Your Guide to Halloween Candy: What to Avoid and How to Take Care of Your Teeth

October 21, 2021

Filed under: Blog,Dental Health,General — Tags: , , — southlakedental @ 6:05 pm

Trick-or-treating is fun for the whole family, and children often anticipate the evening of fun the entire year! Halloween is coming up and we want you and your children to enjoy the festivities….without damaging your teeth! Here is a list of some of the most harmful treats for your teeth and how you can better protect them this October 31st.


DIY Tooth Whitening: Does It Work?

August 3, 2018

Filed under: Blog,Dental Health — Tags: , — southlakedental @ 5:38 pm

Everybody wants a brighter smile, but there are a number of things that stain or dull your teeth, including coffee, red wine, smoking, and certain medications. Because these changes to the color of teeth are common, it sometimes seems like everyone has a DIY tooth whitening suggestion. But do any of them really work? Take a look at what you need to know about some commonly-touted home remedies for whiter teeth.

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is the practice of swishing oil around in the mouth for anywhere from 10-30 minutes. The practice comes from the Ayurvedic belief that oil is nourishing for all parts of the body. This is an ancient belief, but proponents of natural health remedies have contributed to a new wave of interest in the practice. But can it whiten teeth?

Like many DIY remedies, oil pulling has not been the subject of many research studies, so it’s difficult to say exactly what it can or can’t do. But it’s unlikely that oil pulling can have any effect on tooth whiteness. Swishing oil around in the mouth for an extended time period may be able to help with plaque removal, but there’s no reason to believe it can affect stains.

Activated Charcoal

Another DIY tooth whitening recommendation involves brushing teeth with activated charcoal powder. In fact, toothpastes made with activated charcoal are starting to become more popular. Activated charcoal does have many beneficial uses – doctors use it to treat poisonings and overdoses, and it is also used in air filters to remove impurities from the air.

Advocates of brushing with activated charcoal claim that the substance can remove impurities that stain the teeth. Whether or not that’s true is unclear. However, experts warn that brushing with an abrasive material like charcoal could weaken enamel and damage gum tissue.

If you want whiter teeth, your best bet is to consult your dentist. Your dentist will be able to recommend a whitening treatment that meets your needs and is both safe and effective.

Are Your Gummy Vitamins Causing Cavities?

July 15, 2018

Filed under: Blog,Children's Dental Health,Dental Health — Tags: , — southlakedental @ 2:05 pm

Swallowing vitamins can feel like a chore, and some children and adults have difficulty swallowing pills, especially large ones. Gummy vitamins seem like a fun and tasty way to ensure that you get the nutrients or supplements that you need. While they may have started out as a way to make vitamins more appealing to children, plenty of adults now use them as well. But are they hurting your teeth?

High Sugar Content

If you’ve ever accidentally bitten down on a vitamin that was meant to be swallowed whole, you probably remember the taste. Vitamins may be good for you, but they tend to have a bitter and unpleasant taste. So why do gummy vitamins taste like candy or fruit snacks? The answer is simple: lots and lots of sugar.

Bacteria that naturally occur in your mouth consume the sugars that are left behind on your teeth and convert it into acid. That acid is what wears away your tooth enamel and causes cavities.

Citric Acid

Of course, you could always opt for sugar-free gummy vitamins. These contain artificial sweeteners that may not be as likely to harm your teeth. But another component of gummy vitamins is the citric acid used to give them their fruity flavors. Remember, acid is what really wears away your enamel.

A Sticky Situation

It’s easy to think that the effects of gummy vitamins on your teeth will be minimal. After all, you’re not chowing down on a whole bag of gummy bears – you’re probably only taking one or a few vitamins at a time.

The problem is that the sticky consistency of the gummies can leave residue on your teeth that lasts for hours. Sugars left on your teeth from less clingy substances can more easily be washed away by your saliva if you can’t brush right away, but the sugar and acid from gummy candy or vitamins tend to hang around.

Your best bet is to opt for non-chewable vitamins, although if you have difficulty swallowing, liquid vitamins or the powdery type of chewable vitamins leave residue that is easier to clean off your teeth. If gummy vitamins are the only tolerable option for you, make sure to take them at a time and place when you can brush your teeth afterward.

The Best (and Worst) Fruits for Good Dental Health

June 1, 2018

Filed under: Blog,Dental Health,General — Tags: , , — southlakedental @ 12:12 am

Fruit: It’s healthy, and that means it’s good for your teeth, right? While this is true in most cases, there are a few exceptions. Since summer is a great time to enjoy a variety of fruit, read on for some information about choosing the best (and worst) fruits when it comes to your dental health.


You’ve heard the adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and you might not realize that enjoying these crunchy fruits can also keep the dentist away (not that you’d want to, of course!). The act of chewing apples creates friction around the teeth and gums that physically scrubs plaque and food debris off of these surfaces. If you can’t brush your teeth after lunch, crunching on a few slices of a crisp apple can help stave off the bacteria that causes cavities. Naturally, you will want to brush when you are able to.


High in vitamin C, strawberries are little powerhouses in the vitamin and health department. They also contain a bit of acid which can neutralize the bacteria hanging out in your mouth. In addition, they are similar to apples in that they create a scrubbing action as you chew them. Strawberries can be eaten whole or sliced up in a fruit salad. One caveat: If you have small pits in your teeth, the tiny seeds can get caught, so be sure to brush and floss well to remove them.

Raisins (and Other Dried Fruit)

Dried fruit is on the list of the worst fruits to eat for good dental health. Why? It’s sticky and contains concentrated sugars without any extra liquid to help wash it off of your teeth. Eating raisins, dried apricots, and dried dates can actually make your teeth less healthy! While it’s fine to eat these foods, it’s very important to brush well afterward to remove traces of the sweet snacks from your teeth so as not to attract the bacteria that causes dental cavities.

With summer right around the corner, fruit makes a great dessert and snack. You can also add it to any meal for a nutritional boost. Just be sure that you choose wisely when it comes to your dental health.

Keep Your Teeth Healthy This Summer

May 15, 2018

Filed under: Blog,Dental Health — Tags: , , — southlakedental @ 11:41 pm

Summer is here, and you might be looking forward to all of the delights that come with the hottest months of the year. Whether or not they have children, many people slow down a bit in the summer so they can take in all that the season has to offer. It’s important to stay on top of your health, though, and that includes your dental health. Read on for tips on how to keep your teeth healthy this summer.

Don’t Skip Routine Dental Visits

If your last dental visit was before the new year, then you’re going to need to come in this summer to make sure that your teeth and gums are healthy and to have a professional cleaning. Check your calendar and book the appointment soon; between children being out of school (and in their various dental and doctors’ offices!) and people traveling, scheduling can get a bit tight if you wait too long.

Brush and Floss After Enjoying Sticky Sweets

Ice cream, popsicles, and amusement park foods like kettle corn and cotton candy are a quintessential part of many summers. Unfortunately, they can cause tooth decay if you don’t have good oral hygiene. Go ahead and indulge in moderation, but be sure to brush and floss before bed, even if you’re tired from having spent the whole day in the sun.

Protect Your Teeth If You’re Playing Sports

If summer is your season to shine on the ball field or the tennis courts, consider wearing a mouthguard to keep your teeth safe. Children who play sports should absolutely wear mouthguards, but adults are not exempt from painful (and expensive) injuries if they don’t protect their teeth. Get one made by your dentist if you play a lot of sports or go to the pharmacy and pick up a boil-and-bite one for occasional contact sports.

If you have questions about keeping your smile safe and healthy this summer, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Why Should You Quit Smoking?

May 1, 2018

Filed under: Blog,Dental Health,General — Tags: , , — southlakedental @ 3:43 pm

If you smoke, you’ve undoubtedly heard dozens of reasons why you should stop. A lower life expectancy, lung cancer, stroke, heart attack… all of these are more likely among smokers than among their non-smoking peers. If you needed a few more reasons to quit smoking, here are some ways the habit negatively affects your oral health.

Smoking Makes Gum Disease Worse

Smoking can cause or exacerbate gum disease. Why? First, it tends to dry out the oral tissues, leading to more fragility in the gums. As they dry, they pull away from the teeth, leaving a handy spot for bacteria to hang out. Smoking also affects the tiny capillaries bringing oxygen to the gum tissues, which can make it take longer for small abrasions to heal.

Smoking Can Lead to Tooth Loss

As the gum tissues dry out and become more unhealthy, the bone underneath also begins to erode. This can lead to loose teeth and tooth loss. Also, if you have oral surgery, you’re at risk for infection and complications if you keep smoking. You’ll be more likely to keep your teeth if you quit smoking.

Smoking Has Cosmetic Effects, Too

Of course, you might be mainly concerned about the immediate cosmetic effects of smoking. Yellowed teeth and halitosis (bad breath) are common maladies experienced by smokers. Teeth whitening doesn’t work well if you continue smoking while you undergo the treatment. And while good oral hygiene can help with bad breath, the fact is that cigarettes and frequent gum infections will cause halitosis despite your best efforts.

It is hard to quit smoking. The good news is that there are several products and behavior modification techniques that can help. Your physician is a good source of information on how you can kick the habit. Talk to your doctor or dentist today about how you can stop smoking and achieve better oral health (and overall health).

Get Your Healthy Smile Ready for Spring

April 1, 2018

Filed under: Blog,Dental Health — Tags: , , , — southlakedental @ 3:43 pm

With spring and summer on their way, lots of warm-weather events will be coming up. These might include prom, graduation from high school or college (your own or your child’s), family reunions, and weddings. It’s natural to want to look your best, so now is the time to get your healthy smile ready for these events! Check out a few ways to boost your self-esteem and feel more comfortable with your smile.

Teeth Whitening

If you are hesitant to smile for photos because you don’t think your teeth are as white as they could be, talk to your dentist about teeth whitening. There are many products on the market that you can use to make your teeth whiter and brighter, ranging from whitening toothpastes to gels, strips, and bleaching trays. Most are available over the counter and others are available from your dentist. Give the office a call to ask about what we have available and what we recommend.

Braces for Adults

Many adults wish that they had had orthodontic treatment as pre-teens or teens, but it’s not too late. There are several options that adults might prefer; instead of metal braces, many people choose ceramic braces, lingual braces, or Invisalign. Your dentist might fabricate braces or they might refer you to an orthodontist. If you are concerned about how your teeth fit together, be sure to ask about the options available.


Dental veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that fit over the front teeth to reduce spacing and eliminate minor imperfections. These can make you feel better about your smile. Veneers are a permanent dental appliance, so it’s important to be sure that they’re right for you. Your dentist will help you make that decision.

As always, brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist every six months will also help you keeping your healthy smile looking great. Give our office to schedule an appointment if you are overdue.

Tooth-Friendly, Healthy Foods for Spring

March 15, 2018

Filed under: Blog,Dental Health — Tags: , , — southlakedental @ 3:11 pm

Spring has sprung, and with it comes the start of garden season. While most fruits and vegetables are excellent for not only your overall health but also your dental health, there are some healthy foods that are particularly good for your teeth. Check out this list of tooth-friendly foods that are excellent for planting this spring.

Greens (Kale, Spinach, Collard Greens and Cabbage)

Greens are good for teeth because they are chock-full of minerals and vitamins that your body needs for strong teeth and bones. These include magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C and beta carotene. Early spring is the right time to plant most leafy greens, so get them in the ground soon to benefit from these delicious tooth-friendly foods later in the season.

Carrots and Celery

These both physically scrub plaque and bacteria off of the teeth when eaten raw. If you can’t brush your teeth after lunch at work, for example, chewing on some carrot and celery sticks can clean your teeth and stimulate your gums. In addition, carrots are a good source of beta carotene, which your body needs to make tooth-strengthening vitamin A.

Bell Peppers, Broccoli and Strawberries

These three foods contain a lot of vitamin C. Vitamin C reduces inflammation, which leads to healthier gums. They also, along with grapes and other types of berries, contain antioxidants, which also reduce inflammation and help you fight off the bacteria leading to gum disease.

Of course, no matter what you’re eating, it’s also important to brush twice daily and to floss once per day. In addition, you should see your dentist every six months (or more frequently if you have gum disease or other conditions that warrant more than two visits per year) for a cleaning and a dental checkup.

If you have questions about tooth-friendly foods, give our office a call to schedule an appointment.

Do You Need a Mouthguard?

March 1, 2018

Filed under: Blog,Dental Health,General — Tags: , , , , — southlakedental @ 5:08 pm

Have you ever considered wearing a mouthguard? If you’re like many dental patients, you probably associate mouthguards with the safety gear that football players wear. If you’re not a football player yourself, you’ve probably never considered that you might need a mouthguard. But mouthguards can benefit other patients as well.


Football is a rough sport, but it’s not the only one that poses a danger to your mouth and teeth. The American Dental Association recommends mouthguards for athletes participating in a number of different sports.

Basketball, handball, racquetball, baseball, softball, and soccer, are all sports that carry the risk of getting hit in the mouth by a fast-moving projectile. Track, acrobatics, skiing, surfing, martial arts, skydiving, and track and field events all come with the risk of impacts or falls that could cause a mouth or tooth injury. If you participate in any sport where a mouth injury is possible, wearing a mouthguard can protect your teeth, tongue, and gums and potentially save you a lot of money in dental bills.

Nighttime Teeth Grinders

Do you ever wake up with a stiff, sore jaw or a headache? Are your teeth chipped or worn down? You may be grinding your teeth in your sleep. This is called bruxism, and it can damage your teeth, cause pain and difficulty speaking and chewing, and contribute to conditions like Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD).

While daytime teeth grinding might be a bad habit that you can overcome with willpower, there’s not much you can do to stop yourself from grinding your teeth in your sleep. Nighttime teeth grinding can be caused by many things, including stress or certain medications. A mouthguard designed for wearing while you sleep can protect your teeth from nighttime tooth grinding.

Your dentist can create a custom mouthguard that fits the precise size and shape of your mouth and is optimized for your needs, whether you’re an athlete or a person suffering from bruxism. Talk to us about whether you need a mouthguard at your next appointment.

Swollen Gums: What Should You Do?

February 15, 2018

Filed under: Blog,Dental Health — Tags: , — southlakedental @ 5:06 pm

If you want to keep your natural teeth for the rest of your life and maintain a healthy smile, taking good care of your gums is a good place to start. If your gums are unhealthy, you’re at greater risk for tooth decay, root infections, and tooth loss. Therefore, it’s important to be on the lookout for gum problems, like swollen gums. Take a look at what you should do if your gums seem swollen.

Assess Any Recent Changes

Gum swelling can occur as a side effect to a new medication or a reaction to a new toothpaste or mouthwash. Have you recently started taking a new medication or switched to a different brand of oral care products?

If it’s a reaction to your toothpaste or mouthwash, you should be able to solve the problem by switching back to your regular brand. If you’re taking a new medication, you should ask your doctor or pharmacist if gum swelling is a side effect of your medication and what you should do about it.

Consider Your Diet

Swollen gums can also be a response to nutritional deficiencies. A lack of vitamin C in particular can cause gum inflammation. Have your grocery trips been a little light on the produce lately? If so, making an effort to work in more fresh fruits and vegetables can help.

Have Your Dentist Check For Gum Disease

Swollen, inflamed gums are often a sign of gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Gum disease is caused by bacteria that’s found in the plaque that builds up on your teeth. You can get rid of this bacteria by brushing your teeth two or three times a day and flossing at least once a day. Gingivitis often occurs when patients aren’t diligent about their oral hygiene.

If you have swollen gums, it’s important to step up your oral hygiene routine, and you should also make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. The earlier gum disease is spotted and treated, the more effective your treatment will be.

Don’t ignore swollen gums, as they can signal a more serious issue. Talk to your dentist about the things you can do to improve your gum health.

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