Our Blog

Protecting Your Teeth From Thanksgiving Dinner

November 25th, 2014


Here at Redmond Dental Group, we love sharing our gratitude with our incredible patients. Every day you fill our ears and hearts with your stories, making our lives better in the process. We are thankful for your beautiful smiles and support over the 30 years we have been serving Central Oregon. We are grateful for the advances in dental technology that allow us to provide the best possible care for you and your family. Our dedicated staff makes coming to work each day a treat. We are thankful for each other as we work together to create a compassionate, relaxing and fun environment for our patients.

Gratitude rocks! Thanks for being a part of it.

As you sit down to a bounteous Thanksgiving feast this year, please keep these easy Healthy Teeth Tips in mind:

  • Load up on turkey and other high-protein foods. Protein is great for body and teeth health as well as bone strength.
  • Drink milk. The calcium in milk and other dairy products strengthens teeth. Cheese can provide a buffer against foods with high acidity, such as wine. Try pairing them up for optimal teeth health.
  • Avoid sticky and sugary ANYTHING. Chewy candy, dried fruit, caramel corn and other sticky foods can lead to food getting trapped in the cracks and crevices of your teeth and can damage dental work.
  • Eat your cranberries. This magical fruit contains a slew of vitamins and nutrients good for your health. Consider making your own sauce in order to control the amount of sugar being used.
  • Think orange. Pumpkins, squash, carrots and other orange veggies are rich in Vitamin A, which the body uses to form tooth enamel.
  • More onions, please. Onions, especially when eaten raw, kill bacteria in your mouth that can be harmful to teeth and gums. Just be careful when leaning in to give a goodbye kiss to your Great Aunt Bertie.
  • Fiber does a body good. Sweet potatoes, pumpkin, broccoli, spinach, pomegranates and other high-fiber foods help clean your mouth while you eat. Fiber stimulates saliva production and naturally scrubs your teeth while you chew.

Most importantly, water is king! It’s your best tool for keeping your teeth healthy this holiday season. Water stimulates saliva flow in your mouth, which can remove unwanted bacteria and decrease the potential for cavities. Drink frequently before, during and after meals.

Having healthy teeth is cool (and outweighs any noogie risk from your brother Brad when he spots you bringing your own toothbrush to the family shindig). Don’t be afraid to pack a travel toothbrush if you are heading out for the holidays. Brushing after the main meal is always a smart idea. If you can’t brush, at least try to floss. At the very minimum, rinse your mouth out with water after each meal to keep your teeth as healthy as possible.

As family and friends surround you this holiday season, please take a moment to give thanks for the privilege it is to live with so much abundance. We are grateful for you and wish you a safe and healthy Thanksgiving.

(While we are great at doling out Healthy Teeth Tips, we are even better at cleaning up after the holidays! Click here to schedule your appointment for a post-Turkey Day check-up and teeth cleaning.)

Women’s Medications and Dry Mouth

September 30th, 2014

Women using medication to treat a variety of medical conditions are often unaware of the potential side effects. One common side effect of medications such as blood pressure medication, birth control pills, antidepressants, and cancer treatments is dry mouth. The technical term for dry mouth is xerostomia.

Xerostomia can lead to undesirable effects in the oral cavity including periodontal disease and a high rate of decay. Many women who have not had a cavity in years will return for their routine exam and suddenly be plagued with a multitude of cavities around crowns and at the gum line, or have active periodontal disease. The only thing that the patient may have changed in the past six months is starting a new medication.

Saliva washes away bacteria and cleans the oral cavity, and when saliva flow is diminished harmful bacteria can flourish in the mouth leading to decay and gum disease. Many medications can reduce the flow of saliva without the patient realizing the side effect. Birth control pills can also lead to a higher risk of inflammation and bleeding gums. Patients undergoing cancer treatments, especially radiation to the head and neck region, are at a greatly heightened risk of oral complications due to the possibility of damage to the saliva glands.

There are many over the counter saliva substitutes and products to temporarily increase saliva production and help manage xerostomia. One great option for a woman with severe dry mouth or high decay rate is home fluoride treatments. These work in a number of ways, including custom fluoride trays that are worn for a short period of time daily at home, a prescription strength fluoride toothpaste, or an over the counter fluoride rinse. If you have more questions on fluoride treatments, make sure to ask Dr Jade Cherrington, Dr. Dane Smith and Dr. Max Higbee at your next visit to our office.

The benefits of many of the medications on the market outweigh the risks associated with xerostomia, however, with regular exams you can manage the risk and prevent many oral consequences of medications.

The Link Between HPV and Oral Cancer

September 23rd, 2014

Cancer has become a common word, and it seems like there is new research about it every day. We know antioxidants are important. We know some cancers are more treatable than others. We know some lifestyles and habits contribute to our cancer risk.

Smoking increases our risk of cancer, as does walking through a radioactive power plant. But there is a direct link to oral cancer that you many may not know about—the link between HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) and oral cancer.

This may come as a shock because it has been almost a taboo subject for some time. A person with HPV is at an extremely high risk of developing oral cancer. In fact, smoking is now second to HPV in causing oral cancer!

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, “The human papilloma virus, particularly version 16, has now been shown to be sexually transmitted between partners, and is conclusively implicated in the increasing incidence of young non-smoking oral cancer patients. This is the same virus that is the causative agent, along with other versions of the virus, in more than 90% of all cervical cancers. It is the foundation's belief, based on recent revelations in peer reviewed published data in the last few years, that in people under the age of 50, HPV16 may even be replacing tobacco as the primary causative agent in the initiation of the disease process.” [http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/facts/]

There is a test and a vaccine for HPV; please discuss it with your physician.

There are some devices that help detect oral cancer in its earliest forms. We all know that the survival rate for someone with cancer depends greatly on what stage the cancer is diagnosed. Talk to Dr Jade Cherrington, Dr. Dane Smith and Dr. Max Higbee if you have any concerns.

Please be aware and remember that when it comes to your own health, knowledge is power. When you have the knowledge to make an informed decision, you can make positive changes in your life. The mouth is an entry point for your body. Care for your mouth and it will care for you!

What is biofilm?

September 16th, 2014

Biofilm, the protective housing for bacteria, is a hot topic in the medical and dental fields. Routinely taking an antibiotic for a bacterial infection has become more complicated because of biofilm. Bacterial infections may become resistant to antibiotics in part because the biofilm allows for communication among the bacteria, allowing the infection to be sustained.

You’re probably wondering, Dr Jade Cherrington, Dr. Dane Smith and Dr. Max Higbee , what does this have to do with teeth? Since we’re dental professionals, we can tell you why it’s important and what you should know! There is biofilm in your mouth; healthy biofilm and diseased biofilm. Both are made of the same general compounds, but when combined with certain amino acids and cellular chemicals, the diseased biofilm conquers and destroys.

Periodontal disease, otherwise known as gum disease or pyorrhea, is a biofilm disease. If you are undergoing treatment for gum disease and you do not continue with the treatment plan the disease will progress and/or spread due to the biofilm.

There are several ways to treat diseased biofilm. But remember, antibiotics cannot touch the bacterial infection if the biofilm is established.

When your exam is complete, the Ultrasonic or Piezo Scaler should be used. This method of spraying water disturbs the biofilm and provides an opportunity to treat the infection causing bacteria.

Remember, we all need healthy biofilm. Just as your skin protects your body, biofilm housing good bacteria protects your body. The bacteria in the biofilm replicate every twenty minutes. If your body has healthy bacteria, low levels of hydrogen peroxide are produced by the biofilm, preventing harmful bacteria from residing. Harmful bacteria do not like oxygen.

At your exam, we will take measurements around your teeth checking for “pockets”. The higher the number, the deeper the pocket giving more room for harmful bacteria where there is no oxygen. Ask what your numbers are and be involved in restoring your healthy biofilm.