Tips for a Healthy Summer

Summer is upon us and with it comes all the fun activities for which Wisconsin is famous.  Remember, summer vacation does not mean a vacation from oral health.  Here are some helpful tips to ensure a healthy and fun summer.

Don’t forget your toothbrush!

It may seem silly, but easily forgotten. Pack an extra one in a baggy with travel sized toothpaste for your kid’s summer camp or your family vacation.

Watch your sugar intake!

It’s important to stay hydrated on warm summer days.  This is doubly important when outdoor sports are involved.  Drinks like Gatorade and Powerade help replace fluids and electrolyes, but they also contain high amounts of sugar and have an acidic pH.  Both of which can contribute to cavities when taken in large quantities.  Rinsing your mouth out with water can help reduce the pH levels in your mouth.  Even better, is using water to help keep you hydrated in addition to sports drinks.

Protect your teeth!

Playing contact sports or going to a summer sports camp?  Don’t forget your mouthguard!  A well fitting mouthguard can protect your teeth and jaws from trauma and fracture.

Protect your skin!

Going out in the sun?  Protect yourself with sunblock, including your earns nose and cheeks.  And don’t forget about your lips.  Your lower lip is a frequent site for skin cancer to form, much more than the upper lip due to the more direct contact with the sun the lower one receives.  Please make sure to use a lip balm with sun protectant in it.

We are always happy to discuss these tips and any other oral health questions you may have.  Feel free to ask at your next appointment.  All of us at Marathon Family Dentistry wish you a fun, safe and healthy summer.

Baby teeth and more

It’s just a baby tooth.  Why does it matter?  Those are common thoughts many parents have about their children’s teeth.  Besides their obvious function of chewing food, baby teeth provide many other benefits.  First and foremost, a child’s smile aids in their self-esteem.  And few things are cuter than a four year old’s big cheesy grin.  Secondly, baby teeth maintain the space necessary for the permanent teeth to grow into.  And thirdly, baby teeth help in the development of speech.  

So what can parents do to help their child take care of their teeth?  Set a good example for your child.  Encourage him/her to brush twice daily.  Parents need to supervise their kids at least until the age of eight.  This is both to make sure the kids is doing a proper job and to make sure they are not swallowing the toothpaste.

It is important to visit the dentist early on, before any symptoms occur.  This allows your child to become accustomed to our office, to see how things work and to have a positive experience. As the hygienist cleans and polishes your child’s teeth,  they see how fun it can be to be at the dentist.  We want your child to associate their visit to the office as a fun time and nothing to be nervous about.  

The ADA recommends your child start seeing a dentist around their first birthday or six months after their first tooth erupts.  This starts your child off on the right foot. Most first visits are as simple as a ride in the chair and discussing good habits.

Good habits for your child to adopt include:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste
  • Limiting consumption of sugary beverages
  • Avoid running around the house with objects in your mouth; if you fall, you could damage your teeth or the tissues your mouth.
  • Avoid going to bed with a bottle or sippy cup, especially with one filled with juice
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods
  • Limit consumption of sticky snacks such as raisins, gummy bears, Sour patch kids.  They can be tough to brush away and may lead to cavities.
  • Wear a well-fitting mouthguard when playing contact sports

We are always willing to discuss questions you may have about your child’s oral health.  We welcome patients of all ages, from 1 to 101!  Call us today to schedule an appointment.

How is your New Year’s Resolution going?

January is almost done.  How are those New Year’s Resolutions coming along?   Are you still exercising like you planned?  Still eating healthy?  Quit smoking?  If you have already fallen off the wagon, don’t despair.  Making a large change in your life is difficult and takes time to accomplish. Setbacks are bound to happen.  The key is to not become discouraged.   It can take 90 days or more to change a habit or start a new one, especially when you are changing a habit that has be part of your life for many, many years.

When you are making a change in a behavior, small, incremental improvements are better than occasional large ones.  Why?  As you make small improvements, it is easy to track your progress.  And as you see improvements for yourself motivation to continue will be easier.

A resolution to make changes in one’s health is very common.A great one to make is toon to improve your oral health.  They key is to work on small improvements over time.  Need to floss more?  If you don’t floss at all, start with once or twice a week.  After that, work your way up to every other day.  Eventually, flossing every day will become part of your normal routine.  This is a much easier path than simply trying to floss every day right from the start.  It is also much more likely to become a lifelong habit.

Good habits for the New Year include:

  • flossing daily,
  • brushing twice a day,
  • reduction in consumption of sugary and acidic beverages such as soda, energy drinks and sports drinks,
  • wear an athletic mouthguard when playing contact sports,
  • quitting smoking.

At Marathon Family Dentistry we want to be your partners for a healthy mouth.  Ask us about steps YOU can take to keep your mouth healthy for a lifetime.

What is YOUR Cavity Risk?

Cavities have been in the news lately.  Maybe you have heard about recent study in Australia talking about the slow growth of cavities.  Does this mean we can throw our drill away??  Unfortunately, NO!  Yes, it takes time for cavities to grow, but this is NOT new news.  In fact, this idea has been taught in dental schools for at least the past twenty years.  And the idea of managing cavities without drilling is not new either.  The concept is called Caries Management By Risk Assessment, or CAMBRA.  Dental Caries is the fancy dental term for a cavity.  What CAMBRA means is that we as dentists treat patients as individuals.  One single cookie-cutter plan made to fit every patient does not exist.  What is beneficial for a high-risk patient may not be for low-risk patient. A person at a low risk of cavities would be someone who has good oral hygiene, has not had a cavity in years and is seen every six months.  Conditions which may place a person at a high risk of cavities include those who sip on many acidic beverages daily, has a dry mouth, has poor oral hygiene and has many exposed root surfaces.  Patients at a higher risk may be recommended to use products such as higher fluoridated toothpaste, fluoride rinses, cavity fighting gum such as xylitol gum and electric toothbrushes.

How are cavities diagnoses?  By looking at your teeth and by looking at x-rays of your teeth.  When we view x-rays, we are looking for areas where the enamel has dissolved.  That is a cavity.  Small areas where the cavities are starting are sometimes called an “etch” or a “pre-cavity.”  Those are areas where the cavity is confined to the enamel can be reversed with fluoride.  Once that cavity reaches the dentin, the layer of tooth structure under enamel, it cannot be reversed and must be filled.  Having these “pre-cavities” places you in the high-risk category.  Higher fluoride toothpaste is a must.

The key is to make decisions based on YOUR needs.  Ask us about your cavity risk at your next appointment!

Congratulations to Dr. Marks on receiving AGD Fellowship!

The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), a professional association of more than 37,000 general dentists, has announced that our own Noelle Marks, DDS, of Marathon Family Dentistry, received the association’s 2012 Fellowship Award during the AGD 2012 Annual Meeting & Exhibits, held June 21-24, in Philadelphia.

The Fellowship Award is presented to dentists who seek to provide the highest quality of dental care by remaining current in their profession.  To accomplish this goal, Dr. Marks completed 500 hours of continuing dental education, passed a comprehensive exam, and fulfilled three years of continuous membership in the AGD.

As a recipient of the Fellowship Award, Dr. Marks joins more than 6,700 active AGD Fellows who understand that providing great smiles and good oral health for their patients are the result of going above and beyond basic requirements.

“We are proud to honor Dr. Marks for her commitment to the profession,” said AGD President Jeffrey M. Cole, DDS, MBA, FAGD.  “She has distinguished herself professionally among her peers and is a role model to both her fellow dentists and to the members of the community.”

Please come by Marathon Family Dentistry and congratulate Dr. Marks’ accomplishment as well as receive award-winning service.

Contact us below to schedule an appointment: