Category Archives: Dental Care Tips

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, 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!

Top Dental Concerns for Men

Designated as Men’s Health Month (and with Father’s Day), we dedicate June to the fathers and father figures in our lives. That means it’s a great time to encourage the men closest to us to refocus on their health, including their oral health! 

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, men are less likely than women to see their dentist regularly. In addition: 

  •  The average man is less likely to brush his teeth after every meal (20.5% compared with 28.7% for women).
  • The average man is less likely to brush his teeth twice a day (49% compared with 56.8% for women).
  • Men are more likely to have untreated dental decay than women (29% compared with 25% for women, age 35-44)

In fact, research shows that many don’t go to the dentist unless they have a dental emergency. That might be why they’re more likely to suffer from the following chronic dental problems:

Top Dental Concerns for Men:

  • Gum Disease. Men are much more likely than women to develop gum disease, a condition that causes tooth loss and other general health issues such as heart disease, respiratory problems, certain cancers, and poor prostate health. 
  • Oral Cancer. More than 53,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year, with men being twice as likely to have the diagnosis than women and four times more likely to develop oropharyngeal cancer. Fortunately, oral cancer can be treated (and cured) if it’s caught early. One more reason everyone should see their dentist regularly! 
  • Necessary Advanced Dental Treatments. Skipping dental appointments causes major problems to your teeth and over time, eventually requiring advanced dental treatment like root canals, crowns and tooth extraction.  When plaque builds up on teeth over time, it greatly increases the risk of tooth decay. If the decay is not treated, it only goes deeper into the tooth, causing the need for a root canal. If the decay is left untreated for even longer, it may become too damaged to repair, needing removal. 

Practicing good oral hygiene is all about prevention. That’s because professional cleanings remove plaque buildup that regular brushing and flossing at home doesn’t, preventing problems from occurring in the first place. 

So this month,  let him know you care and encourage the man in your life to make an appointment with Vacendak Dentistry! We’re open for appointments, practicing federal and ADA compliance and treating our patients’ health with utmost priority. Don’t forget to wear your mask! 

The Link Between Oral Health and Overall Health

Taking care of your teeth isn’t just about having a white smile, fresh breath and no cavities. Good dental habits are critical to the overall health of your body. Brushing, flossing and keeping up with regular dental appointments not only keep your mouth in good shape but help prevent various diseases and conditions that affect your entire body.

Cardiovascular Disease 
Periodontal disease—or gum disease—is associated with a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Poor brushing and flossing habits allow bacterial infections to form in the gums. The infection then passes into the bloodstream. From there, it affects the heart’s arteries, leading to stroke, hypertension and other heart-related conditions. 

Respiratory Illnesses
Unwanted bacteria in the mouth can contribute to multiple respiratory problems, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia. These are caused when bacteria from the mouth are inhaled into the lungs, allowing infection to spread throughout the respiratory system. This is of particular concern for those with lungs already damaged by disease, worsening their conditions.

Gum disease and diabetes have an intertwined relationship. For people with gum disease, germs leak from infected gums into the bloodstream during chewing and tooth brushing. This activates the body’s defense system causing blood sugar levels to rise and increases the likelihood of developing diabetes. For those who have diabetes, gum disease is very common. If left untreated, their symptoms will worsen. Either way, proactive treatment of gum disease is critical for those with and without diabetes for the prevention of future problems. 

Pregnancy Complications
During pregnancy, hormone levels increase, making women more likely to develop oral infections. Left untreated, these infections lead to complications during pregnancy. What’s more, expectant mothers who have gum disease are also at an increased risk of premature birth and low birth weight for their child.

At Vacendak Dentistry we believe in a holistic approach to oral care. We look at more than just your teeth and gums; we look at your overall health. Be proactive in taking care of your health and call us today at (757) 609-3510 to schedule an appointment.

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.