Posts for category: Oral Health
From a dentist's perspective, toothbrushes have a limited lifespan: Bristles can fray after months of use, rendering them less effective in removing harmful dental plaque. The American Dental Association therefore recommends a new brush at least every three to four months.
From a user's perspective, that's not that big a deal—toothbrushes are relatively inexpensive and plentiful in stores selling oral hygiene products. In fact, many dentists give their patients a new toothbrush after each dental cleaning.
But there's still another perspective: Mother Earth. Too many of those used toothbrushes end up in the trash. With potentially billions of disposed toothbrushes each year, this essential dental care tool could well be a significant contribution to our planet's overflowing waste problem.
Fortunately, you don't have to consign your used toothbrush to the landfill. After a sanitizing run through the dishwasher, there are dozens of ways to re-purpose your old brush. In recognition of Earth Day, April 22, here are a few of them.
Kitchen cleanup tool. Your kitchen is likely filled with various utensils and small appliances like toasters or blenders that contain lots of nooks and crannies. These spaces can quickly fill up with spills or food debris. With their narrow heads and long handles, old toothbrushes are ideal for tidying up your hard-to-clean kitchen equipment.
Tile grout cleaner. Those narrow bristles also make toothbrushes a great tool for cleaning bathroom tile grout. Simply apply your favorite cleaner, or a little baking soda added to water, and let your old toothbrush do the rest. A toothbrush is also handy for cleaning around other tight spaces around the sink, tub or toilet.
Personal hygiene aid. After retiring from teeth cleaning, your brush can still play a role in personal hygiene. Use if for cleaning under fingernails, removing hair from hair brushes or even getting your eyebrows in good order. They're also handy for applying hair dye if you can't lay your hands on the regular application brush.
Miscellaneous task helper. A used toothbrush can be useful for tasks in and out of the house. Inside, it can help you remove your child's crayon art from walls or tackle stubborn clothes stains. Outside, it's handy for cleaning different parts of your car, the soles of your shoes or grimy bicycle chains. When you need something small and narrow, a toothbrush might just fill the bill.
Have more than enough used toothbrushes? Then consider recycling the next one, if your local program allows it. In its separated components your toothbrush can thus continue to be useful—and not another piece of clutter on our beautiful planet.
Do you want to give your child something that will benefit them the rest of their life? Then give them the gift of healthy teeth and gums.
Such a gift doesn't come wrapped in a box with a bow on it—you bestow it first by ensuring they receive the utmost in dental care during their formative years. Even more importantly, you instill in them good oral care habits that will protect their dental health for the rest of their lives.
Oral Hygiene 101. Daily hygiene—brushing and flossing to remove disease-causing dental plaque—is the foundation for maintaining a lifetime of optimal dental health. Early on, you'll have to perform these tasks for your child, but the true gift is in teaching them to brush and floss effectively for themselves (and your dentist can help too!).
How's my brushing? There's oral hygiene—and then there's effective oral hygiene. For a quick check, there's a simple test you can teach your child to make sure they're brushing and flossing correctly: Just after they finish, have them rub their tongue all along their teeth. If the teeth feel smooth, they've made the grade! If it feels gritty, though, they'll need to try again. (For better accuracy, you can also purchase a disclosing solution at your local pharmacy that when applied to teeth will reveal any remaining plaque.)
Eating for dental health. Instilling the values of proper nutrition not only promotes your child's overall health, it can also help them have healthier teeth and gums. Foods rich in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus, help build strong teeth and bones. Avoiding processed foods, especially those with added sugar, helps them avoid tooth decay or gum disease.
Mouth protection from injury. As your child grows and becomes more active, they're more at risk for injury to their mouth, teeth or gums. Help them break habits like chewing on hard objects, and insist on them wearing a mouthguard while playing sports. As they enter the teen years, encourage them to avoid “mouth jewelry” that could damage their tooth enamel.
These values and practices are often woven into the fabric of everyday life. They take relatively little time, but they can make a huge impact on your child's oral health future.
If you would like more information on dental care for kids, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “How to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health.”
If you or your child are receiving orthodontic treatment, consider this. You can develop cavities and gum disease if you neglect daily oral hygiene and consume a sugary diet. At Wermerson Orthodontics in Sioux Falls, SD, your orthodontist is Dr. Chris Wermerson. He and his team want you to have a straight smile which is vibrant and healthy too.
What causes tooth decay and gum disease?
Germs do--specifically, Strep bacteria. They do their work quickly as they grow in the food residues caught in and between teeth and in your case, around brackets and archwires as well.
In fact, the National Institutes of Health state that bacteria-filled plaque starts to collect on dental surfaces within 20 minutes of eating. Then, the germs secrete acids, and it's that chemical that leads to decay and periodontal problems.
If you wear braces...
Brackets, ligatures, archwires, bonded-on retainers, and other appliances add extra surface area to your teeth--in effect, places where plaque and its hard counterpart, tartar, collect easily.
Accordingly, your orthodontist at Wermerson Orthodontics in Sioux Falls, SD, will show you ways to best care for your teeth and gums as you progress through your treatment plan. Also, continue to see your family dentist and hygienist for a professional cleaning and exam every six months.
Further, follow these tips to keep your mouth as healthy as possible:
- Brush twice a day with a soft brush and fluoride toothpaste. Angle the bristles in toward the margins of your brackets, and take extra care at the gum line. Be thorough but gentle.
- Floss once a day. Interproximal brushes work well to remove food particles hidden underneath braces and between teeth. Floss threaders do not shred and are really useful for hard to reach places.
- Consider using a water flosser, such as a WaterPik.
- Use a plaque-reducing and/or fluoride rinse as directed by your orthodontist.
- Stay away from sugary drinks, sticky candies, and other high-carb choices.
- Drink water to rinse off your teeth and gums, and stay hydrated. Water increases your saliva which combats bacteria and whitens your teeth.
Keep that great smile
And, keep it healthy. At Wermerson Orthodontics in Sioux Falls, SD, Dr. Chris Wermerson and his team are happy to show you how. If you have questions about tooth decay, gum disease, and braces, call your orthodontist at one of our two locations: South Cliff Avenue or West 26th Street. Phone (605) 274-0555.