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At What Age Should A Child See A Dentist?

At What Age Should A Child See A Dentist?

As a parent, you want to protect your child from everything that will hurt him. You want to ensure that he’s healthy and happy. It’s important to pay attention to his dental health starting at a very young age. Here are the recommendations for children’s dental visits.

When the first tooth appears…

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that you take your child to the dentist for a first checkup as soon as his first tooth erupts. He should return for checkups every six months afterwards. Though baby teeth are temporary, their health is very important. Your child will have his first teeth until he’s at least five, and they provide a foundation for adult teeth.

The first visit puts your child at ease.

Visiting the dentist at a very young age is beneficial for more reasons than just dental health. Your child will become accustomed to the dental office, the dentist and his staff. When they start at a young age, the experience of having a checkup and cleaning become routine and kids learn to look forward to visiting their dentist.

What to expect at your child’s first dental visit.

Your dentist will perform an exam to feel for your child’s remaining baby teeth. He may take X-rays if he is concerned about the placement of the teeth. Your dentist will talk to you about oral hygiene and show you how to brush your child’s teeth and gums to keep them healthy. He may recommend a fluoride supplement, depending on your location and the amount of fluoride in your tap water. Your dentist may also recommend sealants for your child’s teeth, once all of his baby teeth have appeared.

Dental visits in addition to normal checkups.

In addition to regular exams and cleanings every six months, your child should see the dentist if any of the following occurs:

  • Tooth pain
  • Dental injury that results in chipping, cracking or a tooth falling out
  • Discoloration of teeth
  • Baby or permanent teeth that don’t descend
  • Habitual thumb-sucking past the age of three

Daily care of your child’s first teeth

Before your child’s first teeth erupt, wipe his gums gently with a clean, damp cloth at least twice per day. You can also use a soft toothbrush specially made for infants. Once the first tooth appears, brush it and the gums gently with fluoridated toothpaste and a soft-bristle children’s toothbrush. Use only a very small amount of toothpaste and make sure your child spits out any excess.

Ensure that your child is getting proper nutrition for healthy teeth. A balanced diet with strict limits on sugary foods and drinks will set your child up for a lifetime of dental health.

At What Age Do Kids Lose Their Baby Teeth?

At What Age Do Kids Lose Their Baby Teeth?

Once your child’s friends start losing their baby teeth, he’ll be eager to lose his as well. It’s a rite of passage that means a visit from the Tooth Fairy and a little bit of money under the pillow. Not all children lose teeth at the same age, however.

Kindergarten and First Grade

Walk into any kindergarten or first grade classroom, and you’ll find a bunch of gap-toothed smiles. The most common age for children to begin losing teeth is age 6; the age of early-elementary school. If your child loses a tooth during the school day, odds are that his teacher will have a special envelope or small case in her desk so that the tooth doesn’t get lost.

Which Teeth Fall Out First?

Baby teeth usually fall out in roughly the same order that they first came in. The two middle top and bottom front teeth fall out first, followed by the teeth next to the middle teeth (the incisors), then the first molars.

Your child will lose baby teeth until around age twelve.

The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene

Proper oral care is crucial from the time your child is a baby, throughout his life. Though baby teeth will fall out and be replaced, they should be brushed twice per day and flossed daily. Without proper hygiene, baby teeth will become decayed and the adult teeth can also be adversely affected.

Even while teeth are loose, they should be carefully brushed and flossed.

To Pull or Not to Pull?

Parents often wonder if they should pull a child’s loose tooth—especially if it seems to take a long time to fall out. Typically, a tooth should be allowed to fall out on its own. Encourage your child to wiggle the tooth with his tongue (avoid having him use his fingers unless they’re clean). Eventually, the tooth will work itself loose.

If the permanent tooth is coming in and the baby tooth still remains firmly attached, see your dentist. He or she can make a recommendation or may even pull the tooth in the office. Whatever you do, don’t yank on a tooth that isn’t loose enough—it could traumatize your child and cause gum damage.

Bleeding With Tooth Loss

It’s common to see a little bit of blood when a tooth falls out. Apply a bit of pressure to the gums with a square of damp, clean gauze. Bleeding should slow and stop within an hour or so. See your dentist if this isn’t the case.

Swallowing a Tooth

This happens more often than you might think—your child bites into his dinner, the loose tooth comes out, and he accidentally swallows it. This usually isn’t a problem; a baby tooth is small enough that it won’t cause any harm—other than some disappointment that the tooth fairy might not come.

What Foods are Good for Your Teeth?

What Foods are Good for Your Teeth?

You already know that brushing, flossing and regular cleanings are important if you want healthy teeth. But did you know that what you eat has an impact on your dental health, too? Here are 4 foods that are good for your teeth.

Raw Veggies

Crispy, raw vegetables are great for your teeth. They’re full of fiber, so you have to chew them vigorously, which increases saliva. Saliva neutralizes the acid that builds up in your mouth and also provides calcium and phosphate which helps add more minerals to your enamel. Vegetables in a rainbow of colors—from dark purple eggplants to bright orange peppers, are just all-around healthy foods for your body. The nutrients they provide help build healthy cells—which includes the cells in your gums and teeth. The best raw veggie for your teeth? Celery. It’s stringy fibers help clean your teeth while you chew.

Fruit

Some raw fruits, such as apples, are good for your teeth for the same reasons as veggies—their fibrous flesh makes you chew more, increasing saliva in your mouth. Fruits also provide nutrients and vitamins that keep you healthy overall. In particular, pears have been found to be great for your teeth. One study showed that pears have the most neutralizing affect on plaque of all fruits.

One caveat: stay away from dried fruit. It has a high sugar content and is sticky, which can actually cause tooth decay.

Cheese

Cheese is low in sugar and high in calcium, making it a great food for your teeth. It also has low acid content. The casein protein in cheese is particularly good for rebuilding tooth enamel.

Most cheeses are fairly high in fat, so don’t go overboard or you’ll have other adverse health effects. Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses are both good choices.

Yogurt

Like cheese, yogurt is full of great proteins and low in sugar and acids, as long as you avoid yogurts with added sugar. Yogurt also has the benefit of acting as a probiotic.

Foods that are bad for your teeth

In addition to eating the good stuff, you should avoid the bad stuff. Some foods have a particularly negative effect on your dental health.

Sugary foods and beverages interact with the plaque in your mouth and the result is acid that breaks down the enamel on your teeth. The effect can last for up to 20 minutes after you eat. Sticky sweets, like caramels or taffy are even worse, because the food itself sticks to your teeth, prolonging the contact with plaque.

Why Do Gums Bleed When Brushing?

Why Do Gums Bleed When Brushing?

ADaily brushing is important for healthy teeth and gums. When your gums bleed during or after brushing, there may be cause for concern. Here are 9 reasons your gums may be bleeding:

Your toothbrush is too hard.

Most dentists recommend that their patients use a soft-bristle brush. Replace your brush often; once the bristles start to fray, they can cause tiny injuries to gums and the soft tissue in your mouth, which leads to bleeding.

You are brushing too hard.

The reason for brushing is to remove plaque and food from teeth and gums. This shouldn’t require a tremendous amount of pressure; let your toothbrush do the work. If you’re pushing too hard on the brush, you might be causing trauma to your gums, which will make them bleed. Lighten up a bit and see if that makes a difference.

You aren’t flossing properly.

The purpose of flossing it to remove bits of plaque and food from in between teeth, but if you’re flossing too aggressively, you may be damaging your gums. Talk to your dentist about proper flossing technique.

You aren’t brushing thoroughly enough.

When you don’t adequately remove plaque at the gum line, your gums may become inflamed, leading to a condition known as gingivitis. One sign of gingivitis is bleeding gums. Take care to brush teeth at the gum line and don’t skip your semi-annual checkup and cleaning.

You have more advanced gum disease.

Skip enough cleanings and you may find that your plaque has hardened into tartar. One sign that plaque has turned into tartar is increased gum bleeding. It’s very important to see your dentist for plaque removal in order to prevent even more advanced gum disease called periodontitis.

You are pregnant.

Some women experience gum bleeding while pregnant. This is due to a change in hormones and isn’t cause for concern. Make sure you’re using a light touch with the toothbrush and don’t let a little bleeding stop you from brushing at least twice a day. Mention your bleeding gums to your dentist or doctor just to make certain that the bleeding is caused by pregnancy hormones.

Your dentures don’t fit properly.

If your dentures are too tight, they could be pinching the gums, which can cause bleeding. Conversely, dentures that are too loose may slide around, rubbing sores on your gums that can bleed during brushing. See you dentist to make sure that your dentures fit properly.

You use tobacco.

Smoking or chewing tobacco can irritate gums and the soft tissue in your mouth, which can lead to bleeding.

You are taking medication that can affect bleeding.

If you’re taking blood thinners, you may find that your gums bleed while brushing. Mention this to your doctor.

How to Brush Your Teeth with an Electric Toothbrush?

How to Brush Your Teeth with an Electric Toothbrush?

An electric toothbrush doesn’t provide different results that a properly-used manual toothbrush. However, some people don’t brush thoroughly enough with a manual brush; those people will benefit from an electric toothbrush.

The brushing technique with an electric toothbrush is different from that of a manual brush. With a manual brush, you must provide all the movement; with an electric brush, you need only guide the brush. Here are the 10 steps to brushing with an electric toothbrush.

Floss your teeth before brushing. While using an electric toothbrush may clean your teeth more thoroughly, it can’t get between teeth like floss, so you’ll still need to floss your teeth. Though it doesn’t matter whether you floss before or after brushing your teeth, some dentists feel that brushing beforehand allows for better fluoride penetration from your toothpaste.

Make sure that your toothbrush is fully charged, or that the batteries are fresh. Rechargeable electric toothbrushes typically have lights that indicate the charge level so that you can see when the toothbrush needs to be charged. You can tell when battery-charged electric toothbrushes need fresh batteries when the toothbrush begins to slow down.

Apply toothpaste to the head of the brush. Use the toothpaste you normally use with a manual brush; special toothpaste is not necessary.

Turn the brush on and guide it to the outside of your front teeth. Don’t push down on the brush or move your hand around much; just guide the brush along the surface of each tooth, letting the brush’s action clean the tooth as you go. Hold the brush in place for a few seconds before guiding it to a new position on the tooth.

Guide the brush from one tooth to the next, allowing the toothbrush to clean the outside of every tooth.

Repeat the process, this time cleaning the inside surface of every tooth.

Clean the chewing surface of each tooth by guiding the brush along the surface, holding the toothbrush in place for a few seconds before moving on.

Rinse your mouth with a small amount of water.
Run the head of your electric toothbrush under water to clean it.
Wipe the handle of the brush to dry it and place the brush back on the charger (for rechargeable electric toothbrushes) or in a place where the toothbrush head won’t come into contact with germ-laden surfaces.

A Reminder…

Most manufacturers recommend that you replace the head of your electric toothbrush at least every 3 months.

What Kind of Toothpaste Should I Use?

What Kind of Toothpaste Should I Use?

A visit to the toothpaste aisle can be overwhelming. There are so many options that you might be confused about what toothpaste you should use.

5 Things Most Types of Toothpaste Have in Common

Toothpaste’s main function is to provide abrasive agents that remove food and bacteria from your teeth. Calcium carbonate is the most common abrasive ingredient in toothpaste, though some brands may use a different ingredient in its place.
Most toothpastes include flavoring. Some brands add saccharin (sugar) to make toothpaste taste better. Available flavors vary widely and include mint (most common), cinnamon, citrus and even bubblegum. Toothpaste is also available without added flavoring or with natural flavoring for those who want to avoid artificial additives.
Detergents are added to many brands of toothpaste to create cleaning foam. Sodium lauryl sulfate is a common detergent found in toothpaste.
Fluoride is added to most toothpastes. It’s a mineral that prevents tooth decay by making tooth enamel stronger and provides minerals to parts of teeth that have started to decay.
Moisturizers and thickeners. Toothpaste must be thick enough to spread on your toothbrush and must be kept moist inside the tube.

Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth

If you experience tooth pain when eating or drinking things that are hot or cold, you might want a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth. This kind of toothpaste contains compounds that reduce the sensitivity of your teeth.

Some people are prone to canker sores inside their mouths. Sodium lauryl sulfate may be one cause of such sores; to avoid this, find a toothpaste that is free of this common additive.

Tartar Control Toothpaste

 

Plaque is the layer of bacteria on and in between your teeth that you remove by brushing and flossing. If it’s not removed, it hardens and becomes tartar. Toothpastes with extra compounds such as zinc citrate and triclosan can prevent tartar buildup.

Whitening Toothpaste

If your teeth are stained, you might want to try a whitening toothpaste. These specially-formulated pastes contain extra abrasives and chemicals that bind to stains in order to remove them.

Specially-Flavored Toothpaste

If you’re having difficulty getting your kids to brush regularly, a flavored toothpaste might help. Toothpastes developed for kids include flavors such as bubblegum, fruit punch and grape.

Adults might also enjoy some of the special flavors on the market. Instead of the typical mint, you can find toothpastes flavored like cinnamon, citrus and even herbs.

How to Choose the Right Toothpaste

First, ask your dentist for a recommendation. Your dentist is familiar with your specific dental needs and may encourage you to use a specific type of toothpaste.

Otherwise, as long as you choose a toothpaste that has been approved by the ADA (American Dental Association), you can’t go wrong.

How to Make Your Own Mouthwash?

How to Make Your Own Mouthwash?

If you want fresh breath and a clean mouth, mouthwash is the buddy you turn to. But that mouthwash you picked up from the store is full of toxic ingredients that may do more harm than you think to both yourself and your environment. Why do people always tell you not to swallow it?

Store bought mouthwash has actually been associated with an increased occurrence of oral cancer, enamel damage and tooth sensitivity. While that is merely an association, research has actually shown that mouthwash can damage DNA and is toxic for your cells. It won’t have an immediate effect, but will be damaging in the long run if you continually use mouthwash full of toxic ingredients.

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The good news is that you can make your own mouthwash with safe, natural ingredients that are affordable and easy to find. To make your own mouthwash, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • ½ cup of distilled water
  • 1 cup of aloe vera juice
  • 2 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoons of witch hazel
  • 20 drops of Peppermint essential oil

Snatch up an old mouthwash bottle, or some other bottle that will easily work, and a funnel. Using the funnel, pour everything into the bottle, shake it up and you’ve got yourself a homemade, safe mouthwash your whole family can use. It doesn’t have any toxic contents or alcohol, so your children can use it as well. If they swallow it, it won’t harm them at all, as the contents are all safe to swallow, but will freshen breath and catch those extra bacteria after brushing.

If you have a few extra minutes, toss out that toxic mouthwash and make your own. The ingredients are easy to shake together and lack the toxic contents that can lead to oral cancer and cell damage.

How to Deal With a Chipped Tooth?

How to Deal With a Chipped Tooth?

Sometimes your teeth take a hit and leave lasting damage. You might get a mark or, more terrifyingly, a chip out of a tooth. When you’re faced with that kind of damage, how are you supposed to deal with it? What are the options?

No matter how extensive the damage is, it would be a wise idea not to leave it alone for too long. It may not hurt, but any damage to your teeth will encourage further damage to the tooth and possibly the soft tissue surrounding it, which will make the problem harder to deal with physically and financially. You can discuss with your dentist what might be the best option for you and your situation, but don’t wait to solve the problem.

Treatment

 

Filling and Bonding:

The treatment of the tooth will depend on how badly the tooth is damaged. If it isn’t too bad, the tooth may only require filling and bonding. The filling will simply fill in whatever may be missing from the tooth and the bonding will seal the tooth to protect it from any possible wear and tear. It’s a relatively painless treatment and doesn’t take all that long to do. In some cases, you may have to get some porcelain veneers so your teeth will look great cosmetically.

Crowns, Inlays and Onlays:

Should your teeth be badly damaged, you may need to take a different route to mend your teeth. If the damage to the tooth doesn’t affect the placement of your teeth, you may need a crown with an inlay and possibly an onlay. A crown simply fits over the chipped tooth to provide a substantial surface for chewing and mashing up your favorite foods. An inlay is similar to a filling, preventing any kind of debris from getting under the crown and giving you grief. Onlays may not necessarily be needed, unless the crown can’t provide the protection your tooth needs.

Tooth Extraction:

If your tooth is too damaged for even a crown, then it will probably need to be removed. While it sounds like a scary prospect, it’s sometimes the best option. If you feel pain whenever you put pressure on the tooth, it’s probably time for it to come out. But there’s no need to worry, as the extracted tooth can be replaced with an implant or a dental bridge, covering up the damage cosmetically and also giving you a suitable chewing surface. This way, you won’t have to deal with any pain or aesthetic issues.

What it really comes down to is that the best way to handle a chipped tooth is to get it treated. Don’t leave it unattended and don’t try to deal with the damage yourself. Doing either can result in worse condition of the tooth and gums, which is a bigger hassle than anyone is willing to deal with. If you chip your tooth, visit your dentist and discuss what can be done to ensure the situation is handled properly.

What are Wisdom Teeth For?

What are Wisdom Teeth For?

You’ve probably heard several tales of people getting their wisdom teeth removed and probably wondered, “what are wisdom teeth for  anyway?” They seem rather useless if their only purpose is to get removed. Perhaps the better question isn’t what they are used for, but rather what they were used for. Honestly, in this day and age, we no longer need wisdom teeth like our ancestors did centuries and centuries ago.

Wisdom teeth had more of a purpose when the human diet consisted of rough, tougher foods, like leaves, nuts and meat. Humans of long ago didn’t have the utensils and soft foods we do now, so wisdom teeth gave them the chewing power they needed to consume those hefty and raw foods. These days we have different cooking techniques, forks and knives to assist us in our eating habits. We don’t need the tough teeth anymore.

Why do They Cause so Many Problems Now? 

As the human lifestyle changes over the centuries, so do our bodies. Our jaws are a bit smaller than people from long ago and, in result, our wisdom teeth don’t have as much room to come in properly. They may be blocked by other teeth, or become impacted, by coming in at an odd angle. It is possible for wisdom teeth to come in without any complication and be functional teeth. But, wisdom teeth will usually need to come out for one reason or another, as they can also affect the position of other teeth and cause headaches.

Fun Fact:

Wisdom teeth usually come in between seventeen and twenty-five years of age. This is about the age people are thought to become wise, thus giving wisdom teeth their name.

How to Keep Braces Clean

How to Keep Braces Clean?

Braces can be a hassle when it comes to brushing and flossing. But, you still want to make sure you cleaning them correctly, or it could have unfavorable results. Plaque buildup can damage teeth and braces provide several areas for plaque collection. When you get those braces off, you want to see straight, beautiful teeth. But, cleaning improperly with braces can cause white spots or other damage to your teeth.

Brushing: 

Brushing seems simple enough, but the idea of brushing thoroughly changes as soon as you get those brackets on your teeth. Braces bring a whole new world of brushing angles and toothbrushes. You may even want to ask your orthodontist or dentist what they recommend for brushing with braces.

First, put your usual toothpaste on your toothbrush. If you have whitening toothpaste and are worried about its effects with braces, don’t fret. Whitening toothpaste isn’t actually as effective as you might think. If there ends up being a little whitening anyway, you can easily even out the color of your teeth with some kind of whitening treatment.
When brushing your teeth with braces, first brush like you normally would with circular motions and brush the back of your teeth.
Next, angle your toothbrush to brush over the brackets to make sure you’re scraping the plaque from those sneaky little spots. Angle your toothbrush to brush under the brackets as well to get every little bit.
Check your teeth. If it looks or feels like you missed a spot, you probably have. Brush whatever areas you might have missed and rinse your mouth out.

Orthodontists will often provide proxy brushes, which look like a tiny section of pipe cleaner that’s shaped like a Christmas tree. These are handy for getting in between your brackets and behind the wires of your braces. Use these when you can to be sure you’re getting every spot.

Flossing:

Flossing can sometimes be a hassle with braces. But, to be certain you’re caring for your teeth properly, it has to be done. The only real problem is threading the floss behind the wires, but there are a couple different products that help make the process easier.

If your orthodontist has provided you with stiffer floss, usually waxed floss, merely thread the floss between brackets and behind the wire. Floss like you would normally and continue to do so with each tooth.
Sometimes, orthodontists will provide you with floss threaders, which look like flexible, plastic sewing needles. Slip some floss in the loop of the threader, thread the floss behind the wire and floss your teeth like usual. Continue to do so with each tooth.

If you’d like, you can finish off your flossing and brushing with a swish of mouthwash, but it’s up to you. Just be sure you’re flossing every tooth and not just the front teeth.

Tips:

If you braces are poking or damaging the inside of your mouth, there could be something wrong. The inside of your mouth, especially the back, should not be getting damaged, so visit your orthodontist if you’re feeling anything poking or tearing in your mouth.
Should you be feeling some sort of scraping from your brackets, orthodontists provide wax to apply to the brackets to keep them smooth. This kind of discomfort is normal for people that have just gotten braces, as your mouth may not be used to the presence of brackets on your teeth.
After getting your braces tightened, you will probably feel some pain for about a week or two. You could take a simple pain killer to alleviate pain, or drink hot liquids to relieve any swelling.