Are Mints Good for My Teeth?

Dark-haired woman smiles while wearing a rust-colored shirt and a necklace

Popping a mint is as close as you can possibly get to having candy that’s good for your teeth and breath, but not all mints are created equally. Keep this handy guide in mind for your next shopping trip.


Do your favorite mints contain sugar? If you want to freshen your breath and keep your teeth clean, avoid sugar at all costs. When bacteria on your teeth feed on sugar, they release acid that breaks down enamel. Once your enamel is worn down, your teeth can stain and develop cavities more easily. This defeats the purpose of freshening your breath and promoting good oral health completely!

Alternatives to Sugar

Mints that contain sugar aren’t good for your teeth, but mints that contain xylitol are! Xylitol is a natural sweetener that can actually curb the effects of mouth bacteria. Best of all, mints that have an ADA (American Dental Association) seal on the packaging are certified as good for your teeth, so it’s easy to tell which ones your dentist would recommend at the store.

Benefits of Mints

Aside from freshening your breath, the act of sucking on a mint encourages saliva production, which when paired with the benefits of xylitol acts as double duty in eliminating bacteria and germs from your mouth and helping prevent tooth decay. Who knew that something that looks and tastes like candy could actually help protect your teeth!

Mints & Oral Health

While mints add a nice boost to your oral health regimen and are great on the go, they should by no means replace twice daily brushing and flossing. Taking consistent care of your teeth yields amazing long-term benefits and can prevent painful side effects in the future. Don’t forget to schedule twice yearly exams with your dentist, too! At Spanaway Family Dentistry, we offer convenient and comfortable care for the whole family. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.

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Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

A panoramic dental X-ray

There is some concern about the safety of X-rays, but you shouldn’t worry! First, let’s go over what X-rays are. These common imaging tests are used by physicians to see inside your organs and bones. Getting an X-ray is a quick and painless test that sends a beam of radiation through your body, so your dentist or doctor can see dense bones and softer tissues, such as muscles and fat.

Purpose of X-Rays

Your physician will recommend an X-ray so that they can check for health issues throughout your body. For example, your doctor will request an X-ray of your chest to examine for signs of lung infection, blocked blood vessels, and even breast cancer. Dentists utilize X-rays to check for cavities and tooth decay, as well as other dental issues that may not be visible to the naked eye.

Dental X-Ray Process

A dental X-ray is taken in your dentist’s office. An X-ray technician will position your mouth so that the X-ray can take the necessary images. You are often given a smock made of lead to place over the rest of your body to reduce your already limited radiation exposure. Dental X-rays are often ready in just a few minutes but could take longer depending on the type of machine and the number of images taken.

X-Ray Safety

Now that we’ve given you a thorough overview of X-rays, let’s discuss safety. Dental X-rays are both a safe and necessary imaging test that aids your dentist in diagnosing an ailment. People often think that X-rays emit high levels of radiation when in fact, they emit very small amounts. However, if you are pregnant you should tell your dentist before getting an X-ray.

Dental X-Rays are a necessary tool for reaching diagnoses, so we hope this helps to put your mind at ease. If you have any more questions about the safety of X-Rays, give us a call. We are dedicated to providing you with the best and safest care, and we always want you to feel comfortable.

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What to Do in a Dental Emergency

Woman with her eyes closed holding her cheek from tooth pain

Everyone knows they should visit the dentist at least twice a year for routine care, but not many people know what to do when they’re faced with a dental emergency. If you’re experiencing severe tooth pain or another serious dental concern, don’t let it go untreated. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can treat the problem before it potentially causes permanent damage. Our office strives to see you the same-day you call so you don’t have to wait to get your problem treated.

Types of Dental Emergencies

There are many reasons you may require emergency dental services. If you have any of the following issues, we recommend that you call our office immediately so we can see you as soon as possible.

  • Chronic Tooth Pain
  • Chipped or Cracked Tooth
  • Knocked-Out Tooth
  • Lost Filling
  • Lost or Broken Dental Crown
  • Abscess on Gums
  • Broken Dentures or Implants

Needing Emergency Dental Care?

If you’re currently dealing with a dental emergency, call our office to inform us of your situation and to schedule your same-day visit. While we have a convenient contact form on our website, we strongly recommend that you call our office directly so we can get you into our office as quickly as possible. Are you unsure if your dental issue is an emergency? We encourage you to still give our office a call and one of our knowledgeable team members will assist you.

If you don’t need urgent dental care at the moment, keep our number in an easily accessible location in case of an emergency, such as on your fridge or in the contacts on your phone. While dental emergencies are unexpected, you can expect us to be there for you if one occurs!

Call us ASAP if you have a dental emergency!

What Foods Are Good for My Teeth?

milk being poured into a glass sitting on a dark table

You eat foods that are good for your body and your overall health, so why not do the same with your teeth? There are plenty of foods out there that can strengthen your teeth and give you a brilliant smile. These are just a few of our favorites.


Milk, cheese, and yogurt are all jam-packed with calcium. Not only that, but dairy lowers the acid levels in your mouth. Since acid is what eats away at your tooth enamel and causes decay, foods that can balance out the pH levels in your mouth are good dietary choices.

Leafy Greens

Kale, spinach, and other leafy greens are full of calcium, just like dairy. But they also contain folic acid and other vitamins and minerals that are great for dental health. In particular, folic acid reduces gum inflammation, cutting down on gum disease and tooth decay.

Crunchy Fruits & Veggies

Crunchy foods like apples, celery, and raw carrots are not only satisfying snacks, but they’re also excellent for your oral health. They are high in fiber, and their crisp, fibrous texture makes them good at scrubbing your teeth while you chew. Speaking of chewing, the simple act of chewing these foods increases saliva production, essentially rinsing out your mouth.


Nuts are full of antioxidants and protein, and studies have shown a link between eating nuts and lower cholesterol, lower cancer risk, and even lower risk for heart disease. Some of the best nuts for your smile and your body include almonds, cashews, and Brazil nuts.


Staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your smile. Drinking water helps to wash away food particles left behind after meals and snacks. It also helps you avoid dry mouth, which can lead to bad breath. When you drink water, you increase your mouth’s production of saliva, and since saliva is a great defense against tooth decay, more saliva leads to better oral health.

Of course, the best way to keep your smile in tip-top shape is through good at-home care and keeping up with your regular dental exams and cleanings. Whether it’s been a while since you visited the dentist or it’s simply time to schedule your next six-month appointment, call the team at Spanaway Family Dentistry today!

We want to hear from you. Contact us!

Make Dental Visits a Priority

Spanaway WA DentistWhen it comes to making a list of priorities, some are easy to list while others are not so easy. For instance, it is easy to write eat, sleep, work, pay bills; but it is not always easy to write out “eat healthy”, “exercise five days a week”, and “visit the dentist twice a year”. Yet, making the choice to do some things simply because you know you should could end up benefiting your entire life. Continue reading


Spanaway WA DentistMany people tend to brush over gingivitis as though it were no big deal. However, gingivitis is a huge oral health concern that you should never ignore or write off as not a big deal. Gingivitis is an oral condition that leaves your entire mouth vulnerable to irreversible damage. It is a dangerous slippery slope that can lead to a lifetime of costly dental issues – costly to your budget and costly to your smile. Continue reading

Periodontal Disease and Pregnancy

Spanaway WA DentistWhether you are pregnant with your first child or your fourth, pregnancy is a great time of excitement and anticipation. Knowing that you are growing a precious little human inside of you is a miracle that nothing else can compare to. The body of a pregnant woman goes through a great many changes to accommodate the growing baby, increase in blood supply, and to allow the body to prepare for giving birth. Another area in which changes occur is in the mouth. Pregnancy causes a woman’s body to undergo drastic changes in hormone levels in a relatively short amount of time. These drastic hormonal shifts increase the risk of an expectant mother to develop periodontal disease. Continue reading

Gum Recession

Spanaway WA DentistIt is always advised to speak with your dentist about any changes or concerns regarding your oral health. With early intervention, most dental issues can be reversed and treated before they wreak havoc on your mouth. A common issue that many people tend to ignore is gum recession. Gum recession is one of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity, and it is a serious issue that needs to be addressed so that it does not compromise the health of your entire mouth. Continue reading

Develop a Good Dental Routine

Spanaway WA Dentist OfficeEverything that is good for you requires both a routine and a commitment to stick to the routine. Taking care of your teeth is no exception. The most important aspect to understand is that YOU are responsible for your oral health. Developing a good dental routine is not difficult, but it can help you keep a beautiful smile for life. Continue reading

Qualified Cosmetic Dentistry

Spanaway WA Cosmetic DentistryThere are hundreds of dental practices in the state of Washington, with a high percentage of those offering cosmetic dentistry services. However, finding a qualified cosmetic dentist that you can trust takes more than just a quick Internet search for the nearest practice. Dr. Kwansoo Lee of Spanaway Family Dentistry offers exceptional cosmetic dentistry to patients who are looking to cosmetically improve the appearance of their smile. It is also extremely important to find a cosmetic dentist who cares as much about the health of your smile when doing cosmetic work. Achieving a beautiful smile that is unhealthy does not benefit you. At Spanaway Family Dentistry, we provide the most advanced dental procedures to help patients achieve a radiant smile that will last a lifetime. Continue reading