Mouth-Healthy Tips for Your Summer Lifestyle

It’s pretty easy keeping up a good oral routine during the winter months. We’re at home more often, in bed earlier and deep in the swing of a hectic school year.  

When the weather warms up, school lets out and activities begin – schedules change. There goes your routine! Not only that, but some diet and lifestyle habits often adopted during the warm months can have a negative impact on your smile!

Whether your family is taking a vacation, becoming more active or just indulging in sweet summer treats, don’t forget your oral health!

Here are a few mouth-healthy tips as your lifestyle changes during these fun, warm months:

Sports Drinks
During the summer sports drink consumption spikes! As people become more active and spend time in the heat, they’re looking for ways to quickly replenish their thirst. Unfortunately, sports drinks are marketed as the best way to quench thirst and replenish electrolytes for a “faster recovery” despite being high in sugar and additives. 

Drinking sports drinks on a frequent basis triggers more cavities than even the sweetest sodas. Instead, stick to drinking lots of water. It will keep you hydrated and your teeth cleaner! There are also great ways to replenish electrolytes without the added sugar if you need a recovery drink! 

Traveling 
We tend to do most of our traveling during the summer. It’s the best time to visit your favorite destinations. Just don’t forget that traveling disrupts your routine, making it harder to stay on top of your oral health!

Our favorite suggestion is to get a travel brush kit! Make sure that it includes the essentials – a good toothbrush, floss and toothpaste. Some even include mouthwash, too! These kits can be compact for camping and hiking trips or even fun and flashy for the most stylish traveler in the family. Many battery-powered electric toothbrushes come with travel cases, as well. Either way, these kits make it easy to remember your mouth-healthy essentials whether you leave home for a single night or for a week! 

Small, Frequent Meals
The summer months keep us active! That makes the typical three meals a day hard to stick to. It’s easier to grab a nutrition bar, give the kids a quick fruit snack or stop at a fast-food restaurant than make big meals throughout the day. 

Losing an eating pattern or eating on the road makes it more difficult to clean your teeth in between meals. This causes bacterial plaque and acids to be active for a longer period of time on your teeth. If you’re prone to tooth decay and gingivitis or want to keep your mouth healthy and white, then it’s important to brush after every meal. Otherwise, the increased amount of exposure can have damaging effects on your dental health.

Popsicles and Frozen Fruit Products
Frozen fruit and ice cream treats are common snacks during the summer. They often contain sweeteners and artificial products and we all know what that can do to your smile. It’s fun to indulge every now and then, but stick to fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible. Not only are these great for you nutritionally, but they also boost the health of your smile!

If you’re starting to notice certain foods and habits are making your teeth sensitive or causing plaque buildup, then it’s time to schedule a visit with Vacendak Dentistry! Regular check-ups ensure that a change in lifestyle or diet won’t damage oral health down the road.

Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry includes a variety of products and procedures.

Teeth whitening, dental veneers, bonding, inlays, onlays and that’s just to name a few! There are many ways dentists improve the lives of patients through cosmetic dentistry.

What is cosmetic dentistry?

The term cosmetic may be a bit misleading. It suggests that these types of treatments and products are only superficial. That’s not the case! For example, having a chipped tooth may not be an immediate health concern, but dental bonding improves the way it looks AND its overall function. 

There are many great benefits to cosmetic dentistry.

1. Improved Self-confidence

Our self-esteem impacts every aspect of our lives, from our personal relationships to our professional careers. We want to smile on the inside, but we want that smile to be reflected on the outside as well. Cosmetic dentistry treatments improve the appearance of chipped or cracked teeth which improves self-confidence.

2. No-Fuss Diet

Having a tooth missing makes it difficult to chew some types of food and having several missing teeth greatly impacts the way we eat and the way our teeth wear down.

An uneven bite may prevent us from chewing properly which makes digestion more difficult. It could also trigger potential long-term effects with uneven tooth wear. Dental problems that seem minor actually impact our entire diet. Cosmetic dentistry treatments can help strengthen bites and improve your ability to chew food. 

3. Improved dental health

Cosmetic dentistry improves our appearance but also protects against future dental issues. Dental crowns keep damaged teeth from further deterioration. Dental implants prevent damage to gums and bone. Cosmetic dentistry, along with proper dental hygiene and regular dental checkups, improves overall oral health.

4. It’s Preventative

Preventive dental care is about avoiding future problems and avoid expensive dental procedures. That means saving money long term. Contemplating an implant? Well, don’t wait too long! Implants have more than just cosmetic benefits, they protect bone and gum tissue and prevent teeth from shifting. Left unchecked, this may lead to bigger problems (and bigger costs).

Schedule a checkup today!

The team at Vacendak Dentistry offer many cosmetic services. We can also offer advice on ways to improve your smile. Schedule an appointment online today or call us at 757-609-3510.

It's not about luck!

It’s Not Luck – How Good Habits Create Great Teeth

Sometimes, we see friends, family and even strangers with amazing teeth and think – “Wow they’re so lucky!” But really, it’s the exact opposite. Having good oral health isn’t about luck! It’s about forming good oral hygiene habits

If you find yourself with sore, red gums or receiving a lecture about brushing and flossing at every six-month checkup, it may be time to think about your habits (and forming some new ones). But where do you start?

  1. Identify your goals and start simple. One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to improve their lifestyle and form good habits is taking on too many new goals at once. Rather than the “all or nothing” approach, start simple! Identify your goals, but take them one at a time. If you haven’t been brushing three times a day, start there. You can tackle flossing or timing once you’ve gotten used to the basics.
  2. Set reminders. New goals are the easiest to forget, especially when it’s a new addition to your overall routine. Whether it’s a phone alarm, sticky note by the sink, or placing your floss somewhere you’re guaranteed to see it, setting a reminder will help you with the habit-forming process.
  3. Tell someone. If you’re the only person (besides the dentist you see every six months) who knows you are trying to form a new dental hygiene habit, you’re also the only person holding you accountable. If a push from others is what you usually need to complete a task, it’s time to tell a friend or family member about your new brushing or flossing goals!

Remember, even the best dental habits can’t 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.

Helping Children Stay Mouth-Healthy

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month! Starting good oral hygiene early ensures that a child’s teeth and gums remain healthy as they grow up.

A child’s primary teeth, which people sometimes call baby teeth, are just as important as their permanent teeth. Baby teeth help a child chew and speak as well as acting as important placeholders for the future permanent teeth.  

Making sure that your child is taking proper care of their teeth can be a little bit tricky since there are so many things to consider and a lot of temptation for little ones. Of course, there are lots of helpful tips and tricks that can make maintaining good oral hygiene seem like a walk in the park.

Get Regular Cleanings

Your child should see the dentist every 6 months for a routine cleaning and checkup. Regular cleanings help remove any plaque buildup that can lead to problems like cavities. If dental issues are caught in their early stages, treatment can prevent any lasting or severe issues. They also provide you with more oral hygiene tips to keep your child’s teeth healthy! 

Consider a Fluoride Treatment

Children can start receiving fluoride treatments as soon as their first tooth erupts. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that helps strengthen tooth enamel. Your child’s dentist can administer fluoride treatments as another way to prevent tooth decay and cavities. Depending on your child’s needs, they can receive two to four treatments per year. 

Avoid Sticky, Starchy, Sugary Foods

Limit your child’s sugar intake wherever you can. When sugar gets on the teeth, it serves as a food source for bacteria. Sticky, sugar candies are notoriously bad for the teeth since they stubbornly stay on the teeth long after eating. Instead, encourage your children to choose mouth-happy foods and sugar-free drinks!

There are these and many more oral hygiene tips that parents can learn by visiting Vacendak Dentistry! Our practice welcomes family members of all ages and will happily tailor our treatment to your child’s needs. The best thing you can do is bring your child in for regular cleanings and checkups, schedule yours today!

Our Favorite Dental Gift

We hear it every year from our loved ones when we ask what they want for Christmans. 

“Just get me something I will use!”

Well, you may look at an electric toothbrush as a less-than-exciting gift, but if it’s used twice a day (as recommended) then it will definitely be the most useful! 

Electric toothbrushes are one of the most common gifts people receive during the holidays. Especially now that subscription and delivery services make it so easy to get inexpensive models shipped right to your door. 

For everyone who hasn’t yet given or received one, here are some great reasons to give the gift of an electric brush or just ask for one yourself! 

Better Oral Health

Not many people realize how good oral health is a gift in itself. Straight, shiny, white teeth exude confidence, health and beauty. Not only does the appearance (and health) of your smile make you feel better, but it makes other people happier, too. 

With an electric toothbrush, maintaining oral health is easier than ever before. Electric toothbrushes can remove more plaque, stimulate the gums, and remove bacteria from those hard to reach places. Using an electric toothbrush is also less fatiguing than a manual toothbrush, making brushing more enjoyable and helping you get to the recommended two-minutes of brushing!

Superior Plaque Removal

In general, electric toothbrushes reduce plaque and gingivitis more than manual toothbrushes. After three months of continuous use, studies have shown that plaque is reduced by 21% and gingivitis by 11%. 

Pro Tip: Oscillating (rotating) brush heads are considered more effective than vibrating toothbrushes, so keep this statistic in mind when selecting your gift.

Ease of Use For Anyone

Regular manual toothbrushes require you to move them back and forth along your teeth, whereas electric toothbrushes do most of the work for you. That means, you only need to guide it along the surfaces of your teeth, making them easier to use for people with limited mobility. Specifically, those suffering from:

  • Arthritis
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Developmental disabilities

Tech-Savvy Features

Anyone who always has the latest cell phone or other tech device is sure to love the advanced features of some electric toothbrushes. Many of the rich-in-technology brush options include high-tech features like:

  • Brushing modes specialized for sensitive teeth
  • Whitening benefits
  • Gum-massaging action
  • Pressure sensors to signal when you are brushing too hard
  • Timers to help you track how long you are brushing each quadrant of your mouth
  • Digital reminders to replace your brush head
  • Oscillating or rotating sonic technology
  • Multiple brush head compatibility so you can choose which type of bristle design you prefer

Not only does brushing make you feel better,  the benefits extend far beyond appearances. Most oral health issues are entirely preventable. Root canals, gum disease and cavities can all be avoided with proper cleaning. 

A gift with a profound impact goes beyond bicycles, jewelry or video games. Show your loved ones that you care by giving them easy access to great oral hygiene!

Give Thanks for Your Teeth!

November is the month of giving thanks! This year we want to give a special thanks to something we use every day but may never truly appreciate: our teeth! 

We know it may sound silly to give thanks for your pearly whites, but trust us, after we list our  top reasons, you’ll be praising them in no time.

  1. Teeth are one of your most defining features. According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), your smile is one of the first things someone notices about you. The same AACD study concluded that 74 percent of those who took the survey believe an unattractive smile can negatively affect someone’s career. But don’t worry, if you’re not proud of your grin, cosmetic dentistry from Vacendak Dentistry will transform your smile.
  2. They help you communicate. Teeth are an essential part of speaking. Without them, we’d have difficulty pronouncing certain letters and sounds such as ‘f,’ ‘v,’ ‘s,’ ‘th,’ and so many more. Go ahead and give it a try! Can you say a full sentence without touching your teeth with your tongue? It’s pretty challenging. In a previous post, we explore the numerous ways your teeth affect your speech, but you don’t need to know them all to be thankful for these great communicators. 
  3. They give you hints about your health. Your teeth can be indicators of your overall health. For example, very pale gums could be a sign of anemia, and losing teeth could be a symptom of osteoporosis. However, you won’t be able to self-diagnose by looking at your teeth. If you notice anything different, contact your dentist!

The doctors at Vacendak also want to remind our patients just how thankful we are for them! If you haven’t seen us in a while, give us a call at (757) 609-3510 to schedule your checkup before the busy holiday season begins. 

Tips for a Teeth-Friendly Halloween

With Halloween fast approaching many of us already have a bowl of candy setting out in the house, even if you’re not expecting visiting ghosts and goblins this year. If you’re brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day – you shouldn’t have to worry about the occasional splurge. Nevertheless, there are easy ways to make even the most indulgent treats teeth-approved! 

Chocolate

Chocolate, especially dark chocolate is probably your best option. Dark chocolate has less sugar than milk chocolate and offers fewer carbohydrates or bacteria that turn sugar into those harmful cavity producing acids. Chocolate also washes off your teeth easier than stickier types of candy.

Sticky and Gummy Candies

It’s all about the texture when it comes to these fun treats! Unfortunately, they are the worst types of candy to eat when it comes to keeping your mouth healthy. It might be fun getting sticky candy stuck on your teeth, but that means it has longer to harm tooth enamel.  Harmful bacteria get more time to stick around and produce acids that break down your hard surfaces.

Hard Candies

Never chew on a Jolly Rancher! Not only do hard candies stay in your mouth for a long period of time, but they also can cause physical damage. These tough treats can fracture teeth if bitten into too early. 

Sour Candies

Sour and sweet is a double whammy. The presence of sugar combined with the acids of a sour treat creates an extra harmful oral environment, accelerating the tooth decay process. 

Minimize exposure to sweets, play it smart and have a great Halloween! If you want to learn more about healthy snacks to hand out for Halloween, visit this article on 7 Tooth-Friendly Halloween Treats. 

Make sure to brush your teeth after snacking on any leftover candy, too! Brushing, swishing with water and flossing are the best ways to remove the sugar as quickly as possible. If you want an extra cleaning after the eventful Halloween night, call Vacendak Dentistry and schedule an appointment!

Overcoming Dental Fear

Dentistry has come a long way over the years. 

Can you imagine undergoing an extraction in ancient times with no anesthesia and unsterilized tools? Luckily, we live in the right century when it comes to having a positive experience at the dentist. 

No matter the times we live in or current technology – fear of the dentist is experienced by many Americans. It’s normal to be a bit fearful of certain experiences, but if it is preventing you from getting needed dental care, let us help! 

Here are a few ideas from Vacenda to help you calm your nerves:

Identify Your Fears 

It’s helpful to identify the specific aspects of a dental visit that cause you anxiety. 

Sometimes writing your fears down on a piece of paper can help identify concerns that may be unfounded or overblown by your imagination. Then, collaborate with your dental team to help make the experience easier. 

Perhaps we can dim the lights to provide a calmer experience? Or explain what to expect each step of the way. Or perhaps you prefer they remain silent so you can focus on relaxing. Either way, we are here to make the process as easy as possible.

Bring a Friend

Simply having social support can make a big difference! Afraid of the needle? Have your friend hold your hand or share a funny story to make that initial twinge more doable for you. 

Use Relaxation Techniques 

Try deep breathing or repeating a helpful mantra. Whether that’s your favorite verse, music lyric, or something simple like “I am in control. This will be over soon,” this affirmation can help settle your nerves.

Use Hand Signals 

Inform your practitioner when you need a break. Let them know that when you lift your left hand, it means you need something. When you’re ready to proceed, give them permission to continue the procedure. 

Ask About Sedation Options

Your dentist will be able to explain the different options out there and any associated risks. 

Depending on the level of sedation you require, you may need to be referred to a special dentist.

Reward Yourself

If it helps, find some type of reward to focus on throughout your visit. Focus on intrinsic rewards (“I finally won’t have to deal with this toothache”) and extrinsic rewards (“double mocha with whip, please”). 

Bottom line: your dental health is too important to let fear stand in your way! We are just a phone call away from starting the process and making your dental experience a good one! 

How an Improved Smile Improves Your Mindset

We talk a lot about why taking care of your teeth is important for your overall health. Well, the quality of your smile also affects your overall state of mind!

You’re less likely to smile when trying to hiding discolorations, cracks or chips that cause insecurities. If you have blemishes preventing you from smiling, it takes a huge negative psychological toll.

Smiling, laughing, and a healthy smile that you can’t hide positively affect your mindset in even more ways! Learn about them below:

Better Mood, Increased Relaxation

When you’re in a bad mood, the last thing you feel like doing is smiling or laughing. But did you know that faking canl improve your mood? Studies show that the act of curling your lips into a smile or letting out a small giggle is enough to trigger your brain into feeling happier!

Try it the next time you are feeling angry or sad and see what happens. The effects are amplified when you turn that smile into a full-blown laugh. Laughing stimulates circulation and helps your muscles relax. Those effects are felt for up to 45 minutes after the laugh ends!

You Become More Approachable

You probably don’t want to be around other people when they are in a bad mood, so why would you expect anyone to want to be around you when you are? Not only will you feel better when you smile and laugh, but you’ll also give the signal to others that you’re an enjoyable person to be around. 

The more you can engage and interact with others, the happier you’ll be. It’s a cycle that’s worth getting into. Smiles and laughter are contagious — whenever you see someone else doing it, you can’t help but do the same. You can thank your mirror neurons for that. Whenever we see someone doing certain behaviors, we feel inclined to do the same.

Sharing a laugh with others also helps you deepen your bond with them and makes you more likely to share information and have a healthy long-term relationship.

Physical Health Benefits

Beyond mental health, smiling and laughing can also help your physical state of being. Laughing works your abdominal muscles and releases endorphins that alleviate pain and boost your immune system.

Studies have even found that smiling and laughing can help decrease your risk for heart disease because they protect the heart and prevent the buildup of fat and cholesterol. These actions can also lower your blood pressure and keep it that way for up to 24 hours.

The Best Perk of All…

Putting all of the scientific research aside, the best reason to do more smiling and laughing is that it makes you feel good. Don’t let the state of your teeth get in the way of that.

Vacendak Dentistry offers an array of services to help you smile look and feel it’s best. Contact us today to get started!

6 Important Benefits of Regular Cleanings

Have your teeth been cleaned by a dentist or hygienist this year? We know it’s difficult to find the perfect time during the pandemic, but it’s still important (if not more so) to maintain regular check-ups for you and your family. 

That’s because professional dental cleanings aren’t just for keeping your smile bright; they have a significant impact on your long-term oral health. Tooth decay, gum disease and several chronic oral issues all take root with insufficient regular habits. Brushing and flossing at home are essential but regular check-ups with your dentist ensures your teeth are thoroughly cleaned and any needed preventative measures are taken. That way, no one in your family ends up with a bigger or riskier issue during this time.

So, here are five reasons professional cleanings are so important

  1. Your dental hygienist removes surface blemishes that you can’t remove with at-home brushing. You’ll be left with a brighter smile while preventing long-term stains. 
  2. Regular teeth cleaning prevents one of the biggest contributors to early tooth loss – gum disease.
  3. In America alone, one person dies from oral cancer every hour. Many of these cancers are curable if detected at an early stage during routine cleanings and exams.
  4. During a dental cleaning, your dentist will detect early signs of problems such as cavities, broken fillings and fractures!
  5. Many dental plans cover cleanings but not more invasive surgeries. You’ll save money on dental expenses in the long run by taking advantage of your policy and scheduling a cleaning today!
  6. Regular check-ups and dental cleanings help prevent and resolve persistent bad breath.

Professional dental cleanings give your dentist or hygienist an opportunity to compare the state of your oral health to that of previous visits. If you’re moving in the wrong direction, immediate intervention prevents bigger problems from occurring. Call the team at Vacendak Dentistry to schedule your dental cleaning and get back on track, today! Please note, even if you don’t need an appointment for several months, it’s a good idea to get on the calendar now, as our COVID restrictions may limit short-term appointment availability.