Did you know that people consider a smile to be the most attractive physical feature?
A 2009 national survey from the American Dental Association (ADA) and Crest® and Oral B® found that the smile outranked eyes, hair, and the body as the most attractive physical feature.
One of the easiest ways to keep your smile looking bright and beautiful is practicing good oral care at home.
Here are some of Dr. Jon’s helpful brushing tips to keep your smile shining!
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- Move the brush in small circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line.
- Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth and the surface of each tooth.
- Don’t be rushed—it will take a few minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth.
- Brush the insides of your teeth, and the chewing surfaces of all of your front and back teeth.
- Don’t forget to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.
- Brush 2-4 times a day.
- Replace your toothbrush every few months!
In addition to properly brushing your teeth, flossing, and knowing the right way to floss, is an important part of your dental hygiene. According to the ADA’s 2009 survey, only half of the 1,000 Americans surveyed (49 percent) say they floss their teeth once a day or more.
Dr. Jon’s Helpful Tips:
- It is very important to floss between your teeth every day, preferably at night.
- Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser; wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers.
- Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line using a zigzag motion, pulling out any food particles or plaque.
- Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish.
- Make sure to floss behind all of your back teeth.
- Remember that you are flossing between two teeth. Pull the floss up against one tooth and do an up and down motion. Then pull against the opposite tooth and do it again.
- When you first begin flossing, your gums may bleed a little…if the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, let Dr. Jon or one of his team members know!
- As a general rule, any time there’s blood when you brush or floss, that’s typically a sign that your gums have an infection. Healthy gums don’t bleed! If you feel like you need help, we’d be happy to give you one-on-one instructions on how to properly take care of your mouth.
Children’s Dental Health
When Your Infant is Teething
Your child will probably get his/her first tooth between six to twelve months. During this time, their gums are sore and tender, and this can last until they turn about three years old. Rubbing sore gums gently with a clean finger, the back of a cold spoon, or a cold, wet cloth helps soothe the gums. Teething rings work well, but avoid teething biscuits—they contain sugar that is not good for your baby’s teeth.
While your baby is teething, it is important to monitor the teeth for signs of baby bottle decay. Examine the teeth, especially on the inside or the tongue side, every two weeks for dull spots (whiter than the tooth surface) or lines. A bottle containing anything other than water and left in an infant’s mouth while sleeping can cause decay. This happens because sugar in the liquid mixes with bacteria in dental plaque, forming acids that attack the tooth enamel. Each time a child drinks liquids containing sugar, acids attack the teeth for about 20 minutes. When awake, saliva carries away the liquid. During sleep, the saliva flow significantly decreases and liquids pool around the child’s teeth for long periods, covering the teeth in acids.
Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Tooth decay in infants can be minimized or totally prevented by not allowing sleeping infants to breast or bottle-feed. Infants that need a bottle to comfortably fall asleep should be given a water-filled bottle or a pacifier. Our office is dedicated to fighting baby bottle tooth decay. Let us know if you notice any signs of decay or anything unusual in your child’s mouth.
Your Infant’s New Teeth
Your child’s primary, or “baby” teeth play a crucial role in his/her dental development. Without them, your child cannot chew food properly and has difficulty speaking clearly. Primary teeth are vital to development of the jaws and for guiding the permanent (secondary) teeth into place when they replace the primary teeth around age six.
Since primary teeth guide the permanent teeth into place, infants with missing primary teeth or infants who prematurely lose primary teeth may require a space maintainer, a device used to hold the natural space open. Without a maintainer, the teeth can tilt toward the empty space and cause permanent teeth to come in crooked. Missing teeth should always be mentioned to Dr. Jon and his team. The way your child cares for his/her primary teeth also plays a critical role in how he/she treats the permanent teeth. Children and adults are equally susceptible to plaque and gum problems—hence, the need for regular care and dental checkups.
Permanent teeth will begin eruption around age six, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until around age 21. Adults have 28 secondary (permanent) teeth and 32 including the third molars (wisdom teeth).
Your Child’s First Dental Visit
Your child’s first dental visit should be scheduled around his/her second birthday. The most important part of the visit is getting to know and becoming comfortable with Dr. Jon and his team. A pleasant, comfortable first visit builds trust and helps put the child at ease during future dental visits. If possible, allow your child to sit in your lap in the exam room. Children should be encouraged to discuss any fears or anxiety they feel.
“I was nervous about my son’s first appointment,” says Allison Hopkins. “But I was able to sit in the cleaning chair and have him on my lap, and this helped him to be comfortable. He loved being able to wear the ‘sunglasses’ too! Dr. Jon and his staff made his first experience so easy, and he still remembers the “prize” he got to pick out of the toy box!”
Why Primary (Baby) Teeth Are So Important
- Good teeth allow a child to eat easily and maintain good nutrition.
- Healthy teeth allow for clear pronunciation and speech habits.
- The self-image that healthy teeth give a child is immeasurable.
- Primary teeth also guide eruption of the permanent teeth.
Good Diet and Healthy Teeth
The teeth, bones, and soft tissue of the mouth require a healthy, well-balanced diet. A variety of foods from the five food groups help minimize (and avoid) cavities and other dental problems. Since many of the snacks that children eat cause cavities, make sure your child is mainly eating healthy foods (vegetables, low-fat yogurt, and cheeses, etc.) that will promote strong teeth.
Please visit the American Dental Hygienists’ Association website for more information related to dental issues and children!
When your teeth and gums are consistently exposed to large amounts of starches and sugars, acids may form that begin to eat away at tooth enamel. Carbohydrate-rich foods (such as candy, cookies, soft drinks, and even fruit juices) leave deposits on your teeth. Those deposits bond with the bacteria that normally survive in your mouth and form plaque. The combination of deposits and plaque create acids that can damage the mineral structure of teeth, with tooth decay resulting.
Tooth decay is a preventable disease. In order to prevent it from happening, Dr. Jon recommends:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
- Floss at least once a day.
- Use a toothpaste with fluoride.
- Use an antimicrobial mouth rinse.
- Be aware of what you eat—especially sugar!
Your teeth expand and contract in reaction to changes in temperature. Hot and cold food and beverages can cause pain or irritation to people with sensitive teeth. Over time, tooth enamel can be worn down, gums may recede, and teeth may develop microscopic cracks, exposing the interior of the tooth and irritating nerve endings. Just breathing cold air can be painful for those with extremely sensitive teeth.
If you are suffering from sensitive teeth, Dr. Jon has a few recommendations:
- Over-the-counter desensitizing toothpastes may work for milder forms of sensitivity. The only catch is that sometimes it takes time for them to start working. This can cause frustration and then discontinued use of the product. The key is to keep using it.
- Prescription strength Fluoride/desensitizing toothpaste is a good second option. Ask Dr. Jon about it.
- Prolonged or acute sensitivity could be a sign of something much worse. Talk to Dr. Jon immediately.
According to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, an estimated 75% of Americans reportedly have some form of periodontal disease.
Gum, or periodontal, disease can cause inflammation, tooth loss, and bone damage. Gum disease begins with a sticky film of bacteria (plaque). Gums that are in the early stages of disease (gingivitis) can bleed easily and become red and swollen. As the disease progresses to periodontitis, teeth may fall out or need to be removed.
What you should know: Gum disease is highly preventable and can usually be avoided by daily brushing and flossing. One indicator of gum disease is consistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth.
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Food particles left in the mouth deteriorate and cause bad breath. Daily brushing and flossing helps to prevent the buildup of food particles, plaque, and bacteria in your mouth. While certain foods, such as garlic or anchovies, may create temporary bad breath, consistent bad breath may be a sign of gum disease or another dental problem.
Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are small sores inside the mouth that often come back. They have a white or gray base surrounded by a red border. Generally lasting one or two weeks, the duration of canker sores can be reduced by the use of antimicrobial mouthwashes or topical agents. Laser treatment can help significantly reduce the healing time.
Are your teeth crooked? Braces could be a good option for anyone…they aren’t just for kids anymore. Patients of all ages are getting braces. Talk to Dr. Jon about your options.