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Grand Rapids Dentist | Can Kissing Be Hazardous to Your Health?

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When you are close to someone you can often be overly comfortable in sharing.  This is especially true with kissing. In one kiss, more than 500 germs can be shared between two people. Sharing a kiss can have an impact on your oral health. Here are some of the dangers of kissing.

Colds & Flus

When you feel like you might be coming down with a cold or flu, it is best to avoid kissing. You certainly don’t want to transmit any diseases. Colds and flus are easily passed on through saliva and nasal fluids.

Cold Sores

If you see a cold sore near your mouth and lips, you should avoid kissing someone. Cold sores will look like small, clear blisters usually close to your lips. Cold sores are a viral infection, but are extremely contagious. Cold sores that are leaking fluids are especially contagious, however even a sore without any fluid can spread to others in contact. Avoid contact if you see cold sores!

Mono – The Kissing Disease

Mononucleosis, or mono, is spread very rapidly through kissing. The disease can also be spread by sharing behaviors such as sharing a cup, food, or straw. We recommend avoiding sharing your food and drink with others. Someone carrying mono might appear healthy, so always play it is safe by avoiding sharing your food and your germs.

Tips for Fresh Breath

It makes sense to want to have a clean, fresh breath when kissing. It is best to avoid foods that contain strong spices and flavors, such as garlic or onion. Long after they have been consumed, it is still possible to smell these foods on someone’s breath. Make sure you follow a regular daily oral hygiene routine. This includes brushing your teeth twice daily, as well as brushing your tongue, roof of the mouth, and inside of your cheeks. We suggest using a mouthwash or sugar-free gum after eating to help diffuse strong odors. Sometimes bad breath can be caused by other factors, so if you feel these solutions are not working, make an appointment with us.

Hundreds of germs can be shared when kissing. Watch out for cold sores as well as cold or flu symptoms. Don’t forget to keep up with your daily brushing and flossing routine.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy, or to schedule your next visit, contact our office.

1151 East Paris Ave. SE, Suite 100
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

We are located on East Paris Ave. just south of Cascade Road. We are across from the Bonefish Grill entrance, in front of Cook Valley.

Phone: (616) 949-5980

Dentist in Grand Rapids | 3 Ways to Make Brushing Fun For Your Child

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Little teeth will grow into a big smile. To ensure your child is on track for a lifetime of optimal oral health, it is important to instill good oral hygiene habits early in life. We understand that this can sometimes be a challenge. It’s hard to keep the interest of young children, which can make brushing twice a day for two minutes each time difficult to do. We’ve gathered a few pointers to help you and your child make brushing time a fun experience.

Choose a Cool Toothbrush and Great Tasting Toothpaste

Make your child part of the process by allowing them to select a cool toothbrush. By choosing one with a favorite color or neat character on it, selecting a toothbrush can be fun. When it comes time to choose a toothpaste, pick one that is palatable to your child. Not all children find the mint flavors often used in adult toothpastes to be appealing. Instead, go for one with a taste your child loves.

Timing is Everything

It is essential that your child brushes for a full two minutes, twice each day. Two minutes can feel like a long time. Allow your child to control a timer to better engage them in their brushing. Use a sand timer, egg timer, or even a timing app on your phone. Many children also find it helpful to visually see how long they have been brushing.

Brush Together

Children learn by example. You can set a great example for your child by being a brushing role model. Brush together with your child. This also gives you the opportunity to correct any improper brushing habits they may otherwise do on their own. By brushing together, you are also emphasizing the importance of regular brushing each day. Show your child that proper oral hygiene is important.

For most adults, brushing your teeth is second nature. For young children still learning, it can be challenging or boring. You can help your child prepare for a lifetime of optimal oral health by helping them feel comfortable brushing their teeth properly. Stick to cool toothbrush designs and fun flavors. Also try using a timer, and brushing together to further build good habits. Don’t forget that your child should visit us for regular examinations and professional cleanings.

Contact our office to schedule your child’s next visit.

1151 East Paris Ave. SE, Suite 100
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

We are located on East Paris Ave. just south of Cascade Road. We are across from the Bonefish Grill entrance, in front of Cook Valley.

Phone: (616) 949-5980

49546 Dentist | Kill the Pain, Save the Tooth

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Root canal, or endodontic, therapy treats inflammation or infection within the pulp of a tooth. If you are awaiting your first root canal treatment, you may feel anxious or uncertain. It can be difficult to separate myth from fact when trying to learn what to expect. Here is some useful information about root canal therapy and some common misperceptions you may encounter.

Despite common belief, root canal therapy does not cause pain. Instead, it relieves the pain you are already experiencing by treating the underlying cause of the infection or inflammation. Some common reasons for tooth pulp inflammation or infection include:

  • Deep tooth decay
  • Chip or crack in tooth structure
  • Tooth root fracture
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Repeated treatment on a single tooth

Once inflammation begins, the pulp experiences swelling and pressure that cause pain. If left untreated, permanent damage to the pulp can occur, including pulp tissue death. When this happens, you may experience temporary relief of pain, but it may lead to painful infection and tooth loss.

Root canal therapy is the removal of diseased or dead pulp tissue from the inside of a tooth. We use specially designed instruments that clean out the pulp chamber and root canals. Next, we disinfect the canals with special medications and clean them once more. Finally, we seal the canals to prevent re-infection. You may experience minor discomfort for a few days, but this can usually be managed with over-the-counter medications.

After your root canal treatment, your tooth will need a permanent restoration to replace the lost tooth structure and protect the remaining tooth. This may be a filling or crown, depending on your need. We will discuss your restoration plan with you prior to your root canal therapy.

Whenever possible, saving your natural tooth is our goal. Root canal therapy can help to preserve your tooth. To learn more about root canal therapy or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.

1151 East Paris Ave. SE, Suite 100
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

We are located on East Paris Ave. just south of Cascade Road. We are across from the Bonefish Grill entrance, in front of Cook Valley.

Phone: (616) 949-5980

Grand Rapids Dentist | Are You Using the Right Mouthwash

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While it should never be used as a replacement for brushing and flossing, mouthwash can be a helpful addition to your at-home oral healthcare routine. Here’s what you need to know in order to pick the best mouthwash for your needs. For more information, or for a personalized recommendation on the best mouthwash for you, contact our team today!

Choosing the Right Mouthwash

Though there are plenty of brands and varieties of mouthwash available, most fall into one of two general categories as recognized by the ADA: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwashes treat symptoms only, such temporarily masking bad breath. Therapeutic mouthwashes aim to treat the cause of an issue. Fluoridated anti-cavity mouthwashes are designed to help strengthen the enamel of your teeth and prevent cavities. Anti-bacterial and antiseptic mouthwashes kill odor and disease-causing bacteria in your mouth, with antiseptic options typically having a higher alcohol content. We can help you better understand the difference and find the mouthwash that’s right for your particular needs.

Should I Use Mouthwash?

If you maintain a proper oral care routine at home and visit your dentist at least twice yearly, you might not need to use mouthwash. However, depending on the unique needs of your teeth, it might be beneficial to talk to our dentist about working a specialized mouthwash into your routine.

Though mouthwash is not an acceptable substitute for regular brushing and flossing, it can be a helpful tool to keep your mouth fresh and clean throughout the day. Swishing mouthwash after eating can help dislodge any food that might be stuck in your teeth and mask any odor that might be lingering on your breath.

Tips for Your Mouthwash Routine

Generally, you want to use mouthwash after flossing, brushing, and rinsing your mouth. Swish the mouthwash around for 30-60 seconds and avoid rinsing, eating, or drinking for at least 30 minutes afterwards to give the mouthwash time to work.

Side Effects of Mouthwash

When used properly, there are minimal risks associated with mouthwash. Many mouthwashes contain alcohol, which can cause a burning sensation in your mouth. If the sensitivity continues long after use or increases over time, ask our dentist about different alcohol-free options. For children, it is important that you supervise their brushing routine, as swallowing mouthwash can be dangerous.

Mouthwash can be a useful tool for anyone. Whether you’re looking to fight bad breath or help protect your mouth from tooth decay or gum disease, the wide array of mouthwashes available means there’s an option for everyone. Talk to our team during your next visit to learn more about the benefits of working mouthwash into your oral care routine.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next appointment, please contact our dental team today!

1151 East Paris Ave. SE, Suite 100
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

We are located on East Paris Ave. just south of Cascade Road. We are across from the Bonefish Grill entrance, in front of Cook Valley.

Phone: (616) 949-5980

Dentist in Grand Rapids | Sleep Could Be Harming Your Teeth

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Do you grind your teeth while you sleep? Occasional bruxing, or grinding, of the teeth is not a cause for concern. For some patients, however, clenching and grinding are an involuntary and frequent occurrence. In these cases, grinding may be happening almost every night or even while they are awake. This is a far more serious issue known as bruxism.

Bruxism occurs most often during sleep and can have a variety of causes. The most common issues that can lead to bruxism are stress and poor alignment of the teeth and/or jaws.

Because bruxism most frequently happens while the patient is sleeping, it can be challenging to diagnose. However, there are a number of symptoms that may indicate bruxism. Some of these include:

  • Sore teeth
  • Worn, flattened, fractured, or chipped teeth
  • Swollen gums
  • Headache, especially when waking
  • Grinding sounds during sleep
  • Biting/chewing damage to inside of cheek
  • Sensitivity to heat, cold, or brushing
  • Hairline cracks or worn enamel
  • Tense or sore jaw and/or facial muscles

Talk to our doctor about your symptoms. Let us know if a sleeping partner has told you they have heard you grinding your teeth while you are sleeping. We will examine your teeth and jaw for wear and sensitivity. If bruxism is diagnosed, there are multiple treatment options that may be recommended, depending on the probable cause.

Orthodontic treatment may be recommended to treat your bruxism in some cases. This may include the fabrication and use of a night guard or treatment for misalignment.


A night guard is a custom-fabricated oral appliance that is placed between the upper and lower teeth during sleep. This device provides a flexible barrier that prevents wear on your teeth and reduces the pressure caused by grinding, which can alleviate other symptoms.

Treatment for misalignment will generally involve some type of braces or plastic aligners that will gently move teeth into proper positioning within the mouth. This can help relieve symptoms and prevent their recurrence if the bruxism is caused by the misalignment.

Left untreated, bruxism can lead to more serious oral health issues. If you believe you may have bruxism, contact our office for a consultation today.

1151 East Paris Ave. SE, Suite 100
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

We are located on East Paris Ave. just south of Cascade Road. We are across from the Bonefish Grill entrance, in front of Cook Valley.

Phone: (616) 949-5980

Grand Rapids Dentist | Oral Cancer Risk Factors

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During a comprehensive dental examination, our team will look for signs of oral cancer. Early detection is key with oral cancer. If caught early, most forms of oral cancer are treatable. Our dental team is trained and educated to identify oral cancer.

Everyone is susceptible to the disease, but some groups of people are at a higher risk level than others. Here are the top seven risk factors for oral cancer.

Age

Are you in your mid 40s? Your risk of developing oral cancer increases with age. A noticeable increase is evident in people in their 40s and older. According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, the majority of diagnosed cases occur around the age of 62, but the average age is declining. The recent increase in Human Papillomavirus (HPV) related cases is causing more people to be diagnosed for oral cancers between the ages of 52 and 56. As the average age for oral cancer cases decreases, it is vital that you receive regular oral cancer screenings at any age.

Gender

Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer compared to women. Part of this difference may be related to regular intake of alcohol and tobacco. According to the American Cancer Society, the gender difference is decreasing since more women are drinking and using tobacco today than in previous generations. There has also been a trend in recent years of younger men being diagnosed with HPV-related oral cancer. Both men and women should schedule regular oral health examinations to detect oral cancer early.

Tobacco

Smoking or chewing tobacco can greatly increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Tobacco can lead to cancer of the mouth or throat. Additionally, oral tobacco products cause cancers associated with the cheeks, gums, and inner surface of the lips. Development of these cancers depend on the duration and frequency of tobacco use. Non-smokers are not immune to oral cancer, so be sure to schedule an appointment with our team for an examination.

Alcohol

Among those that are diagnosed with oral cancer, about 70% of people are characterized as heavy drinkers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heavy drinking is defined as having an average of two or more drinks per day for men, and one or more drinks per day for women. People who drink heavily can be more than twice as likely to develop oral cancers than people who do not drink. Oral cancer can still occur in people who have never had an alcoholic drink. Contact our team to schedule an examination.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

This sexually transmitted disease is associated with at least 10,000 cases of oral cancer diagnosed each year in the United States. People who have HPV-related oral cancers tend to be younger and are unlikely to smoke or drink. Typically, those diagnosed with HPV-related oral cancers are at a much lower risk of death or reoccurrence. We suggest a proactive approach by maintaining regular visits to our dental office.

Sunlight

People who work outside or with prolonged exposure to sunlight have a higher risk of developing lip cancer. It is vital to use UV protection when under the sun. Many lip balms offer UV protection. If you work outdoors frequently, schedule an additional examination with our team.

Diet

Poor nutrition can increase your risk for developing oral cancer. According to the American Dental Association, reports have shown that a link exists between diets low in fruits and vegetables and a higher risk for oral cancers. However, oral cancer can develop in healthy individuals. No matter your diet, schedule a visit with our team for a comprehensive oral examination.

Oral cancer does not discriminate. While these seven factors have been tied to an increased risk of oral cancer, that does not diminish the importance of regular oral examinations for everyone regardless of their age, gender, or other factors. Regular dental examinations make it possible for our team to detect oral cancer early. Contact our dentist to schedule a comprehensive oral examination.

1151 East Paris Ave. SE, Suite 100
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

We are located on East Paris Ave. just south of Cascade Road. We are across from the Bonefish Grill entrance, in front of Cook Valley.

Phone: (616) 949-5980

49546 Dentist | Tobacco & Your Teeth

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Chewing and smoking tobacco are known to cause severe health problems, particularly in the lungs. But the risks to your mouth and teeth can be just as extensive and alarming. If you use tobacco, stop. Here’s what tobacco can do to your oral health.

Chewing Tobacco

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), tobacco chewers increase their risk of developing gum and cheek cancers by 50 times. Tobacco dissolves the gums which leads to sensitivity from exposed roots. This also makes for an ideal location for bacteria to grow, leading to decay. If you are chewing tobacco, stop, and ask our experienced oral health team about what you can do to keep your mouth healthy.

Smoking

According to a report by the AGD, smoking one pack a day can lead to the loss of two teeth each decade of your life. Smoking increases your odds of losing teeth. Cigarettes and cigars are both damaging to your oral health. Smoking can cause staining as well, leading to an unattractive smile.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can develop in several places in your mouth including on your tongue, lips, mouth floor, and gums. Those over 50, are at an increased risk of developing oral cancer, as are men. However, Oral cancer has been on the rise, especially for people under 30 according to the AGD.  Schedule an appointment with us to receive a thorough oral health examination, and ask us about an oral cancer screening, particularly if you are a tobacco user. Oral cancer screenings are often very quick as our dentist checks your mouth, teeth, and cheeks for signs of irregularities. If caught early, oral cancer can be treated.

If you are a tobacco user, we strongly advise you to quit. You can work with our professional dental team as well as your doctor to overcome tobacco use. Everyone should be receiving regular oral health examinations, but if you are a tobacco user, you need to be especially vigilant in doing so. Schedule a visit to our office so that we can work with you to identify any potential issues.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact us.

1151 East Paris Ave. SE, Suite 100
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

We are located on East Paris Ave. just south of Cascade Road. We are across from the Bonefish Grill entrance, in front of Cook Valley.

Phone: (616) 949-5980

Dentist in Grand Rapids | Help Your Child’s Smile

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February is a busy month. Not only is Valentine’s Day fast approaching, but February is Children’s Dental Health Month. Parents, we ask that you take an active role in making sure your child is brushing properly and thoroughly for two minutes, twice each day. Preventing decay and infection starts at home in practicing good oral hygiene habits. Here are three ways you can help your child’s smile during Children’s Dental Health Month.

1. Sing Together

You don’t need musical talent to have a fun time singing with your child. Choose a song to sing while you brush your teeth together. Don’t forget that you should brush for two full minutes. No one said those two minutes have to be boring, so pick a fun song to pass the time together.

2. Make Brushing Fun

Is it time for a new toothbrush or toothpaste for your child? Go shopping together to pick out a toothbrush with a cool character. Try a new toothpaste or floss flavor this month. Make brushing fun and keep it interesting for your child.

1. Post-Valentine’s Day Cleaning

For children, Valentine’s Day can mean extra candy and sugary treats. Schedule a visit to our office for a post-Valentine’s Day cleaning. We’ll help keep your child’s teeth clean. If your child does indulge in extra treats this month, be sure they are brushing twice each day and flossing as well. Doing so will help prevent decay.

Routine visits to our office are the best way to keep your child on track for maintaining teeth-friendly habits throughout their life. We will provide a complete oral examination and cleaning. Together, let’s make Children’s Dental Health Month successful by helping your child’s smile. If you have any questions or would like to schedule your child’s next visit to see us, please contact our office. We look forward to seeing your child’s smile soon!

1151 East Paris Ave. SE, Suite 100
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

We are located on East Paris Ave. just south of Cascade Road. We are across from the Bonefish Grill entrance, in front of Cook Valley.

Phone: (616) 949-5980

Grand Rapids Dentist | How Candy Threatens Your Child’s Smile

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How often does your child eat candy? According to a study conducted by the USDA Economic Research Service, children under 12 consume an average of 49 pounds of sugar in one year. While candy is not the sole source of sugar in a child’s diet, the impacts of sugary candy treats are particularly harmful to teeth. Here’s what you need to know about candy and how it might be damaging your child’s smile.

The Impact of Sugar on Teeth

The real culprit in candy is the high sugar content. Certain types of bacteria that are present in your mouth can feed on sugar. These destructive bacteria then create acid that wears away tooth enamel. When enamel is weakened, your risk of developing decay increases. Your mouth is effective at neutralizing acids and aiding minerals that strengthen enamel if the amount of sugars and acids is not excessive. Your mouth can only do so much, which makes it essential to limit your sugar intake and maintain a regular and thorough oral hygiene routine.

Watch Out for Sticky, Sugary Candies

Not all candies are made equal. For a general rule of thumb, the sticker the candy, the worse it is for your teeth. Sticky candies leave sugary residue on your teeth long after you are done eating. This gives the bacteria in your mouth more time to start demineralizing enamel. Watch out for sticky candies like gum drops and taffy.

Suckers, lollipops, and hard sucking candies are troublesome because they are in your mouth for an extended period of time. Like sticky candies, this allows for more time for harmful bacteria to get to work by weakening your teeth. You can also chip or crack a tooth if you bite too hard.

Other problematic candies include those that are gummy and coated in sugar. Think of gummy worms or another sour covered, chewy critter. Not only are they high in sugar content, but they also typically contain harmful acids that contribute to a loss of enamel.

Steps for Preventing Decay

You can help your child by limiting their candy and sugar intake. In some instances, this can be tricky and even out of your control when your child is at school or a friend’s house. What you can do is instill good oral hygiene habits in your child. Make sure they are brushing for two minutes twice each day. You can make brushing fun. Sing a song together for the two minutes, and allow them to choose a fun toothbrush and toothpaste flavor.

Candy is a fun treat. You don’t have to take it away from your child altogether, but limit their exposure to such treats and educate them about the impacts candy can have on their teeth. When left untreated, decay can spread leading to pain and infection. Maintaining a schedule of regular visits to our office is essential. More than just a cleaning, we will provide a thorough examination to check for decay.

If you haven’t already scheduled your child’s next appointment, please contact our office.

1151 East Paris Ave. SE, Suite 100
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

We are located on East Paris Ave. just south of Cascade Road. We are across from the Bonefish Grill entrance, in front of Cook Valley.

Phone: (616) 949-5980

49546 Dentist | One Simple Treatment Can Save Your Child’s Smile

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Our dentist might suggest dental sealants for your child during a visit to our office. Sealants are a way to protect your teeth against decay. With any dental treatment, it helps to understand the procedure and how it can impact your child’s oral health.

Why Get Sealants?

Sealants help to prevent tooth decay. Sealants are applied on the back teeth, where decay is most likely to develop. Our dentist will often recommend sealants for children and teens, but adults may benefit from sealants, as well.

The further your teeth are in the back of your mouth, the more difficult it can be to maintain the proper hygiene needed to keep them healthy. Sealants can prevent up to 80% of decay within the first two years alone. After 4 years, sealants continue to prevent as much as 50% of decay. Children without sealants are more than three times as likely to develop tooth decay than those with sealants.

When Should You Get Them?

Your child’s first molars usually become visible around age 6, with the second set around age 12. You will want to talk to us about the best course of action for keeping molars healthy. Sealants are most effective when they are done as soon as the molars break through. Regular examinations with our dentist will determine the best time to have sealants applied.

What Should I Expect?

Sealants are one of the simplest treatments we perform in our office. There is generally no discomfort associated with this process. We will first thoroughly clean your child’s teeth, and then use a special gel. The gel is then cleaned off before the sealant is applied. A small blue light is used to harden the sealant in a matter of moments.

What Concerns Should I Have?

There are no side-effects from sealants, and allergic reactions are extremely rare. However, talk to our doctor about any allergies your child has so we can discuss the best possible course of action.

Next Steps

Sealants last for years before needing to be reapplied. It is important to schedule regular visits to our office so that our dentist can check the condition of the sealants and teeth on an ongoing basis. If your child had sealants several years ago and you are unsure if they should be reapplied, schedule an appointment with us.

For more tips onkeeping teeth healthy and for questions about dental sealants, contact ouroffice.

1151 East Paris Ave. SE, Suite 100
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

We are located on East Paris Ave. just south of Cascade Road. We are across from the Bonefish Grill entrance, in front of Cook Valley.

Phone: (616) 949-5980