The Triple Threat: Sugar, Acid, and Bacteria.


The other day I was driving around town running errands. It happened to be a day when there was no public school due to parent teacher conferences. I was reminded of this by the number of school aged kids I saw out and about. As I noticed all of these kids enjoying their day off of school I was shocked and horrified. It was not their behavior, their wild hair, or even their outfits that threw me into a head spin-it was that so many of them were carrying around HUGE bottles of pop!


When I was a kid growing up in Colorado Springs there was a shop that we would visit on a regular basis. This shop was a child's dream come true. It was The Pop Shoppe.  When you entered there were big plastic crates that would hold 24 bottles of the most delicious beverages a child can imagine. You could take your crate and select all sorts of different flavors: root beer, orange, grape, cola, cream soda, and many more!







My sister and I would argue about how many of which flavor to fill up our crate with. Finally we would emerge, happy as campers, excited about the wonderful beverages we would soon get to enjoy.

HALT!!!  Why is a dentist talking so fondly about POP????  Let me get back to my current self who despises pop and what it does to teeth!!!

The title of this post is 'The triple threat: sugar, acid and bacteria". Why is this a threat and what is it a threat to?  This combination, which occurs in our mouths when we drink pop ,causes cavities.  The bacteria in our mouths eat the sugar in pop and expel lactic acid. This lactic acid then can chip away at the enamel of our teeth causing soft spots which are more vulnerable to developing cavities!  Add more acid to this equation,the acid that is in the pop, and this equals the triple threat! Each time we sip a sugary/acidic drink there is a 16-20 minute time frame that acid is attacking our teeth.

So, after a childhood of drinking pop from The Pop Shoppe I bet you are wondering how many cavities I have. The answer may surprise you. ZERO.  Although we were allowed pop and candy growing up it was strictly limited. The only time we got to enjoy a Pop Shoppe pop was 'Saturday Night Family Night'. My mom would pop popcorn and my dad would make milkshakes. We could choose between either a milkshake or a pop. We would watch a movie and enjoy our weekly treat.

This is what I see as the big difference in my pop consumption as a kid and today's pop consumption among kids. Many kids have pop or athletic sports drinks multiple times in one week. As a dentist I am shocked by the amount of cavities I see in children, even with fluoridated water and all the knowledge we have about brushing and flossing.

Pop should be a treat. Pop is a wonderful yummy TREAT. Treats should be limited and reserved for special occasions. I know I'd see less childhood cavities if more kids limited the amount of pop to an occasional treat. And I know you're wondering-do I drink pop today?  Yes, I have about one pop a month-and still no cavities!

Do Guinea Pigs get Cavities?

Why Most Animals Don't Get Cavities


I was walking by one of my children's rooms one day and I heard the familiar 'crunch crunch' of a guinea pig munching on a carrot.  It occurred to me that almost every time I look at one of my children's guinea pigs, they are eating.  This thought then triggered multiple other thoughts in my head including: wow-they eat all the time, never brush their teeth, and never get cavities-this goes against everything we teach our patients.  However, it then occurred to me that guinea pigs don't eat sugar! Most animals don't eat any sugar and most animals never get cavities! 


The average American eats 150 pounds of sugar a year!  Another amazing fact is that 50% if that sugar comes from high fructose corn syrup in 'fat free' foods like salad dressings and pop!


It's a sort of gross detail to think about, but our mouths have tons of bacteria in them.  One of these bacteria, streptococcus mutans, loves sugar.  If you eat something sugary strep mutans goes nuts and eats and eats.  This may sound like a good thing-if the bacteria eats the sugar then the sugar can't harm us, right?  While this is a great thought, unfortunately, after strep mutans eats the sugar it then excretes acid. Even though the enamel on our teeth is tough stuff, it is not tough enough to endure multiple acid attacks.  Therefore, when acids are in contact with our teeth for more than about 2 minutes it begins to erode the enamel.  Erosion of enamel can then lead to tooth decay. 


What's the take home point of the story?  Basically we should all eat more like a Guinea Pig. Our diets should be focused mostly on fresh fruits and vegetables and items that contain sugar should be eaten occasionally and in short duration.  Because we have so many foods today that contain 'hidden sugar' it is also great idea to go the extra mile and brush and floss our teeth, too!  

Hopefully the guinea pig food manufacturer's won't start adding sugar to the guinea pig food any time soon-I can't imagine brushing their teeth!  





Bottled Water: Bad for the Environment....AND your Teeth?

How Bottled Water Falls Short:

65 years ago Grand Rapids, Michigan became the world's first city to adjust the level of naturally occurring fluoride in it's water supply to the optimal fluoride level recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service(0.7-1.2 parts per million) for the prevention of tooth decay.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added the fluoridation of community water as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. Studies today show water fluoridation continues to be effective at reducing tooth decay by 20-40%!

Most bottled waters do not contain the optimal levels of fluoride which is beneficial for preventing tooth decay. The FDA does not require manufacturers of bottled water to list fluoride content on the label-only IF there are fluoride additives added.

Some types of home water treatment systems can also decrease the amount of fluoride to sub-optimal levels.

Your oral health and prevention of cavities depends on many factors:

• how often and how well you brush and floss

• your diet

• how often you receive regular dental care

• how much fluoride you receive from toothpaste, mouthwash, food, professional fluoride products and WATER.

Moral of the Story: Bottled water is not bad for your teeth....BUT if that's all you or your children drink you are missing out on an easy way, that's been proven effective, to help prevent tooth decay!

Division Dental Studio

1900 Division St. #2

Bemidji, MN 56601



What are my choppers made of? OR Anatomy of a Tooth!

Anatomy of a Tooth




The hardest, white outer part of the tooth. Enamel is mostly made of calcium phosphate. Enamel is the hardest substance in the body.


A Porous layer underneath the enamel. Dentin is made of living cells, which secrete a hard mineral substance. Dentin is similar to but harder than bone.


The softer, living inner structure of teeth. Blood vessels and nerves run through the pulp of the teeth. The pulp nourishes the dentin.


A layer of connective tissue that covers the root of the tooth. The cementum attaches the tooth to the bone by attaching to the periodontal ligament.

Periodontal Ligament:

A fibrous tissue that helps hold the teeth tightly within the jaw by attaching to the cementum.

Division Dental Studio
1900 Division Street #2
Bemidji, MN 56601

Just 5 Minutes A Day Can Save Your Life!!

OR...How just 5 minutes a day can help you stay healthy and prolong your life!


5 Minutes....out of the 1440 minutes in 24 hours.....5 minutes doesn't seem like that much time to prolong your longevity, does it?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDCP) recently put out new recommendations for the amount of time per day we need to exercise to stay fit and healthy. The new recommendation is ONE hour a DAY. So how can just 5 minutes a day fit into this equation?

NO NO NO, it's not some new diet or exercise fad-don't be fooled! The answer is........

5 minutes a day of BRUSHING and FLOSSING! Dentists recommend that the average person should brush for about 2 minutes each time they brush. Do this twice a day(in the morning and before bed)and that equals 4 minutes. So what about the other minute, you ask?  I timed myself last night when I flossed-it took about ONE minute.

Most people get that brushing and flossing is good for keeping your teeth healthy, but how does it prolong your life?

*There has been an explosion of evidence linking good oral health to good general health. We have all heard how chronic INFLAMMATION is the new bad boy linked to many health problems. Well, when you neglect brushing and flossing, your gums are in a constant state of INFLAMMATION!

*Think about healthy foods....apples, carrots, nuts, whole grains, etc....Most healthy foods require some chewing. Most of them are not super soft.  This requires HEALTY TEETH! If your teeth hurt, you won't choose healthy foods!

* If your teeth hurt, you may not chew your food adequately. This may contribute to digestive problems. Uggg-we all know that's no fun!

*Good Self Esteem and Mood....If we like our smile we will be more likely to smile and LAUGH! Smiling and laughing OFTEN has been shown to improve mood and self esteem!

Just 5 minutes a day.  Not a big time investment-the average american spend 5 HOURS a day watching television!  5 minutes a day to take care of your dental health can translate to many other ways to stay healthy!  Staying healthy helps prolong your life and may even save your life!  At the very least you'll have sparkling teeth and fresh breath and who doesn't want that???

Division Dental Studio

1900 Division St. #2

Bemidji, MN 56601


Run For Your Gums 2012!

Join us for the 2012 Tutto Bene 10K and Cabin Coffee House 2 Mile!



*Join us having fun, staying healthy, and raising money for a good cause!

*Registration forms will be available at our office SOON.

*Registration proceeds go to benefit the Bemidji High School Cross Country Teams!  

*Last year we took 1st place for the largest team running and donated $220.00 cash and 3 full tubs of food to the Bemidji Area Food Shelf!

Come join the fun of Run For Your Gums!

Division Dental Studio
1900 Division Street #2
Bemidji, MN 56601

Wedding Day White Smile From Division Dental Studio!

Every Bride Should Have a Beautiful White Smile for That Special Day!



Whitening your teeth is simple, safe and an easy way to brighten your smile in a short amount of time-it's one of the most fun things we do in the dental world!

Make sure your smile shines for your special day!  Contact us for details about our whitening options. When you whiten with us, you will be entered into the Opalescence I Do Contest. If you win you will receive $1,000.00 and take home whitening treatments for 5 members of your bridal party! 

If you want more information on Whitening your teeth be sure and check out our other posts!

Our Team at Division Dental Studio wants to make sure your smile shines on your wedding day!

Division Dental Studio

1900 Division St. #2

Bemidji, MN 56601



Temporomandibular Joint Disorder(TMD)

What is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

First of all, to describe Temporomandibular Joint Disorder(TMD) it's important to know what the Temporomandibular Joint is!


 The Temporomandibular Joint(TMJ) is a complex joint found just in front of your ear. It connects your mandible(lower jaw) to your Temporal bone(base of the skull) with muscles that allow you to move your lower jaw open and closed as well as forward and sideways.
TMJ Disorder(TMD) is a description of many conditions that can affect the TMJ, jaw muscles, and nerves of the face.
TMD symptoms can include:
*Jaw pain/soreness that occurs in the morning or late afternoon
*Earache without an ear infection
*Jaw pain when you yawn, chew or talk
*Clicking or popping when you open your mouth
*Difficulty in opening and closing your mouth
*Stiff jaw when you eat, talk or yawn, or even locking open or closed
*Toothaches or tooth sensitivity with no dental problem
*Headache or Neck pain
*Worn and/or sensitive teeth
TMD is the most common chronic orofacial pain that is non-dental related. It also affects twice as many women as men.
Causes of TMD include:
*Injury to the jaw or side of the face
*Abnormal function of the lower jaw during chewing
*Clenching or grinding teeth
*Overuse of the muscles involved
Most cases of TMD can be treated by resting the joint.
*During the day try to avoid clenching or grinding by keeping your tongue between your teeth.
* At night  wearing a custom made Night Guard helps to rest the joint.
*Avoiding gum and chewy foods during flare ups.
*Ice and Hot Packs
*Posture Therapy
*Decreasing stress and relaxation techniques can also help.
If the above simple steps don't help with TMD physical therapy or even surgery may be recommended.
Division Dental Studio
1900 Division Street #2
Bemidji, MN 56601

Oh My Aching Head.....And Teeth????

Sinusitis and the Toothache

Can a bad head cold or allergies cause a toothache?


* Yes!  This is very common during Allergy Season or Cold and Flu season.  Fortunately a toothache caused by a head cold or allergies rarely requires any dental treatment!
* Having a bad head cold  can cause inflammation of the sinuses(air filled cavities in your head).  Allergies or infection can also cause this sinus inflammation which is called 'Sinusitis'.
*Because your upper molars are frequently very close to your Maxillary Sinus, pressure from Sinusitis can cause your teeth to 'ache'.
*If you are having a toothache along with sinus pressure from a cold or allergies it often involves multiple teeth and is difficult to point to one tooth as the problem. It is a great idea to visit your dentist to rule out a tooth problem.
*Your dentist will perform tests on your teeth and may also recommend an x-ray to rule out a true tooth issue.
*Often, treating the Sinusitis will alleviate the 'toothache'. If your cold or allergies clear up and the toothache persists make sure and visit your dentist for another evaluation!
Division Dental Studio
1900 Division St. #2
Bemidji, MN 56601

To Seal or not to Seal....That is the Question!

Dental Sealants...When, Why, How??

What is a Dental Sealant?

*Sealants are a plastic material that can be placed on the chewing surfaces of the back permanent teeth. The sealant flows into the grooves and bonds to the tooth, forming a thin covering that keeps out plaque and food debris.

Why should teeth be sealed?

*The back teeth are full of deep depressions and grooves that are tough to keep clean. Toothbrush bristles can’t always reach the base of these grooves.   If plaque and food debris are left in these deep grooves, it can eventually cause a cavity!

What teeth should be sealed and when?

*Dentists often recommend that sealants are placed on the back permanent molars. These teeth have the deepest grooves and are more difficult to clean because they are further back in the mouth.

* The permanent back teeth begin to erupt between 6 and 7 years of age(first molars) and again between 10 and 12 years of age(second molars)

Should baby teeth be sealed?

*Placing a dental sealant requires a fair amount of cooperation from the patient. The tooth receiving the sealant must be kept free of moisture and saliva durning the procedure or the sealant won't bond to the tooth. A patient must be able to sit still, stay open and tolerate a dental dam or cotton rolls in their mouth to facilitate the successful placement of a sealant.

*Most children under the age of 5 are not able to stay still, keep their mouth open or tolerate the placement of cotton rolls or a dental dam for this procedure. Therefore, most dentists don't seal baby teeth. If you are interested in having your child's baby teeth sealed talk it over with your dentist.

Will getting sealants prevent all cavities?

*It’s important to remember that sealants only protect the chewing surface of the teeth. To prevent cavities between the teeth remember to floss daily, avoid sugary or acidic beverages and visit your dentist for regular check ups.

Are dental sealants safe?

*Some dental sealants have been shown to contain small amounts of compounds that can turn into BPA when in contact with saliva.

*BPA is a resin used in many plastics.  It is not clear whether the amount of BPA from these filling and sealant materials pose any health risk. It was also found that a thorough rinse after placement of plastic fillings or sealants removes 87-95% of the compounds that can turn into BPA.

*If you are concerned about your exposure to BPA with the placement of white fillings or sealants talk with your dentist. There are ‘BPA Free’ fillings and sealants available.

So...To Seal or not to Seal?

*Make sure and discuss with your dentist the need for sealants, when to place sealants, and any concerns you may have.

*Once you have had this discussion with your dentist you can make an informed decision about the placement of dental sealants!



Division Dental Studio
1900 Division St. #2
Bemidji, MN 56601

Pop! Not just bad for your Teeth!

Pop and Your Heart

An apple a day keeps the doctor away-how about pop??? Think again!!!

A recent study out of Children's Hospital in Boston has linked sugary drinks such as pop to an increased risk in Coronary Heart Disease(CHD).


Even a moderate amount of pop-one can a day-is now associated with a 20% increased risk for CHD!

Doctors from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston are citing these results as a substantial risk for CHD in the United States given the widespread consumption of pop.

Pop is best consumed as a treat and not an every day beverage. Increased pop consumption has been known to cause tooth decay and now there is evidence that supports risk for diabetes and heart disease!

The best beverage is still good old fashioned water with tea and coffee(without sweeteners) following close behind.


Division Dental Studio
1900 Division St. #2
Bemidji, MN 56601

Broken Teeth, Infection, Swelling, Allergic Reactions. Why NOT to Get Your Tongue Pierced!

Tongue Piercing

Tongue Piercing has become very popular, especially with teenagers and young adults. Most people regard tongue piercing as a safe and fun way to express themselves, much like piercing our ears. Unfortunately, tongue piercing can cause significant damage to our teeth as well as other health risks!

Fractured Teeth

It is very common to see perfectly healthy teeth fractured from tongue piercings. This often happens when a person inadvertently bites on the piercing during chewing or sleeping. The fractures can range in size from minor chips in the enamel to major fractures that require a filling or a crown to fix. In extreme cases the fracture may damage the tooth nerve requiring a root canal or even extraction to remedy.

Swelling and Infection

It is common for the tongue to swell after a piercing. This swelling is often minor, but in some cases the swelling can be significant enough to compromise a person's breathing.

The tongue is full of bacteria and by piercing it the bacteria can enter into the blood. This can lead to infections in the tongue and even in other areas of the body- especially if you have certain health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, joint replacements or congenital heart conditions.

Allergic Reactions

Depending on the type of metal the piercing is made of, you may develop an allergic reaction. Some piercings are not surgical grade stainless steel and a person can experience an allergic reaction even if they do not typically have metal allergies.

If you still decide to pierce your tongue, take some simple precautions to avoid problems.

*Ask for a surgical grade stainless steel piercing

*Take out your piercing when you eat and sleep

*Keep your piercing very clean by using an antiseptic mouthwash daily and brush the piercing just like you brush your teeth.

Division Dental Studio
1900 Division St. #2
Bemidji, MN 56601

Division Dental Studio at Team Industries Health Expo!

Dental Information At Team Industries

Health Expo!

Division Dental Studio was happy to be invited to Team Industries Health Expo March 23 in Bagley, MN!

We met with eight small groups for 1/2 hour each to discuss ways to keep your mouth healthy and answer questions.

We had a great time and were thrilled with how interested everyone was in all the ways to improve and maintain good dental health!

As a Thank You to Team for inviting us we had a prize drawing and 2 lucky employees won a Power Toothbrush or Custom Tooth Whitening!

At Division Dental Studio we are committed to helping our patients maintain healthy mouths!  We love going out into the community and providing valuable dental health information!  If you or your organization would like us to give a presentation contact us at: 218-333-8832!

Division Dental Studio
1900 Division St. #2
Bemidji, MN 56601



Floss, Floss, Floss....Prevent Cancer?

Can flossing help prevent Cancer?




When you floss you remove the bacteria between your teeth. If you skip flossing, bacteria can build up in your mouth and migrate to other areas of your digestive tract. This bacteria causes inflammation and chronic inflammation has been shown to be a risk factor for some cancers.


Researchers at New York University found that patients with precancerous gastric lesions reported NOT flossing regularly as opposed to patients without precancerous gastric lesions.


Flossing is simple and takes just a few minutes a day!  It's also inexpensive!  Investing a small amount of your time every day can make a big difference over your lifetime!  FLOSS FLOSS FLOSS!


If you have more questions about the benefits of flossing ask your dentist!

Division Dental Studio
1900 Division St. #2
Bemidji, MN 56601

Life-time Whitening at Division Dental Studio!

What is Life-Time Whitening?

At Division Dental Studio we believe everyone deserves a beautiful smile!  We offer 2 different custom tooth whitening options! Once you have chosen to whiten your smile we want you to continue to enjoy it!  That's why all of  our whitening patients will receive a complimentary tube of whitening gel EVERY time you come in for a re-care hygiene appointment!

*If you are interested in Whitening your teeth, please give us a call!!(218-333-8832)!

*You can also check out our post on Whitening to learn more on all the different ways to whiten your teeth!

Division Dental Studio
1900 Division St. #2
Bemidji, MN 56601


How can Sugar be Good for Teeth??

If it's XYLITOL sugar!

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a non-fermentable sugar alcohol found in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables. As a sugar alcohol it can be consumed by the bacteria in our mouths, but the bacteria cannot digest it to produce the harmful acids that cause tooth decay.

What products contain Xylitol?

Xylitol is found in many chewing gums, mints, and even hygiene products like toothpaste and mouthwash. You should check the list of ingredients to be sure a product contains xylitol.

Is Xylitol Safe?

Xylitol has been approved for safety by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration .

Xylitol has no known toxicity in humans- although in high doses it can have a laxative effect due to the fact that it is not fully broken down during digestion.

Xylitol is also safe for pregnant and nursing women- in fact, there is evidence to show that regular use of xylitol reduces the probability of transmitting the bacteria that cause tooth decay from mother to child by almost 75%.

Using Xylitol: How Much, How Often?

In order to get the cavity preventing benefits it is optimal to use xylitol gum or mints 3-4 times daily for a total intake of 5 grams daily. You should chew the gum for at least 5 minutes and make sure and let the mint dissolve completely without chewing it.

Division Dental Studio
1900 Division St. #2
Bemidji, MN 56601