Migraine Awareness Month

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June is recognized as National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month and serves to not only educate the population on this debilitating illness, but also to increase funding to advance migraine research and treatment options. While numerous causes can be to blame, our dental office in Plainsboro wants to take a closer look at how migraines may be related to dentistry.

Migraine Facts
Over 39 million Americans are affected by migraines, including 18% of U.S. women, 6% of men, and 10% of children. Migraines are also rarely cured, but rather treated and managed through changes in lifestyle or medications. These treatment methods help help lessen the effects of the common migraine symptoms including, but not limited to:
- Throbbing or aching pain in the head
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Blurred vision
- Neck pain
- Vomiting
- Nausea

These symptoms are often so severe that many sufferers can’t go to work or complete everyday responsibilities when experiencing a migraine.

How Migraines May Be Related to Dentistry
Many migraines can be triggered by an excess surge in serotonin release caused by stress, certain foods, or bright lights or loud noises. However, more research has been showing a positive correlation between migraines and a poor bite or habitual bruxism (tooth grinding or clenching).

Poor Bite & Migraines
A poor bite is diagnosed when the top and bottom jaws don’t align properly. When this happens, the jaw muscles, neck muscles, and even the muscles in the base of the head experience unnecessary pressure every single time the jaws come together. Since that action is done repeatedly every day, those muscles get tired easily and inhibit the normal blood flow. The result could very well be a migraine.

Bruxism & Migraines
Bruxism is a condition that causes people to constantly clench their teeth or grind them repeatedly, sometimes while they’re asleep and don’t even realize it’s happening. This repetitive stress on the jaw muscles can lead to headaches or migraines.

If you suffer from migraines or unexplainable headaches in the morning, you may have a poor bite or clench your teeth at night. But you don’t need to continue to live in pain or without answers. Start your search towards relief by calling our Plainsboro dental office today. We can check for signs of bruxism and TMJ and recommend the best treatment options for you.

June is Men’s Health Month

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Every year during the month of June, healthcare providers across the nation promote the importance of prevention and early detection of diseases that affect American men. Our dental practice in Plainsboro is no different. To do our part, we’re dedicating this blog to educating our patients and community on the unique dental issues that often apply to the male population.

The Dangers of Skipping Dental Checkup
It’s typically recommended that everyone visits their dentist at least twice year for proper preventive care and a deeper cleaning than you can get at home. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control , barely 60% of American men between the ages of 18 and 64 went to the dentist in the past year. Skipping regular visits to your dentist in Plainsboro can allow problems to go untreated and lead to bigger, more complicated (and often more expensive) treatment. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry states that it’s all too common for men, in particular, to only go to the dentist when they’re experiencing a problem. Most likely, these problems could have been prevented by keeping bi-annual dental appointments.

Greater Risk of Gum Disease & Oral Cancer
While regular dental appointments can help protect teeth against decay and the need for fillings or more advanced restorative dentistry such as root canals or crowns, they can also diagnose gum disease and oral cancer early when treatment is less invasive and more successful. This is especially important for men since they’re at increased risk for both gum disease and oral cancer. The truth is, oral cancer is twice as common in men than women and, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, 56% of men have gum disease as compared to only 38% of women.

Gum Disease & Men’s Health
Even though oral cancer is certainly scary and serious, gum disease can be quite scary, too. Gum disease can contribute to a host of other problems throughout the body and has been linked to an increased risk in heart disease and certain cancers, as well as prostate health in men. Studies have shown that there is a possible correlation between gum health and prostate health due to something called prostate-specific antigen (PSA). When gums are inflamed because of periodontal disease or the prostate is unhealthy, PSA levels increase. However, PSA levels are substantially higher in those with both a prostate condition as well as gum disease suggesting a connection between the two.

Dry Mouth is More Common, Too
Dry mouth is something that may sound like nothing to worry about, however can contribute it’s own oral health issues. In a healthy mouth, there’s is an abundance of saliva production that helps neutralize acids and wash away harmful bacteria. But someone who suffers from dry mouth doesn’t have the same benefits. This leaves teeth exposed to enamel-eroding acid and
decay-causing bacteria.

This month, and every month, we’re here to keep our neighbors healthy. Whether you’re a man who may have been skipping dental visits, or you’re a woman who has men in your life you care about, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at our Plainsboro dental office today.

Doing This for 4 Minutes Every Day Can Keep You Healthy

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There are 1,440 minutes in a day. Dedicating four of those minutes to brushing your teeth will not only help protect your smile and keep your breath fresh, but it can also protect your overall health. While brushing your teeth may seem like a pretty simple task, there are a few tips our dental office in Plainsboro wants to share with you to make sure you’re getting the best clean possible so that you can keep your whole body healthy.

1. Choose the Right Brush - The right toothbrush for you depends on a few factors, including the size of your mouth. Toothbrushes come with various sized heads, so if you have a smaller mouth, choose a brush with smaller brush head. Also make sure the bristles are labeled as soft. Using bristles that are too tough can damage enamel and create problems.
2. Use Proper Technique - It doesn’t take a lot of elbow grease to thoroughly clean plaque and bacteria off of teeth. In fact, scrubbing too hard can damage teeth. Instead of using a back and forth motion, try to focus in brushing in soft, gentle circles. Don’t forget to hold the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to get up under the gum line, too.
3. Replace When Necessary - If your bristles have begun to fray, it’s time to get a new toothbrush. It’s actually overdue for a replacement. When the bristles are nice and tightly fit together they can more easily get in between teeth and under the gums. When they separate, you won’t get as good of a clean.
4. Commit to Twice a Day - Your dentist in Plainsboro and the American Dental Association recommend brushing for two minutes, twice day, every day. A thorough cleaning in the morning helps remove plaque and bacteria that have built up overnight, and another two minutes before bed removes food particles and even more bacteria. Not brushing as often as you should may lead to gum disease, which not only affects your oral health, but overall health as well.

Gum Disease & Overall Health
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of bacteria under the gum line. If left untreated it can cause tooth loss and other whole-body concerns including:
- Heart Disease
- Respiratory Problems
- Diabetic Complications

Following the two minute, twice a day guideline and using the right technique goes a long way in keeping your smile in its best shape. But it’s more important than that. Proper oral hygiene can reduce the risk of gum disease and help protect your entire body.

Besides a great at-home routine, maintaining appointments at our Plainsboro dental office bi-annually will do even more for your health. These regular visits provide a deeper cleaning and remove even more plaque and bacteria buildup. They also give us a way to monitor your oral health for any potential problems so we can treat them early.

If you’re overdue for a dental cleaning, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today.

All About Asthma and Oral Health

Asthma is a scary, chronic disease that affects over 20 million adults and more than 6 million children in the United States. If not managed and treated proactively, asthma can make it difficult to breathe, cause the chest to tighten, and can even lead to death. At our dental office in Plainsboro , we also know that asthma not affects your lungs and respiratory system, but can actually have a negative effect on oral health, too.

Asthma & Dry Mouth
Since asthma causes the airways that carry oxygen to and from your lungs to become swollen, less air is able to pass through. This can make breathing difficult. When we can’t get enough air or just can’t seem to catch our breath we will involuntarily start to breathe out of our mouths instead of our noses. While mouth breathing can make it easier to breathe, it can also cause dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when there’s a decrease in saliva production, and that’s when the
problems start. Without saliva, the bacteria and acids in the mouth that are typically rinsed away are left to attack teeth. This increases the risk for decay and cavities. Many asthma medications also list dry mouth as a side effect, which can make the problem even worse.

Asthma & Gum Disease
Besides the increased risk for cavities, asthma patients are also more likely to have gum disease. In fact, a survey conducted by the Journal of Periodontology concluded that people with gum disease were five times more likely to also have asthma. Gum disease is another serious disease caused by a bacterial infection. If not treated gum disease can affect the health of the rest of the body including increasing the risk for heart disease, even more respiratory complications, and even some cancers.

How to Protect Your Smile
If you have asthma, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of cavities and gum disease including:

Drinking Plenty of Water - The more water you can drink every day, the better. Just as water helps hydrate the body, it does the same for your mouth. Drinking water can help rinse away the bacteria that your saliva is usually responsible for.
Rinsing After Taking Medication - Since many asthma medications can contribute to dry mouth, it’s wise to rinse your mouth with water after taking any medicine. This can help remove any of the drying ingredients.
Brushing and Flossing Regularly - It’s always important to brush and floss every day, but perhaps even more so if you have asthma. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day can help remove bacteria and plaque that could lead to cavities or gum disease.
Talking to Your Dentist in Plainsboro - At your dental appointments your team will ask about your health history. It’s important that you let them know you have asthma and share which medications you use so they can keep a close eye on your dental health.

We’re always welcoming new patients at our Plainsboro dental office and would encourage you to call to schedule an appointment if it’s been more than six months since you’ve seen a dentist. Preventive dental care, along with a good oral hygiene routine at home, can help protect your smile from cavities, gum disease, and other oral health concerns.

This Month We’re Celebrating Women’s Dental Health

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May is the month when we take a Sunday to thank our moms for all that they do for us. At our dental office in Plainsboro , we want to take the whole month and dedicate it to the women of our practice and our community by talking a bit about the unique oral health concerns that affect women throughout every stage of their lives.

Hormonal Changes Affect Oral Health
The truth is that since women experience fluctuations in hormone levels at different stages of life, they also have different dental concerns than men. Whenever hormones change, usually during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, other things in the body also change that cause women to be at increased risk for gum disease and other oral health problems.

Puberty
Between the ages of 8 and 14, girls will start to go through puberty and experience changes in their body. One of the biggest changes will be with their hormones. While this can affect emotions and mood, this hormonal roller coaster can also influence oral health. Increases in estrogen and progesterone boost blood flow to the mouth and particularly to the gums. Because of this, many girls will experience red, swollen gums that may even bleed while brushing their teeth. It’s important to maintain a good oral health routine of brushing twice a day and flossing once a day to help keep gums healthy.

Menstruation
Once a woman has her first period, hormones continue to rise and fall during her menstrual cycle. She may still experience puffy gums that bleed a few days before her period. During this same time it’s also common for a canker sore or two to pop up, which usually disappear in a few days. Changes in hormones may also lead to dry mouth which increases the risk for decay, cavities, and bad breath.

Pregnancy
Dental care is particularly important during pregnancy. In fact, poor oral health throughout a pregnancy may lead to a premature birth, gestational diabetes, or preeclampsia. Gingivitis is also common for pregnant women, again thanks to hormonal changes. Besides brushing and flossing daily, pregnant women should visit their dentist in Plainsboro some time during the second trimester.

Menopause
Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, but can happen earlier or later. Whenever a woman goes through menopause, estrogen decreases and increases the risk of bone loss and osteoporosis. Bone loss is concerning for dental health since it can affect the jaw bone, which holds teeth in place. As jaw bone deteriorates, there’s an increased risk for tooth loss. However, thanks to advancements in dental technology, these teeth can be replaced by either dentures or dental implants.

Our Plainsboro dental office is here to help all the women (and men!) of our community get and keep their mouths healthy, no matter what changes their bodies go through. We’re always welcoming new patients, so schedule an appointment with us today!

How Your Allergies May Be Affecting Your Oral Health

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Nobody enjoys the annoying symptoms of allergies. The stuffy nose, watery eyes, and constant nasal drip are enough to make some people do anything they can to avoid their allergens. At our dental office in Plainsboro , we’d like to give you just one more reason to hate your allergies. The truth is, the symptoms related to allergies can also affect your oral health.

Dry Mouth: A Bigger Problem Than You Might Think
Perhaps the biggest way allergies affect oral health is by causing dry mouth. When our noses are too stuffy to breathe out of them properly, we resort to the next best thing: breathing out of our mouths. Mouth breathing really slows down saliva production and leaves your mouth feeling uncomfortably dry. And when the mouth is dry with no saliva to help wash away bacteria and neutralize acids, your teeth are left exposed. This can make you more likely to have tooth decay, chronically bad breath, or can even lead to gum disease. Gum disease, if left untreated, can affect the rest of your body by increasing the risk for stroke, heart disease, and heart attacks.

More on Mouth Breathing
Mouth breathing is such a concern for your dentist in Plainsboro that it’s worth talking about the other ways it can affect your dental health. Whether mouth breathing is caused by allergies or not, the truth is it can even cause changes in appearance and developmental problems in children. When kids habitually have to breathe out of their mouths instead of their noses, it can influence how their teeth develop. Children who suffer from allergies also tend to suffer from
crooked teeth which may require braces or other orthodontic treatment.

Medicine Can Make Dry Mouth Worse
To help ease allergy symptoms and clear out sinuses so we can breathe out of our noses easier, many of us turn to medicine. Most allergy medicines available list dry mouth as a potential side effect. So while you may be solving one problem by reducing sinus stuffiness, you may be creating another by the very thing that helped you get relief. To combat dry mouth caused by medicine, talk to your doctor for other solutions or try:
- Chewing sugar-free gum
- Using mouthwash made to help lubricate the mouth
- Drinking plenty of water
- Putting a humidifier in your bedroom while you sleep

Don’t stop any medicines without first discussing it with your healthcare provider.

If you are suffering from allergies or dry mouth perhaps caused by them, it’s evermore important to maintain regular visits to our Plainsboro dental office. Appointments every six months can help catch any potential dental issues caused by dry mouth and treat them before they lead to the need for advanced treatment or cause pain.

Play Hard & Protect Your Smile

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Each April, several dental associations join together to sponsor National Facial Protection Month. The goal is to raise awareness on the importance of wearing a mouthguard while participating in sports. As the weather warms up and more and more people start playing sports, its timing couldn’t be better. At our dental office in Plainsboro, we want to share a few facts about facial and mouth injuries common to sports and how you can protect you or your child’s smile during every game and every practice.

How Common are Mouth Injuries?
There’s a good reason the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the American Association of Orthodontists decided to dedicate an entire month to educating people on the importance of protecting teeth when participating in sports. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s “Policy on Prevention of Sports-related Orofacial Injuries” attribute as many as 39% of all child dental injuries to sports, and usually from direct hits by a ball or another player. And that’s just kids. If we include college, professional, and recreational adult athletes, that number rises.

How to Reduce the Risk of a Mouth Injury While Playing Sports?
Even though an injury to the mouth can happen to anyone, those who play sports, especially contact sports, are definitely at increased risk. In fact, most sport-related mouth injuries are sustained when playing basketball, a sport where a mouthguard isn’t a required piece of protective equipment. That’s no coincidence. Wearing a mouthguard can greatly reduce the chances of a chipped or broken tooth or even getting a tooth knocked out.

All About Sports Mouthguards
The quickest and easiest way to get a sports mouthguard is to head on over your local sporting goods store and grab a boil-and-bite model in your favorite color. While these stock mouthguards can be somewhat custom-molded to your teeth after a quick dip in boiling water, they’re usually uncomfortable and don’t offer as much protection as a completely custom mouthguard, and tend to be chewed on instead of left in the mouth where they belong. The other option you have is to get a custom-made sports mouthguard from your dentist in Plainsboro.

Custom mouthguards are specifically molded to fit every contour of your teeth and provide the ultimate protection. They’re also constructed from higher end materials to ensure extended comfort. This means less time out of the mouth and more time protecting your teeth.

Our Plainsboro dental office is always here to help protect our neighbors’ smiles, and it’s important to us that as you’re getting game-ready this spring, you don’t forget your mouthguard. If you’re looking for custom sports mouthguard, give us a call!

“Why Do I Need to Have Dental X-Rays Taken?”

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When we typically think of x-rays, we may immediately think of a huge machine that’s checking for a broken bone. Dental x-rays are a little bit different. They’re an important part of diagnosing disease or other problems. In fact, at our dental office in Plainsboro, we use dental x-rays as a crucial aspect to our approach to preventive dentistry so we can catch any issues early while they’re still easy to treat. This month, we examine a few things that dental x-rays can help us diagnose as well as some different types of x-rays you may have.

What Do Dental X-Rays Help Diagnose?
At your bi-annual dental appointments, you’ll receive an in-depth exam and thorough cleaning. During these procedures, we’re taking close look at your overall oral health. But there are a lot of places in your mouth where problems can hide. Dental x-rays help us see and diagnose these issues that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. Dental x-rays can help us see:
- Decay below the surface or in between teeth
- Bone loss caused by gum disease or other issues
- Impacted wisdom teeth
- Damaged bone
- Abscesses or cysts

Imagery obtained through x-rays give your dentist in Plainsboro the ability to diagnose disease or problems early and oftentimes before you experience any signs or painful symptoms. 

What Are the Different Types of Dental X-Rays?
Dental x-rays can be classified as either intraoral or extraoral, both of which show different views of the mouth. Intraoral x-rays are more detailed images of individual teeth while extraoral x-rays show a more comprehensive look at the overall mouth including all of the teeth and the jaw. Each type of x-ray helps your dental team identify different things. Let’s take a closer look.

Intraoral X-Rays
Since intraoral x-rays show close-up details of each tooth, they’re helpful in diagnosing:
- Decay between teeth or fillings
- Gum disease
- Bone deterioration

Extraoral X-Rays
With a broader view of the entire mouth, extraoral x-rays can help get an up-close-and-personal look at:
- Tooth development
- Potential Issues with the jaw joint (TMJ)
- Impacted teeth

Having dental x-rays taken can help save you from experiencing painful dental problems that may require complex treatment and are a necessary part of a proper preventive approach to dental care. These x-rays emit a low amount of radiation and, along with the additional safety precautions our Plainsboro dental office take, are incredibly safe.

Oral Cancer Risks, Signs, and Prevention

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Every year, we dedicate one of our April blogs to help do our part for Oral Cancer Awareness Month . Oral cancer may not be talked about as much as other forms of the disease, but it’s still a very serious form of cancer that affects thousands of Americans every year. This April, our dental office in Plainsboro wants to raise awareness by educating our community on the risks and signs of oral cancer, as well as what you can do to reduce your risk of getting it.

Just the Facts
Even though it’s not one of the more discussed cancers, oral cancer is in fact one of the most common forms of cancer in the United States. And the number of those affected continues to grow each and every year. The American Cancer Society estimates that in this year alone, just over 51,500 people will be diagnosed. Additionally, over 10,000 people will lose their lives to the disease. But even though oral cancer is serious and can be fatal, early detection and proactive treatment greatly increases the chance of survival.

Oral Cancer Signs & Symptoms
Since detecting oral cancer early is key to treating it successfully, we need to be able to recognize the signs. Some of the common early warning signs of oral cancer may include:
● A chronic sore that doesn’t go away
● Bad breath
● Difficulty swallowing or chewing
● A lump on the cheek or tongue
● Change in voice
If you notice any of these symptoms, see your dentist in Plainsboro as soon as possible.

Risk Factors
Ideally we would all be able to avoid the factors that increase the risk of oral cancer. However, it’s not that simple. Some of the risk factors are uncontrollable, including genetics, age, and gender. However, there are other lifestyle factors that we can control in order to reduce our risk. 

A short list of both controllable and uncontrollable risks include:
● Gender: Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer than women.
● Age: People over 55 are the most affected by oral cancer with the average age of diagnosis being 62.
● Tobacco Use: Nearly 80% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are smokers or use smokeless tobacco. Smoking often leads to throat or mouth cancer, and smokeless tobacco usually results in gum, cheek, or lip cancer.
● Alcohol: Approximately 70% of all those diagnosed with oral cancer drink alcohol often. And if you’re a heavy drinker and use tobacco, your risk may be as high as 100%.

How to Prevent Oral Cancer
The best way to protect yourself against oral cancer is to avoid the lifestyle habits that put you at increased risk. Additionally, it’s important to maintain regular dental cleanings and checkups to help catch any problems as early as possible while the chance for successful treatment is greatest. If you haven’t seen a dentist in six months or more, we encourage you to call our Plainsboro dental office to schedule an appointment today. It could save your life.

Is Tooth Whitening Safe for Teens?

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As your child enters her teen years, she may begin to consider whitening her smile using over-the-counter tooth whitening strips. But as her parent, you’re unsure if smile whitening is safe for her growing grin. Our dental office in Plainsboro is here to provide you some insight on whitening strips and some risks of using them.

Let’s Look at the Research
As the popularity of over-the-counter white strips increases and buying them becomes easier, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) began conducting research on the safety of children and teens using whitening strips. Below we’ve outlined some of the main results found as part of these studies.

Usability
Although whitening strips come with instructions, the AAPD’s research found a high user error when kids or teens tried using the product on their own. While this may seem like no big deal, if used incorrectly, teens expose themselves to risks of leaving the strips on for too long or even swallowing the product.

Hydrogen Peroxide Content
The active ingredient in whitening strips is hydrogen peroxide. While the amount of hydrogen peroxide differs from product to product, some strips can contain as much as 13 percent. This isn’t usually a problem for adults, but the higher the hydrogen peroxide content, the more risks there are to kids and teens.

Sensitivity
As you may know a common side effect of using whitening strips is increased tooth sensitivity. This side effect isn’t limited to just teens or children either as many adults report sensitivity after using them. While it’s not clear if teens are at greater risk for more sensitivity than adults, it’s still a concern.

So, Are Whitening Strips Safe for Teens?
According to the AAPD and your dentist in Plainsboro , more research is needed to truly take a position on whether whitening strips are safe for kids or teens. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean your child can’t do anything to brighten her smile.

Alternatives to Smile Whitening Strips
There are some surprisingly easy ways that help get, and keep, teeth nice and white:
● Make sure your teen is brushing her teeth twice a day for two minutes each time
● Avoid foods known to stain smiles including soda, coffee, berries, and pasta sauce
● Have her see the dentist twice a year

The team at our Plainsboro dental office is committed to your child’s oral health and is here to get her a smile that’s not only strong and healthy, but also one that makes her feel confident. We welcome her (and you!) to talk with us about any concerns she may have about her smile so we can work together to resolve them.

Dreaming of Losing Your Teeth? Find Out Why

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Sleep is supposed to bring us a sense of total relaxation so we can properly recharge for whatever the next day brings. But when an unsettling dream pops up, it can disrupt a perfectly peaceful snooze. One of the more uncomfortable dreams we’ve heard about at our dental office in Plainsboro involves vivid pictures of teeth falling out, or crumbling to dust. But what does this dental related dream really mean? Let’s take a closer look.

Feeling Anxious?
One of the most commonly proposed explanations behind dreams about losing your teeth is high levels of anxiety in real life. If the dreams are experienced periodically, they could be triggered by a particularly stressful life event or during a big life transition. Dreams in which your teeth are affected could also indicate feelings of helplessness or as if you don’t have control. According to a Psychological Reports study, recurring dreams of this nature are typically found in people who are more anxious, less self-confident, and even depressed.

Death of a Loved One?
A more dated belief behind a tooth loss dream is that it’s a warning of the future death of a friend or family member. This dark meaning is still a valid belief in several Chinese and Native American traditions, although recent research suggests a more likely explanation of growing older.

Getting Older?
As we age, we tend to take on additional worries that were never even a consideration when we were younger. These thoughts may be triggered around a birthday when a fear of getting older is usually at its worst. While death or a realization of one's mortality can be one of those thoughts, it’s more likely a dream about losing teeth is brought on by being unable to control the aging process.

Starting Something New?
Not every interpretation about this dream is so dreary. Sometimes a person may experience one when beginning an exciting new adventure such as a relationship, job, or rewarding hobby. According to one of the top dream interpretation psychologists and the Jungian dream analysis, experiencing a dream where you lose your tooth may represent a birth. Whether that’s a true birth of a child or simply the birth of something new, it is a respected interpretation of the tooth loss dream.

Dreams that disturb our sleep are never pleasant, and dreams about losing your teeth can be particularly scary. But try not interpret these unconscious thoughts as realty. However, if you happen to actually be missing a tooth or several teeth, we encourage you to call our Plainsboro dental office to schedule a consultation. We have a variety of ways to help restore your smile including dental implants, a dental bridge, or dentures. Give us a call today, we’ll be happy to help!

Think Twice Before Drinking That Green Beer

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The luck of Irish tends to be with everyone during St. Patrick’s Day, whether or not there’s an ounce of Irish in them. Besides wearing a lot of green, one of the most common ways to celebrate this holiday is by drinking a lot of beer. At our dental office in Plainsboro , we hope that our patients enjoy the festivities responsibly, but also want them to be aware of some of the oral health dangers of drinking too much alcohol.

Where’s My White Smile?!
There are plenty of things that can cause your normally bright, white teeth to take on a dull or discolored appearance. Drinking beer excessively happens to be one of them. Too much beer over time can transform your teeth into looking yellow or even slightly brown. While darker beers put you at greater risk, all beer can lead to discoloration...especially the green stuff so many people enjoy during St. Patrick’s Day. The dye used to give the beer its festive appearance can also dye your teeth pretty quickly. But don’t worry, this greenish tint can usually be removed by using a slightly more abrasive tooth whitening toothpaste or by seeing your Plainsboro dentist for a cleaning or professional smile whitening.

Weakened Teeth
Your teeth are protected by one of the strongest materials in your body -- your tooth enamel. But this enamel can be damaged by acid, despite its strength. Beer contains a lot of acid, and when its consumed in large amounts, your teeth are basically bathing in it. This can cause your enamel to erode. Without the enamel, your teeth are at risk for decay, increased sensitivity, and even discoloration. As the enamel wears away, your teeth become more translucent and the inner part of the tooth, which is actually dark in color, becomes visible. Teeth can then appear dull or gray.

Protect Your Health
Enjoying alcoholic beverages in moderation greatly reduces your risk of any alcohol related oral health problems. But besides choosing to limit your alcohol intake, there are other ways you can further protect your smile including:
● Drinking water after every alcoholic beverage
● Maintaining a great oral health care routine of brushing and flossing every day
● Scheduling and keeping appointments with your dentist in Plainsboro twice a year

Whether you’re due for a dental checkup or are looking for help in minimizing your St. Patty’s Day green smile, we’re always happy to see new patients and welcome you to our Plainsboro dental office. Call to schedule an appointment with us today

Calcium Builds Strong Bones… And Teeth!

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We all know that calcium is an important ingredient when it comes to building and keeping strong bones. But your skeleton isn’t the only thing that relies on calcium. The truth is, each one of our teeth is made up of 70% calcium! That makes this mineral essential for a lifetime of good oral health. But how much calcium do you really need to reap all of its benefits? Why is it important to keep fueling our bodies with calcium? Our Plainsboro dental office is here to answer those questions and more.

How Much Calcium Do You Need?
Like most other nutritional guidelines, how much calcium you personally need depends on a few things including your age and gender. As you’ll see in the chart from the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) below, recommended calcium intake varies from age to age and fluctuates over time.
● 0-6 months = 200 mg for both males and females
● 7-12 months = 260 mg for both males and females
● 1-3 years = 700 mg for both males and females
● 4-8 years = 1,000 mg for both males and females
● 9-18 years = 1,300 mg for both males and females
● 19-50 years = 1,000 mg for both males and females
● 51-70 years = 1,000 mg for males, 1,200 mg for females
● 71+ years = 1,200 mg for both males and females

Exactly Why is Calcium Important?
Besides being crucial for strong bones and teeth, calcium is required in order for our bodies to function properly. Day to day, our bodies will extract the calcium it needs from what we have stored in our bones. Since our calcium supply is always being borrowed from, it’s really important that we replace what’s taken out. We do this through eating and drinking foods high in calcium.

Vitamin D is Important, too!
Even if you’re consuming your recommended amount of calcium daily, your Plainsboro dentist wants you to know that you may still not be replacing what your body uses up. In order for calcium to be properly absorbed by the body it needs the helping hand of vitamin D. So as you’re loading up on calcium-rich foods, make sure to also choose some options with a good amount of vitamin D to really replenish your body’s calcium levels.

What Foods Are High in Calcium?
Calcium is most commonly found in dairy food and drinks including milk, cheese, and yogurt. But dairy isn’t the only food group where you can find calcium-rich choices. Other foods that are high in calcium, and usually vitamin D too, include:
● Sardines
● Salmon
● Soymilk
● Orange juice
● Calcium-fortified cereal

The team at our dental office in Plainsboro encourages all of our patients to eat not only their recommended daily intake of calcium, but an overall well-balanced diet to keep their bodies, and their smiles, healthy.

Proper Nutrition Does More Than Just Support a Healthy Body

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We all know that we should eat right to protect our bodies from scary health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. But what you may not know is that following a healthy diet can directly affect your oral health, too. As we celebrate National Nutrition Month , our dental office in Plainsboro wants to help bring awareness to what proper nutrition involves and how what you choose to put in your body can protect your smile.

Different Bodies Have Different Needs
You may remember the classic Food Guide Pyramid that you learned about in grade school. This original standard for nutritional guidelines was released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992, and has since been amended two times. Now, the USDA follows the MyPlate standards for dietary recommendations. What’s different in this model compared to the pyramid concept is how the guidelines shift from person to person based on age, gender, height, weight, and daily activity level. You can find your personalized recommendations by visiting the MyPlate Checklist, but a lot of the essentials have stayed relatively the same. You should still eat a balance of:
● Fruits
● Vegetables
● Whole Grains
● Lean Proteins
● Dairy

A Healthy Diet Means a Healthy Body… And Mouth
Providing your body with the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to function properly keeps you healthy and helps protect you from developing disease. The same is true for your oral health. Maintaining a healthy mouth is about much more than simply brushing and flossing, although both of those things are still important. Your diet is also a key factor in determining just how good your oral health is.

A Spoonful of Sugar Makes the Cavities Appear
There’s a good reason your Plainsboro dentist has a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to sugar. Whenever we eat foods with a high sugar content, our tooth enamel is at risk. These sugars essentially activate plaque acids in the mouth which, in turn, attack enamel. As the enamel erodes away, its protective properties are diminished and teeth are exposed to bacteria. Without enamel, teeth are more susceptible to cavities and tooth sensitivity.

Look for Hidden Sugars
It’s good practice to read nutrition labels to monitor how much sugar you consume, but there are places where sugar hides that you may not even think of… for example, in foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates. When we eat carbs, they end up breaking down into simple sugars which have the same effect on your body and oral health as regular sugar.

Eat Well and Smile
This month, and every month, we encourage you to plan meals and be aware of what you put in your body for increased overall and oral health. At our Plainsboro dental office, we’re here to help. Schedule your appointment today.

Valentine’s Day Treats Your Teeth will Love

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Valentine’s Day is a celebration packed with red hearts, sweet notes, and yummy treats. It’s a fun day for kids, opening up all their valentines and nibbling on snacks. But like most holiday treats, some popular Valentine’s Day foods aren’t so great for teeth. This year, instead of handing out the sugar-packed candy hearts, consider some of your Plainsboro dentist’s top tooth-friendly treats.

1. Dark Chocolate
Just because we’re a Plainsboro dental office doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy a good piece of chocolate. We just happen to be bigger fans of dark chocolate than milk or white. Dark chocolates are full of antioxidants that can help keep bacteria levels in the mouth low, reducing the risk of cavities.

2. Cheese & Crackers
Sometimes a non-sugary snack is well-received to break up the amount of sweet flavors that often monopolize Valentine’s Day. Some cheese cubes or slices and whole grain crackers can do just that. Not to mention, certain cheeses are really great for teeth. Chew on some cheddar or bring on the brie to help protect teeth from decay.

3. Fruit
Whether you choose apple slices or strawberries cut to look like hearts, fruit is a healthy choice that still packs a sweet punch. Consider a fruit kabob or dunk full strawberries into some chocolate for extra dose of sweetness.

4. Sugar-Free Candy
There are plenty of sugar-free candy options out there that still give you the satisfaction of eating candy without putting your teeth at risk for decay. The important thing to remember is that just because the label says ‘sugar free’ doesn’t mean it’s not just as tasty.

What to Avoid
To make a oral health conscious choice on your Valentine’s Day treats, you also need to know what to avoid. The following snacks are the worst for teeth:
● Anything sticky or chewy
● Candies that are nothing but loose sugar
● Lollipops
● Super hard candies

Avoiding foods that can be bad for your smile (or at least enjoying them in moderation) will help you keep cavities away. But it’s still important to brush and floss every day and maintain visits to your dentist in Plainsboro twice a year. If it’s time for your next visit, give us a call today.

The 6 Cavity-Causing Culprits You May Not Know About

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There are many widely known causes of cavities including eating too much sugar, not brushing or flossing your teeth enough, or avoiding regular visits to your Plainsboro dentist. But there are also plenty of lesser known cavity-causing culprits out there that you should be aware of...

1. Teeth with Deep Grooves
Many people naturally have teeth with many deep grooves. Most commonly found in the back molars, these grooves can make it difficult to fully remove food particles and bacteria. This makes them the perfect place for bacteria to bury in and create tooth decay.

2. Genetics
Our genes play a large role in our overall health, including the health of our mouths. Some genes make certain people more susceptible to having large amounts of mouth bacteria while others can be responsible for brittle teeth. Both of these concerns are likely to increase the person’s risk of cavities.

3. Certain Medications
Dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications and even some cancer treatments. While this may seem like no big deal or simply an unpleasant feeling, dry mouth can be dangerous to oral health. When someone suffers from dry mouth, they aren’t producing enough saliva to rinse away bacteria or neutralize acid. This allows the bacteria to hang around and decay teeth and the acid to damage protective enamel. Without enamel, teeth are at even more risk for decay.

4. Aging
Just like the rest of our bodies, our oral health changes as we get older. Our teeth may become weaker, our mouths drier, and our gums may even recede. All of these things allow bacteria to attack our mouths and teeth, increasing the likelihood of cavities.

5. Dental Restorations
Dental restorations such as fillings are designed to fix problems such as cavities. However, if done improperly they can have an adverse effect. Loose fillings or ones that are too large can allow bacteria to get under them. If this happens, the decay can continue to affect the tooth. Most likely, the filling will need to be replaced.

6. Grinding Your Teeth
Tooth grinding is common among the U.S. population. Whether done during sleep or as a response to stress, it can not only damage teeth, it can also make it easier for cavities to form. The repeated tooth-on-tooth grinding wears away enamel. As we learned earlier, less enamel means more risk for cavities.

We recommend doing your best to avoid the controllable lifestyle choices above that contribute to dental decay. And while you may not be able to totally avoid or change the others, our dentaloffice in Plainsboro can help reduce the effect they have on your teeth. We welcome you to schedule an appointment so we can work together to prevent cavities or other oral health problems.

The Surprising Link to Heart Disease

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Even though it may seem that our cardiovascular health can’t have anything to do with our oral health, research has shown a surprising connection between the two. During this American Heart Health Month , our dental office in Plainsboro would like to do our part to help raise awareness of heart disease by sharing the link between oral health and heart health.

It Starts With The Gums
Your dentist in Plainsboro is concerned with much more than just your teeth. In fact, an area that gets a lot of attention at your bi-annual visits are your gums. Your gums can hold a lot of information about not only the health of your mouth, but can play a role in heart health too. If the gums are healthy, they’ll be pink in color and tight to the teeth. However, if these qualities aren’t observed, there’s a chance gum disease may be present. Gum disease is a serious infection that can progress to gingivitis or periodontitis, and can even cause tooth loss.

How Does Gum Disease Affect The Heart?
If gum disease isn’t treated, the infection can move into the bloodstream. When this happens, your body produces more C-reactive protein (CRP) than normal. Elevated levels of CRP can cause some serious cardiovascular issues including:
● Inflamed arteries
● Blood clots
● Heart attacks
● Strokes

Signs of Gum Disease
If you have any of the symptoms listed below, contact your Plainsboro dentist to schedule an appointment as soon as you can.
● Bleeding when brushing or flossing
● Puffy, tender gums
● Bad breath
● Loose teeth

How to Prevent Gum Disease
The best way to prevent gum disease and protect your mouth and heart is to brush and floss every day. Make sure to also visit your dentist at least twice a year. It’s important to know that gum disease can be treated, and treatment is easier and more successful if caught early. That’s part of what makes seeing your dentist regularly so important.

If you overdue for a dental appointment, give our Plainsboro dental office a call today.

Keeping Fido’s Mouth Healthy

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Although our dental office in Plainsboro is focused on keeping our human patients’ mouths healthy, we also understand just how important it is to take care of your furry friends’ dental health, too. During this National Pet Dental Health Month , we’re switching things up to talk about some common pet oral health tips that aren’t so different from your own dental needs.

Brush Their Teeth
To some, brushing your pet’s teeth may sound unnecessary and perhaps even a bit silly. But our furry friends’ mouths aren’t so much different than ours, and brushing their teeth is an important part of keeping your dog or cat in good oral health. Just like humans should visit their dentist in Plainsboro to get a professional teeth cleaning, pets should also visit a vet to get the same. However, instead of the recommended bi-annual cleanings for humans, pets only need a thorough cleaning once a year. In between those visits, you can take steps to keep their mouths healthy at home. Consider wrapping a piece of clean gauze around a finger and gently scrubbing your pet’s teeth using a dedicated toothpaste just for animals. Doing this two or three times a week can go a long way in fighting tartar and plaque buildup.

Let Them Chew
While we normally discourage our pets from gnawing on things around the house, chewing on toys or bones can actually help strengthen teeth and minimize plaque. But not just any bone or toy will do. For example, a tough, solid bone may be your go-to pick, but these types of bones can increase the risk of breaking a tooth. There are plenty of treats and toys that are designed to stimulate the gums and remove tartar. It should be noted that chewing doesn’t remove the need for proper brushing, just as you eating smile-friendly foods doesn’t mean you should stop brushing.

Be Aware of a Problem
When we talk to our patients about the signs of a potential dental disease or problem, we highlight symptoms such as:
● Bad breath
● Loose teeth
● Discolored teeth
● Bleeding

These symptoms also apply to your pet. If you notice any signs of concern, contact your vet as soon as possible.

Taking care of your pets’ oral health can set them up for a lifetime of good overall health. Just don’t forget to take care of your own, too. Regular visits to your Plainsboro dentist, along with a great at-home routine, are the best ways to ensure your smile is in the best shape.

At our Plainsboro dental office, we’re always welcoming new patients of the human kind and would be happy to see you! Give us a call today!

Are You Wasting Money on Whitening Toothpastes?

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We all want to have a bright white smile. And to get it, we often turn to the toothpaste aisle at the local grocery store where there are boxes and boxes of toothpastes that claim to whiten teeth. But the one thing you want to know before you buy is if whitening toothpastes actually work. That’s why we’re here! Join the team at our Plainsboro dental office as we uncover the truth about whitening toothpastes.

The Good News
Whitening toothpastes can be effective at diminishing or removing surface stains that cause our teeth to look discolored. A dull smile as a result of smoking or drinking too much coffee, tea, or soda can see results from using a whitening toothpaste. However, regular use is crucial in order to see an improved appearance. Make sure to use the whitening toothpaste twice a day for several weeks for the best results. While whitening toothpaste can work, there are a few things you should be aware of.

1. Not all whitening toothpastes are created equally. Choose one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
2. Deeper stains usually won’t go away by using a whitening toothpaste. Instead, you should consider a professional tooth whitening treatment or dental veneers.
3. Whitening toothpastes aren’t without risks.

The Not-So-Great News
Even though whitening toothpastes can scrub away stains to give us a whiter smile, they can scrub away stuff our teeth need in order to stay protected. Whitening toothpastes typically contain abrasive ingredients which work to rub stains away. However, these same abrasive ingredients can wear away tooth enamel if not used responsibly. A lack of protective enamel leaves teeth exposed to bacteria, and the chance of cavities or tooth sensitivity increases. Furthermore, thinner enamel tends to show more of the dark inner tooth, or dentin, giving teeth a even more discolored appearance -- exactly the opposite of the look we were trying to achieve in the first place.

The Other Options
There are other smile whitening solutions available that aren’t whitening toothpastes. Consider
doing the following to get a brighter looking smile:
● Maintain dental cleanings with your dentist in Plainsboro
● Rinse your mouth with water after drinking tooth-staining coffee or tea
● Quit smoking or chewing tobacco
● Snack on cheese, apples, celery to help gently scrub your teeth between brushings

If you’re truly looking for the biggest bang for your buck, we encourage you to call our Plainsboro dental office to schedule an appointment to discover the best professional tooth whitening treatment for you.

Top 4 Ways to Get a Better Smile

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When you look in the mirror and smile, what do you see? Are you happy with the way your smile looks, or are your teeth not quite white enough, not quite straight enough, or just overall not quite what you’d like? If you’re looking for ways to improve your smile’s appearance, look no further than our dental office in Plainsboro .

Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments to Transform Your Smile

1. Professional Teeth Whitening
The most common form of cosmetic dentistry is a professional smile whitening treatment. An in-office or professional strength at-home tooth whitening product from your dentist in Plainsboro can brighten a dull and discolored smile better than their over-the-counter alternatives. These professional whitening solutions are also often more customized for your needs and your teeth.

2. Dental Veneers
While professional whitening can be really successful for many people, there are times when it’s just not enough to transform a stained grin. In these situations, dental veneers can work wonders. Dental veneers are usually made from ceramic, and are custom-crafted for each patient to match their natural tooth shape. They’re also effective at creating a straighter smile, fixing cracked teeth, or eliminating gaps between teeth.

3. Composite Bonding
When it comes to covering up and fixing darkened decayed teeth or chipped teeth, composite bonding is an easy and effective solution. The process is simple. Your dentist removes the decay, covers the area with the safe composite material, and artfully molds it into shape to match the rest of your smile. The composite is then hardened and the transformation is complete.

4. Smile Makeover
A more comprehensive approach to a smile transformation is typically considered a smile makeover. After an in-depth discussion with your dentist to address all of your concerns, your smile makeover may consist of a combination of cosmetic dentistry treatments to give your smile the appearance you’re looking for.

As we ring in the new year and focus on the self-improvement resolutions that tend to come with the celebration, commit to giving yourself a smile that you’ll be proud to show off. Call our Plainsboro dental office today to get started!