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.
As Christmas grows nearer, the desire for all those little Christmas goodies are likely to increase. Whether you have a weakness for yams, candy canes, cookies, or whatever else, there’s a good chance that your willpower will be tested over the holiday.
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of indulging. Everyone does it. However, you must be cognizant of the fact that many of your favorite yuletide treats are loaded with sugar — and that can spell bad news for your teeth and overall oral health. To help you avoid such problems, here are some quick tips for you to follow:
Watch What You Put on Your Plate
Sounds simple enough, right? Yet that’s where so many people fail. After all, with everything going on — the excitement of seeing your family and friends, giving and receiving gifts, enjoying holiday music, and maybe even watching a little football — it’s so easy to get caught up in having fun, so that when everyone forms a line to get food, you just plop down everything you see. We don’t want to take away all of your enjoyment of the holiday, of course, but we suggest that you load up with some healthy items, plus some sweets on the side. Also remember to pace yourself and avoid going back for seconds.
Make Sure That Someone Brings Fresh Fruits and Veggies
Yes, we know it’s Christmas time and everyone wants to bake cookies or craft their favorite casserole. This is all fine and dandy, but there should also be healthy options, such as fresh fruit or a veggie snack tray. You can make a snack tray yourself, of course, but during such a hectic time, it’s probably easier if you just go pick one up at the store. They’re pricier than making one yourself, but they obviously take much less effort. Whether you bring it yourself or make sure someone else will, it’s always nice for those who are trying to stay healthy, for both their weight and dental health.
Bring Sweet Treats That Are a Little Healthier
If you want to indulge your sweet tooth while also limiting the amount of sugar in your desserts, try a holiday favorite that is somewhat healthier than others. Strawberries covered in dark-chocolate, homemade pumpkin pie, and fruit tarts are all better than, say, a chocolate pie with graham cracker crust. We guarantee that these items will be just as popular as anything else being offered. Yes, these items still have a good enough of sugar, but every little bit helps. Your stomach will thank you and so will your teeth.
Take a Walk Before Grabbing Dessert
Have you ever been eating a meal and instead of gradually feeling full, it just happens all at once? That’s because it takes approximately 20 minutes for your body to tell your brain that your stomach is full. This is why many health-conscious people tend to eat smaller meals, or at least to eat at a slower pace. So after you’ve eaten the main course and sides, take a walk around the block to allow some time to pass. Then, once you get back, you have a better chance at realizing how full you are, which means you’ll eat less of the dessert.
As we said, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of indulging. However, if you want to keep your teeth healthy, we recommend that you follow the above tips. In addition, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon after the holiday as possible. Instead of waiting, give Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, a call today and we’ll get you started on better dental health for the upcoming year.
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.
We all know the importance of using toothpaste. That often minty substance that’s applied to our toothbrush and smeared all over our teeth with the help of out trusty brush is an essential part of the tooth cleaning process. And afterwards, it makes our teeth and mouth feel and taste squeaky clean, doesn’t it?
In the old days, toothpaste selection was rather simple. There were a few different brands, and while some may have included the declaration that their specific toothpaste was recommended by “four out of five dentists,” choosing a tube for your family or for yourself didn’t take a lot of brain work.
Of course, as with many things, times have changed. If you visit the toothpaste section of your pharmacy or grocery store these days, you’ll find yourself inundated by more brands and types than you can probably imagine. What are the differences between them? Let’s break it down so that you can make your choose more easily:
This constitutes more than 90 percent of the types of toothpaste you’ll see at the store. Fluoride will strengthen enamel, which protects your teeth against damage. This is the mostly commonly used toothpaste, so if you’re not looking for anything with bells and whistles on your way to fighting tooth decay, the choice is simple.
Ingesting a minimal amount of fluoride isn’t harmful, but too much isn’t good for you. Children have a tendency to swallow what they shouldn’t, so it’s best to keep them away from fluoridated types. Instead, look for children’s toothpaste. These have less fluoride than the toothpaste designed for an adult. Some are even fluoride-free. Plus, toothpaste made for kids are less abrasive, have fewer chemicals, and come in a variety of colors and flavors. Hmm… too bad adults can’t use it!
If your teeth have surface stains, picking up a whitening toothpaste might be a good choice. These fluoridated toothpastes aren’t as effective as professional whitening products or procedures, but can help with mild discoloration. You shouldn’t expect immediate results, but used consistently, you should see improvement over time.
Tartar Control Toothpaste
When plaque isn’t properly removed from your teeth, it hardens and becomes known as tartar. The only way to remove tartar is to visit your dentist and have it systematically removed with a pick. If you’re prone to tartar build-up, though, a tartar control toothpaste can prevent tartar from forming, which can save you a whole bunch of time and hassle. However, don’t make the mistake of using it in lieu of flossing — you still need to do that, too.
Sensitive Teeth Toothpaste
People who have sensitivity to hot or cold when eating or drinking also have problems with discomfort when brushing their teeth. Picking up a toothpaste specifically designed for such a problem is your best bet. How does it work? Quite simply, the active ingredient in the paste blocks microscopic holes leading to a tooth’s nerve endings. Keep in mind, though, that this type of toothpaste will take up to a month to start working, so don’t give up if immediate relief isn’t realized.
If you have dentures, you’ll probably find that regular toothpastes work quite well in getting them cleaned. Brushing denture will also clear out any food particles stuck between the teeth. However, effervescent denture cleansing tablets have been proven more effective when it comes to cleaning dentures because they get into every spot, some of which you could easily miss.
Do you need help choosing the toothpaste that is right for you? Are you due for a cleaning or dental check-up. Contact Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, and we’ll get you started on the road to dental and oral health.
We all want to take care of our teeth, but the unfortunate truth is that many people don’t take the steps necessary to do so They always have the best intentions, and perhaps they even make a plan and attempt to stick to it, but the truth is, many people are failing at what should be a simple, yet important, task.
Some people don’t think that proper brushing, flossing, and overall dental health is essential because the worst that can happen is a cavity, which they can get fixed at the dentist in a single afternoon. They treat it like it’s no more eventful than a haircut. Unfortunately, they couldn’t be more wrong.
Rather than get into the specifics as to of why a cavity isn’t something to be taken likely, what we’d like to address right now is the fact that there are other dental problems that can be caused by poor care. So if you’re not brushing or flossing your teeth and are thinking that a cavity or two is the worst thing you can experience, this article is definitely for you.
Whether you’re on a date or simply going to work every day, having bad breath can spell bad news. This is something that doesn’t just affect you — it can affect everyone around you. At some point in our lives, there’s a good chance that we’ll work at a job or have a class where there’s that one person who is known for having bad breath. Of course, no one wants to say anything to him (or her). Instead, the person gets avoided or, even worse, snickered about behind their back. Making fun of someone is never a nice or honorable thing to do, but can you imagine approaching someone and telling the person he or she has bad breath? The embarrassment will be felt by both parties. The good news is that proper dental hygiene will solve most problems with bad breath. If not, then ask your dentist about it, because you could be suffering from gum disease or some other underlying issue.
Who would’ve thought that oral health was somehow linked to pregnancy complications? It may sound odd, but it’s true — studies that shown that poor oral health can lead to certain complications. The fears typically include premature birth and a low birth weight, but improper oral health of the mother can also put the infant at risk of tooth decay. You obviously don’t want to start a child’s life off in this way, so it’s important that an expectant mother be diligent when it comes to proper care of her teeth and gums. It’s also a good idea to schedule a dental visit in order to discuss extra steps that can be taken for even better protection for the baby.
Various Medical Issues
When you don’t take care of your teeth and gums, the inside of your mouth isn’t the only thing you need to worry about. Truth is, outside of your mouth has plenty to worry about as well. Poor oral and dental health have been linked to such problems as dementia, pneumonia, kidney disease, cancer, and diabetes. Some of the precise links are unclear, so it’s best to be on the safe side by brushing and flossing on a regular basis to improve your overall dental and oral health.
Do you have cavities that need to be taken care of or any other possible dental problems? Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, is ready to help you take control of your dental and oral health by finding ways to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible.
Your alarm clock goes off to alert you to the beauty of yet another day. You drag yourself out of bed and stumble down the hallway, bleary-eyed and barely awake. You walk into your kitchen, brew up your tastiest coffee blend, and take a big ol’ sip from your favorite cup. Just another typical day of damaging your teeth.
We’re sorry to break it to you, but certain beverages that you love are unhealthy for your teeth. As hard as it may be to hear, we’re going to give you some tough love and provide you with some examples:
Oh, sweet coffee. The aroma. The warmth. The caffeine. Drinking a cup of coffee — or four — has become part of what millions of people refer to as their “morning routine.” Unfortunately, coffee has two negative effects on your teeth. First, it will stain your teeth. Second, the highly acidic nature of coffee will erode the enamel, leaving your susceptible to cavities and other problems.
We won’t be too harsh on tea, because studies have shown that it has a number of health benefits, including the possible reduction of gum disease. Plus, it doesn’t damage your teeth enamel as much as other acidic drinks. That being said, keep in mind that tea can also stain your teeth. To keep the negative effects low, we suggest that you avoid loading it up with sugar.
Many people turn to orange juice as a healthy alternative to other morning beverages, especially when kids turn up their noses at drinking milk. That’s why it’s so disconcerting to learn that many types of orange juice should be avoided. That’s because they’re often loaded with sugar and can be as unhealthy for your teeth as a can of soda thanks to its acidity. If kids are making a stink about drinking milk, we suggest that you provide them with water, even if it’s a zero calorie, sugar-free flavored water from time to time.
For years, energy drinks have been touted as healthy alternatives to soda and other beverages. That’s why so many people have been drinking them as a way to start their day. But have you ever taken a gander at the nutrition label on the back? You know what you’ll find on the majority of them? That’s right… SUGAR! And even if you select a sugar-free option, the drink’s acidity and carbonation can damage your enamel.
Whether you prefer to call it soda or pop, one word we can all agree on to call this type of drink is simple: unhealthy. Although you may not think of soda as a morning beverage, many people do grab a soda in the morning. Many of them will nurse the drink for hours, which means you’re constantly bathing your teeth in acid. Do your body and your teeth a favor, and at least cut down on how much you drink.
Are we saying that you should completely cut out all of these beverages? While some like soda and energy drinks should definitely be considered a part of your “do not drink” list, it really comes down to moderation. A daily routine of coffee might keep you going throughout the week, but it’s important to know the negative effects and do what you can to avoid them.
The best way to ensure dental and oral health is to follow common sense when it comes to care, in addition to visiting your dentist on a regular basis. If you’re in need of a check-up or dental work, we encourage you to contact Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, right away.
Halloween is in a few days, so it won’t be long before ghosts, goblins, and ghouls will be in our midst. As adults, the holiday can be a whole lot of fun, but for parents, the real focus is toward their children.
There are numerous safety concerns that are tackled each year, from avoiding costumes with masks to wearing reflectors if kids are going to be walking up and down neighborhood streets. Being a dentistry website, though, what we’d like to take on is the aftermath of Halloween — the candy feast!
What can you do to ensure your children’s dental health while they scarf down their Halloween candy like there’s no tomorrow? We suggest that you try these simple tips:
Limit the Amount of Candy
There is absolutely no reason for your child to be given full access to dozens of pieces of candy. Eating an entire bagful of candy will not only harm your child’s teeth, it’s likely to make them sick if they gorge themselves. Instead, tell them to pick out a certain number of their favorites, whether it’s 10, 15, or maybe more. To avoid arguments, it’s best to inform them of this plan before Trick ‘r Treating and make their agreement to this idea contingent on getting the candy in the first place.
Set a Treat Time
No matter how well-behaved your child is, the allure of candy may turn them into a ravenous beast who will lie, cheat, and steal to obtain it. You can help prevent this by setting a specific treat time. This goes for all instances of treats — not just Halloween. When your child knows that they will be able to enjoy a piece of candy at a given time, they are less likely to attempt a coup and eat your hidden stash.
Organize a Brushing Schedule
This is something every parent should do, regardless of the impending holiday. Children do best when they are provided with a structure around certain activities. Brushing and flossing both fall into that category, so it’s important to establish a daily brushing schedule and stick to it as much as you can. And obviously, don’t allow your children to eat any of their Halloween candy after their teeth have been brushed for the night.
Check Their Teeth with Disclosing Tablets
Many parents have never heard of disclosing tablets, and they’re definitely something to be aware of. They are chewable tablets that will temporarily stain plaque on a child’s teeth so that you can see the build-up of such plaque for yourself. It’s a good idea to schedule a weekly “disclosing session”, and if you don’t like the use of tablets for whatever reason, there are swabs and solutions you can pick up as well.
Make Brushing Fun
Whether it’s Halloween or not, young children are more likely too brush their teeth regularly if you make the activity fun. A great way to do this is to purchase a toothbrush of their favorite character. You should be replacing the toothbrush every few months anyway, and Halloween is a great opportunity to switch it out with something they’ll like. And if you let them choose the brush, even better.
Are you interested in more ways to help maintain your child’s dental health? Do you have an adult sweet tooth and plan to eat a lot of candy in the next few days? Are you using your children to help you score said candy on Halloween? Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, cares about a person’s dental and oral health, so if you’re ready to get started on making improvements for you and your children, contact us right away for an appointment.
Let’s talk about a topic today that many people shudder to think about — oral cancer. Other types of cancer get a lot more attention, but the truth is that oral cancer is a big problem in our country. This is mostly due to the fact that it’s difficult to diagnose and by the time you receive a diagnosis, the cancer is late in its development. This increases its mortality rate substantially. In fact, once diagnosed, there is a 57 percent chance that a person will succumb to the disease within five years.
We’re not trying to scare you — at least not too much — but this is an important issue that should be addressed, and one that many people don’t even think about until it’s too late. Each year, several thousand people die from oral cancer, and while that might not seem like a lot compared to other cancers, it comes out to roughly one related death every hour. And even if you do survive oral cancer, you are likely to spend a lot of money for treatment and may find yourself disfigured and in need of reconstructive procedures.
Did we say that we weren’t trying to scare you? Sorry about that. But this is an important topic.
The good news is that there are ways to help avoid oral cancer. Here are some actions you can start taking today:
It will come as no secret to anyone that smoking tobacco is bad for you. Smoking causes many types of health problems and one of the greatest things you can do for your body as a whole is to quit. Oral cancer is also very common for those who use chewing tobacco, so if this is something you enjoy — stop right now! But whether it’s smoking or chewing that you’re trying to stop, you’re not alone in getting help. These days, there are support groups, gums, and many other helpful ways to stop.
Eat the Right Way
A lesser concern, but one that you should think about, is the ingestion of processed meats. These meats contain nitrosamines, which are also found in tobacco and can increase your chances of oral cancer. It is also recommended that you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to decrease your chances as well.
Avoid Risky Sexual Behavior
The idea of risky sexual behavior isn’t something that typically pops up while discussing dentistry, but when it comes to oral cancer, it definitely needs to be addressed. In recent years, the number of oral cancer cases among young men and women has been increasing. This has been attributed to oral sex, thanks to the transmission of a particular strain of the human papilloma virus (HPV-16). So in addition to proper dental care, be careful out there.
Check Your Mouth
If you experience any unusual bumps, sore, or other changes in your mouth or throat, contact your dentist or doctor immediately. As previously stated, oral cancer’s mortality rate increases substantially because it gets caught too late. Instead of being a statistic, treat these types of changes as an emergency. And when you call your dentist, tell them what you’re fearful of, so that they’ll make every effort to get you in as soon as possible.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Like all other dental issues, visiting your dentist on a regular basis can help when it comes to oral cancer. A dentist will be able to identify the early stages of oral cancer, and will help you get started on treatment right away. And the earlier you get diagnosed, the better the outcome is likely to be.
Whether you’re worried about oral cancer or have a lesser dental problem that you need to have dealt with, Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, can help you out. Our trained staff will help ensure your oral and dental health, and will assist you with caring for your teeth in the future.