Ageless Smile Blog

Fun in the Sun – With Custom Mouth Guards

School is out for the summer, but seasonal sports are just beginning. Soccer, softball, baseball, and field hockey seasons—just to name a few—are already well underway. Much like sports during the school year, student athletes need customized mouth guards for their summer sessions. Why? The solution comes down to comfort and performance.

Custom mouth guards are designed to match the precise structure of each player’s uniquely shaped mouth. Unlike inexpensive rubber or boil-and-bite mouth guards, customized mouth guards offer an intimate fit when molded to an athlete’s individual mouth. Not only does this offer personalized comfort, but custom mouth guards also outlast generic products in the market.

Low-cost chunks of rubber quickly disintegrate when they’re chewed through, thereby becoming ineffective rather fast. Similarly, boil-and-bite products make it difficult for athletes to breathe and speak during their performances. Generic molds simply can’t compare to the lasting quality and comfort of the custom mouth guards that we offer here at RADA.

Our tailored mouth guards give athletes an edge by offering individualized comfort and optimal oxygen flow. Even student athletes with braces can find the protection and comfort they need to perform on the field. With incomparable comfort and breathability, athletes using custom mouth guards can enhance their performance.

Call us today at (207) 773-6331 to learn more about custom mouth guards for your children’s summer sports.

Beach Days and Hydration

It’s that tempting time of year again when Mainers travel far and wide to our coast’s ample beaches for some much needed Vitamin D. For most of us, basking beneath the warm sun and lying in the sand is the kickoff to summer. Who doesn’t enjoy a long day swimming in the ocean and working on our tans?

Like every season, summer has its perks, but it also has its problems: dehydration. Dehydration occurs when we don’t consume enough fluids during the day to replace the ones we lose in the hot weather. Being outside in the sun for hours on end without enough to drink can lead to dehydration. The key, of course, isn’t to drink anything. Rather, it’s important to consume enough water.

Water plays a vital role in nourishing our anatomy. Unlike sugary, caffeinated, and alcoholic drinks that do more harm than good, water is a calorie-free beverage that keeps our bodies and our mouths clean and healthy in many ways.

Water has been proven to strengthen teeth. While drinks like sodas and sports beverages contain large amounts of sugars that can lead to cavities, water is sugar-free. With every sip, water washes away any lingering residue that may foster the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. This health trick helps to keep the shell of our teeth cavity-free and clean.

Similarly, water aids hydration in a way that positively affects our bodies. Since the human body is made of about 60% water, replenishing the water in our systems is critical. Drinking water helps our systems operate by distributing healthy nutrients throughout our bodies, ridding us of waste, and hydrating our skin. It’s natural and beneficial.

Hydration is key to proper oral and anatomical health. If you’re planning a beach trip, add a bottle of water in your bag. Bringing water with you is just as essential as packing sunscreen and a towel. Drinking water while lying under the sun will keep your teeth and skin happy. Plus, it’s calorie-free so you’re waistline will thank you, too!

If you have any questions about how dehydration can affect your oral health, please call us at (207) 773-6331 to learn more.

​Blueberry Extract Used to Fight Gum Disease

​Blueberries are one of Maine’s natural treasures. Aside from being delicious, blueberries are packed full of antioxidants and anthocyanins, two molecules that fight against numerous diseases. The discovery of the blueberry’s power earned it a spot on the list of human superfoods.

We now have a new reason to be in love with the State Berry of Maine. A team of researchers has discovered that compounds in blueberries, called polyphenols, halt the growth of Fusobacterium nucleatum, one of several culprits behind gum disease. When the blueberry compounds were introduced to the bacteria on a biofilm, the bacteria stopped growing. The research team is now developing a blueberry extract to be used in the fight against gum disease.

Lucky for us Mainers, we can take advantage of fresh, local blueberries and their magical polyphenols every fall. And remember, getting your sugar fix from fresh fruit rather than candy or sweets is always a better option for your oral health.

Read more about how blueberry extract is being used as a treatment here.

​Women and Periodontal Disease

Everyone is susceptible to periodontal disease (PD), particularly if you don’t take good care of your teeth and gums. However, this disease can affect women in more serious ways at different times throughout their life. In addition to causing inflamed gums, chronic periodontal disease has been linked to an increase in heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and certain cancers (head, neck, esophageal, oral, lung, and pancreas).

Hormonal changes in women can increase the sensitivity of gums, which makes it easier for PD to take hold. Girls going through puberty, pregnant women, and women going through menopause should pay close attention to any discomfort in their teeth or gums. A recent study has shown a possible link between PD in post-menopausal women and the development of breast cancer.

The best way to fight PD and the gingivitis that leads to it is to maintain a healthy brushing and flossing practice. Brush twice a day with a soft bristle brush and floss twice daily, making sure to get between every tooth. Hard brushing can cause gum recession over time, so make sure you brush lightly. If your gums are so inflamed that you think you may have crossed the line from gingivitis into periodontal disease, give us a call right away to make an appointment at 207-773-6331.

Sugar and Oral Health

It’s official—Americans eat too much sugar. According to a new U.S. government report the average American consumes 22 teaspoons a day! New guidelines stress that we need to cut down on our sugar consumption. In addition to increasing the likelihood of getting type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, sugar wreaks havoc on your teeth. Sugar is the basic fuel for all living things. This includes humans and also harmful bacteria that live in our mouths.

When too much sugar is present in our mouth, these bacteria thrive and churn out harmful acids as a byproduct of their sugar consumption. It’s this acid that destroys our tooth enamel and can lead to cavities over time. So, the more we cut down on sugary foods, the less chance bad bacteria have of harming out teeth. Try replacing sweets with healthier alternatives, like sugar-free yogurt. Using natural alternative sweeteners like stevia instead of sugar in your coffee will dramatically cut down on tooth decay over time.

If your teeth have suffered as a result of too much sugar, call to make your appointment today at 207-773-6331. We’ll help give you a great smile and restore your oral health.

What does it mean to be “Mercury and Latex Free”?

You may have seen the phrase ‘Mercury and Latex Free’ the way you see ‘Fair Trade’ or ‘Certified Organic.’ It has become a new slogan that represents precautions some dental practices have taken in order to keep their patients safe, and at RADA, we make a point to be on the list of Mercury and Latex Free dental offices.

You might be wondering why some dental practices use mercury and latex and why others choose to avoid them. The first fillings developed for dentistry were made of 50% mercury. Though technological developments have allowed us to transition away from mercury, it is still widely used in amalgam fillings.

The problem with mercury is twofold. Mercury is a neurotoxin for humans. Trace amounts that escape a filling can end up where they don’t belong, in the nervous system. This mercury can also get into the environment through a variety of ways that frequently ends up in our water and fisheries. For these reasons many practices, including ours, have chosen to play it safe and keep a mercury free environment.

Along with peanuts and bee stings, latex has made the list of common allergens we face on a regular basis. Latex comes from a substance derived from the rubber tree. Just like hay fever, many people (3 million, according to some studies) are allergic to proteins this tree produces. With numerous alternatives available to us, we keep a latex free environment to ensure you and your children are safe.

Why does the cold air hurt my teeth?

That first icy gust of January air can be a refreshing sign of winter for some Mainers, especially after December’s warm streak. For people with sensitive teeth, though, the wintry air is nothing to smile about, and sipping hot tea or cocoa to warm back up can be just as painful on the other end of the spectrum. The pain is typically a sharp and sudden shock to the nerve endings, and can linger as an irritating toothache. So, the big question is: what is the root cause of tooth sensitivity?

Receding gums—caused by tooth decay, gum disease, and more—can reveal the surface beneath the enamel of your teeth, called the dentin. The dentin contains tiny, fluid-filled tubes (dentinal tubules) that lead right to the pulp and central nerves of your teeth. When the dentin is exposed, hot or cold temperature changes can carry right through to the nerves, leading to an agonizing jolt of pain.

Certain acidic foods can also wear away enamel, leaving your dentin exposed, as can grinding your teeth and hard-bristled brushes or overly hard brushing. Some toothpaste is designed specifically for sensitive teeth, but developing good habits like brushing gently, flossing, and not grinding your teeth can aid in maintaining your enamel. If your teeth are hypersensitive to the hot or cold, make sure to mention it at your next appointment.

Healthy Dishes from Christmas Past

Christmas is a time for rich foods. For a Christmas dinner that’s better for your teeth, but still satisfying, look to the delicious Christmas Dinners of the 18th century. We’ll be looking at English food, as American food had not yet developed its own identity.

Until the 19th century, refined sugar was not widely available. Christmas foods were more savory than sweet during the Georgian Era. Emphasis was on the good use of spice blends. Spices were still a luxury in England and Christmas was one of the few times middle class families would splurge on imported spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. This Christmas, try a few of these 18th century favorites to liven up your dinner table.

Plum Pottage
Before the sweeter, fattier plum pudding became a must-have during the Advent Season, the English preferred plum pottage. This thick stew is sweetened only by fruits and has a vitamin-rich broth. It makes a great, lower sugar alternative to plum pudding. Generally, it contains beef broth, cloves, mace, nutmeg, currants, and (of course) plums.

Roasted Chestnuts
An iconic Christmas food, roasted chestnuts are the perfect snack for chilly December days. In England, they are still sold by street vendors to hurrying shoppers. Chestnuts are rich in health-promoting Vitamin C, protein, and magnesium. Unlike most nuts, chestnuts are not high in fat. Just make sure they are thoroughly cooked—raw chestnuts are so hard they could lead to chipped teeth.

Hermey the Elf

The Rankin-Bass special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a Christmas staple. When it premiered on December 6, 1964, it introduced the most famous dentist of the holiday season: Hermey the Elf.

Based on an acquaintance of screenwriter Romeo Muller, the shy, fish-out-of-water Hermey the Elf eschews the life of an artisanal toy maker for a career in dentistry. While initially rejected by the other elves for his tooth-saving ways, Hermey eventually succeeds in gaining acceptance. This is a lucky turn of events, as there must be a great need for oral health services at the North Pole—a diet of milk and cookies does not a healthy smile make. That is, unless elven magical powers include immunity to dental disease.

Hermey never becomes a certified dentist in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. So, in 2014, the American Dental Association appointed him a D.D.G. (Dental Do-Gooder) for decades of promoting a positive image of dentists and dentistry.

Dental Hygiene and the First Thanksgiving

When the Puritans sat down to the first Thanksgiving, it’s likely many of them were totally toothless. As they lacked dental hygiene technology, Puritans began losing teeth to decay at young ages. By the age of 50, a significant portion of Puritans found themselves without a single tooth. Inability to chew food properly, and thus digest properly, likely contributed to many early deaths and painful digestive disorders.

Puritans didn’t understand that tooth decay was caused by plaque buildup. Cotton Mather, one of the most influential figures in Puritan America, conducted experiments that helped popularize and accelerate the development of inoculations. But his ideas about toothaches were… less impressive. In a July 1681 diary entry, Mather muses about the root cause of his toothache:

“About the Middle of this Month, I lost abundance of precious Time, thro’ tormenting Pains in my Teeth and Jawes; which kind of Pains have indeed produced mee many a sad Hour, in my short Pilgrimage…Have I not sinned with my Teeth?”

Yes, Puritans thought that toothaches were punishments for gluttony, gossip, or lies. While unhealthy eating (especially overindulgence in sweets) does contribute to tooth decay, gossip and lies have never been proven to cause dental disease.

This Thanksgiving, give thanks that you live in a time where quality dental care is readily available. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen us, give us a ring at 207.773.6331 to set up an appointment.

650 Brighton Ave. Portland, ME 04102