What to Do in a Dental Emergency

When a dental emergency strikes, knowing how to react can mean the difference between saving a tooth or not. Today, our team at Henson Family Dental want to talk about a few common dental emergencies and help you come up with a plan for how to react in the event that something happens.

girl holding her lower tooth with a dental emergency

Toothache

Toothaches are very common, and can have a variety of causes. The first thing you should do is gently rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it. If you notice that something is irritating your teeth (like a food particle trapped between teeth or between your tooth and gum), you can try to gently floss to remove it. If this doesn’t ease your pain, call our office for help. In many cases, we can see patients same-day for emergencies.

Cracked Tooth

Once you realize that you’ve chipped or cracked a tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it and keep an infection from developing. If you notice that the area around your tooth is swollen, you can use a cold compress. Then, call our office to learn about next steps.

Lost Tooth

If for some reason your tooth gets knocked out, don’t panic – there’s still a chance you can save your tooth. If possible, place your tooth back in its socket without touching the root. If this is impossible, you can also place it between your teeth and gums. If neither is possible, you can place the tooth in a glass of milk. Regardless, it is important to keep your tooth moist. Call our office immediately.

No matter your dental emergency, call our office as quickly as possible. Our highly trained team knows what to do in just about every situation to help you preserve the health of your teeth. To ask us any questions or schedule your next visit, contact our office today!

What Thanksgiving Foods Will Make Your Teeth Happy?

When you’re stuffing yourself this Thanksgiving, you don’t need to feel too badly about what you’re doing to your health. Sure, you might gain a few pounds, but you may actually be doing wonders for your teeth at the very least. It turns out there are some Thanksgiving foods that are actually good for your dental health! Keep reading to find out more.

thanksgiving dinner foods good for oral health

Turkey

Yes, that’s right! Turkey is good for your teeth, provided you make sure to clean your teeth afterwards. That’s because it’s filled with protein and phosphorus, which strengthen both your teeth and bones. However, turkey is also hard to eat and can get stuck between your teeth, so make sure you floss afterwards.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are packed with a variety of vitamins that are extremely good for your teeth. Vitamin C helps fight gingivitis and protects your gums, while vitamin D helps to prevent tooth loss. However, be sure to eat these in moderation; bacteria that causes cavities also happen to love the sugar in potatoes’ starch. As always, don’t forget to brush your teeth and floss afterwards!

Glazed Carrots

Carrots contain a lot of vitamin B, which causes your mouth to salivate. While that might sound strange, saliva is actually very important for your dental health. Saliva kills bacteria and washes away harmful acids. In addition, carrots are loaded with vitamin K, which helps prevent tooth decay.

What Are Some of the Worst Thanksgiving Foods?

While turkey, roasted sweet potatoes, and glazed carrots are dentist-approved in moderation, some foods can spell disaster for your teeth if you’re not careful. Sugary drinks and alcoholic beverages can give you cavities quickly, so make sure you swish your mouth out after consuming these. Desserts like fruit cake are also filled with sugar, and we don’t need to explain how bad that can be for your teeth!

We at Henson Family Dental hope these culinary recommendations will help you enjoy Thanksgiving in the most tooth-friendly way possible. In the meantime, if you’re due for a checkup, or have any other dental issue, contact our office today to schedule an appointment!

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!

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.

5 Tooth-Friendly Foods in 2017

african american woman drinking water

Eating healthy is great for our bodies, but it’s also important for your teeth. If you’re looking for some new foods to include in your diet, or even wondering what you can keep on the menu, here are a few of our favorite tooth-friendly foods.

Calcium-Rich Dairy

Your bones love calcium, and guess what? So do your teeth! Cheese, yogurt, and milk are all great nutrition options that benefit your teeth. Calcium helps strengthen tooth enamel, which is the outer layer of teeth that protects against bacteria. Studies found that cheese lowers the pH in the mouth, too, which lowers the risk of tooth decay. The probiotics in yogurt (cultures of good bacteria) crowd out much of the bad bacteria in your mouth to provide even more benefits to your gums.

Crisp Fruits & Veggies

Celery, carrots, and apples are all great foods to snack on. Their consistency scrubs teeth while you chew, removing some of the bacteria that may be stuck there. Chewing these kinds of crunchy food can also stimulate saliva production in your mouth, which helps to rinse out your mouth.

Protein

Like calcium, protein helps strengthen tooth enamel. Since protein is also good for your overall health, consider adding some protein-rich foods to your diet. Nuts, cheese, and lean meats like chicken are all great ways to get more protein.

Thirst-Quenching Water

Not only does water have no calories (so it’s not detrimental to your waistline), but it also helps to cleanse your mouth of bacteria and leftover food particles. Suffering from a dry mouth? Hydrate with water!

Sugar-Free Gum

Chewing gum after a meal may actually help clean your mouth out! The act of chewing helps produce more saliva, cleaning out leftover food after a meal. The sugar-free variety of chewing gum is always best because you don’t want to add more sticky sugar and bacteria to your teeth.

Want to learn more about how your nutrition affects your oral health? Talk with us at your next appointment! We want to help make sure that your smile is healthy and beautiful for a lifetime.

Best Fish for Your Teeth

dinner plate salmon rosemary

Nutritionists and health experts recommend eating fish a few times a week as part of a healthy diet. But not all fish are created equal. Some are more nutritious than others while other types contain higher levels of pollutants such as mercury. Believe it or not, though, there are some varieties of fish that are particularly beneficial for your oral health. Include these three fish in your diet a couple of times a week to give your teeth and gums some essential nutrients to keep them healthy.

Salmon

Arguably the number one most recommended fish for healthy eating is salmon. This oily fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids. These acids reduce inflammation in the gums associated with periodontal disease. Stick to Alaskan wild-caught varieties since they contain less mercury than farm-raised fish.

Sardines

Small fish like sardines are great because they also give you a boost of important minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. These are are all essential for building and maintaining strong teeth and bones. Sardines also contain one of the highest concentrations of omega-3s with 1,950mg per three-ounce serving. Opting for fish with soft bones, like sardines, gives you a double dose of nutrients.

Herring

Much like sardines, these small fish are packed with nutrients and are more affordable than Alaskan wild-caught salmon. A six-ounce serving of herring gives you over half your daily recommended intake of phosphorus as well as 14% of daily calcium and 17% of daily magnesium. The protein in herring also helps your body to produce collagen, which is necessary for repairing soft connective tissues such as the gums.

Henson Family Dental offers convenient and comfortable care for the whole family, and we provide all of our patients with a wide range of preventive, restorative, and cosmetic treatments to keep your smile healthy and happy. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment.

Animals with the Strangest Teeth

group of narwhals swimming

The animal kingdom is a vast set of odd beings. The odd features of these beings, though, may come as a surprise to you! Today, we’ll take a look at some of the strangest teeth in the animal kingdom.

Musk Deer

When thinking of large teeth, you probably think of carnivores, or at least animals that have the fierce mien to match their lengthy teeth. You probably don’t think of a deer. But the musk deer, or saber-tooth deer, has an interesting set of teeth. Generated in the musk gland, their distinct odor is the cause for the name “musk deer.” They have no antlers or facial glands, which normal deer have. All in all, it’s an odd animal with strange teeth, so it qualified for this list.

Helicoprion

The helicoprion, 290 million years old, is extinct. The fossils we’ve found, though are only tooth fossils because it had a cartilage skeletal system. Based on these fossils, scientists concluded that the fish had spiral teeth. Although it looks and behaves like a shark, it was a chimaera, a line of cartilaginous fish. Chimaeras stay around cold, deep waters of about 8,200 feet below sea level, unlike sharks who stay around warm waters. But chimaeras aren’t very good swimmers. They have four covered gills and one opening on each side of the head.

The name “helicoprion” means spiral saw in Greek. The geologist Alexander Karpinsky, who discovered the shark’s fossils in Kazakhstan, named it, but he and other scientists knew no use for its spiral saw! It was found out later that those teeth rotated backwards when the shark bit down on prey in order to push the food into its mouth.

Karpinsky thought the teeth were on its snout and the snout curled up, but the American ichthyologist Oliver Hay found another fossil in 1907 which showed him that the teeth were in the mouth. The Danish paleontologist Svend Erik Bendix-Almgreen found decades later a larger and more complete fossil in Idaho, which confirmed the teeth’s position. This fish was a truly dangerous animal with strange teeth.

Narwhal

The male narwhal – or the unicorn of the sea, as it’s called – is an animal with one, and sometimes two, 10-foot tusks jutting straight out of its head. These mysterious whales live in the arctic waters around Russia, Canada, Norway, and Greenway. Only about 80,000 exist, and because of the pollution which kills them and their food supply, that number may soon decrease to zero. They average about 4,200 pounds and can grow up to 17 feet long.

But what’s so special about this animal’s teeth? Its unicorn-like tusk is actually a tooth! This tusk holds millions of nerve cells, and narwhals sometimes fight in a friendly way with them. We would certainly say that’s one strange tooth!

With all this tooth talk, don’t forget your own teeth. You want none of your teeth to have odd features and strange capacities, but if you do think they’re feeling a little odd, contact Henson Family Dental so that we can help get your teeth back to normal.

Tooth-Friendly Cuisine

salad with celery pears cheese nuts

When we think about choosing the right foods, we often think of what’s healthy for our bodies or what might help us lose weight. While it’s great to think of your body’s overall health, it’s very important to add some tooth-friendly cuisine to your diet.

The overall health of teeth is not at the top of most people’s priority list, and that’s mostly because people tend to think that brushing teeth twice a day is all that’s needed to keep them in good shape. That’s not true. Your teeth fight against plaque and bacteria every day, and several of the things you probably drink and eat regularly make it harder for your teeth to remain strong and healthy. So, along with brushing and flossing, choose a few tooth-friendly foods and beverages to help your teeth fight against cavities.

Tea

Both black and green tea help slow the growth of bacteria in your mouth. Drinking a cup of tea a day can help your teeth fight against cavities and gum disease by decreasing the bacterial growth that often causes these problems. And, as a bonus, these two teas are also a great tool against bad breath.

Crunchy Foods

Celery, raw carrots, and apples help clean your teeth. Throughout the day, your teeth gather plaque that needs to be cleaned off. Eating crunchy food is a great way to help scrub your teeth of the harmful plaque buildup between brushes.

Cheese

Good news for all the cheese lovers out there: cheddar cheese helps to lower the acid levels within your mouth! The calcium and protein found within cheese is also a great health boost when it comes to tooth enamel.

Leafy Greens

Add a salad or some kale to your diet to help build tooth enamel. A few other delicious foods that help with tooth enamel are meat, eggs, and fish.

Milk

If you’re a fan of sugary foods, drink a glass of milk after consuming sugary snacks to help reduce the acid these treats tend to create. You should still keep the sweets to a minimum for healthy teeth, though.

At Henson Family Dental, we care about the health of your teeth and hope that these food tips will help you create a habit of caring for your teeth throughout the day. We believe everyone deserves the top dental care without breaking the bank, which is why we offer flexible payments and accept most insurances. Our wide variety of services – from general cleaning and preventative care to complicated restorative treatments and cosmetic care – means we can care for you, no matter your needs.

Call us to schedule a consultation or cleaning.