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Brushing Your Kid’s Teeth

Brushing your kid's teeth

It’s never too early to get children in the habit of good oral care. Of course, it’s up to parents to take the “first steps.” Finding new ways to model good dental habits and practice them with your kids is key. The sooner kids begin to take charge of their own teeth, the happier and healthier they (and you) will be. And the payoffs over a lifetime are immeasurable.

Don’t Worry—You’re Not Alone

If you think it’s a challenge to teach your kids good oral care, you’re in good company. Tooth decay is one of the most common childhood diseases. And studies show that almost 50% of kids between six and eight have had at least one cavity.1 These are just a couple of reasons why it’s so important to help kids understand right from the start that proper dental habits are a smart idea.

How to Care for Babies’ Teeth

There’s a lot of information you can discover, but these basics are a good beginning.

  • Help prevent plaque bacteria by gently cleaning a newborn baby’s gums with a damp cloth after feedings. Just be sure to use water only, not toothpaste.
  • Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle of formula or juices that contain sugar.
  • Once teething begins at about 4 to 6 months, get little ones used to having their teeth brushed. Extra-soft bristles and a pea-sized dab of non-fluoride toothpaste are best.
  • Even babies can develop gingivitis, decay, and cavities, so it’s a good idea to see a pediatric dentist early—use a “first visit by first birthday” strategy.

Tooth Care for Toddlers

Showing by example and making it fun is the name of the game. When everyone brushes at the same time, it becomes a family ritual that kids look forward to.

  • At about age two, it’s okay to start using fluoride toothpaste—but make sure there’s no swallowing. Want to teach the proper length of time for brushing? Try singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” or another upbeat favorite for two minutes.  
  • Oral-B® Electric Toothbrushes have lots of designs that feature popular animated characters. Now kids can have more fun brushing with their buddies from Disney® and Pixar®.
  • Usually by ages three or four, all 20 primary or “baby” teeth have appeared. Permanent, or “adult,” teeth appear by age six and may continue to emerge into the teen years.
  • If you have a toddler who is afraid of the dentist, you might make your little one more comfortable by letting him or her sit in your lap during the exam.

Older Kids and Dental Health

As kids get older, they want to feel more independent. Part of growing up includes assuming responsibility for taking care of their own teeth—without prompting from parents. Appeal to what matters to them: Kids want to look good to their peers, they want to smile in selfies, and they don’t want to spend their free time sitting in the dental professional’s chair. 

To teach kids more about proper brushing time, try the Disney Magic Timer App.  

Another big challenge for children is avoiding sugary snacks and drinks. Healthier snack options let them enjoy better dental and overall health. If your kids are involved in sports, a mouth guard to protect their teeth from injury can keep them safe and looking good for a lifetime.

Flossing is an important lesson to teach. You might also want to ask your dental professional about sealants or fluoride treatments for added protection against decay.

1 NIH.gov: Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General

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Case Study: Invisalign for Over-Crowding

It’s a common misconception that Invisalign can only be used if you need minimal straightening, and anything that requires more attention needs metal brackets. A patient of Dr. Kelly’s came in with severe crowding that they wanted to fix. Below are before and after images of what Invisalign can do to give you the smile you’ve always dreamed of.

 

Before

 

The entire treatment process took about a year. Dr. Kelly placed a permanent wire retainer on the bottom row of teeth to ensure no movement over time and a removable clear top retainer. 

After

Before the patient even commits to Invisalign treatment the Doctors at Southview Dentistry can show them a time-lapse video of what to expect throughout the course of their treatment. See the videos below. 

Why are more adults getting braces?
As braces have become less bulky and visible in recent years, more and more adults are wearing them, for a variety of reasons. Some adults want to correct problems with their teeth or jaws before they cause serious or further damage. Others want to feel better about their appearance by addressing longstanding cosmetic concerns. Keep in mind that even “cosmetic” problems can cause real damage over time. Teeth and jaws that are not aligned properly can lead to premature wear and tear, advanced tooth decay and gum disease, dentures or other reconstructive solutions and even more extensive surgery to correct serious problems.

New techniques and the advent of clear, less noticeable braces means that adults are increasingly turning to braces to correct:

  • Gaps between teeth (spacing)
  • Teeth that push against one another (crowding)
  • Crooked teeth
  • Overbites
  • Underbites
  • Crossbites

How do I know if adult braces are right for me?
If you think you might benefit from braces, ask your dentist. They will look at your teeth and maybe take X-rays to study the underlying bone structure. Based on what they findss, a treatment plan will be recommended. While braces are a popular option for fixing misaligned teeth, a dentist can tell you whether you may benefit more from other types of orthodontics like removable retainers, headgear or aligners.

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The Importance of Oral Health in Older Adults

In the past, losing teeth and getting dentures was considered an almost inevitable part of aging. Those days are over. Intact teeth, healthy gums and pain-free smiles are what older adults should expect as they maintain good oral hygiene and get regular dental care.

Some seniors may find it harder to brush thoroughly and take care of their teeth than they used to. But with age, good oral health is key to avoiding gum disease, preserving function and allowing people to eat well. Below, we describe potential issues, nifty devices and affordable resources for seniors and caregivers to keep teeth healthy.

Mouth of a 45-Year-Old

Among most baby boomers, dental self-care comes naturally. For this group, losing their teeth is not a consideration. They’re not going to. And they’re people who’ve grown up pretty recently educated that you should go regularly to get your teeth cleaned, that you should use a fluoridated toothpaste.

Baby boomers have a preventive advantage. Unlike kids these days, [baby boomers] drank out of drinking fountains that had fluoride in them. You can’t gauge somebody’s age by looking at their teeth, we’ve told 85-year-old patients that if we showed their X-rays to another dentist, the dentist would think the images belonged to someone who was 45.

“When was the last time you had your teeth cleaned?” is a key question to ask new patients or their family members. That tells us the last time you were in for regular preventive care. That’s what matters so much.

Debunking Senior Dental Myths

Common misconceptions about aging teeth can act as barriers to the best dental self-care. Keep the following recommendations in mind:

  • Cavities aren’t just for kids. The evidence is clear that loss of teeth, or edentulism, is decreasing among older Americans. People are retaining their teeth and keeping them longer. Therefore, they could be at risk for cavities. It doesn’t mean that’s automatic. If you’re taking care of your teeth, we can prevent cavities.
  • Don’t wait for pain. Waiting for patients to start complaining of pain before doing root-surface procedures isn’t a good approach for older adults in their 70s and beyond. Pain perception changes with age and a problem that would send a 40-year-old screaming to their dentist might not register with someone who’s 75. Similarly, older patients might put off needed care, not realizing that pain is a sign of an underlying problem. But waiting until it really hurts could lead to tooth loss and costly reconstructive work.
  • Teeth shouldn’t soften. It’s not true that teeth naturally become softer with age. If you have bone loss, you have periodontal disease or your teeth are breaking up because there’s decay.
  • Gum bleeding? Don’t stop brushing. Bleeding gums are a sign of infection and an indication that oral hygiene isn’t ideal. Caregivers may be reluctant to brush people’s teeth when bleeding occurs. However, it’s going to bleed when you start – keep cleaning until it stops and gets healthy again.
  • Nutrition suffers with dental problems. It’s a myth that missing teeth or faulty dentures make people eat less. Instead, they choose softer foods like doughnuts and avoid healthier choices like salads, raw carrots and apples. When loose lower dentures impair function, implants help clasp them in place. Strategically located implants to replace missing teeth can allow better chewing, so people eat in a more nutritious way.

Body-Mouth Connection

You can’t have good overall health without dental health. Just as an infected cut on your finger can introduce bacteria into the bloodstream, infection from gum disease also can spread. The mouth is the entrance to your gut and other parts of the body and we have been learning more from the science and research [about] the connection between chronic conditions like diabetes and the oral health of that individual. People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease. They definitely need to be seen more frequently for cleanings and monitoring.

Dental exams can uncover certain medical conditions. Diagnostic tools like X-rays and a methodical screening process, including a head and neck exam, may locate cancerous and noncancerous growths. A dental exam can also catch systemic problems like a blood disorder. According to the American Cancer Society, 62 is the average age for most people diagnosed with mouth, throat and tongue cancer.

Older adults may see prescriptions pile up, and some medications lead to dry mouth. If you notice a couple months after you start a new medication your mouth getting drier, do not do anything except drink water to fix it. Do not suck on candies. Do not drink more coffees and teas with sugar in them. When you are constantly exposed to sugar throughout a day, then you’re going to increase your [cavity] risk. Talk to your doctor about adjusting medications.

When brushing and flossing get harder for patients we see plaque build along their gum lines and foods caught in their teeth. Easy-to-use dental devices can make up for reduced manual dexterity and improve patients’ ability to keep teeth clean.

Interdental brushes, which look like small tube brushes, provide a good alternative to flossing. (They are also helpful for people with braces.) Water flossers are another option, as well as sonic electric toothbrushes, which vibrate the plaque from your teeth.

 

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Case Study: Invisalign Before Wedding

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Invisalign straightens your teeth by using a custom set of aligners tailored to fit your mouth. A recent patient of Dr. Kelly and Dr. Micheal didn’t like the crowding in her mouth or her deep bite so she decided to try Invisalign before her wedding to finally get the smile she’s always wanted.

Before

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The patient wore Invisalign for 5 months and continues to sleep in a clear retainer every night. See the videos below for a time-lapsed treatment process.

The Process

 

After

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Afterwards, as you can tell, her smile is straight with no more crowding or overbite!

Why choose Invisalign over traditional braces?

Making the decision to straighten your teeth is much easier when you know that Invisalign® treatment lets you live your life the way you want to. With Invisalign aligners, you don’t need to worry about the gum and mouth irritation other teeth-straightening methods can cause.

Invisalign aligner trays are not only smooth and comfortable to wear, but they’re also removable. That means you can continue doing all the things you normally would, from brushing and flossing, to eating whatever you like. With other devices, brushing and flossing properly can often take up to 30 minutes!

Special occasion coming up? No problem — just take your aligners out for that time and pop them back in when you’re ready. Of course, even when you’re wearing them, most people won’t even know you’re going through treatment, because they are virtually invisible!

Invisalign treatment is also ideal for your busy schedule, with fewer doctor visits required (approximately every six weeks).

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Southview Dentistry’s In-House Dental Coverage

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For our patients without insurance, we are excited to offer the following In-House Dental Plan:

 

Premium Benefits


Plan
Single – $75
Family – $225
*Family Plan includes up to 4 family members

  • No Yearly Maximums
  • No Deductibles
  • No Claim Forms
  • No Pre-authorizations
  • No Existing Condition Limitations
  • No Waiting Periods & Immediate Eligibility
  • All Procedures Offered at Discounted Rates!

Our Dental Savings Plan is designed to provide affordability and greater access to quality dental care! There is NO MEMBERSHIP CARD NEEDED! Your plan renews the first of each calendar year.

Program Guidelines

  • Patient’s portion is due on the day of service
  • No refunds or premiums will be issued at any time if participant decides not to utilize dental plan
  • Cannot be used in conjunction with another dental plan
  • Cannot be used for referrals or specialists

Enroll today and receive a discounted fee schedule for all services, only good at Southview Dentistry. You can save on everything from cleanings & fillings to cosmetic procedures & crowns!

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Southview’s Dirty Santa Luncheon!

We had such a blast at our Dirty Santa Luncheon yesterday! We had the girls watch Bruno Mars Carpool Karaoke with James Corden then surprised them with their gifts – Bruno Mars tickets! We had so much fun and even caught Susan laughing so hard she started crying! Thanks for a great year everyone and Happy Holidays!

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Health Benefits of Straight Teeth

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Many people associate straight teeth with cosmetic purposes only – but what if we told you that straight teeth can also benefit your health? Invisalign is a non-stressful and simple straightening process that allows us to straighten your teeth in a shorter amount of time than traditional braces.

According to the American Dental Association, straightening your teeth can actually significantly affect your overall dental health. Think about it — a smile can hardly be perfect if it’s not a healthy one. Fortunately, with Invisalign®, having a confident smile and reducing your risk for tooth decay and gum disease go hand in hand.

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HEALTHIER TEETH AND GUMS

Swollen, red gums can often be the result of having teeth that are crowded or too widely spaced. Unfortunately, these are also signs of periodontal disease. When teeth are properly aligned, it helps the gums fit more securely around the teeth, allowing for the strongest and healthiest defense against potential periodontal problems. That’s where Invisalign comes in. The comfortable and clear aligners gently and gradually begin to move your teeth into the proper position — without unsightly brackets and wires.

EASIER CLEANING

One of the biggest challenges of having braces is removing all the food that gets trapped in the brackets and wires. This can often lead to plaque buildup and eventually tooth decay. With Invisalign, the aligners are removable, so it’s easy to continue brushing and flossing your teeth the way you normally do.

OVERALL HEALTH

Think of your teeth as a window to the health of your body. Your teeth and gums — and how they look to others when you smile—say a lot about your overall health. If you’re taking good care of both, you’re probably taking good care of the rest of you.

Tooth decay and gum disease are caused by bacteria. Left untreated, they can cause mouth sores, tender or bleeding gums, bad breath, and possible tooth loss. Studies by the American Dental Association have shown that oral infections can also lead to other more serious ailments such as heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, and diabetes. Invisalign aligners make daily oral hygiene easier, thus reducing the risk of possible problems. And correctly aligned teeth can also alleviate the issues that can be caused by an improper bite, speech or chewing difficulties, jaw problems, and increased wear on the tooth enamel. Invisalign effectively addresses all of these orthodontic issues, so you’ll have the confidence of a great smile and increase the likelihood of improved oral health.

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Happy Valentines Day!

Give your Valentine the gift 
of a whiter smile!

$50 Off!
Now Just $250!

Calll Jenny at (704)333-4760 
to schedule before
February 15th, 2013!

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