How To Help Prepare Your Child For The Dentist

There’s Nothing Better than seeing a child’s smile light up a room. While parents understand the importance of keeping that smile healthy by regularly visiting the dentist, some children are a bit apprehensive about making that visit.

There Are Many Potential Causes For A Child’s Dental Anxiety

There may be several reasons why your little one isn’t too excited about visiting the dentist. It could be fear of the unknown, or maybe a friend or a sibling has told them a scary story about what happens during a dental visit. A parent’s own apprehension about visiting the dentist can even influence their child’s opinion about their upcoming dental exam.

Whatever the case may be, we want to help you prepare your child for his or her upcoming visit and help relieve some of that stress!

Try These Tips To Help Prepare For Their Next Visit!

Start early. The AAPD recommends children see the dentist by their first birthday or whenever teeth appear. Not only is this important to ensure their teeth and gums are healthy, it will help them grow used to seeing the dentist on a regular basis.

Visit a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists receive extra training beyond dental school to help them become experts at treating children and helping them feel comfortable during their appointment. Pediatric offices are also kid-friendly and provide lots of accommodations to ensure your child’s visit is as pleasant as possible.

Explain what will happen during their visit. Fear of the unknown can be a significant contributor to stress leading up to a child’s dental visit. When you explain the basics of what will happen during their visit, they’ll know what to expect when they arrive at the dentist’s office.

Stress Can Affect Your Child’s Oral Health

Not only will decreased stress make their appointment more enjoyable, but lower overall stress will help their oral health too!

Studies have shown that children who experience greater levels of stress than their peers tend to develop a greater number of dental caries. High levels of stress increase the amount of salivary cortisols and cavity-forming bacteria in the mouth, making it more difficult for them to ward off cavities.

Stress can come from any number of sources in a child’s life. It may be the result of a big move or it could be caused by pressures at school such as difficult classwork or trouble with friends. Whatever the source, if you notice your child seems stressed, there are plenty of ways to help such as:

  • Spend quality time with your child daily
  • Ensure they get enough sleep and eat a healthy diet
  • Talk with your child about what may be causing their stress
  • Schedule wellness visits with the doctor and follow-up visits to the dentist and let them know what they can expect at these visits

We Can Help Your Child Have An Enjoyable Visit

As your child continues to grow, we want to ensure they develop a happy, healthy smile. We strive to help them feel comfortable during their visit so they can develop good oral health habits for a lifetime. If you have any questions about how you can prepare your child for their next appointment, let us know! We’d love to help you prepare them for the most enjoyable visit possible.

Thank you for being a part of our practice family.

Good news! You don’t have to floss…..

…. but you do need to clean between your teeth daily.

Preventing dental disease is a big focus in our practice and while gum disease affects almost everyone it’s actually very easy to control. Daily mechanical cleaning, like brushing, keeps the bacteria that cause gum disease from invading our bodies through the tissue around our teeth. As a Dentist, flossing is something that almost no one asks me about and yet I talk about it every day. Multiple times a day, actually.  What do I say?  Well, like the title says, I tell folks “you don’t have to floss BUT you do need to clean between your teeth everyday”.

How to Floss

Flossing is a great tool but, it is the rare person who likes doing it.  I know I don’t.   First, let’s go over the basic technique – you wrap the floss around your fingers so most of it is on one finger and a couple of turns are on the other finger and your fingers are close together (about an inch apart), wiggle it back and forth between the teeth until it is below where the teeth touch, then you press it against one of the teeth and slide it under the gums (yes, you need to clean your gums also and many people miss that part), bring it back to the top of the gums, press it against the other tooth and slide it under the gums on the other side, then you wiggle back out the top again. Get to some clean floss by unwrapping it from the finger with a lot of floss and wrapping it onto the other, move to the next set of teeth and repeat. Takes some effort and dexterity. Plus, if you’re a gagger, like me, getting two fingers in your mouth can be a trial. My teeth are pretty tight too, so they tend to feel sore after flossing. Plus, wrapping it around my fingers makes lines in them and they turn blue – a small and temporary thing but vexing none the less.

Daily Cleaning is Important Not the Device

What if I told you that flossing IS NOT the only way to get the job done? Dental heresy right? Well it’s cleaning 360 degrees around the tooth everyday that matters not the tool.  I have used an oral irrigator (Water Pik would be a familiar brand), that hooks up to my shower, for years. Before that I used a special brush that was cut to a point and fit between my teeth. I haven’t flossed in years and years but I clean between my teeth everyday so I have healthy teeth and gums.

Find a Cleaning Device You Like Then Use It Daily

I have my patients check out the dental section of their favorite store, look over all the cleaning tools that are meant to go between the teeth and use whatever appeals to them. Let’s be honest, NO ONE finds flossing appealing! Last time I looked at what was available, there were various types of floss pics, plastic toothpicks, various flosses (waxed, unwaxed, flavored, Teflon coated, etc.), and some tiny brushes. Anyway, if you can slide or push it between the teeth and under the gums and you think you’ll use it every day, then you’re golden. Go forth and clean between. Visit TLC Dental Care to know more.

Flossing Is Essential To Your Oral Hygiene

We’ve Mentioned It Time And Time Again… Flossing is an essential part of good oral hygiene. Many people don’t see the need for flossing when they already brush their teeth; others simply hate the task. We understand that it can be tedious! But as your trusted dental professionals, we want to assure you that flossing will greatly benefit your dental and overall health.

So, How Does Flossing Benefit My Health?

Did you know that when you don’t floss, you miss cleaning 35 percent of tooth surfaces in your mouth? That’s because brushing simply cannot get into those hard-to-reach spaces between your teeth. Unfortunately, however, bacteria can! Flossing completes brushing by cleaning the spaces your toothbrush can’t.

Regular flossing can:

  • Prevent cavities. Have you ever flossed, even after brushing your teeth, and were surprised to find a remnant of your last meal? Flossing removes food debris and plaque, preventing cavity formation between the teeth, a common place for tooth decay.
  • Fight bad breath. If food or plaque are left in between teeth, they will eventually release a bad smell. Yuck!
  • Inhibit tartar buildup and gum disease. If left on teeth for too long, plaque hardens into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional. The presence of tartar can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Gum disease is associated with other systemic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
  • Improve your appearance. Food debris and plaque make teeth look more yellow and gritty. Clean, healthy teeth always appear whiter and brighter!

From years of experience, we can confidently say that flossing makes a big difference in your oral and overall health.

For Flossing To Work, It Has To Be Done Correctly

To reap the benefits of flossing, it has to be done correctly. In a 2006 study, researchers wanted to see whether flossing at home had the same benefits as having daily flossing done by professionals. The study showed that participants who were flossed professionally had a 40 percent decrease in their risk of cavities than their at-home flossing counterparts. The researchers concluded that flossing, when done properly, has a substantial, positive effect on oral health.

Many people simply snap the floss in between their teeth and pull it back out. The correct way, however, is to curve the floss around the tooth, as if the floss were hugging it. Still curved around the tooth, move the floss up and down to scrape the plaque. Do the same on the other tooth.

Take The Flossing Challenge

We’d like to challenge you to make daily flossing a part of your oral healthcare routine. We promise you’ll feel the difference! If you still have questions about flossing, call or come in to see us. Seeing our patients is the best part of our day! Visit TLC Dental Care to know more.

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