Chesapeake Pediatric Dental Group

Oral Bacteria: Get the Facts

We all have bacteria in our mouth, good and bad. But what exactly do these bacteria do? We’ve got all kinds of information on the role bacteria play in your oral health. Learn more about those pesky bacteria in your mouth!

Oral BacteriaFact #1
There are anywhere between 500 and 1,000 different kinds of bacteria in our mouths.

Fact #2
Babies’ mouths are free of bacteria at birth. However, bacteria is transferred into their mouths from their mothers within hours of birth, mainly through kissing and food sharing.

Fact #3
Saliva flushes harmful bacteria out of the mouth by making it hard for bacteria to stick to the surfaces of our teeth.

Fact #4
Some foods can also flush bacteria from the teeth. Crunchy vegetables like carrots and celery stimulate the gums, while acidic fruits like apples increase saliva production to wash the teeth clean.

Fact #5
The tongue holds a significant portion of the mouth’s bacteria. It’s just as important to clean the tongue as it is to brush and floss, because bacteria on the tongue contributes to gum disease and bad breath. Try using a plastic or metal tongue scraper to clear out bacteria!

Fact #6
Hormonal changes during pregnancy put soon-to-be mothers at a higher risk of tooth erosion. Morning sickness and general hormonal changes cause acidity in the mouth to increase, which in turn erodes enamel.
Fact #7

Oral bacteria multiply in number every 4-5 hours. No wonder it’s so important to brush teeth twice a day!

Who knew something so small could have such a big impact on your oral health! Make sure to schedule regular dental exams with us to keep oral bacteria under control for a clean, healthy smile!

The Importance of Baby Teeth

Baby teeth aren’t that important. They’re just going to fall out anyway…right? Wrong. Taking care of baby teeth actually contributes to the health of your permanent teeth, setting the course for a lifetime of dental health. Good life-long oral hygiene habits start early, so keep reading for some facts about baby teeth and tips for keeping them clean!

Importance of Baby TeethWhy do baby teeth matter?

Even though primary (baby) teeth will eventually fall out to make way for permanent (adult) teeth, it is equally important to take care of them. Baby teeth serve as placeholders for permanent teeth, maintaining the structure of your child’s mouth and jaw to guide teeth to grow in properly. If baby teeth fall out or are extracted prematurely due to trauma or tooth decay, surrounding teeth can become crooked and cause adult teeth to become impacted. Preventing cavities is also just as important for baby teeth, because tooth decay can cause more serious problems such as the formation of painful, inflamed cysts between the teeth and gums (abscessed teeth).

How to take care of baby teeth

  • Brush your child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride increases teeth’s resistance to acid breakdown, making it less likely for cavities to form.
  • Don’t give your child bottled milk to fall asleep with. Any drink besides water contains sugars that will wreak havoc on their teeth while they sleep.
  • Start brushing early – even before teeth come in! Simply run a damp cloth or a clean finger over the gums after feeding to eliminate the risk of food or drink residue reacting with harmful bacteria in the mouth.
  • Help your child with brushing and flossing until the age of six when they have developed enough dexterity to use proper techniques.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Children’s enamel and gums are not fully developed and require gentler care to keep from damaging them. You can also soak the toothbrush in warm water to soften the bristles even more.

Your child’s oral health journey starts before teeth even start to grow in. Make sure to take good care of those baby teeth to ensure a lifetime of good health. Give us a call if you’re looking for more tips!

Animal Teeth

It’s a fairly well known fact that beautiful teeth make beautiful smiles! We all know that those regular dentist appointments, healthy eating, and daily tooth brushing help keep our faces happy and our friends happier. Teeth are important, and trying to imagine life without them is just plain hard. This is truer than you might expect: humans aren’t the only ones with teeth, but that may not mean what you think it does.AnimalTeeth

Take elephants, for example. Elephants have multiple sets of wide, flat teeth that gradually wear down and fall out. They have six sets that last their entire life, so when those are gone…well, they’re pretty much gone as well. As elephants get older, its set of teeth gets progressively larger, corresponding with their age. The final set can weigh more than eight pounds, and grow up to eight inches long. What about the tusks? Yes, those are teeth as well – the only incisors the elephant has! It looks like two sets of teeth just wouldn’t cut it out on the safari.

Beavers are another interesting case study. Most of us care about our front teeth, even if there are a few other things we want for Christmas — but beavers take it to the next level. Like most rodent teeth, beaver teeth never stop growing; they need to keep gnawing on wood to wear them down to a manageable length. If you’ve ever seen beaver teeth, take a look — you may notice that they’re not quite white. Dentists recommend fluoride for teeth cleaning, but beavers come with a built-in alternative. Their teeth are incredibly rich in iron, which is woven into the construction of the tooth and works just as well (or even better!) than fluoride. Staving off acid attacks that cause cavity isn’t a problem for our little dam-building friends, but they won’t be on the Smile of Year ticket any time soon.

What about animals that don’t even have teeth? Take the blue whale, for example. The biggest mouth in the world is notoriously empty of what seems to be an integral component – teeth. Instead, the blue whale swims towards its next meal, mouth wide open, and then expels all the extra water through the comb-like baleen filter, trapping plankton, krill, and other no-chewing-necessary food inside.

Next time you’re out and about in the wild, look closely at the squirrels, dogs, cats, and birds around you. Are they similar to each other and to us? Maybe, but you’d be surprised.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby-Bottle-Tooth-DecayA baby bottle may be a useful tool for a parent. Keeping your baby calm, or helping them get to sleep is important. What’s in the bottle is very important. A child’s teeth are delicate, and keeping them from decaying promotes good health for the mouth as well as the child’s developing organs. Here are a few things to consider.

Sugar is Everywhere
If it’s not water, it probably has sugar in it. Even breast milk has sugar. Frequent exposure to sugary liquids promotes tooth decay, especially fruit juice and other sugary drinks.

What if the Baby Refuses Water?
If your child is accustomed to a sugary beverage, and won’t go to sleep with water, try slowly diluting the drink with water over a few weeks, until the bottle is full of only water. Note: Children under 6 months should not be given water. Speak with your pediatrician before giving your baby water in a bottle.

Going to Sleep
Though your baby can’t yet brush their teeth, or clean their mouth on their own, it is still very important to maintain a clean mouth. Use a wet cloth to remove plaque and grime from their gums and teeth. It’s good to have a clean mouth before going to bed, to avoid allowing bacteria to build up over night.

When should Baby Visit the Dentist?
Your child should see the dentist for the first time six months after the first tooth appears. Schedule an appointment today!

What Type of Floss Should I Use?

What Type of Floss Should I UseWe know we don’t have to tell you this—but flossing at least once a day is key to healthy gums and teeth! And while studies have shown it doesn’t really matter what kind of floss you use (as long as you do it!), kids are more likely to use floss that’s easy for them to use. We’ve broken down the different types of floss, so you can decide which is best for you!

Waxed and Unwaxed

Waxed floss will glide easier, but there isn’t really any other difference between waxed and unwaxed floss. If your teeth are close together, try one of these.

Ultra Floss

Ultra floss is a thicker floss that can be stretched to fit between tight spaces between your teeth; this is a good option if the closeness of your teeth varies.

Tape

Dental tape is a relatively new addition to the floss family. This fatter floss option is made from plastic and has a bit more stretch. If you have wide spaces between your teeth or have sensitive gums, try this ribbon-like floss.

Flossing picks

If you find yourself on the go—or if your kids hate the feeling of floss wrapped around their fingers—try disposable picks that have handles to make flossing a little easier!

Oral Irrigators

Recent trials are inconclusive on whether using a water flosser is as effective as traditional floss, but studies agree that using an oral irrigator is better than not flossing at all!

So which one is the best? Any one you’ll actually use! Don’t hesitate to ask us for different types of floss at your next cleaning to see what works best for you!

Oral Hygiene Routine

You’re awake, congratulations! Now, you are standing in front of the bathroom mirror, you’ve been wanting to upgrade your oral hygiene routine but you’ve heard a lot of conflicting information. There are so many tools and what order should you do them in? We’re here to help! If you’ve ever wondered, “What comes first brushing or flossing?” Read on!

Oral Hygiene Routine Blog

  • You’ve probably heard us stress the importance of flossing at your appointments. Flossing is an incredibly important part of your mouth’s health. Flossing your teeth should take place one time per day. We recommend at night so that food does not rest in between your teeth while you sleep. Flossing before brushing is a lot like dusting before you vacuum. The particles will loosen with flossing and the brushing will sweep them away.
  • You may have guessed it: the second part of your oral hygiene regimen should be a 2-minute brushing. Dentists look at your mouth in terms of quadrants. Therefore, your mouth consists on four separate quadrants and to ensure proper use of your two minute brushing session, we recommend spending 30 seconds in each quadrant. This brushing routine should take place two times a day!
  • Brushing your teeth alone will not eliminate the majority of the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Cleaning your tongue is an easy addition to your routine and will benefit your mouth greatly. Take your toothbrush, apply a very small amount of toothpaste and brush your tongue in gentle, circular motions. You may opt for a tongue scraper instead, they can be purchased at most grocery stores.

It may seem like a lengthy routine but it actually only totals about 4 minutes. If you value your oral health and want to spend less time in a dental chair, it will be worth your time, we promise!

Happy Baby

Any dentist will tell you that as a doctor who works with children, primarily young ones at that, certain essential skills are necessary. After all, it’s just as hard as being a parent. A good sense of interaction with family members, care and tenderness, and a healthy dose of spontaneity are key traits, and ones that pediatricians all over the world excel at. Two questions: how do they do that, and how do we get on that level?HappyBaby

A simple Google search can yield fruitful results and set you on the path that our baby-comforting role models can vouch for.  When you get a chance, type “How To Make Babies Love You” into the Internet. If you’re on the same web as I am, you’ll get about 89 million pages of results. Though it takes Google about half a second to tell us that, it can take a lifetime to learn to be truly loved by a baby.

Articles entitled “10 Signs Your Baby Likes You” and “How To Make A Baby Laugh (With Pictures)” can be valuable resources, but it is important to realize that these articles usually present broad principles and generalities: each baby should be approached with care, concern, and positivity. Dentists excel at this, probably because they spend their days practicing ways to make babies love them — although they are no substitute for loving mothers and fathers, we can all pick up some practical tips from our friendliness experts.

Some dentists will tell you that one of the best ways to make babies love life is to get their siblings involved. Funny faces, chasing games, peekaboo — all fair game. However, the most surprising trick may be the most obvious of all. The best way to make babies laugh is by…laughing! Laughter is contagious, so maybe the best way to make babies happy is to just be happy yourself! Good luck, and much love.

 

Winter Oral Health Tips

If you get a runny nose this winter, you may be tempted to breathe through your mouth. While we know cold weather wreaks havoc on our lips (let’s just call it “Chapped-Lip Season” instead of winter), breathing through your mouth also triggers sensitivities and other oral health issues! Itchy skin and dry mouth are just two things that can irritate you this season however, here are some of tried-and-true methods to keep your mouth healthy all winter long.

Winter Oral Health TipsBrush Up

Brush gently with a soft toothbrush. Aggressive brushing can cause more sensitivity! If you find that your teeth are feeling extra sensitive, use a desensitizing toothpaste. Rinsing with mouthwash daily and flossing your teeth will stimulate your gums so that they are less likely to recede in the cold months.

Drink Up

We know our bodies need at least eight glasses of water for optimal health, but did you know it’s important for oral health too? Drinking water rinses out your mouth and keeps it moist—keeping bacteria at bay. Moisture depletion can be maintained with proper hydration reducing the feeling of a dry mouth.

Bundle Up

Our teeth may be hard, but they are not immune to extreme cold! In fact, fluctuating in temperature too drastically can cause your teeth to expand and contract, this may cause hairline fractures in the surface. Limit your time in cold weather, and when that isn’t an option, trap heat near your face by wearing a scarf or mask when you have to brave the cold!

5 Points for Wearing a Mouth Guard During Sports:

It’s easy for people to not realize what they have until it’s gone. Imagine what it would be like if you were missing one of your front teeth? You’d probably be a bit embarrassed smiling and talking, and eating would feel strange as well. The good news is that taking preventative measures to protect your teeth can diminish the chances of you having a toothless smile.

5 points mouthguard copyWearing a mouth guard when playing sports decreases the risk of injuries to the mouth or jaw. Some sports players don’t like to wear mouth guards because of their appearance while wearing one, but more injuries can happen when not wearing a mouth guard that can affect your appearance in a much more inconvenient way. Here are five reasons why you should always protect your pearly whites when participating in any contact sports or collision sports where unexpected contact can happen:

  1. Protection Against Tooth Fractures

Mouth guards protect your teeth from chipping and breaking. Even though tooth fractures can usually be saved, why go through the risk when wearing a mouth guard can save you all the trouble?

  1. Protection Against Tooth Replacement

Wearing a mouth guard is cushion for your teeth, so if a ball hits your face your teeth don’t receive a crushing force. However, if a ball hits your mouth without a mouth guard, it can result in completely breaking or ruining your tooth, leaving you with a toothless smile and an emergency call to our office. Having a gap in your smile due to an accident that could have been prevented isn’t worth it.

  1. Protection Against Soft Tissue Injuries

Some contact sports involve quick impacts that could leave you biting through your tongue or lips! A mouth guard can prevent soft tissue injuries by creating a soft resistance when teeth contact your lips and tongue.

  1. Protection Against Concussions

According to the American Dental Association, mouth guards may help reduce the severity and incidence of concussions. A properly fitted mouth guard decreases the likelihood of sustaining concussive injury because the padding between the mandible and the maxilla can lessen the force of the mandible pushing up on the skull near the brain, which causes a concussion.

  1. Protection Against Jaw Fractures

Wearing a protective mouth guard protects your jaw from fractures. Impact to the neck or jaw could result in serious injury, but with the protection of a mouth guard during an impact, it reduces the likelihood of jaw dislodgement or neck trauma.

The Academy of General Dentistry estimates that mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 injuries each year! Using a mouth guard won’t only help prevent you from dental and jaw injuries but can also prevent damage to braces or other orthodontic work.

The 6 Tips Your Toothbrush Wants to Tell You

You already know how important I am to your oral health. That’s why you brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day.

6 Tips ToothbrushHowever, are you aware of how much bacteria lives on your toothbrush? Researchers have found that a single toothbrush can have as many as 10 million germs and bacteria! But, don’t let this statistic scare you away from brushing. These bacteria aren’t a huge threat to your teeth according to Everydayhealth.com, because its been researched that these germs don’t make people sick. That’s because toothpaste is made with an anti-germ component.

So what is your toothbrush trying to tell you to help prevent all these germs?

  1. Keep me clean and dry!

It’s important that you use your toothbrush correctly. Always make sure to rinse it in tap water and give it time to air dry. Germs need moisture to survive, so as long as you give your brush enough time to dry before using it, you should be fine. Make sure not to leave any toothpaste or debris in the head of your brush, rinse it well!

  1. Store me upright!

When you’re at home, store your toothbrush upright in a cup or toothbrush holder. This allows it to air dry, which will help kill those germs. On the road? When traveling make sure to keep your toothbrush in a travel holder, that way it isn’t rolling around uncovered and collecting bacteria in your bag.

If you really want to be in the clear you can soak your toothbrush in a toothbrush sanitizer or in mouthwash. Another alternative is to place your toothbrush in boiling water for 5-10 seconds. Don’t ever put your toothbrush in the dishwasher or microwave, these appliances will damage your toothbrush!

  1. Don’t brush where you flush!

Try to store your toothbrush as far away as possible from the toilet. This is because each toilet flush sends a spray of bacteria into the air and I’m sure you don’t want that near your open toothbrush! We recommend at least 3 feet!

  1. I only want one owner!

Don’t share! Forget what your kindergarten teacher told you about sharing. When it comes to toothbrushes, it’s an absolute no! No matter how close you may be to that person, whether it’s your sibling or spouse, don’t ever use their toothbrush.

  1. It’s time for us to say Goodbye!

The American Dental Association recommends getting a new toothbrush about every three months. This also depends on the wear of the bristles. Some people brush with a heavy hand and therefore their bristles may wear out sooner. It’s important to judge when it’s time for a replacement based upon the bristles, so don’t mark it in your calendar, just keep a look at your bristles. Be sure to check your kids’ brushes regularly because they will probably need to be replaced more often.

  1. Let me remind you!

Some toothbrush brands feature color-changing bristles that remind you when it’s time to get a new brush. You could also make a reminder to replace your toothbrush the first day of every season.   That way you’re replacing it four times a year, with an average of 3 months per brush.