6 Tooth Care Tips to Keep Your Kids in School with Healthy Smiles

by MikeMeehan 7/31/2017 10:20 AM

According to a report by the Surgeon General, more than 51 million school hours are lost each year to dental-related illness. We don’t want our kids to miss even one day of fun and learning because they have a dental issue, so let’s start off the school year with healthy smile habits. While you and your family start the routine of packing lunches, doing homework, and getting to the bus on time, remember to make brushing and flossing a part of that. When brushing teeth becomes a part of the routine, it will help create and encourage the healthy habit. With a healthy smile, kids can enter the classroom with confidence. But with an unhealthy smile, kids could miss more days of school and be more distracted while in class. Painful dental problems could prevent kids from participating in class activities and could also affect their concentration levels. Serious issues like tooth decay affect their overall health and could lead to other problems with eating, speaking and learning. These healthy choices will keep your kids smiling and help prevent missed school days for dental procedures: Brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, making sure all surfaces of the teeth are covered. While paying close attention to the gum line, gently brush teeth for two minutes. (Try the toothbrush timer on our mobile app) Floss teeth at least once a day. Schedule regular dental appointments for the whole family. Our mobile app allows users to book dental appointments with the tap of a finger. Pack lunches with healthy smile choices like apples, carrots and celery. Try to limit sugar-filled snacks and high-starch or refined carbohydrate foods like chips, pretzels, cookies, and white bread. Choose milk or water instead of juice for lunch. The bacteria that causes tooth decay thrives on simple sugars, like those found in sticky foods and sugary beverages, like soda, juice and sports drinks. Children smile, on average, 400 times a day! Let’s keep those smiles healthy, clean and bright while they are in school and all the time. If you haven’t made your preventive dental appointments for you and your kids yet, here’s your reminder. Most plans cover dental exams and cleanings every six months. You still have time before the kids head back to school!  

Men Need to Visit the Dentist More, Survey Finds

by MikeMeehan 6/14/2017 9:42 AM

Statistics show men need to visit the dentist more. There are some strong indicators that show we need to encourage our fathers, sons, brothers, husbands, and friends to take better care of their oral health. Recent noteworthy stats June is Men’s Health Month, and oral health is an important part of overall health. According to the 2017 Delta Dental Adult Oral Health and Well-Being Survey, men need to focus more on their oral health. Here are some of statistics from the recent survey: Only 63% of men visit the dentist at least once a year Only 69% of men brush their teeth the recommended twice a day 59% of men skip a brushing session at least once a month In the same survey, 69% of respondents noted that a smile is most important for a first impression whether at work, on a date, or other circumstances. It seems we all value a bright smile, and it’s a good reason to keep your oral health a priority. Periodontal disease, a specific concern Other studies have shown that men are more likely than women to develop periodontal (gum) disease. For example, 56.4% of men develop gum disease compared to 38.4% of women. Periodontal disease has been linked to cardiovascular disease and other health factors, so this is another alert to men. Watch for signs of gum disease such as swollen, red, tender or bleeding gums. There is another specific concern for men if they’re taking heart or blood pressure medication. These medications can cause a condition called dry mouth. With a lack of saliva, the risk of cavities increases. Some recommendations to combat dry mouth are increasing water intake, and avoiding salty foods, alcohol, caffeine and carbonated drinks. Some standard tips for oral health The choices and habits of some men can put them at a greater risk of oral health problems. Here are some standard dental health tips as a reminder, not just for men, for everyone: Brush twice a day and floss at least once a day – It’s essential to prevent gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath. Visit the dentist – During your visit, get screened for gum disease and oral cancer. Choose healthier foods – Choosing fruits and veggies instead of pretzels and chips will not only help your overall health, it will prevent cavities from those foods that are high in carbs and sugar. Don’t use your teeth as a tool – This is often the reason behind dental injuries. Use your hand and arm strength to open those bottles and bags. No more tobacco – Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause oral cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, oral cancers are more than twice as common in men as in women. Gum disease, lost teeth, stained teeth and bad breath are some other possible impacts of using tobacco and tobacco products. Use these examples when you encourage a person (like your dad) to quit. On Father’s Day this Sunday, check in with your dad and make sure he is visiting the dentist. A new electronic toothbrush with a supply of dental floss would be a useful and considerate gift. Most importantly, tell him you care about him. That alone could be enough motivation for him to visit the dentist and pay more attention to his oral health.

More than Just a Piece of Thread: Choosing the Right Kind of Floss

by MikeMeehan 11/23/2016 2:49 PM

Flossing has come under fire recently. The U.S. Department of Health excluded a recommendation of floss in its latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans updates, claiming there’s not enough evidence flossing prevents gum disease or tooth decay. We, however, believe you should keep flossing. Flossing has been shown to reduce inflammation and bleeding of the gums, but only in short-term studies. The cost of a long-term study would take years and would cost a lot of money. Plus, there would be ethical ramifications from the non-floss group if flossing turned out to prevent long-term disease. While flossing may not have a whole slew of evidence in its favor, it is low-risk and doesn’t cost a lot. So we’ll keep recommending it. But choosing floss, believe it or not, can be complicated. You might ask, How is it complicated? It’s just a piece of thread. Floss is more than just a piece of thread. Consider these factors when determining which floss is right for you. Three Types of Floss Before you can determine specific preferences, you first have to decide between three types of floss: Nylon floss Monofilament floss Dental tape If you aren’t sure which one you use, it’s probably nylon floss. Nylon floss is the most common. But, in some circumstances, you might consider a different type. Drop the nylon floss if: Your flossing experience often involves the floss ripping or tearing. Nothing can be more annoying than having to unravel a new strand of floss from the spool because your strand snapped in two halfway through flossing. If this is a frequent occurrence, you may want to consider monofilament floss. It’s made of either rubber, plastic, or polytetrafluoroethylene — not fabric, like nylon — so it doesn’t shred as easy. You have a lot of bridgework or wide gaps between your teeth. In these cases, you may want to consider dental tape. Dental tape is wider and flatter than nylon tape, so it can more effectively clean out spaces between teeth.   If these aren’t concerns for you, nylon floss is a little cheaper. After choosing which type of floss, you still have another decision to make. Wax On or Wax Off? Should you buy waxed floss or unwaxed? Well, both will do the trick. And, when weighing pros against cons, some of the pros are subjective. For example, one camp claims waxed floss is easier to slide between crowded teeth, due to the wax coating on the nylon. The other camp, however, cites unwaxed floss as being easier to maneuver, due to its being thinner than waxed floss. Some qualities to consider when purchasing floss include: Waxed floss is more flavorful. Let’s face it: When flossing tastes good, you’re more likely to make it a part of your routine. The same goes for your children: If bubblegum flavored floss works as an incentive for them, then waxed floss is probably the way to go. This could also be just as much incentive to go with unwaxed. If you’re pregnant, for example, the flavor could trigger nausea. Unwaxed floss squeaks against clean teeth. Unwaxed floss will squeak against clean teeth, signaling to you plaque has been removed. Most waxed floss is coated in Teflon. Teflon is a tough synthetic resin made by polymerizing polytetrafluoroethylene, also known as the stuff used on non-stick cookware. Some people claim Teflon can be toxic to the body and can cause health issues like certain types of cancer. The American Cancer Society, however, does not suspect it of causing cancer. Once you’ve figured out what type of floss works best for you, you might have one more option to consider. Flossing tools Depending on your circumstances, you might need certain flossing tools. Floss holder For example, if you can’t wrap floss around your fingers, or if you have to floss for a parent or child, you may want to consider a Y- or U-shaped floss holder. Rather than thread a strand of floss between two fingers, you can use a pre-threaded device for farther reach or easier maneuverability. Floss threader Or you may want to consider a floss threader. A floss threader comes in handy if you have wide gaps between your teeth or if you have a child with braces. The threader is a flexible piece of plastic with a loop at one end. For braces, link a strand of floss to the loop, then slide the pointed end of the threader through the bridgework of the braces until the linked strand of floss has access to the tooth. Five Steps to Better Flossing While it’s a good idea to find the right floss for you, what’s more valuable is flossing the right way. Flossing, like brushing, should take about two minutes and incorporate these five steps: 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. Flossing may be under fire by some, but it is another tactic for removing plaque buildup on teeth. So, by using the right kind of floss, coupled with the right technique, you can expect results.

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