Seeing your family dentist before school starts

by MikeMeehan 8/2/2018 9:49 AM

Each year, 100 million Americans forego a dental visit, and that’s a big problem when it comes to maintaining a healthy smile. Before your calendar fills up with school activities, athletic events and more, schedule routine dental appointments for your kids (and yourself!). No matter how good your oral hygiene habits are, a dental visit provides benefits that regular brushing and flossing can’t, like removing tartar buildup.  Differences between plaque and tartarPlaque is a colorless film of bacteria that sticks to teeth. These bacteria create acids that decay teeth and irritate gums. Luckily, plaque can be removed with daily brushing and flossing. But when plaque stays on your teeth for too long, it hardens or calcifies along your gumline and forms tartar. Once this happens, regular brushing is not sufficient for removal, and that’s bad news for your gums. By pushing your gums away from your teeth, tartar creates pockets that allow bacteria to grow. If tartar isn’t removed with regular professional cleanings, it can cause gum disease, also known as periodontitis, and can even lead to tooth loss. How your teeth are cleaned at a dental appointmentDuring a routine cleaning, your dentist or hygienist uses a modified mirror to find unwanted residue and a metal instrument called a scaler to remove plaque and tartar. The scaler has a bladelike tip that allows them to scrape above and below your gumline as well as in between your teeth. They might also use a vibrating device called an ultrasonic scaler to shake plaque and tartar free. They can then wash away these bacteria with water. When they have sufficiently removed all plaque and tartar, they polish your teeth with an electric brush and polishing paste. The last step is a thorough flossing to make sure there’s nothing hiding between your teeth. Visiting your dentist regularly is an essential part of your oral health routine. Not only will it keep your smile sparkling, but it will also help spot dental issues early before they progress into more costly problems. Take a moment to prepare your family for a school year full of smiles by scheduling dental appointments today. 

Final Back-to-School Reminders

by MikeMeehan 8/28/2017 9:46 AM

We talked about tooth care tips for the kids as they head back to school, we recommended some good books to encourage healthy dental habits, and now that the kids are officially back in school or maybe only days away, we’ve got a few more tips to share. Eye exams are often skipped A new survey found that over 50% of parents in the U.S. don’t take their kids for a comprehensive eye exam before going back to school. In the same survey, the majority of respondents agreed that eye exams are important for their kids. So what is preventing parents from taking their kids to the eye doctor? Some might think that vision screenings, sometimes offered at school, are adequate. Vision screenings and comprehensive eye exams are different and screenings can miss the majority of vision problems. When to take your child for an eye exam There can be warning signs your child has a vision problem, but even without symptoms or if your child has a low risk of vision problems, the American Optometric Association recommends children receive an eye exam at 6 months of age, 3 years of age, 5 years of age (before first grade), and then every two years or as suggested by your doctor. If your child is at risk, the frequency changes to every year or as recommended. Look for a list of factors that place a child at risk for vision impairment here. Vision problems can affect learning Sometimes with kids, vision problems can be misdiagnosed or undetected. There is a link between vision and learning, so making sure they can read the blackboard, their books and their laptops is important. About 80% of learning is through a child’s vision and 60% of students who are labeled as problem learners have an undiagnosed vision problem. As the numbers illustrate, adding eye exams on your priority list will benefit your child and their learning. Back-to-school gear for athletes Back to school also means school sports. And when we think of sports, we think of mouth and eye protection. Did you have protective eye gear and mouth guards on the back-to-school list? Mouthguards can provide ample protection from sports-related injuries to the teeth, mouth, jaws and surrounding areas. They help to prevent any kind of dislocation of jaw joints and protect the teeth from being knocked out. Read more to determine what kind of mouth guard fits your kid’s sport or activity. According to an article on AllAboutVision.com, the amount of sports-related eye injuries reported in emergency rooms are over 40,000 every year. But most of these injuries are preventable with protective eyewear. With sports, we may think of flying objects as the hazard, but eye injuries can be a result of an elbow or finger in a close contact sport. Suit up the kids with all their sports gear and include mouth guards and protective eye wear. Did you get their eyes checked? You take your children to the doctor and dentist, now add your vision provider to that list. Back to school can be a busy time with all the preparation and anticipation. But whether this time of year is best for your family, or any other time during the year, make their vision health a part of your schedule. Protect your active kid with mouth guards and eye shields. And we wish you all a happy back-to-school season!

Oral Health Reads for Your Bookworm

by MikeMeehan 8/8/2017 12:51 PM

It’s back-to-school time for the kids, and now that we’ve covered tooth care tips to keep their smiles bright, let’s back up those healthy habits with some good reading material. Besides the importance of reading and encouraging it for our back-to-school theme, books about oral health can work as a way to get your kids excited about taking care of their teeth. With some assistance from you, what they read can inspire them to be more independent when taking care of their teeth. Using books as a tool to teach dental health can be fun and helpful. Books can also work as a buffer for push-back from kids who don’t want to brush and floss. Books can also help calm fears if your child is apprehensive about a visit to the dentist. Add to your children’s library We’ve put together a list to add to your children’s bookcase: Brush, Brush, Brush by Alicia Padron, for children ages 1-3, may be helpful if your child is scared or fussy when the little toothbrush comes out. Because it’s a board book, it’s easy for little hands to grip. Cheerful pictures demonstrate each step of brushing, like putting toothpaste on the brush and rinsing with water. The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss, for children ages 2-5, might be the most recognizable book about teeth because it’s from one of the most adored children’s authors. It’s another good introduction to dental hygiene for the little ones. The book illustrates who has teeth and who doesn’t, and how to take care of your teeth. Going to the Dentist by Anne Civardi, for children ages 3-5, will teach your kids what to expect when they visit the dentist. This could help with any fear or anxiety. The book explains the different tools the dentist will use during the visit with an amusing and friendly tone. If you need a few more with this subject matter, there are similar ones from character favorites like Curious George and the Berenstain Bears. Famous author Mercer Mayor also has a book about visiting the dentist. Brush, Floss, and Rinse by Amanda Doering Tourville is for children ages 5-8. The book teaches readers about the importance of brushing and flossing. It describes how brushing keeps plaque and cavities away and explains how flossing keeps gums healthy. Other details in the book include when to get a new toothbrush and wearing a mouth guard for sports to protect teeth. For kids who don’t want to brush Here’s more titles to help if your kids are not cooperating when it’s time to brush their teeth: Pony Brushes His Teeth by Michael Dahl (ages 2-4) Ethan in the Kingdom of the Toothbrushes by Yael Manor (ages 2-4) Brush Your Teeth, Please by Leslie Mcguire (ages 2-5) For the first dentist visit These additional titles are helpful if your child is nervous about their first dentist appointment. Maisy, Charley, and the Wobbly Tooth by Lucy Cousins (ages 2-5) Dentist Trip from the Peppa Pig series (ages 2-5) All these books will coincide with your kids’ upcoming back-to-school dental and vision appointments and provide preparation for the school year. There are lots more titles to choose from, so spend a little time at the bookstore and find the ones that best suit you and your kids. And if you’d like to complement your child’s reading with some educational videos, visit our Land of Smiles website, and click on Curriculum Videos.  

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