Our Blog

I drink a lot of coffee. Could it be hurting my smile?

August 14th, 2017

At WEDental, we know most of our patients enjoy a cup of coffee or two throughout the day. But what many of you don’t know is that coffee can be especially tough on your teeth because tannic acid (the substance that makes the dark color) etches into the pits and grooves of tooth enamel, staining your pearly whites and being generally detrimental to your smile.

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, with more than 50 percent of people drinking a cup daily. Other foods and drinks such as wine, chocolate-flavored beverages, and soft drinks can all cause tooth enamel discolorations. A hot cup of Joe, however, goes one step farther: extreme temperature changes in your mouth can cause teeth to expand and contract. This allows stains to penetrate deep into the micro-cracks of your tooth enamel.

Additionally, caffeine is considered a diuretic, which means it causes the body to lose fluids. So when you enjoy coffee or any kind of caffeinated beverage, it slows the production of saliva and causes dry mouth, which can potentially lead to bad breath and even tooth decay.

If you just can't make it through the day without a cup of java, we encourage you to consider these tips to help make sure your teeth stay in tip-top shape:

    • Drink a glass of water with your coffee or rinse with a glass of water after every cup. Not only does it help neutralize and rinse away the acid left behind from the coffee, but it also helps replenish fluids drawn out of your body by caffeine.
    • Chew gum after you drink coffee. Chewing gum will help keep your saliva production up and prevent dry mouth.
    • Enjoy your beverage with a straw so that tannins don’t make contact with your front upper and lower teeth.
    • Switch to decaf. Each cup of regular coffee you drink has an average of 110 milligrams of caffeine. Decaf has the same great taste with only two to 12 milligrams of caffeine.

Dr. Worrell and our team also invite you to visit our convenient Lynnwood office for whitening options. We can help bleach your teeth with proven and professional products. To learn more about whitening options available at WEDental, please give us a call!

The Definitive Guide to Cleaning Your Teeth Correctly

August 7th, 2017

Type “How do you brush teeth” into Google and you will find 15.5 million articles discussing the most basic oral health practice. Here’s a foolproof guide to keeping your teeth pearly white:

  • Two Brushes a Day Keeps the Dentist Away – Brushing for two minutes twice a day is the bare minimum to maintaining a healthy smile. If you can, consider brushing three times a day to keep your chompers clean and your breath smelling great.
  • Stop Singing ‘Happy Birthday’ – A common rule of thumb for the amount of time it should take to brush your teeth is the time it takes you to hum the Happy Birthday song. Ditch the kids’ song and instead plan on spending two minutes in front of the mirror. Divide up your mouth into four sections and spend about 30 seconds really cleaning each quadrant.
  • Check the Technique – Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and make short up-and-down motions. Wide, side-to-side strokes can cause scrapes along your gum line so avoid those. Brush outer and inner tooth surfaces, back molars, and don’t forget your tongue!
  • Floss – A critical component to a clean and healthy mouth is dislodging any bits of food from your teeth with floss. Flossing is simple: wind 18 inches of floss around the middle fingers of each hand, pinch floss between thumbs and index fingers, gently guide floss between teeth by using a zig-zag motion and then slide the floss up and down against the tooth surface to remove any residue and food. Flossing isn’t just for keeping teeth clean; in fact, it’s an important tool to fight against bad breath.

If you ever need help keeping your smile bright, you can always come visit Dr. Worrell. Our Solea dental laser provides you with virtually anesthesia-free procedures so you can get in and get out of our Lynnwood office quickly and easily.

At what age should my child have an orthodontic evaluation?

July 31st, 2017

You may have noticed that kids seem to be getting braces and other orthodontic care a lot earlier these days. There was a time, only a decade or two ago, when braces were mainly seen on teenagers, but that is beginning to change. If you’re wondering when to bring your child to our Lynnwood office for an orthodontic evaluation, the answer actually has several parts.

The Telltale Signs

If your child has a very crowded set of adult teeth coming in, or if the permanent front teeth came in very early, these are signs that your child should see Dr. Worrell, regardless of age.

The Dental Age

Barring signs of trouble or early adult teeth as mentioned above, the time that your child needs to be seen for initial orthodontic evaluation depends not so much upon your child’s actual age, but on what is known as a “dental age.”

The dental age of the patient might be entirely different from his or her actual chronological age; for example, an eight-year-old could have a dental age of 13. It is part of Dr. Worrell and our staff’s job to determine the dental age and then make appropriate recommendations for the resolution of orthodontic issues if they are emerging.

The Official Recommended Age

The American Association of Orthodontists officially recommends that kids should see an orthodontist for the first time between the ages of seven and nine. Even if the child does not have all his or her permanent teeth, the teeth growth pattern can usually be predicted quite effectively by an orthodontist.

This allows for a proactive response to emerging problems, and this is the reason that some younger children are now getting orthodontic devices earlier in life. If a young child has serious orthodontic issues emerging, Dr. Worrell can usually address the problems immediately and then follow up with another round of treatment when the child has all the adult teeth.

Thumb Sucking, Pacifiers, and Your Baby's Teeth

July 24th, 2017

Sucking is a common instinct for babies and the use of a pacifier or their thumb offers a sense of safety and security, as well a way to relax.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the majority of children will stop using a pacifier and stop sucking their thumb on their own between the ages of two and four years of age. Prolonged thumb sucking or use of a pacifier can have dental consequences and needs be taken care of sooner, rather than later.

Many dentists favor pacifier use over thumb sucking because it makes it easier for parents to control and even limit the use of a pacifier. If thumb sucking lingers, the same strategies used to break the baby from using the pacifier can be used for thumb sucking.

Precautions

  • Try to find "orthodontically correct" pacifiers, as they may reduce the risk of dental problems.
  • Never dip a pacifier in sugar or honey to calm the baby.
  • Give your baby a bottle of water at bedtime, never juice.

Dental Complications

Long term pacifier use can lead to an assortment of dental complications including:

  • The bottom teeth leaning inward
  • The top teeth slanting outward
  • Misalignment of the baby’s jaw

The risk of any or all of these things happening is greatly increased if thumb sucking and pacifier use is sustained after the baby’s teeth start to come in.

Breaking the Thumb Sucking and Pacifier Habit

Most toddlers and children will stop sucking their thumb or using a pacifier between the ages of two and four on their own. However, if intervention is necessary here are a few tips to help your child break the habit:

  • Slowly decreasing the use of a pacifier can be effective for many children. This method does not work very well with thumb sucking.
  • Thumb sucking can be more difficult to break. Dr. Worrell may recommend using an over the counter cream that you put on the child’s thumb; it doesn’t taste good and usually does the trick.
  • Rewards can also help with the process.
  • If these simple commonly used strategies do not work, there are oral devices that will prevent a child from sucking their thumb or a pacifier.

Talk to Dr. Worrell and our team, as we have many tricks up our sleeves that will be effective in breaking your child’s thumb sucking or pacifier use.