8 Fun Facts about Flossing!

Flossing is an important part of a proper oral health routine, but most people would rather go shopping for groceries than floss! To help make flossing fun, we found some of our favorite facts about floss to share with you! 

1 – Flossing removes food debris and plaque that is wedged in the hard to reach areas between teeth. This plaque buildup can lead to cavities and cause bad breath. 

2 – To floss properly, you need to use between 18 and 20 inches of floss. This helps ensure that you have enough clean floss to use, and that it is firmly grasped while in use.

3 – Irregular flossing can lead to bleeding sensitive gums, but keep flossing! If you floss consistently, the bleeding will eventually subside.

4 – Did you know that you can buy floss in just about any flavor? The most popular flavors are mint, cinnamon, and bubblegum, but you can buy more obscure flavors like wasabi or even bacon!

5 – Brushing only cleans around 70% of the surface area of teeth, leaving the cracks and spaces between teeth uncleaned. Flossing helps scrub the remaining spots, and gets teeth 100% clean!

6 – The two main types of floss are monofilament, and multifilament floss. Monofilament floss is made of plastics and rubber, while multifilament is mainly composed of nylon and silk. 

7 – People with orthodontic devices like braces can floss too! Floss threaders and proxabrushes are great ways to helps people wearing braces remove food debris from between their teeth, and stuck in their brackets or orthodontic equipment.

8 – Waxed floss is easier to slide between closely spaced teeth. If your teeth are very close together, we suggest flossing with thin waxed floss. 

Visit Our Office 

Summertime is the perfect time to bring your family into our office for a quick oral checkup. We’ll evaluate the state of your children’s teeth, and provide a treatment plan that works for them and prepares them for a mouth-healthy school year. Call our office today to schedule your appointment.  

All About Spit: How Saliva Cleans Teeth

Spit may seem like a gross subject, but it’s actually quite fascinating! The truth is, saliva plays a pivotal role in cleaning teeth, and maintaining overall oral health, making it worthy of a further look.

What is Saliva?

Saliva is a liquid made of water, mucus, proteins, minerals, and an enzyme called amylase made by the salivary glands in the mouth, cheek, and tongue and lips. It is mostly comprised of water, which makes drinking water critical for maintaining adequate levels of saliva needed for oral health.

The Problem: Food Left over in the Mouth 

Food debris left on teeth can cause some serious problems for oral health. Sticky, starchy food like bread, sticky granola bars, chips, or gummy snacks will expose teeth to sugar for longer periods of time, and cause a sustained acid attack on tooth enamel. After tooth enamel has eroded, teeth become much more susceptible to decay and cavities. To prevent sustained acid attacks, food debris needs to be washed away from teeth and gums.

How Saliva Helps 

Saliva helps prevent cavities from forming, and aids in protecting against gum disease. It naturally cleans teeth by washing away bits of food debris and preventing a prolonged acid attack on tooth enamel. Saliva also contains antimicrobial agents that help combat bad bacteria that fuels cavities.  

Saliva also keeps the mouth at a healthy ph balance, and without adequate saliva, cavities and gum disease can occur much more easily.

Saliva is Mostly Water 

Saliva is 99% water, so drinking water is the best way to stimulate saliva production. The amount of water a person needs everyday varies, but eight, 8 oz glasses of water everyday is a good place to start. Talk to your doctor about how much water you and your family members need to stay adequately hydrated.

Routine Oral Care is Best 

Adequate saliva production is a great way to help keep teeth clean, but it is no substitute for proper, routine oral care. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that everyone brushes their teeth twice per day, for two minutes each session It can be tough to convince your child to brush for the full two minutes, but there are some fun ways to help them achieve better brushing results. Go Online to find tooth-brushing videos for children.

Call our office to schedule an appointment for your child so that we can checkup on the state of their mouth. The summer is a great time for a quick visit that won’t cut into their valuable class time.  

The Weird History of Fake Teeth

Dental history is a winding story of tools and gadgets that helped humanity get healthier teeth. But, what happened when someone in the ancient world lost a tooth too soon? Here’s the odd history of fake teeth.

Old Animal Teeth 

The oldest dentures ever recorded date back to around 2500 BC, and were found in Mexico. Excavators estimate that the ancient dentures were made of wolf’s teeth, specifically, wolf molars. However, they were unable to confirm the specific animal origin of the false teeth.

Early Italy 

The Etruscans are famous for their many advances in medicine and science, and they also applied their focus to dental care. Around 700 BC, the Etruscans figured out a better way to replace teeth: by using gold wire to hold false teeth in the place of missing ones. The fake teeth were often human, or animal teeth.

Japanese Wooden Dentures 

Many methods similar to the Etruscans’ were popular until the 16th century, when Japan invented wooden dentures. These wooden dentures were made by taking softened beeswax and making an impression of the person’s teeth. Then, an artisan would hand carve teeth to match the impression, and then set the new teeth on a soft mouth guard made of beeswax.

Porcelain Hits the Scene 

France was making huge advancements in dental technology in the 18th century. In 1728, Pierre Fauchard wrote about crafting false teeth from wire brackets and hand-carved animal bone. In 1774, Alexis Duchâteau made the first porcelain dentures. While they looked aesthetically pleasing, the pure porcelain was prone to chipping and cracking.

Improved Porcelain 

In 1820, a jeweler and goldsmith named Claudius Ash made a huge advancement in denture knowledge and craftsmanship. He decided to mount porcelain on 18-karat gold plates with gold springs and swivels. This reinforced the porcelain, and resulted in dentures that work well and looked natural. 

Modern False Teeth 

In the 20th century, acrylic and rubber compounds were introduced into the construction of false teeth. Modern dentures are constructed of a blend of acrylic resin, metal, and sometimes porcelain. Now, modern consumers can purchase either partial or complete dentures, depending upon what their dentist recommends. Most sets are so meticulously built that they are easily mistaken for real teeth.

How to Keep Your Smile Healthy on Vacation

Summer time vacations can be a great time to get away with your loved-ones for some crucial family time. But, a jam-packed Summer schedule can leave us with less time to take care of our teeth at home, which is why we’ve decided to help families keep their smiles healthy while on vacation! 

Drink Water

Water is one of the best tools available to keep teeth naturally clean, and maintain a healthy oral ph balanceIt also helps ensure that saliva is produced, which aids in ridding the mouth of damaging acids and food debris. Also, swishing water helps remove food caught in teeth that can lead to enamel loss and acid buildup. When travelling away from home, be sure that everyone drinks plenty of water. 

Make Time for Oral Care

Vacations can, surprisingly, be tight on time. When planning a vacation, schedule a 10 to15-minute window for the whole family to take care of their teeth, every morning and night. By blocking off a time in advance, you set clear expectations with your family that oral health time is serious, and everyone will plan on attending.  

Pack the Essentials! 

1 – Tooth Brush

Everyone should brush his or her teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time. When traveling, buy a small travel case or cover for the toothbrush to keep the head clean and the bristles in good shape while it is stowed away. 

2 – Tooth Paste

You can’t really brush your teeth without toothpaste, so toothpaste is a must for any traveler. Look for a travel-sized tube that can easily fit in a small storage bag, and check to make sure that the toothpaste contains has the ADA seal of approval.   

 Dental Floss

Brushing only cleans about 1/3 of the total surface area of teeth, which leaves most of the teeth unclean. Try to get everyone to floss once per day, and clean between every space in their teeth. You can purchase travel floss, or a set of floss picks for easy flossing on-the-go.  

4 – Xylitol Gum

Chewing gum that is sweetened with Xylitol is a great way to freshen breath, and help protect enamel after a meal. Gum sweetened with Xylitol can helps enamel by stimulating saliva production that clears teeth of residual acid from a recent meal.  

Visit Our Office

We love helping busy parents find solutions that keep their families’ oral health in focus. Schedule an appointment with our office so that we can thoroughly evaluate your child’s mouth, and provide them with oral health tips and treatment options that work to build a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.

Garden Goodies that Teeth Love!

 

June is hot, and the perfect time to add more garden vegetables to your mouth-healthy diet.  This month, try incorporating some of these gifts from the garden that teeth – and taste buds – love!

Cucumber 

Cucumbers are light and refreshing vegetables that are super versatile and tasty. They are packed full of water, which helps the body produce saliva that helps naturally keep teeth clean and bacteria-free. Additionally, the skin on cucumbers is packed with fiber, which naturally scrubs teeth and helps promote strong tooth enamel. We suggest cutting cucumbers in discs with the rind on, and serving them in salads, or using them as healthy dippers. 

Carrots 

A rabbit’s – and mouth’s – best friend is the carrot. That’s because carrots are absolute dental super foods. They are packed with vitamin K, which helps mineralize tooth enamel and fight tooth decay. They also contain a high amount of vitamin A, which promotes the healthy mucous in the mouth that coats cheeks and gums, which makes them less susceptible to infection and disease. You can bake, sauté, or eat carrots raw – they’re incredibly versatile and good to have around for a number of dishes. For the most benefits, eat carrots raw as a healthy snack. 

Bell Peppers

Beautiful vegetables that come in all colors and sizes, bell peppers are incredible gifts from the garden that make any dish sing – and they’re incredible vegetables for overall oral health. Bell peppers are packed with vitamin C, which is a strong antioxidant that helps heal gums, and fight gum inflammation. You can add raw sliced bell peppers to salads or incorporate them as fun finger foods. They are also excellent when sautéed together with other healthy greens.

Kale 

Kale may be one of the healthiest gifts that your garden has to offer. Iit can help you build strong teeth and bones. Kale is full of magnesium, which helps the body absorb calcium, which is a key building-block in teeth and enamel. Kale is also high in calcium and protein, both of which strengthen teeth. If you want to find a true dental super food, then try kale. You can place it in a salad, lightly bake it and make healthy chips, and it also makes an excellent addition to a fruit smoothie.

Healthy Diets Help Teeth  

Your oral health goals will be much easier to attain with proper dieting that focuses on incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables. Fundamental oral health processes depend upon adequate vitamins and minerals, and a well-rounded diet is the best way to give your body the nutrition it needs to stay healthy. 

If you’d like to discuss your family’s diet and how it affects your teeth, then schedule an appointment with our office. We’ll help you plan a diet that will help your family achieve their oral health goals.

The Hardest Substance in Your Body is Under Attack

Tooth enamel is like a shield around teeth that helps protect them from tooth decay and cavities. But, that shield is under attack every day, leaving your teeth vulnerable to unhealthy bacteria. Here’s what you need to know about tooth enamel, and how you can keep your family’s tooth enamel strong.

How Tooth Enamel Works 

Tooth enamel is the first line of defense your teeth have against plaque and cavities. It is the white, visible part of the tooth and it is also the hardest part of the human body. When enamel is damaged, it can appear discolored and leave the affected teeth very sensitive.

Tooth enamel protects teeth from decay and cavities. When it is damaged or destroyed, teeth and gums are more susceptible to oral health issues more serious disease.

What Hurts Tooth Enamel? 

Acid is the primary agent that destroys tooth enamel, and most of the damage is done by the foods and drinks that you consume. Soft drinks are the most frequent source of erosive acids, due to their high acidity and frequency of consumption. Other drinks like fruit juice, sports drinks and energy drinks can also damage your teeth through acidic erosion. Acidic fruits like oranges and grapefruit, and sticky carbohydrates like bread and crackers can also eat away at tooth enamel.

What Strengthens Tooth Enamel?

Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, but it needs your help to keep it strong in the fight against cavities. Luckily, there are certain steps you can take to keep your tooth enamel strong.  

Calcium

Calcium is a dental super mineral. That’s because it neutralizes damaging acids and is a great enamel protector. Try to add at least one dairy product to your meals to get the adequate amount of calcium. If your family does not consume dairy, try introducing some of these other calcium-rich foods: almond milk, canned fish, kale, soy yogurt or soybeans.

Water 

Water is not acidic, and does not harm tooth enamel. It also improves saliva production, which naturally cleans teeth of debris and restores the mouth back to a healthy ph balance. Try giving your family more water instead of sugary drinks to help keep their tooth enamel strong and healthy. 

Regular Brushing and Flossing 

Food debris left on teeth encourages bacteria growth that eats away at enamel and causes cavities. This is why it’s important to brush twice per day, for two minutes at a time, and floss once per day to clean debris from the hard-to-reach areas of teeth. 

Visit Our Office 

Unfortunately, cavities are the most common disease afflicting children in the United States, and almost completely preventable. You can help prevent cavities in your children by keeping their tooth enamel clean and strong.

Visit our office so that we can evaluate your child’s overall oral health. We check and document the state of your child’s tooth enamel as a part of our regular checkups, and we will help give you and your child the knowledge necessary to keep a healthy, lifelong smile. 

The Perfect Oral Health Routine

Consistency is key to getting a healthy, bright smile. By getting into the perfect oral health routine, you can get a radiant smile that you’re proud to share.  

Brush Regularly 

This one seems like a no brainer – but you must brush twice per day for two minutes at a time. When brushing, be sure to brush behind your teeth and pay attention to your back molars. Brush after you’ve had breakfast in the morning, and after dinner at night. This will help keep your teeth free of any unnecessary food debris that can lead to tooth decay. Rinse your mouth with clean water after lunch, which will also combat food debris build-up.  

Use the Right Toothpaste 

For more than 50 years, the American Dental Association has recommended using toothpaste containing fluoride to prevent cavities. Fluoridated toothpaste does an excellent job of cleaning teeth, but make sure that you spit all of it out and rinse your mouth thoroughly after brushing. When shopping for toothpaste, avoid abrasives, and look for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval on the packaging to ensure that you’re getting the best toothpaste available.  

Floss Daily 

Brushing your teeth only does so much, and you need to clean the sides of teeth, and the areas in between teeth. Make sure to floss below the gum line, where dental plaque can go unseen and unreached by toothbrushes. If left untreated, plaque buildup near the root of teeth can lead to gingivitis and tooth loss. It’s normal for gums to bleed at the beginning of a new flossing routine, but it should subside as flossing continues.

Keep Your Toothbrush Operating Properly 

A fully functional toothbrush is pivotal in the battle against plaque and cavities. If you’re unsure about the state of your toothbrush, check the bristles on the head. If the bristles are flayed outward, then it’s time to get a new toothbrush or replace your toothbrush head. An average toothbrush will last anywhere between 3 to 4 months. 

Schedule a Dental Checkup Every Six Months 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children visit the pediatric dentist every six months. This helps your child get ahead of any potential oral health concerns, and helps them learn more about maintaining a healthy mouth. 

Schedule an appointment with our office today so that we can evaluate your child’s oral health. A first-visit is always stress-free, which helps us introduce our dental team to your child without worry or anxious feelings. 

3 Healthy Mouth Habits You’re Probably Ignoring

There are some tried and true methods to get a healthy smile like avoiding sugar, brushing your teeth twice per day, and visiting your dentist twice per year. But, there are some more subtle actions that you can take to get a healthier smile that you may be ignoring.

1 – Floss Regularly 

The fact is that brushing doesn’t completely clean teeth, and flossing helps remove food debris from the hard-to-reach areas in between teeth and below the gum line. Try to floss once per day, and thoroughly clean each side of every tooth, and just below your gum line. There are a number of types of floss, and flossing devices that can help you get into a better flossing routine. Try to buy floss with the ADA seal of approval, so you know that you’re getting a thoroughly tested product.

When beginning a flossing routine, be gentle on your teeth and gums. If you haven’t flossed in a while, then your gums could be sensitive to a new flossing routine.

2  Have Water Handy 

Water promotes a healthy body, and it is the perfect drink for oral health! Water helps keep the mouth clean in a couple of important ways. First, it helps remove food debris from teeth, which helps prevent cavities and unhealthy plaque build-up. Water also stimulates saliva production, which naturally cleans teeth of damaging acids, and helps keep the mouth at a healthy ph level. 

Try keeping a bottle of water handy so that you can rinse after meals, and prevent your mouth from becoming dry. This will help your teeth stay cleaner while away from your house, and keep you properly hydrated! 

3 – Drop the Late-Night Snack 

We all love late-night snacks, but eating right before bed can harm your teeth – especially if you eat starchy or sugary snacks. Food adheres to the surface of teeth, and provides fuel for bad bacteria that cause cavities. If you after you’ve brushed your teeth, then you risk sleeping with food stuck to your teeth for an extended period of time. This can lead to unhealthy plaque buildup, and even tooth decay. 

Try not to eat any food after you have brushed your teeth before bed. If you must have something, then stick to water so you can keep your teeth free of debris and sugar while you sleep.

Is Your Family Mouth-Healthy? 

As an adult, it can be easy to get a healthy smile with dedication and some time management. But, it can be more difficult for children to care for their teeth and get a healthy mouth without help, and that’s where we come in. Our office will help your child get the smile they deserve by evaluating the state of their mouth, and teaching them about proper oral health practices.  

Visit us today for a stress-free first visit, and begin your child down the path to a healthier smile today.  

How to Baby-Proof Your House

New and expecting parents have a million things on their mind, all aimed at creating the healthiest environment possible for their young child. Today, we discuss how parents can baby-proof their house to prevent potential injuries to their babies and toddlers.

First: Get on Their Level to Identify Problems 

Before beginning, identify potential problems by getting on your hands and knees, and crawling around your house to observe it from your child’s perspective. Look for things that are within reach and look appealing to children. What looks tempting for babies? How could they use their surroundings to injure themselves? This exercise will help you identify areas in your home where you need to focus extra effort, like cabinets, drawers and other spaces that may house hazardous material. 

Protect Outlets 

Outlet covers help prevent children from shocking themselves by sticking a foreign object in the outlet. Unfortunately, a lot of outlet covers are small and easily swallowed by a toddler. Instead of outlet covers, we suggest replacing electrical outlet covers that have a sliding safety latch, which is far more difficult for a toddler to access. 

Secure Heavy Furniture and Fixtures 

According to the U.S. Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 16,000 children under the age of 5 are injured each year by television sets, bookcases, and other heavy pieces of furniture. To prevent this, we suggest securing your heavy furniture to the wall with bolts to prevent it from falling over. Also, move heavy items away from the edges of furniture pieces so that your toddler doesn’t pull something down on herself. Additionally, always put heavier things in the bottom shelves or drawers to make your furniture less top-heavy.

Prevent Poisoning 

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, more than 1.2 million possible poisonings of children under age 5 were reported in 2009. This makes it imperative that parents store all of their hazardous chemicals out of reach of their children in a secure area. Additionally, parents should keep medications well out of reach of their young children, and dispose of any old medication. Also, watch out for carbon monoxide by installing carbon detectors, which will alert you if your home has unsafe carbon monoxide levels. 

Be prepared for a potential poisoning by having the National Poison Control Center’s number accessible: 800.222.1222.

Practice Water Safety 

Accidental drowning is the number one cause of death of children between the ages of 1 – 4, and most of these unfortunate accidents occur inside the home, not at the pool.  Most in-house accidents involve babies and bathtubs, which make it critical that parents monitor supervise their children in the bathroom, and NEVER leave them unattended near a pool of water. Buckets, bathtubs, and even toilets are dangerous to toddlers, so parents must closely supervise their children around water. 

Protect Their Teeth 

It’s important that parents establish a dental home for their child by their first birthday. This way, a pediatric dentist can help guide your family to oral health success, and offer strategies for protecting your young child’s teeth. 

We would love to be your dental home! Schedule a visit with our office today so that we can evaluate the state of your child’s teeth, and begin them down the path to a healthy smile.

How to Make a Fast food Trip Mouth-Healthy

As a parent, time is often in limited supply. That can lead you to foregoing making a meal, and instead choosing fast food to fuel your family. If you MUST eat fast food, then try making the meal a little healthier with these tips.

Choose Your Drink with Care 

A place where sugar loves to hide is in the beverages that we consume everyday.  When grabbing a quick bite to eat, don’t go for a soda or carbonated drink – which are packed with sugar and acid that can damage and erode tooth enamel. Instead, get a bottle of water or a small bottle of milk, both of which are healthy for teeth.

Try a Side other than Fries 

Listen, everybody loves fries, we all know that. Unfortunately, fries are starchy snacks, which can stick to teeth after meal time has ended. Try looking for fresh fruit sides, or a side salad when choosing a fast food option. Many fast food places have sides that are far healthier than fries.

Avoid Meals with Buns 

Most fast food burgers are served between two generic buns made up of white bread. Unfortunately, white bread is a sticky starch that can stay on teeth long after it is consumed. This can feed bad bacteria on teeth, and lead to tooth decay and cavities. When getting a quick meal, try finding one that doesn’t include a bun.

Try a Salad 

Salads have incredible health benefits, but are also very healthy for teeth! That’s because they’re packed with fresh greens that contain a lot of fiber, which naturally scrubs teeth as it is chewed. Additionally, you can add cheese to a salad for protein and calcium, both of which strengthen teeth! 

Say “No” to the Post Meal Shake 

Getting fast food is a treat for most people, and part that involves treating oneself to a shake for dessert. We advise that you avoid shakes or sugary sweets, and instead choose fresh fruit for dessert. Shakes are loaded with sugar, and often contain more than one person should eat in any given day. Fresh fruit, on the other hand, contains natural sugar and provides more overall nutritional value.

Prepare Your Own Meals 

The best way to get a mouth-healthy meal is by preparing your lunch in advance, and the same goes for children. If you let your children purchase their lunch at school, then they aren’t likely to get a well-rounded nutritional meal. Try making their lunch for them and giving them mouth healthy foods like Apples, Greek yogurt, cheese, nuts like almonds or cashews, and veggies like carrots or celery.