Celebrating our Brunswick office with the Brunswick- Golden Isles Chamber

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We held an event on Tuesday, February 16th with the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber to celebrate our office expansion! The expansion was completed in August 2015 and we welcomed Dr. Kris Kasik to our team in September 2015. While the expansion was complete a few months ago, we are still just as excited!

Our Brunswick office is now open Monday through Fridays. Dr. Kevin Ritola and Dr. Kris Kasik and their teams are skilled, friendly and truly enjoy helping patients learn and improve their oral health. To make an appointment with Dr. Ritola or Dr. Kasik, please call our office at 912-264-8408.

Pictures of the expansion are below:

New consult room

New consult room

One of several new operatories

One of several new operatories

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Front Desk

Front Desk

Expanded Waiting Area

Expanded Waiting Area

Celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month in February

The American Dental Association (ADA) established National Children’s Dental Health Month over thirty years ago to promote the benefits starting young to achieve good oral health.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in the country.  Tooth decay affects more children than asthma or hay fever. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 40% of children will have some tooth decay by the time they enter kindergarten. The good news for parents is that tooth decay is preventable!

The following recommendations will get your child off to a great start with good dental health.

  • Brush and floss twice each day

The best weapons available to a parent are a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. The ADA recommends that parents teach their children to brush for two minutes two times a day—morning and evening at bedtime. Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and teach your child to avoid swallowing toothpaste.  Parents should provide help and supervision until a child is about seven or eight years old.

  • Limit sugary treats and drinks

This includes avoiding juice between meals. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends limiting juice to four to six ounces per day. Parents can also replace sugary treats with healthy snacks such as cheese, yogurt, and fruit.

  • Schedule a dental checkup

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that parents schedule their child’s first visit to the dentist when the child turns one year of age. First birthday equals first checkup.  However, if a parent detects discoloration or staining, they should schedule an appointment right away.

  • Make sure your water has fluoride

Fluoride helps teeth resist acid attacks by strengthening tooth enamel. If your local water supply does not have fluoride, talk to your dentist about fluoride drops or tablets.

National Children’s Dental Health Month is a good reminder that it’s never too early to start your child on the path of good dental health. Habits developed early tend to become lifelong habits.

An Apple A Day May Keep the Doctor and the Dentist Away!

Apples have long been associated with a healthy smile. It takes strong, healthy teeth to bite into a crunchy apple. That’s why you’ll be offered an apple when you visit your Howard Family Dental office.

You’ve heard the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. It may also be true that an apple a day keeps the dentist away.  Children have a natural sweet tooth that draws them to sugary snacks and chewy candy that can stick to the teeth.  Tooth decay results when cavity-causing organisms feed on this sugar and turn it into enamel-eroding acid. Apples are naturally sweet and offer a healthy alternative to processed, sugary snacks packed with nutrient-deficient calories.

Apples have other advantages over sugary snacks and even over many other fruits.

  • Apples are portable and can be packed in a lunch box with no refrigeration needed.
  • Apples can satisfy a sugar craving at ¼ the calories of candy or chocolate.
  • Apples are packed with Vitamin C which is great for the immune system.
  • Apples have flavonoids with antioxidant properties that guard against heart disease.
  • Apples have been shown to lower bad cholesterol and may have cancer-fighting benefits.
  • Apples come in many varieties of taste and color. If you don’t like a Granny Smith apple, have a Gala, a Honeycrisp, a Golden Delicious, or many others!

A healthy diet means healthier teeth.  At your next visit to a Howard Family Dental office, you’ll leave with an apple and a healthier smile!

So Many Brands, So Little Time!

Since Crest toothpaste became the first toothpaste to receive the American Dental Association’s Seal of Approval in 1960, more than 400 toothpastes have shown up on retail store shelves.  Every brand offers multiple sizes, flavors, and specialties. Buying a simple tube of toothpaste is not so simple.

Toothpaste is a daily essential, or should be, in every household. Toothpaste improves the cleaning power of your toothbrush by helping to remove plaque, the film of bacteria on teeth and gums that contributes to tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.

Most toothpaste contains detergents that cause a foaming action to remove food particles.  Some add abrasives to help remove stains or flavoring to improve taste.  Beyond that there are baking soda toothpaste, natural toothpaste, gels, desensitizing toothpaste, breath-freshening toothpaste, and many more. With so many choices, what’s a shopper to do?

  • Look for fluoride

The fluoride in toothpaste strengthens tooth enamel which helps prevent tooth decay.  Fluoride also works to remineralize teeth worn by acid.

  • Look for the ADA Seal

The American Dental Association evaluates toothpastes for safety and effectiveness. All toothpastes with the ADA Seal contain fluoride.

  • Evaluate special claims

Many manufacturers have specialty products in their line that make certain claims. You should know that whitening toothpaste doesn’t really whiten teeth but contains abrasives or chemicals to remove tooth stains.  Tartar control toothpaste doesn’t remove existing tartar; only a dentist can do that. Instead, the product helps prevent tartar from accumulating.

  • Consult your dentist

 

Based on the results of your dental exam, your dentist can determine if a special product is necessary. If there are no specific concerns, most dentists advise their patients to choose a brand they like because they will be more likely to use it regularly.

Dental new years resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions to Smile About

Did you know that the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions started with the Babylonians 4000 years ago? Since the Babylonian New Year coincided with the planting of new crops, their most common resolution was to return borrowed farm equipment. That’s probably not one of your resolutions, but there is something about that blank calendar or planner that makes the start of a new year a logical time for a fresh start.

Today the most common resolutions have to do with health issues such as losing weight, exercising more, or eating healthy. Here are four resolutions that will improve your dental health in the coming year.

  • Schedule your dental checkup

    Even if you’re not having any dental problems, call your dentist at the first of the year to schedule an appointment. Use your new calendar or planner to record the date.

  • Commit to brushing and flossing

    Most of us brush twice a day but often neglect to make flossing part of our daily routine. Just as you keep your toothbrush easily accessible on the bathroom counter, put the floss where you will see it when you brush your teeth.

  • Reduce your sugar intake

    Reducing the amount of sugary foods and beverages you consume can reduce your risk for tooth decay. Start with easy substitutions like sugar-free gum and replace sodas with water. Add more dairy products and high-fiber foods to your diet. Your waistline will also benefit!

  • Stop smoking

    Most of us know the health risks associated with smoking, but we may not be aware of the increased risk for gum disease. Use your new calendar to schedule healthy activities to help take your mind off the cravings. Enlist the help of your family and friends. Look forward to the day you can write “Tobacco Free” on your calendar!

Studies show that it can take thirty days before a new habit becomes routine so don’t give up.  Commit to these resolutions for your dental health one day at a time!

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Get the Most out of Your Dental Insurance!

Did you know dental insurance is typically “use it or lose it”? Most dental insurance plan benefits do not roll over at the end of the year, and many patients don’t get their money’s worth from their dental insurance because they let their unused benefits expire before the year is out.

The Bottom Line: 2015 is almost over so now is a great time to make sure you take advantage of all your dental benefits!

We want to help you get all that you deserve from your dental plan! If you’ve been putting off a check-up, cleaning or treatment, now is the perfect time to schedule an appointment and to maximize your dental benefits. As a courtesy to our patients, our team members are happy to check with your insurance provider and let you know about your dental coverage*.

Call us today to make an appointment, 912-629-9000, or use the button below to make an online appointment request.

Request an Appointment

* Please note that the information we share from your insurance provider is an estimate only; your insurance provider makes the final determination on benefit amounts.

Howard Family Dental Free Dental Day 2015!

At Howard Family Dental, we held our 7th annual ‘Free Dental Day’ on Friday, November 20th.

Over 80 Howard Family Dental team members and dentists volunteered along with: Kid’s Dentistree team, Oral and Facial Surgery Group; Dr. Theodotou and his team, Dr. Frank Scarbrough and Dr. Mike Wilson of Chatham Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery and their teams. Thanks to everyone’s generous efforts, we were able to treat 181 patients for a free cleaning, filling or extraction.

America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia and Target Distribution brought food for those who are in need. Help a Child Smile brought a bus, fully equipped with dental chairs, hygiene supplies and even an x-ray machine, technician and even a pediatric dentist, Dr. King. Jim Brown and Walgreens provided flu shots and blood pressure checks. Strickland’s Funeral Home, Auto Zone and Calvary Assembly of God generously allow parking and many local restaurants offer food donations for our volunteers.

We are so grateful to all that volunteered their time, material and resources to make Howard Family Dental Free Dental Day a success. We are looking forward to next year’s event!

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3 Dental Tips to Keep You Smiling through the Holidays

‘Tis the season for sweets and treats! By maintaining good oral health during the holiday season, you can keep your smile bright and give yourself one of the best gifts of all: healthy teeth!

Holiday parties and events often lead people to eat more sugary treats and beverages than usual. And with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, oral hygiene tends to suffer. If all you want this season is to keep your two front teeth, or all of your teeth for that matter, then check out our dental tips to keep you smiling.

1. Drink Water after Holiday Beverages

Whether red or white, the high acidity levels in wine can eat away at tooth enamel. For kiddos or anyone who doesn’t drink alcoholic beverages, the same goes for sweet holiday drinks like punch. Bacteria in plaque love to feed on residual sugars. To avoid damage, refrain from swishing sweet or acidic drinks around in your mouth, and drink water in between beverages to rinse your teeth of the sugar or acid. Cheers!

2. Go Easy on Sweet Treats

Tooth-decay-causing bacteria in the mouth thrive on the sugars found in candy canes, chocolate, and gingerbread cookies, increasing the likelihood of developing cavities. If you are not able to brush and floss after munching on sweets, drink water or chew a piece of gum with xylitol.

3. Be Mindful of Stress

Holiday anxiety can cause people to grind or clench their teeth, causing jaw pain, headaches, or chipping. Find ways to reduce your anxiety or talk to your dentist about a custom mouth guard to wear while sleeping.

Keep a healthy smile at the top of your wish list. Happy Holidays!

Veterans Day

Today, we celebrate America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.  We thank all those who have served, protected and defended our country in the past, present and future.

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