Archive | January, 2015

Daily Dental Tip: Use a straw to maintain oral health

31 Jan


When consuming acidic drinks, including fruit juice and carbonated beverages, drink quickly and use a straw for limited contact with teeth and gums. Don’t swish them around in your mouth.


Daily Dental Tip: When to visit the dentist

30 Jan


Visit your dentist at least every six months and every time that you have a problem with your teeth

Daily Dental Tip: Brushing Tip for Gums!

29 Jan


To properly brush your gums, spend time moving the bristles at and below the gum line.

6 things to know to keep your kids’ teeth healthy (via @Salem_Statesman)

29 Jan


As a pediatric dentist, I talk to parents daily about ways to get kids to brush their teeth. Toddlers in particular can be so resistant that frustrated moms and dads are tempted to give up altogether. It’s not uncommon for them to ask, “Do baby teeth really matter anyway?”

Even though they fall out, they do matter. Children with decay in their baby teeth are more likely to develop cavities in their permanent teeth, and baby teeth hold the space needed for the incoming adult tooth. Premature loss of baby teeth can result in crooked teeth or even the inability of adult teeth to come in.

One surprising statistic is that early childhood cavities and tooth decay are the No. 1 chronic childhood illness, more common than asthma. And untreated dental pain and disease affect a child’s overall well-being. It can lead to missed school days, impact a child’s ability to eat and sleep, and lower their self-esteem.

But there’s good news: It’s a problem that can be prevented by following a few parent- and child-friendly tips:

1 Start early. Kids should have their first dental visit within six months of when their first tooth breaks through the gums, or by age 1, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Kids can see either a general dentist or a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists receive special training to understand kids’ needs.

The first appointment often takes place in the comfort of the parent’s lap, not in the dental chair. It’s an opportunity to provide guidance for the parent and to talk about oral hygiene, diet, injury prevention and habits such as pacifiers and thumb sucking.

Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as the first tooth comes in, start brushing your child’s teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush designed for children. Use a smear of fluoride-containing toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.

2 Make brushing fun. It’s important to brush twice a day for two minutes. Apps like Oral-B’s free Disney Magic Timer app can help turn brushing into a game:

Try the “Tell-Show-Do” method with younger kids. Tell them what you’re going to do, demonstrate on yourself or a toy, then do it.

3 Use a fluoride toothpaste. Use a pea-size amount for ages 3 to 6 and a smaller smear for younger kids. Rinsing after brushing should be kept to a minimum or eliminated to maximize the fluoride’s effect. I usually tell parents to make their best effort to have the child spit out the excess toothpaste, but if they don’t, the amount of fluoride is safe to swallow.

4 Get sealants on permanent teeth. Sealants are a thin resin coating that fills in the chewing surfaces of teeth, blocking food particles that could otherwise get trapped and cause cavities.

Sealants are quickly, easily and painlessly applied by dental care professionals. They can last for years.

Sealants work. A child who receives sealants is 72 percent less likely to receive fillings over the next three years.

5 Get fluoride varnishes on baby teeth and permanent teeth. Fluoride varnishes are a concentrated topical fluoride brushed onto teeth. Like sealants, they’re quickly, easily and painlessly applied by dental care professionals. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry cites fluoride as the most effective way to prevent tooth decay.

6 Be mindful of diet implications. Make sure your child has a balanced diet. Limit sugars and starches to protect teeth from decay.


Daily Dental Tip: Use A Tongue Scraper

28 Jan

A tongue scraper is an important part of oral hygiene that will also work wonders with stale, smelly breath.

Daily Dental Tip: Rinse After Sugary Foods!

27 Jan


Rinse after sugary foods. Food remnants feed the bacteria in your mouth, which then excrete acidic substances that corrode tooth enamel, resulting in bad breath and painful jaw diseases.

#Michigan: Fluoride program supports students’ dental health (via

27 Jan

school fluoride

With many across the Upper Peninsula living in rural communities, fluoridated water is limited. That means those teeth are more likely to decay, but fluoride is one way of preventing this.

“What it does is it helps prevent tooth decay,” said Marquette County Health Department’s Rebecca Manio. “So our hope is in the Upper Peninsula to help reduce the incidence of tooth decay in our students.”

In order to do this the Marquette County Health Department started the Fluoride Mouth Rinse Program.

“Children need good oral health, they need good dental health,” said Maino. “They need their baby teeth in place healthy to reserve the space for the permanent teeth coming in otherwise the teeth can come in crowded and they can lose that space. There are a lot of reasons why they need good dental health.”

The Fluoride Mouth Rinse Program has been in some Marquette County schools since the 1970’s. Students get 10 milliliters of flavored fluoride weekly and swish it around for about a minute.

“It’s pretty quick and efficient,” said Maino. “Once they get into a routine it really doesn’t take that long.”

“You just have to swish,” said Ava Jo Hares a first grader at Birchview. “And I like doing it.”

Parents have to consent for their child to receive fluoride and currently about 80 percent do so.

“I will sign it for him next year and I will be relieved to know that I won’t have to worry so much about him getting cavities,” explained Annette Cornish a parent.

“The studies with the American Dental Association have seen about a thirty percent reduction in tooth decay where students are doing this program throughout the school year on a weekly basis,” said Maino.

Because of this success the Superior Health Foundation has created the U.P. Wide Smiles grant to make the program available to schools across the U.P. if they so choose.