What are Dental Sealants and How do They Help Teeth?

Dental sealants are very common tool that dentists use to help “seal teeth off” and prevent cavities. Here’s all you need to know about dental sealants, and about how they help teeth.

How do Dental Sealants Work?

Food left on teeth fuels bad bacteria that cause cavities by giving them the nutrition they need to thrive. Molars are particularly susceptible to cavities because the naturally occurring pit can more easily trap food particles than other teeth. Dental sealants work to prevent cavities by sealing pits and fissures that naturally occur in molars. Sealants “seal off” the pit and fissure to prevent cavities and tooth decay from worsening and keep the tooth healthy.

Who can get Dental Sealants?

Most dental sealants are applied to children as their adult molars begin to erupt, between the ages of 6 and 12. Sealants are often applied as a preventative measure to keep food particles out of the pit and fissures in molars. Adults can have sealants applied, but it is not common. Most adults that get sealants do so because their dentist has deemed that their teeth are more susceptible to cavities than normal.

What Kinds of Sealants are Popular?

Dental sealants are primarily made of a composite liquid resin that is then cured by light or chemical exposure to adhere to the tooth. Most sealants contain a small, trace amount of BPA, but not nearly enough to cause any harm. In fact, you get more exposure to BPA by touching a receipt or handling makeup powder than dental sealants.

How Long do Dental Sealants Last?

With proper oral care, dental sealants can effectively last for up to 10 years. During dental checkups, your child’s pediatric dentist will inspect their sealants to see if they are holding up well and working properly. If it is not in working condition, the dentist will replace the dental sealant as needed.

Do Dental Sealants Hurt?

Applying sealants is a quick and painless process. There is no drilling or scraping involved. Typically, a dentist will clean the tooth first then apply a gel-bonding agent to it. Then, the dentist will apply the sealant and cure it with a special blue light, or chemical rinse.  After the bonding is dry, the dentist will then clean any residue left on the tooth, and the procedure is done!

Visit Our Office

Does your child have sensitive teeth? If so, they may need dental sealants. You can help your child stay on top of their oral health by scheduling regular dental visits in our office every six months.

Did the Ancient Egyptians have Dentists?

Oral health practices stretch back into early human history. Today, we look at how the ancient Egyptians took care of their teeth and discuss some of the contributions they’ve made to dental care.

The First Dentist

Oral care in Egypt dates back to 2000 B.C., and the ancient Egyptians were way ahead of their time in terms of oral care and procedures. The first dentist on record is known as “Hesy-Ra,” who held the title of “Great One of the Dentists.” But, Hesy-Ra wasn’t alone in his dental practice, and there are records indicating that 9 more people were trained and served as dentists in ancient Egypt.

A Poor Diet That was Hard on Teeth

The ancient Egyptians didn’t have the luxury of a well-developed diet and subsisted on a lot of raw fruits and vegetables, as well as starchy breads. Researchers have studied the teeth of mummified Egyptians and found a lot of hard wear and tear, which suggest a coarse diet that contained a lot of tough textures that were hard on teeth.

Ancient Egypt, Advanced Oral Care

Dentists were viewed as important health providers, and helped Egyptians fight a number of oral ailments, some of which were quite serious. Dentists treated loose teeth by filling them with an herbal mixture of honey and barley, and they also drank a number of different mouth washes that helped them fight breath. Further, ancient Egyptian dentists performed more sophisticated operations and real surgery like jaw placements, surgical removal of abscesses, and partial removal of damaged pieces of gum. Far from simply removing food from teeth, the dentists of ancient Egypt provided meaningful contributions to oral health knowledge and helped influence some of our most popular and necessary dental procedures we use today.

The First Dental Bridges

The ancient Egyptians are credited with inventing and popularizing the first dental bridges, which helped people replace adult teeth that were lost. Egyptian dentists accomplished tooth replacement by threading thin gold wires around and through a replacement tooth, and then attaching the wires to nearby teeth in the mouth. After wires, Egyptian dentist experimented with making thicker, gold-plated mouth guard type devices to hold teeth in, and these pieces were actually seen as a symbol of wealth.

Oral Care Has Been Around for a Long Time

Ancient Egypt is just one of many places and cultures that practices oral healthcare, but they are one of the most advanced in terms of the procedures they performed, and the quality of their work has lasted long enough for today’s researchers to observe.

Which Mouthwash is Right for My Children?

We get many questions in our office about the best ways to help children get a healthy smile that last a lifetime. Today, we’re going to cover some key point about mouthwash, and how different types offer different benefits.

Mouthwash is Versatile and Diverse

First, you have to narrow down what you’re helping your child accomplish by adding mouthwash into their oral care routine. Are you looking to clear up bad breath? Do you want to help reduce tooth decay or strengthen enamel? If you know what you want to get from a mouthwash, then you’ll be better prepared to choose the right one for your child.

Cosmetic Mouthwash

There are two types of mouthwashes available: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwash gives your mouth a clean, pleasant taste and reduces bad breath. However, cosmetic mouthwash treats the symptoms of bad breath, and acts as more of a masking agent that overcomes bad breath.

Therapeutic Mouthwash

Therapeutic mouthwash helps treat tooth decay, prevent gingivitis and reduces plaque buildup. Therapeutic mouthwash may not freshen your breath as well as cosmetic mouthwash, but it will help fight the causes of bad breath. Before using any therapeutic mouthwash, or incorporating it into your children’s oral health routine, call our office and schedule an appointment.

Children’s Mouthwash?

There are many mouthwashes specifically designed for children to use, and most of them do not contain any alcohol. Mouthwash for children is usually therapeutic and takes care of bad breath. These mouthwashes also come in kid-friendly flavors, and feature many of their favorite cartoon characters and superheroes. Children’s mouthwash helps fight cavities, and can help improve enamel strength.

When buying your child‘s mouthwash, be sure that the product contains the ADA seal of approval. This will help you find a mouthwash that has been rigorously tested and approved by a legitimate association that advocates for oral health.

When Can Children Use Mouthwash?

Mouthwash should not be used by children ages six and under. However, in some instances mouthwash may be prescribed for a child under the age of six, but that only occurs in special cases.

Consult Our Office

Mouthwash can be an effective tool for any person to add to their oral health care routine. If you have any questions about mouthwash, and the type that’s right for your child, then ask us during your next visit.

Bruxism can Cause Major Tooth Damage – but It can be Beat

You’ve heard of cavities and tooth decay, but there’s a more subtle oral health ailment afflicting nearly 30% of children today – bruxism. Here’s what parents need to know about the problem, and how they can help their children beat it.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is more commonly known as teeth-grinding, and a surprising number of children suffer from it – around 3 in 10. Teeth-grinding usually occurs while children are asleep, and it can become a dental problem if left unchecked. Regular teeth-grinding can wear down tooth enamel, reinforce improper bite patterns, and leave teeth more susceptible to cavities and decay.

What Causes Bruxism?

Bruxism can be caused by a number of external factors, including stress, anxiety, hyperactivity, and reaction to medication. Some children grind their teeth to relieve anxiety, and most are often unaware of it until the next morning.

Symptoms of Bruxism

Bruxism can cause headaches, earaches, facial pain and bite and jaw problems. Continual teeth-grinding can also lead to tooth enamel loss, and leave teeth more susceptible to cavities and tooth decay. Those suffering from bruxism will often report jaw and tooth pain, particularly in the back molar area.

How to Treat Bruxism

Since the root of bruxism is varied, it can be hard to locate the exact cause. If your child is particularly stressed or anxious, try to decrease their stress right before bed by doing some stretching, or yoga. Or, encourage them to take a relaxing shower, or hot bath to help them ease into bedtime.

If your child’s teeth-grinding is ongoing, then their dentist may prescribe a night guard to protect their teeth and mouth. A night guard helps ease the pain of tooth grinding, and protects tooth enamel from being worn away.

Does Your Child Have Bruxism?

If you’re concerned that your child has bruxism, then visit our office. A trained dentist will evaluate your child’s mouth to determine if they suffer from bruxism, and provide a treatment plan based upon their findings. Untreated bruxism can harm your child’s oral health, and cause them to lose sleep, and negatively affect their performance at school.

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.