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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Are You Prepared For A Dental 911 on Vacation?

2023-04-19T16:20:21+00:00April 19th, 2023|Adam Brown DDS, Dental Crowns, Dentist Office Monroe NC, Tooth Infection|

What To Do if You Have a Dental Emergency While on Vacation

As unpredictable as life can be, it’s worth preparing for certain emergencies, especially when traveling away from home. Obviously, with the hope no emergency comes about. Keeping a first-aid kit in your car; setting a security alarm on your home; even bringing an extra set of clothes are examples of our preparedness, but there’s another situation that is often forgotten: a dental emergency. Do you know what to do if you or a loved one has a dental mishap while traveling or on vacation?

Dental Emergency on Vacation - What To Do

Picture yourself on a beach. You can hear the waves moving out and coming back in — that soft, loud rush of sound that works as a charging station for the mind, body, and soul. Now see yourself reaching to the side of your chair to grab your favorite beachy drink, and as you go for a sip…you clink the edge of the class to your tooth and your tooth chips! It can be that easy, and it can be that quick. And without a plan, this sort of emergency can only get worse.

No matter where you are or what you’re doing, an unexpected toothache, broken teeth, and general mouth pain can happen, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer. Most likely, unless you are truly off the grid, you should be able to find care nearby.

Worst case, you end up in the emergency room and leave with a prescription for pain medication that can get you in the clear until you’re back home. But this can be expensive, and it doesn’t diagnose or solve the issue. It alleviates it and pushes it down the road for later. Adam Brown, DDS explains some of the most common dental emergencies and how to respond to them:

Common Types of Dental Emergencies

If you can imagine the emergency, it can most likely happen. With that in mind, the following are the most typical dental emergencies:

  • A tooth or multiple teeth fall out due to chewing something hard or taking a blow to the mouth.
  • You lose a crown or filling from chewing ice, hard candy, etc.
  • You injure your gums, palate, or mouth by taking some sort of impact to the face.
  • A tooth becomes loose.
  • You chip or fracture a tooth. (Maybe from misjudging the distance between your mouth and your favorite beachy drink.)
  • You feel sudden, unusual, excruciating pain inside the mouth. This could be the roots of the teeth, the gums themselves, etc.
  • Your gums or mouth starts to swell and change color (deep red or grey/white).

How does one respond to any of these tragedies? In a number of ways. It depends on your exact situation: how threatening the injury is, who is with you, where you are in proximity to getting help.

But one thing to keep in mind is that if you do lose a tooth: immediate action needs to be taken, as the amount of time a tooth is absent from the gums and root system determines the likelihood of a dentist being able to successfully replace it.

How to Respond When a Dental Emergency Happens

Whether or not the dental emergency is yours or not, it’s good to be prepared to handle what could be thrown your way. Here are a couple of those common emergencies along with some commentary on how to respond:

A Toothache and/or Mouth Pain

Such a severe, sharp pain as what’s experienced in this situation can constitute an emergency. What can be tricky about oral pain is that, a lot of times, it begins with a dull pain that seems insignificant. That is until it begins to throb.

Here is what to do: First, examine your mouth to make sure there is no visible source of the pain. If there isn’t, look for discoloration or swelling. If you see either, it’s a good idea to find a doctor or dentist to give it a look. Otherwise, if it’s only a dull pain, take over-the-counter pain medicine until you can reach a dentist.

A Broken, Cracked, or Dislodged Tooth

This can happen due to sport, play, or a freak accident. And, no matter the reason for a broken or chipped tooth, an immediate trip to an emergency dentist or the emergency room will be necessary.

It’s a good idea to research a local (to where you will be) dentist and find the contact information and hours of operation. If you know you’ll be active on your trip — and that a dental emergency is possible — consider contacting the dentist to see if she (or anyone she knows) can be of assistance in case of an emergency.

This might seem like a bit much. But due to the commonality of dental emergencies while traveling, and the fact that you like your teeth and would like to keep them intact, it’s smart to plan for the worst.

*Note: If you do lose a tooth, rinse your mouth with cold water and apply a cold compress to the area where the tooth is missing. This will help control inflammation until you can get proper aid.

Prepping for Your Trip

The following are a few quick tips for when you’re preparing for a trip:

  • Locate your dental and medical insurance documents and give them a thorough reading, as to see what sort of coverage you have while traveling.
  • For any and every place you plan to visit, locate their medical facilities so you know where to go if something were to happen — dental emergency or otherwise. Be sure to record the pertinent information so you have it readily available.
  • If you’re having any sort of pain or oral issues prior to leaving for your trip, schedule a thorough checkup before leaving. Also, mention your plans to your dentist to confirm he recommends travel while in your specific condition.
  • Always pack pain medicine and oral hygiene products so you can do as much as possible for your oral care yourself while out and about.
  • Be cognizant of your oral condition while traveling. Consider keeping from hard chewing that could potentially damage your teeth and/or gums (e.g., hard candies, ice, etc.).
  • If you’re going to play a sport, or you plan to become physically active while on vacation, bring a protective mouth guard to keep your teeth and gums safe.

Finding a Dentist While Traveling

Remember that you’re planning for something that hopefully won’t happen, so you don’t want to expend too much time and energy on this. But you do want to be thorough enough so you’re prepared if anything does happen.

Take 30 minutes to research a local dentist; then, send an email or give them a call. Even if they don’t offer services when you need them, they might be able to point you to someone who does. Worst case scenario, go to the emergency room.

No matter how things pan out while on your trip, if you do have an emergency and you receive emergency care, make it a priority to visit your home dentist as soon as you return. And most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!


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How to Tell if Your Tooth is Infected

2022-08-15T15:52:19+00:00August 15th, 2022|Tooth Infection|

How to Know If Your Tooth is Infected

There is nothing fun or exciting about having an infected tooth. The pain and swelling can leave even the toughest of individuals lying awake at night wondering how to find relief.

How do teeth get infected and what should you do if it happens?

Answering these questions is the first step to maintaining proper oral health and keeping your teeth free from infection.

There are a variety of ways a tooth can become infected: an untreated dental cavity can quickly become infected, an injured tooth that is not kept clean, or even prior dental work—if not properly cared for—can result in swelling at the tooth’s root, which then spreads infection.

If you think you might have an infected tooth, see your dentist right away. Then, he can drain the infected area, clean it, and advise on proper care in order to nurse the tooth back to health. If the infection is bad enough, the tooth may have to be removed and replaced. Not treating an infected tooth can lead to major complications, even some life-threatening ones.


Warning Signs of an Infected Tooth

It is never a good idea to try and diagnose your own oral health, and it’s an even worse idea to ignore mouth swelling and/or pain with the hope it will simply go away. That pain and uneasiness you feel is your body telling you to pay attention! Here are some of the most common warning signs of an infected tooth:

  • Maintaining a low or mid fever can be indicative of many maladies, and a tooth infection is definitely one.
  • A continuous throbbing tooth that spreads its pulsating pain through the jawbone and neck and ear is probably one of the clearest signs you are suffering from a tooth infection.
  • A sharp pain when eating or drinking items that are hot or cold temperatures.
  • A sharp pain when your teeth are active—chewing gum, biting down on food, brushing, flossing, etc.
  • If you notice any swelling of the face, or portions of the face such as the cheeks, is a good sign of infection. This swelling can also cause difficulty breathing and swallowing.
  • If ever your lymph nodes and jaw/neck area are sore for a series of days, this could be due to infection.
  • Bad breath you can’t seem to get rid of even after thoroughly brushing, rinsing can be due to a tooth that is rotting from infection.
  • To go along with the bad breath, there may also be a bad taste in the mouth that won’t go away—this is when the infection itself begins to leak into other areas of the mouth.


Preventing A Tooth Infection

Clearly, if you have any symptoms of infection it’s best to make an appointment with the dentist, but if ever you are struggling to breathe and swallow to a dangerous degree, head straight to the emergency room.
Hopefully, though, you will never get to that point. By using preventative measures, avoiding tooth infection is not a difficult task. Use these tips to keep your oral health in gear:

  • Use fluoride toothpaste and be sure and brush for at least two minutes, once in the morning and again at night.
  • Use an antiseptic or fluoride every morning before brushing. (You can at night before brushing as well, but once a day is all that’s needed.)
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and make sure a lot of the water you drink contains fluoride, which helps fight against the possibility of infection.
  • Floss—with dental floss or a water pik flosser—at least once a day.
  • Make sure and use a soft-bristled toothbrush and replace it every three or four months (or earlier if you notice the bristles are fraying).
  • Stay away from sugary foods and drinks as much as possible. And when you do eat or drink them, be sure and brush right after or at least thoroughly rinse with water.
  • Visit the dentist for regular cleanings and checkups (at least twice a year).


From Teeth to Gums

Unfortunately, an infected tooth is not the only danger our mouths may face. For instance, noticing a white coloration on your gums could mean a number of different things, and they all have varying levels of seriousness.

Infections of teeth or gums are nothing to play with.

That being said, as long as you catch it in time and know the possible reasons for the infection, you can get your oral health right back where it needs to be. Here are some possible reasons for infected gums:

Leukoplakia: this is an oral disease where white or gray coloration appears on or around the gums. These light spots are created due to mucous membranes that are sensitive and quite painful. Think canker sores, only on your gums! Leukoplakia is often caused by long-term tobacco use, excessive alcohol use, poorly fitting dental appliances, mouth injury, or bodily maladies such as cancer and HIV. If you find painful, white sores on your gums, the best thing to do is see a dentist immediately. Whether it is leukoplakia or not, your gums should never be white.

Anemia: this is a tough one because it can produce in many different forms, making it difficult to identify. The best way to diagnose anemia is to notice if the white coloration on your gums is paired with any of the following happenings:

  • Cold hands and feet
  • Constant fatigue
  • Chronic headaches
  • Spells of dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bodily weakness
  • Spells of irregular heartbeat

Another tell sign of anemia is sudden whiteness of skin beyond just the gums. Some common causes of anemia include vitamin B12 and iron deficiencies, Crohn’sdisease, and celiac disease. This is definitely one you want to take care of right away. If you feel any of these symptoms could be true for you, make a dental appointment as soon as possible.

Mouth Ulcers: noticing white spots on your gums could indicate oncoming ulcers. This is much less serious than the previous causes of white gums, but these sores are no fun at all. If you feel the white spots on your gums could be connected to ulcers, it’s a good idea to begin washing your mouth out with salt water. This is a great way to keep them away and the inside of your mouth healthy. Some causes of mouth ulcers are sugary foods and drinks, as well as, tobacco use. There is no need to completely cut these out of your diet, but regulation is a must.

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 of 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 keep from this uncomfortable situation.

Lichen Planus: this chronic autoimmune condition can inflame the gums and begin to turn them white in lacy patches. Symptoms of lichen planus are similar to gingivitis, but regular dental check-ups can keep this condition from inflammation.

Candidiasis: simply put, this is a yeast infection that causes creamy white sores on the gums. This type of infection is usually seen in babies and older adults and is often brought on by diabetes. If you happen to fit any of these categories, it is best to maintain a strict teeth-and-gum cleaning schedule and keep up with your dental appointments. Two appointments a year are recommended, but in this case, you might benefit more from three or four check-ups a year.

Oral Cancer: if you ever notice white bumps or growths on your gums, or if you suddenly find it difficult to chew or swallow, see a dentist right away. Most importantly, though, don’t panic. White growths or raised sections on the gums do not always equate to cancer, and even if they do, the faster you get them looked at the better your chances of having them safely removed.

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