Caring For Your Smile When You’re Expecting

There’s a lot of information being fed to you when you find out you’re pregnant. The goal is not to lose sight of some of the most foundational aspects of what keeps you healthy, and what keeps the baby healthy. And, just like when you’re not pregnant, having a healthy mouth during pregnancy means more than just the health of your smile. Particularly when you’re pregnant, hormones can throw quite the wrench in some of the things that normally work for your body—and then all of a sudden, you’re dealing with sensitive gums and teeth that feel like they might fall out! 

 You can’t forget about that smile

Here at Dr. Marchbank’s office, we wanted to compile a few informative bits and facts that can help you understand the implications of your preventative dental health care when you’re expecting.  

 

We’d like to first point out the obvious: be sure to continue caring for your teeth as did before you found out about the baby! Brush twice a day, floss at least once a day, use fluoride toothpaste, use mouthwash, see your dentist regularly—and most definitely when you become pregnant. Pay special attention to your gum line, where the accumulation of bacteria and plaque can lead to gum problems and disease. Lastly, talk with your dentist about when to schedule a checkup during your pregnancy; the best time is usually during your second trimester. 

 

Perhaps surprisingly, 1 in 5 premature births in the U.S. can be linked to (and predicted by) gum disease. Crazy, right? The best you can do to prevent this is to keep your routine consistent, even after a late-night craving is satisfied! 

 

What’s more, even after birth, children are most susceptible to bacteria that can cause dental decay or gum disease from the age of 18-36 months, when moms tend to share cups or “clean” pacifiers and bottles with their own mouth. In general, it’s best to air on the safe side with sharing, as infections can occur at any time. Your baby’s teeth that develop in the womb include the roots and foundation of the teeth that will be with them for the rest of their life.  

 

Be sure to maintain a balanced diet. Foods that are processed or sugary will increase your chances of developing gum disease and cavities—and you don’t want to have to undergo treatment while you’re busy getting ready for the baby. We all know, and absolutely understand, that snacking while pregnant will be part of the deal, so when you do have unusual food cravings, be sure to stay mindful to brush afterword…especially when snacking late at night and then going back to bed.  

 

Outside of what’s taking place with your own teeth, you’ll want to consider the type of nutrients you are taking in for your child’s early-developing teeth. Your baby’s teeth begin to develop in the womb at 3-6 months, so sufficient quantities of vitamins A, C, and D, protein, calcium, folic acid and phosphorous help set your child up to have a healthy mouth for life. Without writing a whole other article on the topic, we suggest eating a variety of healthy foods, foods low in sugar and drinking a lot of water and milk as great ways to ensure a healthy baby and minimal calcium loss for your and baby’s teeth.  

 

Morning sickness can be a very real experience for some women. And with that experience comes the unpleasant reality of vomiting. If this happens, be sure to only swish your mouth with water immediately after to rinse the acid out that enters your mouth, which can erode the enamel of your teeth and lead to tooth decay. Try to wait a good 20-30 minutes to brush with toothpaste, as rinsing and spitting with water can help neutralize acidity and brushing can actually press acid into your tooth enamel. Lastly, if the mere smell of your toothpaste is unthinkable, try a milder or different flavor, and if worse comes to worse use baking soda, water and a toothbrush until the sickness dissipates.  

 

The first and third trimester are not always the best times to be seen by your dentist. The first trimester your baby is beginning to develop, and you don’t want to introduce any unneeded stress that could cause you trouble. The third trimester you are approaching giving birth, and you wouldn’t want to introduce stress that could cause you to go into premature labor. So, if you need to have any X-rays or (emergency only) dental work done, you’ll want to do it in your second trimester if possible. 

 

The ADA (American Dental Association) and the ACOG (American College of Radiology) both agree that no single diagnostic x-ray has a radiation dose significant enough to cause adverse effects in a developing embryo or fetus, with appropriate shielding.1  

 

Nothing is more miraculous or precious than waiting for your baby to come. And, for some, nothing could be scarier. Ensuring you are healthy during your pregnancy is the surest way to ensure your baby can be born healthy. And just as we here at Dr. Marchbank’s office say that the crux of your health begins in your mouth, we believe that the health of your baby begins with the health of your own mouth during pregnancy.

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Things We’re Thankful For In Arlington, Texas

Here at the office of Dr. Mark Marchbanks, we are Arlington proud and wanted to compile a list of things we love about this city in light of this week of thanks. 

 

With a population of 392,772 and an average age of 33, there are plenty of reasons why this city is succeeding, and why we plan to keep healthy roots here. (Get it?) Read on to see what we’ll be saying over our Thanksgiving feasts that we’re grateful for! 

 Why we’re thankful to be in Arlington, TX

  1. Awe-inspiring sports arena, world-class athletes and theme parks

With a stadium that can fit more than a quarter of the Arlington population in its seats, the home turf of the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium—and our beloved Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park, along with the other 10 plus stadiums and arenas in town—are something we’re hugely grateful for. And we can’t forget Six Flags Over Texas! We are thankful to have such stellar sports stars and amenities in our town. 

 

  1. The outdoors

 

We love our parks! Arlington boasts over 90 award-winning public parks, including a Frisbee golf course, TWO dog parks, THREE skateboard parks (with four more on the way!), FOUR golf courses, SIX pools, and SEVEN recreation centers. We also have 10 miles of mountain bike trails, 26 tennis courts and another 56 paved trails! With an average of 235 sunny days a year, and our tolerable “humid subtropical” climate, we are grateful to have so many beautiful options to keep us in shape, healthy, and happy.

 

  1. Food

 

Not only have 5 restaurants in our city been featured on Diners, Dives and Drive Ins (Jamaican Gates, Prince Lebanese Grill, Chop House Burgers, Taste of Europe & Twisted Root), but Arlington at large is an international and local food epicenter. There are over 200 locally-owned restaurants, dozens of international markets, plus Mexican, Vietnamese, Chinese, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Indian, Traditional American, Italian cuisine and more. This makes our bellies and taste buds very thankful!

 

  1. Affordable

 

Arlington was ranked one of America’s best places to live last year. And yet, for all this luxury and entertainment, Arlington can still be entirely affordable. According to Zillow, the average cost of a purchased home is $182,400, lower than the DFW metro average, making it possible for first-time homebuyers or retirees to settle here in Arlington. 

 

  1. Opportunities 

 

What would the good life in Arlington be without the employment opportunities for everyone to live comfortably? Not only is the job market in Arlington stable, but the ability to get anywhere within the city by car in 30 minutes makes that work-life balance a real life possibility, and gives hope to those Texas residents with that good ol’ American Dream.  

 

  1. Quality neighbors

 

200 family-friendly neighborhoods in Arlington participated in the 4th largest U.S. turnout of the “National Night Out of #meetoneneighbor” on October 6, 2015. If that’s not proof of neighbors that care, then we don’t know what is! We’re just grateful to have such warm and loving people surrounding us and our families. 

 

  1. Great schools

 

The Arlington Independent School District boasts 10 high schools, 11 junior high schools and 55 elementary schools, along with private and charter school options. And let’s not forget our three higher-education institutions: UT Arlington (known for it’s research, training and development), Arlington Baptist College, and Tarrant County College Southeast Campus.

 

  1. Central location

 

Living 30 minutes or less from wherever you need to be in Arlington, plus the city’s bike share program, mini transit system, two airports and two major interstates, Arlington comfortably sits between Fort Worth and Dallas with easy mobility for wherever you need to go. Nobody likes traffic, and we are grateful to deal with as little of it as possible! 

 

  1. Diversity

 

We here at the office of Dr. Marchbanks love a diverse and growing community, and Arlington is a prime example of that. Our very own UTA is ranked as one of the nation’s most diverse college campuses in the U.S., representing 123 countries as well as students from every state in the nation.

 

  1. Friendly business ecosystem 

 

From the low cost of business, plus the incentive packages offered, to favorable tax rates and how the locals opt to support local businesses, Arlington’s economic advantages are hard to ignore. Things like Capital Bikeshare (bicycling through the city) or using the Metro, demonstrate a desirable infrastructure of sustainable business and commercial movement that we enjoy. 

 

What are you giving thanks for this Thanksgiving? Comment below and share what you love about our Arlington! 

How Your Smile—Or Lack Thereof—Affects You Professionally

Have you ever been sitting in an interview and either felt like you forgot to check your teeth beforehand, or forgot to brush them, or—worse yet—felt unable to kick off a meeting with even a single smile? 

 

It’s a challenge for millions of Americans, and it certainly isn’t fair, but people with a “serious look” (or a specific lack of natural smiles) can struggle greatly in their professional lives, even finding themselves without a job offer they’re otherwise qualified for.  

 

So, what’s the psychology behind this insufferable truth that being “too serious” has a direct impact on your ability to thrive professionally?  

 A smile can leave someone without a job

Let’s review the science first… 

 

When you experience anything that brings about positive, uplifting vibes, neurons travel through the cortex of your brain, signaling the muscles around the mouth to show those pearly whites. A smile is our natural reaction to joy, amusement, and contentment.  

 

Once this reaction begins, a truly genuine smile can be observed elsewhere in the face, such as the crinkle around your eyes. Or, ever hear someone say that a person has a “sparkle” in his or her eyes? This is our way of recognizing a genuine smile over a fake one. 

 

Simply put, your ability to effortlessly, unabashedly and genuinely smile makes you a more likable person. And it goes without saying that being more likable can in turn help you get a job or make a career…all because of that ability to smile assuredly. 

 

Smiling at people makes them feel good about you – it’s one of the most fundamental human reward signals that displays friendliness, trustworthiness and honesty. 

 

Ways a smile can improve your professional life
 

Much of the time, patients steer clear of smiling when they feel they have “bad teeth.” When a person who doesn’t feel confident about their smile does face the underlying health issues, or seeks the cosmetic dental treatments, they can finally begin to move past the trauma and on to a successful and more self-assured professional life.  

 

So, how does that genuine smile improve your professional life? Below, we’ve listed a few ways in which it can improve certain areas of your life, including professional, and what the effects of the change would bring: 

 

  1. Improved Health – having strong teeth and gums allows you to consume all kinds of food, allowing you to enjoy each meal and also get all the necessary nutrients and properly digest food.
  2. Improved Attractiveness – the saying “a happy child is the prettiest/most handsome” isn’t a “thing” for no reason. Smiling makes a person radiate positivity. Being able to smile without a second-thought is invaluable to a person’s happiness—and it plays in your favor with how comfortable you make bosses and colleagues feel.
  3. Improved Self-esteem – the physical act of smiling actually improves your emotional state by sending happy signals to your brain, which releases endorphins, in turn boosting your mood.1 You also feel more confident, are perceived as confident, and help others feel more confident, too. This is routinely needed at work.
  4. Better Relationships – there might be no better way to make a person feel than by smiling at them, or reciprocating a smile. When someone is happy, and you share in the moment, it will be smiles all around…especially if that person is your boss, a colleagues or business partner.
  5. Improved Speech – tooth abnormalities can affect how you pronounce things. Being able to speak clearly will always be valuable at work—it improves your chances of being understood, so that work can get done and everyone can collaborate efficiently.  

 

How to live a better personal life with an enhanced smile 

 

Some of the ways in which patients often pursue a more confident and healthier smile, thereafter reporting improvements in their social and professional lives, include:  

 

  1. Teeth Whitening
  2. Crowns
  3. Bonding
  4. Veneers
  5. Snap-On-Smile
  6. Enamel Shaping and Contouring
  7. Bridges
  8. Braces
  9. Clear Aligner Trays
  10. Dental Implants 

 

We here at Dr. Marchbanks’s office want you to feel confident and to thrive in your professional life! Call us today, and we’ll be more than happy to make your smile reflect how you really feel on the inside. 

 

Prevention is always better than the cure – so make sure you practice good oral hygiene. The better you take care of your teeth, the less damage control you’ll need to do later on.

The List: Stress-Free Dentist Visits

John Smith was 15 years old when he needed to have his impacted wisdom teeth extracted. Unfortunately, his dental office didn’t tell him that he couldn’t eat before coming in, which meant they could not sedate him when he arrived. 

 

Instead, the office used a combination of novocain and laughing gas to prep him for the extraction. However, when going in to remove John’s wisdom teeth, the dentist forgot to deliver novocain to the 4th quadrant of John’s mouth, leading to an experience that would leave John fearing every dental appointment thereafter. 

 

An estimated 40 million Americans seriously fear the dentist, according to a recent Columbia University College of Dental Medicine survey.1  

 

This statistic is compelling when we consider the consequences of avoiding the dentist, which is the natural reaction to this fear. Many patients don’t realize that the rest of the body will not remain unaffected if they ignore their oral health. Teeth and gums share tissue, nerves and blood with other parts of the body, which means that good oral hygiene is essential to good overall health. 

 Stressed by a visit to the dentist?

So, where does dental anxiety come from? And how can you get past it? 

 

Dental anxiety and where it comes from:  

 

  • Painful prior incident 
  • Fear of loss of control 
  • Fear of pain (most common) 
  • Fear of embarrassment 

 

Pain is as much a cognitive (thinking) experience as it is an emotional one. In order for the entire dental office experience to be pleasant, there are precautionary steps you can take to not only prepare, but also to allow the dentist and staff to understand where you are emotionally with the visit.  

 

PRO TIPS: 

  

  • Ask to speak to the dentist about your fears before you come in—this is part of Dr. Marchbank’s job, and you have no need to feel like you’re asking too much  
  • Be honest about your fears with a member of the staff 
  • Bring a friend or relative you trust 
  • Take advantage of a distraction—listen to a new album you downloaded, or load an episode of a show you like to your phone 
  • Try controlled breathing: take in a big breath and let it out very slowly (this will slow your heartbeat and relax your muscles, reducing the stress levels that can lead to a state of panic) 
  • Try progressive muscle relaxation: tense a group of muscles and then relax them, then do another group (toes, calves, thighs, abs, fingers, etc.) 
  • Avoid caffeine and sugar before a visit, and eat a high-protein meal beforehand  
  • Select a low-stress appointment time for your schedule, whether that’s a weekend or early morning—less pressure means less anxiety! 
  • For pediatric cases, try to condition your children at home by practicing placing fingers gently in their mouth to “examine” teeth, and brushing their teeth yourself as though you were “playing dentist” 
  • Lastly, for parents, do NOT project your personal fears about the dentist onto your children—with the leaps and bounds dentistry has made in the last couple decades, children’s experiences are largely positive 

 

Good Dentistry 

 

Reducing dental anxiety can actually increase a person’s pain threshold, and lead to greater trust of your dentist. Plus, you’ll have a healthier mouth, and a much more positive outlook on dentistry and oral health in general. 

 

Some of the ways that we here at Dr. Marchbank’s office help in lowering the stress of a dentist visit are:  

 

  • Gently explaining what the you will feel, and for about how long  
  • Frequently ask you for permission to continue 
  • Give you every opportunity to stop the procedure, using cues such as raising your hand 
  • Making time for requested breaks 

 

If dealing with the anxiety of getting in to see the dentist is the biggest problem you face as our patient, then we’ll be thankful knowing that your experience at Dr. Marchbank’s office will be exactly the positive reaffirmation you need! 

How Many of these Top-10 Tooth-brushing Mistakes Are You Making?

According to the Internet (and to Dr. Marchbanks, here to tell you how it really is), there are a plethora of ways to make mistakes when brushing your teeth. Putting that toothbrush in your mouth at the very least is a step in the right direction, so don’t feel bad if you’re a “consistent-but-bad” brusher. But if you’re reading this, you might already suspect that you’re not doing it all to perfection. 

 Top 10 Teeth-brushing Mistakes

Read on to see how to keep heading in the right direction to teeth brushing like a pro. 

 

Let’s begin! 

 

#1 Using your toothbrush for too long (time wise): 

Yes, it IS possible to brush too long. Why? Two words: gum damage. Too much abrasion against the gums can lead to sensitivity and deterioration. 

 

#2 Using your toothbrush too long (consumer wise): 

Using your toothbrush longer than 3 months and not tossing it is TOO long. Make sure to replace it, or the bristles will be packed with exactly the bacteria you’re trying to brush off every day. 

 

#3 Using wrong toothbrush: 

Have you spoken with Dr. Marchbanks about what type of toothbrush is best for your teeth and gums? It’s worth asking at your next visit! You wouldn’t want to be using something with too firm of bristles—or not firm enough. 

 

#4 Rinsing your mouth with water after brushing your teeth: 

Did you know that when you rinse with water, it cuts down on the fluoride’s efficiency? Try to rinse with a mouthwash that contains fluoride, and wait 30 minutes before eating or drinking. 

 

#5 Storing your toothbrush in the bathroom: 

You want to keep your toothbrush clean? Imagine that! It should be no surprise that germs can grow on the brush you’re using to clean AWAY those same germs. Clean your brush thoroughly with water when you’re finished with it each day. And then, store the brush in a cabinet or a cup with a cap around the bristles. 

 

#6 Not flossing: 

Calcified deposits develop in those crevices that the toothbrush won’t reach. The plaque needs to be removed, so find a time of day that works to get your flossing in if you’re so convinced there isn’t time when you brush. If it helps, remember that statistics have shown a correlation with people who floss being more successful. We can buy into that. 

 

#7 Forgetting the tongue: 

There are bacteria crawling all over your tongue, too—which is also one of the biggest culprits of bad breath. Some toothbrushes come with a tongue scraper on the opposite side. It might feel strange at first, but nothing beats fresh breath and a healthy, clean and pink tongue (especially in time for mistletoe). 

 

#8 Incorrect techniques or motions: 

Be sure not to start in the same place each time you move in to brush. Brush in circular motions, and make sure you’re reaching those molars. Don’t just brush back and forth, either. And finally, make contact with both the teeth and gum lines! 

 

#9 Brushing your teeth more than twice a day:  

You really only need to brush twice a day. Any more than that, and we approach “brushing too long” again. 

 

#10 Wait 30 minutes after a meal to brush your teeth: 

Once upon a time, there was a girl who would brush her teeth immediately after a meal so she wouldn’t eat any more—and, for some reason, she developed sensitive gums. Why? Brushing your teeth straight after a meal can actually damage your teeth, since the pH-level in your mouth is lower than normal, making brushing overly-abrasive with higher levels of acid.

The History of Halloween

In modern day America, on October 31st we celebrate what has long been referred to as Halloween…a “celebration” that dates back as far as 2,000 years ago to Celtic history. 

 History of Halloween

History 

 

Long, long ago in what is now Ireland, Scotland and the United Kingdom, there was a festival celebrated on November 1st called “Samhain” (pronounced: sow-in), where Celtic farmers honored the change in seasons, the summer’s end, and remembered the deceased. Because they believed that the deceased returned as ghosts on the night before Samhain, the people of the Celtic regions took part in traditions—or more like superstitions—that helped ward off the more troubled spirits during this time. Some of these traditions were to leave food and wine on the front porch, or wear masks when people left the house so that they’d be mistaken for fellow ghosts.  

 

In the 8th century, because of how recognized the Samhain festival was throughout the region, the Christian church made the day an official holiday called “All Hallows’ Day,” therefore turning the night before into “All Hallows’ Eve.”  

 

Now, one might wonder how the term Halloween itself came about (but you’ve probably seen the connection). When looking to Christian etymology, we can see Halloween, or its “Hallowe’en” origin, date back to approximately 1745. In Scottish, the word “eve” is even, and the dialect’s contraction turns even into e’en or een; and “hallowe’en” means “hallowed evening,” which gave us Halloween! 

 

When the potato famine hit Ireland in the mid 19th century, the Irish fled to America for food and prosperity. With them they brought their traditions, like making jack-o-lanterns, “souling,” and “guising.” The modern-day Jack-o-lantern came about due to the combination of trying to ward off spirits and from children spooking people in graveyards.  

 

Modern day trick-or-treating gets its infamy from “souling” and “guising.” Souling was where the needy would beg for pastries known as “soul cakes,” and in return they would pray for the giver’s deceased relatives. Guising was where young people would dress in costumes and sing, recite poetry or tell jokes in exchange for food, wine and or other offerings.

Today 

 

Fast forward 150+ years, and we have an American institution. To date, Halloween is a 6-billion-dollar industry where nearly 120 million children and adults in the United States participate in dressing up. And another fun fact: almost 12% of Americans dress up their pet on Halloween, too. 

 

As you may well know, modern day festivities include parades, bobbing for apples, trick-or-treating, cooking, costumes, and best of all…pumpkin patch-going, picking and carving! 

 

Speaking of pumpkins, they’re native to Central America, and now grow on six different continents in approximately 30 different varieties! The most common type of pumpkin used for carving is called the “Connecticut Field Pumpkin.” 

 

Pumpkins are related to the gourd family, which includes: cucumbers, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, zucchini and watermelon…among others. They also are a very well-rounded source of nutrients containing: potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, phytosterols, beta-carotenes, carotenoids, tryptophan, fiber, protein and more.  

 

Whether you’re in it for the bag of candy or for the delicious foods that get prepared at the festivities, or for the extravagant costumes and pumpkin carving, Halloween is a holiday that simultaneously speaks to mortality and celebrates the living moment and nearness of family—and warmth of tradition!

I forgot about Mom and Dad!

Proper oral hygiene is normally learned when we’re kids, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be someday forgotten. As we age, particularly as we really climb up there in years, some of the same motor challenges that inhibited us in brushing our teeth as children suddenly give us trouble all over again. 

 

Let’s say you have kids at home, or even grandkids who come to visit, and you’ve shown your stuff in educating them on how to keep good oral hygiene. That’s great, really it is. But, have you thought about aging family members? 

 

As people get older, the aging process inevitably affects the mouth. This means that tooth care becomes even more crucial—but with declining motor skills or memory, it can be hard for some aging members of the family to stay on top of it. And yet, we don’t have the same culture of helping (re)educate our parents on oral health when the time comes, despite how necessary it sometimes is. 

Taking care of Mom and Dad
Remind Mom and Dad about the need for good oral health—and the diseases they can help prevent by taking care of their teeth 

 

  1. No matter whether your parents still have their natural teeth or prosthetics (or a combination), they absolutely have to keep on brushing their teeth two times per day. Care should be given to each tooth as they brush.
  2. There’s no “get out of jail” card on flossing just because you’ve aged. Make sure your parents know that they have to floss at least once per day—this doesn’t change, no matter what their diet.
  3. Mouth dryness is a bigger issue among older generations, which can lead to periodontal diseases. The best way to combat this is by drinking enough water every day. For those aging adults who do still find it comfortable to chew gum, a pack of their favorite flavor is another ready stimulant for a boost in saliva production.
  4. Dental check-ups are even more important as people age—the minimum is two per year. Additionally, any change they notice in their mouth should be an alarm that it’s time to make an appointment for any family member. 

 

Dental challenges among older populations 
With age, natural saliva production decreases, and the oral mucosa that the mouth produces to keep the cavity healthy becomes thinner. And with slowing and blocked blood flow, nutrients aren’t carried into the soft tissues to heal sores and dry lips as quickly as they would in a younger patient’s mouth. 

 

Taste buds begin to respond differently, too, so be sure to maintain an open dialogue about what sounds “good” to eat and what doesn’t, and try to accommodate personal taste where you can, and encourage healthy meals that include the preferred ingredients. 
Combined with the use of medications that bring side effects like dry mouth and other symptoms, the aging-related oral irregularities and waning oral hygiene can lead to serious oral disease. It might start with gum tissue becoming inflamed, sensitive and prone to bleed. If not treated, these symptoms can lead to teeth loss and even the loss of bone tissue. 
It’s an exciting, and sometimes exhausting, prospect at helping the young ones learn good oral hygiene. We celebrate the mental image of “Father/Mother of the Year” as we help kids establish oral hygiene habits that we’re hopeful will stick. We enjoy our successes, and even more we enjoy those sweet smiles that show our job’s been well done. 

 

But what about Mom and Dad? 

 

Aging has enormous effects on oral health, and it’s often necessary to reaffirm oral hygiene habits with aging family members. Bear all these points in mind, and call our office if you have any questions! It’s our pleasure to serve our community of every age.