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27 Jul 2020
July 27, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental HealthPatient Care

Is Your Little One Getting Enough Calcium?

Calcium. We regularly hear how important calcium is for our kids’ diets. It’s vital for healthy growth. Calcium is a building block for strong bones. It helps with hormone balance and keeps the heart pumping and blood circulating normally. But, did you know that calcium is also vital for healthy teeth?

Calcium builds strong bones. Years of milk commercials (backed by years of research) have firmly planted that information in our brains. In fact, 99% of the calcium in the body goes to building healthy bones and teeth. Calcium is the hard mineral that makes bones hard, and it also makes the enamel that surrounds our teeth the hardest substance in the human body.

The 1% Difference

Since 99% of the calcium in the body is in the teeth and bones, you might think there’s always enough for the teeth, but it turns out that’s not always the case. Because regulating heart rhythms and hormone balance is necessary to stay alive, if there isn’t enough calcium for these vital functions from food, the body will take it from anywhere it can get it.

Unfortunately, that means your body and your kids’ bodies will take calcium from the teeth and bones to keep enough of it for other necessary jobs it has in the body. Teeth without enough calcium can develop demineralized spots–dull white spots on the teeth that are not as strong as regular enamel. Those spots are fragile and have a high risk of turning into full cavities.

Who’s at Risk?

Not having enough calcium in your diet may not sound as scary as the big bad wolf, but it’s far more worrisome in real life. More than half of both boys and girls 9-13 routinely get less than half of the calcium required for good health at their age. The National Institutes of Health identifies several groups that are chronically at risk of inadequate calcium. They include girls 4 and older, especially adolescent girls, and boys age 9-18. Women who are pregnant also need additional calcium to support bone development in the growing baby.

What Foods are Calcium Champs?

When we say calcium, we often flash back to those milk ads. It’s true; there is a lot of calcium in dairy. That includes milk, yogurt, and cheese. But, not all calcium-rich foods are dairy-based, which is good news for those who do not eat dairy.

Sardines pack more calcium per 3-ounce serving than calcium-fortified orange juice, but the orange juice will probably be easier to convince your children to consume. Dark green leafy vegetables like kale, bok choi, Chinese cabbage, and turnip greens also pack a calcium punch. Even a corn tortilla can provide 5% of the recommended daily value for calcium.

What About Supplements?

Calcium supplements are commonly used to make up for a lack of calcium in the diet. They can be a good choice to help when there is no way to make up the calcium by better eating, but they require a little extra care. Food-sourced calcium is easier for the body to process. Calcium carbonate is less expensive, but harder to absorb and can be hard on people with stomach issues. Calcium citrate is easier to absorb, but is more expensive and can be harder to find.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Sometimes with supplements, you can run into “a little is good, more is better” mentality. That’s just not the case. There’s an upper limit to how much calcium your body can safely process in a day. The smaller the body, the smaller the limit. While it’s very unlikely that you would exceed that limit with food alone in your children’s diets, supplements, particularly gummy ones with candy flavors, can increase the risk of having too much. As with most things in life, balance is key.

Mindful Eating

With some care and attention, it’s possible to keep your family healthy and calcium-rich, making your dental visits more pleasant. If supplements are necessary, they are readily available. Healthy calcium builds healthy teeth, so build healthy eating habits and keep your teeth ready to eat with you (and your family) for a lifetime.

If you have any questions about calcium, tooth decay, or any other oral health topics, please contact your Portland dentist, Dr. Case at Family Dental Health today! We would be more than happy to talk with you about a healthy diet to help your little one grow up strong and healthy.

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Jul 2020
July 13, 2020 by David CaseBlogPatient Care

Is Flossing Really Necessary?

Flossing 101How do you feel when you see that little plastic floss container in your medicine cabinet? Eagerness to achieve that clean feeling in your mouth? Or regret over a habit you have trouble keeping? Did you get excited about recent headlines saying flossing isn’t necessary? We’re sorry to break the news, but as your oral health experts, we’re here to tell you floss is still incredibly important. In fact, it’s one of the most important foundations for oral health.

Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health shares more below about why you should floss, how to floss, and what to do if flossing causes your gums to bleed.

What is Floss?

Floss is a simple waxed thread designed specially to clean between your teeth (the hardest spots in your mouth to reach) comfortably and effectively. Floss was invented around 1820 and was first seen on store shelves decades later.

There are countless brands and types of floss. It can be thin or thick, flavored or unflavored. Most often, floss is waxed to help it move smoothly between and around your teeth. When buying floss, be sure to find one that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance (it looks like a small square) to be sure the product is both safe and effective.

Why Should I Floss?

Your toothbrush and floss go so well together, they should be married! In addition to brushing your teeth twice a day, it’s recommended that everybody floss once a day (even small children). Used together, brushing and flossing are crucial habits for maintaining good oral health and a beautiful smile.

According to the American Dental Association, flossing can remove up to 80% of the plaque on your teeth. Plaque is a naturally occurring substance in your mouth, but it must be removed regularly to prevent cavities, gum disease and bad breath (halitosis). Over time, plaque can build up, becoming tartar, and become very difficult to remove. Brushing and flossing every day gives you a head start on maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

How Do I Floss?

Flossing every day is important. Whenever is convenient for you is fine as long as it gets the job done. If you’re looking for the most effective flossing session, we recommend flossing at night before you brush. Here’s how:

  • Pull about 1.5 feet of floss out from the container and wrap each end around your middle fingers, holding it taught with your index and thumb.
  • Gently guide a section of the floss between two neighboring teeth.
  • Curve the floss in a C-shape around each tooth and move it up and down gently to dislodge any debris.
  • Keep the floss close to the spot where your teeth and gums meet (around and under the gum line).

A floss threader or a tiny interdental brush can help you floss if you have a dental bridge or braces. Talk to your dentist if you have specific questions about adopting your own flossing habit. You can also look for instructional videos online if you would like a good visual example of how to floss properly.

Bleeding Gums

It’s common for your gums to bleed just a bit when you first start flossing, but it shouldn’t really hurt. Bleeding is a sign of neglected gums with gingivitis—so you’re on the right track by flossing. Don’t stop flossing if you experience bleeding gums.

Gums bleed when there’s so much buildup between your teeth that it hardens and sticks to your soft gum tissue. Vitamin deficiencies, some medicines, and gingivitis (early-stage gum disease) can also cause bleeding. In extreme cases, only a licensed dentist or hygienist will be able to remove old plaque or tartar. See your dentist if bleeding is persistent, painful, or excessive.

Family Dental Health provides professional dental cleanings and consultations in Portland. Make an appointment today and show your mouth some TLC!


The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Jun 2020
June 27, 2020 by David CaseBlogPatient Care

Stop Tooth Pain & Sensitivity Now!

Stop Tooth Pain NowWhy Are My Teeth Sensitive?

There are many specialized toothbrushes and types of mouthwash and toothpaste available to those who suffer from sensitive teeth. It is a very common problem that lots of products claim they can solve, but have you ever wondered why it exists? Today, Family Dental Health would like to explain what causes tooth sensitivity and how these products work.


What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Do you find yourself ordering beverages without ice, drinking room temperature water, and waiting a long time for your coffee or tea to cool down? If you do, it’s probably because you have sensitive teeth. To find out if you have sensitive teeth, take this fun online quiz!

Enamel, which covers the crown of your teeth, is the hardest substance in your body; tooth roots have a similar substance called cementum. However, beneath those layers is a softer, more porous layer called dentin. When dentin is exposed, the nerves in your teeth become much more sensitive to hot and cold and sticky or acidic foods and beverages.

Common causes of sensitive teeth are:

  • Tooth decay
  • Degraded tooth fillings
  • A cracked tooth
  • Degraded tooth enamel
  • Exposed tooth roots- which can be caused by brushing too hard, receding gums, and gum disease


Treatment for Sensitive Teeth

Most folks with sensitive teeth use Sensodyne® or some other type of toothpaste designed to reduce sensitivity. These products work by blocking sensation before it travels to the nerve. If toothpaste doesn’t help, Dr. Case offers in-office fluoride and desensitizing treatments that will help you get relief from pain. In cases of severe sensitivity, Dr. Case may recommend surgical gum graft or a root canal.

Whatever the cause of your sensitive teeth, we can help! Contact Family Dental Health today to find out what we can do to keep your smile beautiful, healthy, and pain-free.


The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Jun 2020
June 13, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental Services

Dental Inlays & Onlays

Dental inlays and onlaysCracked, broken, and decayed teeth require restoration or they will break down further until they become infected and/or require extraction. At Family Dental Health, our goal is to preserve your natural teeth for as long as possible.

Depending on the extent and location of the damage, we will likely recommend an inlay, onlay, or crown. Different levels of the same idea, these restorative dentistry treatments are custom-made to protect your tooth and restore it to its full, healthy, and functioning condition.

Another reason you may need an inlay, onlay, or crown is due to extensive tooth decay breaking down your tooth that requires more than a simple filling to fix, or an old filling that needs to be replaced. Here’s how these options compare:

  • Fillings: only fill a small, center portion of the biting surface of your tooth; is not a treatment for extensive damage
  • Inlays: fill a larger portion of the biting surface than a filling contained within the cusp
  • Onlays: fill and cover the biting surface of your tooth including up and over the rounded ridges (cusps)
  • Crowns: cover the whole tooth; all or most of the portion visible above your gums

Benefits of Inlays & Onlays

Inlays and onlays can be a great intermediate solution between a filling and a crown. Family Dental Health can help determine if you need an inlay or onlay. If you do, here are some of the benefits:

  • While considered a relatively “old” technique, inlays/onlays are still the most appropriate and most effective treatment in many cases.
  • Your tooth can withstand 50-75% more chewing pressure with an inlay or onlay.
  • Inlays/onlays are a restorative dentistry treatment that holistically heals your tooth.
  • Inlays/onlays can last longer than fillings.
  • Inlays/onlays are made with porcelain or resin to match your natural tooth color.
  • An inlay or onlay is less expensive than a crown.
  • Sometimes an inlay or onlay can be completed during one dental visit.
  • An inlay/onlay fits perfectly over your tooth so there will be no bulging that bothers your tongue, cheek, or bite.

Getting an Inlay or Onlay

If you’re in the Portland area and need an inlay or onlay, Dr. David Case has you covered! Depending on your case, the inlay/onlay treatment will either require one or two trips to the office.

For the two-visit process: the tooth is prepared by cleaning out any decay and taking an impression. You may be given a temporary filling just to protect the tooth from further damage. The inlay or onlay will then be made in a lab using your impression. You’ll return for a second visit to remove the temporary filling and have your inlay/onlay permanently placed on your tooth.

For the one-visit process: the tooth will still be prepared with a good cleaning. But instead of taking impressions, the dentist uses digital technology to take a photo of your tooth and create a perfect inlay/onlay right there in the office. You’ll relax until it is ready and they will place it on your tooth, all in one day.

Contact us today to make an appointment for a professional assessment of what kind of filling, crown, inlay or onlay you might need.


The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 May 2020
May 27, 2020 by David CaseBlog

Adult Dentistry: It’s Never Too Late for Dental Care

Adult Dentistry: It's never too lateGood News for Grown-Ups

“Adulting” can be hard. Between rent, bills, kids, a career, and other responsibilities, it can be tough to make time for yourself. But independence, parenting, fulfilling work, and the wisdom that comes with age can be pretty fantastic, too. So how does your oral healthcare fit into a grown-up lifestyle?

Family Dental Health serves adults from all over Portland. Read more for our tips on how to care for your oral health at this particular stage in life.

  • Priorities: You manage a lot on any given day. Brushing your teeth and making a dental appointment may not feel like the most pressing of matters, but you know they are important in the long run—so you do it.
  • Family Life: Many people are more motivated to take care of themselves when good habits easily fit in with family life, and others are looking to you to set a positive example. Whether you are caring for children or aging parents, preventative oral healthcare is more likely to happen when done together as a family.
  • Benefits: If you have a job that provides dental coverage, there’s really no reason not to see the dentist. You should even be able to use paid time off for the appointment. Ever heard of “me time”?
  • Holistic Dentistry: As we get older, we tend to know ourselves better. Holistic medicine is getting more popular as people consider all the ways one part of their health affects another. Keep solid notes on how your whole body and mouth are doing and share the notes with both your doctor and your dentist.

Adult Oral Health Concerns

As grown-ups, we all know that time is not always on our side. As you age, some things are actually hurting your chances of having a healthy mouth and lifestyle. You won’t get yesterday back, so when it comes to starting and maintaining healthy oral care habits, it’s never too late to start implementing healthier habits today.

Here is what you’re up against:

  • Stains: Yellow teeth look old and unhealthy. Avoid or decrease sugar, coffee, red wine, and nicotine to keep your pearly whites actually white. (And if you need a little help, there are plenty of teeth whitening options available.)
  • Enamel: Sugar in soda, juice and desserts threaten your enamel. Enamel is the hard, protective cover on each tooth and it can never be replaced. Sensitive toothpaste can help preserve your enamel.
  • Receding Gums: Brushing too hard, smoking, and simply aging can cause your gums to pull back and reveal more of your tooth. Talk with your dentist if you’re concerned about receding gums.
  • Gum Disease: Nearly half of all Americans over 30 have gum disease. Gum disease can be painful inflammation called gingivitis or advanced gum disease called periodontitis. Bad breath, bone loss, and tooth loss are all potential side effects of severe periodontitis.
  • Pregnancy & Nursing: Oral care is important for pregnant and nursing women. Having children takes a toll on your body and you need to replenish and care for yourself. Gum disease in pregnant women has even been linked to birth defects and labor complications, so it’s worth the time and effort to prevent it.

Adult Preventive Care

It doesn’t matter how old you are, you’ll never grow out of needing to brush your teeth, eat a healthy diet, and visit the dentist. These three habits are the keys to a healthy mouth for people of all ages.

At this age, a lot of people are counting on you, so maintain healthy habits today for the best chance of a healthy mouth later in life. Make an appointment to get a professional cleaning in Portland or just to learn more about adult oral health care.


The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


13 May 2020
May 13, 2020 by David CaseBlogPatient Care

Ages & Stages: Kids & Oral Hygiene

Ages and Stages: Kids & oral hygieneVery few opinions are universally shared, but we’re willing to bet on one: the best dental checkups are the ones where Dr. David Case says the beautiful words: “No cavities!” At-home oral hygiene routines are the most effective tool people of any age have to keep their teeth healthy, but when it comes to pediatric dentistry, it also helps for caregivers to remember what stages children are in to encourage age-appropriate oral hygiene routines at home.

  • Kids under 6 years old have mouths that are still growing and changing, and they probably want to brush themselves (“I do it!”) whether they have the fine motor skills to reach all their teeth or not. Let them brush on their own and encourage their efforts but lend a hand when needed.
  • When kids reach the “tween” years of 7 through 12, they know how to take care of their teeth—they just may not want to be bothered. Keep emphasizing the health benefits of diligent dental self-care, and as their sense of personal responsibility and accountability for their own health choices continues to evolve, we promise your efforts will start to sink in—even if it doesn’t seem like that now!
  • The teenage years are crucial ones for dental health. Cavity formation is at its highest in very young kids, but those rates spike again in the teen years—and the daily oral care practices of teenagers are likely to be the ones they take with them into adult life.

If you want to know more about kids and oral hygiene or you’d like to schedule an appointment for a visit with Family Dental Health, don’t hesitate to give us a call!


The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Apr 2020
April 27, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental Health

TMJ: The Root of Your Pain

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is a really long name… so let’s call it TMJ.  That sounds more familiar—you’ve probably heard it before. Maybe some lingering pain in your chewing muscles and bones even have you wondering if you have it.

TMJ dysfunction is sometimes called TMD, TMJD, or TMJ Syndrome, especially if there seem to be a number of other jaw-related issues. Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health is here to tell you more about TMJ and what to do if you’ve got it.

What is TMJ?

A sailboat requires a complex system of ropes, pulleys, and hooks to catch the wind in its sails and get moving. Your jaw is also made of an incredible team of muscles, bones, joints, and tissues working together in order to function. If anything affects any one part of these pieces in your jaw, it could lead to chronic pain and problems with the joints in your jaw. TMJ is a broad term that includes any of this pain or dysfunction.

TMJ can feel like anything from a headache to an inner ear infection, with pain moving from your face and head down to your neck and shoulders. If you have TMJ, talking, chewing and yawning can be very uncomfortable. You might also hear clicking in your jaw, feel your jaw lock in place, or experience muscle spasms.


13 Apr 2020
April 13, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental HealthDental Services

Filling in the Gaps: Restoring Your Smile & Quality of Life

Life is full of unexpected surprises, and while we’d love for all of them to be smile-inducing, that’s not entirely realistic—and there may be many reasons you hide your smile. If you’re hiding your smile because of one or more missing teeth, we want you to know you’re not alone. In fact, 120 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth, and more than 36 million Americans do not have any teeth at all.

Whether the cause is tooth decay, gum disease—#1 on the list of reasons, with 50% of Americans over the age of 30 having the most severe form of periodontitis—illness, or injury, there are solutions. Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health would like to fill you in on your options, which have expanded and improved over the years thanks to technological advancements and continuing education.


27 Mar 2020
March 27, 2020 by David CaseDental HealthDental Technology

Salivary Diagnostics: What Can Your Saliva Reveal?

If you’ve tuned in to any crime scene investigation shows, you’ve probably heard of salivary testing, but did you know it’s becoming increasingly common in dental offices? Salivary testing has a bright future in medicine because of how much it can tell us about your state of health—both oral and overall.

One of the reasons it’s especially important in the dental office is because we screen for oral cancer, and the number one culprit for diagnoses in recent years is human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be detected through saliva.


13 Mar 2020
March 13, 2020 by David CaseDental HealthDental Services

Crowning Glory: Esthetic Dental Crowns

The first known dental crowns were made as far back as 200 A.D. when Etruscans used gold to create crowns and bridges. Can you imagine what the process must have been like without the technology we have now? If you’d rather not, we can’t blame you!

Thanks to digital x-rays and impressions, dentists today can create crowns that blend in so well with the rest of the mouth, you’ll forget you weren’t born with them. The updated materials appear very natural, especially ceramic and porcelain.

But I Love Gold!

Gold is still an option for crowns today, and it’s not a bad option in terms of durability—they’re extremely fracture-resistant and seal well to prevent recurrent tooth decay. However, gold is usually the most expensive material for the creation of crowns, and most people want their dental restorations to be a secret only they know—especially if the tooth in need of crowning is an incisor or canine.

For those anterior (front) teeth, porcelain and ceramic are excellent crown options; they’re the most economical solution and can be color-matched to blend in with your smile perfectly.


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