Dads: Set a great example for your children’s dental health!

McDowell FamilyNothing in a man’s life should bring him more joy and reward than being a dad.  As a father, you need to be someone that they learn from and look up to everyday.

My wife and I have three young children and work hard to set a good example in everything we do for them. This includes demonstrating great dental care. What many people don’t realize is that unhealthy teeth can lead to more severe health problems. That’s why it is so important to get kids to start taking good care of their teeth when they are young.

As working parents (we are both dentists) with three little kids and busy schedules, we know it’s not always easy. It takes dedication and we make it a priority because there is nothing more important than the health and well-being of our family. That’s why we are committed to practicing what we preach, teaching our children the proper ways to floss and brush their teeth, as well as the importance of routine dental check-ups.

This is the best way to get your kids in the habit of taking care of their teeth and overall health on a daily basis. As a dad, I feel it’s one of the best things we can for our children.

For more information on good dental care and services, visit our website at www.MyFortMyersDentist.com. Our office wishes a very Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, grandfathers and dads-to-be!

DIY is essential to your dental health

shutterstock_124477807We’re not suggesting you should attempt a filling or extract a tooth on your own, but between visits to our office, you make the difference in maintaining your dental health.

The most obvious method of cleaning your teeth, of course, is brushing. You are bombarded with advertising touting the benefits of one toothbrush or toothpaste above another, but the answer is simple. Keep it simple. A soft brush is best to avoid damaging tooth enamel, and in toothpaste flouride is the key ingredient. Beyond that, find a taste you can live with. In fact, the simpler your toothpaste the better as many that claim powerful ingredients can actually wear away enamel and cause problems for those with sensitive teeth over the long run.

Flossing is equally important though often neglected. Find a way to work it into your routine. Some people like to keep floss close at hand so they can clean their teeth soon after eating, when the discomfort of food debris motivates them to do so. Others find that doing the top in the morning and the bottom in the evening helps them get the job done. Still others floss their whole mouth in one session, and truth be told it doesn’t matter what time you do it, as long as you follow the recommended once-a-day minimum.

Mouth washes have always been considered optional, and for many people are not necessary. In fact, they can contain harsh chemicals and wear away enamel. If you can’t live without that minty fresh feeling, be an educated consumer and check the ingredients on the label to be sure you are totally comfortable with what you put in your mouth. Feel free to discuss your choices with us at your next visit.

Beyond brushing and flossing, there are other things you can do to keep your mouth clean and healthy on a daily basis. Choose healthy foods and drink plenty of water during and after meals. If you indulge in a sugary, starchy or acidic food, eat it during a meal or soon afterward when the saliva in your mouth is already stimulated. Saliva will help wash those unwanted sugars and acids away. Some research shows sugarless gum also promotes good dental health by stimulating saliva, so feel free to freshen your breath and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time.

Of course, regular professional cleanings, every six months, is very important, and make an appointment at the first sign of pain or discomfort. To make an appointment call 239-936-0597 or schedule online at http://www.myfortmyersdentist.com/appointment/

What your teeth want you to eat

shutterstock_136173053They do all the work, yet how often do you think about what you should eat for your teeth? We all know to avoid candy and other sticky sugary foods and to brush immediately after we indulge. Let’s go a step further and incorporate some of these teeth-healthy foods into the diet:

Fruits & Vegetables – Choose fruits with a high water volume, such as apples, cucumbers and watermelon. Eat high acid fruits such as oranges with meals and brush immediately after eating bananas and raisins, both of which tend to stick to the teeth.

Cheese – Cheese triggers saliva production, washing the teeth, and it also contains calcium, which fortifies teeth.

Meats, Nuts and Milk – The calcium and phosphorus in these foods re-mineralize teeth.

Sugarless Gum – Another way to get the saliva flowing, and some sugarless gums contain ingredients that have been shown to actually fight cavities.

Finally, when you do indulge in sweets and starches, eat them with your meal, when you mouth is primed to wash away bacteria because the saliva is already flowing.

With the right combination of diet, cleaning and regular visits to the dentist, your teeth will stay healthier. Call us today at 239-936-0597 to schedule your next check-up and professional cleaning or visit our website at http://www.myfortmyersdentist.com. 

Three Ways to Add Fluoride to Your Diet

girl drinking water flourideFluoride is an important component of dental health, protecting teeth from decay and keeping gums healthy. In most American cities, including those in Southwest Florida, this natural substance is added to tap water, providing a readily available source for all citizens. The average person consumes 2-3 milligrams of fluoride daily through tap water.

However, for a variety of reasons, many people prefer bottled water, which does not contain fluoride. Should you change from bottled water to tap water to protect your teeth? Not necessarily. Here are some other ways to incorporate fluoride into your diet:

Tea – Fluoride is naturally occurring in black tea. One cup of black tea could provide as much as nine milligrams of fluoride, according to one study, far more than tap water.

Meat – Fluoride is found in sea water so it can be found to some degree in most seafood, and particularly in mechanically processed canned fish and shellfish meat. The same is true for mechanically processed chicken, which is found in canned chicken and chicken nuggets because sodium sulfate in used in these processes.

Dentists – Prophylactic fluoride treatments are available through your dentist.

If you believe you are not getting enough fluoride in your diet and would like to discuss the advantages of such treatments, please make an appointment online at http://www.myfortmyersdentist.com/ or call 239-936-0597.

Top 5 Reasons to Make Your Teeth a Spring Cleaning Priority

Regular dental visits are very important to your health and wellbeing. In fact, we recommend you have a professional cleaning and dental exam every six months. Spring is a great time for your first cleaning of the year.

Spring cleaning appointment

First, because many people are in “spring cleaning” mode, so it is easy to remember to make this important appointment as part of your annual routine. Second, a spring cleaning puts your second cleaning of the year in the fall, before the holiday rush makes it harder to fit it into your schedule.

Why are these routine visits so important?

  1. To prevent gum disease – This is our top reason because it is so important to the health of your entire body! By preventing gum disease, you avoid oral health problems such as bone loss, bad breath and tooth loss, and you also preventing one of the main risk factors for a myriad of health problems such as heart disease and some cancers.
  2. To help detect oral cancer – Early detection is very important with any cancer, and oral cancer is no exception. We screen patients for signs of oral cancer at every exam.
  3. To have a healthy smile – Regular cleanings will help keep your teeth white and healthy so your smile looks great.
  4. To maintain good oral health – Good home maintenance is of the utmost importance, and we can help. When we examine your teeth we can point areas where you need to focus more attention and coach you through any oral health challenges you face.
  5. To save money – By detecting problems early when they can be fixes more easily, you could avoid more costly procedures down the road.

Schedule your spring cleaning appointment today! Call our office at 239-936-0597 or visit www.myfortmyersdentist.com.

Treating patients like people…

The title of this article might seem a bit obvious. Who wouldn’t treat their patients like people? However, judging by how many patients fear the dentist chair, many professionals are missing the mark.

Dentists and their staff naturally become desensitized to the situations they encounter every single day, and it takes a concerted effort to recognize what causes patients anxiety and discomfort so we can ease their fears and, of course, minimize pain.

Part of our job as professionals is to get to know our patients and to be sensitive to their individual needs. We make an effort to read between the lines, paying attention to tone of voice, body language and other signs a patient is uncomfortable. We encourage patients to open up so they feel more at ease going into any procedure.

Also, everyone experiences pain differently so we give patients every opportunity for feedback and pay attention to signs they are feeling discomfort. One patient, Kristin Dubrasky of Fort Myers said, “I appreciate Dr. McDowell’s step-by-step explanation during exams and procedures. He walks patients through the process paying close attention to body language to make sure the experience is as comfortable and pleasant as possible. His staff is always attentive as well. Believe it or not, they make me want to come to the dentist!”

That is exactly how we want all of our patients to feel! We are here to take care of you and will always be sensitive to your needs.

For more patient testimonials, visit http://www.myfortmyersdentist.com/testimonials/.

What to do in a Dental Emergency?

This time of year, you might be wondering what to do if you have a dental emergency while our offices are closed for the holidays, or after hours any time of year. We are proud to serve your emergency dental needs – just call our emergency number at 239-936-0597 when the office is closed.

Holiday closures to plan for – Closed: Dec. 22, 2012 – Jan. 2, 2013

Avoiding an emergency
Indulging in a candy cane or popcorn might seem innocent enough, but be careful of these dental offenders. Items such as hard candy, popcorn kernels and ice can all damage teeth. Also, avoid using your teeth to cut tape or remove tags from those new gifts. It may seem convenient, but it is not worth ruining your holiday. Always wear a mouth guard while playing sports or doing any activities that could harm teeth as well.

Home care tips
Sometimes you can temporarily care for an emergency at home with a few simple items such as temporary fillings, a dental mirror, sterile gauze and pain relievers. Make sure you have these on hand in case an emergency happens when stores are closed. If you are not sure what to get, there are a variety of emergency dental kids on the market. Remember, pain is a signal something is wrong so even if the pain subsides make an appointment for an examination as soon as possible.

Emergency tips
Whatever your dental emergency, if you can’t manage the pain or stop bleeding on your own, always go to the emergency room. Here are a few emergency tips from the American Dental Association (http://www.ada.org/370.aspx) for handling issues that may or may not require an emergency room visit:

Lost tooth – If your tooth has been knocked out, hold the tooth by the crown and rinse off the root of the tooth in water if it is dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If that isn’t possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk and seek immediate care by calling our emergency phone number or go to the emergency room. Remember to bring your tooth with you!

Toothache – Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss or an interdental cleaner to remove food or other debris caught between teeth. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it can burn gum tissue. Contact us as soon as possible.

Bitten lip or tongue – Clean the area gently with a cloth and apply cold compresses to reduce swelling. Again, if the bleeding doesn’t stop, go to the emergency room.

Broken tooth – Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area and use cold compresses to reduce swelling. Call us for an appointment as soon as possible.

Cracked tooth – Avoid chewing food on that side of your mouth and contact us as soon as possible.

Broken jaw – If you have possibly broken your jaw, apply cold compresses to control swelling and go to the emergency room immediately.

Foreign objects stuck in teeth – If you can’t gently remove the object with dental floss, call us as soon as possible. Never use sharp objects and avoid cutting the gums with floss.

Contact us today by calling (239) 936-0597 to schedule your next dental visit or to speak to one of our experienced dental staff.

Turn To Dr. Shane McDowell for Your General Dentistry Needs

Dr. Shane McDowell

Trust your dental health to Dr. Shane McDowell for all your dental care needs, from examinations and cleanings to restorative procedures such as root canals, extractions and gum treatments. Dr. McDowell and his team provide the full array of dental care services with special attention to your comfort and health.

  • Root Canals
  • Gum Treatment
  • Partials
  • Dentures
  • Extractions
  • Tooth Decay
  • Bad Breath
  • Oral Cancer
  • Nutrition and Oral Health