How Green is Your Dental Routine?

Go green for Earth Day! Gaylord Nelson, Wisconsin Senator created Earth Day.  In 1970, 20 million Americans rallied in streets, parks, and auditoriums for a sustainable environment. After the first Earth Day, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was created. Every April 22nd Earth Day is celebrated worldwide.

Fast forward to present day and we still celebrate Earth  Day. We’re focused on global warming and clean energy. Everything we do,  from brushing our teeth to eating and driving all contributes to polluting the environment. Did you know that toothbrushes are plastic and nylon which can’t be recycled? When you throw your toothbrush away it sits in our landfill forever! Floss is wax covered nylon and comes in a container that has metal. Every year 50 million pounds of toothbrushes get added to our landfill. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade because it’s not in nature’s food chain.

A completely plastic-free dental routine might not be possible, but small changes can make a big difference. There are toothbrushes made of bamboo or wood. Wood toothbrush bristles are made from pig hair. They can all be recycled and will reduce the amount of plastic in landfills. One billion toothbrushes get thrown away yearly in the US. _Landfill

Change isn’t easy. If you aren’t ready to make the change to pig hair bristles then stick to your regular toothbrush. And when it’s time to get rid of it and get a new one, keep it and reuse it for household cleaning! Toothbrushes are great for cleaning bathroom tiles, toilets, computer keyboards, jewelry, and even shoes.

Bamboo and wood toothbrushes aren’t your only options for a healthy smile and healthy environment. Plastic toothbrushes are made from recycled materials such as yogurt containers and the bristles are new plastic. There are also compostable cornstarch toothbrushes that won’t clog landfills.

The most common way floss is sold in unrecyclable plastic containers.  Good news, there is plastic free and refillable floss!  Refillable floss is sold in a glass container with a protective label for drops. The bundle of floss comes in a clear compostable bag and it also has a plastic-free spool. It is completely made from silk and coated with vegetablebased wax.

 Toothbrush Tip

Show your gums some love! Don’t brush with all your strength, it’s not good for your gums or your toothbrush!  Every time you brush your teeth it affects your toothbrush. The harder you brush your teeth the quicker you will need to replace your toothbrush. Protect your gums and the lifespan of your toothbrush!

 Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

These are the three R’s when protecting the environment. Do you leave the water running while brushing? Try filling a small glass and set it in reaching distance to rinse after brushing. Another tip is don’t leave your electric toothbrush plugged in all day every day.

How Green is Your Dental Routine?

The average toothbrush lasts up to several weeks. Unplug!

Are you ready to make the change to help save our environment? We know this is a lot of information at once, and it’s okay to take small steps and make one change at a time. It’s as simple as sharing with your family and friends about the environment and how they can help sustain it too! _Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Remember to brush twice a day for two minutes and floss daily!  We hope you have a Happy Earth Day!

Coastal Connecticut Dentistry
112 Cross Road 
Waterford, CT 06385
Phone: 860-447-1787

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Know and Love Your Smile

Do you know where smiling comes from? We have not drifted far from where the smile first started; today we often received or give smiles to strangers in passing. Chimpanzees were known to have a “fear grin” that told others they were harmless. Many of our traits are quite similar to them including our smile. Smiles bring us comfort and make us happier.

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From a young age, we have been told, “smile for the camera.” How many times have you heard “say cheese” while posing for a picture? How often have you said it? Now think back to old historic pictures, have you ever wondered why nobody is smiling in the pictures? One reason is their horrible teeth or lack of. Oral health was not a part of their daily routine. Fortunately, we live in a time where dentistry is prominent. Technology has advanced and quality dental care is readily available. Take advantage of dentistry and love your smile!

Smiling more brings positive emotion to your life. It’s easier to smile than frown and it’s also the universal sign of happiness. Babies are born with the ability to smile, and the most recognizable facial expression that can be seen from up to 300 feet away.

Your brain can tell immediately whether someone’s smile is genuine or not. It compares the geometry of a face to a standard smile. Our minds evaluate the situation and determine whether or not a smile is expected.  After our mind makes a conclusion about someone else’s smile then it automatically mimics their smile. Smiling is contagious!

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Smiling not only brings comfort to others but also ourselves. Try smiling throughout the day and here’s why:

  • Even a fake smile is a mood booster
  • Helps to relieve stress
  • Smiling makes you more approachable
  • Smiling gets the creative and productive juices flowing

“Laughter is the best medicine” is a well-known phrase and for all the right reasons. There are short and long term benefits to smiling and laughing. Short term, it can stimulate your heart, lungs, and muscles. In the long run in can improve your immune system, be a natural painkiller, boost your interpersonal skills, and help make you feel livelier.  Source: mayoclinic

Would you rather approach someone who’s smiling at you or mugging you? Of course we choose the smiling person because we’re social creatures. We want acceptance and approval.  If we are in a funk and someone smiles at us, it can instantly change our mood turning our bad day into a good one.

The more you smile; your brain will create more positive patterns than negative ones. Our brains are naturally negative. Smiling more trains our brains to be positive. Creativity and productivity will increase and we can produce better work in our everyday lives. Source: fast company

How often do you smile? You can flash your lovely smile at someone, make their day, and yours too. Remember to love your smile! Treat your smile with the care it deserves, schedule your appointment today.

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Coastal Connecticut Dentistry
112 Cross Road 
Waterford, CT 06385
Phone: 860-447-1787

3 Ways Oral Health Influences Your Body: Heart Disease, Diabetes, Pregnancy

Happy 2018! New Year’s resolutions are not as popular as they once were, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make changes to your everyday life. Now is always the right time!  Did you know oral health affects your overall health?  It’s important to brush and floss daily along with dental check-ups every 6 months. Poor oral habits can lead to gum disease because your mouth is swarming with bacteria. And gum disease is linked to heart diseases, diabetes, and pregnancy. Oral health is connected to your total health.

Heart Disease

Are you wondering how your oral health relates to your heart? Everyday brushing and flossing manages the bacteria levels in your mouth.  Without daily cleaning, bacteria is free to flow into your blood stream and can travel to your arteries.  Arteries are blood vessels that distribute oxygen from your heart to your body. This can lead to atherosclerosis where plaque builds up on the inner layers of your arteries. This can cause clots that can block blood flow through your body.  Increasing the likelihood of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

Source: American Heart Association

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Diabetes

Did you know you are 3 to 4 times more likely to have gum disease after being diagnosed with diabetes?  Diabetes affects how your body processes sugar and leaving you at a higher risk for gum disease. It can also make your blood sugar level constantly increase. Meaning your body has a harder time fighting the bacteria attacking your gums. People receiving gum disease treatment along with antibiotics showed improvements with their blood sugar levels. Be sure to keep us updated on your health history and medication lists.

Source: American Diabetes Association

 Pregnancy

Pregnancy is no excuse to slack on your oral care. Hormone levels are uncontrollable it can cause your gums to bleed, swell, and absorb food. This leads to pregnancy gingivitis.  Another thing to look out for is pregnancy tumors. While harmless, they start to appear during your second trimester between your teeth. If you begin to feel pain or irritation your dentist can have them removed. Most of the time they disappear after your child is born.

A common side effect of pregnancy is morning sickness which can be alarming for your teeth. The acid from your stomach can lead to tooth decay. We recommended gargling with baking soda and water after an episode of morning sickness before brushing your teeth. Dental appointments and procedures are encouraged during pregnancy to help prevent gum disease. It is optimal to have dental work done during your second trimester because the developments of your fetal organs are complete and the risks of side effects are lower.  Once you are in the third trimester it may be harder for you to lay on your back for a long period of time.

Source: American Pregnancy Association

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Living a healthy lifestyle can seem overwhelming but remember to make small strides daily. Here are five healthy habits for a happy life.

  • Brush your teeth twice daily
  • Floss once  daily
  • Preventive healthcare screening, at least once every six months
  • Smile and Laugh
  • Physical Activity
  • Adequate sleep

Coastal Connecticut Dentistry
112 Cross Road 
Waterford, CT 06385
Phone: 860-447-1787

Navigating the Holiday Table

Can you believe it; the holiday season is already here! It’s time to start digging out family recipes, decorations, and all those holiday goodies buried in your closet. Schedules are everywhere from family gatherings to local festivities. Peppermint, gingerbread, and pumpkin are holiday classics! What is your favorite holiday dish? We all know that sugary foods and drinks may rot our teeth, but most don’t know what foods can be beneficial.  So here’s a list of those that might actually surprise you.

  • Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables
    • Carrots
    • Celery
    • Broccoli
    • Kale
    • Okra
    • Apples
    • Pumpkin has magnesium which takes care of your enamel. Pumpkin seeds have iron and help keep your tongue healthy.
  • Cheese and Dairy
    • Plain yogurt
    • Cheese has a lot of protein and calcium which is good for enamel.
  • Seafood
    • Salmon
    • Mackerel
    • Eel
    • Tuna
    • Most seafood has fluoride.Food

Fun Facts

  • Nuts have calcium along with phosphorous that helps strengthens enamel.
  • High fiber triggers your flow of saliva.
  • Whole grains have B vitamins and iron, keeping your gums in tip-top shape!
  • Dark chocolate has polyphenols which are a natural chemical that limits bacteria.

Sources: Colgate, Oral-B, and Medical Daily

Healthy Holidays Recipe

Yes, there are health benefits to these foods and drinks but it’s important to remember: MODERATION IS KEY! So enjoy your favorite holiday foods and indulge in a bit of guilty pleasure.Moderation

We wish you happy holidays and good cheer!

Coastal Connecticut Dentistry
112 Cross Road 
Waterford, CT 06385
Phone: 860-447-1787

4 Risk Factors of Gum Disease to Discuss with Your Dentist

july blogHave you ever had something caught in your teeth for days? It’s likely because it was lodged deep between a tooth and your gums. That gum tissue is what keeps our chompers in place. There are three stages of gum disease and all are treatable.

The mild form of gum disease is Gingivitis. This is where plaque and other byproducts irritate the gums. It makes them swollen, tender, and more likely to bleed. Periodontitis is stage two. The gum tissue starts deteriorating as it detaches from the teeth forming pockets around the roots. This leaves teeth exposed and more susceptible to decay. Finally, Advanced Periodontitis can set in. Tooth pockets get deeper as the severe gum recession leads to bone loss causing loose teeth.

Common Risk Factors of Periodontal Disease

  • Genetics – it’s hereditary and some of us are just unlucky! While you may be more susceptible to periodontitis, having a good oral hygiene routine with regular dental visits can help your smile stay healthy. Talk to us about finding the right balance for your needs.
  • Health – underlying medical conditions like diabetes and Crohn’s disease, as well as lowered immunity from illnesses and treatments often affect gum tissue. Medications, hormonal changes and obesity are also culprits and should be discussed.
  • Bad Habits – chewing on ice, not brushing or flossing daily and using tobacco are the most common behavior changes we encourage you to ditch. However, substance abuse and a diet lacking in vitamin C will also impact your smile.
  • Stress – it’s inevitable. But keep an eye on exactly how much it’s weighing you down. High levels or chronic stress can lead to poor hygiene habits. Anxiety can also lower your immune system from effectively fighting off bacteria that causes gingivitis (stage 1).

When to Seek Help

Common red flags of gum disease include:july blog (1)

  • Bleeding gums
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Gums look bright red
  • Teeth wiggle

There’s no home remedy to cure gum disease. Only professional treatment can help, so call and schedule an exam today 860-447-1787.

Coastal Connecticut Dentistry
112 Cross Road
Waterford, CT 06385
Phone: 860-447-1787

Choose Dental Health NOT Insurance

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Health insurance is a topic familiar to many, and varies from individual to individual. Providers are different, coverage fluctuates, and co-pays change as well. However, it is always important that the health of you and your family remains our number one priority.

Dental Emergency Care

An injured tooth, like any emergency situation, often presents an unexpected expense and financial hardship. It’s important to keep perspective and ensure your primary focus remains the danger it places on your body and health, not your wallet. Dental complications, like many health conditions, are degenerative; meaning, they get worse the longer you ignore treatment. Failing to address an ailment stresses the body and almost always increases the financial cost of treatment as the severity of the damage escalates. Using the example of a broken tooth, what may originally be a quick dental restoration can easily turn into an infection, decay, or cause a loss of the tooth entirely. A lost tooth results in replacement costs, and if those are ignored, can spiral into the migration or infection of the surrounding teeth. It’s easy for simple injuries to spiral into much more serious situations when treatment is neglected.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

You’ve likely heard this before, but clichés are clichés for a reason. The ounce of preventative and immediate treatment can save you a pound of further health problems, and a pound in your wallet. We care about your health and cost effective treatment options. Our office will never surprise you with unexpected bills, and we will always work with you to ensure you understand your treatment, the significance of receiving it, and the costs. If you require a treatment that presents a financial hardship, talk to us. Where possible, we will explore alternate treatment plans or discuss other solutions to ensure you are not placed in a difficult position. We do this while always keeping your health as our number one priority.

When it comes to ensuring the longevity of your health, communication is key. Don’t stay quiet about concerns of any kind – health, financial, or other: we are your health care partner and here to serve you.

Coastal Connecticut Dentistry
112 Cross Road
Waterford, CT 06385
Phone: 860-447-1787

This Is How To Pick A Toothbrush & Floss

We all know to brush our teeth. Check. We all know to floss our teeth. Check (okay, we know some of us skip this step but we’ll let it slide this time). But do we know which type of toothbrush and which dental floss is the best to keep our pearly whites, well, pearly and white? Today we clear the air on this important topic.

Toothbrushes & Brushing

Before getting into all your purchasing options, let’s do a quick brush up (pun intended) on proper brushing techniques to ensure your dental labors are as effective as possible.

When brushing, you don’t want to apply a lot of pressure; plaque is removed with gentle and thorough cleaning. By being too aggressive you are more likely to damage your gum tissue than clean properly. To start, place the head of the brush at a 45-degree angle and point the bristles just into the gum line. This helps disrupt buildup gathering at the base of the tooth. Avoid brushing all your teeth at once; rather, target a group of 3-4 and gently clear the surfaces before moving on to the next set. Be sure to clean all surfaces of the tooth: fronts, backs, chewing surfaces, and the sides of those hard-to-reach molars. Perfect!

Which Toothbrush Is Best?

Electronic toothbrushes are a fantastic option and do a lot to help agitate food particles and really cleanse your teeth. Manual toothbrushes also work well provided they are used effectively with our above tips. For bristles, many make the mistake of purchasing them too tough. The flexibility and gentleness of soft bristles is precisely what you want to clean without damaging. For toothbrush size, just ensure it isn’t too large that it prevents access to those back molars that can be tricky to reach. There is no single toothbrush that is perfect for everyone, so be sure you’re using the one that feels the best to you and will encourage regular use – if you have any questions, we are always here!

Dental Floss & Flossing

Onto floss – but first, the brush up:

When it comes to flossing, you make a C-shape to curve around each tooth as you bring the floss down. The point is not to drag the line straight up and down, which can irritate the gums, but rather to hug the surface of each tooth and clean from the top to the root with a gentle motion. Use about 18” of floss for a fresh portion each pass. Remember to clean both neighboring teeth each time you bring the floss down, and don’t miss any teeth!

Which Floss Is Best?

There are a few variables to keep in mind when finding your ideal floss. First is the thickness of the floss – some people have larger gaps between teeth, and others have very tight spaces that can make it hard to floss. The ideal thickness is one that is comfortable to use, but still thoroughly cleans between each tooth – for tight spaces, try a flat, ribbon-like floss. There are also options like the material the floss is made of, and then waxed versus unwaxed floss. Some suggest waxed floss may be slightly more effective, but whichever choice is most comfortable for you is the choice we recommend. Yes, a lot of our advice is related to your preferences, but if you find a dental product you like with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, you can be sure you’ve found a winner!

In fact, that is our biggest suggestion for when it comes to both brushes and floss: the right option for you is the one you will actually use. If you have more questions, give us a call – we are always happy to ensure our patients feel confident with their oral health and have all the facts.

Coastal Connecticut Dentistry
112 Cross Road
Waterford, CT 06385
Phone: 860-447-1787