News

August 29, 2016


Flossing Habits Among Adults – Common Excuses & Solutions!

HOW MANY ADULTS FLOSS DAILY???

The answer is only 49%!!

Flossing Habits Among Adults

This information comes from a survey conducted in 2008 about flossing habits among adults.   We’d like to share a helpful article from WebMD that highlights some of the many excuses we have for not flossing, and suggestions to help make it a little easier on all of us.

“I Don’t Have Time to Floss”

One of the most common excuses is “I don’t have time to floss.”  Ultimately it’s best to floss after meals, but most dentists agree, flossing regularly is far better than not flossing at all!  We are all very busy people, and we’re excellent at multitasking!  Try to include flossing while performing another task or daily activity to help increase the chances you’ll pick up the habit.  For example, try flossing at the same time you:

  • Watch the morning news or read the paper
  • While checking your emails or any other hands-free task at work (if your surroundings permit privacy)
  • Any other regular tasks or activities that allow your hands to be free for a moment or two

 

Do you have the same flossing habits as The Most Interesting Man in the World?

Do you have the same flossing habits as The Most Interesting Man in the World?

Here are a few of our favorite excuses: 

“…Excuse #4: I don’t have time to floss.

Effective flossing does take a while — once a day for a “good three to five minutes” according to Low. But even 60 seconds of flossing is of enormous benefit. As with exercise, bathing, and other daily activities, the key is to make flossing a habit.

“My Teeth Are Too Close Together”

Excuse #6: My teeth are spaced too close together to floss.

If unwaxed floss doesn’t work for your teeth, you might try waxed floss or floss made of super-slippery polytetrafluoroethylene.

If the spacing between your teeth varies (or if you have significant gum recession), yarn-like “superfloss” may be a good bet. It stretches thin for narrow spaces and fluffs out to clean between teeth that are more widely spaced.

If you’re having trouble finding a workable floss or interdental cleaner on your own, your dentist should be able to offer guidance — and may even offer free samples…”

 

August 16, 2016


How Thumb Sucking Affects Teeth

Whether done for comfort, due to anxiety, or out of habit, thumb sucking in children can lead to dental problems later in life. Many parents may wish to address thumb sucking at an early age before it becomes a problem, and they would be right to do so.

Parents need to understand how thumb sucking affects their child’s teeth and what can be done to address the issue before it impacts the child’s teeth long-term.

Does Thumb Sucking Harm A Child’s Teeth?

If an infant sucks their thumb, it may not result in any dental problems. However, as a child ages and thumb sucking occurs, it begins to become a concern because it can affect their permanent teeth alignment and their bite.

One major concern that parents should have about thumb sucking is its ability to lead to an open bite where the front teeth do not erupt fully and may be pushed forward. Because the teeth are pushed out of position, they may begin to come in crooked. This becomes a greater concern if the thumb sucking continues as permanent teeth begin to come in, usually around age five. Thumb sucking into adolescence may result in braces or other dental work that is otherwise preventable if thumb sucking is stopped before it leads to lifelong consequences.

Additional problems that may result following persistent thumb sucking include:

  • Overbite
  • Pronunciation problems following language development
  • Misaligned jaw
  • Malformed roof of the mouth

How Do I Stop My Child From Thumb Sucking?

While many parents may try to force their child to suck their thumb, it is ultimately the child’s decision to stop. Many outgrow thumb sucking as they get older and can better communicate their feelings or develop other coping mechanisms. However, for children that continue to suck their thumbs, there are some options parents can consider.

First, it is important to be supportive and adopt positive reinforcement techniques that encourage your child to choose to stop thumb sucking on their own. Negative reinforcement, such as scolding or punishments, will only lead the child to begin sucking their thumb again or continue to out defense of the habit.

If the child is responsive and has expressed an interest in stopping the habit, parents can cover the finger or thumb with a band-aid during the day and take the thumb or finger out of their mouth after the child falls asleep.

Older children who struggle with thumb sucking may benefit from having a dental appliance called a “tongue crib” which discourages thumb sucking. The appliance is cemented to the upper teeth, behind the upper and lower incisors, and not only helps the child stop thumb sucking, but it trains the tongue to stop going between the upper and lower teeth, a frequent tick that thumb sucking may produce calling tongue thrust.

Conclusion

Parents’ concerns about thumb sucking are substantive, but stopping the habit is possible and can prevent major dental issues later in a child’s life. For help, contact your dentist for tips and advice.

August 15, 2016


6 Tips for Preventing Gum Disease

As more and more research about gum disease is surfacing, the need for prevention is more urgent than ever. Gum disease is when your gum tissue and surrounding bones become infected. Gingivitis is a type of gum disease that only affects the gums. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is a more severe form of gum disease that affects the gums as well as the bones that support your teeth. Linked to serious conditions like heart disease and stroke, gum disease is a major threat. Many people aren’t even aware they have gum disease until it’s too late, so you’ll want to be sure to take extra precaution. Here are 6 tips to help you prevent gum disease from developing.

1. Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Although this may seem obvious, good oral care is crucial for healthy gums. Brushing your teeth is not enough, especially when it comes to gum disease. You should add flossing to your routine to reduce the risk of plaque building up and damaging your gums. Using an antimicrobial mouthwash low in alcohol can also be very beneficial to your oral health.

2. Increase Your Vitamin C Intake

Vitamin C deficiencies have been found to be one of the leading causes of gum disease. Incorporating more vitamin C in your diet will not only help prevent gum disease from developing, but it can also treat and, in some cases, cure gum disease. Vitamin C has healing properties that can stop your gums from swelling, receding, bleeding, and can also stabilize loosened teeth.

3. Eat a Healthy Diet

Nothing helps more in preventing gum disease than maintaining a healthy diet. Be sure to avoid sugary foods and drinks as they lead to tooth decay and gum damage. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet filled with vitamins and minerals boosts your immunity and helps ward off many diseases, including gum disease.

4. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is necessary in preventing gum disease, as well as promoting overall health. Drinking plenty of water produces more saliva which helps fight off bacteria that can cause your gums to become infected.

5. Stop Smoking

Smoking cigarettes and using tobacco products has been known to cause countless health issues, especially gum disease. Tobacco products are very harmful to your gum tissues and should be avoided at all cost.

6. See Your Dentist Regularly

Seeing your dentist regularly cannot be stressed enough. Getting your teeth professionally cleaned is a great preventative measure to take in regards to gum disease. Also, it’s important to visit your dentist regularly so they can check for any warning signs of gum disease and other dental issues.

Gum disease is not only harmful to your oral health but also to your overall health. It’s crucial that you follow the above recommendations to lower your risk for gum disease. Reach out to your dentist for more tips and information about preventing gum disease.

August 14, 2016


7 Common Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Tooth sensitivity can be difficult to deal with, especially when something as simple as drinking water can aggravate it. Teeth sensitivity has many causes, so it’s important to know what could be causing your sensitivity. Read over the list below to figure out what may be causing your teeth sensitivity.

1. Brushing Too Hard

While brushing your teeth thoroughly is important for good oral health, brushing too hard can actually cause damage. Using too much force while brushing or using hard-bristled toothbrushes can wear down your enamel. When the enamel is removed, the nerves in your teeth become exposed, which causes your teeth to feel sensitive. Brush thoroughly, but gently to avoid experiencing sensitivity.

2. Eating the Wrong Foods

Eating a balanced diet isn’t just important for your overall health, it’s extremely important for your oral health as well. Consuming too much sugar will cause the bacteria in your mouth to produce acids that can erode your teeth. After a certain amount of exposure to these acids, your teeth will become sensitive as the nerves become exposed. Keeping sugar and acidic foods to a minimum will reduce the risk of your teeth becoming sensitive.

3. Grinding and Clenching Your Teeth

Many people unconsciously grind and clench their teeth, especially while they sleep. Grinding and clenching your teeth can wear down your enamel. Just like brushing too hard and eating harmful foods, grinding your teeth allows for access to your nerves, ultimately resulting in sensitivity. Wearing a protective night guard can help prevent you from grinding your teeth while you sleep.

4. Teeth Whitening

While whitening your teeth may give you a beautiful smile, it may be causing damage to your teeth. Numerous people experience tooth sensitivity while using whitening strips, so what gives? The harsh ingredients in whitening strips may be brightening your smile, but they are weakening your enamel. To avoid sensitivity, keep teeth whitening to a minimum.

5. Plaque Buildup

Plaque is constantly forming in your mouth, and if it’s not taken care of, it can lead to sensitive teeth.Plaque not only eats away at your teeth but also at your gums, causing sensitivity in both. To reduce plaque buildup, practice a good oral care routine that includes thorough brushing and flossing.

6. Cracked or Chipped Teeth

Cracked and chipped teeth can be rather painful and particularly sensitive. When a tooth is cracked or chipped, the sensitive layer of your tooth is exposed, causing you to feel pain and sensitivity. Schedule a visit with your dentist as soon as possible to address the problem before it gets worse.

7. Gum Disease

Gingivitis and periodontal disease can also cause tooth sensitivity. The gum line often recedes with gum disease, revealing the dentin in your teeth. Dentin is the tissue beneath tooth enamel that, when exposed, results in tooth sensitivity. Be sure to keep up with your oral care routine and see your dentist regularly to reduce your risk of developing gum disease.

If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, try following some of the suggestions listed above. Also, be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist to get to the root of your tooth sensitivity and find a solution.

August 13, 2016


TO USE OR NOT TO USE MOUTHWASH; THAT IS THE QUESTION

 

A famous mouthwash company chose the marketing slogan, “Better than flossing.” As a consumer, would you believe a high-end commercial that essentially tells you to stop flossing? Just use this brand of mouthwash and the risk of gingivitis, cavities, etc., is gone. What a wonderful idea! Now for the reality: This is simply not true.

The company that made these claims received some negative feedback for making this false claim. Does this mean that all mouthwashes are ineffective? Absolutely not. It takes a little bit of research to know which mouthwashes are most effective and best suited for you. Here are some key points to remember when choosing a mouthwash.

First, think about why you want to use a mouthwash. If you are at high risk for cavities, you would benefit from a fluoride mouthwash. Check the labels to see which ones contain fluoride.

If you have active gingivitis, a mouthwash with some antibacterial properties would be preferable. Read the labels carefully. You do not want a mouthwash containing alcohol. If you have active periodontal disease, an antibacterial mouthwash is appropriate, though you may want to discuss which kind would be best for your individual needs.

Prescription mouthwashes are also an option. You should pay close attention to the directions, such as how much and how long to use them. There is one brand in particular whose effectiveness can steadily diminish if you use it continually. There can also be side effects you should discuss with our office and/or your pharmacist.

Some great mouthwashes for kids change the color of plaque on their teeth to help them see how they are doing with their brushing. This is a great learning tool for the child and the parent! Why not pick up a bottle for yourself next time you’re at the store and evaluate your own performance?

Beware of claims that a mouthwash can loosen plaque. This is not accurate. Beware of any mouthwash that has alcohol. This is worth mentioning twice. Take care of your taste buds. If you are using a strong mouthwash, it can reduce your sense of taste.

August 12, 2016


ORAL PIERCING: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

 

 

If you have been thinking about getting a piercing, or if you already have one or more, there are some health risks our team at MouthWatchers wants you to know about. It's important to know the risks involved with oral piercing, including infection, chipped teeth, gum damage, nerve damage, loss of taste, or tooth loss that could occur as a result.

Your mouth contains millions of bacteria, and infection is a common complication of oral piercing. Many people who have piercings tend to regularly touch them, paving the way for bacteria to enter piercing sites. Also, food particles that collect around piercing sites can lead to infection.

Besides hindering your ability to talk and eat, oral piercing also leads people to develop a habit of biting or playing with their piercings, which can lead to cracked or fractured teeth. While the fracture can be confined to the enamel of the tooth and require a simple filling, you also run the risk of the fracture going deep into the tooth, which may require a root canal, tooth extraction, and additional dental treatment.

If you still decide to get an oral piercing, you should realize that it will take some time to heal (anywhere between four to six weeks) and it may be very uncomfortable. Also please keep in mind that it will be an added responsibility to your life, as it will require regular upkeep. We want you to make sure that you’re committed to the task of taking care of it for the full healing period and beyond.

We encourage you to clean the piercing with antiseptic mouthwash after eating, and brush the jewelry each time you brush your teeth.

August 11, 2016


HOW CAN I PROTECT MY CHILD'S TEETH DURING SPORTS?

 

Sports are great for children for a variety of reasons. Children can develop their motor skills, learn how to solve conflicts and work together, and develop their work ethics. As a parent, you may recognize the benefits of sports, but also naturally worry about your child’s health and safety. Your job goes beyond providing a water bottle and making sure your child follows the rules of the game.

Although you may not think of your child’s teeth first when you think about sports, accidents can happen that affect your children’s teeth. A stray hockey stick, an errant basketball, or a misguided dive after a volleyball are examples of ways a child could lose a tooth. In fact, studies show that young athletes lose more than three million teeth each year.

Becoming a Better Athlete to Protect Teeth

Becoming a better athlete involves refining skills, learning the rules of the game, and being a good sport. These components are not just about winning. They are also about safety. Young athletes who are better ball-handlers and who are careful to avoid fouls and penalties are less likely to have harmful contact with the ball, teammates, or opponents. Children who are better roller-bladers are less likely to take a face plant into the blacktop, and more likely to save their teeth. Being a good sport and avoiding unnecessary contact is one way to protect teeth.

Proper Protective Equipment for Teeth

If your child is in a sport that poses a high threat to teeth, it is essential for your child to wear a mouthguard. Mouthguards fit your child’s mouth and consist of soft plastic. Your Dentist can custom fit a mouthguard if generic ones are uncomfortable. While children may resist wearing a mouthguard initially, your persistence in insisting that they wear it should be enough to convince them. A helmet or face mask provides additional protection.

While prevention is best, rapid treatment can improve the situation if your child does happen to lose a tooth during sports. Rapid implantation can work in about ten percent of cases.

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