Posts for category: Oral Health
From the time they're born, you do everything you can to help your children develop a healthy body. That should include their teeth and gums. It's not over-dramatizing to say that what you do now may set the pattern for a healthy mouth for the rest of their life.
Here, then, are 4 things you should be doing for your children's oral health before they begin school.
Train them to brush and floss. Good hygiene habits have one primary purpose — remove dental plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles that builds up on tooth surfaces. Plaque is the number one cause of tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease, so focus on brushing and later flossing as soon as their first teeth appear in the mouth, gradually training them to perform the tasks themselves. You can also teach them to test their efforts with a rub of the tongue — if it feels smooth and “squeaky,” their teeth are clean!
Keep your own oral bacteria to yourself. Children aren't born with decay-producing bacteria — it's passed on to them through physical contact from parents and caregivers. To limit their exposure to these “bad” bacteria, avoid kissing infants on the lips, don't share eating utensils and don't lick a pacifier to clean it off.
Eat healthy — and watch those sweets. Building up healthy teeth with strong enamel is as important to decay prevention as daily hygiene. Be sure they're getting the nutrients they need through a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, protein and dairy (and set a good example by eating nutritiously too). Sugar is a prime food source for bacteria that cause tooth decay, so avoid sugary snacks if possible and limit consumption to mealtimes.
Wean them off pacifiers and thumb sucking. It's quite normal for children to suck pacifiers and their thumbs as infants and young toddlers. It becomes a problem for bite development, though, if these habits continue into later childhood. As a rule of thumb, begin encouraging your children to stop sucking pacifiers or their thumbs by age 3.
If you would like more information on promoting your child's dental health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Help your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health.”
A large majority of people brush their teeth at least once a day. This, however, is only a small part of a proper at-home oral care routine to keep your teeth healthy and clean. Do you know how often you should be brushing? Learn more about the right way to care for your teeth with Dr. Neelima Ravi at Oceanside Family Dental in Hampton, NH.
How often should I be brushing?
You should brush your teeth at least two, if not three, times daily. Use a soft-bristled brush and brush for at least two minutes. Replace your toothbrush when it begins to show signs of wear, usually after about a month. Brush all areas of the mouth, including your tongue and oral tissues like the cheeks and gums. Brushing your teeth does not take the place of flossing your teeth. Floss between each tooth at least once daily to remove bacteria and plaque from areas which your toothbrush cannot reach.
How often should I visit my dentist?
As a rule of thumb, regular dental examinations and cleanings should take place every six months. However, since everyone is different, some people who are more at risk for tooth decay or gum disease than others may need to see their dentist more often than twice a year. Your dentist can help you determine how often you should have examinations and cleanings.
Regular Dental Examinations and Cleanings in Hampton, NH
Seeing your dentist twice yearly gives you the opportunity to correct any pressing dental issues, such as cavities, early, preventing further complications. Biannual cleanings also allow your hygienist to remove all of the plaque and tartar from the teeth, preventing tooth decay and gum disease. These preventative measures help keep your teeth healthy and clean and allow you to avoid painful toothaches by repairing an issue before it becomes painful.
For more information on keeping your teeth healthy, please contact Dr. Ravi at Oceanside Family Dental in Hampton, NH. Call (603) 926-1551 to schedule your appointment for a regular dental examination and cleaning.
Gum disease is extremely common in the United States, with half of adults 30 and older dealing with some form of it. However common it may be, this disease is very treatable and preventable if you have the proper understanding. Dr. Neelima Ravi, dentists at Oceanside Family Dental in Hampton, NH, want to educate their patients about gum disease and the best ways to treat it.
What is gum disease?
Your teeth aren't the only structures in your mouth affected by bacteria. Your gums are also subject to problems associated with the buildup of bacterial colonies, which form a clear and sticky film called plaque. If plaque is left to harden - a process that only takes about 24 hours - it becomes tartar. This bacteria-filled material adheres itself to the teeth and begins wearing away the gum tissue. Gum disease is progressive; in its milder form, it's known as gingivitis. The more advanced gum disease seen by your Hampton dentist is called periodontitis.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
Gum disease, whether mild or severe, can only be officially diagnosed by your Hampton dentist. However, there are some telltale signs and symptoms that might give you some indication about the presence of early gum disease. Often the first sign happens when you brush your teeth; one or more areas of your gums may bleed during your regular brushing or flossing routine. Your gums may or may not be tender and swollen as well. Some people also notice they've developed persistent bad breath; this is due to bacteria collecting under the gum line.
More advanced gum disease (periodontitis) brings with it gum recession, spaces developing between the teeth, discoloration of the gums and tooth loss.
How can gum disease be treated?
There are a variety of ways your Hampton dentist can treat gum disease. Many patients with gingivitis see results with a change in brushing, flossing and rinsing habits. Medicated mouthwashes are particularly helpful at introducing oxygen to the area and fighting the bacterial buildup. You may also receive a treatment called scaling and root planing at Oceanside Family Dental that involves one of our dental hygienists removing the tartar using specialized handheld tools. Medications to fight the bacteria or suppress its development may also be used.
If you think your gums may need some treatment, don't delay - contact Oceanside Family Dental in Hampton, NH today to set up an appointment!