How do I know which Toothpaste to pick?

Sharma Mulqueen, RDH

How do I know which Toothpaste to pick?

When it comes to choosing toothpaste, sometimes it seems like your options are endless. On the drugstore shelves you’ll see dozens of varieties that claim to whiten your teeth, decrease tooth sensitivity, prevent cavities, heal your gums, protect against tartar—even all of the above! But toothpaste doesn’t just polish teeth; it also removes the bacteria that cause dental plaque and bad breath, so it’s important select a brand that is approved by the American Dental Association. Since everyone has different needs, here are some tips that will help you choose a toothpaste to meet your individual needs.

Types of Toothpaste

  • Anti-cavity: This type of toothpaste contains fluoride. Fluoride not only helps to prevent decay, it also actively strengthens tooth enamel.
  • Anti-gingivitis: If have tender, swollen gums that bleed when you irritate them, this is probably an early sign of gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease. Anti-gingivitis toothpaste helps fight oral bacteria and restore gum health, preventing more serious gum disease.
  • Desensitizing: If your teeth hurt when you consume things like ice cream or cold drinks, this toothpaste can help you. It will provide relief by blocking the tooth’s pain signal to the nerve so that sharp changes in temperature aren’t so painful.
  • Tartar-control: This toothpaste will help control tartar. However, the best way to remove tartar is by scheduling a professional dental cleaning with your Dental Hygienist.
  • Whitening: This toothpaste contains chemicals that are able to help whiten and brighten tooth enamel, thus maintaining the natural color of your teeth. If your teeth are sensitive this is a toothpaste you want to avoid.
  • Children’s: Fluoride or Fluoride free?  When making this decision it is important that you are aware if your child is swallowing the toothpaste.  If they have not learned to spit it out, stick with a non Fluoride toothpaste.  Fluoride is a great benefit for children as it helps remineralize teeth and prevent tooth decay.

It is recommended that everyone brush their teeth twice daily for two minutes and floss daily.  You only need a pea size amount of toothpaste. Today there is toothpaste to meet the oral needs of everyone. But while all of the products on the shelf might seem the same, with a little help from your Dentist or Dental Hygienist, you can determine which is right for you. It is important to schedule dental checkups and professional cleanings twice a year to prevent tooth sensitivity, gum disease, tartar buildup, and tooth decay. We hope to see you soon in one of your dental offices.

Sources:

www.colgate.com

www.ada.com

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Tips for Toddlers

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Tips for Toddlers

Have you ever tried to brush the little one’s teeth and been so frustrated you just give up?!?  I have!  With 4 children of my own, I can tell you first hand that it’s not the easiest task to accomplish and each child is so different and will respond just a little differently.  So if one of these techniques don’t work for you, just try, try again.

Tip #1: For the babies who are teething or whose teeth are just breaking through, chewing on a toothbrush is an excellent idea!  No toothpaste needed, just the brush and lots of saliva!  

Tip #2:For the little ones, just when they’re starting to get their teeth – You sit on the floor, criss-cross apple sauce, and lay their head in your lap with their legs facing away from you.  (It will look like they’re laying in a dental chair, without the chair.)  Then have them extend their chip up towards you as you lightly brush their teeth in circular motions, just doing the best you can.  At first, you may be only able to brush for a few seconds, but after a while, they’ll get more used to it (and you, too) and before you know it, you’re brushing morning and night!  There are finger brushes that you can try as well if they don’t like the toothbrush.

Tip #3: Use a timer.  Any timer will do, just make sure that it stays in the bathroom where they’ll see it on the counter and use it.  It can be a one minute timer, one minute for the top and then flip it and do it again for the bottom teeth.  That way they are counting down to when they’re finished.

Tip #4: SING!  Sometimes I sing so much that my children tell me to stop, however, it truly works.  Find a song they like to sing or a number they like to count up to, and do it while you are brushing their teeth!  Some songs that worked well for my littles were “Itsy Bisty Spider,” sung twice, The ABC song, Wheels on the Bus, or London Bridges.  Whatever the song, decide how to break it up into two sections, brush the bottom teeth first, pause for a second to let them swallow and then finish on the top.  They think it’s fun and brushing time will go quickly and end up being fun instead of a drag.

Most importantly…..BE PATIENT!  It will come and eventually they will brush their teeth on their own.  It just takes time and lots of patience.  Don’t let this little thing become a battle early in their little lives.  If you need extra tips or help, don’t be afraid to ask your hygienist on your next visit in to see us!  Happy Brushing!
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Wendy Parker, R.D.H. and also known as M.O.M.

Smiles For Life

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Andra Mahoney, BS RDH

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From March – June, our offices will be participating in Smiles for Life.

What is Smiles for Life? The Smiles for Life Foundation raises money for seriously ill, disabled, and underprivileged children in our local communities and around the world.  It also helps sponsor Dental Humanitarian trips throughout the world.

How does it work?  We welcome you to our office, whether it’s your first visit or you are a long time patient.  Ultradent donates the whitening materials, and our Dentists donate their time.  Together, we offer professional teeth whitening services at substantially reduced prices (donations).  You may choose between three different whitening options:

1. Professionally made-to-fit-your-mouth trays and 8 tubes of take home whitening gel
2. In Office Whitening
3. In Office Whitening with take home trays and 8 tubes of take home whitening gel

Where does my donation go?  No proceeds stay in the office.  100% of your donation goes to children’s charities!  50% will go to Hope Arising, a charity that our offices work directly with.  The other 50% is given to a children’s charity approved by the Smiles For Life Foundation. And for you, it is all tax deductible!

What are the benefits to professional whitening? Whitening helps you look and feel younger.  And when you professionally whiten your teeth, you are ensuring a safer, more effective way of whitening.  Over the counter items may be quicker and cheaper, but they are not tailored to your specific mouth and are not as effective.  If you have ever wanted to whiten, now is the time.  Everybody wins!

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

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Sources:

If you would like more information on Smiles for Life, please check out this short video: http://youtu.be/asAom_V5ukY or visit them at: http://www.smilesforlife.org

If you would like to learn more about the organization we specifically work with, Hope Arising, you may check out this video: http://youtu.be/zi06jlAVQOc or visit their website here: http://hopearising.org  (you may even see some of our great Doctors pictured on their page!)

What is a Sealant?

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Katie Moynihan RDH

What is a Sealant?

Dental sealants are thin plastic-like coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of molars to prevent cavities. They work by providing a protective shield over the deep grooves and pits to seal out plaque and food. Often times, your toothbrush bristles do not reach all the way into the grooves to remove plaque and food. Once these vulnerable areas of your teeth are sealed, you can decrease your chance of tooth decay and be on your way to maintaining a healthy mouth!

Sealant 1

How are sealants applied?

In 5 easy steps:

1. The tooth is thoroughly cleaned.

2. It is then dried properly and covered in cotton, so it stays dry.

3. A solution is applied on the tooth to make it rough, so the sealant sticks better.

4. The tooth is rinsed, dried and again covered in cotton, so it stays dry.

5. The sealant material is painted on the tooth and hardened with a light.

Sealant 2

The likelihood of developing pit and fissure decay begins early in life. Sealants are often applied on children as a preventative method once their adult molars come in. However, adults with deep grooves on their teeth can also benefit from sealants. The process is a quick and painless method. Once applied, sealants can withstand the force of normal chewing and last for several years. During your regular dental visits, we will check the condition of the sealant and re-apply as needed.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

Sources:

Hood, Alex. Sealants: A Weapon Against Cavities. http://www.deltadentalar.com/blog/sealants-a-weapon-against-cavities

Dental Sealants. (2013). http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/publications/faqs/sealants.htm

Sealants. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/s/sealants

Oral Bacteria: Sharing or Spreading?

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Becky Larson RDH

            The sharing or spreading of oral bacteria happens very frequently and most people are unaware they are even doing it.  Our mouths are filled with millions of bacteria. When you share food, cups, utensils, toothbrushes, or have contact with someone else’s saliva these bacteria can be transferred from person to person. This can be particularly harmful when sharing with children.

Cavities (caries) are the result of a bacterial infection and young children can “catch” the harmful bacteria that cause cavities. While everybody has bacteria in their mouth, it’s important to try to keep these harmful bacteria from our children’s mouths during their first year or two. Babies are actually born without any harmful bacteria in their mouth.  Once the harmful caries bacteria are introduced, the child may experience tooth decay.

So what does this mean?  It means DON’T SHARE BACTERIA.  I’ve seen many parents (including my own husband) suck their child’s pacifier clean.  This can be both good and bad.  The parent has just introduced new bacteria into their child’s mouth.  Some bacteria are harmless and can actually help prevent allergic reactions.  However, if the parent has any caries bacteria, they have now given those bacteria to their child.  Sharing saliva can also spread the bacteria that cause inflammatory reactions and periodontal disease in adults.

Why does it matter? Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, five times more common than asthma.  When left untreated, the disease can cause developmental problems.  Tooth decay can lead to mouth pain, which makes it more difficult for a child to eat healthy foods, speak correctly, and even concentrate in school.  Tooth decay can also damage permanent teeth when they erupt.  Periodontal disease cannot currently be cured.  If left untreated, the gums, bone and tissues that support the teeth can be destroyed.  This can result in the loss of teeth.

            Tips on how to prevent bacteria transmission and cavities:

*If your child sleeps with a bottle, fill it with water rather than milk or juice

*Clean baby gums with wet cloth several times per day before baby teeth erupt

*Once your child has erupted teeth, brush them at least twice per day (even if it’s only one tooth!)

*Take your child to the dentist by their 1st birthday or when the first tooth erupts

*Avoid putting anything in your child’s mouth that has been in your mouth

*Avoid kissing your child on the lips

*Avoid sharing food, utensils, cups, and toothbrushes

*Help your child floss their teeth once the teeth are contacting

*Change toothbrushes every 3 months

*Eat a balanced diet, limit sugar intake

*Brush your own teeth twice per day and floss once per day

Sources:

http://www.perio.org/node/224

http://oralhealthmatters.blogspot.com/2013/05/bacteria-in-mouth-are-not-harmless.html

http://brushinguplasalle.com/tag/oral-bacteria/

https://www.deltadental.com/Public/NewsMedia/NewsReleaseBadThingsHappen201108.jsp

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/35989527/ns/health-oral_health/t/moms-kiss-can-spread-cavities-baby/#.UpYHZ9F3uM8

http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/GumDiseases/PeriodontalGumDisease.htm