Dental Tips Blog

Jan
9

Flossing Alternatives For Kids

It’s bad enough trying to make time to floss your own teeth. How can you get your kids started on this smile-healthy habit?

Fortunately, there are some easier options if your child can’t yet manage to handle a piece of regular floss. 

Floss Picks

A small plastic handle has a piece of floss strung across the u-shaped frame at one end. This way, your child can use just one hand to scoot the floss between teeth. Some flossers are choking hazards, so check with your child’s dentist about an age-appropriate device.

Water Flosser

What if you have a stubborn teen who can’t be bothered with removing plaque from between their teeth? Ask them if they’d give floss-free flossing a try.

There are many different models of at-home water flossers on the market. These devices work by shooting a thin stream of water out of a toothbrush-like wand. Aiming the water stream between teeth and angling it along the gum line will help your son or daughter to flush away harmful plaque. There are also shower versions, to keep the mess factor down.

Orthodontic Flosser

This tool is great for kids and adults alike with braces. It looks like a floss pick but the end is a bit different. It’s designed so you can slide one end of the thread under the wire, single-handedly. An orthodontic flosser might be found by different names, but they all make flossing a snap if your child has braces. Be sure to ask your orthodontist about them!

Schedule your child’s regular dental checkup to make sure their smiles are healthy and bright! While there, ask your dentist about flossing alternatives that are right for your son or daughter.

Posted on behalf of:
Sugar Creek Family Dental
1165 Gravois Rd. Suite 140
Fenton, MO 63026
(636) 255-8325

Jan
9

What Happens During A Dental Cleaning

An hour might seem like a long time to clean your teeth when brushing takes only two minutes. You’ve been going to the same office for years – why can’t they make this any faster?

Well, not all of the appointment is cleaning, but it IS all important.

Getting Ready

Before your hygienist can start working on your teeth, he or she needs to review your health history. You’ll be asked all sorts of questions about any changes in your health or medications. You might not realize that some changes can make it unsafe to have dental treatment. The hygienist wants to make sure you’re ready for any procedure scheduled that day.

Checking the Teeth

Your dental hygienist is going to “poke around” at your teeth for a minute. He or she will probably ask questions as they do so. They’re just looking for changes in your smile such as:

  • Signs of fracture and decay
  • How the gums look
  • Tooth wear
  • Damage to fillings and restorations

You might need some diagnostic imaging with x-rays or cavity-detecting lasers. This is how dental professionals get an initial idea of what’s going on with your smile.

The Actual Cleaning

Depending on what your teeth need, you might experience:

  • Scaling with hand instruments
  • Ultrasonic scaling and irrigation
  • Polishing
  • Flossing
  • Rinsing

This part can take more or less time depending on how many teeth you have and how much buildup is on them.

A basic teeth cleaning appointment varies by office, hygienist, and your individual needs. But one thing is for sure: dental cleanings are important! Contact your local dental office to schedule yours every six months.

Posted on behalf of:
Mundo Dentistry
3463 US-21 #101
Fort Mill, SC 29715
(704) 825-2018

Nov
30

Dental Sealants – Who Needs Them?

Dental sealants are commonly recommended for kids once their adult molars come in. You might wonder why they’re such a big deal – are there any benefit to getting them?

How Dental Sealants Work

You can compare the surface of a molar to a 3D map of a mountain range. Like a network of hills and valleys, teeth have this pattern so that they fit together in a way that lets you chew food efficiently.

Often times, the “valleys” on teeth are too deep for toothbrush bristles to clean. These are the areas where cavity-causing bacteria and acids can hide out.

A sealant is a thin resin seal that is painted onto the surface of molars. The material fills in the extra depth of the “valleys,” sealing out bacteria and creating a shallower surface that your toothbrush can keep clean.

Why Sealants Are Important for Kids

Kids aren’t always best about remembering to brush. It takes time for them to appreciate the need for good oral hygiene and make it a habit. To keep up with those times they slack off, sealants protect the newly-erupted adult teeth.

You only get one set of adult teeth. We want to guarantee those teeth survive childhood and last long into adulthood! Sealants can help.

And Adult Teeth?

Definitely not a good idea to seal in decay! A sealant is NOT a filling. If a tooth has decay or an existing filling, it probably won’t qualify for a sealant.

if you have a tooth (or teeth) with deep grooves and no signs of decay, it wouldn’t hurt to get sealants to keep it healthy in the future.

Ask your dentist about how dental sealants can benefit you and your family.

Posted on behalf of:
Salt Run Family Dentistry
700 Anastasia Blvd
St. Augustine, FL 32080

Nov
24

How Sports Drinks Affect Kids’ Teeth

This summer, your children will hopefully be enjoying time outdoors. Running around in the heat for sports practice or just for fun works up a powerful thirst.

Because these drinks are meant to rehydrate the body, they might seem like a healthier option than soda. But is that true?

What’s in the Drink?

You might be surprised to learn that sports drinks commonly contain ingredients that are even more harmful than those found in soda. These include sugar and citric acid.

Citric acid will wear down the surface of your kids’ teeth. And the sugar provides fuel to acid-producing, cavity-causing bacteria. This combination is a recipe for cavities!

To Brush or Not to Brush…

Will it help if your kid brushes after having a sports drink?

NO! Brushing immediately afterwards will only spread the acid around to other teeth and wear down the enamel even more.

Rinsing with water is a good idea. But wait about a half hour or so before brushing. This gives your mouth a chance to balance out its acid levels and lets saliva naturally reinforce tooth enamel.

Reach for Water!

The safest bet for your family is plain water. Sports drinks are intended to be beneficial in occasional cases of extreme dehydration where vital electrolytes and minerals are lost. In most instances of physical exercise, pure water is all that’s needed to safely rehydrate.

Water is also perfectly safe for your kids’ teeth!

Make water readily available to your kids this summer as they make the most of long sunny days. Don’t forget to schedule a visit to your local dentist to make sure the kids’ smiles are healthy for the season!

Posted on behalf of:
Springfield Lorton Dental Group
5419-C Backlick Rd
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 256-8554

Sep
18

Why is Dental Plaque So Bad?

Brush, floss, rinse your plaque away. It’s all about the plaque. Plaque, plaque, plaque… What is this stuff, anyway, and why does your dentist make such a fuss over it?

Understanding what dental plaque is and the risk it poses to your smile is critical to keeping your teeth and gums healthy for life.

It’s Not Just From Food

Some people are under the impression that dental plaque is just the buildup that collects from the food you chew. In reality, food is only part of the equation. Dental plaque starts with the fluids that your mouth naturally produces. Your teeth need moisture to stay clean and comfortable.

There are millions upon millions of bacteria that thrive in every person’s mouth. Bacteria grow and multiply in clusters. They even produce a slime of their own to protect their colonies. This slimy layer of bacteria clings to teeth and gums and mixes with debris from food you eat. This is dental plaque!

The Danger of Dental Plaque

Dental plaque – with all its oodles of bacteria – is an irritant to your gums. It’s never a great thing to leave it on your teeth for long! The biofilm develops within hours after brushing your teeth and can begin causing gum inflammation within days, if not removed.

Plaque is stickier if it has a high carbohydrate content. Sweet foods stick around and provide added fuel to the acid-producing bacteria. This acid (in addition to acid found in foods) wears enamel and causes cavities.

What You Can Do

Fight the plaque! Yes, we’re back at it again…

Brushing after every meal is ideal for reducing carbohydrates in your plaque. Daily flossing is a must! Antimicrobial mouthwashes can also slow down plaque formation, but don’t give up flossing completely.

Talk with your local dentist or hygienist for more tips on plaque control.

Posted on behalf of:
Cane Bay Family Dentistry
1724 State Rd #4D
Summerville, SC 29483
(843) 376-4157

Jun
22

Why is Sugar Bad for Teeth?

You might have believed that sugar causes cavities, but there is more to the story. Understanding just how sugar harms teeth can help you to make better decisions for the health of your smile.

Acids Compromise Enamel

Sugar is acidic and it weakens the enamel through frequent exposure. The softened enamel is then opened up to developing decay. Specific cavity-causing bacteria are what cause the actual decay. The bacteria are common to all humans because we share them with our family members.

How Cavity Germs Work

The bacteria hide out in hard-to-reach spaces between teeth and in the grooves of chewing surfaces. What do these bacteria like to eat?

You guessed it – sugar! The germs thrive on carbohydrates you eat and then produce an acid waste product that also breaks down tooth enamel.

Control Bacteria Levels

You can help prevent cavities by reducing the amount of bacteria on your teeth. Regular flossing and brushing are essential to keeping the harmful germs at bay, and fluoride use will strengthen your enamel against the effects of acid.

Limit the Effects of Sugar

Processed products and foods containing refined carbohydrates like cookies, cake, bagels, and crackers will also leave lingering sugar acids in your mouth. Sweetened drinks like soda, juice, and sports drinks contain acids and liquid sugars, which are highly damaging to teeth.

More important than how much sugar you eat is how long your teeth are exposed to that sugar. Sucking on one big lollipop for hours is more harmful to your teeth than eating a whole bowl of candy in five minutes!

Get on top of your cavity risk and the latest facts about tooth decay prevention by visiting your local dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Group Health Dental
230 W 41st St
New York, NY 10036
(212) 398-9690

Jun
22

The Real Danger of Dental Plaque and How to Remove It

You hear about dental plaque all the time in advertisements for toothpaste and mouthwash. Just what is plaque, why do you need to efficiently get rid of it, and how can you do so?

Learning these answers can make all the difference in the state of your dental health.

How a Biofilm Forms

Dental plaque is a biofilm. It occurs naturally and is made up of living things. It’s essentially a combination of food debris, natural fluids produced by your mouth, and naturally occurring bacteria. Everyone has plaque! It forms within hours after brushing and is invisible until it significantly accumulates. The longer it stays undisturbed, the more harmful bacteria gather.

Plaque – Why Is It Bad?

When allowed to grow uninterrupted, the biofilm in plaque multiply and live safely within the matrix, or fluids, of the plaque. The presence of the bacteria is what triggers an inflammatory reaction in the gums.

Have you ever had a splinter in your finger? The wound gets swollen and inflamed because your body is reacting to remove the unwelcome germs. Your gums respond similarly to the bad bacteria in plaque.

This inflammation is what makes your gums puffy, sensitive, and prone to bleeding when brushed or flossed. This happens because small blood vessels in your gums have expanded. This inflammation is called gingivitis.

What You Can Do

Control plaque formation by:

  • Regular brushing and flossing
  • Use of an antimicrobial rinse
  • Having regular professional dental cleanings

Visiting your dentist is imperative to make sure your gum health is stable. If your current routine of oral care needs adjusting, then the team at your local dental office will give you the best personalized recommendations. Call your dentist today!

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. David Kurtzman D.D.S.
611 Campbell Hill St. NW #101
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 980-6336

Mar
13

Early Cavity Detection With DIAGNOdent

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if cavities could be discovered before they became a complicated problem requiring invasive treatment to preserve the tooth? So often, your teeth have questionable stained or grooved areas. Places that might be the beginning of a cavity or might not. Fortunately, there’s a new diagnostic tool that identifies cavities accurately and early, reducing the occurrence of fillings.

What Is DIAGNOdent?

DIAGNOdent is a laser that, your dentist, can use to quickly and accurately detect cavities. The uses fluoresce, alerting your dentist to a cavity that’s just beginning to form. This early detection allows minimal therapy to be used to remedy the tooth, sometimes with drill-free fillings or even a sealant.

Why Use DIAGNOdent?

Regular checkups are important to maintain good oral health. Your checkup will include a thorough dental exam, dental cleaning and x-rays. Your checkup combined with DIAGNOdent, can help you enjoy a beautiful, healthy smile much longer. So why choose early cavity detection by laser?

  • Did you know that as much as 50% of tooth decay is missed by conventional techniques, due to its extremely small size? DIAGNOdent offers superior technology to catch even the tiniest cavity.
  • Early detection of cavities means less invasive, and more affordable treatments to restore your tooth.
  • It minimizes the need for additional x-rays in some areas.
  • This pen-like device appears non-threatening for younger patients and is pain free.

With its many advantages, DIAGNOdent is gaining popularity as the preferred method for cavity detection. Next time you visit your dentist, ask about the advantages of DIAGNOdent! Call today to schedule an appointment.

Posted on behalf of:
Park South Dentistry
30 Central Park S #13C
New York, NY 10019
(212) 355-2000

Dec
8

Choosing an Electric Toothbrush

If you’re looking to invest in an electric toothbrush for you or your family members, there are a few things to keep in mind before your purchase.

Choose One That is Gentle

Some electric toothbrushes are like jackhammers, with stiff bristles and aggressive movements that can cause gum recession, toothbrush abrasion, and irritation. Higher quality brushes will have gentle movements that stimulate gum tissue as well as provide efficient plaque removal. 

How Long Do You Plan on Using It?

Do you want to be able to recharge your brush or replace the brush heads? Find a model that is easily available and is a proven brand that has a long track record for quality and available replacement parts. If you want something more affordable then you can purchase a disposable electric brush for 6 or 7 dollars to try out before a larger investment.  

You Get What You Pay For

Higher quality, efficient toothbrushes aren’t going to come free. If you’re only paying $5 for an electric brush, you won’t be getting the results of a $75 brush. Higher end brushes typically use sonic vibration that allows more efficient bacteria and stain removal than other types of brushes do.

Use It Correctly

When you’re brushing with an electric brush, you should let the brush do all of the work. Simply hold the brush gently toward the teeth and gum tissue and let it vibrate against the gums and enamel. Do not apply force, as this will prevent vibration and will only allow an opportunity for more tissue irritation.

Are you still unsure of what brush to invest in? Ask your dentist for their opinion on 2 or 3 brands for you to choose from to make the decision a little easier!

Posted on behalf of:
Green Dental of Alexandria
1725 Duke St
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 549-1725

Dec
8

Simple Tips to Limit Plaque Buildup

Some of us build up more plaque than others, even if we brush frequently and eat a balanced diet. Our bodies may metabolize things more quickly than others, making it where we battle heavy plaque accumulation on a daily basis. If this sounds like you, here are a few things to try to limit or manage your buildup more effectively:

Consider Flossing Alternatives

Cleaning between your teeth is one of the most important things you do every day, but a lot of people really dislike flossing. Experiment with different types of flossers, floss picks, or try a water flosser. See which method is easiest for you to work into your daily routine rather than not trying anything at all. Some methods like water flossing are even more efficient than traditional floss! 

Chew Xylitol Gum

Xylitol is a 5-carbon sugar that acts differently than other types of sugars. It actually prevents plaque from being able to accumulate or building up on the surface of the teeth. Some popular brands of gum are sweetened with xylitol and say so on the front of the packaging (just be sure to check, since not all “sugar free” gums contain xylitol.) Chewing a piece between meals or after snacks can improve your breath and prevent buildup from forming across your smile. 

Drink Water Between Meals

What you drink can be adding to the plaque buildup that your mouth experiences during the day. Drinking coffee, tea, sodas or sports drinks between meals can contribute to the development of buildup on your teeth. Water is a natural lubricant that cleanses your mouth as you drink it and won’t add to your risk of cavities or plaque. Drink up!

Posted on behalf of:
Toothmasters
139 Aliant Pkwy
Alexander City, AL 35010
(256) 329-8401

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