5 Celebrities That You Didn’t Know Had Fake Teeth

Dental care is important for everyone, whether you’re young, old, rich, poor – or famous! Those bright white smiles that celebrities flash on the red carpet are usually thanks to a little (or a lot) of help from their dentist. In fact, there are many celebrities that have worn dentures or received cosmetic dentistry enhancements. Our Henson Family Dental team has compiled the following list of celebrities you may be surprised to learn had/have fake teeth.

1. George Washington

George Washington, one of the founding fathers and our beloved first president, had notoriously terrible teeth. Throughout much of his adult life, he wore dentures made of ivory that were fixed to his natural teeth with wire. Luckily, modern advances in dentistry have resulted in dentures that both look like natural teeth and are comfortable to wear.

Drawing of George Washington, our first president and the military commander during the Revolutionary War

2. Ben Affleck

Even the Batman doesn’t have naturally perfect teeth! Ben Affleck supposedly has a full set of porcelain veneers to give his teeth that perfect, pearly-white appearance.

3. Clark Gable

Clark Gable, star of Gone With the Wind, Call of the Wild, and many other films, used dentures from the age of 32 as a result of a severe gum infection. To avoid his fate, be sure to brush and floss daily and visit our office every six months for cleanings and checkups.

Black and white image of Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh in Gone with the Wind

4. Emma Watson

During the filming of the Harry Potter series, Emma Watson wore a partial denture after her own baby teeth fell out in order to preserve Hermione’s smile.

5. Nicole Polizzi, a.k.a. “Snooki”

Like any of us, Snooki wants her smile at its best when she’s in front of the camera. To achieve that perfect white smile, Snooki has Lumineers®, a type of porcelain veneers.

Your Dream Smile Is Within Reach!

Porcelain veneers, dentures, and professional teeth whitening are great solutions for folks looking to improve the look of their teeth. Discuss with Dr. Henson whether you’re a candidate for dentures or porcelain veneers to make sure they fit with your smile goals. To ask our team any questions about our restorative or cosmetic dentistry services or to schedule your next visit to our office, contact us today!

5 Tooth-Healthy & 3 Tooth-Decaying Foods

The healthier you eat, the healthier your teeth! Here are five foods that promote superb oral health, as well as three snacks we recommend limiting to maintain a happy, healthy smile.

5 Tooth-Healthy Foods

Block of cheese with a big wedge cut out filled with calcium to promote healthy teeth

1. Cheese

Cheese is a terrific boost for your teeth because it’s high in calcium, which promotes strong teeth. Cheese also contains a protein called casein that strengthens tooth enamel and acts as a buffer against acids and bacteria that lead to tooth decay. Calcium also stimulates saliva production and replaces important minerals that your teeth may have lost.

Aerial view of cluster of red apples with yellow highlights that help keep teeth clean with fibrous texture

2. Apples

Apples are a great snack because of their fibrous texture. Chewing on apples stimulates your gums, and increases your saliva flow, which neutralizes acids in your mouth and washes away food bacteria.

Closeup of silver colander filled with leafy greens that support healthy teeth

3. Leafy Greens

Full of vitamins and minerals, leafy greens like kale, spinach, and broccoli are high in calcium, which helps build tooth enamel. They also contain folic acid, which has numerous health benefits, such as reducing gum inflammation.

Aerial view of brown almonds in a white custard cup that promote healthy teeth

4. Almonds

Almonds satisfy your crunchy craving guilt-free because they’re low in sugar and high in protein and calcium, which helps keep your teeth strong and reduces the risk for tooth decay.

Cluster of orange carrots with green stems that promote saliva production when eaten

5. Carrots

Carrots are another yummy food to munch on because they are high in fiber and beta carotene, which is needed to make vitamin A, a necessary ingredient for when your mouth is forming tooth enamel. Eating raw carrots can also stimulate saliva production and wash away residual food particles in your mouth that can cause cavities.

3 Tooth-Decaying Foods to Limit

Aerial view of colorful candies in a clear jar on a marble counter

1. Candy

Whether it’s chewy or hard candy, the sugar in candy feeds your oral bacteria. When feasting, bacteria produce acid that dissolves enamel and makes teeth more vulnerable to cavities. Candy also easily sticks between teeth, which leads to plaque buildup. If you need to indulge your sweet tooth, opt for dark chocolate and be sure to drink plenty of water afterward.

Aerial view of orange Pringles chips that can damage teeth with sugar content

2 & 3. Potato Chips and Popcorn

It may be difficult to resist salty, crunchy snacks like popcorn and potato chips, but you should probably think twice before you reach for that next handful. Chip and popcorn particles often linger between your teeth and under your gumline (especially with continued snacking!) encouraging bacteria growth and gum irritation.

Ask our team for more dietary tips to promote a healthy mouth. How is the quality of your oral health? Contact us today to schedule a cleaning and checkup!

5 Tips to Stop Chronic Dry Mouth

A young blonde woman looking away sits in the sand in the middle of a dry desert with a dry mouth

Have you ever had the uncomfortable feeling that your mouth is incredibly dry, almost like a desert? Dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands produce less saliva than normal. Dry mouth causes discomfort and can lead to oral health problems like tooth decay and gum disease if left untreated. Here are 5 tips for stopping chronic dry mouth!

Tips to Stop Dry Mouth

  1. Drink Plenty of Water
  2. This may seem like an obvious tip, but drinking water is maybe the best way to combat dry mouth. Dry mouth often happens due to dehydration, a problem you can easily solve by drinking more water. As an reminder to drink more water, keep a full glass of water next to you so can stay hydrated all day long. If dehydration isn’t the reason for your dry mouth issues, drinking water will still help by increasing the amount of saliva in your mouth and washing away any problematic bacteria from your mouth.

  3. Chew Sugarless Gum
  4. The simple act of chewing sugar-free gum is actually really great for your mouth because it increases the flow of saliva and eases your dry mouth symptoms. The common sugar replacement, xylitol, found in many sugar-free gums can also reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth that cause decay and bad breath. Sugarless mints and candies have a similar effect by stimulating salivary flow, as well.

  5. Try Not to Breathe Through Your Mouth
  6. Breathing through your mouth can dry out your mouth, so try to breathe through your nose when you’re resting. If you have difficulty breathing through your nose because of congestion or allergies, it may be a good idea to discuss those issues with your doctor and see if there may be a way to alleviate or combat your symptoms.

  7. Avoid Caffeinated Beverages
  8. Caffeine has a drying effect in your mouth and can often worsen your dry mouth symptoms. If you really need your cup of coffee, be sure that you drink a glass of water too. However, if your dry mouth is really bad and you need to cut out caffeine completely but still need something to help you stay awake, try making yourself a bowl of oatmeal in the morning filled with energizing foods like almonds and blueberries.

  9. Stop Smoking

    Smoking is very bad for your overall health AND your oral health. Cigarettes exacerbate dry mouth because smoking reduces your salivary flow. There are many resources that can help you stop smoking, including nicotine patches and gum, smoking cessation classes and support groups, herbal remedies, and even hypnosis.

Come Visit Us at Henson Family Dental

Another surefire way to combat dry mouth is by practicing good oral hygiene every day and coming in to see us for biannual cleanings and checkups. Call us today if you have any additional questions about dry mouth or to schedule your next dental appointment!

How to Become a General Dentist

Five Boggle letter cubes spell STUDY on a wooden table against a background of two stacks of books

Have you ever considered a career in dentistry? Or maybe you have just been wondering about the education process for dental professionals. Here’s a look at the educational journey of a general dentist.

Applying to Dental School

  1. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
  2. Before Dr. Henson attended dental school, she first received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Florida State University. Although the requirements for admission to dental school vary, a bachelor’s degree is a standard across the board.

  3. Complete the Prerequisite Courses
  4. Dental schools also require that applicants have completed additional education courses that are sometimes termed ‘pre-med.’ For example, Dr. Henson’s alma mater, Meharry Medical College, requires the following additional courses:

    • General biology or zoology with lab
    • Inorganic chemistry with lab
    • Organic chemistry with lab
    • General physics with lab
    • English composition
    • Biochemistry
    • Calculus or statistics

  5. Take the DAT
  6. Prior to acceptance into dental school, applicants must have taken the Dental Admission Test (DAT). This test measures the general academic ability of the applicant, with four sections focusing on the natural sciences, perceptual ability, reading comprehension, and quantitative reasoning.

Attending Dental School

Generally speaking, dental school takes four years to complete. In some cases, students who take a combined bachelor’s and doctoral degree program may take less time to finish school. It’s usually two years of lectures, with lab work increasing in the second year. The final two years of dental school also includes some classroom lectures, but a large portion of time is spent completing clinical work in a dental office, under the supervision of your professors.

In order to become a general dentist, you must complete a graduate degree as a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).

Passing the Licensure Exams

After completing dental school, graduates must pass a rigorous national exam as well as a state-licensing exam in order to practice as a general dentist.

Questions? We Have Answers!

Reach out or connect via social media to our team at Henson Family Dental! We’re happy to discuss careers in dentistry with you. If you’re overdue for your next dental appointment, contact our office and schedule an appointment today.

Can I Write Off Emergency Dental Procedures?

A pink piggy bank that stores money stands against a darker pink background

Spring is in the air and April is right around the corner! While many of us may look forward to longer days, chances are a larger majority of us are dreading April’s arrival because of Tax Day. The taxman cometh every year, but there’s some extra anxiety about it this year in the wake of tax reform.

Can I Write Off Emergency Dental Procedures?

Before we dive into this question, please bear in mind that you want to check with your accountant or tax advisor to make sure that you are eligible to make these deductions.

The short answer is yes! But there are several qualifiers:

  • To write off dental work, you must itemize your deductions.
  • At least for 2017 and 2018 tax returns, the deduction for medical expenses must meet a threshold of 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). You may only deduct the amount of your total medical expense that exceeds 7.5% of your AGI.
  • Dental expenses that qualify for a tax write off must be medically necessary and preventive, while purely cosmetic procedures, like teeth whitening are not eligible.

Affordable Dental Care

Dr. Henson and our team at Henson Family Dental pride ourselves on making the financial burden of dental care as manageable as possible for our patients. We accept a variety of different dental insurance plans and third party financing to help you get the dental care you need when you need it. We accept and file most insurance claims and help you maximize your dental insurance benefits.

At Henson Family Dental, we also accept CareCredit® patient financing. This option allows our patients to split up the cost of their treatments into manageable monthly payments. Visit the CareCredit website for more information about this payment option.

Contact Our Office

Your smile is priceless and all of us at Henson Family Dental want to be sure that you can keep up with regular cleaning and preventive work. If you have any questions regarding your taxes, dental insurance, or other payment options, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!

A History of Dental Science

Dentist sits with patient while he discusses her oral X-ray results

We’ve come along way from where dentistry began. To learn about the history of dental science and how modern dentistry came to be, we need to go back in time…

Ancient Times

Back in 5000 BC, a Sumerian text described “tooth worms” as the cause of dental decay. This is the earliest known record of dental science. About 2,500 years later, an Egyptian scribe who was known as the first dentist, passed away. The inscription on his tomb read “the greatest of those who deal with teeth, and of physicians.” Much later, around 500-300 BC, Aristotle and Hippocrates wrote about treating gum disease and tooth decay, using wires to stabilize loose teeth and fractured jaws, as well as removing teeth using forceps.

Middle Ages

Two important dental works were published in the Middle Ages. Artzney Buchlein’s Little Medicinal Book for All Kinds of Diseases and Infirmities of the Teeth, the first book devoted to dentistry which covered topics like placing fillings and oral hygiene, was published in 1530 in Germany. Ambrose Pare, known as the Father of Surgery, published Complete Works forty-five years later in France, detailing treatment for jaw fractures and tooth decay, as well as tooth extractions.

18th Century

Yet another revolutionary text was published in 1723 by Pierre Fauchard, a surgeon from France known as the Father of Modern Dentistry. The Surgeon Dentist, A Treatise on Teeth described dental science practices like basic oral function and anatomy, operating techniques, and dental construction. During the 18th Century, some of the first American dentists started practicing dentistry, the first dental chair was invented, and the first patent for porcelain teeth was created.

19th Century

The 19th Century saw many advances in education and science. An investment in dental science as a career lead to the opening of the first dental school and the creation of the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. Further establishing dentistry as an important medical discipline, the American Dental Association and the American Society of Dental Surgeons were created. Scientific achievements made in the 1800s include the commercial manufacture of porcelain teeth, tubed toothpaste, the reclining dental chair, use of anesthesia in oral surgery, using gold fillings for cavities, and more.

20th Century

The 1900s were a century filled with the creation of many organizations and practices including water fluoridation, the first dental hygienist program, the U.S. Army Dental Corps, and the American Board of Orthodontics. Other advancements in dental science include the electric toothbrush, Novocain, nylon toothbrushes, tooth-colored restorative materials for cosmetic dental work, the porcelain crown, and many more.

Next time you sit down in the dentist’s chair, think about the history of dental science and the ways in which its shaped our culture and our medical practices today. Contact us to schedule your next checkup and cleaning!

New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthy Smile

Blonde woman in black dress standing in the snow in front of a black background holding a lit sparkler.

If you’re anything like our team, your New Year’s resolutions involve making positive changes in your life in some area. Whether its a healthier diet, an exercise regimen, or meditation, the new year is a great time to create a positive habit. At Henson Family Dental, we are encouraging our patients to come up with a New Year’s resolution for a healthy smile. If you’re stumped, we have a few ideas!

1. Make Flossing a Priority

A good preventive care regimen means brushing twice daily and flossing once each day. If you skip flossing, you aren’t cleaning about 40% of the surface of your tooth, creating a breeding ground for bacteria that produce acid and result in cavities. There are a variety of flossing tools on the market, from WaterPik® water flossers to floss extenders, that can make flossing easier and more convenient.

2. Limit Cavity-Causing Foods

Foods high in sugar and starch give the harmful bacteria in your mouth fuel to turn into acid that can cause tooth decay. Instead of reaching for a soda or candy, consider substituting for water or some fruit. You’ll be doing your teeth a favor!

3. Get the Smile You’ve Always Wanted

Many of our patients mention that they are embarrassed to smile in photographs because their teeth are stained or chipped. This year, make your smile a priority and consider some of our cosmetic dentistry services. We offer professional teeth whitening services, both at home and in the office, that can give you that bright, white smile you’ve always wanted. Dr. Henson can also place porcelain veneers that help to fix dental issues like chipped teeth or discoloration. Don’t waste any more time hiding your smile in the new year!

To ask our friendly team any questions or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Henson, contact our office today!

How You Can Get Your Kids to Brush Regularly

Mom and son in pajamas brushing their teeth together in the bathroom

At Henson Family Dental, we love providing quality dental care to the whole family. Many members of our team are parents themselves, and we understand firsthand that getting kids to brush their teeth can be a struggle. With the goal of helping our patients establish healthy dental care habits from a young age, we want to share some of our favorite tips to get your kids brushing regularly.

1. Brush at the Same Time

Kids want to be included, so if you make toothbrushing a family activity, they may be more likely to join in without complaining. Establish a regular family brushing routine so kids know what to expect. As an added bonus, you’ll get your own brushing out of the way!

2. Get a Wacky Toothbrush or Toothpaste

There are tons (and we mean tons!) of dental care products marketed especially toward kids. Next time you’re at the grocery store, have your child pick out the color of their own toothbrush. Or, use a toothpaste in an exciting flavor like cotton candy or bubblegum. Before you know it, your kids will look forward to trying their new tasty toothpaste once it’s time to brush.

3. Make a Game Out of It

As a parent, you know better than anyone what motivates your child. If you can turn brushing into a fun game by creating a rewards system or creating a game out of toothbrushing, your kids will begin to see oral care as a fun activity. And, if any parents reading this have come up with a successful game to encourage brushing, we’d love to hear about it!

No matter what tactic you use to get your kids brushing their teeth, it is important to establish good habits early that they can use for a lifetime. Once your children are old enough, be sure to explain the importance of brushing and flossing as a way to prevent more serious dental problems. To schedule appointments for you and your family or to ask us any questions, contact us online or by phone.

Effects of Smiling

brunette woman sitting in coffee shop smiling holding her phone

At Henson Family Dental, our goal is to help our patients get the smile they’ve always wanted. Whether it’s through our cosmetic dentistry services, like veneers or whitening, or through preventive measures that help maintain your health, we want our patients to show off their smiles. You see, the benefits of smiling go way beyond appearances.

The Science of Smiling

When you see or experience something that makes you happy, a signal travels from your brain to your cranial muscle to the smiling muscles in your face. Once those smiling muscles contract, you experience a positive feedback loop that reinforces your feeling of joy. So smiling is both a cause and an effect of being happy.

Positive Effects

Studies show that your brain keeps track of how often you smile, and that information is used to determine your overall emotional state. Additionally, smiling can reduce stress and generate positive emotions. For example, we often feel happier with children because they smile more. Smiling can also reduce stress and anxiety, as well as help lower your blood pressure and heart rate.

It’s Contagious

When someone smiles at you, your own mirror neurons trigger a smile back. In fact, studies have shown that it is much more difficult to keep a long face when you look at people who are smiling back at you. Smiling not only improves your own mood, it can improve the mood of everyone around you.

Now that you know about some of the beneficial effects of smiling, don’t waste another day worrying about your smile! If you’re hiding you smile because you’re embarrassed about crooked or stained teeth, call our office today. Dr. Henson will examine your teeth and go over your options. Our team will then create a customized plan to get the smile you’ve always wanted. To ask our team any questions or to schedule your next visit to our office, give us a call or use our online contact form.

How Can Healthy Food Protect Your Teeth

healthy fruits and vegetables no chalkboard background

When you think about caring for your teeth, you probably think about brushing, flossing, and visiting Dr. Henson regularly for cleanings and exams. While we certainly encourage all of that, there’s another, simple way to care for your teeth – the food you eat! We all know that sugary foods can contribute to tooth decay, but there are also foods that keep your teeth strong and healthy.

Cheese

Who doesn’t love cheese? With all of its dental health benefits, there’s even more reason to love this delicious food. Cheese can raise the pH level in your mouth and lower the risk of decay. Chewing cheese increases the saliva in your mouth, while the calcium and protein in cheese strengthen your tooth enamel.

Yogurt

Yogurt is chock full of healthy probiotic bacteria that can fight back against harmful, disease-causing bacteria. Yogurt, like cheese, is also high in tooth-strengthening calcium and protein.

Apples

We all know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it also keeps your dentist happy! Apples increase saliva production, which fights back against and washes away harmful bacteria and germs. The texture of the fruit also scrubs your teeth and stimulates your gums, although it’s no substitute for brushing!

Celery

Celery is another vegetable that can be considered nature’s toothbrush. Much like apples, its texture helps scrape away food and bacteria from your teeth. It’s also a good source of vitamins A and C, which are good for your gums.

Almonds

Almonds are a great, healthy snack that is low in sugar. The calcium and protein in almonds helps protect your teeth while giving you something deliciously crunchy to snack on.

Which tooth-friendly food is your favorite? We encourage you to try these healthy snacks – your teeth will thank you for these tasty treats! To ask Dr. Henson what other steps she recommends to care for your teeth, or to schedule your next appointment, give our team a call.