Mortenson Family Dental Events

The tooth fiary stands behind a table surrounded with school-age children and the candy they collected to donate

De Paul students overcome fire, help homeless

If you follow Mortenson Family Dental on Facebook or keep up with our blog, you already know that we love giving back to the communities we serve. In addition to the Mortenson Charitable Foundation, we love organizing events and promotions for good causes. One of our favorites is our Swap Your Sweets promotion, which collects candy for Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends care packages to troops abroad.

This last week, one of our team leaders sent out a heartwarming story about the 4th grade class at DePaul Elementary school — who not only overcame a school fire to swap their sweets, but pooled their resources to help Louisville’s homeless population and teach us all a lesson in compassion, kindness and the spirit of the holiday season. Her story is reprinted below, with names removed to preserve their privacy.

One of our young patients is a student at DePaul Elementary School around the corner from the Highlands office. She found out about our Swap Your Sweets program and told her teachers and class about it. It turns out that this 4th grade team selected a project this year to “Help Those Who Protect Us.” Our program fit right in. The entire class brought in and bagged their candy. They even recruited other kids in the school to do the same and parents brought in brand new bags of candy to share with the troops. I had organized with their teacher to come in and speak to the class with the assistance of one of our EDDAs who was graciously willing to play the part of “tooth fairy.”

The day before we were supposed to come in, the teacher called and said there was a fire at the school and we would have to postpone. Everyone was safe. The school was fine. But the candy did not survive and the kids were staying home from school for a couple days while classrooms were repaired.

Upon the kids’ return to school, they scurried to gather more candy. They really wanted to participate in our program. Parents and students of the school rallied and came up with another bounty of candy and homemade cards for our troops. We went to their classroom yesterday to deliver the gift cards and some dental goodies, talk to them about service in the community and, of course, dental health. It was simply delightful. The kids were confident, inquisitive and completely aware of how our project brings a smile to “Those Who Protect Us.” It doesn’t stop there. They have plans to take lunch to the fire fighters who helped save their school. AND they are gathering items for the homeless. During our presentation, it came up that they could combine their $5 gift cards from the Swap Your Sweets program and purchase items for the shelter. I was almost moved to tears.

One of our young patients brought us and her elementary school together and we were able to give them small means to contribute to a local shelter (don’t forget that lunch for the firefighters, too!). If this isn’t an example of community coming together to take care of each other, I don’t know what is.

We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves. Thank you, DePaul Elementary school students, for helping us all remember what it means to serve the community. We are so proud of you, and thankful for the kindness you showed.

Family having traditional holiday dinner with stuffed turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, vegetables pumpkin and pecan pie.

The 3 Best Thanksgiving Dishes for Your Teeth

As you sit down for your Thanksgiving meal this year, you might think about how it’s affecting the scale or your belt buckle — but what about your dental health? We’ve talked a lot about the link between dental health and overall health on our blog, so it’s no surprise that some foods are better for your teeth than others. Find out what’s inside some of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes and the positive effects they have on your teeth and gums.

Roasted turkey served on plate with a variety of vegetables, ready for dinner on Thanksgiving

Turkey

What’s inside: Protein, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorus, Potassium and B Vitamins

Effects on your teeth: The star of the whole meal is probably the best thing for you on the table. Turkey is low in fat and high in protein, which strengthens teeth and your immune system. The minerals found in turkey — iron and zinc — promote healthy mucosal tissues that act as a barrier between your gums and dangerous bacteria. Phosphorous is important to bone health because it maximizes the benefits of calcium. And B Vitamins not only give you a natural energy boost, but they can also help prevent periodontal disease and repair damaged gum tissue. In fact, one of the only downsides to turkey is that it gets caught in your teeth, so you might want to bring along a flossing pick to Grandma’s house this year.


Homemade Red Cranberry Sauce for the Holidays

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

What’s inside: Antioxidants, Vitamin C & Fiber

Effects on your teeth: Cranberries — like blueberries, kale and oatmeal — are often called a superfood because of their many health benefits. They are one of the most antioxidant-rich foods you can find, and antioxidants load your cells to protect you from disease. Cranberries are also rich in dietary fiber, which has been shown to reduce tooth decay, and Vitamin C. which strengthens your immune system. Most people go with canned cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving and we don’t blame you for saving some time, but unfortunately canned recipes are packed with sugar. Excessive sugar can damage your teeth enamel and lead to tooth decay, among other dental health problems. When you make your own cranberry sauce at home, you decide how much sugar goes in. So if you’re looking for a healthy alternative to canned cranberry sauce, check out this great recipe from Cookie and Kate.


Homemade Cooked Sweet Potato with Onions and Herbs

Yams or Sweet Potatoes

What’s inside: Vitamin C, Thiamine, Niacin, Vitamin A, Fiber & Potassium

Effects on your teeth: Yams and sweet potatoes are often interchangeable in recipes and can be prepared a lot of different ways on Thanksgiving — some of them more healthy than others. But at the heart of every yam or sweet potato dish is a vitamin-packed starch that is low in fat and high in nutritional value. Great at regulating blood sugar, their anti-inflammatory properties can help prevent periodontal disease. Healthy doses of Thiamine and Niacin in a balanced diet can decrease tooth decay. And Vitamin A promotes saliva production, which is crucial for cleaning away destructive bacteria and food particles from between teeth and gums. A lot of yam or sweet potato dishes are sweetened with sugar or marshmallows, but Thanksgiving is a time for a little rule-breaking — go ahead and splurge. Just remember to rinse your mouth with water any time you eat a sugary dish.


Happy Thanksgiving from our Family to yours!

hooded boxer with lights and gumshield

Difference Between Night Guards and Mouth Guards

We’ve heard a few names for the plastic thing people wear to protect their teeth during physical activities or sleep. If you or your children are involved in contact sports, or if you ever feel jaw pain especially after sleep, we’ll clear up the differences between night guards and mouth guards for you. And we’ll help you decide which one you need.

What is a Night Guard?

An occlusal splint is commonly called a dental guard, night guard or bite guard. It is used to protect your teeth while you sleep. Most dentists recommend night guards to patients who grind their teeth, which is often as a result of stress or anxiety. When someone habitually grinds his or her teeth, it is called bruxism, a very common condition that affects 10% of people and as many as 15% of children. Grinding your teeth can ruin enamel, increase tooth sensitivity and chip your teeth. Too much grinding and clenching of the jaw can result in a condition of the jaw called TMJ, which can sometimes require surgery.

Close-up shot of doctors hands in gloves holding silicone mouth guard. Teeth care

Do you or your children ever wake up with jaw pain or think you might be grinding your teeth? Schedule a consultation with your dentist to discuss getting a custom-fit night guard. In just one visit, we can evaluate your grinding habits and take an impression of your smile. Some of our offices can even make your night guard in their own lab! In about 1-2 weeks, you’ll have your night guard and be sleeping easier.

What is a Mouth Guard?

A mouth guard is a protective device for the mouth that covers the teeth and gums to prevent and reduce injury to the teeth, lips and gums. The American Dental Association recommends wearing a mouth guard for many sports played in the fall and winter:

  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Field Hockey
  • Gymnastics
  • Ice Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Rugby
  • Volleyball
  • Boxing
  • Wrestling
  • Ultimate Frisbee

Custom mouth guards are recommended over store-bought, and do more than just protect your teeth. According to one study, “high school football players wearing store-bought mouth guards were more than twice as likely to suffer mild traumatic brain injuries than those wearing properly fitted, custom mouth guards.” Ask your dentist to make a dental impression for you, which will be sent off to a lab that produces mouth guards or made in one of our office’s labs.

Photo sports mouth guard and medical capacitor on a white background

Rethink Your Drink

Do you love sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, energy drinks, sports drinks or fruit juice?

It’s time to rethink your drink.

According to a major study, “the odds of dying from heart disease rose in tandem with the percentage of sugar in the diet—and that was true regardless of a person’s age, sex, physical activity level, and body-mass index.” And what accounts for one third of the added sugar in an average American diet? Sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, energy drinks, sports drinks and fruit juice. Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages doesn’t just make you gain weight, it can also increase your risk of heart, tooth and gum disease. 

 

Health Effects of Sugary Drinks

You’ve probably had a discussion about possible health effects of artificial sweeteners or high-fructose corn syrup by now. Drinking sugary drinks can lead to diabetes, hypertension and some types of cancer, but it can also have severe side effects on your teeth. Sugary drinks eat away at the enamel of teeth, causing teeth to become weaker and thinner. This can lead to tooth decay and inevitably cavities. This is why dentists often put sealants on back teeth, so that they can prevent cavities and avoid fillings.

If you’re looking to make a little change, the CDC has a great guide here that’ll show you just how much sugar is in your favorite sugar-sweetened drinks. Keep reading for healthy drink options you can make at home, plus easy tips to remember from the American Heart Association.

 

Healthy Drink Options You Can Make At Home

For a bunch of great healthy drink options you can make at home, be sure to follow the “Rethink Your Drink” board on the Mortenson Family Dental Pinterest here!

Fruit Infused Water on the  wooden table.

Lemon Cucumber Water

This has to be the easiest recipe of all time. Slice lemons and cucumbers and place them in a glass of ice water. But there are some healthy effects of lemon cucumber water you might not know:

  • Helps you stay hydrated
  • Provides you with a healthy dose of Vitamin C
  • Gives you a boost of Potassium
  • Helps Prevent Kidney Stones

Blueberry Lime Water

Blueberries are often called a superfood because they’re low in calories but high in Vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants. They may even reduce the risk of heart disease. Limes are good for your eyes,  skin, gums, weight loss and digestion. Put them together and you’ve got a delicious way to hydrate!

  • 2 cups of water or sparkling water
  • 2 cups of ice
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1 1/2 limes sliced

 

Go on GREEN today

RED: Drink Rarely, If At All

  • Regular sodas
  • Energy or sports drinks
  • Sweetened coffee/tea drinks
  • Fruit drinks

Yellow: Drink Occasionally

  • Diet Soda
  • Low-calorie, low-sugar drinks
  • 100% juice

Green: Drink Plenty

  • Water
  • Seltzer Water
  • 1% or Skim Milk

Rethink Your Drink poster - all text is reprinted in article

National Brush Day and Mortenson Family Dental logos over photos of children celebrating Halloween and brushing their teeth

National Brush Day 2016

November 1 is more than just the day after Halloween. It’s also National Brush Day, when we remind ourselves to brush twice daily and help educate our children on the importance of dental hygiene. In addition to other healthy habits, brushing 2 times for 2 minutes every day helps reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Brush 2min2x

Teaching good dental hygiene to our children is especially important, so that they can make brushing twice part of their daily routine. According to Psychology Today, habits that develop early in life can be very difficult to change — so helping your children understand the importance of dental hygiene will transition into keeping healthy habits as an adult.

The Children’s Oral Health campaign encourages parents to reduce their children’s risk of oral disease by making sure they’re brushing for two minutes, twice a day. Their website, 2min2x.org, has plenty of educational and fun resources to help parents out, including these easy Tooth To-Dos:

  • Use a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste for kids ages 3-6, and use slightly more when they’re older.
  • Teach them to spit out the toothpaste when they’re done so they don’t swallow it.
  • Help your kids place the toothbrush at an angle against their gums.
  • Make sure they move the brush back and forth, gently, in short strokes.
  • Help them brush the front, back, and top of teeth.
  • Teach them to brush their tongue to remove germs and freshen breath.

For more tips, be sure to read Colgate’s Teeth Brushing For Kids: Three Strategies For Proper Technique.

Show Your Support

If you’d like to show your support for #NationalBrushDay, there are plenty of ways to get involved on social media.

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