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Great Dental Health Apps For Kids

March 11th, 2019

EVERY PARENT WANTS to be able to teach their children good, healthy habits so that they will be ready for the responsibilities of adulthood, and those include oral health and hygiene habits. But what do we do when our kids aren’t interested in brushing and flossing? Fortunately, in the age of the smartphone, there’s an app for that.

Disney Magic Timer By Oral-B

Enlist the help of your child’s favorite Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars characters to encourage them to brush with the Disney Magic Timer app by Oral-B. Your child can track their brushing progress in the app’s calendar and create a customized brusher profile. 90 percent of kids will brush longer when they use this app. It pairs with an Oral-B or Crest Health Stages toothbrush, and while the app is free to download, it does have in-app purchases.

My Bright Smile

Another great brushing timer app is My Bright Smile. This award-winning app includes a two-minute timer, as well as five games that teach children the right way to brush, why dental visits are important, and which foods are most harmful to their teeth. It’s a great combination of educational and fun!

Toothsavers

One fun way to help your child keep brushing for the full two minutes is with the Toothsavers app, which turns brushing their teeth into an adventure. They can unlock new Toothsaver characters each time they brush, and once they fill up a month in their calendar, they will be able to battle the evil sorceress villain of the game.

Tooth Fairy Camera

If you’ve been looking for a quick way to make losing a tooth more magical for your child, try the Tooth Fairy Camera app! This app allows you to capture live Tooth Fairy footage with your mobile device. You can follow her as she flies around your home, then share the footage with your child. There are a variety of apps like this, some free and some with a price tag for the improved special effects.

Know Of Other Great Dental Apps?

If you’ve already been using a dental app with your child, let us know about it! We’re always looking for great apps to recommend, because we want parents to have every tool they need to encourage their kids to have great oral hygiene habits for life!

We love to see those healthy smiles!

Tooth Fairy Traditions

February 28th, 2019

THE TOOTH FAIRY is one of many childhood fantasy figures we remember fondly. We lost our baby teeth, stuck them under our pillow, and the mysterious tooth fairy would swap our teeth out for money! What could be better?

The tooth fairy isn’t quite the same for everyone though! The legend of the tooth fairy has changed over the years and even varies widely around the world. Let’s learn a little bit more about other tooth fairy traditions!

The Tooth Fairy Legend Began With Ancient Superstitions

Before the tooth fairy went looking under our pillow for baby teeth, she used to look in the ground! In early Europe, burying or burning baby teeth was a precaution taken against witches. It was believed that if a witch got a hold of one of your teeth, they could have complete power over you!

Along with a fear of witches, children were instructed to burn their teeth so that they could have a peaceful afterlife. It was believed that if a tooth wasn’t incinerated, the person would be doomed to spend eternity searching for them.

The Vikings didn’t want to destroy baby teeth, however. They even paid for them! In Norse culture, children’s teeth were believed to bring good luck in battle, so many warriors had necklaces made of children’s fallen out teeth!

Before A Fairy, There Was A Mouse

More recently we’ve seen the development of monetary gifts as a reward for a lost tooth. But not all tooth fairies are pixies with wings… In many Latin countries the tooth fairy is a mouse named Raton Perez! He also retrieves the teeth from under a pillow and leaves money or a gift in return.

How Our Modern Tooth Fairy Came To Be

As with many American traditions, the tooth fairy has roots in European folklore. Instead of burying our teeth in the ground, we “bury” our teeth under our pillow! It is said that our modern conception of the tooth fairy came about in the early 1900s. With the help of Walt Disney’s beloved fairy characters, the idea of a tooth fairy gained popularity and became what it is today!

The Tooth Fairy Plays An Important Role For Children

The legend of the tooth fairy is likely still so prevalent because it helps comfort children when they lose their teeth, an experience that can be traumatic for some. The tooth fairy helps them see this big step as a positive experience and a sign that they are growing up!

As your trusted dental professionals, we want what is best for you and your kids. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s teeth, call or come into our office!

Thank you for all that you do!

What Causes Stained Teeth?

February 16th, 2019

WE OFTEN TAKE STEPS to achieve that sparkling white smile when we brush in the morning and before we go to bed. The truth is, what we consume throughout the day is often the largest contributor to whether or not our smile will light up a room.

Although there are several causes for tooth discoloration, we can separate them into three basic categories: intrinsic, extrinsic, and age-related discoloration. Here’s how each affects your teeth, and what you can do to ensure a life full of bright, healthy smiles.

Food And Drink Are Large Contributors To Surface Stains

Extrinsic tooth discoloration occurs when the enamel—the outer layer of the tooth—becomes stained. These stains are caused by pigments, acidic content, and other chemical factors (natural or artificial) present in things we enjoy eating and drinking.

A few common culprits for tooth discoloration include:

  • Wine
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Cola
  • Sports drinks
  • Hard Candy
  • Berries
  • Tomato Sauce

Most of these items won’t have an immediate affect on the color of your teeth, but over time, they can begin to wear away and cling to enamel causing unsightly stains. Try to consume these in moderation and always remember to drink plenty of water and brush your teeth after meals.

Trauma Can Discolor Teeth From The Inside Out

Intrinsic tooth discoloration occurs when the inner structure of the tooth—the dentin—begins to darken or develop a yellow tint. This type of discoloration can develop because of a trauma sustained to the tooth. Sometimes when a tooth sustains trauma during childhood, it can damage the developing permanent tooth beneath it, affecting the tooth's color. If a trauma is sustained during adulthood, internal bleeding can potentially discolor the damaged tooth.

Other causes include uses of medication at certain stages of life or being born with a rare condition called dentinogenesis imperfecta which can cause gray, amber, or purple discolorations. If you have questions about intrinsic discoloration, come in and see us and we can help answer your questions.

Your Smile Can Change Color With Age

Age-related tooth discoloration is a combination of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The dentin inside our teeth naturally yellows as we age. Enamel on the outside of teeth also thins as we get older, allowing the yellow pigment of the dentin to show through. A lifetime of consuming certain foods or smoking cigarettes will also contribute to deep-set stains on the enamel’s surface.

We Can Help Brighten Your Smile

We know just how important it is to provide our patients with bright, healthy smiles. Each situation is unique and we provide our patients with effective solutions for their unique oral health needs. If you have any questions about your smile’s appearance, let us know in the comments below or call and make an appointment today!

Thank you for continuing to be a part of our practice family!

The Top 3 Best Drinks For Your Teeth

February 1st, 2019

MANY OF THE THINGS we drink are actually pretty bad for our teeth, especially soda, fruit juice, and coffee. What options does that leave for the dental health conscious to quench their thirst? Fortunately, there are a few drinks that are much less likely to cause stains or contribute to enamel erosion and decay, which makes them much better for our teeth!

3. Milk

Milk is an important source of calcium, which is essential for healthy teeth and bones. A certain amount of enamel remineralization is possible if your body has the right building blocks available, so getting plenty of calcium is a great way to stock up on those building blocks to keep your teeth strong. If you are lactose intolerant, you don’t have to miss out on this either, because calcium-fortified soy milk is another great option.

One thing to be aware of, however, is that milk does have natural sugars in it, which is why it’s a bad idea to leave a child with a bottle of milk over a long period of time. The longer the sugars in milk are left on the teeth, the more they feed oral bacteria, contributing to tooth decay. This is how a condition commonly known as “bottle rot” can happen for babies and toddlers.

2. Green And Herbal Tea

While black tea, much like coffee and red wine, is prone to leaving stains on teeth, green tea and herbal teas do not carry this drawback. In fact, like milk, they actually have dental health benefits. Tea contains compounds called polyphenols, which help fight bacteria. Just make sure not to load your tea with sugar or even honey, as that would cancel out the benefits of the polyphenols. If you can enjoy it plain, that’s great, but you can also use sugar-free sweeteners.

1. Water

It might seem boring to include water on a list of mouth-healthy drinks, but it is absolutely essential to our overall health that we stay well hydrated — and specifically to our oral health! If we aren’t drinking enough water, we may not have enough fluid to produce saliva, which is the mouth’s first line of defense against acids and bacteria. The act of drinking water itself will also flush out remnants of food and sugary or acidic drinks, helping to keep our teeth clean until the next time we can brush.

 

What We Drink Is Only Part Of The Equation

Cutting back on some of the less healthy drinks in favor of drinking more water, milk, and green or herbal tea can make a big difference in our oral health, but it isn’t a substitute for other oral health habits. Make sure you’re also keeping up with your twice-daily brushing, daily flossing, and dental appointments every six months!

We’re here to help you keep those teeth happy and healthy!

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