Ask Your Forney Dentist: Sports Mouth Guards

As the beginning of the school year draws near, many children are excited to participate in their favorite fall sports. That also means it’s time for parents to get their children fitted with sports mouth guards.

But why does your child need a mouth guard? Because it can protect them from a variety of injuries one can sustain while participating in sports. Athletes are 60 times more likely to experience tooth damage when they don’t wear a mouth guard, with those involved in contact sports having a 10 percent chance of getting a tooth or jaw injury each season. Here’s what you need to know.

Mouth Guards for Protection

A mouth guard is a simple item that protects the teeth and jaw from damage related to impacts. It protects soft tissues from lacerations, reduces the chance of TMJ trauma and jaw fractures, and helps limit the risk of tooth damage related to impact or even unconscious grinding. They can even reduce the likelihood of a concussion from certain impacts.

Even with all of the benefits, nearly 84 percent of children aren’t wearing mouth guards when they play sports. And that means they are at risk.

Why a Custom Mouth Guard is Best

Some parents assume the basic mouth guards you can buy at the local store offer enough protection, but a custom fitted mouth guard from your Forney dentist is actually a much better option. Stock mouth guards that aren’t moldable can easily come loose during sports and may even fall out. They are also less comfortable than other options and tend to be bulky.

A boil and bite mouth guard purchased at a store offers a bit of a better fit, since they can be somewhat molded to your child’s teeth, but they also don’t provide the same secure fit that you can get with a custom mouth guard.

The dentist can ensure the custom mouth guard fits properly, providing the best level of protection available. This is especially true of children who wear braces or have other dental appliances, as fitting store-bought options can be a challenge in these cases.

Your Forney dentist can even create a mouth guard for your child that features some extra flare. They can be made in a variety of colors, including options that match most school sports team uniforms, allowing your child to show their school pride with every smile on the court or field.

The process of creating a custom mouth guard is fairly quick and easy, and the results offer the best protection available. If you want to learn more about custom mouth guard options, schedule an appointment with your Forney dentist today.

Ask Your Forney Dentist: How to Choose Easter Candy for Better Dental Health

Many of us have fond memories of Easter. Hunting for Easter eggs is often a rite of passage along with enjoying large helpings of Easter candy. But, when it comes to dental health, not all of these seasonal treats are created equal. So before you purchase any Easter candy for your children (or yourself), here are some tips from your local dentist in Forney for making the healthiest choice possible for their teeth.

Sugar-Free Candies

Candies that are high in sugar can lead to significant problems when it comes to your oral health. In fact, sugar feeds the harmful bacteria which can lead to plaque, tooth decay, and even gum disease. Candy that is sugar-free can be a great compromise – it’s a smarter option for your teeth and still allows you to indulge a little.

Sugar-free candy is still sweet, but with the lower sugar content, you are less likely to promote the negative bacteria. And since they stimulate the salivary glands, they can even help fight off cavities instead of causing them.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate has larger amounts of cocoa than milk or white chocolate, making it a better option for children who enjoy chocolate. It is important to be sure your child consumes dark chocolate in moderation to prevent the overconsumption of sugar.

When it comes to controlling their sugar intake, choose smaller candies instead of large candy bars. This helps limit the portion size through individual pieces and presents less of a temptation than a full bar. If you want to give a chocolate bunny, look for one that is hollow in the middle, limiting the amount of chocolate they consume.

Chewy Candies

Most dentists in Forney agree that chewy candies are one of the worst offenders when it comes to sugar and plaque buildup. These are more likely to linger on the teeth and can even get stuck in the spaces between teeth or other crevices, exposing the surfaces to sugar over a longer period of time. That means treats like gummy candies, jelly beans and taffy should be avoided, along with sweets featuring caramel or marshmallow.

Hard Candies

Hard candies that aren’t sugar-free present a similar issue to chewy candies. Since hard candy takes time to dissolve, it exposes teeth to sugar for an extended period of time. Additionally, children who chew on hard candies may end up with pieces stuck between their teeth, exposing even more of the surface to sugar. In the worst of cases, biting down on a hard candy can even lead to a cracked tooth.

Sour Candies

Sour candies are a double-edged sword in regards to tooth damage. Unless they are sugar-free, they can have the same amount of sugar as the previously discussed hard and gummy candy. They also contain a type of acid that produces the sour taste. Acid can damage tooth enamel, making your child’s teeth more susceptible to damage and decay long-term.

Easter and candy often go hand-in-hand, especially if you have children. However, by making smarter choices, you can help keep your kid’s teeth healthy between visits to your Forney dentist while still enjoying some fun, seasonal treats.

Ask Your Forney Dentist: Tax Returns & Your Dental Health

It is tax season! Completing your taxes is not necessarily a fun task. Those eligible for a tax return have an extra monetary incentive to get their taxes completed on time. Tuesday, April 18th is quickly approaching. And don’t stress, there are many online resources now to make filing your taxes easier than ever! Here are a few we found:

If you are eligible for a tax refund, thinking through the possibilities of what to spend that extra boost of cash on can be exciting! Do you have plans for your refund?

Here are some of the top things people use their tax refund on:

  • Paying down debt
  • Vacation
  • Shopping spree
  • Saving and investing

What about investing that refund in yourself for improved health and confidence? Have you been putting off an important larger treatment or dental procedure? Have you thought about potentially exploring a cosmetic smile investment like Invisalign®, braces or veneers? March or April could be the time to start! Here are some dental treatments that could be a great use of your tax refund:

Not only will you experience a boost in confidence and feel good about investing in your happiness and health, treatment can be made affordable for you and your family. Your tax refund combined with dental insurance benefits and/or the financing options available at our practice can make the treatment you’ve been delaying more affordable than ever.

If you’ve been hesitant to ask about improving your smile or have delayed treatment that could significantly improve your dental health due to concerns with payment and financing, use your tax refund and invest in yourself! You can join our other happy patients in Forney smiling with confidence. Visit the dentists at Forney Wellness or give us a call should you have any questions.

Conquering Gum Disease – 4 Easy Steps to a Healthy Mouth

If you have gum disease, also referred to as gingivitis or periodontal disease, you are not alone. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost half of Americans 30 years-old or older have gum disease. If you are over 65, your risk for gum disease is even higher, over 70%. At the same time, symptoms of gum disease should not be ignored. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to your overall health.

Gum Disease Is More Serious Than You Think

Most people relate gum disease with tooth loss, but, as serious as that is, it isn’t the only consequence of gum disease. Gum disease has been linked to the progression of other diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. Inflammation in your gums, just like inflammation elsewhere in your body, causes your body to work harder to maintain your health.

Tooth loss, which can result from gum disease, affects a person beyond the loss of a chewing surface. Tooth loss can also lead to bone loss in your jaw and changes to the positioning of your remaining teeth. Tooth and bone loss in the jaw can also affect the shape of your facial features, causing your cheeks to seem sunken or give a more aged appearance than your actual years.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Proper care of your teeth and gums is important for preventing gum disease, but there can be other contributing factors. Changes in hormone levels in women through pregnancy or the use of oral contraceptives can increase the risk of gum disease. Diseases like diabetes and some auto-immune diseases can also affect your gum health. Crooked teeth or poorly fitted dental bridges can make teeth harder to clean, causing a buildup of bacteria in your mouth. Smoking, stress, dry mouth, your diet and heredity can all contribute to periodontal disease.

In basic terms, gum disease starts with inflammation, which can be caused by one or more of the conditions listed. If left untreated, that inflammation can grow, threatening not just your gums, but your teeth, heart and other aspects of your overall health.

4 Easy Steps to a Healthy Mouth

The good news about gum disease is that there are ways to lower your risk of developing gum disease and effective means of treating it once it starts. Follow these steps to keep your gums and mouth healthy.

  1. Prevention of Gum Disease
    Consistent and proper oral health care is the first step in preventing gum disease. This includes brushing and flossing daily, but it also includes professional teeth cleanings and regular visits to your dentist. If you smoke, this is another good reason to stop.
  1. Recognize the Signs of Gum Disease
    Being aware of the signs and symptoms of gum disease can help you to correct it in its early stages. If you experience any of these gum disease symptoms, you may need to seek treatment:
  • Red, swollen gums or tender spots
  • Gums that bleed when brushing, flossing or eating
  • Constant bad breath
  • Gums receding from teeth
  • Partial dentures or bridge not fitting properly
  1. Seek Professional Advice
    If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease, it is important to visit our dental office at Forney for an evaluation and proper diagnosis. When gum disease is diagnosed in the early stages, it can often be reversed with prescribed hygiene care and dental cleaning. More advanced stages of periodontal disease will require more intensive treatment to restore health to the diseased tissue of your gums.
  1. Commit to Your Treatment Plan
    Good advice must be followed in order to experience the benefit. Your dentist at Forney Wellness will make recommendations for a treatment plan that may include both home care and professional cleaning and treatments at our dental office. It is always important to follow through on the recommended treatment plan to reverse gum disease and to prevent it from returning.

Gum disease is a common, but serious threat to your health if ignored. Ignoring the symptoms will not make it go away. Visit your dentist at Forney Wellness and learn about your treatment options. It may be simpler to restore your oral health than you think!

Mouth Guards and Sports

Ask any dentist, and they’ll say mouth guards are essential when playing sports. Why? Of all the oral injuries they see every year, 13 to 39% are sports-related. Furthermore, the National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety finds that athletes who fail to wear mouth guards are 60 times more likely to experience a dental injury.

Sports can lead to collisions with other players, the ground, and flying objects like balls and bats. Wearing a mouth guard prevents many possible injuries to the face and mouth – chipped or broken teeth and jaw bones, root damage, and cuts to soft tissues. They’re especially designed to cover and absorb impact to the upper teeth, where 80% of all dental injuries occur.

When to Wear Mouth Guards

So mouth guards should be worn during high-contact sports like football, hockey and wrestling, right? Yes, and more. You can still experience serious oral injuries during other sports and activities like gymnastics or skating. Based on injury statistics, the American Dental Association recommends wearing mouth guards for a much fuller list of sports.

Types of Mouth Guards

Before you run out and buy the cheapest mouth guard you can find, consider the features of the three main types:

  • Good – Stock mouth guards run as cheap as $5, but you’ll get what you pay for. While they’re better than nothing, they tend to be bulky, fit poorly, and slide around or fall out easily.
  • Better – A better option is called a boil and bite mouth guard. This kind is softened before insertion, allowing it to conform to the shape of the mouth. A little more expensive than stock guards, they’re available at many sporting goods and drugstores.
  • Best – The best type of mouth guard is one that’s custom-fit by a dentist. Although they can cost more than other options, they provide the best protection and fit. Custom-fit guards are ideal for those with braces or bridges, since they need to fit well to protect the braces and prevent them from hurting your cheeks or lips.

Mouth Guard Care

To function best, mouth guards should be kept in good condition and replaced whenever they show signs of wear (or every season). It’s also important to wash them in cold, soapy water after every use, keep them away from heat, and store them in dry but ventilated containers.

Most of all, take your mouth guard with you to dental checkups at Forney Wellness so a professional can clean it, examine it, and make recommendations based on your individual needs.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Gum Disease

Gum Disease Forney

When people think of dental care, they often think of teeth. But healthy teeth are only part of the equation. The tissues and bone that surround your teeth, including your gums, are critically important to your overall dental health.

You may be thinking, “There’s no way I could have gum disease. My mouth feels fine.” But gum disease often shows no obvious symptoms and doesn’t cause pain – so many people have it and don’t know it. Nearly half of adults age 30 or older have some form of periodontal (gum) disease. And, nearly 70 percent of adults age 65 and older have it, according to the CDC.

Why does this happen to so many people, and how can you avoid it? Get the facts about this common problem and seek treatment early to keep your mouth healthy.

  1. Early stage gum disease, known as gingivitis, may cause subtle symptoms such as mild bleeding or red or swollen areas on your gums. If your gums bleed when you floss them, this is not normal. See your dentist for a proper cleaning, and be diligent about daily brushing and flossing thereafter.
  2. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate brushing and flossing – but many other things can cause it too. Diabetes, normal aging and genetics, smoking, stress, poor nutrition, certain diseases, and hormonal changes can trigger gingivitis. Even people who are in otherwise good health can get gingivitis or more severe gum disease, so no one is immune.
  3. Gingivitis is completely reversible with proper intervention. This includes a thorough cleaning by your dentist followed by twice daily brushing, daily flossing, and sometimes a special mouthwash recommended by your dentist. This is one of the many reasons you should see your dentist every six months for routine care. He or she can detect gingivitis in its earliest stage and help you restore the health of your mouth.
  4. If gingivitis isn’t treated, it leads to more severe gum disease known as periodontitis. This occurs when plaque moves below the gum line and causes inflammation and irritation. If it continues to progress, it leads to infections, pockets or holes in the tissues, and tooth loss.
  5. Gum disease is about more than your mouth. Because bacteria gets under your gums and can invade your body, periodontal disease may be linked to other serious health problems. Researchers believe there may be a link to heart disease, stroke, premature birth in pregnant women, and lung problems.

Gum disease is preventable and treatable – so no one should have to lose teeth to this condition. Your dentist wants to partner with you to maintain healthy teeth and gums for life. If you haven’t seen your dentist lately, call Forney Wellness today to make an appointment. Your mouth – and your whole body – will thank you!