It’s no secret that confidence and smiling go hand in hand. The jury is still out on whether confident people naturally smile more, or if smiling actually causes a spike in confidence, but one always seems to follow the other!
At GPS Dental, we know all about the power of a smile. We also know what it feels like when you’re less than confident about your teeth. Find out how your smile could be helping, or hurting, you and how you can achieve a healthier, happier smile.
Smiling Is Universal
Pamela Regan, Professor of Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles:
…the available evidence suggests that men and women around the world use many of the same nonverbal behaviors to communicate romantic interest… smiling and eye contact do appear to be universal methods used by men and women to convey romantic interest.
(Check out the entire Times article here)
Outside the dating realm, the same rules apply: smiling makes you approachable. Whether you’re meeting with a new client at work or making a first impression on the in-laws, those around you appreciate a warm smile.
Keeping Your Smile Confident
As important as smiling is, no one wants to show off their grin when it’s not at its best. A simple but steady oral care routine can help you put your best foot forward with a winning smile. We recommend brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and trying to stay away from acidic or sugary foods.
Related Read: 4 Dentist-Approved Snacks for Super Bowl 50
If your smile needs a little more help, there are many cosmetic solutions out there. Talk to your dentist about options like teeth whitening or even altering the shape of your teeth for a kinder smile. One appointment might be the only thing standing between you and a more confident smile.
Does your smile need a little something? Call GPS Dental at (210) 633-3477 to schedule an appointment. We’ll have you in, out, and smiling in no time!
Your mouth and your heart might be more connected than you think! We always stress the importance of oral hygiene at GPS Dental. Most of our patients don’t realize what their oral health means for the rest of their body. Since February is Dental Health Month, it seemed only fitting to explore what dental health can do for you!
How Are Gum & Heart Disease Linked?
Scientists are still working out exactly how the two diseases interact, but the studies they have conducted show it’s too much to be a coincidence. Gum disease is an infection of the tissue surrounding the teeth in your mouth, and it’s the leading cause of adult tooth loss. Even though it’s too early to tell what gum disease says about your overall health, it was associated with several significant health conditions, such as heart disease in the studies, even after other risk factors were eliminated.
What does this mean for you? Approach your body’s health from a holistic stance. If one part of your body is failing, such as your gums, it could be a sign of other, more dangerous problems.
Related Read: Sensitive Teeth? 4 Steps for Reducing Pain
Ways You Can Show ‘Em the Love
- Quit Smoking. Smoking cessation has been proven to reduce heart disease, and after only one year of being smoke-free, the risk for heart disease drops by as much as 50%.
- Eat Well. While there are many opinions on exactly what makes a heart-healthy diet, it’s generally agreed upon that foods high in sugar and salt, alcoholic beverages, and foods with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil are out.
- Get Active! Exercise is a key part of keeping your heart healthy. Click the link to see the recommended physical activity requirements for adults.
- Maintain Healthy Blood Pressure. Talk to your doctor about high blood pressure, as it’s often difficult to detect on your own.
- Quit Smoking. Not to sound like a broken record, but one study found that smokers were about four times more likely than nonsmokers to have gum disease. Again, your risk is reduced after you quit.
- Brush Your Teeth. Brush after eating, and remember to include your tongue!
- Floss. Flossing cleans parts of your mouth your toothbrush can’t reach. Make sure you floss all the way down along the gumline.
Even if your gums and pearly whites are looking great, you should still be visiting your dentist for regular checkups! Give GPS Dental a call at (210) 633-3477 to schedule your appointment today!
Did you know that Americans spend more than 1 billion dollars on candy each Valentine’s Day? Rather than spending money on chocolate and sugar, and the resulting cavities, GPS Dental has some suggestions for what you can give your Valentine this year. In honor of Dental Health Month, check out 14 ideas for your sweetheart that won’t damage their teeth:
1. Love in Bloom
If you’re looking for a classic Valentine’s Day gift that isn’t chocolate, why not flowers? The traditional choice might be roses, but remember you’ve got a whole slew of colors and kinds! Find flowers that suit your sweetheart and have them delivered to their school or workplace, or give them to them personally. If your sweetheart has a green thumb, consider a potted plant instead.
2. I’m Nuts About You
For a tasty treat that won’t rot their teeth, nuts make a great option. As a healthy snacking choice, your Valentine will particularly appreciate the gesture if they’re avoiding extra sugar this holiday in pursuit of a healthier diet. However, make certain they don’t have a nut allergy – this is not an ideal gift for a children’s classroom party. Check out these 4 Dentist-Approved Snacks if you’re feeding a group.
3. A Perfect Fit
Puzzles make a great gift – especially if you can devote the time to helping put it together. Find a puzzle with a picture they’ll love, then complete it together. Bonus points if you plan this gift early enough and get a personalized puzzle designed just for them!
4. Stuck On You
What’s relatively inexpensive, fun for everyone, and doesn’t rot your teeth? Stickers! Help your kids pick out stickers to take with them to school in lieu of candy this year. Looking for a more grown up version? Pepper their mirror, car, or anywhere you know they’ll be with sweet sticky note messages.
5. Seeing Hearts
Who says candy should have all the fun? Your favorite foods can be shaped into hearts so they fit the Valentine’s theme without the added sugar. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to make Valentine’s eggs in a basket (an egg fried in the center of a piece of toast) or cook up a heart shaped pizza for dinner! Some pizza places will even deliver a pre-made heart shaped pizza to you.
6. Date in a Box
If you and your sweetheart have a hard time making regular dates, this is the perfect gift for you. Plan out and prepare dates for the rest of the year. Make your ‘box’ personal for the two of you, and think about what time of the year each date will happen. Another great aspect of this gift means you and your date can order tickets ahead of time, or get reservations before they have a chance to fill up.
7. We Make a Great Pear
If you want to include something sweet in your Valentine’s lunch box, you could always pack a serving of their favorite fruit. Include a little note alongside a bowl of strawberries or write a note directly on that apple with an edible marker. While there’s still sugar in fruit, it’s far less than traditional candies, and of course, fruits are loaded with fiber and vitamins.
8. A Personal Pampering Day
Perfect for the sweetheart who’s always giving. Help them take a break and relax with a little time at the spa. Find out if they’d prefer a massage, a mani/pedi, or a facial, then book it for them. Of course, if you want to surprise them with the visit, get a package that lets them select their own date later.
An I.O.U. booklet is great for any Valentine! Create a list of things you could do for them, then make ‘coupon’ pages for each act of kindness. These booklets make a great gift from child to parent, for friends, or anyone who’s a little difficult to shop for. What’s a better present than your time?
10. What a Gem
Another classic, and sometimes higher in price range, consider jewelry this Valentine’s Day. From pearls to plastic, there is a wide range of options and price points out there. If you’re shopping for him, don’t forget about watches and cufflinks!
11. You’re a Catch
Have a ball this February! Whether you get your sweetheart a new baseball, or a pack of bouncy balls, you’re sure to have some fun and get in a little exercise. This is also a great present for your furry Valentine – pick up a frisbee or new ball for Fido and spend some time playing.
12. You Drive My Heart Wild
Younger kids tend to be underwhelmed with the hearts and kisses that accompany February 14th. Instead, pick out a sporty new racecar for them to play with. Even better, grab a couple and create a track to race on. They might not appreciate the ‘icky’ love in the air, but they’ll sure love spending time with you!
13. Love Story
Is your Valentine a bookworm? Grab them something new from the bookstore. Learn about their favorite stories, authors, and genres before you go, to make sure you pick out a book they’ll love!
14. Gift of Sugar-Free
Help them keep their teeth clean no matter what treats they pick up today! Sugar-free gum can help your loved ones protect their teeth by cleaning away harmful sugars. Since the gum itself is sugar-free, it’s a guilt-free way to add a little sweetness to their holiday. Find out more about the goodness of gum.
Your special someone deserves a special day – but that doesn’t mean it must be candy-filled! Opt for our teeth-friendly treats and gifts above. If your teeth already need some love, give GPS Dental a call at (210) 633-3477 to schedule an appointment and get your smile back on track.
Super Bowl Sunday is almost here! Whether you’re cheering on the Denver Broncos or the Carolina Panthers, chances are you’ll be snacking.
Of course, most people know sugary foods aren’t good for their teeth, but it can be difficult to replace those treats with something that won’t damage your teeth. To help you take care of your teeth while you’re chowing down, GPS Dental has put together a list of snacks that everyone – even your pearly whites – will love!
1. Veggie Platter
Easy to make or pick up, vegetable platters are a great snack for Super Bowl Sunday. The vegetables themselves are generally diet friendly, but the chewy, sugar-free nature of vegetables means they actually help clean your teeth. Foods high in fiber are usually chewy and end up rinsing your mouth out with extra saliva that’s produced.
Plus, everyone can add their own favorite flavors and dips. Hummus is a great option, low in sugar and acid, as well as a healthy diet choice. For more traditional dips, consider swapping in yogurt for sour cream, to make it more tooth friendly.
2. Seasoned Popcorn
Popcorn makes a great snack for a number of reasons like its low calorie nature or the fact that it’s easy to transport. To rev up your popcorn for the big game, pick your favorite spices to sprinkle over your popcorn, toss with a little olive oil, or add a little parmesan cheese and melt in the microwave!
You have lots of options with this treat, but remember, if the goal is healthy teeth, you’ll want to avoid sugary or acidic combinations.
3. Cheese Plate
Cheese is widely loved, but often avoided because of its high fat content. The good news is, now you have an excuse! A study published in General Dentistry found that cheese has anticavity properties. Like most dairy products, cheese has a high pH level, and adding a little cheese to your diet helps to protect your teeth from highly acidic foods.
While other dairy products are a good choice for their low acidity, cheese stands out because it requires chewing (which produces saliva). Compounds from cheese also adhere to your enamel, protecting you even after your snack is gone. If you’re really concerned about the fat content of this tasty treat, don’t worry – even low-fat cheese seems to do the trick!
4. Spinach & Artichoke Dip
Most spinach and artichoke dips include cheese, which we now know is a huge plus. However, don’t overlook these other rockstar ingredients.
Artichokes are high in soluble fiber, which is great for calcium absorption (and like all bone, your teeth loves a little calcium). Spinach, high in calcium, helps build strong, healthy enamel.
Tip: Crackers and chips have a number of faults from a dental perspective. Try grabbing some fresh veggies from that platter we mentioned above, or make some veggie chips to substitute.
Dental health, typically, isn’t the first order of concern when picking out snacks. If your teeth have seen a few too many ‘bad’ snacks, come in to see Dr. Skrobanek. From whitening to bonding, GPS Dental can help you love your smile – give GPS Dental a call at (210) 633-3477.
Who knew that your most helpful medicines could be hurting you? Cold and flu season is upon us, bringing with it the season of cough drops and decongestants. At this time of the year, it’s important to remember that sugar and acids aren’t just hiding in your favorite foods. Cough syrups, inhalers, and other culprits in your medicine cabinet could be causing cavities. Dr. Skrobanek and GPS Dental explain how your medicine could be hurting your teeth, and how to protect your smile while using medications.
Cavity Causing Culprits
Cough Syrup: In an effort to make cough syrups taste better, many companies add flavorings and sugar. While it might make the medicine go down easier, these sugars are just as damaging to your teeth as the sugar in Halloween candy. To make matters worse, cough syrups are often taken right before bed, meaning that sugar wreaks havoc all night long.
Cough Drops: Just like cough syrup, sugar is often added to cough drops to improve their flavor. However, since you hold cough drops in your mouth longer, these can actually be more detrimental to your dental health. Just like hard candy, the sugar from cough drops has more time to hurt your teeth because the cough drop stays in your mouth for a long period of time.
Asthma Inhalers: When using an asthma inhaler, you breathe in a dry powdered form of medicine. While it’s great for breathing easier, it might not be so great for your teeth. That powder could stick to your teeth, and depending on the type of medicine, introduce extra sugar or acid that causes erosion. The amount of damage and erosion is dependent on the type of medicine, but anyone using an inhaler regularly should consider letting their dentist know.
Vitamin C Tablets: Making sure you’re getting adequate vitamin C is a great way to stay healthy during cold and flu season, but it might come at a cost. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, can weaken the enamel of your teeth, and chewing vitamin C tablets exposes your teeth to the harsh acid.
Antihistamine: Most allergy relieving medications use antihistamines, and they often list ‘dry mouth’ as a side effect. We don’t always think of saliva as an important part of dental health, but producing too little saliva can cause big problems. Saliva works to naturally dilute the acids and sugars in your mouth, washing them away. When antihistamines reduce the production of saliva, as they do in some patients, your teeth don’t get their normal rinse, and they are more likely to develop cavities.
How to Feel Better & Protect Your Teeth while Using Medicine
We’re not suggesting you quit taking cold medicine or using your inhaler! However, if you are regularly using these medications, it’s a good idea to be extra cautious with your hygiene routine. By stepping up your dental care, you can focus on getting better; not worrying about your smile!
- Don’t take cough syrup right before bed. Give yourself time to brush your teeth after taking medications and take it with food or water.
- When possible, take medications like cough syrup with, or right before, a meal. The natural increase of saliva while you eat will help wash away the harmful substances lingering on your teeth.
- Opt for soft gels or caplets you can swallow whole rather than chew.
- Consider toothpastes and mouthwashes with fluoride to help protect your enamel during the duration of your medication.
- If a medication is causing dry mouth, keep water handy to sip on to keep your mouth well hydrated, chew sugar-free gum, or suck on sugar-free candy to help produce saliva. Try to breathe through your nose, rather than your mouth.
If bad habits, medicine, or anything else have taken a toll on your teeth, give GPS Dental a call at (210) 633-3477 to schedule an appointment. Dr. Skrobanek and his team are eager to start your new year off with your best smile yet!
There have been rumors for years that chewing gum can help keep your teeth clean. Of course, there are other theories that say anything that adds extra sugar to your mouth is hurting your choppers. Today, the smile specialists at GPS Dental are ready to weigh in. So, what’s the verdict? Is chewing gum hurting or helping your teeth?
The Good News
Drum roll please…
Survey says: Keep on chewing! Studies have shown that sugarless gum can actually help you maintain a healthier mouth. How? When you chew gum, your mouth produces saliva. After you eat, sugars and acids from your meal stick around, but that added saliva helps wash them away. This extra “rinse” helps prevent tooth decay and damage.
Even better, increased saliva actually introduces additional calcium and phosphate which can strengthen the enamel of your teeth. For more tips on candy and tooth care, take a look at our blog post: How to Keep Your Family’s Teeth Healthy.
The Bad News
Don’t forget to check for sugar! Sticky sugar is only going to make more problems for your mouth, just like other chewy candies. Always opt for sugarless gum, or skip the ritual altogether.
Also, while it should go without saying, we’ll mention that if you’re experiencing jaw pain, you need to avoid extra chewing (including gum). Talk to your dentist about your pain and treatment options. (Not such a fan of the dentist? We’ve got dental anxiety tips for you!)
- Make sure you’re chewing sugarless gum – otherwise, you’ll be doing more harm than good.
- Chew your (sugarfree) gum for about 20 minutes after your meal for maximum benefit.
- Look for gum with the ADA seal of approval, so you know you’ve got the best gum for your mouth.
- Chewing gum does not replace your brushing and flossing routine.
Sugarless gum has officially been given the seal of approval, but it doesn’t take over other parts of your tooth care routine. It’s just one step toward a healthier mouth. Schedule your next appointment for the next step – call GPS at (210) 633-3477.
Sensitive teeth can take your favorite treats and turn them into big-time pain. A bowl of ice cream, a steaming cup of coffee, or even just a cold breath of air can trigger aches and pains for those with sensitive teeth. Of course, with the holidays coming up, it can be tricky to schedule a dental visit right away.
Until you can get in to talk to your dentist, GPS Dental suggests these in-home tactics to ease your pain.
Pick Up a Desensitizing Toothpaste
Toothpastes made to ease sensitivity block or dull the transmission of pain signals from your teeth, making that ice cream a lot more enjoyable. If you’ve just started using a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth, don’t lose hope too quickly – it usually takes a while (sometimes up to a month) to feel a difference.
Take a Look at Your Toothbrush
Once you’ve found a toothpaste suited to your needs, look at the bristles on your toothbrush. If they’re looking ragged and sticking out in weird directions, you’re probably pushing too hard when you brush. Ease up when you’re brushing and grab a new, softer toothbrush.
Related Reading: 3 Reasons to Visit Your Dentist Before the End of the Year
Change Up Your Diet
While it’s fairly common knowledge that the carbonation in soda is rough on our teeth, we don’t always think about other sources of acid we consume. A diet heavy in acidic foods – even healthy foods – can wear down our enamel and contribute to sensitive teeth. If you’re experiencing extra sensitive choppers, try cutting down on your citrus fruit, tomato products, and wine to reduce the acid your teeth come into contact with.
See Your Dentist
While the steps above can help alleviate pain, tooth sensitivity is usually a sign of a problem. Because sensitive teeth can be caused by a number of factors, a dental visit is important to fix the root of the problem (no pun intended). After your dentist identifies the reason behind your sensitivity, they may suggest an in-office treatment such as,
- Fluoride gel
- Crown, inlay, or bonding
- Surgical gum graft
- Root canal
Each treatment helps sooth sensitive teeth depending on the source of the sensitivity, be it a cavity or worn filling; you’ll need a dentist to figure out the right treatment for your mouth.
If you’re dealing with sensitive teeth, you’re not alone. It is estimated that more than 45 million adults in the United States struggle with this issue. While the ideas above may help reduce your pain, a visit to your dentist might be able to fix the problem once and for all. If you’re missing out because of your sensitive teeth, call the most trusted dentist office in San Antonio, GPS Dental, at (210) 633-3477.
It’s almost time for all the little monsters and ghouls to run amok! The costumes and games are a lot of fun, but don’t let Halloween get the best of you and your kids’ teeth. The free candy that’s so closely associated with the holiday may taste good now, but it can spell bad news for kids’ mouths later. Here are a few tips to help keep your family’s mouths healthy this halloween, while still allowing everyone to have some fun.
Eat Halloween Candy with Meals or Shortly After
Everything in moderation. While we don’t recommend you allow your kids to eat candy all day long, letting them have a little of their booty each day isn’t too harmful. To make sure it does the least amount of damage, try to only let your kids eat their sweets with meals or shortly after. Saliva production increases during meals and helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and helps rinse away food particles.
Avoid Hard Candy or Sweets That Stay in Your Mouth for Prolonged Periods
The longer sugary foods are in your mouth, the higher the risk for tooth decay. Try to steer clear of hard candies like lollipops and Jolly-Ranchers.
Avoid Sticky Candies That Stick to Teeth
Candies that take longer to chew and swallow typically are the ones that stick to teeth. Sticky candies, like taffy, caramels and gummy bears, take longer to get washed away by saliva, increasing the risk for tooth decay.
Look for Gum with the ADA Seal
Sugary gums can be placed in the same category as sticky candies, and should be avoided at all costs. Instead look for chewing gums that are sugar-free and have the American Dental Association seal on them. Chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals can actually benefit kids. It helps reduce tooth decay, because increased saliva flow helps wash out food and neutralize the acid produced by dental plaque bacteria.
Drink More Water
Bring some water bottles around as you and the kids trick-or-treat. Keeping them properly hydrated will help keep their energy levels up, and will decrease false hunger pangs so they won’t start munching on all that candy they’ve collected. Also, drinking fluoridated water can help can help prevent tooth decay, and also washes away lingering food particles.
We hope your family has a ghoulishly good Halloween. Follow our healthy mouth tips and we are sure your next dental visit will be a piece of cake. Call Gary Skrobanek, the most trusted dentist in San Antonio, at GPS Dental to schedule your next family check up today. You can reach us at (210) 633-3477.