Happy Children’s Dental Health Month from Falmouth Dental Arts! This national health observance brings together thousands of dedicated professionals to promote the benefits of good oral health to children and their caregivers all February long. Falmouth Dental Arts looks forward to any opportunity to help our youngest patients love their healthy smiles and dentist appointments. In celebration of Children’s Dental Health Month, here are 5 tips to help you care for your little one’s teeth:
1. Start Early! Did you know that you can start your kids on the path of good oral hygiene before your child even has a tooth? It’s true! The earlier you begin, the easier it will be to establish a routine. The ADA recommends parents gently wipe their baby’s gums with a wet washcloth once a day. This will help prepare your child for using a toothbrush.
Once your child does have their teeth, you can begin to brush twice a day. Brush the teeth very gently on the inside and outside and try to brush the gums as well. Give our office a call to schedule your child’s first visit with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos. We always love having little ones visit the office!
2. Use the Proper Toothpaste, and the Proper Amount. Look for a children’s toothpaste with fluoride and the ADA seal of approval. Also, know that a little goes a long way for your little ones! For children under the age of 3, the recommendation is to use about the size of a grain of rice. For kids ages 3 to 6, use no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Remind your kids that toothpaste is not candy (even though it comes in some yummy flavors) and they should spit it out.
3. Make it Fun! “When you wake up in the morning at a quarter to one, and you want to have a little fun…you brush your teeth! “
Singer Raffi had it right, brushing your teeth can be fun! You’ll find when you make it a positive experience for them, it’s less of a struggle. Plus, laughing or dancing while those teeth get clean is a great way to get the habit to stick, so find ways to motivate your kids to brush with music, silly voices, fun toothbrushes, or books.
4. Healthy Snacks Help. Good oral health goes beyond the bathroom sink! Help your kids have healthy teeth by encouraging them to eat healthy snacks as well. Avoiding sugary drinks and candy is always advised, and being proactive by eating crunchy veggies and calcium-rich yogurt and cheese will support your children in developing that healthy smile from the inside out.
5. Come See Us! Having your children get regular check-ups with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos is an important part of their oral health care. We are here to help show you how to care for your kids’ teeth and keep their smiles shining bright! Call our office at 207.781.5900 today to schedule an appointment.
*Image courtesy of www.vectorstock.com
Do you or a family member have an oral procedure scheduled in the near future? Whether it’s the application of braces on your high-schooler, a root canal for your spouse, or teeth whitening for yourself, many oral procedures require some sort of specialized diet in the hours or days afterwards. The team at Falmouth Dental Arts breaks down the dos and don’ts of post-oral procedure diets, so you can make your grocery list with ease. Let’s break down the best foods to eat after dental surgery.
- Do enjoy soft, easy-to-chew or no-chew foods!
- Smoothies and shakes (made with your favorite fruits and veggies!)
- Soups (smooth varieties such as tomato, clear broth, or cream soups)
- Oatmeal, mashed potatoes
- Yogurt, ice cream, or pudding
- Bananas or other very soft fruit (mash it up!)
- Peanut butter
- Soft scrambled eggs
- Don’t eat any spicy, chewy, crunchy, or crusty foods. The list above may look a bit bland, but sticking to it will help speed up your healing process and avoid any post-surgery complications!.
- Keep in Mind: TEMPERATURE! Your mouth is especially sensitive after an oral procedure, so avoid foods or drinks that are too hot or too cold. Allow everything to come to a nice room-temperature before consumption.
For teeth whitening:
- Do stick to the White Diet for 24 Hours!
- Chicken or white fish
- White pasta and rice
- White cheeses
- White yogurts
- Clear beverages
- White toothpastes
- Clear mouthwash
- Don’t eat any dark foods or drinks such as red sauces, red meat, chocolate, tea, coffee, or any type of alcohol or fruit juice.
- Keep in Mind: THE STAIN TEST! If a food would leave a mark or stain on a white t-shirt, it would leave a stain on your new pearly whites! Avoid it!
For all procedures:
- Keep in Mind: BALANCED NUTRITION! No matter how limited these lists appear, each one has room for proteins, vegetables, and fruits, as well as healthy carbohydrates and fats. Make sure to build a healthy menu within your guidelines. Your body needs good nutrition to heal quickly and properly. You’ll be back to chewy, crunchy foods in no time!
- Keep in Mind: Consumption of alcohol. Many people wonder if it is safe to consume alcohol after dental surgery. You should wait at least 24 hours before drinking any sort of alcoholic beverage.
Here at Falmouth Dental Arts, we care about your mouth pre-procedure, in-procedure, and post-procedure! If you have specific dietary restrictions, needs, questions, or concerns, just talk to Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos. They will be happy to give their food recommendations, specifically tailored to you and your particular procedure. If you have any questions, or to schedule your appointment, please call our office at 207.781.5900
Ah, Halloween! Little ghouls and goblins are grinning at the prospect of a bag full of candy…while those poor souls responsible for their young fangs find nothing more frightening than impending pounds of sugar. Don’t let ghosts of cavities haunt you this year! The staff at Falmouth Dental Arts is here to help with Five Tips for a Tooth-Happy Halloween.
1. Who you gonna call? CandyBusters! Candy = Sugar = Cavities. We’re all familiar with this equation! This year, consider removing the first variable and revamping your Halloween treat bowl to include a healthier selection. Sugar-free gum, individually-wrapped snack packages of fruits and veggies, cheese sticks, or individual on-the-go yogurt tubes are all fun, unexpected, and tooth-friendly pumpkin-fillers!
2. Stickier is Scarier. Even if you are handing out healthy Halloween snacks, it’s almost inevitable that you and your children will encounter candy this time of year. When choosing which sweets to indulge in, consider texture. Candies such as gummies or taffies adhere to the surface of your teeth with scary sticking power! This residue is a feast for the bad bacteria that cause cavities. Cut down on bacteria by choosing granular goodies like chocolate, which dissolve quickly from the tooth’s surface.
3. Let’s Do the Time Warp! It’s enjoyable to savor your sweets, but the odds of developing a cavity increase the longer that a sugary substance is in your mouth. Hard candies like lollipops or suckers are prolonged sugar bombs for your teeth, causing massive dental destruction! Trading hard candies out for sweets such as chocolate limits sugar exposure and is a safer bet for your bite.
4. Dessert Thriller By strategically timing your candy consumption to align with mealtimes, you’re not only getting a delicious dessert–you’re doing right by your teeth! As we learned in September’s blog post, saliva production increases when you eat, which allows for food residue and bacteria to be naturally washed away with every swallow. Your saliva production is in overdrive during mealtimes, which makes it primetime to pop in a few tasty treats for dessert. Don’t forget to sip water throughout your meal to assist your saliva in cleaning out your mouth. You’ll get the sweet ending your meal deserves, and your teeth will thank you!
5. Brush Away the Boogey Man No matter how or when you consume your Halloween treats, don’t forget to brush twice a day (or more, should you sneak some candy in-between meal times)! Looking to make your daily dental regiment a little spookier this time of year? Turn up this kid-friendly Halloween playlist while you brush!
Does your little vampire have an appointment for their fangs with us on Thursday, October 31st? Kids are welcome to come to Halloween appointments in costume. If you have any questions, or to schedule your appointment, please call our office at 207.781.5900
Can we really clean a dirty mouth with chewing gum?
In between your regularly-scheduled cleanings and check-ups with Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos, what are some steps you can take to maintain and improve your oral health? We all know that brushing and flossing twice daily are essential. But even if you have a fun toothbrush and fancy-flavored toothpaste and floss, the old brush-and-floss routine can sometimes feel more like a chore than a treat.
Chewing gum—with its kaleidoscope of colors, yummy flavors, fun wrappers, and snappy names (and snappier bubbles), always feels like a treat. But does chewing gum help support other dental hygiene…or hurt it?
What does it mean to chew?
Let’s look at what happens when you pop a piece of gum into your mouth. What is the physiological response to the act of continual chewing? First and foremost, chewing stimulates salivary flow. In fact, chewing increases the average flow of saliva in your mouth by 10 times that of your non-chewing rate. All of this extra saliva needs to be swallowed, which means that as average saliva production increases, the average rate of swallowing increases as well.
Saliva acts as a natural barrier between different kinds of acid and your tooth enamel. Saliva that is stimulated by chewing contains higher concentrations of protein, calcium, and bicarbonate, which makes it a better barrier than unstimulated saliva. This “Super Saliva” is super helpful when you’re eating, because food and beverage all contain acids that start to break down our enamel over time. However, chewing gum stimulates the same saliva type and flow as chewing your favorite meal—meaning that you can activate the power of “Super Saliva” any time of day!
Repeated swallowing clears acid deposits from the esophagus, which some studies have shown to help reduce different kinds of acid reflux. This means that chewing clears acid from the top (getting it out of your mouth) and bottom (keeping it in your stomach)! Who knew?
Sugar vs. Sugar-free
Since our very first Halloween adventure, we’ve all memorized the scary equation that “SUGAR + TEETH = CAVITIES”. Sweet teeth need brushing, flossing…and sugar free gum! Here’s why.
Sugar, or sucrose, is food for the oral bacteria naturally residing in our mouths (for more information, read our August blog post!). When the bacteria metabolize the sucrose, they produce dental biofilms and acids which erode enamel and cause cavities. Even though chewing gum with sugar still increases Super Saliva flow, that benefit is undone by the production of biofilms and acids.
Sugarless gum is still sweetened, but by artificial sweeteners such as xylitol. These types of sweeteners are either metabolized very slowly, or not at all, by our oral bacteria, meaning no biofilms or additional acids. In fact, xylitol is a common ingredient in mouthwashes, toothpastes, and popular mints such as LifeSavers.
To Chew or Not to Chew?
Chomp away on your sugar-free gum! It is beneficial to your oral health to chew sugar-free gum after and in-between meals. Chewing gum significantly increases the flow of powerful, acid-clearing saliva. Additionally, artificial sweeteners cannot be metabolized by oral bacteria. This means that enamel-eroding and cavity-causing acids are minimized, and your beautiful smile is maximized!
If you’re still unsure of which chewing gum is best, just look for the American Dental Association seal of approval. Only dentist-approved sugar-free gums are eligible for the ADA’s seal, so you can choose them with confidence. Just remember that although chewing sugar-free gum is a great way to improve your daily dental hygiene routine, it’s never a substitute for twice-daily brushing and flossing.
Bring a pack of sugar-free, ADA gum to share with Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos at your next dental exam and cleaning! If you have any questions, or need to schedule your next appointment, please call our office at 207.781.5900.
(Post your best and biggest sugar-free chewing gum bubble pictures on our Facebook page!)
*images courtesy of confectionarynews.com