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Holiday Sweets and Brushing Your Teeth

As the holidays roll around, parents often tell their kids to wait until after dinner to eat their favorite seasonal sweet; however, dentists suggest this may not be as effective for their tooth care. On the downside, sugar is public enemy No. 1 when it comes to dental health. It causes cavities, affects the enamel that protects your teeth and has the potential to do long-term damage to your mouth.

The upside is that one way to neutralize the effects of sugary desserts is to eat them along with your main meal. That’s right: You won’t have to wait for dinner to be over to get a taste of Grandma’s world-famous three-layer chocolate cake or that cherry pie you’ve been staring at since it came out of the oven.

“If you are going to eat sugar, it’s better to do it at the same time as a balanced meal,” says Dr. Dorothy Baker of Summerville Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics. “Rather than serving dessert last, incorporate it into your holiday meal. Healthy foods help neutralize the acids in sugar, and they also displace sugar from your teeth.”

Dr. Baker cited several eating habits that kids should avoid, not only during the holiday season but throughout the rest of the year as well. For instance, even though nuts are great to help build strong bones and muscles, you shouldn’t use your teeth to crack them open. Chewing on items such as ice cubes and hard candy is also a no-no.

“Hard candy is the worst offender,” she says. “It stays in your mouth for a long time, and it can also break your teeth.”

She added that soft drinks should be avoided and that fruit juice is included in that category because it provides lots of sugar and empty calories but little in the way of useful nutrients.

So what are parents to do during the holiday season? Should they keep their children from eating any sweets at all, or is it OK to depend on regular brushing and flossing to protect their kids’ teeth from the chaos sugar is capable of producing? Fortunately, they have another option: Various spices can be used to replace sugar, and many of them also have qualities that add to, rather than subtract from, your kids’ overall health and well-being.

Cinnamon, for example, plays a role in reducing inflammation and fighting off bacteria, and it also adds flavor to oatmeal or apple pie. Nutmeg, an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, can play the same role, according to Dr. Baker. She added that clove has been used as a pain killer, and clove oil is an ingredient in some toothpaste and oral antiseptics. It also can be used to give a burst of flavor to apples and pears.

Peppermint, meanwhile, helps alleviate digestive issues, and Dr. Baker points out that rubbing it on your temples can make a headache go away. And chewing on a mint leaf can help you get rid of bad breath.

“Smart snacking is advised, especially right before bedtime and after brushing,” Dr. Baker concludes. “You can replace candy with any winter produce, such as squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkins or any fresh vegetables.”

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Bullwinkel Brings Familiar Name to Summerville Orthodontics Practice

Bullwinkel Brings Familiar Name to Summerville Orthodontics Practice

The building is the same, as is the staff inside, as well as the orthodontist helping to bring brighter smiles and increased self-confidence to patients. There’s a new name and a new logo, but everything else about what had been the orthodontics wing of Summerville Pediatric Dentistry remains comfortably unchanged.

That’s because the new name is really a familiar one: Dr. Katie Bullwinkel, orthodontist with Summerville Pediatric Dentistry since January of 2016, has started a new practice called Bullwinkel Orthodontics. Her office at 405 West 5th North St. was the original home of Summerville Pediatric Dentistry, and while the two offices are not affiliated, she maintains close ties to Dr. Dorothy Baker at the dentist’s current office down the street.

“It was an opportunity I could not pass up,” says Bullwinkel, a native of Chapin, S.C., graduate of The Medical University of S.C. and a mother of three.

“This office is a perfect fit for me—I have a background in pediatric psychology, and I have my own experience with children by being a working mom and a busy mom. I know what it’s like to have kids and take them for appointments, so I think I bring a personal touch to the office that makes it special. And it’s always been a dream of mine to own my own office, and Dottie was wonderful enough to help me realize that dream.”

Stronger Than Ever

Bullwinkel, whose husband is from Charleston, split her time between working at offices in Mount Pleasant and her native Chapin before an opening arose for an orthodontist at the practice then called Summerville Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics. She joined Baker’s practice, and the connection was instant—to the point where Baker knew it was Bullwinkel who would one day take over her orthodontics wing.

As Summerville Pediatric Dentistry grew larger and busier, Baker moved the dentistry wing to another building at 384 East 5th North St., where it’s currently located. Over Christmas, she approached Bullwinkel about taking over the orthodontics practice.

“Once she realized it was a good fit for her and her patients, she knew this would be the plan,” Bullwinkel says. “We’d been talking about it for a while, and this was the time to do it.”

The purchase became official in January. Bullwinkel says patients will notice no difference other than the new logo, and that her relationship with Baker—whom she called a mentor, and says coached her so she was ready to open her own office—is stronger than ever.

“We still communicate on the back end, we still text every day, we still communicate about our patients,” Bullwinkel said. “Dottie and I are great friends. We talk all the time. This is just my opportunity to realize a dream, and she’s been very instrumental in helping me with that.”

A People Person at Heart

Growing up, orthodontics was not exactly the career field Bullwinkel foresaw for herself. She was more interested in architecture, until she realized during a shadowing assignment that it lacked the personal interaction she desired. As someone who did her own time in braces, Bullwinkel wound up working after school for her orthodontist, who helped her see that the profession combined design elements—just for teeth, rather than a building—with people skills.

“It brought together that design and artistic element, and also kids and families and people,” she says. “I’m just a people person at heart. I come from a long line of teachers, and there’s lot of teaching and coaching in orthodontics. You really have to have the patient on your side, no matter what the treatment.”

Now, she’s putting those skills to use in an office with her own name out front. If your child is in need of orthodontic care, contact Bullwinkel Orthodontics at (843) 285-5315, or visit their website at for further information.

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New Years


New Years

IT’S A NEW YEAR! We’re so excited for what this year will bring, particularly when we look back at everything we achieved in 2018. That’s why we’re taking this opportunity to give our wonderful patients an update on the goals our team members have made for the new year, as well as their accomplishments from the last!

How Far We Came In 2018

2018 was a year of focus and growth for our office. After the big move of 2017 to our new Pediatric and Teen dental location, both the dental office and the orthodontic office spent 2018 breathing in their new space. We’ve celebrated new milestones and fun giveaways with our patients and office family, incorporated new technologies and fun new treatment options—I’m looking at you GOLD BRACES. We’ve worked hard to make sure your dental and orthodontic experience is always TOP NOTCH. Thank you for all of your patience, your suggestions and your love for our doctors and our amazing team. You, our WONDERFUL patients, have made us all so thankful to be in this profession of serving others.

Our Roadmap For 2019

We are EXCITED to tackle this new year, 2019, with goals for health, mindfulness, presence, but importantly reflection on where we have come from and where we are going. Thinking back to our start over TEN years ago, it is the love our patients that has propelled us forward. Our office goal for 2019 is to continue to grow and surpass your expectations with a single-minded obsession. You have many choices for dental care and we are honored that you have chosen our little office!

Side note — Dr. Katie is also super excited about her new Bullet Journal resolution… #bulletjournal… mind blown. Shout out to Olivia Olson for the suggestion! Bring on that #organizedlife!!!

Check out this video for tips on keeping your resolutions:

What Are Your Goals This Year?

Now that we’ve told you about our goals for the new year, we want to hear about yours! Share your New Year’s resolutions in the comments below or on Facebook, and we look forward to seeing you this year!

Let’s all support each other in making our resolutions a reality!