A Family Affair: How To Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy Over the Summer

2024-05-30T22:28:01+00:00May 30th, 2024|Adam Brown DDS, Oral Health, Tooth Infection, Toothbrush Hygiene|

Summer is a fantastic time for families to boost their dental health, keeping those smiles bright and happy for all the fun in the sun. With all the outdoor activities and tasty treats, we can’t forget to stick to habits that keep our teeth in tip-top shape! Below, Adam Brown, DDS shares practical dental health tips for kids and parents to follow during the summer. We also dive into some tasty herb alternatives to salt that can help keep your meals flavorful and your teeth healthy.

Best Practices for Family Dental Care: Brush twice daily, floss regularly, and moderate intake of sugary snacks and drinks.

  1. Maintaining a Consistent Brushing Schedule

One of the most essential aspects of oral health is consistency. Brushing routines tend to become irregular with school schedules disrupted. Encourage your children to brush their teeth twice a day—once in the morning and once before bedtime. Setting reminders or alarms at the same times each day can help establish the routine.

  1. Making Brushing Fun

Brushing teeth can seem like a chore to young kids. As a parent, you can turn it into a fun activity. Colorful toothbrushes, flavored toothpaste, and brushing songs can make the experience more appealing. There are lots of apps and videos designed to teach proper techniques via entertaining methods. Letting children pick their toothbrushes and toothpaste can also give them a sense of control and make them more excited about brushing.

  1. Proper Brushing Techniques

Brushing should be fun, but it’s equally important that your kids brush correctly. Here are a few easy tips for teaching your young ones proper brushing habits:

  • Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste for children under six.
  • Encourage your kids to brush for at least two minutes; use a timer or a two-minute song to help them keep track of time.
  • Teach them to brush gently in circular motions to effectively clean all surfaces of their teeth without damaging their gums.
  • Make sure they brush their tongues to remove bacteria and freshen their breath.
  • Supervise and assist younger children with brushing to ensure they cover all areas and don’t miss any spots.
  1. Flossing is Essential Too

Flossing is often overlooked but is crucial for removing food particles and plaque between teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. Start flossing your children’s teeth as soon as they have two teeth that touch. Kids can learn to floss independently as they older. You can use floss picks or interdental brushes if traditional floss is too challenging for your children.

  1. Healthy Eating Habits

Summer often means ice creams, candies, and sugary drinks. While it’s okay to enjoy these treats in moderation, remember to encourage a balanced diet to maintain oral health. Sugary and acidic foods and drinks can lead to tooth decay, so offer fruits, vegetables, cheese, nuts, and other healthy snacks. Drinking water after consuming sugary treats can help wash away sugar and reduce the risk of cavities.

  1. Regular Dental Check-Ups

Summer is a marvelous time to schedule regular dental check-ups since children are out of school. Regular visits to the dentist are vital for maintaining oral health, detecting any issues early, and receiving professional cleanings. Make it a positive experience by discussing what will happen during the visit and addressing your child’s fears or anxieties. Book your appointment with Adam Brown, DDS today!

  1. Using Fluoride for Extra Protection

Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent cavities. Make sure your child’s toothpaste contains fluoride. Your dentist might recommend fluoride treatments during routine visits for added protection.

  1. Leading by Example

Kids often imitate their parents, and you can set a positive example for your children by maintaining good oral hygiene practices yourself. Brush and floss together as a family, and make it a part of your daily routine. Doing so can reinforce the habit while providing an opportunity to guide and monitor your children’s brushing.

  1. Staying Hydrated

Encourage your children to drink plenty of water, especially during hot summer days. Not only does water help rinse away food particles and bacteria, but staying hydrated is essential for overall health. Getting your kids fun-looking water bottles can do the trick!

  1. Being Prepared for Dental Emergencies

More outdoor activities and sports equals an increased risk of dental injuries. Be prepared by knowing what to do in case of a dental emergency. Keep your dentist’s contact information handy and have a dental first-aid kit ready with gauze, a small container with a lid, and an ice pack.

Maintaining oral health over the summer requires a consistent and proactive approach. You can keep your kids’ teeth healthy and strong by establishing and adhering to regular brushing and flossing routines, encouraging healthy eating habits, and scheduling regular dental visits. Making oral hygiene fun and educational will benefit your children’s immediate dental health while instilling lifelong healthy habits. Don’t forget to keep those smiles sparkling as you enjoy those summer activities together!

Keeping Up With Oral Care as a Parent

Maintaining your own dental care routine as a busy parent juggling work, housekeeping, and family time can be challenging but is essential for your overall health and well-being. The key is to integrate dental hygiene seamlessly into your daily schedule.

Start by establishing a consistent routine. Brush your teeth twice daily, ideally once in the morning and before bed. Make this a non-negotiable part of your day (like showering or preparing meals). Using an electric toothbrush can save time and ensure a thorough clean, which is especially handy when rushing through your morning routine to get the kids ready for school and yourself off to work.

Flossing for the Win

Flossing often gets overlooked due to time constraints, but it’s crucial for preventing gum disease and cavities. One way to incorporate flossing is by doing it during another routine activity.

For instance, keep floss picks in a convenient location like your car, desk drawer, or beside your TV remote, and use them while watching your favorite show, waiting in traffic, or during a conference call that doesn’t require your full attention. Multitasking can keep you from skipping this important step without adding extra time to your day.

Eating the Right Foods

Diet also plays a significant role in dental health; being mindful of what you consume is another way to maintain your dental routine. As you prepare meals for your family, focus on including tooth-friendly foods such as crunchy vegetables, cheese, and yogurt, which help clean teeth and provide essential nutrients for oral health.

Avoid frequent snacking, especially on sugary or acidic foods, which can increase the risk of cavities. Opt for water over sugary drinks to keep your mouth hydrated and wash away food particles.

Going to Checkups

Regular dental check-ups are also crucial, but finding the time can be difficult. Schedule appointments well in advance and coordinate them with your children’s visits to minimize disruptions to your routine. Some dental offices offer evening or weekend hours, which can be a lifesaver for busy parents. Consider combining errands to maximize your time out of the house.

More Herbs, Less Salt: Enhance Your Oral Health Naturally

In recent years, there has been a growing movement toward natural health remedies. It emphasizes the importance of a balanced diet and incorporating herbs over excessive salt use. This shift benefits general health and can significantly affect your family’s oral health.

The Impact of Salt on Teeth and Health

Salt, or sodium chloride, is common in many diets worldwide. While it’s essential for various bodily functions, excessive salt intake can harm overall health and oral health.

Regarding general health, high salt intake is closely linked to increased blood pressure, which can lead to cardiovascular diseases. Excessive salt can also strain the kidneys, potentially leading to kidney disease. Further, a high-salt diet can cause the body to excrete more calcium, weakening bones over time and potentially leading to osteoporosis.

Here are a few other things high salt intake can lead to:

  • Dehydration, resulting in dry mouth. Since saliva is crucial for neutralizing acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, a lack of it can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Eroded tooth enamel over time when accompanied by acidic foods or drinks.
  • An altered balance of oral microbiota, which promotes the growth of harmful bacteria that cause dental caries and periodontal disease.

Benefits of Herbs for Oral Health

Herbs have been used for centuries for medicinal properties, and many possess qualities promoting oral health. Unlike salt, herbs don’t contribute to the health issues mentioned above and can actually enhance oral hygiene.

  • Antibacterial Properties: Many herbs contain natural antibacterial agents. For example, thyme and oregano are rich in thymol and carvacrol, respectively, which can reduce harmful oral bacteria. Neem, widely used in traditional Indian medicine, has strong antibacterial properties that help fight plaque and reduce gum inflammation.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Herbs like chamomile and ginger have anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe gum tissues and reduce swelling. Turmeric is known for its active compound curcumin, which effectively reduces gingivitis and periodontitis symptoms.
  • Antioxidant Benefits: Green tea and rosemary are high in antioxidants, which help protect gum tissues from damage by free radicals. Basil contains eugenol, an antioxidant that can also help reduce inflammation and pain in the gums.
  • Promoting Saliva Production: Herbs such as parsley and cilantro can stimulate saliva production, aiding in the mouth’s natural cleansing and preventing dry mouth.

Best Herb Alternatives to Salt and Sugar

Incorporating herbs as alternatives to salt and sugar does wonders for flavor and promotes better health outcomes. Here are seven of the best herbs to consider for your family’s meals this summer:

  1. Basil

Flavor Profile: Sweet and slightly peppery

Health Benefits: Contains antioxidants and antibacterial properties, making it excellent for oral health. Basil also helps with digestion and can mitigate stress.

  1. Oregano

Flavor Profile: Strong and slightly bitter

Health Benefits: Rich in antioxidants and antimicrobial compounds. It aids in fighting bacteria and reducing inflammation in the mouth.

  1. Thyme

Flavor Profile: Earthy and slightly minty

Health Benefits: Contains thymol, a powerful antiseptic often used in mouthwashes and toothpaste. It helps in maintaining oral hygiene and preventing bad breath.

  1. Mint

Flavor Profile: Cool and refreshing

Health Benefits: Mint leaves are excellent for freshening breath and have antibacterial properties that keep oral bacteria at bay. It also stimulates saliva production.

  1. Cinnamon

Flavor Profile: Sweet and spicy

Health Benefits: Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde, which has antifungal and antibacterial properties. It can help reduce bacteria in the mouth while preventing dental decay and bad breath.

  1. Parsley

Flavor Profile: Fresh and slightly peppery

Health Benefits: Known for its ability to neutralize bad breath, parsley also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

  1. Sage

Flavor Profile: Earthy and slightly peppery

Health Benefits: Sage has antimicrobial properties and is used to combat gum disease. It can also soothe oral mucous membranes and reduce inflammation.

Maintaining your family’s oral health over the summer is quite straightforward when you build good habits. Make sure everyone brushes twice daily, flosses regularly, and moderates their intake of sugary snacks and drinks. Also, consider making small yet impactful changes in your family’s diet, such as substituting salt with fresh herbs. Get ready to enjoy a summer filled with healthy, happy smiles—and reach out to Adam Brown, DDS

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Your Teeth as You Age – Adam Brown, DDS

2024-01-28T19:56:46+00:00January 28th, 2024|Adam Brown DDS, Dentures, General, Oral Health|

Your Teeth as You Age

Every new day brings in an older and wiser version of ourselves. But we don’t just become wiser; our bodies change too. Teeth are especially prone to change and incur wear over time, something that older readers may have already experienced.

In fact, nearly 1 in 5 adults over the age of 65 are missing all of their teeth — a testament to how the evolution and rapid change of our tooth health can lead to real dental damage.The longer you use something, the more wear and tear it will go under — this is true for your teeth, too!

As you age, the increased likelihood of dental problems is nothing to ignore. And with age introducing new problems and concerns, some people can see a lifetime of care for their teeth seemingly evaporate in months.

“You have people who have maintained their oral health their entire lives, only to see it go down the tubes in six to eight months,” – Judith Jones, Professor at Boston University’s dental school and elder-care spokeswoman for the American Dental Association.

While there are a number of causes for the increased risk in older teeth, the overall change in your teeth is most to blame. Teeth soften as we age, increasing challenges and risks, among other changes.

So don’t leave your aging teeth to fight for their health alone; schedule an appointment with a qualified dentist today to preserve dental health and stay healthy for the long run. And there’s no better dentist to go to for that type of preventive care than Adam Brown DDS. Years of experience helping older patients in the Monroe area equip this office to provide the best care for aging teeth.

 What Makes Our Teeth?

 Most people believe that our teeth are an extension of our bones — but that’s a common misconception. It’s likely rooted in the fact that your teeth and bones mostly comprise calcium. Additionally, much like our bones and joints, a lifetime of use can create pain and damage, especially if left untreated. While they have these things in common, the two have unique differences.

Bones are living tissue – teeth are not. Most readers know that bones can heal and repair themselves, but teeth can not. This means preservation and additional care are key to having teeth that can stand the test of time. Teeth have four different types of tissue, all of which can experience changes or damage with age:

Enamel –   Your enamel forms the outer layer of your teeth, protecting the more sensitive inner parts of your tooth from damage Enamel is the strongest substance in your body, so it plays its role as a protector well.

Over time, your enamel is prone to erosion, opening up gaps in protecting your teeth. And because these cells aren’t living, the cracks formed are permanent. Additionally, this layer is the part of your teeth that can stain, leading to discoloration.

Dentin – Dentin is the layer wedged between your enamel and cementum. Dentin serves a similar role to enamel, protecting the crown of your teeth. Still, it is much softer than enamel, so it can develop decay and cavities rapidly, especially if left untreated.

If there’s been a specific part of your mouth causing you discomfort, it could be the case that your dentin is taking a beating. If that’s the case, it’s important to schedule a check-up with a dentist right away! 

Cementum – Cementum is a substance covering the root of your tooth. It connects your teeth to the gums and is softer than both dentin and enamel. This and the next layer are important to keep protected, as damage or decay to these components could spell real problems.

Pulp – Also known as the nerve in your tooth, this layer has blood tissue and nerves that connect your teeth to the rest of your body. Often, we talk about how dental health plays a role in your overall health. If you need an example of this, look no further than the pulp, which plays a bridge between oral and overall health.

The Factors that Change Our Teeth

 Still, why are our teeth more prone to damage and disease when we age? There’s no singular answer to this, but rather a number of factors that create an overall more vulnerable oral health for older patients.

 Wear and Tear

 The longer you use something, the more wear and tear it will go under — this is true for your teeth, too!

Daily use over the course of years can damage your teeth, erasing enamel, an important layer for healthy teeth! Teeth are also more likely to crack or break with age, so avoid hard foods or ice to ensure longevity. Those with enough wear and tear may consider crowns or veneers, both offered by Adam Brown DDS.

To prevent some of the more severe impacts of dental wear and tear, you could try and chew your food evenly. Some people chew with specific parts of their mouth, which compounds the risk of overuse and damage.

Dry Mouth

 According to studies by the National Library of Medicine, over 46% of those over the age of 65 experience dry mouth.

 Countless medications have side effects that contribute to dry mouth, which could be a cause in this large number of affected people. While dry mouth creates discomfort, you may be surprised at the damage it can cause to your teeth. Saliva is important in fighting off bacteria growth, contributing to tooth decay. Look to switch medications if the issue persists, or drink more water to prevent your mouth from getting too dry.

Overeating and Drinking Certain- Foods

While most foods in moderation won’t impact your teeth negatively, a lifetime of consumption can create real problems. Foods high in acid spell trouble for your enamel, especially if used consistently over the course of years. Other foods that create stains, like coffee and red wine, can lead to real discoloration and a less polished smile.

Maintaining a Strong Support System – Your Gums

Your teeth aren’t alone in oral hygiene. Your gums are an important part of keeping your oral health in check. Gum disease that leads to a receding gumline exposes your teeth to more damage, increasing risks of disease and problems.

“Age itself isn’t a cause, but the periodontal disease often slowly gets worse and goes undetected — and untreated — for decades, leading to more severe problems in the seventh decade of life and beyond.” – Harvard Health Publishing.

As the researchers at Harvard Health Publishing said, if untreated, you’ll encounter severe problems ranging well beyond just your tooth health. Adam Brown DDS offers periodontal treatment that will give your teeth the strong supporting cast they deserve for a healthy life.

The Role of Ongoing Preventative Care

While knowing the factors and what to avoid can prevent some damage, few things are more effective at keeping your teeth healthy than consistent and ongoing preventative care. Many wait until a problem is unignorable to make the jump to schedule a dental appointment, but at that point — irreparable damage could have already happened, squashing a lifetime of care and attention to your teeth. Even worse, a lot of our elderly population is experiencing gaps in care during an important time for checkups and treatment.

“Medicare does not cover routine dental services. Nearly 24 million Medicare beneficiaries lack critical oral health coverage, six meaning many older adults do not receive regular dental services.” – Johnson, Dental Economics.

With new patient specials and an office dedicated to getting you the help they need, Adam Brown DDS is looking to tackle this gap and provide those who need care with best-in-class treatment options. So, don’t hesitate to call and explore your options!

A Dentist Who Understands

We all know that aging creates problems, but having a patient and understanding dentist who’s ready to face those challenges alongside you is necessary to reverse the trends of poor senior dental health across the country. Reviews of Adam Brown DDS echo just that —

“Dr. Brown was friendly and very accommodating. He is honest in his dealings and tries to work with patients’ situations. My parents are both elderly with various health issues that can make visits difficult for both patients and doctors. He has been kind and patient with them. They love him!” – Google Review for Adam Brown DDS.

With the right care and preventative treatment, you can keep the teeth of your youth and have a much healthier mouth and body in turn. Schedule an appointment with Adam Brown DDS today and see about starting a new journey for positive dental health — even after the seventh decade!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Habitual Whitening Can Ruin Your Teeth. Are Americans going too far?

2023-11-28T20:15:11+00:00November 28th, 2023|Dental Trends, Oral Health, Teeth Cleaning, Teeth Whitening|

The Dangers of Habitual Teeth Whitening

When it comes to teeth whitening these days, we have plenty of options to choose from. Do these methods truly whiten teeth? Yes, absolutely they do. Some provide immediate results, others take a month or so of use for noticeable whiteness, but they do work. However, one question that is rarely discussed concerning teeth whitening is whether or not it has negative side effects. Which, unfortunately, it does–some of which can end up costing a lot of money in repairs, or worse, doing serious damage to one’s oral health.

Dangers of too much teeth whitening

Though advanced methods of teeth whitening pop up every few years, the act of whitening itself has been around for a long time. Archeologists have discovered evidence of ancient Egyptians grinding stone to a powder and mixing it with white vinegar to produce a whitening paste. This 4,000 year-old practice has changed a bit over time, but the desired result has always been the same: pearly white teeth. But what about the long-term effects, are they worth the risk? Let’s find out.

A Quick Note

There are many whitening products available for consumer purchase, however, there are two types of treatment–those done at home and those done in a dental office. Obviously, in-office procedures are performed by a dental professional, which usually brings about quicker results. Then there are at-home treatments which include whitening strips, trays, etc. and these can take longer to show results. The point to be made here is that despite which type of treatment you use, they all come with possible health risks, like gum irritation, heightened tooth sensitivity, and even enamel damage.

Before getting into the details of the potential health risks due to whitening, it is of the utmost importance to understand that any use of whitening agents on one’s teeth should commence with a quick dental consultation, so your dentist can relay professional advice on whether you should or should not use them and which treatment(s) might work best for your teeth. 

Teeth Whitening and How It Works

Teeth whitening involves particular techniques to remove stains and discoloration from the teeth. These techniques are not necessarily meant to improve one’s oral health, but rather to improve the appearance of the teeth, which is important to understand. If a whitening agenda proports effectiveness, know that this means it is effective in making teeth appear whiter, but this doesn’t mean it is effective in making the teeth healthier.

Coffee, tea, wine, and tobacco are usually blamed most often for staining teeth, and when whitening treatments are used, they work by coating the teeth in peroxide-based agents that bleach and break down stains and discolored areas. If the teeth have high levels of dark stains, it might take a more serious procedure, such as an in-office treatment that will cost a bit more than the over-the-counter methods.

The problem is that these whitening treatments use harsh chemicals to whiten the teeth, and often these treatments are done more than once–sometimes a lot more than once. Over time, the peroxide eats away at the enamel, which initiates tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. This is why it is of the utmost importance to see your dentist first before trying any sort of whitening treatment, so you can get an idea of what your specific side effects to the whitening treatments might be.

Dangerous Side Effects

There are so many whitening products out there, it can be difficult to know which ones have the most dangerous and/or severe side effects. It’s a scary thought that you could potentially be purchasing a whitening kit that will damage your teeth, so to help provide some clarity, here are a few tips to consider when looking to whiten:

  • Stay away from trays and gels. This whitening system has been around the longest, and though it does whiten your teeth, it also—you guessed it—eats away at the tooth enamel. The process involves heating a tray, filling it with whitening gel, and inserting it to the mouth to form a bond. The problem with this method is that it can take weeks for results to show, so users tend to use it a lot in order to get the desired results. And consequently, most people who use the trays and gels report having teeth sensitivity afterwards, even receding gums.
  • Use caution with whitening strips—actually, don’t use them at all. The famous whitening strips have been around for ten years or so, and have had a lot of success in whitening teeth. Results can show in about a week, and the process is easy: fold the strip over your top and bottom rows of teeth and keep them in your mouth for a short period of time. However, just as the trays and gels, this method is bad for your teeth and gums in the long run because it eats away your enamel and gum tissue due to the direct contact of the chemicals used.
  • Another one to say away from: paint-on whitening. The paint-on method solves the problem of the whitening agent interacting with interior soft tissues, such as the gums and inner cheek, as you simply brush the whitening gel on each tooth and let it sit for a short period of time, but this “paint” is full of chemicals that like to diminish the enamel. This method is an easy process, which is why it has become popular, but it isn’t healthy. After months, even years, of using paint-on whiteners users have noticed receding gums and increased tooth sensitivity.

A Healthy Option

Recently, two natural methods of whitening teeth have been gaining in popularity. Both maintain your tooth’s enamel, and if used correctly, they don’t cause your gums to recede and reveal that sensitive area between the teeth and gumline. Check these out:

  1. Turmeric Tooth-Whitening Paste. As turmeric is naturally an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent, it does more than clean the teeth. It’s good for your overall oral health as well. Here are the ingredients for this healthy whitening method:

-4 tablespoons turmeric powder

-2.5 tablespoons coconut oil

-2 tablespoons baking soda

Mix the ingredients until a paste is formed and store in an airtight container. Use the paste on your teeth two or three times a week, using regular—non-whitening—toothpaste the rest of the week. All it takes is a pea-sized drop of the turmeric paste and a light touch when brushing (it can be a bit abrasive, so brush lightly as to not end up damaging your teeth and gums).

  • Baking Soda Lemon Tooth-Whitening Paste. Though it seems as though the acidity of a lemon and abrasiveness of baking soda would be harsh on the teeth, if used lightly, and in moderation, it can be quite effective and safe.

 The lemon juice acts as a bleach to help whiten teeth, while the pH of the baking soda balances out the acidity of your mouth to create a nice whitening agent. Here’s the recipe:

-10 teaspoons of baking soda

-Enough lemon juice to form a paste

The same with the turmeric paste, brush lightly. Use a pea-sized amount and let the product sit on your teeth for a minute or two before rinsing. Do this two or three times a week and results should begin to show within a month.

Before You Whiten

Though it is tempting to buy the most popular take-home whitening products on the market, the natural method is so much safer and better for your overall oral health. Just because your friend has found a product that works without causing sensitivity and enamel loss, it doesn’t mean its safe. It could take years, but eventually that loss of enamel and raised gumline will cause some problems.

Your first step is to come in and meet with Dr. Brown and his team. They can effectively assess the health level of your teeth and gums to forecast which method(s) might be best for you–if any.

 

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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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Sugar Is the Root of the Problem!

2022-11-19T01:28:42+00:00November 19th, 2022|Adam Brown DDS, Oral Health, Preventative Dentistry|

For your teeth, sugar is the root of all evil. Humanity’s collective sweet tooth is doing us harm, and without proper care—and perhaps a reevaluation of our daily routines—we will continue to be plagued by the one thing we seem to love the most: sugar.

A fine set of pearly whites does a lot for a person: they restore confidence and connote a sense of hygienic care. There is evidence of our attention to dental care that reaches as far back as the Middle Ages where one used a paste of natural herbs and rubbed it on the teeth with a linen cloth. There is even evidence of herbal mouthwashes being used. Imagine the first person to ever deal with tooth decay: the pain and suffering, the not knowing what to do…Luckily, we know a lot more these days about the root of tooth decay.

There is plenty of evidence that paints a picture of humanity’s battle with the effects of sugar. Since its arrival, even when it was only used as a light seasoning ingredient, sugar has wreaked havoc on our teeth. And though there seems to be no cure for this particular crisis—one that only seems to be getting worse—maybe the answer to keeping sugar from killing our teeth can be found in how we use it. As the rate of sugar intake increases with the prevalence of sugary drinks and foods and sweets, maybe we need to rethink how we take care of our teeth.

Sugar and Tooth Decay

To better understand how to prevent tooth decay, it’s helpful to have a clear idea of what’s happening in your mouth when sugar is introduced. It’s not necessarily the sugar that’s to blame, rather it’s a combination of sugar and another ingredient that creates the danger.

Tooth decay begins when acid inside the mouth attacks the enamel and supporting structures of the teeth. Over time, if not properly addressed, holes and cavities appear and it keeps getting worse. Where does this noxious acid come from? Well, when the bacteria present in plaque interact with sugar, acid is produced. It’s that easy, and it doesn’t take long for this acid to dissolve your tooth bit by bit.

According to a study done by the World Health Organization in 2010, there is clear evidence of the relationship between sugar intake and tooth decay and the rate seems to increase as we age—do we take in more sugar as we get older? The scary thing is that it’s difficult to stay away from sugar. It seems to be in everything we eat and drink, and over years and years of sugars and bacteria combining, it makes sense our teeth are battered the older we get.

There are natural sugars, like those found in fruits, vegetables, and honey; these can do damage to the teeth; however, they are not as damaging as processed sugar. Foods high in white processed sugar, found in the likes of chips and cookies, are particularly rough on the teeth because the sugar leaves a sticky residue covering the teeth that is too tough to be rinsed away by saliva. The only way to remove this residue is to floss and brush. This is why these foods should be eaten occasionally, not every day and proper teeth cleaning should occur immediately after consuming them. So, the next time you enjoy your favorite processed snack, remember to brush afterward!

It’s not only in the food we eat. Drinking sweet drinks can be even harder on your teeth than foods can be because they often come with sugar and added acidity, both attacking your teeth. Sodas, in particular, are packed with processed sugar and acidity—the same with beer and alcoholic seltzer drinks.

Some sodas even have high fructose corn syrup added to them as a sweetening agent, which completely coats your mouth with a sticky, toxic film that breeds bacteria and acid. (Sounds like a scene from Stranger Things!)

Who Is at Risk?

We are all at risk of tooth decay, but children and adolescents—those grouped as most likely to consume larger amounts of sugar than others—are at most risk, as tooth decay and tooth loss are at the highest numbers among youngsters.

Plaque, a key ingredient in the acid that decays teeth, can begin to build as quickly as 20 minutes after we start eating (yes, “start eating,” not after we eat). The sugar in the food we are in the process of eating can begin to combine with this plaque and boom, you are eating food that is now eating your teeth. Clearly, the more sugar in the food you eat—not to mention the type of sugar—the more plaque and acid buildup inside the mouth.

Those who regularly consume alcohol and/or use tobacco, even vaping, are another group at high risk of serious tooth decay. Even coffee drinkers need to be careful. That little bit of creamer, that half a scoop of raw sugar can do some damage.

How To Combat Tooth Decay

Perhaps it’s not sugar that’s the issue, but rather our response to it. Sure, we can go “sugar-free” as often as possible, but the ubiquitous nature of the substance will cause it to always find its way into our foods and drinks. That said, the actions we take immediately after taking in sugar could be a remedy for tooth decay. Let’s be honest: eating or drinking sugar-laden treats will happen. So what then?

Here are some easy ways to keep that plaque and sugar from turning into acid:

Use a Straw

When drinking something you know has sugar in it, use a straw to keep as much liquid as possible from interacting with your teeth—this really works! Keep straws with you wherever you go, but keep away from the metal ones, as they tend to chip the teeth. Stick with paper or plastic straws. Do keep it in mind though that drinking from straws causes one to drink faster so slow it down a bit, especially if you are consuming an alcoholic beverage.

Have a Chaser

Remember, it only takes about 20 minutes for tooth decay to begin once you have begun eating, so you want to rinse as soon as possible. While eating, take sips of water between bites and swish it around a little—without being obnoxious. Once you finish eating, take a big gulp and try and use it to rinse. If you consume something containing processed sugar, a water chaser won’t be as effective. Consider using mouthwash (it’s a good idea to keep a small bottle handy) or, for best results, lightly brush your teeth.

Chew Gum

Chewing gum right after a meal can break free those little seeds or bits of food from your teeth. Most importantly, make sure you are only chewing sugarless gum, otherwise, you are actually doing more damage to those teeth. Note that it’s not a good idea to always be chewing gum. A few times a day, after meals is fine, and don’t chew for too long. Overdoing it can cause discomfort to sensitive teeth. Once the flavor is gone, that’s a good sign to dispose of the gum.

Visit Your Dentist Twice a Year

This is one of the most important things to do. One visit to the dentist every six months is the perfect way to gauge how well your teeth are doing. A dentist can tell you if your teeth are becoming too sensitive or stained and advise you on what to do. It’s also good because you get a professional cleaning where someone is meticulously searching your mouth for cavities, bits of food, or anything else.

Stop into Adam Brown, DDS or visit us online today to set up an appointment. We can help you get on track, no matter your current state of oral health.

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Gingivitis vs. Periodontal Disease: What’s the Difference?

2022-10-19T12:19:53+00:00October 19th, 2022|Oral Health, Preventative Dentistry|

 

Gum disease can come in many forms, but most often it shows as gingivitis or — the more serious of the two — periodontal disease. Both can have serious side effects and happen to anyone; the good news is that gum disease is preventable. Knowing the differences between gingivitis and periodontal disease, paired with how to avoid them, will help you to maintain proper oral health.

 

Gingivitis and Periodontitis

To begin, it’s crucial to know the signs of gum disease. The typical signs of gingivitis are irritated, red gums that tend to bleed easily (even with the use of a soft-bristled toothbrush). Though gingivitis is a milder form of disease, if it isn’t treated correctly, it can lead to a more mature form of gum disease, periodontitis, which is flagged by inflammation and deep infection that eats away at the gums and teeth (the ligaments, sockets and all!).

The positive news is that both types of gum disease are treatable, even preventable, when you maintain proper hygienic procedures. If you’re experiencing sensitive and/or inflamed gums, your best bet is to come in for an examination right away. At Adam Brown DDS, we can accurately evaluate the health of your gums by taking measurements and x-rays of the jaw if needed. Once we make an assessment, we’ll develop a plan for treating and eliminating the disease through specific preventative methods.

Symptoms of PeriodontitisSigns of Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease

Unfortunately, noticing a white coloration on the gums or tongue, inflammation of the gums, light aches and pains inside the mouth, even chronic bad breath could mean a number of different things — and they all have varying levels of seriousness. That being said, as long as you catch the onset of gum disease in time and know the possible reasons, you can get your oral health right back where it needs to be. Here are a couple of specific gum diseases and their warning signs:

Gingivitis

This is a mild form of gum disease that is fairly common among American adults. If you notice your gums beginning to recede and turn white, gingivitis is most likely the culprit. A few other signs include swollen and bleeding gums, even painful irritation and loose teeth. The most common cause to gingivitis is poor oral care, so if you have fallen off the wagon a bit, it’s best to get right back into the routine of brushing and flossing regularly to avoid this uncomfortable situation.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a more advanced gum disease that can quickly turn to periodontitis if untreated. Common symptoms if periodontal disease include:

  • Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth or floss
  • Bad breath
  • Changes in the position of your teeth or loose teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Red, tender, or swollen gums
  • Buildup of plaque or tartar on your teeth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Tooth loss
  • Foul taste in your mouth
  • Inflammatory response throughout your body

Symptoms in the early stages of periodontal disease (and periodontitis) are often not very noticeable. Your dentist will likely be the first to point them out.

How To Treat Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease? 

As you can guess, the level of treatment depends solely on the level of progress the disease has made inside your mouth. Once properly cleaned by a professional and oral hygiene is maintained at home, early stages of either type of disease (gingivitis/periodontitis) begin to reverse and return to a healthy state immediately. However, if the gum disease has progressed, teeth may have to be removed and replaced.

When caught early, gum disease can usually be treated before tooth loss occurs. But preventing it altogether is even better than catching it early. Good and consistent at-home oral care (brushing and flossing) and regular dental checkups and cleanings can go a long way in keeping your gums healthy and disease-free. Some tips include:

1. Be Sure To Floss

Nasty rumors recently spread that flossing is bad for your teeth and gums. But any dentist will tell you this is simply not true, though flossing excessively can cause the gums to recede.

The key, and an important one at that, is to floss twice daily. Once in the morning and again at night. And the process should be as follows: rinse with mouthwash, floss, brush, and rinse again with water. Doing this twice a day will drastically help rid your mouth of unwanted residue from juicing or eating. How dare anyone say such a thing as flossing has unwarranted health benefits! It’s simply one of the most beneficial things you can do for your gums and teeth.

2. Get the Right Toothpaste

Many people like to rush right to whitening toothpastes. It makes sense, who doesn’t want white teeth? But when juicing, the acid that comes into contact with your teeth (and no matter what you do, there will be a least a tiny bit that does) makes them softer and more sensitive. Combines with the harsh chemicals in whitening toothpaste, this can cause a lot of discomfort.

It’s better to use toothpaste specifically made for sensitive teeth because it will clean the teeth well without hurting them. And, honestly, brushing twice a day will do well at keeping your teeth white. If you feel you need something more, there are plenty of products out there that do not hurt the teeth, even sensitive strips and mouthwashes that can advance your whitening.

3. Avoid Over-Brushing

Never thought you could brush too much, did you? Well, you can. Too much brushing can actually help the acid erode the enamel off your teeth. As previously said, juicing can leave your teeth extra sensitive. To go and brush excessively after that can cause some problems.

Try to stick to the twice-a-day standard, and use a soft or medium bristle when you brush. Brush lightly, and use a mechanical toothbrush if possible. These are made to get to those hard-to-reach places and they put the perfect amount of pressure on your teeth and gums. And nowadays, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get one. There are plenty of reasonably priced electric toothbrushes out there; you just have to do a bit of research.

4. Chew Gum

Makes sense if you think about it. Chewing gum can break free those little seeds or bits of unblended food from your teeth. Just make sure you only chew sugarless gum. Otherwise, you will add to the harmful agents in your mouth. And it’s not a good idea to constantly chew gum. A few times a day, after meals is fine, but overdoing it can cause discomfort to sensitive teeth.

5. Use Mouthwash Regularly

Just like flossing and brushing, the twice-a-day rule is all you need with mouthwash. Use water if you feel the need to rinse more than that. But once in the morning, then again at night, can do wonders to clean the mouth. Mouthwash also helps keep your teeth white and your breath fresh.

6. Visit Your Dentist Twice a Year

This is one of the most important things to do. One visit to the dentist every six months is the perfect way to gauge how well your teeth are handling the juicing. A dentist can tell you if your teeth are becoming too sensitive or stained and advise you on what to do. It’s also good because you get a professional cleaning where someone is meticulously searching your mouth for cavities, bits of food, or anything else. Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter if you brush or floss first, as long as you consistently do a thorough job of both.

7. Drink Through Straws Whenever Possible

When drinking your favorite blended healthy concoction, it’s possible to keep most of the liquid from having too much contact with your teeth. This is especially true with thicker drinks. By using a straw, you can keep even more liquid from hitting your teeth.

It’s a good idea to have many different types of straws around, including a wide straw for thick juices, narrow or regular sized for normal densities, and a bendy straw just because they’re fun. Just stay away from those trendy metal straws because they can chip your teeth. Basically, any way of transferring your juice directly from the cup to your throat without touching anything (besides the straw) helps. Just be careful; using a straw makes drinking a lot of liquid much easier. You don’t want to overdo it on the juicing!

8. Always Have a Water Chaser

The more time acidic liquids have to rest in-between and on the teeth, the better the chances of stains and erosion. And you know what that means: more trips to the dentist and quite possibly some intensive dental work to be done.

So, even if you use a straw, consider keeping a glass of crisp and clean water to drink from between each gulp of juice you take. This makes those acidic bits even more difficult to stick around and manages to rinse any residue left behind that would stain the teeth. Plus, water will fill you up more, an added bonus for people who want to lose weight.

Conclusion

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease, it’s essential to schedule an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible. Gum disease can be treated and prevented if caught early, so don’t wait until your gums start bleeding or your teeth start hurting. Adam Brown DDS is here to help you get your smile back on track — contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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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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