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A Healthy Smile is Always in Style!
February is Dental Health Month and that makes it a very busy month at our office. While everyone is thinking of Valentine candy and flowers, we are making plans to educate as many people as possible about their mouths.
About one in seven people have never been to the dentist. About one in four people do not go to the dentist every year. About one in five people do not brush their teeth everyday. About one in ten people floss daily. Approximately one out of three Americans over the age of 65 has no teeth. One out of three Americans over the age of 65 has less than half their natural teeth. More than half of 16-19 year olds have decay or fillings in their permanent teeth. About one in three American children between age 2 and 11 have untreated decay in their baby teeth.
With statistics like these it is easy to see that everybody is not getting the message when it comes to dental health. Our philosophy is to educate patients so that they can participate in fixing and maintaining their own mouths. It is a team effort and takes more than a dedicated staff. A dedicated patient is a must.
Dentistry has come along way in the last 50 years. Cosmetically dentistry’s major advances include bleaching, veneers and implants. We can replace teeth and make them look like real teeth instead of “false teeth”
In terms of comfort, dentistry has advanced with the wide spread use of local anesthetics for pain control. Topicals applied to the area to be numbed disguises the needle stick so, in most cases, the patient feels little or no discomfort.
If gum disease is your affliction advances in periodontics allows us to restore bone and tissue around the teeth actually reversing the effect of gum disease.
Despite all the advances in “fixing” dental disease prevention is the foundation of dentistry. With the discovery that fluoride can prevent about half of the cavities in a population dentistry has been at the forefront of preventive medicine.
We start our dental education at an early age. We try to reach as many children as we can and convince them it is “kool” to brush their teeth. Every year our office talks to 500 to 800 kids during February. We concentrate on children Pre-K through 2nd grade. At this time we go to Our Lady of Lordes, Stewart, and RJ Woolen campuses.
Our visits consist of age appropriate skits or videos. We always cover how to brush your teeth and the rule of twos that says “Brush your teeth two times a day, for at least two minutes and see the dentist two times a year.”
Flossing. I do not think that I can stress flossing enough. No it is not normal to have pink saliva after you brush. It is a sign of gingivitis or that you got hit in the mouth and lost your tooth. We teach kids to floss. 42% of the surface area of your teeth exist in between you teeth and the only way to clean this area is with floss.. Not flossing your teeth is like only washing one hand and the other thumb before you sit down to eat. It is a fact that if you do something for a couple of weeks it becomes a habit so pick up that floss and start flossing.
We teach kids about the magic ingredient in toothpaste that makes teeth strong-fluoride. Hey it is in city drinking water too. Watch out for bottled water or well water it often has no fluoride. If your child is cavity prone, your dentist will sometimes recommend additional fluoride.
We also cover basic nutritional needs for healthy smiles. The biggest mistake most people make with their diet is sodas. I see at least one teenager a month with a cavity in every tooth as the result of too many sodas or from sipping on one soda all day. Sodas are acidic and full of sugar which is a bad combination for your teeth. Eat healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. Drink milk and water. Stay away from candy and sodas if that’s impossible, brush afterwards.
Sealants are a strong protection against decay especially in children’s teeth. The sealant is applied on the chewing surfaces of their back teeth to form a protective coating. If children have pits and deep grooves sealants are recommended even on baby teeth. Otherwise, sealants should be applied to the child’s permanent teeth as soon as they erupt.
Our dental education does not stop with school aged children. Adults can still learn a thing or two. For example smoking can contribute to gum disease and oral cancer. I have treated more than one patient with gum disease with little success until that patient made the commitment and stopped smoking. Once the patient stopped smoking the same treatment that had not worked before was successful.
Oral cancer is never a popular subject but is one that I have to discuss with patients all too often. Smoking and alcohol in combination make a patient 25 times more likely to have oral cancer as patients that do not smoke or drink. As with all cancers, head and neck cancer can be very disfiguring and dangerous. It is, therefore, very important to catch oral lesions early when simple treatments can cure the disorder.
Even if all else fails and you loose all your teeth and have to have a denture made, you are not exempt form coming to the dentist. People with dentures should have their mouths checked yearly to check the fit of their denture and for an oral cancer screening.
So, all ages should practice the “Rules of 2”
2 times a day
2 minutes (4 TV commercials)
Have Teeth Checked…
2 times a year
Make An Appointment…
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