boy make bubble with chew

Why sugarless gum is good for your teeth

Gum gets a bad rap.

We tell our kids not to chew it in school and ban it from the mouths of braces-wearing teens. Blowing bubbles is seen as rude, and snapping, cracking, and popping your gum is generally frowned upon.

We make gum into the bad guy, but is that fair to the chewy substance?

Turns out our preconceived notions about gum might be a little wrong. In fact, this post is all about correcting the misunderstanding that all gum is a treat-like candy. We want to give gum the credit it deserves!

Because get this..it’s not all blow pops and Hubba Bubba. The right kind of gum is actually great for your teeth, and even ancient civilizations enjoyed a good chew sometimes (though theirs was made of various tree saps…yum).

We’re mind readers, so you’re probably now wondering “okay – what is the right kind of gum?”

Fantastic question! We’re getting there.

The short answer is sugarless gum is the right kind of gum. This gum is sweetened with sugarless sweetener like aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol, or mannitol that completely lack the large amounts of sugar that help plaque acid grow.

Not only does sugarless gum lack the bad, plaque growing properties of sugar-containing gum, the act of chewing the gum itself is beneficial to your teeth.

The motion of chewing gum increases the flow of saliva to the mouth, which in turn has some great effects:

  • Increased saliva-flow displaces food debris stuck in small nooks and crannies in  between teeth
  • Saliva neutralizes the harmful acids found in the mouth after eating foods like citrus fruit and juices – these acids break down tooth enamel and facilitate conditions for tooth decay
  • Saliva contains calcium and phosphate that strengthen tooth enamel by replacing minerals depleted by the eating process (which is why dentists recommend chewing sugar free gum roughly 20 minutes after a meal)

What’s chewing gum made of?

A few different things, but in general they contain:

  1. Gum base
  2. Artificial sweetener (like the ones listed above)
  3. Softeners (glycerin or vegetable oil products)
  4. Flavor and color

Which gum should I buy?

The American Dental Association approved kind! This means that the ADA has evaluated the brand to make sure that it is safe and effective at cleaning your teeth. This means that it is an effective plaque-reducer, mineralization agent, cavity reducer, etc.

Here is a list of ADA approved gums for you to try out:

  • 5 Sugarfree Gum
  • Bazooka Sugar Free Bubble Gum (original & blue razz)
  • Eclipse Sugarfree Gum
  • Extra Sugarfree Gum
  • Icebreakers Ice Cubes
  • Orbit for Kids Sugarfree Gum
  • Orbit Sugarfree Gum
  • Stride Sugarless Gum
  • Trident Sugarfree Gum

 

But don’t forget…

Chewing sugarfree gum can never replace the acts of brushing and flossing your teeth. It’s a fantastic habit to get into, but only as a supplement to a pre-existing healthy dental routine.

And NOTHING replaces coming in to see Dr. Chauvin or your own dentist for yearly cleanings. Give us a call at (337) 234-2186 today to schedule your next appointment!

how to tell if you have bad breathe

How to tell if you have bad breath

Having bad breath is a special kind of torture.

It the kind of affliction that you really can’t detect in yourself with any kind of certainty, and you won’t meet too many people who are willingly going to tell you “hey, you’re kind of stinky.”

Well, you might, but they’re either really good friends or very mean strangers.

Secret bad breath might only be a secret to you, causing people to avoid close talk and whispered conversations of any kind. You might have noticed this, and labeling the resulting feeling as “embarrassing” is a massive understatement.

So, you might be asking, is there a way to tell if I actually have bad breath?

The answer is yes!

There are a few different ways, some more discrete than others, but we’ll start with the first, sure fire way for you to get an answer.

Ask a Friend

Comfortable?

Absolutely not.

Effective?

Absolutely.

The most reliable way to get the answer you need is ask a close friend you trust. If you can get over the initial embarrassment of asking them to confirm or deny that the air that you breathe out of your mouth is offensive, then this is a great strategy.

The fantastic thing is that even if they tried to lie, their face would probably reveal some mild distaste if your breath is truly bad.

And yes – this will probably lead to some embarrassment for a moment, but then you know you have something to visit your dentist about.

You’ll be on the road to fresh breath in no time!

The Lick Test

The following two “tests” are less reliable, but definitely more discrete.

If your stomach turns at the thought of asking someone for the honest truth, then maybe you should try out these simple methods that involve just you…

Make sure that your wrist is dry and free of any sort of lotion, perfume, or cologne.

Now, lick your wrist.

Wait 10 seconds.

Sniff.

Is it bad? Good? Neutral?

Chances are, if the smell on your wrist is not good, then your breath might need some work.

The Q-Tip Test

This test is similar, but it involves a cotton swab.

Take the Q-tip and run it along the inside of your cheeks and tongue.

Remove the Q-tip, and let it dry for several minutes.

Sniff, check, evaluate.

The Bottom Line

When it comes down to it, the only way to REALLY know if you have a problem is to try out method #1 and ask a friend.

The reason is this: we can’t really smell our own breath.

This is because our brains acclimate to the smells around us to help us better detect new smells. It’s a pretty cool trick, but not when it comes to our inability to tell if our house smells like cat pee or our breath might ruin our next date or a job interview.

Luckily, we’re here to help. If you are even a little self conscious about the scent of your breath, come see Dr. Chauvin in Lafayette. We’ll help you determine the cause and figure out an easy, effective way to get it minty fresh.

 

biggest-dental-hygiene-mistakes:

Biggest dental hygiene mistakes

We’re going to venture a guess here and say that dental hygiene is no one’s favorite pastime.

There’s something about brushing and flossing that pales in comparison to literally everything else, and we know that. Why do you think dentists are so necessary?

The good news is that most of us work past that distaste and get the teeth cleaning into our schedules, but how good of a job are we really doing?

News flash: 15 seconds is not long enough to get those puppies clean.

Get this – not only could you be doing a lackluster job, you might actually have some habits that are actively BAD for your teeth. That’s right. You could be putting in the time and effort to do some little thing the internet or your best friend told you was dental magic, and you’re actually making a huge mistake.

So what are the most common dental hygiene mistakes you might be making?

Check it out.

 

  • You listen to the internet

 

We know – it’s a great place. It opens up doors to information and opportunities those before us couldn’t even fathom, but some things are better left un-fathomed. For example, DIY braces crafted from store-bought rubber bands, or the newest teeth whitening method that calls for swishing straight peroxide around your mouth until your teeth are glistening! Or just eroded down to nubs.

The problem is that while some advice online is great and harmless, there are too many Pinterest dentists whose methods might leave you in worse shape than you started. Our advice is to only use materials that are ADA approved, or just come ask us what we think.

 

  • You brush right after you eat

 

Logic might tell you to brush right after you eat to remove the remnants of whatever food you just ate.

In that case, logic would be wrong.

Turns out that when you eat, the acids and sugars from the food you just chewed actually break down and weaken the enamel on your teeth. If you get right in there and brush your teeth with fervor, then you might be doing more damage than good. Those furious back and forths are removing the already weakened enamel, and this habit could cause premature deterioration.

In most cases, wait 30 minutes before brushing. If you’ve just eaten something high in sugar or acid, swish some water around your mouth to rinse away any significant residue.

 

  • You’re brushing too hard

 

You might feel like your teeth will thank you, but they really won’t. Brushing too hard or using a brush with hard bristles leads to the erosion of your enamel. According to a 2011 study published by the Journal of Periodontology, hard-bristled toothbrushes are great at removing plaque, but they’re also more likely than soft brushes to cause gingivitis and damage tissue.

 

  • You’re not brushing enough

 

Twice a day, 2 min each. You might be SHOCKED at how long that feels, but we promise it’s worth it.

 

  • You’re a boring brusher

 

Don’t take this personally, it’s not judgement, but you might just be a boring brusher. If you start in the same place every day, then your natural “brushing path” might leave some areas well taken care of while others are neglected.

You also might only be brushing your teeth which is no good. The tongue collects a great deal of bacteria, so give it a good brush for better breath and a cleaner mouth.

If you’re feeling like striking a good balance might be hard, you’re right – but it’s not impossible! Establishing fantastic dental hygiene is all about getting in good habits, and we think you’re on your way there.

Coming to see Dr. Chauvin in Lafayette can’t hurt, either! Make an appointment today.

 

Why are people afraid of the dentist?

Why are people afraid of the dentist?

For countless people, going to the dentist is a wildly stressful event. This anxiety can range from a minor discomfort to a full on phobia. In fact, Colgate Oral Center estimates that about 9 to 15 percent of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to this fear. That translates to about 30 to 40 million people who will put up with painful, infected, and decaying teeth because they are so scared of what might happen in the dentist’s chair.

Whether you are on the low or high end of that anxiety spectrum, your fear might result in the avoidance of important appointments that are vital to your oral health. The negligence of a painful tooth could ironically result in much more discomfort than any procedure you will encounter in a dentist’s office.

So what’s behind the fear? And what can you do to move past it?

The Causes

Are we just born with an innate fear of the dentist, or is there a more specific cause? Peter Milgrom, DDS, director of the Dental Fears Research Clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle says that the majority of the fear is a result of a bad experience that took place at a past dental appointment. The remaining people feel this crippling anxiety as a symptom of other anxiety disorders, like post traumatic stress disorders related to domestic violence, abuse, combat, etc.

But what about those of us who just feel….slightly uncomfortable?

It’s not unusual, explains psychologist Ellen Rodino of Santa Monica, California. When you’re in the dentist’s chair, you are incredibly exposed. You are tilted backwards, mouth open, and another human is above you. For added discomfort, they talk to you while there are tools in your mouth.

So what does this amount to? For many, it’s a feeling of complete and total vulnerability and a lack of control.

Dealing with the Fear

Believe it or not, there are ways for people with even the most crippling fear to move past the phobia and get the dental treatment they need.

Here are some of the ways that great dentists help patients feel a stronger sense of control:

  • They tell the patient exactly what they will feel and the duration of that feeling
  • They ask the patient if it is okay to continue to the next step
  • Patients have a cue they can give the dentist if they need the procedure or examination to stop
  • Time is set aside for breaks

Another great way that dentists are helping nervous patients is by creating an environment that is less like a classic dentist’s office. Instead of decorating the waiting room with tabloids and unnerving photos of damaged teeth, dentists are creating a warmer environment that is much less “clinical.”

Jack Bynes, DMD, is a great example of a dentist committed to making people feel more comfortable. His office is in a historic building where guests can enjoy a waiting room with a fireplace and beautiful photography. The treatment room overlooks a waterfall, and the doctor himself chooses not to wear scrubs.

Well, we don’t have a waterfall here, but we do have some strategies we recommend that might help you get over that hurdle of anxiety:

  • Bring someone with you to your appointment! This could be a friend or family member – just someone you trust
  • Allow yourself to be distracted while you sit in the examination chair by listening to music or checking out our TV on the ceiling!
  • Take deep, slow breaths to help calm your heartbeat and relax your muscles

 

At Chauvin Dental, can promise that we will make our best effort to make you as comfortable as possible. Our job is to help you achieve a beautiful, healthy smile, and we take that seriously. Give us a call today, and we can talk about making your next visit an anxiety-free experience.

 

Good and bad food for breath

Good and bad food for breath

Bad breath might very possibly be the most loathed and feared non life-threatening condition people deal with today. Nobody likes bad breath, least of all those who have to smell it on the uncomfortable close talker or the colleague whose egg salad stuck around hours after lunch ended. Almost everyone fears that they have it, and almost no one knows when they do.

If you are at least lucky enough to know that halitosis (the fancy name for bad breath) is a problem that you need to deal with, then there are two main courses of action to remedying the problem:

  1. Improve your dental habits (brushing, flossing, etc)
  2. Improve your diet

Most people know that better dental habits are a key to improving breath, but people are less aware of the potential impact diet has on the scent you give off. Though there is no conclusive evidence that specific foods results in horrendous breath, we can at least talk about some of the most widely believed causes of “dragonbreath.”

Foods Linked to Bad Breath:

  • Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
  • Coffee
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Citrus juices (i.e. orange juice)
  • Alcohol
  • Foods high in sugar

There are a few problems that the above foods tend to cause. One issue is that some of them slow saliva production which is your body’s natural mechanism for flushing out bacteria and food residue. Other foods, like onions and garlic, are pungent and linger in the mouth long past the time they are eaten. Another issue is that foods high in sugar or with high acidity create an environment favorable to bacteria growth, also contributing to bad breath.

Foods Linked to Good Breath:

  • Water
  • Sugarless gum
  • Apples and other food with crunch!

Increasing your water intake or chewing gum increases the amount of saliva the body produces, and this saliva is what helps to clean out your mouth and naturally remove bacteria. If you aren’t taking in enough water or producing enough saliva, then it is possible for that production to slow and for bacteria to build up and result in foul breath. That is why your breath in the morning is not pleasant – the body slows saliva production during the night, allowing for the build up of many unpleasant smelling bacteria. Another good habit is to eat foods with a crunch. For example, eating an apple can help remove the leftover food particles stuck in between the teeth whose decomposition never smell nice.

Overall, if you pay attention to the foods you eat and the care you take in the morning, throughout the day, and at night, then you should be on the path to fighting bad breath and ensuring general dental health. Bad breath shouldn’t be a barrier to your success or to your relationships, so do your best to figure out the best way to deal with the problem and live confidently!

Tooth Decay Is Crying With Emotions Sugar Coated Chocolate On Th

Why is sugar bad for your teeth?

Yeah yeah, we know sugar is bad for our teeth. Mom said it, dad said it, Mrs. Haverman in the first grade said it. Sugar’s role as our mouth’s archnemesis is not new information, but have you ever stopped to consider WHY it’s so bad for you? Well, we’re here to tell you that unfortunately, the adults in your life didn’t make up the horror stories just to keep you away from the joy of a Snickers bar. There’s really some annoying science behind it…

First of all, we should note that it’s not really the sugar’s fault, it’s the reaction the sugar triggers in your mouth. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (and probably any other person with a scientific background) your mouth is home to a host of bacteria – some good and some bad. They’re a part of the environment of your body, but sometimes what we put into our bodies disturbs the equilibrium of our natural ecosystem.

When you eat sugar, some of the bad bacteria in your mouth recognize a new food supply. They pig out on the molecules left on the surface of your teeth from your last lollipop or cookie, and when they do, they produce an acid that can destroy the tooth enamel. The acid does this by dissolving minerals on the surface of your teeth. While saliva helps to replenish these minerals (such as calcium, phosphate, and fluoride), they can’t do their repair work fast enough if you are consuming one sugary substance after another.

Eating too much sugar and not giving the repair process time can create cavities which work from the outside in. They begin on the tooth’s surface and slowly eat through the dentin (soft layer under your enamel) until they reach the pulp of the tooth where your blood vessels and nerves are stored.

Result? Discomfort, pain, and a trip to the dentist.

The good news is that there are some pretty simple ways to prevent this nasty sugar situation from occurring:

  • Keep the saliva flowing
    • Chew sugarless gum
    • Drink water
    • Eat high fiber fruits and veggies
  • Eat foods with tooth-strengthening properties
    • Cheese, yogurt, and dairy (contain phosphates)
    • Green and black tea (suppress oral bacteria)
  • Use toothpaste with fluoride
  • Avoid excessive sugar consumption

Though sugar is not the only culprit when it comes to cavity development, it is a troublemaker. Take care to brush, floss, and consume foods that will limit potential damage to your pearly whites.

Good and bad food for breath

Bad breath might very possibly be the most loathed and feared non life-threatening condition people deal with today. Nobody likes bad breath, least of all those who have to smell it on the uncomfortable close talker or the colleague whose egg salad stuck around hours after lunch ended. Almost everyone fears that they have it, and almost no one knows when they do.

If you are at least lucky enough to know that halitosis (the fancy name for bad breath) is a problem that you need to deal with, then there are two main courses of action to remedying the problem:

  1. Improve dental habits (brushing, flossing, etc)
  2. Improve diet

Most people know that better dental habits are a key to improving breath, but people are less aware of the potential impact that diet has on the scent you give off. Though there is no conclusive evidence that specific foods results in horrendous breath, we can at least talk about some of the most widely believed causes of “dragonbreath.”

Foods Linked to Bad Breath:

  • Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
  • Coffee
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Citrus juices (i.e. orange juice)
  • Alcohol
  • Foods high in sugar

There are a few problems that the above foods tend to cause. One issue is that some of them slow saliva production which is your body’s natural mechanism for flushing out bacteria and food residue. Other foods, like onions and garlic, are pungent and linger in the mouth long past the time they are eaten. Another issue is that foods high in sugar or with high acidity create an environment favorable to bacteria growth, also contributing to bad breath.

Foods Linked to Good Breath:

  • Water
  • Sugarless gum
  • Apples and other food with crunch!

Increasing your water intake or chewing gum increases the amount of saliva the body produces, and this saliva is what helps to clean out your mouth and naturally remove bacteria. If you aren’t taking in enough water or producing enough saliva, then it is possible for that production to slow and for bacteria to build up and result in foul breath. That is why your breath in the morning is not pleasant – the body slows saliva production during the night, allowing for the build up of many unpleasant smelling bacteria. Another good habit is to eat foods with a crunch. For example, eating an apple can help remove the leftover food particles stuck in between the teeth whose decomposition never smell nice.

Overall, if you pay attention to the foods you eat and the care you take in the morning, throughout the day, and at night, then you should be on the path to fighting bad breath and ensuring general dental health. Bad breath shouldn’t be a barrier to your success or to your relationships, so do your best to figure out the best way to deal with the problem and live confidently!

History of toothbrushes

It seems wrong to write a blog about the history of toothpaste without its counterpart, the history of the toothbrush. To remedy this, we’ll quickly take you through several thousand years worth of makeshift toothbrushes and their creators then let you decide which version you might come up with if you were stuck on a deserted island but still valued your oral hygiene.

 

The Ancient Babylonians are first group mentioned in most histories of teeth brushing. This civilization lived in what is now present day Iraq, Kuwait, eastern Syria, and Southeastern Turkey and was responsible for a great deal of invention that contributes to today’s society, and the “chewing stick” is no exception. Historians estimate that this device was first used between the years 3500 and 3000 BC and was fairly straightforward – after all, this is ancient Mesopotamia we’re talking about. The stick was chewed on one end to create a frayed side for “brushing”, and the other end was sharpened into a point for picking the teeth. Toothpicks have some history, people.

 

 

 

 

 

The Chinese also provide evidence for creating their own version by 1600 BC. Like the Babylonians, their brushes were also made from sticks, but sticks particularly from “aromatic” trees to presumably help in the breath freshening department. But the Chinese would also invent a tool which looks more similar to our modern toothbrush, and these were made from bone or bamboo handles and pigs’ neck bristles. Simply delightful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Chinese design eventually made its way over to the west where pig neck bristles were swapped out in favor of horsehair – a much less effective material for removing food from the teeth. Western civilizations continued to make changes in their variety of teeth cleaning tools, introducing silver, copper, and goose feather toothpicks.

 

The basic structure of the toothbrush has changed very little since its initial conception, but we can all give a big round of applause for Du Pont Laboratories and their invention of nylon in 1937. This lead to the swift and VERY welcome change of using nylon bristles instead of using bones, hair, and other animal derivatives.

 

Cheers to these little guys:

pediatric dentist

What are pediatric dentists?

If the phrase “we’re going to the dentist” has your kids jumping for joy, then read no further. You’re an alien allstar parent only here to make the rest of us feel bad.

If you aren’t so lucky, grab a pen and paper…

Dental care, just like regular visits to the doctor, is a vital part of your child’s healthy development. This means that we all face the intimidating process of picking the right dentist for our child and then suffer through actually getting said child to and from the appointment without an all out brawl.

The good news is that there are dentists out there who know that teeth cleanings are not your six year old’s favorite afternoon activity, and they’ve actually gone through years of school to learn the best ways to care for our kids’ teeth. Members of this fantastic breed of dental care providers are called pediatric dentists.

Pediatric dentists provide all the same care for your child as general dentists, but they do so with a specific expertise in caring for children in an environment designed to make your child comfortable. This requires a more thorough understand of a child’s teeth, jaw, facial structure, and general development. Pediatric dentists also typically create a child-centered office atmosphere that differentiates them from a general doctor’s office.

Educational Differences

Pediatric dentists go through the normally required four years of dental school plus two more years of training focused on the specific dental needs of the following groups:

  • infants
  • children
  • teens
  • children with special needs

Services Provided

Pediatric dentists perform a wide range of services including but not limited to:

  • Routine cleanings
  • Cavity and tooth repair
  • Infant oral exams
  • Nutrition and dietary advice for young teeth
  • Habit counseling (regarding the impacts of pacifiers and thumb sucking)
  • Identification of oral conditions related to internal diseases
  • Early advice for correcting bites (orthodontics)

Should I choose a general dentist or a pediatric dentist?

At the end of the day, that is your decision as a parent. All general, family practice dentists are trained in pediatric dentistry in dental school, but only pediatric dentists go through the extra training to specialize in children’s needs and often go the extra mile to make kids feel at ease with oral care. You’ll often find that pediatric dental offices are designed with kids in mind like in the images below.  

If your child is a little antsy about their routine teeth cleaning, or if you feel that they might need some extra care, consider looking into a pediatric dentist. It could make those yearly checkups more bearable for the person who looks forward to them the least – and that just might be you.

history of toothpast chauvin dental lafayette

History of toothpaste

Next time you reach for your tube of Crest, Colgate, or Arm & Hammer, send up a little thank you to the powers that be for your minty tube of wonders. As it turns out, our obsession with clean and healthy teeth is not anything new (though our methods are arguably MUCH better than past efforts…). Going all the way back to 5000BC, dental hygiene meant using some interesting and downright nasty methods to protect one’s pearly whites.

“Toothpaste” actually made its debut before the invention of the toothbrush. The Egyptians are responsible for the first recorded teeth cleaning substance, followed by the Ancient Greeks, Romans, and the Chinese. After taking a look at the ingredients involved in the early efforts, you’ll quickly realize that abrasion was the name of the game. Ancient people clearly understood that they needed to use a substance rough enough to get rid of the surface level undesirables that resulted in decaying teeth and horrible breath, but some of them might just make you scratch your head.

Drum roll please…

The Egyptians

First up, we have the Egyptians. The Egyptians created a special blend of ox hoof powder, burnt eggshells, and pumice which is a light and porous volcanic rock. Mm mm good! Although this mix often resulted in bleeding gums (we’re going to take a wild guess and blame that on the crushed rocks in their mouths), historians do say that their interesting methods were successful in comparison to some other attempts. Next up, the Greeks and Romans!

Greeks and Romans

The Greeks and Romans preferred to keep it calcium rich with their secret ingredient combo of crushed bones and oyster shells. They typically threw in some powdered charcoal and bark for good measure.

Chinese

The team here at Chauvin would like to give the “Most Likely Not to Spit Out” superlative to the the Chinese. They put together a showstopper with a mix of ginseng, herbal mints, and salts. At least this one doesn’t included cleaning your teeth with the remnants of other living creatures.

Modern-ish Methods

All we can say is that things didn’t look (or taste) too good until rather recently. The “modern” toothpastes began evolving towards the middle of the nineteenth century, but these were still not pastes in the sense that we understand today. The substances were typically powder-like and mixed with water upon use.

Potential ingredients:

  • Soap
  • Chalk
  • Betel nut (seed of a type of palm tree)
  • Ground charcoal
  • Burnt bread

The world rejoiced in 1873 when Colgate released an inoffensively scented jar of toothpaste, and the innovations just kept rolling in.

1890s – tube introduced

1945  – soap eliminated from ingredient list

1950s – soap replaced with sodium lauryl sulphate to make the paste smooth

Since the 1950s, we’ve seen incredible product diversification in the toothpaste industry, so much so that you might just spend upwards of ten minutes just staring at the options on the supermarket shelves. Do I want sparkling white teeth? Breath freshening? Both? Baking soda formula? Extra strength cleaning? Kid friendly? All natural? Fluoride? Edible?

Well, the next time you’re standing in line feeling the anxiety of making this life changing toothpaste decision, just remember that you’re choosing between Maxfresh Mint and 3D whitening, not ox hoof and crushed bones.

That might just speed up your decision.