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

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

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

How Focusing on These 3 Points Will Help You Spring Out of the Winter Blues!

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Happy Spring 2015

As we move out of winter, you may be changing your frame of mind from “Snuggly winter days…” to “Time for spring cleaning!” Have you ever considered a dental spring cleaning?  If you can spring clean your home, why not your teeth?!  Here are three easy points to focus on:

  1. Healthy eating
  2. Tooth care
  3. Dental check-up

Healthy Eating

When your tummy rumbles, instead of reaching for a bag of chips, grab some veggie sticks or slice up an apple!  We understand the convenience of snack foods as well as the deal you get when purchasing a bulk pack.  But most of these things lack nutritional value and do not fare well on your body, health or mouth.  Create a goal to reach for a healthy snack to fill the nutritional craving your body is after.  Your waistline and teeth will thank you!

Foods that are high in sugar wreak havoc on your teeth contribute to the start of cavities.  Food consistency also plays a role in oral health. Very hard foods can harm the surfaces of your teeth, and there’s also the potential to cause significant damage by cracking or chipping a tooth!

Reach For                                                                                  Pass On

Fruits Sodas
Veggies Candy
Whole Grains Chips
Nuts Ice Cream
Skinless Chicken Sugary Cereals
Non-Breaded Fish Hard and Sticky Foods
Low Fat/ Fat Free Yogurt Cookies
Low Fat/ Fat Free Cheese Cakes/ Pies

Tooth Care

  • Are you attentively brushing your teeth twice a day for 2-minutes?
  • Are you flossing daily (or at all)?
  • Have you changed your toothbrush in the last 3 months?

When brushing your teeth spend the full 2 minutes taking care to cover the front and back of each individual tooth. Before finishing up – give your tongue a once over as well! Many toothbrushes have a built in tongue brusher on the back of the toothbrush head.  Toothbrushes do wear out.  They can fray and lose the sturdiness to properly clean your teeth.  Toothbrushes should be replaced about every three months.

Flossing

Flossing cleans about 40% of your teeth surfaces.  Remember to reach your very back teeth.  Flossing helps to lessen plaque build-up and helps prevent gum disease.

Dental Check-up

Remember how great your mouth feels after a dental cleaning in our office?  Now that the holidays have come to a close, your teeth may be in need of a professional cleaning.  Call Serramonte Dental Group for a dental check-up and cleaning.  Check-ups are recommended every 6 months unless you are experiencing a problem area in your mouth.  And, if that is the case, call us as soon as possible.  Whenever you are in pain or have a question, call us.

Now that you have these things fresh on your mind, you are ready to take charge of spring!  And you can do so with a bright shining and CLEAN smile!

References:

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/still-not-flossing-more-reasons-why-you-should

1500 Southgate Ave., Suite 210

Daly City, CA 94015

SF Office

450 Sutter St., #1836

San Francisco, CA 94108 Map

Phone: 650-756-0938