Saturday, August 13, 2016

Do Your Children Need Fluoride Supplements?
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Do you wonder if your child is getting enough fluoride to protect their teeth from cavities? With 25 percent of children experiencing their first cavity before kindergarten, it’s certainly a question worth pondering. Even the American Dental Association’s Council on Scientific Affairs (CSA) does the same, continually reviewing research to ensure their recommendations are up to date with scientific opinion. What, then, is your best strategy? First, you’ll need to ask a few more questions.

Determining whether your child may need supplemental fluoride (in the form of pills, lozenges or liquid) generally hinges on the answers to these three key questions:
  • What is the source of your child’s drinking water, and how much of it are they consuming on a daily basis?
  • How old is the child?
  • What other sources of fluoride might they be exposed to?

What Is the Source of Your Child’s Drinking Water, and How Much of It Are They Consuming on a Daily Basis?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are roughly 196 million Americans who receive their drinking water from an “optimally fluoridated” community water system.

This means the level of fluoride in these community water supplies is between 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams per liter; levels the CDC suggests are “highly unlikely” to result in an over-absorption of fluoride, and sufficient enough to aid in the prevention of decay.

To get a feel for the levels of fluoride in your local water supply, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's website and access a water quality report (called Consumer Confidence Reports) for your community. Alternately, you can check out the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) fluoridation Website, "My Water's Fluoride" for similar information.

If your family obtains its water from a water-well system, you’ll need to have the water tested independently to discover your system’s fluoride level. Also, keep in mind that if your family generally drinks bottled water, your children are only getting trace amounts of fluoride from that specific source.

How much fluoridated water is enough? Guidelines suggest between a pint to a quart a day, dependent on age. Speaking of age …

How Old Is the Child?

Because our teeth erupt and mature in stages that closely parallel our age, too much or too little fluoride during these stages can cause problems.

For example, fluorosis, which is caused by the consumption of (or, application of) too much fluoride at too early an age, can result in white, blotchy teeth. In contrast, with too little fluoride, the possibility of increased cavities becomes the concern. It’s all about balance. The American Dental Association’s “Facts About Fluoride” article covers this concept in much detail, and even includes a Fluoride Supplement Dosage Schedule, that illustrates the levels a child should have based on their age, from birth through age sixteen.

What Other Sources of Fluoride Might They Be Exposed To?

If supplementation is being considered, in order to cover all bases, your dentist or pediatrician will need to consider all of the child's dietary and non-dietary sources of fluoride. And it’s a long list.

For instance, a child in a home where only bottled water is consumed may actually end up getting an adequate dose of fluoride if they drink a lot from a fountain at school, or from the tap at a neighbor’s house. Also, certain foods contain levels of fluoride due to processing or pesticide residues, and certain environmental exposures may add to fluoride exposure.

As you can see, determining the level of fluoride appropriate for your child ultimately comes down to specifics related to your child, the community in which you live, and your own personal belief surrounding fluoride supplementation. Your best ally in this quest is your child’s dentist, so speak with them throughout your child’s development for the answers to all of your fluoride related questions!

For more information, videos and to schedule an appointment please visit our Pediatric page.

Friday, August 5, 2016

How to Choose Your Next Best Toothbrush!

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How to Choose Your Next Best Toothbrush!

Here’s a tip. When you’re packing to go back home from your upcoming or next summer vacation, toss your toothbrush. We all know bringing home a used toothbrush is a messy adventure, complete with wet Dopp kits and crushed bristles. And, when was the last time you replaced that thing, anyway? Changing your toothbrush after a trip is a great way to get into this good habit. And now that you know you’ll be shopping for a new one, here are some tips to pick one that’s the best fit for you.

Choosing the right toothbrush comes down to two specifics: what’s recommended, and what’s good for your own mouth.

The Standard Recommendations:

  • Go soft: Overwhelmingly, soft bristles are better for your teeth and gums. Yes, you can buy medium bristles and stiff bristles, but unless your dentist has recommended that specific type of brush for your mouth, go soft.
  • Go round: This confuses a lot of people since the shapes and patterns of bristles are mostly at all sorts of whacky angles. Nothing really appears to be “round!” What round actually means is that the bristles are “end-rounded,” meaning the rough edges of each bristle have been smoothed out to avoid hurting sensitive gum tissue.
  • Go for the seal: The seal of the American Dental Association (ADA), that is. Believe it or not, there aren’t many toothbrushes allowed to display the ADA seal, which certifies the product as safe and will hold up to regular use. As in the bristles won’t fall out and the handle won’t break. This does happen with cheap toothbrushes! Here’s the full list.

The Personal Recommendations:

  • Pick the right size: The head of the toothbrush should fit comfortably in your mouth so you can reach the surface of each tooth (front and back). This includes your back molars too, so if you can’t do this with your current brush, it’s likely too big.
  • Pick the right handle: The shape and design of the handle all depends on how you like to hold your toothbrush when you’re brushing. There are a myriad of ways to hold your brush. A little experimentation here is probably best. Non-slip handles are typically a good jumping off point. Also, most of us hold our toothbrush a bit too aggressively, so the next time you’re in the office, bring your favorite brush with you to the office, and ask your hygienist to help you tweak your grip a bit. Your gums will thank you!
  • Pick the right bristle shape: Bristles, bristles, bristles! Oh, so many shapes, angles and colors. Which to pick?! Experts say to pick the one that feels best in your mouth. That’s not much guidance, we know. But the basic idea is that bristle design will feel different to different people depending on how big their teeth are, whether they have a lot of spacing, braces, prosthetics … a million things, really. So, again, “feel” is most important. That’s why these are personal recommendations after all!
And that’s it, really. Choose any color you’d like. We won’t offer any advice on that!

Visit our preventative services page to see how you can prevent oral diseases and tooth pain.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Apps for Healthy Teeth!

Apps for Healthy Teeth!

You may think only kids need help staying on task when it comes to brushing their teeth. Not so! Without parental supervision, a lot of us seem to have lost our way … not brushing long enough, not in the right pattern, too hard, too soft. A number of app developers have caught on to our failures in tooth brushing, and have come to our rescue. Be careful, though, these apps might have you so enamored with your oral health, your phone might spend more time in the bathroom than the boardroom!
Dental apps tend to fall most easily into themes. Below you’ll find the three most popular:

Two Minutes, Twice a Day

Brush DJ is a popular app aimed at getting you to brush twice a day, for two full minutes each time. To help you achieve that goal, the app picks a random song from the music library on your phone and plays two minutes of it before stopping. So, when using the app, if you’re brushing and still hearing music, it means you should keep brushing!

Disney lovers might enjoy “Disney Magic Timer” from Oral B. With this app, the screen displays a character that brushes along with you as part of a game to reveal clues as you brush. Technically speaking, the app is aimed at kids (with stickers to collect, and all that jazz), but who cares? If you’re a big fan of Disney, and still consider yourself a kid at heart, go for it … we won’t tell.

Mouth Design

Virtual Dentist allows you to upload a picture of yourself to see what certain kinds of dental work would look like on your face. If you’ve ever used an app that allows you to test out a certain hairstyle by using a photo of yourself, you’re already familiar with how this sort of app works. If you’re planning any dental work, it’s a neat way to check out a variety of different looks: braces, veneers, fillings and even clean teeth vs. not-so-clean-teeth are all part of the experience. Teens might also enjoy it to get a good idea as to what certain cosmetic procedures would look like in their own mouth.

Creating Good Habits is Not Easy

Maintaining good oral health begins and ends with good habits. For example, some of us are great at brushing, but not flossing. Some need help sticking to at least two minutes. Others need help with all three! If you’re willing to recognize you need help establishing better oral care habits, here is a great list of tools that can help you work on habits of ALL kinds! Test one or two out for good measure on all your habit-creating tasks!

Schedule your appointment now and start your journey to oral health.
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