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By the time your child hits the age of 12 or 13 years old, his or her adult teeth will have all settled in for a permanent stay. This means that as a parent, you only have a few years to instill your kids with solid oral hygiene practices. The habits that they start to develop at a young age will stick with them throughout their entire lives, so it’s extremely important that you take steps to start early. So how can you work to protect your child’s teeth — both before and after the adult set grows in? The following five tips are the simplest, yet most effective means of doing so.

Eat and Drink Right

Good oral hygiene starts with the food and beverages that your little ones put into their mouths. Even adults struggle to cut back on sugary snacks and beverages, so imagine how difficult it is for kids to moderate! As a parent, it’s your job to regulate your child’s diet. Take the time to explain to your children how too much of a good thing can be very bad for their teeth. Set rules limiting your child’s consumption of candy and sweets, and make sure that they brush their teeth directly after eating. And don’t forget about juice! Many parents mistakenly believe that juice is healthy. In reality, the majority of juices are packed with so much sugar that it’s not much different from drinking soda. Treat juices like a special dessert or treat.

Use Fluoride

Children who are over the age of two should be using toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that is able to make the outer surface of teeth much more resistant to acid attacks that can lead to tooth decay and cavities. It’s also wise to check to see if your tap water contains fluoride and talk to your dentist about fluoride supplements.

Remember the 2×2 Rule

Many parents wonder how frequently and how long their children should be brushing their teeth. As a general rule of thumb, kids should brush their teeth a minimum of two times per day (morning and evening) and should do so for two full minutes each time. It’s a good idea to set a timer or play a song that lasts two minutes so that your kids know when they can stop. Setting this standard early in your child’s life will increase the likelihood that he or she continues to follow these tooth-saving practices for a lifetime. For even better results, urge your child to incorporate flossing into his or her routine.
Consider Dental Sealant
A growing number of parents are making the decision to talk with their child’s dentist concerning dental sealant. This involves a thin, plastic coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth. The coating acts as a barrier against cavities and can help prevent tooth decay.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Last, but certainly not least, always remember to stay current with your child’s dental checkups. In order to ensure that your kid’s teeth and gums are in tip-top shape and to spot any potential problem spots quickly, we recommend that you schedule a checkup every six months.
While poor dental hygiene has become somewhat of an epidemic throughout the past several years, there’s no reason for your child to join the ranks of many who have developed cavities and other issues early in life. Starting with these simple tips will help your child to develop smart oral hygiene habits that will keep them healthy and happy. And don’t forget that you can contact Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, anytime for more tips and ideas.
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Anyone who has ever had a toothache can tell you that it’s not pleasant. In fact, the pain of a toothache can get so intense that it’s difficult to even think straight at times. When you experience a toothache, it means that you have an underlying problem and need to see your dentist right away before the situation gets any worse.

The question is… what is this underlying problem you’re experiencing? What we’d like to do in this two-part series is explore the top ten reasons for toothaches. We’ll start with the five most common and continue with the second set of five next week.

1. Tooth Decay

The first reason for a toothache on our list is also the most obvious. If your tooth has significant decay, then the inner layer — called the dentin — is affected. When this happens, the tooth becomes extremely sensitive to outside stimuli. The pain will often be dull, but if the decay reaches the center of the tooth, the pain will become sharp and nearly unbearable. In fact, the pain can be so bad that you’ll barely be able to function, opting instead to roll into a ball and try to ignore it. Our advice? Call your dentist!

2. Tooth Abscess

Once tooth decay has advanced to the root beneath your tooth, the pain will be widespread. This makes it difficult to determine which tooth is the source of the pain. If this happens, you must get to a dentist immediately in order to prevent the loss of bone or tissue. This is a serious issue that you can’t afford to put off any longer than you have to. You need to have a professional ascertain the problem and get it fixed right away.

3. Gum Disease

Unfortunately, millions of Americans suffer from gum disease and those numbers aren’t expected to go down anytime soon. When you experience gum disease, you may feel a dull pain in your mouth and possibly even your teeth. You need to head to your dentist right away before the damage worsens. If not, you could be looking at the loss of your teeth… and that’s obviously the last thing you want to happen.

4. Chipped or Cracked Tooth

There are several ways that a tooth can become fractured — biting down on something hard, falling down, a sports injury, etc. The pain may not happen right away, but when it does happen, you’ll know. If the damage to a fractured tooth has reached the middle of the tooth, which is where the nerves endings are located, you may be dealing with excruciating pain. We probably don’t need to tell you to head to your dentist in this situation — you’ll be screaming all the way there!

5. Temperature Sensitivity

If your tooth enamel has been worn down, your tooth may become especially sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages because the nerves have been exposed. The first thing you can do is use a toothpaste specially formulated for sensitive teeth, which will provide protection against extreme temperatures. Then check with your dentist for further treatment before it gets any worse.

Toothaches can become unbearable if they’re not treated right away, and in some situations, are likely to cause more extensive damage the longer you wait to take care of the issue. Pay attention to the above issues and and if you’re experiencing a toothache or simply want to improve your dental health, be sure to contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS. We’ll take care of all your dental needs and prepare you a future of good dental and oral health!

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Like acne and school dances, getting braces is typically viewed as something a child or young teen may be forced to endure. If a child’s teeth aren’t coming in straight, it’s almost always the best remedy available. In fact, getting braces at an early age can prevent serious dental problems later on — both cosmetically and from an oral health perspective.

Adults, on the other hand, have been known to ignore the need for braces. Perhaps they had them as a child and don’t want to relive that time in their lives or they believe it isn’t something that is available to an adult. The truth, however, is that more adults than ever are now opting for braces in order to correct problems with their teeth.

Because of this, here are a few facts that you should know about when it comes to adults and braces:

No More Metal

As a child or teen, having a mouthful of metal braces typically isn’t a huge deal, because there’s a good chance that several other people at the same school will have braces as well. As we get older, though, wearing metal for office presentations and such things isn’t exactly appealing. The good news is that technology has come a long way. These days, you can opt for non-metal braces such as those made of ceramic material or for Invisalign, both of which are much less noticeable. Another option is lingual braces, which are metal, but placed on the inside of your teeth to hide them.

Adult Braces Are More Common Than You Think 

Thanks to advances in technology and more conscientious practitioners of good oral hygiene, the use of adults braces has been on the rise for years. To give you an idea, the number of adults with braces rose 39 percent from 1996 to 2012. And in the past few years, the increases continue to be exponential, especially as dental technology continues to make strides.

Orthodontics Can Be Beneficial at Anytime

The common thought around braces being used primarily on children is the fact that, at a younger age, the jaw is still growing. But even so, it has been proven than adults with bite and alignment issues can still greatly benefit from wearing braces as well. So if you’re in need, you have no excuse to put it off any longer.

Braces Are More Affordable Than Ever

A big reason why certain children in need of braces were unable to get them was due to one simple reason — money. Truth is, only a couple decades ago, the prospect of getting braces for a child was scary due to the cost involved. Fortunately, that is no longer the case. There are options to fit every budget, whether you’re getting them for a child or for yourself. Plus, as an adult, the typical train of thought is that you’re more likely to be able to afford braces for yourself at an older age.

A Greater Lifespan Makes Braces More Important

In the past forty years, the average life expectancy of a person living in the U.S. has increased by more than a decade. This is primarily due to a mix of better health alternatives and medical advances. This means that getting braces as an adult makes even more sense now because there’s a good chance that you’ll have your teeth for an even longer period than you may have many years ago.

Whether you need braces for your child or yourself, or have any other dental concerns, the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, can help. Contact us today and we’ll get your entire family started on a lifetime of dental and oral health by enlisting the greatest techniques available.

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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.

Gum Disease

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.

Oral Infections

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.

Slow Healing

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.

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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!

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