Wellness Blog

Posts for: February, 2018

February 22, 2018
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FLOSSING IS AN ESSENTIAL part of keeping our teeth clean and healthy. So how do we pass this crucial habit on to our children? This is one hurdle of parenting we are happy to help you clear!

Why Does Flossing Matter?

You might wonder: why it is so important to include flossing when it is hard enough to get your children to brush? Keeping baby teeth healthy is crucial because they are placeholders for adult teeth, and a toothbrush alone simply cannot get rid of all the decay-causing plaque lurking in between the teeth. The earlier children learn good dental hygiene habits, the easier it will be for them to continue those habits into their teens and adulthood.

When To Start Flossing

Your child probably will not have the dexterity to floss their own teeth until they are around five years old or can tie their shoes by themselves. As soon as they have teeth that are close together (usually around two and a half years old), you should start flossing for them.  Try to floss each night so you can create a daily habit. Consistency is crucial to helping them see it as part of their nightly routine.

Flossing With Your Child

Knowing how to floss your own teeth and teaching a small child how to floss are very different things. Here are a few tips to make it easier:

  • If you begin gently flossing their teeth daily while they are still toddlers, they should be used to it and maybe even eager to take the reins by the time they are old enough to try it themselves.
  • Explain why flossing is so important. If your child understands the purpose behind flossing, it will help motivate them to do it.
  • When they are ready to try it, show them how to pull out the right amount of floss (about a foot and a half), and loosely wrap it around their middle fingers to hold it in place, leaving an inch or two of floss to get up close between the teeth.
  • Help them gently insert the floss between their teeth using a back and forth motion without snapping their gums. Curving the floss around each tooth in a C-shape will make the process more gentle.
  • Teach them to always move the strand along so that they are using clean floss on each tooth. If they are using the same part of the floss the whole time, they are just moving the plaque around instead of removing it!
  • Emphasize that flossing is something that big kids do, and encourage them to do it by themselves once they have the hang of it. They will be excited to do something so grown up!

If your child is struggling to figure out flossing, an easier alternative to traditional floss is using flossers or floss picks. They are more expensive than floss, but they also require much less coordination.

Need A Professional Demonstration?

Building good dental hygiene habits is about more than teaching them the right technique. It is also about giving them the right perspective: dental hygiene is not an unpleasant chore, it is quick, easy, and makes our teeth feel great! If you are struggling to convince your child of the importance of good dental hygiene, maybe a fun, professional demonstration at our practice can help!

We’re happy to help you train a new generation of daily flossers!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original. The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


February 13, 2018
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ALTHOUGH MEN AND WOMEN have a lot in common, there are quite a few differences when it comes to their oral health. Women have some advantages men lack, but also some disadvantages men do not have to worry about. Let us take a look at the main differences.

TMJ And Sjögren’s Syndrome

Women account for 90 percent of people suffering from TMJ (temporomandibular joint) syndrome, or chronic pain or soreness in the joint that connects the jaw to the skull. The most obvious cause is bruxism (teeth grinding), but it can also be the result of stress, joint structure, vitamin deficiency, medical conditions like arthritis, and even hormones.

Another condition women are far more prone to than men is Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks salivary glands and tear ducts (resulting in dry mouth and dry eye) before moving on to other tissues and organs. Dry mouth, aside from making chewing and swallowing difficult, is very dangerous to oral health, because saliva washes away food particles, fights bacteria, and neutralizes the mouth’s pH.

With both syndromes, regular dental visits are crucial so that you can get a proper diagnosis and develop a treatment plan that will keep your mouth healthy.

Puberty, Pregnancy, And Menopause

Hormones play a large role in women’s dental health, particularly when they are going through significant changes, such as during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.  Gingivitis and inflamed gums are common during puberty and pregnancy, which is why it is especially important to maintain good oral hygiene with daily brushing and flossing under these conditions. Dry mouth and bone loss are common problems for women going through menopause. When bone loss occurs in the jaw, it can compromise the gums and the roots of the teeth. It is very important for menopausal women to discuss these potential effects with their dentists, ideally before any negative symptoms appear.

Eating Disorders And Teeth

More than twice as many teenage girls suffer from eating disorders than teenage boys, and that ratio persists in different age groups.  Eating disorders are life-threatening.  They have negative effects on every system in the body, and the mouth is no exception. Malnutrition, particularly a deficiency in vitamins and minerals essential to keeping teeth and gums healthy, can lead to a variety of oral health problems. Eating disorders can also do direct harm. Bulimia in particular can lead to tooth erosion from frequent exposure to stomach acid during purges. Anyone suffering from an eating disorder should seek psychiatric help to recover mentally, but it will take rigorous dental hygiene and help from dental professionals to maintain or restore good oral health.

You And Your Dentist Make A Great Team!

By this point, you might think women got the short end of the stick all around when it comes to oral health, but one major advantage women have is their tendency to take better care of their teeth. Women are more likely to brush twice a day, floss daily, and keep up with their regular dental appointments than men. They are also far less likely to try ‘toughing it out’ whenever they experience tooth pain or other symptoms. These healthy habits combine to greatly reduce the impact of all the above conditions, so keep up the good work!

Let’s keep those mouths healthy, ladies!

Top image by Flickr user Timothy Krause used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


February 05, 2018
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BECAUSE PREVENTION IS such a major part of good dental care, it is critical to visit the dentist for regular checkups. In most cases, two regular dental cleanings a year will be all you need, but this is not always true. What are the signs that you should not wait until your next scheduled appointment to visit the dentist? For this blog post, we have listed the top five.

1. Aches of Any Kind If you are experiencing tooth pain, it may mean that a cavity has advanced to the point where the dental pulp is infected.  Do not tough it out thinking it will just go away on its own.  Other types of pain you should bring to the dentist are an aching jaw and frequent headaches. These are often connected to oral health issues such as bruxism (teeth-grinding), and the dentist can help

2. Mouth Sores and Bleeding Gums Mouth sores usually go away on their own, but they can also be a sign of infection or disease, so it is important to get them checked when they appear. If you notice that you are bleeding after brushing or flossing, it is time to come see the dentist, particularly if you are already using a soft-bristled toothbrush.  Bleeding gums are one of the first symptoms of gum disease, so do not ignore the warning signs!

3. Previous Dental Work If you have a problem with previous dental work, do not wait until a regular appointment to get it fixed, because the issue will likely get worse. A cracked or chipped crown needs to be repaired quickly to prevent infection.  Worn-out fillings need to be replaced to prevent bacteria from thriving in the gaps between the tooth and the filling.

4. Serious Medical Concerns Serious conditions such as diabetes, eating disorders and gum disease affect our oral health more than we realize, and sometimes the treatments have negative oral impacts as well.  Many medications cause dry mouth, which can seriously jeopardize oral health. If you are diagnosed with a chronic disease and/or have new medications prescribed to you, your dentist needs to be informed of the changes.

5. Bad Breath Few things are as mortifying as being in a social situation and realizing you have bad breath, but did you know that bad breath is sometimes a symptom of gum disease or other health problems? If you find yourself having an unusually hard time keeping your breath minty fresh, it is a good idea to visit the dentist so we can discover the underlying cause.

Keep Up Your Regular Visits!

While we hope you come to see us right away if you notice any of these signs, we want to reemphasize the importance of scheduling regular appointments. Most dental health problems appear gradually, and an appointment every six months is enough to catch these problems before they become serious.

Thank you for trusting in us to take care of all your dental concerns!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original. The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


February 05, 2018
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Saliva is so ordinary thing that you probably do not given it much thought, but it is as important to our oral health as oil is to a working car engine. Saliva is an essential component of our ability to eat, taste our favorite foods, and speak. It is crucial to a healthy immune system and our first line of defense against many oral health problems.

Stages of Saliva Production

In a healthy mouth, saliva is produced continuously by the salivary glands, which are located under our tongues and in our cheeks. These glands produce between two and six cups of saliva every day! Saliva is 98-99 percent water, and the rest consists of proteins, digestive enzymes, antimicrobial factors, and electrolytes.

Depending on where food is in the digestive process, saliva goes through a few different stages: cephalic, buccal, oesophageal, gastric, and intestinal. When you smell something delicious and your mouth waters, saliva is in the cephalic stage. Eating moves it to the buccal stage, which helps us swallow food. The oesophageal stage helps move swallowed food down the esophagus.

The last two stages are less pleasant, but still important. If you are about to throw up, your salivary glands work overtime in the gastric stage so that the stomach acid cannot do as much damage when it comes up and out with the partially digested food. The intestinal stage is similar, activating when the body does not agree with food that reaches the upper intestine.

Saliva And Oral Health

There are many reasons we have saliva, but the most important role it plays in your oral health is keeping your mouth’s pH balanced and flushing away remnants of food to keep everything clean. Eating food tends to make our mouths more acidic, and even though the enamel on our teeth is the hardest substance in our bodies, it only takes a pH of 5.5 to start dissolving it. Many of the foods we eat are far more acidic than that, which makes saliva critical in protecting our teeth. The antimicrobial factors in saliva also fight bacteria, protecting us against gum disease and bad breath. Growth factors in saliva are why injuries in your mouth (like a burned tongue or a bitten cheek) heal faster than injuries elsewhere on the body. These are the benefits to our oral health, but saliva does much more.

When The Spit Runs Dry…

All of these benefits are why dry mouth is such a serious problem, and it can happen for a number of reasons. Our mouths tend to go dry in stressful situations. We also tend to produce less saliva in old age. Drug use, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all cause dry mouth as well. Unfortunately, many prescription medications have a side effect of dry mouth.

Let’s Get That Mouth Watering!

If you have been experiencing dry mouth for any reason, schedule an appointment with us! We can discover the cause and get that saliva flowing again so that you will not miss out on any of its great health benefits!

Thank you for trusting in our practice!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original. The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.