Sugar Awareness Week: What You Need to Know

As we try to stay on task with our new year’s resolutions of good health, chances are you are curbing your diets toward the healthiest items available and away from the ones that aren’t so good for us. For many of us, this includes sugary sweets. January 22-26 is known as National Sugar Awareness Week – let’s celebrate by taking a deeper look at our favorite candies and how they affect our teeth.

There are a multitude of ways to monitor candy consumption that can satiate your cravings without affecting your health resolve. The better you are about limiting the intake of sweets, the better your oral health will turn out.

Both your overall and oral health are affected by your choice in sweets. When choosing the right kinds of candy to eat, it is wise to stay away from the sticky ones, especially if you have dental fixtures like implants or braces. This is because they tend to stick to teeth and are very difficult to remove. The longer they are stuck in the crevices of your teeth, the more harm they will do to your smile. Same thing with hard candy – because they take so long to dissolve, there is a lot of time for cavity-causing bacteria to find a place in your mouth to wreak havoc. If you have a sweet craving, grab chocolate bar. Not only is it consumed quickly, but dark chocolate actually has health benefits.

After all sweet indulgences, make sure to practice proper dental hygiene in order to remove the plaque that will begin to form from leftover residue. The more proactive you are, the healthier your smile will remain.

If you would like more information about the Tooth Fairy, call Dr. Cindy Du, Dr. Joseph Szabo or Dr. Haines in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.duandszabo.com.

Drs. Du, Szabo & Haines proudly serves Snohomish and all surrounding areas.

Let’s Celebrate Fresh Fruits and Vegetables | Snohomish Dentist

It’s that time of year where the weather is getting warmer and we want nothing more than to be outside, basking in the summer heat. We have traded our hot cocoa for iced tea and our cozy comfort foods are swapped out for lighter fresher options. And it’s just in time too – because June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month. Not only are these fresh foods good for our overall health, but they are also excellent for our smiles. And let’s face it – this is the time of year we have our biggest smiles, so why not indulge in these delicious and nutritious foods with a giant salad?

Carrots are packed with great vitamins and the crunchiness will gently scrub your teeth as you eat. In fact, all crunchy veggies are great for your teeth because it will initiate saliva production, our first line of defense against cavity-causing bacteria. Celery is a great veggie that has a high-water content and, if you think about it, also acts like a floss. And doesn’t broccoli look like a toothbrush? Munching on these little “brushes” will not only give you some iron but will give your teeth a quick scrub as well. There are so many bonuses to eating veggies, right?

Not in the mood for a veggie salad? Opt for a fruity version. Crunchy fruits, like apples and pears, are fantastic for our overall health, but the crispiness helps strengthen your gums and the juice produces saliva, which clears out all of that bacteria that gives us cavities. And believe it or not, the malic acid in strawberries acts like a whitening agent.

If you would like more information about the effects of eating fruits and vegetables on your teeth, call Dr. Haines, Dr. Cindy Du or Dr. Joseph Szabo in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com.

Dr. Haines, Du & Szabo proudly serves Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

Just How Bad Are Your Favorite Drinks? | Snohomish Dentist

When choosing what to drink, do you often opt for the sugary variety? Chances are the answer is yes. After all, that’s why they are made – to entice you to choose it. Unfortunately, even fruit juices are bringing extra sugar to your mouth, and that sugar is getting ahold of your smile and causing cavities. The best option for hydration is always going to be water, but just how bad are those drinks for your teeth?

Fruit juice. It is important to have lots of fruit and vegetables in our diets because of their vital nutrients. The problem is, juices made of citrus fruits like orange, lemon and grapefruit are very acidic and this acid has been proven to wear down your tooth enamel. A wise rule of thumb is to limit these juices to once or twice a day to get your vitamin C boosts. If you have a straw handy, even better.

Sports drinks. Sports drinks and energy drinks have made a drastic impact on our lives for a couple of reasons. They help to hydrate your body quickly after a hard workout and gives us an energy boost when we need it most. New York University College of Dentistry conducted a study that shows sports drinks contain high levels of acids that may be linked to a condition called erosive tooth wear.

Soda. I think we all know that soda is bad for us, yet we still decide to drink copious amounts of it. According to the American Dental Association, Americans drink more than 53 gallons of soft drinks per person per year. This can lead to dental erosion caused by the carbonic, citric and phosphoric acids.

If you would like more information about the affects of drinks on your teeth, call Dr. Haines in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com.

Dr. Haines proudly serves Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

He Sees You When You’re Brushing | Snohomish Dentist

The holiday season is a in full-force, which means we are busier than ever. Between the hustle and bustle of shopping, decorating and holiday celebrations, there is little time to look after one’s self. It is especially easy to lose track of your dental health. It seems everywhere you look, there is another sweet treat to indulge in and who are we to say no? The problem is, if we aren’t looking after our teeth, we may have an issue in the new year. So, how do we ensure our smiles are in tip-top shape for all of our holiday pictures? Follow these helpful tips:

Carrots over candy. We know there are plenty of sugary treats available, especially at holiday parties. And it is perfectly fine to enjoy them all, just keep things in moderation. Mixing veggies and proteins with your cookies and cakes will help keep saliva production active, which helps wash away cavity-causing bacteria. In fact, drinking lots of water will do the same thing if a toothbrush isn’t handy.

Keep your routines. It may be a busy time of year, but that’s no reason to forget about your daily routines. Brushing, flossing and rinsing will not only brush away all of your holiday eats, but will also ensure a happy dental visit in the future.

Check up on things. The holidays are a fun time to be had by all. But after all the fun has been had, it’s time to get back to business. Take the time to visit the dentist to make sure your celebrating didn’t cause any harm.

If you would like more information about holiday dental tips, call Dr. Haines in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com.

Dr. Haines proudly serves Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

Nothing Says the Holidays like a Gingerbread House | Snohomish Dentist

Hansel and Gretel got themselves in a pickle because they couldn’t resist the temptation. And quite frankly, who can blame them? Gingerbread houses are not only delightful to look at, but are even more delightful when you gobble them up. The problem is, if you happen to get the pleasure of consuming one, make sure you have a toothbrush handy because these sugary shelters are jam-packed with cavity-causing confections. So, how do you properly celebrate this indulgent time of year while saving your smile from future dental issues? In honor of National Gingerbread House Day, let’s take a look at a few teeth-friendly tips to have your ginger “cake” and eat it too:

The structure. Gingerbread may be the original version of the house’s skeleton, but there are other ways to build a house. Try using graham crackers instead. Graham crackers are slightly less sweet than gingerbread and there are lots of flavors to choose from. There are also healthier recipes for gingerbread floating around on the internet if you can’t give up that spicy flavor.

The decorative details. This is where you not only add your personal touches to your home, but where most of the sugary culprits are located. After all, the more colorful the house, the more festive it looks. Instead of adding handfuls of sticky gumdrops or hard candies, get creative and go a bit healthier for some of the little touches. Dried fruits, slivered almonds, banana chips and pretzels are just a few options that can turn your candy castle into a cavity-free zone.

If you would like more information about healthy dental options, call Dr. Haines in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com.

Dr. Haines proudly serves Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

Dental Hygiene: What You Need to Know | Snohomish Dentist

October is National Dental Hygiene Month – and while we should always try to keep our smiles healthy and bright, this month is a great time to focus on your dental hygiene routines. There may be habits you have that aren’t exactly the best for your dental health.

How often are you brushing your teeth?

It is no secret that you need to brush your teeth at least twice a day, and for at least two minutes – in the morning to start the day with fresh clean breath, and before bedtime to prevent any remaining cavity-causing bacteria from settling in your mouth while you sleep. If you happen to have a toothbrush handy, brushing between meals is always a great idea as well.

What do you brush your teeth with?

It can be a bit overwhelming task, trying to choose the right toothbrush for your smile. After all, there is generally an entire aisle at the store dedicated to toothbrushes. How does one even begin to choose? It is a good idea to choose a soft-bristled one, so that it is gentle on your gums. Hard-bristled versions can wear at your gums, slowly causing future periodontal issues.

Is flossing important?

One of the more neglected dental tasks has to be flossing. But in actuality, flossing plays a very important part in our dental routines. Not only does it get stuff stuck deep between each tooth, but it also keeps your gums healthy by preventing bacteria from getting inside and causing infection.

If you are seeking help to improve your saliva production, call Dr. Haines in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com.

Dr. Haines proudly serves Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

How Saliva Saves Our Smile | Snohomish Dentist

We have all seen something and thought it was so fantastic it’s drool-worthy. Not that we literally have saliva dropping from our lips, but it has captured our attention so completely, we can’t be expected to keep our bodily functions intact. And if it’s that amazing, chances are it makes us smile. But, did you know that that drool-worthiness is HELPING our smiles? It’s true. Saliva is our front line of attack against cavity-causing bacteria.

Saliva is mainly produced in your mouth from three pairs of glands — the parotid, submandibular and sublingual glands. Now, saliva is pretty much just water, but it also contains some mucus, salt, enzymes, antibacterial compounds and chemicals that buffer acid. But that’s not all. In addition to providing lubrication and killing harmful bacteria, saliva helps to digest starchy and fatty foods. It is typically produced when we taste, smell or think of food, saliva can be released at all times of the day and night.

If you aren’t producing enough saliva, you can develop other health issues. Not only is the lack of saliva giving you dry mouth, but it can also cause bad breath, dental infections or even gum disease. To help this process along, make sure you are hydrated at all times. Sour fruits will produce more saliva than a sweet version, so enjoy a piece before a meal. Popping in a stick of sugar-free gum is also a great way to get those juices flowing. If these don’t naturally help, it’s time to see a dental professional.

If you are seeking help to improve your saliva production, call Dr. Haines in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com.

Dr. Haines proudly serves Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

It’s National Smile Week | Snohomish Dentist

One of a dentist’s favorite weeks of the year is National Smile Week. Not only are smiles a sign of a happy human, but it also makes us happy to know we are helping to make your smile bright and healthy. In honor of National Smile Week, we’d like to take a moment to help make sure you are perpetuating a healthy smile until your next dental appointment. A healthy smile starts with dental hygiene, so keep your pearly whites their brightest with these:

Dental hygiene. Not only do we need to brush, floss and rinse twice daily, but it is also a great idea to brush between meals if you can. Tooth decay is caused by the development of bacteria in our mouths, so having a quick brushing a half hour after eating will help reduce bacteria from causing tooth decay. If you don’t have a toothbrush handy, pop in a stick of sugar-free gum.

Drink your milk. Calcium is one of the main reasons our teeth are as strong as they are. If you don’t have enough in your diet, is can cause your teeth to weaken, making your teeth prone to damage. Keep your teeth strong by having plenty of calcium-rich foods in your diet.

Get a second opinion. You may think you have fantastic dental habits, but only a dental professional can really sign off on that. Keeping your dental appointments is important. Make sure you are visiting a dentist’s chair twice a year for a check-up.

If you are seeking help to improve your smile, call Dr. Haines in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com.

Dr. Haines proudly serves Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

Summertime Dental Tips | Snohomish Dentist

When school lets out and we head out on our family vacations, it seems likely our daily schedules relax as we begin to. Our diets become less healthy and thus, so does our dental routine. The problem is, after your fantastic getaway, you may have some dental issues arise. In order to keep your family’s dental health, follow these handy tips:

Make it fun. Kids are going to be the toughest fight when it comes to keeping up dental hygiene any time of year, but especially during the summer. Why not make it fun? Visual reminders are awesome for helping kids create consistent brushing habits. Post a calendar by the sink with space for two stars each day – morning and night. Each week, if they kept their brushing up, reward them. It may sound like cheating, but children love working for a goal. Just try not to make the reward bad for teeth.

Brush in time. It is important that you brush your teeth for at least two minutes, but for little ones that could be tough. Have a playlist or a dance video ready and dance, dance, dance your way to clean teeth!

Clean up the diet. Summertime is all about sugar. Try to minimize the sugary snacks. Replace popsicles and cookies with sugar-free snacks like nuts and watermelon. When you do enjoy sweets, Rinse with some water to prevent sugar from sticking around. Making your family’s diet healthier will always help your dental, and overall, health. Dental health isn’t just for tiny humans, it’s a family affair.

If you are seeking help to improve your smile during your vacation, call Dr. Haines in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com.

Dr. Haines proudly serves Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

Is Ice Cream Good for My Teeth? | Snohomish Dentist

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Yes, we are smack dab in one sweltering summer and it seems frozen treats are the number one request to keep cool. The problem is, these chilly delights aren’t exactly the best for our teeth. And here are the reasons why:

Tooth decay. Frozen treats come in a variety of ways, but one thing is for sure – sugar is sure to be involved, whether you choose to indulge in an ice cream sundae, popsicle or a bit of “healthier” fro-yo. Sugar is needed for plaque to create cavities. In order to prevent tooth decay, make sure you practice proper dental hygiene.

Tooth Sensitivity. A huge issue some people face is tooth sensitivity, and this creates an obstacle when it comes to eating ice cream. If you find that it is difficult to consume chilly treats, chances are you have a dental issue. Make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Tooth sensitivity is very treatable.

Calcium intake. You may be thinking – my teeth need calcium and ice cream is made from milk. So, ice cream is actually GOOD for us, right? Sorry, but it isn’t true. Yes, it does contain calcium, but not enough to keep your teeth healthy. You still need to drink your milk, kids.

We aren’t saying banish ice cream from your diet. By all means, please do. But be aware of just how much you are consuming. It’s possible to have too much of a good thing.

If you are seeking help to improve your smile during your vacation, call Dr. Haines in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com.

Dr. Haines proudly serves Snohomish, Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.