Under the Weather Oral Care Tips


When you have a flu bug or a cold, taking care of yourself should always be your number one priority. It is important to still properly care for your oral health the best you can. Here are a few of his recommendations on taking care of your teeth and mouth when you’re under the weather.

Proper Hygiene

We all know to cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze due to a cold. Proper hygiene is always important during our sick days, but it is also important to keep up with toothbrush hygiene and regular dental hygiene as well.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the flu virus can live on moist surfaces for up to 72 hours. You should never share your toothbrush, but this is especially true when you’re sick.

Sugar-Free Cough Syrup or Drops

Always read the label before choosing a bag of cough drops from the drug store. If the ingredients list anything like fructose or corn syrup, you should probably put them back. Most cough drops contain sugar, and this means that using cough drops is equivalent to sucking on candy. And, as we all know, sugar leads to cavities.

Rinse After Vomiting

One of the most unfortunate side effects of the flu is, of course, vomiting. Many people are tempted to brush their teeth right after to get rid of the nasty taste of bile left behind. However, it is better to wait. If you brush too soon, you are essentially brushing your teeth with the stomach acids left in your mouth.
Instead, rinse with water a few times and spit. Then, brush your teeth after about 30 minutes have elapsed.

Avoid Dry Mouth and Stay Hydrated

When you’re under the weather, your body needs plenty of fluid for several reasons. One of the most important being to prevent your mouth from drying out. A dry mouth is rather uncomfortable and puts you at a greater risk for cavities. When sick, always drink plenty of water and use sugarless cough drops to keep your saliva flowing.

Northwood Dental can be reached at (651) 687-0789 for any questions or concerns you may have. Please call us today to schedule your next appointment with the leading Eagan, MN dentist.

Encouraging Children to Brush


While it usually takes about 6 months before your child’s first teeth will erupt, some babies are born with one or two teeth that have already broken through the surface. And, as soon as these teeth begin to show, it is important that they are looked after and brushed every day.

Many believe that since these are baby teeth, they are not as important. However, this is not true and not taking care of them could cause your child to have difficulty chewing or speaking properly. Baby teeth, or milk teeth, also play an important role in providing the framework for adult teeth to grow in later.

Some reports estimate that nearly 40% of children get cavities in the baby teeth, which is why it is so important to teach your children about the importance of proper oral care at a young age. Let’s look at a few different ways you can help encourage your children to brush their teeth.

Playing Copycat

All children learn by observing and then imitating behavior. Therefore, one good way to encourage proper brushing is to brush your teeth at the same time as your child to show them the correct way to brush. During this time, make sure to show them how to brush the surface of each tooth including the back molars. Another suggestion is to ask your child to brush your teeth for you. They will find this quite amusing and will be learning at the same time.

Using a Rewards Chart

Many children respond quite well to bribery and this can work to your advantage if you set up a dental reward chart. You can set up a monthly chart and reward your child with a sticker every time they brush their teeth. Then, at the end of the month, you can offer them a small prize such as a certificate commending them for being outstanding at brushing their teeth regularly.

Watch Videos and Read Stories About Brushing

There’s an abundance of videos online about brushing your teeth that promote proper oral hygiene. There are also many great songs that will encourage your children to brush their teeth. Children react well to music and having a song to sing along with while brushing will make the experience that much more enjoyable for them. It’s important that your child thinks this is fun and not a chore. You can also buy toothbrushes that light up and flash, which is sure to capture your child’s attention during brushing.

Please call Northwood Dental at (651) 687-0789 to schedule an appointment with your Eagan, MN dentist.

Common Dental Procedures

Many people have anxiety over visiting their dentist. Anxiety or fear usually stems from the length of time since their last dental checkup, fear that something will be found wrong with their teeth or gums that will affect their smile, or lack of knowledge on common dental procedures that are performed daily in office. These procedures are really nothing to fear as millions of Americans have to undergo oral health procedures daily.

Cavity Fillings- Nearly everyone you ask will tell you that they have at least one cavity filling in their mouth. Once your dentist determines that you have a cavity or tooth decay, he can use materials such as composite fillings which are made from resin and enamel colored. The days of silver or gold colored fillings are mostly gone from most offices.

Tooth Repair- Just like fillings, dentists can use composite resins to repair or rebuild broken teeth. Even children can have teeth repaired in just a few minutes in office. A chipped tooth is a simple, painless, and affordable problem to fix and can be done in any dental office.

Root Canals- This is the procedure that gets the worst reputation in the dental industry because the first thought of most people is a dentist drilling through their teeth. If you suffer from tooth decay and that decay is reaching the pulp, or center of a tooth, the pulp must be removed to avoid infections in the tooth that would cause the need for extraction. The dentist will fill the tooth center to seal off the root canal. Local anesthetics are used to reduce pain during the procedure.

Tooth Extraction- There are many reasons for needing a tooth to come out of your mouth. You may have severe decay, too many teeth in your mouth causing blocking and overcrowding, impacted teeth, or a broken tooth that is beyond repair. There are two options for extractions—simple extraction and oral surgery. Simple extraction is used when the tooth can be removed easily, without having to cut the gums. This is referred to as getting a “tooth pulled”. Oral surgery required anesthetic, sometimes general anesthesia for oral surgeries that involve multiple teeth.

Whitening Procedures- Not everyone who is the visiting the dentist is there combat an oral health issue. Dentists also offer in-office whitening that is used for cosmetic purposes to brighten discolored or yellowed teeth. Teeth can become easily stained by foods and drinks in your diet such as coffee, wine, berries, and tobacco. While over the counter teeth whiteners do work well in many cases, in office whitening contains a larger concentration of peroxide and is a faster and more efficient way of producing whitening results.

Call Northwood Dental today at (651) 687-0789 to schedule an appointment with your Eagan, MN dentist.

Treating Toothaches

Never ignore a toothache. If your tooth hurts, even intermittently, call your dentist so he can do a full exam and diagnose the cause. A toothache is almost never a sign of something serious, but it is a sign something is wrong. If left untreated, your toothache and the condition that is causing it can become worse.

In the Meantime

Treat the pain and inflammation until you can get in to see your dentist.

• Rinse with warm salt water and gently floss to dislodge any trapped food particles
• Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as aspirin or ibuprofen
• Apply a topical dental pain reliever containing benzocaine directly to the tooth and gum
• Soak a piece of gauze with oil of clove (eugenol) and apply directly on the sore area
• Take a decongestant, such as pseudoephedrine, if your pain is due to sinus congestion

When a Toothache Is an Emergency

Seek emergency treatment if you experience any of these symptoms with your toothache.

• Swelling in your face or jaw. The infection could be worsening or spreading.
• Chest pain, dizziness, lightheadedness, or other signs of a heart attack
• Wheezing, a lingering cough, or coughing up blood, which may be signs of lung cancer


• Your Eagan dentist will look for the location and cause of a toothache and check for signs of swelling, redness and obvious tooth damage.
• If decay is causing your toothache, your dentist will drill away the decay and fill the cavity.
• If your tooth has progressed to an infection, treatment will likely be root canal or extraction. Antiobiotics may be administered for an infection.
• An impacted tooth may require surgical removal.
• If the dentist can’t find the cause of your toothache, you may receive a recommendation to see your doctor for further diagnosis and treatment.

6. Be sure to eat healthy as you are what you eat!

How Tartar is Removed?

How do dentists remove tartar? They will slowly scrap this off your teeth in order to remove this. They will get under the gum line in places if need be. The goal is to remove all of this tartar so that it does not cause permanent issues to your teeth, gums and overall oral health. This is not a painful procedure, just time consuming for most if there is a real tartar problem.

This is why you must remember to visit your dentist every 6 months. If you were to wait, you are going to find that the tartar could become worse, causing even more issues for the person.

What is Gingival Flap Surgery?

Gingival flap surgery is the procedure where the gums are separated from the teeth. Then, they get folded back temporarily to give the dentist access to the root and bone.

Why Do People Need This Surgery?

Gingival flap surgery is used mainly to treat patients with gum disease. It is recommended for those with moderate to advanced periodontitis. This is generally not done until after non-surgical treatments like scaling and root planing have been performed. It can be used in conjunction with osseous (bone) surgery.

How the Procedure is Performed

All tartar and plaque will be removed from the teeth. Then, the area will be numbed and the periodontist will use the scalpel to separate the gums from the teeth. They will get folded and lifted back into a flap.

Time is spent removing inflamed tissue from between the teeth. Scaling and root planning is performed to clean out any tartar and plaque. If there are bone defects, the periodontist eliminates them as well with osseous recontouring.

After the procedure, the gums are put back against the teeth and anchored with stitches. These will be removed a week to 10 days after surgery. You may notice some mild discomfort after the procedure is over. An over-the-counter pain reliever should take care of the soreness.


Follow these steps after the procedure for the best chance of healing:
• Keep the mouth clean
• Use an antimicrobial mouth rinse
• Apply an ice pack for swelling
• Take antibiotics as instructed
• Attend your follow-up appointment


All surgeries offer some form of risk. Here’s what could happen as a result of the gum surgery:
• Bleeding
• Swelling
• Infection
• Gums might recede over time
• Sensitivity to temperature
• Cavities can develop in the roots

There might be times when you need to contact the periodontist for further consultation. Be sure that if you notice any major bleeding or pain that will not subside that you contact your Eagan, MN dentist. It could be the sign of an infection starting. It is always best to proceed with caution than to face further pain and complications later.

Linking Diabetes & Gum Disease

Many people believe that gum diseases were only related to the mouth, but we now know that isn’t true. New evidence shows us that periodontal disease can play a role in the overall well-being of the body, one of those includes diabetes.

Basics of Diabetes

Diabetes generally refers to an abnormal glucose level that is too high. It can be a combination of hereditary genetics and environmental causes. Many times Type 2 Diabetes will have a direct relationship to obesity.

There are severe consequences that can result from diabetes. These include, but are not limited to, cardiovascular disease, renal failure, eye damage, nerve damage, trouble healing wounds, and even death.

Basics of Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)

Periodontal disease is often referred to as gum disease. It is caused by plaque that collects between the gums and teeth. It eventually destroys the periodontal tissues leading to larger issues. Patients could end up struggling with bone or tooth loss as a result of periodontal disease.

Connection Between Diabetes and Periodontal Diseases (Gum Disease)

The immune system uses inflammation to respond to body issues. When you are experiencing inflammation, it is really just your immune system at work. It fights off and prevents the spread of diseases with this defense mechanism.

Whenever we experience chronic or prolonged inflammation in our bodies, we can suffer from a shift in these cells to other parts of our bodies. Many people who suffer from diseases such as diabetes, will have a weakened immune system. This can make the healing of any soft tissue difficult, including the gums.

In fact, patients who have both diabetes and periodontal disease are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular or kidney complications as a result.

Prevent Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)

Your first line of defense is to avoid suffering from periodontal disease in the first place. Here are some tips to follow:

• Brush twice daily
• Floss at least once daily
• Eat a balanced diet
• Visit your dentist twice a year

If you suffer from either diabetes or periodontal diseases, it is much more important than ever to visit your Eagan dentist on a regular basis. The professional team at your local office is equipped to help you fight back against these potentially life-threatening ailments.

6 Tips to Control Tartar

Tartar is the direct result of plaque on the teeth. The plaque that gets onto your teeth is going to form from all the bacteria that is in the mouth. However, tartar, which is also referred to as calculus, is going to form above and below the gum line. This is something that must be removed by your dentist with specialized tools since this is rough and very porous. This can lead to gums that recede, along with gum disease.

Tips for Control

For those who want to take control of their oral health, they are going to want to focus on controlling the tartar that is on their teeth. These tips include:

1. Brush twice per day, for at least 2 minutes at a time. You will want to use a soft bristle toothbrush to ensure that this is going to be easy on your teeth as well.

2. Many studies have found that electronic toothbrushes can be better at riding your teeth of plaque that could turn into tartar later.

3. Use a tartar controlling toothpaste that also has fluoride in this. This can help remove the problem, as well as offering protection into the teeth.

4. Be sure to floss!

5. Use an antiseptic mouthwash after brushing to ensure that this is going to kill the plaque.

Stages of teething


For parents, teething is an important time in their child’s life and one that may make you slightly crazy. While fevers, upset tummies, and pain are often associated with teething, this is still an important milestone in your child’s life. However, teething doesn’t end once your child breaks through those first few teeth. The stages of teething will continue up well into the age of 2 years or older!

Teething Stages

Most parents remember when their child’s first tooth came through. Most parents breathed a sigh of relief as they thought the worse was over. However, there are still many stages to come:

Stage 1 is the age from birth to 6 months of age: The teeth cannot be seen, but they are fully formed in the jawbones.

Stage 2 is from 6 to 8 months of age: This is the time in which the first teeth emerge. They are usually the lower and upper front teeth. In addition, the incisors may start to come in as well. However, the magic of teething is already in full swing before you see that first tooth.

Stage 3 is from 10 to 14 months of age: The primary molars start to erupt in the back of the mouth in the lower and upper jaws.

Stage 4 is from 16 to 22 months of age: The canine teeth will surface.

Stage 5 is from 25 to 33 months of age: This is the time in which large molars appear and this can often be the most painful time of teething.

Tips to Soothe Children

There are several tips that you can utilize to help soothe your children during this time of teething. These aspects include:

1. Massaging the gums with a clean finger
2. Providing a chilled teeth ring for the child to chew on
3. Providing cold foods that your child can safely chew on
4. Utilizing over the counter medications for the pain that may occur

Remember, if at any time you fear something is wrong, be sure to visit your local dentist. After all, once that first tooth is in, it is time to visit Northwood Dental, your nearby Twin Cities dentist!

Prone to Cavities?


We all have that one person in our lives. This person may not brush their teeth as much as you, they eat a lot of sugar and drink sugary drinks, yet they rarely have a cavity. On the other hand, a person may do everything that is written in the book and avoid sugar as much as possible, yet they still have numerous cavities. It is these types of situations that can make a person wonder whether they should really follow the dental advice they are given or not. But there are many factors that put you at risk of getting cavities more easily than other people.

More than Sugar Causes Cavities

One of the aspects most people do not realize is that sugar is not the only thing that can cause cavities. There are several other causes that people do not think about, that they may be doing every day. For example:

  • Acidic foods and beverages can erode the enamel leading to more cavities
  • The shape of your teeth can cause cavities
  • If you have GERD, then chances are you have more cavities
  • Your own oral bacteria can be the difference between more or fewer cavities

How to Prevent Cavities

Now that you realize that some people are just more prone to cavities, is there anything that can be done in order to prevent these cavities? Of course! We have a few tips:

1. Ensure you are using the proper dental hygiene. You will want to brush your teeth at least twice and then floss daily. Use mouthwash to help with controlling bacteria in the mouth.
2. Drink plenty of water to help keep the bacteria in your mouth at a good level.
3. Visit your doctor for issues like GERD that may be increasing the acid in your mouth so that you can get proper treatment for this.
4. Consider using an enamel-fortifying mouth rinse to help ensure that your enamel is not becoming nonexistent.

Remember, if you are one of those people that are just more prone to cavities, it is more important than ever that you routinely visit Northwood Dental, your top dentist near Highland Park, MN. This way cavities can be stopped before they destroy the tooth!

Types of Tongue Irritation and Infections


The tongue is hailed as the strongest muscle in the body and can also be a map to your oral and overall health. A tongue that is swollen has discoloration or is sore can indicate viral infections, dietary imbalances, and more. But some issues can occur directly on the tongue that can affect the oral health that you may not even notice. It is important to visit your dentist regularly to make sure your entire mouth is healthy. Find out more about potential tongue issues below.

Your Twin Cities Dentist Examines the Entire Mouth

You should talk to your dentist if you detect any discoloration or soreness in the tongue. Many tongue problems are quickly resolved if caught early. Some infections and ailments can include:

Oral Thrush: This condition of the tongue also goes by the name candidiasis. It is a yeast infection inside the mouth and results in white patches on the surface of the mouth and tongue.

Leukoplakia: This is a condition bringing the cells in the mouth to grow excessively bringing white patches in the mouth and on the tongue. It is often found on those who are cigarette smokers and could sometimes be a very early sign of cancer.

Oral Lichen Planus: In this condition, the dentist will see a network of raised white lines in a lace-like appearance. The cause is unknown and it does go away on its own but to speed the process, avoid tobacco use, cut back on any foods that irritate the mouth, and practice good oral hygiene.

Canker Sores: A canker sore is a mouth ulcer. The cause is unknown but they do usually come when one is especially stressed.

Enlarged Papillae: While the name sounds terrible, this condition is a painful bump that appears on the tongue when taste buds become inflamed or irritated.

Please call our office at any time for an appointment to get your mouth examined and your teeth cleaned. And always brush and floss twice a day to make sure your teeth, gums, and tongue have a clean, healthy environment.