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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.

8 Tips for Healthier Teeth

8 Tips for Healthier Teeth

According to the CDC, 31.6% of adults between the ages of 20-44 have untreated dental cavities. If you’ve ever had a cavity or dental infection, you know they’re both uncomfortable and difficult to resolve. Luckily, they’re not unavoidable. Here are eight smart tips to keep your teeth in great shape in the coming year and beyond:

What You Need to Know to Care for Your Baby’s Teeth

What You Need to Know to Care for Your Baby’s Teeth

If you’ve ever watched a baby drool, fuss, and cry, you know that they think about their teeth just as much as adults do, if not more.

What you might not know is how, exactly, to care for those emerging teeth. Don’t worry; you’re not alone.

The fact is that many parents, although they mean well, aren’t exactly sure how to address baby teeth. Once the first tooth pops into the mouth, most parents start wondering how to care for their baby’s mouths. Is now the time to begin brushing teeth? When do babies begin to lose their teeth? Should kids ever use mouthwash? The questions go on and on.

Although baby teeth are small, they’re critically important. In addition to preparing the mouth for the presence of adult teeth, baby teeth are what allow your child to chew his or her food, and get a taste of the world, literally.

Without healthy baby teeth, your baby may find chewing difficult, and may have trouble learning to speak. Because of this, learning how to care for and clean baby teeth is essential.

Here’s your complete guide to doing just that.

What you Need to Know About Baby Teeth

Understanding Teething

According to the American Dental Association, baby teeth are some of the most essential elements of a child’s development. At the time of birth, a baby’s 20 primary teeth are already present in the jawbone, and they emerge through the gums as the child gets older.  

Typically, teeth begin to appear when a baby is between 6 months and one year old. For most children, the primary set of 20 teeth is fully in place by the age of 3. Although every child is different, the first teeth to come in are usually the ones located at the front and bottom of the mouth.

During teething, it’s common for babies to have sore, tender gums that may bleed slightly. This can be very painful for babies and cause much of the teething-related fussiness parents are familiar with. After the period of teething comes a period when children start to lose their baby teeth in favor of the adult teeth that will eventually fill their mouths. While this is normal, it’s essential to ensure the process isn’t happening too fast.

The reason is this: If babies lose their baby teeth too early, their permanent teeth can drift into that space, creating spacing issues and misalignment down the road. This leads to a crooked and crowded mouth and may put the child at risk for braces or intensive dental work later in life.

Because of this, most dentists recommend that children start getting dental check-ups during their “well baby” visits. In addition to checking for cavities and other dental problems, a pediatric dentist can show you how to clean a child’s teeth and handle potentially damaging habits like thumb-sucking or extended pacifier use.

3 Common-Sense Tips for Caring for Your Child’s Teeth

What You Need to Know to Care for Your Babys Teeth

Wondering how to care for those sweet little teeth in your baby’s mouth? Here are three tips to get you started.

  1. Start cleaning your baby’s mouth in the immediate postpartum period. Using a clean, moist washcloth, wipe the baby’s gums after it nurses or eats. While many parents think that the immediate postpartum period is too early to start dental care, it’s critical to remember that decay can occur as soon as teeth begin to appear. For most babies, teeth begin to push through the gums around six months of age, although it can take from 12 to 14 months for some children. Getting a jump-start on dental hygiene will help reduce the risk, and give your child a leg-up on dental health.
  2. Start brushing teeth as soon as they enter the mouth. If your child is three years of age or younger, start brushing the child’s teeth as soon as they appear in the mouth. Use a fluoride toothpaste and remote that is appropriate for the size of the child, brush the teeth thoroughly twice daily, or as directed by your pediatric dentist or doctor. Once your child is old enough to brush his or her teeth on their own, supervise the brushing process to ensure your child is using the right amount of toothpaste and that they are not swallowing the paste.
  3. Encourage swishing with mouthwash. Swishing with mouthwash is a good habit for children to develop early. In addition to banishing bacteria from the mouth, swishing with mouthwash also keeps the gums and tongue clean. While mouthwash is not appropriate for babies, it can be fun for older children. Just make sure that you are supervising the child, so they don’t swallow the mouthwash.

Understanding Teething

Earlier in this post, we discussed some of the side effects of teething, including fussiness and irritability. But what, exactly, happens during the teething process? Here’s a simple breakdown:

The Timeline of Teething

In most cases, it takes about two years for a baby’s infant teeth to come through the child’s gums and into the mouth. The process by which each tooth emerges is known as “teething,” and can be a difficult time for both parents and babies.

The reason for this is simple: teething hurts. Imagine the feeling of several teeth erupting into your mouth all at once. It doesn’t sound comfortable, does it? When you understand this, it’s easier to understand why your baby fusses and cries during and before teething. Additional symptoms of teething may include the following:

  • Drooling and increased saliva production
  • Swollen gums or painful gums in your baby’s mouth
  • A slight fever or increase in body temperature

How to Alleviate Teething Pain

How to Alleviate Teething Pain

Want to help your baby cope with the pain of teething? Here are a few smart ways to do that:

  • Teething rings. Head to the store and pick up some baby-specific teething rings. Stick them in the freezer and give them to your baby to chew on. As a general rule, you should avoid giving your child anything that’s small enough for them to chew on, or any teething rings with liquid inside, as these can break and drain into your baby’s mouth.
  • Gum rubbing. Using a clean finger, applying gentle pressure to your baby’s gums, rubbing if it seems like that feels good for the child. This can help relieve some of the pain associated with teething and provide some temporary numbing for your baby’s gums.
  • Pain relief. Topical pain relievers meant for babies can be purchased over-the-counter at any drugstore and applied at home. The only thing to be sure of is that you’re avoiding products that contain benzocaine, as the FDA has stated that these products can cause dangerous, potentially life-threatening side effects. Instead, talk to your pediatrician about how to give your baby Tylenol (acetaminophen) to reduce pain.

Preventing Cavities During Infancy

As soon as children have teeth, they can also have cavities. With this in mind, take active steps to prevent them.

The best line of defense against cavities is to be sure that you’re filling your child’s bottle with things they’re supposed to be drinking. This is generally limited to formula, breast milk, or water. Never fill a child’s bottle with fruit juices, soda, or other sugary substances, as it can settle on the child’s teeth during drinking, or if the child falls asleep with the bottle in his or her mouth.

Good Dental Care Starts Here

Caring for your child’s new teeth is easier when you have a trusted partner. If you’re interested in learning more about our pediatric dental services or making an appointment for your child, contact our team today.