After Halloween, Turn a Brush with Death into Better Teeth Brushing

by MikeMeehan 11/1/2016 3:26 PM

It’s the day after Halloween. At this point, you might loathe the holiday for the sugar buzz it’s given your kids. Or maybe you wonder already if you can convince your kids to reuse their costumes next Halloween. You might even think of the day after Halloween as the day when candy is sold in grocery stores on the cheap (though, if you have kids, probably not). For us, on the day after Halloween, we celebrate National Brush Day. Make no mistake: National Brush Day was intentionally designed to follow a holiday that indulges in collecting and gorging on too much candy. According to the American Dental Association, National Brush Day is meant to reach parents then for two reasons: to reinforce the importance of children’s oral health to promote good tooth-brushing habits We’d like to help you celebrate National Brush Day, too. Why Your Children Need to Brush Brushing and flossing can remove plaque, tartar and stains. These three culprits can cause problems of all sorts: Cavities Gum disease, like gingivitis or periodontitis Weakened tooth enamel, making teeth more susceptible to chips or cracks Conditions like these can wreak havoc on your children’s smiles. But the issues don’t stop there. In fact, a saying worth remembering is: You can’t spell overall without oral. As in, oral health directly affects overall wellness. Bad oral health doesn’t just put your children at risk for cavities, gum disease, and weakened tooth enamel; it can increase risks for serious conditions later down the road, like diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The solution, of course, is brushing, but only when done so properly. Watch out for these improper ways your children might go about it: Three Wrong Ways to Brush Brushing with force. Brushing too hard might make your children feel like they’ve gotten their teeth extra clean, but their teeth won’t be thanking them. Using too much force can lead to tooth abrasion, little notches in the teeth near the gums. Starting in the same place every time. Usually, when something is routine, the tendency is to start in the exact same place every single time. For brushing, this isn’t necessarily the best technique. It takes two minutes to brush. When your children start, the first tooth has their full attention. But by the time they’ve reached 1:45, they might be more concerned about whether their teacher will impose a pop quiz than with that particular tooth. For more evenly-cleaned teeth, have your children consider a new first tooth each time they brush. Leaving your toothbrush on a bathroom sink or counter. This isn’t really a brushing technique, but it can defeat an otherwise perfect routine. The bathroom isn’t exactly the cleanest room in your house — to avoid getting too “potty” mouthed about it — so your children’s toothbrushes are susceptible to germs if they park them there. Should they keep their toothbrushes in the bathroom, at least have them put the toothbrushes in a holder where they can air-dry, and where the bristles won’t touch the germy sink or counter. Pro-tip: If you’re on vacation and your children are using a travel bag, make sure they don’t store their toothbrushes while they’re damp, as bacteria can grow on a moist toothbrush. By this point, we’ve covered diseases that want to rob your children of their wellness, and wrong techniques that could prevent them from fighting those diseases. If this has you scared stiff by the amount of candy your children brought home, remember this: National Brush Day is the day after Halloween, so the witching hour is officially behind. Don’t let your children dig their own graves. Have them follow these six brushing techniques to keep up their perfect smile: Six Steps for Better Brushing Place your toothbrush bristles at a 45-degree angle to the gumline Use just enough pressure to feel bristles against your gums and between teeth. Don’t squish the bristles Brush all inner and outer tooth surfaces several times, using short, circular strokes. Be sure to brush along the gumline as well Brush chewing surfaces straight on. Clean the inside surfaces of front teeth by tilting the brush vertically and making up-and-down strokes with the front of the brush Clean only one or two teeth at a time Brush your tongue, as oral bacteria can remain in taste buds National Brush Day might not be as well-known as Halloween, but you may want to add it to your calendar. After all, most us can probably agree Nov. 1 is too early for the Christmas Creep.

Why the Truth about Fish Oil Will Have You Tearing Up

by MikeMeehan 10/6/2016 3:02 PM

Usually, when we say something is fishy, we mean there’s more to it than meets the eye. Or that we smell a tuna sandwich nearby. When it comes to fish oil, there may not be more than meets the eye, but it definitely meets the eye. You’ve probably already heard several of the benefits to popping a fish oil tablet once a day:   Heart health, as fish oil promotes a good blood cholesterol profile Bone health, part of which can include improving joint pain Stroke prevention Wrinkle prevention Hair thickening   Now, you can add eye health to that list. Fish oil contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): omega-3 fatty acids that produce better tears. And tears play an important role in our eye health. Go Ahead, Cry Usually, when we think of tears, we think of emotional tears — the kind caused by pain, grief or watching Brian’s Song. But tears play an even broader role for our vision. Tears keep our eyes wet and nourished. When we blink, tears cover our cornea, ensuring our cornea is always wet and nourished. Tears flush out unwanted substances. During family vacation this summer, did you end up with suntan lotion in your eyes? It probably resulted in you tearing up. Or have you ever touched your eyes after handling a jalapeño? Definitely resulted in tears. Some people, however, don’t have the luxury of readily available tears. These people suffer from dry eye syndrome. Dry Eye Syndrome: The Nemesis of Tears Dry eye syndrome is a common condition in which a person either doesn’t produce enough tears or produces tears that evaporate too quickly. Not only can this be uncomfortable, it can lead to irritation, infection or — worse — future vision problems. Dry eye syndrome is often a result of growing older — it affects about 70 percent of older people — but other culprits could include allergies, or chronic pink eye from tobacco smoke exposure. Although fish oil may not be a cure-all for dry eye syndrome — other treatments like artificial tears may be required — it can certainly facilitate recovery. How much fish oil you take depends on your condition. Generally, 500 mg to 1,000 mg a day is sufficient, though the dosage may be upped depending on dry eye severity. Many grocery stores offer supplements with 1,200-mg to 1,350-mg softgel tablets, so getting the recommended dosage probably won’t be too difficult to find. Celebrate See-food Month This October, to celebrate seafood month, go ahead and give fish oil a try. If you want the benefits of fish oil, but don’t want to take a softgel tablet, you can grill it in your diet. At least three times a week, schedule grilled salmon, tuna, halibut or cod. If none of those options sound good, you have tons of fish to choose from. It just might leave you crying tears of joy.

Don’t Brush It Off: This Self-Improvement Month, Improve Your Brushing Technique

by MikeMeehan 9/22/2016 4:07 PM

September has been designated National Self-Improvement Month. And though the designation has proven surprisingly difficult to substantiate — the National Day Calendar listed its history as “To Be Researched” — a little self-improvement never hurt. In fact, you might expect the exact opposite. When it comes to dental hygiene, brushing and flossing are some of the most important routines for your smile, yet they could possibly use a little improvement. Why You Need to Brush and Floss Brushing and flossing can remove plaque, tartar and stains. These three culprits can cause problems of all sorts:   Cavities Gum disease, like gingivitis or periodontitis Weakened tooth enamel, making teeth more susceptible to chips or cracks   Conditions like these can wreak havoc on your smile. But the issues don’t stop there. In fact, here’s a saying worth remembering: You can’t spell overall without oral. As in, oral health directly affects overall wellness. Bad oral health doesn’t just put you at risk for cavities, gum disease, and weakened tooth enamel; it can increase risks for serious conditions like diabetes, heart disease and stroke. The solution, of course, is brushing and flossing, but only when done so properly. There are a few improper ways of going about them: Three Wrong Ways to Brush   Brushing with force. Brushing too hard might make you feel like you’re getting your teeth extra clean, but your teeth won’t be thanking you. Using too much force can lead to tooth abrasion, little notches in the teeth near the gums. Starting in the same place every time. Usually, when something is routine, the tendency is to start in the exact same place every single time. For brushing, this isn’t necessarily the best technique. It takes two minutes to brush your teeth. When you start, the first tooth has your full attention. But by the time you’ve reached 1:45, you might be thinking about that board meeting you have in an hour. For more evenly-cleaned teeth, consider a new first tooth each time you brush. Leaving your toothbrush on a bathroom sink or counter. This isn’t really a brushing technique, but it can defeat an otherwise perfect routine. Your bathroom isn’t the exactly the cleanest room in your house — to avoid getting too “potty” mouthed about it — so your toothbrush is susceptible to germs if you park it there. Should you keep your toothbrush in the bathroom, at least put it in a holder where it can air-dry, and where the bristles won’t touch the germy sink or counter. Pro-tip: If you’re on vacation and using a travel bag, don’t store the toothbrush while it’s damp, as bacteria can grow on a moist toothbrush.       Two Wrong Ways to Floss   Flossing too fast. Save for not flossing at all, rushed flossing may be a worst practice, as one up-and-down between your teeth might miss some food particles and won’t get under the gumline as effectively. Stopping at the sight of blood. If your gums start to bleed, it’s probably due to inflammation from bacteria that’s gotten into them. If you stop at the sight of blood, the bacteria wins, and the inflammation could grow worse.     At this point, it may feel like there’s a whole lot wrong with the world: diseases that want to rob you of your wellness, and wrong techniques that could prevent you from fighting them. But September is self-improvement month, and there’s love at the end of the day. Here’s how you can improve your brushing and flossing techniques. Six Steps for Better Brushing   Place your toothbrush bristles at a 45-degree angle to the gumline Use just enough pressure to feel bristles against your gums and between teeth. Don’t squish the bristles Brush all inner and outer tooth surfaces several times, using short, circular strokes. Be sure to brush along the gumline as well Brush chewing surfaces straight on. Clean the inside surfaces of front teeth by tilting the brush vertically and making up-and-down strokes with the front of the brush Clean only one or two teeth at a time Brush your tongue, as oral bacteria can remain in taste buds   Five Steps for Flossing   Start with an 18-inch strand of floss. Wind most of it around one of your middle fingers and the rest around the same finger on your other hand Tighten floss with about an inch of floss between your hands. Glide floss between teeth with a gentle sawing motion Curve it into a C against your tooth Hold the floss against each tooth, gently scraping the tooth’s side while moving the floss away from the gum. Repeat on all teeth. Don’t forget the back ones Rinse to remove any loosened plaque and food particles   For #SelfImprovementMonth this September, we’re brushing up on our brushing and flossing technique. What have you been doing to improve yourself?

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