Diabetes and Your Mouth!


How does having diabetes affect my teeth?



Diabetes can have many affects on your teeth.

        *Your mouth may feel dry. This is because you may produce less saliva. You may be at                    higher risk of dental decay due to lack of saliva. Certain medications you may be taking              can also cause dry mouth.

        *Gums can become more inflamed and bleed easier.

        *You may have changes in how you taste food.

        *You may be more susceptible to infections in your mouth, including periodontal disease. 

        *You may experience delayed healing in areas of your mouth that have been traumatized              or had surgery.



Regular dental visits are very important if you have diabetes. If you have more questions about diabetes and dental health please contact your dentist!

It's a SCARY time of the Year!


 Halloween is just around the corner and I'd like some tips to minimize the sugar damage to my children's teeth.



There are a few things you can do to help your children's teeth through the rough time of Halloween!


*Avoid sticky candy and hard candy that stays in the mouth a long time. The length of time a sugary food is in your mouth can increase the chance for decay.

*Eat candy with meals or shortly after. This way your kids fill up on healthy foods first and are less likely to eat a large amount of candy.

*Chewing a sugarless gum after eating candy can increase saliva flow to help wash away sugar.

*Rinse with water after eating candy to help wash away the sugar. 

*Finally, many dentists offer 'Candy Buy-Backs' with healthy incentives for kids to bring in some or all of their Halloween Candy!


If you have more questions about your children's dental health be sure and contact your dentist!

Encouraging a Full 2 Minute Brush!


Do you have any tips on encouraging my children to brush for the full 2 minutes?



Encouraging kids not to rush when they brush is a challenge for most parents!  Here are a few tips:

*Don't wait until the last minute before bed to brush. If kids are tired they may not brush as well. Brush right after dinner or right after the evening snack.

*Invest in a 2 minute sand timer or set an timer on your phone, or their device to track the two minutes.

*Play a song on your phone or their device that's about 2 minutes long.

*Place a note on their mirror with encouraging words to remember to do a good job brushing.

*Tie it to another activity they enjoy. For example: 2 minutes of brushing equals one bedtime story or 1/2 hour of cartoons. 

*Invest in an electric toothbrush with a timer.


If you have more questions about encouraging good home mouth hygiene be sure and talk with your dentist or hygienist!

Mouth Breathing


My daughter breathes through her mouth at night and sometimes during the day.  Can breathing through her mouth cause any dental problems?



Breathing through the mouth on a regular basis can have an affect on the teeth. The constant flow of air through the mouth can be very drying  making  it more likely that plaque will stick to the teeth instead of being washed away by the saliva. Plaque stuck to teeth long term can cause gingivitis and dental decay. 


When children keep their mouths open for breathing they are also more likely to have difficulty pronouncing certain sounds-most of the time a lisp or the inability to say 'S' sounds correctly. 


And combined with an obstructed airway, mouth breathing  is another symptom of sleep disordered breathing or sleep apnea. 


If you have more questions about mouth breathing be sure and talk with your dentist or pediatrician!

Bacteria poop in my mouth? Oh My!


Why is it so important to remove plaque from my teeth?



The answer to this question begins with a discussion about what plaque is.  Plaque is a very sticky substance that is made up of millions of bacteria. These bacteria feed on the food we eat and then excrete a very acidic waste(POOP!). This acidic waste is what causes cavities. Therefore, if you have plaque on your teeth there are millions of bacteria pooping acid onto your teeth.(Yuck!)


If plaque is left on the teeth long enough it will harden. This hardened plaque  is known as tartar or calculus. Tartar/calculus acts like an irritant to the gums-think of it like a splinter in your skin. The gums will get inflamed and bleed. If this tartar/calculus is not removed the irritation will cause loss of bone around the tooth(periodontal disease).


Removing plaque helps to prevent cavities, periodontal disease and as a bonus helps to keep your breath fresh!  

Hidden Sugar!


I brush and floss and don't drink pop. Why am I still getting cavities?



Cavities occur when we feed the cavity causing bacteria in our mouths sugar.  That's fantastic that you are brushing, flossing and avoiding pop, but there are many foods in the Standard American Diet(SAD) that contain hidden sugar.  Here are some foods that most people would consider 'healthy' that have lots of sugar:


*Granola Bars or Protein Bars: 4-5 teaspoons of sugar!

*Fruit Flavored Yogurts: 4-5 teaspoons of sugar!

*1 Serving of Canned Fruit: 4 teaspoons of sugar!

*1 Serving of Sweetened Cold Cereal: 4-6 teaspoons of sugar!

*1 Serving of Flavored Coffee Creamer: 2 teaspoons of sugar!

*1 Slice of Bread: 1 teaspoon of sugar!

*1 Serving of Maple Syrup: 22 teaspoons of sugar!!!!


You can see how just eating some of the most common breakfast foods provides lots of sugar for those cavity-causing bacteria!


Read your labels!  4grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon. 


If you have more questions about sugar and your teeth, be sure and contact your dentist!

Floss or Floss Picks...THAT is the question!


Which is better-floss picks or traditional floss?



Traditional floss wins this contest! 


 Using floss picks is easy, convenient, and better than not flossing at all. However, floss picks just go straight up and down between the teeth. This is a problem because teeth are curved so by only going straight up and down, the floss picks are missing a big portion of the tooth. 


Flossing with traditional floss allows you the freedom of wrapping the floss around each tooth in a "C" shape. This "C" shape is able to clean much more of the curved surface of the tooth!


If you like floss picks and use them frequently-don't stop-they do have some benefit. Just be sure and floss with traditional floss 2-3 times a week as well!


If you have more flossing questions be sure and ask your dentist or hygienist!

Bracing-For More Than Just a Pretty Smile


    Most of my daughters friends have braces right now. My daughters teeth are just slightly crooked, but she wants braces to be just like her friends. Is there any harm in not doing braces since her teeth are not very crooked?



    What a great question!  Although it is difficult to answer specifically for your daughter's situation without seeing her teeth- I can discuss a few of the good reasons to have straight teeth.  


    *Teeth that are crowded or rotated are difficult to clean. Plaque tends to accumulate easier in areas where teeth are overlapped and it is sometimes difficult to get a toothbrush or floss into those areas for cleaning. 

    *If plaque is allowed to accumulate and not removed regularly it can lead to cavities and even gum disease.

    *Misaligned teeth can lead to issues with the way the teeth fit together. Over time this can lead to fractured teeth, gum recession, and issues with the jaw joint. 

    *Having crowded or misaligned teeth can contribute to self esteem issues. 


Most dentists will recommend an orthodontic consultation for children between the ages of 7-10. This way the orthodontist can do a thorough evaluation and recommend treatment based on best timing with tooth eruption and the child's growth pattern.  Straightening children's teeth early can help prevent some of the issues of having crooked teeth from ever occurring. 


If you're an adult and have crowded, rotated, or misaligned teeth you should still consider orthodontics!  It could help prevent future functional concerns with your teeth!  


Once finished with orthodontics your teeth should fit together properly, be easy to clean, and as a bonus give you a beautiful smile!  


If you have more questions about Orthodontics be sure and talk to your dentist, hygienist, or orthodontist!

Do kids need Gatorade for sports?


My kids are in lots of summer sports and drink a lot of gatorade and sports drinks. I don't think this is very good for their teeth and I'm wondering if there is anything more natural to replenish their electrolytes when they are active?



I'm so happy you asked this question. Gatorade is TERRIBLE for teeth!  If you look at the ingredient list of gatorade the top items are sucrose syrup, glucose syrup and citric acid. In simple words, when you drink gatorade you are bathing your teeth in sugar and acid!  Sugar and acid erode enamel and can lead to cavities. 


There are many alternatives to gatorade that are less harmful to teeth and more natural.:

    *Coconut water: coconut water is full of natural electrolytes and tastes refreshing. Be careful and read labels-some coconut waters have added sugars.

    *Infused waters: you can infuse your own water at home with pineapple, strawberries, lemon, blueberries, mint, cucumbers, and many other options-use your imagination or look up some more recipes online!  Infused water is very refreshing and has a hint of natural flavor. 


If you have more questions about sports beverages please contact your dentist!

gatorade ingredients


What About Pain Medication

The discomfort and outright pain from a toothache can be intense.  No doubt about it.

So what about over-the-counter pain medications?  If a little is good, more must be better, right?

Pain Meds
Pain Meds


Following package instructions is critical to avoid complications and side effects.  As most OTC pain relievers have a built in safety factor in the recommended dose, each person's body and underlying medical condition is different.  One may tolerate the maximum  recommended dose of ibuprofen, while the same dose in another may cause the kidneys to shut down and require hospitalization.

OTC Medications are not without risk.

Consider a recent study completed at Oxford revealing that patients who took maximum doses of ibuprofen (2400 mg/day) and diclofenac (150 mg/day) had a higher risk of heart attack, heart failure and death. 

Non-steroidal pain relievers (ibuprofen, aleve, naproxen) can also cause stomach irritation, bleeding and ulcers.  Patients on steroids (such as prednisone), smokers and those who consume excessive alcohol are at a much higher risk for bleeding complications.

Newer Meds On The Horizon

Researchers are working on a new class of OTC pain reliever that is much safer and have fewer risks than current options.  Naproxcinod is on the horizon and awaiting approval from the FDA.  It is felt to be safer than other anti-inflammatory medications and less likely to elevate blood pressure.

ASK Your Doctor

The best option is to contact your doctor's office for advice.  They know your unique medical history and any compounding factors that may influence the choice and safety of taking a particular pain medication.  A special caution for those with pre-existing kidney, heart, liver disease, diabetes and those taking blood thinners such as ASA, coumadin and Pradaxa (or any other blood thinning medication).

Guest Post by:  Mitchel M.D.

Summer in the Land of 10,000 lakes and Dry Mouths-What???

Summer in the Land of 10,000 lakes and Dry Mouths-What???

Jumping in the lake

It's summer time and here in Northern Minnesota that means water. We live in the land of 10,000 lakes and all summer we play in the water as much as possible. I love the water just as much as my kids do, but all summer long -as a mom and home-keeper- I am constantly working to dry things out; towels, swimsuits, shoes, socks sweatshirts, etc! 

beach towels


What does this have to do with being a dentist and oral health?  It got me thinking about the large number of my patients who would love to have this moisture problem-in their mouths!


If you find that you are constantly trying to keep your mouth moist with gum, mints or water you may be one of the millions of patients who suffer from a medical condition called xerostomia or dry mouth. This condition is not only uncomfortable but it puts you at a much higher risk for developing tooth decay. 


There are several reasons patients suffer from dry mouth:

*Mouth breathing- sinus issues, allergies or even a cold that forces you to breath through your mouth and not your nose can dry out your mouth.


*Naturally occurring: some patients are predisposed to having sticky saliva. Also, as we age we produce less saliva. 


*Medication: there are over 3,000 medications that list dry mouth as a side effect. 


*Cancer treatment: radiation and chemotherapy can cause dry mouth


*Genetic disorder: Sjorgren's Syndrome. 


Saliva is important!  It acts as an acid neutralizer keeping the pH of your mouth in check. An acidic environment in your mouth leaves your teeth more vulnerable to decay and your breath more vulnerable to having a bad odor!


So like a mom and housekeeper who finds ways to keep my house and kids comfortable and dry, there are ways to battle dry mouth and keep your mouth moist and comfortable:


*Use xylitol gum to stimulate natural saliva production. Xylitol also limits the acid production of cavity-causing bacteria.


*Use a mouth rinse with fluoride, xylitol and neutralizing pH to help prevent cavities


*Limit sugary foods and acidic beverages


*Drink water all the time!


*Use only alcohol-free mouth rinses and toothpastes. 


*Brush and floss regularly. 


*Talk to your dentist about what products are best and keep your regular re-care appointments!


Prevent cavities....Simple

Prevent cavities....Simple

Are you one of those patients who brushes and flosses and you STILL get cavities?  Have you come to the acceptance that cavities are a part of your life? You are not alone. Have you ever wondered if there is something MORE you could do?  


It's very simple: Elevate your pH. If you can elevate the pH in your mouth you can change the overall bacterial make up in your mouth. Prolonged acidic environments in your mouth cause an overgrowth of the acidic bacteria that cause tooth decay. These bacteria need an acidic(low pH) environment to survive. So, to decrease the number of these bad bacteria-SIMPLE-elevate your pH. 

images of acidic pH - Google Search


1. Don't drink acidic beverages!(or limit them and don't sip on them over long periods of time!)

     *Pop(yes, even diet pop is acidic!)

     *Carbonated water

     *Drinks containing citric acid



2. Limit how many times a day you eat and drink!

     *Every time we eat or drink we lower the pH in our mouths. If you graze or sip all day, you risk DECAY! 

3. Elevate the pH in your mouth as often as you can!

     *Use products that elevate your pH! There are mouth sprays, toothpaste, rinses, gum, even water that can help raise your oral pH!  We have lots of these products available at our office and many resources to help our patients find the right product to help them prevent cavities!  



Run For Your Gums

Join Our Race Team


Join our team for the annual Cabin Coffee House - Tutto Bene 4th of July race. We are collecting donations for the local food shelf and also donations to support the high school Cross-Cross Country program.


We have some pretty cool prizes for our race team prize drawing!

Click the link below.


Learn More - Division Dental Studio Race Team

Flossing-Just Do It!


Flossing-Just Do It!


"But I brush twice a day, Dr. Laura, isn't that enough?"

Flossing cartoon


Unfortunately, I hear this question a lot.  It's usually in response to my request, "So tell me a little bit about your flossing routine".


Flossing-the four letter word in the dental office. Most people brush. Most people do a good job at brushing. Most people DO NOT floss. This creates a lot of dentistry for me in the form of 'flossing cavities' and gum disease. Yes, I'm happy to help when you get a flossing cavity or when the gums need extra attention, but I'd rather my patients take the 1-2 minutes a day to floss and avoid the need for extra dental treatment.

Just Floss!


A recent longevity study by Harvard Medical School researchers found one of the most important contributing factors to increasing longevity was daily flossing. Plague is made up of tons of bacteria. Plaque left between your teeth leads to periodontal(gum) disease which is a bacterial infection!  Brushing with a manual toothbrush is NOT effective at cleaning the area between the teeth. If you are not flossing you are only cleaning about 60% of your teeth!


The American Academy of Periodontology has been warning us of a 'significant public health problem': Almost HALF of American adults have periodontitis(gum disease)! Periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss. The average number of teeth remaining in adults in America over age 65 is only 18!(We should have 32!) Research has also associated periodontal disease with other chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.


Plaque is the main cause of gum disease, but there are other factors that can affect your periodontal health as well.  Smoking, genetics, medications, stress, poor nutrition, obesity, clenching or grinding your teeth, and other systemic diseases can all affect the health of your gums. Therefore, if you have any other risk factors, flossing becomes even more important!


Wow!  1-2 minutes a day, that's all we're asking!  Floss. It does a body good!


*A really great resource for information on flossing and preventing periodontal disease is the American Academy of Periodontology's website:PERIO.ORG -check it out!*




But Water Tastes Boring!!!

When my kids were little life was easy. I put out something to eat and drink and they didn't really know that there was a different choice. Now that they are older they are flexing their 'right to choose' muscle.  One of our major battles is over what to drink between meals when they are thirsty. If it were up to my kids, they would choose pop, pop or pop.  And let's face it, pop is yummy.  But let's not forget the empty calories, the artificial sweeteners, and the sugar and acid content that destroys the enamel of our teeth. UGGGGGG!!!!

images of soda pop - Google Search











So what's a responsible mom and dentist to do???  My solution was fairly inexpensive and successful.  I went out and purchased a cheap water pitcher with a central diffuser. In this central diffuser I placed an assortment of all natural and tasty items:

*Cucumber and mint


*Lemon and lime


*Orange slices


images of water pitchers - Google Search













I filled the pitcher with ice cold water and put it in the refrigerator.  I told my kids they could have unlimited access to this water.  They LOVED it!  Once you choose your item to place in the diffuser you can refill the pitcher with water for up to 5 days before changing the diffused item.  Because it's ice cold, easily accessible and yummy, my kids chose this drink item over pop!

Be creative. Don't give in to the pressure. Pop is an ok treat every now and then. Pop is a terrible daily drink. Teach your kids now so when they are older and able to choose for themselves they will make healthy choices!


Bemidji Dentist

Division Dental Studio Bemidji

We just wanted to share a fun little video to make you smile.

Be sure to subscribe to our Youtube channel and see what we're up to. Also, join our newsletter if you would like to receive updates on what we have to offer and about the Tutto Bene race team. We have some pretty cool prizes for those that participate.

Back Pain & Tooth Pain?

Osteoporosis & Jaw Health

What does your back pain

have to do with your teeth?

Over 50% of women over the age of 50 will have a fracture of the hip, wrist or back (vertebra) during their lifetime.  Osteoporosis affects over 10 million Americans over the age of 50 and the risk for experiencing a fracture is expected to triple over the next 20 years for those suffering from this common bone disease.

Fortunately there are treatments available and one group of drugs play a key role in managing osteoporosis.  Bisphosphonates prevent the reabsorption of bone and are commonly used to treat osteoporosis and other bone diseases.

Examples of Bisphosphonates include: Fosamax, Actonel and Didronel.  There are several others, but these are among the most common.

One possible side effect of these medications is a condition called Osteonecrosis.  Basically the bone of the jaw is damaged and begins to die.  Keep in mind that the bone is a living tissue that under normal circumstances is constantly being broken down, remodeled and repaired by living bone cells.

Unfortunately to date, their is no effective treatment for Osteonecrosis.  Patients are generally treated with antibiotics, antibacterial mouth washes and at times surgery to remove portions of the dead bone.

The risk of experiencing this condition is around 0.7 per 100,000 person/years of exposure.  Osteonecrosis occurs in patients taking these medications often after a tooth extraction.  Osteonecrosis in people taking Bisphosphonates also occurs spontaneously.

Signs and symptoms of Bisphonate-Related Osteonecrosis include:

  • pain
  • swelling
  • foul smelling discharge or pus
  • loose teeth
  • tingling or numbness of the jaw

All bones, include the jaw, undergo breakdown during normal use.  These small cracks are repaired by specialized cells within the bone itself.  Bisphosphonate therapy is known to suppress bone remodeling and may allow these microscopic cracks in the jawbone to accumulate and result in permanent damage.  Why this happens uniquely to the jaw and not other bones in people taking Bisphosphonates is not known.

Specialist (dental and medical) are working on several exciting new therapies that have shown some promise in treating this condition.  There are a few promising case reports about the use of a new substance (Teriparatide) but further research is needed.

Take away point:

If you are taking a medication for osteoporosis, especially a bisphosphonate, and are experience any of the above signs or symptoms be sure to let your dentist know and evaluate further.

Dr. Laura Schwindt

Division Dental Studio

Bemidji, MN