How to Floss Your Teeth

Flossing

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Did you know that if you floss your teeth as often as you should (once a daily) and correctly, you will use 122 yards of floss in one year? However, on average, only 18 yards are sold per person per year. That’s only 15% of what you should use a year!

Step one, you need to floss your teeth once a day. You do not have to do more than that.

Now on to step two, how to floss your teeth correctly.

According to the American Dental Association, this is how to floss properly:

  • Start with about 18 inches of floss. Wrap most of it around the middle finger of one hand, the rest around the other middle finger.

  • Grasp the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers, and use a gentle shoeshine motion to guide it between teeth.

  • When the floss reaches the gum line, form a C shape to follow the contours of the tooth.

  • Hold the floss firmly against the tooth, and move the floss gently up and down.

  • Repeat with the other tooth, and then repeat the entire process with the rest of your teeth, “unspooling” fresh sections of floss as you go along.

If you have dental work such as a bracket behind your front bottom teeth or braces, ask your dentist for spooling threads to held you thread the floss between your teeth and the dental work. They work much like threaders do for threading a needle.

If you claim that you aren’t coordinated enough to floss or your fingers are too big for your mouth, then try using disposable floss holders. You can find them on the toothpaste/toothbrush aisle in most grocery stores.

Flossing should only take about 3-5 minutes, and it’s easily implemented as part of your bedtime routine if you can’t floss in the morning or during lunch.

On Breastfeeding and Dental Care

Baby feeding

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Breastfeeding is a hot topic amongst moms these days. We aren’t going to touch which is best for your baby, breast or bottle, as that is between a mom, her baby, and the baby’s pediatrician. However, we do want to clear up any misnomers that may be out there regarding breastfeeding and oral health.

Many believe that a baby’s new teeth only need to be cleaned and cared for if the baby is bottle fed, as formula is thicker than breastmilk (hence why babies sleep through the night sooner with formula than breastmilk). This is, of course, absolutely not true. Breastmilk still contains some lactic acid, which can erode teeth enamel if not cleaned from the baby’s teeth.

The Canadian Dental Association even offered the following statement this past summer:

The Canadian Dental Association supports breastfeeding as it provides nutritional benefits to the infant and is recognized as an effective preventive health measure.

In the absence of daily oral hygiene care, breastfeeding is one of the many risk factors that may contribute to the development of dental caries. Therefore, it is vital that mouth cleaning or tooth brushing be part of the daily routine for all infants, including those who are breastfed.

CDA Board of Directors – Approved June 2013

[..Read More]

What Does it Mean if the Baby Teeth Grow in Discolored?

Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

When your baby’s teeth grow in, they’re typically white or off-white in color. However, occasionally, baby teeth can grow in discolored. This could happen for several reasons, and most of the time it’s not caused by anything the parent has done or hasn’t done.

Medications

If your baby had to be on medication before teething, there’s a chance the teeth will grow in discolored, especially if the medications contained iron. Taking antibiotics during pregnancy can occasionally cause this as well.

Trauma

Any injury to the gums before teething can cause the teeth to grow in discolored, typically pink or gray.

Newborn Jaundice

Premature babies often have slight jaundice after birth, and this can cause the teeth to grow in looking a little green.

Serious Illness

An infection or serious illness can also discolor baby teeth. Newborn hepatitis and heart disease can also discolor baby teeth.[..Read More]

How to Tell if Your Child has Tooth Decay

Boy brushing his teethBy about 7 or 8, you’ve most likely stopped brushing your child’s teeth for them, so you can’t instantly tell if your child has tooth decay or a cavity. So how can you tell if a cavity is developing? You definitely don’t want to wait until your child comes to you in serious pain with a far more serious problem than tooth decay initially is. Without constantly prying into your child’s mouth, how can you tell if they have early signs of tooth decay?

Moderate to Bad Breath

Your first instinct may be to tell your child to go brush their teeth or rinse out their mouths with a mouthwash. However, if bad breath is constant or even severe, it’s a sign of something far worse than lunch leftovers.

Tooth Sensitivity

If your child complains that eating on one side of their mouths hurts or they suddenly develop a sensitivity to hot and cold food and drink, it could be a sign of tooth decay.

Headaches or Jaw Aches

A headache can easily be written off as potentially something else, and a dull ache in the jaw could be a sign of TMJ. If either seems more painful than a typical headache, it’s time to investigate.

A constant metallic or unpleasant taste in the mouth

If your child complains that something in their mouths always tastes bad, even after brushing their teeth, it’s a possibly symptom of tooth decay.

If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, you need to get him or her to your dentist as soon as possible, especially if your child has more than one sign. Most often, when tooth decay symptoms pop up, the decay has progressed to the point where treatment is needed immediately. The sooner your child is treated, the better chances your dentist will have in making sure the decay stays minor and doesn’t develop to anything far more serious, including potential tooth loss.

Teeth Enamel Erosion from Soda is Permanent

soda

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We’ve discussed the effects of soda on your teeth before, but it’s always good to refresh your memory on how harmful soda is to your teeth. Yes, the sugar contained is harmful, but consuming diet drinks will not help. It’s the carbonic acid that is the enamel killer, and recent research has proven that this erosion is absolutely permanent.

Kim McFarland, DDS, associate professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry, has reported that she’s seen an increase in the number of dental patients with enamel erosion over the last 25 years.

“I’d see erosion once in a while 25 years ago, but I see much more prevalence nowadays,” Dr. McFarland said. “A lot of young people drink massive quantities of soda. It’s no surprise we’re seeing more sensitivity.”

Enamel erosion can cause tooth sensitivity, and the more the soda is consumed, the worse the erosion and sensitivity can become.

“Tooth sensitivity can become a lifetime problem, limiting things we like to drink and even food choices. You could crown all your teeth but that is costly and a rather extreme solution,” Dr. McFarland said.  “It hurts to consume cold and hot foods and beverages. Some of my patients tell me when they go outside in the winter they don’t open their mouth or the cold air causes pain.” [..Read More]