Dental Cautions for Athletes

During the cold winter months, you may think that playing sports is a good idea to stay active and warm. Common winter sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and hockey, can keep your body in good shape, but they can be just as dangerous as summer sports. Visit Dr. Jeffrey Allen to protect your mouth from athletic damage.

Hydration

Even when it’s cold outside, strenuous physical activity can wear your body out and cause you to become dehydrated. Long training and practice sessions cause you to breath through your mouth more, which results in decreased saliva production in your mouth. Saliva is necessary to keep your mouth moist and clean. To quench their thirst, about 84 percent of athletes rely on sports drinks to keep them hydrated and energized. Sports drinks generally contain a lot of sugar and are very acidic. These factors can contribute to tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, staining, and tooth erosion. Water is always the healthiest choice to keep your body hydrated and strong.

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Help Reduce the Risk of Tooth Decay

We all want healthy teeth. The easiest way to do this is to make sure to brush and floss twice a day and make a trip to the dentist for regular dental checkups and cleanings once every six months. Another way to help lower the risk of tooth decay is the application of a fluoride varnish on your teeth. Fluoride will help strengthen the enamel in your teeth, helping you fight cavities and reducing your risk of tooth decay.

Seeing Results from Fluoride Varnishes

In a recent study, a fluoride varnish was applied to children’s teeth and after just 12 months, the children’s teeth showed a decrease in decay and an increase in tooth strength. It is safe to have fluoride varnishes applied every three months to increase the strength of your children’s teeth. More studies have shown that children who receive fluoride every three months are less likely to develop cavities compared to a child who did not receive the varnish as often or at all. Almost no fluoride is swallowed in the process and the application is very safe.

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Care for Your Smile in 2012

Happy Holidays to you and your family from Allen Family Dentistry!

Make Your Dental Health a Priority in 2012

Pella dentist Dr. Jeffrey Allen and our dental team want to urge you to make your dental health a priority in the coming year. Most dental insurance benefits renew on January 1, which means that you have an entire year to make sure that you and your family receive the dental care you need and deserve. Take advantage of these benefits (most dental insurance policies cover two cleanings and exams per year for each person insured) by calling our dental office at (641) 628-1121 to reserve an appointment as soon as possible. (more…)

2011 Holiday Gift Giving Season

Give the Best Gift This Season

The 2011 holiday season is here, and there’s still time to get the perfect gift for everyone. Don’t succumb to giving your special one a gift card—even if the gift is a little offbeat, getting an actual gift means a lot. Dr. Allen can help you give your loved one the smile of his or her life by giving the gift of dental care.

Dental Gift Ideas

Teeth Whitening: The expense of teeth whitening solutions might keep your loved one from the smile of his or her dreams. Over-the-counter systems are not effective for everyone, and one-visit teeth whitening with an LED light can cause sensitivity.  Professional home systems are safe and effective.

Dr. Allen offers at-home whitening that you can apply in the comfort of your home. If you plan to give this gift, the recipient will only have to come in to the office once so that we can create custom-fitted bleaching trays. Home whitening only takes two weeks to yield dramatic results. The trays are reusable and the  whitening gel is always available for purchase in our office. Just contact Allen Family Dentistry. (more…)

Prevention During Flu Season

Pneumonia

Did you know that pneumonia doesn’t have a season like the flu does? Although pneumonia is a risk throughout the entire year, pneumonia is easier to contract when you are already sick. Thus pneumonia is a bigger risk during flu season, especially if you get the flu or even if you get a cold. Pneumonia infects the lungs, inflaming alveoli or filling the lungs with water. Bacteria, fungi, viruses, or parasites can cause the infection. Every year over three million people get pneumonia but only 17% of these cases are serious enough to go to the hospital. Studies show that there are many proven prevention methods.

Preventing Pneumonia

Life is full of risks, and we cannot possibly account for all of them, but being aware and preventing, as much as is possible, will make you happier and healthier. Vaccines and improved daily habits will prevent severe cases of pneumonia. Doctors think that the probability of actually preventing pneumonia altogether is unlikely, but you can vaccinate and use proper hygiene to prepare your body for an infection. If you prepare your body properly, you will be able to fight off the bad bacteria much easier when the infection comes. The first way to prevent pneumonia is to get vaccinated. Vaccinations of all kinds reveal a weakened form of a disease germ so that the body produces antibodies specific to that type of infection. Once the body produces antibodies, they will always be there. If the body actually experiences that specific infection later on, the antibodies previously generated will already be there, ready to kill the disease.  In this way, immunizations slow down or stop disease outbreaks. Vaccinations not only prevent disease, but also protect the health of the community. Those who are not vaccinated can still contract and spread infections to those who have been vaccinated. (more…)

Want a Brighter Smile

What Do Brides Regret Most?

While nothing can replace the warm feeling of loved ones gathering at a wedding to celebrate new beginnings, brides often look back on that day with a few regrets. One of the most prevailing regrets is not making time to whiten teeth before the big day. Planning all the events for a wedding can be so overwhelming that personal maintenance might slide to the back burner. Don’t forget to take your smile into account when you plan your Iowa wedding.

Consult a Professional

A beautiful smile takes a lot of maintenance. Even if you develop good oral hygiene habits and see your dentist every six months for checkups and cleanings, your smile can lose its natural white color. Over time, natural aging, along with certain foods, discolor enamel. Before you take on any whitening projects, schedule a routine cleaning and checkup with Dr. Allen to remove debris and calculus (dental plaque that hardens in hard-to-reach areas).

At-Home Versus In-Office Whitening

Over-the-counter whitening kits are not as powerful as the take-home teeth whitening solutions offered at Allen Family Dentistry. Dr. Allen finds in-office whitening with a light more harmful than helpful, because it can cause sensitivity and dry teeth, and it offers only short-term results.

The Opalescence whitening system we use at Allen Family Dentistry only takes one to two hours every night for about two weeks.  Dr. Allen believes that professional home whitening solutions are the least invasive and most effective option. For this procedure, Dr. Allen will give you custom-made whitening trays and a potent bleaching gel. You can reuse the trays whenever you need a touch up. (more…)

Get Ready for Thanksgiving

What in Turkey Makes Me Sleepy?

The reason many people believed that turkey caused tiredness is due to the high content of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that increases the brain’s production of serotonin. Researchers now believe that the amount of tryptophan in turkey is not sufficient to make you take a nap. Though an inadequate amount of tryptophan exists in your turkey platter, if tryptophan is consumed by itself, it can cause tiredness.

Tryptophan is a naturally occurring substance found in many high protein foods, such as milk and most meat. This amino acid is necessary for normal growth in young children and helps balance nitrogen in adults.

The properties of each amino acid determine its role in the human body. Out of the 20 amino acids necessary for our bodies, we can actually produce 10. A balanced diet that includes all of the 10 dietary amino acids is crucial, since our bodies do not store extra amino acids. The amount of tryptophan in turkey is just enough to balance your daily need for that specific amino acid.

If Not Turkey, Then What?

Researchers think that during the Thanksgiving holiday, dessert is the most likely culprit for your afternoon nap. So blame your pumpkin pie, since carbohydrates cause higher production of serotonin, which makes us want to sleep.

Stay Awake and Keep Your Mouth Healthy

To stay alert and make the most of your holiday, keep your distance from the dessert table. Not only will this help you stay awake, but it will also keep your mouth in check.  Acidy, sugary desserts are hard on your teeth.  You don’t have to avoid dessert completely, but don’t try a serving of everything. Keep your carbohydrate and sugar intake to a minimum.

You might think that brushing your teeth just after dessert will reduce the effect of indulgence on your mouth. Research suggests that you shouldn’t brush immediately after you eat; it can cause enamel erosion. The best thing to do after eating is to rinse your mouth with water and chew sugarless gum to give your saliva a chance to remineralize tooth enamel. Gum also helps saliva remove chromogens (which contribute to teeth stains).

If you need a checkup after the Thanksgiving holiday and before the Christmas feast begins, or just because you’re new to the Pella, Iowa area, call 641-640-1121. Allen Family dentist office serves patients from Oskaloosa, Monroe, Knoxville, Newton, and communities surrounding central Iowa.