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What’s Good and What’s Bad About Bottled Water?

rows of bottled waterThese days you can’t go very far without seeing bottled water, whether you’re scanning the aisles at your favorite supermarket, cheering on your kids at their latest sporting event, or perhaps packing for a trip to your favorite vacation destination. Our dental office in Mill Creek wants you and your family to stay healthy and hydrated, which may mean drinking more bottled water. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the getting water from the bottle vs. the tap.

The Pros: Why is Bottled Water So Popular?

  1. It’s Readily Available

Bottled water is an excellent solution for having delicious drinking water anytime, anywhere. It’s portable and travels easily in briefcases, purses, gym bags, backpacks, and more. Sometimes, given your surroundings (i.e. camping or in a foreign country) it’s easier to have a bottle of water with you. It’s also able to be purchased conveniently.

  1. Easy to Store and Delicious to Drink

In the event of a disaster or other emergency, your dentist in Mill Creek knows that having bottled water on hand is definitely helpful and it can be a lifesaver depending on the circumstances. Because bottled water does not expire, it’s always a good idea to keep some stored away, just in case. Depending on the condition of your tap water, bottled H20 also tends to taste better too. This usually due, in part, to the purification process certain types of bottle water must undergo during the preparation process.

The Cons: What’s So Bad About Bottled Water?

  1. It Could Cost You More Money

Because there are so many additional necessary steps to ensure bottled water is safe to drink (purification, packaging, transporting, marketing, etc.), it can tend to be a bit more pricey than the water flowing from your tap.

  1. There Could Be Some Health Risks

Our Mill Creek dental office wants you to know about the possible health risks associated with bottled water. Did you know commercially produced bottled water does not contain fluoride, while tap water does? Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps keep teeth strong and healthy. It’s especially important that kids get enough fluoride for their growing teeth. Some plastic bottles also contain the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) which can seep into the water before you drink it. This risk increases significantly if your water is stored somewhere hot in direct sunlight.

We hope you learned a little bit about some of the benefits and some of the potential downfalls to drinking bottled H20! No matter what kind of water you choose either for yourself or your family, it’s always very important to stay hydrated each and every day. This helps your body function a peak performance, you feel good, and look great on the outside too! Do you have any questions about what we talked about in our blog? Give us a call or ask us your questions at your next visit!

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The Oral Health Hazards of Nail Biting

young woman biting nails studyingNail biting is a habit that can affect not only the appearance of your nails, it can also cause damage to your oral health. As with any habit, nail biting can be difficult to break, but at our dental office in Mill Creek, we’re hoping that by providing our patients some information about the dangers of nail biting, both in regards to oral health as well as overall health, we’ll be able to help encourage nail biters to quit.

Oral Health Concerns

Nail biters have a higher incidence of chipped or broken teeth, gum damage, and worn down teeth. What’s more is according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), people who bite their nails are at increased risk for bruxism, or tooth grinding. Bruxism brings on its own host of problems like headaches, recessed gums and sensitivity, and even tooth loss. If someone is a nail biter and also wears braces, root absorption can be a real problem. Root absorption is when the tooth roots shorten, making the teeth weaker and more prone to premature tooth loss.

Whole-Body Issues

You don’t need your dentist in Mill Creek to tell you that you shouldn’t put your hands in your mouth because they’re usually loaded with germs and bacteria. Your nails are no different. Common bacteria found under nails includes both Salmonella and E. coli which can be very easily transferred into the body through nail biting. Both of these bacteria can lead to serious infectious disease and would require immediate medical attention.

Top 4 Tricks To Quit Biting Your Nails

As we’ve discussed, nail biting is a habit, and habits are hard to break. Whether you bite your nails when you’re bored, or subconsciously when you’re nervous, identifying the triggers that cause you to put your fingers to your mouth is the first step. Once you know, try the following tips to help you quit.

  • Use a nail polish (don’t worry, it’s clear) that’s designed specifically to help nail biters quit. It has a bitter flavor and can help you associate nail biting with an unpleasant taste.
  • When people bite because of stress, it’s helpful to find an alternative stress reliever. Try taking up yoga, exercise, or deep breathing to help you relax without nibbling on your nails.
  • If the kind of bacteria that tend to live in nail beds grosses you out, look at close-up images of these germs. Just prepare yourself in advance as they can be pretty nasty.
  • The longer the nails, the easier it is to bite them. Keep nails trimmed short to give you less to bite.

While you’re working on quitting, stay persistent as it may take a few tries to totally stop. If you happen to have a setback and experience any oral health damage such as a chipped tooth or gum damage, give our Mill Creek dental office a call to schedule an appointment with us. We’ll be happy to help.  

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“What’s it Mean When My Dentist Pokes My Gums and Says Numbers?”

young woman in dental chair looking upIf you’ve ever been to your dentist in Mill Creek and experienced several gentle pokes to your gums followed by hearing some numbers, you’ve had what’s called a periodontal charting. This charting is helpful when evaluating overall oral health and can give your dental team some insight to a proper treatment plan.

What’s Periodontal Charting Do?

What we do at our dental office in Mill Creek during periodontal charting is measure gum tissue around each tooth. There are six sides per tooth to measure, that’s why you’ll hear so many numbers being called out.

What Do The Numbers Mean?

During the measuring process, you’ll hear us say numbers ranging from 1 to 7, and sometimes more. These numbers reflect how deep your gum pockets are in millimeters. Anything between 1 and 3 is a good indicator that your gums are healthy. However, if you bleed during the process, your gums may be in beginning stages of a more severe problem, even if your measurements are between the target of 1 and 3. Higher measurements than 3 could be a sign of a serious concern. Explore the guidelines below to see what’s commonly interpreted from each depth.

  • 3 mm – 5mm with no bleeding: Gum pockets of this depth could indicate a likelihood of gum disease.  
  • 3 mm – 5 mm with bleeding: It’s very likely that gums with these measurements have early gum disease.
  • 5 mm – 7 mm with bleeding: Besides almost certain gum disease, bone loss and tissue damage are also possible.  
  • 7 mm+ with bleeding: Pockets deeper than 7 mm means advanced gum disease is certain. Surgical intervention may be appropriate to resolve the disease.

If your measurement are any of the above, it may be recommended that you have professional cleanings at least every 3-4 months in order to improve both your gum health and overall oral health. If they’re deeper than 7 mm, surgery may be required.

Other Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease is a serious problem that can lead to tooth loss and has been linked to several whole-body concerns including heart disease and stroke. Besides having periodontal charting complete, you should look for other signs of gum disease like bleeding gums, chronic bad breath, or receding or tender gums.
If you notice any signs of gum disease, call our Mill Creek dental office to schedule an appointment. We’ll evaluate your overall oral health and determine the most appropriate treatment plan to get your smile in its best shape ever.

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The Oral Health Dangers of Smokeless Tobacco

oral cancer awarenessApril is recognized as Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and while many people know the risks associated with smoking tobacco, the team at our dental office in Mill Creek want to make sure our patients and neighbors know that just because smokeless tobacco is, well, smokeless, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its own fair share of risks.

Oral Cancer

The most serious concern associated with smokeless tobacco use is oral cancer. Oral cancer is a serious disease that affects the lives of nearly 50,000 newly diagnosed people every year. If not caught early, oral cancer can lead to death. While anyone can get oral cancer, tobacco use (of any kind) is the top risk factor for developing the disease.

Know the Signs

  • Pain while swallowing, chewing, or speaking
  • Changes in voice
  • A white, scaly patch on the inside of the cheek or lip
  • A lump inside the mouth or neck

If you notice any of the signs above, contact your dentist in Mill Creek to schedule an appointment as soon as you can.

Gum Recession

Chewing tobacco can also cause gums to recede, mostly because the tobacco (and everything else found in it) is left on the gums for prolonged periods of time which irritates the tissues. Once gums have receded, the tooth roots become exposed, and that’s when the problems start. Without the protection of the gums, the roots are at increased risk for sustaining damage from foods, drinks, and more tobacco. Not only does this make cavities more likely, it also tends to lead to tooth sensitivity, which can be pretty painful.

Tooth Discoloration

Thanks to the ingredients found in all forms of tobacco, specifically tar and nicotine, tobacco users tend to suffer from a yellow smile. The good news is this discoloration can be reversed through a professional smile whitening or cosmetic dentistry treatment like veneers. But if a patient continues to use tobacco after treatment, the teeth can be easily stained again.  

Regular visits to the dentist are important for everyone, but especially for tobacco users, smokeless or not. If you’re looking for a dentist, we welcome you to call our Mill Creek dental office to schedule an appointment. We’re here to help keep our patients healthy and we’re always happy to see new patients. Give us a call today.

Welcoming new patients from Mill Creek, Bothell, Everett and beyond. 

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All About Frenectomies

frenectomyFrenectomies aren’t all that common in adults, but there are specific instances when the team at our Mill Creek dental office may recommend one to an adult patient. But why exactly would a frenectomy be needed, and what is it? We’re here to talk all about frenectomies and the benefits behind getting one.

Anatomy 101

Let’s have a quick lesson on the mouth’s anatomy, specifically the thin, taut pieces of muscle called frena (frenum when referring to one). There are two of these little muscles that are the common culprits behind needing a frenectomy: the lingual frenum and the maxillary labial frenum. First, the lingual frenum is the tight piece of tissue that connects the underside of your tongue to the floor of your mouth. The maxillary labial frenum can be felt if you run your tongue under your top lip in front of your teeth. When either one of these muscular attachments affect proper function, a frenectomy may be recommended.

What is a Frenectomy?

A frenectomy is a fairly simple dental procedure that removes or shortens the frenum that’s causing trouble. First, the area is numbed for comfort. Then, your Mill Creek dentist will cut the frenum away from either the upper gum line or the base of the mouth. After sealing the cut with stitches, you should be all set. Some dentists can even perform a frenectomy with a laser, eliminating the need for stitches.

How Can a Frenectomy be Beneficial?

Benefits of a frenectomy can vary depending on which frenum is causing the trouble. A lingual frenum frenectomy is recommended if the frenum is too long and extends out too close to the tip of the tongue. When this happens, speaking, swallowing, and eating can be difficult. A frenectomy can help with all of those. This type of frenectomy is usually caught early and is typically performed on young children.

A frenectomy on the maxillary labial frenum is the procedure that’s usually reserved for those with permanent adult teeth. The most common complaint from individuals where this type of treatment is appropriate is a gap between the front two teeth. Usually, patients who are unhappy with a gap in their smile undergo orthodontic treatment, and that can help squeeze the teeth tightly together. However, once orthodontic treatment is complete, there’s a chance those two front teeth can separate once again. If this happens, it could mean the maxillary labial frenum is too long and is actually pulling those two teeth apart. A frenectomy can resolve that issue once and for all.

If you think a frenectomy may be appropriate for you, we welcome you to call our dental office in Mill Creek. We’ll be happy to help.

Welcoming new patients from Mill Creek, Bothell, Everett and beyond. 

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Words of Wisdom on Wisdom Teeth

wisdom teethGetting your wisdom teeth taken out is such a common procedure that over 90% of Americans undergo the surgery. But why is it important that these late-blooming teeth come out? Can’t they just stay in there? Well, sometimes they can, but if it’s recommended that they be removed, it’s to keep you from additional problems. At our dental office in Mill Creek, we want to make sure all of our patients understand that there are important reasons we often recommend wisdom teeth extraction.

There’s No Space!

The top reason most wisdom teeth need to be removed is the lack of room remaining in the mouth. If there isn’t enough space for the teeth to fully erupt, other teeth may shift and your bite may suffer. When problems with the bite occur, a whole host of other issues can follow including TMJ pain, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and loose teeth.

Proper Care is Difficult

Another reason wisdom teeth need to be removed is that these teeth are waaay back there, making them difficult to care for properly. This means that your wisdom teeth are at increased risk for things like gum disease and cavities. If your wisdom teeth have already erupted, it’s important that you see a dentist so they can check for any decay or disease. If anything troublesome is found, the most logical solution may be to remove them and avoid continued issues.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Another problem with not having enough space for the teeth to erupt properly is that they can get stuck in the bone. This is referred to as having impacted wisdom teeth. Once the teeth are impacted, treatment tends to become more complicated, so it’s best to catch any potential problems with wisdom teeth and remove them early. If your wisdom teeth do become impacted, your Mill Creek dentist will talk to you about the most appropriate treatment to help.

The only way you should keep your wisdom teeth is if you have plenty of room, they’re healthy, and you’re able to care for them properly. If checkups at our dental office in Mill Creek show that your fully erupted wisdom teeth are becoming unhealthy, or that your yet-to-erupt teeth will not have enough room, we will probably recommend getting them removed to keep your mouth in its best, healthiest shape.  

Serving patients in Mill Creek, Bothell, Everett and beyond. 

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All About Tooth Sensitivity

sensitiveHaving sensitive teeth can be incredibly uncomfortable and painful, especially while eating and drinking hot or cold treats. At our Mill Creek dental office, we understand how tooth sensitivity can keep you from enjoying your favorite foods and beverages, and we don’t want anyone to experience the pain and burden of it. We’re here to help.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

There are several possible causes of tooth sensitivity. Most often, the reasons behind sensitive teeth is due to enamel erosion. When the enamel diminishes, the dentin, or middle part of a tooth’s anatomy, is exposed and the result is painful sensitivity. Some common culprits of enamel erosion include:

  • Brushing too hard
  • Tooth grinding (bruxism)
  • Acidic Food

Gum recession can also contribute to increased sensitivity. When gums recede, the tooth roots and the multitude of nerves inside the roots, become exposed and leads to pain.

Signs & Symptoms

Signs of having sensitive teeth are pretty straightforward. Most commonly, those with tooth sensitivity experience sharp, shooting pain with:  

  • Hot or cold food and beverages
  • Breathing in cold air
  • Eating sweet or acidic foods

What You Can Do About Sensitive Teeth

What’s causing the sensitivity in the first place would determine the most appropriate solution, but here a few tips you can try to reduce tooth sensitivity:

  • Ease up on the highly acidic foods and drinks like citrus fruit, wine, and tomato sauce
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles
  • Brush your teeth using small, gently circles
  • Consider a custom bruxism mouthguard to protect your teeth against grinding
  • Maintain regular visits with your dentist in Mill Creek

If you’re tired of your sensitive teeth keeping you from enjoying your favorite foods, or you think there may be a more serious problem, we welcome you to call our dental office in Mill Creek. We’re here to help our patients and neighbors have healthy, comfortable smiles.

Welcoming patients from Mill Creek, Bothell, Everett and beyond.

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Top 4 Ways to Stop Biting Your Cheeks

BitingCheek biting is a common habit and is actually very similar to nail biting. Typically brought on by stress or when nervous, biting the inside of the cheek — or the lips or tongue — can be painful, and in certain cases, concerning for the dental team at our Mill Creek dental office. We’re here to explain why and offer up some of the best ways to stop.

Identify the Cause

Before we discuss why biting any of the tissues in your mouth is bad for you, we should identify why it happens in the first place. If you catch your cheek in between your teeth while chewing and talking only on occasion, there’s probably nothing to be too concerned about. However, if this happens to you chronically, or if you nibble on your cheek constantly throughout the day, there may be reason for concern.

Why is It Bad?

First, any continued trauma to oral tissues can result in painful mouth sores which can become infected. Infection in the mouth is never a good thing and can actually be quite serious. Second, if you bite yourself quite often while eating, you may suffer from a misaligned bite (malocclusion). Malocclusion can lead to more serious problems like chronic headaches, a sore jaw, TMJ (temporomandibular disorder), and shifting of teeth. When your teeth don’t fit together neatly, there’s a greater chance of your cheek, lip, or tongue finding its way in between them causing you to crunch down on it (Ouch!).  

Ways to Stop

No matter what the cause may be behind biting your cheeks, there are a few tips you can try to help stop it.

  • Figure out when you do it. If your lip or cheek biting is a result of stress or nerves as opposed to a bad bite, start paying attention to when you’re doing it and work to either avoid those triggers or work to consciously stop yourself.
  • Find a support system. Sometimes, you may not realize you’re biting so often. Talk with trusted friends or coworkers about trying to stop the habit and ask them to help you identify when you do it.
  • Do something! Another common reason behind biting is boredom. If you find yourself nibbling away while watching TV, get up, get active, and do something!
  • See your dentist. If you believe your bite may be contributing to your chronic biting, talk with your dentist in Mill Creek for advice on how to help.    

If you suffer from chronically biting your cheeks, lip, or tongue, schedule an appointment at our dental office in Mill Creek. We’ll check any active sores you have for infection and help treat them if necessary, and work with you to determine not only what’s causing you to bite so often, but also the best ways to help you stop.

Accepting patients from Mill Creek, Bothell, Everett and beyond. 

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Decrease Sugar in Your Diet with These Tips

reduce sugarIt’s probably no surprise that the team members at our dental office in Mill Creek aren’t big fans of sugar. Too much of the sweet stuff can seriously compromise your oral health, and we’d rather see your pearly whites happy and healthy. That’s one reason why we encourage all of our patients to reduce the amount of sugar in their diets. But that’s not the only reason we’re supplying tips on how to consume less of it.

Sugar Can Be a Whole-Body Problem

Everyone knows that sugar is bad for teeth because it increases the risk for decay and cavities. But did you know that too much sugar can cause serious problems in the rest of the body too? An over-consumption of sugar can:

  • Contribute to severe headaches
  • Lead to overeating and obesity
  • Cause Type 2 diabetes
  • And be a factor in developing cardiovascular disease

Should You Eliminate Sugar Altogether?

Having a certain amount of sugar in your diet is necessary for proper body function. But how much is too much? The recommended amount of sugar someone should have on a daily basis depends on age and gender. The American Heart Association suggests a maximum daily sugar intake of 37.5 grams for men and 25 grams for women.

Sugar Reduction Tips

  • Cut back on the sweets. Cookies, candy, and soda are some of the biggest, most obvious sugar-packed culprits. Choose water and naturally sweet foods like fruit instead.
  • Read nutrition facts. Sometimes sugar can hide in some surprising foods like bread, condiments, and even sauces. If you don’t read the label, you may be unaware of just how much sugar you’re eating.
  • Brush up on your chef skills. Making your own meals at home allows you to control what ingredients you use and in what quantity. Home cooked meals can help your family eat healthier overall.

Following these tips can really help limit the amount of sugar you consume and do wonders to keep your smile, and your body healthy. Remember, it’s still crucial to brush your teeth everyday, twice a day, floss once a day, and maintain regular visits with your Mill Creek dentist.

If you do notice any signs of potential decay, or if it’s time for your dental cleaning, give our Mill Creek dental office a call to schedule an appointment. We’re always happy to see new smiling faces!

Treating patients from Mill Creek, Bothell, Everett and beyond. 

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Do Your Pets Need Dental Care?

pet teethAt my dental office in Mill Creek, we’re in the business of helping each one of our patients get and keep a beautiful, healthy smile. We’ll even often give advice on what you can do at home to protect your dental health. But humans aren’t the only ones that can benefit from at-home dental care. Just like people, pets also rely on good oral health for overall wellness. To achieve this, follow our pet-friendly tips.

Choose the right tools

An important part of your pet’s dental care is similar to your own. We’re talking about brushing teeth. And just like we recommend you choose a toothbrush that’s right for you, you need to choose a brush that’s appropriate for your pet. There are toothbrushes designed just for dogs and cats and can be found at many pet stores. But a clean piece of gauze wrapped around a finger will work pretty well too. When it comes to which toothpaste to use, don’t use your own. Human toothpaste can cause stomach problems in animals. Instead, ask your vet for a recommendation.

Use the right technique

The technique behind brushing your animal’s teeth is not unlike brushing your own. Hold the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle and gently massage in a small circular motion. You may want to focus more attention on the cheek side of the teeth as that’s where the most tartar tends to accumulate. You don’t need to brush your pet’s teeth as often as you brush you own, however. Two or three times a week is typically standard.

Stay Aware

Animals can get gum disease too, and you should know the signs that something may not be right. Keep an eye out for:

  • Bad breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Swollen gums
  • Loose teeth

If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your vet.

While we can’t help keep your pet’s smile in top shape, following the tips above and visiting your vet regularly can do wonders in ensuring your furry loved ones are healthy. When it comes your pearly whites, we’ll be more than happy to see you at my Mill Creek dental office. Call today to schedule an appointment.

Welcoming patients from Mill Creek, Bothell, Everett

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