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.  

Top 3 electric toothbrush recommendations

Looking for an affordable gift for your kids or a loved one this holiday season?  Dr. Chas Jensen at Rogue River Family Dental in downtown Rockford MI says it’ll be a great investment that will keep your mouth healthy all year long. 

Of course brushing your teeth is a part of your everyday routine, but are you truly brushing as thoroughly as you should?  More than 30 percent of people don’t brush twice a day and their average brushing time still remains below two minutes – the recommendation of the American Dental Association. 

Dr. Jensen says an easy way to step up your brushing game is to invest in an electric toothbrush. Not only do they keep your teeth clean, but they also do a better job powering away plaque than you would with an old school toothbrush.  Another reason to go electric: most models come with an automatic timer so you’ll get your two minutes in every time you brush!   

Here are a few of Dr. Jensen’s favorite electric tooth brushes that won’t kill your budget:   

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

Did you always want to become a Dentist?

The Morning Show with Shelley Irwin on WGVU Radio interviewed Dr. Jensen about the opening of Rogue River Family Dental and Dr. Mette's retirement.  She also asked if he had always wanted to become a dentist... 

"I have always been fascinated with science.  In high school I was thinking about going into something in the medical field but wasn't sure what specifically to focus on.  Once I started pre-med in my undergraduate years at Michigan State University, I knew I truly wanted to become a dentist." 

Want to learn more about Dr. Jensen and Rogue River Family Dental? 

Check out the entire interview on


Grand Rapids Business Journal: Dentist acquires practice in downtown Rockford

I'm proud to share that Rogue River Family Dental was featured in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, making headlines about the opening of the practice in early October.

Check out the story on!

We'll be sure to share additional news coverage about the practice right here on our blog when stories appear online.  

Schedule your next visit with us today by calling 616-866-7720.  

- Dr. Jensen    

Dr. Jensen talks Halloween candy with FOX-17

We all worry about our kids eating too much candy, how well they brush their teeth and if they'll end up with a mouth full of cavities, right? This is especially the case during Halloween when they come home with bags full of sweets! 

FOX-17's Erica Francis sat down with Dr. Jensen and one of Rogue River Family Dental's pediatric patients, Cece Burge to talk about brushing and how to still enjoy some candy while brushing to make sure your teeth are in their best shape. 

Check out the story on FOX-17

One pointer from Dr. Jensen if you're going to eat candy:

“Anything that's main ingredient is sugar is a dentist’s worst enemy,” he says, "The sooner you brush your teeth and get the sugar off, the better!"

To make an appointment for your next cleaning, call 616-866-7720.   

Dr. Chas Jensen opens Rogue River Family Dental in downtown Rockford

Dr. Chas Jensen, a Cedar Springs and Rockford native, is pleased to announce he has acquired the dental practice of Dr. Robert Mette at 2 N. Monroe St. in downtown Rockford. The practice, which opened in early October, will now be called Rogue River Family Dental.