further. Studies have shown that smokers are 5 times more likely than non-smokers to develop gum disease, overall. Diabetic smokers age 45 or older have been found to be 20 times more likely to develop severe gum disease.

Fortunately, when diabetes and blood sugar are well-controlled, the risks of periodontal disease and other oral health complications are no different than for patients without diabetes. If you are diabetic, it is important to work with your doctor to keep your blood sugar under control as much as possible to avoid these added health complications.

Be sure to let us know if you have diabetes and how well-controlled it is. We may need to discuss your medication schedule when planning treatments or to postpone a treatment if your blood sugar is not controlled. Keep in mind that healing from treatment can take longer for diabetic patients, even when blood sugar is well-controlled.

If you have questions or concerns about your risk of periodontal disease with diabetes, contact our office for more information.

Dentist in Altoona, IA | Make Brushing Fun

Altoona IA Dentist

4-ways-to-make-brushing-fun-for-kidsAs a parent, the best way to help ensure your child has a lifetime of healthy teeth is to help them establish great dental hygiene habits as they grow.

Here are some useful tips for keeping your child engaged by making dental hygiene fun:

Pick out a special toothbrush.
One great way to keep your child excited about brushing is to allow him or her to choose their own toothbrush in a favorite color or branded with a favorite cartoon character. Child-size soft-bristled brushes come in a wide variety of options designed to make your child like their toothbrush.

Choose children’s toothpaste.
Another great option is to use a toothpaste that is designed for kids. While adults generally prefer the fresh mouth taste of a minty toothpaste, many children find mint to be too powerful a flavor. This can make brushing unpleasant or even painful to sensitive taste buds. Instead, let your child choose a children’s toothpaste. There are many options available in a variety of soft mint, fruity, and bubble gum flavors. It is much easier to keep your child brushing for a full two minutes when their toothpaste tastes good.

Use a timer.
Two minutes can seem like a long time to a child. It can be very difficult for your child to try to estimate or count how long to brush without some kind of visual aid. You can help your child stay more engaged and ensure a full two minutes of brushing by using a timer. Choices range from a small sand timer your child can flip over, to a manual stopwatch with buttons to press, or even an app on a phone or tablet to time digitally (if your child is old enough). By letting your child take control of the timer, they can be more confident and more engaged in their brushing.

Brush together.
A parent is the first and strongest role model for their child. Brushing together can help your child model your great brushing technique, which will improve their own. Additionally, brushing together emphasizes to your child that brushing is important. When your child sees that you take dental hygiene seriously, they are likely to follow suit.

For more tips on making dental hygiene fun for your child, contact our office.

Dentist Altoona | Healthy Snacks

Dentist in Altoona

how-to-get-your-kids-to-eat-healthier-300x2231The food children eat affects their long term oral health. Some foods have nutrients teeth need. Others are full of acids and sugars that are harmful to teeth. With so many unhealthy food choices being marketed to children every day, it is vital that you take a stand. Offer fun, healthy snacks and model the better food choices you want your kids to make.

Offer healthy snack choices. Kids should have a well-balanced and nutritional diet. This not only promotes overall health but also helps build a strong healthy smile. Nutrition is an important part of oral health. Teaching your kids about eating healthy and limiting sugary foods will help foster a balanced diet from an early age. This will form habits that will result in a lifetime of strong teeth and better health overall.

Have fun with snacks. Promote a nutritious diet by getting creative with snack choices. If you show your kids that healthy snacks are fun, they will be more likely to eat them. Apple slices with peanut butter, fruit smoothies, and yogurt with granola or fruit are great examples of fun, yet healthy combinations. Remember to avoid soda and sugary drinks. These can leave sugars on teeth and can increase the risk of plaque and tooth decay. Water is always the best solution! Eating a well-balanced lunch and dinner is important as well. Make sure to add a variety of fruits and vegetables to every meal so that your kids become accustomed to them.

Be a good role model. Children learn habits by following the example set by their parents. Send your kids the right message by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables yourself. Avoid sugary snacks that can cause cavities or gum disease. Be sure to practice good oral hygiene in front of your kids. If you brush and floss after meals and snacks, your kids will follow the example. Consider brushing together with your child to reinforce good brushing skills and habits. Make sure to brush at least twice a day, after breakfast and before bedtime. If it is possible, try to encourage your child to brush after lunch or after sweet snacks.

Follow up. Don’t forget it is also very important to have regular dental appointments for your child, and model healthy habits by seeing your own dentist regularly. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us for more ideas on how to promote healthy snacking for great long term dental health!