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November 06, 2018

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Celebrate National Brush Day All Year Round!

Image result for salem massachusetts halloween tourists

Celebrating Halloween is a fun tradition that helps ease the transition from the warm, vibrant days of Summer into the shorter, colder days of Winter.  With the MouthWatchers headquarters located only about 3.5 miles from downtown Salem, MA, we are entrenched in all things Halloween.  So, we aren’t shy about spider-web decorations, goblin masks, and of course filling our sacks with pounds of little bite-sized candies!  Of course, that sugar spike that lasts well into November is a potential hazard to your oral health.  Which is why November 1st is strategically planned as “National Brush Your Teeth Day”!

 

Image result for national brush your teeth day

Now is a great time to remind kids, and adults just the same, the importance of daily maintenance of oral health.  Sugar can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums without proper mitigation.  Your mouth’s micro-environment consists of hundreds of different bacteria.  Some are good for you, while others are harmful.  The harmful bacteria thrive on sugars.  When they digest sugar, they create acids as a waste product.  This acid can deteriorate the enamel of your teeth, causing tooth decay.  As the decay progresses you will notice a toothache or sensitivity when ingesting sweet, hot or cold food and drinks.  When you practice good oral hygiene, you are interrupting this process.

Image result for halloween candy teeth

To help inform good oral hygiene practices, here is a refresher of the steps dental professionals advise you take:

  1. Brush twice a day for two minutes. This is the foundation of good oral health!  Most people brush in the morning and at night.  However, are you really brushing for two full minutes?  Try using a timer to see.  I bet you will be surprised how long two minutes really lasts!
  2. Don’t forget your tongue. The surface area and texture of your tongue provides ample breeding ground for bacteria to thrive.  Make sure that you clean your tongue to remove food and plaque just like you would from the grooves of your teeth.
  3. Floss! Flossing is intended to reach areas that your brush cannot (just like Doctor Plotka’s fantastic flossing bristles!)  Flossing and brushing go hand in hand to remove the maximum amount of food particles between your teeth and along your gum line.
  4. Use mouth wash. This ensures you are really doing the most to clear away any food and plaque that would otherwise diminish your oral health.
  5. Schedule that dentist appointment! It is advised you see your dentist twice a year.  When was the last time you’ve been?  When you adhere to the basic steps of oral care outlined above, you will look forward to going to the dentist to show off the great results!

 Here at Mouth Watchers, we love to enjoy all that Halloween has to offer.  But we can’t forget the importance of balancing indulgence and good health.  Teaching kids good oral hygiene, and following it yourself as well, will ensure the whole family has the necessary equipment for biting into a delicious caramel apple for many years to come!

-Tim Mavroules

October 30, 2018

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Dental Health Tips for Cavity-Free Halloween!

The fall season has arrived! The dropping temperatures and shorter days are undeniable signs the holiday season is right around the corner. Halloween marks the starting point of this annual season of sweets. The next few months will likely include an increase in the consumption of sweets and other treats, and therefore, more dental cavities. However, Halloween should not be a time of worry for parents.

Use Halloween as an opportunity to teach kids good dental health habits, including consumption of sweets in moderation. Here are some reminders and helpful hints to ensure you and your kids have a healthy and fun Halloween:

  • Give out healthier treats. Avoid giving trick-or-treaters candies that are sour (high in acidity, which erodes tooth enamel), sticky or chewy (leaves sugars directly on the teeth for prolonged periods) or hard (choking hazard for young kids and can cause tooth damage). There are many options for healthy snacks including things like Tooth-Safe Xylitol Lollipops cereal bars, pretzels or granola bars. Even a plain chocolate bar is a better option than sour, sticky or hard candies.
  • Perform the “safety check.” Take a look when your child returns from trick-or-treating to ensure there are no dangerous items in their collection. Include your child in this process to explain the decisions you make and allow them to learn good habits.
  • Sort it out. Encourage your child to eat the healthier treats and avoid hard, sour or chewy candies like jawbreakers or caramels. These candies have high acidity and/or stick to the teeth longer, which can cause more damage.
  • Limit availability. Candy should be enjoyed, but moderation is important. Have your child choose 15 or so of their favorites and remove the rest.
  • Brush-up after consuming. Set a specific time of day for candy consumption and then have your child follow-up by brushing his or her teeth with Dr. Plotka's Youth Toothbrush. This is much healthier than allowing your child’s teeth to be continuously exposed to sugary or acidic treats throughout the day.

Though this Halloween is a great opportunity to start employing these practices, don’t stop there! Continue to follow these recommendations throughout the year so your children can develop good dental hygiene habits while still enjoying their treats in moderation.

With all that in mind, don’t forget to brush, floss and routinely visit your dentist for check-ups. Remember, good oral health is a major contributor to overall health, so developing good dental hygiene habits will help ensure a long and healthy life for both you and your children.

October 24, 2018

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The Truth on Getting Sick when it's Cold

I keep hearing that you don’t catch a cold because it’s cold. And... I cannot disagree more! I mean come on now! Don’t you just KNOW and FEEL that when you have the chills you are most likely getting sick… right now? Also, isn’t it pure logic?
Look:
- Why would it be that most people get sick during the winter? Uh?
- And how about Flu seasons? It’s not at Summer solstice as far as I know, is it?

So I did a little research and… Alright, the cold is not directly responsible for catching a cold, BUT it has a LARGE amount of responsibility in it. And here is why:

1. Our immune defenses are weakened

When it's cold, our body is working so hard to try to maintain the natural internal temperature necessary to function properly. To do so, the blood vessels shrink, and the activity of the blood cells slows down. With less sun outside (= less Vitamin D), our immune defenses become less able to resist viruses. So being cold increases the risks to get a cold. Boom, one point for me.

==> Add a layer or two! (or in my case, add a scarf, a turtleneck, a pair of gloves, a cardigan, a pair of wool socks and have a blankie handy ;)


2. Staying in, proximity, close environment

It seems that this is one of the major causes of the rise of colds in the winter! Since we want to stay warm, we stay inside for lunch, we take the subway instead of walking, we meet at a cafe instead of the park, we go to the gym instead of the woods. Thus, viruses spread more easily from one person to another (via siliva, sneezing… yuk).

==> Wash your hands regularly, even if you are not sick!

3. Our respiratory system is weakened

I am not a doctor so here is how I understand it: with the change of temperature, the natural mechanism of the nasal tubes to warm the air allows more viruses to enter the body, as the mucous membranes dry out and become less protective. The dryness of the air that comes with winter can also affect the bronchi, making them more prone to get infected.

==> Stay warm! And boom, another point for me. A couple other good things could be to add some moist in the air and get some fresh air in by opening the windows once in a while...

4. The sun weakens viruses, the cold strengthens them

Not only the cold has an impact on our organism, but it also has an impact on the viruses. Viruses hate ultraviolet rays. So when the sun isn’t out much (aka when it’s winter and cold), they party. On top of that, the cold hardens the shell of certain viruses that protects them. And… like it’s not enough, the cold air makes particles more volatile so in other words, viruses are flying, trying to get you.

==> Seriously, just move to a sunny and warm place.

 

~V.

Happy Boss's Day! A Tribute to our General Manager, V

October 16th is Boss's Day, so the MouthWatchers team has decided to write about our wonderful manager, V!

V has been with MouthWatchers since 2009, and has helped the company to grow and flourish through her enthusiastic leadership. Here are some things we love about V:

What is your favorite thing about V?

Violetta: Her energy and positivity. She is always in a good mood and she never complains. That's so rare nowadays!

Jackie: Her work ethic. I’ve always said that she works 24/7. I’ve seen emails coming from her as late as 11 PM and and she has taken a lot of phone calls outside of our business hours for dentists/stores that want to place orders.

Tim: Her optimism in the face of any challenge.

Meg: Her sense of humor!

What's your favorite memory of V?

Violetta: This year at Expo West in Cali we were playing hide and seek with her adorable 2-year old daughter Eliana at 3 in the morning. We were hiding for about 20 min until V found us! 

Jackie: When we went to Expo West and she did a tarot card reading on us. It was nice of her to share one of her interests with us.

Tim: Any time she’s with Eliana.

Meg: When she very purposefully got ready to vacuum our office, citing it as her "duty". 🤣

How does V make MouthWatchers a great place to work/a great team to be a part of?

Violetta: She is supportive and understanding. She makes sure that we all know that our hard work is appreciated and does not go unnoticed.

Jackie: Out of all the jobs I’ve had throughout the years, I have never felt like I held such an important position until I came to work for the MW team. She really makes you feel like an asset and always reminds you.

Tim: Her enthusiasm for providing the best service to our customers and finding innovative ways to improve all the time.

Meg: Her ambition and excitement to constantly improve/grow, and how she reminds us that we're a part of that vision & process!

THANK YOU V for all you do! You make being part of the MouthWatchers team a blast!

Much love,

Violetta, Jackie, Tim, & Meg

 

How to Keep Your Gums and Teeth Healthy

Gum disease is caused by bacteria found in plaque and tartar. Plaque is mostly made up of bacteria, mucus, food, and other particles. When it’s not removed, it hardens into tartar, giving the bacteria a home.

Gum disease has 3 stages:

  • Gingivitis —> This is the early stage where the gums are red, swollen, and tender (can easily bleed). If the condition is caught early, it can often be reversed on its own with correct brushing and flossing.
  • Mild/Moderate Periodontitis —> In this next stage, there is increased inflammation and bleeding around the tooth. This happens when bacterial poisons in plaque and your body’s defenses start to break down the gum attachment to the tooth. The gums start to pull away from the teeth and forms pockets of infected material. Treatment at this stage is critical to prevent further loss of bone and loosening of teeth.
  • Advanced Periodontitis —> This stage has further deepening of gum pockets and heavy destruction of bone that holds teeth in place. The teeth may become so loose that they need to be removed if treatment doesn’t restore bone support. 

Symptoms of periodontal disease:

  • Bad breath that lasts
  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Receding gums
  • Pain when chewing

The following risks put a person at more risk for developing gum disease:

  • Smoking or using chewing tobacco
  • Hormonal changes in girls/women
  • Diabetes
  • Certain medicines
  • Heredity

How to Avoid Gum Disease:

Having good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing twice a day) can help prevent gum infections, cavities, and tooth loss. Also having your teeth cleaned and checked by a dentist or dental hygienist at least once a year is important.

To brush correctly:

  • Brush in the morning and before you go to sleep.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride.
  • Place your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle against your gums and brush each tooth 15-20 times. 
  • Move your toothbrush gently, using short strokes. Do not scrub!
  • Brush vertically in short, downward strokes against your inner upper-front teeth; short, upward strokes for lower inside teeth. 
  • Brush the chewing surfaces of your teeth with short, back and forth strokes.
  • Replace your toothbrush about every 3-4 months.
  • Don’t cover your toothbrush or store it in a closed container as this can encourage growth of microorganisms.

Floss like you care!

Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles stuck between your teeth and under your gums 

  • Cut off about 18 inches of floss and hold it tightly between your thumb and forefingers. Place it between your teeth and gently slide it up and down. 
  • When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it around 1 tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss up and down, making sure to go below the gumline. Repeat method on the rest of your teeth, and also flossing the back side of your teeth!

Your teeth and your gums will thank you once you get into the habit of good oral hygiene. Do everything in your power to preserve that great smile!

Remineralizing your Teeth - a Primer on Reversing & Preventing Tooth Decay

Hello all! Happy October! 🎃 🎃 🎃

I have a confession to make......before joining MouthWatchers, I wasn't taking very good care of my teeth. 😬

I slacked off on oral care during college when my course load was crazy, and those bad habits unfortunately carried over, leading to the development of something nobody likes having or getting treated: cavities.

After working at MouthWatchers for a bit, I knew I had to get in for a dentist appointment...I hadn't seen a dentist since high school, so probably at least 6 or 7 years had passed (horrible, I know! 😬). I knew if I didn't get back on track with my oral health it would be contradictory to my work! So I scheduled a dentist appointment, grinned & bared it through fillings, and started my new, tooth-conscious lifestyle.

One thing I learned about at the dentist that I wasn't aware of before is the concept of remineralizing teeth! This process, simply put, is using various products/practices to encourage the strengthening/restoration of enamel, which can help remedy soft spots (areas of weakening enamel that are threatening to become a full-blown cavity) as well as strengthen tooth enamel all throughout the mouth, helping to prevent development of any further tooth decay. I learned at the dentist that I had 1 soft spot, and it was deemed fixable/not needing a filling....yet. So I began working on changes in my oral care to remineralize the tooth/strengthen my teeth overall. Here are some of the steps I took:

Brushing with Fluoride Toothpaste

I know that fluoridation can be a controversial subject (should it be in water, should it not, should we be using it in oral care or not, etc), but when it comes to weakening of tooth enamel (known as demineralization), fluoride is essential. It helps to strengthen/build up enamel, which, over time, can fill in soft spots/prevent further tooth decay. I've been using a spearmint fluoride toothpaste by Spry; it tastes great and I can rest assured that I'm incorporating remineralizing ingredients into my oral care regime.

Flossing Every Night

I have to admit, I am not the best flosser (I went a long time not flossing at all which I'm sure at least partly contributed to the formation of cavities), so this step is one I still struggle with. When I'm getting ready to go to bed, it's already far past my bedtime (any other night-owls out there?), so any and every task before my head hits the pillow feels extra tedious. However, having seen the repercussions to not flossing, and not particularly wanting to get more fillings in my future, I am doing my best to floss each night before I go to bed. Flossing before you sleep is a good time to do it, because otherwise any food debris that is stuck in your teeth/can't be removed by simply brushing will sit there overnight (not good). I've been using this floss by Reach; It can slide in between teeth fairly well since it's waxed, and the mint coating/flavor leaves a pleasant taste after use. Since I'm still working on my flossing technique, I'm ever-thankful for my Dr. Plotka's toothbrush with flossing bristles! I have been using the Youth Yellow recently, as it can reach my back molars really well.

Using a Restoring Fluoride Rinse

Another easy way to prevent tooth decay/remineralize your teeth is using a fluoride rinse as well. Although you may be thinking "Meg, I brushed with a fluoride toothpaste already, isn't this overkill?", hear me out! A rinse coats the teeth and stays there, while toothpaste is mostly removed from the teeth after brushing. using this extra layer of minerals can just act as an extra boost to strengthening weaker teeth, and upping overall defenses for the rest of your smile. I've been using a restoring rinse from ACT. I like that it doesn't have much of that 'burn' sensation other rinses do, meaning I can swish for the full minute I'm supposed to without wincing in pain.

Hydrating

Drinking enough water is essential! Dry mouth isn't good for teeth. Make sure that you get enough water each day; not only does it benefit your skin/body, but it promotes healthier teeth too!

I hope this baby lesson on remineralization was helpful for some of you! Long story short: Use fluoride to strengthen, floss to remove stuck debris, and don't get lazy!

Have a great day,

~Meg

9 Tips for Embracing the Fall!

As I am sure many of you can relate, this week I am reluctant to accept that Summer is coming to an end.  I protest silently in my mind, but this past week’s persistent grey skies and temperatures in the mid-60’s leave little room for argument.  So, in the spirit of embracing that which I cannot change, here are some tips to make the most of Fall!

 

  1. Stay active

With the days getting shorter and the weather becoming less temperate, we can feel less inspired to get outdoors.  We naturally slide into “hibernation mode”.  Being inside is often accompanied by couch-lounging and indulgent snacking.  This is a perfect combo for those extra pounds we tend to lament as bikini season comes back around.  But you can hold off this slip into laziness by making a conscious effort to stay active.  There are plenty of things to still do outside like going for a hike, mountain biking, fishing and hunting for yard sales.  Still can’t get out there as often as you like?  Try a 15-minute bodyweight workout.  There are hundreds posted everyday right on YouTube by experienced and talented trainers.  There’s really no excuse for getting lazy in the Fall!

 

  1. Get Vitamin D

Much has been discovered about this ubiquitous micronutrient in the last 10 years.  Studies have shown it to be integral to many cellular processes, and have linked it to Seasonal Affective Disorder, obesity, and heart disease.  Tend to feel a bit blue when the days get shorter?  Want a little extra assurance that you are protecting your health?  Consider adding a Vitamin D supplement as the weather gets cooler.  It can help boost your immune system and your overall sense of well-being!

 

  1. Bundle up

Here in New England it is a rite of passage to endure the four seasons in all of their extremes.  For you fashionistas out there, the changing of the seasons is just an opportunity to break out a whole new wardrobe.  For the more practical types, having the right weather resistant gear can mean enjoying the outdoors straight through the colder months.

 

  1. Go to a game

September through January is the peak of the sportophile’s year!  The NFL season kicked off a couple weeks ago, the playoffs are about to begin in the MLB, and the NBA and NHL are both ramping up with preseason activities.  You can enjoy a local high school or college game any weekend and support the next generation’s up and coming talent.  Take it one step further and commit to coaching a local youth sports team and help guide kids to aspire to be better and believe in themselves.

 

  1. Take a class

September is back to school time.  But that isn’t necessarily reserved to just the kids.  Feel like you could use an edge at work?  Looking to start a new hobby or learn a new skill?  Now is a great time to make the most of being inside more by taking a class and grow on a personal level.  There is probably a breadth clinics and classes right in your community.  Check out locally owned businesses, community colleges, and adult learning centers to see if there is something that appeals.  It might just open up a whole new world of opportunities!

 

  1. Throw a Party

There’s nothing like propping up against the colder weather with a group of close friends and family.  Share that new recipe you learned in the cooking class you recently signed up for.  Take a chance to reconnect with people you haven’t seen in a while.  Having less to do outdoors can mean having less social interaction through the colder months.  But it doesn’t have to be true!  This is the perfect time of year to fill your home with the good cheer of great company.

 

  1. Enjoy the Harvest

This is prime time for local farmers and artisans to bring their goods to market.  Seek out a farmer’s market and you can support families and the local economy.  You are sure to find some of the freshest produce, baked goods, meats and cheeses available.  Often the selections are organic and better for you than food from national producers.  It is also a great opportunity to find something to share at that party you’re planning next weekend!

 

  1. Crock Pot Cooking

Nothing is easier, and often healthier, than cooking in a crockpot!  You just pile the ingredients together in the morning, and by the afternoon you have a delectable hearty meal.  And it’s not just limited to beef stew.  You can find delicious recipes online for anything from curry to jambalaya to cheesecake!

 

  1. Grow a Beard

This last one is based on my own biased opinion that beards help improve a man’s health, vitality, and credibility in general.  They look great, bestow an air of wisdom, and stave off that chill that comes creeping in with Fall and Winter.  Having trouble finding a girlfriend? Struggling with a plateau in the gym?  Wondering what you’re going to do about that pack of wolves that keep harassing your flock?  Grow a beard and watch as these seemingly insurmountable obstacles crumble at your feet.