Protect Your Teeth: Preventive Steps Toward Better Oral Health

Protect Your Teeth: Preventive Steps Toward Better Oral Health

Taking preventive measures to protect your teeth from decay is essential for maintaining your natural smile. While prevention includes maintaining good at-home oral hygiene practices and making it to your routine dental visits, there are additional steps you can take to help keep your teeth healthy, strong, and safeguarded against the harmful bacteria that leads to decay and cavities.

Some of the following preventive measures are commonly associated with protective treatments appropriate for children, but they can be just as beneficial for adult teeth. The next time you pop in for your regular exam, take some time to ask the doctor about whether they are right for you.

Sealants

Brushing and flossing cleans most of your teeth surfaces, but getting to all of the crevices — especially those located in the back molars and premolars — is difficult. Those tiny dips and pits are perfect for trapping food and bacteria, which often results in the formation of cavities.

Dental sealants provide a protective coating that keeps these areas free from food debris. They are made from a resin material that is used to coat the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. It is painted on and seals the nooks and crannies in the teeth, so that food and other plaque-causing materials that cause cavities are kept out.

The procedure for applying sealants is simple, painless, fast, and takes only one visit. First the decay is removed from your teeth, and they are thoroughly cleaned and dried. Next the sealant material is painted on the chewing surface. It will naturally bond to the tooth on its own; however, a special light may be used to speed the process, helping the sealant to harden in just a couple of minutes.

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Tips for Teaching Your Kids to Floss

Tips for Teaching Your Kids to Floss

Even though baby’s first teeth are temporary, getting an early start on excellent dental hygiene practices, including both brushing and flossing, is essential to a lifetime of good oral health. Dental decay is one of the most common childhood diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 42% of children ages 2 to 11 have had cavities in baby teeth, and 21% of those ages 6 to 11 have had cavities in permanent teeth.

Tooth decay not only poses a threat to tiny teeth, it can negatively affect a child’s whole health, as well as how they feel about themselves. One of the longest-lasting benefits of a healthy smile during childhood is the foundation for a healthy self-image.

Start EarlyBrushing

You should begin cleaning a baby’s gums after each feeding with gauze or a soft cloth starting immediately after birth. As soon as the baby teeth begin to erupt, you can use a soft-bristled child’s toothbrush to clean your toddler’s teeth. Continue brushing for them until they have the dexterity to take over (approximately around 6 years old).

Flossing

Flossing is difficult for small, untrained hands. Your child doesn’t have to begin brushing right away, but once their tooth surfaces are almost touching, plaque and food begin to settle in between teeth, which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. At this point, they should begin learning to floss and doing so at least once a day.

Teaching your child to floss can be tricky. The following steps will help you get them off to an easy start.

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Summer is Here! Are your Lips Ready?

Summer is Here! Are your Lips Ready?

“Summer loving had me a blast, oh yeah. Summer loving happened so fast…” —Grease, Summer Nights

Its’ the stuff dreams and movies are made of: summer love. Warm summer nights, afternoons at the beach, vacations to the Caribbean—whether you are hoping to meet your next crush or are looking forward to romancing your long-time love —summer is sure to heat things up.

Did you know that June 19th is National Kissing Day? Are you ready to get romantic? A healthy mouth and kissable lips are key to having the summer you have been dreaming of. From making sure that your teeth and gums are in top condition, to protecting and caring for your lips so they stay soft and blemish free, there are several measures you can take to stay romance ready all summer long.

Tips for a healthy mouth

The best way to make sure that your mouth stays healthy and halitosis free is to stay on top of your at-home oral hygiene practices. Don’t forget the basics:

Brush twice a dayRinse after brushingFloss daily

  Take your oral care to the next level. You already know you need to set up routine visits with your dentist to keep your teeth in top condition. Consider the following treatments for extra protection.

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Am I at Risk? The Question That’s on Everyone’s Lips

Am I at Risk? The Question That’s on Everyone’s Lips

Speaking, eating, and smooching — these are all daily activities that draw attention to your lips. You most likely catch a glimpse of them every time you look in the mirror throughout the day, like when you brush your teeth during your morning routine and then again before going to bed. With their high visibility, you might guess that identifying lip cancer in its earliest stages would be common, but you might be surprised at how often early signs go unnoticed.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., and according to the American Dental Association, 41,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral and throat cancers this year. With 60% of the U.S. population visiting the dentist each year, where there mouths are closely examined and oral cancer screenings are done routinely, the dental community is the first line of defense for early detection.

What Is the Difference Between Lip and Oral Cancer?

Lip cancer is one kind of oral cancer. Simply put, cancer is the rapid and uncontrollable growth of invasive cells that damage surrounding tissue. When this occurs on or in the mouth, it is referred to as oral cancer. A notable difference between lip cancer and cancer that occurs inside the mouth and throat is the added risk factor of prolonged exposure to the sun. Lip cancer is often caused by the harmful effects of ultraviolet light, and the lower lip specifically has the greatest risk because it has more exposure to the sun.

Risk Factors

While sun exposure increases the likelihood of suffering from lip cancer, there are other factors that increase your risk for oral cancer, most of which are avoidable.

Tobacco: Tobacco use of any kind increases your chances of getting oral cancer.Alcohol: Heavy alcohol use and abuse has been found to be a risk factor.Sun exposure: Individuals who have regular, prolonged exposure to the sun are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer of the lips.HPV: HPV is tied to the development of cervical cancer and is also a risk factor for oral and oropharyngeal cancers.Dentures: Though the connection is debated, some believe that poorly fit dentures that cause long-term irritation of the mouth lining may lead to cancer. It is important that patients who wear dentures have the fit checked regularly, along with a regular oral cancer screening, to minimize their risk.Signs of Oral Cancer

Cancer of the mouth reveals itself as a growth or sore in the mouth or throat that doesn’t go away with time. Other symptoms include:

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Live Happier, Healthier & Longer: Why Your Smile Is Our Priority

Live Happier, Healthier & Longer: Why Your Smile Is Our Priority

Have you ever wondered why dentists and other dental and oral health professionals spend so much time talking about your smile? Shouldn’t they focus more on your teeth?

As dental health professionals, we know that your oral health affects a whole lot more than just your teeth. You may think your smile is just another way to communicate your happiness, but we know it does so much more than that. Smiling regularly can improve your mood and even your health. But when you hide your smile because you are embarrassed of crooked, chipped, or cracked teeth, you not only miss out on all of the benefits of smiling, but your self-esteem and confidence plummet as well.

Benefits of Smiling

Smiling — even when you may not feel like it — provides some surprising benefits. The following are just a few.

Healthier Heart. According to a study published in Psychological Science, smiling helps you recover from stress and upset. Researchers found that participants who smiled during a stressful situation had a lower heart rate when recovering. Smiling is also credited for lowering blood pressure. The more you smile, the less likely you are to develop heart disease.

Makes You Happy. The act of smiling releases endorphins. If you’ve ever gone running or worked out, then you’ve probably experienced the elation brought on by endorphins (also known as a runner’s high). When your body releases endorphins, your mood is naturally elevated.

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