7/29/2018 3:00:08 PM
Wendy Parker, RDH
Water Piks – What You Need to Know
Ever walk down the dental isle and feel overwhelmed by all the available products there are to take care of your teeth? You’re not alone! They range from toothbrushes, to toothpastes, floss, water picks, tongue scrapers, etc. It’s difficult to know exactly what is right for your mouth with so many choices!
One of the most frequent questions I get as a hygienist is “So do I have to floss? Can’t I just use a water pik?’’ Each mouth is evaluated by the hygienist and given suggestions. Here is some great information for you regarding water piks if water picks are right for you!
There are 3 main types of water piks: a counter top water pik with a reservoir, a hand held, cordless pik with a reservoir, or a Shower Flosser. Both the counter top and hand-held water piks use water (or antiseptic rinse of your choice) from the reservoir to irrigate tissues the tissues and flush out food trapped in between the teeth. There are different pressure settings so if it seems like there is too much pressure, turn it down till your mouth adjusts to using it and then increase incrementally. The 3rd main type of water pik is a shower flosser. This one you can use in the shower. It attaches to your shower head and uses that water to irrigate the tissues and clean your mouth. A lot of people like this option since the mess is contained in the shower and not on your countertop of mirror! When using the water pik be sure to aim the pressurized water right at the gumline and in-between the teeth to ensure that you are removing as much plaque as possible.
Water piks are a great option for adding into your daily hygiene routine and can benefit mouths that require additional attention like periodontal disease, food traps between teeth, bridges, implants, and braces. These units can range in cost anywhere from $30-$90 depending on how many settings you need and can be found in several local stores like Wal-Mart, Target, and Walgreens or ordered online too!
Here are some simple steps to using your water pik:
- Fill the reservoir with warm water and place firmly on the base.
- Select a tip and click into the handle.
Note: If this is the first use, set the pressure control dial to high. Point the tip into the sink and turn on until water flows. Turn unit off.
Start with the lowest pressure setting, lean over the sink, place tip in your mouth.
- Turn unit on. Close lips enough to prevent splashing, let water flow from your mouth into sink.
- Aim the tip at the gumline.
- When finished, turn unit off and use the tip eject button to remove the tip.
Happy Water piking!
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7/22/2018 10:04:12 PM
Andra Mahoney, RDH BSDH
Why Should I Get My Wisdom Teeth Out?
Teeth are generally predictable. We know the first permanent teeth we will get are our first molars, also known as six year molars because we get them between six and seven years old. We know they will be bigger than all our other teeth. We know our maxillary central incisors, our two top front teeth, will come in about seven to eight years old and be a particular shape and size. Wisdom teeth; however, have a mind of their own! They come any anywhere from 16-25 years old, and sometimes don’t even stick to that time frame. They can be big as your other molars or small as your front teeth. They can come in properly and vertically or angled and horizontally. I have even seen X-rays of wisdom teeth going the wrong direction! They were headed back towards the jaw bone! Wisdom teeth do whatever they want.
Common recommendations for getting wisdom teeth removed:
Not enough room in your mouth.
Why above reasons are problems:
Many of us do not have the space in our mouths to accommodate wisdom teeth. Not enough room in our mouths can lead to the wisdom teeth causing pain. It can also cause problems in keeping those teeth clean. They are often hard to reach which means plaque is allowed to grow and cause cavities, tartar, and/or gum infections.
When teeth are impacted they are not coming in the proper direction. This could be anywhere from tilted to all the way horizontal. This can present a variety of issues. The major problem can be damage to other teeth. If the wisdom tooth is tilted and now running into the back of your second molars, this can cause damage, decay, and potential loss of that second molar. Impaction can also lead to cysts or infections around those teeth. This can lead to long term damage of your jaw bone.
When teeth are partially erupted, only part of the tooth has grown into the mouth, the other is still covered with gum tissue. This can be very hard to keep clean. It is a great spot for food impaction and plaque bacteria to collect. As mentioned before, this can lead to cavities, tartar, and/or gum disease.
Why get them out if they don’t hurt:
Size of wisdom teeth can play a big factor is health and recovery. Most dentists like to get them out after the crown is fully formed, but before the roots are complete. This helps extraction process to go easier and quicker, as well as reduces nerve damage. Wisdom teeth, particularly those on your bottom jaw, can grow around or next to the nerve that runs through your jaw. When the roots of wisdom teeth are allowed to grow close to that area, that increase risk for nerve damage upon extraction. This damage can be temporary or permanent.
Stage of jaw bone growth plays a factor. Dentist usually recommend wisdom teeth to come out in the teen years or early twenties. This is because your jaw bone is still growing. Once you hit your thirties, your bone is much more solid and recovery time after extractions can be longer and more difficult.
Why wait till it hurts? Get them out on your schedule. Spring break, summer vacation, fall break, long weekend, these are the best times for recovery. Don’t put yourself through tooth pain, its an awful experience, and one that is avoidable!
You’ve decided to get them out! Now what?
This is a great time for a chat with your dentist. They can help you determine the appropriate avenue for you.
Different ways to get them out can include:
Just getting numb – Your appointment will be pretty straight forward. The wisdom teeth may already be erupted and properly aligned. You are not very nervous about the appointment.
Nitrous and getting numb – Nitrous, or laughing gas, can be administered before the local anesthesia. This can help some people with anxiety. It is also good to help people relax if there is a little more work involved in getting out the wisdom teeth – they are partially erupted or completely unerupted.
IV Conscious Sedation – This is a great option for a more involved procedure or those that have very high anxiety. A dentist trained in this method, will administer medication through an IV that allows you to relax. You are able to respond to questions (Can you open wider? Are you doing ok? Can you turn to the left?), but you will not remember the procedure.
Oral Surgeon Specialists – In some cases the removal of the wisdom teeth may be very complicated. This can be due to position, age, nerve involvement, etc. You may then be referred to a specialist to handle this situation.
Whatever way and method can be tailored to your specific needs through exam, xrays, and a visit with your dentist.
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7/17/2018 4:28:13 AM
Maria Ambra, RDH
Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder in which cessation of breathing for 10 seconds or more occurs during sleep.
There are 3 types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea: It is the most common form and occurs when the throat muscle relax.
- Central sleep apnea: It occurs when the brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome: It occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.
Causes of obstructive sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax and the airway narrows and closes as you breathe in. This may lower the level of oxygen in the blood. The brain senses this inability to breathe and briefly interrupts the sleep so that the airway can reopen, snorting, choking or gasping sounds can be experienced and this pattern can repeat itself 5 to 30 times or more each hour, all night long. These disruptions impair the ability to reach the desired deep, restful phases of sleep.
Causes of central sleep apnea:
Central sleep apnea is a less common form of sleep apnea that occurs when your brain fails to transmit signals to your breathing muscles.
Sleep apnea can affect anyone, even children. But certain factors increase your risk of sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea
- Excess weight: Fat deposits around your upper airway may obstruct your breathing.
- A narrowed airway. Tonsils or adenoids may become enlarged and block the airway, particularly in children with sleep apnea
- Family history. If any family member suffers with sleep apnea, it may increase the risk to have it.
- Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers. These substances relax the muscles in your throat.
- Smoking. Smoking may increase the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway.
Central sleep apnea
- Being older. Middle-aged and older people have a higher risk of central sleep apnea.
- Heart disorders. People with congestive heart failure are more at risk of central sleep apnea.
- Using narcotic pain medications. Opioid medications can increase the risk of central sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical condition that can cause:
- Daytime fatigue: It is impossible to have normal and restful sleep when repeated awakenings associated with sleep apnea occur
- High blood pressure or heart problems. Increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system can be cause by sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that occur during sleep apnea
- Type 2 diabetes. People with sleep apnea are more likely to develop insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
- Sleep-deprived partners. Loud snoring can interrupt partners’ sleep and eventually compromise relationships.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea can also have adverse effects on a person’s oral and dental health.
Saliva is the mouth washes away food debris, neutralizes acids caused by bacteria. Sleep Apnea can dry out the mouth that can lead to oral bacterial infection, bad breath and other dental problems.
People who suffer from sleep apnea also have a tendency to grind their teeth while they sleep. Teeth grinding, or bruxism, can damage the enamel, weakens them and cause tooth decay.
When left untreated for an extended period, sleep apnea can dry out the sockets of your teeth. This, when coupled with teeth grinding, can loosen and cause tooth loss over time.
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). It is a machine that delivers air pressure through a mask placed over the nose that will keep open the airway.
- Expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP). They are small, single-use devices that placed over each nostril that allow air to move freely in and out.
- Oral appliances. They are designed to keep the throat open by bringing the jaw forward, which can sometimes relieve snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnea.
Several devices are available from treatments. It’s always recommended to talk with the physician to properly diagnosed and treat any sleep related disorder.
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7/8/2018 5:01:16 PM
Becky Larson, RDH
Dental “Myth Busters”
There are a lot of dental myths out there that are sometimes mistaken for dental truths. Here are a few facts to help clear up some of the confusion.
Myth #1: You don’t need to brush baby teeth because they will fall out eventually anyway.
Absolutely not! Baby teeth can still get cavities, which can spread to other teeth and cause pain. Some baby teeth may even fall out too soon and cause problems with bite or improper development of a child’s permanent teeth. It’s also important to establish good oral hygiene habits early on. Children’s teeth should be brushed twice daily (just like adult teeth).
Myth #2: Fluoride is poisonous and should be avoided.
Wrong! Each day the enamel layers of our teeth lose minerals (demineralization) due to the acidity of plaque and sugars in the mouth. The enamel is remineralized from food and water consumption. Too much demineralization without enough remineralization leads to tooth decay. Fluoride helps strengthen enamel, thus making it more resistant to acidic demineralization. Fluoride can sometimes reverse early tooth decay. According to the American Dental Association, community water fluoridation is the single more effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay. Many dental offices also offer in office fluoride treatments that can help both children and adults.
Myth #3: You lose one tooth each time you have a child.
Now that’s just silly. Some women think that when they are pregnant the baby leeches a lot of their calcium supply. That may be, but it doesn’t mean she will lose any teeth. However, pregnant women are prone to cavities or having other dental problems. This is due to morning sickness and vomiting, dry mouth, and a desire/craving for more sugary or starchy foods. Pregnant women in these circumstances should be sure to continue their regular dental check-ups and try to maintain pristine oral home care.
Myth #4: If your gums are bleeding you should avoid brushing your teeth and flossing.
I can’t even begin to stress how wrong this one is! If your gums are bleeding it means there is active inflammation and infection present. That means you need to improve on oral hygiene by brushing more frequently or more effectively. Bleeding gums is a sign of periodontal disease. If caught early (in the gingivitis stage) it can be reversed. Brushing should be done twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Flossing should be done at least once daily.
Myth #5: Placing a tablet of aspirin beside an aching tooth can ease the pain.
Wrong again. In order to ease the pain caused by a toothache, aspirin must be fully swallowed. Placing aspirin on gum tissue for long periods of time can actually damage the tissue and possibly cause an abscess.
Myth #6: You don’t need to see the dentist if there is no visible problem with your teeth.
Unfortunately not all dental problems will be visible or obvious. You should continue to visit the dentist for regular check-ups at least twice per year, in conjunction with your cleanings. Dental radiographs or other instruments can detect cavities or other problems that might not be causing any symptoms yet. It’s best to catch things early to minimize the treatment needed.
Myth #7: After a tooth has been treated for decay it will not decay again.
There are no guarantees in dentistry! While the dentist will do their best to restore teeth to last for as long as possible, there is no way of knowing when or if a tooth will get recurrent decay. Proper oral home care can prolong the life of dental restorations.
Don’t always believe what you hear! If you have questions or concerns about your dental health be sure to ask your dentist, hygienist, or other dental professional.
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6/17/2018 6:15:09 PM
Amanda Orvis, RDH
TOOTHBRUSH CARE AND MAINTENANCE
In order to maintain a healthy mouth, one must use a clean toothbrush. Toothbrushing plays a major role in your personal oral hygiene care. When brushing, it is important that you use a clean and functional toothbrush. Toothbrush bristles can harbor harmful bacteria that can be damaging to our oral health.
The ADA (American Dental Association) recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3 months. The same rules apply to both manual toothbrushes and electric toothbrush heads. Many types of bacteria can be found on toothbrush bristles, these bacteria can continue to multiply over time potentially causing harm to our mouths. Toothbrush bristles also break down over time causing the bristles to fan out, fray, or simply fall out. When your toothbrush bristles break down the toothbrush becomes less effective, making it harder to clean your mouth properly. If you or any member of the family become sick or gets an infection in the mouth, it is important to replace yours or their toothbrush immediately to be prevent that harmful bacteria from spreading or re-infecting you or that person. In order to prevent cross contamination make sure you do not share toothbrushes for any reason.
After brushing your teeth it is important to thoroughly rinse your toothbrush to remove any additional toothpaste, bacteria, and saliva. Germs can hide in your toothbrush bristles and lead to oral infections of not properly cleaned.
After cleaning your toothbrush, it is very important to allow your toothbrush time to thoroughly dry between usages. Designate an area for your toothbrush to dry. Many toothbrush storage containers are available that prop your toothbrush upright and allow the toothbrush to not touch anything else while drying. When traveling, it is just as important to allow your toothbrush to dry between usages. Keeping the toothbrush bristles covered while storing it within your other items during travel is important as well. Small toothbrush storage cases are available at almost all pharmacies and grocery stores. Just make sure the toothbrush is fully dry before storing it in its case.
- Do not share toothbrushes
- Thoroughly rinse your toothbrush after each use
- Leave your toothbrush in an open area to dry after each use
- Discard your toothbrush if you become sick or get any dental infections
- Replace your toothbrush at least every 3 months
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6/11/2018 7:15:44 PM
Lacee Hogle, RDH
Do you avoid drinking hot and cold liquids or avoid eating sweet and sour foods because you know it will cause discomfort? If so, it may be time to discuss this concern with your dentist. In order for your dentist to treat the sensitivity, your dentist must determine the cause.
Possible causes include:
Tooth Decay (cavities)
To help you better understand why your teeth may be sensitive, first you must understand the anatomy of a tooth. In a healthy tooth, a layer of enamel protects the crown of your tooth- the part above your gumline. That protective layer is not supplied by nerves; therefore, you will not feel discomfort when your enamel is exposed to anything that is hot or cold. Under the gumline there is a layer called cementum that protects the root of the tooth. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum is
dentin. Dentin is supplied by nerves and therefore will cause discomfort if exposed to anything hot or cold. Now that you understand the anatomy of a tooth, lets discuss ways we can help relieve or prevent tooth sensitivity.
If your dentist believes that your sensitivity is due to recession, your dentist may recommend sensitive toothpaste. Also, your dentist may recommend a fluoride varnish and a fluoride rinse. In addition, the doctor may ask you to avoid drinking acidic liquids. As mentioned before, when you have recession, dentin is exposed. Dentin has holes called dentinal tubules. If we are able to occlude the holes with a fluoride varnish and a fluoride rinse, your sensitivity will subside. Both of these approaches are conservative therefore you won’t receive immediate relief. It may take a few weeks before you start to
feel a difference.
Another option to help with discomfort is to have a gum graft performed. Gum grafts include removing tissue from the roof of your mouth and placing the tissue over the dentin. This is somewhat of an aggressive approach to relieving tooth sensitivity but if a conservative approach is not sufficient, a gum graft is a great option. Also, in some cases, placing a composite filling over the dentin is an option.
Now let’s discuss ways to prevent recession. Studies show that you use a lot more pressure with a manual toothbrush than you do with an electric toothbrush. So yes, if you are heavy handed and you tend to use a lot of pressure while brushing, an electric toothbrush would be a good investment. If you’re opposed to purchasing an electric toothbrush, try holding your manual toothbrush with just a few fingers instead of your whole fist. It’s almost impossible to apply a lot of pressure when you’re using a
few fingers to hold the toothbrush handle. Also, please be aware that most people tend to have recession on the teeth that they brush first. Everyone tends to use a lot of pressure when they first start to brush their teeth. So switch it up, start off by brushing the teeth that you typically brush last.
If your doctor believes that your discomfort is due to gum disease, the approach is the same as mentioned above. You’re still dealing with recession, it’s just the recession was not due to brushing too aggressively, it was due to gum disease. Make sure the gum disease is addressed by having a “deep cleaning” performed. A deep cleaning will create a healthy oral environment which will then help prevent further recession. Once the gum disease has been addressed, follow the simple steps that we discussed previously.
If your dentist believes that your sensitivity is due to decay, a filling, inlay or crown can help relieve the sensitivity. If you have a large cavity, a root canal treatment may need to be performed.
If your dentist believes that your sensitivity is due to a cracked tooth, a crown typically will relieve the discomfort. In some rare cases, the crack will be below the gumline and unfortunately the only option at that point is to pull the tooth.
Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing sensitive-tooth pain. It is important to brush and floss your teeth daily. Ask your dentist if you have any questions about your daily oral hygiene routine or concerns about tooth sensitivity.
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5/28/2018 1:01:35 AM
Ruth Jones, RDH
Blood Pressure at the Dental Office
Blood pressure screenings in the dental setting are becoming more common and sometimes patients wonder why it’s being done and if it’s necessary. Blood pressure which “measures the force on the arterial walls as the heart pumps blood throughout the body” is an indication of a person’s health. High blood pressure referred to as hypertension has been called the “Silent Killer” because of its high-risk factor for heart disease and stroke, which can be fatal. People may be walking around with it and be unaware of the risk they’re living with. Taking blood pressure at the dental office only takes about a minute and has great benefits. It can alert the dental professional and subsequently the patient of elevated or high blood pressure. This provides the dental professional with valuable information of how to treat the patient safely. This information also allows the patient to initiate a conversation with their primary physician about ways to control their hypertension. Often, it’s the patients that are unaware of their hypertension that have the greatest risk. In some cases, taking blood pressure before dental treatment can prevent a medical emergency.
In an effort to encourage people to use diet and exercise to control elevated blood pressure at early stages, the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association with other professional organizations lowered the threshold for hypertension and developed new guidelines. The table below is the updated guidelines.
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5/20/2018 10:54:17 PM
Morgan Johnson, RDH
What Are Dental Sealants?
If you have children, you may have heard your dentist recommend placing sealants on your child’s back teeth (molars and/or premolars). When these teeth erupt, they tend to have deep pits and fissures on the occlusal (or chewing) surfaces. Because of these deep grooves, these teeth are more vulnerable to decay. Children are often still developing good oral hygiene habits, so food and plaque tend to get left behind in these hard to clean areas. To help prevent cavities from occurring on these teeth, dental professionals like to seal up those deep pits and fissures with a plastic material, called a sealant. Sealants are typically most common for children, but they may be placed on adults as well if necessary!
This procedure is very easy, simple, and doesn’t require any anesthetic (numbing)! First the chewing surface of the tooth is polished to remove any debris, and then it is rinsed clean, and dried. Next an acidic solution is applied to the surface, to “roughen” up the enamel, which makes the sealant material better attach to the tooth. Once the tooth is dried again, the plastic sealant material is applied to the tooth, and dried with a curing light. Your bite is then adjusted if needed, and you have a shiny new protective sealant. Longevity of sealants varies from person to person, but they can last for many years!
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5/16/2018 1:45:58 AM
Cortney Davis, RDH
With a new baby in my household, I know how important it is to prepare for her teeth to come in. As soon as a baby’s first tooth comes in, it needs immediate attention and care. Baby teeth are very important to your child’s health and development.
Children have 20 primary teeth are already present in the jaw at birth and will typically begin to erupt when a baby is 6 months to a year old. All 20 teeth should be erupted by the age of 3. Every child is different, but usually the first teeth to come in are located in the bottom front following the upper front of the mouth.
When babies teeth first come in, most babies have tender or sore gums. You can gently rub your child’s gums with wet gauze, a washcloth, a clean finger, or a clean teeth ring to chew on. If your child is still cranky or in pain, you can always consult with you physician or dentist on how to comfort your baby.
As stated earlier, baby teeth are very important to your child’s health and development. They help your child speak, chew, smile, and also hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in. This can make teeth crowded or crooked making it harder to keep clean and cavity free. That’s why starting infants off with good oral care can help protect their teeth and prevent tooth decay.
Tooth decay in infants and very young children is often referred to as baby bottle tooth decay. Baby bottle tooth decay happens when sweetened liquids or those with natural sugars (like milk, formula, and fruit juice) cling to an infant’s teeth for a long time. Bacteria in the mouth thrive on this sugar and make acids that attack the teeth. At risk are children who get a sugary drink to go to bed or sugary drinks frequently. The most common teeth affected by baby bottle caries are the upper front teeth.
How can you properly care for your young child’s teeth? Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. For young children, start brushing their teeth as soon as they begin to erupt by using fluoride toothpaste in the amount no more than a smear the size of a grain of rice and when they are a little older the size of a pea. Brush the teeth thoroughly twice per day and supervise older children when they brush to ensure they use the appropriate amount of toothpaste and they are brushing every area. Always remind children not to swallow the toothpaste and to spit it out after they are finished. When your child’s teeth begin to touch, it is important that you and your child start incorporating flossing daily to help remove plaque in between the teeth.
The American Dental Association recommends that you bring your child to the dentist soon after the first tooth comes in and no later than your child’s first birthday. The first couple visits are considered “happy visits” and will help your child get familiar with the dentist office. It also gives your dentist a chance to check for tooth decay and discuss other conditions or habits such as thumb sucking and your child’s diet that may affect your child teeth. Your dentist also can show you how to properly care for your child teeth and can answer any questions you have about their oral care.
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5/6/2018 5:20:19 PM
Sharna Mulqueen RDH
Are my kids doing a good job cleaning their teeth?
Tooth brushing is one of those important chores that every parent teaches their child. Not only is tooth brushing a lesson in good dental care, it also an opportunity to teach your child about responsibility. As a parent, you know that good dental care is imperative to your child’s overall health. Your child could be skipping out on brushing their teeth; you can use this guide for clues to check.
Tips That Your Child isn’t Brushing Their Teeth
- The toothbrush is dry. If you notice that your child’s toothbrush is dry, it’s a sure sign he or she hasn’t brushed. Check their toothbrush as soon as they are done to verify.
- Your child is finished brushing quickly. Even baby teeth need to be brushed for at least two minutes. If you discover your child is rapidly done brushing, help them understand the importance of proper dental care, including brushing every area of their mouth carefully. You can use music and timers to inspire them to brush for the full two minutes.
- Food particles are still in your child’s teeth. If your child emerges from the bathroom raving they had a thorough tooth brushing—ask for a smile. If food particles remain, send your child back to the bathroom for a brushing do-over.
- Your child’s tongue is white. Clean tongues are pink. Tongues with bacteria lurking are white. Make sure your child knows to brush their tongue as well as their teeth for complete dental care.
- Never-ending dental floss. Flossing daily is as important as twice-daily brushing, so monitor the bathroom garbage can for floss strings. Encouraged your child to use any product that can clean in between the teeth. Hand held flossers are a great tool for children to start using.
- Your child has bad breath. Bad breath, especially at a young age, is often the result of bacteria buildup caused by food particles that may still be hanging around. Do a breath check and send your child in for a brushing if it’s anything less than pleasant.
- Your child has cavities. If your child develops dental issues, such as cavities or tooth pain, seek the advice of one of our Dentist. This is an obvious sign that your child is skipping all or part of their dental care routine. We are can offer additional tips to help keep your kids excited about brushing.
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