What is plaque?

Most people have heard of the word “plaque,” and know it’s not something you want on your
teeth. Yet, they don’t know what exactly plaque is or how it contributes to dental decay.
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that lives on the surface of your teeth and along the
gumline. It accumulates from normal daily activities such as eating and drinking, especially if
you’ve been consuming a lot of sugars and starches.
Ever had that fuzzy feeling on your teeth that goes away after you give them a good brush?
Yep, that’s plaque.
Plaque is what contributes to dental decay, as bacteria like to consume the sugars in your mouth
and excrete acids that wear away at your tooth enamel.
When you don’t regularly brush and floss away plaque, it forms tartar. Tartar is the calcified
substance on your teeth that only a professional cleaning can remove.

To regularly remove plaque:
1. Brush thoroughly with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day.
2. Floss at least once a day to remove plaque that your brush can’t reach.
3. Visit us for your regular dental cleanings.

 

Fluoride and Floss: What You Need to Know!

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month! This year’s slogan hits two very important concepts for keeping our kids’ dental health in tip-top shape.

The 2018 slogan is: “Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and clean between your teeth for a healthy smile.”

Yes, it’s a no-brainer to say, but actually doing it takes a little bit of effort. We know, ahem, adults who still don’t floss … so let’s get that positive habit started early!

What you need to know…

Using Fluoride Toothpaste

In the amounts our bodies receive via drinking fluoridated water and brushing our teeth, fluoride is quite harmless and incredibly beneficial for our teeth. It can even reverse the very beginning of tooth decay!

Fluoride works by strengthening tooth enamel and making teeth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque, bacteria, and sugars in the mouth.

The American Dental Association recommends using fluoride toothpaste for everyone, including the youngest in our families. As soon as teeth erupt, use a tiny bit (grain of rice size or smaller) of toothpaste on your child’s tooth brush. Then, as soon as they learn how to spit, use a pea-sized amount.

Flossing

How early should your kids start flossing?

As early as possible!

You know your child best, so when you feel it’s age-appropriate to introduce them to flossing, go for it!

The best thing you can do is have your littles watch you floss daily. They see you doing it, they see that it’s not so scary, and they just might want to start copying you.

You may want to have them start with disposable flossers, then move on to regular floss as they get older. And make sure you teach them proper flossing technique!

That’s it! Focus on these two things this February, and slowly they’ll become habits that are hard to break.

Dental Sealants: What They Are and How They Work

Every dentist wants to ensure children’s teeth are as healthy as possible, and one of the first preventive measures they usually recommend is dental sealants.  In fact, The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends placing dental sealants on the first and second set of permanent molars, which generally come in at 6 and 12 years of age.

But what are dental sealants, how do they work, and why should you choose them for your child?

Dental sealants are hardened plastic shields, placed on the chewing, or occlusal, surface of molars and pre-molars, which seal the surface of the tooth.

Sealants work by keeping food and other bacteria-causing material from getting trapped in the tooth and causing decay — which can ultimately lead to cavities.

In one study, kids who received sealant treatment had half the tooth decay of children who brushed regularly but didn’t have sealants.

The cost for dental sealants is modest, roughly $30 to $40 per tooth, and is usually covered by dental insurance. The sealants can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years.

Dental sealants were first given approval by the ADA in 1976, and while in the past there had been questions about the use of sealants and if they can be used safely, a new study concludes that sealants are safe if dentists make sure to rinse or wipe away residue after treatment. The journal Pediatrics states that the benefits sealants provide in preventing cavities outweigh any possible risks.

Sealants can help prevent food from getting into the places where a child might have difficulty brushing. Without a sealant, it is more likely that your child could develop a cavity in an otherwise unprotected tooth. Cavities require fillings, which run the risk of failure over time.

If you want to give your child’s molars the best protection against potential cavities, dental sealants are a great place to start. Ask your child’s dentist about the possibility of sealants for your child.

 

Dental X-Rays: Are They Safe and Necessary?

Dentists and hygienists are often asked about the safety and necessity of X-rays. This is a great question – with answers that differ from patient to patient.

So let’s examine it a bit further. You may be surprised to learn just how safe today’s X-rays are, and which audience asks this question even more so than patients.

X-ray Safety Is Always Being Tested

So, who asks this question more often than patients? Would you believe, dentists? That’s right!

Together with the FDA (Food & Drug Administration), the American Dental Association (ADA) routinely asks this question, and revises its guidelines when advances in science and technology provide new methods to reduce exposure.

In fact, thanks to faster film speeds, digital X-rays, and the use of protective aprons and thyroid collars, the X-ray of today is far superior to those of even just a decade ago.

Below are the general guidelines the ADA and FDA recommend for adults.

It’s important to remember that because all dental care is patient-specific, these guidelines are to be used to accompany the professional opinion of your dentist. Only your dentist has knowledge of your health history and vulnerability to oral disease, and is in the best position to make such recommendations.

New Patients

Full X-rays are generally suggested for new patients to provide your dentist with a full history of your prior oral care and current needs.

Continuing Care Patient with, or at increased risk for cavities

One set of X-rays every 6-18 months.

Continuing Care Patient with no clinical cavities and not at increased risk for cavities

One set of X-rays every 24-36 months.

Continuing Care Patient with periodontal disease

Dependent upon the professional judgment of your dentist.

New and Continuing Care Patients being monitored for dental/skeletal relationships

Dependent upon the professional judgement of your dentist.

Patients with, but not limited to, proposed or existing implants and root canals

Dependent upon the professional judgement of your dentist.

Do you want to read ADA’s complete guidelines? The full report can be found here.

How Often Should You See the Dentist

We love our patients, so we’d be more than happy to see you every day! Alas, we realize that’s
not really possible, so here are some more realistic guidelines for making appointments.
In general, it all depends on your oral health status and your health history.
For most patients, the optimal frequency to visit the dentist is twice a year. In six months,
enough tartar and plaque can build up to require a dental check-up and cleaning, especially if
your dental hygiene isn’t as rigorous as it should be.
For others with gum disease, a genetic predisposition for plaque build-up or cavities, or a
weakened immune system, you’ll need to visit more frequently for optimal care.
Depending on where you fall in those categories, we will prescribe the necessary frequency to
keep your optimal health.  It’s important to keep your routine visits with us so that:
• We can check for problems that you might not see or feel.
• We can find early signs of decay (decay doesn’t become visible or cause pain until it
. reaches more advanced stages).
• We can treat any other oral health problems found (generally, the earlier a problem is .
. found, the more manageable it is).
There you have it! Those are the brass tacks for how often you should schedule an appointment.
But don’t let this keep you from stopping in and saying hi whenever you’re in the neighborhood!
We love seeing your smile!

Tooth-Friendly New Year’s Resolutions

Did you know that the practice of making New Year’s resolutions began almost 4,000 years ago? Ancient Babylonians, when their new year came around, made a promise to the gods that they would pay all debts and return anything they borrowed.

Today, it’s still a very common practice, whether you’re successful at following through or not!

If you’re into making resolutions, might we suggest some that would be good for your teeth?

If you’ve let your dental routine slide, pick one or two of the below recommendations for upcoming year. Your teeth, your wallet, and your dentist will thank you!

Floss. Just do it. Think about all the food and gunk that gets caught between your teeth that can only be removed by flossing. Ick.

Start using a tongue scraper!

Don’t skip a brushing. Brush at least twice a day for at least two minutes a pop.

Figure out what’s causing your dry mouth. Your mouth needs a good amount of saliva in order to bathe the teeth and wash away icky stuff. A dry mouth needs some attention to keep your teeth at their best.

Don’t skip hygiene appointments. For most people, twice a year is adequate. For others, you may need more. During routine visits, dentists spot problems before they get worse (or more expensive for you). Plus, that squeaky clean feeling after a cleaning is hard to beat!

Change your relationship with food. Addicted to sugar? It’s never too late to reset your habits!

Go easy on the kombucha. If your other resolutions include stocking up on the stuff, you may want to reconsider. Kombucha is a rather acidic beverage, and isn’t so great for your teeth.

Drink less soda, energy drinks, and juice. These beverages contain a ton of sugar and empty calories! They’re not good for your pancreas, or your teeth. Go with sparkling water or water infused with yummy chopped fruit for flavor.

Been wanting to whiten your teeth? Go for it! Being the proud owner of a beautiful new smile will make you want to take better care of your mouth. We think that’s a win.

Quit smoking! This one is always worth mentioning. Smoking is terrible for your body, your gums, and your teeth.

The most successful New Year’s resolution-ers pick one or two specific, achievable goals. Do any of these and your mouth’s health will be better by the end of the year!

 

 

Merry Christmas!

 

Have an absolutely perfect holiday season!.. from each of us to each of you!

 

Healthy, Fun, and Practical Holiday Gift Ideas

With the holiday season descending upon us, the race is on to find that one meaningful gift that’ll surprise your loved one and let them know you care. And since good ideas are hard to come by, we decided to ease the pain a little and put together a few ideas! Each gift has the recipient’s health in mind, and is so universal that anyone on your list can appreciate them. Ready to get pickin’? Here we go!

  • Professional Kitchen Scale: Every adult understands that a key component of maintaining a healthy weight is portion control, and yet most of us have absolutely no idea what a portion should look like. That’s a problem. What’s worse, when it comes to advice about how to eyeball portions, we’re left with the not-so-scientific suggestion to “measure against the size of a fist” – hardly the best caloric measurement tool. The best solution is to use a nutritional scale. They’re affordable, easy to store, and simple to use. Spend a few extra dollars and go digital (trust us on this), and be sure to get one that measures in both grams and ounces to accommodate better baking measurements. And, heck, while you’re at it, pick one up for yourself as well. A good scale becomes a fixture in a kitchen very quickly, and everyone benefits.
  • Big Ol’ Box of Fruit: Who wouldn’t love the surprise arrival of a brightly colored box of fruit to brighten up the winter doldrums? A box of fruit is great gift for any couple or family with a healthy appetite (single folk might have some trouble eating too big a box), and given that it’ll be on the kitchen table, or in the fridge for at least week or two, your thoughtfulness will extend far beyond the initial gift-giving day. There are many places to buy fruit baskets and boxes these days … a far cry from the day when perhaps your mom bought a box or two from the local kids selling them for a school fundraiser. Shop around and find something festive!
  • Dental Gifts: There are all sorts of gifts you can pick up for a loved one at supermarket or even at your dentist’s office. Anything from whitening kits to electronic toothbrushes and water flossers to pre-paid custom mouthguards. If you’re really feeling creative, you might even be able to pick up dental gift card for your loved one – many dentists offer them these days. Just fish around as to who their dentist is by talking about your own teeth, and before you know it you will have successfully snagged the name of their doctor. Then, simply ring the dentist’s office and ask if they have gift cards for purchase. Many dentists offer promotional discounts on certain procedures like whitening and Invisalign toward the end of the year as well, so your gift card might help your friend get over the financial hump that’s been holding them back from moving forward on a planned procedure.

You see, gift giving doesn’t have to be that hard! The above three gifts are so timeless you can dig them out of the gift giving opportunity file from now until forever! Have a wonderful holiday season.

Is Your Smile Ready?

Make sure your smile looks great in this year’s holiday card! Schedule an appointment today!

Black Friday Deals

 

As much as we like to see you at our office, we know that we’re just one part of the equation when it comes to your dental hygiene. That’s why we’re big believers in giving you the tools you’ll need in between your visits. One of the tools we wholeheartedly support is the Philips Sonicare: a toothbrush that can eliminate up to seven times more plaque in a two-minute session than your regular one. The secret behind its success is the three engineering innovations that make up Philips’s patented Sonic Technology.

Bristle Tip Velocity – Through a combination of high frequency and high amplitude bristle motions, the Sonicare brush moves in your mouth in ways your hand cannot duplicate. In addition, Sonicare literally makes more strokes in two minutes than you can make in a month using a conventional toothbrush.

Brush Heads – Contoured brush heads fit the natural shape of your teeth, covering a larger brushing surface. Bristles are then placed at precise angles to maximize coverage. A Sonicare brush also uses soft bristles that are rounded at the top to create a safe and gentle brush head that delivers a powerful clean.

Dynamic Cleaning Action – By directing liquid between and behind teeth, even under the gum line, where plaque bacteria flourish, the Sonicare gently massages the gums and stimulates blood circulation while helping to dislodge plaque.

We think you’ll be impressed when you try Sonicare. You can pick one up at your local retailer, or you can drop by our office, where we have them available at a discounted rate.  BlackFriday is a great time to find deals on dental care products for the whole family!  Happy brushing…