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Dr. Jensen’s take on sparkling water

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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. 

Carbonation
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! 

Dr. Jensen’s top 5 tips to maintaining a healthy smile

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Many people dislike going to the dentist and don’t put enough time and energy into taking good care of their teeth and overall oral health. At Rogue River Family Dental in Rockford, Dr. Chas Jensen and his team wants to work with you to achieve a healthy smile every step of the way.  

Here are Dr. Jensen’s top five tips to maintaining a healthy smile:   

1.    Keeping regular check-ups and cleanings
I don’t just want to see you when you have a problem.  Our team at Rogue River Family Dental wants to see you and your family every six months for regular cleanings and check-ups.  Think of it as preventative maintenance on your vehicle, only in regards to your smile!  Millions of Americans don’t see the dentist regularly enough, and are putting themselves at risk of more serious problems later in life.  Schedule an appointment with me today by calling 616-866-7720. 

2.    Flossing frequently enough
I like to tell my patients to try and floss at least once a day (check out some of my tips here!).  Floss removes particles of food that get stuck between your teeth causing decay, plaque buildup and gum disease.  Make flossing easy by leaving it out in a place you will use it every day, or bring floss with you to work or leave it in your car.  The easier it is to access, the more often you will floss!     

3.    Limiting soda or sugary drinks
Soft drinks are highly acidic and can erode the enamel on your teeth.   I encourage my patients to stick to water or unsweetened tea if possible.  If you really must have a can of pop, drink it in one sitting.  Sipping on a sugary beverage all day is the worst thing you can do to your teeth (learn more on sugary drinks here).  Brush or use mouthwash afterward drinking soda to minimize the negative effects.  

4.    Getting yourself a new toothbrush
Rinse your toothbrush when you are through with it and get yourself a new one every three to four months.  An old toothbrush can be a breeding ground for germs and worn out bristles don’t clean your teeth very well.  Never keep your toothbrush too close to someone else’s either as this is an easy way to spread germs.  If you really want to make me smile, get yourself an electric toothbrush (check out my top recommendations)!  

5.    Paying attention to warning signs
As your dentist, I want nothing but the best for your family’s oral health.  Listening to your dentist’s recommendations and taking them seriously is important and will save you from more serious issues in the future.  If you are experiencing any pain, bleeding gums, bad breath or dry mouth I want to see you and can help. 

If you are looking for a new dentist in Rockford, Michigan, give Dr. Jensen a call at 616-866-7720.  We look forward to getting to know your entire family!   

What to do when your child loses a tooth

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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  

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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
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.   

Apples
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
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! 

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.