We’ve heard it for years. Brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes. Most of us can get behind the whole “twice a day” because it makes sense. Brush your teeth in the morning to start your day and at night to wash everything away. But what about the “two minutes” part. It sounds easy enough, but have you ever actually brushed your teeth for two minutes? It can feel like eternity. Especially on those mornings when you are running late, the kids need breakfast, you can’t find matching shoes and someone spilt their cereal on the floor.
Admit it. We have all done it. We stick our toothbrush in our mouth, swipe a few times, rinse and call it done. And we won’t even talk about how quickly we brush our children’s teeth on those mornings. Besides, two minutes is just an arbitrary, made up amount of time, right? Does your dentist just say two minutes because it sounds good with twice a day? It turns out that there is actual evidence behind the recommendation. As you would guess, the longer you brush, the more effective you will be at cleaning the bacteria and plaque off your teeth.
In one study from The Journal of Dental Hygiene, it was reported that the average person brushes their teeth for about 45 seconds, less than half of the recommended amount of time. Does it make a difference? The answer is YES. The same study found that brushing for two minutes removed 26% more plaque than brushing for 45 seconds. That’s a lot of plaque, that if left on your teeth regularly, will eventually cause dental caries.
In 2012, the International Journal of Dental Hygiene, through a systematic review of 59 papers, found that people brushing for one minute removed, on average, 27% of plaque from their teeth. Those that brushed for two minutes, removed, on average, 41% of plaque from their teeth. Which sounds better to you?
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that bacteria don’t just live on your teeth. They also coat your entire mouth’s interior, including your tongue, cheeks and gums. By brushing longer, you have increased time to brush these areas of your mouth, as well.
How can you make it to the two-minute mark? Think of your mouth in terms of quadrants. Spend 30 seconds on each one: top left, top right, bottom left and bottom right. If you really try to brush each tooth and gum area on both the outside and inside of the teeth, two minutes will fly by.
For children, use two-minute times, find a fun song to brush along with or even get a great brushing app on your phone. Most of all, model good brushing for them. If you child sees you taking great care of your teeth, it will be easier for him or her to want to do the same.
In addition to the length of time you spend brushing, how you brush also matters. Talk to your pediatric dentist to make sure that you and your child are using proper brushing techniques so that you can get the most out of those two minutes! If you are looking for a dental home for your child in the Upstate, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry would love to give you and your child Something to Smile About! Call our office today at 864-760-1440.
Spring has sprung. And while the weather may not have gotten the memo just yet, warm weather is on the way. With warmer weather and longer daylight hours, come spring sports and more time spent playing outside. As you gear up for your next practice or game, don’t forget your child’s mouthguard!
Each year, about 5 million Americans lose teeth in sports-related injuries. Approximately 39% of all dental injuries are sports-related. (https://www.nata.org/sites/default/files/dental-injury-handout.pdf). These injuries can include avulsed teeth (complete displacement), cracked teeth, fractured roots and tooth intrusion (displacement of the tooth into the alveolar bone), as well as fractured crowns and lip and cheek injuries.
But, playing sports doesn’t have to give your child a hockey-player smile. Using a mouthguard can significantly reduce your child’s risk of obtaining a dental injury. Children playing any contact sports, such as field hockey, ice hockey, football, boxing and lacrosse are required to wear mouthguards. But the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends that children wear mouthguards for most sports, including: baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, wrestling, volleyball and gymnastics, acrobatics, boxing, discus throwing, handball, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling. According to the AAPD (click here to read full article), baseball and basketball have been shown to have the highest number of sports-related dental injuries in children between that ages of seven to 17 years. Baseball had the highest incident of dental injuries within the seven to 12 year-old age group and basketball led the way between the 13-17 year-old age group.
A mouthguard may be especially important for those with braces or dental work, but they are a great idea for anyone wanting to protect their teeth from potential trauma. Mouthguards act as a buffer for potential damage, but also provide a barrier between teeth/braces and cheeks, or between lips and tongue, which can limit soft tissue damage, as well.
Dental mouthguards are classified into three types:
1) Stock mouthguards - can be purchased in sporting goods and drug stores, come pre-formed and ready to wear.
2) Boil-and-bite mouthguards - most commonly used, these mouthguards are immersed in boiling water and formed in the mouth by using finger, tongue, and biting pressure.
3) Custom-made mouth guards - designed by your dentist and are the best fitting and offer most protection and comfort.
All three types of mouthguards provide different levels of protection, but also come at different price-points. You should discuss your options with your pediatric dentist to determine which option will fit your needs best. Whatever your child’s sport and whatever your budget, there is a mouthguard option available. Don’t sacrifice the safety of your child’s smile. Wear a mouthguard!
If you have questions, or would like to discuss which mouth protection option is best for your child, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry is here to help. Call our office today at 864-760-1440 and let us give you Something to Smile About!
It’s the day of the year when people come together to celebrate their Irish descent. Towns go green, literally- from green clothes to green rivers and even green food and beverages. The ironic part is that most of the people celebrating aren’t even Irish and don’t even know who St. Patrick was, (Click here to learn about St. Patrick) but that doesn’t stop people from being “Irish for the day.” It is, after all, a really fun holiday.
According to CNBC, emergency dental visits skyrocket by 77% the day after St. Patrick’s Day. The information was gleaned from analysis from Sikka Software, which found that March 18 is consistently one of the busiest 10 days of the year for dentist. It goes without saying that alcohol plays a large role in this spike, with bar fights and face plants being responsible for many of the chipped or missing teeth cases that dentist will see. Apparently, some people take the term “fighting Irish” a bit too far.
Luckily for Anderson Pediatric Dentistry, most of our patients won’t be involved in the more extreme St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans. However, we thought it was a great time to review what to do if your luck runs out and you find yourself facing a dental emergency. Remember, sometimes the tooth can be saved if handled appropriately.
We encourage you to become familiar with the information below so that you will know what to do if you find yourself faced with a dental trauma.
If a tooth is knocked out:
1) Pick the tooth up by the crown (the part you bite with) and DO NOT touch the root (the two little legs that go in the gums).
2) Adults and older children that have knocked out a permanent tooth, gently rinse it in clean water and place it back in the socket the right way. Apply gauze and pressure to hold it in place until getting to the dentist office.
If you are unsure of the proper placement, you can place the tooth in your cheek and hold it there until getting to the dentist office. The saliva will clean the root and keep it moist.
For small children and baby teeth, do not place the tooth back in the socket. This can damage the permanent tooth below. Since most small children cannot hold the tooth in their cheek without swallowing it, placing it in a container of milk and heading to the dentist office is the best option. Make sure to bring the tooth with you. (If the parent is comfortable doing so, he or she can place it in his/her own cheek to keep it moist and in saliva.)
Remember, we want to keep the tooth moist. Saliva is the best option, followed by milk. Do not wrap the tooth in a napkin and allow it to dry.
3) Call our office and let us know you are on the way! You need to see the dentist as soon as possible for the best chance at saving the tooth.
What to do if a tooth is chipped:
If a tooth is chipped, try to find any pieces that have come off, as sometimes it’s possible to reattach them. Make an appointment for an office visit as soon as possible and bring the pieces with you.
Anytime there is a severe injury, loss of consciousness or uncontrollable bleeding, seek help immediately from the Emergency Room. For less traumatic injuries, call our office at 864-760-1440 to schedule a time to be seen as soon as possible. Often, a quick phone conversation can help us to determine the next step. Cheers!
It’s a common conversation in a pediatric dentist’s office. “I don’t know what to do. My whole family has bad teeth.” Or, “I just don’t understand, we brush twice a day, everyday and she doesn’t drink soda. How can she have cavities?”
So, if the children that are receiving proper dental care are getting cavities, as well as the ones that aren’t brushing and flossing, we have to ask: Is there a such thing as bad teeth? Soft enamel?
Can your child’s, and your very own, dental problems be blamed on genetics, rather than poor dental hygiene? And if so, is this the ultimate excuse or are there ways to avoid these so-called, “bad teeth?”
In recent years, medical progress is being made on so many levels. Genetics are being studied on all levels to see just what role our genes play in our overall health and what we can do to overcome any genetic shortcomings. Because our dental health is so closely tied to our overall health and well-being (remember how dental disease and inflammation is linked to heart disease?), it makes complete sense that scientists are also studying the link between genetics and dental health.
So, is dental health genetic? The answer is yes. . . and no. Sometimes? It’s complicated. While scientists are finding genetic factors that affect some aspects of oral health, they are also confirming many environmental factors that play key roles in dental health- factors we can control.
Tooth decay, Bacteria and Sugar
Sugar in the food we eat feeds communities of hundreds of different types of bacteria that live on our teeth. The acid produced by these bacteria erodes the hard, outer layer of our teeth (the enamel) to cause cavities (tooth decay).
These bacteria in our mouth, the ones that cause tooth decay, aren’t present at birth. We normally acquire them shortly after birth, probably from other family members- think kisses on the mouth, pacifiers, teething items. Recent studies have been able to pinpoint which groups of bacteria are responsible for damaging our teeth. And it turns out that it’s not the genetic (inheritable) bacteria that are causing the tooth decay.
Want to take a stab at what types of bacteria can form cavities? You guessed it! The ones influenced by environmental factors like sugary foods! In fact, sugary drinks may be the very worst for your teeth! They are particularly adept at spreading sugar to every corner of your mouth, feeding the bacteria that cause decay. The good news is that the same types of bacteria in sugary foods that can form cavities, can also be brushed off your teeth!
But the story isn’t that simple.
While tooth decay is largely preventable, some people are more at risk of it than others. And genetics do play a role. Genes can affect how teeth develop and if teeth do not form properly, their enamel can actually be less resistant to bacteria. Genes can also affect whether your teeth will come in crooked or straight. Teeth that are crooked and overcrowded provide more areas for bacteria to hide and grow in, as they are more difficult to completely clean. Brushing and flossing become even more important in these situations, as a constant presence of these bacteria can cause cavities to form.
The color of your teeth is another area that is determined by both genetic and environmental factors. The way in which the white enamel (and the underlying yellow dentine) forms during development is mainly due to our genes. Those whose teeth develop naturally with thinner enamel will have teeth that appear more yellow. Environmental factors that affect the teeth can be broken up into intrinsic factors (those that affect the teeth as they are developing) and extrinsic (those affecting the tooth after it develops). Intrinsic factors could include exposure to antibiotic tetracycline in the womb or excess fluoride as a child. Extrinsic factors affecting tooth color would be drinking coffee or tea and smoking.
So, tooth color, like tooth health, can be affected by both genetics and environmental. And while we can’t control the genetic factors, we can make changes to the environmental factors.
The message is still the same. Your teeth may be inherited, but bad oral health habits do not have to be. Everyone needs to take care of their teeth. Some people may have to work a little harder than others. But we can all take simple steps to ensure proper oral health. Avoid sugary foods and drinks, brush your teeth and have regular check-ups.
Anderson Pediatric Dentistry can help you take care of your child’s smile. Give us a call today at 864-760-1440 and let us give you Something to Smile About!
With all that the President has on his plate, you can imagine it would be hard to schedule a regular six-month dental cleaning and check-up. But, just because you become President, doesn’t mean you can stop caring for your teeth! Apparently, President Hoover agreed. During his administration in the 1930s, an official dental office was installed in the White House basement. Prior to that, Presidents had already had an official Presidential Dentist, but now they have a place to work, right in the White House.
The White House dental office may not have been very sophisticated when it was first built, but these days it boasts state-of-the-art equipment and a fully functional operatory. When a President or his family visits the dental office, they can receive treatment, much the same as you. The White House dentist performs regular check-ups, cleanings and X-rays, as well as any dental procedures that may be needed. He is expected to educate his patient on proper oral health and brushing techniques. Yes, even the President has to learn!
Of course, even a basement dental office and personal dentist can’t do all the worth. The President still has to brush and floss!
If you are not the President and can’t have a dental office in your basement, we would love to be your dentist. Call Anderson Pediatric Dentistry today at 864-760-1440 and let us give you Something to Smile About!
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