The Dentists at Houston Westchase

Travel Tips for Dental Health

Vacation season is here! Here are 8 travel tips for your dental health before your big trip.

Make Time for a Checkup

Even when you’re dreaming about vacation, there’s no place like home–especially a dental home base. If you can, schedule your next regular visit before your trip. A thorough exam can spot any problems before they happen. You’ll have peace of mind, and your dentist will have the most up-to-date information on your teeth, including x-rays.

In Case of Emergency…

Have your dentist’s contact info handy in your cell phone or keep a business card in your wallet. If you think you need to talk to somebody, you probably do. In fact, more dental emergencies can be resolved over the phone than you might think (especially if you keep up regular visits).

In Case of Emergency Overseas…

If you are out of the country and absolutely in need of a dentist, get in touch with the local consulate or U.S. embassy. While talking to the concierge at the hotel is OK, ask the consulate and their employees for a recommendation. It’s an independent recommendation and not someone who may be driving business because of a contract or to a relative.

Forget Your Toothbrush?

Sunscreen? Check. Phone charger? Check. Toothbrush? Oops. If you find yourself temporarily without a toothbrush, you can rinse vigorously with water to wash away some of that cavity-causing bacteria. You could also put some toothpaste on a clean washcloth or your clean finger in a pinch. When you finally get to the nearest drugstore, look for a toothbrush with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. If there aren’t any Seal products, buy the softest brush you can find.

Proper Toothbrush Transport

Letting your toothbrush air dry is how you keep your toothbrush clean at home, but that’s not always possible on vacation. What’s a traveling toothbrush to do?  Keeping your toothbrush clean and out of contact with other things is more important than making sure it’s dry on vacation. A bag keeps your toothbrush separate from everything else in your luggage. When you get there, pop it open and let your brush air dry.

Pack an ADA-Accepted Pack of Gum

Chewing sugarless gum can help relieve ear pressure during a flight – and help keep cavities at bay on vacay. Research shows that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal can help prevent cavities. That’s because it gets saliva flowing, which helps wash away cavity-causing bacteria. Sugarless gum with the ADA Seal is guaranteed to do the trick.

When In Doubt, Brush with Bottled Water

If you are in a country where the water supply is compromised – or you’re on a wilderness adventure but aren’t sure how clean the stream is – always use bottled water to brush. Don’t use the local water to brush your teeth. What happens if you accidentally get local water on your toothbrush? Get a new one if you can. If that isn’t possible, rinse your brush well with bottled water to reduce the risk of getting sick.

Get Back on Track After Your Trip

If you let brushing and flossing slide – or indulged in too many sweets while away – don’t beat yourself up. Just get back on your normal routine of brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing when you get home.

 

 

Dental Tips for Summer

Summer is here, and your family’s schedule is topsy-turvy. That means getting your kids to eat right and maintain good oral hygiene can be a struggle. And with all this extra activity, there may even be a dental emergency or two. Here are a few oral health tips for summer that will help you protect the kids and their developing teeth from long-term damage and avoidable mishaps.

Keep Up That Oral Hygiene

Brushing twice a day and flossing daily is as important in the summer as it is in any other season. But with vacations, camp and lots of days spent at the pool, don’t be surprised if you frequently need to remind your kids to brush and floss.

Now is a great time to buy new toothbrushes to replace the old, worn out or “germy” ones. In fact, you should stock up on extra brushes, as well as travel-sized toothpaste and floss for those summer trips and days out.

Now’s the Time for Checkups

Parents tend to schedule dental checkups in August, right before class starts. But to prevent dental problems over summer, book the kids in right after school ends. This way, the kids will have a clean bill of dental health for summer. The last thing you want is a child suffering from a toothache while away on summer vacation.

Stock a Healthy Kitchen

Keep the summer from being an “acid attack” on your family’s teeth by investing in healthy snacks. It’s hard to limit snacking when the kids are home all day, but with the availability of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, you can stock the fridge with healthy options. Be sure to keep the fruits and veggies clean and ready to grab. You’ll feel better about snacking when the kids are reaching for blueberries and strawberries instead of candy and cookies. And swap out the sugary, acidic soft drinks with bottled water.

Prevent Dental Emergencies

It wouldn’t be summer without lots of swimming, bike riding, volleyball and other playground activities. And while these are great fun, they can unfortunately result in a dental injury. Parents can be prepared for the worst by following these tips:

  • Make sure your kids follow the “pool rules.” Many of the summer oral injuries dentists treat are due to a pool accident. Running on slippery pool decks, diving into shallow waters or bumping the pool ledge with their mouth causes many children to either chip or knock a tooth loose.
  • Know what to do yourself. Getting to the dentist right away is important, there are things you can do to help. Use warm water and cold packs first, to clean the area and reduce swelling, respectively. Use gauze to stop any bleeding. Place a lost permanent tooth back in the mouth, if possible. If not, use salt water or milk to keep it moist for the ride to the dentist.
  • Pack an emergency dental care kit to take along for vacation. Essentials for this kit are a handkerchief, gauze, a small container with a lid, ibuprofen and your dentist’s contact information.

Summer can really throw your routine for a loop. But by following these oral health tips for summer, your kids can start the school year with great oral hygiene.

Give us a call to schedule your summer visit 832 830-8226

What is dry mouth?

What is dry mouth?

Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is a condition that results from a decreased volume of saliva in the mouth. Xerostomia can make it difficult to speak, eat, and digest food and can lead to malnutrition. Extreme dry mouth and salivary gland dysfunction can produce significant anxiety, permanent mouth and throat disorders, and can impair a person’s quality of life.

Dry mouth affects about 10% of all people and tends to be more prevalent in women than men. Disorders of saliva production affect elderly people and those who are taking prescription and nonprescription medications most frequently.

What are the benefits of saliva?

Saliva is an essential part of a healthy mouth and is often taken for granted. The lubricating properties of saliva provide comfort and help protect the oral tissues against ulcers, sores, and other frictional movements that accompany normal eating and speaking. Saliva neutralizes acids and helps defend against tooth decay, and bacterial, viral, or fungal threats. Saliva helps digest food and helps teeth in remineralization. Saliva is also an essential contributor to a person’s ability to taste, as it acts as a solvent for the taste stimuli. When saliva volume is insufficient, all of these functions are impaired.

Treatment

SalivaMAX™ is a supersaturated calcium phosphate powder that when dissolved in water, creates a solution with a high concentration of electrolytes similar to that of natural saliva. SalivaMAX is an artificial saliva that is used to relieve acute and chronic symptoms of xerostomia. Supersaturated calcium phosphate rinses have been clinically proven to reduce the symptoms of xerostomia due to medications, dysfunction of the salivary glands, Sjögren’s syndrome, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment.

Side Effects
There have been no reported side effects of supersaturated calcium phosphate rinses. SalivaMAX does contain sodium; patients restricted to a low sodium diet should consult their physician before use.

How to Get SalivaMAX

SalivaMAX is available by prescription only. SalivaMAX is provided in single-use packets and is mixed with 1 oz. of water to create a supersaturated calcium phosphate rinse. Patients swish with SalivaMAX, and it may be administered several times per day, depending on the dry mouth severity.

Through our Patient Assistance Program, the out of pocket costs for SalivaMAX could be as low as $0 for those that qualify.

To receive SalivaMAX, call and schedule an appointment with our hygienist and Doctors 832 830-8226

Hydro Floss

The Hydro Floss® oral irrigator is the highest quality, most effective home treatment device of its kind. It cleans under the gum line and between the teeth to remove plaque and food debris and reduce the harmful bacteria that brushing and flossing leave behind. 

With recent reports linking oral health to life-threatening diseases such as heart and lung disease, stroke, and diabetes, it is vital to give more attention to ones home dental care. When combined with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to your dentist, the Hydro Floss® oral irrigator will help to improve oral health. Whether you have inflamed and bleeding gums, periodontal pockets, crown & bridge work, implants, veneers, or orthodontic appliances, the Hydro Floss® oral irrigator will be an added plus to your home dental care.

  • Uses magnetics to affect the water and inhibit the bacteria from adhering to the surface of the teeth.
  • Clinical studies show that the Hydro Floss® oral irrigator is 44% more effective than non-magnetic oral irrigators at reducing plaque and calculus.
  • Pulsating stream of 1,200 pulses per minute disrupts plaque biofilm and flushes food and bacteria from the surface of the teeth, between teeth and from hard to reach areas.
  • Maximum pressure at 60 psi, tested to be the safest and most effective on the gingival tissue.
  • A water stop button on the handle.
  • Adjustable pressure for comfort preference.
  • 800 ml reservoir, marked in ml to easily add mouthwash or medications.
  • Pack of 4 color-coded Jet Tips with holder.
  • Quality parts and components

We carry the Hydro Floss oral irrigator in our office. Call to reserve yours now, quantities are limited! 832-830-8226

Use Them Or Lose Them

Dental Benefit Plans

Many people with dental benefits get them through their employers, though individual plans are also available. Remember, when you buy a plan you and your employer are paying some premium – upfront dollars – that are wasted if you don’t see your dentist

 

When You Need to Use Them By

Many insurance companies have a benefit deadline of December 31, and this means that any of your unused benefits don’t roll over into the New Year for most dental plans. Still, some plans may end at different times of the year, so check your plan document or ask your employer to be sure. 

 

Tips for Making the Most of Your Plan

The key with this type of coverage is to take advantage of any benefits before they expire for the year.

  • Prevention is better than cure both for your health as well as your pocketbook. Most plans typically pay 100% for preventive visits, so if you have not had one yet, this may be a good time to schedule one.
  • Start thinking about using your coverage early. During a dental appointment that’s over the summer or in the fall, talk to your dentist about what your dental needs are and what treatment you might need before the end of the year. (For example, a back-to-school appointment is a great time to bring this up.) Make any upcoming appointments early so you can take care of them before the holidays.
  • Once you’ve determined what your dental needs are, work with your dentist and benefits provider to figure out what is covered. Often, your dentist’s office will look into this information for you. You can also call your plan using the 800 telephone number on your identification card, or go to their website for information.

Don’t let your benefits go to waste. Call to make an appointment today 832-830-8226

Trick or Treat?

With Halloween comes ghosts, goblins, and goodies—and the sugar in those treats can play some unwanted tricks on your teeth if you’re not careful. 

Here’s why: The bacteria in your mouth are probably more excited to eat Halloween candy than you are. When the bacteria eat the sugar and leftover food in your mouth, a weak acid is produced. That acid is what can contribute to cavities. 

To help you sort through the trick-or-treat bag loot, we have a rundown of some common candies and their impact on your teeth:

Chocolate

Chocolate is probably your best bet, which is good because it’s also one of the most popular kinds of candy handed out on Halloween. Chocolate is one of the better candies, it washes off your teeth easier than other types of candy. Dark chocolate also has less sugar than milk chocolate.

Sticky and Gummy Candies

Be picky if it’s sticky. These are some of the worst candies for your teeth. This candy is harder to remove and may stay longer on your teeth.

Hard Candy

Hard candies are also ones to watch on Halloween. They can actually break your teeth if you’re not careful. 

Sour Candy

You might want to pass on things that make you pucker – sour candy can be very acidic. That acidity can weaken and damage the hard outer shell of your teeth, making your teeth more vulnerable to cavities.

Popcorn Balls

Have some floss handy if you’re enjoying one of these fall favorites. Kernels can get stuck in-between your teeth.

Everything in moderation!

Enjoy the fall festivities and schedule a visit with us for your routine check-up and cleaning. 832-830-8226

We don’t want you to end up with a jack-o-lantern smile!

 

Fluoride In Your Water?

For 70 years, people in the United States have benefited from drinking water with fluoride, leading to better dental health.

Drinking fluoridated water keeps teeth strong and reduces cavities (tooth decay) by about 25% in children and adults.

Oral health in the United States is much better today than it was many years ago. But cavities are still one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. Community water fluoridation is the most cost-effective way to deliver fluoride to people of all ages, education levels, and income levels who live in a community.

Most water has some fluoride, but usually not enough to prevent cavities. Community water systems can add the right amount of fluoride to the local drinking water to prevent cavities.

Schedule a visit to our office. Our doctors can discuss the benefits of fluoride at your next cleaning! 832-830-8226

How Often Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

It’s easy to know when to replace worn out shoes or faded clothes. But how often should you change your toothbrush? It all depends on your usage, health, and preferences. Before you brush again, ask yourself whether it is time for a new toothbrush.

When to Get a New Toothbrush

Replace toothbrushes every 3 to 4 months. Consider getting a new toothbrush sooner if you have been sick, especially if the toothbrush is stored close to other toothbrushes. When in doubt, look at the bristles. If they are frayed, they won’t clean teeth as thoroughly. Because children often brush more rigorously than adults, they may need their toothbrushes replaced more often.

Types of Toothbrushes

There are two styles of toothbrushes to consider: manual and electric. Choose what feels comfortable and makes you want to brush your teeth regularly. A manual toothbrush is portable and ready to use every time you need it. It makes no noise, and you will have complete control over the pressure it puts on your teeth and gums.

An electric toothbrush requires charging. However, the rotating movement of the bristles makes it easier to clean between teeth and at the gum line. Many electric toothbrushes have built-in sensors to make sure you brush long enough and don’t press too hard.

Maintaining Your Toothbrush

No matter which type of toothbrush you use, keep it clean. The American Dental Association recommends rinsing the toothbrush under tap water after you brush to wash away lingering toothpaste and saliva. Then, store the toothbrush in a vertical position, with the bristles positioned so they can air dry.

Storing a toothbrush in a closed container can cause bacteria to build up, so it’s best to let the bristles of the toothbrush fully dry between each usage. If you’re traveling, consider using disposable toothbrushes during the trip.

How often should you change your toothbrush? Get into the habit of buying new toothbrushes for everyone in the family several times per year. How often you change your toothbrush depends on several factors, but it’s best to always have a new, fresh toothbrush waiting in the bathroom cabinet for each family member.

New toothbrushes are always provided with your cleaning at our office. Call to schedule an appointment today, 832-830-8226.

Your Gums. Your Body.

When your parents encouraged you to care for your teeth, they may not have realized that they were also helping you care for your gums and body.

Today we know the importance of periodontal (gum) care, and that gum disease can contribute to other health problems, including serious and lifethreatening ones.

Gum disease can advance without symptoms. Warning signs include:

  • red, swollen gums 
  • bleeding gums
  • bad breath

The mildest form of gum disease, gingivitis, is caused by poor oral hygiene, hormone fluctuations, certain medications, and even stress. If left untreated, it can advance to periodontitis, a chronic inflammation of the gums.

 

Periodontal disease has been linked to many other diseases, including cancers, heart and respiratory diseases, and diabetes. That’s why regular dental visits are essential.

Call our office to schedule checkups for your family!

 

Our goal is to catch and treat problems early – long before they become major health issues.

832-830-8226      [email protected]

The Benefits of Fluoride

What is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a natural mineral found throughout the earth’s crust and widely distributed in nature.

How Does Fluoride Work?
Fluoride helps prevent cavities in two different ways:

  • Fluoride concentrates in the growing bones and developing teeth of children, helping to harden the enamel on baby and adult teeth before they emerge
  • Fluoride helps to harden the enamel on adult teeth that have already emerged

Fluoride works during the demineralization and remineralization processes that naturally occur in your mouth.

  • After you eat, your saliva contains acids that cause demineralization a dissolving of the calcium and phosphorous under the tooth’s surface
  • At other times when your saliva is less acidic it does just the opposite, replenishing the calcium and phosphorous that keep your teeth hard. This process is caused remineralization. When fluoride is present during remineralization, the minerals deposited are harder than they would otherwise be, helping to strengthen your teeth and prevent dissolution during the next demineralization phase

How do I Know if I’m Getting Enough Fluoride?

Brushing regularly with a fluoride toothpaste is considered sufficient for adults and children with healthy teeth at low risk of decay. Your dentist can tell you how much fluoride is right for your family, so be sure to ask for his or her advice. 

Call 832-830-8226 to schedule your appointment today!