High Tide Dental

Naughty or Nice: Holiday Dental Care Tips

local dentist

The holidays are almost here. That means delicious sweets are tempting you. Your taste buds are ready to relish every bite while your teeth and gums aren’t prepared for the onslaught. Which are you going to be, naughty or nice?

Naughty – You Don’t Take Care of Your Teeth

With presents to wrap and cards to send, your time can easily vanish. Your dental health may not even cross your mind. That certainly puts you on Santa’s naughty list.

Nice – You Follow a Daily Dental Routine

You follow your daily dental routine and brush your teeth at least two times a day for two minutes. Keep in mind, dentists advise brushing your teeth at an angle of 45 degrees. This will make your local dentist happy and land you on the nice list.

Naughty – You Choose Sugars and Spice That Aren’t So Nice

Certain chewy, hard, sticky, gummy, sugary foods taste fabulous, but they are bad for your teeth and gums. Candy-canes, chestnuts, soft mint chews, and other holiday staples are hard to pass up. Instead, imagine the cavities that will need filling.

Nice – You Choose Healthier Foods

Pick carrots as a tasty treat. Reindeer love them too. Cookies and cakes are popular cavity-inducing holiday treats you should keep to a minimum. Stay nice and care for your teeth by sticking to healthy food choices.

Naughty – You Skip Seeing Your Local Dentist

You’ll find your place on the naughty list if you skip an appointment with your local dentist. Keep scheduled dental visits. Especially with tempting sweets lurking everywhere.

Nice – You Schedule Checkups and Teeth Cleanings

If you forget to floss and brush during the holidays, counteract the problem with a dental visit. It’s the nicest oral health gift you can give yourself. Besides, a visit ensures you’re cavity-free and smiling brightly to bring in the new year.

Naughty – You Have One too Many Sugary Drinks

Hot chocolate, spiced cider, and egg nog are popular holiday drinks. They tend to be full of sugar. If you over-indulge, you’re definitely on the naughty list.

Nice – You Drink Water

Avoid sodas and sugary holiday beverages. Instead, choose water with fluoride. This will keep your teeth healthy and strong. Your local dentist can help you avoid holiday cavity-creating pitfalls. Schedule an appointment at (207) 767-3211 to have your teeth checked and ensure you stay on Santa’s nice list.

Preparing Your Children for Their First Dental Cleaning

Child dentistry

Child dentistry is essential for your children’s oral hygiene. The first “regular” dental visit should be just after your child turns one year. Taking your children for regular dental cleaning can remove food particles and plaque from your child’s teeth. It also allows the dentist to examine your children’s teeth and gums. The following tips will help you prepare your children for their first dental cleaning.

1. Introduce Oral Hygiene Routines

Introduce dental routines to your children early. Use a clean, damp cloth to clean your children’s gums before they sprout their first teeth. Shift to a child’s toothbrush when your children grow their first teeth. Practicing oral hygiene at home will prepare your children for their first dental cleaning.

2. Practice at Home

Going to the dentist for the first time can be overwhelming for your children. Children will likely cry when unfamiliar people poke their teeth. Play dentist and let your children play patient to prepare them for their first child dentistry appointment. Take your children through the dental cleaning procedure and explain every step to them.

Use one of your furniture as a dental chair. Open your children’s mouths gently and examine their teeth. Tell them that the dentist is going to do the same. Use toys to demonstrate to your children the processes. It would be best not to connote any potential pain. Make the process a fun activity because children learn best when they are having fun.

3. Put Your Children at Ease

Talk to your children about their upcoming dental appointment. You can guarantee them there are no shots at the child dentistry. Explain to them that the dentist will examine and brush their teeth.

It would help to inform them that the dentist will show them all the dental tools and explain all the processes before cleaning their teeth. You can give your children a little motivation by promising them a treat after the appointment.

4. Accompany Your Children to the Appointment

Accompany your children to child dentistry to make them comfortable. This will assure them that dental cleaning is nothing to be afraid of. If your children are anxious, hold their hands while they get their teeth cleaned.

Giving your children a good experience at their first dental cleaning appointment will make future child dentistry visits less intimidating. Following the steps provided in this guide will ensure your children are prepared for their first dental cleaning. If you’re ready to schedule that first dental cleaning appointment please contact us today at (207) 767-3211.

4 Teeth Changes to Expect as you Age

dental care

When it comes to dental care, it’s important to know how your teeth change as you age. Knowing what to expect can help you stay on top of your dental health and ensure that your teeth stay as healthy as possible!

1. Weakening Enamel

One change to expect when it comes to your teeth includes the weakening of enamel. As you age, enamel can wear down due to chewing, grinding, and acidic drinks. When enamel weakens, it increases the risk of your teeth cracking or breaking. It can also increase the likelihood of cavities. Using toothpaste and mouthwash with fluoride, along with brushing and flossing, can reduce the risk of decay by 40%, but you should still be mindful of what you’re eating and seek treatment if you have problems with teeth grinding.

2. Yellowing Teeth

Another change that comes with aging dental care is yellowing. This can be caused by coffee, tea, and tobacco use. While cutting back on these can lower the effects, some yellowing is avoidable. This is because the dentin in your teeth naturally becomes more yellow over time, and as your enamel thins, this layer shows through much more than it did before. One of the best ways to mitigate this is by being mindful of your diet and protecting your enamel by taking steps to help slow weakening.

3. Receding Gums

Another change that comes with age is receding gums. This can expose the roots and necks of your teeth, and it can increase your risk for gum disease and cavities. Proper brushing at this stage is essential, as are regular visits to your dentist. While this problem is often unavoidable, you can help keep your mouth in better shape with the proper dental care.

4. Smaller Nerves

Lastly, the nerves in your teeth can become smaller as you age, which can make you less aware of dental pain. While this may sound like a good thing, it does mean that dental problems, such as cavities, can grow more severe as you’ll be less likely to feel discomfort. To combat this, regular dental visits will be essential so that problems can be detected early and fixed before they become more significant.

Dental care is important no matter what age you are, and it’s important to know the changes to expect as you get older so that you can prepare. The best way to keep your smile healthy is to know what to look for and work with your dentist to ensure that you’re teeth get the best care possible. If it’s time for your regular check up, don’t put it off. To schedule an appointment, please contact us today at (207) 767-3211.

7 Tips for Finding the Right Local Dentist in Maine

local dentist

82% of Americans acknowledge that oral hygiene plays a critical role in maintaining the overall health and hygiene of an individual. Sadly, only one in every four is content about the health of their mouth, teeth, and gums. Recognizing the importance of the biannual visits to a local dentist recommended by the American Dental Association is a great place to start.

Here are seven tips to help you pick out the right family dentist in Maine.

1. Qualifications and Certifications

A dentist must attain certain qualification requirements before receiving a license to practice. You can verify the credentials of the local dentist through their website. Inquire about the dental school they attended and the in-hospital experience during their residency program. Dr. Lucas Homicz attended dental school at Columbia University and furthered his education through a dental residency at the Stratton VA Medical Center in Albany, NY. Additionally, you may want to check with the local state board to see if there are any complaints lodged against them.

2. Location

You may need to find a local dentist conveniently located within Maine. You may not wish to sit in traffic for hours during a dental emergency for your child, desperately trying to get to the other side of town. Proximity to your children’s school or your workplace may make it easier to access the dental care you need. High Tide Dental is conveniently located in the town center of Cape Elizabeth and within walking distance of all three local schools.

3. Services Provided

Statistics show adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum disease than to dental cavities. Both of these oral health issues can be easily prevented with regular tooth inspection and cleaning by the local dentist. Inquire about the services provided by the family dental office. Common dental services include teeth cleaning, dental fillings, teeth whitening, dental exams, surgical extractions, and implants. Find a dentist that will provide all-around care for your family. High Tide Dental is a family focused dental practice. We start to see children when their first teeth erupt and continue to provide preventative and restorative care through the rest of their life. Currently our oldest patient is 100 years old.

4. Insurance

Your dental benefit plan may help offset some of the out-of-pocket costs at the dentist office. Inquire if the local dentist accepts your insurance. At High Tide Dental we participate with most insurances and would be happy to answer any of your insurance questions or provide you with a pre-determination of benefits before your visit. 

5. Office Ambiance

Patient comfort is key to minimizing the effects of dental anxiety. The dentist-patient relationship you will establish may last for decades, with hundreds of appointments and dental cleanings. You may need to find a local dentist that every member of your family is comfortable with. If you have young kids, look for child-friendly features that can ease their tension before meeting the pediatric dentist. At High Tide Dental, we offer a separate child focused waiting room, iPads, and individual televisions in our treatment rooms for your convenience.

6. Hours of Operation

Dental emergencies may occur when least expected. The operating hours of the local dental office may affect your appointment booking and services received during a dental emergency. You may need to find a readily accessible family dentist to provide proper oral care whenever you need it.

7. Reviews and Recommendations

The easiest way to find a reputable local dentist is to ask for recommendations from family, friends, or your family physician. You can then research more about the various dental practices on the list. Reading through the reviews on their website and other review sites such as Google and Yelp can help you determine the quality of their services.

Finding the right local dentist may be critical to providing the best level of oral care for your family. If you are searching for a family dentist in Maine, reach out to High Tide Dental at (207) 767-3211.

4 Tips for Alleviating Dental Anxiety in Kids

pediatric dentist

According to the Center for Health and Healthcare in Schools, children miss up to 51 million school hours annually due to dental-related problems. Proper dental care and hygiene are critical to keeping your children’s teeth healthy. Part of it may include making regular trips to the pediatric dentist.

When Should You Schedule Your First Dental Visit?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends taking your child for their initial dental appointment just after their first birthday or as soon as their first tooth appears. The trip to the pediatric dentist may be intimidating to most kids. Approximately 20% of school-going kids say that they are afraid of visits to the dental office.

Most children are afraid of meeting new people, especially if the strangers will be poking into their mouths with metallic tools. The fear may get the best of them, making them prefer missing out on basic dental care. Here are four tips to help alleviate your child’s dental anxiety.

1. Take Your Child to a Dentist for Children

The modern, sterile, minimalistic look in an adult dental clinic can intimidate any child. It can fix the wrong impression in the young minds, presenting it as a scary place. A pediatric dentist operates in a more kid-friendly environment, with walls and toys at the reception calming any alarmed child. Additionally, the dentist for kids is specially trained to work with children from infancy to their late teens. The staff is also warm and friendly, providing the kids with the attention and care they need.

2. Organize a Meet with a Pediatric Dentist Beforehand

Your child may be nervous or shy about meeting new people. You may break the ice by organizing a quick meet with the pediatric dentist. It may help provide an excellent way to make an introduction to the child. You may drop in at the dental office, allowing your child meets the dentist and the staff without heading into the examination rooms. It can help them create a rapport at the dental office to calm them the next time you visit.

3. Positive Enforcement Is Key

You may utilize a positive reward system to encourage your child to accompany you to the dentist. Heading to the movies or the park after the dental appointment can allow your child to look forward to the visit to the pediatric dentist. As they mature, your children will learn the essence of the regular trips to the dental office and won’t need treats anymore.

4. Underscore the Importance of Dental Visits

It is a part of your parental responsibility to ensure that your kid is open to proper oral hygiene practices. Pointing out the benefits of regular cleanings, fillings, teeth whitening at the dental office can help convince them. You may need to mind the language you use as “drill” “pain” may instill fear.

Most children are afraid of a trip to the family dentist. You can liaise with the pediatric dental office to help alleviate this fear and anxiety in your children. Reach out to High Tide Dental for a warm, comfortable environment for your child. We’re here to help! For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today at (207) 767-3211.

Dos and Don’ts for Good Dental Health

It is understood that dental hygiene is very important. Many people consider the smile as the most important feature that a person can have, as it is the first thing that one notices about you. Good dental health can be promoted by embracing a couple of practices. Below are some of the dos and don’ts you should practice to enhance good dental hygiene and health.

Dos for Good Dental Health

You could begin your journey of good dental hygiene by looking for professional dentists around you. Regular checkups and cleaning enhance good dental hygiene. You can find a dentist by doing a quick search of ‘dentist near me’. Most dental-related problems are therefore identified at an early stage and rectified before they spiral out of control.

Moreover, you should brush your teeth after every meal for at least two minutes. This helps prevent bacteria from building up on your teeth, which may present many challenges. Flossing of your teeth after eating is also important. You may choose to floss before or after brushing. Besides, your toothbrush may not be able to get through your teeth and remove the food particles stuck between them.

‘Dentists near me’ should also recommend friendly and healthy diets that will help your mouth hygiene and health thrive. Fruits, whole grains, vegetables, lean meat, and water should be part of this diet.

Don’ts for Good Dental Health

Do not brush your teeth too hard and avoid using a stiff toothbrush. A stiff toothbrush damages your enamel over time and may scratch your gums, causing bleeding. Dentists recommend the use of a toothbrush with softer bristles that is friendly to your teeth and gums. Dentists also recommend positioning your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle when brushing. You should not brush your teeth immediately after having your meal. Ideally, give it an hour to be on the safe side.

Avoid taking sugary drinks. The constant consumption of drinks like coffee, tea, and soda promotes the discoloration of your teeth. They also eat up the enamel of your teeth and over time cause tooth cavities.

Do not avoid any irregularities and pains you may experience in your mouth. These may easily be an indicator of serious underlying dental issues. It is therefore important for you to visit the ‘dentist near me.’

With the above tips, you now have the required information that will help you care for your dental health and hygiene better. While ongoing care is of the utmost importance, ongoing dental treatment should also be a priority! For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today at (207) 767-3211.

3 Signs You Should See Your Dentist Right Away

find a dentist

If you’re like most people, making a dentist appointment may not be at the top of your list of priorities. But while you might think that practicing good dental care at home can keep problems at bay, the reality is that the treatment you receive at your dental office plays a crucial role in maintaining your overall health.

Putting off your annual or bi-annual dentist visit can come with a number of serious consequences. If any of the following signs sound familiar, you’ll want to find a dentist in your area and make an appointment as soon as possible.

  1. You’re in Pain: Tooth, gum, and jaw pain should be taken seriously. While you’ll ideally want to prevent pain before it ever occurs, experiencing any kind of dental discomfort should prompt you to call your local dentist right away. Toothaches, teeth sensitivity, and swollen gums rarely get better without treatment. You’ll also want to seek out expert care if you have a mouth sore that won’t go away or if you suspect you might have a cavity. Be sure to contact your dental office so they can assess the problem and provide the care you need.
  2. You’ve Lost or Cracked a Tooth: Sudden adult tooth loss is not normal. In many cases, it can indicate the presence of gum disease (which may also be accompanied by swollen or bleeding gums). In fact, adults over the age of 35 lose more teeth to gum disease than they do to cavities. This can be a severe issue that could impact both your smile and your overall health. A cracked or chipped tooth should also prompt you to find a dentist, as any kind of injury should be addressed right away to prevent tooth loss.
  3. Your Mouth is Chronically Dry: Dry mouth might not seem like a dental emergency, but it should be addressed by a professional if it’s a constant issue. It’s true that this could be an unwelcome side effect of certain medications. However, chronic dry mouth can also be attributed to other issues (and can exacerbate certain dental problems). Your dentist may be able to recommend mouthwashes and other treatments that can provide you with some relief and prevent other issues from occurring.

Of course, there are countless other reasons to find a dentist near you. Whether you want whiter teeth, you need ongoing dental treatment for your kids, or you’ve put off making an appointment for too long, we’re here to help. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today at (207) 767-3211.

The Dangers of DIY Teeth Whitening Products

teeth whiteningAlthough it’s recommended that most people make a trip to their dental office twice a year, much of our dental care routine is performed at home. After all, brushing and flossing is something we do on a twice-daily basis — and if used in conjunction with fluoride toothpastes and mouth rinses, these efforts can reduce tooth decay by as much as 40%.

However, that doesn’t always mean your smile will light up the room. Despite your best efforts, you may notice that your teeth aren’t as pearly white as you’d like. Since you perform other dental care tasks at home, you might be wondering why you can’t whiten your teeth yourself, as well. Let’s take a closer look at why you might need teeth whitening services — and why you should always trust your family dentist over a homemade or store-bought DIY method.

Why Do Teeth Need Whitening At All?

If you generally take good care of your teeth, you might be wondering why your smile is looking lackluster. There are multiple causes of tooth discoloration, such as eating or drinking acidic and starchy items or smoking tobacco. Certain diseases and medications can also lead to enamel discoloration. Genetics, age, and environment can also play a role. While poor dental hygiene can lead to tooth discoloration and staining, it’s certainly not the only cause — and just because you’re looking into teeth whitening doesn’t mean you’ve neglected your dental care. People from all walks of life pursue teeth whitening, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

What Are the Dangers DIY Whitening?

That said, you should think twice before you whiten your teeth on your own. Although whitening products are commonly found on store shelves and homemade remedies are all over the internet, some of these options can actually be harmful to your tooth enamel or your overall health. At best, these products may be ineffective because they generally don’t contain the active ingredients that have a lasting effect on the color of your enamel. At worst, they can cause tooth sensitivity, mouth infections, enamel damage, and more. Ultimately, they’ll be either a waste of your money or will make matters much worse than before.

How Can Your Dentist Help?

If you’ve been looking for the most effective products for teeth whitening Portland Maine residents can rely on, it’s actually better to see your dentist than to search for a solution in a store. Your dentist can discuss the options they have available for whitening treatments and whether you’re a good candidate for these services. Then, they can actually send you home with customized mouthguards with dental bleaching treatments you can use at home. While these are technically part of a DIY whitening system, you’ll obtain all of the products you need directly from your dentist. This can ensure that the process is both safe and effective. You won’t have to sit in a dentist’s chair for this treatment, in many cases, but you can feel confident that you’ll see results without harming your health in the process.

Store-bought and homemade DIY tooth whitening treatments often sound too good to be true — and they usually are. By consulting with your dentist regarding a service for tooth whitening, you’ll be well on your way to a brighter, more beautiful smile without taking unnecessary risk. To learn more, please contact our office today.

3 Signs You Need a Better Dental Care Routine

dental care

Many of us tend to take our teeth for granted. But if your dental care is lacking, you may soon find an urgent need to visit a dentist near Portland ME to address an oral emergency. It’s far better to recognize the signs of poor dental care before you make an urgent trip to your dental office. Here are just three signs that you need a better dental care routine — and that you should see your family dentist before any of these issues get worse.

Your Teeth Are Patchy or Stained

Stained teeth may be relatively common, but that doesn’t mean this is a normal occurrence. Your teeth can become more stained or yellowed over time due to diet, as acidic foods and beverages can change the color of your tooth enamel. While you can ask your dentist about whitening treatments, you may also need to consider that there could be other underlying issues that lead to tooth discoloration. White patches that show up on teeth can often be the first sign of decay; ignoring these patches could certainly result in the formation of cavities. And if you notice that one of your teeth is becoming dark in color, that could indicate nerve damage that should be addressed. No matter what, staining and discoloration aren’t inherent signs of a healthy smile — so you’ll want to talk to your dentist if you notice any of these issues.

Your Gums Bleed When You Floss or Brush

Brushing too hard could potentially result in pain or even bleeding gums. But if this happens every time you floss or even when you brush gently, you may have gingivitis or another type of gum disease. This is actually pretty serious business, as adults over the age of 35 lose more teeth to periodontal (gum) disease than they do from cavities. Inflamed gums often have bacterial buildup (typically due to a lack of oral care), which is often what leads to bleeding. In turn, bleeding gums can make you more vulnerable to other health issues. Gum disease can also lead to receding or pocketed gums, which can make tooth loss more likely. If you notice you bleed regularly during your dental care routine, it’s time to talk to your dentist to figure out the best steps to take.

You’re Experiencing Oral Pain or Discomfort

Overall, you shouldn’t experience oral pain or discomfort. Healthy teeth and gums don’t cause physical irritation, so these sensations are usually your body’s warning system that something is wrong. Toothaches, jaw pain, mouth sores, and other issues could very well indicate that you need to upgrade your dental care regimen or that there’s another medical issue that should be addressed. Even if you suspect that you have a simple cavity or sensitive teeth, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist to take a look. These problems are easier and less expensive to fix when they’re caught early, so don’t delay and risk being in agony.

You may not love making a trip to the dentist, but we know that good oral health sets a strong foundation for general wellness. If any of these signs sound familiar — or it’s been more than a year since your last dental appointment — contact us today at (207)767-3211 for an appointment.

Teeth Truths: Debunking Common Dental Care Myths

dental care

Most of us would like to have a bright and beautiful smile, but we don’t always do everything we can to achieve that goal. In fact, a 2018 survey by the American Dental Association found that 42% of Americans don’t see a dentist as frequently as they would like. And in many cases, the avoidance of your family dentist may come down to pervasive misconceptions relating to oral health. In today’s post, we’re debunking some of the most common dental care myths to reveal the “tooth” behind them.

MYTH: Chewing gum and rinsing with mouthwash are good substitutes for brushing and flossing.

After meals, you might be inclined to chew a piece of gum or quickly rinse with mouthwash — and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, as long as you’re using dentist-recommended products. But while your mouth may feel minty fresh, that’s not an indication that you’re improving your oral health. Gum and oral rinses are really no match for brushing and flossing, no matter how sweet your breath smells. Although they can neutralize acids that would normally eat away at enamel, they can’t compete with a toothbrush and dental floss.

MYTH: Since baby teeth fall out anyway, it’s not necessary to focus on dental care for children.

Some parents think that because primary teeth aren’t permanent, they don’t need to worry about their child’s oral health right away. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Experts typically agree that a child’s first dental visit should take place just after their first birthday (or when their first tooth emerges, whichever comes sooner). But even before that happens, parents should wipe their baby’s mouth with a soft cloth to remove bacteria. Getting your child used to the idea of caring for their teeth from the start can set them up for better oral health habits throughout their life. We know that children who aren’t taught about dental care early on will be less likely to follow healthy routines later.

MYTH: Brushing harder will remove more plaque.

Improper brushing technique will often do more harm than good. If you think you need to scrub your teeth until it hurts in order to remove plaque, you could actually end up damaging your teeth and gums in the process — and that could leave you vulnerable to infections, decay, and receding gums. Brushing too aggressively won’t allow you to brush for a shorter amount of time. Instead, you should brush for two minutes twice a day. Whether you’re using a standard or electric toothbrush, you should use gentle, circular strokes and position the brush at a 45-degree angle. Your family dentist would be more than happy to demonstrate if you need an example.

MYTH: Unless you’re in pain, it’s not necessary to visit the dental office regularly.

This misconception is one that you may know is illogical, but that doesn’t always mean you adhere to best practices. Certainly, pain or discomfort should signal an urgent need for a dental appointment. But this isn’t the only time you should visit your dentist! It’s best to schedule a dental appointment every six months. This will actually allow you to avoid many of those emergency issues through preventative measures (which can also save you money in the long run). Another problem with this misconception is that it assumes cavities and other dental issues are obvious. The reality is that you might not always know when you’ve developed a cavity or have an underlying issue. Regular visits are the best way to spot problems that might otherwise go undetected.

MYTH: Dental care doesn’t have much of an effect on your overall health.

Whether due to dental phobias, perceived costs, or scheduling conflicts, you might even be inclined to believe that dental care isn’t all that important. But we now know that poor oral hygiene has links to a number of serious medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. By prioritizing your dental health, you may reduce your risk of other medical complications in the process.

Now that you know the “tooth” behind these myths, you might be convinced it’s time to make your next dentist appointment. To learn more, please contact our team today. To set up your next appointment, call our team at 207-767-3211.