Common Foods That Are Actually Staining Your Teeth

If there’s one thing most people want from their dental health, it’s perfectly white teeth.  Every time we smile, we get a chance to flash those pearly whites to the world.  Although for some of us, it feels more like we’re flashing not-so-pearly yellows to the world.  Yikes!

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So how do we get our teeth back to white?  It may feel like you’re following all the rules of good dental hygiene in order to get your teeth sparkly and white again, but you just can’t seem to get over the hump.  You may be surprised to find that it could be that your food habits are contributing to the discoloration of your smile!

To understand how your food is affecting the color of your teeth, you first have to understand a little bit about what’s going on in the mouth.  When you’re talking about what causes certain foods to stain your teeth, it comes down to three factors:  Chromogens, Tannins, and Acidity.

Chromogens are the compounds that give many foods their heavy pigment.  These compounds easily latch onto your teeth and cause discoloration.

Tannins are another form of organic dye found in foods. These also like to find all the nooks and crannies of your teeth and stay there.

Acidity in food refers to its pH level.  Foods that are very acidic eventually break down your teeth’s enamel, allowing for decay and discoloration to occur.

So which foods have the highest of these three components?  We’ve listed a few for you:

1. Black Tea & Coffee
Many people are already aware that prolonged coffee consumption leads to stained teeth.  Coffee is very acidic and has a high amount of chromogens.  But what most people don’t know is that tea has a much more detrimental effect on the color of your teeth!  That’s because of its triple stack of no no’s.  Not only is it very acidic and packed with chromogens, but it also is loaded with tannins.  To mitigate the damage, it’s best to use a straw when possible.

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2. Wine
No! Anything but the wine!  Unfortunately both red and white wines are very acidic and riddled with tannins.  You might have guessed it, red wine is another three-fold destroyer of that lovely shade of white.  While white wine lacks a significant level of chromogens, it still has a significant amount of tannins that put your teeth at risk.  Now that’s something to whine about!

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3. Berries
Darker berries like blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc., are acidic and high in chromogens.  That makes these delicious treats liable to stain your smile.

5. Soy Sauce and Balsamic Vinegar
Sauces like these are acidic and the dark color likes to stick to your teeth.  When using balsamic vinegar and/or soy sauce, try to pair them with crunchy vegetables like broccoli or lettuce to help clean the teeth as you eat.

4. Soda
Soda is another culprit when it comes to laying the groundwork for a less that shimmering smile.  Lighter sodas are very acidic and break down the enamel of your teeth, therefore making your teeth more vulnerable to stains from other foods.  Darker sodas are not only acidic, but contain chromogens as well.  Not only will the darker sodas wear at your enamel, they will stain your teeth as well!  Once again, using a straw when drinking soda will help minimize the discoloration.

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It’s important to point out that most discoloration of teeth comes from long term consumption of these foods and long term exposure to acidity.  Your teeth aren’t going to be permanently stained from eating a slice of grandma’s berry pie, or from the occasional glass of wine.  However, as time goes on, it will become important to protect your teeth from these elements.  Remember to always brush your teeth after consuming dark and/or acidic foods.  If you don’t have a toothbrush with you, a quick rinse with water is better than nothing!  Visit your dentist every few months for a teeth cleaning and watch the acidity of your diet!  With these simple tips, you should be able to keep your teeth shiny and white!

If you feel like you’re teeth have been significantly stained over the years, we have simple teeth whitening solutions available for you.  Give us a call and set up a consultation appointment today. We’d love to help you achieve your best smile.

NIKKI J. CHRISTIAN, DDS
Phone: 816-373-7374
Address:
3820 South Whitney Avenue
Independence, MO 64055

WESLEY L. CHRISTIAN, DDS
Phone: 816-229-4010
Address:
1400 South Outer Road
Blue Springs, MO 64015

Your Story: Camryn Upgrades Her Smile with Implants

Being a parent often means going above and beyond for your child’s happiness and health.  We want more than anything to see our children at their absolute best and to know that we’ve done everything we can to help our them step out into the world with confidence.  For our patient Camryn’s mother, she knew that helping Camryn to achieve a functional and beautiful smile was the best way to give her that confidence we all want for our children.

Camryn was born with two missing upper front teeth.  For a long time, she wore a removable appliance to mimic the two missing teeth.  Although it helped for a while, the appliance was not functional for eating and it was a bit of a bulky nuisance. This wasn’t an ideal or convenient solution for a young teenage girl!

Camryn’s mother wanted to her daughter to be happy with her smile, so she came to Dr. Wesley Christian for some answers. The solution was to outfit Camryn’s mouth with two permanent implants and then seal those implants with crowns.  The implants would offer her chewing functionality and greatly improve the appearance of her smile.

Watch below to see Camryn’s story and her smile in progress!

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After:
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Have you been thinking about having dental work done? You might be surprised at how easy it can be! Contact us now and let’s get working on your greatest accessory – your smile!

WESLEY L. CHRISTIAN, DDS
Phone: 816-229-4010
Address:
1400 South Outer Road
Blue Springs, MO 64015

NIKKI J. CHRISTIAN, DDS
Phone: 816-373-7374
Address:
3820 South Whitney Avenue
Independence, MO 64055

New Year, New You! Here are 7 Dental Hygiene Hacks to Add to your New Year’s Resolutions!

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2015 is over and the promises of new beginnings and fresh starts are upon us!  This is always a great time to reflect on what worked in the past year, what didn’t, and what we can improve and build on in 2016.  So while you’re carefully crafting your New Year’s resolutions, why not add having positively stellar dental hygiene to the list? 

This could be the year that you finally get the smile you’ve been waiting for.  Here are a few hacks to help you along the way! 

1. Back to basics: You’re probably brushing wrong. Let’s talk about proper brushing technique!
Most people want to scrub their teeth like they’re removing stains from carpet. Take it from us, stop attacking your teeth with your toothbrush! Gentle brushing using short strokes is the way to go. Otherwise you may damage your gum tissue, which could lead to periodontal problems in the future.  While we’re talking about gums, when you’re brushing your top row, make sure you’re brushing with your brush turned upwards at a 45 degree angle.  Do the same on the bottom row with your brush turned downwards at a 45 degree angle.  This will help to stimulate the gums and break up the bacteria that wants to hide there!

maytheflossbewithyou 2. Know when to floss.
We can not stress enough how important flossing is to your dental health!  It’s reported that only 69% of Americans floss daily.  The reasons for not flossing are many, some feel they don’t have the time and some just don’t think it’s worth the effort.  However, skipping the floss can wreak serious havoc on your mouth.  Flossing gets rid of the food stuck between the teeth before it can turn into plaque.  This protects your gums from gingivitis and protects your teeth from decay.  Keep in mind that you should only floss once a day, as over-flossing can lead to serious damage of the gum tissue.  Add this to your nightly routine and your teeth will thank you!

3. Know the power of habit.
A lot of us are unaware of how much of our everyday lives are dictated by the conscious and subconscious habits that we form.  Habits usually get talked about in negative light, like they are always something trying to be broken.  But it’s important to understand that the power of habit can be wielded to work for you rather than against you!  It’s been said that a new habit can be formed in as little as 21 days.  So if you’re feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of having to floss your teeth everyday for the rest of your life, first try committing to just 3 weeks of flossing. Then you may find that flossing is just like clockwork for you and the effort will be minimal.  The most important part of forming a new habit is to have a set cue to remind you when it’s time to act.  Try setting a reminder on your phone for the same time each day, or download a habit tracking app like Productive to help give you a nudge each day.

4. Switch to an alcohol free mouthwash
Most people don’t know that a dry mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria.  Saliva is important to maintaining the pH balance of the mouth, delivering minerals and vitamins to the teeth, and washing away bacteria.  Mouthwash is an important part of your dental routine, but for someone who is already prone to a dryer mouth, the alcohol in most mouthwashes can causes further dryness.  There are plenty of effective, alcohol free mouthwashes on the market. A simple switch could make a big difference for your teeth!

5. Don’t forget the tongue!
Ok so you’ve totally nailed down your brushing technique, you’re flossing like a pro, but you still can’t seem to get rid of that bad breath and that fuzz on your teeth.  You’re probably forgetting the importance of a clean tongue!  Bacteria likes to get pretty comfortable on your tongue, so it’s important to make sure it gets a little TLC too.  Brushing your tongue is effective, but it’s important to brush the tongue using more of a scraping motion.  That way you lift the bacteria off, rather than smashing it further down into the tongue.  Even better than using your toothbrush, we recommend getting yourself a handy dandy tongue scraper and using it daily.

6. Sanitize your toothbrush regularly and replace it every 3 months
After every use, you should always rinse your toothbrush off using hot water, then store it upright to allow for it to air-dry.  We also recommend keeping some food grade hydrogen peroxide on hand. Soak your toothbrush in the hydrogen peroxide at least once a week for 5-10 minutes to kill off any lingering bacteria.  After you’ve had your toothbrush for three months, toss it and treat yourself to a shiny new one!

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7. Finally schedule that cleaning you’ve been talking about!
We all have our reasons for wanting to avoid the dentist, but getting your regular checkups and cleanings is the single most important part of improving your dental hygiene and preventing oral diseases!  You should get your teeth professionally cleaned every 6 months, so what are you waiting for?!

We hope these dental hygiene hacks serve you well this New Year.  Here’s to a healthy, happy, and sparkly clean 2016!

If you’re ready to get a jumpstart on your resolution to improve your smile, schedule your dental appointment with us today. We can’t wait to hear from you!

NIKKI J. CHRISTIAN, DDS
Phone: 816-373-7374
Address:
3820 South Whitney Avenue
Independence, MO 64055

WESLEY L. CHRISTIAN, DDS
Phone: 816-229-4010
Address:
1400 South Outer Road
Blue Springs, MO 64015

Halloween Candy Buyback – Now through November 6th!

Halloween Jack o Lantern pail overflowing with candy; Shutterstock ID 219208924; PO: today.com

The spookiest time of year is once again upon us!  Ghouls and witches and glowing jack-o-lanterns have found their way into the neighborhoods.  Pretty soon, werewolves and vampires alike will be roaming the streets in search of the scariest thing of all: Halloween Candy!

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We know, we know; who doesn’t love a good round of trick or treat?  The answer is no one! But all that candy can wreak havoc on your children’s mouths. (And yours too. We all know those pots get raided as soon as the kids are in bed!)

A few years ago, we dentists figured out a way for kids to have the best of both worlds.  We began participating in a candy buyback program.  Because it turns out that candy isn’t a child’s only love.  They’re pretty fond of money, too.  We’re happy to announce that this year, we’ll once again be offering our buyback program!

All you have to do is bring your kids into either of our offices and we’ll offer them $1 for every pound of candy that’s received!  That means happy teeth and happy parents! What’s more, you’ll have happy children who will literally think they are rich. That sounds like a Happy Halloween to us because this:
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is much better than this:
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And we haven’t even told you the best part!  All of your candy donations will be sent overseas to our troops as part of Operation Gratitude.  We’re also encouraging the kids to write letters to the soldiers to accompany their donations!

Come in anytime between now and November 6th and we’ll buy your candy!

Happy Haunting!
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Bleeding gums! Ahhhhh!!!!

It’s Back to School Month! Here Are Some Tips to Keep Your Kids’ Teeth in Check!

It’s that time of year again!  School supplies have all been restocked,  the air is getting crisper, and school buses are a regular sight in the neighborhood.  School is back in session!  With all the hustle bustle going, it can be easy to let the kids’ oral hygiene slide.  But it doesn’t have to be complicated! That’s why we’re here to offer you a few tips on how to keep those pearly whites shining.  Class is now in session!

  1. When it comes to kids’ teeth, cavity prevention is key! Substitute sugary and acidic drinks with yummy alternatives like Mio Liquid Water Enhancer.  Pay attention to the labels and make sure you pass on the caffeinated version!
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  2. Opt out of candy and sugary gum. Instead, keep your kids occupied with gum sweetened with xylitol.  Xylitol is sweet and delicious and it actually helps prevent cavities!
  3. Seal those molars! Kids’ first molars come in around 6 years old. They get their second set of molars around age 12.  It’s important to get those molars sealed early on to prevent tooth decay. Getting them sealed is easy and painless and will save you money and time in the long run.
  4. Looking for a healthy snack? Say Cheese! Believe it or not, cheese has been found to be a very effective cavity-preventing food.  It increases calcium levels in the saliva of the mouth, therefore working to remineralize the teeth and prevent decay.
  5. Keep a bag of straws on you at all times.  It happens to the best of us.  You’re at a party, you’re traveling, or you’re somewhere hot with a thirsty child  and they’re giving you that pleading look that says “everyone else is doing it!”  They want the soda and you fold.  Although we don’t ever recommend sugary drinks, if you find yourself in a pinch, having straws on you is a great way to minimize the damage to your children’s teeth.  By drinking through straws, the liquid is able to mostly avert the teeth.  This isn’t a foolproof solution and it doesn’t entirely protect the teeth, but it does minimize the damage when avoiding it isn’t an option.
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  6. Find a dentist you trust.  The most important thing you can do for your children’s oral health is to find a dentist you trust.  There is no doubt that you will have many questions throughout the process of maintaining a healthy smile for your children. Finding the dentist who understands your concerns, takes the time to educate you and your children, and most of all, makes going to the dentist FUN is what will make the difference for your kids’ health!

Earlier in her career, Dr. Nikki Christian spent several years as a pediatric dentist.  With this experience, as well with being a mother herself, she understands the importance of a gentle and compassionate touch when it comes to caring for our smallest patients.  Most of our staff here have families of our own and we find joy in caring for entire families here at our practice.  If you have a child who is experiencing anxiety related to their visit, we have nitrous oxide, a safe and effective sedative that allows for your child to relax during the appointment. Nitrous oxide is 100% safe and effective for calming your child’s fears at the dentist.  Your child will remain awake and calm during the treatment and will be able to communicate with the staff.  It also has the added benefit of reducing the gag reflex, which can sometimes interfere with treatment.

We hope you’ve found these tips to be helpful!  If you’re considering having your children’s molars sealed, or if their mouths are in need of a cleaning, give us a call and set an appointment!

Dr. Nikki Christian
3820 South Whitney Ave
Independence, MO 64055
Phone: 816-373-7374

Total Mouth Makeover! Jenny tells the story of her Invisalign® transformation thanks to Dr. Wesley Christian, DDS of Blue Springs, MO!

It’s Transformation Tuesday and today we’re spotlighting our Invisalign® patient, Jenny McCon!

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  When Jenny came in for an Invisalign® consultation with Dr. Wesley Christian just over a year ago, she didn’t have any idea just how easy it would be for her to get the smile she’d always dreamed of.  She’d known for many years that she wanted to take the leap and get the work done that would give her a confident smile. However, the timing never seemed to be right and fear kept her from making the call.  Would she need braces?  How long would it take? Could she afford it? What would she look like during the process? Would it be worth it in the end?  These were all the questions that ran through her mind, and all questions that Dr. Christian’s team made sure to answer from the very first consultation.  Now, a year later, Jenny is blown away by the results and has a most contagious and beautiful smile!  Are Jenny’s questions the same questions you’ve wondered about yourself?  Are you ready to start asking?  Our team is here to educate you on your best options and to help you improve your smile, and ultimately your life!  Contact Dr. Wesley Christian’s or Dr. Nikki Christian’s office today and schedule your consultation for your Invisalign®!

Click below to watch the story of Jenny’s total mouth makeover!

Call and schedule your consultation today!

WESLEY L. CHRISTIAN, DDS
Phone: 816-229-4010
Address:
1400 South Outer Road
Blue Springs, MO 64015

NIKKI J. CHRISTIAN, DDS
Phone: 816-373-7374
Address:
3820 South Whitney Avenue
Independence, MO 64055

Pass It On: Enhancing Lives One Simple Act of Kindness At A Time

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“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”  -Aesop

At our dental offices, we’re interested in so much more than enhancing our patients’ smiles.  What we’re really striving for is the opportunity to enhance people’s lives.  The work we do to improve the health and happiness of our patients is our small contribution to the wellness of our community and we are grateful for the impact we make in the lives of so many people.

We started to wonder what else we could do to spread our mission just a little bit further. Suddenly, we realized that sometimes all a person needs to smile is a simple word of kindness and encouragement.  But how could we incorporate these simple acts of kindness into our daily practice, and how could we spread the good vibes even further outside our network of patients?

That’s when the idea hit us.  We’re sure you’ve all been handed a referral card as you leave your dentist’s office, and we’re sure that most of the time those cards end up on the floor of a car or the bottom of a wastebasket before ever making it to the hands of someone who may appreciate it.  We realized that these cards were a perfect opportunity to not only gift our patients with a kind word, but to allow them to do the same for someone else.  And just like that, our Pass it On Cards were born.

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Our patients are really starting to catch on to the idea and we’re excited to hear the stories of whose hands they decide to pass their cards onto.  You never know who may need just a little bit of kindness to bring a smile to their face today.  We want to encourage you to visit Dr. Nikki’s office and pick up some cards to hand off to your friends and family, or maybe even a stranger, and begin your own chain reaction of genuine smiles!  You can also visit this website and print off your own Pass it On cards.  Go ahead.  Make someone’s day!

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