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Did you drop the ball on spring cleaning this year? Not to worry — you still have time! After all, the first day of summer isn’t until the 21st of June! As you put together your plans for tackling the deep cleaning of your home and property, though, you may forget to consider one small, but very essential item: your toothbrush. Don’t be among the many who overlook the importance of taking the time to properly clean and care for their toothbrush this spring.

Why Should I Clean My Toothbrush?

If you’re brushing as often as you should, you’re using your toothbrush at least 2-3 times each day. How can you expect your toothbrush to do its job and keep your mouth clean and healthy, though, if you’re not keeping IT clean and healthy? In recent years, scientists have conducted studies that have determined that certain microorganisms within the mouth can be transferred to the bristles of your toothbrush, making your brushing less effective. Investing just a little of your time in the process of cleaning and caring for your toothbrush will help eliminate the build-up of bacteria and microorganisms, meaning a healthier, happier mouth.

Toothbrush Cleaning 101

Ready to make sure that your toothbrush is well cleaned? Here are three steps to a healthy brush:

Rinse — Always take the time to thoroughly rinse your toothbrush after each and every use. All toothpaste and debris should be carefully removed from both the bristles and the shaft of the toothbrush.

Store — After rinsing your toothbrush, you need to make sure that it’s properly stored. This means that the toothbrush should be kept in a place where it’s both upright and uncovered. When the toothbrush is laying down, it may not dry as effectively. This is also a problem when a toothbrush is covered or left in a sealed container. Putting the toothbrush in a container can also encourage bacterial growth. We recommend keeping your toothbrush in a medicine cabinet to prevent airborne contaminants from affecting it. Whenever multiple toothbrushes are stored together, you’ll need to take steps to ensure that the bristles are not touching so that you can avoid cross-contamination. Finally, allow your toothbrush to fully air dry between uses.

Soak — After cleaning your teeth, your toothbrush’s bristles have been exposed to bacterial contaminants. When left untreated, the bacteria can build up and make your oral hygiene routine less effective. We recommend that you let your toothbrush soak in mouthwash for approximately 20 minutes each day in order to kill off the bacteria. And while we’re on the subject, here’s a bonus tip: rinse your mouth with mouthwash before brushing your teeth. This will cut down on the bacteria in your mouth that your toothbrush bristles will need to be exposed to.

When to Replace

Cleaning will only get you so far with your toothbrush. No matter how well you care for the brush, it will need to be replaced eventually, so it’s important that you know the signs. As a general rule, toothbrushes should be replaced at least every 3-4 months. You may need to replace the brush sooner if the bristles have become frayed, so keep an eye out for any issues. Always remember to closely monitor your children’s toothbrushes, as theirs need to be replaced more often and will not come to this conclusion on their own.

Need some more tips on how to care for your toothbrush, or information on how to select the right brush for your oral health? Give Dr. Bruce McArthur a call today. We’ll set up a time for you to come in for a cleaning and a consult.

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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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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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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:

Fluoridated Toothpaste

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.

Children’s Toothpaste

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!

Whitening Toothpaste

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.

Denture Cleansers

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.

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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.

Wait… what?

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:

Coffee

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.

Tea

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.

Orange Juice

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.

Energy Drinks

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.

Soda

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.

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