Why Summer is Hard on Kids’ Teeth

Summertime is Carefree … and Hard on Kids’ Teeth

Teens and summertime go together like the Fourth of July and cookouts. For many teens summer means carefree days of sleeping in, hanging out with friends, going to the movies and let’s not forget – no homework! But summer snacking, lazy days and other hot weather habits can be hard on kids’ teeth.

Unfortunately, teens and tweens sometimes take the summer off from oral hygiene, and that makes it harder for kids to stay on top of cavity prevention. Many dentists know that summertime often means more time for kids to drink sodas, eat sticky candy and consume starchy foods like french fries, pizzas and white bread.

Dental Wire has reported previously on drinks and foods that hurt tooth enamel and foster cavities, and Agent Straight-Talk has offered healthy tips on foods and diets that are helpful for our teeth and oral health.

What is it about summer that makes the tooth care of teens and tweens more difficult?

1) Kids have more free time in the summer so they invest much of that extra time doing what many of us like to do when the “fish are jumpin’, and the livin’ is easy” – eat. And much of what they’re eating lodges between their teeth, lingers in their mouth for long periods and feeds the bacteria that create cavities.

2) Summertime is hot, and many people like chewing or sucking on ice in an effort to stay cool. While chewing on ice may be a popular summer pastime, it is never a good idea because it can cause tiny fractures in the teeth that weaken them. Once weakened, the teeth may eventually break off or absorb extra bacteria into their fissures that become cavities.

3) Permissive parenting often means more popsicles, sodas and ice cream for kids with time on their hands and parents counting the days until school starts again. Because kids are often allowed to stay up later they may “forget” about brushing their teeth before bedtime and need reminded.

4) Prolonged exposure to chlorine in swimming pools can wear away tooth enamel. Anyone know of a kid who doesn’t take in a couple of mouthfuls of pool water while swimming with friends?

Parents can ensure their kids take good care of their teeth and have a good summer with a few quick tips:

  • Have kids take their sweet or gummy vitamins with breakfast and before brushing their teeth each morning
  • Fun foods like nuts and yogurt strengthen a tooth’s surface so supplement your child’s sweet tooth with more healthy staples
  • Apples, pears, yogurt and other dairy neutralize acids in food like tomatoes and citrus so keep these on hand to counter less healthy summer treats
  • Keep your mouth closed while swimming and lightly brush your teeth afterwards
  • Have kids sip sugary drinks through a straw to minimize contact with the teeth
  • Encourage kids to drink water frequently during the day to wash their teeth and counter bacteria
  • Everyone in the family should brush twice daily and floss regularly

While summer presents some challenges for kids’ oral hygiene, using practical tips today can help parents enjoy lazy, carefree days without sacrificing their kids’ bright smiles in the fall.

Source: Dental Insurance Store

Mouth-Body Connection, Part 2

You may have heard of the mind-body connection, but what about the mouth-body connection?

To many people, a dental visit is about getting their teeth cleaned, having a tooth pulled, or getting a filling. However, a dental visit is not just about teeth. It is also about your overall health. What goes on in your mouth can affect the rest of your body. What goes on in your body also can have an effect on your mouth.

Many diseases and conditions can affect your oral health.

For example, people may get more infections in the mouth if their immune system is weak. The immune system protects your body from illness and infection. It can be weakened by disease, by drugs taken to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs, or as a side effect of cancer chemotherapy drugs.

Medicine for other conditions also can affect the health of your mouth.

For example, many drugs cause dry mouth. This can increase your risk of dental decay and yeast infections. It also can affect taste.

While examining your mouth, your dentist might see a sign or symptom of an illness or disease that you might not even know you have. The dentist may perform tests and/or refer you to a specialist for treatment.

If you have certain medical conditions, you may need specialized oral and dental care. If necessary, your dentist can refer you to an expert in oral medicine.

Your oral health also can affect other medical conditions.

For example, if you are diabetic, a mouth infection can disrupt your blood-sugar levels and make your diabetes harder to control. Researchers also are exploring whether periodontal (gum) disease may increase the risk of various medical problems. These may include heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and premature births.

About 35% of U.S. adults have some form of periodontitis. Another 50% have gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease. Because gum disease is so common, its treatment and management can have important implications for overall public health.

SOURCE: Colgate

A Beauty Routine for Your Smile

A beauty routine – like going to the hair salon, spa or manicurist – rewards you with feeling and looking better. You understand you may have to sit for hours to get just the right color or cut, to walk out with perfectly polished tootsies, or to endure a few owies during a mostly relaxing massage. And you’re happy to do it!

Well, getting your teeth cleaned twice a year should be part of your beauty routine. It’s as good for your health as it is for your self-esteem. If you know anyone who is self-conscious about their teeth, you may notice they don’t smile much, if at all.

And because the mouth-body connection has important implications for general health, we may be able to help you identify a health issue early on.

Relax & Enjoy

Who doesn’t like having fresh breath, a sparkling smile and the confidence that your mouth is healthy after a visit with the dentist. One good beauty routine leads to another … a massage. All the patients who visit Hinckley Precision Dental in the month of May are automatically entered in a drawing for a free massage!

The Mouth-Body Connection

Understanding the Mouth-Body Connection Reveals How Dental Health is Directly Related to Overall Health

If the eyes are windows to the soul, then the mouth is the window to your overall health.

Like many areas of the body, your mouth is teeming with bacteria — most of them harmless. Normally the body’s natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep these bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. This creates a gateway for bacteria to the rest of the body.

Certain medications — such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers and diuretics — can reduce saliva flow. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect you from microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease.

Studies also suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis — a severe form of gum disease — might play a role in some diseases. Certain diseases, such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS, can lower the body’s resistance to infection, making oral health problems more severe.

What conditions may be linked to oral health?

Be sure to tell your dentist if you’re taking any medications or have had any changes in your overall health — especially if you’ve had any recent illnesses or you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes.

The mouth-body connection means your oral health might affect, be affected by, or contribute to various diseases and conditions, including:

Endocarditis. An infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium),  endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.

Cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.

Pregnancy and birth. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.

Diabetes. Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection — putting the gums at risk. Gum disease appears to be more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes. Research shows that people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels.

HIV/AIDS. Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS.

Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis — which causes bones to become weak and brittle — might be linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss.

Alzheimer’s disease. Tooth loss before age 35 might be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.

Other conditions. Other conditions that might be linked to oral health include Sjogren’s syndrome — an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth — and eating disorders.

Oral Health Protection

Practice good oral hygiene every day”

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Floss daily.
  • Eat a healthy diet and limit sugary snacks.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if bristles are frayed.
  • Schedule regular dental checkups.

Also, contact your dentist as soon as an oral health problem arises. Remember, taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.

SOURCE: Mayo Clinic

Keep Your Teeth – Dentures are a Last Resort

Dentures are not nearly the same as natural teeth

Patients often say things like “oh, I wish you could just pull my teeth and give me dentures,” or something similar. Usually the people saying this need extensive (and expensive) dental work, and they figure that dentures are an easy fix. After all, dentures seem like a no-brainer, right? No cavities, no root canals, no bridges, etc. No expense of going to the dentist every six months, no insurance worries when your dentist tells you that a root canal and crown are needed, etc.

Essentially, the people thinking the above are looking for a “tooth do-over.” They want the reset button hit, and to start over again with teeth that do not need dental work. Truth be told, it really doesn’t work that way.

Steak or Oatmeal – The Best Bite Force is Natural

There is no perfect substitute for your natural teeth. Bridges and implants come the closest (by a wide margin, really). But given a choice, a mouthful of healthy natural teeth is preferable to even implants. And your natural, healthy teeth are far (and I mean really far) superior to dentures. Dentures, in my opinion, should be seen as a last resort.

The biggest difference between natural teeth and dentures is bite force. With your natural teeth it is somewhere around 200-250 pounds of force. Some a little less, some a little more, but that’s the sweet spot. With dentures, your bite force is about 50 pounds of force. That’s a significant drop off. That’s the difference between eating a steak, and eating oatmeal. Do you like oatmeal? For dinner?

The Science Behind the Bite

The reason for this disparity is your natural teeth are set solidly in your jawbone. Rigid and strong, they handle chewing food with astonishing efficiency. Dentures, on the other hand, rest against your gums. They can be “fixed” all you want with gels and the like, but the fact is, it’s not a strong base. There’s just “nothing” behind your bite, so to say. Especially on your bottom teeth, where the denture is largely held in place by gravity and your mouth muscles.

Upper dentures can be fixed with a plate that uses suction on your upper palate to stay in place. It doesn’t sound all that strong, because it’s not. More often than not, denture wearers report that their dentures end up “flopping around a lot”. It’s why dentures should be a last resort.

Additionally, there are taste buds on your upper palate (the roof of your mouth). Upper dentures cover these, which means your sense of taste is going to be markedly diminished. Add in the adhesive, and well, eating starts to lose its luster.

What the Ads Don’t Show

Television commercials advertising adhesives that hold dentures in place show deliriously happy people eating corn on the cob and the like. What they don’t show is the 10 to 15 minutes it takes to eat that ear of corn. Yes, the adhesives work to a degree. But you still only bite with about one-fourth of the pressure you could have with real teeth. And that steak we mentioned earlier? Well, I hope you don’t mind still eating it while everyone else is on dessert.

When There’s No Other Choice, Dentures are Life-Enhancing

Unfortunately, for some people, there really is no other choice. Dentures are associated with older people, and in my mind, that’s really the only people who should be using them. Today’s longer lifespans sometimes mean that even the best cared for teeth can be lost. Dentures can be a life-enhancing asset in that case. But replacing a mouthful of healthy teeth with dentures? No way, no how.

The drawbacks of dentures are not worth avoiding root canals and the like. Yes, dental work can be a pain and can be expensive at times. However, that should not deter you. Many dentists have payment plans, they take credit cards, there is secondary insurance, etc. There are few things as important as your natural teeth. They are worth the investment.

SOURCE: Huffington Post

How to Choose Toothpaste

Perhaps you are a label-reader, trying to sort out the ingredient lists on every toothpaste tube. Maybe you still use the same toothpaste you used in childhood. Perhaps you simply grab the least expensive tube you can find. No matter what your current toothpaste shopping habits are, understanding the facts behind the toothpaste hype can make you a more informed consumer who knows how to choose toothpaste just right for you and your family.

1. Fluoride is considered important by many dentists.
Virtually all toothpaste sold in the United States contains fluoride. According to the American Dental Association’s website, brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste is a basic of oral hygiene and health, due to fluoride toothpaste’s proven cavity fighting properties. Several different fluoride formulations are available, all of which appear to be similar in cavity-fighting ability and safety.

However, many natural toothpaste formulations do not contain fluoride, citing studies in Better Nutrition and the American Journal of Pediatrics that seem to show problems associated with fluoride. According to the American Dental Association’s website, fluoride mouth rinses are not recommended for children under six, although the site continues to recommend fluoride toothpaste.

2. Consult your dentist about any specific dental problems you may experience.
Your dentist may recommend a specific category of toothpaste, such as desensitizing or whitening, depending on your needs. You may purchase any toothpaste you like within that category, but certain toothpaste types are considered better for certain dental issues. Also heed any recommendations from your dentist regarding types of toothpaste to avoid.

3. Avoid whitening toothpaste if you have sensitive teeth.
Whitening toothpastes contain ingredients that are powerful to provide a brighter smile. These toothpastes are generally safe and effective. If you have sensitive teeth, however, these chemical agents may cause irritation or a worsening of your symptoms. Talk to your dentist about whitening alternatives that will be gentle enough for your teeth.

4. Read the label carefully.
Some toothpastes are indicated for use only by adults and older children. Other toothpastes recommend consulting a dentist before using for longer than a specified period. Be sure to read and follow any instructions on the toothpaste label.

You should also look at the list of ingredients. Most toothpaste contains flavoring, sweeteners and other chemical ingredients. Remember that the more ingredients the toothpaste contains, the more chances there are for you to be sensitive to a particular ingredient. Be sure that you understand what each ingredient is.

5. Baking soda toothpaste is gentle and effective.
According to MyOralHealth.com, baking soda has a lower abrasive quality than many of the cleaning agents found in other toothpastes. If your teeth are sensitive or prone to cavities, you may find that baking soda toothpaste gives you the same clean feeling without the harshness that you may have experienced in the past. Additionally, baking soda is commonly used in cleaning and deodorizing products due to its ability to absorb odors and neutralize acids. These properties also make baking soda toothpaste highly effective. The substance’s use in a variety of recipes demonstrates its safety as well.

6. Understand what you are getting when buying or making natural toothpaste.
Many natural types of toothpaste do not contain fluoride. Fluoride is a toothpaste ingredient that is highly recommended by the ADA due to its proven cavity-fighting ability. However, some holistic dentists are starting to question whether fluoride is entirely safe. According to an article by Janet Francisco published in Better Nutrition, excessive use of fluoride by small children has been shown to discolor teeth. The American Journal of Pediatrics recommended in its May 1995 issue that infants not be exposed to fluoride. You will need to make the decision on whether a natural toothpaste without fluoride is right for your family.

Be sure that you understand the ingredients that are included in any natural toothpaste that you are considering. Baking soda and salt pastes use food-grade ingredients and can therefore be considered safe. However, natural toothpaste falls into the same category as herbal supplements. These products may not contain ingredients that have been proven unsafe, but they may contain ingredients that have not yet been proven safe.

Since natural toothpaste is not fully regulated by the FDA, it is crucial that you read the label and conduct your own research as to the safety and efficacy of each ingredient. When conducting your research, take into account that the quantities of each ingredient are not standardized in natural toothpaste.

7. Look for ADA approval.
Many types of toothpaste carry the ADA seal of acceptance. Toothpaste with this seal is guaranteed to meet the stringent requirements of the American Dental Association. Participation in the program is strictly voluntary, however, and many good toothpaste brands do not carry the seal. Therefore, you should not use the ADA seal as your only criterion for choosing toothpaste.

8. Not every toothpaste is right for every person.
Everyone’s body chemistry is different. You may find that a particular toothpaste does not make your mouth feel as clean or refreshed as you would like. You may become sensitive to a certain ingredient. If you experience these or other symptoms, try changing brands or types of toothpaste. Of course, if you have an allergic reaction or experience continuing symptoms, you should seek medical assistance right away.

9. Avoid heavily sweetened toothpaste.
An excess of sugar can contribute to tooth decay as well as other health problems. Some sugar is perhaps acceptable, but it is a good idea to try to avoid those toothpastes that are extremely sweet. Or consider a toothpaste that is artificially sweetened. Many children’s toothpastes are especially high in sugar, so be sure to keep an eye on their labels.

10. Talk to your dentist about additional oral hygiene techniques.
The proper toothpaste is a necessary and important part of healthy oral hygiene. However, toothpaste alone is not enough. According to the ADA’s website, proper brushing should be accompanied by flossing and antimicrobial mouth rinses. Tooth whitening kits or strips, prescription mouth rinses and other products may be right for some people as well. Toothbrushes also come in many shapes and sizes, and it is important to select the best one for your teeth. Work with your dentist to develop oral hygiene practices that are appropriate for your particular dental needs.

Choosing toothpaste can be a daunting task. There are so many brands and types of toothpaste on the market, and so many advertising claims, that it can be difficult to work your way through the confusion. Understanding the facts behind the hype can make your decision on which toothpaste to choose a bit easier to make. Read the label before purchasing your toothpaste. Look for any unfamiliar ingredients while ensuring that the ingredients that you want are present.

SOURCE: LifeScript

Five Tips to Keep Your Teeth Healthy Over the Holidays

Follow these five tips to steer clear of emergency trips to the dentist’s office this season.

1. Don’t crack nuts with your teeth.

Although protein found in nuts helps keep muscles and bones strong, you shouldn’t test the strength of your teeth by shelling nuts with them. The hard surface of most nutshells can cause serious tooth and gum damage, and may even crack teeth. Your safest bet? Shell nuts before snacking on them.

2. Pass on chewy treats.

Holiday candy platters are often loaded with treats that can harm your teeth. Sticky substances cling to tooth enamel and encourage tooth decay, and thick candies like caramel and taffy can even yank out fillings. Eat these sweets sparingly and along with other foods to help keep the treats from sticking to your teeth.

3. Use proper tools to open packages and bottles.

We know you’re excited to rip into that gift from your great aunt, but your teeth are not the right tools for the task. Gripping a package or stubborn bottle cap with your teeth can crack them, possibly requiring a root canal procedure and a crown for repair. Give your mouth a great gift – reach for scissors or a bottle opener instead.

4. Avoid chewing on hard candy or ice cubes.

Crunching on ice or hard candy can lead to cracked or chipped teeth, which are painful and pricey to treat. Whether you’re enjoying a sweet or finishing the ice in your holiday cocktail, let it dissolve naturally in your mouth. Chewing on hard objects puts too much stress on teeth.

5. Say “no” to nail biting.

It’s no secret that the holidays can be stressful, but biting your nails won’t bring relief. Anxious nibbling is bad for both fingernails and teeth. Experts have linked the habit to teeth grinding, clenching, jaw problems, facial pain and sensitive teeth. If you get the urge to chew, distract yourself for a minute or two and see if the feeling goes away. If that doesn’t work, consider buying bitter-tasting polish that’s designed to dissuade you from putting your nails anywhere near your mouth.

Be sure to check these tips twice to stay off your dentist’s naughty list this season!

SOURCE: Delta Dental

Use It or Lose It

Insurance companies make millions of dollars each year from individuals who fail to use all their dental allowance. Once the deductible is met for the year, additional services up to a set amount are fully paid!

For example, the typical annual allowance is around $1,000. If you have two checkups, cleanings and a set of x-rays, that adds up to about $435 – meaning there’s another $565 left to use on tooth-colored fillings, occlusal guards, dentures and periodontal maintenance.

Not sure how much is left of your allowance? Contact Jenni at 330.278.1061 and she’ll help you.

Polish Up Your Holiday Smiles!

If all you want this holiday season is to keep your two front teeth, or all of your teeth for that matter, then check out these tips on how to save your smile.

Wine

Whether red or white, the high acidity levels in wine can eat away at a tooth’s enamel. Tooth enamel is critical in the protection against decay and cavities. To avoid damage, refrain from swishing the wine around in your mouth, and drink water in between beverages to rinse the teeth of the acid. Cheers!

Sugary Treats

Bacteria in the mouth thrive on the sugars found in candy canes, chocolate, and gingerbread cookies, increasing the likelihood of developing cavities. If you are not able to brush and floss after munching on sweet treats, drink water or chew a piece of sugarless gum. This will boost saliva flow in the mouth and help wash away bacteria.

Stress

Holiday anxiety can cause people to grind or clench their teeth, causing jaw pain, headaches, and chipping. Finding ways to alleviate your anxiety can help, but it’s also important to see your dentist, who can recommend solutions like a custom night guard. Wearing one at night will prevent you from taking out the holiday stress on your teeth while you sleep.

The gift of oral health is one that keeps on giving all year long! A healthy smile should always be at the top of your wish list. Brush and floss your teeth twice daily and schedule an appointment to see your general dentist at least twice a year.