Dental Hygiene Month

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October is National Dental Hygiene Month! This month is all about bringing awareness to the importance of good oral health and hygiene.
National Dental Hygiene Month is sponsored by both the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program. The goal is to educate patients on “The Daily 4” in hopes that this set of guidelines will become positive personal habits that last a lifetime.
So what exactly is the “Daily 4”?
Brushing, flossing, rinsing and chewing! 20151-810x602
Brushing twice a day, every day. Use a soft bristled toothbrush with a fluoride toothpaste and a gentle circular motion along the gum line to get the best results.
Flossing at least once a day and after every meal if possible. Your dental hygienist will be more than happy to demonstrate proper flossing techniques at your next visit.
Rinsing with a fluoride rinse daily will help keep enamel strong and teeth cavity free.
Chewing sugar free gum after a meal when you don’t have time to brush has been found to have a positive effect on removing the bacteria that comes with food.
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Along with making the “Daily 4” part of your everyday routine, it is important to remember to see your dentist twice a year for cleanings and check ups! Call to make an appointment today! (928) 774-9553
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Your friend,
Dr. Joedi Pasut
Alpine Smiles Family Dentistry
1600 W. University Ave #113
Flagstaff, AZ
86001

10 Worst things you’re doing to your teeth

We all know the basics of good dental hygiene, brush and floss twice a day, visit the dentist every six months and avoiding sugary foods. But what are the things we’re doing that aren’t so great for our teeth? Here is a list of 10 things that you might be doing that could be negatively affecting your teeth.
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  1. Using your teeth as tools
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  1. Grinding your teeth
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  1. Using a brush with too firm bristles
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  1. Chewing ice
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  1. Consuming sugary foods and beverages
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  1. Nail biting
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  1. Flossing incorrectly
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  1. Playing sports without a mouthguard
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  1. Incorrect brushing technique
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  1. Not replacing your brush regularly
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So there ya have it! Do your best to avoid these bad habits and continue to brush and floss every day.
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Your friend,
Dr. Joedi Pasut
Alpine Smiles Family Dentistry
1600 W. University Ave #113
Flagstaff, AZ
86011

Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be a bad thing

“I’m scared because I have no idea what’s going on or what to expect.”

“That absolutely terrifying sound of the drill sends shivers down my spine.”

“I have terrible teeth, I’m just so embarrassed.”

“I can’t go to the dentist. If I do, I’ll have a full-fledge panic attack.”
It’s actually much more common than you may think to feel this way. Dental anxiety is very common and totally natural. I mean, why wouldn’t it be natural to be afraid of someone coming at your face with sharp tools? It isn’t exactly something we want.  But the good news is that there are things you can do to make the experience bearable, and even pleasant!
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It all starts with finding the right dentist.
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Things your dentist can do to make your visit less scary:
If you have dental anxiety, make sure to find a dentist who understands where you’re coming from. There are many different things dentists can do to make appointments less frightening. Here at Alpine Smiles, we offer movies, music, pillows and blankets to make you more comfortable during your visit! It’s important to seek out a dentist that lets you have control in the chair, explains things thoroughly and doesn’t make you feel embarrassed for being afraid. It’s even okay to interview a few dentists if you think it is necessary so you can see if you feel comfortable talking to him or her about your apprehension. 
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Things you can do to make your visit less scary:
Avoid caffeine for at least six hours before your appointment, that way you are less anxious
Eat high-protein foods one hour before your visit and it can calm your anxiety
Focus on breathing regularly and slowly. Concentrate on pausing for a couple seconds between breaths. People with anxiety tend to hold their breath, which decreases their oxygen levels and further increases the feeling of panic.
Agree upon a specific gesture with your dentist, such as a hand signal so you can alert him or her to pause. This is great if you have ever been afraid of losing control while in the dental chair.
Use a blanket during your visit. Pressure on the body from a weighted blanket can relieve anxiety at the dentist. For many years, people have gotten relief from the heavy lead vest used while taking x-rays.  
Ask for nitrous oxide. Millions of apprehensive patients every year receive extensive dental work under the effects of nitrous oxide. These patients admit, that without the option of nitrous oxide, they would not actively seek dental care. Nitrous oxide is also a safe and proven technique that is inexpensive and readily available. 
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If you’ve been avoiding the dentist because of anxiety, give us a call and we can work together to make your visit something you don’t have to fear! 
 
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Your friend, 
Joedi
Dr. Joedi Pasut
Alpine Smiles Family Dentistry
1600 W. University Ave #113
Flagstaff, AZ
86011

Everything you need to know about FLOSSING!

Flossing can be a tedious thing and many people dread getting the question, “Have you been flossing?” at their dental checkups. Although it may be annoying it is still very important. Brushing alone is not enough to control the plaque that is in your mouth. To get rid of the plaque that finds its way in between your teeth, you must floss.
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Additionally, flossing helps prevent future dental work as the existing plaque can cause “interproximal cavities” or cavities in between the teeth. Here are some simple flossing tips that will make you smile a little bigger the next time you see your dentist.
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First, it’s important to know the basics. The American Dental Association (ADA) provides the following five steps to achieving a flawless floss:
  1. Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the rest around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.
  2. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
  3. Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.
  4. When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
  5. Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth.                                                                                                                                                
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Now the question is, before or after brushing?
 According to the ADA, the sequence of flossing and brushing makes no difference. As long as you do a thorough job of both. Also be sure to floss at least once a day, but more often if you can!
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Choosing a floss
When you go to the store to buy floss, it can be a bit overwhelming because of all the different options. But when it comes down to it, there are only two types of floss, multifilament and monofilament. Multifilament is the more common type of floss on the market, and it is the standard dental floss that has been around for a very long time. Typically, multifilament floss is made out of nylon or silk, but the most common material is definitely nylon. Multifilament floss also comes waxed or un-waxed. Wax generally makes gliding the floss between your teeth easier and some say that it is more comfortable. One downside to multifilament floss is that it may shred or break easier than monofilament floss. Monofilament floss is newer to the market and made out of plastic or rubber. Since it is stronger, it doesn’t shred or tear. People generally find monofilament floss easier to use and move between teeth which is why many brands use the word “glide” in the floss name.
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Both types are available in different thicknesses and flavors depending on your needs. The type of floss you use is mostly about preference. You have to choose one you won’t mind using every day.
                         
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Other options
Other manual options include floss picks and soft picks. Floss picks are just small sections of floss attached to a stick to make flossing easier. Soft picks look like tiny Christmas trees and they’re perfect for those with braces or permanent retainers because they effortlessly go between wire and teeth.
                                                                                      
For those who want a more high-tech option, there are water picks which shoot water between teeth and clean out areas where gums pull ways from the teeth and form spaces. Due to its ease of use, water picks are a good option for those who have diminished motor function, but they should be used in conjunction with manual flossing as they are not the most well-equipped to remove all plaque.
                                                       
While there are numerous products on the market to help make flossing a little easier, the most important thing to remember is that flossing controls plaque buildup and plaque buildup can lead to gum disease.
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But how do you know if you’re doing a good job? Try using plaque disclosing tablets which are available over-the-counter at pharmacies and other stores that sell oral hygiene products. Plaque disclosing tablets are chewed after you clean your mouth. Red dye will stain plaque that has not been removed, showing you spots that need additional cleaning. Then you can use whatever works best for you to remove additional traces of plaque!
                                         
Find your own routine, so the next time you’re asked if you floss everyday, you can smile and say yes!
                                              
If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or call our office at 928-774-9553.
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Your friend,
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Joedi
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Dr. Joedi Pasut
Alpine Smiles Family Dentistry
1600 W. University Ave #113
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
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Dental lingo from A-Z!

When you come in to see the dentist, do you ever feel confused? Do you hear the dentist and hygienist talking, but don’t understand what exactly they’re saying? Dental terminology is almost its own language, with lots of unique terms and numbers used by professionals. It would be great if you had a better understanding of this foreign language. Here’s a guide from A to Z of some of the many common dental phrases that may help you at your next visit!

Abrasion: Loss of tooth structure caused by a hard toothbrush, poor brushing technique or bruxism.

Bruxism: Grinding or gnashing of the teeth, most commonly while the patient is asleep.

Calculus: Hard residue, commonly known as tartar, that forms on teeth due to inadequate plaque control. Calculus teeth are often stained yellow or brown.

Diastema: A space between teeth.

Enamel: Hard tissue covering the portion of tooth above the gum line.

Filling: Restoration of lost tooth structure with metal, porcelain or resin materials.

Gingivitis: The inflammation of gum tissue.

Halitosis: Bad breath of oral or gastrointestinal origin.

Inter-proximal: Surface in between adjoining teeth.

Jacket: The crown for a front tooth, usually made of porcelain.

K-file: A file used during a root canal.

Laughing Gas: Nitrous oxide, an odorless inhalation agent that produces relative analgesic (sedation), and reduces anxiety and creates a state of relaxation.

Mandible: The lower jaw.

Nerve: The tissue that conveys sensation, temperature and position information to the brain.

Occlusion: The relationship of the upper and lower teeth upon closure.

Periapical (PA): The region at the end of the roots of teeth.

Quadrant: One of the four equal sections into which the dental arches can be divided; begins at the midline of the arch and extends distally to the last tooth.

Restoration: The replacement of a portion of a damaged tooth.

Supernumerary Tooth: An extra tooth.

TMJ: The temporomandibular joint where the lower jaw attaches to the skull.

Unerupted Tooth: A tooth that has not pushed through the gum and assumed its correct position in the dental arch.

Vertical Dimension: The arbitrary space between the upper and lower jaws upon closure that may decrease over time due to wear, shifting or damage to the teeth.

Wisdom Teeth: The third (last) molars that usually erupt between the age of 18-25.

Xerostomia: Dry mouth or decrease in the production of saliva.

Yeast: Also called candida, which is a fungus that can occur in various parts of the body including the mouth. 

Zygomatic bone: Quadrangular bone on either side of the face that forms the cheek prominence. 

 .If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or call our office at 928-774-9554.
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Your friend,
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Joedi
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Dr. Joedi Pasut
Alpine Smiles Family Dentistry
1600 W. University Ave #113
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
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Whitening your teeth: DIY or Dentist?

Should you get your teeth whitened by your dentist, or just do it yourself?
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The thought of going to the dentist isn’t always the most appealing idea to everyone, so many people consider buying an at-home kit to whiten their teeth in lieu of taking a trip to the office. You can easily buy one at the store, they’re relatively inexpensive and you can use them on your own time. So why should you go to the dentist? Both options have their advantages. Take a look at this comparison to see which one works best for you!
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Convenience 
Most people want to be able to whiten their teeth quickly and not have to leave the house, which is why at-home kits may seem to be the better option. However, setting aside daily time at home (sometimes several times a day) to apply the bleach and letting it sit may be impractical for many people.  After all, if the at-home product isn’t used often enough, the bleach will not work properly, leaving some frustrated with the poor results.
Although it requires you to leave the house, having your teeth professionally whitened by the dentist could take just 90 minutes, more efficiently giving a person the results they desire.  Besides, that hour and a half is a great opportunity to sit back and relax, maybe even watch a movie!
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Price
One of the biggest things that turns people away from going to the dentist to get their teeth whitened is the price. It is true that at-home kits are typically cheaper than going to the dentist, but in that instance you are paying for convenience, not quality . Plus, here at Alpine Smiles, we’re offering FREE professional whitening (a $300 value) to new patients with a full dental exam, x-rays, cleaning and acceptable oral health. Call us today to schedule your appointment! 928-774-9553
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Speed
When it comes to quick whitening, most at-home kits will promise immediate results, but it is unlikely that you’re going to have stark white teeth after one use. Additionally, the concentration of bleach in at-home kits can cause sensitivity and pain!  To get the results they promise, you will have to continuously use them on a regular basis, leading to more sensitivity. If you go to have your teeth whitened by your dentist, it will be over in less than two hours and that’s it!
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Safety
One of the most important factors of teeth whitening is safety. Using chemicals on your body in any way has the potential to be dangerous. At-home products can be safe – if they are used correctly. There is a lot of room for error when whitening yourself. But if you go to your dentist, safety will be maintained at all times.
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Results
So which one gives you the whitest teeth? Without question, in-office whitening.  Some people report good results with at-home kit; however, many other people have had terrible experiences with them. They are pretty hit and miss, and if they don’t work, you have wasted your money. If you get your teeth whitened by your dentist, you can feel much more confident that you will get the results you want.
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Both at-home whitening kits and going to your dentist are options if you want whiter teeth. However, your dentist is in a much better position to give you the results you want in a timely manner.
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If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or call our office at 928-774-9554.
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Your friend,
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Joedi
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Dr. Joedi Pasut
Alpine Smiles Family Dentistry
1600 W. University Ave #113
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
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Why April is my favorite month

You’ve heard the saying “April showers bring may flowers.” Well, good thing I like the rain because April is actually my favorite month. In the dental world, April means three things:

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Oral Cancer Awareness Month
April = learning. I always love the opportunity to educate my patients on the awareness and severity of oral cancer, and how easily preventable it is.
1. Brush. 👏 Your. 👏 Teeth. 👏
2. Come see me every six months.
3. Don’t use tobacco products (it eats away at your teeth).

You know what’s scary? About 50,000 people are going to be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2017. And we’re going to try to make sure it isn’t any of you because we’re going to make sure your mouth is in tip-top shape.

National Facial Protection Month
In April, dentists, schools, parents, athletes, and anyone involved with sports come together to talk about the importance of protecting our kiddos from face injuries! We talked about it in last month’s blog. It’s so important to wear face masks and mouth guards to protect our mouth. I love that so many people talk about it.

April Fools
If you know me, you know that I am a big jokester. There’s nothing that I love more than making people laugh—something that I take into my dental practice. When you’re relaxed, so am I, which makes your time in the chair so much easier.

Plus, I really like pranks… and am apparently really easily pranked. 😂 Watch the video here: https://www.facebook.com/alpinesmiles/videos/1310990048990025/

Thanks for reading, y’all! 

Your friend,
Joedi
Dr. Joedi Pasut
Alpine Smiles Family Dentistry
1600 W University Ave #113
Flagstaff, AZ
86001

How to protect your child’s teeth during sports

Picture this: a middle school baseball player is up for bat. The first pitch is thrown. Strike. The second pitch is thrown. A solid hit. Except, not to the outfield, but rather the face. Blood appears immediately and the coach runs out to assess the injury. The pitcher runs up to apologize, while the catcher searches the ground for the teeth that have been knocked out. You watch helplessly from the stands wondering what happened… Or, if you’re like me, you’re already on the field holding your child.graphics-interchange-format-gif-8d2f265dc23f-1

When your child plays sports, you might often worry about broken bones or sprained ankles. Well, their teeth are equally as important to worry about! Tripping over a hurdle or a basketball off the backboard to the face could chip or even knock out a tooth.

But, parents! Do not fret. I have a solution.

Mouthguards & helmets: for more than just football.  

Yes, yes, I know. Safety–a child’s least favorite word. Trust me, I have twin daughters… I know how hard it is to get them to wear anything that doesn’t look “cool.” My solution? Try showing them these photos from sports related injuries and see what they have to say…

Trigger warning: blood ahead.

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The facts:

  • According to SafeChild.net, 60% of sports-related injuries occur during practice, rather than during games.
  • This year 5 million teeth will be knocked out of children while they play sports
  • It is estimated that helmets save one life each day and prevent one head injury every four minutes (Colgate).
Protect your kids and their precious teeth!
Your friend,
Joedi
Dr. Joedi Pasut
Alpine Smiles Family Dentistry
1600 W University Ave #113
Flagstaff, AZ
86001

Happy Smile, Happy Life

Going to the dentist can be an investment. Sometimes a pricey one, but that’s not to say it’s not an investment. Whether we like it or not, we are judged by our appearance and our smile has the ability to influence how people think of us. And whether we admit it or not, we care what people think of us. 

Now as a doctor, you should know that I do a lot of research before I share things with you–and I share them with good intention. In a recent study by Invisalign, researchers found that American’s believe straight teeth are directly correlated with success. The study found that “those with straight teeth to be 45% more likely than those with crooked teeth to get a job when competing with someone who has a similar skill set and experience.” They are also considered 58% more likely to be wealthy and successful.
More information on this research can be found here: InvisalignFullSizeRender 44.jpg

The reason that I share this is to show
that there is confidence that comes with being proud of your smile.

Are you proud of your smile?

If yes, then I am very happy for you- my job is complete. (Other than the regular check-ups and cleanings… Let’s not forget about those!) You are comfortable. So walk your walk and be confident in your gorgeous smile.

If no, then let’s talk about your options

I want to make sure that you’re comfortable in your smile. If you’re self-conscious about your smile due to cracked, broken, decayed or worn teeth, we can bring back your healthy, natural-looking smile. Whether it be crowns, bridges, implants, veneers, dentures, Invisalign, 6-Month Smiles (my favorite service right now because it doesn’t take very long at all), or even whitening, we can tailor a treatment plan that meets your smile and budget needs. 

DD8D7CB6-1068-4D90-9438-E5D25337D944.JPGWe work with your insurance company up front to see what they will cover.  What about what’s left over?  What if I don’t have insurance?  Well, that’s why have CareCredit, a no interest financing service for dental procedures (if paid within 12 months).

I’m here to make sure you feel comfortable, confident, and successful. Let’s do this.

If you have more questions, please feel free to call our office at 928-774-9554 or office@alpinesmiles.net.

Your friend,
JoediIMG_0320.JPG
Dr. Joedi Pasut
Alpine Smiles Family Dentistry
1600 W University Ave #113
Flagstaff, AZ
86001

New Year’s Resolutions – Dental Edition

January 1 means a new year, new adventures, and new promises. Often, you read about people’s promises to be a healthier, happier you. “I’m going to exercise every single day for the next year” or “I’m cutting sweets out of my diet this year.” Let’s be real— these aren’t realistic.

As a dentist, I hardly ever hear resolutions to improving oral hygiene (disappointing)! So here are 4 realistic and obtainable New Year’s Resolutions that you can easily implement to increase your health and happiness this year.

Use mouthwash

Did you know that even after brushing, there sometimes is extra gunk that sticks around in your mouth? Using mouthwash is a perfect way to give your mouth a rinse, loosen up and repel that gunk, and freshen up!

Pro Tips:

  • Use alcohol-FREE mouthwash
  • Bottles range between $3-6

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Pick up an electric toothbrush 

The key to effective oral hygiene is effective use of the right toothbrush. When people come into my office, I can tell when they use an electric toothbrush compared to a manual brush, because their teeth are almost always cleaner! An electric toothbrush is not only more fun to use, it’s easier, and can minimize or eliminate staining of teeth.

Pro Tips:

  • You can pick up an electric brush for under $10
  • Replace the heads every three months
  • Great idea for children— kids love new toys
  • Fantastic for elderly— easier to hold and use

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Brush your tongue

You’re already in your mouth brushing your teeth anyway… why not brush your tongue too? Brushing your tongue can save you from awkward bad breath encounters and get rid of the bacteria that builds up on it.

Pro Tips:

  • Brush your tongue for at least 15 seconds

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Avoid certain foods and drinks

Okay, so this one might be a little harder than the others— we all have our favorite foods and staying away from them can be hard! Avoiding these foods though can be the difference between a minor and a major dental visit.

Pro Tips:

  • Ice is for chilling, not for chewing – your teeth are vulnerable. Chewing ice can chip your teeth!
  • Too much coffee can kill you — okay, maybe not kill you, but it can stain your teeth, dry your mouth, and that sugar can eat away at your teeth.
  • Limit your sugary drinks — soda, alcohol, and sports drinks all contain incredible amounts of sugar. If you want to drink them, be sure to brush your teeth afterwards! It could save you from a pesky cavity.

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So there you have it, folks—four New Year’s Resolutions you can easily adapt to improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Have any other resolutions this year? Share them with us on our social media:

Facebook: facebook.com/alpinesmiles
Instagram: instagram.com/alpinesmiles
Twitter: twitter.com/alpine_smiles

Stay happy and healthy, friends!

-Joedi

Dr. Joedi Pasut
Alpine Smiles Family Dentistry
1600 W University Ave #113
Flagstaff, AZ
86001