Category: Cavity Prevention

Metal Mouth? Not necessarily.

braces care
From new colors and thinner wires to transparent aligners – braces are better than ever!

Teeth-straightening was first considered by ancient philosophers Hippocrates and Aristotle as early as 400 B.C. But it wasn’t until the 1700s that French dentist Pierre Fauchard used a horseshoe-shaped piece of iron that he called a “bandeau” (a form of the old French language meaning “tiny band”) that the modern concept of braces was put into practice.

However, their widespread use didn’t occur until the mid-late 20th century, and has been most prolific in North America. In fact, the number of people with braces doubled in the U.S. between 1982 and 2008. While the majority of these patients are 11-17 years old, the numbers of treated adults during those same decades increased by 25%. American Dental Association has reported that 70% of treatments are done on females, and largely for aesthetic reasons, as opposed to medical/dental conditions.

 

Today’s Braces

Modern advances have allowed braces to become less obvious, with the prevalence of clear aligners such as Invisalign® and other transparent options. Treatment usually lasts from 18 to 36 months, depending on the severity of problems and treatment goals. It requires a commitment from both the patient and parent.

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, the biggest treatment challenge after fitting the device is to protect both braces and teeth from damage. The good news is that these goals can usually be achieved through diet adjustments and proper cleaning.

 

Limit Harmful Foods

The bad news is that because of the tween-to-teenage range for braces, many of the restricted foods are favorites. This includes anything with high levels of sugar, which can collect around the brackets and accelerate decay. Here are the standard recommendations:

Skip the Soda— Soft drinks deliver a deadly combination of acid plus sugar that can become concentrated on tooth surfaces around brackets.

Avoid Extreme Textures— Hard, sticky, chewy or crunchy foods can damage or dislodge the thin metal components.

No gum!— This rule is not only to avoid residue on braces, but to prevent bending or loosening of the wires

Don’t Chew Ice— While this is never good for your teeth , it’s an especially risky habit with braces.

Clean Thoroughly

brushing with braces
Cleaning with braces is more important than ever.

Obviously, it is harder to clean an intricate metal framework than it is flat, smooth surfaces of your natural teeth. Your orthodontist will give you specific direction on how to brush, floss, and clean. Dr. Meyer and Dr. Johns also have tips and tools to help — just ask us at your next visit.

 

 

 

 

It’s Children’s Dental Health Month!

There’s still one week left in February, and still plenty of time to celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month! It’s the perfect excuse to discuss (and practice!) good dental habits with your kids.

What It Is

National Children’s Dental Health Month began as a one-day event in Ohio during the 1940’s. In 1949 it became an officially-observed national recognition day, followed by expansion to a weeklong event in 1955. The national Children's Dental Health Monthprogram became a month-long event in 1981 and since has grown into a focused nationwide program.
Thanks to the observance, positive messages and dental health knowledge reach millions of people in communities across the country and beyond. According to the American Dental Association, local events often include poster, coloring and essay contests, dental health fairs, free screenings, museum exhibits, classroom presentations and dental office tours. The American Dental Association hosts a web page full of resources for parents and educators, including free coloring and activity sheets.

 

Why It’s Important

As we’ve discussed in posts HERE and HERE, the teeth habits that are established early will last a lifetime. This observance gives you a perfect opportunity to engage your kids in developing proper brushing techniques. And while Meyer & Johns Dental pays special attention to our young patients, the most important factor in their oral hygiene habits is YOU – because parents with healthy teeth have children with healthy teeth!

Also This Month

According to the American Dental Association events page, “National Tooth Fairy Day” is celebrated on August 22 each year. However, #nationaltoothfairydayit is also widely recognized on February 28 – an anomaly for which there is no recorded explanation.  But when it comes to talking about teeth, Meyer &
Johns Dental always believes that “More is Better”. So why not celebrate twice? Next Wednesday, wish someone a Happy (1st) Tooth Fairy Day 2018! #NationalToothFairyDay

New Year’s Dental Resolutions That We WISH Everyone Made

Dental resolutions
Maybe your 2018 goals include eating healthier or exercising regularly. We have some resolution suggestions for your mouth.

As we begin the New Year, almost half of Americans will make a New Year’s Resolution. Unfortunately, 80 percent of those resolutions will fall by the wayside within six weeks, according to a U.S. News article.  But the good news is that for one out of every five people who make a positive change, they will stick with it long enough to become a habit.

The most common areas targeted for improvement are health-related and include weight loss, healthy eating, exercise and stopping smoking. But if Doctors Meyer and Johns could put together a list of resolutions for our patients, it would include:

Brush and floss daily

Sure, it’s a no-brainer. But we see a lot of patients who aren’t as consistent as they think they are. More than the occasional missed brushing can be the beginning of bad habits.

Pay attention to your gums

As we’ve mentioned, gum disease can be caused by a variety of factors. Make sure you to check for any discoloration or soreness, and point out any problem areas at your next appointment.

Cut the sugar

This may go hand-in-hand with one of your other resolutions. Limiting processed sugar intake is a simple way to improve overall health. Plus, reducing the number of sugary drinks (soda, sports drinks, sweetened/frozen coffees) positively impacts the overall amount of plaque that can accumulate between brushings.

Don’t ignore pain

If you have discomfort in a tooth, gum or jaw, call us! Sudden or persistent pain can be a sign of something seriously wrong in your mouth, so don’t wait to get it checked out.

Whatever your resolution, or even if you don’t make one at all, each of us at Meyer & Johns Dental wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. Celebrate safely, and we’ll see you in 2018!

 

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.