Did you drop the ball on spring cleaning this year? Not to worry — you still have time! After all, the first day of summer isn’t until the 21st of June! As you put together your plans for tackling the deep cleaning of your home and property, though, you may forget to consider one small, but very essential item: your toothbrush. Don’t be among the many who overlook the importance of taking the time to properly clean and care for their toothbrush this spring.
Why Should I Clean My Toothbrush?
If you’re brushing as often as you should, you’re using your toothbrush at least 2-3 times each day. How can you expect your toothbrush to do its job and keep your mouth clean and healthy, though, if you’re not keeping IT clean and healthy? In recent years, scientists have conducted studies that have determined that certain microorganisms within the mouth can be transferred to the bristles of your toothbrush, making your brushing less effective. Investing just a little of your time in the process of cleaning and caring for your toothbrush will help eliminate the build-up of bacteria and microorganisms, meaning a healthier, happier mouth.
Toothbrush Cleaning 101
Ready to make sure that your toothbrush is well cleaned? Here are three steps to a healthy brush:
Rinse — Always take the time to thoroughly rinse your toothbrush after each and every use. All toothpaste and debris should be carefully removed from both the bristles and the shaft of the toothbrush.
Store — After rinsing your toothbrush, you need to make sure that it’s properly stored. This means that the toothbrush should be kept in a place where it’s both upright and uncovered. When the toothbrush is laying down, it may not dry as effectively. This is also a problem when a toothbrush is covered or left in a sealed container. Putting the toothbrush in a container can also encourage bacterial growth. We recommend keeping your toothbrush in a medicine cabinet to prevent airborne contaminants from affecting it. Whenever multiple toothbrushes are stored together, you’ll need to take steps to ensure that the bristles are not touching so that you can avoid cross-contamination. Finally, allow your toothbrush to fully air dry between uses.
Soak — After cleaning your teeth, your toothbrush’s bristles have been exposed to bacterial contaminants. When left untreated, the bacteria can build up and make your oral hygiene routine less effective. We recommend that you let your toothbrush soak in mouthwash for approximately 20 minutes each day in order to kill off the bacteria. And while we’re on the subject, here’s a bonus tip: rinse your mouth with mouthwash before brushing your teeth. This will cut down on the bacteria in your mouth that your toothbrush bristles will need to be exposed to.
When to Replace
Cleaning will only get you so far with your toothbrush. No matter how well you care for the brush, it will need to be replaced eventually, so it’s important that you know the signs. As a general rule, toothbrushes should be replaced at least every 3-4 months. You may need to replace the brush sooner if the bristles have become frayed, so keep an eye out for any issues. Always remember to closely monitor your children’s toothbrushes, as theirs need to be replaced more often and will not come to this conclusion on their own.
Need some more tips on how to care for your toothbrush, or information on how to select the right brush for your oral health? Give Dr. Bruce McArthur a call today. We’ll set up a time for you to come in for a cleaning and a consult.
Taking care of your teeth should always be a priority in your life. After all, we use them on a daily basis for our survival, and the better shape they’re in, the longer they’ll last. That’s why we start learning about proper dental care at such a young age.
But do you know everything there is to know about your teeth and how to care for them? We could write an entire book on the subject, but for today, let’s concentrate on a few things that you probably don’t know about them:
1. Saliva is Their First Line of Defense
Brushing and flossing is an integral part of your daily dental health routine, and it’s something you should never skip. What you may not realize, though, is that these two activities are your second and third lines of defense. The first is saliva, nature’s cavity fighter. You see, when bacteria in your mouth, known as plaque, feeds on sugars from food and beverages, it eats through your teeth’s enamel. The saliva in your mouth helps to rinse out your mouth on a regular basis, lessening the damage of the bacteria. Saliva can’t do the job alone, but without it, proper dental health would be much more difficult.
2. How We Eat Can Be As Important As What We Eat
Everyone loves snacks, right? Whether it’s a bag of chips, a chocolate bar, or a bottle of soda, millions of people all across America — right now — are sitting at their desks either enjoying a snack or looking forward to one. The problem is that constantly eating or sipping sugary snacks, whether donuts or sodas, can be especially damaging to your teeth. That’s because it creates a situation where there’s a constant bombardment of sugar being projected against your teeth. Hint: That’s not a good thing.
3. Too Much Fluoride Can Damage Your Teeth
For many years, we’ve been told how helpful fluoride can be in the battle against cavities. This is true, but… it is possible to have too much fluoride. There’s already fluoride in your toothpaste and mouthwash, and it’s normal for communities to add it to the drinking water. All of this is well and good, except for the fact that a condition causing white spots on your teeth, called fluorosis, can develop over time. If you’re going to drink tap water on a regular basis, you might want to check with your community on the levels of fluoride in the drinking water. If you think you’re getting too much, switch to bottled water instead.
4. Spit, But Don’t Rinse
Once you’ve finished brushing your teeth, you don’t want to swallow the toothpaste, because it will give your body too much fluoride. But you may not want to rinse your mouth out, either. Allowing the small of amount of toothpaste left in your mouth once you spit to stay there can provide a healthy amount of fluoride to help clean your teeth even after brushing. Next time you brush, give it a try!
5. Oral Health Can Tell You a Lot About Your Overall Health
If you are one of the millions of adults across the U.S. who experience gum disease, this may be an indicator of something more serious. People with higher levels of gum disease often have other health issues, such as heart disease and diabetes. Plus, for women, you could be looking at a higher rate of low-birthweight babies and premature births. So if you have gum disease, check with your primary doctor as well.
Would you like to learn more about your teeth and what you can do to improve your dental health? Contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, and we’ll get you started today!
Diabetes creates health concerns for the entire body, but many people fail to recognize the potential risks that it can present to oral health. You may be surprised to learn, then, that one out of every five occurrences of tooth loss can be attributed to diabetes, and the disease also increases the likelihood of dental disease. If you or a loved one suffer from diabetes, it’s very important that you understand the risks and take measures to counter them. To increase your awareness, we’ve assembled a list of the most common oral ailments linked to those with diabetes and have provided some tips for managing these complications.
Those with diabetes experience a higher risk of developing gum disease. One of the earliest signs associated with gum disease is bleeding during the brushing or flossing process. Don’t ignore this symptom! Left untreated, gum disease may cause the bone supporting your teeth to break down and lead to tooth loss. Instead, take care to brush and floss two times each day, in addition to maintaining a healthy diet. Gum disease can worsen if blood sugar is too high or too low, so do your part to keep it under control.
Dry Mouth Syndrome
Research has shown that diabetics tend to have less saliva than most non-sufferers. This leads to individuals feeling parched, or excessively thirsty. In addition to this, certain diabetic medications and high blood sugar levels can further contribute to dry mouth. The problem here is that saliva is a necessary component in removing sugar, leftover food, and other debris from the mouth. Without its help, you could develop more cavities. Counter the dry mouth problem by drinking plenty of water or chewing sugar-free gum and eating crunchy foods that promote saliva production.
Change in Taste
Another side affect of diabetes is that certain tastes may not seem as rich or flavorful as they once did. On the bright side, this creates opportunities for you to play around with different flavorings, textures, and spices to see what appeals to your palette and enhances your dining experience. It’s important, though, that you make sure to not add excessive amounts of sugar to your food in an attempt to add flavor. This will not only put you at risk for diabetic complications, but can lead to more cavities.
As you know, diabetes affects the immune system, which leaves you much more prone to infection. A common problem for diabetics is a yeast infection known as oral thrush. Yeast tends to thrive on the higher volumes of sugar found in a diabetic’s saliva, and it will appear as a white layer that coats the insides of the cheeks and tongue. You’ll find that thrush leaves an unpleasant taste in your mouth. Be sure to talk to your dentist immediately if you think you may have thrush or another oral infection.
If you have diabetes, you might notice that cold sores, canker sores, and cuts inside of your mouth don’t seem to go away for a long time. This may be related to poor control of blood sugar levels, as a lack of control can slow down the healing process. Talk to your dentist or doctor for more information on oral sores that don’t seem to be healing as they should.
Although diabetes can present increased risks to your oral health, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to keep your mouth in tip-top shape. Being aware of the risks can help you to take action to prevent problems before they arise and to quickly address existing issues before they worsen. For more information on oral health, please contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, today.
As everyone should know by know, flossing your teeth is an important part of your dental and oral health. If you’re not flossing, you’re doing your teeth a disservice.
Floss has been around for a while, but not a lot of people know its original. Conversely, even the most ardent of users can be unaware of the sheer magnitude of its effectiveness in improving a person’s dental and oral health.
To help you get a better grasp of flossing, here are a few interesting facts about flossing that you may not know:
Brushing Won’t Do the Job Alone
If you’re a regular brusher, then great — but that’s not going to cut it, sad to say. The layout of your teeth creates a situation wherein 40 percent of each tooth’s service area is represented by the space between them. Unfortunately, no matter how good your toothbrush may be, there’s no way for it to effectively clear between these spaces. This means that food in the spaces will stay there to rot, increasing the likelihood of developing cavities and other problems. Flossing is the only way to make sure that the entire surface of each tooth is being cleaned.
Flossing Goes Back Further Than You Probably Realize
Many people believe that flossing is a modern technique that developed just a few decades ago. On the contrary, evidence has been found that suggests the use of makeshift floss and toothpicks by prehistoric humans. That being said, the technique didn’t become popular until the early 1800s when a dentist in New Orleans suggested to patients the use of a silk thread as a way to floss on a daily basis. Dental care was archaic back then, but can you imagine how much worse it would’ve been without that little tidbit of dental care?
Flossing Took a While to Catch On Commercially
You’d think that something that improved dental health so drastically would be the talk of the town and a company would immediately start selling it to the masses. Well, if that’s what you think, you’re totally wrong. Even though it had been around for the better part of a century, the first mass-produced dental floss didn’t show up until 1882. And it wasn’t until1898, after years of making their own floss, that Johnson & Johnson was awarded with the first dental floss patent. Since then, it’s evolved from its silk roots to nylon and other materials over the years. But while the material component has changed, its usefulness has not.
Flossing May Help You Live Longer
One of the biggest dangers of neglecting your teeth and gums is gum disease, also known as gingivitis. This condition is treatable with good oral hygiene, but if left untreated, will develop into periodontitis, which can cause your teeth to fall out. While this isn’t life-threatening, a link has been found between gum disease and an increase risk of coronary heart disease, caused by what they believe is bacteria inside your mouth finding its way into your bloodstream and affecting the arteries. Flossing decreases your chance of gum disease, which means that you also lower the likelihood of heart disease. So next time you reach for that floss, just remember that you could very well be adding years onto your life.
Do you want to know more about how brushing and flossing can benefit both your dental and oral health? Is it time for your routine check-up and cleaning? If you answered yes to either of these questions or want to inquire about any elective dental procedures, then contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur and we’ll get you started on a future of improved dental health!
As we’ve covered in past posts, it is vitally important that you visit your dentist at regular intervals, for both a cleaning and check-up. Other than that, though, we understand you have other things to do, possibly even more fun than visiting the dentist!
Keeping that in mind, we’ve compiled some quick tips on how to avoid multiple dental visits whenever possible. Follow these and basic maintenance may be all you’ll ever need.
Learn to Brush Correctly
You expect the wrong brushing technique to be utilized by kids, but you might be surprised at how many adults neglect to brush their teeth correctly. What you want to do is brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth and gums, and make sure that you’re massaging along the gum line. This will help you optimize each brushing session. For a visual on how to do this correctly, go to YouTube and search for videos on “how to brush your teeth.”
Make Sure You Floss
If you’re only brushing your teeth, you’re missing a good amount of the food particles and bacteria that get trapped between them. This is a big reason that people get cavities even though they brush their teeth on a regular basis. If you find that normal dental floss gets stuck in your teeth or can’t go in between them at all, pick up a type (like Glide) that is specifically coated and designed for these situations. Flossing has been shown to greatly reduce the need for dental visits, so this is something you should never avoid.
Follow the 2-2-2 Rule
The 2-2-2 rule is made up of three parts: First, visit your dentist two times a year for a cleaning and check-up. Second, brush and floss your teeth two times a day, once in the morning and once at night before bed. And third, brush for two full minutes each time. If you follow this simple guideline, you won’t find yourself visiting your dentist too often.
Drink Plenty of Water
As we recently covered just a couple of weeks ago, drinking water has a bevy of advantages to a person’s health. In the case of dental health, drinking water helps wash away harmful bacteria that collects on your teeth throughout the day. This keeps bacteria from damaging your teeth, so make sure to grab a glass whenever you’re thirsty!
Wear a Mouth Guard
When playing sports, especially high-contact ones, injuries can happen at a moment’s notice. Chipped and cracked teeth can lead to a dental emergency that will cost you a pretty penny. We would never want you to avoid sports, so we suggest protecting your teeth by wearing a mouth guard. Your teeth will thank you!
Adopt a “Full Disclosure” Policy
When you visit the dentist for one problem — a cavity, for instance — your inclination might be to get out of there as quickly as possible and not inform him or her of a second or third problem. This is a mistake that could send you running back to the dentist’s chair very soon. It’s best to disclose everything during a visit, even if it means staying a little longer or making a follow-up appointment to deal with the new problem.
As adults, there’s a lot of maintenance to be done throughout our lifetimes. Whether you’re referring to the maintenance of your home or maybe even an ongoing personal relationship, a lot of time is dedicated to making sure that things run smoothly.
When you think of a teenager, what immediately comes to mind? High energy, reckless decision-making, and of course, braces. With a whopping 50-70% of American youths in braces at some point, it’s really no wonder that the corrective gear has become such a hallmark of the teenage experience. But despite being familiar with the concept of braces, many people have no idea how to care for them, or how important this actually is. When you consider the fact that the majority of teens are required to wear their braces for 1-3 years before they can be removed, it’s pretty obvious that braces demand TLC — and lots of it. So make sure that you and your teen are doing the following:
1. Clean, Clean, and Clean Some More!
It’s no secret that food has a way of finding its way into braces. The extra material inside of your teen’s mouth creates a place where it’s easy for food particles to get caught. While the wearer may check their reflection frequently to ensure that there’s nothing visible, this doesn’t mean that bits of food couldn’t be lurking beneath the surface. Left unnoticed, this can lead to the growth of bacteria, odors, and discomfort. Consequently, it’s imperative that your teen take the time to brush and floss after every meal or snack. You may even want to talk to your orthodontist about his or her recommendations for special flossing tools and techniques.
2. Know Which Foods to Avoid
Sugar may be delicious, but that doesn’t mean it’s doing your teen’s braces any good. Foods and drinks that are high in sugar content promote tooth decay for everyone, but even more so for those wearing braces as the residue has more opportunities to lurk in the dark and wreak havoc. In addition to this, those in braces should avoid sticky foods. Items such as caramel, taffy, dried fruit, etc. may seem tempting, but can create serious pain, discomfort, food buildup, and other issues since they may become trapped in the braces. In addition, teens should steer clear of hard (or hardish) foods such as hard candies, nuts, and jerky, all of which can break wires and loosen brackets.
3. When In Doubt, Give the Orthodontist a Shout
Let’s face it — accidents with braces do happen. There may come a time when your teen notices that a wire or a bracket has broken, but you should not attempt to correct the issue yourself as this could actually make the problem even worse. You may feel tempted to do so if the problem has created discomfort for your teen, but any sharp edges should simply be covered with wax or a wet cotton ball, and the actual correctional work should be left to the orthodontist. Be sure to make an appointment as soon as you notice that something is amiss. Most orthodontists will be able to squeeze you in for repair or correctional work right away.
4. Stay Close to Your Dentist, Too
Just because you’re visiting your orthodontist regularly doesn’t give you a hall pass on visiting the dentist. Those with braces should continue to come in for bi-annual checkups to ensure that maximum oral health is maintained at all times. The possibility of food and bacteria sticking to braces can increase the risk of cavities, so don’t be a stranger.
Braces have the ability to completely transform a teen’s teeth and appearance, but they can only do wonders when they’re treated properly. By sticking with these simple tips, you’re sure to have the most positive experience with braces as is possible. Give Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, a call for more tips on proper braces care.
It’s that time of year again — reindeer, snowmen, fancy lights, and — for some people — gifts. Giving Christmas gifts can be a very fun and rewarding experience. It’s always the thought that counts, but why not give a person something they’ll actually love? Finding a great gift for a family member or friend often boils down to frivolous items, ranging from TVs and iPhones to video games and knick-knacks. There’s nothing wrong with these types of gifts, of course, but what do you do when someone you love prefers more practical items?
If someone on your Christmas list is conscious about their dental health, we just might have the perfect idea of something to stick under their tree. And if an item on our list catches your eye, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to unwrap one of these beauties yourself.
Everyone knows how important flossing is to your dental health, but it can also be a little annoying. Years ago, certain brands made strides in the development of floss to avoid the string coming apart and getting stuck in your teeth. For many people, these new flosses were a godsend. But now, there’s an even better alternative — the water flosser. This device works by spraying a powerful water jet that removes debris and bacteria from your teeth. It has been clinically proven to be more effective than normal flossing. It’s especially useful for people who wear braces or suffer from gum disease, but will keep everyone’s teeth clean.
Ultraviolet Toothbrush Sanitizer
We’d all like to think that our toothbrushes are free from germs before we put them in our mouths, but the truth is that microorganisms and bacteria can quickly collect on your toothbrush. This is especially common when someone doesn’t replace their toothbrush often enough. Don’t lie — we know it’s a common problem. You can help keep your family member or friend healthy by giving them an ultraviolet toothbrush sanitizer, which uses UV light to kill those nasty critters. That way, the toothbrush is clean from germs every time it’s used.
If you’re looking for a way to instantly improve a person’s oral and dental health, giving the gift of an electronic toothbrush is definitely the way to go. When used properly, an electronic toothbrush will clean better and more thoroughly than manual ones. Of course, it’s possible that a dental-conscious person will already have an electronic toothbrush. If that’s the case, buy them an upgrade one. And, remember — kids love them, too, because they’re fun to use. Give one a try and see for yourself!
Toothpaste Tube Wringer
We can put a man on the moon and a powerful mini-computer in our pocket, but we just can’t seem to develop a toothpaste tube that gets all of the toothpaste out. Sure, there are certain tubes that do a better job than others, but an aftermarket product like a toothpaste tube wringer is the most versatile — and effective — way to make sure that you get the most toothpaste out of that tube as humanly possible. It’s a great way to avoid waste and save money.
If you’re looking for a great gift for yourself or someone you care about, you can’t go wrong with any of these items. Just remember that even if you have the very best devices on the market meant to improve oral and dental health, you still need to be seeing your dentist on a regular basis. You’ll probably be eating a lot of food throughout the holiday, so when you’re ready for that much-needed check-up, contact Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, and we’ll get you started for 2016!
If you have kids, there’s a good chance that you know how hard it is to get them to focus on good oral hygiene. Children just don’t have the ability to truly understand the importance of oral and dental health. To them, it’s a chore that must be done, and they don’t like that.
This is where you come in. As a parent, it is imperative that you help them to understand its importance. But even more so, you need to find ways to get your children into the habit of brushing and flossing on a regular basis. But, it doesn’t stop there. Healthy teeth are an essential part of the puzzle, but they also need to learn other basic hygiene tips. Here are a few strategies you can use for all of your child’s hygiene needs:
Lead by Example
Children mimic the things that parents do. If you don’t follow proper hygiene procedures, chances are your children won’t either. So before you start your children on any kind of plan meant to improve their hygiene, make sure that you are already doing all of those things. If not, they’ll become confused as to why you say one thing and do another.
Provide a Demonstration
Whether you’re talking about brushing, bathing, or anything in between, children need to be shown what to do. It may not stick with them the first time, so be prepared to repeat yourself until the child understands the best way to perform each task.
Children instinctively want to make their parents proud and will respond favorably when you provide them with positive reinforcement. A great way to do this is to create a chart that can track their hygiene activities, which can include brushing their teeth, flossing, washing hands, bathing, etc. Set up a prize at the end of a certain cycle and they’ll actually want to follow the procedures.
Books and Stories
There are plenty of books available on the market that help children realize the importance of good hygiene. They’ll teach kids about germs and bacteria, and how brushing their teeth, washing their hands, and other such activities will keep them healthy and safe. And if your child has a smartphone, you can also download apps to the phone that provide the same kind of information.
Design a Routine and Stick to It
If your hygiene routine is all over the place, it will be hard for a child to stick with it. What you need to do is design a hygiene routine for morning, day, and night, and then make sure you stick with it as much as possible. After a while, the routine will become an automatic response.
Make It Fun
Let’s face it — brushing and flossing can be an extremely boring chore. Children need stimulation if you want them to follow a routine. You’ll want to figure out what is best for your child, but two popular ideas is to use character-oriented toothbrushes and toothpaste, and to play a song that they can dance or sway along to while they’re working on their hygiene.
Good hygiene is important for everyone, and instilling that into your children is the best way to ensure that they grow up to be hygiene-conscious adults. In addition to the tips listed above, you also need to take them to see a dentist on a regular basis. If you need to make an appointment for check-up or cleaning, whether it’s for your children or you, contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, today and we’ll get your entire family started on good oral and dental health.