Did you know that your Oral Health is related to your Heart Health?

That’s right, and February is not only Heart Health Month but Gum Disease Awareness Month. Your gums are a big part of your oral health and studies are finding more and more links between the health of your gums and your heart. Researchers have found that people with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to have heart disease.

So, what is periodontal disease and how I can stop it? Well, it can range from simple inflammation of the gums to serious disease that, in worst case scenarios, can result in losing teeth. However, the signs of periodontal disease can be seen early and are very treatable. 

Symptoms of poor oral health?

  1. Bad Breath (more than just morning breath)
  2. Bleeding or Inflamed Gums
  3. Sensitivity of your gums or teeth

If you are experiencing any of these, you should see your dentist right away and make sure that a periodontal exam is completed to check in on the health of your gums. 

Take Away: What can you do to improve your oral health?

  1. Use dental products that contain fluoride and use them the recommended amount of times: Brush for TWO minutes, TWO times per day AND floss ONCE per day. 
  2. Watch your eating habits. Try to limit snacks between meals and make sure that you are eating teeth-friendly foods! Crunchy fruits and veggies, nuts and cheeses are all good for your teeth. And don’t forget to wash every meal and snack down with water!
  3. Practice Oral Health Maintenance: See your dentist TWO times per year to check in with them and make sure your dental health is looking good.

Through a few simple steps at home and by visiting your dentist regularly, you can make sure your oral health is where it should be. The icing on the cake is that by taking care of your teeth and gums, you are also caring for your heart. So, show a little love this month and … take care of your gums and heart!


Show YOUR love this Valentine's Day!

It’s that time of year. Holding hands, extra hugs - and love everywhere!

We put together some tips on how you can show some love today to your favorite people and to your TEETH. Let's face it, a little extra love goes a long way.

  1. Try brushing your teeth together: You know what they say, the family that brushes together … SMILES together! Right? Well, at least they will have healthy teeth and good breath! Whether with your spouse, friend or kids, we all need to brush for TWO minutes, TWO times a day, so why not do it with your loved ones nearby? Try having a staring contest while brushing OR see who can make the silliest faces while polishing your pearly whites… all in all, have a good time and make it fun!
  2. Share your Smile with others! Be happy! No, really, even a simple thing like Sharing Smiles can make a big impact on both your loved ones, and strangers alike. Smiling activates neural messages that can benefit your overall outlook on the day, making you happier. It can also bring a smile to someone else’s face, having the same effect on them! Since our teeth can effect how we look, eat and smile, a healthy mouth can provide increased self-esteem and overall confidence. Practice self-love so that you can share more of it! 
  3. Be Healthy! We all know that being healthy is great for yourself, but let’s face it, it also shows your loved ones that you care about them too. And, it sets a great example for those little ones who are looking up to you. A big part of being healthy and taking care of yourself is making sure it begins with your mouth. Caring for your teeth can not just help prevent decay or gum diseases, but can possibly help prevent you from getting heart disease, stroke, diabetes and more. Early research is linking many diseases to your dental health, so start with your smile for your overall health! 

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

FREE Implant Seminar!

Have you been wondering what dental implants are all about? Were you wondering if it could help you or someone you love? 

Join us for a FREE seminar all about dental implants! This Monday, 1/29, we will host an educational, informational and casual get together to go through all the details of what dental implants entail and how they compare to other tooth replacement options. This is open to the community, whether you are a patient or not!

Call us today to reserve a seat at this event and make the best decision for you!

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My kids tend to get cavities, but I don’t let them eat candy. Why?

From the desk of Dr. Leah Hollaway:

Let’s be honest, any given grocery store has tons of options for snack food. Many of these options may not be very healthy for our teeth, especially for kid’s teeth!  It can be hard to buy snack food that children will eat and enjoy that won’t cause cavities.  Something that should be super easy can seem very complicated.

Before we get to what we are eating, let's talk about how frequently we are snacking throughout the day. Continuous grazing for hours on end puts you at much higher risk of getting cavities than if you have structured meal and snack times that last for 5-25 minutes. By having structured meal/snack times and drinking only water in between, your mouth gets to rest and maintain a healthy environment in between eating times. A healthy mouth environment means that it is harder for bacteria to cause tooth decay, which is exactly what we want for our children!

When choosing snacks for our children, we need to know that candy is not the only bad thing for our teeth. Processed foods, like potato chips or cookies, and foods that are considered carbohydrates put our teeth at a higher risk of getting cavities. This is because carbohydrates contain simple and complex sugars that bacteria use to turn into plaque and acid, which in turn, makes our mouth environment more unstable and prone to decay.  Carbohydrates are still something that children need because they provide energy for growing bodies, but eating them during structured meal times can lessen their negative effect in the mouth. Other snacks might be particularly sticky, such as fruit snacks, and therefore harder to remove from between teeth. These remain in the mouth longer, providing a food source for bacteria in our mouths, and making the mouth more prone to decay.

Some variables to think about when deciding if snack is good or bad for teeth are:

1- Does the snack contain carbohydrates (sugars or starches)?

2- How long does the food stay retained on the teeth/is the food sticky?

3- How quickly is this food eaten?


As an example, let’s think of fresh fruit vs. dried fruit:

Fresh fruit, like an apple:

1- Does contain sugar/carbohydrates.

2- Doesn’t generally stay on the teeth long because it’s crunchy.

3- Usually is eaten within a five minute period.

Dried fruit, like raisins:

1- Does contain sugar/carbohydrates.

2- Stays on teeth for a long time, especially in grooves, because it’s sticky.

3- Can be snacked on/carried around with a child for a long period of time.


Overall, when considering snacking, dried fruit is a worse snack for your teeth compared to fresh fruit because of the amount of added sugar and how sticky it is. The good news is that it doesn’t get much easier than throwing some carrot sticks or apples into your bag before you leave the house! Food that contains natural sugars are always better than processed foods with added sugars.

One of the best snacking foods available is cheese. This is great news for us here in Wisconsin and it is a readily available snack almost everywhere. The reason cheese makes such a great snack is that it has protective features for our mouth. It tends to keep the environment of the mouth less acidic and therefore not conducive for bacteria and decay. Even when combined with a carbohydrate snack like crackers, cheese works to protect our teeth and keep a healthy mouth environment.

Almonds and cashews, which can come in a variety of flavors, are another great option for kids who crave crunchy snacks. The same can be said about fresh vegetables like broccoli, celery, or carrots, and all of these are pretty portable if you are on the go.

It isn’t always easy to switch out a kid’s favorite snack food so quickly. But by limiting portions, pairing the snack with cheese, or adding a green or crunchy vegetable, the snacking will be not as detrimental to their teeth.

One last thing to look out for is hidden sugars included in processed products. Yogurt is usually viewed as a healthy food, but in a 6 oz container of yogurt, there can be up to 26g of sugar! The same holds true for fruit juice, yogurt drinks and many soft drinks and sports drinks. When buying these foods, try to be aware of sugars that are added for flavoring. Try to make a habit of looking at sugar amounts in all of your food and you’ll start to be an expert at finding out where the hidden sugars are. If you do consume these types of foods and drinks, it is always best to eat or drink them in a short amount of time and avoid grazing or sipping on them throughout the day.

Here is a great snack guide from The Dad Dentist for you and your children to help you pick the best snacks for your teeth.

Snacking Guide courtesy of TheDentistDad.com

Snacking Guide courtesy of TheDentistDad.com

The blue column contains snacks that won’t cause cavities because bacteria cannot use them to create plaque or acid. The yellow column contains snacks that generally will not cause cavities and the orange column contains snacks that put your teeth at a higher risk of getting cavities. Try to pick snacks in the blue and yellow columns, but don’t forget that an occasional snack in the orange column is okay! There are healthy foods, such as oranges and bananas in the orange column that have tons of important nutrients and vitamins … just be aware of how often these snacks are being consumed and try to drink water between all snacks and meals.

If you ever have any questions about your child’s snacking habits or any concerns about their dental health, please ask. We are here to serve you!

-Leah Hollaway D.D.S.

What about fluoride?

This week, Erin was on the Rahny Taylor Morning Show on 97.3, talking about the differences of opinion regarding fluoride and why we still think it is beneficial for your teeth. You can listen to the segment here:

If you ever have any question about fluoride or anything affecting your teeth, please let us know!