Oral Hygiene Archives - Brookline Dental Specialists
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National Dental Hygiene Awareness Month

October is National Dental Hygiene Month. Calling attention to this important aspect of dental care allows us to think more closely about what quality dental hygiene entails and reminds us that good dental hygiene is the first line of defense against serious dental issues and disease. Taking preventative care seriously helps ensure a lifetime of healthy smiles!

Good dental hygiene starts at home. Committing to a regular routine of care at home ensures your teeth stay clean, strong, and white. Your home routine should include twice-daily brushing using a fluoride toothpaste and soft-bristled brush, ideally for at least two minutes per brushing session. While a high-quality manual toothbrush does a fine job, electric toothbrushes can be more effective in getting rid of the plaque and bacteria that can lurk in hard-to-reach areas of the mouth. Flossing at least once a day is equally as important. Gently flossing between every tooth up and around the gum line ensures that your mouth is left clean and fresh.

Regular visits to the dentist go hand-in-hand with your home dental care routine to keep your teeth and mouth at their healthiest. Seen twice-yearly (or more often for patients with periodontal disease), our dental hygienists will give you a comprehensive review of your oral health, a thorough cleaning, a periodontal exam as well as instruction and advice on your home care plan. Often, x-rays are taken to get a better picture of the overall health of your teeth. These regular exams significantly reduce your risk of developing common, but serious dental conditions, like cavities, gum disease, enamel wear, and tooth loss.

Pediatric dentistryOf equal importance is establishing regular dental hygiene habits in children by the age of one. Children who start brushing, flossing, and regularly seeing a dentist early have a much better chance of not only establishing habits that last a lifetime but also of avoiding painful dental problems, both early in life and for years to come. Establishing a relationship with a specific dentist whom your child trusts can result in better preventative care and routine oral health care.

Good dental hygiene is not just about brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly. Good dental hygiene can be compromised by over-consumption of sugary or acidic foods, which can lead to decay and enamel erosion. Limiting your intake of these foods and/or brushing after eating them can help mitigate their harmful effects on your teeth. Smoking is not only bad for your lungs but also harmful to your teeth and gums. The use of tobacco increases your risk of certain types of gum disease and even tooth loss. If you smoke or chew tobacco, you should strongly consider quitting, not only for your body but for your teeth.

Sarah & Steven - HygienistThe long-term benefits of good dental hygiene are numerous. Establishing a daily routine of brushing and flossing; regularly visiting your dental hygienist and dentist; encouraging children to begin taking care of their teeth early; and avoiding harmful foods and habits which can undermine the health of your mouth are all important, yet easy ways to making sure you are doing all you can to avoid painful and costly dental issues and disease. With good dental hygiene, a habit of prevention is truly priceless!

Teach Good Habits Early!baby sitting on carpet

At Brookline Dental Specialists, we know that when children develop healthy eating and oral hygiene habits at a young age, they can continue those habits into the teenage years and even adulthood. The earlier the better in fact! As part of National Children’s Dental Health Month, we want to provide you with some insights and education that you can pass on to your children about proper oral care so they can start healthy, and stay healthy.

Healthy Habits at Home:

Brush twice a day, floss once a day, and replace your toothbrush every 3 months We replace the tires on our cars about every 50,000 miles so there is a good grip on the road and we stay safe. Did you know it is just as important to replace an old toothbrush to stay healthy? It all starts
with a good toothbrush. When we brush our children’s teeth twice a day, we are removing plaque and bacteria from their teeth and gums. Toothbrush bristles can also get frayed and flattened, which can reduce its ability to brush effectively. We recommend that you replace your family’s toothbrushes every 3 months.

We have a saying in dentistry: “Floss the teeth you want to keep!” Brushing cleans the part of your teeth you can see. But there is still plaque and bacteria beneath the gums and in between the teeth. It only takes an extra few seconds to floss your children’s teeth, and it will help prevent tooth decay caused by the food and bacteria that are not removed by brushing alone. And you only really need to floss once per day. The best time is at night just before bed. Teach your child to use floss picks too, it can also be a useful tool and can make it easy for children to floss on their own.

Electric Toothbrusheschild sitting in chair with stuffed animal

Conventional manual toothbrushes have always worked very well when used properly. What we now know is that scientific research studies reveal that electric toothbrushes are more effective at cleaning teeth than manual toothbrushes. What’s more important, there are many fun electric toothbrushes available to motivate your children to brush their teeth! Some have timers and make sounds and feature cartoon characters children recognize. Kids like their “toys” and what better toy to give them than one that will improve their health?

Preventive Care for Kids in the Office: Benefits of Fluoride and Sealants Treatment

Fluoride helps keep our teeth strong and prevents tooth decay. Although there is a small amount of fluoride in toothpaste, we provide a special fluoride treatment in our office that enhances the strength of your children’s teeth. Another exceptional treatment for children is to place a small sealant on the top of the molars (the back, chewing teeth). Sealants smooth the surface and can prevent food and bacteria from building up in those hard to reach back teeth.

Get Regularly Scheduled Cleanings

child at the dentist

It is important to bring your children to our office and have their teeth professionally cleaned every six months. Our hygienists will clean your children’s teeth and doctors will do a thorough examination with x-rays to see any possible issues and treat them before they can develop into an oral health concern. These regular check-ups are also a good time for ongoing education with your children on brushing, flossing, and healthy eating habits.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month! It is a chance for our pediatric dental care providers to spend a little extra time and attention to educating our patients and parents of younger patients about all the benefits of preventive dental care. In our practice, we recommend regularly scheduled fluoride treatment as a preventive oral health measure for kids! Did you know that fluoride can benefit teeth before they even break through the gums? Fluoride ingested from foods, beverages and dietary supplements can make tooth enamel, which is the hard, outer coating on your teeth stronger, and more resistant tooth decay.

After teeth appear, fluoride applied topically on the surface of teeth can rebuild weakened enamel and even reverses early signs of tooth decay. When you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, or use other fluoride dental products like rinse. Fluoride in foods and water continues to provide topical benefits because they mix with your saliva, and constantly bathe the teeth with fluoride which strengthens the tooth enamel.

The American Dental Association (ADA) established National Children’s Dental Health Month over thirty years ago to promote the benefits of starting preventive dental care with kids as soon as first tooth appears to optimize lifelong good oral health. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in the country. Tooth decay affects more children than asthma or hay fever. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 40% of children will have some tooth decay by the time they enter kindergarten.

Parents should know that tooth decay is highly preventable. These recommendations are all things you can do to get your child off to a great start with good dental health.

Regularly scheduled dental checkup

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that parents schedule their child’s first visit to the dentist when the child turns one year of age. First birthday equals first checkup. However, if a parent detects discoloration or staining, they should schedule an appointment right away.

Brush and floss twice each day

The very best tools available to parents are a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. The ADA recommends that parents teach their children to brush for two minutes two times a day—morning and evening at bedtime. Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and teach your child to avoid swallowing toothpaste. Parents should provide help and supervision until a child is about seven or eight years old.

Limit sugary treats and drinks

This includes avoiding juice between meals. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends limiting juice to four to six ounces per day. Parents can also replace sugary treats with healthy snacks such as cheese, yogurt, and fruit.

Make sure your water has fluoride

Fluoride helps teeth resist acid attacks by strengthening tooth enamel. If your local water supply does not have fluoride, talk to your dentist about fluoride drops or tablets.

National Children’s Dental Health Month is a great time to remind parents that it’s never too early to start your child on the path of good dental health. Habits developed early will become lifelong healthy ones!

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