How Important Is It to Brush Baby Teeth?

While we all know how important it is to keep our teeth clean and healthy, there are often misconceptions in regards to the importance of keeping baby teeth clean. Many people may tell themselves that it’s not as important to clean baby teeth as it is to clean permanent, adult teeth because baby teeth will eventually fall out.

However, the health of adult teeth, as well as the habits formed by regularly taking care of your teeth, are largely dependent on the health and care of baby teeth, making it extremely important to take care of teeth at a very young age.

How Early Should I Start Taking Care of My Child’s Teeth?

Most experts actually recommend that parents begin an oral health regimen even before baby teeth emerge. Gently wiping a baby’s gums with a wet washcloth after eating removes surface bacteria. Once baby teeth first begin to emerge, switch to a soft toothbrush to use on the teeth and the gums. It’s okay to use just water to clean the teeth at first, and you can eventually switch to a toothpaste with fluoride around two years of age.

Why Is It Important to Keep Baby Teeth Clean?

Baby teeth are extremely important to the health and development of a growing child. Healthy teeth allow for your child to chew without pain, smile a radiant smile, and learn to speak properly. You wouldn’t want your kid to have dental issues with their baby teeth, even if those issues were to go away with the permanent teeth! Clean and pain-free teeth lead to a happier, healthier childhood.

Baby teeth, however, do affect the development and placement of adult teeth. They hold the place in the jaw for the permanent teeth that grow beneath the gums. If a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent tooth can drift beneath the gums and cause crowding or spacing in the adult teeth when they try to come in.

Baby teeth are just as prone to cavities as adult teeth. Over 50 percent of children are affected by some form of tooth decay before the age of five due to improper tooth care.

Developing Habits

Aside from the immediate physical benefits of caring for baby teeth, it is essential to have your child develop positive oral health habits from a very young age. Starting at an age where they can handle it on their own, making sure your kid brushes their teeth at least two or three times a day will have them get used to a proper oral care regimen. When they’re old enough, have them introduce flossing and mouthwash into the routine to help develop even stronger habits. Plus, this gives them the tools and skills necessary to maintain a healthy smile.

Looking for a dentist for your growing child? Allegiance Dental Associates delivers the kind of gentle, trusting care you want for your family. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

How Gum Disease Affects More Than Just Your Mouth

With so much focus on the health of our teeth, gum health seems to be one of the most understated facets of oral health. Everyone is constantly bombarded with commercials and information telling us to brush our teeth, get them whiter, and keep them cleaner, but we often forget about the thing that holds them firmly in place and protects them. The truth is, in order to have healthy teeth, and good health overall, it is crucial to have healthy gums. In fact, gum disease not only has detrimental effects on your oral health, but can affect multiple systems in your body in addition to just your mouth.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is caused by the presence of bacteria in the mouth in areas where it can congregate and accumulate. Gum disease most commonly occurs around and below the gum line due to a buildup of plaque and bacteria where the teeth meet the gums. This buildup causes irritation and inflammation in the gums, triggering an immune response from the body.

The mildest form of gum disease is known as gingivitis, which can progress to a more severe form known as periodontitis if left unchecked. Periodontitis can actually break down the connection between the teeth and the gums.

Approximately 47% of adults in the United States have some form of gum disease, with over 70% of adults over 65 years old being affected.

How Gum Disease Affects Your Body

The oral symptoms of gum disease include bad breath, swollen gums, loose or sensitive teeth, receding gums, tender or bleeding gums, and painful chewing. When left untreated, gum disease can even lead to the loss of teeth. However, gum disease can also have a major impact on other body systems that can lead to serious health issues such as pneumonia, COPD, and acute bronchitis. Since gum disease is an infection that the body must dedicate resources to fight, its ability to fight other infections such as the aforementioned respiratory infections, is compromised.

While not a direct cause, there are many common factors between gum disease and heart disease, including genetics, age, smoking habits, presence of diabetes, and more.

According to recent studies, it takes two to three months longer for women with active gum disease to conceive compared to women without gum disease. Fertility specialists actually often require women to show that they do not have gum disease or are taking steps necessary to treat it if they do have it.

Gum disease during pregnancy must be monitored closely and treated properly. With nearly 40% of pregnant women developing gum disease at some point during their pregnancy, it is a common issue with potential side effects; pregnant women with active gum disease have an increased chance to deliver prematurely or have babies with lower than average birth weight.

Want to make sure your gum health is up to par? Allegiance Dental Associates delivers the kind of gentle, trusting care you want for you and your baby so you can spend less time worrying and more time on the things that matter. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

Fun Recipes for a Beautiful Smile

Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you, so keeping it in great shape is important. Aside from just looks, maintaining healthy teeth can give you a life free from tooth pain and frequent dentist visits.

The foods we eat have a big effect on the quality of our teeth. Avoiding foods with a high sugar content and certain staining foods and drinks like coffee can help prolong oral health and the whiteness of your smile. Foods high in fat soluble nutrients such as vitamin A, C, D, and K, as well as calcium and protein, can provide your body with vitamins and minerals that support strong teeth. Here are a few great tasting recipes that will help you maintain that radiant smile!

Veggie Omelet

This delicious dish is packed with protein, calcium, and a whole lot of nutrients from the veggies. It’s an overall great way to start the day.


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped onion
  • ¼ cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh baby spinach leaves, rinsed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper


Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pepper, onion and mushrooms, then cook for two minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in spinach and cook until it wilts. Remove veggies from skillet and place into a small bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, adding water, salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the hot skillet and let it cook, without stirring. Once the egg is ready, empty the bowl of cooked veggies onto half the omelet and sprinkle with cheese. Use a spatula to fold the other half of the omelet over the vegetables and cheese. Serve while warm.

Crunchy Chopped Salad (Recipe by Karen D. Krchma)

Packed with nutrients from leafy greens and vegetables, this salad is sure to be a favorite for you and your smile.


  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon onion (red, green or white) finely chopped
  • 4 leaves fresh basil, chopped, or 1⁄4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 drops stevia, or 1 teaspoon honey, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon raspberry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cold pressed extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • Sea salt, a pinch or two to taste
  • Fresh ground peppercorn, a pinch or two to taste


Chop the vegetables and basil, if using fresh, and place in a medium bowl. If using dried basil, keep in a separate bowl.

In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, stevia (or honey), salt, pepper, olive oil (optional), and 2 teaspoons of water. Add dried basil if using this instead of fresh. Stir and pour over vegetables. Toss well to coat.

Shiitake Mushroom Chicken with Millet Recipe (Recipe by Karen D. Krchma)


  • 1 1⁄2 pounds chicken breast (preferably, organic, hormone- and antibiotic free)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, Himalayan or Celtic
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped, or 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1⁄4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, washed, trimmed and patted dry. Remove the tops and slice; finely chop the stems.
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 large sprigs fresh rosemary, removing the leaves from the stem, or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 3-4 green onions, trimmed and sliced diagonally, or increase onion to 1 medium onion
  • 1⁄2 cup fresh pea pods, washed, trimmed, sliced diagonally (optional)
  • 1⁄2 cup sliced red pepper (optional)
  • 1⁄4 cup white wine, dry preferred
  • 1 cup fresh or prepared chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter, organic preferred, or Ghee (clarified butter)
  • 2 tablespoons, fresh coarsely chopped parsley, or 1 scant tablespoon dried parsley

1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Wash and scrape chicken (scrape a sharp knife over the chicken while rinsing under running water). Place chicken breasts on a glass cutting board. With a sharp knife, pierce each chicken breast 10-12 times. Using a wooden or stainless steel meat tenderizer (mallet), pound each chicken breast down to 1⁄4-1⁄2-inch thickness, as evenly as possible. Tent a paper towel over the mallet to prevent “chicken splash” when pounding. Never use plastic wrap when pounding chicken. Cut each breast in half, or palm-size pieces. Sprinkle chicken with sea salt and garlic powder if using.

Heat coconut oil in skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot add chicken, mushrooms and onions, as well as fresh garlic if using. Sauté chicken about 5-7 minutes or until lightly brown, stirring mushrooms and onions to brown evenly. Turn chicken to brown both sides, cooking for an additional 5-7 minutes, making sure juices in the thickest part run clear. Place chicken breasts in a baking dish and cover to keep warm.

In your skillet with the mushrooms and onions, add rosemary, green onions, pea pods, and red pepper. Add the wine, stirring to loosen cooked juices in the pan. When the wine is slightly reduced, add the broth, and then continue to cook until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in butter or Ghee. Add the chicken and bring back to serving temperature. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and parsley and serve.

Looking for a dentist you can rely on? Allegiance Dental Associates delivers the kind of gentle, trusting care you want for your family. Contact us today to set up an appointment

Dental Health During Pregnancy

With a baby on the way, your dental health is probably the last thing on your mind. Your body is changing in more ways than ever, your clothes don’t fit, cravings are out of control, and the list goes on and on. However, poor dental hygiene during pregnancy can lead to long-term consequences for both you and your baby. Understanding and preventing the dental issues that are associated with pregnancy can leave you worry-free and allow you to focus on the important things during such an important time in your life.

Pregnancy and Dental Health Myths

There are a number of misconceptions regarding pregnancy and oral care. One myth is that it is unsafe for pregnant women to go to the dentist due to the radiation from X-rays and other procedures that are perceived as harmful to the baby. This is definitely not the case, and you should at a minimum continue your regularly scheduled dentist appointments. It’s an even better idea to visit your dentist if you are planning to become pregnant to help set a plan to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout.

Another myth is that teeth lose a significant amount of calcium during pregnancy because the growing baby has nutrients move to somewhere else in the body for support. However, this is untrue, and any dental changes that occur during pregnancy are due to hormone changes in the body. It is still important to increase the amount of calcium you intake to ensure both you and your baby have the proper amount of calcium needed for development, particularly during the third trimester. Prenatal vitamins usually contain an adequate amount of calcium and other important nutrients such as Vitamin D.

Risks with Oral Hygiene

One of the most common dental issues for expecting mothers is gingivitis. High and fluctuating  hormone levels can lead to an increase reactivity  in the mouth during pregnancy, which can potentially cause gingivitis, a type of gum disease. Symptoms of gingivitis include red or swollen gums.

Tooth decay is another potential pregnancy risk, especially for mothers that suffer from morning sickness. For those who vomit often as a result of morning sickness, acid in the mouth breaks down the enamel and increases the risk of tooth decay, which can lead to cavities.

Even after giving birth, dental risks can still persist due to various reasons. Moms often are overwhelmed caring for the newbourne and neglect their own health and continue for many months to have erratic  hormone levels, both of which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Treating and Preventing Dental Issues

Fortunately for those who are concerned about dental issues during pregnancy, you can take preventative measure to reduce the risk of harm to  oral hygiene. The best and most basic way to prevent dental issues is to simply maintain or step up your oral hygiene routine, committing to brushing and flossing two to three times a day. Also, stay hydrated and try your best to stick to a low sugar and starch diet to protect your teeth.

Want to make sure your oral health is in check with your baby on the way? Allegiance Dental Associates delivers the kind of gentle, trusting care you want for you and your baby so you can spend less time worrying and more time on the things that matter. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

Dentist Bel Air | 3 Steps to a Healthy Smile

Dentist Bel Air, MD

Did you know that tooth decay is the single largest cause of school absences? The longer decay goes untreated, the worse it gets. Not only can this mean costlier expenses for you, but it also jeopardizes your child’s oral health and education. You can help your child have a healthy, happy smile by taking a few steps to defend against tooth decay. Here are three steps you can take at home.

  1. Reduce Excessive Sugar

Sugary foods feed the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Limit your child’s sugary intake by keeping candy, soft drinks, juices, and other sweets to a minimum. If your child does indulge in a sugary snack or treat, make sure they brush their teeth afterwards.

  1. Follow a Consistent Brushing Routine

One of the best steps you can take for your child is to help them establish a daily brushing routine. They should brush for at least two minutes both morning and night. Try brushing at the same times each day so that it becomes a habit. We also strongly recommend that parents monitor their children to make sure they are brushing correctly and safely. It’s important that children avoid swallowing toothpaste or mouthwash.

  1. Strengthen Teeth with Dairy Products

Dairy products are excellent sources of calcium, particularly cheese, yogurt, and milk. Calcium helps to build strong bones and teeth. Increasing the amount of calcium in your child’s diet can help strengthen tooth enamel, one of the natural defenses against decay. If your child is lactose intolerant or cannot consume other dairy products, we suggest you talk to our team for additional solutions.

Healthy teeth start at home. Implement the three simple steps above with your child at home to ensure they have a happy, healthy smile. The single most important step you can take for your child is to bring them in to see our team. Regular oral health examinations for your child are essential to ensure that their teeth are healthy and growing properly.

Contact our team to schedule your child’s next examination today.

The Best Snacks for Healthy Teeth

The foods you eat have a big impact on your health and the health of your mouth. Foods that are high in sugar like candy and soda contribute to tooth decay. According to the American Dental Association, oral health is one of the first areas to decline in  with a poor diet. Here are a few foods that you can eat to improve your oral hygiene.


There’s good news for the many people who love cheese. A 2013 study published in an issue of General Dentistry found that eating cheese raises the pH levels in the mouth and lowered the risk of tooth decay ( that mans the mouth becomes less acid). The chewing required to break up the cheese also slightly increased the saliva levels in the mouth, which help to rinse away bacteria and food particles. Cheese also contains calcium and protein which help refresh tooth enamel.


While apples and other fruits do have natural sugars, they’re also high in water and fiber. Eating an apple increases the production of saliva in the mouth and the fibrous texture can help stimulate the gums. Picking an apple as a snack after a lunchtime meal can help temporarily clean out your mouth before you have an opportunity to brush.


Yogurt, another dairy snack, is high in calcium and protein, which like cheese, makes it a good option to improve the strength and health of your teeth. Yogurt also contains probiotics, or good bacteria, that can benefit your gums by replacing the bacteria that causes tooth decay and cavities. Try to opt for plain yogurt when you can to avoid added sugar that’s bad for your teeth.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens such as spinach or kale are full of vitamins and minerals while being low in calories, and can also promote oral health. Like other foods on this list, they’re high in calcium, and they also contain folic acid, a type of B vitamin that can helps limit  gum disease.


Almonds are a good snack for your teeth because they’re low in sugar and high in protein and calcium. Adding them to a salad or a meal or simply enjoying them alone with lunch can be a good way to supplement your oral health-conscious diet.


Carrots act like apples by being a fibrous snack that can help clean your mouth, but carrots have even less sugar than apples. They’re also a great source of vitamin A which can contribute to better gum health.


Celery has a high water and fiber content, acting similarly to carrots and apples to help scrape away food particles and bacteria from your teeth. It also contains vitamins A and C, two antioxidants that improve gum health.

Adding dairy, leafy greens, and fibrous fruits and vegetables to your diet can go a long way when trying to improve your dental health, especially if they replace unhealthy snacks. Also be sure to watch what you’re drinking; water is always the best option since it has no calories and sugar, compared to sugar-loaded juices and sodas, and teas that only have negative effects on your teeth.

Looking for a dentist you can rely on? Allegiance Dental Associates delivers the kind of gentle, trusting care you want for your family. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

Dentist in Bel Air | 6 Facts You Didn’t Know About Your Toothbrush

Dentist in Bel Air, MD

Do you ever think about your toothbrush? You use it twice a day, but how much do you know about it? We’ve compiled a list of interesting toothbrush facts. The next time you brush, consider these bits of trivia.

  1. Toothbrushes may be less common than mobile devices

It is believed that more people own and use a mobile device than those who own and use a toothbrush. With nearly 8 billion mobile devices, the world has more mobile phones, tablets, and other gear than people. However, only 3.5 billion people are estimated to use a toothbrush.

  1. Origin story

It is believed that the first modern toothbrush was invented by a prisoner in England. Sometime around 1780, William Addis created a toothbrush from bone and used swine bristle for the brush.

  1. A long history

Long before Mr. Addis invented what we know as the toothbrush, ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, and Chinese crafted tools for cleaning their teeth. The ancient Chinese used “chewing sticks” to freshen breath as early as 1600 BCE.

  1. What are the bristles?

Originally, toothbrush bristles were primarily made from cow hairs or boar hair. Today, nylon is the material of choice, and has been since the 1930s.

  1. What color is your toothbrush?

Blue is the most common toothbrush color. The second most common color is red.

  1. A home for bacteria

More than 100 million bacteria call your toothbrush home. You don’t get sick regularly because, like your toothbrush, your mouth is home to hundreds of millions of bacteria. Your body is quite effective at fighting off these germs, but if you don’t change your toothbrush regularly or share with someone else, you might catch an illness.

Now that you are a toothbrush expert, spread the word about the importance of regular brushing. Be sure to brush for two minutes twice each day. The American Dental Association recommends that you change your toothbrush every three to four months. If you have a weakened immune system or have been sick recently, you should replace your toothbrush.

For more dental care tips, or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact us.

Common Root Canal Myths

Being told you need a root canal can put fear into the mind of any dental patient. When getting hit with the news, you  try to search  for answers. The Internet can be full of inaccurate information that leads online researchers to false conclusions. However, root canals, while well-known, are highly misunderstood and are not as bad as all the horror stories. Here are a few common root canal myths that are  passed off as truths,  in reality, they do  not paint the most accurate picture.

Myth: Root canals are painful.

Ultimately, the purpose of a root canal is to eliminate infection  that results from progressive decay that has reached the nerve of a tooth and caused an disease. The pain typically associated with root canals is likely just the pain from the infection and abscesses that are a result of the decay. By using modern procedures and anesthetics or sedation, a root canal can be performed  completely painlessly . It is just like receiving a filling or a similar basic procedure.

Myth: You only need a root canal if you are suffering from tooth pain.

Sometimes the decay in a tooth will lead to the “death” of the tooth and it will no longer feel pain or sensation. When this occurs, a harmful infection can still occur without any pain to indicate the symptoms. It is still just as important to get it treated and prevent further damage.

Myth: The benefits of root canals are temporary.

Root canals are a long-term solution to infected roots. The pain is indefinitely relieved as the infected nerves are removed , and the tooth is preserved. The crown that serves as the final step in restoration is a key to the success of the root canal. A crown that fits properly combined with continued positive oral practices can ensure that your tooth lasts a lifetime.

Myth: Tooth extraction is a better alternative to root canals.

An extraction is a far more traumatic procedure that can actually cause the introduction of more bad bacteria into the bloodstream. A root canal is not only less costly than an extraction, but it allows you to keep your natural tooth. Any replacement for a natural tooth, such as bridges, implants, or other alternatives, requires more treatments, more time in the chair, and higher costs.

Myth: Root canals can cause illness.

While this myth can be found all over the Internet, many do not realize it is based on poorly designed research done nearly 100 years ago! A study performed by Dr. Weston Price in the 1920’s was done with the deceitful intent of promoting extractions, rather than providing true, scientific evidence against root canals. Root canals are a safe and effective approach that completely remove bacteria from infected roots of your teeth, improving oral and overall health.

Do you think you need a root canal and are looking for a dentist you can rely on? Allegiance Dental Associates delivers the kind of gentle, trusting care you want for your family. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

Dentist Bel Air | Filling in the Gaps: Your Options for Missing Teeth

Bel Air, MD Dentist

Are you embarrassed to show your smile because of missing teeth? For many people, missing teeth can create a feeling of diminished self-confidence. Modern dentistry can not only replace the gaps in your smile, our team can also create long-term replacements that look and feel just like your natural teeth. You have options. Here are a few of the most common tooth replacement solutions.


Dentures are a solution for those who have lost many or all their teeth. They create a realistic, aesthetically pleasing smile. They are ideal for patients that are missing multiple teeth on either the top or bottom. Our team will start by taking an impression of your mouth. We will then send the impression to a lab for a customized set of dentures to be created. Once your dentures are ready, we will ensure a proper fit and make any necessary adjustments. Dentures should be cleaned regularly with a non-abrasive cleanser. Our team will provide you with all the information you need to take care of your dentures.


You may have heard of dental bridges referred to as partial dentures. Dental bridges are a replacement solution for one or more missing teeth. They help prevent your existing teeth from shifting into the empty gaps of your missing teeth. Bridges utilize your surrounding teeth as an anchor for your replacements. Our team can match the bridge to look like your natural teeth; no one will even notice the difference.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are a long-lasting tooth replacement option. Unlike dentures, which may require replacement, dental implants can last a lifetime with proper care. Our team will ensure your gum tissue is healthy enough with adequate bone support to anchor the implant. For some patients, additional preparations may be necessary such as a bone graft to guarantee your implant has a strong, stable foundation.

The gaps in your smile can be filled. Our team can help you decide on a tooth replacement solution based on your individual needs. It is important to fill the gaps of missing teeth to prevent deterioration to your gums and the shifting of teeth into these empty spaces. Additionally, tooth replacement solutions such as dentures, bridges, or implants can help improve your speech and comfort.

If you are missing teeth, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our team.

Ways to Make Brushing Your Teeth Fun for Kids

Getting your child to brush their teeth may not be the easiest task, but it is essential that you teach your kids the importance of proper oral hygiene at a young age. While some may think that baby teeth don’t matter  because they simply get replaced by adult teeth, poor oral hygiene at a young age can continue even when adult teeth emerge. Here are a few ways to make brushing your teeth fun for your child to help them develop good habits as early as possible.

Let Them Pick Out Their Own Toothbrush and Toothpaste

There are a whole variety of themed toothbrushes and toothpastes that can appeal to your kid’s interests. Take them to the store and let them look around and pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. They might be a lot more eager to get home and try it out.

Let Them Do the Whole Routine

Kids love to do everything themselves; they want to feel like a big kid who can do it all! For younger kids who are just starting out brushing their own teeth, let them explore their independence and have them go through the whole routine themselves, from putting the toothpaste on the brush to brushing to cleaning it off and putting everything away. Not only can this encourage them to regularly brush their teeth, but it develops motor skills, confidence, and independence.

Let Them Practice on Others

If you’re tired of fighting with your kids to get them to brush their own teeth, let them practice on your mouth, if you’re comfortable with it. They might find it fun to practice on mom or dad, and be sure to be a good actor and make brushing teeth seem like a whole lot of fun.

If you’d rather them not practice on you, you can have them practice on a doll or stuffed animal, with or without toothpaste depending on how messy you’re willing to get. Brushing teeth can seem way more fun if a toy is involved, and it can encourage your kids to follow suit!

Reward Them for Doing It Right

Make a “toothbrushing” calendar for you kids and use stickers to mark the days they properly brushed their teeth every morning and night. Get a variety of stickers and keep each new one a secret so your kid has an exciting surprise to look forward too. If your child successfully fills up a whole month straight (or a time period of your choice), reward them with an even bigger surprise, such as a “bonus” in allowance or a new toy they’ve been asking for.

Set a Good Example

Kids always look up to mom and dad and their routines, whether it’s a little boy watching as his dad shaves or a little girl watching her mom put on makeup in the morning. Kids tend to imitate what their parents do, so use this to your advantage and make sure they see you brushing your teeth regularly. They may be more inclined to be like mom or dad and keep their teeth just as clean.

Looking for a dentist you can rely on? Allegiance Dental Associates delivers the kind of gentle, trusting care you want for your family. Contact us today to set up an appointment.