4 Home Remedies For Abscessed Teeth

Article Written By: Amy Freeman, Colgate

You’re experiencing some serious pain in your mouth, and you think a dental abscess, a bacterial infection in the teeth or gums, might be to blame. Are there any home remedies for abscessed teeth that will help ease the discomfort while you’re waiting for your dentist appointment?

You have a few options for easing the pain, but home remedies won’t get to the root of the issue and aren’t likely to cure the abscess. Instead, think of home remedies as stop-gap measures. They’ll help you in the short term, but they won’t replace a visit to the dentist.

How to Cope with Dental Abscesses at Home

You’re likely to come across a few recommended home remedies for abscessed teeth. While each option has its advantages, some also have a few risks or potential drawbacks. If your dental abscess is causing severe pain and you have to wait before your dentist can see you, understanding how each remedy can help and what its risks are may help you choose the best one for you.

  1. Clove oil. The active ingredient in clove oil, eugenol, has helpful anesthetic and antibacterial properties. Applying a small amount of a clove essential oil to the site of a dental abscess can temporarily numb the area, easing your pain. But there are a few drawbacks to clove oil. It can be strong-smelling and spread to other parts of your mouth accidentally. Additionally, if you accidentally ingest a lot of clove oil, it may require a trip to the emergency room, notes the National Institutes of Health. Ingesting too much can lead to a variety of symptoms, such as shallow breathing, a burning throat, rapid heartbeat, and dizziness.
  2. Saltwater rinse. A saltwater rinse can help to wash away bacteria and pus from an abscess. Saltwater can also soothe discomfort, the National Institutes of Health points out. While rinsing can provide some relief when you have an abscess, keep in mind that saltwater alone won’t be enough to clear up the infection.
  3. Peppermint tea bags. Some claim that placing wet, cool peppermint tea bags on a dental abscess will help ease the pain. While placing a cooled tea bag on an abscess won’t hurt you, it’s also not very likely to help you either. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health notes that there isn’t enough evidence to say whether peppermint tea is helpful for any condition. The cold temperature of the tea bag may be somewhat soothing. If you happen to have some tea bags handy, you can try this home remedy. But you don’t want to rely on it to heal your abscess.
  4. Don’t use alcohol. One popular, but an ineffective home remedy has people soaking a cotton swab with alcohol (often whiskey or vodka) and applying the cotton to the abscessed area. While the alcohol may temporarily numb the pain, it won’t clear up the infection. Any relief will be temporary, and this method is obviously not recommended for children with tooth pain. Plus, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism points out that while alcohol can reduce pain, the use of alcohol as a pain reliever can be incredibly dangerous, as you often need a lot of alcohol to get any numbing effects. It’s best to give this home remedy a pass.

Along with trying out natural home remedies to treat a dental abscess, people also often turn to over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. While pain medication may help improve your comfort, it’s also a temporary measure. You’ll still want to see your dentist remove the source of the infection and heal the tooth or gums.

How Your Dentist Can Treat an Abscess

Your dentist might use a variety of treatments to heal a dental abscess, explains the American Dental Association. In some cases, your dentist will prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria. They might also clean the area around the tooth to remove debris, pus, and bacteria, or perform a root canal if there has been considerable damage to the pulp of the tooth.

Although a home remedy can provide some relief, don’t put off your visit to a dentist. The sooner you schedule treatment, the sooner your mouth will feel better and begin to heal.

Source: https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/adult-oral-care/4-home-remedies-for-abscessed-teeth0

How Oral Health And Heart Disease Are Connected

Article written by: Tracey Sandilands | Colgate

It’s increasingly common to hear that oral health is vital for overall health. More than 80 percent of Americans, for example, are living with periodontal or gum disease, which often goes undiagnosed. This may be because the patient’s teeth feel fine, so he avoids going to the dentist, and visits to the physician rarely focus on oral health.

According to Delta Dental, however, there is now evidence of two specific links between oral health and heart disease. First, recent studies show that if you have gum disease in a moderate or advanced stage, you’re at greater risk for heart disease than someone with healthy gums. And second, your oral health can provide doctors with warning signs for a range of diseases and conditions, including those in the heart.

Why Are These Things Related?

Oral health and heart disease are connected by the spread of bacteria – and other germs – from your mouth to other parts of your body through the bloodstream. When these bacteria reach the heart, they can attach themselves to any damaged area and cause inflammation. This can result in illnesses such as endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart, according to Mayo Clinic. Other cardiovascular conditions such as atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) and stroke have also been linked to inflammation caused by oral bacteria, according to the American Heart Association.

Who Is at Risk?

Patients with chronic gum conditions such as gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease have the highest risk for heart disease caused by poor oral health, particularly if it remains undiagnosed and unmanaged. The bacteria that are associated with gum infection are in the mouth and can enter the bloodstream, where they attach to the blood vessels and increase your risk to cardiovascular disease. 

Even if you don’t have noticeable gum inflammation, however, inadequate oral hygiene and accumulated plaque put you at risk for gum disease. The bacteria can also migrate into your bloodstream causing elevated C-reactive protein, which is a marker for inflammation in the blood vessels. This can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Symptoms and Warning Signs

According to the American Association of Periodontology (AAP), you may have gum disease, even if it’s in its early stages, if:

  • your gums are red, swollen and sore to the touch.
  • your gums bleed when you eat, brush or floss.
  • you see pus or other signs of infection around the gums and teeth.
  • your gums look as if they are “pulling away” from the teeth.
  • you frequently have bad breath or notice a bad taste in your mouth.
  • or some of your teeth are loose, or feel as if they are moving away from the other teeth.

Prevention Measures

Good oral hygiene and regular dental examinations are the best way to protect yourself against the development of gum disease. The American Dental Association (ADA) Mouth Healthy site recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush that fits your mouth comfortably, so it reaches every tooth surface adequately. It also recommends that you use an ADA-accepted toothpaste such as Colgate Total® Advanced, which is proven to increase gum health in four weeks. You should also floss daily and visit your dentist for regular professional cleanings.

By being proactive about your oral health, you can protect yourself from developing a connection between oral health and heart disease, and keep your smile healthy, clean and beautiful throughout your life.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

Source:www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/heart-disease/how-oral-health-and-heart-disease-are-connected-0115

Smoking, Your Mouth, and Your Health

There are no ifs, ands, or “butts” about it: smoking can be detrimental to oral health. Beyond the bad breath and yellow teeth, do you really know what you’re getting yourself into by smoking every day? Probably not.

There are quite a few uncertainties surrounding smoking and oral health, especially as tobacco alternatives become more prevalent in the market. Smoking, your mouth, and your health are deeply interconnected and below, we’ll discuss the common health issues you should be aware of when it comes to smoking.

Top 10 Oral Health Problems Associated With Smoking

Smoking can damage your oral health in both the short and long term. The most common complications include:

  1. Bad breath
  2. Discoloration or yellowing of the teeth
  3. Salivary gland inflammation (particularly on the roof of the mouth)
  4. Increased plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth
  5. Increased bone loss in the jaw
  6. Increased risk of leukoplakia, a condition that manifests as white or gray patches on the tongue, cheek, or roof of the mouth due to chronic irritation of mucous membranes
  7. Increased risk of gum disease, which can cause future tooth loss
  8. Delayed healing after any major procedure such as tooth extraction, periodontal treatments, or oral surgery
  9. Decreased success rates of dental implant procedures
  10. Increased risk of oral cancer

Cigarettes Aren’t the Only Culprit Causing Oral Health Complications

Cigarettes are not the only tobacco product detrimental to your oral health. Pipes and cigars can cause the same health problems as cigarettes, and in some cases, pipe and cigar users also experience an increased risk for pharyngeal or throat cancer.

Because of this, many tobacco users turn to smokeless tobacco products like snuff and chewing tobacco. However, these products also increase the risk for cancer of the mouth, throat, and esophagus. In fact, some of these products, particularly chewing tobacco, are actually worse than cigarettes in terms of their negative oral health effects.

It’s Best To “Butt” This Habit out of Your Life Once and for All

According to the American Cancer Society, smokers are six times more likely than nonsmokers to develop cancer of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat. This makes it apparent that using any type of tobacco product compromises your health in a significant way.

By understanding the implications of tobacco use, you can stay informed and aware of the health complications you may face in the future. Better yet, you can use this information as motivation to stop smoking, chewing, or snuffing once and for all to protect your smile and your life.

Sources:

Smoking and Oral Health. (2014, May 22). Retrieved June 2, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/smoking-oral-health?page=2


What to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal

By: Ana Gotter, Healthline

Most people heal quickly from wisdom teeth removal, as long as they follow the doctor’s instructions during recovery. Eating and drinking the right foods — and avoiding the wrong ones — is a crucial part of these instructions. You’ll be much more comfortable, and you’ll significantly decrease the chance of complications.

Overview

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars located in the back of your mouth. They typically come in when you’re between 17 and 25 years of age. It’s common to have your wisdom teeth removed. They may need to be removed because they’re impacted and won’t come in normally. Or they may need to be removed because they’re coming in at a wrong angle.

During the removal procedure, you’ll be given anesthesia. Many surgeons will use some form of local, sedation, or general anesthesia. If your teeth haven’t come in yet, your surgeon will likely make incisions to remove them. They may need to remove bone if it’s blocking access to the root of the tooth. Once the teeth are removed, they’ll clean the site and add stitches to close the incision site if necessary. They’ll also place gauze over the extraction site.

What you eat following your wisdom teeth removal is important. Eating soft or liquid foods won’t irritate the extraction site, helping it to heal faster. Some foods and drinks can irritate or become trapped in the extraction sites, leading to infection. It’s important to follow your doctor’s orders about what to eat following surgery.

What to eat after wisdom teeth removal

Immediately following your wisdom teeth removal and during recovery, you’ll want to start with liquid and soft foods. You won’t have to chew these foods, saving you some pain. Avoid eating harder foods at this time, as these might damage, or get trapped in, the recovering area.

Examples of liquid and soft foods include:

  • apple sauce
  • yogurt
  • smoothies
  • broths and blended soups
  • mashed potatoes
  • Jell-O, pudding, and ice cream

Cold foods like Jell-O, smoothies, and ice cream may relieve some discomfort. Nutrient-rich soups and smoothies can help promote healing. Soups, in particular, can help balance out the other high-sugar options on the list.

As you start to heal, you can incorporate more normal foods. Start off easy with semisoft foods like scrambled eggs, instant oatmeal, and toast before moving to foods like chicken, fruits, and vegetables.

What not to eat after wisdom teeth removal

There are some foods that you should avoid following your wisdom teeth removal. Stick to the foods listed above for the first few days. Avoid the following foods for a week or more until the extraction site has healed.

  • Acidic and spicy foods (including citrus juice) may cause irritation and pain.
  • Alcoholic beverages can irritate the area and are likely to interact negatively with the pain medication prescribed by your doctor.
  • Grains (including rice and quinoa) and any types of seeds can easily become trapped in the extraction site.
  • Hard or difficult-to-chew foods (including nuts, chips, and jerky) can reopen the stitches and delay healing.

You should also avoid smoking or using any type of tobacco for a minimum of 72 hours after surgery as it can severely increase the risk of complications. Don’t use chewing tobacco for at least a week.

Recovery timeline

For the first 24 to 48 hours, eat only liquid and soft foods like yogurt, apple sauce, and ice cream. Cold foods may help with some of the discomforts.

As you start to feel better, you can try incorporating more solid foods. On the third day after surgery, try foods like eggs, toast, or oatmeal. Gradually continue to increase solid foods as chewing doesn’t cause any pain. If you experience pain when chewing, go back to soft and semisoft foods.

Many people are able to resume normal eating within a week.

Wisdom teeth removal complications

Wisdom teeth removal complications aren’t common but can occur. The most common complication is the reopening of the extraction site, which delays healing.

Dry sockets

Dry sockets are also common. They occur when the blood fails to clot in the tooth socket, or if the clot becomes dislodged. This typically happens between three and five days after tooth removal. Dry sockets can be treated by your surgeon. They will flush out debris and may cover the socket with a medicated dressing. Symptoms of dry sockets include:

  • an unpleasant taste or smell coming from the socket
  • aching or throbbing pain in the gum or jaw (it may be intense)
  • exposed bone

Infections

Infections can be caused by food particles or other bacteria becoming trapped in the socket where your wisdom teeth were removed. Bacteria can spread throughout the body and should be treated quickly. Symptoms of an infection include:

  • blood or pus from the extraction site
  • fever
  • spasms of the jaw muscles
  • chills
  • painful or swollen gums near the extraction area
  • bad taste or smell in the mouth

Nerve damage

Nerve damage from wisdom teeth removal is rare, but it can occur. During surgery, the trigeminal nerve may be injured. The injury is most often temporary, lasting several weeks or months. Nerve damage can be permanent if the injury is severe. Symptoms of nerve damage caused by wisdom tooth removal include:

  • pain
  • numbness or tingling in the gums, tongue, chin, surrounding teeth, and lower lips

Allergic reaction

If you show signs of an allergic reaction, seek emergency medical attention. You may be allergic to the medications your doctor prescribed, including your pain medication. Signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • shortness of breath
  • difficulty breathing
  • feeling like your throat is closing or your tongue is swelling
  • lightheadedness
  • rapid heart rate
  • skin rash
  • fever

Source: www.healthline.com/health/what-to-eat-after-wisdom-teeth-removal

A Child’s First Visit to the Dentist

It can be shocking to many parents, if not perplexing: many dentists now recommend you schedule your child’s first visit before he or she turns one. Before you brush it off as a bit of overzealous advice, you should know it’s supported by the American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry—and with good reason!

Besides setting your child on a lifelong path of smart dental habits, a lot about your child’s oral health can be revealed and addressed even before he or she has a full set of teeth. Asking a fussy toddler to sit still and open wide may not sound like a walk in the park, but by knowing what to expect and how you can prepare, both you and your child can emerge with a smile.

The Benefits of Starting Early

Introducing your child to the dentist sooner rather than later has numerous advantages, the biggest of which is instilling the importance of regular dental visits into him or her at a very early age. Getting your child accustomed to seeing the dentist can help quell feelings of fear and anxiety that can lead to avoidance of professional dental care later on in life.

A close examination of new and emerging teeth can also help identify and treat tooth decay. Even if your child is subsisting only on milk and baby food—improper brushing, as well as night-time breast/bottle-feeding, can put your toddler’s teeth at risk for cavities. By working closely with a pediatric dentist, the specific causes behind any tooth problems can be determined and corrected via a treatment plan tailored to your child’s dental situation.

Finally, a well-timed visit to the pediatric dentist can translate into cost savings. Staying on top of your child’s oral health and hygiene can keep expensive treatments like fillings, caps, space maintainers or even root canals at bay.

What to Expect

Your child’s first visit will certainly be thorough, but not overly invasive. The dentist will want to review the child’s oral history and understand his or her eating and teething behaviors, as well as daily dental routine.

Afterward, the dentist will examine your child’s teeth with your assistance. For better access and viewing, you may be asked to help position your child’s head to rest on the dentist’s lap while his or her feet are resting on you. Depending on your child’s dental situation, a sealant may be applied to the teeth for protection against cavities, followed by a demonstration of proper brushing techniques.

Once the checkup is complete, your dentist may share a treatment plan based on your child’s dental health and schedule you for a follow-up.

Getting Ready For Your Appointment

A little preparation goes a long way towards making your visit smooth and productive. Here are a few suggestions to make the most of your child’s first checkup:

  • Put your child to bed early the night before to ensure he or she is well-rested
  • Write down questions and observations to discuss with the dentist
  • Pack toys that can occupy and/or soothe your child
  • Bring your child’s dental care products in case your dentist has any questions
  • Gather your insurance information beforehand to avoid last minute rush

Exposing your child to stories or videos that paint dentist visits in a fun, positive light can also make the experience seem less scary.

Long Term Oral Health

As good as it will feel to achieve your child’s first major “smilestone”, the truth is that every subsequent checkup is just as critical to preserving his or her dental health — as is practicing good dental habits at home.

Stay one step ahead of important dental developments by scheduling frequent checkups, and don’t hesitate to call your child’s dentist for help should questions arise between visits.

Sources:

Your Child’s Age 1 Dental Visit. (2012, July 3). Retrieved June 8, 2015, from http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-at-Any-Age/Infants-and-Children/Toddler-Child-Transitional-Care/article/Your-Childs-First-Dental-Visit.cvsp

Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist. (2014, May 25). Retrieved June 8, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/childs-first-dental-visit

‘Inadequate’ health response leaves 3.5bn with poor dental care

By: Sarah Boseley, The Guardian

⚠️ Scientists are calling for radical reform of dental care, tighter regulation of the sugar industry and greater transparency around conflict of interests in dental research to tackle the high and rising toll of oral disease such as mouth cancers.

Will this approach help in the state of crisis in the global health community? The Oral Surgery DC Team

In a challenge to the global health community, a series in the Lancet medical journal argues that 3.5 billion people suffering from the oral disease have been let down.

The oral disease includes tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer and affects almost half of the global population. Untreated dental decay is the most common health condition worldwide. Lip and oral cavity cancers are among the top 15 most common cancers in the world, say researchers.

“Dentistry is in a state of crisis,” said Prof Richard Watt, chair and honorary consultant in dental public health at University College London and the lead author of the series. “Current dental care and public health responses have been largely inadequate, inequitable and costly, leaving billions of people without access to even basic oral health care.

“While this breakdown in the delivery of oral healthcare is not the fault of individual dental clinicians committed to caring for their patients, a fundamentally different approach is required to effectively tackle to the global burden of oral diseases.”

The high-tech treatment has taken priority over prevention in wealthy countries such as the UK, say the researchers. Around the world, the heavy marketing of sugary drinks is causing increasing damage to dental health, they argue.

By 2020 Coca-Cola intends to spend $12bn (£9.5bn) on marketing its products across Africa, in contrast to WHO’s total annual budget in 2017 of $4.4bn, they write.

Watt said: “Sugar consumption is the primary cause of tooth decay. The UK population is consuming far too much sugar – considerably higher than the Department of Health and WHO recommends.

“A particular concern is the high levels of sugar in processed commercial baby foods and drinks which encourage babies and toddlers to develop a preference for sweetness in early life. We need tighter regulation and legislation to restrict the marketing and promotion of sugary foods and drinks if we are to tackle the root causes of oral conditions.”

Cristin Kearns, of the University of California, San Francisco, and Prof Lisa Bero, of the University of Sydney, warn in a linked commentary of financial links between dental research organizations and the processed food and drink industries.

“Emerging evidence of industry influence on research agendas contributes to the plausibility that major food and beverage brands could view financial relationships with dental research organizations as an opportunity to ensure a focus on commercial applications for dental caries interventions – such as xylitol, oral hygiene instruction, fluoridated toothpaste, and sugar-free chewing gum – while deflecting attention from harm caused by their sugary products,” they write.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jul/18/inadequate-health-response-leaves-35bn-with-poor-dental-care

Dentist or Detective? Major Health Clues Your Mouth Provides

Chew on this for a minute: just by glancing inside your mouth, your dentist can tell you a number of things that may be news to you and your doctor! Surprising as it may sound, your oral health can speak volumes about the rest of your body, and something as simple as a routine dental checkup can benefit your health and wallet big time.

🔎 From harmful habits to life-threatening diseases, find out what clues your mouth can provide about your wellbeing. The Oral Surgery DC Team

The Presence of Disease

Many connections between your mouth and larger health issues have to do with bacteria. Studies have shown that heart disease and endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of your heart), in particular, are linked to gum disease – a bacterial infection of the mouth. Inflamed gums can also signal a vulnerable immune system, which can be due to diabetes or disorders such as Sjogren’s syndrome. Furthermore, patients who are pregnant and are diagnosed with periodontitis may be at a heightened risk for birth-related issues, as studies have shown a connection between gum disease and both premature birth and low birth weight.

In addition to gum problems, other oral matters are also telling. Tooth loss, for instance, has commonly been linked with both osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s. And lesions of the throat occur often in individuals suffering from HIV or AIDS. Last but not least, a dental exam can detect both oral and throat cancer, which typically present themselves via sores or patches that don’t go away. Suffice it to say, dental checkups can prove themselves invaluable when it comes to early detection of life-threatening health conditions.

Incompatibility With Certain Medications

While you may already be aware of and treating a health condition, a dentist can help identify whether or not the medicine you are taking is causing other complications. Dry mouth, a condition that causes oral issues such as halitosis, fungal infection, and tooth decay, is a known side effect of hundreds of commonly prescribed medications including:

PainkillersAntibioticsAntidepressants
AntihistaminesAsthma InhalersDiuretics
SedativesCorticosteroidsStatins

If you’re currently undergoing medical treatment and/or using prescription drugs, be sure to have your dentist examine your mouth for any harmful side effects.

Harmful Habits

It may not necessarily mean life or death, but some habits can cause a world of trouble–and costly mouth problems are proof of that. How you sleep, for example, has a direct impact on the health of your mouth. Constantly breathing with your mouth open can cause dry mouth, and grinding your teeth overnight is a leading cause of enamel damage.

Smoking, chewing and other forms of tobacco use pose serious threats, not just to your lungs, but also to the look and health of your teeth and gums. Red flags that alert your dentist that smoking is starting to do dental damage (and possibly much worse) are the telltale yellowing of teeth, white patches along the inside lining of the mouth, persistent bad breath, and lumps that can signal oral cancer.

Finally, your mouth can offer clues about the safety and healthfulness of your diet. Severe tooth erosion and swelling of the throat and salivary glands are typical problems seen in patients with eating disorders, due to constant vomiting. Tooth decay and sensitivity can also come with excessive acid in your diet, and many times, signs and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (“GERD” or simply, “acid reflux”) become apparent to your dentist even before your doctor. Even your breath can be telling of certain food choices, such as garlic or onions, which have long been known to cause halitosis.

Get Peace of Mind

Given everything a brief dental exam can uncover, there’s no denying the benefits of a routine checkup. More often than not, tooth, gum and other oral problems may simply be due to poor hygiene, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Remain diligent about seeing your dentist regularly, and don’t hesitate to schedule a checkup in between your typical visits if you notice anything amiss.

Sources:

Your Mouth, Your Health. (2015, July 23). Retrieved July 25, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/ss/slideshow-teeth-gums

What conditions may be linked to oral health? (2013, May 11). Retrieved July 14, 2015 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475?pg=2

Dental Hygiene for Infants to Preteens

By: Bingham Healthcare, Post Register

👶 Your child’s well-being is your biggest concern and their oral hygiene is an important part of their overall health. The care of your child’s teeth and gums begins with you. You can set them on the right path for a lifetime of excellent oral hygiene by using these tips from Post Register! The Oral Surgery DC Team

Oral Hygiene for Infants

Babies are born with all their teeth but you can’t see them because they are hidden in the gums. Baby teeth start to break through the gums around 6 months but it is important to start good oral care for infants even before the first tooth comes in. From healthy gums come healthy teeth.

– Wipe your baby’s gums with a soft washcloth after feeding. This helps remove the bacteria that can cause tooth decay.

– Once they begin to erupt, brush teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear the size of a grain of rice — use a soft-bristle toothbrush.

– Take the bottle away after your child finishes drinking to prevent baby bottle tooth decay. Baby bottle tooth decay can happen when babies drink milk, formula, or juice from bottles over long periods of time or fall asleep with the bottle.

– Schedule your child’s first dental appointment before their first birthday or after his or her first baby tooth is visible, whichever comes first. This visit is like a well-baby visit with your pediatrician.

Oral Hygiene for Children

As kids grow up, their oral hygiene habits should grow with them.

Kids have all their baby teeth by the age of 3. These are called primary teeth. Baby teeth start falling out around age 6; that’s when the permanent, or adult, teeth start coming in. Gaps between baby teeth are normal. They make room for the permanent teeth. Most permanent teeth come in by age 13.

Here are some tips to help keep your child’s teeth healthy and strong starting at age 3:

– Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and make sure your child spits it out after brushing.

– Be sure your child brushes for at least two minutes twice a day.

– Start flossing as soon as teeth touch, or even earlier to help build good habits.

– Help your child brush and floss, and remind him or her to pay attention to the back teeth.

– Visit the dentist every six months.

Oral Hygiene for Preteens

As children grow older and more of their permanent teeth come in, a rigorous daily dental hygiene routine is crucial to keeping teeth and gums healthy. However, it can be difficult to keep preteens interested in oral care.

Try these tips to keep your child on track:

– As preteens become more conscious of their appearance, it can be helpful to remind them that good oral care can help them look and feel better.

– Remind your child to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for a full two minutes, which not only fights cavities and strengthens teeth, but also gives older kids the confidence of having fresh breath. A power toothbrush might make brushing more fun for preteens.

– Flossing is extremely important at this point as most permanent teeth have erupted and cleaning between them will help prevent cavities and keep their mouth fresh.

– Encourage children who play sports to wear a mouth guard to protect their teeth from injuries.

– Make sure kids who wear braces use a power brush and floss very thoroughly to avoid white spots on teeth when braces come off.

Source: https://www.postregister.com/chronicle/news/dental-hygiene-for-infants-to-preteens/article_c5919642-2274-527a-bcad-81b484d6330b.html

The Story on Soda: Your Soft Drink Questions Answered

🥤 Sorry to burst your bubble, but the reality is that no matter how refreshing that sweet, fizzy soda (or “pop”) tastes, there’s a chance it could be doing some damage to your teeth. But with so many products on the market, are they all really that bad for you? Learn more! The Oral Surgery DC Team

Answers to some of your most pressing soft drink questions are about to be answered. Get to the bottom of various soda claims, and find out if there’s a workaround that lets you keep your favorite carbonated beverages on tap without traumatizing your teeth.

Q. Is it better to choose clear-colored sodas over darker-colored ones?

Neither option is a healthy choice for your teeth, but upon regular consumption, caramel-hued soft drinks have been known to stain teeth more quickly. Cosmetic differences aside, the extremely high sugar content of any soda, regardless of color, causes lasting damage to tooth enamel, resulting in decay, cavities and/or tooth loss in extreme situations.

Q. Do diet sodas get a pass since they’re sugar-free?

The appeal of diet sodas is understandable, especially when the packaging comes with alluring labels of “sugar-free” or “calorie-free”. But the fact of the matter is, even with sugar substitutes, diet soda is still extremely acidic. This means diet soda will still have the same corrosive effect on the enamel and should be avoided to prevent tooth damage.

Q. Is corn syrup a more harmful soft drink sweetener than cane sugar?

Similar to the misconception about diet sodas, the threat of tooth decay, cavities, and other oral health problems aren’t based on the type of sweetener used. No matter the source of sugar, enamel erosion will happen with regular consumption of any sweetened soft drink.

Q. If I drink soda through a straw, will this protect my teeth?

Using a straw can limit contact of sugar and acid with the surface of your teeth, but only when positioned correctly. Ideally, the opening of the straw should be directed towards the back of the mouth, but the likelihood for accidental contact is still high if you become distracted or inadvertently swish the liquid in your mouth. Ultimately, the best way to prevent tooth decay due to soft drinks is to avoid drinking them altogether.

Q. What are teeth-friendly alternatives to soda?

If you find carbonated beverages especially refreshing, switch to a seltzer. You’ll get the same fizz without the threat of tooth decay. For a flavorful spin, dress up seltzer or plain water with cut up fruit (instead of turning to juice, which can erode tooth enamel due to its fructose content). Milk is also another good choice due to the enamel-fortifying calcium it contains; however, it does contain natural sugar, lactose — so never have a glass before bed without brushing your teeth.

Q. What can I do to combat enamel erosion if I can’t quit drinking soda?

For those unable to put aside their love of soft drinks, take these steps to minimize tooth decay and other soda-related oral problems:

  • Rinse your mouth and brush your teeth afterward to clear away sugar and acid
  • Use fluoride-rich toothpaste and mouthwash to help strengthen tooth enamel
  • See your dentist regularly to get professional help in preventing tooth damage

Speak To Your Dentist

New drinks are always hitting the shelves, but many may not live up to their health claims. Before making something your beverage of choice, get your dentist’s perspective to understand how it can impact the health of your teeth.

Sources:

Soda or Pop? It’s Teeth Trouble by Any Name. (n.d.). Retrieved May 24, 3015 from http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-Basics/Oral-Hygiene/Oral-Hygiene-Basics/article/Soda-or-Pop-Its-Teeth-Trouble-by-Any-Name.cvsp

Melnick, M & Klein, S. (2013, March 13). Soda Myths: The Truth About Sugary Drinks, From Sodas To Sports Drinks. Retrieved May 25, 2015 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/13/soda-myths-facts-sugary-drinks_n_2863045.html

How Did People Clean Their Teeth in the Olden Days?

By: The Conversation, AP News, Snopes

🦷 [FUN FACT] Dental hygiene has come a long way since the days of wine-soaked toothpicks and the urine mouthwash once thought to disinfect mouths and whiten teeth.

Let’s explore the ways our ancestors clean their teeth in the olden days via snopes.com. The Oral Surgery DC Team

Dental hygiene has come a long way since the days of wine-soaked toothpicks and the urine mouthwash once thought to disinfect mouths and whiten teeth.

Some of the earliest tooth-cleaning artifacts archaeologists have found are ancient toothpicks, dental tools, and written tooth care descriptions dating back more than 2,500 years. The famous Greek doctor Hippocrates was one of the first to recommend cleaning teeth with what was basically a dry toothpaste, called a dentifrice powder.

Ancient Chinese and Egyptian texts advised cleaning teeth and removing decay to help maintain health. Some of the early techniques in these cultures included chewing on bark or sticks with frayed ends, feathers, fish bones and porcupine quills. They used materials like silver, jade, and gold to repair or decorate their teeth.

People in the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, and the Indian subcontinent traditionally cleaned their teeth with chew sticks made from the Salvadora persica tree. They’re called miswak. Europeans cleaned their teeth with rags rolled in salt or soot.

Believe it or not, in the early 1700s a French doctor named Pierre Fauchard told people not to brush. And he’s considered the father of modern dentistry! Instead, he encouraged cleaning teeth with a toothpick or sponge soaked in water or brandy.

In the late 1700s, Englishman William Addis was the first to sell toothbrushes on a large scale. He got the idea after making a toothbrush from bone and animal bristles while in prison.

Before modern-day toothpaste was created, pharmacists mixed and sold tooth cream or powder. Early tooth powders were made from something abrasive, like talc or crushed seashells, mixed with essential oils, such as eucalyptus or camphor, thought to fight germs. Their flavors came from oils of cinnamon, clove, rose or peppermint. Many contain other chemicals such as ammonia, chlorophyll, and penicillin. These ingredients fight the acid-producing bacteria that can cause tooth decay and bad breath.

By the 1900s, children of immigrants to the U.S. were taught oral hygiene as a way to help “Americanize” them and their families. Factories examined and cleaned their workers’ teeth to keep them from missing work due to toothaches.

Daily tooth brushing became more common thanks to World War II when the American army required soldiers to brush their teeth as part of their daily hygiene practices. The first nylon toothbrush was made in 1938, followed by the electric toothbrush in the 1960s.

Nowadays, there are dozens of kinds of tools and potions to help keep your mouth healthy. As a professor of dental hygiene, I believe it’s most important to clean your mouth daily, no matter how you choose to do so. Well, maybe stay away from the urine mouthwash.

Source: https://www.snopes.com/ap/2019/07/27/how-did-people-clean-their-teeth-in-the-olden-days/