New Year, New Mouth

With the new year here, you’ve probably already decided your New Year’s resolutions. If you’re like us, you may focus on improving your health in the new year. Just don’t forget the importance of improving oral health habits at the same time! Caring for your mouth goes a long way toward overall wellness and is an important element of daily self-care. 

Practicing a consistent and proper routine is not only a worthwhile goal to transform your smile, it’s also easier than many people think! Take advantage of the new year to clean your slate! Here are five easy ways to begin a successful oral health routine, today: 

  1. Conquer Your Fear of the Dentist
    Just like you should consult your doctor before trying a new diet, visiting your dentist is the first step to transforming your oral health. This is your chance to start the year fresh and with personal guidance from a professional! We want to help all our patients succeed, so bring an example of your new daily routine or a list of goals for the year and our office will be your new cheerleaders!
  2. Get the Right Tools
    It’s time to stock up on the right tools to make sure you’re set up for success. Even investing in a new electric toothbrush will encourage you to brush more often! If it’s hard to get to the store for replacements, look at subscription services that ship necessities straight to your door, at exactly the right time. 
  3. Invest in Yourself.
    Is there a certain cosmetic dentistry treatment you keep putting off? 2020 is the year to invest in yourself! Getting the smile you deserve not only transforms your oral health, but your self-esteem and confidence.
  4. Set Reminders
    It only takes around 30 days to form a new habit. So, start treating your daily hygiene like it’s a habit! Make a chart or use a tracking system to countdown the days until your new routine becomes second nature. Setting reminders on your phone or computer is a helpful trick, too.
  5. Drink More Tap Water
    Water is our favorite beverage!  By increasing your daily intake of water, you’ll fast track those new year’s wellness goals. Not only does water help maintain a healthy body, it helps your teeth too. Tap water, specifically, contains optimal amounts of fluoride, which are proven to strengthen teeth and reduce tooth decay in children and adults. Fluoride helps reinforce enamel affected by bacteria and acid. For all those reasons, adding more water to your diet is a win-win!

Drs. Sheila and Daniel Vacendak and the team at Vacendak Dentistry are here to make your dental health care in 2020 a positive experience! Call us today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule an appointment.

Great Gifts For Teeth

If you’re looking for the perfect stocking stuffer this year, we have some great ideas. That’s right — Gifts for teeth!

You might not think dental products make good gifts, but they’re actually very helpful! Many of us don’t want to spend the money or don’t have time to replace these items as often as needed. By giving tooth-related gifts, you can take something off the plate of a loved one and help them stay healthy at the same time.

If you have family members who never seem to spend money on themselves, or you’re finally ready to give yourself a gift for your health, here are a few exciting items to try:

  1. An electric toothbrush subscription. Some of the best electric toothbrushes can be awfully pricey, and the replacement heads drive up the cost. However, there are many subscription services that are inexpensive. Take a look at Quip! It’s an affordable plan that ships toothpaste and new brush heads every three months.
  2. A water pick. Water picks aren’t just for braces! A water pick is often the most recommended dental product by professionals outside of the normal dental gear. This makes flossing fun by using a stream of water to dislodge food debris and easily removing the plaque that builds up around gums.
  3. A travel kit. Do you have a family member or friend who is always traveling? We do too! Build or buy them a travel kit with all of the essentials they will need to keep their teeth clean and their breath fresh after a long flight or drive. Include quick fixes like sugar-fee whitening gum and a small bottle of mouthwash! That way, they will never forget to pack their toothbrush when visiting for the holidays! They will always thank you.

Remember, 2020 is almost here. While you may be gifting your friends and family with useful items, it’s also time to start thinking about your own resolutions. If you’re reading to take control of your oral health, Vacendak is here to help! Contact our Chesapeake office today or call us at (757) 609-3510 to schedule a dental visit or to learn more about our practice.

Reasons to Give Thanks for Your Teeth

Reasons to be Thankful 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. 

Choosing Mouth-Friendly Candy for Halloween

With Halloween fast approaching many of us are already thinking about candy! If you’ve been brushing twice a day and flossing once a day – you shouldn’t have to worry about the occasional splurge. Nevertheless, minimize possible harm from any sweets, by following a few tips on how to eat candy:

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

Sticky and Gummy Candies
These are the worst types of candy to eat. They’re hard to remove and stay on your teeth longer. That gives harmful bacteria more time to stick around and produce acids that breakdown your enamel.

Hard Candies
Hard candies are also problematic. Not only do they stay in your mouth for a long period of time as you suck it down, but they also cause physical damage. Even though it’s just candy, they 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. 

Popcorn Balls
Popcorn Balls are sticky, sugary and can be hard. They get stuck between your teeth as well. A better version of this snack is just popcorn by itself!

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!

Common Habits Taking a Toll on Your Teeth 

Common Habits Taking a Toll on Your Teeth 

We all have habits that are difficult to break. Whether the result of stress, convenience or because it makes us happy, it’s a good idea to address the impact those habits have on our wellbeing. Especially, our oral health.

From brushing too hard to drinking multiple sodas a day, teeth bear the brunt of common routines. So, it’s important to be vigilant. Take the common habits below and try to implement our favorite solutions to keep your teeth, mouth and gums happy and healthy! 

  1. Brushing Too Hard
    It’s easy to take the stress of the day out on your teeth at night. But, a rough two-minute brush does serious harm to your teeth and gums. Toothbrush abrasion is a leading cause of “notching” along the gum line and of gum recession.
    Solution: Always use a soft toothbrush and avoid harsh scrubbing. It’s easy to remove plaque with meticulous and regular home care: no hard brushing needed. If you find difficulty lightening up, opt for an electric brush. They’re less likely to cause damage.
  2. Grinding and Clenching
    Bruxism (grinding) and clenching, especially at night while you’re asleep, is destructive. Affecting millions of Americans, it causes tooth wear, the fracturing of dental work and muscle soreness.
    Solution: If you clench during the day, try to catch yourself and stop. Remember this rule: Lips together–teeth apart! You won’t have that control while sleeping, though. If you frequently wake up with a sore mouth, invest in a night guard to protect the teeth and jaw muscles.
  3. Using Your Teeth as Tools
    Teeth are for chewing food and nothing else! There have been countless emergencies from people who use their teeth for something they weren’t intended for, like opening bags and ripping tape.
    Solution: Don’t do it and find the right tool for the job. 
  4. Sugary and Acidic Drinks
    Sodas and energy drinks are the biggest culprits of tooth decay. The acid eats away at your enamel and promotes an environment that bacteria love.
    Solution: Drink water as often as possible. If you have an occasional soda or energy drink, consume it in one sitting and rinse with water afterward.

If you have questions regarding how to protect your teeth, don’t hesitate to ask us the next time you visit Vacendak Dentistry. Contact us at  (757)-609-3510 to schedule an appointment.

Encouraging Age-Appropriate Dental Habits at Home

Proper at-home dental care is an important childhood lesson. Teaching children when they are young helps maintain the healthy habits into adulthood. In deciding what to show them and when, try to go slow. Many kids don’t know how to hold a toothbrush, much less correctly brush or floss without supervision. By teaching age-appropriate skills and staying involved, you make sure that children develop proper techniques over time.  

As with any childhood lesson, it isn’t easy knowing when to let kids do it themselves or if you should step in, so here are some of our favorite tips for every age:  

 Ages 6 and Under 

Until they have a firm grip on the toothbrush, keep brushing for them. Explain what you’re doing and why. Eventually, your young child might want to do the brushing themselves but stay close. Kids in this age range don’t have the fine motor skills needed for a thorough job. Young mouths change quickly, so children at 6 will brush the same way they did at 2 or 3 and miss new teeth. It’s up to guardians to help reach those teeth as they pop in. The best course of action is letting your child begin on their own and helping out when needed. For  flossing, get them started as soon as two teeth are touching.  

 Ages 7-12 

By now, children know what to do, but they might not want to do it! Many tasks become a battle during this age, so they’ll need active encouragement to take on their brushing and flossing responsibilities and do it correctly. Set a timer to help demonstrate what two minutes of brushing feels like and be aware that you may need to stick around so they don’t cut corners.  

 Ages 12-18 

Research shows that cavities are more likely to appear in early adulthood. That’s because many teenagers go years without a cavity and never grasp the consequences of missing a night of brushing. As a result, their oral hygiene takes a back seat. Don’t let your teen’s habits fall to the wayside. Now that they’re older and their bones weaker, getting cavities is easy. If you notice them slipping, try asking their dentist to remind them of the long-term effects of poor oral hygiene.  

 The best preventative habit to instill in your children is a twice-yearly visit to the dentist. By maintaining this schedule throughout their lives, it becomes second nature when they go off on their own. Contact us today to schedule their next appointment!

 

Are Veneers Right For You? 

Looking at models in magazines and actors on TV may lead you to believe one thing about teeth: That people naturally have a bright white and straight smile. But that isn’t the case. Often, the perfected grins you see on everyone from movie stars to moms, are the result of cosmetic dental surgery.

If you are unhappy with your smile, you’re not alone. Studies show that over 80% of people think their teeth look bad in photographs and will avoid showing their teeth when they smile. However, thanks to modern cosmetic dentistry, there are easy solutions to getting the look you crave, particularly veneers.

Veneers are one of the most popular procedures to correct cosmetic tooth deficiencies. This minimally invasive procedure corrects small problems like uneven size, color and alignment. Made of wafer-thin, tooth-colored material (porcelain or resin), they cover the front surface of teeth and improve appearance. The result is a bright white smile that patients desire.

How do you know if veneers are the right choice for you? Here are a few major factors that dentists look at when you ask about the possibility of veneers:

1. Healthy Teeth 
Veneers need to attach to healthy teeth – period! It isn’t advisable to place veneers on teeth that show signs of decay or gum disease. Veneers can last twenty years, and when placed on unhealthy teeth, the tooth continues to decay underneath the porcelain cover, leading to bigger problems brewing under the surface. Your dentist will suggest fixing these problems first before they fit veneers.

2. Absence of Bruxism (Tooth Grinding) 
Bruxism or grinding/clenching is a widespread problem which many people knowingly or unknowingly suffer from. Although veneers are durable, they aren’t as strong as our natural teeth. As a result, the amount of force exerted when a person grinds or clenches will damage the coating. In many cases, curbing bruxism is possible with a combination of night guards and relaxation techniques. If you experience clenching, your dentist may recommend treatment first.

3. Good Alignment 
Veneers can fix teeth that are unevenly spaced or slightly crooked, but aren’t beneficial for patients with severely misaligned teeth. The positioning of the jaw in these cases means that excessive pressure is put on the veneers when the wearer bears down. In many cases it can crack, chip, or break the porcelain or resin. Correcting misaligned teeth is done by orthodontic procedures, such as braces.

If you’re not happy with your current smile and you believe that you’re a good candidate for porcelain veneers, then visit our practice and talk to us about your options. Contact us at Vacendak Dentistry to schedule an appointment.

Soothing Sensitive Teeth

Are you one of the forty million adults who suffer the symptoms of sensitive teeth? Don’t be shy about it! It’s a common dental issue that creates mild to harsh flashes of pain. Cold, hot, sweet and acidic foods are all triggers for discomfort, making sufferers live in fear of eating or drinking the wrong things.

The enamel in healthy teeth protects another layer called dentin, which connects directly to internal nerves. If tooth enamel wears down or the gum line recedes, then dentin becomes exposed. When it’s exposed, the elements reach the nerves inside the tooth and cause pain. Fortunately, the pain doesn’t have to be permanent. Simple changes to diet, oral care or dental habits are all that’s needed for relief and possible reversal of the pain in many cases.

Follow these tips to fortify your enamel and ease sensitivity tooth pain.

1. Brush With Softer Bristles
The harder you brush, the more you wear away enamel. A good sign of brushing too hard is throbbing or bleeding gums directly afterward. Let your gums heal and invest in a quality toothbrush with softer bristles. Additionally, slow down when brushing and be gentle.

2. Guard Your Teeth Overnight
If you live with chronic stress, your teeth feel it. Many people involuntarily grind their teeth while sleeping due to stress in the waking hours. Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, erodes enamel and exposes dentin. Waking up with a sore jaw is a tell-tale sign of the condition. Consult your dentist to recommend a custom-fitted dental mouth guard for nighttime protection.

3. Take Care When Whitening Your Teeth
Everyone wants a pearly white smile, but overuse of whiteners creates worse problems than having off-white teeth.  Even over-the-counter methods contain chemicals harsh enough to remove too much enamel. Take a break from the whitening and consult your dentist to prevent bleaching-related damage.

4. Find the Right Toothpaste and Mouthwash
One way to treat sensitive teeth is by using desensitizing toothpaste and mouthwash. These products contain compounds that block the nerve from painful sensations at the tooth’s surface. It usually requires several applications before the sensitivity reduces, but over time, sufferers reclaim their normal eating habits.

If you experience lasting pain, immediately consult a dentist for proper sensitive teeth treatment options. Vacendak Dentistry can diagnose the issue and advise you on the best treatments to combat the pain. If you’d like to schedule a visit, contact us today by calling (757) 609-3510 or by using our online form.

Drink to Your Health this Summer with Our Beverage Guide

Sports outings, beach vacations and long days at the neighborhood pool are near! All the fun of summer requires staying hydrated and your family will likely guzzle down any beverage they find when the days are hot. Unfortunately, some popular options can harm their oral health. Help your family beat the heat the healthy way by stocking up on better choices. Review our suggestions for a guide on the best and worst drinks you’ll encounter:

Good: Water
There’s one beverage dental professionals agree on as the most beneficial: water. Water, especially with fluoride, helps strengthen and clean your teeth. H20 flushes away food particles and residue that bacteria stick to, helping prevent cavities. It helps mitigate the negative effects acidic foods have on tooth enamel by regulating your mouth’s tPh level.  As a calorie-free and fast-hydrating option, you can’t go wrong taking a few bottles wherever you go.

Good: Milk
We all know that milk builds strong bones and that includes your teeth! Especially helpful for growing children, milk and other dairy products are rich in bone-loving calcium. This childhood classic also contains a protein called casein; a substance that helps fight tooth decay by strengthening enamel.

Good: Low Sugar Vegetable Juice
If you don’t like eating your veggies, just drink them. Look for a green juice with kale or spinach, which contain healthy B vitamins that fight gum disease. Leafy greens are high in calcium, too. When buying vegetable juice, look for “no sugar added” labels and limit the percentage of fruit.

Bad: Fruit Juices
Many fruit juices are laden with as much sugar as soda, including juices from concentrate. Apple juice has as much as ten tsp. of sugar per serving, the same amount in the leading brand cola. Sugar and citric acids in fruit juice contribute to tooth decay and enamel loss, so it’s best to avoid these sugary go-tos. If you can’t go without a glass of OJ in the morning, try cutting it with water or opting for a low-sugar alternative.

Bad: Sports Drinks
Another culprit of tooth decay are sports drinks. These high-calorie liquids present dangers to your oral and overall health, although typically marketed as beneficial. Not only do they contain up to nineteen grams of sugar per serving but are sometimes infused with an unhealthy amount of sodium (salt). Almost as much sodium as a bag of chips! Check all ingredients and nutrition facts before buying any type of sports drink to steer clear of this undercover danger.

Bad: Sodas
Sodas have a bad reputation for a good reason. They are high in two of the worst things for teeth: sugar and acid. Some sodas contain more than the total recommended amount of daily sugar in one twenty ounce bottle. This high sugar and acid content eat away the enamel that protects teeth, leading to cavities. That’s not all, consuming too much soda causes harm to your health as well as soda consumption correlates to a risk of diabetes and other diseases. Some cities and states even impose an extra tax on these beverages due to their harmful nature. Your best bet is to stay away from these bubbling beasts altogether.

Reducing Negative Effects
We can’t be with our children all the time. That makes it hard to limit their intake of harmful drinks.  Help reduce some of the negative effects by teaching them to swish with water once they’re finished with their beverage of choice. Cultivate good preventative habits by helping them brush their teeth at least twice per day and flossing once per day to remove debris between their teeth.

Are you worried your child drinks too much soda or do you hear them complain about sensitive teeth? Then visit our office and we evaluate your child’s smile and determine if there are any issues.