Tag Archive for: Dental Health

Apps and Mobile Games to Help with Your Dental Fear

From ALLtech dental provider Delta Dental of Washington

Fear of going to the dentist is more common than you may think. People of all ages have a fear of going to the dentist. The good news is that there are many tools available to help ease those fears before and during dental appointments.

In today’s world, smart devices like cell phones or tablets have essentially become an extension of the body for most people. Why not use these devices for our benefit? There are many mobile games available that can provide anxiety relief and calm nerves at the dentist’s office.

Here are a few mobile games that can ease anxiety:

  • Colorfy: If you find coloring or being creative relaxing, this is the app for you! There are many images to choose from and color on while waiting for your dental appointment to start.
  • AntiStress Anxiety Relief Game: If you find yourself fidgeting during appointments, this game is perfect for you! Simple games such as a digital bubble popper, fidget spinner, and brick smash can help distract your mind and ease anxiety.
  • Prune: This simple game is full of beautiful scenery, calming music, and the simple goal of growing and pruning a bonsai tree.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle: Another great option for those who need a simple distraction before and during dental appointments. Put together beautiful puzzles that vary in difficulty.

Learn about more games and solutions to conquering dental fear by reading the Delta Dental of Washington blog.

Diabetes and your oral health

From ALLtech dental provider Delta Dental of Washington

Did you know that diabetes can take a toll on the health of your smile? Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes, common dental problems such as gum inflammation could potentially be an early warning sign.

October is Diabetes Awareness Month. This month, prioritize your health by learning about other signs and possible symptoms of diabetes:

  • Tooth decay: Elevated glucose in our saliva supplies more food to the cavity-causing bacteria in dental plaque.
  • Gingivitis: Bacteria in plaque and tartar can cause swelling and bleeding along the gum line.
  • Periodontal Disease: This condition is characterized by a loss of bone that supports the teeth. Periodontitis can contribute to spikes in blood sugar that makes diabetes more difficult to control and, in turn, gum disease harder to fight.
  • Dry Mouth: A lack of lack of saliva in some cases, may result in difficulty swallowing, trouble speaking, a burning sensation, or a constant sore throat.
  • Thrush: This causes painful red or white patches in the mouth which are made worse by smoking or high levels of sugar in your saliva.

For more information and a short video describing oral health and diabetes check out the Delta Dental of Washington blog.

Why do gums bleed?

From ALLtech dental provider Delta Dental of Washington

Ever notice pink in the sink after you brush or floss your teeth? Gums bleed for many reasons and can sometimes be a sign of a bigger dental health issue. Here are nine common causes of bleeding:

  • Gingivitis: This oral health issue is caused by plaque along the gum line that is not removed with brushing or flossing. This is the first stage of gum disease. Symptoms include swollen or red gums, bad breath, and receding gum line.
  • Medications: Some medications contribute to gum sensitivity, like blood thinners and aspirin. Be sure to share your medications with your dentist.
  • Flossing incorrectly: Gums that bleed when flossing indicates poor technique, ask your dentist for a demonstration of the best methodology.
  • Brushing too hard: Gums may bleed if you brush too hard, or you need a softer bristle.
  • Poor oral health habits: Just missing one or two scheduled oral care hygiene habits may increase the sensitivity of gums.
  • Poor diet: Starchy or sugary foods caught in the gums may contribute to plaque and cause irritation and inflammation.
  • Stress: Anxiety can contribute to a breakdown of the immune system and increase the risk of tender gums.
  • Smoking or vaping: Dangerous bacteria can get trapped between the teeth and gums, leading to sensitive gums.
  • A health condition like diabetes, leukemia or a vitamin deficiency: Bleeding gums may be a sign of more serious conditions. Conditions like diabetes may make it harder to fight inflammation and infections.

Visit our blog for full details.

My Jaw is Hurting!

From ALLtech dental provider Delta Dental of Washington

The cause of a TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunction can vary from person to person. In many cases, it can be difficult to even determine the cause since symptoms of TMJ often appear for no apparent reason.

A variety of symptoms have been tied to TMJ and can differ depending on the cause and/or severity of the condition. These can show up on one or both sides of the face and usually involve some level of jaw pain, tenderness, or stiffness.

Symptoms can include any or a combination of the following:

  • Jaw pain, tenderness, and stiffness
  • Jaw popping, clicking, and/or grating
  • Lock jaw
  • Pain or difficulty when chewing
  • Pain in the neck and shoulders
  • Pain, pressure, or ringing in the ears
  • Chronic headaches
  • Dizziness and/or vision problems
  • A bite that feels misaligned

As always, it’s important to speak with your dentist about what you’re experiencing so that you can discuss your options and decide on a treatment plan that’s right for you.

For more details on TMJ, check out the Delta Dental blog.

Different Types of Painkillers Explained

From ALLtech dental provider Delta Dental of Washington

When you’re in oral pain, finding relief fast is your top priority. But if you are not used to painkillers, you may not know which to choose from. Understanding the different types of painkillers and how they affect you is essential to managing your pain in a healthy way.

Targets inflammation
Pain reliever
Fever reducer
Reduces inflammation
Lasts longer than Ibuprofen
Pain reliever
Fever reducer
Targets heat center of the brain
Good for: Arthritis, swollen gums and jaw pain Good for: Treating chronic conditions such as TMJ or back pain Good for: Headaches and acute pain
Can be safe for children under 12: consult your dentist Not safe for children under 12 Can be safe for children under 12: consult your dentist
Taken every 4-6 hours
Also available in extended release
Available in extended release
Typical dosage is once every 12 hours
Side effects: dizziness, lightheadedness, drowsy Side effects: fatigue, drowsy, stomach pain, constipation

It is important to understand that while opioids can effectively treat pain, they are highly addictive.

For more information and help managing your dental pain, visit Delta Dental’s Dental Pain without Opioids blog.

Common Dental Insurance Terms to Know

From ALLtech dental provider Delta Dental of Washington

So you have dental insurance coverage, but navigating through the benefit language is not easy. We want you to understand the common terms used to ensure you know all your benefits and how your plan works for you.

Annual Maximum

This is the total amount your dental plan will cover within a specific amount of time, which is typically one year.


Think of this like the typical bill you would receive after a meal. However, this bill will go directly to the insurance provider (Delta Dental of Washington) so you don’t wait for reimbursement.


The amount you’re responsible for if your insurance doesn’t cover the cost of a procedure 100%. For example, let’s say your plan covers the cost of a filling at 50% of the cost, you would pay the remaining 50%.


A copay is your share of a procedure cost determined by a fixed percentage of the total cost, it’s a fixed dollar amount. Which means, regardless of the cost of a procedure the amount you pay stays the same.

For more terms like “Deducible” or “Explanation of Benefits,” visit the Delta Dental blog for a full list of common terms.

Do I Have Bad Breath?

From ALLtech dental provider Delta Dental of Washington

There’s nothing quite as embarrassing as realizing that you have bad breath. Whether you had just a bit too much garlic for lunch or you ran out the door without brushing your teeth, bad breath is a cloud that hangs over you for the whole day.

But exactly what causes bad breath is more complicated than you might think. Here are a few common reasons why you might be suffering from halitosis:

  • Poor dental hygiene habits
  • Consuming food and beverages such as garlic and onions
  • Low-carb diets (i.e. Atkins, Keto) can often result in bad breath
  • Dehydration, not drinking enough water
  • Mouth, nose and throat infections
  • Tobacco use resulting in “smokers’ breath”

Taking just a few simple steps can have your mouth feeling refreshed and ready to get up close.

  • Brush and floss twice a day
  • Use an antibacterial toothpaste that gets rid of bacteria and plaque
  • Replace your toothbrush once every two months
  • Visit your dentist for regular preventative check-ups

For a more in-depth look at the reason for halitosis and a full list of all the ways you can help, read our blog post on the Common causes of bad breath and how to fix them.

Do You Grind Your Teeth? Maybe it’s Stress

From ALLtech dental provider Delta Dental of Washington

When it comes to stress, we’re all aware of the physical – and mental – tolls it can take. Increased sweating, anxiety, rapid heart rate, depression, restlessness, social withdrawal, and changes in mood and behavior are some of the most common signs you’re dealing with a lot of pent-up stress.

But sometimes, stress presents in the mouth in the form of teeth grinding, or bruxism, which can have detrimental effects on the health of your teeth and gums.

Some of the common symptoms may include:

  • Teeth grinding or clenching, which may be loud enough to wake your sleep partner.
  • Teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped or loose.
  • Worn tooth enamel, exposed deeper layers of your tooth.
  • Increased tooth pain or sensitively.
  • Tired or tight jaw muscles.
  • Jaw, neck or face pain or soreness.
  • Pain that feels like earache.
  • Dull headache.
  • Damaged from chewing on the inside of your cheek.
  • Sleep disruption.

April is Stress Awareness Month and we’re calling attention to the hidden ways stress wreaks havoc on your smile.

For more information of bruxism, check out our blog. If you’re concerned you might be grinding your teeth, visit or schedule an appointment to see your dentist.

Need a dentist? Use our Find a Dentist tool to locate a provider that’s right for you!

Tips for Teaching Kids Good Oral Hygiene

From ALLtech dental provider Delta Dental of Washington.

Teaching a kid good oral hygiene is probably the last battle you want to take on at the end of a long day, especially when just getting them to bed can be a struggle. However, brushing and flossing is an extremely important part of children’s oral and overall health.

Start good habits at an early age and clean your baby’s teeth by wiping them with a soft cloth or brushing with a small soft toothbrush and water. This gets them used to establishing a tooth brushing routine. When children are around 18 months of age, they can be introduced to daily brushing by using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste, and encouraged to spit, but not rinse. By age 2, or when teeth start touching, kids should be introduced to flossing. Tip: Some parents find flossing sticks much easier to start with than traditional floss.

Here are three more tips for teaching a child good brushing and flossing habits:

Tip #1: Use Visuals

Flossing and brushing doesn’t automatically make sense to kids. To demonstrate the importance of flossing and good oral health, have your child watch as you dig your teeth into some chocolate. Next, brush and floss your teeth to demonstrate how well both activities remove leftover food particles. Once they’re thoroughly intrigued, break out a toothbrush with their favorite TV character on it or a dental flosser pick (little kids find these easier to handle) and try it out on their teeth.

Tip #2: Give Rewards

As a parent, you know how well positive reinforcement works on kids. They love when something fun waits for them at the end of a task. Why not use this same idea for your children’s oral health? Create a chart and give your child a gold star each day they brush or floss. At the end of the week, reward them with a fun activity or a small toy (not candy). They’ll consider it a fun game, but you’ll know that, secretly, they’re building solid habits and learning how to take care of their smile.

Tip #3: Create Activities

Activities are a great oral health motivator for kids of all ages! All you need is play dough, a large Duplo block, and some yarn. The block represents the teeth, the play dough represents food and gunk caught between teeth, and the yarn is the floss. Use the yarn just like dental floss to show your kids how easily it removes food from teeth. This is a great visual, and kids love jamming the dough in the blocks. Plus, not only do you teach your child how to floss, but you’ve found a way to occupy her for a solid ten minutes — win, win.

If you need help finding a pediatric or family dentist visit our find a dentist tool and use the drop-down tool to select the type of dentist you’re looking for.

Sign up for MySmile to access your dental benefits, get reminders, find your ID card and access the cost estimator for treatment planning.