~Free Boston Fridays~

With summer fast approaching are you looking for fun FREE things to do with your kids or even yourself this summer? The Highland Street Foundation puts together a list of 10 Fridays, and 10 Venues that are open to the public for FREE. That’s over 100 things to do for FREE this summer.  I found out about this list a few years ago from one of my patients. The venues include museums, parks, theaters, zoos and other historical sites that you can visit for FREE on that Friday! If you’re a big sports fan, the list includes: The Sports Museum at Boston Garden and The Hall at Patriot Place. My husband and I went to The Hall at Patriot Place on Superbowl Sunday this year and I was impressed with how fun it was. The museum is full of history, memorabilia and many interactive activities. This is a MUST see for any football fan! A few other venues include Boston Children’s Museum, Franklin Park Zoo, Museum of Fine Arts- Boston, Peabody Essex Museum, Plimoth Plantation, and Old Sturbridge Village. Be sure to take a look at the list and get ready for some summer fun! This is the 10th anniversary of this fun, 100% free event!

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Do your gums bleed?

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Gums play a major role in your dental health but also in your overall health. Chronic gum inflammation has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and stroke. The biggest cause of bleeding gums is plaque buildup along the gumline that is not removed in a timely manner. As the plaque sits along the gumline it calcifies causing calculus, “tartar”, which irritates the tissues causing bleeding and harbors more bacteria and bacterial toxins. Bleeding gums most often occur with gum disease, chemotherapy treatment, use of tobacco products, change in hormones, brushing too hard, just started flossing, diet and certain medications.

The most common reason for bleeding gums is Gum Disease, which more than three-quarters of American adults have. Gum Disease is triggered by the presence of marginal plaque and bacteria that are not removed properly during daily homecare routines. It’s important to make sure you have proper brushing & flossing techniques to reduce plaque & bacteria from causing inflammation & bleeding. When brushing, make sure you brush gently along the margins to remove plaque but not scrub. It’s best to brush twice daily for two minutes with either an electric toothbrush or a soft bristle manual brush. Part of a good homecare routine is flossing daily. If you floss daily using a gentle “c- motion” you will remove bacteria below the gumline, decreasing inflammation & stop bleeding. It takes about two weeks to get into a good habit and see results from your new flossing routine.

Chemotherapy is a common cancer treatment which can have many side effects in your oral cavity. A few of these side effects include; bleeding gums, dry mouth and mouth sores. I would encourage all cancer patients to keep up with their daily flossing to keep inflammation of the tissues down. I would also encourage gentle rinses and toothpastes, examples include Act Dry Mouth, Pro-Enamel toothpaste, Closys Rinse and Closys toothpaste. If you are getting a lot of mouth sores, Peroyxl is a great soothing rinse.

Tobacco use is a large problem and affects your gums and oral tissues. Its long term use effects are extremely damaging and people who use these products are much more likely to develop gum disease and oral cancer. Short term effects of tobacco use are gum sensitivity which can cause bleeding and painful mouth sores. If you use tobacco products, I encourage you to quit not only for the health of your teeth and gums, but your complete overall health.

It’s mostly women who see bleeding gums with hormone changes. Some women find they have problems during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Puberty can cause a heighten blood flow; making them red, swollen, and increase gum sensitivity, especially if a good flossing habit is not already in place. Most women do not have any trouble with bleeding gums during menstruation especially if they have a good homecare routine and have cleanings every 6 months, but there are a few women who do usually right before it starts, and stops shortly into the cycle. Pregnancy gingivitis typically starts in the 2nd or 3rd month and continues through the 8th month, this causes the gums to be sore, swollen, and bleed. Pregnancy gingivitis is of special concern because it can lead to pre-term, low birth weight babies, again most women who have a good homecare routine do not have any trouble. Menopause can cause the gums to become dry, causing soreness, and bleeding. Act dry mouth is a great rinse to help with decreasing dry mouth and soothes the tissues.

What you eat also plays a huge role in keeping your gums from bleeding. It’s important to have a well balanced diet that’s low in sugar and high in nutrients. Sugars or simple carbohydrates increase your risk for tooth and gum problems, as sugar creates an ideal environment for plaque to form. I’m not saying you can’t eat sweets but it’s important to keep them within moderation, and even brush after you eat them to keep the sugars from sticking to your teeth. Drinking lots of water, especially after eating can help wash off the food, and decreases the bacteria that causes the irritating plaque along the gumline.

Medication can also affect your gums; this is why it’s important to update them on your medical history yearly. Certain over the counter medications and prescription medication increase your risk of bleeding. Over the counter pain relievers, like aspirin and prescription blood thinners can cause thinning of the blood, causing an increase in bleeding. If you are diligent with your flossing while taking blood thinners you should not notice and increase in bleeding. It’s important to know what medications you’re taking, and all possible side effects.

All of the above concerns all start with irritated tissues from plaque along the gumline. If you can control the plaque with daily flossing, brushing & rinses then you should be able to control inflammation and bleeding. If you are working hard on your daily homecare routine, but your gums are still bleeding make sure you discuss with your dentist or hygienist to rule out any other possible serious conditions or determine if a deeper cleaning is needed.

 

 

How was your Memorial Day weekend?

This past Memorial Day weekend my husband and I, along with our best friends, enjoyed the amazing sites and food of New York City! We ended up staying outside of the city to save a little money in a small town in New Jersey called Weehawken. It was perfect, an easy 10 minute bus ride into the city and spectacular views of the NYC skyline. During our NYC endeavor we explored Central Park, The Natural History Museum, Time Square, Rockefeller Center, Top of the Rock, Brooklyn Bridge, and also went to the Statue of Liberty, and the 911 Memorial and Museum. We got last minute tickets to see Chicago and ate various foods all over the city, including a delicious dinner in Little Italy at La Nonna’s.

Everything we did was amazing, but I would have to say Central Park, tour of Rockefeller Center, and the 911 Memorial and Museum would be my top three “can not miss” sites. Central Park is a large garden with green grass, trees, rocks, benches, pathways, bridges, playgrounds, a carousel, fountains, restaurants and a small lake. To me it was everything the movies make it out to be and more. The tour of Rockefeller Center  was an accidental Purchase on Groupon as we thought we were buying tickets to go to the Top of the Rock, it ended up being one of our favorite tours. We learned about the history of Rockefeller Center and the 19 buildings it includes, as well as the history of the artwork throughout the Center, thanks to John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s wife Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. We visited the 911 memorial and museum on our last day. I was in 10th grade math class when the 1st plane hit the North tower and I remember it like it was yesterday. This is the 1st museum I have ever been to where the history is of something that I lived through; it was emotional and it felt  like time just stopped as you absored it all and remembered it. The memorial outside of the museum is in place of the two towers, they are beautiful and honor all those who died on September 11, 2001. This area really centers you and is so peaceful. The entire city is hustle & bustle, but within the grounds of the memorial its quiet and respectful which is very moving.

New York City is very fast pace and much bigger than I thought. Manhattan itself is divided into three parts; Lower Manhattan, Midtown, and Upper Manhattan.  If you have not been to NYC I would encourage you to add it to your bucket list, even if you do a single day bus trip! My only advice is to have a plan or idea of what you want to see, and buy tickets ahead of time. There is so much to see, and lots of people, so if you have limited time in the big apple, it can be overwhelming.  Happy Touring!

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Do You Have Jaw Pain?

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Jaw pain is commonly incorrectly referred to as TMJ; its proper name is temporomandibular disorders, TMD. The most common area of jaw pain is in the temporomandibular joint, which is a hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull. There is a disc that cushions the joint allowing you to open and close widely and move side to side.  When something prevents this compound system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working properly it can lead to painful discomfort that affects everyday life. This discomfort can be temporary or last for years and affect one side or both sides of your face.

There is no specific cause of TMD, but there are many common symptoms that arise from problems with the muscles of your jaw, head and neck. The following are the most common causes we see in treating patients who suffer from TMD.

  • Grinding or Clenching of teeth
  • Unstable occlusion
  • Stress
  • Arthritis in the joint
  • Trauma from heavy blow or whiplash

Some of the symptoms that coincide with the above causes are:

  • Pain or tenderness in face, jaw joint, or ears; when opening, closing, talking and chewing
  • Clicking, popping and grinding sounds when you are opening and closing your mouth
  • A tired feeling in your face and jaw joint
  • You may also experience headaches, neck aches, and toothaches

Diagnosis is very important before jumping into any treatment. Sometimes a small modification in your daily routine can make a huge difference. These include; eating soft foods, avoid chewing gum or biting your nails, use moist heat or cold packs, take ibuprophen to relieve muscle pain and swelling, practicing relaxation techniques to help relax jaw tension.  If symptoms still persist the next course of action would be to evaluate your dental occlusion “bite” and get you into a specific type of guard to help relax your muscles and ligaments. In some cases orthodontics may be suggested, dental work to correct your bite or physical therapy. It’s important with TMD that all possible treatments are tried before even thinking or considering surgery because once it’s done, it cannot be undone.

At Parker River Dental part of our comprehensive dental care is dedicated to evaluating your jaw joint and facial muscles for any tenderness, discomfort, clicking or popping. Dr. Davies is a graduate of The Dawson Academy, which specializes in training dentists in recognizing, evaluating, and treating temporomandibular disorders. I also had the wonderful opportunity to go to The Dawson Academy for training in evaluating TMD.  If you have symptoms of TMD it’s important to discuss with your dentist to help prevent symptoms from getting worse and becoming a lifelong battle of pain or dental problems. www.findadawsondentist.com is a good reference for finding a dentist with this expertise in your area.

Be Crowned in a Day!

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Do you need a dental crown? Patients need crowns for a variety of reasons; these reasons generally include a fractured tooth, restoring a tooth that has a large restoration or cavity, or protecting a tooth after a root canal has been done. Crowns are also placed on top of implants and used to fabricate bridges in areas of missing teeth. Crowns can also be used to improve the appearance of a tooth by changing the color and shape.

In the past when a patient needed a crown, it would be a two visit procedure with a three week span between the crown prep and the crown insert. Now, it can all be done in one day! New innovative dental imaging technology allows the crown to be designed, milled and inserted all during one visit. No more dealing with temporary crowns or messy dental impressions. In our office we have the Planmeca CAD/CAM which is driven by E4D technologies. The material our crowns are made out of is E.Max,  very high strength porcelain, that is stronger than the traditional dental porcelain. Crown appointments are generally about 2.5 hours long; don’t worry you’re not being worked on the entire time! You’ll get breaks during the design and milling of the crown, so make sure you bring a book or activity you enjoy.

Dental crowns are a great long term option because they are durable and usually last 5-15 years, and have a very high success rate in comparison to other dental restorations or no treatment at all. If you need a crown, or have any question, be sure to check out our website for more information on how to be crowned in a day! www.parkerriverdental.net

The filthy truth about toothbrushes!

 

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When was the last time you changed your toothbrush, or brush head on your electric toothbrush? If you can’t remember, then your next job today is to change it! After you change it write on your calendar, or make an alert on your phone to change it in 3 months, or sooner if you wish. Toothbrushes are a breeding ground for germs, fungus, and bacteria that can build up to significant levels if not stored properly or changed often. Studies have shown that after three months of regular daily wear and tear, toothbrushes become less effective at removing plaque from teeth. This can lead to irritated gum tissues, calculus (tartar) build up and increase your risk for gum recession.

How should you care for your toothbrush? Most important do NOT share your toothbrush with anyone. After brushing thoroughly for 2 minutes, rinse out your brush to wash away lingering toothpaste and saliva, then shake the brush vigorously to remove the last little bit of liquid. It’s important to store your toothbrush vertically, away from other people’s brushes so you don’t cross contaminate. Toothbrushes should NOT be stored in a closed container unless fully dried; putting wet bristles into a closed container increases the risk of bacteria build up. When traveling, let your toothbrush dry before placing it in a plastic storage case. The case is great at preventing the bristles from becoming flattened or squashed which makes them less effective.

Have you been sick? Most of us have been this winter, and it’s important to know that your toothbrush can cause reinfection. Be sure to keep your toothbrush separate from others when you are sick, and change right after, please don’t run it through dishwasher to “sterilize it”.

Have kids? Children’s brushes should be changed more often, as they tend to brush more rigorously and chew on their brushes.

Want to sanitize your brush? There are a few different toothbrush sanitizers on the market which have not been proven to provide a specific health benefit, but if you choose to use one make sure it has been cleared by the FDA. Other people have suggested the following cleaning tips, none of which have clinical evidence to support them: soaking brush in antibacterial mouthrinse or isoproponol alcohol.

If your toothbrush is cared for properly and changed regularly then you do not need to worry about the everyday bacteria on your toothbrush. Try and keep things simple and change your brush every time you see your hygienist for a cleaning, then make a note 3 months following to change it again.  Some toothbrushes even have color changing bristle to help you know when to change your brush.

 

Cinco De Mayo!

This Saturday May 5th is a fun filled spring celebration that commemorates the day Mexican troop’s defeated Napoleon III army in 1862, in the battle of Puebla. Cinco de Mayo is not a holiday, but it is a celebration celebrated in Mexico and many areas in the United States, especially areas with large Mexican-American populations.

In Mexico, they celebrate with parades and entertainment areas known as “zocalos”. These are temporary locations where they celebrate and enjoy food, music and dancing. Many towns also have fairs with rides and games. A very important tradition is the recreation of the historic battle of Puebla that takes place in a small neighborhood in Mexico City. This tradition is performed by actors and has been kept alive for generations. The final part of the celebration is at the end of the day with people shouting “Viva Mexico”.

In the United States it is a celebration for Mexican-Americans to showcase their pride and heritage. The cities that have the largest Mexican-American populations are Los Angeles (which has the greatest celebration in US), San Jose, San Francisco, San Antonio, Sacramento, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Denver and El Paso in Southwest of USA. These celebrations include traditions of parades, mariachi music, folkloric dancing and similar festivities that smell of Mexican life and culture. In addition to the above traditions most U.S. businesses promote everything Mexican especially food and drinks.

Popular foods for Cinco de Mayo are Guacamole, Margarita’s, Salsa and Nacho’s! I love guacamole so here is a yummy Traditional Mexican recipe for you!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Hass Avocado’s
  • 1 Cup Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • ¼ cup chopped onion (I usually use a red onion)
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 Jalapeno (seeded & Minced) – Optional
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  • Mash avocados in a bowl until creamy.
  • Mix tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lemon juice, and jalapeno pepper into mashed avocado until well combined; season with salt and black pepper.
  • Serve with chips or veggies of choice
  • Enjoy!

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