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Dental Care and Your Kids, a How-to Guide

Dental Care and Your Kids, a How-to Guide

When it comes to keeping your kids happy and healthy, dental care is a critical part of the process. Understanding that children’s baby teeth need outstanding care is the first step to promoting good dental habits that will last a lifetime.

Unfortunately, while many parents want to care properly for their children’s teeth, they just aren’t sure how to do it. This leads to misunderstandings that can damage dental habits down the road.

Ideally, good childhood dental care should start as soon as a child’s first baby teeth erupt, and should continue building from there. When you take this approach, it’s easier to build healthy dental habits, and ensure that kids and parents know how to care for young teeth at every phase of life. Here’s your guide to helping your kids keep their mouths healthy, starting right now:

Kids and Cavities: What Parents Need to Know

The first thing parents think of when they think of children’s dental health is likely cavities. While general dental decay rates have been decreasing for many years, there’s been a recent increase in dental disease among children. According to research conducted by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, overall dental decay in children ages 2 to 11 decreased between the 1970s in the mid-1990s.

However, from the 1990s to 2004 there has been a significant increase in dental decay among children of this age group. Keep in mind that dental health in children is linked closely to income, race, and access to dental care. Luckily, all parents can take proactive steps to help cut down on dental decay among children. While it’s true that cavities are increasing, there are steps parents can take to banish them from their own households.

Preventing Cavities and Dental Decay

Want to prevent cavities in your children? The first step is to ensure comprehensive, ongoing dental visits. Ideally, a child’s first visit to the dentist should occur within six months of the first tooth erupting in the mouth. While many parents have some anxiety about the first dental visit, it’s important to remember that you can hold your baby on your lap while the dentist examines him or her. This reduces Dental anxiety in both parents and children and allows the dentist to check the child’s mouth for signs of decay. As the child grows up, Dental Care Providers will be able to work with you to establish healthy habits for preventing dental decay, tooth loss, and other dental problems.

Modeling Healthy Dental Habits

While ensuring your child sees the dentist regularly is an important step on the road to prevention, it’s also essential to remember that you are the first role model your child has when it comes to dental health.

With this in mind, make good habits the priority in your household. Make it a point of brushing and flossing your teeth before bed with your children, and do what you can to make dental care fun.

For example, you may choose to invest in a toothpaste that leaves color on the teeth for the child to brush off, or for a mouthwash that features their favorite cartoon character. With children, incentivization is critical, and you may consider offering rewards for good dental habits or positive dental checkups. No matter what you have to do, remember that establishing healthy dental habits at a young age is the best way to ensure your child’s oral health throughout their life.

Bad Habits to Avoid

Good dental health is about what you do as much as it is what you don’t do. With that in mind, avoid these dental habits in your household:

  • Not brushing. Whatever you do, don’t skip the brush sessions at night. Good dental hygiene is a habit, and refusing to skip late-night brush sessions is one of the best ways to support this habit. With this in mind, be sure to incentivize brushing every night. If you see a child skipping brushing his or her teeth, remind them gently and offer an incentive for getting the job done.

 

  • Skipping dental visits. It’s impossible to maintain good oral hygiene if you’re not seeing the dentist on a regular basis. With this in mind prioritize Dental visits in your household. Even if you don’t understand completely how to care for your children’s teeth on your own, your dentist will be able to help you devise a plan for good oral hygiene that lasts a lifetime. What’s more, don’t be afraid to reach out to your dentist with dental questions between visits. They’re happy to help you establish good habits.

 

  • Eating sugary snacks. Sugary and sticky snacks can have a detrimental impact on the teeth. With this in mind, limit. Instead, focus on nutritional and delicious items like fruits, leafy greens, and more.

 

  • Opening things with the teeth. When a child gets a new toy, it’s understandable for excitement to take over. If that translates into your child ripping into the plastic with his or her teeth, though, there could be a serious issue. While the teeth are comprised of very strong biological material, they’re not a substitute for scissors, and children are likely to break, chip, or crack their baby or adult teeth if they start opening items with their teeth or biting into things they otherwise should not.

Good Dental Hygiene Starts Here

Dental hygiene is a family affair, and it’s much easier to promote good dental habits and kids if you model good dental habits yourselves. This is especially important when you have young kids around.

Because children don’t typically take charge of their own dental hygiene without learning it from adults, it’s essential to model good habits early and give kids the information they need to understand how best to care for their teeth.

By starting when children are young, you can create an environment of dental responsibility and health in your home.

Don’t forget the dentist are your best outlet and source of information when it comes to sharing for your children’s dental health. Reach out with questions you may have, or request for assistance on a regular basis. Your dentist will be happy to help you and ensure that you get what you need to care for your children’s teeth starting early.

Our Team Will be Your Partner in Childhood Dental Health

Want additional help keeping your children’s’ teeth healthy? Have questions that need professional answers? Don’t hesitate to contact our team today! We’re here to help you ensure good dental health for your kids today and in the future.

6 Tips to Ease Your Child’s Fear of the Dentist

6 Tips to Ease Your Child’s Fear of the Dentist

If your child is afraid of the dentist, you’re not alone. Many children experience some degree of “dental phobia,” and it makes sense! Given the bright lights and strange instruments in the dental office, it’s easy to understand why kids can find the experience so scary. With a little commitment and dedication, though, you can help your kids overcome their fear of the dentist.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Dental Fads you Should Avoid

Dental Fads you Should Avoid

How much time do you spend thinking about your teeth? If you’re like most people, the answer is “quite a bit.” With that in mind, you probably won’t be surprised by how many dental fads are out there. After all, almost everyone wants a whiter, stronger, more beautiful smile, and dental fads are the things that so often promise this exact outcome.

While dental fads may seem like they’re dedicated to improving your dental health and wellness and promoting a stronger, happier mouth, they can be very damaging and may do harm to your dental health overall.

With this in mind, we’re here to talk about why avoiding dental fads is so essential, and what you can do to care for your teeth, instead.

Let’s dive in.

Why Dental Fads are Bad

Wondering what’s wrong with dental fads, when we get down to it? The answer is simple: lots.

Like diet and beauty fads, dental fads often aren’t based on real information or science. This means that you may be putting your teeth at risk when you jump aboard a new dental fad. As such, following these guidelines without researching them independently can create a situation where you’re struggling to protect your teeth, or where you wind up accidentally harming their health and wellbeing.

4 Dental Fads to Avoid at all Costs

Dental Fads you Should Avoid

Oral care has evolved significantly in recent years. That evolution has created many prominent dental fads. Unfortunately, not all of these are good for your teeth. With this in mind, here are a few dental fads to avoid altogether, if you want your teeth to be as healthy as possible:

1. Brushing with Baking Soda and Lemon Juice

Brushing With Baking Soda and Lemon Juice

While you could brush with a whitening toothpaste, many people have ditched those formulas in recent years, in favor of what they claim is an all-natural whitening solution: lemon juice and baking soda.

Although each of these ingredients has been celebrated for their supposed whitening abilities, each can be very damaging for your teeth. Lemon juice, for instance, is a very acidic substance and may compromise your enamel over time. Baking soda, on the other hand, is very abrasive and can wear away the tooth surface under the damaged enamel.

With this in mind, stick with whitening toothpaste if you want a brighter smile.

2. Oil Pulling

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling has been used for centuries as a way of keeping the mouth healthy and bacteria-free. For many years, oil pulling was a very reasonable method for keeping the mouth healthy. This is because there were few other options available, and oil pulling was a good way to banish bacteria and reduce the risks of dental decay.

Today, however, oil pulling is simply not a reasonable substitute for flossing, brushing, or mouthwash. An age-old traditional remedy, oil pulling has not been endorsed by the scientific community and will not whiten or protect teeth in the same way as modern dental care materials and tools.  

3. Rinsing with Hydrogen Peroxide

Rinsing with Hydrogen Peroxide

While it’s true that many modern whitening products, such as whitening strips, involve a great deal of hydrogen peroxide, it’s not smart to use peroxide on its own as an at-home whitening method.

While hydrogen peroxide has been approved by the American Dental Association for use in whitening products, using too much of it on its own can harm gums and dental tissue. With this in mind, stick with traditional dental products infused with safe levels of hydrogen peroxide.

4. Brushing with Charcoal

Brushing with Charcoal

Activated charcoal is an ingredient that’s popped up virtually everywhere in recent years. Used for everything from skincare to home nausea remedies, activated charcoal is touted for its supposed ability to draw toxins out of the body and mouth, thus whitening teeth, cleansing skin, and more.

Unfortunately, most of these claims are a bit overblown. As it stands now, charcoal in dental products has never been approved as safe or effective by the ADA, and may be toxic.

As if that weren’t enough, using activated charcoal on the teeth may have the opposite effect of what you’re looking for: making teeth appear more yellow by wearing away enamel and exposing the under layers of teeth.

5. Tooth Gems

Tooth Gems

Bedazzling was a major trend once popular for everything from jeans to purses. But it should stop at your teeth, don’t you think? Unfortunately, lots of people disagree and apply tooth gems (colored stones or gems) to their mouths! These stones are applied with powerful adhesives that, while removable, can ultimately damage or destroy enamel. Instead of applying “grills” or tooth gems to your mouth, take care of your teeth and trust that your beautiful, white smile will shine enough on its own.

4. Fluoride-Free Dental Products

Flouride Free Products

Fluoride has been used to strengthen and enhance teeth for years. Recently, however, it’s come under fire from critics who claim that fluoride is disruptive to natural hormone balances, and can cause chronic health conditions.

According to dentists and dental societies like the ADA, however, fluoride is a key component in dental products. Designed to prevent dental decay, make teeth stronger and less vulnerable to cavity-forming acids and components, fluoride is essential to good overall dental health.

5 Ways to Build Strong Teeth

While there are lots of things you want to avoid doing to your teeth, there are also several steps you can take to care for them and keep them strong and healthy.

With that in mind, follow these five tips to promote good dental health:

1. Brush Your Teeth Before Bed

As a general recommendation, dentists state you should brush at least twice daily. Despite this, many people forget (or neglect) to brush their teeth at night. As it turns out, though, this is one of the most important times to brush your teeth. In addition to leaving your mouth clean and fresh for an extended sleep, brushing at night gets rid of all the plaque and bacteria that built up in your mouth during the day.

2. Brush Properly

You brush your teeth every day, but are you doing it properly? If you’re brushing poorly, you may as well not be brushing at all. Here’s a breakdown of how to do it effectively: take your time while you brush your teeth. The toothbrush should move in gentle, circular motions designed to remove plaque and keep the mouth clean. Don’t brush hard enough to bloody gums or cause pain.

3. Brush Your Tongue

Every time you brush your teeth, remember to brush your tongue, as well. The reason for this is simple: plaque can build up on the tongue, as well, and will collect in the grooves and valleys of the tongue, over time. To prevent this and keep your mouth and breath fresh, brush your tongue each time you brush your teeth.

4. Use Fluoride Toothpaste

When it comes time to choose toothpaste, look for one that contains fluoride. A critical element in maintaining good dental health, fluoride fights germs that lead to dental decay and helps create a strong barrier that protects your teeth for years to come.

5. Treat Flossing as Essential

Many people who brush their teeth routinely neglect flossing just the same. Unfortunately, this is a troublesome approach that can lead to trouble down the road.

If you don’t floss your teeth when you brush, tiny particles of food get stuck between the teeth, leading to decay, cavities, and bad breath. Fortunately, flossing can remove these things. Additionally, flossing stimulates gums and keeps the mouth healthy.

Stick to Traditional Methods to Keep Your Mouth Healthy

When it comes to good dental health, sticking to the tried-and-true is often the smartest approach. Although dental fads can seem convincing, it’s important to remember that they’re frequently breathless claims, rather than actual science.

 

Want to learn more about how to care for your teeth? Contact our team to book your first appointment today.

5 Tips for Keeping Your Mouth in Shape

5 Tips for Keeping Your Mouth in Shape

If you’re like most people, you don’t think about your teeth much until they hurt or there’s something wrong. Unfortunately, that can create ongoing problems like cavities, dental decay, and gum disease! Don’t worry, though – there are lots of simple things you can do to keep your mouth in tip-top shape.

Here are a few easy points to begin with:

Let us help you keep your mouth in great shape, call us today!

 

What to Expect When you Haven’t Seen a Dentist in Years

What to Expect When you Haven’t Seen a Dentist in Years

If you haven’t been to the dentist in a very long time, you might feel some shame surrounding the idea of your first return appointment.

Will people judge you when you go? What’s it going to feel like to have somebody working in your mouth? What will the dentist find when he or she gets in there? If you haven’t been to the dentist in years, now is a great time to take charge of your oral health and ensure it stays on the up-and-up going forward.

In addition to preventing tooth loss and other issues, going to the dentist is an essential part of maintaining healthy habits and setting yourself up for success as far as your oral hygiene is concerned.

This doesn’t mean you don’t have questions, though. With that in mind, if you find yourself going to the dentist for the first time in years.

Your Gums may Bleed

When the dental hygienists begin to floss your teeth, your gums are likely to bleed. Although this may be a bit startling, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something terribly wrong with your teeth or mouth.

In many cases, gums will bleed because they’re simply not used to the pressure of floss. If you want to reduce the risk that your gums will bleed, practice flossing them at home.

The Cleaning May Take Awhile

The Cleaning May Take a While

If it’s been some time since you’ve gone in for a dental cleaning, your teeth will likely have a significant amount of plaque buildup on them. This is normal. It may, however, mean that you will spend more time in the dental chair having your teeth cleaned than you would otherwise.

As the hygienist works to clean each tooth, remind yourself that this process is essential to your dental health and that your teeth will be stronger and whiter once you leave the appointment. If you’re very nervous about spending time in the dentist’s chair, ask about relaxation techniques. Your dentist will likely have several suggestions to help make your next appointment a more pleasant experience.

X-Rays

X-Rays

Today, x-rays are standard in many areas of healthcare. If you have not been to the dentist in a long time, it’s likely that the professionals in the office will want to know what’s going on in your mouth. Dental X-rays are some of the best ways to do this.

With this in mind, prepare yourself to undergo some dental X-rays during your first return appointment. If you have old x-rays on file, the dentist may be able to use those. If not, however, Your dentist can create new x-rays to help create a comprehensive picture of your oral health and guide future appointments.

If you’ve ever had dental X-rays before, you know that they can be a bit uncomfortable. Relax and understand that they will be over quickly, and that they are a necessary part of this appointment.

A Comprehensive Oral Exam

A Compreshive Oral Exam

Once a dental hygienist has completely cleaned your teeth, your dentist will give you a comprehensive oral examination. The purpose of this examination is to inspect your mouth for cavities, and signs of dental disease.

Your doctor may also look for signs of oral cancer and other conditions. If you haven’t been to the dentist in many years, it’s very likely that there will be a cavity or two in your mouth that will require some attention.

A Breakdown of Facts

A Breakdown of Facts

Once your examination is complete, your dentist will sit down with you and discuss the facts. If you have questions, now is a great time to ask them. This is also the time at which your dentist will help you understand your future care needs, and come up with a plan to deliver them.

If you need fillings, crowns, or additional work, you may take the time now to schedule an additional appointment for the coming months or weeks. If your dentist has any concern about your dental hygiene routine or anything like that, now is also a great time too. Treat this time as the information gathering opportunity that it is.

Keeping Your Teeth Healthy Going Forward

Keeping your Teeth Healthy Going Forward

There are many reasons that people don’t go to the dentist for several years. In some cases, the issue is financial. Dental care is expensive, and those without dental insurance may have a difficult time accessing the professional attention they need. In other cases, people don’t go to the dentist because they’re afraid or nervous about the procedures therein.

Regardless of what kept you away from the dentist for so many years, taking yourself back into the dental office represents the start of a new phase of wellness. From here on out, you have the opportunity to go a different way when it comes to your dental health.

With that in mind, here are a few tips to keep your teeth healthy and strong as you move forward:

  • Brush at least twice daily. Brushing your teeth regularly is your best defense against dental issues. Each time you eat a meal, brush your teeth immediately afterward. For best results, select a toothbrush with a narrow head and soft bristles, which are gentler on gums and provide better access to back teeth.
  • Use fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoride is designed to harden tooth enamel and cut down on your risk of dental decay. With this in mind, opt for a dentist-approved fluoride toothpaste, which will help you help your teeth stay healthy and strong.
  • Brush thoroughly. Brush your teeth like you wash your hands. Thoroughly. The best tooth brushing sessions take between two and three minutes. Don’t sell yourself short here.
  • Limit foods that are hard on your dental well-being.  Certain foods, like those containing high amounts of sugar, acidic drinks, fruit juices, and sticky candies, are all difficult for your teeth to handle. With this in mind, limit your consumptions of these things and choose healthier alternatives, such as cheese, fruits and nuts, and leafy greens.

A New Life of Dental Wellness Starts Here!

So you didn’t go to the dentist for years, but those days are over now. As you move forward, these tips will help you keep your mouth healthy and happy, and ensure that your teeth are as strong as they need to be.

For now, focus on getting through your first dental appointment. Remember that the dentist is there to help you and that even though seeing a dentist can be frightening, it’s always a wise decision.

Take this opportunity to ask your dentist any questions you may have, and to come up with an ongoing dental care plan. You’re not the only one who goes years without going to the dentist, but it’s never too late to start again. Treat this like a new beginning rather than something to be ashamed of. Regardless of what your dental history may look like, your teeth are too important to neglect from this point forward.

Do you need to schedule a dental appointment? Contact our team today to speak with one of our skilled staff members.