STOP IT!! These habits can harm your teeth!

photo

Ann Clark RDH

Enamel is the toughest substance of the body.  But teeth can still be vulnerable when it comes to neglect, abuse or misuse.

1) Chewing on ice, pencils- Harmless? think again.  This habit can chip or crack your tooth.  It can also irritate the inside of the tooth causing toothaches or sensitivity.

ice chewing

2)Sports without mouthguards-Many sports require a mouthguard, a molded piece of plastic protecting your teeth.  Without one you an chip or even knock one out.  Get a custom fit one from your friendly dentist.

3)Bedtime bottles-Giving baby juice, milk or formula at bed can lead to decay.  The remnants bathe the teeth in sugars over night.

getty_rf_photo_of_baby_with_bottle

4)Tongue piercing-Biting on a stud can crack a tooth.  Metal rubbing against gums can cause damage that may lead to tooth loss.  The mouth  is a haven for bacteria increasing the risk of infection.  Over time the metal can also wear down the enamel changing its shape.

piercing

5)Drinking coffee-The dark color and acidity can cause yellowing over time.  Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest to treat with a little whitening.

coffee-black

6)Smoking/tobacco products-These stain the teeth and lead the way to periodontal disease.  Tobacco can also cause cancer of the mouth, lips and tongue.

cigarette

7)Drinking wine-The acids in wines eat at the enamel creating rough spots.  A stained tooth is like sandpaper attracting more bacteria.  Red wine contains chromogen and tannins which help the color to stick…rinse with water, alcohol dries out your mouth.

8)Constant snacking- This produces less saliva than when eating a meal, leaving food bits in the teeth longer.  Snacks should be low in sugar/starch…try carrots.

9)Binge eating-Binging and purging(Bulemia) can do damage from acids found in vomit that erode enamel, leaving them brittle and weak.  Acids also cause bad breath.

10)Whitening too often- Chronic whitening or not following directions acn lead to gum irritation and increased sensitivity.

11) Bottled water- Most have little to no Fluoride as do home filtration units.  Fluoride remineralizes and strengthens tooth structure.

12)Grinding/Clenching-Bruxism wears the tooth down over a period of time.  If worn to the  inner dentin your teeth become sensitive.  Stress, boredom, and sleeping habits make it hard to control. Worn down teeth make you look older and cause pressure to fracture the teeth.

13)Medications-Oral contraceptives can change your hormones and lead to periodontal disease.  Cough drops are high in sugar content leading to decay.  Antihistamines asue dry mouth as do many meds.  We need our saliva to protect our teeth!

14)Drug Abuse(Meth)- Crystal Meth, an illegal and addictive drug can destroy your teeth.  Users crave sugary drinks and foods, clench and have dry mouth.  They notoriously lack in taking care of themselves.

15)Gummy candy-Sticky foods keep sugars and resulting acids in contact with your enamel for hours.  Eat them with a meal as more saliva is produced helping to rinse your mouth.

gummy bear

16)Sodas/Sports drinks/Fruit juice-Sodas have 11teas. of sugar per serving.  They also contain phosphorus and citric acids which eat at enamel.  Diet skips the sugar but adds more acid (artificial sweetners).  Don’t sip these beverages keeping the teeth bathed, chug them and rinse with water

17)Potato chips-Bacteria in plaque will break down starchy foods into acid.  This acid can attack teeth for 20+ minutes if stuck between the teeth…floss!

18)Using your teeth as a tool-It’s convenient to open a bottle or package this way but it canlad to a chip or crack and nail biting is full of germs and bacterias, don’t chew on them.

tooth tool

19) Brushing too much, too hard or with a hard bristle brush-This can erode enamel. Toothpaste can be abrasive, technique is important so as not to take away enamel.  Skipping check ups and not flossing will, of course, cause problems as well.

Being informed is your best defense!

Ann Clark RDH

 
Photo cited:
 
Cigarette  www.webmd.com
Baby bottle www.webmd.com
Gummy Bear www.markmatters.com
Tooth Tool www.webmd.com
Ice Chewing. www.personal.psu.edu

Kids and Dentistry

I have to say that my favorite appointments are the ones with patients who are 18 and younger. No offense to the rest of the adult world, however, kids are the best. They are like little sponges soaking up all the dental knowledge I can share. Being a future parent I want to know all the information I can get to help my children have smooth transition into new experiences. Here are some kid tips for in office and at home to help our children have a great time at the dentist.

Office Tips:

When should my child first come to the dentist?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) children should come no later than 12 months of age. That may sound early to most people. However, this helps create a dental home for the child. We can also answer questions that the parents may have. Your dentist and hygienist will give advice on snacking habits, teach oral hygiene tips and make sure your child’s teeth are coming in on schedule.

The first visit is called a “Happy Visit”, we show them the instruments and the dentist checks their teeth. Cleanings are dependent on the temperament of the child. Whatever they are comfortable with. We want a happy, calm visit.

Regular Check ups

Cleanings are to be 2 times per year. The dentist checks for dental decay, orthodontic needs, discuss sports guards and if sealants should be placed. Hygiene cleanings are performed. Fluoride treatments are given and oral hygiene instruction is tailored to the child’s needs.

What if my child has a cavity?

Then you are at the perfect place. At our offices we have wonderful doctors and staff who help each and every patient have a great experience. Start off by setting a good example to your child by being calm. The child will always be well-informed on what is going on during the appointment. Believe it or not we have had better experiences with not having the parent in the room during the procedures. This helps the child develop trust with the doctor and the child will more likely communicate with the dentist about his or her needs rather than the parent.

Nitrous Oxide or laughing gas is very effective for children. It is fast acting, calms the patient quickly, it is safe, reversible, and is affordable for most patients. Kids respond well to the nitrous. Just like adults your child will always have localized anesthesia to make the procedure virtually painless.

We may refer some patients to a pediatric dentist. This is decided by the child’s temperament, if there is a large amount of dental work to be done, or they need to be sedated. However, most of the time we can take care of all dental needs presented.

Home Tips:

Oral Hygiene Habits
Brush 2 times per day for 2 minutes. Make sure the brush has soft bristles. An electric toothbrush helps kids brush for longer and it is more fun.

It is recommended for parents to help children brush and floss until the age of 8.

Floss at least 1 time per day if not more.

Sequence-

  1. Rinse with mouthwash
  2. Floss
  3. Brush, spit in the sink and do not rinse afterwards. We want the fluoride to stay on the teeth.

Infants should have their oral cavity wiped with a clean damp cloth before bed at night.

Tooth brushing charts are a great motivator for kids who have a hard time brushing.You can find many online to print out.

Fluoride

Under 2 yrs smear fluoride toothpaste onto the brush. 2 yrs and above a small pea size should suffice. According to the AAPD.

Parents should dispense toothpaste to prevent from too much being digested.

Further questions about fluoride and its benefits consult your dentist or hygienist.

Diet

Have a balanced diet of veggies, fruit, meat and beans, dairy, and whole grains. Limit amounts of starchy and sugary foods.

Significantly decrease amounts of soda and fruit juices

Limit frequency of snacking.

Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar substitute that also helps prevent cavities. It is put in gums such at Ice Breaker Ice Cubes, Trident and others. It also can be bought to be used in baking. Xylitol is a great way to keep sweets in our lives with benefit of not getting cavities.

Dental Caries is the number one disease that affects children. The good thing is that cavities are preventable. Health in the oral cavity affects our entire bodies. With these tips and many others our children are on their way to a life of happy, healthy, smiles.

-Kara Johansen BSRDH

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (2011). Ask Your Dentist About Dental Care For Your Baby. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (2011). Ask Your Dentist About Nitrous Oxide. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (2011). Ask your Dentist About Diet and Snacking. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (2011). Ask Your Dentist About Regular Dental Visits. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/