May 29th, 2019
Did you know your toothbrush could be covered with almost ten million germs? We know … it’s gross! That’s why you should know how to store your toothbrush properly, and when it’s time to replace it.
If you need to brush up on your toothbrush care knowledge, we’ve got you covered so brushing will always leave you feeling squeaky clean.
Keeping a Clean Toothbrush
Your mouth is home to hundreds of types of microorganisms, so it’s normal for some of them to hang onto your toothbrush after you’ve used it. Rinsing your brush thoroughly with water after each use can get rid of leftover toothpaste and food particles that cling to the bristles. Some dentists suggest soaking your toothbrush in mouthwash every now and then can help reduce the amount of bacteria further.
Store your toothbrush in a cool, open environment away from the toilet or trash bin to avoid airborne germs. Closed containers should be avoided because they provide a warm, wet habitat that bacteria love to grow in.
If you have multiple people sharing one sink, an upright holder with different sections will keep everyone’s brushes separated and avoid cross contamination. In addition, we would hope this is a no-brainer, but please don’t share toothbrushes!
Microwaves and dishwashers are not suitable tools for cleaning a toothbrush, because brushes aren’t built to last through this kind of treatment. If you want a really clean toothbrush, your best option is simply to buy a new one.
Replacing Your Toothbrush
The American Dental Association recommends you replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner depending on individual circumstances. Dr. Eduardo Perez and our team agree. If you have braces, tend to brush too strongly, or the bristles become frayed, it’s time for a new brush.
Children will also need replacement brushes more frequently than adults. If you or your child has been sick, you should replace the toothbrush immediately to avoid re-exposing yourself to illness.
Worn-out brushes are not only unsanitary, they don’t do a good job cleaning teeth. Bristles that are worn out and dull won’t scrape away plaque and bacteria as well as a fresh toothbrush can.
Though the idea of ten million germs can be worrisome, if you take a few small precautions, you may ensure your toothbrush stays in good shape. And the cleaner the toothbrush, the cleaner the smile!
May 22nd, 2019
If you have been bringing your baby in for regular checkups since that first tooth arrived, you might expect that he or she is already familiar with Dr. Eduardo Perez and our staff. Often, though, months pass between visits, which is a very long time for a child. How can you make your preschooler’s return visit a happy one? We have some suggestions!
Before Your Visit
- Prepare your child for her visit. Simple explanations are best for a young child. You might tell your daughter that a dentist is a doctor who helps keep her teeth strong and healthy. Let her know a bit about what will happen. Being told, “You will sit in a special chair,” or, “Can you open wide so we can count your teeth?” will give her some idea of what it’s like to visit our office.
- There are many entertaining books for young children about visiting the dentist. Reading some of these to her for a few days before the appointment will let her know what to expect.
- Use playtime to prepare. You might count your daughter’s teeth or let her “play dentist” and brush the teeth of her favorite doll or stuffed animal.
When You Arrive
- Your attitude can be contagious! If you treat a visit to the dentist like any other outing, chances are your child will too. Your calm presence is exactly what your child needs.
- You might want to come a bit early to let your son explore the office. Bring a favorite toy or book to keep him entertained if you need to. A favorite stuffed toy can be a comfort in an unfamiliar place.
- If you are with your child during his checkup, follow our lead. Don’t be concerned if your child seems uncooperative at first or even throws a tantrum—we are used to working with children, and have techniques to make his experience as relaxed and as positive as we possibly can.
We Are Here to Help
We are your partners in your child’s dental care. Call our San Antonio, Texas office anytime for suggestions about making your child’s visit a comfortable, comforting experience. Our goal is to start your child confidently on the road to a lifetime of empowering dental visits and lasting dental health.
May 15th, 2019
Many parents have concerns about their children’s teeth not falling out on time. Dr. Eduardo Perez and our team are here to answer any questions parents may have about when children lose their teeth.
Children have 20 primary teeth that come in around age three. By about age six, these teeth will loosen and begin to fall out on their own to make room for the permanent ones. It is common for girls to lose their baby teeth earlier than boys. Most children lose their final baby tooth by age 13.
Baby teeth normally fall out in the order in which they came in. The lower center incisors are usually the first to fall, around age six or seven, followed by the upper central incisors.
If a child loses a tooth to decay or an accident, the permanent tooth may come in too early and take a crooked position due to teeth crowding. If your child loses a tooth to decay or accident, call Dr. Eduardo Perez to make an appointment.
Some kids can’t wait for their baby teeth to fall out, while others dread the thought of losing a tooth. When your child begins to lose teeth, you should emphasize the importance of proper dental care on a daily basis to promote a healthy mouth.
- Remind your child to brush his or her teeth at least twice a day and offer assistance if needed
- Help your child floss at bedtime
- Limit eating and drinking between meals and at bedtime, especially sugary treats and drinks
- Schedule regular dental visits for your child every six months.
- Ask about the use of fluoride treatments and dental sealants to help prevent tooth decay.
Call Growing Smiles Pediatric Dentistry to learn more about caring for baby teeth or to schedule an appointment at our San Antonio, Texas office!
May 8th, 2019
It may come as a surprise to learn that dogs, like humans, have both baby and adult teeth. Most dogs, unlike humans, have all of their adult teeth by the time they are seven months old, so it’s time to start looking after their dental health when they are still puppies.
While dogs generally don’t develop cavities, periodontal disease is the one of the most common diseases affecting dogs. Periodontal disease starts when the bacteria in your pet’s mouth form plaque. The plaque can harden into tartar, and, if plaque and tartar spread under the gum line, can be responsible for a number of serious problems. Veterinarians warn that tooth loss, tissue damage, bone loss and infection can be the result of periodontal disease. Professional dental treatment is important if your dog is suffering from periodontal disease, and your vet can describe the options available to you. But the time to act is before disease develops. Let’s bone up on some preventative care!
There are brushes and toothpastes designed especially for your dog. Train your puppy from an early age to open his mouth to allow you to examine his teeth and gums. (This will also come in handy if you ever need to give him medicine.) Most dogs will accept brushing, and toothpastes come in dog-friendly flavors. Human toothpaste should never be used because it contains cleaners and abrasives that should not be swallowed by your pet. There are also dental wipes available that can be used once and thrown away. Your vet can advise you how to ease your pet into a brushing routine.
Gels and Rinses
Whether you rub an antiseptic gel on your dog’s teeth or squirt an antiseptic rinse into his mouth, these formulas can reduce the build-up of plaque. Not all dogs take to the taste of these solutions, but in general they are safe and effective. Ask your vet for recommendations if you would like to try this method.
Several dietary products offer anti-plaque ingredients or a kibble shape designed to reduce the formation of plaque. Talk to your vet for the best possible diet and nutrition suggestions for your unique pet.
Chewing can help reduce plaque build-up if done consistently, and chew toys should be chosen for tooth and digestive safety. Some animal-based products and hard plastic toys are so rigid that they can cause damage to teeth or gums, so be sure to look for safe toys. Dogs shouldn’t be left alone with toys due to choking or swallowing hazards—if the chew toy becomes small enough to cause choking, or your dog is swallowing large chunks that might not be digestible, time to replace it.
Your veterinarian is the best resource for maintaining your dog’s health and developing a dental routine both you and your pet can live with. When your four-legged friend goes for his next check-up, ask your vet what you can do to keep him and his smile fetching for a long, long time.