Category Archives: Dental Care Tips

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.

How Maintain Good Oral Health While Traveling

With Spring Break and Summer quickly approaching, those few perfect months for beach vacations, camping trips, and family excursions are near. These are the most exciting times for your families, filled with activities and treats. Unfortunately, all the hustle and bustle can be detrimental to your oral health. Here are a few tips to make sure that everyone is all smiles during time away.

Pack Appropriately

The stress of preparing for a trip means important items can be forgotten, so put oral hygiene at the top of the list. Few things are as important as your health, and even someone who gets regular checkups and cleanings will suffer by leaving their toothbrush at home. If nothing else, make sure to pack the big three: a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss.

There are a few specifics to consider when packing these items. We recommend having a second  toothbrush for traveling, so that your at-home toothbrush will remain clean and in good condition. There are collapsible toothbrushes that can fit inside limited luggage space and TSA approved toothpaste sizes if you’re only taking a carry-on. Finally,  investing in a toothbrush holder so that your toothbrush stays clean while packed in a bag with dirty shoes and souvenirs.

Schedule a Checkup Before You Go

We always suggest scheduling your preventative appointments every six months. That will ensure your oral health stays in check and nothing will surprise you while you are away. But, if you are about to embark on a journey, it’s especially important to consider seeing us before you leave.  Dental problems can escalate quickly and the last thing you want is emergency care from an out-of-town (or out-of-country) dentist who doesn’t know your history. Making an appointment before you leave will ensure that you get to experience your vacation to the fullest without surprises.

Emergencies Can Happen

Even the most prepared vacationers can experience troubles while traveling. That doesn’t mean they are caught off-guard. There are a few things you can do to make sure dental emergencies go smoothly. Bring a copy of your dental insurance and a list of your regular dental contacts if you need to reach them. Make sure to ask your insurance company about emergency care policies, especially if you are leaving the country. By being well prepared for your trip, everyone will be well taken care of, even if you are hundreds of miles away from home.

Consider Special Obstacles

Many of us like to experience new things when we travel. That can mean late nights, sweet treats or even going off-grid. It’s easy to forget your tooth care routines when your environment changes. Consider the challenges  you may encounter and prepare for them. If you are camping, there is environmentally-friendly toothpaste and mouthwash in times where no plumbing is available. Some people bring handheld floss picks that make it easier to reach without a mirror. Setting a reminder on your phone can help you remember to brush when you are especially tired from a long day of adventure. And in times of minimal space, you can always grab a pre-pasted toothbrush.

Vacation is the most fun time of the year and with a few steps before you leave you and your family’s teeth will be well prepared! By considering these obstacles, packing appropriately and planning ahead, you’ll ensure that everyone will happily flash those pearly whites in all their photos.
If you need special travel accessories or more tips, call us at 757-609-3510 or visit this link to schedule an appointment or with us before you take off. Safe travels!

Three Common Dental Problems, And How to Solve Them

If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you may have some oral health concerns that need addressing. Some issues are simple, while others may require professional treatment. Here are five of the most common dental problems:

  1. Bad breath. The source of bad breath isn’t always the stinky food you ate for lunch. If you find that your friends and family are leaning away as you talk, it could be from a number of causes relating to oral health and bacteria. Make sure you are brushing after each meal, flossing daily and brushing your tongue. If a good dental hygiene routine isn’t helping, you may need a deeper cleaning from your dentist, and regular 6-month checkups.
  2. Gingivitis. Gum disease sounds scary and often has a stigma around it, but nearly 47% of American adults have gingivitis. If you notice frequent inflammation of the gums, bleeding after brushing or gum line recession, it could be a sign of gingivitis. Thankfully, this condition can be treated, but not at home. Schedule a visit with your dentist for a professional diagnosis, and follow up with good brushing habits.
  3. Tooth sensitivity. Is it taking you longer to brush your teeth each day because you’re waiting for the water to warm up or cool down? Tooth sensitivity can be incredibly uncomfortable, and even prevents some from enjoying their favorite meals and sweet treats. This problem can be mediated by using special toothpastes made for sensitive teeth, but you may want to consult your dentist to find the underlying issue if your symptoms are sudden, or getting worse over time.

If you think are experiencing any of these common dental problems, don’t worry! The doctors at Vacendak Dentistry are ready to help you identify the causes and find a solution to keep you healthier and worry-free. Contact us at (757) 609-3510 to schedule an appointment.

5 Ways To Transform Your Oral Health For The New Year

The new year is here, and if you have resolutions to transform your health this year, it’s time to include your teeth and gums. Did you know that your oral health also contributes to your overall health, and is often reflective of it? Having a healthy mouth can also affect the way you present yourself – showing a big smile when meeting new people or giving a presentation can boost your confidence! Ready to transform your oral health in 2019? Here are 5 ways to get started:

  1. Visit your dentist. Just like you should consult your doctor before trying a new fitness plan or diet, visiting your dentist is the first step to transforming your oral health. This is your chance to start the year fresh and build from a clean slate, and also your chance to ask any questions about your routine or products!
  2. Get the right tools. Are you still using a fraying, old toothbrush? Only flossing when you visit a friend’s house? It’s time to stock up on the right tools to make sure you’re set up for success.
  3. Invest in yourself. If there is cosmetic dentistry you’ve been meaning to get, but keep putting off, 2019 is the year to finally invest in yourself. Getting the smile you deserve can not only transform your oral health, but possibly your entire year!
  4. Set reminders. It takes around 60 days to form a new habit like flossing or brushing your teeth after lunch. Until then, setting reminders on your phone or computer can help!
  5. Eat the right foods. If you already have a resolution to eat more healthy foods, this one should come easy! Some foods can help with your oral health journey, and others can hurt it. Avoid too much sugar, and fill your diet with foods high in calcium, like leafy greens and yogurt.

    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.

Gifts Your Teeth Will Thank

Is tough to stuff a stocking with toothbrushes and toothpaste…your family might think you are trying to tell them something. However, dental products are often something we forget to replace as frequently as we need to, or something we don’t really want to spend much money on. That’s why they make such good gifts for the holidays!

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

  1. An electric toothbrush. Some of the best electric toothbrushes can be awfully pricey, and the replacement heads drive up the cost. However, this item is a great investment that can help improve oral health by reaching places that standard toothbrushes cant.
  2. A water pick. Water picks aren’t just for braces! This item is great for making flossing fun and exciting, by using a stream of water to dislodge food debris and remove plague around your gums.
  3. A travel kit. Do you have a family member or friend who always seems to be traveling? 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. This way, they will never forget to pack their toothbrush when visiting for the holidays…

Remember, 2019 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! Call our Chesapeake office today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule a dental visit or to learn more about our practice.

Giving Thanks

November is the month of giving thanks, and this year we want to give a special thanks to something we use every day but may never truly appreciate: our teeth! You may not even think about them until it’s time to head to the dentist or something hurts, but our teeth are pretty amazing. Here are a few reasons to give thanks to your teeth:

  1. They help you scarf down that delicious thanksgiving meal – and the pie after! Having healthy teeth is so important for eating a balanced diet of foods that your body can digest more easily after being chewed.
  2. They give you a great smile. Your teeth are the first thing you notice during that holiday family photo shoot. Taking care of them means you’ll have great photos with an even better smile, and will also be more confident when meeting new people and having a conversation.
  3. They tell you about your history. Teeth can tell us a lot about where our ancestors come from, and even the types of food they ate! Did you know that teeth are also used for DNA identification?
  4. 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 loosing 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!

You can give thanks to your teeth by taking extra care of them. Brush regularly, floss every day and keep up with your regularly scheduled cleaning.

The doctors at Vacendak would also like 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.

Halloween Candy: What You Need to Know

It’s every child’s favorite time of year: Halloween. This is the one time of year where kids get all of their favorite candy without having to ask permission or spend their allowance. However, for parents, the scariest part of Halloween is what might be going on with their kids teeth (or their own) after consuming more sweets and treats than usual. Here is what you need to know to have a stress-free Halloween:

  1. Remember, a few days of eating candy won’t ruin your child’s oral health if they have a good routine with regular brushing and flossing. Just be sure they are cleaning their teeth after meals and before going to bed. The only thing you should be worried about is getting them to bed on time after all of that sugar!
  2. If you child has braces, they can still participate on Halloween! Just make sure you know what is safe for them to eat, and clean around the braces well before bed. Stay away from sticky, chewy candy and avoid biting on hard candies. If you still aren’t sure, review the list your orthodontist gave you or give them a call.
  3. Drinking more water can be helpful. Water is great at dislodging food from between your teeth, but fluoridated water can also help prevent tooth decay.
  4. Setting rules is important. Your child is going to want to eat as much candy as they can as soon as they return from making their rounds in the neighborhood. Eating too much sour can hurt their mouth, and too much sweet can hurt their stomach. The best thing to do is set some rules about how much candy is allowed at once, and spread their loot across several days.

The most important thing is for your kids to have fun, and that certainly won’t be the case with cavities! Call our Chesapeake office today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule a dental visit or to learn more about our practice.

Updating Your Dental Routine for Fall

This month, summer is officially over. While the first month back to school can often be a bummer for your kids, the sad feelings quickly pass as Halloween and the holiday season approach. What is more exciting than extra sweets and days off of school?! However, this also means that if you or your family’s dental routine has been slacking, it’s time to update it and provide extra protection against sugar and plaque. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Identify the weaknesses in your routine. The best way to improve your routine is by figuring out your weak areas first. Do you often have bad breath because you aren’t flossing? Do you stop brushing before your two minutes are up? Work on your problem areas before thinking about adding new tasks to your routine.
  2. Have a conversation with your dentist. Do you have questions about your teeth for your dentist that you’ve been too afraid to ask? Questions about services that you might want, like whitening or other cosmetic dentistry? Are you wondering just how much candy your kids can eat on Halloween? It’s time to have a conversation with your dentist about all of your questions and concerns to become more familiar with you and your children’s oral health.
  3. Schedule your routine checkup. If you keep postponing or cancelling your routine six month cleaning, it’s time to make an appointment and stick to it. Starting Fall with a clean slate is the best way to keep track of how well you are sticking to your dental routine throughout the holiday season.

If you’re ready to take control of your oral health and update your dental routine for fall, call or contact Vacendak Dentistry today to learn more the dental services we offer and to schedule a consultation.

Forming Good Habits

They say it takes nearly a month of completing a task to form a habit. Want to wake up at 6 am every day? Want to start running four times a week? Want to read for twenty minutes every day? Stay dedicated and do it every day for a month and it will start to feel normal. The same is true for good dental 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.