dental services Minot, ND

Don’t Just Start the Schoolyear Right; Keep the Pace for Healthy Smiles!

Students and parents – as well as teachers and others who work with kids – all tend to hope for one thing at this time of year: to start the school year right. Students think about making new friends and making memories with old ones. Parents think about their students making the “right” friends, and about the success, their students will experience in the classroom. Amidst the busy-ness of a new school year, the business of oral care can easily be left in the dust.

Kids of all ages need consistency in all aspects of life. We are here to provide that in the form of routine dental care. Additionally, we help families maintain healthy smiles with tips that may be overlooked. Here, we want to point out a few ways that dental problems can be averted as the school year gets into full swing. We hope that our patients won’t just start the schoolyear off right, but that they will end the year with healthy teeth, as well.

Remember the basics

The basics of oral care are so easy and so familiar that we can easily drop the ball. Busy students who rush through their morning routine set the stage for bad breath, which can be more than a little embarrassing. Lack of proper brushing also leads to a “dirty mouth” appearance, in which teeth look gritty and yellow. This appearance indicates plaque, which is the prime factor in cavities and gum disease. Students may need help remembering to brush and floss. It is up to parents to develop the right strategy for their child.

Go above and beyond

There are hidden dangers to students’ teeth: bruxism and injury. Students who play sports may be best served by a custom-fit mouth guard versus a boil-and-bite type sold in sporting goods stores. The smaller profile of custom-fit gear facilitates breathing during play and is more comfortable overall. Bruxism is often related to stress. The clenching and grinding that go on during sleep can wear down enamel, and even break teeth. A night guard made by your child’s dentist can minimize the force of this habit, and thus protect teeth.

Oral care isn’t a complicated matter. We are here to help you with common concerns, as well as the unforeseen. Call Broadway Family Dentistry in Minot at (701) 839-1299.

dental services Minot, ND

Stress could be hurting your dental health

dental services Minot, NDStress can lead to a variety of health challenges like heart, stomach, or psychological issues. But did you know that stress can also cause dental problems? Bruxism is a condition characterized by grinding, clenching, and gritting the teeth. It causes headaches, earaches, jaw pain, tooth loss, and enamel erosion. Studies show that 70% of bruxism cases are specifically caused by stress and anxiety.

To determine if you suffer from bruxism, arrange a consultation with your dentist to develop a plan of action to treat the pain and symptoms associated with it. Part of that plan will likely include stress reduction, but here are some ways to immediately reduce your stress level today.

How to relive stress right now

  1. Take a short walk: Stand up from your desk and move around. Get outdoors in the sunshine and take a stroll around the neighborhood. Better yet, go on a hike or find a park with green space. Studies show that interacting with nature will noticeably reduce anxiety.
  2. Breathe: Shallow breathing is an indication of stress. Taking a few deep and slow breaths can assist in reducing stress levels and tension due to extra oxygen.
  3. Visualize: Studies show that mindful visualization is a powerful way to promote positivity and relive stress. During a lunch break or early in the morning, find a quiet place in the back yard or an empty conference room then get in a comfortable position. Visualize a peaceful setting like the beach or mountains. Or, imagine yourself accomplishing a long awaited goal and how that will feel.
  4. Stop staring at screens: Long bouts of computer use are connected with depression, stress, and lost sleep—particularly in women. Be mindful of your screen use and be sure to get up and take a break every now and then.
  5. Listen to music: The right kind of music has the power to reduce stress levels and lower blood pressure. Research shows that classical music can have a particularly soothing influence.

Stress can have an overwhelming impact not only on general well being, but dental health as well. Begin today to reduce stress and anxiety. It will lead to a healthier and happier smile. For more information about how to improve your dental health, contact Broadway Family Dentistry at 701-839-1299.

The Importance of Flossing

flossingWe all know that brushing is important, but don’t forget about flossing! It’s just as important AND it takes less time, yet many Americans choose to skip it. If you consider yourself to be one of those less diligent flossers, consider that flossing (together with daily brushing) is integral to preventing tooth loss, cavities, and periodontal gum disease. So if you’re ready to turn over a new leaf and give flossing the attention it deserves (and we hope you are), here are some recommended techniques to ensure you’re flossing the right way:

  • Get a grip. The way you hold your floss makes a big difference in how effective you are at cleaning your teeth. Start with a section of floss that is 18 inches long and wind it around each middle finger, leaving a couple of inches of floss in between. Hold the floss in a taut fashion between your index fingers and thumbs and gently guide the floss between your teeth, up and down.
  • Don’t neglect the gum line. As well as flossing up and down between your teeth, use the floss to gently scrape the surface of your tooth and under the gum line. Just make sure you aren’t too forceful with the floss, or you may damage your bruise your gum tissue.
  • Keep it clean. It’s best to use a clean section of floss as you go from one tooth to another to ensure that each tooth is being cleaned effectively. And if you have any missing teeth, don’t avoid their sides when you floss; they need just as much attention as the rest of your teeth. When you floss, you can begin with the upper teeth first, or choose the lower teeth. What matters is that all your teeth get equal flossing time.
  • Wax on.Waxed floss slides between your teeth easily as opposed to unwaxed floss, which tends to shred. Ribbon floss is a good choice because it covers more of your tooth, and it’s also less likely to cut your gums. For added incentive to floss, choose a version that has a cinnamon or mint flavor, which helps leave your mouth feeling fresh.

Learn more about good flossing habits. Contact Dr. Stanly Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling 701-839-1299 to schedule a check-up.

Why Wearing a Mouth Guard is Important

According to the American Dental Association, approximately one-third of all dental injuries are related to sports. That’s why wearing a mouth guard is crucial to preventing injuries like chipped or broken teeth, lip and cheek injuries, root damage, fractured jaw, and concussions. A mouth guard is a soft laminate or plastic item used specifically to prevent oral injuries. If you play sports or take part in activities that could potentially damage your teeth, a mouth guard is essential. Here are a few reasons why:

Less Chance of Loosened Teeth
If you’re not wearing a mouth guard and an object hits your mouth, it could loosen your tooth or, even worse, break it. Wearing a mouth guard ensures that if an object does hit your mouth, your teeth will be protected and an injury will be less likely.

Minimized Risk of Tooth Fracture
Even if you wear a mouth guard, you can still fracture your tooth. But if it does fracture, the mouth guard will have provided enough cushion that the tooth can typically be saved. For example, if you fracture the crown of your tooth, your dentist can put white filling material into the part that is fractured.

Less Risk of Tooth Loss
It’s a tragedy to lose a tooth because you didn’t wear a mouth guard, especially if it could have been prevented. Even if you lose a tooth that isn’t permanent, it can still lead to problems when your permanent tooth comes in due to the trauma to your primary tooth.

Protects Against Soft Tissue Injuries
The soft tissue in your mouth is protected from your sharp teeth when you wear a mouth guard, preventing bruising and cutting your cheeks, tongue, and lips.

Want to learn more about choosing a mouth guard that’s right for you? Contact Dr. Stanly Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling 701-839-1299 to schedule a check-up.  We are located in Minot, ND and look forward to hearing from you!

5 Ways to Beat Bad Breath

bad breathWhat can be more embarrassing than bad breath? Well, a lot of things. But foul mouth odor is definitely high on the list. If you’re dealing with bad breath, take heart – there are ways to get rid of it. Here are a few helpful tips:

  1. Up your brushing and flossing game.When plaque builds up on your teeth, it creates bacteria that causes bad breath. If you haven’t been great about brushing twice a day and flossing regularly, it’s time to change that. Just be careful not to brush with too much gusto, which can erode tooth enamel and make your teeth more prone to decay.
  2. Swish with mouthwash or water.Mouthwash is an effective tool at getting rid of bacteria, not to mention it has a refreshing, minty taste. Just be sure to buy mouthwash specifically designed to kill germs that cause bad breath. Drinking and rinsing with plain water can also refresh your mouth, especially in the morning and after you eat to get rid of lingering food particles.
  3. Watch what you eat. Some foods like garlic and onions tend to linger even after you brush. That’s because garlic and onions contain components that travel to the blood stream and lungs, which you then breathe out. Look for raw crunchy foods instead, which are great at cleaning your teeth naturally. These include apples, carrots, celery, cranberries and walnuts. Eating yogurt is another great way to help reduce bad breath because of the active cultures it contains.
  4. Maintain healthy gums. One of the biggest culprits for bad breath is gum disease. That’s because bacteria invades your gums and creates pockets at the base of your teeth to create a foul odor. Your first line of defense against gum diseases is to maintain good oral hygiene.
  5. Visit your doctor.Sometimes even your best efforts can’t stop bad breath. When this is the case, it’s time to see your doctor. It could be a sign of a medical condition.

Learn more about beating bad breath. Contact Dr. Stanly Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling 701-839-1299 to schedule a check-up.


Understanding Plaque

dental careWhen you wake up in the morning and run your tongue over your teeth, you’ll feel a thin coating of film. This is plaque, a sticky colorless film that builds up on your teeth and contains millions of bacteria. If plaque isn’t removed by regularly brushing and flossing, it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

How plaque forms
After you eat, the bacteria found in plaque uses the sugars from your food to produce acids that slowly erode your tooth enamel. If the enamel is attacked repeatedly, it begins to break down and cause a cavity or hole in the surface of your tooth.

The harmful effects of plaque
If plaque continues to build up, it eventually hardens to form tartar, which is much more difficult to remove by brushing and flossing because it collects at the gum line. As plaque, tartar and bacteria grows, your gum tissue can become swollen. You may even see blood when you brush your teeth. This can be an indication of gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease. If gingivitis is left untreated, it can lead to a more severe type of gum disease called periodontis. This condition occurs when a bacterial infection makes your gums and tooth-supporting bone diminish. Your gums may recede and pull back from the teeth, and in severe cases, the bone supporting your teeth breaks down completely and can lead to tooth loss.

Fighting back against plaque
The best way to combat plaque is to brush and floss daily, using a soft-bristled brush and toothpaste with fluoride. Other ways to prevent plaque include eating a balanced diet and curbing snacks between meals. And, of course, visiting your dentist at least once a year for a professional cleaning and checkup is essential to a healthy mouth.
Learn more about fighting back against plaque. Contact Dr. Stanly Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling 701-839-1299 to schedule a check-up.

The 5 Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

sensitive teethIf sipping hot coffee or eating ice cream makes you wince, you may have tooth sensitivity. While this may be discouraging and painful, there are remedies for your sensitive teeth. Check out some of the main reasons you may be experiencing tooth sensitivity and what you can do about it.

Brushing too harshly. If you’re using a toothbrush with stiff bristles, this can contribute to sensitivity. And brushing with too much force can also be harmful, as it can erode your tooth enamel over time and expose your dental nerves. Stick to a soft-bristled toothbrush and go easy when you brush.

Teeth grinding. Another way to break down your tooth enamel is by grinding your teeth. This can expose the middle layer of your tooth (called dentin) which exposes the hollow tubes that lead to your nerves. You may need a mouth guard if this is the case, so talk to your dentist to see if this may be the best solution for you.

Using whitening toothpaste. Many brands of toothpaste contain chemicals made for whitening your teeth, and you may be one of many who are sensitive to these chemicals. If you think your toothpaste may be contributing to your tooth sensitivity, switch to a brand that doesn’t contain a whitening formula.

Excessive plaque. If you aren’t brushing daily or flossing regularly, your teeth will get plaque buildup, which can then wear away tooth enamel. When this happens, your teeth lose the protection they need to prevent sensitivity. Be diligent about your oral care and visit your dentist twice a year for routine cleanings and exams to keep your mouth healthy.

Receding gums. If you don’t say on top of your oral care, your gums can start to recede as you age, which can make your teeth sensitive. It can also lead to gum disease. See your dentist for a complete evaluation.

To learn more about treating tooth sensitivity, or to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Stanley Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling 701-839-1299 to schedule a check-up.

What Exactly Is Tooth Enamel?

oral healthTooth enamel is essential to your oral health. After all, it’s what covers your teeth and protects them from becoming damaged. So when your enamel wears down, you’re at greater risk for tooth decay. But what, exactly, is tooth enamel and how can you protect it? Read on to learn more to ensure you have a healthy mouth for years to come.

Tooth enamel is the outermost substance on your teeth. It rivals your bones for being the hardest substance in the human body and protects the nerves in your teeth from extreme hot or hold, which can cause sensitivity. When your tooth enamel is exposed to acid and bacteria buildup, it can erode and decay. And while enamel is a protective surface, it can easily crack or chip. This usually happens when you eat hard foods or when food gets stuck between your teeth. The easiest way to tell if you’ve cracked a tooth is if you feel pain when chewing, or when you drink something hot or cold.

For Healthy Enamel, Watch What You Eat
To effectively protect your enamel, there are certain foods and drinks you should avoid. Soda, for example, contains high levels of sugar and acid which can dissolve your enamel over time. Sports drinks and energy drinks are other culprits for erosion because they also have a significant amount of acid. Avoid these drinks to protect against enamel breakdown. Other contributors to decay include foods with vinegar, such as vinegar-based salad dressings or even potato chips. And it bears repeating that candy is a no-no if you want to preserve your tooth enamel. The high levels of sugar are main proponents for enamel decay.

Restoring Tooth Enamel
If your tooth enamel begins to erode, visit your dentist as soon as possible, especially if you’re experiencing tooth pain. Having regular checkups, as well as brushing twice a day and flossing regularly, are excellent ways to stop tooth decay and enamel erosion in its tracks.

To learn more about keeping your tooth enamel healthy, contact Dr. Stanley Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling 701-839-1299. We look forward to hearing from you!

Making Flossing Fun for Kids

flossingIt can be a struggle to get your child to brush their teeth twice a day, let alone ask them to floss. You may find it’s a challenge for you, as well. But flossing is essential to good oral health because it helps clean plaque from between the teeth. If left in the mouth too long, plaque can harden and turn into tarter, which then leads to gum disease. Once your child’s teeth start to come in next to each other, it’s time to start flossing. To make this daily task more enjoyable, try the following tips:

Floss to Music
Flossing along to a fun song is a great way to make flossing fun. Choose a slow, steady beat to help your child keep a measured rhythm as they work the floss back and forth between their teeth. If the song is too fast, it encourages them to floss too harshly which can damage gums. Flossing along in time with a song helps them stay consistent, which leads to a cleaner mouth.

Play a Game
Make flossing a story about good versus evil. The evil, of course, is plaque and tooth decay, with the good being floss. Your child will relish the power of being in control by making floss the hero of the story.

Make a Chart
Place a progress chart in your child’s bathroom, then mark each day they floss with their favorite stickers. Once they reach a certain number of consecutive days of flossing, reward them with either a small monetary incentive or, better yet, one that doesn’t cost money like a later night up on weekends or an extra story at bedtime. Parents can get in on then fun too by following a chart of their own. Not only will your flossing habits improve, but your child will be extra motivated by the friendly competition.

To learn more about ways to making flossing fun, or to schedule an appointment, contact Dr. Stanley Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling 701-839-1299 to schedule a check-up.

Your Child’s First Dental Visit: Getting It Done in Year One

dental checkupWhen your child is born, his or her primary teeth have already started to form inside the gums. And within approximately six months to a year, their first tooth will start to come through. You may be surprised to learn that tooth decay can occur as soon as this first tooth erupts. Once this happens, the teeth become susceptible to decay if not properly cared for. That’s why it’s important to take your child to the dentist no more than six months after the first tooth appears and no later than the first birthday. Here’s what you can expect at your child’s first dental visit:

The Meet and Greet
The first dentist appointment is really a time for you and your child to meet the dentist and learn how best to care for his or her developing teeth and gums. Until your child reaches age two, these dental visits will largely consist of a visual exam, as well as an introduction to the dental chair, the equipment such as air and water, and other items found in a dental office like safety glasses and a bib.

The Exam
With a child under a year old, you’ll likely be asked to hold your child while the dentist examines their mouth, checking your child’s gums, jaw and bite. This keeps your child at ease during the exam, as well as helps you point out areas in the mouth you may have questions about. If your child has several protruding baby teeth already, your dentist may clean your child’s teeth and apply fluoride.

The Follow-up
Depending on the condition of your child’s teeth, your dentist will advise you about when to schedule your next visit. When there are no significant problems, he or she will recommend you visit again in six months.

While every child has their own specific oral health needs, what it universally true is that early dental exams are a preventive measure that can effectively save you time, money and your child’s teeth in the long run.

To schedule your child’s first dental visit, contact Dr. Stanley Hirst, DDS, and Bethany Jensen, DDS, at Broadway Family Dentistry today by calling 701-839-1299. We look forward to hearing from you!