Category Archives: Dental Care Tips

Dental Equipment. Colorful toothbrushes in mug and dental floss on light blue background. Copy space, studio shot.

A Guide to Tooth Tools

Which tooth tools do you need? What tooth tools are a helpful addition to your routine but not important for overall oral health? With so many new products hitting the market to become your best healthy self, deciding what is important and what is extra can be tough. Here is our guide to tooth tools to help you choose the right products:

  1. Toothbrush and toothpaste. Yes! You absolutely need a toothbrush. Whether its electric, or a recycled bamboo toothbrush, this is the most basic thing you’ll need for a healthy smile. Consult your dentist if you want to explore different toothpaste options – sometimes special formulated toothpastes may not be the best choice for your teeth! Use our toothbrush guide (link) if you need help deciding which is right for you!
  2. Floss. We know not everyone has a great flossing routine, but it’s an important habit to pick up before adding any other steps to your oral health. Flossing keeps your breath fresh and prevents plague buildup! Keep some in your office or purse just in case you forget in the morning.
  3. Mouthwash. Though still one of the most common tooth tools, mouthwash isn’t completely necessary to keep your mouth clean and healthy. However, this is a great extra step to add to your routine! A good, antibacterial mouthwash can assist in fighting gum disease.
  4. Tongue scraper. If you’re someone who forgets to brush your tongue or feels uncomfortable doing so, this device is great for removing bacteria from the surface. It is also one of the best ways to prevent bad breath!

Remember, no amount of brushing and tooth tools can replace your regularly scheduled cleaning. Your dental checkup is important for your overall oral health! Call Vacendak Dentistry at (757) 609-3510 to schedule one.

Tooth-friendly Summer Snacks

Group of homemade mixed berry yogurt popsicles on a rustic wood background

For kids, the start of summer is the most exciting time of the year – It means school is out and it’s time for fun and adventure. However, for parents and dentists, it can be a sugary nightmare. Summer is defined mainly by outdoor fun, but is accompanied by sugary snacks: ice cream, popsicles, fruit drinks, movie theatre candy and more.

Thankfully, with a little creativity, you can create your own tasty summer treats without all of the processed sugar! Here are our favorite tooth-friendly summer snacks that are just as sweet:

  1. Banana ice cream. Yes, we just said that ice cream was a sugary treat, but this ice cream is all natural and just as satisfying! Made with just frozen bananas resulting in a texture similar to ice cream, this snack is so good your kids won’t know the difference.
  2. Homemade popsicles: Store-bought popsicles can be full of added sugar, and making them at home is amazingly simple! You’ll just need a popsicle mold, and can customize them with your child’s favorite natural juices, or even add coconut milk to make them creamy.
  3. Frozen fruit: Easier than a popsicle, but still just as tasty and refreshing, frozen fruit cures a sweet tooth on a hot day. Give your child a bowl of the frozen fruit of their choice, making sure the pieces are big enough to prevent a choking hazard.
  4. Smoothies: Fruit drinks and sodas sound great when water just won’t quench your thirst, but they have tons of added sugar. Smoothies are the perfect sweet, cold drink after a day in the sun, and can even mask the flavor of added spinach for an extra healthy kick.
  5. Fruit kabobs: Fruit is an obvious choice when it comes to summer snacks, but creating a kabob station (using popsicle sticks and the fruits of your choice) and letting your child build their own adds a layer of fun and creativity to an ordinary snack.

Remember, replacing sugar with tooth-friendly snacks doesn’t mean you can avoid the dentist all together! Call or contact Vacendak Dentistry now to schedule a dentist appointment.

What to Do About Chipped Teeth

Spring sports and activities are here, which means that the risk of getting hit and chipping a tooth is increasing by the day! However, even those who don’t participate in soccer or baseball can end up with chipped teeth, especially If your enamel is weak. Whether it’s because you didn’t make that left field catch in time, or you slipped in the kitchen in just the wrong spot, a chipped tooth can be painful and annoying to deal with.

The first thing you should do after you’ve injured a tooth is assess the damage. Is it just a minor chip, or is it a crack down the middle? Is it painless, sensitive to the touch, or does it hurt constantly? The best thing you can do for a damaged tooth is consult your dentist, but these factors will determine the severity of the damage and how quickly you should make an appointment.

For any damage that is painful or sensitive, call us as soon as possible (757-609-3570) – cracks and breaks can become worse over time, and addressing them early on will prevent even more pain and complicated procedures. Minor chips can be painful if they are sharp against your tongue, but there is no need to rush right over to the office. Schedule an appointment and one of our doctors can perform tooth bonding to correct the issue!

If you experience a broken or cracked tooth after office hours, treat the problem like you would any other wound until help is available. Rinse with warm water, apply pressure to bleeding areas, and consider pain reliever and icing on any painful areas.

Thankfully, there are plenty of options to fix your damaged tooth and help it appear like-new! Call or contact Vacendak Dentistry today to learn more about the cosmetic procedures we offer and to schedule a consultation.

Understanding Gingivitis

Gingivitis sounds scary, but it is actually one of the most common dental conditions among children and adults! Unless you’re actively looking for signs of gingivitis, most of the time gum disease will go unnoticed until seen by a dental professional, because the symptoms are so mild.

However, just because the symptoms aren’t painful doesn’t mean that gingivitis should go untreated. When ignored, gingivitis can worsen into later stages of gum disease, including Periodontitis and Advanced Periodontitis. Treating gingivitis early on will prevent these later stages that can often cause loose and damaged teeth.

So, how you do you know if you have gingivitis? The best method for determining if you have the early stages of gum disease is by scheduling and attending your regular 6-month checkups. During your visit, your dentist will be able to alert you at the first signs of gingivitis! You can also look for signs and symptoms on your own, including red, tender gums that bleed when you brush your teeth, consistent bad breath, and receding gum lines. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to schedule a visit.

If you are diagnosed with gingivitis, your dentist will want to clean any built-up plaque, and will have the best treatment recommendations based on how advanced it is. If you need a reminder, though, here is what we recommend for treating early signs and prevent future build-ups:

  • Review the proper brushing techniques and make sure you apply them – every single time! It is a good idea to invest in an electric toothbrush for a more detailed cleaning.
  • Don’t forget to floss! Flossing is essential for getting rid of plaque in hard-to-reach areas.
  • Rinse with an anti-bacterial mouthwash for a complete, thorough routine.

If you are concerned you may have gingivitis or need to schedule your routine checkup, give us a call at (757) 609-3510 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment.

Start Fresh in 2018

Building healthy habits takes time, and is often difficult when our old routine is embedded from years of practice. This is one reason New Year’s resolutions are so popular – we use the new year as an official marker to completely change our health and fitness routines. January is a great time to start fresh in areas of our lives we wish to improve on, including oral health!

So how can you revamp your dental routine to “start fresh?” Start by talking with your dentist or researching online to find out what a complete dental routine should entail for you. Ask about proper brushing and flossing technique, and products you should be adding. Be sure you have the right items on hand and are well-stocked with toothpaste, floss, and whatever other special items you may need based on your dentist’s recommendations.

The planning portion of a resolution is the easiest part. The next step is a little tougher and where most people fall short: following through. If you want a complete fresh start, schedule a cleaning for a blank slate to work with. From there, identify what steps in your routine you’ve had trouble with in the past and find solutions to keep up with them in 2018.

Do you have trouble remembering to floss? Put a sticky note on the mirror in the bathroom you brush your teeth in. Are you forgetting to brush your teeth for a full two minutes each time? Put a timer on your bathroom counter to ensure you get a full brushing each time. Do you keep missing your 6-month checkups? Make sure to mark your appointment and set reminders on all of your calendars so you don’t schedule other events on the same day.

Starting fresh with a better, more complete dental routine will create good habits that stick and healthier teeth long-term! If you’re ready to find out how you can improve your oral health this year, give us a call at (757) 609-3510 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment.

Foods That Can Stain Teeth

Teeth whitening has been extremely popular for some time now, with more and more people looking for ways to keep their smile from yellowing. Having white teeth can brighten up any smile, and there are tricks ranging from drugstore whitening strips to swishing coconut oil that have been suggested to whiten teeth.

While paying attention to your dental routine and using good brushing methods are the most important parts of keeping your teeth white, there are also ways you can prevent stains. For instance, there are many foods and beverages that can lead to discoloration over time that you can cut back. Here are a few teeth-staining foods and beverages to look out for:

  • Coffee, tea and soda: Your favorite morning beverages are actually some of the biggest culprits of staining teeth. This is because of their high acidity and dark color, and the frequency with which people consume them.
  • Tomato sauce: Similar to coffee, this food’s acidity levels and color can lead to staining.
  • Berries: If you’ve ever dropped a berry on your clothing, you know how much they can stain. Berries have high amounts of pigmentation that can stain your teeth as well!
  • Red wine: “Wine mouth” is real, and it can happen to your teeth as well. Made of the same tannins that are in coffee and tea, red wine has the potential to leave behind a purple-gray color on teeth.

Though these foods and beverages can potentially stain your teeth, there is no reason to cut them out completely. Paying attention to the frequency at which you consume these items can help, as well as taking measures to protect your teeth, such as consuming leafy greens and apples, which are foods that can leave a protective layer or aid in cleaning.

If you are looking for a longer-term solution to keep your teeth white, you should also consider having them professionally whitened. Vacendak Dentistry uses safe and effective methods for teeth whitening that will help your smile glow for years to come! Contact us today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule an appointment.

Your Toothbrush Shopping Guide

Toothbrushes typically need to be replaced every three months, and it can be pretty intimidating staring at the wall of options available in most grocery stores. Each package claims different benefits: a tongue scrubber, a smaller bristle head, extra soft bristles…the list goes on. Without your dentist on speed dial, the plethora of options can stir confusion. Should you buy an electric toothbrush or a manual? Should you pick extra soft bristles or hard bristles?

Lucky for you we’ve created this handy guide to help you with this decision. Follow along and find out which option is best for you!

1.     Do your gums contain a lot of plaque or gingivitis?

a)    Yes – Go for an electric toothbrush! The oscillating motion helps remove plaque that is tough to reach with a manual toothbrush. Continue to question 3.
b)    No – Go to Question 2.

2.     Do you have sensitive gums and teeth?

a)    Yes – Pick a toothbrush with soft bristles to prevent any pain while brushing. Continue to question 3.
b)    No – Any bristle type will work, but soft bristles are always the best option, especially if you’re a hard brusher. Continue to question 3.

3.     Do you often have bad breath?

a)    Yes – Look for a brush with a tongue scrubber on the back or if using an electric toothbrush, one that specializes in tongue cleaning. This is more effective than just brushing your tongue and will remove more build-up that can cause bad breath. Continue to question 4.
b)    No – You’re all set! Now get brushing and continue to question 4.

4.     Bonus Question: Have you been to the dentist for a cleaning in the past 6 months?

a)    Yes – Great! Make sure you have your next appointment scheduled and call us at (757) 609-3510 if you don’t.
b)    No – Make an appointment! Your dental checkup is important for your overall oral health. Call us at (757) 379-2297 to schedule one.

Mid-Year Check In!

We are about half-way through the year and by this time, most people have abandoned their New Year’s resolutions. If you’re one of those people, you’re not alone. The good news is that you still have about 6 months to make good on those resolutions and improve your daily habits. Whether you want to lose a few pounds, be better about staying in touch with friends, or…drum roll pleasefloss daily, now is a good time as any to start!

Here are some tips for establishing and maintaining good habits (dental and otherwise):

  • Start small. Have you ever heard the old saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”? Don’t get too hung up on looking a month or a year ahead. Simply do the thing you need to do on a daily (or hourly) basis to accomplish the goal.
  • Be consistent. If following a better dental hygiene routine is your aim, set a specific time of day and/or night to brush and floss and try to stick with that time. Set an alarm on your phone and don’t ignore it. This tactic is especially important for establishing a healthy sleep routine.
  • Plan for obstacles. Particularly in the summertime, travel can get in the way of sticking to healthy habits. In relation to dental hygiene, it’s smart to keep an “emergency” travel kit handy and separate from your main toothbrush and other dental appliances. Going out of town is not an excuse to forgo flossing!
  • Reward yourself. When you set goals, don’t forget to set rewards as well! For example, say your goal is to floss every day for a month. When you make it to that milestone, promise yourself the gift of an electric toothbrush (or something equally exciting).

Do you feel like your habits keep you in control of your dental health? If not, it may be time to visit the dentist for a checkup. The team of professionals at Vacendak Dentistry can help set your mind at ease and give you the tools you need to feel good about your oral health and routine. Call us today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule an appointment.

 

 

How to Get the Most Out of a Dental Visit

While we here at Vacendak Dentistry try our best to make going to the dentist a pleasant experience for our patients, we understand that it can still feel like a chore. Many people see dental visits as necessary evils. If you are one of those people who hates the dentist but loves the peace of mind that comes with a healthy mouth, you may be wondering what you can do to get all you can out of the appointment (so as not to have to return early thanks to a toothache or worse). Here are some tips.

  • Practice good oral hygiene outside of the dentist’s office. Taking care of your teeth on a daily basis by brushing and flossing allows the hygienist to give the most thorough cleaning possible without pain or extra time in the chair. It also makes it more likely that you’ll receive a clean bill of health from the dentist.
  • Ask questions. If you’ve been experiencing bleeding gums, persistent tooth pain, or other oral irregularities, don’t be afraid to let your dentist know and ask about the source! If things in your mouth are looking great, be sure to ask what you can do to keep it that way. Good dental health requires a conversation between you and your healthcare professional That is why it is so important to choose a dentist that takes more than five minutes per appointment to get to know you and your oral health.
  • Take the time for in-office preventive care. Biannual dental checkups are meant to help maintain optimal health and get ahead of any potential problems like tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. In addition to routine cleaning, each checkup should include a complete examination of all dental work like crowns and appliances, an oral cancer screening, and periodic x-rays. These measures make it less likely that you will experience painful and costly issues in the future.

Drs Sheila and Daniel Vacendak and the team at Vacendak Dentistry are here to make your dental health care a positive experience! We are conveniently located in the Greenbrier area of Chesapeake and serve patients all across Hampton Roads. Call us today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule an appointment.

Do I REALLY Need a Dental Check Up Every 6 Months?

Answer: If it’s been more than six months or you’ve experienced any oral pain, then yes!

Too many people assume that if their teeth look and feel ok, routine dental appointments are less important. The generally recommended twice-yearly dental visits slide to once a year or every other. Some even wait till they have issues like loose teeth, toothaches, or bleeding gums to call the dentist. This is ill-advised because proper preventative care does exactly what it sounds like–helps prevent more serious dental problems in the future.

Like we say again and again, oral health impacts overall health. This means that a dental checkup isn’t just about teeth and gums. At Vacendak Dentistry, every visit involves a significant amount of time with the dentist, during which we address concerns you may not even know you had. For instance, each visit includes an oral cancer screening because the signs of such cancers are not always obvious, and of course, better caught early. That’s just one of the ways a visit at our office can improve your health and self-knowledge.

We make an effort to help our patients understand the importance of daily routine oral hygiene. As part of that, there is a caveat for some individuals. Depending on your unique teeth and overall health, you may need to see us more OR less often. In order to know what is best for you, you’ve got to talk to the dentist.

Get excited about your oral health! Maintaining it doesn’t have to be a chore. The doctors at Vacendak Dentistry can help. We are convenient located near the Kempsville area of Chesapeake and are accepting new patients every day. Call us now at (757) 609-3510 or contact the office online. We take most dental insurance plans.