Category: Tooth Brushing

Focus on Kids’ Healthy Smiles!

Children's Dental Health Month

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. To celebrate the American Dental Association is encouraging good brushing habits activity and coloring pages, including a downloadable Brushing Calendar to help your little ones track the good habits they are developing.

We talk about it every year, but lifelong habits start early. The following guidelines can help parents make sure kids’ brushing habits are on track:

Babies – Under 1 Year

Babies don’t usually get their first teeth until around eight months, but they still need a clean mouth! Gently cleaning gums with a soft cloth, gauze, or a super-soft fingertip baby toothbrush can help remove food particles. But don’t press too hard – a very light pressure will keep from irritating sensitive gums.

 

Toddlers – 1 to 2 Years

When baby’s first tooth erupts, it’s time to begin to use a toddler-sized toothbrush for cleaning their mouth. Look for a brush that has very soft, rounded bristles that easily fits in their little mouth. As soon as they have more than one tooth and the teeth edges touch, you can begin using wide, flat floss. Again, make sure to only apply gentle pressure while cleaning all sides of the tooth. Making oral hygiene part of their regular bedtime routine is the first step in a lifetime’s good habits.

 

Preschoolers – 2 to 4 years

As their independence, mobility, and language begin to develop, so will their teeth. They’ll already be familiar with brushing and flossing, and the next step is brushing for themselves. You should tart by empowering them them to choose their own toothbrush. Making a big decision for themselves will excite them, and they’ll have their pick from a huge array of cartoon characters, TV show themes, and movie heroes. You will, however, need to make sure they’re choosing one that fits easily in their mouth and has soft bristles to protect their gums. Since they lack hand dexterity at this age, their toothbrushes are shorter and equipped with larger handles. You should still be supervising their brushing at this stage.

 

School-aged Children – 5 to 8 years

At this age, a good brushing routine and technique should be established. They’ll need to upgrade to a longer-necked brush with a larger head that still fits comfortably in their mouth while brushing. And they’ll still be choosing a style with bright colors and familiar characters. At this stage they can begin flossing on their own, but again with supervision. By the time they’re in 2ndor 3rdgrade, they should be able to brush and floss independently.

 

Beyond basic hygiene, dentist visits are something that should also begin at a young age. If your baby has older siblings, it’s a perfect time to get them used to the idea of visiting Meyer & Johns twice a year. We can do a pretend “Mouth Check” of toddlers, even if they don’t have enough teeth to clean! If haven’t already introduced your child to our friendly office staff, bring them to your next appointment.

America’s Favorite Halloween Candy Is…

candystore.com
www.candystore.com features an interactive map of favorite Halloween candy.

Even though it’s many people’s favorite holiday, Halloween might seem like a nightmare for dentists. Actually, at Meyer & Johns we LOVE Halloween — our staff is in the spirit all month long. It’s just the after-effects of all that candy we don’t like.  We talk about it every year, but sensible consumption and good brushing habits are key to winning the candy battle. We trust that you know what strategy works best with each of your children. If you’re still not sure, check out our blog post HERE for age and developmentally-appropriate approaches. 

 

We trust that you know what to do, so enough about teeth – let’s talk about the candy! Confectionary information and shopping website candystore.com has compiled a mountain of data on candy sales and consumption. They recently published an interactive map that lists the favorite Halloween candy for each of the 50 U.S. states, including pounds sold, as well as 2nd and 3rd-place choices by state. 

 

Missouri’s fave? The Milky Way bar, a preference we share with Maryland and Vermont. Some of the interesting tidbits include:

  • Corn Rules! Candy Corn is the most popular nationwide, taking the top spot in seven of the 50 states. Somewhat surprisingly, Skittles came in at #2, with five. 
  • Cowboy Candy?  Dubble Bubble gum was the favorite Halloween candy in Oklahoma and Montana. Don’t they know what they’re missing?
  • Location, location… Not surprisingly, the extreme Northeast and Northwest favor salt water taffy. 
  • Marketing wisely? Two of the most-recognizable and highly-promoted products – Twix and Kit-Kat – only ranked 1st in one state apiece. 
  • Sour in the South – Lemonheads were the top pick in Louisiana. 

 

Happy Halloween from your friends at Meyer & Johns Dental – Have fun, be safe, and don’t forget to brush! 

 

 

Pizza for Breakfast?!   

brushing and meals
Breakfast on the go is sometimes necessary, but how can you protect your teeth? 

You’ve been there — a late wake-up, rushing out the door, needing to put anything in your stomach to start the day. And the only thing available to eat that doesn’t require a plate or utensils is… Pizza. And so pizza is what you eat for breakfast.

Contrary to many opinions, that cold leftover slice isn’t really awful for you. As for your teeth, a good brushing is all that’s required to erase the evidence in your mouth… though it won’t help with your dietary guilt. And that’s true for most foods: as long as you remove excess food residue, what you eat for breakfast won’t harm your teeth.

 

Brushing Away OJ? Don’t.

A new school of thought has emerged that brushing before breakfast is as effective as brushing after. And provided that breakfast isn’t anything with excessive sugar (sweetened cereals, syrup, jelly/jam), this is true.

But according to the Mayo Clinic (via lifehacker.com), when you brush is even more important than what you eat for breakfast. However, the Mayo experts note that the exception to this rule is when consuming food or drink that contains high levels of acid, including fresh fruits and orange juice – both of which are breakfast staples. That’s because the naturally-occurring sugars and acid in these foods temporarily weaken the tooth enamel, and normal brushing can actually cause damage. For this reason, it is recommended that you either brush before breakfast, or wait at least 30 minutes after eating.

 

A Healthy Diet DOES Matter

However, there are many nutrition choices that really do matter to your mouth. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, several specific foods contribute to good dental and overall health. They recommend eating these:

  • Calcium-rich foods —including milk, yogurt and cheese, fortified soy products, canned salmon, almonds and dark leafy greens— help promote tooth and bone health.
  • Eggs, fish, lean meat, dairy, nuts, and beans contain phosphorus, which is good for strong bones and tooth enamel.
  • For good gum health and immune functions, eat plenty of foods rich in Vitamin C, including citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, potatoes, and spinach.

Always remember that the best plan is to brush after eating if you can – Even if it means you have to rinse away acidic food residue with water before brushing. If you have more questions about making healthy food choices for your body AND mouth, ask Drs. Meyer or Johns at your next appointment.

 

 

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!