Posts for: February, 2015
Find out just how much these simple tasks are essential for a healthy smile.
While brushing and flossing might just feel like a normal part of your daily routine you might be surprised to find out just how important these seemingly innocuous acts are. In fact, brushing and flossing are some of the best ways to protect the health of your smile. Find out why your Fort Worth, TX family dentist recommends examining your brushing and flossing habits to improve your oral health.
Removes plaque: Even if you eat a smile-friendly diet that is rich in lean meats, fibrous veggies and low-fat dairy you still need to clean your teeth. However, we don’t live in a perfect world and we do, on occasion, enjoy eating sugar and processed foods, which can do a number on our teeth. That’s where brushing and flossing steps in.
By brushing your teeth at least twice a day (better yet, try brushing between each meal or snack) and flossing once a day you can eliminate potential problems like unsightly stains, plaque buildup and decay.
Brightens smiles: Since both brushing and flossing can help remove plaque buildup and food particles you’re almost guaranteed a whiter smile. Consider brushing more often, especially after meals that are high in carbohydrates, to keep your smile even whiter. Up your brushing game and opt for whitening toothpastes that boast the ADA seal of approval to really get your smile more radiant.
Protects against gum disease: With almost half of the population suffering from some form of gum disease it’s important to protect your smile from this disease’s damaging effects. This means flossing at least once a day to remove food and other bacteria from between teeth where your toothbrush just can’t reach. This will ensure that tartar doesn’t buildup, making your prone to developing gum disease.
Besides the simple things you can do from the comfort of your own home to keep your smile healthy, you should also be seeing your Fort Worth, TX family dentist every six months for routine cleanings and exams. If it’s time for your next checkup, call us at Harris Parkway Dental today. Put your oral health first!
Every February, the American Dental Association sponsors a campaign called National Children’s Dental Health Month. The purpose of this operation is to raise awareness about how important it is to get an early start on developing good dental hygiene habits — and how this can lead to a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. So we thought this might be a good time to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about how to do exactly that:
When is it time to start cleaning my baby’s teeth?
As soon as you see one! The earlier your child gets used to a daily dental hygiene routine, the better. Baby teeth that have not fully emerged from beneath the gums can be wiped with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings. A tooth that has grown in completely should be brushed twice daily (once in the morning and once in the evening) with a soft, child-sized tooth brush and a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is an important weapon against tooth decay, but you don’t want your child to swallow too much.
Can babies get cavities?
Absolutely — especially if they are allowed to fall asleep routinely with a bottle filled with anything but water. Milk, formula — even breast milk — all contain sugars that should not be left to pool around your baby’s teeth during sleep, facilitating decay. Juice is an even bigger no-no because it is not only sugary but also acidic.
Can’t I give my child sweets once in a while?
We realize total avoidance of sweets may not be realistic, as beneficial as this would be for your child’s teeth. If you are going to allow your child to have sweets once in a while, better that the treat be given immediately following a meal, and not as a between-meal snack. Soda should really be avoided completely — it’s that bad.
When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?
The experts say: Get it done in year one. That’s right — even though your child won’t have many teeth by age 1, there’s a lot we can do at that first visit to ensure good oral health now and well into the future. We will do everything possible to make sure your little one has a positive first experience in the dental chair; this helps set the tone for the many important preventive visits yet to come. It’s also a great opportunity for you to ask any specific questions you may have, and receive hands-on instruction on how to care for your child’s teeth and gums.
If you would like more information about children’s oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Taking the Stress Out of Dentistry for Kids” and “Age One Dental Visit.”
You may think snoring is a minor problem, but it can be a lot more than that. Just ask hoops star Shaquille O'Neal, whose rambunctious snoring bothered his girlfriend enough for her to suspect a health problem. Her observations eventually led to Shaq's diagnosis of moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which occurs when the soft tissue structures at the back of a person's throat, including the tongue, partially close off the upper airway and prevent air from moving into the lungs during sleep. Sometimes airflow can be blocked completely for 10 or more seconds.
When air flow is reduced, blood oxygen levels drop. This leads to brief waking episodes known as “micro-arousals,” which can happen sometimes more than 50 times an hour. The sleeper might not even be aware of this, even while gasping for air. Micro-arousals prevent the person from ever reaching deep, restful sleep.
Besides suffering from excessive daytime sleepiness, studies show sleep apnea patients are at higher risks of heart attacks, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, brain damage and strokes. People with sleep apnea also have a higher incidence of work and driving-related accidents.
OSA can be treated in a few different ways. On the advice of his doctor, Shaq opted for a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, which generates pressurized air delivered through a face mask worn while sleeping. The force of the pressurized air opens the airway (windpipe) in the same way as blowing into a balloon does.
For people with milder OSA, or who find they can't tolerate wearing a mask during sleep, an oral appliance supplied by a dental professional might be the answer. Oral appliances are worn in the mouth and are designed to gently reposition the jaw and move the tongue forward away from the back of the throat. Success rates of 80% or more have been reported using oral appliances, depending on the severity of the OSA.
If you would like more information on sleep apnea, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about sleep apnea by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Snoring & Sleep Apnea.” Dear Doctor also has more on “Sleep Disorders & Dentistry.”