5 Tips for Creating Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits

Family BrushingLead by Example

Kids look to their parents to set standards in all things, including oral hygiene. How you behave is how they will act. Since the best way to teach children is by example, it is important that your child sees you brushing twice a day and flossing. Include your child in the process. Do it together, allowing them to help by putting toothpaste on your brush. Your demeanor in the dentist office will also influence how your little one behaves during their own visit. Remaining calm demonstrates that going to the dentist isn’t scary, and they’ll be much more cooperative during their own chair time.

Make Brushing Fun

Making brushing and flossing a game rather than a chore can be a great way to engage with your kids and get them excited about maintaining their oral health. Pretending the tooth brush is a hiker exploring a cave (their mouth) and the floss is a rope is one idea. Older kids can benefit from a reward system. Every time they brush their teeth they receive a gold star to add to a sticker chart. Once they get a certain number they’re rewarded with something like staying up an extra half hour past bedtime or an extra 15-minutes of electronics time.

Make a Visual Statement

plaqueDisclosingFind plaque disclosing products. These usually come in tablet form or mouthwash that turns plaque buildup bright colors. This is a great visual to help kids understand that even though they don’t see the plaque, it’s certainly there!

Teach Responsibility

Older kids get excited about the idea of having more responsibility. Provide them with the necessary tools to structure their oral hygiene routine. Have them set an alarm to alert them when it’s time to brush for bed and in the morning. They can even keep a brushing and flossing log to track the times and duration of their sessions.

Start Dental Visits Early

Teaching kids proper dental practices wouldn’t be complete without bi-annual exams. By visiting us regularly, you instill the importance of consistent exams. We love working with children, and we work hard to make the experience stress free and fun for the whole family.

Serramonte Dental Group

1500 Southgate Ave., Suite 210
Daly City, CA 94015

650-756-0938

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How To Pick A Toothbrush & Floss

 

We all know to brush our teeth. Check. We all know to floss our teeth. Check (okay, we know some of us skip this step but we’ll let it slide this time). But do we know which type of toothbrush and which dental floss is the best to keep our pearly whites, well, pearly and white? Today we clear the air on this important topic.

Toothbrushes & Brushing

Before getting into all your purchasing options, let’s do a quick brush up (pun intended) on proper brushing techniques to ensure your dental labors are as effective as possible.

brush-ones-to-keepWhen brushing, you don’t want to apply a lot of pressure; plaque is removed with gentle and thorough cleaning. By being too aggressive you are more likely to damage your gum tissue than clean properly. To start, place the head of the brush at a 45-degree angle and point the bristles just into the gum line. This helps disrupt buildup gathering at the base of the tooth. Avoid brushing all your teeth at once; rather, target a group of 3-4 and gently clear the surfaces before moving on to the next set. Be sure to clean all surfaces of the tooth: fronts, backs, chewing surfaces, and the sides of those hard-to-reach molars. Perfect!

Which Toothbrush Is Best?

Electronic toothbrushes are a fantastic option and do a lot to help agitate food particles and really cleanse your teeth. Manual toothbrushes also work well provided they are used effectively with our above tips. For bristles, many make the mistake of purchasing them too tough. The flexibility and gentleness of soft bristles is precisely what you want to clean without damaging. For toothbrush size, just ensure it isn’t too large that it prevents access to those back molars that can be tricky to reach. There is no single toothbrush that is perfect for everyone, so be sure you’re using the one that feels the best to you and will encourage regular use – if you have any questions, we are always here!

Dental Floss & Flossing

Onto floss – but first, the brush up:

When it comes to flossing, you make a C-shape to curve around each tooth as you bring the floss down. The point is not to drag the line straight up and down, which can irritate the gums, but rather to hug the surface of each tooth and clean from the top to the root with a gentle motion. Use about 18” of floss for a fresh portion each pass. Remember to clean both neighboring teeth each time you bring the floss down, and don’t miss any teeth!

Which Floss Is Best?

There are a few variables to keep in mind when finding your ideal floss. First is the thickness of the floss – some people have larger gaps between teeth, and others have very tight spaces that can make it hard to floss. The ideal thickness is one that is comfortable to use, but still thoroughly cleans between each tooth – for tight spaces, try a flat, ribbon-like floss. There are also options like the material the floss is made of, and then waxed versus unwaxed floss. Some suggest waxed floss may be slightly more effective, but whichever choice is most comfortable for you is the choice we recommend. Yes, a lot of our advice is related to your preferences, but if you find a dental product you like with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, you can be sure you’ve found a winner!

In fact, that is our biggest suggestion for when it comes to both brushes and floss: the right option for you is the one you will actually use. If you have more questions, give us a call – we are always happy to ensure our patients feel confident with their oral health and have all the facts.

Serramonte Dental Group

1500 Southgate Ave., Suite 210
Daly City, CA 94015

SF Office

450 Sutter St., #1836
San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: 650-756-0938

To Trick Or To Treat? That Is The Question!

HalloweenBlog

Halloween is a night full of spook-tacular thrills and terrifying fun!  It can also be a dreaded nightmare with the overload of candy that can spark the start of a cavity!  This year, why not try something new?  When you are gathering your cauldron full of trick or treat goodies, try and opt for some alternatives to the sugar jitters that are bound to commence!  There is no written rule that you HAVE to give out candy.  This year, let’s stand out from the crowd and spice it up a little bit.

Here are some unique alternatives:

  • Mini Play Doh
  • Snack Packs (pretzels, popcorn, fruit chews… etc.)
  • Temporary tattoos or stickers
  • Spooky vampire teeth
  • Halloween themed goodies (pencils, rings, toys, activity books… etc.)
  • Glow sticks
  • Mini juices or waters
  • Small chalk packs
  • Costume jewelry
  • Mini bubbles
  • Travel size floss and toothbrushes 😉

A couple of tips to keep in mind before the kiddos are ready to hit the town:

– Feed your child a well-balanced meal before they go trick or treating.
– Use smaller candy loot bags instead of pillow cases or large grocery bags

Now, let’s be real, we all know that Halloween is a time to indulge, a little (or a lot) in the sugary goodness.  Let this be a special day that your child can have a couple of pieces of candy out of their loot bag.  But limit the amount they consume.  Not to mention, no one likes a belly ache after too many sweets.  Just keep in mind, when your child comes home from the wicked Halloween trick or treating, go through their candy.  If there are any candy wrappers that are open or look to be tampered with, throw away without hesitation.  And don’t let your kids keep their candy stash!  If you are in control of it, you can monitor when they have a piece and how much they are eating.

If you only want to allow for a couple of pieces of candy, and get rid of the rest, consider these options:

  • Donating the candy to the troops
  • Make your child a deal. For every piece of candy they hand over, give them a dime and then let them pick something special they would like to do with their earnings! Instant allowance! Perhaps a movie of their choice?  A dinner date?  Or a new toy?

No matter what the decision you choose to go with this year, we hope you have a safe and frightfully fun-filled Halloween!

Serramonte Dental Group
1500 Southgate Ave., Suite 210
Daly City, CA 94015

SF Office
450 Sutter St., #1836
San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: 650-756-0938

April: Oral Cancer Awareness Month

APRIL 2015

Early Detection Saves Lives

Oral cancer is nothing to take lightly.  Causing one death every hour, there will be approximately 45,750 new cases diagnosed this year alone.  It also tends to strike men twice as likely as women.

Contributing factors of oral cancer include:

  • Smoking
  • Tobacco use
  • Excessive alcohol consumption (3+ drinks per day)
  • Over exposure to UV light
  • HPV Virus (sexually transmitted)

7% of diagnosed oral cancer cases that have no identified cause

Smokers are 3 times more likely to develop oral cancer.  Cigars and pipes pose a higher risk than standard cigarettes.

This is how to reduce your risk of oral cancer:

  • Brush & floss regularly
  • Do not use tobacco products
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation
  • Limit sun exposure and always use SPF sunscreen
  • Regular exercise
  • Nutritional supplements ( Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Zinc, Fish oil)
  • Oral cancer screening at your bi-annual dentist exam and cleaning

Cancer FightingThe way you prepare your meals can play a role as well.  Rather than frying food, give steaming or baking a try!  Bonus: these techniques are also more figure friendly

Cancer fighting foods:

  • Beans
  • Berries
  • Vegetables
  • Flaxseed
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Green Teas
  • Tomatoes

84% of oral cancer cases can be detected early by your dentist

Dental check-ups are vital to oral cancer detection.  Yes, you should be going in for dental check-ups twice a year anyways; however, request you get regularly scheduled oral cancer screenings as well!

Oral Cancer - spotOral Cancer Signs to Check at Home

  • Check the entirety of your mouth:
  • All the way inside of your cheeks
  • Underside and top of your tongue
  • Roof of your mouth
  • Lymph nodes

You’re looking for discoloration, lumps, asymmetrical swelling or any other abnormalities that you happen to see.  Even if you aren’t too sure about it, it never hurts to give us a call, ask questions and come in to have it checked out.

Get involved.  Help raise awareness.  Spread the word.  Get tested!

Serramonte Dental Group
1500 Southgate Ave., Suite 210
Daly City, CA 94015

SF Office
450 Sutter St., #1836
San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: 650-756-0938