Meet our new team member Lauren!
June is always an exciting month with the start of summer, pool days, grill outs and other fun summer events. At Dental BLU we have even more of a reason to be excited this month – a new hygienist! Starting on the 25th of June you’ll be seeing a new face in our office and we are so excited to write this month’s blog post all about our new team member!
Lauren is a recent graduate from The University of Louisville Dental Hygiene Program; she grew up in Fort Thomas, KY and graduated from Highlands High School.
Lauren is a Registered Dental Hygienist and is also certified in local anesthesia. She has a passion for service trips and has served in a RAM clinic in Hazard, KY and recently went on a dental service trip to Romania. Lauren is compassionate, positive, and a hard worker! She is very kind and we know you will love her as much as we do!
The thing Lauren loves most about being a dental hygienist is interacting with her different patients and building relationships with each of them. Her favorite thing to do outside of work is to spend time with her friends and family. A fun fact about Lauren is that her grandma is from Ecuador! She loves traveling down to Ecuador as often as possible to visit her.
We are so excited to have Lauren at Dental BLU and know she is going to make a great addition to our team!
Call our office to schedule a cleaning with our newest hygienist - 859-442-8200
We are officially in the middle of spring and headed for summer and we can't wait! But, before we get into the heat of summer, have you finished your spring cleaning yet? While it's nice to clean out your garage and basement, redo the landscaping and spruce up the kitchen we're talking about a different kind of spring cleaning - a dental cleaning! Below we have a checklist to make sure your oral health is as tidy as your garage this spring!
- Change out your toothbrush!
- Did you know that you should be changing out your toothbrush about every 3 months? The average American changes their toothbrush about 1.9 times a year, instead of 4 times a year like the American Dental Association recommends. This is not just a ploy to make you buy new toothbrushes - your toothbrush gets extremely germy along a 3-4 months timespan. Toothbrushes harbor bacteria, meaning that after you are sick you should also change your toothbrush out! Toothbrush bristles can wear out after 3-4 months as well. Once your bristles become matted or frayed it's definitely time to change out your brush. At this point it is no longer cleaning your teeth as effectively as it should, and also it can cause damage to your gums! Since children tend to brush their teeth harder and faster their brushes tend to get matted and worn out quicker meaning that they may need their brushes to be changed out more frequently.
- When buying your new toothbrush be sure to look for a soft bristled brush. Electronic toothbrushes that you only have to replace the head and not the whole brush are convenient in that they usually save you money in the long run and they are generally better for the environment (only disposing a small tip of the toothbrush as opposed to a whole toothbrush). In today's society of online shopping for things that come straight to your door, many companies make it easy to get new toothbrushes. Some electronic toothbrush companies even have auto-ship every 3 months so that you don't even have to remember when to change your brush head!
- Check your toothpaste!
- At some point this spring you will most likely have to buy a new tube of toothpaste. Before you buy your toothpaste make sure that you are using the most beneficial toothpaste possible! When looking for a toothpaste aim to find one that has the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Acceptance. The ADA has specific guidelines that must be met to get this seal, meaning that if it has this seal it is most likely a great option for you to use! Be sure to look for toothpaste that has fluoride in it. Fluoride is an extremely important "tooth vitamin" as we like to call it. Fluoride strengthens teeth and helps protect them from cavities!
- You should also be sure to check the RDA of your toothpaste, or relative dentin abrasiveness. Your toothpaste should not be too abrasive or it could scrape away your enamel. Toothpastes should be below 250 RDA, but 150-250 is regarded as "harmful" to your enamel. Generally, the lower the better so try to find a toothpaste with RDA below 150 or so! Below we have included a chart with common toothpaste abrasiveness so you can see where your toothpaste falls and whether you should choose a new toothpaste! (For more information on this subject, check out our baking soda blog!)
This chart shows RDA of common toothpastes. 0-70 range is regarded as low, 71-100 is medium, 101-150 is high and 151-250 is regarded as harmful level of relative dentin abrasiveness. Using this chart you can see where your toothpaste falls and whether or not you should switch to a lower abrasive toothpaste!
- Get your dental cleaning!
- Our final tip to keep your mouth healthy this spring is to get your spring dental cleaning! Everyone should see the dentist at least every 6 months, however if you need a little extra care we may recommend coming more often. During these cleanings we scale and polish your teeth, making them sparkle and helping prevent cavities! We may also update your x-rays so that we can make sure you don't have any hidden cavities forming or any unusual anatomy in your mouth. Our doctors perform an oral, head and neck cancer physical and you can also get a thorough oral cancer screening using our Identafi. You can get fluoride treatments and also will receive a new toothbrush (which checks another item off your spring checklist)! This dental cleaning will help you ensure your mouth is healthy all spring, so call our office to schedule an appointment if you haven't been in lately or are due for a cleaning.
Springtime is the perfect time to make sure you're staying healthy before the craziness of summer starts. Follow this simple checklist to make sure you and your familes have a healthy, happy, clean spring!
April 7-14th is Oral, Head, and Neck Cancer Awareness week and we are so grateful to be able to share information about these cancers to bring awareness about the causes and dangers of cancer. Cancer is defined as a disease caused by uncontrollable division of abnormal cells in a part of the body - oral, head and neck cancers are unfortunately quite common. Worldwide, over 550,000 cases of oral, head or neck cancer are diagnosed each year, and 110,000 of those cases are in the United States alone (American Academy of Otolaryngology). As your dental team, we are very passionate about this topic and want to use this blog post to educate everyone on these types of cancers, and how to stay healthy to try and avoid them.
Oral cancer includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and throat. Oral cancer most often is identified by a sore or growth in the mouth that does not go away. It can also appear as reddish or whitish areas in the mouth, lumps, bumps, or raised surfaces in the mouth, or patchy, bumpy areas in the mouth. Other symptoms can include difficulty swallowing, numbness, bleeding, loose teeth or soreness/tenderness in the mouth. If you notice any of these symptoms or abnormalities in your mouth, contact your dentist and schedule an appointment.
One of the biggest causes of oral cancer is tobacco. Smoking, including cigars, cigarettes, vape pens, or smokeless tobacco, including dip, snuff, or chewing tobacco dramatically raises your chances of getting oral cancer. Genetics also play a role in oral cancer, and if you have a family history of oral cancer you are at higher risk. Consuming alcohol and overexposure to the sun also increase your risk of getting oral cancer or melanoma of the lips.
Head and Neck Cancer
Cancers of the head and neck often include the pharynx and larynx - or throat and voice box, including the vocal cords and epiglottis, the sinuses and nasal cavity, and the salivary glands. Symptoms of the various types of head and neck cancers include trouble breathing, speaking or swallowing, pain of the head or neck that does not go away, ear pain or headaches, swelling under the chin or jawbone, lumps or bumps in your throat, or numbness and pain in various parts of your head and neck.
Head and neck cancer makes up approximately 6% of all cancers in the United States and is more common in people over the age of 50. Tobacco use is one of the main preventable causes of these types of cancer. Smoking (cigarettes, cigars and vape pens) and using smokeless tobacco (dip, snuff and chewing tobacco), as well as over-consuming alcohol can increase your risk of these types of cancer.
Oral, head and neck cancers are serious diseases and steps should be taken to protect yourself as much as possible from these forms of cancer. The most preventable cause of these various cancers is smoking. Approximately 200,000 people die each year from smoking related illnesses (American Academy of Otolaryngology) - this is a dangerous habit that should be avoided at all costs. Common misconceptions are that smokeless tobacco and vape pens are safer than smoking cigarettes, but this is false - these habits increase your risk of getting oral, head and neck cancers just as much as smoking cigarettes does. Additionally, in the United States, 1 person is diagnosed with a new case of oral, head and neck cancer every 10 minutes, and someone dies of these kids of cancer every 45 minutes (American Academy of Otolaryngology). According to this data, these cancers should not be taken lightly.
Aside from not using tobacco products, make sure that you are not consuming alcohol in excess as this has been found to have a link with these types of cancer. Additionally, be sure to always wear sunscreen and a chapstick with SPF in it - you can get melanoma on your lips if you are not careful about protecting them from the sun. Another great way to ensure you can protect yourself from oral, head and neck cancer is to be checked regularly. At your dentist appointments your doctor will give you a head and neck examination in order to look out for these symptoms - they will feel around your head, throat and neck and look around your mouth and throat to determine if there are any irregularities or concerning areas. In addition to these physical examinations, our office provides the opportunity to get an oral cancer screening. We recommend getting an oral cancer screening once a year, however people who heavily use tobacco products can opt for a screening more than once a year. At Dental BLU we use Identafi - a painless light that we shine around the patients mouth that uses various wavelengths to show the hygienist any suspicious areas in the mouth. Ask about Identafi at your next hygiene visit to make sure you are not at risk for having oral cancer.
We are very passionate about the topic of oral, head, and neck cancers and hope that after reading this article, you are too. Cancer is a dangerous disease and unfortunately 66% of the time oral, head and neck cancers are found in stage 3 or 4 meaning that they are more serious and have spread to other areas in the body (American Academy of Otolaryngology). In order to learn more about these diseases and their risks, schedule an appointment with your dentist or visit https://www.entnet.org/OHANCAW to read articles about oral, head and neck cancer.
During Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week please use this opportunity to educate yourself and your family and friends about the dangers associated with these types of cancer, and use this week as motivation to live a healthier lifestyle to try and avoid these cancers.
Baking soda has a wide variety of uses such as baking, deodorizing, and many homemade remedies including toothpaste. Different articles have been released over time that claim varying things about baking soda. Some say it's too abrasive and should never be used as toothpaste, whereas others say it's one of the best products you can use! After researching and discussing the details with the doctor's at Dental BLU, we are writing this blog to tell you everything you could ever want to know about using baking soda as toothpaste!
Abrasiveness is the capability of a substance to polish a hard surface by rubbing or grinding. We want the toothpaste we use to be abrasive enough to brush away the stains and bacteria that sit on our teeth, but not abrasive enough to scrub away our enamel itself. Enamel, the hard mineralized surface of the tooth, cannot be regrown or replaced once damaged, so it is important to protect it from toothpaste that is too abrasive. Abrasiveness should not be confused with hardness. For instance, Dr. Rod Kurthy (Founder and CEO of Evolve Dental Technologies) compares your tooth and toothpaste to a diamond and glass. Although both feel very hard, a diamond will easily scratch glass. We attribute this to the Mohs Hardness Scale. Glass is rated a 5 whereas a diamond is rated a 10, therefore the diamond is capable of scratching the softer material, glass. This is similar to baking soda and your teeth. Baking soda feels very hard and gritty; the little pieces have rigid edges that feel rough in your mouth. It seems like this baking soda would damage your teeth. However, on Mohs Hardness of materials scale, tooth enamel is rated a 5 whereas baking soda is rated 2.5. Since baking soda is the softer material, it is not considered very abrasive and it will not harm tooth enamel! The American Dental Association studied Relative Dentin Abrasiveness to determine abrasiveness of various toothpastes. The scale used below shows the low-harmful levels of abrasiveness.
Low RDA is 0-70
Medium RDA is 70-100
High RDA is 100-150
Harmful RDA is 150-250
The chart below shows the RDA of many common types of toothpaste. Notice that baking soda is only listed at 7, meaning that it is extremely low and therefore a safe, low-abrasive material to use in place of abrasive toothpaste! Look through this chart to see what toothpaste you're using to determine if you should make the switch to lower RDA toothpaste!
Using Baking Soda as Toothpaste
When using baking soda as toothpaste Dr. Depp recommends putting baking soda in a small dish or shot glass, wetting your toothbrush and dipping it in the baking soda, making a thick paste, and then brushing like normal. This thick paste will scrub away stains and bacteria. Baking soda is a great alternative to regular toothpaste for people who are worried about scrubbing away their enamel with abrasive paste, however it should be noted that baking soda does not have fluoride in it, which is important to protect your teeth from cavities. It also does not have the fresh minty taste that many types of toothpaste have, making it less desirable when someone wants fresh-tasting, minty breath!
It is important to be cautious when reading online toothpaste remedies that involve baking soda. A common misconception is that if you mix baking soda with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or other acidic substances that it becomes a great tooth whitener but this is incorrect. Acidic materials such as these will harm your teeth more than help them. Acid will eat away at the tooth enamel, softening your teeth and allowing the baking soda to erode away even more of the structure of your teeth causing many more problems like cavities. Harmful combinations with acids like these should not be used. Plain baking soda and water does a fine job at scrubbing away stains and spots. Instead of using a homemade whitening remedy that could be dangerous, if you're looking to have a whiter smile, we offer a variety of whitening options at Dental BLU – call our office to schedule a consultation!
Baking soda is a great product with many uses and we love when our patients use this low abrasive toothpaste to protect their enamel! If you have any more questions about abrasiveness, whitening, or which toothpaste to use, please call our office to schedule a visit. We would be happy to help you!
February is an exciting time of the year with Valentine's Day, President's Day, random snow days and many other fun events. Another holiday to celebrate this February is National Children's Dental Health Month. Many of us don't even know where to begin to protect our children's teeth, when to bring them to the dentist, or what sealants are, so if you're curious like the rest of us, this blog post is for you! Below we have the facts and recommendations on protecting your child's smile from when they're born up until when their adult teeth grow in.
Why To Care: The Facts and Figures
If you're not curious on how to take care of your children's teeth, you should be! Tooth decay, or a cavity, is known as a disease in medical terms - this disease is actually the most common disease in children. This disease is also 5 times more common than asthma in children and affects 3 in every 5 kids. Approximately 51 million hours of school are missed each year due to dental problems in children; and the estimated number of children that go without dental care each year is 17 million. Dental health is also connected to overall health, such as cardiovascular health, diabetes, and more. In order to keep our kids healthy, we should be more concerned on how to protect their baby teeth, even when they first grow in.
Baby Teeth: Little Teeth with a Big Impact
Most babies will begin teething between 6 and 12 months - but if your baby is ahead or behind of that curve, don't worry, it's totally normal for every child to be on their own timeline. When a baby is teething, their gums usually will appear more red and slightly swollen, your baby also might be drooling more than normal. Some babies will experience discomfort during this time. Some great tricks to help teething pains are letting your baby suck on a frozen or wet washcloth or a teething ring. A popular question is: When should I start brushing my kid's teeth? The answer is: the moment a little tooth pokes through the gums! Children will keep baby teeth for a very long time, up to an average of about 11 years old. Starting brushing habits early will help prevent cavities and get your child used to the feeling of a toothbrush in their mouth, preventing fussing later on in life. Once children start showing interest in brushing their own teeth you can allow them to brush on their own, however a parent should always follow and brush afterward to make sure they are cleaning every surface. Brush gently in small circles for 2 minutes, making sure to brush the top and sides of every tooth! Flossing is usually not necessary for children until the age of around 5 years old, or when recommended by your dentist or hygienist; once the teeth appear to be crowded with very small spaces in between them you should floss your child's teeth along with them to make sure they are cleaning all surfaces. Children's handheld flossers can be bought in a variety of fun shapes and colors to make flossing easy and fun!
Protecting baby teeth early will lead to lifelong healthy habits and a healthier smile!
Visiting the Dentist: The Best 2 Days of the Year!
Many people also don't know when to bring their child to the dentist, and we say it's never too early! The most important thing for young children is to learn to enjoy the dentist. At Dental BLU we make visiting the dentist a fun experience with toys, stickers and a cool new toothbrush to encourage children to come back and see how fun the dentist office is! Usually the perfect age to start bringing your child in is around 18 months to 2 years old. At their first visit, a hygienist will show them our 'big chair', 'tickle toothbrush' and count their teeth. This initial visit is important to help children learn that the dentist is fun, and to ensure your child's teeth are developing properly. After this, it's recommended to bring your child back every 6 months for cleanings and examinations by the doctor. Having your children grow up in the dentist chair is the perfect way to ensure they will never be fearful of the dentist and they will develop healthy habits!
Sealants: Protecting Groovy Teeth
Around the age of 6 your dentist or hygienist may recommend sealants for your child. Sealants are a quick, easy way to protect your child from cavities! The molars, or back teeth that do most of the grinding and chewing in the mouth, are very groovy teeth that tend to trap a lot of bacteria in little pits and ridges; these areas are hard to brush, and cavities often form here. When placing sealants we use a tooth colored material to fill in the groves on the curvy molars so that the surface of the tooth is slick and bacteria can't get trapped in the ridges. Sealants are a great way to protect your children's teeth and diminish their risk of getting decay in those groves. Most insurances will cover sealants for children, so be sure to ask about your coverage.
Fluoride: The Vitamins Our Teeth Need!
Our mouths contain bacteria that eat away at sugar and leftover residue on our teeth. These bacteria give off acid as a byproduct, and this acid is what ultimately causes decay or cavities in our mouth. Fluoride works by protecting our teeth, making them stronger and shielding them from the acid, therefore preventing tooth decay. Fluoride has been researched and shown to also reverse early signs of decay - making it an extremely important vitamin in our diet! There are many ways to obtain fluoride today, such as in tap water, through using toothpaste, and at the dentist's office. It is recommended to start using fluoride as early as possible in your child's toothpaste to allow them to get the appropriate level of these teeth vitamins; ask your dentist or hygienist for advice on when to start use of fluoride. The hygienist will also apply fluoride to your child's teeth at every 6 month checkup to protect their smile!
Aside from fluoride, there are many other beneficial vitamins for children in food. It is important that your child eats a well balanced diet, low in sugar, and gets plenty of fruits and vegetables! A sweet treat is okay every now and then, but be sure to brush and floss away the cavity-causing bacteria afterwards. Additionally, while milk and juice are usually children's favorite drinks, make sure your child is brushing their teeth after these sugary drinks and not going to sleep with a bottle. This causes the sugar and bacteria to sit on their teeth all night, easily causing cavities.
Below are some great links to make dental health a fun activity for your children:
Calendar to check off when you brush:
If you have any questions about children's dental health, call our office at (859)-442-8200.
Have a happy, healthy Children's Dental Health Month!
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