Happy New Year!!! Tips for Caregivers on excellent oral hygiene…

Caregivers are responsible for the oral and overall health of those they care for.  As a caregiver, many questions may come to mind regarding your responsibilities for one’s oral health:

 

How should I go about caring for someone’s mouth and teeth?  What type of dental hygiene routine is best for my loved-one, friend or patient?  What is the proper way to brush and floss teeth?  How often should my dependant see his/her Professional Dental Team?  What types of oral health products should I use that will allow me to provide the best oral care I can?  How do I clean false teeth?

 

Our goal is to help answer these questions and to provide information that you can use to improve your overall practices for excellent dental health, whether it be your own or someone else’s.

 

When the question of how to provide care for someone else’s oral health comes to mind, try to think of how you would care for your own mouth.  Brushing your teeth twice a day (morning/night) and flossing once a day, should come to mind…  When brushing, be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste that contains fluoride.  Fluoride helps strengthen the outer layer of the teeth to prevent cavities.  You shouldn’t use a medium or hard-bristled toothbrush because the rigid bristles can damage the gums and cause them to recede.  When the toothbrush bristles become ‘wilted or frayed’ in appearance, it’s time to change to a new one.  A good rule of thumb is to replace your toothbrush every three months, or whenever you’ve been sick.  Changing your toothbrush after you’ve been sick is extremely important—the bristles can harbor bacteria and prolong your illness.  Always use a light, but firm pressure when brushing.  For instance, imagine that you are brushing a ripe tomato and don’t want to bruise it.  These use and maintenance tips also apply to those who use electric toothbrushes.

 

It can be more difficult flossing someone else’s then than flossing your own, but the principles are the same.  To properly floss, take a piece of floss approximately           18-inches long and wrap it around your middle fingers.  Use your index fingers and thumbs to guide the floss between the teeth.  Once the floss is in between two adjacent teeth, be sure to adapt the floss to each tooth, forming the floss into a ‘C’ shape.  Gently slide the floss below the gumline, adapt to the adjacent tooth and do the same.  There are several flossers or floss picks on the market that can help assist with this motion.  The concept remains the same…you must adapt the floss to each tooth!

proper-flossing-technique

 

Ideally, everyone should see their dentist every six months and in some cases, more frequently.  Your dentist and dental hygienist work together at these visits to assess the health of your gums and teeth.  The dental team will determine the proper visit interval to ensure that an excellent level of health is maintained in your mouth.  Aside from assessing the health of your mouth and having a professional cleaning, the doctor will also perform an oral cancer screening at your regular visit.  The members of your dental team are the only health care professionals that look into your mouth on a regular basis.  It is imperative for them to establish a baseline of what your mouth looks like and record the presence of any abnormalities.  Regular oral cancer screens ensure your mouth is examined for cancer on a consistent basis and the necessary precautions and/or treatments are performed in the event an abnormality is found.

 

dentist

The following are important points when caring for those with false teeth or dentures:  Make sure the dentures are taken out every night before sleeping.  Your gums need to breathe!  Keeping the dentures in place all day and night can cause the gum tissue to become red and irritated.  Irritated gum tissue can cause discomfort when wearing the dentures.  Constant wearing of dentures can also cause oral infections.  When cleaning dentures, be sure to brush them as you would your own teeth.  Use a denture brush or a soft-bristled toothbrush and denture cleaner—you may also use an antibacterial soap or a mild dishwashing liquid.  When the dentures are out of the mouth, they can be soaked in a denture cleanser or water, to help avoid drying and potentially losing their form.  Before replacing the dentures in the mouth, gently brush the gums and tongue to stimulate circulation and remove any plaque debris that may be present.

acrylic_dentures_1

 

Remember that your Professional Dental Team is here to help you.  If you need any assistance or have any questions about caring for your loved ones, don’t hesitate to contact them.  As a caregiver, be sure to remember what is necessary to care for one’s oral health: brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, daily flossing, eating well-balanced meals, and visiting your Dentist regularly.

 

Children’s Dental Health

Children’s Dental Health

Matthew Norman, DDS and Michelle Phillips, RDH

 

February is Children’s Dental Health Month.  It is important for both parents and children to value the care of the child’s teeth from the beginning.  Good oral home care begins very early on, even before the first tooth comes in.

 

Your child’s first dental visit should occur by the time they have their first birthday.  The primary reason for a visit to the dentist at this young age is to assess the child’s mouth for possible abnormalities and to check for the presence of any erupted baby teeth.  Most importantly, this visit provides the parent with an opportunity to answer any questions they may have regarding caring for their child’s mouth and teeth.

 

While your child is an infant, you will want to wet a washcloth and rub it along the baby’s gums to keep their mouth clean. Your child’s first dental cleaning is typically around age 3.

 

Caring for your child’s teeth is no different than your caring for Fluorideyour own.  They should brush their teeth twice a day and floss once a day.  Keep in mind that children do not have the manual dexterity to effectively clean their teeth on their own, and will need your help.  A child should not brush alone until the age of 7 and floss alone until the age of 9.  And when applying toothpaste, simply use a “pea” sized amount to ensure they are getting a healthy amount of fluoride.

 

After a child begins to get his/her teeth, be sure to use a fluoride-free toothpaste until they can effectively spit the toothpaste out, generally at age 3-4.  Once a child can successfully spit out toothpaste, it is important to provide them with one that does contain fluoride.   Fluoride is very beneficial to your child’s dental health.  There are two types of fluoride: systemic and topical.  The fluoride found in the toothpaste, or fluoride treatments at the dental office are considered topical – this only helps strengthen the teeth that are currently present in the mouth.  Systemic fluoride, such as that found in city water or fluoride tablets/drops, is ingested into the body and helps to strengthen the permanent teeth that are currently developing underneath the gums.  Both types of fluoride are very beneficial and needed for optimum dental health.

 

Around the age of 6, children begin erupting their permanent teeth.  The first teeth that typically erupt are the permanent first molars in the back of the jaw and the two middle front teeth. The permanent first molar teeth are typically referred to as the 6-Tooth-Sealantsyear molars, because of the age they commonly erupt.  Once these permanent molars fully erupt, we may discuss placing dental sealants.  A dental sealant is a completely non-invasive procedure that helps further protect these molars from developing cavities (see Example above).  Naturally, these permanent molars have deep pits and grooves and are a common place for tooth decay to occur.   The dental sealant liquid is placed into the grooves of the tooth and hardened it with a curing light.  After the sealant is hardened, it is bonded to the tooth and provides a smooth surface across the top of the tooth to help prevent cavities.

 

Below is a tooth eruption chart with the approximate age that babies with begin to get their primary teeth, as well as the estimated age in which they will lose the baby tooth and begin to erupt the permanent teeth.

eruption chart

If you have a child in need of a dentist, or have any dental-related questions about your child, feel free to call Norman Dental at 336-282-2120.

Red Wine. Healthy Heart, Healthy Teeth

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According to a new study appearing in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, red wine as well as grape seed extract could potentially help fight off cavities.

Cavities are a widespread problem that affects about 60-90 percent of the global population. As it affects the large majority of the global population, researchers and medical practitioners around the world are looking for any type of technique to help stop the growing problem. As the linkage between oral health and systematic health grows closer and closer, researchers believe we are moments away from a poor health outbreak in almost every country of the world. News that should shock a majority.

As health issues rise, researchers turned to an unlikely source for help. A study was conducted in which scientists dipped certain biofilms responsible for dental diseases in a couple of different liquids. Red wine with and without alcohol both being included in the study, the data suggested that red wines with or without the alcohol and liquids containing grape seed extract were the most effective in getting rid of that bacteria.

Red wine among other alcohols have raised concerns in the past pertaining to and individual’s health, however red wine has also been linked to raising a healthy heart. Oddly enough, this links to oral health, as those who have a healthier mouth have less risk of any type of cardiovascular disease.

Be sure to keep your teeth and gums healthy to avoid tooth decay, periodontal disease and heart issues. Make an appointment today for a check up with Norman Dental at 336-282-2120.

Toothbrush Tips: Keep Your Brush in Shape| Dental Hygiene

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October is Dental Hygiene Month and everyone knows that brushing your teeth regularly is the key to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. With that comes choosing the right toothbrush for your teeth. Here are some tips on how to pick out the right toothbrush for you!

  • ADA Seal of Approval

Make sure the toothbrush that you choose is ADA approved to ensure that the bristles are not too hard for your teeth. You’ll use it more effectively if it is better suited for your own personal set of teeth.

  • Size Matters

The size of your toothbrush should depend on how comfortably it will fit in your mouth. If you have a small mouth, pick a smaller toothbrush.

Now that you have your toothbrush picked out, make sure you pick out a toothpaste that is well suited to your teeth type. If you want a whiter smile, try picking out a whitening toothpaste. If you want a protectant toothpaste, go for ones that have baking soda in them.

Picking out your products is only half the battle. Using your toothbrush effectively is incredibly important as well.

  • Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day, preferably after each meal.
  • Take at least 2-3 minutes to brush your teeth.
  • Don’t brush too roughly, use a gentle motion so you don’t damage your gums.
  • Focus on cleaning every tooth surface.

Follow this guide and you should be on your way to a cleaner, healthier smile! To make sure your teeth and gums are as healthy as they should be, make an appointment today with Norman Dental at 336-282-2120.

 

The Benefits of Fluoride

The Benefits of Fluoride

Matthew Norman, DDS and Michelle Phillips, RDH

 

 

Fluoride is a naturally-occurring substance which has important uses in dentistry, such as preventing tooth decay and treating tooth sensitivity.  Fluoride is commonly found in most toothpastes and some mouthwashes on the market today.  Fluoride is available in prescription-strength forms for application in the dental office, over-the-counter products for use at home, and is found in most public/municipal drinking water systems in the United States.  In fact, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider the fluoridation of water to be one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

 

Fluoride comes in two basic forms: topical and systemic.  Topical fluoride is simply a fluoride that is applied directly to the teeth currently in your mouth.  It helps make these teeth more cavity-resistant.  Systemic fluoride is a fluoride that is ingested and helps the developing teeth (teeth have yet to erupt in the mouth and are totally under the gums).  Systemic fluoride exposure is very important and beneficial for children aged 6 months up to 16 years old, as tooth development is occurring during this time.

  • Your toothpaste, mouthwash, dental office applications are all topical. 
    • Most toothpastes and mouthwashes contain minimal amounts of topical fluoride.
    • Dental office applications are significantly stronger and contain much more fluoride, designed to last longer. Fluoride Varnish application Most dental offices may use a fluoride rinse, gel, foam, or varnish.  Norman Dental uses a fluoride varnish.  Studies have shown that the varnish has much more fluoride uptake than any other professional delivery method.

     

  • Prescription tablets/drops and drinking water are examples of systemic fluorides.
    • If you have private-well water and your child isn’t exposed to a regular fluoride source, your Dentist maySodium Fluoride Tablet recommend a prescription fluoride supplement.  These generally come in a liquid form, or chewable tablets, designed for children.   It’s best to have your water tested to see the fluoridation levels present in your water, to determine if supplemental fluoride is necessary.
    • Municipal/city water also contains fluoride.  Although this delivery method is considered systemic, it still has topical benefits because the fluoride is present in the water that contacts your teeth and saliva.  Water fluoridation is extremely inexpensive and effective in the prevention of tooth decay.

 

Fluoride is very beneficial when used appropriately.  Over the past several decades with fluoride being more prevalent, especially with the advent of the fluoridation of drinking water supplies, a significant decline in tooth decay rates has been observed.  If you have any concerns or questions about the uses of fluoride or if you think your child needs to be supplemented, please let us know the next time you’re in our office.

Your Dental Health Can Indicate Other Health Issues

Your Dental Health Can Indicate Other Health Issues

By: Matthew Norman, DDS and Michelle Phillips, RDH

 

Your teeth, gums, tongue, and overall oral health are a reliable indicator of other overall health issues. Heart disease, diabetes, HIV, osteoporosis and eating disorders are examples of health issues which have symptoms visible in the mouth. Teaming with your Dental Office for regular checkups can help identify these conditions.

 

Cardiovascular disease is very closely linked with the health of your mouth and the presence of infection. Those with periodontal (gum) disease are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Some studies have suggested that heart disease, clogged arteries and even stroke may be associated with the oral bacteria present with periodontal disease. Your mouth has an abundance of bacteria— both good and bad. Bacteria have the ability to enter your bloodstream, especially in an unhealthy mouth with swollen or bleeding gums. Once in your bloodstream, the dangerous bacteria can pass to your heart and cause infection in the inner lining of the heart. This is a very important reason to maintain optimal oral hygiene. By practicing good brushing and flossing habits, bacteria remain at healthy levels and have a lessened chance of entering the bloodstream.

 

 

Your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body and can reveal a great deal about your overall health.  Diabetes is an example of a systemic disease which has a direct relationship with your oral health.  Diabetes inhibits the body’s ability to fight against infection.  People with diabetes must keep their blood sugar levels under control.  When a diabetic patient has uncontrolled blood sugar levels, the risk of having more-frequent and severe gum infections increases—opposed to those with controlled blood sugar levels.

 

 

Other systemic diseases that can be detected based on conditions present in the mouth.  HIV / AIDS patients are prone to having painful sores in the mouth.  They also have an increased risk of developing thrush—a fungal infection in the mouth.  Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones become weak and fragile. This includes the bones of the jaw that support your teeth, which can eventually lead to tooth loss.  Patients suffering from eating disorders, such as bulimia, can cause chemical erosion to their teeth due to the stomach acid which consistently comes in contact with the teeth.

 

Not only is saliva your main defense mechanism against the harmful bacteria and viruses in your mouth, but it can be a tool in diagnosing systemic disease.   Dental offices now have the ability to test and analyze your saliva.  The testing can diagnose many diseases such as: diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, cirrhosis of the liver, oral cancer, breast cancer, HIV, hepatitis, periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease.  These conditions have specific markers which show up in your saliva that these tests can identify.  Salivary tests are completely harmless and non-invasive to perform.

 

Your mouth is a vital information source about the condition of your overall health.  Practicing excellent oral hygiene will help to keep your mouth and teeth healthy, as well as other areas of your body.  It is important to see your dentist on a regular basis to ensure your mouth is in a healthy condition.  Your regular dental appointment is also an opportunity for your dentist to examine your mouth and check for conditions which can indicate the presence of other diseases.

 

Basic Practices for Excellent Dental Health

Basic Practices for Excellent Dental Health

Matthew Norman, DDS and Michelle Phillips, RDH

Caregivers are responsible for the oral and overall health of those they care for. As a caregiver, many questions may come to mind regarding your responsibilities for one’s oral health:

How should I go about caring for someone’s mouth and teeth? What type of dental hygiene routine is best for my loved-one, friend or patient? What is the proper way to brush and floss teeth? How often should my dependant see his/her Professional Dental Team? What types of oral health products should I use that will allow me to provide the best oral care I can? How do I clean false teeth?

Our goal is to help answer these questions and to provide information that you can use to improve your overall practices for excellent dental health, whether it be your own or someone else’s.

When the question of how to provide care for someone else’s oral health comes to mind, try to think of how you would care for your own mouth. Brushing your teeth twice a day (morning/night) and flossing once a day, should come to mind… When brushing, be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride helps strengthen the outer layer of the teeth to prevent cavities. You shouldn’t use a medium or hard-bristled toothbrush because the rigid bristles can damage the gums and cause them to recede. When the toothbrush bristles become ‘wilted or frayed’ in appearance, it’s time to change to a new one. A good rule of thumb is to replace your toothbrush every three months, or whenever you’ve been sick. Changing your toothbrush after you’ve been sick is extremely important—the bristles can harbor bacteria and prolong your illness. Always use a light, but firm pressure when brushing. For instance, imagine that you are brushing a ripe tomato and don’t want to bruise it. These use and maintenance tips also apply to those who use electric toothbrushes.

 

It can be more difficult flossing someone else’s then than flossing your own, but the principles are the same. To properly floss, take a piece of floss approximately 18-inches long and wrap it around your middle fingers. Use your index fingers and thumbs to guide the floss between the teeth. Once the floss is in between two adjacent teeth, be sure to adapt the floss to each tooth, forming the floss into a ‘C’ shape. Gently slide the floss below the gumline, adapt to the adjacent tooth and do the same. There are several flossers or floss picks on the market that can help assist with this motion. The concept remains the same…you must adapt the floss to each tooth!

 

Ideally, everyone should see their dentist every six months and in some cases, more frequently. Your dentist and dental hygienist work together at these visits to assess the health of your gums and teeth. The dental team will determine the proper visit interval to ensure that an excellent level of health is maintained in your mouth. Aside from assessing the health of your mouth and having a professional cleaning, the doctor will also perform an oral cancer screening at your regular visit. The members of your dental team are the only health care professionals that look into your mouth on a regular basis. It is imperative for them to establish a baseline of what your mouth looks like and record the presence of any abnormalities. Regular oral cancer screens ensure your mouth is examined for cancer on a consistent basis and the necessary precautions and/or treatments are performed in the event an abnormality is found.

 

The following are important points when caring for those with false teeth or dentures: Make sure the dentures are taken out every night before sleeping. Your gums need to breathe! Keeping the dentures in place all day and night can cause the gum tissue to become red and irritated. Irritated gum tissue can cause discomfort when wearing the dentures. Constant wearing of dentures can also cause oral infections. When cleaning dentures, be sure to brush them as you would your own teeth. Use a denture brush or a soft-bristled toothbrush and denture cleaner—you may also use an antibacterial soap or a mild dishwashing liquid. When the dentures are out of the mouth, they can be soaked in a denture cleanser or water, to help avoid drying and potentially losing their form. Before replacing the dentures in the mouth, gently brush the gums and tongue to stimulate circulation and remove any plaque debris that may be present.

Remember that your Professional Dental Team is here to help you. If you need any assistance or have any questions about caring for your loved ones, don’t hesitate to contact them. As a caregiver, be sure to remember what is necessary to care for one’s oral health: brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, daily flossing, eating well-balanced meals, and visiting your Dentist regularly.