August 24th, 2016
This may come as a surprise, but brushing your teeth right after a meal can be one of the worst things you can do for your healthy teeth. A toothbrush can be considered an assault weapon against your smile if used immediately after eating certain foods.
Enamel is like the tooth’s shield. It is a hard mineral exterior on each of your teeth. In reality, enamel is the hardest part of the human body—even stronger than bone! I like to regard it as a “super-structure.” But every superhero has a weakness, and enamel’s kryptonite is acid.
A healthy tooth lives in a mouth that has a proper pH balance. When that balance tips from alkaline to acidic, a harmful process called demineralization begins. Demineralization occurs when acids attack and soften the tooth surface. Pores and fissures form and harmful bacteria move in.
With each bite of food or drink, our mouth pH fluctuates. Highly acidic foods tip the balance of your mouth from a healthy alkaline to a dangerous acid. Here are some examples of those sources of acid: citrus fruits, soda, and sugary foods. There are certainly many others, but these are the most common.
So how does brushing your teeth immediately after a meal make this process even worse?
After eating highly acidic foods, your teeth are susceptible to damage. When you brush your teeth in this weakened state you are actually damaging your enamel. The abrasive bristles of the brush wear away the protective surface of the teeth. You should avoid brushing for at least an hour, or take other, simple preventive measures immediately following a meal.
First, rinse with or drink clear water. Then chew some sugarless gum. Both of these practices will produce saliva, restore a healthy pH level in your mouth, and coat your teeth with nourishing minerals. Out of all the sugarless gums available, the best of the best are those that list xylitol as the first ingredient. Another option is to consume cheese, milk, or another non-acidic food or drink to conclude your meal.
After you have given your mouth time to return to a healthy pH, feel free to brush your teeth. Just keep in mind that any time you eat acidic foods, you weaken your teeth. Make sure not to worsen the problem by brushing immediately after dining and damaging your teeth even more. Questions? Call us at Pearland Pediatric Dentistry.
August 17th, 2016
As a parent, you want the best for your children, and that includes doing their best in school. You can support them by taking an interest in their activities, being enthusiastic about attendance, and helping them with homework. There may also be one more way you can help your children succeed at school. Surprisingly, research suggests that children with better oral health are likely to do better in school.
What the Research Says
One study in North Carolina looked at risk factors for poor school performance among school-aged children. As expected, the study found poor school performance linked to low socioeconomic status, low levels of parental education, and poor overall health. However, it also found a strong link between poor oral health and poor school performance, with children classified as having poor oral health 40 percent more likely struggle in school.
These findings are generalizable to the rest of the country. For example, attendance is an important factor in academic achievement, but dental conditions are responsible for a loss 51 million school hours among schoolchildren each year. Dental pain and infection are linked to poorer performance.
School-Based Programs to Promote Oral Health
In light of the apparent benefits of good oral health for school performance, some schools are taking steps to promote better oral care and health. In Maine, for instance, schools in need can apply for grants through School Oral Health Program (SOHP). The SOHP consists of four components:
- Oral health education for all children to support healthy behaviors
- A weekly fluoride mouth rinse to strengthen teeth
- Dental screenings to identify children who may need dental care
- Dental sealants, or plastic coatings, on back teeth to guard against decay
The State of Maine also supports an “Annual Sugar Out Day” to raise awareness of the effects of sugar on dental health and to help students choose low-sugar alternatives.
Oral Health Habits to Adopt
You can help your child improve oral health and do better in school by encouraging good oral hygiene. This includes brushing at least twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste, and reminding your child to drink water after eating. Also, regular trips to our Pearland, TX office can help prevent serious tooth problems.
August 10th, 2016
Come say hello twice a year. The American Dental Association says two times is the charm. Multiple visits a year lets us keep an eye out for any developing issues. It’s important to remember that this goes for the whole family. Children over one year old should be seeing Dr. Pamela Clark!
Stay fresh. At Pearland Pediatric Dentistry, we have a virtually unlimited stock of toothbrushes and floss, which means you have no excuse to be using a sad, ineffective toothbrush. As soon as bristles begin to fray, pick up a new one or stop by our Pearland, TX office and we’ll replace yours. On average, you should be opening a new one every two to three months.
For goodness sake, floss! Flossing is an efficient way to keep your whole mouth healthy. It not only protects your teeth by removing aggregated plaque, it keeps your gums happy, too.
And brush. Practicing regular healthy habits is essential to keeping your mouth—and us—happy! When it comes to brushing that means two minutes, two times a day. If your kids need some encouragement, try making a calendar or playing a song like this.
Tell a friend. One way you can help us is by spreading the love. Tell your friends about what a good thing we’ve got going here. The more the merrier. And the healthier.
August 3rd, 2016
At our office, Dr. Pamela Clark and our team do all that we can to make sure that your experience with us is the best it can possibly be. However, there’s an important role you play in this as well: leaving us reviews and feedback.
Whether there is something you’d like us to improve upon, or you’d just like to express your thanks for a job well done, your feedback is essential to our practice’s success.
We look forward to hearing from you, and are excited to hear what you thought of your most recent visit at our Pearland, TX office.