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All About HSAs: What They Are, How To Use Them, and More

2024-03-29T14:16:29+00:00March 29th, 2024|Dental Insurance, Dentist Office Monroe NC|

All About HSAs: What They Are, How To Use Them, and More

As healthcare costs continue to rise, managing expenses efficiently is more important than ever. Health savings accounts (HSAs) can go a long way in helping you navigate these challenges. That said, if you’re going to take control of your dental and overarching healthcare finances, you must understand how HSAs work and learn to maximize their benefits.

From tax advantages to flexible fund usage, HSAs provide a unique opportunity to save for current and future medical needs while enjoying significant tax perks. Adam Brown, DDS wants to explore the intricacies of these savings accounts, clarify their operation, and explain their advantages. Whether you’re entirely new to HSAs or hope to deepen your understanding, the information and advice below will help you make informed decisions and secure a healthier financial future.

Understanding HSAs

HSAs are a unique approach to managing healthcare expenses; they ultimately give you greater control and flexibility over your healthcare dollars. Let’s discuss the fundamental aspects of HSAs, shedding light on what they are and how they function within the broader landscape of healthcare finance:

Definition and Purpose

At its core, an HSA is a tax-advantaged savings account specifically earmarked for medical expenses. It’s designed to work with a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), which typically features lower monthly premiums but higher deductibles than traditional health insurance plans. The primary purpose of an HSA is to empower individuals to save and pay for qualified medical expenses with pre-tax dollars, which reduces the financial strain of healthcare costs.

Eligibility Criteria

Not everyone can open and contribute to an HSA. You must be covered by an HDHP and cannot be enrolled in other health coverage that is not an HDHP, Medicare, or claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return. Further, you cannot be enrolled in a general-purpose flexible spending account (FSA) or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA); a limited-purpose FSA or HRA that only covers specific medical expenses should not disqualify you.

HSAs vs. Other Healthcare Accounts

It’s essential to distinguish HSAs from other healthcare accounts like FSAs and HRAs. Unlike FSAs, which are typically “use it or lose it” accounts with funds expiring at the year’s end, HSAs allow unused funds to roll over from year to year. HRAs are employer-funded accounts used to reimburse employees for eligible medical expenses.

At the same time, HSAs are owned and controlled by the individual, offering portability even if they change jobs or health plans. Understanding these foundational elements of HSAs lays the groundwork for comprehending their broader benefits and implications.

What Are the Perks of HSAs?

HSAs offer a wealth of benefits for individuals and families seeking to manage their healthcare expenses efficiently. In today’s healthcare landscape, it’s no surprise that these accounts are increasingly viewed as valuable financial tools.

Tax Advantages

One of the primary attractions of HSAs is their favorable tax treatment. Contributions made to an HSA are tax-deductible, meaning they can reduce your taxable income for the year they are made. Also, any interest or investment gains earned within the HSA are tax-free, so your savings can grow unencumbered by taxes. Withdrawals used for qualified medical expenses are also tax-free, yielding a triple tax advantage that few other financial instruments can match.

Potential for Accumulated Savings

Unlike other healthcare accounts that may limit the rollover of unused funds, HSAs allow for savings accumulation over time. Any funds left in the HSA at the end of the year roll over to the following year, and your healthcare dollars remain available for future medical needs. This feature makes HSAs particularly attractive for anyone anticipating ongoing or recurring healthcare expenses and those planning retirement healthcare costs.

Portability and Flexibility

HSAs offer unparalleled flexibility and portability compared to other healthcare accounts. Because HSAs are owned and controlled by the individual, rather than the employer, individuals can retain their HSA even if they change jobs or health insurance plans. Such flexibility equips you to take control of your healthcare finances and make decisions that align with your personal needs and preferences.

Incentive for Preventive Care

The tax advantages of HSAs provide a financial incentive for individuals to prioritize preventive care and wellness initiatives. Investing in preventive services (e.g., screenings, vaccinations, wellness programs) can dramatically boost your overall health while reducing your long-term healthcare costs. HSAs promote a proactive approach to healthcare management, ultimately contributing to improved health outcomes and financial well-being.

HSA and Dental Care

HSAs can play a significant role in managing dental expenses because they give individuals a tax-advantaged way to cover a range of dental services. They can be used to pay for a variety of dental services, including but not limited to:

  • Routine cleanings and exams
  • Fillings and restorations
  • Extractions
  • Root canals
  • Crowns and bridges
  • Dentures and implants

Orthodontic Treatments: In many cases, orthodontic treatments like braces or Invisalign are also eligible for reimbursement through an HSA. That said, it’s essential to check with your HSA provider and review IRS guidelines to confirm eligibility.

Preventive Care Emphasis: HSAs incentivize preventive dental care by allowing tax-free funds for routine check-ups, cleanings, and other preventive services. Investing in preventive care can help you maintain optimal oral health and potentially reduce the need for more extensive and costly treatments down the line.

Flexibility in Payment: HSA funds can cover out-of-pocket dental expenses not fully covered by insurance, deductibles, and co-payments. The flexibility lets you access essential dental care without experiencing undue financial strain.

Navigating HSA Contributions and Withdrawals

Effectively managing HSAs involves understanding the processes for making contributions and withdrawals. Below, we’ll talk about how to navigate these aspects of HSA management.

Contributions

Let’s start with some practical tips for contributing to your HSA so that it maximizes your benefits:

Contribution Limits

The IRS sets annual contribution limits for HSAs, which can vary depending on whether the HSA is for an individual or a family. As of 2024, individuals can contribute up to $4,150 per year to an HSA, while families can contribute up to $8,300 per year. Individuals aged 55 or older are eligible for an additional catch-up contribution of $1,000.

Employer Contribution

Many employers offer HSA contributions as part of their benefits package. These contributions are often made through payroll deductions and may count toward the annual contribution limit. Maximizing employer contributions can help you accelerate your HSA savings.

Timing of Contributions

HSA contributions can be made at any time during the year, either as regular contributions through payroll deductions or as lump-sum contributions. Just remember that you must make contributions before the tax filing deadline (usually April 15 of the following year) to count for the current tax year.

Withdrawals

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when it comes to sorting through an HSA, insurance, and other complex processes for medical care. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Qualified Medical Expenses

HSA withdrawals are tax-free when used for qualified medical expenses. These expenses include a wide range of healthcare services, treatments, and supplies (as the IRS outlines). It’s essential to retain receipts and documentation to substantiate HSA withdrawals and confirm compliance with IRS guidelines.

Non-Medical Withdrawals

If HSA funds are withdrawn for non-qualified expenses before age 65, they are subject to income tax and a 20% penalty. Withdrawals for non-qualified expenses are taxed as ordinary income after age 65, but the penalty no longer applies.

Reimbursement Process

HSA withdrawals can be made by using a dedicated HSA debit card, checks, or online transfers. When using HSA funds to pay for qualified medical expenses, you can either pay directly from the HSA or reimburse yourself by withdrawing funds and retaining receipts for documentation.

Tips for Maximizing HSA Benefits

Successfully navigating HSAs is all about getting the most possible from what you put in. Consider these practical tips:

  • Prioritize preventive care. Invest in preventive services to maintain good health and reduce future healthcare costs. Connect with Adam Brown, DDS to schedule a checkup!
  • Maximize your contributions. Contribute the maximum allowed amount to your HSA each year to take full advantage of its tax benefits.
  • Use your HSA funds wisely. Spend HSA funds strategically on qualified medical expenses to minimize out-of-pocket costs.
  • Save receipts. Keep receipts and documentation for all HSA withdrawals to substantiate qualified medical expenses and guarantee compliance with IRS guidelines.
  • Explore your investment options. If your HSA offers investment options, consider investing HSA funds for potential growth over the long term.

Use these strategies to harness the full potential of your HSA and effectively manage your healthcare finances. Doing so can significantly impact your overall quality of life!

Common Pitfalls and Misconceptions

Navigating HSAs effectively requires you to be aware of some mistakes that can hinder your financial planning. Here are the five most critical points to consider:

  1. Failure to Maximize Contributions: Some individuals may contribute less than the maximum allowed amount to their HSAs, missing out on potential tax savings and long-term growth opportunities. It’s crucial to prioritize HSA contributions to leverage the benefits of tax-free savings.

 

  1. Misunderstanding Eligible Expenses: Not all healthcare expenses qualify for reimbursement through an HSA. You must familiarize yourself with the IRS guidelines on qualified medical expenses to avoid using HSA funds for ineligible purchases, which could result in tax penalties.

 

  1. Forgetting to Save Receipts: Documentation is essential for substantiating HSA withdrawals for qualified medical expenses. Failure to save receipts could make it challenging to prove expenses’ eligibility in case of an IRS audit.

 

  1. Confusion About HSA Investments: Some HSA providers offer investment options, allowing account holders to grow their funds over time. That said, navigating investment choices and understanding associated risks can be challenging if you’re unfamiliar with investment principles.

 

  1. Overlooking Employer Contributions: Employers may offer contributions to employees’ HSAs as part of their benefits package. Failing to take advantage of employer contributions means missing out on valuable additional savings.

Conclusion

Leveraging your HSA can significantly ease the burden of rising healthcare costs. You can make informed decisions about your healthcare finances by understanding its intricacies, from eligibility criteria to qualified expenses.

Your HSA offers substantial tax advantages and flexibility, and it’s a valuable tool for managing dental care and other medical expenses. Make sure your oral and overall health are well taken care of by optimizing your HSA’s benefits with careful planning and strategic usage. Remember to contact Adam Brown, DDS to schedule an appointment and pave the way to a healthier, financially secure future!

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A Crash Course on Electric Toothbrushes

2023-12-31T17:00:27+00:00December 31st, 2023|Teeth Cleaning, Toothbrush Hygiene|

Electric toothbrushes have become increasingly common as of late. Americans are becoming more aware of hygiene do’s and don’ts, leading to more families than ever investing in new, more innovative ways to keep their oral health in the best shape possible.

Electric toothbrush use is on the rise partially because of their near-unanimous approval. Nearly every study and dentist's office out there recommends electric toothbrushes over manual toothbrushes.

Anyone who goes to their local grocery or drug store will see hundreds of toothbrushes available for purchase, many of which are also electric. But you need to know what makes a good toothbrush effective to ensure you’re investing in the right product!

Adam Brown DDS is here to give you a crash course on electric toothbrushes so you can start to improve and maintain your dental health at home. That said, even the best toothbrush won’t make up for regular appointments if you’ve been out of a dentist’s office for some time. Read on and consider scheduling a checkup with Adam Brown DDS for better dental health.

Why Electric?

 Electric toothbrush use is on the rise partially because of their near-unanimous approval. Nearly every study and dentist’s office out there recommends electric toothbrushes over manual toothbrushes. But why? Manual toothbrushes have been around for a long time, dating back to 3000 B.C., fundamentally always staying true to their form and function. Just how can a relatively new advancement top that in every way?

Part of it is tied to our limitations. Electric toothbrushes can make up hundreds, if not thousands, of brush strokes in seconds, while a manual toothbrush can only go as fast as our hands. The boost in efficiency translates to healthier gums, reduced tooth decay, and contributes to overall increased tooth longevity. Electric toothbrushes also have built-in timers, meaning you’re more likely to brush the recommended length of time.

Finally, many have heard that you can damage your enamel and gums if you brush too hard or in a harmful pattern when using a manual toothbrush. Electric brushes serve as a guardrail to these problems and reduce the chances of user-influenced damage.

An Introduction to the Terminology

 When shopping for electric toothbrushes, you’ll find yourself looking at a lot of marketing lingo. Words like “sonic” and “rotating” are used to distinguish between specific electric toothbrushes. Here’s the gist of the differences:

Sonic Toothbrushes: Have vibrating brush heads that move side to side. To be sold as a sonic toothbrush, the vibration has to be fast enough to produce a noticeable hum sound. Many sonic toothbrushes offer impressive feats, such as 50,000 movements a minute!

Rotating Toothbrushes: Rotating brushes are very similar; they move using the power of an electric toothbrush but go much slower. Actions range from 2,500 to 7,500 strokes/movements per minute. Later, we’ll talk about the potential for electric toothbrushes to cause damage, so those with sensitivity may want to opt for a rotating toothbrush instead of a sonic.

Both brushes offer much more action than a manual, with many manual brushes coming in at around 300 movements a minute.

The Sustainable Option

One of the biggest positives with electric toothbrushes is reduced environmental impact. The American Dental Foundation recommends replacing toothbrushes every three to four months. This is great for your oral health, but it translates to a lot of toothbrushes being thrown away.

 “There are 1 billion toothbrushes thrown away in the US annually. That’s 50 million pounds of waste. With 3.5 billion toothbrushes sold annually worldwide, that’s hundreds of millions of pounds of waste coming from our commitment to keeping our mouths clean and healthy.” – Stephen Bay, Earthup

Electric toothbrushes offer an alternative that doesn’t impact your teeth negatively. Most electric toothbrushes offer re-charging capabilities and replaceable heads. Keep your bristles fresh and within ADF standards, but keep the plastic out of the landfills! You can read more about sustainable dentistry and personal dental habits on Adam Brown DDS’s news page here.

Comparing Electric Toothbrush Brands

As we said earlier, you’ve got options with electric toothbrushes. Can those grocery store-brand electric toothbrushes stack up against more expensive competitors? Or how about the two major brands in the electric toothbrush game — Sonicare and Oral-B? Which provides a cleaner brush?

When looking at those grocery store models, look for FDA seals that indicate the brush is considered adequate and beneficial to your overall health. If the seal is on there, there’s a good chance the brush isn’t a bad purchase. Most electric toothbrushes provide the increased brushstrokes and correcting nature of an electric brush. But certain brushes offer improved bristles or spinning technology that go beyond their generic counterparts.

You’ll find some of these innovations in Sonicare and Oral-B brushes — the two companies that have contributed most to the growth of electric toothbrushes. Oral-B brushes tend to be the more affordable of the two, so those who are comfortable skipping on the bells and whistles will find themselves impressed with Oral-B’s options. Alternatively, Sonicare designs look more futuristic and offer a sleekness that warrants the extra cost for some people. These products provide color and design options to make your brush feel personalized and possibly even cool!

Notably, the two brands offer distinguishable brush heads. With Oral-B brushes, you’ll find a circular brush face that oscillates when turned on. Sonicare brushes are more elongated, with rows of bristles that look like a callback to fancier manual brushes. These brushes move side to side when activated, instead of oscillating like Oral-B brushes.

Overall, the two brands do electric brushing a bit differently. And, brush patterns aside, they result in a very similar clean. You might gravitate to Oral-B if you want to get the job done and grab an affordable brush. If you wish to feel like you’ve bought a brush from the future, you may opt for Sonicare’s impressive models. Keep in mind that you’ll be in for better dental health as long as you make the jump from manual toothbrushes!

The Downsides

 Nothing in this world is perfect, and electric toothbrushes have some drawbacks in spite of their near-unanimous support from the dental community. Perhaps most evident is that electric toothbrushes cost far more than their manual counterparts, creating a potential barrier for those unwilling or unable to spend the extra money. Even after the initial purchase, head replacements are comparable in cost to regular manual toothbrushes, which can also be a problem.

Electric toothbrushes are also much louder than manual brushes, and that can be a dealbreaker for some families. Those who have partners or kids who are light sleepers may not want to risk waking them in exchange for a more effective brush.

Lastly, electric toothbrushes can cause damage to oral tissue. If misused, it won’t be a huge asset. Manual toothbrushes have the same problem, but when you use too much force with a powerful electric toothbrush, you could do more damage than if you were using a manual. This could be a specific concern for those with tender or already damaged gums.

Adam Brown DDS – A Dentist Ready to Help

 Like an electric toothbrush, a dentist is there to help you achieve your dental and oral health goals. Adam Brown DDS is the right dentist for the job — a winner for your oral health as clear as ditching a manual toothbrush for an electric one!

Hundreds of happy customers have nothing but positive experiences and improved smiles to report after seeing Adam Brown. Take a look at the before-and-after gallery for evidence!

Remember that the best brushing habits alone won’t guarantee perfect dental health. Regular checkups with a qualified professional are vital to staying healthy. So, while you’re shopping online for the electric toothbrush that will claim a place on your bathroom sink, reach out to Adam Brown DDS and schedule an appointment!

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Dental Health and Pregnancy: How They’re Connected and How To Stay Healthy

2023-01-23T19:21:25+00:00January 21st, 2023|Oral Health, Preventative Dentistry|

Growing your family is a thrilling time, but pregnancy can be a bit overwhelming. You have countless things to think about and take care of as you nest for your arriving bundle of joy!

That said, it’s essential to understand how your dental health and pregnancy are connected. Pregnancy can have a significant impact on your oral health; changes in hormones can cause an increase in bacteria and inflammation in the gums, leading to an increased risk of developing gum disease, tooth decay, and other conditions. Staying healthy and minimizing your risks of complications might require you to make some changes to your oral hygiene routine.

In other words, your dental health is a crucial aspect of your overall health, and you shouldn’t neglect it during pregnancy. Here are some tips from Adam Brown DDS for keeping your smile healthy and bright throughout your pregnancy journey!

Dental Health While Your Pregnant - Information from Charlotte's Best Dentist

Changes Pregnancy Can Cause in Your Dental Health

Pregnancy brings many changes to your body, including your dental health. During pregnancy, increased levels of hormones can change the way your gums react to plaque, causing them to become sensitive. This can lead to swollen and bleeding gums known as “pregnancy gingivitis.”

To help minimize discomfort, it’s critical to maintain good oral hygiene habits like brushing twice daily and flossing regularly. If gingivitis persists in spite of these efforts, consult your dentist about other management options.

Gum Disease and Premature Birth

Gum disease can have serious consequences during pregnancy; perhaps most alarming, it has been linked to premature birth. Studies have shown that pregnant women with periodontal disease are six times more likely to give birth prematurely than those without gum disease. Many dental professionals believe that the bacteria that cause gum disease may enter the bloodstream and travel to the uterus, triggering inflammation and preterm delivery.

Premature babies face many challenges from the moment they’re born. With a premature birth comes the risk of underdeveloped organs, low birth weight, and several other health risks that can last into adulthood.

Due to their immaturity, preterm infants often suffer from breathing difficulties and a weak immune system in the first days and weeks of life. These babies can also have complications like brain bleeds, blindness, hearing loss, and many other issues due to their early arrival into the world.

It’s essential to maintain good oral hygiene habits and visit the dentist regularly to detect any signs of gum disease or infection. If they find gum disease, your dentist may need to treat you to reduce the risk of premature birth. Remember that taking care of yourself is critical for ensuring your and your baby’s health; regular dental visits are no exception!

How Your Dental Health Impacts Your Pregnancy

It’s no secret that pregnancy can be a stressful time, both mentally and physically. Fostering your dental health during pregnancy is a simple — but profound — strategy for maintaining your overall well-being. Poor oral hygiene can put you at greater risk of developing conditions like gingivitis, which increases the likelihood of delivering prematurely or having a baby with a low birth weight.

Moreover, if you don’t maintain proper oral hygiene practices, you can increase your chances of getting cavities and gum disease while pregnant, both of which can lead to further health issues. For these reasons (and more), it’s vital to keep up with regular brushing and flossing — as well as regular dental checkups — during pregnancy so that you and baby have the best chance of staying healthy.

Common Oral Health Conditions in Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the body goes through a wide range of hormonal changes that can significantly impact oral health. Pregnancy gingivitis and xerostomia are two of the most common oral health conditions pregnant women face.

Pregnancy gingivitis is an inflammation of the gum tissue caused in part due to higher levels of progesterone, resulting in redness, swelling, tenderness, and bleeding pockets between the teeth and gums. Xerostomia often presents as dry mouth and is caused by increased stress hormones resulting from pregnancy or certain medications prescribed during the course of pregnancy.

Both conditions can lead to cavities because bacteria can build on tooth surfaces more quickly if plaque isn’t regularly removed. Yet another reason for expecting mothers to pay close attention to their oral health with regular visits to the dentist every month during pregnancy!

Here are a few other conditions to be aware of:

Periodontal Disease: Pregnancy hormones can change how gums react to plaque, causing them to become swollen and more prone to periodontal disease. If left untreated, it may lead to infections and pain.

Pregnancy Tumors: These are small benign lesions that can occur in the mouth during pregnancy due to hormone changes. They usually resolve on their own, but if they persist, your dentist may need to remove them.

Tooth Grinding: Stress and hormonal fluctuations can lead to increased tooth grinding or clenching during pregnancy, which can cause a great deal of discomfort and may even lead to worn or broken teeth. Your dentist can provide solutions (such as a mouth guard) to help minimize the amount of damage caused by grinding.

Cavities: Due to changes in hormones, pregnant women are often more prone to cavities. Regular brushing and flossing are essential for preventing the buildup of cavity-causing plaque and bacteria.

Tooth Erosion: Your teeth can erode if acidity levels increase in your mouth due to morning sickness or other changes in dietary habits that are common during pregnancy. Visiting your dentist regularly will help you prevent this from becoming a problem.

How To Recognize Dental Problems When You’re Pregnant

While much of the focus is rightly placed on how to prepare physically and emotionally for the impending arrival of your little one, don’t forget that it’s just as important to make sure your teeth and gums remain healthy. Many expectant mothers experience dry mouth, swollen or bleeding gums, and even loss or deterioration of tooth enamel due to the hormonal fluctuations that come with pregnancy. Some other symptoms of a dental concern include:

  • Bad breath
  • Mouth sores
  • Widened spaces between teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Toothache
  • Receding gums

To ensure you stay in optimal oral health during this period of increased vulnerability, be sure to maintain regular visits to your dentist. You’ll also want to take precautions like:

  1. Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste
  2. Flossing at least once a day
  3. Faithfully rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash
  4. Supplementing with baking soda when needed to counteract acidity in your pH balance
  5. Eating nutritious meals full of vitamins A and C

Taking care of your pearly whites now will help you become a happy and healthier mom, not to mention boost your confidence as you navigate the challenges ahead!

Best Ways To Prevent Dental Problems During Pregnancy

All the steps above are excellent for avoiding dental problems, but you’ll also want to schedule frequent checkups with your dentist and hygienist throughout the duration of your pregnancy to prevent cavities and other issues. Regular visits can also aid in treating any existing or emerging dental issues at an early stage.

It’s also ideal to avoid smoking and drinking alcohol to reduce the risk of developing periodontal disease, which has been linked to preterm labor. Lastly, remember to consult your doctor or dentist before taking any medications when pregnant, as some drugs may have adverse effects on oral health.

Getting X-Rays When You’re Pregnant

Dental X-rays can be a helpful diagnostic tool for dentists to identify any potential dental issues. However, for pregnant women, it’s important to weigh the risks and benefits of getting an X-ray before making a decision.

Generally, dental X-rays are considered safe for pregnant women when necessary. The American College of Radiology (ACR) states that the tiny amount of radiation used in dental X-rays poses no threat to the mother or unborn baby. Plus, modern digital imaging machines have even lower radiation levels than traditional film X-ray machines.

However, if an X-ray is not medically necessary during pregnancy, it’s generally recommended to postpone it until after delivery. This precaution is taken as a safety measure for both mother and baby since any unnecessary exposure to radiation should be avoided whenever possible.

If an X-ray is needed during pregnancy, there are steps you can take to protect yourself even further. Requesting that the technician uses a lead shield or protective garment during the procedure will help block most of the radiation from reaching your stomach area and ensure that your growing baby remains unharmed throughout the process.

Wrapping Up

Pregnancy is a joyous time, but it can unfortunately bring about changes in your dental health. By being aware of the common oral health conditions that can come with pregnancy, you can be sure to catch them early and avoid any serious problems. And by implementing basic oral hygiene, you can keep your smile healthy and bright throughout your pregnancy. Just remember to schedule your appointment with Adam Brown DDS!

 

If you’re many other women navigating pregnancy, you might have a few more questions about how you can keep yourself and your baby healthy. Let’s take a look at some common FAQs about dental health and pregnancy:

Q: Is it safe to get my teeth cleaned while pregnant?

A: Yes, regular professional dental cleanings are just as important for pregnant women as those who are not pregnant. Cleanings help remove plaque and tartar buildup and reduce your chances of developing cavities or gum disease. Be sure to inform your dentist that you’re pregnant before your appointment.

Q: What can I do to keep my teeth healthy while pregnant?

A: Keeping your teeth and gums healthy while pregnant is essential for both your own health and the health of your baby. It’s best to brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, and visit your dentist and hygienist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups. Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol throughout the duration of your pregnancy, as well as taking any medications without first consulting with your doctor or dentist.

Q: Can dental work be done during pregnancy?

A: Yes, some types of dental work can be safely performed during pregnancy depending on the trimester and the procedure. Dentists prefer certain procedures earlier in the pregnancy rather than later due to the potential risk of exposing your baby to hazardous anesthesia gases or mercury used.

Q: Can I prevent morning sickness from affecting my dental health?

A: Morning sickness can impact your dental health, but there are steps you can take to minimize its effects on your teeth. Drinking plenty of water, avoiding acidic foods and drinks, rinsing your mouth regularly after vomiting, and getting regular fluoride treatments are a few tactics to keep in mind.

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What Is Sustainable Dentistry and How Can You Play a Part?

2023-01-21T03:18:59+00:00December 19th, 2022|Adam Brown DDS, Dental Trends|

Many people are interested in sustainable living, but they may not realize that this extends to their dental health as well. Dental offices can make a number of changes to become more environmentally friendly, and patients can adopt habits that reduce the impact of their own dental care on the planet.

Below, Adam Brown, DDS explains the significance of sustainable dentistry and provides tips for making your personal oral health routine greener. Hint: We can all do it!

Be a part of sustainable Dentistry - Tips from Adam Brown DDS

Sustainable Dentistry and the Benefits for Dental Offices

As the world continues to focus on eco-friendly practices, sustainability has become a priority for many industries. The dental industry is no exception. Let’s take a closer look at sustainable dentistry and its benefits.

What is Sustainable Dentistry?

Sustainable dentistry is a practice that focuses on reducing the environmental impacts of dental care while also promoting better patient health outcomes. It includes using biodegradable products, recycling materials, and implementing energy-efficient technologies, among other practices.

Sustainable dentists strive to use only non-toxic materials free of dangerous chemicals like mercury, lead, and cadmium. By doing so, they ensure their patients receive high-quality care with minimal impact on the environment.

Benefits of Sustainable Dentistry

Sustainable dentistry offers both financial and environmental savings for dental offices. For example, by switching to energy-efficient equipment, dental offices can reduce their electricity bills significantly over time.

Additionally, using biodegradable products instead of disposable ones made from plastic or other nonrenewable materials allows dental practices to cut down on their waste output and help reduce pollution levels in the process. Finally, sustainable dentists often use safer materials than traditional ones, benefitting patients and staff members as it reduces exposure to toxins (like mercury) which can cause long-term health issues if left unchecked.

Sustainable dentistry offers numerous advantages for both patients and dental offices alike. Not only does it provide an opportunity to save money through reduced energy bills but it also helps protect our environment by reducing waste output while encouraging the use of safer materials in place of more toxic ones. Ultimately, sustainable dentistry helps ensure that everyone involved in the practice receives high-quality care with minimal environmental impact.

How To Make Your Dental Health More Sustainable

Your dental health is an important part of your overall well-being, and making it more sustainable means you’re taking care of your teeth in a way that benefits the environment. Whether switching to eco-friendly materials or reducing your water consumption, there are many ways to make your personal dental care routine more sustainable.

Learn About Toxins

First, it might help to learn about the various toxins found in commercial dental care products—talk about motivation to change! For example, many of the most popular toothpastes on the market contain toxins that are dangerous to your oral and general health. It’s essential to read labels and do some research before choosing a toothpaste brand and product.

There are plenty of safely-formulated alternatives available! Opting for a product free of formaldehyde, BPA, parabens, artificial sweeteners, and other chemicals can prevent unwanted exposure to toxins and support long-term oral health. Consider talking to your dentist if you’re ever uncertain about which toothpaste is best for you.

It’s worth noting that many over-the-counter mouthwashes, teeth whitening systems, and other common dental care products also include harmful toxins. Remember to carefully read the label on any dental product you’re considering before introducing them to yourself and your home!

Think Preventative

Preventative dental care is an effective way to reduce the environmental impact associated with dental treatments and procedures. By practicing consistent oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing daily, you can reduce your risk of developing cavities, gum disease, and other common conditions that require professional care. In turn, this can help to protect natural resources like water, electricity, and fuel that would otherwise be used for dental treatments.

Regular visits to your dentist are essential as well! During these appointments, your dentist can advise you on proper brushing and flossing techniques, evaluate the current state of your teeth and gums, and keep an eye out for any potential issues that could become problematic down the line.

It’s also a good idea to talk with your dentist about potential options for replacing traditional materials in specific treatments, such as composite fillings instead of metal. That way, you can feel confident that your dental health is being taken care of while simultaneously reducing your environmental impact.

Choose Eco-Friendly Materials

The materials used for dental work can have a huge impact on the environment, so you’ll want to opt for eco-friendly materials. Many dentists now offer biocompatible materials which are made from natural sources like minerals, plants, and other renewable resources. These materials tend to be more durable than traditional dental materials and they can help reduce waste in landfills as well.

Cut Down on Water Usage

Water is essential for any healthy dental hygiene routine, but reducing your water consumption is also one of the easiest ways to make your dental health more sustainable. One way is to invest in an electric toothbrush with a timer so that you can track how long you brush each time. Also, run only as much water as you need, and use a cup when rinsing instead of letting the faucet pour out after brushing and flossing. This will save waste while lowering your energy bill!

Reduce Your Waste Output

In addition to using eco-friendly materials and reducing your water usage, try to cut down on waste from your dental hygiene products.  Here are a few tips for doing so:

  • Buy toothpaste without plastic packaging (or refillable containers) whenever possible.
  • Look for toothbrushes with biodegradable handles or bamboo bristles, which are better for the environment than traditional plastic ones.
  • Recycle any extra floss containers or toothpaste tubes you have lying around instead of throwing them away.

Making your personal dental health more sustainable doesn’t have to be difficult. With just a few simple changes, you can make a big difference in both the environment and your own oral health.

Unsustainable Dental Habits To Correct

We all know the importance of brushing our teeth regularly, but it’s important to be aware of how our actions affect the world around us. Let’s take a look at some personal dental habits that may be bad for the environment, and how we can make simple changes to right the ship:

Using Plastic Toothbrushes

It’s estimated that more than one billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away yearly in America alone. Disposable plastic toothbrushes are made from petroleum-based materials like polypropylene and nylon, which are major contributors to global pollution. These materials don’t biodegrade quickly and can sit in landfills for hundreds of years before breaking down into smaller pieces.

Fortunately, eco-friendly alternatives are available, such as bamboo or recycled plastic toothbrushes. Bamboo toothbrushes are 100% biodegradable and compostable, and they come with BPA-free nylon bristles. Alternatively, recycled plastic toothbrushes use repurposed plastics to create a new product that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Using Traditional Dental Floss

Dental floss is another common oral hygiene item that creates a lot of waste each year. Traditional dental floss is often manufactured from petroleum-based plastics (e.g., nylon, Teflon, etc.), which can take hundreds of years to decompose naturally. These materials can leach toxic chemicals into the air and water when burned, pollute waterways when disposed of improperly, and choke marine life if they end up in the ocean.

As with toothbrushes, you have options for environmentally friendly floss, including floss made from silk or compostable waxed paper coated with natural beeswax and peppermint oil. Silk floss is reusable, producing less waste than traditional plastic floss. Compostable waxed paper coated with natural ingredients will break down quickly after disposal without leaving any harmful residue or toxins.

Neglecting Basic Dental Hygiene

The dental habits that you practice today will follow you throughout your entire life. Make sure the habits you’re instilling are easy to maintain so you can avoid the necessity of a major dental procedure. Here are a few personal dental habits that can be replaced with more efficient ones:

Brushing Too Hard 

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each session. However, many people brush too hard, which can be damaging to tooth enamel and gum tissue.

To determine if you’re brushing too hard, try using a soft-bristled toothbrush and brushing in gentle circular motions instead of vigorous back-and-forth movements. This will help reduce the amount of force placed on your teeth when brushing and protect the sensitive structures of your mouth from damage caused by over-brushing.

Not Flossing Regularly 

Flossing is an essential part of maintaining good oral hygiene because it removes food particles stuck between the teeth that can’t be reached with a toothbrush. If left unattended, these particles can cause decay or even infection in the gums. Be sure to floss at least once every day – preferably after meals – and brush afterward to remove all food particles from the mouth. You can also use a water flosser as an alternative to traditional flossing methods if preferred.

Using Your Teeth as Tools 

Do you ever bite into packaging or open bottle caps with your teeth? That’s an excellent habit to stop today! Here are two reasons:

  1. It’s unsafe due to the potential risk of breaking a tooth or causing damage to enamel.
  2. It can be challenging for dentists to restore some chips and cracks caused by using your teeth in place of tools because it weakens the natural structure of the tooth over time.

Try not to rely on your teeth for tasks they were not intended for; grab that pair of scissors or a bottle opener instead!

Wrapping Up

It’s easy to overlook how our everyday dental habits can affect the environment, but we must be mindful of our choices if we want to reduce our environmental impact. By practicing preventative oral hygiene, switching to more sustainable dental care products, and replacing bad habits with sustainable ones, we can all help ensure that our personal dental habits aren’t contributing to global pollution problems. Taking small steps now will add up over time and make a tangible difference for future generations!

If you would like to take your preventative care to the next level, or if it’s simply time that you got a checkup, contact Adam Brown, DDS to set up an appointment!

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New Year, New Brush! Simple Dental Health Resolutions for 2022

2022-01-17T16:46:13+00:00January 14th, 2022|Toothbrush Hygiene|

Best Toothbrush Advice

It’s a new year, and what better resolution than to up your dental health game? If you practice proper dental hygiene, you’re likely used to brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing once a day. But when was the last time you changed your toothbrush? 

If it has been longer than three months, it’s time to replace it. If you can’t remember the last time you had a new brush, then you might want to stop what you’re doing and head to the nearest store this instant!

Brushing is key to basic dental hygiene, but if you’re using an old brush with accumulated bacteria, it can lead to a range of problems. Below, Adam Brown DDS gives you some essential toothbrush guidance to kick off 2022!

 

How Often Should You Replace Your Toothbrush?     

There can be a few different reasons for changing out your toothbrush, but dental experts generally recommend replacing it at least every three months. That includes both traditional toothbrushes and electric brush heads. Other ways to think about it are four times a year or one brush per season. Many people get one toothbrush for winter, spring, summer, and fall, making it easier to remember to replace their brush every three months. 

It’s essential to replace your toothbrush anytime you notice the bristles fraying. A toothbrush consists of more than a simple scrub brush. Look at the head closely, and you will see little groups of bristles that vary in size, length, and color. Each manual and electric toothbrush head is designed to clean specific areas of your mouth. 

Your toothbrush’s lifespan will factor in that you are brushing twice a day for two minutes. Each time you brush your teeth, it wears down the brush head, and the friction eventually impacts how well your toothbrush cleans your mouth. Along with the accumulation of bacteria, this wear and tear are why most people should throw out their toothbrushes after three months.

However, that is just a general guideline; each individual will have unique needs. It comes down to your specific brushing habits. For example, if you brush after every meal, you can expect your brush head to wear down quicker than someone who only brushes twice a day. 

Your brush head can also wear out faster if you brush harder than average or if your teeth are crooked. These days, most electric toothbrush heads have indicators to show how much wear has occurred and when to replace your brush head, and some manual toothbrushes also have this feature. If you use an electric toothbrush, check with the manufacturer to see if they offer a subscription service, which would mean you get brush heads sent to your home every few months. 

 

What If It Hasn’t Been 3 Months?      

Ideally, you will change your toothbrush at least every three months, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t replace it sooner. As mentioned above, several factors can require you to get a new toothbrush more often than the general recommendation. Here are some signs to look out for that indicate you should throw out your toothbrush:

The Bristles Are Splayed

Look at your toothbrush, particularly the bristles. Are they splayed out in different directions? Does the toothbrush look flattened, as if you use it as a housecleaning tool? If so, you might be brushing your teeth harder than you should, and the extra force is causing the bristles to splay out all over the place. 

Yes, you should throw that toothbrush out, but you may also want to evaluate how hard you are brushing because it could damage your teeth and gums.

If the bristles on your toothbrush are splayed out, they will not be able to clean your teeth and gums effectively.

Using less pressure and lightning your grip can help. The key is to allow the bristles to do the work for you 

Brushing too hard can cause gum recession, damaged enamel, and other issues. Be mindful of brushing with the appropriate pressure, and see if your toothbrush lasts for three months this time around!

 

Wear and Tear on Your Brush Head

How to Know When to Replace your Toothbrush

Each time you use it, assess your brush head so you can see when it starts to deteriorate. Keep a close eye on the bristles; if they are not tough and springy, it is probably time to get a new brush head. The bristles should be soft but resilient enough to take care of plaque and food particles. 

Also, the strands on your brush head should bounce back after each brushing session. If the bristles are not stiff and straight after you brush, you should replace them as soon as possible. 

Another thing to look for is cleanliness. Neglecting to rinse your toothbrush after each session can result in toothpaste residue building up at the handle or base of the bristles. Consequently, the gunk can attract bacteria and potentially cause sickness. In other words, change out your toothbrush the moment it doesn’t look fresh. 

 

You’ve Been Sick 

Any time you have been ill, throw your toothbrush out immediately. The germs on your toothbrush will stick around and can re-infect you even as you recover. This is especially a problem if antibiotics are required to remedy your illness.

Most doctors that you recommend replace your toothbrush after one or two days after beginning your prescription.

Though it might be easy enough when using a manual brush, it can be more painful to toss an almost-new electric toothbrush head! Nonetheless, get rid of it because it is not worth getting sick all over again.

 

Why Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly?      

Each toothbrush is designed to effectively clean your teeth and gums so that you maintain good dental and overall health. Even the cheaper manual brushes have specially-designed bristles to reach specific areas of your teeth and gums. If the bristles are worn out or dirty, the toothbrush cannot do its job. It’s critical to replace your manual toothbrush or electric brush head when you notice wear and tear or the brush getting gunky.  

Germs are another big reason for replacing your toothbrush regularly. After all, the entire purpose of brushing your teeth is to eliminate the food particles and bacteria that cause plaque and tartar. 

Your toothpaste traps some of your oral bacteria, which you rinse out of your mouth during each brushing session. However, some of the bacteria stick to your toothbrush head and can accumulate over three months.

Also, the slightest wear on a brush head will prevent the bristles from doing their job. This is especially true for electric toothbrushes since the strands are more engineered and shorter. If you continue to brush with worn bristles that cannot properly clean your teeth, it can lead to plaque buildup and eventually gum disease. 

Furthermore, if your bristles are frayed, it can damage the gum tissue and lead to sore gums and bleeding. And, of course, failing to replace your toothbrush can make you sick. Rather than expose yourself to the buildup of bacteria, mold, and fungus, just get a new brush!

 

Remembering to Replace Your Toothbrush Head      

So, you’re convinced to replace your toothbrushes or brush heads regularly. But if you are like many other people, you might have a hard time remembering to make the change. Fortunately, you can do a few things to stay on top of your replacements. 

For instance, you can write a reminder on a paper calendar or use an automatic reminder on your smartphone. That way, no matter what you are doing on any given day, you will have a visual reminder that it’s time to throw away your toothbrush or snap on a new brush head. 

Also, consider using color-changing brush heads. Many electric toothbrushes (and some manual toothbrushes) feature bristles that change colors when it is time for a replacement. This is perhaps the easiest way to remember when to change your toothbrush or brush head!

Another strategy is to buy it in bulk. If you prefer manual toothbrushes, you can find packs of three or more toothbrushes in almost every major retailer or pharmacy. Similarly, you can stock up on brush head refills to keep in your home. Then, you will always have a replacement when the time comes. Just don’t store your extra brush heads or toothbrushes somewhere you will forget; not being able to find your replacement can lead to frustration and procrastination!

Moreover, if you use an electric toothbrush, see if your manufacturer provides a brush head replacement plan. This type of subscription will keep replacements coming to your door when you need them most and remind you it’s time to change them.

 

How to Clean Your Toothbrush in the Meantime 

You know to change out your toothbrush regularly, but how can you keep it clean in the meantime? After all, you don’t let your bath towel or sweatshirt go unwashed for three months, so why should you do that with your toothbrush? If you want to take your dental health to the next level, consider creating a weekly routine for cleaning your toothbrush. 

 

Run Your Toothbrush Through the Dishwasher    

Yes, it’s OK to put your toothbrush in the dishwasher! Place your brush in your dishwasher’s utensil container and run it through a cycle with your dishes. In most cases, the water temperature in a regular cycle will not damage the plastic on your brush, but if you are worried about it, you might want to lower the temperature. That way, you can ensure that your toothbrush won’t warp or melt.

 

Put It in Boiling Water

You may not want to do this every week because boiling water can damage plastic over time. But it can also do an excellent job eliminating bacteria buildup. All you have to do is boil water in a small pot and hold your toothbrush head in the water for about three minutes. Once you sterilize the toothbrush, rinse it under cold water and wait a few minutes before using it.

 

Use a UV Sanitizer 

UV sanitizers can be pretty expensive, but they are highly effective at killing bacteria. Quality sanitizers can eliminate millions of bacteria in a few minutes, keeping your brush clean and your stress levels low. UV sanitation is so reliable and effective that medical facilities use it to kill germs. And there are quite a few excellent in-home sanitizers available. 

 

Clean It With Mouthwash

One of the easiest ways to clean your toothbrush or brush head is to pour antibacterial mouthwash or rubbing alcohol into a small cup and soak the brush head for a few minutes. You can complete this process before or after brushing. 

Along with keeping the bacteria at bay, using mouthwash on your toothbrush will keep it smelling fresh! However, one thing to remember is never to use your toothbrush until you have rinsed away the mouthwash or alcohol.

 

Store It Properly    

It may not be the first thing you consider when you think of your dental health, but where you store your toothbrush matters. Rather than keeping it near the toilet or in an enclosed space like a cupboard or medicine cabinet, place your toothbrush upright in a holder or cup in the open air so that water can drip away while you are not using it. Your brush needs to dry as it will help reduce bacteria buildup. 

Another tip is to use a lid for your brush head, as it can help the bacteria from accumulating on the bristles. Moreover, don’t store your toothbrush with anyone else’s because cross-contamination can occur. And if you use a toothbrush lid, holder, or cup, be sure to clean them regularly to prevent bacteria buildup on those pieces too.

 

Conclusion      

The beginning of a new year is ideal for taking your dental health routine to the next level! And one of the most practical ways you can do that is to make sure you replace your toothbrush or brush head every three months

If you need help remembering to change your brush out, consider setting reminders, subscribing to a service that will send brush head replacements, or buying in bulk. Also, create a cleaning routine so that your toothbrushes stay fresh. And, of course, don’t hesitate to contact Adam Brown DDS if you need to book an appointment!

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Small Family Dental Practices: Where We Know Your Name!

2021-11-12T17:28:26+00:00November 12th, 2021|Dental Trends|

Family Dentistry Monroe NC

As with so many other industries, dentistry is changing. Yes, technology and treatments continue to improve each year, but those are not the changes we are talking about.

At Adam Brown, DDS, we have been keeping a close eye on the dental practice landscape around the country, and we are noticing that fewer and fewer small, private practices are continuing to operate independently. And since these types of practices play such an essential role in their respective communities, this is a concern for dentists and families alike.

We are pleased to provide the best care possible for the families that we see regularly, and we are still doing it independently! Below, we will discuss how dental service organizations (DSOs) are impacting dentistry and explain why choosing a family dentist could be the best option for you and your kids!

 

The Emergence of DSOs

Small independent dental practices are facing some vulnerabilities right now, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the COVID-19 pandemic. Yes, the pandemic brought many challenges to private practices across the country, but most offices survived and are now back to seeing patients as they were before February 2020. No, the problem has nothing to do with attracting or retaining patients. The issue is that there are fewer dentists looking to step in when older dentists retire.

Not too long ago, it was common for dentists straight out of college to find a smaller town or suburb with a retiring dentist looking for a replacement. Now, many younger folks are choosing to live in large metropolitan areas, if not city centers. Moreover, dental school is expensive and more graduates are entering their careers in more debt than ever, so starting or purchasing a practice is simply too costly and complex.

Then there are dental service organizations (DSOs). In short, these organizations are not owned by dentists, and they go around the country buying out dental practices to handle the operations of the business. This business model allows younger dentists to focus their time and energy on the clinical aspects of their job, bring in a consistent salary, and remain free of the stresses and responsibilities of owning a practice. As such, DSOs are gaining more traction each year.

 

Few Options for Retiring Dentists

While there are clear benefits to newer dentists looking to kickstart their career, the rise of DSOs put dentists who are retiring from a solo or small-group practice in a predicament. There are basically three paths they can take:

1. Work longer than they anticipated to (until they are forced into retirement by their health).
2. Shut down their practice without providing any options for their patients.
3. Sell their practice to a DSO.

More retiring dentists are finding that selling to a DSO is the only option that serves themselves and their patients. But this path puts independent dentistry as a whole in jeopardy. In other words, as DSOs become more and more prevalent, they will transform the way dental practices around the country operate. And it could leave very few dentists who have the ability to run their own practices.

 

Small Practice, Big Opportunities

Here’s the thing that a lot of young dentists who are graduating from dental school do not realize: Small, private practices can provide better opportunities for them both in the short term and long term. Smaller practices come with less competition and lower overhead costs, which means that dentists can better support themselves and their families. Sometimes, they can do it by only working part-time.

As long as a dentist is motivated and has the drive to maintain control of their career, putting down roots at an independent practice can provide exceptional opportunities and flexibility, both of which can especially benefit those wanting to raise families.

Then there is the community to consider. Small towns and suburbs need dentists, just as they need other medical professionals nearby. A lot of people simply are not going to drive 30 minutes to an hour for regular dental visits. And when a community has no dentist, or the few dentists in the community are booked to capacity, many individuals will opt out of preventative care.

Moreover, small practices are often active in supporting the community through sponsoring recreational teams, inviting school groups for office tours, providing low-cost or free care for those who need it, and more. Unless more is done to maintain the sustainability of private dental practice, the trend of DSOs and their effect on communities could continue on its trend.

 

The Benefits of Family Dentistry

There are many similarities between family dentistry and general dentistry. For example, both use top-notch equipment and provide quality dental care for patients, as well as expert insight into each individual’s oral health. There is one distinction between these two, however, that sets a family dentistry like Adam Brown, DDS apart from general dental practices: We serve patients of all ages and can treat different family members all under one office.

Among other perks, choosing a family dentist can provide your household with familiarity, convenience, reduced anxiety, and better oral health—for parents, children, and grandparents alike! Let’s take a deeper look into the advantages of going to a family dental practice.

Familiarity
When you go to a family dental practice, the chances that your children will develop positive relationships with their dentist are much higher. At Adam Brown, DDS, we know the faces and names of all of our patients, and this increases the likelihood that our patients (especially children) will maintain their dental health. For children, this means that they’re more likely to have healthy teeth and gums as they enter adulthood.

Scheduling
Keeping up with dental appointments as an individual is hard enough. But if you are responsible for the appointments of everyone in your family, it can be downright overwhelming! Not only do you have to take off work for each appointment, but you also have to take your kids out of school and coordinate other responsibilities to make it all fit. Instead of scheduling different appointments for each member of your household, choose a family dental practice that will make scheduling easy for you.

For example, we will go out of our way to set one appointment for your whole family. Think about how much easier and convenient that will make your life! Rather than taking the time to schedule several appointments in any given week, all you have to do is make a family trip to the dentist to ensure everyone’s teeth and gums are taken care of.

Relationships
Parents tend to love going to a family practice because it provides the opportunity for both them and their children to develop lasting relationships with their dentists. In some cases, the same dentist will work with three or four generations in the same family! A child can have the same dentist as a toddler, adolescent, college student, and adult. The trust that is built throughout that kind of timeframe can not be replicated elsewhere.

Forming a healthy relationship with a dentist can help your child feel more comfortable talking about oral health symptoms that could cause severe problems down the road. If the dentist doesn’t know what you or your child is feeling, they may not be able to detect an issue until it’s too late, meaning that more expensive and painful procedures could be necessary to fix it.

When you go to a family dental practice, everyone in your household can rest assured that the dentist is prioritizing your health and best interests. And they will also know how to better monitor allergies, sensitivities, and family history with everyone involved. A family dentist will take into account dental diseases anyone in your family has had in the past. For instance, if one individual in your family has a genetic condition, your dentist will know precautions and strategies to take for everyone else in your family.

Less Dental Anxiety
We all know that going to the dentist is not a favorite activity among some children. Dental anxiety is a real thing for children, and it impacts adults too! Family dentists can help households to ease their dental anxiety. By going to a practice like Adam Brown, DDS, you will know that you can rely on friendly faces that will become familiar!

Matching your child with the right dentist will help them become more comfortable with their checkup appointments, at-home dental hygiene routine, and any procedures that might become necessary as they grow up. This is especially true if your family goes to appointments together.

Since younger children often like to imitate the actions of the role models in their lives, your child might become less fearful of the dentist if they see you and their siblings getting dental care without any issues. And it won’t take long for your child to grow more comfortable and confident to go through checkup appointments on their own. In other words, going to a family dental practice can help your child outgrow dental anxiety so that it doesn’t stick around into adulthood.

On the other side of the coin, if your child never becomes comfortable with their dentist and fails to grow out of their anxiety, they could neglect to go to regular checkup appointments as adults. This would mean their dentist would not be able to detect oral health problems early, potentially leading to intensive treatments and procedures. At Adam Brown, DDS, we make sure to support and help children overcome their dental anxiety and foster their dental wellness!

Tracking Dental History
When your family goes to a family dental practice, all of your dental records will be kept in the same place instead of being spread across several different offices. This means that your dentist will be able to easily monitor your family’s medical history and address any pressing medical issues that they identify over time. Genetics are critical to dental health, and a family dentist will be able to help everyone in your household maintain their dental health and provide insight when it is needed.

Oral Health
If you want to keep your family’s teeth and gums healthy, it is essential that each of you keeps up with your regular visits to the dentist. By going twice a year for a checkup, you can stay ahead of cavities, tooth decay, gingivitis, and other common dental issues. This will help you to prevent pain, tooth loss, and swollen or bleeding gums. Once issues like these set in, it can lead to periodontitis and, ultimately, tooth loss.

Brighter Smiles
Going to your dentist for regular cleanings can go a long way in keeping your family’s smiles in pristine shape for pictures or big events. If you are relying solely on your at-home routines, you may develop yellow or discolored teeth over time. By scheduling cleanings or even teeth whitening appointments, you can keep everyone’s smiles bright. Your family dentist can also advise you on your daily oral health routine, such as providing practical tips, recommendations for toothpaste and fluoride treatments, and so on.

Access to Treatments
Finally, family dental practices provide a wide range of treatments and procedures all under the same roof. This means that your family will not have to seek treatment from other offices for cleaning, restorative procedures, Invisalign, and other treatments for each person. At Adam Brown, DDS, we even provide world-class cosmetic procedures! In other words, family dental practices are highly versatile.

 

Conclusion

The rise of dental service organizations is transforming the landscape of dental practices across the country. While there are perks of DSOs for young dentists, they pose some serious risks for smaller private practices and their communities. By choosing a family dentistry like Adam Brown, DDS, you not only can support independent dental practice, but you will also have access to all the benefits associated with choosing a family dentistry listed above. Don’t wait—book your family’s appointment with our office today!

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How to Keep Your Family’s Teeth Healthy and Enjoy Trick-or-Treating This Halloween

2021-10-14T12:40:47+00:00October 14th, 2021|Oral Health|

Healthy Teeth and Halloween Candy Monroe

We’re approaching the spookiest (and sweetest) time of year, and families across the country are making their plans for fun and excitement. Will you try a haunted maze in the area or go to a local pumpkin festival? Will you participate in a nearby trunk-or-treat or stick to trick-or-treating in your own neighborhood?

Whatever plans your family has for this Halloween, chances are they involve a lot of candy! And while we at Adam Brown, DDS don’t want to keep you from enjoying your sweets, we do want to provide some practical advice on how you can keep your family’s teeth healthy during the Halloween season and stay safe while trick-or-treating. But first, it will help to understand exactly how candy can impact your child’s teeth:

How Candy Affects Teeth

Though teeth are the strongest substance in the human body, plaque and tooth decay can do some serious damage to our teeth over time. Adults are susceptible to tooth decay and cavities, but children are the most vulnerable. So, it’s no surprise that the Halloween season is a time to take extra precautions. Dentists see cavities and tooth decay in kids all the time in the weeks following Halloween, with the culprit being sugary candy and other treats.

No one can deny the flavor of Halloween treats, but it’s essential to keep your child’s oral health in mind. Most tooth decay occurs when oral bacteria in our mouths produce acids by feeding off sugar. This acid begins to deteriorate tooth enamel, which is the tooth’s outer layer that protects it from decay. Tooth enamel cannot grow back once it wears off. Therefore, since children are more prone to tooth decay, be extra mindful of how much sugary food they eat.

When tooth decay progresses enough, cavities can form in your tooth, which can lead to severe discomfort and pain. And if cavities are allowed to keep growing, they can damage deeper layers of the tooth and eventually cause tooth loss. Halloween is a time for enjoying sweets, but your family must do it wisely and in moderation; otherwise, all of the candy, sweet treats, and sugary drinks can put each of you (especially your child) at risk for tooth decay and cavities, which are neither good for your oral health nor your wallet!

10 Tips for Healthy Teeth

Now that you have an idea of how sugary foods can impact your family’s teeth, let’s discuss some practical tips you can take to maintain your oral health in the weeks ahead:

1. Help your kids develop a healthy relationship with candy

The best way to ensure that your child keeps their teeth healthy is to help them understand the difference between moderation and overindulgence. They need to know that candy and other sweet treats should be limited and that eating too many of them can lead to serious consequences.

For a younger child, you will need to pay special attention to setting a good example. Since younger kids are more difficult to reason with, make sure you are modeling the behavior you are teaching them by consuming sugary foods in moderation yourself.

2. Pick the right candies

Eating any sugary candy or treats can negatively impact your teeth, but some are worse than others. For example, chocolate is generally less detrimental to teeth than sticky candy like Skittles and gummy bears. This is because it is quite easy to clean chocolate from your teeth, and fruity candies can get stuck onto and between teeth. Perhaps the best sweet treat of all is dark chocolate; not only does it carry health benefits, but it also easily washes off of your teeth.

3. Opt for sweet over sour

While sweet, sticky candies can be particularly damaging to teeth, sour candy is even worse. Most sour candies are sticky, which poses the same problem as other sticky candies. However, sour candy also contains a higher pH, which means more acid for your child’s teeth and gums! Limit the sour treats your child consumes so that you can keep their enamel healthy and strong.

4. Strategize when you eat candy

When candy abounds during the Halloween season, it is easy to graze and snack on sweets at random moments throughout the day. But if you plan out when your child is allowed to have their treats, you can help reduce the sugar’s impact on their teeth. Think of the times when your child will be brushing their teeth, and plan their snacks accordingly.

For instance, maybe they can have a sweet after they finish their lunch and then another one after dinner. That means that you will have more control of how much sugar sticks to their teeth on any given day. Plus, the saliva that kids produce during meals can help wash away food particles and bacteria, which means that eating candy immediately following meals can reduce the number of little pieces that cling to their teeth.

5. Set limits

Along with planning out what times of the day your child gets to eat sweets during the Halloween season, you will also want to limit how much they can have per sitting as the season phases out. For example, maybe a day or two after Halloween, give them a little less candy than they had the day before. Gradually give them fewer and fewer treats over the next several days until life is back to normal. In most cases, this is fairly easy and straightforward because kids have short attention spans! In no time, your child will likely forget about their Halloween sweets!

6. Prioritize regular oral hygiene

Helping your child maintain a consistent oral hygiene routine is always critical. And you want to make sure that they don’t take any shortcuts during the Halloween season when they are eating more candy than normal. Make sure your child brushes their teeth thoroughly before bed, in the morning, and after each snack. Rather than flossing once a day, consider helping them floss twice a day until they finish their Halloween treats.

7. Drink lots of water

Any dentist is likely to recommend that your child drinks as much water as they can each day. This is primarily because water is a much healthier alternative to sodas, juices, and other sugary beverages that tend to be terrible for little teeth. But there is another reason why you should make sure your child drinks a lot of water in the days surrounding Halloween— it can go a long way in keeping their mouth clean and washing the sugar and bacteria away, which means they will have lower risks of tooth decay and other problems.

8. Use sugarless gum

It might be ideal for your child to brush after every time they eat candies or other sweets. But this might not always be practical, especially when your family is enjoying Halloween activities together.

That’s where sugarless gum comes into play! Chewing sugarless gum for twenty minutes after meals and snacks can increase saliva production, which helps to neutralize the acid in your mouth and wash out the food and bacteria. In other words, it is yet another simple step you can take to prevent tooth decay and keep your mouths healthy.

9. Strike a balance

Eating more sweets means that you should be eating more healthy foods as well. For example, eating candy bars, sour worms, and Jolly Ranchers should be balanced out by milk and low-sugar dairy foods that give your teeth calcium and help them stay strong and healthy. Cheese, in particular, can lower the pH in the mouth, and any natural, crunchy foods (e.g. carrots, cucumbers, and apples) are great for cleaning teeth as you’re eating. To take it a step further, these types of foods can even loosen plaque from teeth and wash away bacteria.

10. Don’t brush right away

Lastly, consider waiting about one hour for your child to brush their teeth after consuming any candies or sweets that are highly acidic. Brushing too soon after eating such candies can increase the harmful effects of the acid in their mouth.

Which Candies Are OK for Braces?

If your child has braces, there are some special considerations you will want to make when Halloween arrives. Certain candies and treats will be harder than others to clean from braces, not to mention that some will also pose a higher risk of damaging the brackets and wires themselves.

For instance, be wary of any hard or sticky treats, such as Starbursts, Skittles, jawbreakers, caramel apples, and gummy bears. Also, steer clear of popcorn, popcorn balls, and any other foods that tend to get stuck in braces. Believe it or not, there are plenty of treats your child can enjoy that won’t pose any serious risks. Reese’s cups, regular M&Ms, cotton candy, brownies, cupcakes, Pixy Stix, and Mounds are some examples of sweets that shouldn’t impact their braces if eaten in moderation.

8 Tips for a Safe, Fun Trick-or-Treat

Okay, so we’ve discussed some steps you can take to keep your family’s teeth healthy during the candy-heavy Halloween season. Let’s get to some quick tips for how you can plan for an awesome and safe trick-or-treat experience.

1. Plan your path

Make sure the route you take on Halloween night is safe and not too long. If you have younger children, you probably shouldn’t expect to stay out for five hours, though you might be able to get away with a long night if you have teenagers. Consider doing a test run before you go trick-or-treating to figure out how long the route is and which paths you should take. Along with keeping everyone safe, this will help prevent arguments on Halloween night and ensure that no one gets lost if they are separated from the family.

2. Pay attention to the candies you get

Each time a piece of candy is dropped in your child’s bucket, you should inspect it before they put it into their mouth. Handmade treats are a kind gesture, but since you cannot be sure what the treats contain, you may not want to give them to your kids. If you see any candy wrappers tampered with, throw them out immediately.

3. Take a flashlight

Along with planning the route you take on Halloween night, bring along a flashlight to help reduce the likelihood that one of your children will wander off and get separated from the group. And while you should only go trick-or-treating on well-lit streets, you might want to bring some reflective tape to stick to your children’s costumes and coats, just to make sure they are clearly visible to drivers.

4. Wear comfortable shoes

Trick-or-treating requires a lot of walking, which means that each person in your family should wear a comfortable pair of tennis shoes. Even if some of your outfits call for high heels, sandals, or another type of uncomfortable footwear, wearing tennis shoes will help everyone enjoy their time and prevent injuries.

5. Stick with your group

One of the biggest fears for parents is that one of their children will get separated from the group on a dark Halloween night. Along with taking extra precautions to ensure that your younger children stay by your side, however, you should also be mindful of where your older kids are. Your older children should not be trick-or-treating without you unless they are with a group of friends who you know would adhere to all the safety rules.

6. Don’t go into a stranger’s home

Chances are you have spoken to your kids about stranger danger. And that philosophy is perhaps never more important than on Halloween night. When trick-or-treating, remind your kids about the rules regarding strangers, and never allow them to enter someone else’s home. To take it a step further, make sure they know not to approach a house for candy unless the lights are on.

7. Check your costumes

There are all kinds of creative Halloween costumes out there. While you want your kids to enjoy their costumes and make the most out of their experience, you also want to make sure they are safe. Inspect your child’s costume to ensure that it is the appropriate length so they don’t trip while trick-or-treating. And only allow them to carry accessories that are flexible and soft to prevent any unnecessary injuries.

8. Be careful around flames

Finally, even the smallest flame from a jack-o-lantern can catch a costume on fire. Be extra mindful as your family enjoys the festive decorations on your route, but make sure that you and your children steer clear of all candles, torches, and other items that contain a flame. And only wear flame-resistant costumes.

Conclusion

Halloween is meant to provoke excitement for children and adults alike. But to ensure that your family makes the most of the Halloween season, it is essential to prioritize oral health and take the appropriate safety measures when trick-or-treating. And of course, be sure to schedule check-ups at Adam Brown, DDS to keep your teeth and gums healthy!

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