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. 

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!  

3 Summertime Sweets Good for Your Smile

by MikeMeehan 6/30/2017 10:09 AM

Ah… summer. Time to relax and unwind. While you’re relaxing and enjoying the summer, remember to keep up your oral health routine. To help you do that, here are some summertime fruits to satisfy your sweet tooth so you can protect your smile while enjoying the sun. Although we may associate summer with ice cream, ice pops and s’mores, those summertime choices can increase the risk of tooth decay. Try satisfying your sweet craving with fruit instead. Not only does fruit provide overall health benefits, they have benefits for your smile, too. Strawberries and summer are a wonderful duo. These berries are filled with vitamin C, and vitamin C is needed for the production of collagen. Collagen helps maintain the strength of your gums and strong gums are important for keeping a healthy smile. Reducing plaque and removing the surface stains on your teeth are also on the to-do list of vitamin C. Remember strawberries are acidic, so drink plenty of water after your summer treat. You’ll be drinking the extra water in the summer heat anyway. Apples have a high water content and stimulate saliva production. Your saliva keeps the bacteria in your mouth under control. Also, when you eat this low-acid, fibrous fruit, it scrubs the surface of your teeth. Apples, like strawberries, are called “dental detergents” for this reason. Watermelons, along with strawberries and just like apples, are a water-rich fruit. Along with their smile benefits, they are helping to keep you hydrated during the hot days of summer. Water helps remove particles of food in your mouth and stuck in your teeth, it washes away bacteria, and helps promote saliva production. All this helps increase the natural protection of tooth enamel. Watermelon also has that valuable vitamin C which helps to kill bacteria in your mouth and strengthen gum tissues. Having some strawberries and watermelon cut up and ready to eat in the fridge will make it easier for you and your family to make the choice of healthy fruit over other sweet snacks. Year round, the food you choose to eat can have an impact on your oral health. Consider these other food choices to maintain your healthy smile. Keep up the healthy routine The Delta Dental mobile app can also help you keep up your oral health routine. The app features a built in toothbrush timer, dentist search and access to your claims and coverage and ID cards—providing you access to dental resources whether you are away on summer vacation or at home. Download our mobile app from iTunes or Google Play by searching for “Delta Dental.” Remember to brush twice daily and if you do partake in the summer tradition of s’mores or other foods with cavity-causing sugar, drink lots of water. Not only will you stay hydrated, so imperative in the heat, but you will be washing away excess food particles that stick to your teeth.

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