Category Archives: Dr’s Blog

Detox Tips for Healthy Teeth

Big Splash

The holidays have come and gone, which means now is the time to clean out and reorganize for good dental and overall health. Portland dentists Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow at Mt. Tabor Dental encourage patients to redirect their dental habits for the new year.

During the holidays, it’s easy to get off track. We are surrounded by excess – spending too much, eating too much, and doing too much. Now that we’re into the new year, take some time to detox from the holidays for healthy teeth!

Drink for Good Health

The word “detox” may conjure up crazy ideas for juices or complicated diets. Really, detoxing your body means to simply give it a break from excess.

To start the detox process, drink a lot of water throughout the day. There are times when we feel hungry, but it’s really a sign that we have let our thirst go on too long. Drinking a large glass of water and then waiting can help you decide if you are really physically hungry or if your body and brain needed hydration.

Water is involved in everything our bodies do, so drinking it is important. It can, however, start to taste plain or bland. Skip the soda or fruit juice and add fresh fruits like lemon or lime to your water. Sliced cucumbers or mixed berries can also add a natural lift!

Eat for Good Health

We’ve all heard it a million times, but eating for good health is important for dental health. Give your body a break from holiday overeating by simply scaling back what you eat. It’s easy to get in the habit of eating a dessert every day or constantly snacking.

Instead of trying to overhaul your entire diet, try simple steps. Along with drinking a lot of water, limit your sugar intake by cutting out sweets and alcohol from your diet. Focus instead on eating protein and fiber, both of which help you to feel full longer. One easy way to do this is to skip processed foods and opt for all-natural snacks, like fruits and vegetables. After a few days of avoiding sugar, these natural options will taste better than ever.

Keep Appointments for Good Health

If you don’t know where you are, then you can’t know where you are going. For the new year, make an appointment with your doctor and with the dentist. This will help establish a baseline for your overall health and for your dental health. Partnering with your healthcare providers can keep you motivated while you transition from holiday excess to giving your body a break through this time of detox.

Dentists in Portland Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow and their team at Mt. Tabor Dental are excited to partner with you for good dental health. Call 503-236-1449 to schedule your appointment!

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How to Have a Guilt-Free Christmas

christmas goodies

The Christmas season is a time for excess: we tend to eat higher amounts of fat and sugar, drink more alcohol, and spend money. This often means that the temptation to feel guilty for this behavior is front and center in our minds. However, Portland Oregon dentists Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow offer these tips to celebrating a guilt-free Christmas.

Focus on One Day at a Time

Many of us feel overwhelmed this time of year, thanks to the increased obligations and activities that Christmas brings with it. Instead of planning way in advance and trying to juggle too many things, focus instead on what you can control and do every day that is ultimately good for you.

This could be brushing your teeth in the morning and evening every day, along with flossing your teeth before bed. This can also include eating lean protein with meals and drinking water throughout the day, as well as incorporating simple exercise each afternoon or evening. Prioritizing elements that are really important to stay healthy – like whole food and exercise – can help you feel guilt-free when you have that extra cookie or candy on Christmas day.

Avoid Grazing

This is the time of year in which we are surrounded by sweet treats that can hurt our teeth and waistlines. Be aware of this fact, and pace yourself throughout the day. If you see something decadent that you just can’t live without, wrap this treat in a napkin and hide it in your desk drawer at work. Eat it with a healthy lunch to practice portion control and to avoid both the guilt of overeating throughout the day and possible feelings of missing out on your favorite treat.

Don’t Drink Calories

It’s easy to forget that calories and sugar are part of our favorite Christmas beverages like eggnog, hot buttered rum and alcoholic beverages. Concentrate each day on getting plenty of water to stay hydrated, which will help you avoid drinking empty calories. Add flavors like peppermint, lavender, winter mint, lemon or lime to your water for some variety, along with different kinds of hot and cold teas.

Plan One Day to Overindulge

In a season full of different kinds of indulging, there is the temptation for great amounts of associated guilt. Take control by planning one day to overindulge. Whether that is Christmas Day or the day after when there’s a ton of leftovers in the fridge, schedule one day to not pay too much attention to what you eat or drink. This will give you something to look forward to as you take one day at a time.

Brush Your Teeth Often

Studies have shown that those who brush their teeth after meals are less likely to overindulge – foods and drinks just don’t taste as good when you already have toothpaste residue in your mouth. Help keep your Christmas guilt-free by brushing away the sugar that Christmas treats leave behind.

Because it’s the Christmas season, we may be tempted to throw self-control out of the window. If you’re starting to feel guilty this Christmas season, make an appointment for dentists in Portland, Oregon Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow to brighten your holiday smile. Call Mt. Tabor Dental at 503-236-1449 to schedule your appointment!

Ways to Keep Teeth Healthy During Thanksgiving

hummus turkey

It might seem impossible to focus on keeping teeth healthy considering the abundance of food during the Thanksgiving weekend. However, dentists in Portland Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow at Mt. Tabor Dental encourage all patients not to give up on good dental health over the holidays. Here are some simple tips to help keep your oral health on track!

Must Add Protein

The amount of carbohydrates at and around the Thanksgiving meal can be overwhelming. There will be a wide range of sweet and savory heavy foods to eat, including mashed potatoes, rolls, pies, cookies, cakes, and stuffing, just to name a few.

Foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates can cause blood sugar to rise and fall at rapid rates and aid in the production of acids in the mouth. Try to limit the consumption of these kinds of foods, instead focusing on making sure you’re getting enough protein throughout the day. Pair a roll with some turkey or sliced apples with cheese in order to keep the bacteria in your mouth – and your blood sugar – under control.

Graze Wisely

Preparing a Thanksgiving dinner takes several hours, which can lead to many trips back and forth to the kitchen or dining room as the day passes. It’s a tradition for many families to have space dedicated to appetizers or snacks that everyone can access throughout the day to keep hunger at bay.

Instead of grazing on carb-heavy foods like crackers or sweets, try to focus on fruits and veggies throughout the day. Vegetables are high in nutrients and fiber, and the crunchiness actually helps to naturally clean teeth while you snack. Don’t forget to add savory dips, like different varieties of hummus or a low-fat ranch dressing to encourage people to eat their veggies. Also, consider making a creative turkey or Thanksgiving-themed veggie tray for a little extra fun!

Move Your Body

Moving your body might not sound like a great way to preserve good dental health habits. However, focusing on getting some exercise during Thanksgiving day before the big dinner can keep your focus off food. Exercise naturally increases the hormones in our brains that help us to feel good and energetic, which means we’re less likely to rely on foods that are high in sugar for a false sense of energy. Try engaging your friends and family in a traditional game of touch football while dinner is being prepared, or do some outdoor games with the kids!

Thanksgiving break is a great time to take stock and organize before the holiday craziness hits. Call Portland dentists Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow and their team at Mt. Tabor Dental at (503) 236-1449 to schedule your appointment!

Photo Credit: Happy Raw Kitchen

Four Tricks for Good Halloween Dental Health!

candy coated dreams

Halloween candy will soon adorn your dining room table and your child’s teeth, but there’s not reason be afraid of this spooky holiday. Portland dentists Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow and their staff at Mt. Tabor Dental encourage families to use this Halloween to let your children enjoy treats and learn good dental health strategies for the rest of the year.

 Halloween Candy Is Not Created Equal

It’s essential to understand that while all candy contains sugar, not all candy is detrimental to your teeth in the same ways. Candy that is sticky and extra-chewy, such as gummy bears, taffy, Starburst, Airheads, caramels and sugar-infused gum, create a residue on the surfaces of teeth and gums that is difficult to remove. This residue sticks around awhile, feeding the bacteria that create plaque on teeth and gums.

Instead of just letting kids eat whatever candy they want, go through and inspect the Trick or Treat loot and have your kids choose their favorites. Steer them away from the ultra sticky candy, or at least limit their consumption. Provide some milk or water to go along with the candy they eat on Halloween night to help wash away sticky, sugary residue.

Treats Don’t Have to Be Sweets

While candy is traditional to hand out to Trick or Treaters on Halloween night, you don’t have to fall in line. Consider offering alternatives to candy, such as  fun pencils and erasers, Silly Putty, stickers, temporary tattoos, containers of bubbles, and little plastic spiders. These treats are still fun but without the threat of tooth decay!

If you and your kids absolutely want to hand out candy, consider sugar-free gum or candy with xylitol in it. Xylitol is a natural sweetener that helps keep your teeth from harm.

Offer Rewards for Halloween Candy

Sometimes kids are motivated more by money than by candy. This can be a good opportunity to offer your kids a way to cash in their Halloween candy. Give them a penny, nickel, dime or quarter for each uneaten piece of candy, or give them a special surprise for simply trading their candy in. For example, if they hand over their stash form Trick or Treating, they get an afternoon at the skating rink.

Out of Sight…

Candy that is simply out of sight is less likely to be eaten. You can’t graze on Halloween candy that you don’t see right in front of you. Once Halloween is over and the kids have chosen their favorites or simply traded it in, get the candy out of the house. Donate it for a community event, to a church, or to a school, or send it to US troops oversease through Operation Gratitude.

Regardless of how you and your family manage the Halloween candy in your home this year, it’s imperative to have your kids brush their teeth. Regardless of whether or not they’ve eaten candy, they need to brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes each time to remove any sticky plaque from the surfaces and avoid tooth decay.

The day after Halloween might be the perfect time to bring your kids in for a dental check up with dentists in Portland Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow Call Mt. Tabor Dental at (503) 236-1449 to schedule your appointment!

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Use Coconut Oil for Healthy Teeth

What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us.

Coconut oil comes from the harvesting of mature coconuts, taken directly from the “meat” of this fruit. It has a wide range of health benefits that extend to healthy teeth and gums. Portland dentists Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow and their staff at Mt. Tabor Dental encourage patients of all ages to stay in good overall health to help maintain good dental health.

Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is widely known as an all-natural way to maintain good overall and dental health. Coconut oil is antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and naturally improves nutrient absorption in the body. It can be taken internally and used externally on the body to promote health and healing. In fact, coconut oil can be stored in various rooms in the house for regular use.

Coconut Oil in the Kitchen

Just like butter and other oils, coconut oil can be used in many recipes. It is most widely used for sauteing, frying, and baking. To use it in recipes, simply substitute it for the butter or oil you usually use in a 1:1 ratio.

Because of its consistency, coconut oil can also be used in smoothies – melt down a tablespoon or two and add it to the blender for an extra boost of energy!

Coconut Oil in the Bathroom

Coconut oil is not just for cooking in the kitchen. There are many ways to use coconut oil in the bathroom, including for a bright and healthy smile. Make your own toothpaste with a basic recipe that includes mixing coconut oil with baking soda. The solid form of the coconut oil mimics the texture of toothpaste while the baking soda naturally scrubs teeth.

Coconut oil can also be used as a moisturizer for skin, a conditioner for dry or frizzed hair, as an eye cream, a deodorant, and to treat skin before or after shaving. Simply scoop it out of the jar and rub gently on your skin.

Coconut Oil on the Go

Coconut oil can be used to heal a wide range of ailments, taken internally and externally. Taking up to 3 to 4 tablespoons a day is known to boost metabolism, help the body control blood sugar and insulin, and preserve muscle mass. If you’re on vacation and having fun with the family, it can be used as a simple chapstick or as a salve to heal skin burned by the sun. It can also be used as an insect repellant and to treat skin problems, nail fungus, athletes foot, headlice, digestive problems, and inflammation.

Coconut oil is convenient, easy to find, and affordable to use every day. Dentists in Portland Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow are not only concerned about your dental health, they also care about your overall health. Call Mt. Tabor Dental at (503) 236-1449 to schedule your appointment for a regular check up!

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Get Smiles Ready for Back to School!

Drawing competition for school kids

School supplies are on sale and kids are getting restless. This can only mean one thing – it’s time to start thinking of starting the new school year! Portland dentists Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow and their staff at Mt. Tabor Dental encourage patients of all ages to prepare their smiles as well as their backpacks when it comes to heading back to the classroom.

Back to School Dental Kit

While out and about purchasing the truckload of school supplies now required for kids and teens to get started each September, throw in a couple of new toothbrushes, floss and fun toothpaste. Toothbrushes should be replaced approximately every three months, and having a new one can help your child stay involved in brushing their teeth consistently. Don’t pass up the dental floss and toothpaste in fun colors and flavors as well!

Travel toothbrushes and toothpaste can also make good Back to School Dental Kits, helping children to stay consistent in brushing their teeth after every meal. Put together one of these special kits for your child, who can then stash it in his or her backpack for easy access after lunch.

Plan Healthy Lunches and Snacks

What we eat directly effects the health of our teeth. Children can learn this valuable lesson as they pack a variety of healthy snacks and lunches to eat during each school day.  Plan now for the upcoming school year, purchasing a couple of lunch bags or boxes if you don’t already have a stash of them from previous years. Clean out the cupboard as necessary of any foods high in sugar or fat and replace them with foods that are high in nutrition and protein.

Start with a variety of fruits and vegetables. These can be paired with dips like peanut butter and hummus for easy and nutritious snacks. Stock the fridge with dairy items that are high in nutritive value and low in sugar and fat to help your child eat a healthy diet for a bright smile.

Refresh with Water

Kids tend to gravitate toward sodas and juices of all kinds throughout the school day. These kinds of beverages, however, are full of sugar which leads to increased tooth decay. Many classroom teachers encourage their students to bring a reusable water bottle to fill with refreshing water all day long. This can help keep kids stay focused and hydrated while naturally keeping teeth clean.

Protect Teeth During Sports

If your child plays sports, then a mouthguard might be a piece of sports equipment your child is missing. Made of a hard plastic material, a mouthguard can be adjusted so that it fits comfortably in your child’s mouth while providing maximum protection to his or her neck and face.

Schedule a Dentist Appointment

With school starting so soon, the best time to schedule a check up at Mt. Tabor Dental is now! To get your child ready for school, call Dentists in Portland Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow at (503) 236-1449 to schedule your appointment!

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Your Teeth Offer Clues to Your Health

The condition of your teeth and gums give several clues regarding the condition of your overall health. Portland dentists Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow and their staff at Mt. Tabor Dental offer compassionate dental care in a relaxed environment, providing clear information about what your teeth say about your overall health.

Clue #1 Bleeding Gums

Bleeding gums are more common than you might think in patients as they grow older. This condition is an early sign of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, and can lead to increasingly painful dental problems if not addressed. This condition can also be a sign of a hormonal imbalance, most commonly experienced by women as they go through hormonal changes throughout a lifetime. To know for sure what might be causing your gums to bleed, it’s essential to get your teeth and gums checked out by one of our dentists.

Clue #2 Cracked Teeth

If you notice your teeth cracking or seeming to crumble, this is often a pretty common sign of teeth grinding. However, this condition has also been linked to acid reflux that patients experience while they sleep, where stomach acid comes up through the esophagus and wears away the enamel coating on teeth. Regardless of the cause, cracked or crumbling teeth can lead to even bigger problems down the road, so it’s important to get them checked out by the dentist.

Clue #3 Redness or Swelling

While swollen gum tissue is certainly an important symptom of periodontal disease to keep track of, there’s also other swelling and redness in the tissues of the mouth that can indicate other potential health problems. If your tongue or mouth seems red and swollen, this could be a sign of a nutritional deficiency, especially in iron and vitamin B. Visiting the dentist can be the first step in figuring out what is causing these symptoms.

Clue #4 Breath Challenges

People may joke about bad breath, but it’s no laughing matter if you deal with dry mouth or challenging breath on a daily basis. If you are brushing and flossing daily but still have issues with bad breath, it could be tied to a more serious problem with your teeth, gums, stomach, kidney or liver. An appointment with the dentist can help figure out the specific issue.

Clue #5 Headaches

While not technically in your mouth – that would be toothaches – experiencing headaches on a regular basis can be an indication of problems with your teeth. If your teeth seem flat and are wearing down rapidly, this in combination with frequent headaches could be a sign of teeth grinding. If you are grinding your teeth while you sleep, the dentists at South Waterfront Dental can recommend strategies and materials, like a mouthguard, to help.

It’s essential to maintain good dental health and to get help from dentists in Portland Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow should an oral health problem appear. To keep your whole mouth healthy, call  Mt. Tabor Dental at (503) 236-1449 to schedule your appointment!

Foods to Avoid at Your 4th of July Barbecue

The 4th of July is the quintessential summer holiday, filled with family gatherings, barbecues, parties, and plenty of food and drink. Portland dentists Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow and their team at Mt. Tabor Dental encourage their patients to practice moderation during their July 4th celebrations, especially when it comes to the following foods!

Fat-Filled Burgers

Hamburgers are an undeniable favorite at a barbecue, especially during the summer. But the typical hamburger, while full of protein, is generally full of fat and cholesterol, which is not good for your overall health and a good food to avoid.

Can a hamburger ever be healthy? The team at Mt. Tabor Dental says yes! Choose high quality beef from all-natural, organically raised cows, preferably from a local establishment. To ensure lower fat, choose a lean cut of beef that’s already ground or grind your own. Make reasonably portioned patties for your guests, or consider making smaller sliders to control calorie intake since it’s such a food-heavy day. Provide healthier toppings for the burgers, such as tomato-based salsa, sliced and prepared vegetables like lettuce and pickles, and even avocado.

Spicy Chili

A chili cook off might be in the 4th of July plans, but the consequences may be more than you bargained for. Spicy foods – like chili – can cause heartburn that will keep you up long after the last firework has exploded. If you’re sorely tempted by the chili regardless of the impending stomach upset, acid reflux or heartburn, try very small portions that are well-spaced throughout the party. Otherwise, it might be a good food to avoid!

Deep Fried Foods

Fried chicken is a picnic favorite, including on the Fourth of July, but there have been many deep fried foods to avoid that have joined the ranks, including:

  • Onion rings
  • French fries
  • Zucchini
  • Mozzarella sticks
  • Twinkies
  • Doughnuts
  • Candy bars

One of the most common culprits of deep fried temptation are the bags of chips that are prolific during a barbecue of any kind. If the deep fried options are just too much of a temptation, consider choosing a small portion and savoring it carefully, balancing that choice with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables at the barbecue.

Sugar, Sugar, Sugar!

Sugar is everywhere during July 4th celebrations, no matter where you go. Prepare yourself mentally by bringing a fruit-based dessert option, like a fruit salad or festive fruit kabobs, and avoid the highly processed desserts that may be present. Keep in mind that those colorful and fun cocktails are full of sugar, too!

Avoiding these kinds of foods throughout the year is a good idea for a healthy mouth and body, and once the July 4th celebration is over, it might be time for a thorough teeth cleaning. Contact dentists in Portland Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow at Mt. Tabor Dental at (503) 236-1449 to schedule your appointment!

Long-Distance Race Preparation and Your Dental Health

yellow

Tis the season for long-distance racing, whether in the form of biking, swimming, running, walking, or a combination of these in the form of a triathlon. And while dental health might not be at the top of the list for preparing for a long-distance race, Portland dentists Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow recommend a visit as part of your regular fitness training regimen.

Popularity of Long-Distance Racing

Over the years, individuals and groups have created a wide variety of long-distance racing that both challenges athletes while helping those in need. From the nationally-based Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to the Oregon-based Hood to Coast and Portland to Coast relay races, long-distance racing has only increased in popularity.  These long-distance races range from simple 5K walks or runs, 10K walks or runs, quarter marathons, half marathons, full marathons and triathlons that attract participants of all ages and levels of health.

Traditional Preparation for a Long-Distance Race

Long-distance racing provides worthwhile challenges for runners, walkers, cyclers and swimmers at all ages and fitness levels.  The most important aspect is not actual race day, but preparing for the long-distance race over time. While these preparatory activities include trying out and breaking in athletic shoes and sticking to a diet of high-quality and nutritious foods, there are also additional items to consider.

The first item on the list of long-distance race preparation is a visit to all medical professionals in your life. Before beginning a training regimen as part of long-term preparation, it’s absolutely necessary to get a baseline of your overall health as well as your dental health. Visit your doctor for a complete physical – including blood work – before beginning any exercise.

The second item on your list – although it might not make sense – should be to visit your dentist.

Your Teeth and Long-Distance Racing

It might sound funny to visit dentists in Portland, Oregon Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow and their team at Mt. Tabor Dental while preparing for a long-distance race, but there are very good reasons to take this step.

First, it’s essential to make regular visits to the dentist part of your good regimen for overall health. It’s even more important considering the overwhelming research that connects the development of heart disease with dental issues such as gum disease.

The American Academy of Periodontology has discovered that patients are about twice as likely to develop heart disease if they have cavities, missing teeth, or periodontal disease. Since the same bacteria in the mouth has been found in tissues that surround the heart, the theory is that this bacteria enters gum tissue and is carried to the bloodstream and ends up in the heart.

Another theory regarding the connection between heart disease and periodontal disease proposes that bacteria from the mouth travels through the blood stream, narrowing arteries due to the body’s natural defenses against bacteria. This is a dangerous development to anyone who wants to participate in long-distance racing, as inflammation keeps athletes from getting all of the oxygen-rich blood that they need.

While you are focusing on training and hydrating, don’t forget to ensure the best dental and overall health before your long-distance race. Contact Mt. Tabor Dental at (503) 236-1449 to schedule your appointment!

2 x 2 = How to Brush With Kids

It’s not often that we think about math problems when it comes to the health of our teeth. However, Portland dentists Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow recommend doing just that when it comes to you and your kids brushing their teeth regularly!

What Does 2 x 2 Mean?

The “2 x 2″ phrase has been created by the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives and the Ad Council to help parents and children understand the importance of regular brushing and flossing.

The phrase “2 x 2″ might seem like a math problem – and it is – but it’s also a really easy way to remember when to brush your teeth. This particular “2 x 2″ means that kids and adults of all ages should brush their teeth two times a day for a minimum of two minutes each time.

Why Brush for 2 Minutes?

It’s hard for kids to mark the passage of time, whether it’s two minutes or two days. Younger children don’t have a clear concept of the passing of time, and older kids simply get restless and distracted when it comes to brushing for two whole minutes.

To help keep kids brushing, the 2 x 2 website has provided a wide variety of 2 minute videos for kids to watch while they brush. Kids can enjoy short snippets of Elmo, The Dream Jam Band, and Adventure Time to help keep their brushing on track during the whole two minutes. Then your kids can track their progress each day with this 2 x 2 printable sheet.

Two minutes might seem like a long time, but think about it in the scope of an entire day – in 24 hours, there are 1,440 minutes. Even if you brush for a total of 4 minutes each day, that still leaves 1,436 minutes left to learn, play, work and have fun!

Toothbrushing Tips for a Healthy Mouth

Even though this is a helpful tool, it’s important not to set up a video and leave your child to his or her own devices during toothbrushing time. Here are helpful hints:

  • Have your children choose toothbrushes that they like, just make sure the brushes have small bristles and can reach all areas of their mouths.
  • Teach children to brush their teeth at an angle along the gumline.
  • Provide fluoride toothpaste for kids to brush with, and ensure they get in the habit of spitting it out when brushing is done (as opposed to swallowing it).
  • Teach kids to brush all surfaces of their teeth, including those hard to reach areas as well as their tongues.

As your children grow older and begin to brush on their own, dentists in Portland, OR Dr. Todd Beck and Dr. Jacob Morrow encourage parents to check how well their children are brushing and flossing each day to ensure the best dental health. Call 503-236-1449 today to schedule a dental appointment for your child at Mt. Tabor Dental.