An Update from Alrez Family Dentistry

Now offering a Spring Whitening Special! Get $100 off any of our whitening treatments. Learn More.

Tips and Advice

Could Wearing a Mask Give You Cavities?

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5 Tips for Preventing Cavities

You may have noticed some changes now that you are often wearing a mask. Not only may your breath smell different, but we have recently seen an increase in cavities in patients who wear masks for much of the day. Although we stress the importance of wearing a mask at this time, we have put together a few tips to help prevent cavities when you wear a mask.

How To Avoid Mask Mouth

  1. Woman smiling at dentistMake a conscious effort to seal your lips and breathe through your nose. Mouth breathing causes a decrease in the production and secretion of saliva, which provides a very important protective mechanism.
  2. Chew gum to promote saliva. Saliva coats and protects your teeth and all the tissue inside your mouth. Without sufficient mineral-rich saliva, we see rampant decay and gum disease!
  3. Remember to drink plenty of water. Wearing a mask has resulted in an obvious increase in dehydration and dry mouth. This is bad for your overall health, including oral health.
  4. Before you put on a mask and after you eat, try flossing and brushing your teeth. This will help eliminate any extra bacteria that may have been able to grow while your mask was on otherwise.
  5. Lastly, it is more important now than ever to visit your dentist for your routine cleanings. Your dentist will be able to properly clean your teeth and remove plaque build-up.

Visit Your Dentist

Here at Alrez Family Dentistry we have a modern and comfortable office and want to help patients with any concerns they may have. We can suggest additional and personalized tips for any changes you’ve noticed in your oral health. We are currently accepting new patients and we are following all COVID-19 guidelines to protect our staff and patients. Contact us today to make an appointment.


How To Get Over Dental Fear

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Every year, many people avoid the dentist until they feel pain or experience a dental emergency. This can be due to dental anxiety. According to a Harvard study, 24% of people suffer from dental anxiety.

To help those struggling with dental anxiety, we created a list of tips and tricks for patients to utilize when they start feeling dental anxiety.

6 Ways To Help Cope With Your Dental Anxiety

  1. Man covering his mouth from dentistCommunicate with your dentist. Voice your fears and explain your feelings to your dentist. If you are afraid of pain or needles they may need to be able to assess the situation and help you in the best way possible. Also, here at Alrez Family Dentistry, we can use laughing gas for patients that are feeling extra nervous. For more information, check out our laughing gas page.
  2. Think of a communication system with your dentist. When you’re not able to talk and you feel confined to a chair, this can trigger some anxiety without even realizing it. If you feel like you relate to this, you and your dentist can come up with a system that when you raise your hand it means it’s time for a small break. That will help you feel more in control of the situation.
  3. Feeling embarrassed Is a common emotion during a dental visit. Many feel embarrassed about the state of their dental health, but try and remind yourself that your dentist has seen it all. If you’re feeling embarrassed, remember that this is normally due to overthinking.
  4. Distracting yourself is a great way to get some anxiety relief. This is easier said than done, but you can bring a book for the waiting room or headphones to drown out the sound of a drill while you listen to your favorite music or podcast. You can try using a stress ball or a fidget spinner to occupy your hands.
  5. Address any past negative experiences you may have with your dentist. Dental anxiety sometimes stems from past negative experiences. This can be due to a careless dental staff or some pain you felt during treatment. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, try and pinpoint what experience upset you and how to work through that. Once you know, you can talk with your dentist so they can understand how to best help you and how to care for your dental anxiety.
  6. If you’re still feeling anxious after trying all of these tips, try returning to the basics. Start by taking a few deep breaths while counting them. Count for how long you inhale and exhale for the same amount of time. Try and relax all your muscles one at a time. Start with your head and relax way down to your toes.

Comfortable and Clean Office Made For You

Alrez Family Dentistry wants to help ease any anxiety you might feel. We have a modern and comfortable office along with the supplies needed to give all patients a successful visit. Our staff and doctors are here for you and are happy to listen to any concerns. We are currently accepting new patients and we are following COVID-19 guidelines to protect our staff and patients, contact us today to make an appointment.


How Does Resin Infiltration Work?

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Before and after icon resin infiltrationDo you have white spots on your teeth? These white spot lesions happen when the enamel starts to break down, becoming a honeycombed, porous surface. Those pores are filled with air that reflects light differently from the surrounding healthy enamel, leading you to see those unwanted white spots. Unfortunately, teeth whitening products won’t help.

More and more dentists are using the resin infiltration technique that stops breakdown in its tracks while cleaning up existing lesions.

What is Resin Infiltration?

Resin infiltration was initially used to treat tooth decay on the tooth surface. Resin closes up pores in the affected area to stop deteriorating acids and minerals from entering any further. Dentists found that resin infiltration also helped cover white spots too so they started exploring how this technique could improve aesthetics.

What is Icon Resin Infiltration?

Icon Resin Infiltration uses micro-invasive technology to fill in demineralized enamel in one procedure. It’s a minimally invasive treatment that doesn’t use drilling or anesthesia to improve the look of white spots while preventing further deterioration.

Is the Icon Treatment Permanent?

While the Icon treatment isn’t permanent, it’s considered a long-term treatment option. Results last at least 2 years, though many patients see over 6 years of lasting results.

How Does Resin Infiltration Work?

The procedure involves 3 steps that take 45 minutes to an hour:

  1. 15% of hydrochloric acid is applied to the areas of demineralization, like white spots.
  2. These spots are then treated with an ethanol solution to dry out the lesion and pores
  3. High penetration resin infiltrant is applied to the teeth to fill in their pore system.

The resin infiltration technique reinforces tooth enamel by entering and filling the pores without drilling or shots. This helps minimize the look of discoloration by refracting light just like normal teeth. It also stops deterioration by strengthening and hardening the enamel. The end result is a restored tooth that blends perfectly with surrounding teeth.

Resin infiltration is an effective treatment for tooth discoloration and deterioration without the invasiveness or cost of fillings and veneers. Your dentist can have you in and out in an hour with a beautiful white smile.

If you’re interested in finally removing white spots on teeth, contact us today to learn more about your options.


Should I Drink Bottled or Tap Water?

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Tap Water & Bottled signThe water bottle sales in America have drastically increased over the years. According to Statista, bottled water sales have increased by 3.6% since 2007, selling over 14.4 billion gallons. This is the highest volume of water ever sold in the United States.

Benefits of Water

Water has countless amounts of benefits for the human body. Here are just a few:

  • Maintain the balance of fluids in your body
  • Help your kidneys filter your blood
  • Energize your muscles by delivering electrolytes
  • Regulate body temperature
  • Cushion the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues.

Water is needed for your overall health, including your dental health. But if you are stuck on the everlasting debate on which water is better – bottle or tap, we cover all the bases.

Tap Water Provides the Best Source of Fluoride

During the day we are constantly losing and taking in minerals. Phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and fluoride are all known to be health minerals that keep your teeth strong and protect them from decay.

When it comes to keeping your teeth strong and healthy, fluoride is the most important mineral. Dental professionals recommend taking fluoride through both external and internal means. This is most commonly found in:

  • Tap water
  • Rinse
  • Toothpaste
  • Supplements

Most towns add fluoride to the local tap water. This allows the population to get their dietary fluoride needs from their tap water.

Many bottled water companies remove minerals and substances including fluoride from their water. The purpose of removing these minerals is to prevent the minerals from affecting the taste. Tap water isn’t just the best choice for your oral health, but there are multiple reasons why you should say goodbye to bottled water.

4 Reasons to Stop Drinking Bottled Water

  1. Bottled water has a terrible value. According to Food & Water Watch, tap water costs $0.005 per gallon while a bottle of water can cost upwards to $9.47. This is almost 2,000 times the price of tap water.
  2. Bottled water is not environmentally friendly. Plastic bottles can take years to decompose in a landfill. If they are not brought to a landfill, they are incinerated and release toxic gases into the atmosphere.
  3. Lots of bottled water brands are selling you tap water. The quality of bottled water will vary depending on the brand of water you buy. According to Natural Living, more chemicals and other unwanted compounds may go inside bottled water. Bottled water samples can contain phthalates, mold, microbes, benzene, trihalomethanes, and arsenic.
  4. Bottled water is inconvenient. Tap water is everywhere, restaurants, public drinking fountains, and spigots. Bottled water you have to go to a store to buy.

If you aren’t sure how the tap water is treated in your area, take a look at your local water fluoride report from the CDC.


Why Does Orange Juice Taste Bad After Brushing Your Teeth?

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Orange and orange juice isolated on whiteIt’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves. We did the right thing, brushing our teeth first thing in the morning to start the day off with clean teeth and fresh breath. Now, we want to sip on some refreshing, vitamin C-rich orange juice. However, most of us know this story all too well–the orange juice tastes horrible!

So, what’s the deal? Why does orange juice taste bad after you brush, and is there anything you can do to stop it?

The Ingredient to Blame: Sodium Laureth Sulfate

It’s all thanks to sodium laureth sulfate (SLS). This type of ingredient is referred to as a surfactant, it’s used to spread ingredients around in your mouth, which makes the toothpaste suds up and create bubbles and foam. SLS is also found in other ingredients, like body washes and shampoos.

While SLS helps the toothpaste to spread around the mouth, it has some other side effects. Namely, that it suppresses your ability to detect certain tastes, particularly sweet tastes. It also affects the phospholipids on your tongue, which are fatty acids that control the taste of bitter flavors.

This creates an unpleasant mix of heightened bitter tastes and suppressed sweet tastes, thus, the nasty tasting juice.

You Can Avoid SLS if You Want

If the taste of OJ after brushing really bothers you, there are ways to avoid it. The best way is to find a toothpaste that doesn’t contain SLS. The one downside is that SLS-free toothpaste won’t spread as easily.

To get the best of both worlds, you can try drinking a glass of water or chewing sugar-free gum between your brushing and OJ. Doing so will increase your saliva flow, rinsing the SLS away.

Why Not Brush Your Teeth After Breakfast?

Sound logic, but this isn’t a good idea. Orange juice is an acidic substance, so after you drink it, your enamel is temporarily weakened. Brushing your teeth while your enamel is in this stressed state can result in lasting damage. Pain, sensitivity, and cosmetic issues are some of the possibilities.

If you have 30 minutes to wait after eating your breakfast, that’s enough time for your pH to return to normal so that you can brush safely.

Have Clean Teeth Without Ruining Your Breakfast

We hope this clears away some of the mystery surrounding the bad taste of orange juice during your breakfast. Now, you have some strategies up your sleeves to help you enjoy your orange juice and keep your teeth clean.


4 Holiday Foods to Avoid

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Holiday foodsEveryone loves to eat their favorite foods, and certain foods are extra special because we only have them around the holidays! While we would never suggest that you skip out on your favorite holiday treats, we think it’s in everyone’s best interest to stay aware of which foods are the worst offenders.

We put together this list of our 4 least-favorite holiday foods. If you see one of your favorites on the list, be sure to enjoy it with plenty of water, so you can rinse your teeth. It’s also a good idea to brush your teeth 30 minutes after consuming them, once the pH in your mouth has had time to return to normal.

The 4 Worst Holiday Foods for Your Teeth

1.Egg Nog Eggnog and Other Alcoholic Beverages: Alcohol is not great for your health in many ways, and one of them is that it dehydrates you. When you’re hydrated, your saliva helps to rinse your teeth, washing away lingering food particles and bacteria. Eggnog is particularly harmful because it’s so thick, this results in it sticking on your teeth for longer periods of time.

2. Candy Canes: Candy canes are essentially pure sugar, so it isn’t hard to see why they’re not the best for our smiles. However, something that makes them worse than most sugary things is that they take a long time to eat. For the entire time that you’re sucking on your candy cane, a sugary film starts to coat your teeth (the same one that coats your chin and fingers). This increases the amount of time your teeth are exposed to the sugar, making the bacteria that live in your mouth very happy.

2. Caramel: Like candy canes, caramel is high in sugar. It’s also sticky, which makes it so that it gets embedded in all the nooks and crannies in your teeth. Once it sticks to all those crevices, it tends to hang around for a long time.

 4. Carbonated Beverages: We know that the sugar content in champagne and soda is problematic for our oral health, but there’s an additional culprit: carbonation. Carbonation is produced with carbon dioxide, which converts to carbonic acid once ingested. This acid can be corrosive to your teeth.

4 Foods to Enjoy Guilt-Free

1. farm fresh vegetables on tableVeggies: We know! Shocking. Veggies are healthy! One of the reasons why is they take a while to chew, and all that chewing stimulates your salivary glands. Like we said earlier, this increase in saliva production is good for rinsing off your teeth.

2. Turkey: Turkey is rich in phosphorus, which is great for your pearly whites. This is good news for many Americans who anchor their holiday meals with turkey.

3. Nuts: Nuts are little mini toothbrushes that gently scrape your teeth after each bite. They also contain calcium, which is an essential mineral for your chompers.

4. Cheese: Cheese has antibacterial qualities and a low pH balance, Both are great for your mouth!

No matter what you eat this holiday season, we hope you enjoy the season with your loved ones!


The Origins of Toothpaste

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How Did Toothpaste Come to Be?

toothpaste going onto brush

These days, we have so many choices for toothpaste, it’s almost annoying. It’s hard to imagine a time when toothpaste as we know it didn’t even exist. 

But there was such a time! Before we hit the mark with the perfect blend of humectants, detergents, flavorings, and gentle abrasives, people had some interesting takes on the best concoction for cleaning their mouths. 

We figured we’d kick off back to school season with a history lesson about how toothpaste began. 

The Ancient Egyptian Formula

The oldest toothpaste historians have found was from 5,000 B.C. Historians believe the ancient Egyptians used an interesting mix to scrub their smiles. 

The earliest toothpaste formula contained:

  • Crushed rock salt
  • Pepper
  • Mint
  • Iris flowers

Experts have called this the most effective ancient dental regimen. In fact, it wouldn’t be topped until the early 18th century. But before you run to your garage and start crushing up rock salt, this kind of paste is far from good for you. Over time, using this formula will result in damage to your enamel and gum bleeding.

The Evolution of Toothpaste

The Egyptians had their very abrasive solution, but around the same time, people in other parts of the world had their own idea for cleaning their teeth.

The Greeks and Romans used a special blend of crushed oyster shells and bones, and in China, they used a similar solution to the Egyptians, but added ginseng and skipped the iris and pepper. Other cultures brushed up with brick dust, pumice, ox hooves, burnt eggshells, ashes, chalk, and pulverized charcoal. Yum!

The rest of toothpaste evolution looked something like this:

  • 1780: Burnt breadcrumbs were used as toothpaste.
  • 1842: Dentist Dr. Peabody mixed soap in with the breadcrumbs. This later was replaced with sodium lauryl sulfate, which is still an ingredient in today’s toothpaste! This ingredient helps spread the paste around evenly. 
  • 1850’s: Chalk is added to the mix. It will stay as an ingredient for the next few decades.
  • 1873: Colgate comes out with the first ever toothpaste that is of a familiar consistency and scent. At this time, it’s sold in glass jars. 
  • 1892: Dr. Washington Sheffield invents the collapsable toothpaste tube.
  • 1914: The benefits of fluoride are discovered, and it’s added to toothpastes.
  • 1987: Edible toothpaste makes its debut. It’s invented by NASA for astronauts to brush in space, but it comes with an added benefit: so that children can safely learn to brush. 
  • 1989: Rembrandt releases the first whitening toothpaste.

At Alrez Family Dentistry, we’re glad to be born in these modern times when toothpaste is safe and effective!


I Have Cavities in Between My Teeth!

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Help: I Have Cavities Between My Teeth!

cavity in between teethCavities in between teeth, or interproximal cavities, are very common. They form when there is a breakdown of the outer, calcified enamel of the tooth by bacteria in your mouth.

However common they may be, cavities are easily preventable. And the more we know about interproximal cavities, the better chance we have at keeping them away!

Did You Know?

  • 35% of your teeth’s surfaces are in between your teeth. So if you skip flossing, you’re only cleaning two-thirds of your teeth!
  • Dental cavities are one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in people of all ages. The good news is, you can prevent them easily!

How Can I Prevent Cavities?

Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day. And check your technique. Make sure you’re using circular motions on the fronts and chewing surfaces of your teeth and short, up-and-down motions on the backs. Don’t forget those back molars!

Floss every day. This is another technique you’re going to want to hone for best results. Check out our guide on becoming the floss boss to learn the proper flossing method.

Your X-Rays are Important

dental X Ray
When you get your yearly x-rays from Dr. Alrez, she’s looking for early signs of decay. She can tell you’re about to develop a cavity if she notices dark areas developing around the outermost layer of your tooth (enamel).

If it turns out that you have a high risk of decay, Dr. Alrez may prescribe a mouth rinse or dental paste with extra fluoride.

It’s Too Late! I Already Have a Cavity

Don’t beat yourself up about it! After all, the past is in the past. However, if you start taking better charge of your oral hygiene, you can prevent future cavities. And luckily, cavities can be easily treated with dental fillings.


What’s the Difference Between Plaque & Tartar?

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Toothbrush and toothpaste on blurred background Maybe, you’re confused about the difference between plaque and tartar, or think they’re both the same thing. Or maybe, Dr. Alrez told you you need a deep cleaning to get rid of tartar (find out what that means here). 

No matter what, telling plaque and tartar apart can help you better manage your oral health, so keep reading for advice on keeping the difference straight!

What is Plaque?

Plaque is a colorless, sticky film of bacteria that coats your teeth and tongue between brushing. The food you eat helps to feed that bacteria, which helps it grow and cover more of your teeth. These bacteria create an acid, which over time, eats away at your enamel and causes cavities and gum disease. 

While the process of plaque developing in your mouth is inevitable, we do have a lot of control over the process! Brushing twice daily, flossing once daily, and drinking plenty of water are three things that will drastically reduce the effect plaque can have on your teeth. 

What is Tartar?

dentist's instruments with shallow depth of field blue tintedIf we don’t remove the plaque in time, it turns into a tough, hard deposit. This will sit on your teeth and cause discoloration, sensitivity, and gum disease. 

Tartar is a big reason why you need to visit the dentist twice a year! Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to remove tartar at home, it has to be removed by a dental hygienist. As long as you make it to your 6-month cleanings, tartar buildup won’t cause too big of a problem.

Come See Us Every Six Months!

We don’t just say it because we love seeing your face (even though we do!). Making it to your dental appointments twice a year will keep tartar in check, which will reduce your chances of developing gum disease and help your teeth stay white. 


Start The New Year With These Resolutions for Your Smile

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New Years Sparkles What are your New Year’s resolutions for this year? If you’re like many people, you might resolve to focus on your health and well-being, exercise more and eat better, or simply ditch bad habits that aren’t working for you. In fact in 2017, NBC reported that the most common New Year’s resolution was to get healthy. We think this is a great idea! However, when making those healthy resolutions, don’t forget to include your oral health!

A Healthy Body Means a Healthy Smile

As we’ve said in the past, the health of our smile goes beyond the surface. If you neglect your smile, this can increase your risk of pneumonia, heart disease, and dementia.

There are also the obvious benefits. A healthy mouth will allow you to chew and swallow your food properly, and a healthy set of chompers can be the boost forward that you need to tackle the year’s challenges with confidence. To avoid overwhelming yourself, start small and be consistent. Your teeth, and overall health, will thank you. Here are some simple dental resolutions to incorporate into your life this year.

Our Top 6 New Year’s Resolutions

  1. glass of waterGet Better at Brushing and Flossing. You already know you should be brushing twice and flossing once a day, but we also know it can be easy to slack off, especially when you’re tired or busy. Make it part of your morning and night routine to carve out a few minutes dedicated specifically to your teeth. This will help you form good habits naturally. Also remember to change out your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months and switch to a soft bristled brush if you haven’t already to prevent any unwanted damage to your teeth.
  2. Break Bad Dental Habits. Most people have at least one bad habit that could be wrecking havoc on their teeth. Whether it’s biting your nails, consuming too many sugary foods and beverages, or smoking, make this year the year you stop. If needed, you can replace these habits with newer, healthy ones like eating more fruits and veggies or chewing sugar free gum.
  3. Drink More Water. When your body is properly hydrated, your oral health will benefit. A crucial component of your oral health is efficient saliva production, since this liquid wonder rinses leftover food particles off of your teeth. Because water is a building block of saliva production, you can see why doubling down will help keep your oral health in top shape.
  4. Visit Your Dentist Every 6 Months. It’s true, we love when you visit us in our office, but that isn’t the only reason we’re always pushing for six-month check-ups! We use x-rays to make sure there isn’t trouble brewing under the surface of your teeth, and those professional cleanings are the only way to remove tartar. By the way, if you make it to your twice-yearly checkups, you have a much lower chance of developing an issue that will require more intense treatment, such as a root canal or filling.
  5. Whiten Your Smile. While whitening your teeth is a cosmetic procedure, it can give you a tremendous boost of self-esteem. When your teeth are a dazzling shade of white, you won’t be able to stop smiling, and what a way to start the year! Learn more about our whitening services.
  6. Smile More! Did you know laughing actually helps burn extra calories? There are many benefits to laughing and smiling more, but the greatest one is how they boost positive feelings in yourself and others. So make it a point to smile more often and spread positivity in your daily life.

Happy New Year from all of us at Alrez Family Dentistry!