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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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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.

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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:

Avoid Tobacco

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.

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Dentists treat a wide variety of dental issues on a daily basis. The unfortunate truth is that many people don’t take care of their oral health in the way they should, and when they visit the dentist, they’re often shocked at the condition of their teeth and gums.

The truth is, day in and day out, most issues that are handled by dentists deal are common. Which are the most common dental issues that could easily be avoided with a little time and effort? It basically breaks down to three problems:

Cavities

We’ll start with the biggie. Cavities are the most common problems that most people are likely to develop, and are often the result of our culture’s sugar-loving lifestyle. A cavity is formed when plaque, which is full of harmful bacteria, builds up on the surface of a tooth and “eats” a hole in it. Unfortunately, your teeth do not have the ability to heal themselves, which means you’ll need to have a dentist fill it.

How can you avoid cavities? The first thing you can do is limit your intake of foods that are high in sugar, which can drastically cut down on the tendency for a cavity to form. But more importantly, it comes down to proper dental care. Develop a daily routine where you’re brushing and flossing twice a day — once in the morning and once before bed — and you’ll see less cavities. The second thing you need to do is visit your dentist once a year for a professional cleaning and exam.

Gum Disease

When plaque attacks your gums, it’s known as gum disease — or periodontal disease, if you want to get fancy (or technical). The first stage of this problem is gingivitis, where gums can become red and swollen, and will easily bleed when you brush or floss. The second stage is periodontitis, where the problem has advanced to the point where your gums will begin to shrink away from the teeth and create spaces that are prone to infection. If left untreated, tooth loss becomes a real concern.

Diabetes and hormonal change can cause gum disease, and smoking is a big contributor as well. Luckily, unlike the formation of cavities, gingivitis can be reversed with regular brushing and flossing. That being said, a visit to the dentist for a proper evaluation can help you get rid of the problem before it becomes more serious.

Enamel Erosion

Think of enamel as an invisible barrier with one job — the protection of your teeth. Unfortunately, enamel can be worn down, resulting in tooth sensitivity, discoloration, cracks, and chips. Tooth sensitivity can be a big deal, because it’s often painful, while erosion of enamel also makes you more prone to cavities.

If you’ve ever visited our blog before, you’re probably well-versed in the dangers of highly acidic food and beverages, which can eat away at your enamel. Avoiding such things, especially favorites like high-fructose sodas, will go a long way to ensure your enamel’s survival. Other ways to protect enamel include drinking water throughout the day to wash away any acid, in addition to brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and soft-bristed toothbrush on a regular basis.

Teeth are essential for a good life, and that’s why it’s so important to take care of them. Brushing and flossing twice a day, in the proper manner, can go a long way to ensuring dental health, and visiting a dentist at least once a year is a great way to keep things going strong. If you’d like to know more about steps you can take or need to set up an appointment, contact Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, and he’ll put you on the path to quality dental and oral care.

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Having a great smile is one of the best ways to get noticed by others. Teens know this all too well. During that time in their lives, appearance is paramount. Looking good can improve self-esteem, and your child’s teeth is often one of the first things that get noticed. If they’re yellow or discolored, your child probably isn’t going to be heading to school as a very happy camper.

Teeth whitening is a safe, effective way for anyone to improve his or her smile, which is why it’s been catching on in recent years. However, if you’re going to allow your teen to get their teeth whitened, there are a few tips you should follow:

Tip #1: Consult with Your Dentist

Before you start any kind of teeth whitening treatment, it’s important that you speak to your dentist about it. Your dentist will examine your child’s teeth and advise you on how to proceed. Although there are at-home whitening treatments, an in-office visit is usually faster and more effective. Plus, your dentist can identify and repair any dental problems prior to treatment, such as cavities or enamel erosion, ensuring that your teen get the very most out of the treatment.

Tip #2: Whitening Toothpaste is Not a Simple Cure

The use of whitening toothpaste has increased in popularity over the years, in part because the idea of whitening your teeth while brushing every day is quite an attractive proposition. However, it’s important to realize that while these toothpastes can be effective in removing surface stains, bigger problems won’t be affected too much. You’re not going to see a drastic change in the appearance of your teeth simply by using a teeth whitening toothpaste.

Tip #3: Avoid At-home Whitening Treatments for Youngsters

The suggested age you’ll hear from most dentists for the use of whitening treatments is around 14 or 15. If your child is under the age of 13, you definitely want to avoid at-home whitening treatments. Instead, confer with your dentist to see what he or she recommends for your teenage son or daughter. If your dentist tells you to hold off a year or two, you should heed that advice.

Tip #4: Explain to Your Teen What to Expect

Teens these days have grown up in a very “immediate” world. Meaning that when they want to see a movie, listen to music, contact a friend, etc., they’re able to do so right within moments due to emerging technology that often fits in their pockets. So you may need to explain to them that teeth whitening will work a little differently. They must learn to be patient so as to avoid overuse of whitening products, which can cause intense tooth sensitivity.

Tip #5: Teach Them How to Avoid Yellow Teeth Post-Whitening

Once treatment begins, it’s important that your teens be told how to keep their teeth from going right back to yellow again. Explain to them that they must limit their consumption of teeth stainers, which include soda, coffee, and smoking. And, of course, proper dental care like the 2-2-2 rule — flossing twice a day, along with brushing twice a day for a period of two minutes — must be followed if they wish to keep their teeth in tiptop shape. And as a bonus, you’ll be able to avoid paying for a second whitening treatment.

Everyone should have a great smile. Whitening is an effective way to improve your smile, but you need to ensure proper dental and oral health in order to make the most of it. For further information, or to set up an appointment, call the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS. He’ll fix whatever problems you have and put you on a regimen to follow that will ensure your future dental health.

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A couple weeks ago, we touched on five bad habits that are ruining your teeth. But if you thought those were the only ones, you thought wrong! Now we’re back with five more bad habits that you should cut out right now or else risk damage and expensive dental work. And without further adieu, here they are:

Bad Habit #1: Brushing Too Hard

As you know, it’s important that you do a good job when brushing your teeth. If you don’t put a good amount of effort into the endeavor, you’ll often be wasting your time. The problem is that some people will get too vigorous with their brushing. If you put too much pressure on your teeth and gums, you may end up causing more harm than good. Hard brushing can wear down your enamel, irritate your gums, and increase your teeth’s sensitivity to cold. In some instances, you may even find that brushing too hard causes cavities. If you feel that you may be a little vigorous, lighten up a little and choose a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Bad Habit #2: Sucking on Lemons

You know that old insult “Go suck on a lemon!”? The funny thing is that some people actually do suck on lemons. They just love the taste of these bitter fruits, and given the fact that people now find hamburgers made with a pair of donuts instead of buns appetizing, we really can’t throw stones. Unfortunately, lemons are very acidic and sucking on them for extended periods of time can corrode your teeth’s enamel, creating a rough texture on the surface of your teeth. If you care about your dental health, this is one habit you should definitely kick right away.

Bad Habit #3: Chewing on Various Objects

As human beings, we tend to get bored very easily. For some reason, this often means that we’ll stick whatever is handy in our mouths in order to keep our brain occupied and pass the time. Certain objects, such as glasses, pens, and pencils, are especially “normal” for such chewing. But as you can imagine, chewing on plastic or wooden items is not healthy for your teeth. Teeth have been known to shift or even crack due to this habit, and it may even damage existing dental work. Our advice: find another way to cure your boredom.

Bad Habit #4: Tooth Grinding and Jaw Clenching

Many people grind their teeth or clench their jaw without ever being aware of it. These actions are typically caused by stress. The bad news is that such severe pressure placed upon your teeth can cause micro-fractures, and sometimes even full-on fractures, to occur in your teeth. Plus, if you’ve had dental work in the past, clenching or grinding can put this work at risk of damage.

Bad Habit #5: Sucking Your Thumb

While a surprising number of adults continue to suck their thumbs (just not in public, so you’ll never know), the primary focus of this bad habit is toward children. Little kids suck their thumbs for a number of reasons, but it mostly has to do with a sense of security or safety. Unfortunately, thumb sucking can cause permanent damage to a child’s permanent teeth over time, specifically misalignment. This misalignment can lead to difficulty chewing, in addition to breathing problems. The sooner you can get your child to stop sucking his or her thumb, the better off everyone will be.

If you need further help breaking these habits or simply need a dental check-up, contact the friendly office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS. We will help guide you on your way to dental and oral perfection.

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