Monday, August 25, 2008

Understanding Cavities

One word nobody wants to hear when they visit the dentist is Cavity! That’s right, the dreaded cavity; but what exactly is a cavity and how do they happen? A cavity is a hole that develops in a tooth when the tooth begins to decay. It’s important to get a cavity filled as soon as it’s detected so that it does not grow bigger.

So, what causes a cavity? A cavity is caused by plaque, a sticky substance that forms on the tooth as a result of germ and bacteria build-up. Plaque is acidic and as it clings to your teeth the acids eat away the outside of the tooth (also called the enamel) and a hole is formed.

Yes, cavities can be repaired by your dentist, but here are a few simple steps you can take to prevent cavities:

--Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily

--Gently brush your gums to keep them healthy (when choosing a toothbrush it is recommended to use soft bristles)

--Floss your teeth at least once a day to remove plaque and food that may be caught between the teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach

--Limit the amount of soda and sugary treats you eat/drink

--Be sure to visit your dentist every six months for a teeth cleaning and check-up

Monday, August 18, 2008

Regular Checkups are Important

Is your child brushing his/her teeth twice a day? If yes, that’s great; but, don’t forget that it’s also important for your child to visit the dentist every six months in addition to brushing their teeth a couple times a day. If your child will be visiting the dentist for the first time, it’s important to bring them in after their first tooth come through, and no later than their first birthday. Regular dental checkups are important for maintaining good oral health. Your dentist can:

--Check for problems that might not be seen or felt

--Detect cavities and early signs of decay

--Treat oral health problems early

--Show your child how to properly brush and floss their teeth

During an oral exam the doctor will check the health of your child’s mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks and tongue. Checkups will also include a thorough teeth cleaning and polishing. If your child has not been to the dentist in the last six months, it’s time for you to schedule an appointment!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Are There Teeth Grinders in Your House?

Grind, grind, grind, grind.... grind...

If you live with a teeth grinder, especially a night grinder, you may be familiar with this unpleasant sound.

Other symptoms of teeth grinding (technically called “bruxism”) include:

--Sensitivity in the teeth

--Tightness or pain in the jaw

--Dull headaches, earaches or facial pain

--Chipped, worn down or loose teeth

Teeth grinding is typically brought on by stress; however, children will also often grind their teeth unknowingly in their sleep. Here are some ways you can try to stop the grinding:

--Find out if there might be something bothering him/her; stress may be a factor

--Take your child to see a dentist. Your dentist may prescribe a nighttime mouth guard to prevent teeth grinding in their sleep

--Tell your child not to chew on hard object, such as pens and pencils

--At night before bed place a warm cloth on your child’s cheek to relax muscles before sleep

--Keep your child hydrated with water; dehydration can lead to teeth grinding

If grinding goes untreated it can lead to chipped teeth, worn enamel, chronic pain or even TMJ, a painful jaw disorder. So, if your child is grinding his/her teeth, contact your dentist for more information and “grinding” solutions.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Toothbrush Trivia

People have been brushing their teeth for thousands of years! In fact, the first “toothbrush” was created around 3000BC! Ancient civilizations used a thin twig with a frayed edge to rub against their teeth for cleaning.

The first toothbrush with bristles – similar to today’s toothbrushes – was invented in 1498 in China. Brushes were made out of bone or bamboo with bristles made from the hairs on the back of a hog’s neck.

It wasn’t until 1938 that the first nylon bristle toothbrush was introduced and people quickly became aware of practicing good oral hygiene.

Here are some other interesting facts about your toothbrush (and toothpaste):

• Most people are said to use blue toothbrushes over any other color
• The first toothpaste was used in 500 BC in China and India
• On average, children smile about 400 times per day
• Your toothbrush should be replaced every two months
• The first known toothpaste was used in 1780, Crest was introduced in the US in 1955 and Colgate in 1873