An active lifestyle calls for active safety. And while helmets, goggles and knee pads have become standard equipment to protect our bodies, it’s important to remember to protect your teeth as well. Mouthguards offer an easy, reliable method to cushion your teeth during athletic and recreational activity.
Participating in any physical activity involves a risk of contact with the face and mouth. Although many sports teams require some protective gear, the delicate teeth are often overlooked. Considering that even minor direct force can cause teeth to chip, break or come loose, a mouthguard is a crucial piece of equipment for all active or athletic activities.
Mouthguards are especially crucial during contact sports such as football, hockey or boxing, where blows to the body and face are regular occurrences. But even non-contact sports such as gymnastics, and recreational pastimes such as skating or mountain biking, still pose a risk to the teeth.
When participating in any activity that may result in injury to the mouth, dentists recommend that the teeth be properly shielded with some form of dental mouthguard.
Your Guide to Guards
There are three basic categories of mouthguards. Your dentist can suggest which type is right for you:
1. Stock Mouthguards — These pre-made protectors can usually be bought wherever sporting equipment is sold. Most dentists do not recommend their use because they cannot be adjusted to your mouth and provide only limited protection.
2. Boil-and-Bite Mouthguards — Boil-and-Bite guards are softened with hot water and then molded over your teeth. A somewhat customized fit leads to better protection and greater ease in talking and breathing. These are also available at most sporting goods vendors.
3. Custom Mouthguards — Your dentist can create a custom mouthguard designed specially for your teeth. These offer the best fit, comfort and protection, but may be more costly than store-bought varieties.
Guard Your Whole Mouth
In addition to cushioning your teeth from unnecessary force, using a mouthguard can prevent injury to the tongue, lips, face and jaw. It can also prevent or lessen the effects of headaches and concussions. Patients who wear dental braces should be especially careful to protect their mouths during physical activity. Make sure to discuss your level of activity with your dentist and find out which type of dental mouthguard best fits your needs.
Unless a problem is suspected, we would like to see your child after his/her primary teeth erupt into the mouth [24-36 months]. The most important goals of this first visit are to introduce your child to the office surroundings and to develop a trust in the dentist and our staff. We view this visit as an icebreaker. If your child is too frightened, uncomfortable or uncooperative, we may have to re-schedule several short visits. You will be charged a reasonable fee for the time. Please do not try to explain the first visit yourself. Do not use phrases like “Be brave!” or “Don’t be afraid”. Don’t offer them a bribe with special treats to get them to the office. Rather be positive and reassuring that the visit will be fun and one in which to look forward.
The appointment should be 15-30 minutes and may include necessary x-rays, a gentle, comprehensive examination of the teeth, gums, jaws, bite and oral tissues. This is both to observe any problems and to establish a baseline so we can monitor your child’s growth and development. Depending on your child’s age and cooperation, we may also clean and polish their teeth and apply a topical fluoride. Please bring to this first appointment any of your child’s medical records. We will try to discuss and answer any questions you may have at that time. Our objective is to be gentle and patient so your child develops a positive attitude towards the dental office and their own oral health. Our long-term goal is prevention and minimizing and dental problems for him/her as they mature.
Xylitol is a white crystalline substance that looks and taste like sugar. It is found naturally and can be extracted from birch, raspberries, plums, corn and mushrooms. Technically it is not a sugar but a sugar alcohol that is sometimes called wood sugar or birch sugar. Our bodies produce up to 15mg everyday as part of normal metabolism.
The great benefit of Xylitol in preventing tooth decay was “discovered” in Finland in the early 1970’s. Streptococcus Mutans, bacteria found in the mouth, produces toxins and acids that can dissolve teeth when foods with refined sugar [sucrose] are eaten.
Xylitol is not fermented by oral bacterial, so it cannot cause cavities [caries]. It works its magic on many levels.
• It inhibits the growth of cavity-producing bacteria S. Mutans and lactobacilli. The number of these acid-producing bacteria may fall as much as 90%
• It prevents the transmission of S. Mutans from mother to child
• It reduces the adhesion of plaque to your teeth
• It stimulates salivary flow creating a greater buffer capacity against acids and aiding remineralization of your teeth
Therapeutically, Xylitol is added to chewing gum or candy. The dosage is critical. To receive tooth decay prevention benefits, you must receive 6-10 grams of Xylitol per day. When reading the label of a Xylitol containing product, Xylitol should be the first sugar listed and, ideally, the only sugar component. To be effective, the Xylitol gum must be utilized several times a day over long periods – 6 months, 1 year and 2 years.
Xylitol is also to added to some oral hygiene products such as toothpastes, mouthwashes, floss, fluoride supplements.
Chewing Xylitol gum after meals is a great alternative when brushing or flossing is not an option. Anybody who is at high risk for dental decay such as people with dry mouths or those with exposed tooth root surfaces should consider this decay prevention therapy.
On a precautionary note – excessive chewing could lead to headaches and/or pain in the TMJ joint near your ear. Don’t over do it!
Call our office for product recommendations.
Getting your kids to eat fruit, veggies and yogurt instead of candy, chips and ice cream might feel like pulling teeth. But it’s important to encourage them to eat “smart” snacks to keep their teeth – and body – healthy.
Whether you’re transitioning your older kids to a healthier, balanced diet or just getting started with a little ones, here are some tips for healthy snacking:
Set the tone. Your kids mimic what you do, so it’s important that you eat smart snacks too. And be sure to practice good oral hygiene in front of your kids; if you brush and floss after meals and snacks, your kids will too.
Get creative with snacks. Show your kids that healthy snacks can be fun! Prepare tasty combinations, such as apple slices with peanut butter, fruit smoothies, meat and cheese rollups, or yogurt sprinkled with granola and bananas.
Keep your kids involved. When you make your grocery list, ask your kids to brainstorm about what kinds of food they’d like to eat. This is a good opportunity to help them understand what’s good for their teeth and what’s not. Then go grocery shopping together and teach your kids how to read the Nutrition Facts label so that they can check the sugar content.
Prepare nutritious meals. Snacking smart is great for your teeth, but so is eating well-balanced lunches and dinners. Make sure to add fruits and vegetables to every meal so that your kids become accustomed to them.
We can help you come up with even more ideas for healthy snacks – come in for a visit, and we’ll work on a plan together.
Top 10 Reasons To Have Your Teeth Cleaned Regularly
1. Brighten Your Smile – Have stains removed. Your hygienist can remove stains caused by coffee, tea, sodas, and tobacco which can give you a bright, white smile!
2. Detect Dental Problems Early – Pay less! In many cases if dental problems are detected early, it will cost you less to have the problems fixed. Example; a smaller cavity needs a smaller filling and smaller fillings costs less than bigger fillings do. Waiting to take care of a dental problem will not only cost more, but it can lead to other problems as well.
3. Prevent Periodontal (Gum) Disease – During a cleaning appointment, your hygienist will remove plaque and calculus build up, which are irritation factors that can lead to gum disease. If your gums bleed and you have bad breath, it’s possible you may be suffering from gum disease which is a leading cause of tooth loss.
, 4. Maintain Good Physical Health – Research has shown, and experts agree, that there is an association between periodontal (gum) diseases and other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, treating inflammation may not only help manage periodontal diseases but may also help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions.
5. Clean Only The Teeth You Want To Keep – Yes, that’s right. If you are planning to keep your teeth for the rest of your life you need to have them cleaned. If not you may end up with gum disease which, as stated earlier, is a leading cause for tooth loss.
6. Oral Cancer Screenings -The American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates for oral and oropharyngeal cancers in the USA for 2011 states that about 34,300 people will get oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer. Of that number, an estimated 6,900 people will die from these cancers. The average age of most people diagnosed with these cancers is 62, but they can occur in young people. They are rare in children, but about one-third occur in patients younger than 55.
7. Prevent Bad Breath – A dirty mouth means stinky breath! Dental plaque that accumulates on and around a person’s teeth holds bacteria that creates the waste products responsible for causing bad breath. Gum disease also produces a very strong odor!
8. Create A Treatment Plan – A visit with your hygienist not only means cleaning your teeth, but other factors that may be present in your mouth are also identified. A plan for treating your teeth so they are restored to optimal function will be given to you, and appointments will be scheduled so we can get your mouth in top working order.
9. Take Advantage of Dental Insurance – If you’re paying for dental insurance and not going to the dentist, you’re throwing your money away. Many insurance companies will pay for preventive visits, which includes cleanings, at 100% of the cost. Take advantage of the benefits offered to you so you can have the best oral health possible.
10. Maintain Oral Health – Your hygienist will evaluate your mouth to find out if your taking care of your teeth properly and offer advice on ways to improve your home care, if necessary