What Are Healthy Halloween Treat Options?

group of kids dressed up for halloween trick or treat

Halloween is just around the corner, and that means trick-or-treating and Halloween candy. But be careful with that candy! Instead of chomping on sticky, gummy, and hard candies, why not try these healthy Halloween treat options.

Chocolate

This is a treat that you may be able to find in your kid’s trick-or-treating bag. Chocolate is probably the best kind of candy out there for your teeth. This is because it is soft and unlike those hard candies, it melts in your mouth so that you aren’t putting your teeth at risk for a chip or break. Additionally, chocolate actually washes away after you’ve eaten a lot better than other candies so food particles won’t stick in between your teeth. Instead of getting stuck in the crevices of your teeth, chocolate can easily get washed away with a glass of water.

Pumpkin Treats

Yes, pumpkin may be something you more easily associate with Thanksgiving, but pumpkin is also classically associated with Halloween so why not indulge in pumpkin treats this Halloween. Pumpkin is very high in fiber and vitamin A and therefore helps to strengthen your teeth’s enamel and to keep your gums healthy. There are many pumpkin treat recipes out there that ditch the sugar to make the treats much healthier. The lower the sugar, the better the treat will be for your teeth.

Dark Chocolate-Covered Apples

When you think of apple treats during the fall you probably think of caramel or candy-coated apples. Dark chocolate-covered apples is a healthy take on this classic Halloween treat, but makes it much much healthier for your teeth. As mentioned above, chocolate is a much better alternative to caramel or candy which are both very high in sugar. Dark chocolate is a great source of antioxidants and its soft texture allows the chocolate to be easily washed away after you’ve eaten the treat. Meanwhile, apples are considered nature’s toothbrushes because the fibrous texture of the fruit will stimulate your gums and stimulate saliva production, which helps to remineralize your tooth enamel.

Spider Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches

This Halloween take on a classic sandwich that is super fun for kids. Using whole wheat bread, take round cookie cutters to cut the whole wheat bread into an even number of rounds. Then, spread natural peanut butter and low sugar jelly on each round. Next, take eight pretzel sticks and place four on each side of half of the rounds so that they look like spider legs. Then, put the other half of the rounds on top of those with the pretzel sticks on them so that they look like the bodies of spiders. Finally, put a tiny bit of peanut butter on raisins and stick two on each of the spider bodies so that you give the spiders eyes. What’s great about these is that they are super fun for kids to make and may even make them forget they’re not eating candy!

Happy Halloween From Henson Family Dental!

We hope you have a fun and safe Halloween holiday. If you have any other questions about healthy Halloween treat options, give us a call! We look forward to hearing from you.

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Best Foods for Your Dental Health

There are other ways to take care of your dental health apart from just consistent, twice daily brushing and flossing. One of those ways is by maintaining a healthy diet. Although there are some obvious foods that you should avoid in order to maintain good oral health, here are some foods that support bright, healthy smiles!

kale growing under a blue sky with fluffy white clouds

Dark, Leafy Greens

Spinach, kale, and other dark leafy greens are excellent for your teeth because they are full of the necessary vitamins and minerals that you need to keep your teeth strong (like vitamins A, B, and folic acid).

Nuts

Nuts are full of fiber and protein, which means that they can actually wick away plaque from the surface of your teeth as you eat them!

Apples

Apples are also full of fiber, so they keep your teeth clean as you crunch down on them! Serve them up with a little peanut butter for a delicious, protein-packed snack that’s good for your smile.

Dairy

Cheese, yogurt, and milk are all great for your teeth because they’re packed with calcium which supports healthy bone density.

Crunchy Veggies

Carrots, celery, and other crunchy vegetables support your dental health. Not to mention that they are also portable, filling, and go great with hummus and yogurt dips, which are also great for your teeth!

Ginger

Looking for an easy way to spice up your diet without harming your teeth? Ginger contains a ton of antimicrobial properties that can help fend off plaque and other bacteria from the surface of your teeth.

Foods to Avoid

The main foods that you should avoid if you are trying to maintain or improve your dental health are anything that contain a high amount of sugar or acid, like soda, candy, pastries, or citrus. All of them promote bacteria growth and increase your chances of developing cavities and tooth decay if you do not consistently brush and floss your teeth.

Visit Us at Henson Family Dental

Along with diet and regular brushing and flossing, visiting your dentist twice a year is the best way to ensure that you are taking care of your dental health. Visit us at Henson Family Dental for your twice annual cleaning and examination! Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

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Oral Care During Pregnancy

pregnant woman laying in the grass holding her belly

If you’re pregnant, you’re on your way to an exciting new chapter in your life. During those nine months, you’re probably busy trying to eat right and doing everything else you can to make sure your body is healthy, and so your baby is healthy, too. It may not be your first thought, but while you’re looking after your wellness, it’s important not to let your dental health slip. Pregnancy comes with certain oral health risks, and being a little proactive with your dental care can help you avoid those. Here are some tips for how to take care of your teeth while you’re pregnant:

Keep Up with Your Dental Visits

We know you probably don’t want to add another trip to the doctor’s office amid all the other ones you need to go to leading up to the birth, but it’s a good idea to still maintain those routine dentist visits. Due to all the hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy, you can be more at risk for gum disease. When you visit the dentist, we can take a look at your gum health and make sure everything looks fine, and if not, provide the necessary treatment. The earlier you catch gum disease the better so the symptoms and damage don’t get worse.

Use Alternatives If You Have Morning Sickness

Pregnant women suffering from morning sickness may have trouble following through with their normal at-home dental care routine. If that happens to you, consider swapping your toothpaste for one that has more of a bland flavor. Any time after you’ve vomited, rinse your mouth out with water so you can clean away any stomach acid left on your teeth. Otherwise, it could lead to decay.

Brush & Floss Daily

This last tip is an easy one! Everyone should brush their teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day, and pregnant women are no exception. Follow through with that throughout your pregnancy so you can ensure that you’re doing your part to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If you’re having problems with plaque, you might even want to throw a mouthwash into the mix, too.

We Care About Your Oral Health

At Henson Family Dental, we want to help all of our patients enjoy healthy smiles throughout all stages of their life. To book your next appointment with us, call or email our dental practice today. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Do Cavities Always Hurt?

man wth a beard wearing a denim jacket holding his jaw with tooth pain

If you’ve been to the dentist and found out you have one or more cavities, you may have thought, “Surely I would’ve known or felt something if that were true.” The fact is, you won’t always feel a cavity when you have one. It all depends on how far along your tooth decay is. Let’s take a dive into how cavities feel as well as what other things might cause toothaches besides cavities!

How Cavities Feel

When you have an early-stage cavity, the decay has only gone so far as your tooth enamel, or the outside layer of your teeth. Chances are you won’t feel anything with a cavity like this. But, when the decay gets worse and burrows down into the inner portions of your tooth where there are soft tissues and nerves, that’s when you can start to feel something. This might just be a little sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, it could be a mild ache, or it could be severe pain.

Other Causes of Tooth Pain

Yes, while serious cavities are a common cause of tooth pain, they’re not the only cause. There are a number of other dental conditions that might result in a not-so-pleasant ache in your mouth. For example, if you have a condition called bruxism where you grind your teeth, that pressure could cause sore gums and jaw pain. A cracked tooth and tooth sensitivity from receding gums can also result in tooth pain.

Since cavities may not always hurt, it’s a good idea to keep up with your regular visits to the dentist so they can keep an eye on developing issues. After all, you want to catch any problems BEFORE they start causing you pain so you don’t have to deal with something more serious.

To schedule your next dental appointment, contact Henson Family Dental today. We’d love to look after your smile, and we’re happy to answer any additional questions you might have about cavities and cavity prevention!

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Does Pregnancy Affect Oral Health?

pregnant woman standing outside in a field
It’s no secret that the side effects of pregnancy range far beyond just creating another human life. However, you may be surprised to learn that there is a strong correlation between pregnancy and oral health. Pregnant women are at a higher risk for developing gum disease and cavities, and the oral health of a pregnant woman can have an impact on the health outcomes of both mother and baby. Today, we want to talk about the oral health risks faced by pregnant mothers as well as the steps they can take to keep their teeth healthy and strong.

Pregnancy & Gum Disease

During pregnancy, hormonal changes cause blood flow to the gums to increase. This can cause gum tissue to become sensitive, swollen, and tender. Not only is this change uncomfortable, it can also hamper your body’s normal response to bacteria and increase your risk for infection.

While there’s nothing you can do to avoid these hormonal changes, you can take steps to mitigate your risk for gum disease by following a good at-home oral hygiene routine as well as regularly visiting our office. In some cases, Dr. Henson may prescribe a special mouthwash to treat your gum disease.

Not only is fighting back against gum disease important for your own oral health, it is also important for the health of your baby. Gum disease is associated with preterm births, low birth weight, and other adverse outcomes.

Pregnancy & Cavities

As if gum disease wasn’t enough to worry about, pregnancy can also increase your risk for cavities. This heightened risk is due both to hormonal changes that affect your body’s response to bacteria as well as changes in diet while pregnant. There is a strong correlation showing that children of pregnant mothers with cavities are much more likely to develop cavities of their own.

Good oral health starts at home: you should brush your teeth twice daily and floss each day to keep teeth healthy and strong. Regular visits to our office help our team treat your oral health and are especially important while pregnant.

Contact us to ask our team any questions about oral health or to schedule a consultation!

The Effects of Grinding Your Teeth at Night

If you dismiss your own or a loved one’s tooth grinding at night as merely a noisy inconvenience, you may want to think twice. Also known as bruxism, tooth grinding can not only have some serious consequences, it may also be a sign of a serious underlying health condition like sleep apnea. Today, we want to explore some of the common effects of grinding your teeth at night, and share some strategies for eliminating grinding.

man in pain grimacing holding his head and jaw with both hands

Headaches & Jaw Pain

Tooth grinding can cause headaches in the morning, due to the constant pressure on your jaw and skull throughout the night. Other patients who grind their teeth complain about constant jaw pain as muscles are straining throughout the night while you grind teeth.

Tooth Sensitivity

Over the years, tooth grinding can lead to tooth sensitivity. When you grind your teeth, tooth enamel slowly wears away as teeth rub together. Not only does enamel protect your teeth from cavities and decay, it also protects the delicate inner dentin, pulp, and nerve endings. Once enamel is damaged and nerve endings are exposed, you will likely experience more sensitive teeth.

Cracked or Shortened Teeth

As your teeth grind back and forth, this wears away on the surface of your teeth. Over time, this can result in teeth becoming shorter. This can also lead to damage in the form of cracks, chips, or even broken teeth.

How Can I Treat Tooth Grinding?

While Dr. Henson may be able to create a customized mouthpiece that protects your teeth while you sleep, the best way to treat tooth grinding is to address its source. For some patients, tooth grinding indicates the presence of a sleep breathing disorder such as sleep apnea. For others, tooth grinding is indicative of stress or anxiety.

Contact us to ask our team questions about tooth grinding or to schedule a consultation!

Chipped or Broken Tooth Treatment & Repair

Whether you’re dealing with a chipped tooth yourself, or if you just want to be prepared, we’re here to help. In this blog post, we’ll brief you on what can be done to treat and repair a chipped or broken tooth.

cartoon man pointing at a frowning broken cartoon tooth

At-home Treatment

If you break or chip a tooth, you will have to see your dentist as soon as you can. In the meantime, though, there are a few things you can do. Gently rinse out your mouth with warm water. Depending on the severity of the break, you may experience a lot of pain, and even blood. Quel any blood with gauze and, if needed, reach for a NSAID, like ibuprofen, to ease the pain.

Filling or Bonding

Once you get to the dentist, one of the options they may choose to repair your broken tooth is a filling or bonding. These are methods that are used to repair minor chips. If it’s a visible, front tooth that has been affected, your dentist is likely to opt for a tooth-colored bonding for a seamless restoration. Both procedures are straightforward and can be accomplished in an office visit.

Crown

In instances where a more significant chunk of the tooth has been broken off, your dentist may decide that a crown is the answer. A crown is tooth-shaped, and it covers and protects the damaged tooth. Crowns can be temporary or permanent, and come in a variety of different materials including metal, porcelain, and resin.

Veneers

Especially in cases where one of the front teeth has been significantly damaged, a dental veneer may be the best way to fix the look and feel of the tooth. A veneer is a permanent solution in which a thin, tooth shaped shell covers the affected tooth, leaving you with a tooth that looks as good as new.

If you do happen to break a tooth, don’t panic! Contact us here at Henson Family Dental and a member of our team will be happy to walk you through your options.

Interesting Facts About Ancient Dental Practices

If you didn’t have the modern conveniences of a toothbrush and toothpaste, what would you use to clean your teeth? Well back in the day, ancient civilizations had a lot of different methods for cleaning teeth…some more effective than others. Let’s travel into the past to learn some fun facts about primitive dental practices!

egyptian pharaoh figurine

Chewing Sticks

Back before soft-bristled toothbrushes, people would use chewing sticks to clean their teeth. Imagine a stick or twig with frayed ends that would act as bristles. The first record of these chewing sticks comes from the Babylonians in 3500 BC, and ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Greeks, and Romans also used such tools.

Tooth Worms

Today, we know that those little holes in our teeth called cavities are caused by decay, but popular belief in the olden times was that a tooth worm was responsible for gnawing away at our teeth and causing problems. Thank goodness that that turned out not to be true! To get rid of such small pests, different cultures tried different techniques, including rituals, spells, heated probes, and extraction.

Toothpaste Recipes

We may have some interesting toothpaste flavors on the market now like chocolate and bacon, but they don’t quite compare to some of the ingredients that were once used. Ash, eggshells, pumice, crushed bones, oyster shells, and bark were all once used to make toothpastes. The oldest known recipe for toothpaste, which comes on a papyrus from ancient Egypt, doesn’t sound so terrible though. It called for rock salt, mint, iris flower, and pepper.

Hearing some of these ancient dental practices may make you a little more thankful for the comfort and convenience of today’s oral health care. We’re sure glad times have changed! If you need some help sorting out a dental routine for yourself, whether you need some pointers with technique or some advice with products, feel free to contact the Henson Family Dental team 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!

Can Your Gums Grow Back?

Receding gums is a condition in which the gums around your teeth pull back or wear away to expose more of your tooth or even your tooth’s root. But once your gums recede, can they grow back? Here, we’ll discuss whether your gums can grow back, along with explaining what causes your gums to recede, what happens when they do, and how you can prevent your gums from receding.

woman touching her lower lip wondering if her gums are receding

What Causes Gums to Recede?

There are a large number of factors that can cause gums to recede. Some are directly related to your oral health such as poor oral hygiene, grinding your teeth, gum disease which destroys gum tissue and the bone that keep your teeth in their place, and too aggressive tooth brushing which can wear away at your enamel and lead to your gums receding. Then there are the unfortunate factors that you can’t do too much about including genetics–about 30 percent of people are predisposed to gum disease–and hormonal changes that we experience throughout our life including during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Further, there are those causes that are personal lifestyle choices such as smoking and tobacco use and body piercings that can lead to receding gums.

What Happens When Your Gums Recede?

Your gums are meant to protect your teeth by connecting your teeth to bone and protecting your teeth’s roots from being exposed. When your gums recede, this can cause tooth decay as bacteria can build up in the pockets that are left between the gums and teeth. If left untreated, receding gums can actually cause tooth loss. You’ll be able to detect gum recession when you notice your teeth being particularly sensitive to hot and cold foods, and if your teeth look longer than normal.

Can Your Gums Grow Back?

The short answer is no. Once your gums recede, they can’t come back. However, there are a number of treatment options that can help depending upon how severe the gum recession is. First, there is root planing which is when your dentist removes any plaque buildup on your tooth’s root to prevent tooth decay or periodontal disease from developing. Gum grafting is a surgical procedure during which your healthy gum tissue is taken from the top of your mouth to replace the missing gum tissue. Lastly, there is regeneration which is only used in the more extreme cases of gum recession where the bone is destroyed. A dentist will place regenerative material where the bone loss occurred to regenerate tissue and bone during this surgical procedure.

How Can You Prevent Gum Recession?

Good oral health habits are the best way to prevent your gums from receding. This means brushing–not too vigorously!–twice a day for two minutes at a time, flossing at least once a day, and using fluoride toothpaste. It’s also important to eat a healthy diet low in sugars and starches, and if you are a smoker you should consider stopping.

Another vital aspect of good oral health is coming in for regular checkups and cleanings. Contact our office today to learn more about healthy gums and to schedule a consultation with our team!