Dental Health Tips from Dr. Phil Durden

Dr. Phil Durden
As budgets tighten, many of us are becoming much more aware of our own health, because we know that taking care of our bodies actually does save money by avoiding costly trips to the doctor and drugstore.

Dentistry is no different - a healthy smile not only looks and feels great, it is much kinder on your budget as well. Following are a few simple tips to help you "keep smiling":
1. Brush two to three times per day and floss at least once a day. Flossing is super-important! Cleaning between the teeth helps prevent cavities and gum disease. Unless you have gaps between your teeth like former NY Giants defensive end Michael Strahan or model Lauren Hutton, floss is literally the only way to clean between your teeth.
• Don't rush when you brush - mentally sing the "happy birthday song" 3 times and make sure you brush each tooth on the top and sides, and gently brush your tongue to get your mouth squeaky clean.
• Bedtime is the most important time to thoroughly clean your teeth. The body's systems slow down and give oral bacteria an undisturbed environment to multiply. Brush and floss thoroughly each night before turning in to reduce bacteria levels.
• Make flossing fun - play a game with your kids and find the "coolest place to floss" - I have seen some great photos of folks flossing while standing on top of a mountain, in a fishing boat, or sitting in a deer stand.
--We invite you to send us fun photos of you and your family brushin' and to share on our Facebook page! Email pics to us at

2. Eat healthy foods and avoid processed sugars. Avoid habits such as sucking mints or chewing sugary gum all day. This type of constant exposure fosters the processes that lead to tooth decay. Sugar free gum and mints containing Xylitol®, which studies show may actually help inhibit the growth of oral bacteria, are better choices.
• Sugar is not the only culprit - even carbonated beverages that are sugar-free contain acids, which, with frequent exposure, can break down tooth structure and cause tooth erosion, which can also lead to cavities or extreme tooth sensitivity.
• We recommend Theramints™ with Xylitol for patients as a mint/gum replacement -
---Visit the 3M web site to order Theramints™

3. Visit your dentist for routine preventive visits. Your dentist will perform an examination and take necessary xrays to help address any problems early. Be sure to ask about fluoride treatments and dental sealants to help protect your teeth.

4. When in doubt, call your dentist. Unlike other parts of the body, aches and pains with your teeth and jaw joints don't occur just because of normal fatigue, and we typically don't recover from dental troubles the way we get over a cold in a few days. Dental symptoms, such as pain on biting or chewing, or bleeding gums, should be addressed early to avoid bigger problems (and costs) that are inevitable if treatment is delayed for too long. And, studies show that a healthy smile helps boost our level of confidence in our interactions in our social and business relationships. We all need a smile that we feel good about when meeting a new customer or going into a job interview!

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