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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How Diabetes Can Affect Your Oral Health

by on February 11, 2016 | Posted in Blog

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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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.

Although we can’t guarantee that you’ll avoid all dental mishaps, by following these tips, you’ll greatly improve your chances that you’ll be able to avoid multiple trips to the dentist. For your routine check-up or any dental concerns that crop up between cleanings, be sure to contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS. We’ll help keep you on track for superb dental health.
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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.

A big part of this is the time devoted to our automobiles. Whether you drive strictly to and from work, or if you take long family trips, it’s almost guaranteed that you put a lot of time, energy, and money taking care of your car, truck, SUV, or what have you.
Caring for your teeth is more similar to caring for your vehicle than you might think. Luckily for you, we’re here to tell you exactly how it all fits together.
What Your Teeth Have in Common with Your Automobile
Let’s take a moment for a quick run-down of how your vehicle and teeth are similar:
Wear and Tear — For those of us who drive our vehicles almost every single day, there’s a great deal of wear and tear that occurs. Whether you’re talking about the engine, the tires, or even the seats, all that constant usage will eventually wear down the automobile’s components. Our teeth work the same way. We use our chompers on a daily basis to help grind up food, and many types of food can be damaging over time. This is just a fact of life, no matter how careful and meticulous you are about their care.
Basic Maintenance — Your vehicle’s maintenance is simply part of ownership. Even though this isn’t a daily thing most of the time, your automobile requires oil changes, tire rotation, etc. in order to keep running smoothly. Fall behind on basic maintenance and it won’t take long before you’re looking at costly repairs. The same is true with your teeth. The difference, of course, is that basic maintenance on your teeth needs to be done every day to help fight cavities, gum disease, and other problems that could result in a costly visit to the dentist for repair or damage control. And don’t forget that, like a regular tune-up on your vehicle, you should visit a dentist every six months for a cleaning and check-up.
Emergency Maintenance — No matter how well you take care of your automobile or teeth, you’re most likely going to need emergency maintenance on both. With a vehicle, your battery could inexplicably run out of juice or you could walk out to go to work only to discover that your alternator has gone out. Similarly, your teeth could be damaged by a facial injury, biting down on something really hard, or other actions. It may ruin your day, but it’s important that emergency maintenance on both vehicles and your teeth be conducted right away. Hence, the “emergency” part.
What Your Teeth Don’t Have in Common with Your Automobile
So what is the one big thing that your vehicle and teeth do not have in common with each other? Simple — you can’t trade your teeth in for new ones.
What we’re talking about is the fact that you only have one set of teeth. If you ruin them, they won’t grow back (as adults, of course). Now, some of you are going to say that certain apparatus like dentures and implants are available, but those should only be implemented as a last resort. Dentures are a pain to take care of and often don’t achieve the best of appearances, while implants are quite expensive. You’re much better off taking care of your original teeth instead.
When you’re ready to get some “maintenance” done on your teeth, give the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, a call. We’ll get you started on better dental and oral health today!
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Part of our schtick here is to tell you what foods and beverages you should avoid if you want your dental health — and very often your overall health itself — to improve. This is because many of us are guilty of ingesting substances that can severely damage our teeth, so it’s important to highlight those things that should be removed from your daily diet or be ingested only in moderation.


Today, we’re instead going to shift our focus to something that you should be getting plenty of — water.


We all know that experts say to drink eight glasses of water a day, but more often than not, this instruction doesn’t come with any kind of reasoning behind it. So what we’d like to do is provide you with a few benefits of drinking water on a daily basis, whether it’s for the health of your teeth or the health of your body.


Water Cleans Your Teeth


While certain beverages, such as soda and others high in sugar, can coat your teeth and cause a great deal of damage, water does exactly the opposite. When you drink water, it washes away remnants of food and liquids that harm your teeth. You still need to brush and floss, of course, but between those daily activities, drinking water is a great way to maintain dental health.


Water Can Prevent Bad Breath


Whether you’ll be doing any talking or kissing soon, bad breath can keep people at bay. Bad breath is often caused by dehydration because when you don’t have ample saliva in your mouth, bacteria can thrive and lead to odors. Drinking water can solve such dehydration problems, so you can finally speak (and do other things) without being rebuffed by anyone.


Water Has No Calories


The fact that water has no calories makes it an excellent beverage of choice. You can drink water with every meal and not worry about calculating any added calories. If you want to get a little flavor every once in a while, you also have the option of adding zero-calorie additives or purchasing flavored, bottled water with no calories or sugar added to it. But, in our opinion, the original thing is the very best.


Water Can Help You Lose Weight


There are two specific ways that water can help you lose or maintain your weight. First, it’s an excellent alternative to sugary beverages like soda or any other beverage (yes, including coffee — sorry, coffee fans!) that add calories to your diet. Second, drinking water can help curb your appetite. So instead of reaching for a bag of chips, drink some water first and wait a few minutes. You’ll often find yourself no longer hungry or you’ll eat less of that sinful snack.


Water Makes Your Skin Look Better


Dehydration can cause your skin to become susceptible to wrinkling and cracking. If you want to maintain that youthful glow, water is not only a fantastic way to do that — it’s also typically the cheapest.


Water Keeps You Cool


While this time of the year may not be the best time to consider this particular benefit, once the hotter months of the year roll around, staying cool is just one more added benefit to drinking a lot of water. We suggest drinking it, but dousing yourself with water from a hose or one of those handheld misters is a great way to cool off, too.


Want to know more about what you should and should not be putting in your body to avoid bad dental health? Contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, today and we’ll help you get started on the road to better health.

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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.

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Ho, ho the mistletoe
Hung where you can see!
Somebody waits for you —
Kiss her once for me!
The holiday season is about a lot of things- – gathering with family, celebrating peace on earth, exchanging gifts, taking kids to see Santa, and cuddling up with that special someone next to a crackling fireplace. If you’re hoping to have a “Holly Jolly Christmas” and score beneath the mistletoe, though, you’re going to need to spend some time thinking about oral hygiene. After all, no one wants to lock lips with a partner that has bad breath.
How can you be sure that yours is pleasant and fresh all throughout Christmas day? Here are a few tips for which foods to eat, which foods to avoid, and other tips for keeping your teeth clean.
Foods to Avoid
Christmas dinner is a big part of the special holiday, but you may want to think twice before going overboard on certain dishes. Either plan to avoid the following foods altogether, or be sure to follow our freshening-up tips immediately after eating:
  • Garlic — It’s no surprise that garlic sits at the top of our list. While it may be used to season certain traditional holiday dishes, the odor created by garlic is very pungent and may make your partner or love interest steer clear of the mistletoe.
  • Onions — If you love Christmas casseroles like green bean casserole, you may not want to be told to take it easy on the french fried onions, but abstinence could earn you a kiss from your sweetie. Like garlic, onion has a powerful odor and should be avoided.
  • Spinach — Veggie platters often grace the holiday scene, and with them come yummy dips — including those with spinach in the ingredients list. While very healthy, spinach has a tendency to get stuck in one’s teeth and could cause you to miss a smooching opportunity.
Foods to Embrace
So what should you be eating or drinking? Here are a few of our holiday favorites for fresh breath and clean teeth:
  • Mint — There’s no better natural way to sweeten your breath than to enjoy something minty. Fortunately, Christmastime means that dinner mints, peppermint candy canes, and even mint tea are in ready supply. Pop a mint into your mouth before heading under the mistletoe to wait for your honey.
  • Water — Besides being good for physical health and weight management, drinking plenty of water is essential to keeping your mouth clean and preventing dryness that can lead to bad breath. Staying hydrated will lead you to the kiss you’re hoping for.
  • Fruits and Veggies — Hit the fruit and veggie platter to guarantee that your mouth remains fresh all day long. Citrusy fruits and melons work to kill odor-causing germs in your mouth, while fibrous veggies like carrots and celery will work to remove any food particles that could be hanging out between your teeth and creating either a foul smell or visual distraction.
Other Tips for Christmas Day Oral Hygiene 
In addition to knowing what you should and shouldn’t eat on Christmas day, here are a few other helpful suggestions for keeping your breath fresh this year:
  • Brush Frequently — It’s obvious, but in the holiday rush, the last thing you want to do is to forget to brush your teeth. We suggest brushing and flossing at least twice a day. You might even consider slipping a travel toothbrush in your purse so that you can freshen up while on-the-go.
  • Chew Xylitol Gum — Chewing suger-free gum can help to keep your mouth moist, remove debris, and freshen up your breath. Avoid gum with sugar, though, as the bacteria in your mouth will break it down and create an odor.
By sticking with these tips, you’re sure to find luck beneath the mistletoe this Christmas! Talk to Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, today to learn more about how to keep your breath as fresh as possible, no matter what the season.
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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.

Water Flosser

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.

Electronic Toothbrush

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!

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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.

Positive Reinforcement

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.

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