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5 Dentist-Approved Oral Hygiene Habits to Adopt Now



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Not taking care of your mouth can lead to more than bad breath and cavities. In fact, more extreme issues such as sensitivity, gum disease, and even tooth loss can occur from neglecting oral hygiene.

These issues can be easily preventable by simply adopting a few effective oral health habits into your lifestyle. Here are five active ways to improve your oral hygiene.

The right technique and the right product make all the difference

A proper brushing technique is crucial. Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle toward your gum line and gently move the bristles back and forth short strokes. Be sure to brush all surfaces of your teeth, and don’t forget your tongue!

Shopping for the right toothbrush can sometimes be difficult, but don’t let the seemingly millions of options and brands scare you from choosing the best one for your needs. Toothpaste comes in a variety of options that can suit every one of your oral hygiene needs, from bad breath to sensitivity. Mouthwash is a great additional step towards a healthy mouth with active ingredients that combat plaque and protect the teeth, but it is not a replacement for daily brushing or flossing. Talk to your dentist if you are unsure about which product is right for you.

Floss, Floss, Floss!

Every dentist will tell you that flossing is imperative to your oral health. Surely everyone has had a lecture on flossing and a how-to demonstration, but here’s a quick video on flossing just in case you need a refresh. Flossing is great because it reaches in places that a toothbrush and mouthwash can not, so floss at least once a day, preferably at night.  Gum bleeding and soreness is possible if you don’t floss often, but don’t give up! It’s a sign that your gums are getting stronger. Check out these effective flossing tips for more ways to improve your flossing technique.

If you aren’t a fan of traditional flossing, a variety of tools exist to help aid in teeth cleaning, such as floss holders and water picks.

A great oral hygiene routine doesn’t happen overnight

Like all great things, good oral health takes time. Several small changes in your routine will gradually improve your oral hygiene, but the key to a white smile and a healthy mouth is to adopt these healthy habits and stick with the routine. Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two to three minutes at a time. Make sure you floss right after brushing, and finish your routine with mouthwash to keep your teeth and gums optimally healthy.

Start healthy habits early

Since great oral health is a gradual process, teach healthy oral hygiene habits to children while they are young. As soon as the baby teeth appear, they are at risk for cavities. Cavity-causing bacteria can easily develop in a baby’s mouth by simply sharing the same spoon as a parent, and can be just as painful as a cavity in your mouth, so look after your child’s teeth as if they were your own.

A baby’s teeth are extremely sensitive and fragile, so make sure you use age-appropriate dental products and techniques, such as soft-bristled toothbrushes. When your child has two teeth touching, it’s time to start daily flossing. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends using a ‘smear’ of fluoridated toothpaste for children three or younger, and a ‘pea-size’ amount for children ages three through six. Your child should see the dentist before their first birthday. Discuss any questions or concerns with your dentist or your child’s pediatrician.

Visit your dentist regularly

We are all guilty of pushing off dental check-ups, but in order to have a great oral health routine, actually visiting your local dentist is the most important habit to adopt. See your dentist twice a year for a professional cleaning and to prevent hidden problems that can lead to oral diseases.  


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Top 4 Tips and Gifts For a Healthier Smile This Holiday Season



It’s easy to slip into bad dental habits during the holidays. Hectic schedules filled with last-minute shopping, decorating, and visiting friends and family members cause you to neglect your regular oral health routine. Less brushing and flossing are not the only problems - stress, food, and alcohol are all major factors in declining dental health, as well.

Don’t neglect your oral health this holiday season. Incorporate these four easy tips into your busy day to keep your oral health in great shape. Help your friends and family keep their smiles healthy this season, too, with a few ‘oral health’ themed gift ideas.

Travel-size is not just for vacations
Brushing and flossing twice a day is crucial for optimum oral health. Dig out your travel-sized toothbrush, toothpaste and floss from your luggage and stow them in your car. Late nights and early mornings go hand-in-hand with the holidays, so be prepared to brush and floss when and wherever you can. For a quick added bonus, use the convenient handheld toothpick-floss combo tools while stuck in holiday traffic. Also, check out these dentist-approved flossing tips.

Gift idea: Oral health gift basket. While this may not be the most exciting gift ever received, it’s easily the most useful. Include the basic items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash and floss, but be creative. Add your friend or family member’s favorite gum, mints, and lip balm, or stick with a color scheme or trip theme. Personalize it by adding their initials, and a cheerful note. The possibilities are endless.

Stress damages your teeth
There is no holiday season without stress. Stress is believed to be the number one cause of teeth grinding and clenching. The wearing and tearing this habit does to your teeth can damage tooth enamel and enhance sensitivity, and can lead to extensive jaw damage or gum disease over time. The best way to stop grinding or clenching is by relieving stress completely. That seems impossible during the holidays, but taking a moment for yourself is easier than you think. Keep Ibuprofen or Advil close by to relax stiff muscles, take a warm bath before bed to temporarily relax your jaw muscles, exercise, or take a quick walk to relieve stress and tension.

Gift idea: A massage or a spa day is the best gift available. Eliminating stress makes the holidays more enjoyable and keeps the body and mind sane and sound.

Whiten your smile with fruits and veggies
The fiber in leafy greens and fruits act as nature’s toothbrush to scrub away excess plaque and stains from the surface of your teeth, giving you a whiter and healthier smile. Avoid these smile-damaging foods and eating fibrous fruits and vegetables instead. Fruits and veggies boost saliva flow to give your mouth a natural rinse. However, these fibrous fruits also have a high sugar content, so always brush after eating. In a hurry for a whiter smile? Schedule a quick and easy whitening session with us today.

Recipe ideas: It’s easy to incorporate delicious high fiber meals like this acorn squash with quinoa stuffing or any of these healthy avocado recipes into your holiday menu. Want more options? Read through this list of the 20 best fibrous foods and recipes.

Red wine lovers: Brush before you drink
Plaque build-up on the outside of the teeth is easily stained by the red tint, so brush it away a couple of minutes before you enjoy your first glass. Always stay hydrated while drinking, but have glass or two of water immediately after drinking to rid your mouth of the acids from wine. Brushing immediately after your last glass while the acid is fresh in your mouth can damage the important enamel in your teeth. Fun fact: cheese is not only wine’s perfect pairing; it forms a great protectant layer on your teeth that can prevent staining. 

Gift idea: Wine lover’s (oral health) gift basket. In addition to the contents above, include thesewine wipes or this wine scented candle to keep in theme of good oral health, and maybe thisbottle sweater for fun. Gift baskets are super easy and cheap to make, but here are other clever gifts for the wine enthusiast in your life if gift baskets aren’t your forte.

 The Smile Spa offers a variety of dental and spa services in Baton Rouge that can make great gifts for the holidays. Contact us today!

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Baton Rouge Spa Services: 5 Interesting Facts About Botox


Baton Rouge Spa Services: 5 Interesting Facts About BotoxBotox is a great alternative to surgically sculpting the shape of your face. The extremely tiny needle injects the Botox serum wherever facial muscles should be relaxed (think: around the mouth, across the forehead and between the eyebrows). The Botox trend is a growing sensation nowadays, but not in the ways you might think.

Botox offers numerous benefits with very limited side effects. It’s one of the safest and most common cosmetic treatments for eliminating wrinkles. But it’s more than just cosmetic. Botox injections contain a variety of medicinal properties that can relieve certain health-related issues, too.

 Here are a few interesting facts about Botox that could benefit you!


Treats excessive sweating

            If you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from excessive sweating, consider Botox for a potentially permanent solution. A simple injection into the sweat glands under your skin can temporarily block the chemical signals that cause excessive perspiration for about 6-8 months. Talk to your dermatologist to see if this is the right treatment for you.

Cures migraines

            In 2010, the FDA approved Botox as a treatment for chronic migraine headaches. However, it’s unclear as to why Botox actually cures the chronic pain. Multiple injections are given at intervals of about 12 weeks, but can relieve migraine symptoms for up to three months. Those who experience chronic migraine headaches over 15 days a month are likely candidates for Botox treatment, but should first consult with a headache specialist.

Prevents new wrinkles from forming

            More people in their late 20’s and early 30’s are using Botox even though they are still wrinkle free. Botox is a preventative measure when getting injections while the skin is unfrowned. Studies show that when used as a preventative measure, patients can see a significant increase in wrinkle prevention and can also avoid future forehead lines.

 Not just for women

            When Botox was initially offered as a cosmetic treatment, majority of the customers were women. According to a new study in the Cosmetic Journal, there’s been a dramatic increase (about 250%!) in the last decade in the number of men who are now enjoying the benefits of Botox. The study states that rise is because of the diminishing stigma associated with cosmetic produces.

 Botox at the dentist

Banish wrinkles while having your teeth cleaned? Yes please! Many dentists are now offering Botox to their patients alongside their existing dental services. Botox can also treat TMJ by relaxing the master muscles.  It can even be used as a treatment for bladders at the urologist. 

While this sounds odd, dentists are experts on the entire facial layout, as well as the muscle and nerve systems. Not to mention, dentists are especially good at giving tiny, precise numbing injections.   

Dr. Russo is very well known for her Botox results and has many happy female and male patients that she sees every 3 months to keep them looking young.  She also does private parties for small groups of people at a discounted unit rate.  Always look for her advertisements on the website for upcoming parties. 

The next Botox and Facial Peel party will be November 16th at 4:00.  I you are interested in the details or receiving information on the location please contact the office.

The Smile Spa offers a variety of dental and spa services. For more information or to make an appointment, click here.


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Baton Rouge Dentists: What to do if You Break a Tooth


Baton Rouge Dentists: What to do if You Break a ToothIn the event of a broken tooth, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. Without immediate treatment, a broken tooth can easily become infected, often leading to total loss of the tooth.

There are many ways in which a tooth can break. A tooth is most commonly broken by direct contact to the face, commonly seen in the event of a car accident or in various sports like football, soccer, volleyball or baseball. Biting down hard on something can also lead to a break in the tooth.

The most common symptoms and signs of a broken tooth are:

  • Pain – The pain is usually immediate, but can sometimes go unnoticed if the break is minor.

  • Visibility – A break in the tooth can normally be seen by the naked eye. However, sometimes the break can be extremely fine and easily go unnoticed.

  • Sensitivity – The broken tooth will give a sharp, unpleasant sensation when you consume hot or cold food.  

Treatment for a broken tooth depends upon the extent of the damage.

  • Minor cracks are common and can often go unnoticed. They can usually be buffed out or filled with a composite material.

  • Major cracks require more intensive care. A composite filling can usually repair the crack, however more complicated procedures like crown placements may be necessary.

  • A split in the tooth will most likely require extraction of the tooth. 

A broken tooth can be easily prevented, but sometimes it happens out of our control.

  • Avoid chewing on hard foods, especially if you have, or think you might have, cavities.

  • Always wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports.

  • Check old fillings regularly; they can cause increased susceptibility to cracks and breaks.

If you broke a tooth but can’t visit your dentist immediately, it’s important to follow specific self-care measures to prevent your broken tooth from further damage.

  • If you are experiencing any pain, take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen.

  • Disinfect your mouth by rinsing with salt water.

  • Eat soft foods and avoid biting down on the broken tooth.

If you can see your dentist immediately, keep the broken part in saliva or milk until you arrive at the office. These substances are the best way to temporarily keep the microstructure of the tooth intact, making it easier for your dentist to repair the damage.

It’s extremely important to see your dentist immediately after breaking a tooth. For more information or to make an appointment, click here.


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Baton Rouge Dentistry: What to Do After Your Wisdom Teeth Are Removed


Baton Rouge Dentistry: What to Do After Your Wisdom Teeth Are RemovedAny time you have a medical procedure done it is important to know how you will feel and how your body should react afterwards.  This is especially if you are having your wisdom teeth extracted.  This procedure can create a lot of questions.  Questions about how to prepare, what to expect during and what to expect once the extraction has been performed can help ensure you the operation goes as smoothly as possible.

Here are few questions and tips about how to care for your mouth after having your wisdom teeth removed:

How long will it take to recover?

It typically takes two weeks for the healing process to take place.  A full recovery is expected after a full month. 

How can you handle swelling after the procedure?

Wrap a clean cloth around some ice and apply on the outside of your cheek.  Keep it there for 10 minutes, remove for 20 minutes and repeat.

What are some warning signs that you should contact your doctor?

If you notice bleeding after a whole day or after a week still have significant pain, you should contact your dentist.

How should you treat bleeding?

Some bleeding is common after the extraction.  With a clean piece of gauze, position it in the location of the extraction and gently bite down to keep it in place.

How soon can you rinse your mouth?

You shouldn’t rinse your mouth for 24 hours after your extraction.  Once that time period has passed and the bleeding has stopped you can begin to rinse your mouth with warm water.  If you let salt dissolve in the water it can disinfect your mouth.

Be mindful of the types of food and drinks you choose

While your mouth heals it is important to change some of your eating and drinking habits.  Beverages like milk, water, tea and juice are good.  Hot beverages can be very uncomfortable and irritate the extraction site.  Softer foods are also good.  Mashed potatoes, jello, pudding and ice cream are all good choices.  Also, colder foods will help reduce swelling.

These are only a few questions and tips that can help when the time comes to have your wisdom teeth removed.  If you think you need to have your wisdom teeth removed and we can refer you to an oral surgeon.  It is important to know that the extraction is performed under anesthesia and should only be done by a trusted, experience surgeon.  For all of your other dental needs visit the local experts in a relaxing, spa-like environment.  The Smile Spa offers the best in dental care all in a soothing atmosphere.  For more information and to make an appointment, click here.


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Baton Rouge Children’s Dentistry: 3 Things to Know About Their Teeth


Baton Rouge Children’s Dentistry: 3 Things to Know About Your Kid’s TeethWe want our kids to have the best.  Nice clothes, a great education and anything else to make their childhood as good as possible.  A major component of our endeavor as parents is health.  Checkups, shots, skinned knees and vitamins are all parts of our calendar and daily routine.  Taking care of our children’s teeth is also near the top of this list.  Here are three facts about children’s teeth to help keep their mouths as healthy as the rest of them.

1.)    Children’s toothpaste & toothbrushes:  As soon as your son or daughter turns two, pediatric fluoride toothpaste can be used.  When they are old enough to gargle and spit they can step up to a toothpaste with a higher fluoride content.  

A soft bristled baby tooth brush can be introduced as early as one year.  You can also use a damp cloth to clean your baby’s gums (and any teeth) as soon as they are born. 

2.)    Check-ups:  With regular visits to the dentist, it is very possible for children to avoid cavities, along with regular brushing habits.  Typically seeing a dentist twice a year is recommended.  You can get a good idea of how your children’s oral health with develop by considering you and your spouse’s dental history.

3.)    Tooth decay:  Pediatric dental disease, also referred to as childhood tooth decay, is the number one chronic childhood illness.  If left untreated, this condition can have devastating effects on every facet of your child’s life.  From inhibited cognitive and social skills to lowered growth, function and self-esteem, this preventable disease and consequences can be avoided with good brushing habits and regular dental visits.

There are a lot of things to keep track of when it comes to your kids.  A very important one is their teeth.  When it’s time for your child to visit the dentist or if it’s been a little while since they had a check-up, the Smile Spa offers a relaxing a caring atmosphere.  For more information and to make an appointment, click here.


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The Truth About Baton Rouge Dental Insurance


The Truth About Baton Rouge Dental InsuranceFor many of us, we only think about it a couple of times a year when we make appointments for ourselves or our loved ones.  Occasionally we’ll notice the small amount deducted from each paycheck, but don’t give it much of a second thought.  Aside from our regular check-ups, the details of our dental insurance, how it works and what it actually is can be a bit of a mystery. 

We’ve recently discussed wellness and covered procedures.  This third installment focused on dental insurance reveals the truth about what you need to know.  To read this latest article from, click here.

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Baton Rouge Dentistry: Dental Work While You’re Pregnant


Baton Rouge Dentistry: Dental Work While You’re PregnantExpecting a baby is one of the most exciting and busy times of your life.  Shopping for baby furniture, picking out bedding, paint colors, clothes, toys, bottles and more are consistently being added to ever growing to-do list.  Extra doctor’s appointments, sleepless nights thinking of all that needs to be done and what the future will hold can make those nine months seem like a whirlwind.  With all of this planning it can be easy for you to forget about visiting your dentist.

This can happen for a couple of reasons.  We already mentioned the laundry list of to-dos.  It has also is a concern about how safe it is to have dental work while pregnant.  This seems to be a common question for moms-to-be.  The answer is simple, not only is routine and preventative dental care during pregnancy safe, it is highly recommended.  Optimal dental health during pregnancy is highly important not only for the health of the mother, but also the unborn baby. 

Are there any treatments to avoid while pregnant?

As we said earlier, routine treatments like: examinations, cleanings, cavities, periodontal and root canals, are all safe.  Some elective procedures like cosmetic dentistry or tooth whitening can safely be delayed until after delivery.  Any treatment that requires local anesthetics are also considered safe during your pregnancy.

When is the best time to have dental work during pregnancy?

The second trimester is the ideal period to have any dental work performed.  During your first trimester, anything beyond routine cleanings should be avoided due to the incredible amount of fetal development that occurs at this time.  You can also keep your dental appointments that fall in your third trimester, however that time spent in the dental chair could be much less comfortable than usual.

So there you have it, one more thing to cross off of your list before baby arrives.  Again, not only is it safe to have your routine dental work done while you expect, but it is recommended for both of you.  As you take time out of your shopping, planning and thinking, why not enjoy a spa-like atmosphere?  Dr. Russo’s Smile Spa offers the best dental care will providing a relaxing environment.  To schedule an appointment, click here.

10 reasons to see a dentist


Baton Rouge Dental Insurance and Covered Procedures


Baton Rouge Dental Insurance and Covered ProceduresWe recently discussed the ins and outs of dental insurance and how it should be viewed by patients.  This leads us into another very important conversation; today’s topic: Covered Procedures.  Unfortunately there is tendency for patients to assume that if a necessary or recommended action results in an out-of-pocket expense, it isn’t actually needed. 

The truth is that there are so many different scenarios that can impact your oral health and they can require a variety of treatments, treatments that could be out of the scope of your insurance’s “covered procedures”.  In a follow up article at, they explain the dangers of only acting within your policy’s covered procedures.  Read the article here.

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Baton Rouge Dental Work: Protecting Your Smile This Summer


Baton Rouge Dental Work: Protecting Your Smile This SummerThe kids are out of school, the fireworks have been watched and the beach trip is booked, that can only mean one thing, summer is here.  Aside from keeping the kids busy and the grass green, your smile should be another concern at the top of your list.  Summertime can pose some unique threats to your pearly whites.  Here are a few tips to keep your smile safe.


This poolside staple is incredibly important for your skin, but besides your shoulders, neck and back, your lips need protection too.  Lip balm or gloss with SPF protection should be a part of your daily routine.  Overexposure to the sun can damage the lips and eventually lead to oral cancer.  A minimum SPF rating of 15 is suggested.

Beware of Pool Chemicals

Whether it’s the neighborhood pool, the hot tub at the condo, or your own backyard oasis, you may be unaware that the chemical level can damage your teeth.  High levels of chlorine and other chemicals can erode your tooth enamel.  On the other hand, the salt water in the gulf can reduce oral bacteria in your mouth.  Brushing, flossing and rinsing regularly can limit any damage swimming may cause.

Remember the Most Important Meal of the Day

Different and busy schedules during the summer months can make breakfast a simple casualty.  Remember, skipping this meal can set off a chain reaction that leads to increased snacking, sometimes on less than healthy items.  Even if you opt for fruit, citrus, which is high in sugar and acid, can be as bad as sugary, unhealthy snacks.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes in south Louisiana in July understands exactly what humidity is.  Not only is hydration important for the health of your entire body, but it also helps to prevent tooth decay.  Drinking water and remaining steadily hydrated throughout the day is a perfect way to keep your oral tissue saturated and teeth clean.  However, just as with snacking, there are good decisions and bad decision on drink choices.  Lemonade, a summertime tradition, is high in sugar and acid and can increase tooth decay and dry mouth.

While these are only a handful of tips that can keep your smile safe all summer, they are good reminders of helpful dental habits for the whole year.  Of course the best dental habit is to visit your dentist for regular cleanings.  While you’re at the dentist, wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy a relaxing, spa-like atmosphere?  There is one dental office in Baton Rouge that offers exactly that, Dr. Russo’s Smile Spa.  To make an online appointment and learn more, click here.

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