Meyer & Johns Dental Blog

Advice and Education on Your Dental Health

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Got a Faker in the house?

child's brushing
Some kids act out by not brushing. Here’s how to spot them.

Have you ever been surprised by multiple cavities at your child’s dentist visit? You insist that they’ve been brushing their teeth… but are you really sure? After all, just because they stand at the sink with a toothbrush doesn’t necessarily mean they’re brushing well, or even at all. Besides waiting for cavities to show up, how can you check up on your child’s brushing?

Go Old School

Remember those tablets you chewed as a child that colored your teeth pink where there was plaque? Yep, they’re still around. They have been joined by rinses and swabs, each of which highlight spots missed during brushing. All three options are great for locating problem areas, but what they’re really telling you is that you need to…

Establish Good Brushing Habits

We’ve written about it HERE, and specifically for kids HERE. But beyond the mechanics of a child’s brushing, there are things you can do to help engage young kids in the process.

  • Brush Early – As you know, bedtime can quickly turn into tantrum-time when a child is tired. Don’t let their brushing routine get caught in the cross-fire.
  • Give them choices – From toothpaste flavors and packaging, to brushes featuring movie characters, there are more options than ever. Let them pick their favorites.
  • Use a Chart – Just like adults, children get satisfaction from completing tasks. Provide a consistent way for them to visually track their progress
  • Make it FUN! – Sing while brushing, read a short story or make one up… any two-minute routine will do to entertain without distracting from the job at hand. There even a variety of timer apps that can help keep your little brusher amused and on-task.

If you’re still having trouble, ask at your child’s next regular appointment. We have a few other tricks that may help.

 

 

How to take the Perfect “Selfie”

selfie smile
The key to a perfect Selfie? Your smile!

You’ve seen kids taking them on the street, in movies theaters, by themselves and in groups. Maybe you’ve even taken a few of your own. We’re talking about a Selfie — a self-taken picture where the subject and photographer are the same person. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms are full of them. In fact, sociology experts predict that Millennials and Generation Z (those people born after 2000) will take an average of 25,000 Selfies during their lifetime.

And many of them will be awful pictures. From heavy shadows to unfocused faces, blurry movement or heads out-of-frame, there are 101 ways to take a bad Selfie. However, Meyer & Johns Dental wants to share few tricks to make sure you put your best face forward while taking a photo of it.

Tips for Selfie-takers

  •  Keep the camera slightly higher than your line of vision
  •  Look either directly at the camera lens or deliberately away from it
  •  Dip your chin slightly and look up— don’t raise your eyebrows to avoid forehead lines
  •  Natural light is best— aim for the “golden hours” of sunrise or sunset
  •  Choose an interesting background— stay away from blank walls, and mirrors or
    windows can cause unwanted reflections.
  •  Face your light source— Avoid direct side lighting, which can cast harsh shadows
    on your face
  •  Tap the image of your face on the phone screen before taking— most phones will use
    that point to automatically adjust focus, depth and exposure.
  •  SMILE!

Of course, everyone knows how to do this last one. But if you feel like your smile isn’t ready for a close-up, Meyer & Johns Dental can help. From teeth whitening, to same-day crowns, to porcelain veneers, we have the right choice to make sure your smile looks great– both in-person and at arms-length!

To discuss cosmetic options for your teeth, contact us or talk to Drs. Meyer or Johns at your next regular appointment or contact us to explore the options.

 

Yoga for the Body, Mind, and… Mouth?

Yoga offers a variety of full-body benefits… including your teeth! 

More studies are beginning to prove a direct link between Yoga and bone health, but what about your teeth? Can exercise really help a part of the body that isn’t even being exercised? The answer is Yes.

Yoga the 1500-year-old practice that combines physical, mental and spiritual aspects. It is comprised of a series of poses, stretches and transition movements focused on increasing strength, flexibility and balance. Yoga includes non-impact combinations, coupled with controlled breathing that complements the body’s motion. Similarly, yoga seeks to bring internal balance and tranquility to the busy, anxious mind that is common in today’s fast-paced world. There are various yoga disciplines or styles, including vinyasa, hatha, ashtanga, and the trendy bikram (or “hot yoga”).

Yoga Benefits

Yoga has been shown to help everything from back pain to diabetes, from digestive issues to stress and anxiety. But really— your teeth? How can breathing, bending and balancing possibly improve oral health? Here are three ways:

Posture

Most of us spend much of our time at school, work and home staring at a computer monitor or device screen. Unless you take direct action to sit and look up, our new digital lifestyle leads most of us to slouch or slump— both while sitting in chairs and standing. This creates improper neck/spine alignment, which in turn causes the lower jaw to imperceptibly shift forward. This causes misalignment that between lower and upper teeth, as well as compressing the atlas/axis joint that connects your skull and spine. The resulting tension on the surrounding bones, joints and muscles can cause inflammation and pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). If unchecked, this can lead to serious TMJ disorders that can have negative effects on your overall health.

Yoga naturally improves posture by strengthening the core muscles that hold your torso upright. A consistent, gentle yoga practice can actually help realign the spine after years of improperly sitting at work or at home, and many yoga practitioners have reduced or eliminated chronic back pain without surgical procedures or medication.

Stress

The most obvious benefit is less stress. As we noted in a recent post, high levels of anxiety are common among today’s children, youth and adults. Many professionals think that this increase stress may be contributing to a corresponding increase in teeth-grinding and associated jaw disorders.

Yoga has been shown to reduce anxiety by one-third, and cut symptoms of depression by half, according to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.

Saliva

The biochemical balance in your mouth impacts bacteria growth, which plays a critical role in plaque buildup and tooth decay. Certain breathing patterns and mouth positioning techniques in yoga can actually increase saliva production, helping to flush away cavity-causing food particles and maintain a balance of good and bad bacteria in the mouth.

“But I’m too busy for a full hour-long yoga practice!” many of you will say. If you can’t make it to a 60- or 90-minute class, there are other options. Many simple poses can be done anytime— on the couch, at your desk, during stoplights in traffic or really anywhere. Try these desk yoga moves, or discover your own set of poses from Pinterest.

If you’ve got a yoga story, share it with us at your next appointment. If you’re overdue for a cleaning, schedule it here. Until then, breathe, bend and be well. Namaste.

Cavity Prevention Pills?!

cavity prevention
             Someday reducing cavities could be this easy.

What if you could simply take a daily pill to reduce your risk of cavities? There’s no such Silver Bullet today, but it is a very real possibility for the future.

New Research

That prediction is based on the findings of a 2016 study by University of Florida Health. Published by the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, the study identified a new strain of bacteria – a form of Streptococcus, called A12. Researchers from the University of Florida College of Dentistry were originally trying to determine the causes of high pH in the mouth. But in the process, they discovered that A12 had an unexpected benefit. It combats “bad” bacteria in the mouth, specifically bacteria which cause excess acid in saliva.

The Importance of Acid

As we discussed in our last post, too-high pH levels can erode enamel and damage teeth. The discovery of A12’s acid-neutralizing powers could lead to probiotic supplements to boost its concentration in the mouth. That simple pill could balance oral pH and help keep your teeth strong and healthy.

While this new development might someday help protect against cavities, it wouldn’t replace healthy brushing habits or regular visits to Meyer & Johns Dental. If you are overdue for your six-month check-up, schedule it today!