Teaching Good Dental Health Habits

Copy, paste, and edit this body text: IT’S NOT ALWAYS easy to teach a young child how to brush and floss. Little kids are balls of energy with no attention span, and a brushing session is likely to go awry. We have a few tips to help out frazzled parents. Prioritize brushing. We shouldn’t treat it like an irritating chore, because our kids will pick up on that. Set an example of brushing and flossing being an unskippable and important part of the morning and evening routine. Brush wherever works! Don’t feel like brushing can only happen in the bathroom. If it’s easier to do somewhere else, that’s great! The routine is more important than having toothpaste. If the toothpaste tube is empty or missing or its contents were turned into an art project, brush anyway! Don’t miss a day just for the toothpaste. Children are more likely to like and use a

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The Anatomy of Human Teeth

DO YOU KNOW what the parts of the human tooth are? We’d like to give you a quick tooth anatomy lesson because the more patients know about their teeth, the better they will understand the importance of good dental health habits like brushing, flossing, and avoiding sugary treats. We’ll start in the crown and work our way down to the roots. The Three Layers of the Dental Crown Everything visible of a tooth above the gums is the crown, and it consists of three layers. Let’s take a closer look at each one. Enamel The outermost layer of the tooth is the enamel layer. Tooth enamel is mostly composed of inorganic hydroxyapatite crystals, which make it the hardest substance in the entire body. We need it to be that way so that we can chew a lifetime’s worth of food! However, because it’s inorganic, enamel can’t repair or replace itself if it is

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A Snoring Habit Could Mean Sleep Apnea

AROUND 1 IN 5 children with a snoring habit get it from sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that causes repeated brief interruptions to breathing during sleep. This disorder, as well as being potentially life-threatening, can have serious consequences for oral health. What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA for short) happens when the airway is blocked, usually by the tongue and soft palate collapsing against the back of the throat, closing it off. At this point, the brain forces the person to wake up and take a breath, which can happen hundreds of times in a single night. Sleep apnea makes it very hard to get a restful night of sleep. Sleep Apnea’s Impacts on Oral Health How is oral health connected? Beyond the effects of sleep deprivation (irritability, hyperactivity, exhaustion, and difficulty concentrating at school), a child with sleep apnea will also be more vulnerable to oral health

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Pregnancy’s Impact on Oral Health

AN EXPECTANT MOTHER goes through many changes during pregnancy beyond the baby bump and some funny cravings. Unfortunately, some of the changes to oral health are not especially pleasant. Pregnancy Gingivitis and Hormones No matter how exciting and hectic pregnancy can be, never let it get in the way of daily brushing and flossing, because pregnancy is a time when the gums are especially vulnerable to gingivitis. As many as two in five pregnant women have gum disease, which leaves their gums tender and swollen. Studies have even linked pregnancy gingivitis with premature delivery and lower birth weights, so fight back with daily flossing and a soft-bristled toothbrush https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DK5O2nJtjL0 Morning Sickness and Enamel Erosion One of the more common (and certainly more well known) pregnancy symptoms is morning sickness. It’s an unpleasant enough symptom to deal with on its own, but when we aren’t careful, it can have compounding effects on our

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Dental Care For Baby Teeth

THE SMILE OF a happy child is one of the best things in the world. Unfortunately, dental caries (tooth decay) is the most common chronic disease of childhood. We want those smiles to stay as healthy as possible, which is why we’re dedicating a blog post to baby teeth dental care. Baby Teeth Matter Because baby teeth are temporary, you might be tempted to think they’re not very important, but don’t fall into that trap. Healthy baby teeth are essential for speech development, building self esteem, promoting good nutrition through proper chewing, and saving space in the jaw for the development and positioning of adult teeth. Avoid Sipping On Juice Or Milk The harmful oral bacteria in our mouths that cause tooth decay love sugar. Every time we eat or drink something sugary, they have a party, and it takes about half an hour for our saliva to wash away the leftover sugars. However, when we give

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The Top 3 Worst Drinks For Your Teeth

ONE OF LIFE’S CRUELEST ironies is that so many of the foods and drinks we enjoy the most aren’t good for us at all. Naturally, as dental professionals, we’re particularly concerned about the ones that are bad for our teeth. That’s why we’re giving our patients a heads up about the three drinks that have the worst impact on oral health. 1. Soda Two of the most harmful things for our teeth are sugar and acid, and carbonated beverages are full of both. Sugar is harmful because the bad bacteria in our mouths eat it and excrete acid on our teeth, and when we drink something acidic, we’re essentially cutting out the middle man and applying the acid to our teeth ourselves. Tooth enamel begins to dissolve at a pH of 5.5, and soft drinks range in acidity from RC Cola at a pH of 2.32 to Canada Dry Club Soda at

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Fluoride and Cavity Prevention

IF YOU LOOK AT ANY tube of toothpaste with the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance, you’ll see fluoride listed as the active ingredient. Trace amounts of fluoride are also added to the drinking water in many communities to further promote strong and healthy teeth. But what is fluoride and how does it work? A Brief History of Fluoride in Drinking Water First, let’s take a look back at the fascinating history of this mineral. It all starts in Colorado Springs at the turn of the 20th century. Dentists in the town encountered numerous cases of “Colorado brown stain” — tooth discoloration that, bizarrely, was connected to a lower rate of cavities. Today, we call that fluorosis. Eventually, they traced it back to the water supply and discovered naturally occurring fluoride to be the cause. Dentists were curious to see whether it was possible to keep the cavity prevention without any of the staining

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Stress and Our Mouths

MENTAL WELL-BEING or lack thereof can often have an impact on physical health. Among those impacts are the ways that oral health can be affected by stress, and we want to make sure our patients are aware of the connection so they have more tools to fight back. Grinding Your Teeth? Stress May Be Behind It. The technical term for habitual teeth-grinding and jaw-clenching is bruxism, and clenching and grinding are natural responses to stress and frustration for some people. Common signs of bruxism include flattened chewing surfaces of the teeth and a sore jaw, and the risks to oral health from this habit are significant. People with bruxism may not even realize they’re doing it, especially if they do it in their sleep rather than during the day. Stress Can Compound TMD Symptoms Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a disorder of the jaw joint, muscles, and nerves associated with chronic facial

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What Builds a Healthy Smile?

WE ALL KNOW how important daily brushing and flossing are to a growing child’s smile. We know about scheduling regular dental appointments, and hopefully we know that cutting back on sugar and keeping it to mealtimes instead of snacks throughout the day is also important. But what about the vitamins and minerals that help build those healthy smiles in the first place? Vitamins for Oral Health What keeps saliva flowing so it can protect our teeth and gums? Vitamin A! Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps our bodies heal and fight inflammation. When kids don’t get enough, their gums could become more prone to bleeding and their teeth can become looser. Vitamin D signals our intestines to absorb vitamins into the bloodstream and helps our bones stay dense and strong. Vitamins B2, 3, and 12 are important for reducing the risk of developing canker sores in the mouth, and

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Quit That Ice-Chewing Habit!

WHAT’S SO BAD about chewing ice? It can actually do a lot of permanent damage to teeth, and yet many people have a habit of chewing ice that can be difficult to quit. Let’s look closer at ice chewing and its effects on dental health. Compulsive Ice Eating, or Pagophagia The scientific name for compulsive ice eating is pagophagia. For some people, it goes beyond the level of a bad habit and actually indicates a psychological disorder called pica. Pica is the compulsion to eat non-food items such as dirt, clay, hair, or ice, and it is sometimes caused by a nutritional deficiency. How Iron Deficiency Anemia Leads to Eating Ice Recent studies have found a connection between the compulsive eating of ice and iron deficiency anemia, a condition that affects 3% of men and 20% of women (a number that goes up to 50% for pregnant women). What do iron levels

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