Dr. Jensen’s take on sparkling water


In today's fast-paced world there are countless choices to pick from to wet your whistle. 

A new trendy beverage that is gaining in popularity is sparkling waters and seltzers. 

From a dental perspective, there are a few things to keep in mind when selecting your beverage of choice:   

Added sugar 
Any drinks consumed between meals that contain sugar will put you at risk to develop cavities. Read nutrition labels and keep your eyes peeled for any added sugar. 

The main difference between seltzer water/sparkling water and tap water is carbonation.  When a beverage is carbonated it becomes acidic.  This acidity can cause enamel erosion.  Once you lose enamel it doesn't come back. 

So, is sparkling water just as good as regular tap or bottled water?
At the end of the day regular tap water or bottled water is the best thing for your teeth.  But if you need a little something more to spice things up, seltzer water is significantly better for your teeth than soda or juice. 

Dr. Jensen says that like all things in life, take everything in moderation.

If you're family is due for a cleaning or dental checkup, give Rogue River Family Dental a call at 616-866-7720! 

What to do when your child loses a tooth


As a parent it’s bound to happen – your child runs up to you and says they have lost a tooth.  If it’s a baby tooth, there is no need to worry.  If it’s a permanent tooth, check out our blog post about what to do when you unexpectedly lose a tooth due to trauma or decay.

Here’s what you need to know about baby teeth:

Your child has 20 baby teeth, and these typically come out in the same order they came in.  This means your kids will most likely lose their lower center teeth first.  Children will lose their first teeth around the age of 6, but baby teeth can start coming out anywhere between the ages of 4 to 7.  The earlier your child had their first teeth come in the earlier they will start coming out. 

Your kiddo will likely be excited about losing their first tooth – especially if you have discussed the tooth fairy with them already!  Be sure to talk with your children about their baby teeth coming out – it shouldn’t hurt and they won’t feel hardly any pain. 

Encourage your children to wiggle loose teeth but not too much so teeth don’t come out prematurely.  Have your little one gargle with some warm water if there's bleeding.  You can also try having them bite on a clean towel, a piece of gauze or some paper towel.  And not to worry, the majority of bleeding should stop within an hour.

Let your child know not to brush too hard on the spot where a tooth recently came out.  It will likely be tender for a little while and may start bleeding again with harsh brushing.    

Adult teeth will start to come in within a few weeks of a baby tooth coming out.  You will notice they look a bit bigger, don’t look as white and have more pronounced ridges. 

Remember to teach your children good brushing and flossing habits throughout this process. After all, they will have these new adult teeth for the rest of their lives and it’s important to take good care of them.  

Call Rogue River Family Dental to schedule your next cleaning for your little one at 616-866-7720. 

Six best foods for your teeth  


You have all heard about the many foods that are bad for your teeth – soda, energy drinks, candy and sweets. But what about the many foods that are good for your teeth and overall oral health? 

Check out the list below that Dr. Jensen has compiled of foods that are good for you and your mouth!  

Yogurt is high in calcium and protein – it’s not just good for your overall digestive health, but good for your teeth too.  The probiotics in yogurt benefit your gums by pushing out bacteria that can cause cavities.  Dr. Jensen’s favorite yogurt is a plain Greek yogurt with some fruit or nuts added in. 

Milk and Cheese
Like yogurt, both milk and cheeses are high in calcium and protein too.  Eating cheese can raise the pH in your mouth and lower the risk for tooth decay.  The amount of chewing needed to digest cheese increases saliva in your mouth which is good too.   Dr. Jensen drinks a glass of milk every night with his dinner.   

Everyone has heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away.  There might just be some truth to that when it comes to your oral health! Fruits such as apples can be a good alternative to eating sweets and can cure cravings too.  They are packed with fiber and water and also produce saliva in your mouth that rinses away bacteria and food particles.  Eating an apple isn’t as effective as brushing your teeth, but it can tide you over until you have a chance to brush!

Celery and Carrots 
Like an apple, celery and carrots can act somewhat like a toothbrush!  The fibrous texture can scrape away food particles and bacteria.  Both are a great source of vitamin A and C and antioxidants that are good for your gums too.  Dr. Jensen packs bags of carrots and celery slices as snacks when he’s on the go.    

Almonds are an excellent source of protein and calcium and are low in sugar too.  Try a small serving of almonds as a snack, or mix them in your favorite salad or stir fry.  Dr. Jensen snacks on almonds quite regularly – they are a great snack when paired with a glass of wine!  

If you’re looking for something to drink that won’t harm your teeth, Dr. Jensen always recommends sticking to water or unsweetened tea.  Both are the best options for your teeth with the exception of a glass of milk.  

Give us a call at 616-866-7720 to schedule your next cleaning! 

Dr. Jensen on FOX-17 talking summer sports, protecting your teeth

Dr. Jensen on FOX-17

Dr. Jensen was back on FOX-17 this morning talking with health reporter Erica Francis about mouth guards and how to protect your kid's teeth during summer play.  She visited the office and was even fit for her own mouth guard.  

Check out the story on FOX-17's website

Looking for a new dentist in Rockford Michigan?  Give us a call and schedule your next appointment for your family -- 616-866-7720.  

How to handle a cracked or broken tooth

Your child may have been riding his bike or playing baseball with friends and in he walks holding a tooth in his hand with a bloody lip.  As a parent you’ll likely immediately think the worst and begin to panic.  

Or you are munching on a bucket of popcorn and bite down too hard on a popcorn kernel and immediately know you have broken or chipped your tooth…we’ve all been there.   

Not to worry – Dr. Jensen and his team have got you covered!    

For children and adults alike, the treatment for a broken or cracked tooth is similar.  The most important thing to remember is not to panic.  When a tooth breaks or chips, it may not hurt right away, but your tongue will quickly find the new sharp area in your mouth.  If you’re missing a large portion of your tooth, or it has broken off entirely, you may feel some pain.

First steps:

  • Rinse your mouth well
  • Apply pressure with a tissue or gauze to stop any bleeding.  If that doesn’t work, try a tea bag with pressure until bleeding stops.  
  • Apply some ice or a cold pack to any bruised cheek or lips
  • Try an over the counter pain reliever to reduce pain and swelling
  • Call Dr. Jensen’s office at 616-866-7720

Toddlers and children
One consideration with a baby tooth that is bumped, broken or damaged is the possibility of damage to the underlying adult teeth.  The most common treatment for a missing baby tooth is to let the adult tooth grow in – no implant or further treatment needed.  However when the impact has been severe and your child has cuts or lacerations on the gums or lips, it may be a good idea to visit Dr. Jensen for an antibiotic or your pediatrician for a tetanus booster.  

Teens and adults
The most common insult to permanent teeth is the result of sporting injuries or accidents.  The best preventative measure is a mouth guard made by your dentist for use during sports. Treating a damaged adult tooth depends on the severity of the break and the age of the patient.  Sometimes a simple filling will fix the problem when others may need a root canal or even an extraction.  

If an adult tooth has completely come out (avulsed tooth), the best thing to do is to pick up the tooth by the crown, gently rinse it and soak in milk on your way to the dentist.  An avulsed tooth has the best chance of survival if it can be addressed and re-implanted within an hour, so call Dr. Jensen right away!   

Most common treatments

  • Minor cracks: Surface cracks rarely need treatment, but sometimes a light polish of the area will smooth out any rough spots.
  • Cracked tooth: Cracks can sometimes be repaired with a filling, but often require a crown to prevent further cracking in the future. If the nerve is damaged, you may need a root canal.  
  • Chipped tooth: Minor chips can often be polished and don’t always need treatment.  Dr. Jensen will sometimes recommend a filling to keep the tooth from getting worse.
  • Broken cusp: A break that affects the chewing surface of the tooth can be repaired but sometimes require an onlay or a crown.   
  • Serious broken tooth: When the nerve is exposed causing pain and bleeding – you will likely need a root canal to remove exposed nerve and get you back to chewing and eating normally.  
  • Decay-induced broken tooth: Your tooth has broken due to a cavity or old filling – in some cases the tooth may need to be removed, but can likely be treated with a crown or onlay.     

If you have any questions about any of the outlined conditions above, please don't hesitate to call Dr. Jensen and his team - 616-866-2270.  

Sugary drinks and your teeth

Having a glass of your favorite soda or pop with a meal or drinking one several times a day is routine for many Americans.  The truth is, however, sugary beverages are not good for you or your oral health.   

How it works
We all have bacteria in our mouths that eat the sugars we consume. These same bacteria (sugar bugs as I call them) gain energy from sugar and produce acid. The acid they produce damages your teeth and causes cavities.    

Skip the juice
And I have more news for you – If you think you’re safe with juice, think again! A glass of apple juice can often contain the same amount of sugar as a glass of soda.

Slow down on the sugar
According to the USDA, sugar should make up no more than 10 percent of your daily caloric intake. For women, that is 10-15 tsp. per day. For men, it’s 12.5-18.75 tsp.  One glass of apple juice or one can of soda will easily put you at (or near) your daily sugar limit.

I encourage patients to try and eliminate sugary beverages from their diets, but understand that can often be a tall order for a busy adult.  Simply reducing the number of sugary beverages you consume and substituting healthier options that contain less sugar is a step in the right direction.

Here are a few popular choices and some better options to consider:

A few more tips

  • Drink, don’t sip. Sipping gives the sugar bugs more time to eat the sugar and create cavities. Drink quickly to give your body time to wash away the bad stuff. Try to drink sweetened coffees, teas or sodas in one sitting instead of sipping on them over a longer amount of time. If you give your child juice, have them drink it with meals only, and put only water in a sippy cup they might carry around during the day.
  • Fluoride is your friend. If your community’s water is fluoridated, drink tap water to improve your dental health. Fluoride protects teeth and continues to reduce cavities.
  • Brush and floss regularly. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and clean between your teeth once a day (floss!).  And help your children to brush and floss well too.  Leading by example or making a team activity out of it can be a way to make sure it’s getting done

Don’t forget to schedule your next cleaning with Dr. Jensen at Rogue River Family Dental – give us a call at 616-866-7720.

Your child's first dentist appointment: What to expect

Your child’s baby teeth are just as important as permanent (adult) teeth, and tooth decay can occur as soon as your child’s first tooth comes in. 

As a parent you may wonder if you need to worry about decay in baby teeth since they will be eventually replaced by permanent teeth.  Dr. Jensen will tell you the answer is yes.  Decay in baby teeth can bring on a higher risk of decay in your child’s permanent teeth later in life.  And if the decay is severe, it can harm the child’s overall oral health. 

So what do you need to know about your child’s first dentist appointment?  And when is the best time to make this appointment?

The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry both say that the first dental visit should occur within six months after your child’s firth tooth appears, and no later than the child’s first birthday.   It’s a great idea to introduce your child to the idea of the dentist before problems arise – getting them used to the idea of regular visits and not always needing a filling when visiting Dr. Jensen.

At Rogue River Family Dental, the first visit is usually short and involves little treatment.  It is an opportunity for your child to meet Dr. Jensen and get them used to sitting in the dental chair.  During the initial exam, Dr. Jensen will check all of your child’s existing teeth for decay, will examine his/her bite and will look at gums, jaw and other oral tissues.  If needed, the hygienist may clean any teeth and assess the need for fluoride treatment.  Dr. Jensen will also discuss oral health basics for children and discuss any developmental dental issues and answer your questions as a parent.   

Some topics Dr. Jensen might discuss include:

  1. Fluoride needs
  2. Good oral hygiene practices and cavity prevention for your kiddo  
  3. Oral habits (thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, lip sucking, etc.)
  4. Developmental milestones
  5. Teething
  6. Schedule for future dental checkups

You will be asked to complete medical and health information forms during your first visit, so come prepared with the necessary information.

Dr. Jensen loves working with children and looks forward to building a relationship with your entire family! To schedule a visit for your little one with Dr. Jensen, call Rogue River Family Dental at 616-866-7720.  

Easy tips for cavity prevention

It may sound simple, but Dr. Jensen says thinking about your oral health is something to consider when thinking of resolutions for the year ahead.  In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  

Make your teeth a priority in 2017 and follow a few of Dr. Jensen’s easy tips to avoid getting cavities:

1.       Brush twice daily.  You should be brushing your teeth a minimum of twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes per session.  It’s easy to skip a session, but try not to make it a habit.   

2.       Floss.  You hear it from your dentist every time you visit – don’t forget to floss!  Take the extra minute to floss daily, and if that’s not realistic, try for once a week to start.  There are flossing tools available such as flossing picks or flavored floss which makes this habit much less of a chore.  Ask Dr. Jensen about his recommendations at your next cleaning.  

3.       Use a fluoride mouthwash.  For added protection, use a fluoride mouthwash like Act after brushing and before bed.   

4.       Avoid sugary sweets and soda.  If you like to snack on candy, sugary sweets or drink soda throughout the day, make a point to brush after you do so.  The worst thing you can do for your teeth is eat candy or drink soda and not brush or go right to sleep. 

5.       Chew sugar free gum.  Chewing sugar free gum has long been recommended to avoid cavities.  Xylitol, a natural sugar substitute in most sugar free gum, is an effective cavity fighter and can prevent decay from occurring. 

6.       Visit your dentist every six months.  Professional cleanings protect you from tooth decay and should be scheduled every six months.  Call Dr. Jensen and his team at 616-866-7720 and schedule your next appointment today!

7.       Drink tap water vs. bottled water.  The city of Grand Rapids was one of the first in the US to add fluoride to its water supply.  Most other municipalities have since added fluoride to their tap water as well.  Drinking water helps your teeth by promoting saliva production and also by rinsing away bacteria and other leftover residue from snacks and meals.

8.       Talk to your dentist.  Dr. Jensen loves talking with patients about their oral health, and he’ll make the time to chat with you about your own habits and help you create a personalized approach to your dental care. 

Make an appointment today by calling Rogue River Family Dental at 616-866-7720.