Lansing's Dental Discussion

Posts for category: Oral Health

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
March 28, 2017
Category: Oral Health

What your family dentist in Lansing, Michigan wants you to knowpediatric dentistry

If you have a child, it’s never too early to start teaching good oral hygiene habits. When you stress the importance of brushing and flossing, it can help to ensure your child has a lifetime of healthy, beautiful smiles. Dr. Holly A. Scott-Hetchler in Lansing, MI wants to help ensure the dental health of your child.

The goal of good oral hygiene is to prevent tooth decay and gum problems by removing dental plaque thoroughly and frequently. Plaque contains millions of harmful bacteria, which produce acids and toxins. Acids are formed when bacteria comes in contact with sugars in the foods your child eats. These acids can cause tooth decay. Toxins are a natural by-product of the bacteria. The toxins can cause inflammation, bleeding and gum disease.

Fortunately, good oral hygiene habits are easy. You can teach your child by following these simple steps:

  • Place a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on a soft-bristled toothbrush and tell your child not to swallow the toothpaste. Both of you face a mirror, with you standing behind your child. Have your child observe you using a gentle circular motion to clean each tooth and along the gumline. Make sure your child demonstrates the correct technique back to you.
    • Hint: sonic or electric toothbrushes are helpful and easy for your child to master. Toothbrushes in kid-friendly designs make it more fun for your child to brush.
  • When your child is about four years old, you can demonstrate flossing. Have your child observe you flossing your teeth and then have your child demonstrate the technique back to you. Your child should be able to floss independently by the age of eight.
    • Hint: it’s often easier to begin with floss picks in kid-friendly shapes to make flossing easier and more fun for your child.

Children are never too young to experience tooth decay. In fact, your child is at risk as soon as the first tooth erupts. That’s why it’s so important to start early teaching your child good oral hygiene habits. For more information on dentistry for children, call Dr. Holly A. Scott-Hetchler in Lansing, MI. Call today!

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
January 30, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

Charcoal toothpaste is being touted as the latest tooth whitening alternative, but does it really make a difference? Dr. Holly Scott-oral healthHetchler, your Lansing, MI, dentist, answers a few questions about the effectiveness and safety of the toothpaste.

What is activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal may look like the stuff you use for backyard barbecues, but it's not quite the same. It's created when wood, peat, coal or petroleum charcoal is heated at high temperatures to prevent toxins from being absorbed by your body. Activated charcoal toothpaste is available in health food stores and online. Some people prefer to skip the paste and just sprinkle a little activated charcoal powder on their toothbrushes.

Why are people using charcoal toothpaste to brush their teeth?

Activated charcoal offers a natural way to whiten teeth. Stains are removed when the charcoal binds with surface stains on your teeth caused by plaque, coffee, tea and other foods and beverages. If discolorations aren't caused by surface stains, the powder or toothpaste will have no effect.

Is activated charcoal safe and effective?

Charcoal toothpaste can improve the appearance of your teeth somewhat because of its ability to remove surface stains, but the improvement in your smile may come at a price. The charcoal may irritate your teeth and gums, plus there are also concerns that it might erode your enamel. Once the enamel is worn down, your teeth will actually look yellower because the underlying dentin layer has been exposed. Reduce your risk of enamel erosion by using the toothpaste no more than once per week.

Because activated charcoal hasn't undergone testing by the American Dental Association yet, we don't have any information about possible long-term effects. If you want a whiter smile but don't want to risk damaging your teeth, professional teeth whitening is a better option. Your Lansing dentist uses strong, yet safe, whitening agents that produce impressive results without harming your enamel. In fact, most people experience a three to eight shade difference after whitening. Professional whitening can be done at your dentist's office, or you can use custom-made whitening trays at home if you prefer.

Your dentist can help you decide if charcoal toothpaste or other whitening options are the better choice for you. Call Dr. Scott-Hetchler, your Lansing, MI, dentist, at (517) 487-6333 to schedule your appointment.

By Holly Scott-Hetchler DDS
July 21, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral cancer  

Be on the lookout for these early telltale signs that you may have oral cancer.

While not often talked about as much as other types of cancers, oral cancer can be life threatening because it is often discovered much oral cancertoo late. One way to detect oral cancer as soon as possible is to keep up with those six-month dental appointments with our Lansing dentist Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then it’s time you made your way to our office for a checkup.

What are the signs and symptoms of oral cancer?

Oral cancer can develop anywhere in the mouth including the lips, tongue, pharynx, larynx or sinuses. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for more than two weeks then you need to call our Lansing, MI general dentist right away:

  • Swelling or lumps in or around your mouth
  • Red or white lesions on your lips or in your mouth
  • Pain or soreness in your mouth or tongue
  • The feeling of a lump in your throat
  • Difficulties chewing, speaking or swallowing
  • A chronic sore throat
  • Numbness in the tongue or throat

What can cause oral cancer?

There are certain lifestyle habits such as tobacco consumption or heavy alcohol use that can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. It’s also more common for people over the age of 40 to develop oral cancer.

Sun exposure can also cause cancer to develop on the lips, so it’s important to wear sunscreen everyday (remember to apply it about 15 to 20 minutes before going out in the sun). Also, there has been an increase in oral cancer incidences due to human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually-transmitted disease.

What should I expect from an oral cancer screening?

The screening our Lansing family dentist performs is fast and painless, and can be done at your next routine checkup. During this evaluation, we will visually inspect your lips, face, tongue, throat, and mouth for any of the above signs of oral cancer. If we find a suspicious lesion or growth we will recommend getting a biopsy.

Early detection is key to protecting your oral health. By coming into our Lansing dental office every six months for routine exams you could just save your own life. If it’s time for your next appointment, contact Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler today.

By Holly A. Scott-Hetchler DDS, PC
March 24, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Family Dentist  

How to organize your family’s dental visits

It’s important for you and your entire family to visit the dentist, but it may seem like a daunting task. Preventive dental care is so important because poor dental health has been linked to systemic diseases like heart disease and diabetes in adults. In children, conditions like Family Dentist baby bottle syndrome can lead to severe tooth decay and tooth loss. It’s time to coordinate your efforts so you and your family have any easy time taking care of your oral health. Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler, in Lansing, Michigan, wants to help you take care of your family.

Ideally, you and your family should visit your Lansing dentist at regular intervals every six months. Typically, Dr. Scott-Hetchler will take x-rays and perform a comprehensive exam every year, and you will receive a thorough cleaning every six months. If you have dental conditions such as periodontal disease, you will need to come in more often, depending on the severity of the disease.

The best way to organize your family’s dental visits is to make them all at once, so you don’t overlook a member of your family. Try to plan for a certain time of year, and put it on the calendar so you remember.

If you have a toddler, try to bring your child in within six months of eruption of the first tooth, because decay can happen fast. In any case, bring your child in within the first year, so your child can get used to Dr. Scott-Hetchler and she can look for any problems.

It’s best not to wait until you have pain or a dental emergency to seek Dr. Scott-Hetchler’ help. Dental problems can escalate. For example:

  • Untreated decay can turn into the need for a root canal or tooth extraction
  • Untreated gum infection can turn into periodontal problems
  • Untreated periodontal problems can turn into a tooth extraction
  • Tooth removal leads to a need for tooth replacement with implants, partials or dentures

You should do all you can to protect your family’s dental health, and an important part of that is organizing your family’s dental visits into a schedule that works. Find a schedule that works for you, and stick to it because the health of your mouth is vital to your overall health. Call Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler in Lansing, Michigan and find out more about family dentistry. Call today; your family will thank you!

By Holly Scott-Hetchler, DDS
March 26, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Dental Checkups  

Regular Dental CheckupsGoing to the dentist isn't always the most exciting experience, but when you make it a family affair, it can quickly become a welcomed habit. Every member of the family, from the young ones to elderly grandparents can benefit from visiting the dentist at least twice per year. Here is why Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler advises her Lansing patients to bring the whole family in for regular dental checkups. 

The Value of a Family Dentist
Much like having a trusted doctor, it's a very comforting feeling to know that you have a trusted family dentist on call. Your family dentist knows the most about your dental issues and will be familiar with the best treatments for future concerns. A family dentist knows you, your children and even their grandparents in some cases. She has solutions for dental problems in patients of all ages.

Benefits of Regular Checkups
There are a few reasons why it's a good idea to get regular dental checkups. For one, even if you keep up with a good oral care routine at home, you just don't have the dental tools on hand that your Lansing dentist has at her office. Dr. Scott-Hetchler can notice plaque, cavities, tooth decay and the beginnings of gum disease -- these are issues that you can't see in your bathroom mirror at home. Another benefit of regular dental checkups for your family is that you teach your young children the importance of developing a relationship with their dentist.

What to Expect at Your Next Checkup
If you or your child hasn't been to a dental checkup in a while, maybe it will help to know what exactly will happen at your next visit. The first step is commonly a physical examination to see the overall condition of your teeth and talk about any concerns you have. Next, the dentist will take X-rays to see the bigger picture. And finally, the dentist will likely clean and polish the teeth so you leave the appointment with your mouth feeling fresh and renewed.

Schedule a Family Checkup Today
You can schedule a checkup at Dr. Scott-Hetchler's Lansing dentist office for you and the other members of your family in one call. In some cases, her office may be able to schedule a visit at the same time. Call (517) 487-6333 today.

By The Office of Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler
April 08, 2013
Category: Oral Health

Dental Care for Babies: Give Your Child a Lifetime of Smiles

    Your children are precious, and so are their constantly evolving smiles. Proper oral care begins even before you see that first tooth emerge.  It is important to know how to properly take care of your child’s smile at every age – from brushing your toddler’s teeth to eating for better oral health.  As children grow from toddlers to teens, their dental care needs continue to evolve.  Between contact sports and sugar-laden sweets and sodas, it is important to know how can you protect their teeth and preserve their smiles. 

Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends bringing your child to the dentist before his or her first birthday.  At your child’s first dental visit, your dentist will:

  • Check your child’s teeth for decay and signs of early developmental problems
  • Explain how to care for your child’s teeth
  • Answer any questions or concerns you might have

At the office of Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler we take it at a pace that will work well for your child.  The first visit is normally just an exam by the Doctor.  Once you child is age 2-3 years old we will start professional cleaning appointments with our hygienist.


How do I Begin Care for my Child’s Teeth?

    Putting your baby to sleep with a bottle in his or her mouth may be convenient in the short term, but it can harm the baby’s teeth immensely.  When the sugars from juice or milk remain on a baby’s teeth for hours, they may eat away at the enamel, creating a condition known as “bottle mouth”, which is associated with pocketed, pitted or discolored front teeth.  Parents and childcare providers should help young children develop set times for drinking during the day, as well, because drinking from a bottle throughout the day can be equally as damaging to young teeth.

    Cleaning a child’s teeth should begin when the first tooth is visible because teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they appear in the mouth.  Wipe your baby’s teeth and gums clean after every feeding with a soft, damp washcloth or gauze pad.  A leading cause of tooth decay among young children is known as “baby bottle syndrome,” which is when an infant is allowed to drink from a nursing bottle containing milk, formula or fruit juice during nap time or at night and the baby falls asleep with the bottle in his or her mouth.  Prolonged exposure to the sugars and acids in liquids that pool around the teeth can cause discoloration and decay in teeth.  Even babies can have problems with dental decay when parents do not practice good feeding habits at home. 

    It is vital to maintain proper dental hygiene for your child from the day he or she is born because it will set the groundwork for appropriate oral health.  Visit Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler for more advice and for regular dental checkups.  It is never too soon to protect your child’s teeth!  Call us today to ensure your child is getting the best care possible.


By The Office of Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler
March 14, 2013
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Untagged

Is Your Diet Helping, or Hurting Your Oral Health?

We are often told that it is important to maintain a healthy diet in order to keep our bodies healthy as well.  Many of us often undergo weight loss programs, which include both exercise and dieting, but did you know that your diet could also reflect the health of your teeth and gums? Your body is like a complex machine, and the foods that you choose to fuel your body, and how often, can affect your general health and that of your teeth and gums. 

The foods that you choose to eat come into contact with the germs and bacteria in your mouth.  If you do not brush your teeth, plaque, which thrives on the starches and sugars found in many of the foods you might consume, will accumulate on your teeth.  Additionally, when plaque combines with the sugars and starches, an acid is produced that attacks the enamel on your teeth, eventually causing decay.

Choose a Healthy Diet

It may seem like an easy task to choose a healthy diet, but fruits, milk, cereals, bread and some vegetables contain sugars and starches that can harm your teeth.  It is also important to limit the consumption of carbonated sodas, sweet fruit drinks and sugary snack foods.  You may not need to avoid these foods, but you will need to keep in mind that a well-balanced diet is important, as well as brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily. 

Here are some healthy tips to consider when altering your diet:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods from the five major food groups
  • Limit snacking between meals
  • Brush twice a day
  • Floss daily
  • Visit your dentist in Lansing, MI regularly

For a healthy mouth, enlist the following healthy foods into your diet:

  • Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables
  • Cheese, milk, plain yogurt, and other dairy products
  • Sugarless chewing gum
  • Water
  • Lean red meat
  • Chicken and fish

Food to Watch Out For

Foods that cling to your teeth promote tooth decay.  So when you reach for a snack be sure to avoid soft, sweet, sticky foods such as cakes, candy and dried fruits.  Instead of these snacks, choose dentally healthy foods such as nuts, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese and sugarless gum or candy.

If you consume the following list of foods, do so in moderation, and be sure to practice good oral health care:

  • Carbohydrates – bacteria feed on leftover foods in the mouth, which can produce acid.
  • Sticky, chewy foods – raisins, granola bars, jelly beans, caramel, honey, and syrup stick to teeth and make it difficult for saliva to wash the sugar away.
  • Sugary snacks – cookies, cakes, or other desserts contain a high amount of sugar, which can lead to tooth decay.
  • Gum and candy – chewing gum and eating candy is very harmful to your teeth, as the sugar can coat your teeth.
  • Carbonated soft drinks – soda contains an extremely high amount of sugar, which wears away the enamel on your teeth.
  • Fruit or vegetable juices – these drinks tend to be high in sugar, which can damage tooth enamel.

In addition to eating healthy foods and avoiding snacks and drinks that are high in sugar, it is important to maintain a proper dental regime.  Talk to Dr. Holly Scott-Hetchler and her team for more information on what to eat for a tooth friendly diet, and how to maintain a good oral health care regimen.   

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Holly A. Scott-Hetchler DDS, PC 919 Chester RdLansing, MI 48912