Monday, November 30, 2020

Kid-Tested, Dentist-Approved: 6 Teeth Cleaning Tips from Dentist Parents

As a parent, you may have more in common with your dentist than you think. Many moms and dads—even dentists—struggle to keep their children’s mouths and teeth clean. ADA dentist Dr. Gene Romo is a father of four – ages 13, 10, 8 and 2. “As you can imagine, there can be a wide range of behavior on who wants to brush and who doesn’t in our house,” he says. “I’m not just a dentist, I’m their dad, so making sure they’re establishing good habits early on is important to me.”

To keep your family’s smiles strong, try some of tricks of the trade from dentist moms and dads:

Establish a Fun Family Routine

In Dr. Romo’s house, there’s one rule everyone follows: “You have to brush before bed, and you can’t leave the house in the morning until you brush,” he says. “The most important thing is to make sure your family is brushing for 2 minutes, twice a day.”

Young kids love to imitate their parents, so take the opportunity to lead by example. “One thing I did with all my kids was play a game with them, kind of like monkey-see, monkey-do. We all have our toothbrushes, and they follow what I do,” he says. “When I open my mouth, they open their mouths. When I start brushing my front teeth, they start brushing their front teeth – and so on all the way until it’s time to rinse and spit. It’s just a fun way to teach them how to brush properly, and we get to spend a little time together, too.”

Making brushing a family affair also helps you keep an eye out for healthy habits. “Some kids want to do everything themselves, even toothpaste, so you can watch to make sure they’re not using more than they should – a rice-sized smear for kids 2 and under and a drop the size of a pea for kids 3 and up,” he says. “You can also do a quick final check for any leftover food when brush time is done.”

Try a New Angle

When her daughter was only 6 months old, ADA dentist Dr. Ruchi Sahota asked her husband to hold her while she brushed or brushed when her daughter was laying down. “You can see their teeth from front to back the best at that time,” she says.

If your child is old enough to stand and wants to brush in the bathroom, ADA dentist Dr. Richard Price suggests a different method. “Stand behind your child and have him or her look up at you,” he says. “This causes the mouth to hang open and allows you to help them brush more easily.”

Bigger Kids, Bigger Challenges

Checking up on your child’s daily dental hygiene habits doesn’t end as they get older. It’s more challenging when they get their driver’s license and head off to college, says ADA dentist Dr. Maria Lopez Howell. “The new drivers can drive through any fast food spot for the kinds of food and beverages that they can’t find in a health-minded home,” she says. “The new college student is up late either studying or socializing. They don’t have a nightly routine, so they may be more likely to fall asleep without brushing.”

While your children are still at home, check in on their brushing and talk to them about healthy eating, especially when it comes to sugary drinks or beverages that are acidic. After they leave the nest, encourage good dental habits through care packages with toothbrushes, toothpaste or interdental cleaners like floss with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. And when they’re home on break, make sure they get to the dentist for regular checkups! Or if school break is too hectic– you can find a dentist near campus to make sure they are able to keep up with their regular visits.

Play Detective…

As your children get older, they’re probably taking care of their teeth away from your watchful eye. Dr. Romo asks his older children if they’ve brushed, but if he thinks he needs to check up on them, he will check to see if their toothbrushes are wet. “There have been times that toothbrush was bone dry,” he says. “Then I’ll go back to them and say, ‘OK, it’s time to do it together.’”

If you think your child has caught on and is just running their toothbrush under water, go one step further. “I’ll say, ‘Let me smell your breath so I can smell the toothpaste,’” he says. “It all goes back to establishing that routine and holding your child accountable.”

…And Save the Evidence

It could be as simple as a piece of used floss. It sounds gross, but this tactic has actually helped Dr. Lopez Howell encourage teens to maintain good dental habits throughout high school and college.

To remind them about the importance of flossing, Dr. Lopez Howell will ask her teenage patients to floss their teeth and then have them smell the actual floss. If the floss smells bad, she reminds them that their mouth must smell the same way. “It’s an ‘ah-ha’ moment,” Dr. Lopez Howell explains. “They do not want to have bad breath, especially once they see how removing the smelly plaque might improve their social life!”

Above All, Don’t Give Up

If getting your child to just stand at the sink for two minutes feels like its own accomplishment (much less brush), you’re not alone. “It was so difficult to help my daughter to brush her teeth because she resisted big time,” says ADA dentist Dr. Alice Boghosian. Just remember to keep your cool and remain persistent.

“Eventually, brushing became a pleasure,” Dr. Boghosian says. She advises parents to set a good example by brushing with their children. “Once your child is brushing on their own, they will feel a sense of accomplishment – and you will too!”

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Thursday, November 26, 2020

How To Brush Your Teeth In Space | Video

ISS commander Chris Hadfield explains how astronauts maintains oral hygiene aboard the International Space Station.

Friday, November 20, 2020

How Dentures Are Made | The Making Of

Dentures are a removable set of teeth that are meant to create a new smile for a patient. In order to make a set, it requires several appointments with the patient and lengthy procedures in the lab to get the right fit and look. It can be a tedious process for all, but worth it in the end once the patient has a beautiful new smile.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Why Quitting Smoking Will Benefit Your Oral Health

Despite the fact that tobacco use remains the largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world, a staggering 32.4 million Americans still smoke cigarettes.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) reports that overall rates of smoking have declined drastically over several decades, yet more than 16 million Americans are currently living with a smoking-related disease.

We all know smoking increases the risk for many conditions, like lung cancer and heart disease. But, many smoking-related problems present themselves early and most obviously in the mouth. These can range from less serious issues, like tooth discoloration, to potentially fatal diseases such as cancers of the mouth and throat.

The nicotine, tar, and other chemicals in tobacco lead to a buildup of bacteria that is harmful in many ways. What’s more, tobacco weakens the body’s immune system which makes fighting these illnesses more difficult.

Read on to get a better understanding of how tobacco is connected to your oral health, the signs and symptoms to look for, and why smoking cessation will be the best thing you can do for your mouth.

Smoking and other tobacco products lead to oral health issues in three primary ways:
  • Tobacco increases the amount of the bacteria in the mouth;
  • Tobacco interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells, causing a greater risk for infection;
  • Tobacco impairs blood flow, which makes it harder for your body to heal;
Not all the oral effects of smoking are the same for everyone. They can vary for several reasons, including how much you use and how long you’ve been smoking.

Smoker's Mouth

Due to the nicotine and tar in tobacco, “smokers mouth” can happen incredibly quickly. It can include:
  • Discolored teeth;
  • Bad breath;
  • Increased buildup of plaque and tartar that leads to cavities and gum disease;
In some cases, people may even develop mouth sores from smoking cigarettes, or a condition known as “smokers tongue” which causes the tongue to look hairy and even turn a shade of yellow, green, or brown.

Gum Disease

One of the greatest oral health risks for smokers is gum disease. According to a study published in the Journal of Dental Research, smokers are at twice the risk of developing gum disease.

There are two main types of gum disease:

1. Gingivitis: When plaque and tartar build up and get under the gums and create harmful inflammation. Symptoms include red, tender, swollen gums that bleed easily.

2. Periodontal Disease: If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a more advanced form of gum disease called periodontitis.

Periodontal disease is an inflammatory infection that breaks down the gum tissues. Over time, it can cause receding gums, deep pockets and bone loss that can lead to more frequent and serious infections. Without treatment, teeth may become mobile, fall out or need to be extracted.

Deep cleaning below the gum line, or surgery, are treatments for periodontitis.

Mouth and Throat Cancer

In the most serious cases, the use of tobacco can lead to cancers of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat. According to the Mouth Cancer Foundation, smokers are six times more likely to develop these cancers than nonsmokers. Symptoms could include swelling or lumps around your neck or mouth, persistent sores or patches, difficulty swallowing, or repeated bleeding in the mouth and throat.

Your dentist is specially trained to evaluate you for signs of oral cancer, and keeping regular dental check-ups improves the likelihood of any abnormalities in the mouth being detected as early as possible.

How to Quit Smoking and Improve Your Oral and Overall Health

The number-one way to reduce all these risks is to stop smoking. Or better yet, never start. The American Lung Association offers these tips to quit smoking:
  • Just quit. Don’t switch to e-cigarettes, which can be just as harmful. Talk to your doctor about medications or counseling services that could help you quit smoking.
  • Write down a list of your personal motivations for quitting.
  • Make a plan to quit and find a support network to help keep you accountable.
  • Ask questions and do your research. Know what to expect when quitting and the challenges to be prepared for.
  • Find healthy ways to keep yourself occupied. Exercise, take up a new hobby, or do something fun with friends who don’t smoke.
The process may be difficult, but the benefits of quitting are significant. Over time, your heart rate and blood pressure will drop, your lung function increases, and your risk of heart disease drastically drops. The ACS offers a Quit Smoking Timeline that describes the health benefits you can expect within with just minutes to over a decade of kicking the habit.

With proper at-home care and visits to the dentist, some gum disease can be reversed or stopped in its tracks. What’s more, a study published by the Journal of Periodontology found that the likelihood of developing periodontal disease decreased significantly with each additional year since quitting smoking.

As Robert Silverman, DDS, a Delta Dental consultant, has summed it up,
“The lesson is: Don’t smoke if you want to save your teeth — and your life.”

The Centers for Disease Control also offers some amazing resources to help you quit smoking. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free support, download the quitSTART app to get tailored tips, and connect with others on social media who are also looking to live a smoke-free life.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Dentists Debunk 14 Teeth Myths

Two dentists debunk 14 of the most common myths about teeth. They explain the science behind white teeth and what really causes cavities. They also debunk the idea that electric toothbrushes are better than regular toothbrushes. In fact, it's more about how you brush your teeth. And they mention how aligners, without X-rays and thorough analysis from an orthodontist, could be harmful to your teeth.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

How Does Diabetes Affect Your Oral Health?

As of 2018, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that 34.2 million people in the U.S. are living with diabetes, with 7.3 million adults not even realizing they are diabetic. These are especially scary statistics given that most of us know diabetes can lead to a host of other health problems, from vision issues to kidney complications to cardiovascular disease.

But did you know that diabetes can also take a toll on the health of your smile?

Not only does it increase your risk for diseases that affect your teeth and gums but diminishing oral health can be one of the first signs of diabetes.

Diabetes is a metabolic condition that affects your body’s ability to process and use glucose, the sugar in the blood that serves as our primary source of energy.

The body produces glucose from the food we consume and sends it to be used as energy by our cells. But glucose can’t reach these cells without the help of the hormone insulin. Without insulin, cells are unable to use glucose, and this causes high blood sugar – a condition that weakens our body’s defense against infections, including those in the mouth.

Type 1 vs Type 2 Diabetes

There are two primary types of diabetes: Type I and Type II.

With Type I (previously known as juvenile diabetes), the body doesn’t make enough insulin for the cells to get the glucose they need. The CDC estimates that between 5 and 10% of all diabetes cases are Type I, and the World Health Organization says the cause is currently unknown.

In cases of Type II diabetes, the body stops using insulin effectively over time. This accounts for an estimated 90-95% of diabetes diagnoses, which typically occur later in life than Type I. Primary risk factors include unhealthy diet, excess body weight, and physical inactivity.

Other less common types of diabetes include gestational, which occurs in some pregnant women and typically goes away after the baby is born. However, both the mother and child can have an increased risk for developing Type II diabetes later on.

There is also diabetes related to cystic fibrosis and monogenic diabetes, which is caused by a single gene mutation inherited from one or both parents.

How Are Diabetes and Oral Health Linked?

No matter which type of diabetes you have, you’re at an increased risk for developing issues that could affect nearly every part of the body, including the mouth. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes, common dental problems such as gum inflammation could potentially be an early warning sign. Other signs of possible symptoms include:

Diabetes and Tooth Decay: Elevated glucose in our saliva supplies more food to the cavity-causing bacteria in dental plaque. As these bacteria multiply, they produce acid as a byproduct of their metabolism, increasing the rate and extent of tooth decay.

Diabetes and Gingivitis: Bacteria in plaque and tartar can cause swelling and bleeding along the gum line. Having high blood sugar increases your risk for gingivitis by compromising your body’s ability to fight infection.

Diabetes and Periodontal Disease: If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress into advanced gum disease known as periodontitis. This condition is characterized by a loss of bone that supports the teeth. Periodontitis can contribute to spikes in blood sugar that makes diabetes more difficult to control and, in turn, gum disease harder to fight. It’s a vicious cycle that has led to periodontitis becoming the most common dental disease among those with diabetes, affecting roughly 22% of diabetics.

Periodontitis can also lead to tooth loss, with 1 in 5 cases linked to diabetes. What’s more, diabetes can impair blood flow, meaning the recovery period can be extended if you need oral surgery to treat gum disease.

Diabetes and Dry Mouth: Another symptom of diabetes can be dry mouth due to a lack of saliva. In some cases, this may result in difficulty swallowing, trouble speaking, a burning sensation, or a constant sore throat. Saliva is also incredibly important for clearing away food, bacteria, acid, and other disease-causing substances in the mouth. Without saliva, tooth decay and gum disease can more readily form.

Diabetes and Thrush: People with diabetes also have an increased risk for other infections in the mouth, particularly the fungal infection known as thrush. This causes painful red or white patches in the mouth which are made worse by smoking or high levels of sugar in your saliva.

Caring For Your Oral Health with Diabetes

The good news is that you can stay on top of your diabetes by taking doctor-prescribed medications, following a healthy diet plan, and getting regular exercise. By managing your blood sugar levels, you’ll also help lower your chance of developing oral health issues now and in the future.

Whether you have diabetes or not, it’s important to:
  • Brush for two minutes twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste;
  • Floss at least once a day, preferably before bed;
  • Clean your denture each day if you wear one;
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for regular cleanings;
  • Avoid smoking;

Also, be sure to monitor any changes such as bleeding gums, dry mouth, or loose teeth and report them to your dentist as soon as you can. Make sure you also tell your physician of any new symptoms related to your mouth. There may not be a cure for diabetes, but with the right maintenance and treatment plans, you can enjoy a life of oral and overall health.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

How to Brush with Braces? - 3 Brushing Tips

Brushing your teeth effectively is very important in regards to your dental health. Brushing eliminates the possibility of gingivitis, plaque, bad breath, tooth decay and more. In this video, our orthodontic assistant will demonstrate how to brush your teeth with braces.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

How Oral Health and Depression are Connected

Depression is a complex mental health condition that impacts nearly every aspect of your life, from your mood and ability to connect with others to your physical health. But did you know that depression can also affect your oral health?

Oral Health and Depression

If you have depression, it’s common to experience anxiety symptoms during times of stress. Not only can this lead to an increased heart rate, racing thoughts, and insomnia, it also raises your cortisol levels.

Often called the stress hormone, cortisol helps regulate your metabolism and immune response. When you’re depressed and anxious, cortisol can flood your system, lowering your body’s immunity to infections like gum disease and tooth infections.

If you’re struggling to maintain good oral health habits because of lack of motivation, constant fatigue or “brain fog”, your risk of developing these infections can increase.

Seeking help for depressive disorders, such as clinical depression and bipolar depression, can significantly improve the symptoms of depression. However, many of the medications that your doctor prescribes to manage the signs of depression can cause dry mouth.

Your saliva naturally helps remove plaque, bacteria, and unwanted debris from your teeth. When you have dry mouth, your saliva can’t do its job, increasing your risk of tooth decay and cavities.

How to Care for Your Oral Health

There are many ways to care for your oral health now if you struggle with depression, such as:

Seek mental health counseling.

The first step in managing depression that lasts for more than a few weeks is to seek counseling. A professional mental health counselor can help you cope with your symptoms and set small, achievable goals that will strengthen your self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.

Tell your dentist.

Your dentist knows how challenging it is to care for your teeth and gums when you have depression. They can give helpful advice on the best ways to preserve your oral health during depressive bouts.

Take small steps.

The best way to take care of your teeth and gums is to brush and floss twice a day, use a mouth rinse, and visit your dentist twice a year for regular teeth cleanings. But if a full oral health routine seems too daunting right now, take small steps. Try to brush your teeth twice a day and work your way up from there.

Make healthy choices.

Poor eating habits are common when you have depression. It’s much easier to reach in the cabinet for junk food than it is to cook a healthy meal. But adding healthy fruits and vegetables to your diet, such as leafy greens, apples, and fish, strengthens and protects your teeth and gums.