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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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Few things can be as annoying or interruptive as a toothache. When the pain is severe, it’s often difficult to go about your daily routine. It’s been known to bring even the toughest men and women to their knees, and that’s exactly why you should be aware of what might cause a toothache so you can take steps to avoid one.

Last week, we told you about the five most common causes of toothaches — tooth decay, tooth abscess, gum disease, a chipped or cracked tooth, and temperature sensitivity. This week, we’ll continue with our list and give you the remaining five reasons as to why you may be experiencing a toothache.

6. Damaged Fillings

If you have any fillings or sealants, there’s a good chance that they’re covering up vulnerable parts of a tooth. Damage to fillings can expose these vulnerable areas, causing sensitivity that can bring you a great deal of pain. A damaged filling or sealant should be considered an emergency situation, so give your dentist a call right away in order to get it fixed. Trust us — your mouth will thank you!

7. Grinding Your Teeth

This is actually a very common reason for not only tooth pain, but for pain in your jaw and neck, in addition to related muscle pain. Many people grind their teeth while sleeping or under stress and getting to stop can be a real chore. Unfortunately, when left untreated, this situation can cause cracked or chipped teeth, sore jaw bones and joints, and headaches. The use of a custom mouthguard, which you’ll wear while sleeping, is your best bet to alleviate the problem.

8. Improper Flossing or Brushing

Proper daily dental care is the cornerstone of dental and oral health. We always suggest that you go by the 2-2-2 rule, which means you floss and brush twice a day for two minutes and visit your dentist two times a year. This can ensure proper dental health, but believe it or not, but there is such a thing as being too vigorous when it comes to flossing and brushing your teeth. If you use too much pressure, your gums may recede, which can cause a considerable amount of pain. We suggest that you use a soft-bristled brush and to be mindful of the pressure you’re using. If in doubt, your dentist can help you formulate a dental care plan.

9. Misaligned Teeth or Impacted Wisdom Teeth

If you have a tooth that is misaligned, it will press against the teeth surrounding it, which can cause those teeth to become misaligned as well. This situation is related to impacted wisdom teeth, where they haven’t broken through the gum line. Sometimes, these impacted wisdom teeth can press against other teeth as well. To fix these problems, you’re looking at either braces for the misaligned teeth or surgery for the impacted wisdom teeth.

10. Orthodontic Alignment

Pain caused by braces, retainers, and other alignment systems is common, but should dissipate within a few days. If the pain continues, then you need to contact your dentist right away and get the device you’re using realigned. This will fix the problem and alleviate the pain.

A toothache can be a harrowing experience, one that will quickly worsen if it’s not tackled by a professional. If you’re suffering from any of the problems above, it’s important to contact your dentist and get treatment as soon as possible. Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS can help you with any toothache issues you have, and will also get you started on a future of dental and oral health. Give us a call today and we’ll get you in!

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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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We all want to think that our breath smells just wonderfully, but the truth is that millions of people experience bad breath every day. The problem is that it’s difficult to know when you have bad breath until someone points it out, which can be extremely embarrassing.

The good news is that preventing bad breath isn’t a difficult thing to do. In fact, once you become conscious of it, you could very well never have bad breath again. Here are some tips that we recommend you start following right now:

Brush and Floss Regularly

This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people skip flossing or brushing their teeth. Both of these are very important for proper dental and oral health. Some people will brush and skip flossing, but that can spell danger, too — the food particles left between your teeth by your brush can decay over the course of your day and cause an odor.

Rinse Your Mouth

In addition to brushing and flossing, you should also consider the use of a mouthwash on a daily basis. Mouthwash is formulated to kill the germs that cause bad breath. Plus, a fresh minty taste can give you the confidence of good smelling breath. If bad breath is a concern, add this to your dental health routine.

Scrape Your Tongue

This is one of those activities that many people never consider. The unfortunate truth is that bacteria collects on your tongue as a kind of coating that is typically visible (and disgusting, if we’re being completely honest). You need to use your toothbrush to scrape the entire tongue, including the back. If your brush is too big to do this comfortably, don’t fret — just pick up a pack of tongue scrapers to get the job done.

Drink Plenty of Water

Saliva is your mouth’s natural defense against bacteria and bad breath. If your mouth isn’t moist enough, though, you won’t make enough saliva to help keep it clean. We suggest that you drink plenty of water during the day to keep your mouth moist. And if it’s a chronic problem, you might want to use a humidifier at night to moisten the air in your home.

Quit Smoking

Tobacco products cause extensive damage to your overall health, and will certainly cause you to have bad breath. Just ask a non-smoker what they think of your breath, and if they’re being honest, you won’t like the answer. As a bonus, giving up smoking will also lower your chances of lung cancer and various other maladies. And for God’s sake — if you’re using a chewing tobacco, cut that out, too, before you develop mouth cancer.

Keep Your Gums Healthy

Millions of people suffer from gum disease in any given year, and that’s a big reason why bad breath is such a problem these days. If you suffer from gum disease, speak to your dentist about ways to fix it before the condition worsens. If you let things get too bad, bad breath won’t be your only concern — you could also be looking at tooth loss.

Avoid Certain Foods

Some foods, like garlic and onions, will make your breath smell something fierce. The best way to stop this from happening is to avoid these types of foods altogether. If you love those things and don’t want to avoid them, though, then make sure you have toothpaste or mouthwash around to help defeat the odor.

Would you like to learn more about how you and your family can avoid bad breath and improve your overall dental and oral health? Contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS today, and we’ll get you started on a path to better teeth, better gums… and better breath.

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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!

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