Good Dental Habits Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer

Everyone knows October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. What you might not know is that there’s a significant link between your dental health and breast cancer, which affects 1 in 8 women American women. Poor dental health is not only linked to heart disease and diabetes — Studies show that women who have gum disease or missing teeth are 11 times more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer. So good dental habits can improve your dental health and overall health, as well as reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Reduce Your Risks


Preventing gum disease is a daily effort. Even if you do everything right, there is still a chance you’ll get gum disease and still a chance you’ll be diagnosed with breast cancer. But if you follow your dentist’s advice and some simple tips, you can help reduce the risk for both.

  • Brush and Floss Daily: The easiest way to remember to brush is 2 minutes, 2 times a day. As for flossing, some people do it after every meal. But even just once daily is perfect for maintaining good oral health.
  • Eat a Healthy Diet: We recommend a diet customized for your health with consultation from your family dentist or nutritionist, but “an apple a day” is actually great advice. As part of a balanced diet, apples are a good source of fiber, vitamin C & A, potassium and apples can even help clean your teeth after a meal. So try an apple next time you need to satisfy your sweet tooth after a meal!
  • Visit the Dentist Regularly: In general patients should see their dentist once every six months. If you’re at risk for gum disease, every three months  is recommended.
  • Avoid Cigarettes and Tobacco: This one goes without saying. Not only do cigarettes and tobacco stain your teeth and make your breath smell bad, they increase your chances of gum disease, tooth decay and all types of cancer. Avoid them altogether.


Warning Signs of Gum Disease

Even if you follow our tips to reduce risk, genetics, pure chance and other lifestyle choices can still cause gum disease. It’s best to be aware of the warning signs of gum disease so that you can visit your dentist as soon as you notice something. When it comes to gum disease and detecting cancer in your body, early recognition is critical.

Flora Stay, DDS, writes: The first sign of gum disease is inflammation. You’ll know when this is present as your gums appear slightly red, tender, and may even bleed when you brush or floss. The main cause of inflammation is bacteria that form a film called plaque, and stick to the gum and teeth surfaces. If this plaque is not removed at least once per day, the problem can advance to severe gum disease. As inflammation advances, the disease effects destruction of the gums and eventually bone. The teeth develop tooth decay, become loose and may have to be extracted. This is why dental visits are very important at least every three months to monitor the health and condition of your teeth and gums, especially with the presence of cancer.

Daily Oral Hygiene Tips


It’s recommend you have a dental checkup one month prior to starting treatment so that you can discuss your oral health with the person who knows your mouth best — your dentist. For women who are already undergoing treatment, we’ve provided some helpful tips for maintaining your oral health. But always remember to consult your dentist and doctor before trusting any advice you read on the Internet!

  • Use alcohol-free rinse
  • Avoid candy and soda
  • Use ice chips, dry mouth rinses and sugar-free gum to combat dry mouth
  • Brush with mild fluoride toothpaste and an extra soft toothbrush 3x a day and floss gently daily

Dental-Themed Halloween Costume Ideas

Headed to a Halloween party and can’t think of any costume ideas? We’ve got you covered! We looked all over Pinterest and found some fun, do-it-yourself costumes you can make right at home. From cute to spooky, these inexpensive ideas are great for kids and adults too! Be sure to check out our Dental Halloween Costumes board on Pinterest for the complete list.

For Kids: Tooth Costume

a young boy stands smiling in his tooth costume made from pillows

Why not, right? And this is a great way to recycle any pillows you own that have lost their fluff. Just grab those two old pillows you’re replacing, a pair of scissors, a needle and thread. Follow the simple directions in this YouTube video and in 15 minutes, your kid will be wearing one toothfully cute costume.

If you want to ramp  it up, you could add a pair of all-black sweatpants or tights and a black sweatshirt, then you’d look like a tooth floating through the night. Maybe wear some glasses, wear a beard or walk with a cane and tell people you’re a wisdom tooth! Or you can wear some ears and put on some make up to look like a bear, and call yourself a molar bear! It’s always fun to get a little punny with your costumes.

For Couples: Toothbrush and Toothpaste Costume

Young white couple poses dressed in costume as a toothbrush and tube of crest toothpaste

Probably the most classic dental-themed costume is the tube of toothpaste. This one’s super easy to make out of recycled household items too! Just grab an old sheet, a lampshade, scissors, thread and a needle. You might need to go out and purchase these though: hot glue gun, headband and felt paper. We bet you can guess how these all fit together, but here are some better directions if you need them.

As for being a toothbrush, there are plenty of ways to make a brush. Basically all you need is a headband and a way to attach something flat with “bristles” attached. We recommend cardboard for the head and drinking straws for the bristles, but you can also use some light wood, zip ties or any other materials found in your garage or basement. Then just make sure your shirt and pants match and now you’ve got yourself a toothbrush costume!

For Everybody: Tooth Fairy

Girl standing on a porch dressed as the tooth fairy

Of course the Tooth Fairy is often depicted as a woman, but guys can have fun with this costume too! Every good Tooth Fairy costume features four main components: wings, wand, crown and a tutu. Even though a lot of people buy wings, this YouTuber has a cool tutorial on making your own pair with coat hangers and pantyhose. And it’s pretty easy to convert plastic headbands into a crown with some construction paper, glitter or other art supplies you have at home.

As for making a wand, we’ve seen a lot of people get creative — this pin shows one made entirely out of toothbrushes! But if you take a look around your house or apartment, we bet you can create your own. We’re thinking covers of notebooks glued to look like a tooth in the photo to the left. Maybe some wrapping paper cut thin for streamers. We looked around the house and found a chopstick, flashlight, umbrella and a wooden spoon we could use to make a wand.

More Dental-Themed Halloween Costumes

That’s not all! For more dental-themed Halloween costumes, just visit our board on Pinterest where we’ve got plenty more to offer. We found some pretty spooky facepaint, some more horror-themed dental costumes and even Nemo and Darla (featuring her infamous headgear) from Finding Nemo! Click here to see the rest and … Happy Halloween!

#ndhm2016 brush floss rinse chew

National Dental Hygiene Month 2016

October is National Dental Hygiene Month. For the seventh straight year, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program (WOHP) are dedicating this month to starting the conversation about The Daily 4.

The Daily 4

The Daily 4 represent the foundation for a healthy smile. Brushing, flossing, rinsing and chewing every day – also using proper technique – won’t guartantee perfect dental hygiene for the rest of your life, but they will improve the color of your teeth, the way your breath smells, the health of your gums and have a significant impact on your overall health. Are you doing the Daily 4 right? Keep reading for tips on technique and frequency, or head over to for some more in-depth information on #NDHM2016.

Brush: This one is easy. Brush for two minutes at least twice each day. Most people like to brush when they wake up and before they go to bed. But brushing after every meal doesn’t hurt! Are you using the correct technique when you brush? Click here to find out.

Floss: You might’ve seen some recent reports about the effectiveness of flossing. The ADHA and Mortenson Family Dental are united in our opinion — Flossing is still an important part of your dental hygiene routine. If you’d like to read more about it, check out this article we wrote.  And for tips on proper flossing technique, click here.

Rinse: Did you know teeth alone account for less than half of the mouth? Don’t forget about the rest! Rinsing with an antimicrobial mouth rinse helps eliminate biofilm and bacteria that brushing and flossing cannot. Talk with your dentist to figure out which mouth rinse is right for you. For a simple guide on rinsing, click here.

Chew: Believe it or not, chewing sugar-free gum is not just good at curing bad breath. Chewing sugar-free gum also stimulates salivary glands in your mouth, which helps clean out food and neutralize acids found on your teeth. So go ahead, chew some gum after your meal. Just make sure it’s sugar-free!

Show your support for #NDHM2016

Below is a poster you can print out and a banner that fits perfectly as your Facebook cover photo. If you’re serious about dental hygiene, show your support this month and help start the conversation!



The attendees of Summit Summit 2016 pose for a group photo


At Summit Dental Health, we are not only committed to improving the health of our patients and our communities, but also investing in our team members and providing a rewarding place to work. In keeping with that commitment, we host annually a Summit Summit, as a way to come together as a team to celebrate what has gone well in the past year and to realign our focus for the coming year. Our Summit Team Meeting is a time we recognize the hard work of our team members and dedicate time to self development and improvement.

A small group poses in front of Olympic-themed flags

This year’s meeting was a huge success! In celebration of the Olympics, our theme was to Go for Gold! We believe we have the best dental teams in the Midwest, and what better way to demonstrate that than to have our teams going for gold? The day was filled with fun and excitement. We started the day with an opening ceremony, welcoming each team and a special team member as the office flag bearer. We then heard from a dental industry leader, Dr. Wayne Mortenson, about the future of dentistry, and how to continue providing excellent patient care. Next we learned about setting personal goals, visions and getting through tough times from the energetic and always entertaining Koran Bolden. Later in the day, we learned from talent coach, Cheryl Penava about the importance of filling each other with positivity and affirmations.

We also spent a lot of time having fun with each other, including the scavenger hunt you may have seen on our Facebook Page. Our teams had to complete 7 challenges, and of course the winners got to take home the gold! We wrapped up the day celebrating each other and the impact we are able to have on our patients and our communities.

Man has cheetos and shaving cream on his head

At Summit Dental Health we are committed to improving the health of our patients and our communities and we know, that in order to be successful, we must never forget to fill the buckets of our team members. By taking great care of our teams, our teams can take great care of our patients! We hope you enjoyed getting to see us go for gold!

Click here to see more pictures from #SummitSummit16!

Dentist Reminder For Tomorrow With Crossed Out Today Pinned On Cork Board

Have Dental Phobia? Try Oral Sedation Dentistry

Do you hate going to the dentist so much that you avoid going at all? You’re not the only one. It is estimated that 9% to 15% of Americans avoid seeing the dentist because of anxiety or fear. A lot of them are worried about pain or feeling embarrassed. Others have dental phobia. No matter what is causing you stress, oral sedation dentistry can help.


What is Oral Sedation Dentistry?


Sedation dentistry is when patients take medication to relax during dental procedures. There are different levels of sedation from minimal sedation, where you are still awake but relaxed, to general anesthesia, when you are unconscious. There are several different types of sedation dentistry. At Summit Dental Health, we offer IV sedation and oral sedation.

Oral sedation involves taking a small pill an hour before your appointment. This pill, typically Halcion, is just as safe as taking a Valium. After you take the pill, someone else drives you to your appointment where we deliver exceptional care in a comfortable, anxiety-free atmosphere. Patients are awake during the procedure but many have very little memory of the visit. Some patients may fall asleep during the procedure, but can be woken with a gentle shake.

Reasons patients choose oral sedation:


Is Oral Sedation Dentistry Safe?


Oral sedation dentistry allows you the experience dental procedures feeling relaxed and comfortable. Time will pass by fast and many patients report an amnesic effect, meaning they don’t remember the visit at all! While you’re relaxed, your dentist can perform the procedure confidently because they know you’re safe and carefree.

Oral sedation dentistry is even safe enough for children. Parents will need to take a little extra care to ensure their child is relaxed, but we trust you’re already a pro at looking after your loved ones. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has posted some really helpful guidelines on preparing for your child’s sedation dentistry visit.


Is Oral Sedation Dentistry Right for Me?


Oral sedation dentistry is a safe, minimal sedation method that can allow even the most anxious patients to have their dental needs taken care of. Most treatment plans are simple and take one or two appointments. But even the most extensive treatment can be provided using oral sedation dentistry. Don’t let fear or anxiety keep you and your family from having beautiful, healthy smiles.


Resources for People with Dental Anxiety and Dental Phobia


Summit team memers and volunteers pose for a group photo

Dental Day 2016: Recap


Last weekend, we hosted an event called Summit Gives: Dental Day 2016, where we donated our time and dental services to the community. The event was open to anyone who walked in, and each attendee was eligible for one free cleaning, filling or extraction. And we couldn’t believe how many people came out! We had 39 team members and some of their families on hand to volunteer for the event, which served 104 patients and donated $22,724 total in services. We were even featured on KMEG14-Siouxland News!



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