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New Year, New Mouth

Written by Red Cliffs Dental on . Posted in Blog, Oral Health

dental new year's resolutions

The number one most common New Year’s Resolution is to live a healthier lifestyle. Why shouldn’t your mouth be included? Only 10% of people have excellent oral health, yet people are typically only concerned about other parts of their bodies come New Year’s.

But having better dental hygiene is certainly an important thing strive for. Taking care of your smile can help you avoid tooth loss, fight bad breath, and even boost your self-confidence. And the benefits go much further beyond the superficial. You can save money by taking care of your teeth now, whether that be by protecting them from potential problems or by taking care of the problem before it gets worse or more expensive.

Besides all of this, having poor oral health also takes a physical toll on other parts of your body. Having gum disease puts you at a higher risk for stroke and heart disease. It can also cause digestive problems and oral cancer.

So what resolutions can I make?

There are several Oral Care Resolutions you can try and incorporate into your life this year. Some of them include:

  • Brushing your teeth for two minutes at least two times per day.
  • Flossing your teeth two times per day.
  • Quitting habits that have a detrimental effect on your teeth. ie-
    • Drinking coffee
    • Smoking or chewing tobacco
    • Biting your nails
  • Adjusting your diet by eliminating sugary foods that stick to your teeth and cause cavities. Make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, that will make your teeth stronger
  • Visiting your dentist regularly. Get routine cleanings every six months and take care of pre-existing oral problems before they get worse.
  • Getting screened for oral cancer.

How can I make sure to keep my resolutions?

It helps if you treat it the same as any other New Year’s Resolution. There are several proven strategies that will help you stick to your goals and resolutions. Below is a list of tips to keep an airtight resolve.

  • Make specific and attainable goals that help you track your progress.
  • Physically write down your resolutions, so there is tangible evidence of your goals. Keep a written journal of every time you practice your new habits, so you can see how you’re doing.
  • Start small. Don’t make it your goal to have perfect oral health overnight. Say you want to eat less sugar. You don’t have to eliminate all sugar at once. Take baby steps. Maybe you could start by allowing yourself one sweet treat per day. From there, bring it down to three per week. Before you know it, you’ll have mastered that one part of oral health.
  • Find a time in your day when you can incorporate your resolution into your schedule. Eventually it will just become routine.

Having good oral health is simple but very crucial. As you are thinking of the changes you want to make this year, consider your oral hygiene practices. If you are one of the 90% of people who do not have excellent oral health, you may want to make some oral care New Year’s resolutions.

If you live in the St. George area, you may have heard of Red Cliffs Dental. Dentist Kelly J. Olsen, referred to as Dr. Painless, does everything he can to make your dental experience as easy and painless as possible. This St. George dental office is home to a family of team members who will make keeping your oral care New Year’s Resolutions just as painless.

If you’re making the resolution for better oral health, and you need a routine cleaning or any other dental procedure, click here to get in contact with Red Cliffs Dental. We’ll have you feeling happier and healthier in no time!

Are Your Kids Scared of the Dentist?

Written by Red Cliffs Dental on . Posted in Blog, Oral Health

Taking your kids to the dentist is a necessary thing to keep their teeth clean and healthy and to promote a lifetime of great oral hygiene habits. It is essential that your child’s first experiences with trips to the dentist are positive affirming ones so that they do not develop, as some kids do, a fear of going to the dentist. At Red Cliffs Dental, Kelly J. Olsen DDS and his expert staff are prepared to give your children a positive dental experience so that they will continue to see dental visits as a good way to preserve their beautiful smile and promote healthy tooth care throughout a lifetime.

It’s understandable that kids may feel a little apprehensive about visiting the dentist at first. Sometimes, parents may even unknowingly pass on their own fears to their children. After all, from a kids perspective, the dental visit may appear scary, as a stranger pokes around in your child’s mouth with unfamiliar instruments while they are lying on a chair. But it just doesn’t have to be this way. Here at Red Cliffs Dental in St. George UT, we go out of our way to accommodate you and your child by offering a warm, informative dental experience that demonstrates that kids don’t need to be afraid of going to the dentist. Our expert staff is trained and experienced in pediatric dentistry and will be sure to make your children both comfortable and relaxed during their visit.

What Kind of Pediatric Dental Services Does Red Cliffs Dental Offer?

The first thing you can do is begin dental visits while your child is still young. It’s ideal when a child has his or her first trip to the dentist when they turn 1 or whenever their first tooth becomes visible. The sooner your child begins going to the dentist, the better their feelings toward future visits will be. Another tactic is to keep things simple and avoid going in to too much detail with them. Just be simple, basic and clear. Offering too much detail, speculation or promises, especially before an initial visit, may just cause more unnecessary anxiety for your child. It will also raise more questions in the child’s mind. It is best to keep things upbeat, positive and simple.

Also be careful about your word choice. In most cases, it is best to let the dentist and staff establish their own vocabulary and dialog with the pediatric patient. Too much talk before a visit about “hurt” or “pain” can cause more damage than good. Our staff is trained to interact with children in ways that they can understand and process while affording them good dental care with minimal apprehension. Instead of talking about “pain” or a “shot” from the dentist, reframe the talk to include phrases like “building clean, strong and healthy teeth” instead to put the dental visit in to a positive context.

Another option is to prepare for a little bit of fussing about from children. Let’s face it, kids sometimes do this. It is a normal reaction from a younger child to the prospect of being examined by a stranger for them to cry or whine or try to wiggle out of the examination, but Dr. Olsen is very familiar with how to best handle these situations. At the end of the day, what Red Cliffs Dental wants and what you as parents want is the same thing – for your child to grow up with a healthy smile and a positive attitude towards a lifelong commitment to oral hygiene and preventative care.

Tips for a Healthy Halloween

Written by Red Cliffs Dental on . Posted in Blog, Oral Health

Halloween means bags of free candy and the chance for kids to create a stash of sweets that will last all winter. While children should get to celebrate and eat their Halloween candy, it can be detrimental to their teeth. It’s important to have a plan for your child’s Halloween candy, which means not allowing it to stick around for several months.

Here are some tips to keep your child’s teeth health during this time of year:

Time Candy Consumption

Make sure Halloween candy is eaten with meals or shortly after mealtime. Salvia production increases during meals and this helps cancel out acids created by bacteria in your mouth and washes away food particles.

Don’t Let Candy be a Snack

Snacking on candy increases the risk of cavities, but it’s very tempting when you leave a bowl of candy out. To avoid this, keep the candy hidden so your kids aren’t tempted to snack on candy all day long.

Choose Candy Wisely

Hard candy and other sweets that stay in the mouth for a long time are bad for teeth. The length of time that sugary food is in your mouth plays a significant role in tooth decay. Unless it’s sugar free, hard candies that children suck on for a long period of time increase the risk of tooth decay.

Avoid Sticky Candy

Sticky candies like taffy and gummy bears cling to your teeth. This means they take longer to get washed away by saliva and increase the risk for tooth decay.

Stay Away from Sugary Drinks

These drinks include soda, sports drinks and flavored waters. When the teeth are frequently in contact with sugary beverages, this increases tooth decay. If your kids are already eating candy, they shouldn’t be drinking sugary drinks.

The Pros and Cons of Mouthwash

Written by Red Cliffs Dental on . Posted in Blog, Oral Health

Mouthwash is the go-to for fresher breath. Some people even do it in place of brushing if they are in a hurry. But is there a benefit to using mouthwash? What about the ways mouthwash can harm your mouth and teeth? We’ll weigh the pros and cons so you can make a health-conscious decision about whether or not mouthwash is for you.


Reduces Cavities

There have been many studies about whether or not using mouthwash helps prevent cavities. There have been many positive results, showing that rinsing with a fluoride-based rinse can aid in the reduction of cavities.

Fights Gum Disease

Gingivitis is a very possible disease that can cause pain. It is caused by bacteria and food that lingers on your teeth, causing inflamed or infected gums and tooth sockets. By using an antibacterial mouthwash, such as one with alcohol or chlorhexidine, you can prevent this disease from sneaking up on you.

Soothe Canker Sores

Mouthwash can contribute to easing and reducing canker sores. The antibacterial formula essentially disinfects the area, causing a reduction in the infection around the sore.

Protect Pregnancies

The likelihood of developing gingivitis during pregnancy is a legitimate risk factor in pregnancy. It can cause premature births and underweight babies. There has been research done that proves that pregnant women who regularly use mouthwash are less likely to experience early labor.



Because most mouthwash has alcohol, while it may disinfect, it can also sting. If the alcohol content of your mouthwash is too high, it can actually irritate canker sores. If this is the case with your mouthwash, a saltwater rinse is an alternative to canker sore relief.

May Not Eliminate Bad Breath

While mouthwash can temporarily help reduce bad breath, it doesn’t necessarily eliminate it. If you have poor oral hygiene, mouthwash will not last nearly as long. Using mouthwash cannot replace regular brushing and flossing. To put it in perspective, only using mouthwash would be like trying to skip a shower and covering up your smell with perfume or cologne.

Links to Oral Cancer

There has been an ongoing argument revolving around mouthwash and its relation to oral cancer. There are still no definite answers, and this is yet to be determined true or false.

Essential Vitamins for Your Teeth

Written by Red Cliffs Dental on . Posted in Blog, Oral Health

We all know that vitamins are important for a healthy body, but did you know they’re also crucial to your oral health? Here are six vitamins you need to include in your diet to sustain healthy teeth and gums:
Vitamin C
Vitamin D helps build and repair connective tissue, which aids in preventing gum inflammation and periodontal disease. People who are deficient in vitamin C have difficulty maintaining their healthy connective gum tissue, which can lead to a serious disease called scurvy. As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is essential in boosting your immune system and speeding up the healing process. You can find dietary vitamin C is citrus fruit, broccoli, kale and berries.
Vitamin D
You can easily receive Vitamin D by going out in the sunshine for 15 minutes per day at least three times a week. However, you can take supplements like cod liver oil capsules to increase your intake. Without this vitamin, your body can’t absorb the calcium it needs for strong bones and teeth. For dietary vitamin D, try milk and specific breakfast cereals.
Vitamin A
Vitamin A maintains healthy mucous membranes and salivary flow in the mouth, while also keeping the gums healthy and ensuring proper healing. You can find your necessary vitamin A in egg yolks, fish and liver, orange and yellow foods like carrots, mangoes and sweet potatoes and dark leafy greens like kale, spinach and collard greens. These foods all contain beta-carotene, a nutrient that the body converts into vitamin A.
Vitamin B
In addition to controlling stress, B vitamins can improve oral health by helping reduce tongue inflammation and keeping canker sores from erupting. B vitamins can be found in poultry and meat, along with beans, legumes and green vegetables, but you also purchase B supplements if you don’t regularly consume these foods.
Calcium constantly circulates through the bloodstream and is carefully regulated by the body, but it will be sucked from your bones if you don’t include enough in your diet. Calcium helps prevent osteoporosis, which leads to bone fractures and weak bone tissue around the teeth. While dairy products are the best source of calcium, you can find it other sources like sardines, canned salmon, leafy green vegetables, almonds, cabbage, cauliflower, fortified orange juice and alternative milks like soy, almond and coconut.
Coenzyme Q10
CoQ10 works as a facilitator for your metabolism and provides cells with the energy needed to heal wounds, digest food and maintain healthy muscles. Coenzyme Q10 heals and reduces the pain and bleeding associated with periodontal (gum) disease. It can also reduce inflammation in the gums. You can find CoQ10 in pork, beef, chicken liver, vegetable oils and parsley.

Choosing a Teeth Whitening System

Written by Red Cliffs Dental on . Posted in Blog, Cosmetic Dentistry

If you’re looking for whiter teeth, you’re in luck. There are more options available than ever, such as over-the-counter products, and at the dentist, there is a teeth whitening solution for everyone, from whitening toothpastes and strips, to traditional, in-office whitening treatments. But how do you choose from this wide selection of teeth whitening systems and products?

Teeth Whitening Systems and Products

Whitening Toothpaste: All toothpaste will help remove surface stains due to their mild abrasives, but specifically whitening toothpastes contain gentle polishing or chemical components that provide additional stain removal. However, whitening toothpastes only remove surface stains and contain no bleach. They can usually lighten the tooth’s color by about one shade.

Over-the-Counter Whitening Strips and Gels: The clear, peroxide-based whitening gel is applied with a brush directly to the surface of your teeth and instructions vary depending on the bleach’s strength. Gel’s initial results will be seen within a few days and the final results last about four months.

Whitening strips are thin, practically invisible strips that are coated with peroxide-based whitening gel. These strips are applied twice daily for 30 minutes over a two-week period. The results of strips last the same length as those of gel.

Whitening Rinses: Whitening mouthwashes are a newer product on the market that also reduce plaque and gum disease. A whitening rinse can contain ingredients like hydrogen peroxide to whiten teeth and manufacturers say it will take about 12 weeks to see results from a mouthwash. You simply swish a rinse around in your mouth for 60 seconds before brushing your teeth every day. However, since whitening rinses are only in direct contact with the teeth for such a short time, it has less of an effect than other products.

Tray-Based Tooth Whiteners: Tray tooth whitening systems can be purchased over the counter or from a dentist. They involve filling a mouth guard-like tray with a gel whitening solution containing peroxide bleach and wearing the tray for a few hours a day or through the night. This treatment can last up to four weeks and even longer depending on the degree of discoloration and desired level of whitening.

In-Office Whitening: This is the quickest way to whiten teeth. In-office bleaching applies whitening product directly to the teeth and combines products with heat, a special light or a laser. Results can be seen in 30 to 60 minutes, but for dramatic results you need several appointments. With in-office bleaching, dramatic results will be seen after the first treatment, though this is the most expensive teeth whitening method.


Genetic Oral Disorders

Written by Red Cliffs Dental on . Posted in Blog, Oral Health

We can avoid cavities and gum disease by practicing proper oral hygiene, but there are certain dental abnormalities that are passed down genetically. These dysfunctions and diseases of the oral tissue are caused by genetic mutations and usually linked to more complex congenital disorders.

Types of Genetic Oral Disorders

Common types of genetic oral and dental abnormalities include:

Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate

The clefting of the lip and palate is the most common craniofacial deformity. Clefting defines the incomplete fusion of the lip or palate and can appear by itself or as part of a hereditary syndrome. If there is a family history of clefting the chances of inheriting this disorder will increase. An incomplete cleft stops short of the nostril, while a complete cleft goes into the nostril. Both problems involve the palate and a typical patient has defects in the palate roof, with an opening into the nasal cavity. </li>

Anodontia and Hypodontia

Anodontia, congenitally missing teeth, is a hereditary condition in which one or more permanent teeth do not develop properly, even though baby teeth erupt. This disorder can involve the absence of all the teeth or only some of the teeth (hypodontia). Hypodontia alters the bone development of the upper and lower jaws and results in spacing problems and is more popular in males. The third molars, upper lateral incisors and lower second premolars are the teeth that usually fail to appear with anodontia or hypodontia.

Amelogensis Imperfecta and Dentinogenesis Imperfecta

This inherited disorder results in the defective formation of tooth enamel. Amelogenesis imperfecta will either cause problems in the enamel’s hardening or cause less than normal enamel production. Dentinogenesis imperfect is a genetic disorder causing defective formation of dentin, the mineralized material composing the majority of all tooth structure. If you have defective dentin your normal enamel layer can flake off and leave your teeth weak, sensitive to pressure and temperature and prone to wear and tear.

Supernumerary Teeth

Supernumerary teeth are extra permanent teeth that may or may not erupt. Many of them are unusually shaped can appear anywhere in the mouth. The most common supernumerary teeth are mesiodens, small teeth with cone shaped crowns and a short root located between the maxillary central incisors. They are also common in the upper molar area.


Also known as a bad bite, malocclusion is caused by crowded, extra or missing teeth or a misaligned jaw. Most malocclusions are inherited genetically and can cause TMJ disorders that result in problems chewing and speaking.

Periodontal Disease

Typically, gum disease is caused by poor oral hygiene, but gum disease is also strongly influenced by heredity. Those with a genetic predisposition towards periodontal disease will be more prone to it. Gum disease refers to a bacterial infection that causes to damage to the soft and hard tissues supporting the teeth. In serious cases, gum disease is related to heart disease, strokes, diabetes and giving birth to premature babies.

Canker Sores

These small ulcers with a white or grey base and a red border are non-contagious and tend to run in families. Canker sores are also caused by immune system problems, bacterial infections, fatigue, stress, food allergies, menstrual cycles, inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s disease and Celiac disease.


Toothaches: When Do They Become Dangerous?

Written by Red Cliffs Dental on . Posted in Blog, Oral Health

When we think about toothaches, we typically think of a sharp, irritating pain that can be dulled with painkillers and will eventually go away after a quick visit to the dentist. Although many toothaches are harmless or simply caused by a cavity, this pain can be a sign of some dangerous underlying medical conditions.

Toothaches can cause sharp sensitivity and/or pain, intense, throbbing pain, pain while eating and pain in the back of the jaw. If nerves have been damaged from teeth grinding, decay or trauma from injury, this can result in a chronic toothache.

Normal Causes of a Toothache

A normal toothache is typically caused by the following issues:

  • Decay/cavities
  • Gum disease
  • Cracked tooth
  • Wisdom teeth
  • Abscess/infection

These problems are fairly common and can all be treated by a dentist or oral surgeon, but keep in mind that an abscess/infection can also become extremely serious—and even fatal— if it’s left untreated. If there is swelling around the area where you feel pain, you need to get to a dentist right away. There you will be prescribed an antibiotic to reduce or eliminate the infection before any dental work can begin. A fever and/or swollen lymph nodes along with a toothache are all telltale signs of an abscess and should not be ignored. Keep in mind that the mouth is located in extremely close proximity to the brain, so an infection does not have much distance to travel before it can affect your brain.

Serious Conditions that Come with Toothaches

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ): TMJ signifies a chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint, which connects your mandible to your skull. There are various symptoms of TMJ, including head and neck pain, difficulty biting, popping of the jaw when chewing and jaw and tooth pain.

Sinus problems: Sinuses are located right above the upper teeth and when they are inflamed it can cause tooth pain. Problems with the sinuses can also cause an ear infection.

Heart disease/heart attack: Heart disease and heart attacks list jaw and tooth pain as a symptom, so if you have a history of heart or coronary issues, you need to pay extra attention to how your teeth and jaw feel. If the toothache is accompanied with light-headedness and/or sweating, this is cause for concern.

Better Safe than Sorry

If you have had an extremely painful toothache for longer than a week, make an appointment with your dentist. While it may not be anything major, it’s best to get it taken care before it has the potential to turn into something serious. When it comes to toothaches and your overall health, it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry.

Things that Stain Your Teeth

Written by Red Cliffs Dental on . Posted in Blog, Cosmetic Dentistry

Why Teeth Stain

As you age, little cracks form in the enamel of your teeth. Certain chemicals in foods wear down enamel and make it easier to stain while others contain strong colors that leave the stain. Chromogens, tannins and acids are the compounds that do the most damage and deposit the most color. Chromogens possess harsh pigments that stick to enamel. Tannins are plant based and make it easier for stains to latch onto teeth. Acids break down enamel and create more places for stains to adhere. When you repeatedly eat a lot of foods that contain any or a combination of these three things without receiving the proper care, you end up with this:

Red Cliffs dental is dedicated to pain free dentistry. Now they explain why and how teeth yellow and what to do to whiten them.

Foods that Will Stain

Most everyone knows that coffee and soda stain teeth and they’re right. Coffee is high in chromogens (in other words it has a very strong color) and acid. Soda is also very acidic and dark cola contains many chromogens. But tea is actually worse than even coffee. This might surprise half the US population who drinks it every day but it is full of acid and tannins.

Red wine is also commonly known to stain teeth. However, white wine will also tint your now-not-so-pearly-whites. Although white wine deposits no color, the acid and tannins inside it will damage enamel enough to make it incredibly easy for stain to linger.

Candies and sweetened drinks are sometimes colored for fun but remember, your teeth are fair game. Rule of thumb: if it changes the color of your tongue, odds are it will change the color of your teeth. And don’t think you are out of the woods with Gatorade or other sports drinks. Even those leave pigments in your enamel.

Also, be careful with fruit. Berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries…) are crawling in chromogens. So are grapes and pomegranates as they also have tannins. Even tomatoes contain a large amount of chromogens.

What to Do About It

Obviously you can’t be expected to not eat anything that contains chromogens, tannins and acids. So, how do you combat their effects?

When you consume something that you know will stain your teeth, try to brush immediately after. If brushing is too inconvenient or simply not possible, rinse with water. Use a straw so that the liquid doesn’t come in contact with your most visible teeth. Check out this list of foods that whiten you teeth. And come see Dr. Olsen. Our whitening procedures are pain free and very effective. Contact us now for more information.

dentist st george utah, oral care st george




Benefits of Dental Implants

Written by Red Cliffs Dental on . Posted in Blog, Tooth Replacement

  • They are the closest thing to natural, healthy teeth. A dental implant restores a lost tooth so it looks, feels, fits and functions like a natural tooth, while being strong and stable.
  • Dental implants are a long-term solution as they are built to last. Traditional, tooth-supported dental bridges only last five to seven years, and with proper care often more than 10 years, but at some point they may need to be replaced. While dental implants may need periodic adjustments, they can last a lifetime when properly placed and cared for over time.
  • Enjoy life without worrying about your teeth! No need to stay home or feel uncomfortable in public, embarrassed because your smile looks different, or worrying that missing teeth will limit your ability to join in the fun or that removable dentures or tooth-supported replacement teeth will loosen or fall out when you talk, eat or laugh. Teeth restored with dental implants are teeth that let you, not your teeth, lead your life.
  • Protect healthy bone. Leaving empty spaces in your mouth after losing one or more teeth can lead to additional health issues, such as the loss and deterioration of some of your jawbone. When it is not being used to support a natural tooth, the jawbone deteriorates, losing its strength and firmness. Dental implants are the only dental restoration option that preserves and stimulates natural bone, actually helping to stimulate bone growth and prevent bone loss.
  • Keep your teeth in your mouth, not in a cup. Dental implants allow you to keep your teeth where they belong, in your mouth. No more worrying that your dentures might slip or fall out. Brush, floss and care for teeth that have been replaced using dental implants exactly the way you would natural teeth, in your mouth.
  • Adjusting to removable dentures and implants can mean struggling to pronounce everyday words. Not so with dental implants, which function like natural teeth.
  • Taste and enjoy the foods you love without hesitation. You can bite naturally, eat virtually anything you want and, unlike removable dentures that can feel uncomfortable, you can experience the full taste of the food you eat with dental implants, too.
  • Cavities cannot occur in an implant-restored crown, or replacement tooth; however, you will need to visit your dentist as scheduled and clean and care for it and your gums and mouth every day, the same as you would if it were a natural tooth.
  • Keep teeth in place. Dentures may slip when you eat, talk, smile, laugh, kiss, yawn or cough, so that you have to “reposition” them back into place in the mouth. Dental implants are fixed in place and fuse naturally with your jawbone, meaning your replacement teeth won’t move, click or shift.
  • Protect your healthy teeth. Placing a tooth-supported bridge requires grinding away the teeth on one or both sides of the missing tooth or teeth, thereby damaging healthy teeth to restore those that are missing. The modified healthy teeth are attached to, and support, the bridge. Dental implants go in the jawbone, in the spot where your missing tooth root was, without impacting healthy teeth. They also help prevent healthy, adjacent teeth from shifting as they would if an empty space were left for an extended period of time.
  • More predictable than other repair and restoration methods. Dental implant treatment has a track record of reliable, long-term successful outcomes and is often considered “more predictable” than other treatments to repair or replace missing teeth, including bridgework, removable appliances and retreatment of failing root canal therapy.

Dental implants from Red Cliffs Dental in St. George Utah help maintain your natural smile!


Let Red Cliffs Dental help to keep your teeth healthy. Whether it be dental implants or a simple teeth whitening, choose the pain-free option by going with Red Cliffs Dental in St. George, Utah. Serving customers from multiple St. George areas including the Washington and Santa Clara neighborhood.


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