Helping Your Kids Learn And Love To Brush Their Teeth

ANY PARENT KNOWS that getting your child to do certain things like eat their veggies, clean their room and even brush their teeth can be difficult. But the reality is that tooth decay is the number one disease affecting young children today.

To combat this, kids need to learn and love to brush their teeth early on in their lives. Our goal is to help your children maintain bright, healthy smiles and help them learn early the importance of good oral hygiene.

Let’s Catch Up On Some Of The Basics

Your child’s first dental visit should be when their first tooth appears, or around their first birthday. Once teeth emerge, you can start brushing them. Brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child-sized toothbrush and only a smear of toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice). When two teeth begin to touch, it is time to start flossing!

From the ages of three to six, you can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Remind children not to swallow the toothpaste. Continue to help your child brush their teeth until you feel that they can correctly do so on their own.

Our Top Tips On Teaching Your Kids Good Oral Hygiene

It may not be easy, but it will definitely be worth it to teach your kids the value of taking care of their teeth. Here are some things you can do to help them understand just how important a task it is, and even how fun it can be!

Teach Them Why

When kids understand the reason behind something, they are more inclined to do it. You can even make it more interesting by spinning it into a fun story and giving the bacteria in their mouths a name, like the plaque monsters or tooth bugs!

Let Them Participate

Allowing your child to pick out their toothbrush, toothpaste and floss is a great way for them to participate. If you use a timer to help them brush their teeth for the full two minutes, let them press the button. Find ways to get them involved!

Use Positive Reinforcement

Parents know better than anyone what kids will do for prizes. One idea is to use a sticker chart. Every time they brush their teeth well, without complaining, they get to put a sticker on the chart. When the chart is full, they get a prize!

Make It Fun

Whether you turn on their favorite two-minute song or have them brush their stuffed animal’s teeth first, making it fun is key to helping your child love brushing time. There are also many smartphone apps out there dedicated to making oral hygiene more fun!

You can even show them this fun video to help encourage them to brush their teeth!

We Are Proud Partners Of Parents

Although getting your child to love brushing and flossing their teeth is difficult at times, remember that we are your allies in helping ensure their lifelong oral and overall health. If your child is still struggling with brushing and flossing, let us know, we are here to help.

Have any other suggestions that have worked for you and your child? Tell us in the comments below!

Thank you for your trust in our practice.

Top image by Flickr user Abigail Batchelder used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

4 Tips To Soothe A Toothache Before Your Appointment

 

SUDDEN TOOTHACHES ARE painful and far from convenient in today’s busy world. However, getting to a dentist as quickly as possible is the best thing you can do to treat and relieve your pain as well as prevent any further problems.

Your Dentist Can Provide Effective Treatment And Long-Term Relief

It’s important to remember that there is always an underlying cause for a toothache, such as decay, gum disease or tooth enamel erosion. They usually never go away on their own and only get worse–and more painful–over time.

Paying a visit to the dentist as early as possible is the best course of action for tooth pain. Your dentist will not only relieve your pain and provide long-term relief, but will also work to treat the cause of your toothache, preventing further discomfort and damage in the future.

Take a page out of our crocodile friend’s book…

In The Meantime…

With that being said, we know that not everyone can come in to see us the moment they feel tooth pain. We also know that the time between the start of a toothache and actually getting to the dentist can be excruciating. Between making your appointment and getting to the dentist, try some of these at-home, temporary toothache remedies to help relieve your pain.

Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers

OTC pain relievers–such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and the like–can provide short-term pain relief. If you use aspirin, swallow it as you normally would. Do not put it right on your tooth or gums as this will not relieve any pain and can damage the soft tissues of your mouth.

Salt Water

Swishing salt water around your mouth can help clean out an infected area and loosen any food debris present. This can help relieve some discomfort, depending on the cause of your toothache.

Garlic

Garlic is said to have properties that help it inhibit the growth of bacteria and temporarily relieve pain. Simply chew some garlic or mash a clove of garlic into a paste and apply it to your tooth.Warning: this remedy may cause severe bad breath!

Clove or Peppermint Oil

Both clove and peppermint oil contain natural anesthetics and can act as numbing agents. They are very strong and can do damage to your mouth’s soft tissues, however, so you’ll want to be careful. Drip a drop or two of oil onto a cotton ball and apply it to the throbbing tooth.

Be sure to check with your dental or health care provider before you try any of these at-home remedies, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.

Don’t Wait To Treat Your Toothache

Remember, toothaches only get worse over time, so don’t wait to come in and see us. These at-home toothache remedies are meant to help with short-term pain relief and are in no way a substitute for the treatment and care you’ll receive from the trained professionals in our practice!

Our specialty is serving YOU!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Saliva: The Unsung Hero of Oral Health

EVER THINK ABOUT HOW GREAT your saliva is? Probably not. We’d love to enlighten you! Saliva has an all-important role in your oral and digestive health.

Saliva Has Many Important Functions

Our bodies make two to four pints of saliva a day. That means that over a lifetime, a person will create enough saliva to fill two swimming pools! So, why is saliva important? Well, there’s more than one answer to that. Besides allowing us to give wet willies or make spit wads when we were kids, our saliva has many important functions.

First, saliva aids in digestion. It begins the process of breaking down food and helps us chew, taste and swallow. In fact, without our spit, we wouldn’t be able to taste at all!

Additionally, saliva is essential to maintaining our oral health. Our spit contains antimicrobial agents that protect teeth and defend against bacteria. It also contains minerals such as calcium and phosphate that remineralize our teeth, strengthening the enamel.

Your saliva plays an especially important role after eating and drinking. It washes away that extra food and debris left in your mouth that contributes to decay. It also helps neutralize the acids created by bacteria that break down enamel and cause cavities. Thank you, saliva!

Some People Do Not Create Enough Saliva

Some people have a condition called dry mouth, where they aren’t producing enough saliva. Certain illnesses and medications can cause dry mouth, and those who have it are more prone to tooth decay and gum disease as a result. For those with and without dry mouth, here are some tips to increase saliva production and protect your teeth:

  • Chew sugar-free gum, especially after meals
  • Suck on sugarless candy
  • Drink plenty of water

Saliva Works Around the Clock to Protect Our Smiles

Saliva may just be the unsung hero of our oral health. It is constantly strengthening and defending our teeth against bacteria, decay and dental disease. At the end of the day, all we can say is that our bodies are amazing and our spit is awesome!

Thank you to our wonderful patients and friends!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Don’t Forget To Clean Your Tongue!

A HEALTHY TONGUE is incredibly important for a healthy mouth. We know we talk a lot about your teeth, but it’s time we told you more about your tongue, that amazing muscle that allows us to speak, taste, and swallow!

Get Rid of Bacteria by Cleaning Your Tongue

You’ve already brushed your teeth for two minutes and you’re ready to be done. Not so fast! Cleaning your tongue is just as important as cleaning your teeth. Did you know that almost 50 percent of the bacteria in your mouth is on your tongue? If you don’t worry about cleaning your tongue, that bacteria will transfer to your teeth even after you’ve brushed. Your oral health care routine should always include a good tongue cleaning!

Here’s another interesting fact: 90 percent of bad breath comes from a dirty tongue! Until you learn how to clean your tongue, you may not be able to get rid of that lingering halitosis.

Cleaning Your Tongue Is Easy

There are three tools to choose from when it comes to cleaning your tongue: a tongue scraper, a tongue brush, or your handy dandy toothbrush.

  • Use a tongue scraper for a thorough cleaning. This tool is usually made of soft, flexible plastic, sometimes metal. It gently peels the thin mucus-based layer of debris from your tongue. You should scrape from the back of your tongue to the front. Rinse the scraper after each swipe of the tongue.
  • A tongue brush works just as well as a scraper. Some opt for a tongue brush that has bristles specifically designed to clean out the crevices of the tongue. Again, start cleaning at the back of your tongue and work your way forward. Rinse the brush well after use.
  • Toothbrushes work best for teeth. While it’s better to use a toothbrush on your tongue than nothing at all, toothbrushes were designed to clean the hard enamel of your teeth, not the soft surface of your tongue. You may not get as thorough a clean using your toothbrush. However, the mechanism is the same; start at the back and work your way to the front.

Your Mouth Will Thank You

Your mouth will thank you for a clean, healthy tongue. Cleaning your tongue once or twice a day before or after brushing will greatly improve your oral health, not to mention your breath! It’s a win-win!

Our patients rock!

Image by Flickr user Chase Elliot Clark used underCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

How Stress Can Affect Your Oral Health

DID YOU KNOW THAT STRESS can have an effect on your oral health? As if you needed any more on your plate! Knowing how stress and oral health are connected can help you combat any problems that might arise.

Stress May Contribute to Teeth Grinding

Bruxism is the technical term for habitual teeth grinding and jaw clenching. For some people, clenching and grinding are natural responses to stress and frustration. Teeth grinding, however, usually occurs during sleep, meaning thatpeople are often unaware of the problem. Flatter tips of the teeth and a sore jaw are common signs of bruxism.

Stress Can Worsen Symptoms of TMD

TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder, affects the jaw joint and associated muscles used in moving the jaw and neck. Similar to bruxism, stress is thought to be a contributing factor in TMD, causing jaw clenching, joint pain, headaches and even popping and clicking of the jaw.

Your Immune System Is Weakened During Times of Stress

Stress can actually compromise your immune system, increasing your risk of oral infections. Some people experience dry mouth, putting them at a higher risk of developing cavities. Others contract canker sores when stressed. Stress can even increase your chances of experiencing gum disease.

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene and Health, Even During Difficult Times

Keeping your oral health routine in tip-top shape, especially when you are stressed, is essential! Continue to practice good oral hygiene and you will protect your mouth from infection and decay.

For most people, it’s difficult to see the effects of stress on their bodies until something happens. That’s why it’s important to visit your dentist regularly, as he or she can detect the telltale signs of stress in your mouth and help you to remedy any problems.

We Want To Make Life Easier For You

When you’re under a lot of pressure or life gets tough, the last thing you think about is your oral health. We want to make things easier for you by helping you to avoid any oral health issues not only when you’re stressed out, but all the time!

Learning to deal with the inevitable stresses of life in a positive way will boost your oral and overall health. However, if you do feel you are experiencing any symptoms of bruxism, TMD or other oral health problems, call us and schedule an appointment. We have solutions for you!

Keeping our patients happy and healthy is our priority!

Image by Flickr user web4camguy used underCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

How to Make the Most of Your Dental Visits

FOR THE AVERAGE PERSON, you only see your dentist twice a year. While you may think going to the dentist simply requires you to show up and open wide, it’s important to take advantage of each and every dental visit!

We want to answer your questions and address your concerns. Here are some easy tips that will help you maximize your time with the dentist and make the most out of your biannual visits.

Make a Checklist of Questions and Concerns

It’s easy to forget about all the questions you’ve had about your oral health over the past couple of months when you’re sitting in the dental chair. Writing a checklist or note beforehand of things you’d like to ask us or talk to us about can help you remember! For example, have you experienced bleeding while brushing or any new pain or sensitivity? Are there any wounds in your mouth that haven’t healed normally? Let us know–we’re here to help!

You May Even Have a Fun Question Like This!

Keep Us Updated

You’ve probably heard of something called the mouth-body connection. It simply means that your oral health and overall health are strongly connected. This is why it is important that your dentist knows your complete medical history.

Alert your dentist if you are pregnant or have been diagnosed with diabetes or other illnesses since your last visit. Inform them of any new medications you are taking. Certain illnesses and medications can increase your risk of dental problems and disease. The more your dentist knows about your health, the more personalized your care will be.

Connect With Us On Social Media

We use social media to connect with our patients and facilitate one-on-one relationships with them! Since we only see some of you every six months, our social media tools–like our blog and Facebook page–help us stay in touch.  You can find us on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, too!

We try to provide you with relevant and easily accessible information on our social media platforms so you can be informed about both your dental health and our services. Like us on Facebook to learn more and feel free to comment or leave us a private message. Your relationship is important to us!

Thank You!

We can’t say it enough… Thank you, valued patients and friends! We love seeing you healthy and happy!

Image by Flickr user Antonio García-Melgares Hernández used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

From The Experts: Our Hygenist, Candice, Answers Your Questions About Mouthwash

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED if mouthwash is actually a necessary part of your dental hygiene routine? If you’d like to use mouthwash as a part of your daily oral care, it’s important to know what it is and what it does.

What Purpose Does Mouthwash Serve?

We learn at a very early age that daily brushing and flossing are necessary habits to clean our teeth and care for our gums. But you may begin to wonder: “What more can mouthwash do for me?”

Mouthwashes are used for more reasons than you may realize, some of those being:

  • to freshen breath
  • help prevent or control tooth decay
  • reduce plaque
  • prevent or reduce gingivitis (the early stage of gum disease)
  • reduce the speed that tartar (hardened plaque) forms on the teeth

Candice Answers Some Commonly Asked Questions!

Our expert, Candice, is here to tell us all about mouthwash and how it can prove to be helpful in our daily oral hygiene routines!

Who should use a mouthwash on a regular basis?

Most people can benefit from the daily use of an oral rinse or mouthwash.  Which rinse you need will depend on your specific needs.  A dental health care professional can help you determine if you need an oral rinse and which rinse is best for you.

Are there different types of oral rinses that serve different purposes? If so, what are they and what purpose do they serve? 

There are many different types of oral rinses:  Antimicrobial or antiplaque rinses are used to prevent or aid in the removal of bacteria and plaque ad to control tartar buildup. I personally recommend Crest Pro Health or Listerine Alcohol Free on a regular basis for adult patients that can use a little help in preventing or maintaining gum disease.   I recommend alcohol free because alcohol can exacerbate dry mouth which increases the incidence of decay.  Anticavity rinses are used to remineralize teeth to prevent decay.  Act is a good brand to use in cavity prevention, especially for children over the age of six years.  Breath freshening rinses are used to freshen the breath.  These are used only to make the breath smell better for a short period of time.  Other rinses can be recommended by your dental health care professional for Xerostomia (dry mouth) and oral lesions or sores.

What conditions warrant a prescribed oral rinse?

There are several conditions that warrant the need for a prescribed oral rinse.  Rinses that contain Chlorhexidine are prescribed frequently to aid in maintaining gum disease.  Rinses for sores in the mouth or throat may contain Benzydamine.  Patients that have severe decay or dry mouth may need a prescription strength Fluoride rinse.

Should I brush, floss, or rinse first?

I recommend to brush, floss then rinse.  Brushing can push debris between the teeth.  Flossing will help to eliminate that debris and then the rinse will to remove the loose particles.  There are some cases when your dental health care professional may recommended a different sequence.

Do you recommend any home-made rinses?

I do sometimes recommend home-made oral rinses.  Patients that have ulcers, cancer sores or lesions in their mouth caused by trauma can use salt water rinse.   About 4 ounces of very warm water and a teaspoon of salt is all you need.  Rinse for 30 seconds to a minute several times a day.

Is there any side effects oral rinses?

There are some side effects to oral rinses.  Rinses containing alcohol can cause dry mouth, burning tissue or soreness.  They can also be intoxicating if an excessive amount is swallowed or used by children.  Rinses containing Fluoride can be toxic if swallowed excessively.  Some antimicrobial rinses can cause staining on the teeth.

Is there anything else needed when deciding which brand of oral to buy over the counter?

When buying an over the counter oral rinse suggested by your dental professional always check the bottle for the ADA seal of approval.  The ADA will only approve a rinse that has been through vigorous testing to be sure it treats the condition that it claims to treat.  ADA does not gain financially from the products they give their seal of approval.  The seal is always earned, research and clinical trials to back up their claims.

We’re Here To Help You Improve Your Oral Health Care Routine!

One of the most important things to remember is that rinsing your mouth with mouthwash does not replace daily brushing and flossing! Mouthwash is meant to act as an aid to brushing and flossing, helping to freshen breath and fight bacteria. If you have any more questions about mouthwash, let us know!

Thank you for your trust in our practice!

Image by jchwhite used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.