In the not-so-distant past, a cavity spelled the end of a perfect smile. A lost or broken tooth stayed lost or broken, and a cavity-filled tooth would often fall out on its own. Those who lost teeth (including George Washington) used materials like ivory to replace them, but nothing looked as natural as the dental appliances we use today.
Nowadays, if you have a broken or cracked tooth, you have next to nothing to worry about. Your dentist can fix the problem with a simple crown or veneer. He or she can fill cavities and protect the remaining tooth. An orthodontist can even straighten your teeth to give you the look you’ve always wanted.
Modern dental appliances are fairly simple and straightforward, but they do sometimes come loose. If your crown falls out or your bracket pops off, though, you don’t need to worry. Keep reading to learn more about what you and your dentist can do to preserve your perfect smile when an accident happens.
When your dentist first places a crown, it should bond fairly securely to your tooth. However, accidents and injuries can knock the crown loose. If the tooth beneath the crown starts to decay, the crown can also slide off. Chewing on particularly sticky food can sometimes pull the crown out, and if you grind your teeth, the constant pressure can weaken the crown to the point that it falls off.
If the crown comes loose, you don’t want to leave it in your mouth, since you could aspirate or swallow it. Take it out and put it in a safe place. In some cases, the dentist might be able to replace the original crown, especially if you see the dentist as soon as possible after the crown falls off. If you don’t have any tooth decay, the same crown will likely fit perfectly.
However, if you wait too long to visit the dentist, your teeth could move without the crown to maintain the tooth’s position. Once the teeth move, the original crown likely won’t fit. You might also need a new crown if decay changes the shape of your tooth.
When your crown falls off, call and ask your dentist what you should do. Schedule an appointment, and then follow your dentist’s instructions. The dentist will likely tell you to gently clean the un-capped tooth and do your best to keep any food particles out of the gap left behind.
You should avoid trying to glue the crown back to the tooth. Some websites recommend buying temporary cement to replace the crown, but even with temporary cement the crown can still come loose, which might lead to you accidentally swallowing it.
You should never take a drastic measure like superglueing the tooth in place-glue and other tough substances will damage your tooth, perhaps irreparably. In contrast, your dentist can replace the lost crown quickly and easily and without harming your tooth at all.
Fillings don’t last forever. If you visit your dentist every six months, he or she will note any fillings nearing the end of their lifespan and replace them as needed.
If a filling falls out in between visits, you don’t need to panic-your dentist can replace the filling easily, though you should call and schedule an appointment. If food debris enters the cavity, the tooth can start to decay, so visit within a few days.
If your filled tooth is still alive, it might feel extra sensitive to hot and cold foods once the filling falls out. While you wait for your appointment, be particularly careful not to aggravate your tooth and to only brush gently around it as you keep food particles away.
Veneers that fall off your teeth shouldn’t hurt-they’re mostly meant to provide cosmetic enhancement. You can keep your porcelain veneer in a safe place, just like you would with a lost crown. Your dentist might be able to replace the original veneer. Again, as with crowns, don’t attempt to re-glue or re-cement the veneer to your tooth, since the material will do more harm than good.
In some cases, a lost veneer indicates that your tooth’s cosmetic damage is too severe to be covered by a veneer. Your dentist might talk to you about switching to a crown instead.
Brackets sometimes pop off if you chew on something sticky or hard, or if the brackets weren’t glued on firmly enough. If your bracket comes loose or falls off the tooth, get in touch with your orthodontist. While you wait for an appointment, your orthodontist might give you some wax to place over the bracket so it doesn’t hurt your mouth and lip.
If the bracket is loose enough that it slides up and down the wire, try gently scooting the bracket to a comfortable position. Get your orthodontist’s advice before you try to move the bracket.
Get In Touch With Your Dentist
If a crown, filling, veneer, or bracket falls out, it’s not the end of the world. Your dentist is here to help! Call Silverado Family Dental to schedule an appointment. Soon, your tooth and dental appliance will be as good as new, and you can get back to smiling in a jiffy.
Teeth yellow naturally over time, but you don’t have to live with yellow teeth. If you want a bright, white smile, one of the best options is to visit the dentist for a professional whitening treatment. Dentists use stronger products than those you can purchase over the counter, and they are careful to protect the rest of your mouth.
Having a white smile can boost your confidence and improve your oral health. However, even the best professional treatments aren’t permanent. You may be able to maintain the whiteness if you avoid stain-causing substances like coffee, red wine, tomatoes, and dark sodas, but you likely don’t want to have to sacrifice your favorite foods and drinks to have white teeth.
Luckily, there are steps you can take at home to counteract staining and maintain your professionally whitened smile. You may not know it, but ingredients you use on a regular basis can fight staining and keep your teeth nearly as white as they were when you left your dentist’s office.
When using any of these whitening techniques, remember that certain chemical processes can wear away your enamel. The techniques listed below should only be used a maximum of twice a week, and aren’t a replacement for professional teeth whitening or for brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste twice a day.
Since strawberries are a red fruit that can stain your clothing and carpets, you might be surprised to learn that they can actually remove surface stains from your teeth. They aren’t effective as a stand-alone whitening method, but if used as a weekly addition to your standard oral health regimen, they can prolong the effects of your professional whitening.
Strawberries work as a whitener because they contain malic acid, which dissolves stain-causing plaque buildup.
To use this method, take a few strawberries and mash them into a pulp. Add a little bit of baking soda to solidify the pulp and increase the whitening effect. Spread the mixture onto your teeth and leave it there for a few minutes. Using a soft toothbrush, carefully brush off the mixture, and then rinse with water.
Make sure to floss immediately after brushing to remove any strawberry seeds. They can get trapped between your teeth, but flossing should remove them all.
This traditional Indian spice has been used to treat a variety of ailments throughout history, including inflammation and arthritis pain. Due to its anti-inflammatory nature and abrasiveness, it’s also a great at-home teeth whitener. It will polish your teeth, remove surface stains, and heal any developing sores along your gums.
Mix the dried powder with either coconut oil or water to make a paste. Apply the mixture to your toothbrush, and brush as you would with toothpaste. Because turmeric tends to stain things yellow, consider spitting into a trashcan rather than the sink. Rinse carefully to remove the yellow film from your teeth.
Once the turmeric is rinsed away, you should notice a significant improvement in color. Again, this technique should only be used once or twice a week to prevent irritation and enamel erosion.
3. Orange Peel
Some fans of home whitening remedies suggest using lemon juice, but the juice can do more harm than good. Lemon and orange juice both contain high levels of citric acid, which can quickly wear away the enamel along with the stains.
Orange peels are a good alternative because they aren’t as acidic as the juice. Orange peels are rich in vitamins and minerals, including limonene, a natural solvent. The peels work as a natural breath freshener as well.
Rub the white inner side of the orange peel over all your teeth. Rinse carefully to remove any traces of citric acid, then brush with your usual toothpaste.
Brushing too quickly after exposing your teeth to citrus fruits can wear away the enamel, so make sure to wait a few minutes or rinse first if you eat an orange or drink lemonade.
4. Salt Water
Salt water provides a wide variety of oral health benefits. It raises the pH level of your mouth, making it harder for bacteria to thrive. It is a disinfectant and pain reliever, particularly after surgery or if you have a sore throat. Brushing or rinsing with salt water once in a while will not remove the bacteria and surface stains from your teeth, but it will help you have better oral health in general.
Add half of a teaspoon of salt to one cup of warm water, then stir until the salt has dissolved completely. Let your toothbrush soak for a few minutes. Brush as usual. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush thoroughly.
You can use the same ratio to make a salt water mouthwash. Swish the mouthwash around your mouth for a few minutes to treat any developing sores and kill bacteria.
None of these techniques is a viable substitute for professional teeth whitening. They only treat surface stains, not deep staining. However, consider using some of these inexpensive, easy, and natural ideas after having your teeth whitened to prevent stains from re-forming.
For more information about how to maximize your teeth whitening experience, talk to the dentists at Silverado Family Dental.
In a world of Instagram selfies, Facebook albums, and Snapchat snaps, you can’t seem to escape from a constant barrage of smartphone photos and videos. Furthermore, many businesses require a professional headshot as part of your application, so you need at least a few good images of your beautiful or handsome face readily available.
But though you may pose hard for the camera, you have one feature that your family, friends, and followers look for first: your smile. In fact, surveys show that 37% of people look at your smile before they notice your eyes, hair, nose, or body shape.
So what can you do to ensure your smile looks its best in front of the lens?
1. Correct Gaps With Implants and Bridges
Although a small tooth gap may seem cute or iconic for certain celebrities, missing teeth pose a lot of problems for your oral health.
If you lost a tooth to injury or decay, your surrounding teeth may lean together to try to fill the space, resulting in crooked teeth and a misaligned bite. If left untreated, your missing teeth may lead to bone loss in your jaw and can increase the likelihood of additional tooth loss.
To protect your teeth and improve your bite, talk to a cosmetic dentist about your restoration options. Implants and bridges can look and function like natural teeth, allowing you to enjoy a straighter, healthier, and camera-ready smile.
2. Remove Stains Through In-Office Whitening
Teeth tend to stain and yellow over time. Though regular brushing and flossing keep away the worst of the stains, you will likely want a professional cleaning and whitening to keep your pearly whites as white as possible.
In-office whitening, unlike at-home treatments, work quickly, so you can brighten your smile right before your upcoming photo. Because professional treatments use powerful bleaching agents, you can whiten your teeth by several shades in less than an hour.
Keep in mind that some stains don’t come from pigments on your tooth’s surface. Trauma to the tooth, fluorosis, or tetracycline antibiotics during childhood may darken or tint your teeth from the inside out. These kinds of stains don’t respond to regular whitening treatment, though you can cover the teeth with veneers or crowns.
3. Avoid Dark-Colored Foods and Drinks
A thorough cleaning and whitening can ensure your teeth look great for months. But even the strongest bleaches and most powerful brushes can’t give you a lifetime of blinding white teeth. Soon enough, you’ll need to make another appointment with your dentist to repeat the process.
However, you can make the most of your whitening treatment when you avoid dark-colored foods and drinks. Coffee, tea, wine, and berries all contain pigments that can lodge in the grooves of your teeth, discoloring and staining your enamel.
If you don’t want to sacrifice your favorite foods entirely, swish and rinse your teeth with water immediately after snacking or sipping. An hour later, don’t forget to brush and floss so you can scrub away any lingering food particles.
4. Choose the Right Shade of Lipstick
Healthy teeth and good habits go a long way toward giving you a camera-ready smile. But you can enhance your appearance and create the illusion of whiter teeth through makeup.
To start, consider wearing a berry- or plum-toned shade of lipstick. Makeup with blue-toned hues will counteract any lingering traces of yellow or brown on your teeth. In contrast, lipstick with orange hues will reflect light onto your teeth, making your smile seem aged and yellow.
For a mega-watt smile, try a lip liner and gloss to highlight your lips, and apply a light concealer near the border of your lips. With this technique, your lips appear fuller and more vibrant while your teeth seem whiter in contrast.
5. Apply a Thin Layer of Petroleum Jelly
Have you ever noticed how white teeth seem to reflect light? They shine and sparkle in a way that nearly blinds you. But on camera, that shine and shimmer often disappears, even when you have stunning white teeth.
To recreate that shine in front of the lens, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly or Vaseline to your teeth. The coating gives your smile a shimmery, eye-catching look, much like lip gloss enhances the shape and curve of your lips.
Additionally, if you apply petroleum jelly before you put on your lipstick, the gel will prevent the makeup from staining your teeth. And, of course, the taste may make you reluctant to close your mouth, so you’ll be more likely to give the photographer your biggest smile.
Enjoy Your Beautiful Smile
When you follow these five tips, you can transform your teeth into one of your favorite features. With a little practice and care, you ensure your teeth look great for any photo-worthy occasion, whether you want to spend the day with a family member or enjoy a formal evening with a date.
You make sure your child is fully vaccinated and gets a biannual medical checkup. You know that your child needs to visit the dentist to ensure a healthy future (and a beautiful smile), but to your surprise, your child quivers in fear at the thought of a dental check-up.
Many children fear the dentist, especially if they already struggle with anxieties or phobias. If your child feels scared of the dentist, follow these eight tips to help your child feel prepared, secure, and confident at his or her next dental exam.
1. Visit Early
Did you know that children should see a dentist about six months after they get their first tooth? Your child should get acquainted with your family dentist by the time he or she is a year old. The earlier you bring your child to the dentist, the less scary it will be to return on a bi-annual basis.
2. Don’t Fake It
Whether you think they do or not, kids notice everything you do, including how you feel about visiting the dentist. Your children will know if you feel anxious or scared. Even if you don’t tell the story about your triple root canal-they’ll sense it in your body language and tone of voice.
Be optimistic and positive about the dentist. Find one who makes you and others in your family feel comfortable-who listens to you and gives you the care you need. Then, talk to your kids about your positive dental experiences and how grateful you are for your healthy, strong teeth. The more you like your dentist, the happier your kids will be to make a visit themselves.
3. Practice at Home
Children feel better about going to the dentist if they know what to expect. Try an at-home role play: ask your child to sit in a comfortable chair, recline it slightly, and pretend to examine his or her teeth.
Explain what a dentist does and how he or she does it. Some children might become overwhelmed by too many details, but others will want to know exactly what happens and why. When children are younger, they usually just need to know that a dentist cleans their teeth and uses a special toothbrush and toothpaste to do so.
4. Communicate with Your Dentist
If your child is anxious about his or her oral check-up, talk to your hygienist or doctor about it. Your dentist’s staff usually prepare the office for a worried child. Your dentist might also have ideas for how you can prepare your child for the visit.
5. Educate Your Children
Your child will feel more confident about going to the dentist when he or she learns that a dentist helps them have healthy teeth. Teach your child to brush and floss his or her teeth. If children are familiar with good dental-hygiene practices, they will likely respond better to a dental check-up.
6. “Tour” the Office
Most dentists happily walk their younger patients around the office and answer questions about equipment and procedures. Your child might respond well to a pre-check-up visit so he or she knows what to expect. Many kids even want to return to the dentist after seeing the cool toys, books, and movies that many dentists keep in the office.
7. Use the Best Words
How do words like “pain,” “hurt,” and “shot” make you feel? As you describe what will happen at the dentist’s office, don’t use words that will make your child nervous or that he or she won’t understand. Your use of age-appropriate vocabulary allows your child to feel more confident about what will happen. Call your dentist if you need help choosing the right words and explanations.
8. Reward Your Child
Your anxious child may respond well to thoughts of a special reward after the check-up. Rather than use sugary treat as a prize, take a trip to the park or do another activity instead. Your child might need something to work toward during the check-up-offer small items (like stickers) that he or she can “cash in” for bigger prizes after the check-up. Remember to verbally praise your child for being brave.
Do all you can to prepare your child for a dental checkup. But don’t feel too badly if your child misbehaves at the dentist’s office. Your dentist uses various soothing tactics to calm nervous or unhappy children.
Children need good experiences with the dentist while they are young. Kids can be prone to tooth decay and other oral health issues, and a friendly, trustworthy dentist helps your child stay healthy and enjoy a strong, beautiful smile throughout his or her life.
Your dentures gave you a second chance at a full, dazzling smile. Before, you felt self-conscious when you interacted with others because you had gaps between your teeth. Now you can chew, speak, and grin with confidence.
However, you wonder about potential problems with your dentures. Or maybe you have already experienced something alarming, and you need to know how concerned you should feel.
We’ll give you the answers you need in the post below. Browse the list of common denture emergencies and use the steps provided to mitigate pain and damage. But keep in mind that you must see your dentist to fully recover from these mishaps.
1. The Denture Breaks in Half
Many factors could make your dentures shatter or break in half, including:
Gradual wear from chewing and speaking
Sudden temperature changes from hot and cold foods-the variable temperatures make the denture’s material expand and contract, leading to micro fractures that eventually expand
Improper fit after the jawbone loses mass and shrinks-the denture won’t have the stability it needs to withstand stress in this situation
Blunt force when the denture falls onto a hard surface or a strong blow connects with the face-this problem may arise while playing sports or doing other strenuous activities
When any of the above situations crack your dentures in half, you can still save the prosthetic. Simply put in your backup pair of dentures, if you have them, and schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. He or she can usually mend the break.
However, your dentist cannot mend your dentures if they have multiple fractures. In that situation, he or she will fit you for replacement dentures instead.
Additionally, remember that if your backup prosthetic doesn’t fit comfortably, take this opportunity to have your dentist adjust it for you so you don’t feel miserable while you wait for repairs or replacements.
2. A Tooth Chips or Falls off the Denture
The same situations that chip natural teeth can damage dentures as well. For example, you may bite something hard and accidentally break a piece off your tooth. Or you may play tennis with your children or grandchildren, and the ball may hit your mouth and knock a tooth loose. Both of these situations count as a denture emergency.
Before you do anything else, find the tooth or the tooth piece. Repairs won’t cost as much if your dentist has a piece to reattach. Store the tooth in something secure, like a plastic sandwich bag with a seal. Then schedule an appointment with your dental office so you can restore your smile.
As you wait for your appointment, wear your backup dentures. Your primary denture’s broken tooth may have sharp edges that could cut your gums or tongue. Don’t add a secondary dental emergency to the situation and keep those sharp edges away from your mouth.
3. You Swallow or Inhale a Partial Denture
Most dental prosthetics won’t fit down your throat. However, if you have small partial dentures, they could come loose, and you could swallow or inhale them. When that happens, don’t panic-unless the prosthetic lodges in your throat, you don’t have to worry about any immediate health problems.
Instead, schedule an emergency checkup with your dentist, even if business hours have ended. You need to know if you should feel concerned about your denture’s long-term effects on your body. In most cases, the denture won’t do anything except pass through your system. However, your dentist can tell you more about your specific prosthetic. 4. The Denture Develops Sharp Edges that Cut Your Oral Tissues
Even if you don’t break your dentures, they may erode and develop sharp edges as they age. Those edges can cause cuts and expose your mouth to more infections than it would experience otherwise.
So, if something irritates or cuts the soft tissues in your mouth, take the warning seriously and see a dental care provider for an assessment. He or she will probably suggest a replacement device to keep your mouth safe.
5. You Get an Infection around Your Implants
You may have dentures that simply rest on your gums. If so, then this emergency will not happen to you. But if you use implants to anchor your prosthetic in place, pay special attention to how your mouth feels when you chew. If you notice pressure or discomfort around your implants, you may have an infection.
Infections pose a serious problem because they damage the tissues surrounding the implant, including your jawbone. To preserve your oral health, your dentist may have to remove the implant if the infection becomes too serious.
Therefore, if you suspect you have an infection, don’t wait for treatment, and don’t try to treat the problem on your own. See your dental care professionals.
If you wear dentures, watch for the emergencies listed above. As long as you know how to respond to these situations, you can keep your prosthetic and your mouth in top shape for years to come.
Can you think of anything more engaging than an attractive smile? Pollsters and bloggers who conduct informal surveys on the subject know that a beautiful smile consistently ranks at the top of each list.
Of course, very few people have a naturally perfect smile. Cavities and decay interfere. Some teeth appear crooked and require orthodontics. Sometimes people chip their teeth or put up with internal stains.
Regardless of the imperfection, most teeth look better after regular dental visits. A good dentist can recommend the right procedure to hide flaws and enhance each smile. Crowns and dental veneers are just two methods of enhancement. Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how these components can give you a better smile.
Is There a Difference Between Crowns and Veneers?
Although many patients know what crowns and veneers are, further explanation still can’t hurt. Here’s a brief comparison.
Some people call dental crowns “caps,” which refers to the fact that a porcelain crown completely caps or covers the natural tooth. Dentists make crowns from the following materials:
- Gold or stainless steel
- Porcelain and metal
- Resin composite
Additionally, dentists apply both temporary crowns and permanent crowns to teeth. Temporary crowns protect the natural tooth while technicians create the permanent crown elsewhere.
Unlike crowns, which cover the entire tooth, veneers cover just the front and biting surfaces. And veneers only come in one form, porcelain.
Veneers are ultra-thin structures that affix to misshapen, short, chipped, or stained teeth. Some veneers also cover gaps in teeth.
Why Choose Either Option?
If your dentist notices cracks, chips, intense staining, gaps, or other tooth defects, he or she may cover them with either veneers or crowns. Patients choose either option if their teeth don’t respond to whitening treatments or other restorative procedures.
Crowns also protect weak teeth. For example, a patient’s tooth may contain multiple fillings that undermine the natural tooth’s strength. In such cases, a dentist would apply a crown to protect the tooth underneath. Likewise, patients who receive root canal therapy need crowns to cover teeth afterward.
Veneers, by contrast, work best to cover cosmetic imperfections such as those mentioned earlier.
If a patient’s teeth have deep, internal stains (e.g., from Tetracycline or other medications), either crowns or veneers effectively cover these blemishes. These patients also don’t respond well to cosmetic whitening procedures, so they choose crowns or veneers instead.
How Each Procedure Works
Both crowns and veneers share similar initial processes. When you come to your dental appointment, your dentist will take Xrays and dental impressions of your teeth. If you will receive porcelain crowns, you should expect the dentist to re-shape your teeth in preparation for temporary crowns.
Likewise, if you elect veneers, you can expect your dentist to take a tooth impression and reduce the surfaces of each tooth that will receive a veneer. Your dentist employs this technique so your new veneer doesn’t protrude when compared against your natural teeth.
And since veneers and most crowns use porcelain as a base, both structures won’t be available to you immediately. You should expect to revisit your dentist a week or two after your initial appointment. Once your veneers or crowns are ready, your dentist will clean your teeth and affix these structures to them.
A Note About Sensitivity
To create a tight bond with your natural teeth, dentists must abrade and reduce your natural tooth’s surfaces as described above. This process may create tooth sensitivity. In most cases, sensitivity lasts temporarily. However, sensitivity may continue after you receive your new veneers or crowns.
If your teeth already feel overly sensitive, talk with your dentist about your options. Remember, veneers or crowns can still protect your teeth from further sensitivity in future, even if you experience some sensitivity initially.
What to Expect After Restorative Treatment
The biggest advantage of both crowns and veneers is their durability. Both can last indefinitely, especially if patients care for their teeth properly. Your new crowns or veneers are strong and stain resistant, but they are not completely damage-proof.
Refrain from bad habits such as opening items with your teeth, biting your nails, or chewing on hard objects-all of which can damage veneers in particular.
Otherwise, treat your new restorations just as you would your natural teeth. Brush and floss regularly, and see your dentist at least twice each year.
If you cannot afford multiple crowns or veneers currently, ask your dentist if other options will work for you. And don’t be afraid to request for more information, either about crowns and veneers or financing options.
Enjoy your new smile, with help from your friendly dentist’s office.
In just a few short weeks, the evening streets will be filled with toddlers, young children, and parents all dressed up in spooky or charming costumes. Children will disguise themselves as Ant-Man, Bob the Minion, Baymax, Disney princesses, superheroes, ghosts, pirates, and soldiersand parents will dress to match. While parents supervise, little ones will travel from door to door and collect impressive amounts of delectable sweets.
When they return home to sort through their sugary treasures, kids want nothing more than to dive right in and eat as much candy as they can.
But with great amounts of Halloween candy comes great responsibility on a parent’s part. Moms and dads alike know how negatively too much sugar affects their children’s health-especially their oral health. Parents want their kids to enjoy this upcoming holiday, but they also want to preserve their children’s teeth and gums.
Read on to learn the best ways to protect children from a monster scarier than ghouls and goblins: candy-induced dental issues.
Set Up Halloween Rules
Before you take your kids through your neighborhood to trick-or-treat, you need a game plan. You’ll want to know where exactly to visit, how long you’ll be out, and who you’ll be with. This plan keeps you and your little ones safe during the festivities.
However, you should also establish candy-related Halloween rules, including:
- How much candy your kids are allowed to eat on Halloween
- How many pieces they can have each day after the holiday
- Where to store each child’s candy
- If and who your child should ask for a piece of candy
Don’t forget to discuss these guidelines with your children before you all venture down the street. Explain to your kids that too much candy makes them sick and hurts their teeth and that these rules will keep them healthy.
Inspect Candy Before Your Kids Eat It
As a parent, you’ve likely heard Halloween horror stories about candy laced with drugs or stuffed with needles or razor blades. While these tampered-with candies do harm your children’s gums, teeth, and tongue, they can have an even more devastating effect.
To safeguard your kids’ overall well-being, thoroughly inspect each piece of candy for hidden culprits. Especially look out for small tears or holes in candy wrappers, and feel around for any sharp or solid objects that don’t belong in softer candies.
Throw away any questionable sweets so your kids don’t try to eat them. If your children don’t understand why you have to toss out some of their treats, tell them that sometimes people use dangerous candy to try and hurt little kids. Also say that as you check for suspicious treats you keep your kids safe.
Don’t Forbid Your Children From Eating Candy
Think back to your childhood Halloweens. If your parents told you that you weren’t allowed to eat any of your candy, you likely found a way to sneak the sugary snacks without their seeing you. Your children will do the same if you forbid them from eating anything from their Halloween stash.
This well-intentioned tactic inadvertently causes a plethora of problems. For example, if your kids feel like they can’t eat candy at home, they’ll find a way to do so with friends or at school. They’ll likely consume more sugar in these situations than they would otherwise, and they could develop serious dental and health issues as a result.
Rather than deny your children sweet treats, offer confections in moderation. Create a candy bank for your kids. When they behave well or help you around the house, let them make a withdrawal. And make sure to set a maximum daily withdrawal amount so your children don’t eat too much sugar.
Let Your Kids Eat Sweets Just After Mealtimes
Experts from the American Dental Association (ADA) report that your mouth contains high levels of bacteria that produce acids. However, your mouth’s saliva production increases during mealtimes, and this liquid cancels out the acid bacteria create and clears away any food particles.
Dentists recommend that children eat sweets and sugary foods either during or just after meals since the increased saliva levels protect their mouths from damage.
Avoid Hard and Sticky Candies
Dental professionals also encourage their young patients to limit the amount of hard or sticky sweets they consume each day. Hard candies stay in your kids’ mouths for long periods of time, and sticky candies, such as gummy bears, tend to stick in between teeth. This exposure to sugar for an extended time frame increases your children’s risk for cavities.
To reduce the possibility for cavities and similar dental problems, offer your kids a healthier sweet alternative, such as dark chocolate.
As you plan your children’s Halloween costumes and trick-or-treating route, keep these tips in mind. Do what you can to preserve your kids’ oral health during this upcoming holiday. If you have any questions or concerns or would like further tips to protect your children’s teeth, consult with your family dentist.
Unless you attended school for dentistry or dental hygiene, you may find it difficult to understand many of the terms your dentist uses such as amalgam or xerostomia. One word you may have heard but might not fully understand is “enamel.”
Enamel acts as a tough protective layer on the outside of your teeth to guard them from damage. To help you better understand enamel, we’ll discuss some of the myths and facts you may have heard about the surface layer of your teeth.
Enamel Can Regenerate: False
Many brands of toothpaste or gum advertise their ability to renew or strengthen enamel. While you can strengthen your enamel, this statement leads many to believe that this protective coating can regenerate.
Enamel, however, cannot regenerate. Minerals like calcium and phosphate create enamel, which means that once the enamel disappears, it cannot grow back. Replacement fillings, like those used in cavities, make up for the loss of enamel.
If you brush regularly with strengthening toothpastes, eat healthy foods, and floss daily, you can fix small enamel damage, but you won’t be able to repair everything.
Enamel Is the Hardest Substance in Your Body: True
You might classify your femur or skull as the hardest substances in your body. But you can actually find the most resilient substances in your enamel. The minerals in enamel make it the hardest and toughest substance you have.
And just like you can fracture your leg, you can also crack and break your enamel-and many people do! Take caution with the foods you eat and beverages you drink so that you can preserve the enamel you have left.
Nothing Protects Teeth from Extreme Temperatures: False
Enamel’s strength protects teeth from bacteria and insulates each individual tooth. The roots and inner layers of your teeth contain sensitive nerves. As the enamel wears thin, hot and cold food or drinks can cause your exposed teeth to feel more sensitive.
This sensitivity often indicates that a cavity has formed. In some cases of sensitive teeth, special toothpaste and foods with low acidity reduce the pain that comes with extreme temperatures.
Enamel Erosion Is Invisible: False
Though you can barely see the thin coating of enamel on your teeth, you do notice the effects of enamel erosion. When enamel wears down, teeth appear yellowish, shiny, and have visible indents or cracks along the edges. Dentists call this noticeable damage tooth decay.
More severe cases of enamel erosion result in visible and painful cavities or infections. However, if enamel erosion has not caused a cavity, your dentist fixes the unsightly appearance with fillings or crowns.
Your Saliva Strengthens Enamel: True
There’s a reason why gum companies want dentists to endorse their products. Chewing gum increases the amount of saliva your mouth produces. These higher levels of saliva then protect your enamel.
Your saliva accomplishes this task in two capacities. First, saliva contains calcium, which strengthens enamel. Second, saliva neutralizes acids and bacteria in your mouth, which prevents additional damage to your teeth.
People with existing medical conditions or who use prescriptions that cause dry mouth should be cautious. Since dry mouth reduces the amount of saliva in your mouth, you will more likely obtain cavities or enamel erosion. If you suffer from dry mouth, take extra care to stay well hydrated.
Teeth Grinding Doesn’t Damage Enamel: False
Teeth grinding does in fact damage your enamel. Our teeth chew and grind up food, but too much grinding can be harmful. In more serious cases of teeth grinding, enamel can become so worn that the teeth may crack or split.
Your dentist can’t fully repair these cracks, but he or she can insert a filling or crown to seal the damage. You can prevent teeth grinding and further damage with mouth guards, relaxation techniques, and an adjusted diet with less alcohol and caffeine.
Foods Can Help or Harm Enamel: True
Although enamel is strong, food and drinks cause a lot of damage to your teeth. Citrus, coffee, sugar, sports drinks, and soda all produce acid that strips the enamel from your teeth. This acid attacks the enamel and slowly wears it away. Additionally, crunchy foods like chips and ice can break away enamel. However, healthy crisp foods like carrots and apples typically cause your mouth to produce more saliva.
Dairy products, like milk and cheese, contain the same calcium and phosphorous that make up enamel. Animal proteins such as beef and chicken also contain helpful phosphorous. These foods can deposit these minerals onto your teeth and strengthen the enamel. Other helpful foods include strawberries, celery, and parsley. These three foods act as abrasives and help to polish and clean enamel.
Many misconceptions exist about enamel’s purpose and abilities. Now that you know the truth, you can better preserve your enamel on a daily basis. Also be sure to schedule regular visits with your dentist so that he or she can inspect your teeth and advise you on any changes you need to make.
Oral hygiene is important to people of all ages. Keeping your mouth healthy is important to your overall wellbeing. As an adult, you know how important it is to brush and floss daily. But if you are a parent, you probably understand the battle that takes place when you want your children to keep their teeth clean.
Listed below are tips on how to get your child excited about brushing their teeth.
Show Them How to Brush
You should start to make your child’s tooth brushing experience fun by showing them how to do it. Every time you brush your children’s teeth, you are solidifying the skills they need to do it themselves. Make sure you take your time and show them how to brush effectively. This will reinforce the importance of the skills and techniques you use.
You should also show your children how you brush. They will likely imitate you. If you show your son or daughter how important brushing your teeth is to you, it will become important to them as well.
Make Brushing Part of Story Time
Children love to listen to stories. Create a fun, exciting story that you only tell while brushing their teeth. You may tell them about the evil wizard Gingivitis and how he and his minions, Plaque and Tartar, try to destroy the kingdom of Mouth. Make the heroes of the story Brush, Floss, and Tooth Paste. Tell your child how these three knights fight Plaque and Tartar, and banish the evil wizard from the kingdom.
The story you tell your child doesn’t have to be a silly as that. As long as you make it exciting and only tell it while you brush, your child will love it and ask you to tell it again.
Another thing children love to do is play. Spend some time playing dentist with your child. You can go out and buy them a toothbrush and floss to use as toys. You may want to save the toothpaste for times when you will actually brush their teeth. Otherwise, playing dentist might get too messy.
When you begin to play, you should start out as the dentist. Take the time to show them proper brushing techniques. Once your child gets an idea of how a dentist will act, switch roles. You play the patient and let your child play the dentist. Give your child an opportunity to clean your mouth. This will let you know how effectively they will clean their own. Once your child finishes your check-up, call in one of their stuffed animals, teddy bears, siblings, or your spouse as the next patient.
Have Your Child Choose Their Own Brush
Another thing to consider is that children like to feel independent. As you grow confident in your child’s skill in brushing, allow them to brush their teeth by themselves. The first few times they brush on their own, pay close attention as they do so. Make sure they are spending the right amount of time on each area of the mouth.
If they aren’t brushing properly, gently correct them. Make sure to praise the positive aspects of their technique. This will help to reinforce proper brushing habits and keep them feeling good about their skill.
Show Them Positive Examples on the Big Screen
If your child likes movies or television, point out the healthy smiles of their favorite characters and talk about how they get their teeth clean. Actors and actresses are well known for having bright white smiles.
If you son or daughter is too young to enjoy live-action movies or television shows, use their favorite cartoon prince or princess as an example. If you look at any Disney character, they all have big white toothy grins. From Sleeping Beauty and Queen Elsa to Prince Eric and Hans of the Southern Isles, all Disney characters seem to take excellent care of their teeth. Even the Beast from “Beauty and the Beast” has big white fangs.
If your son or daughter models their life after their favorite cartoon character, have them pattern their dental care after them too.
If all else fails and you can’t get your child excited about brushing their teeth, consider bribery. Avoid bribing them with candy and sweets. Giving them too much sugar is counterproductive to your end goal. But find something else your child really wants. Make a cleaning goal and when they reach that goal, reward them with their chosen item.
This can be a toy, a movie, a healthy snack, or simply an afternoon at their favorite place with mom or dad. Your ultimate goal for bribery should be to have a healthy mouth as the reward, but that may take some time.
There are many more ways you can get your child excited about brushing their teeth. For more help, contact your family dentist. He or she has years of experience helping parents keep their children’s mouths clean.