pediatric dentistry of fort myers

Smiling Can Go A Long Way

Smiling is something most people do without even thinking about it most of the time. You might smile at a familiar face, something that you find funny, or for no reason other than you’re in a good mood. There is actually more to smiling than just a reaction to your surroundings. Smiling can actually make you happier, healthier, relaxed, and much more!

Smiling makes you happier

Most people smile when they’re happy, but smiling also makes people happy. Your body knows that smiling is associated with happiness. Endorphins are released in your body when you smile. Endorphins are the chemicals in your body that make you feel happier. Smiling even if you don’t feel happy will make your mood happier to match your smile.

Smiling relaxes

The same endorphins that make you happier can also make you less stressed. These endorphins spread around your body easing tension and acting as a natural pain killer for your body in any stressful situation. Smiling also reduces the activity of cortisol which is a hormone that is more active when you are stressed. The less cortisol, the less negative feelings which means more positive feelings.

Smiling boosts productivity

You’re more apt to work when you’re in a good mood. If you were in a bad mood and you needed to do something that wasn’t that enjoyable, you probably wouldn’t be as motivated as you would be in a good mood. we know now, smiling boosts your mood so smiling while working will make work more enjoyable for you.

Smiling is contagious

Everyone wants to make the world a better place, why not start with a smile? University of Wisconsin-Madison Ph.D. student in psychology, Adrienne Wood, studied the effects of smiling on other people. She concluded that sensorimotor simulation in our brains is what causes us to smile at other people that smile without even realizing it. The researchers concluded that we trigger the same emotional state in ourselves as the person we are mimicking, which allows us to make an appropriate social response.

Smiling creates trust

Imagine you’re on a street with vendors on it. One looks bored and uninterested while the other is making eye-contact and smiling; which one do you think you would go to? It goes without saying you would be more attracted to do business with the one that is smiling and looks happy. If you smile, other people are more likely to trust you because trust and happiness are usually related.

Although there are many reasons to smile:

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do” – Mother Teresa

Nighttime Oral Health Care

Keeping your mouth clean isn’t just a day job. It’s just as important to practice nighttime oral care as it is to keep your teeth clean during the day. The (somewhat gross) fact is, when you are sleeping, you are not swallowing your saliva. Eight hours of doing this increases the level of bacteria in your mouth, which can lead to bad breath and plaque buildup. Bad oral hygiene can turn into tooth decay or gum disease, so make sure you follow our steps to keeping your mouth clean at night.

Every night before you go to sleep: brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash. This is the best routine you can get into to prevent future problems with your mouth. So let’s break it down.

Brushing

We recommend that you brush after dinner and before you go to sleep. Doing so will clean your mouth of any plaque buildup and will give bacteria less to feed on. Using an FDA and ADA approved toothpaste with proper brushing techniques will reduce your chances of tooth decay and gum disease.

The ADA suggests the following brushing technique:

Brush at at 45-degree angle to your gums.
Gently brush back and forth on all outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of your teeth.
Use short strokes as wide as your tooth.
Turn your toothbrush vertical to clean the inside of your front teeth.
Brush your tongue to rid of any leftover bacteria and prevent bad breath.

Flossing

While skipping the floss at night may feel like a shortcut, you’re not doing yourself a favor. Flossing helps clean your mouth in the spots your toothbrush physically cannot reach. If you don’t remove that plaque, bacteria will feed on it while you are sleeping. Also, plaque buildup can turn into tartar, which can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist.

The ADA suggest the following flossing technique:

Use an 18-inch piece of floss.
Wind the floss around the middle fingers of each hand.
Tightly hold the floss and insert between your teeth using your thumb and forefinger.
Curve the floss in a C-shape around the side of your tooth.
Gently run the floss up and down against the side of your tooth.
Floss in between every tooth in your mouth, and don’t forget about your back teeth.

Therapeutic Mouthwash

Therapeutic mouthwashes are different from your generic cosmetic mouthwash and do much more than just freshen your breath. They contain certain ingredients that help fight cavities, strengthen the enamel on your teeth, and prevent gum diseases like gingivitis.

Procrastinating a Dental Visit?

Whether being busy, or having anxiety about going to the dentist, procrastinating a visit can have serious consequences.

When we see a patient due to pain or sensitivity, often this pain and the treatment they consequently have to receive could have been prevented. In some cases, the issued could have been avoided by maintaining proper oral hygiene and dental checkups every six months.

Checkups allow dentist to help you prevent issues or catch issues early. Early detection, before symptoms of pain appear, is often extremely important and can dramatically reduce the amount of treatment needed.

There is a higher chance of cavities forming, gum disease, or a number of other oral issues in the duration of a dental absence. This can lead to tons of dreadful side effects, including root damage, severe tooth aches, and even tooth loss.

If your little one hasn’t been to the dentist in over six months, they’re due for a visit! We recommend you schedule an appointment as soon as possible and continue to schedule regular visits every six months. In addition, if you experience any discomfort or pain, do not delay seeing a dentist. Making time for a visit will provide healthy and pain-free smiles to last a lifetime!

FAQ’s: Dental Talk

Questions about your teeth probably pop into your head while you’re brushing and flossing or even when you least expect it. But then at your dental visit, the dentist asks, “Any questions?” Your mind then goes blank. Still, we know you have questions, so rest assure; here are the answers to the most common of the bunch!

Is there any reason to visit the dentist more than twice a year?

Every mouth is different, so some may need to see the dentist more often than others. If you have a high risk for tooth decay or gum disease, you may need to visit the dentist as often as every three months. A person with good oral hygiene is usually OK with only seeing the dentist twice a year.

Is an electric toothbrush better than a manual?

The great debate: electronic versus manual. If a manual toothbrush is used appropriately, it can be just as effective as an electric brush. This means brushing for at least two minutes, twice a day with proper techniques. Electric toothbrushes are not necessarily “better,” but they do provide some ease to the process. If you are not sure, ask us during your next visit and we will help you pick the right one.

What is plaque and why is it bad for you?

Plaque is a sticky film, made of bacteria, that constantly grows on your teeth. As the plaque collects and hides from your brush or floss, it becomes hard and turns into tartar. If not treated, tartar build up will lead to gum disease.

What causes bad breath?

Bad breath originates in your mouth most of the time. A low level of saliva and dry mouth are common reasons why you may have bad breath. You need to control the bacteria in your mouth and neutralize the sulfur compounds that form from the bacteria build up.

I have a cavity. Why doesn’t it hurt?

Symptoms are not common with dental problems. You may not experience any pain with a cavity until the condition becomes severe. Don’t wait for the pain to get it checked out though. The longer you wait, the more difficult and expensive it will be to have it fixed.

 

The Don’ts For Toddlers & Their Teeth

Baby teeth are more important than you think. They pave the way for a happy, healthy smile in the future. They most importantly create healthy habits of oral care to last a lifetime!

It can be hard to tell sometimes, but there are a few common things that can negatively affect the health of baby teeth. Here are the three don’ts you should pay attention to for you and your little one(s) at home.

  1. Putting your toddler to bed with a bottle: sipping on juice or anything that contains sugar can cause bacteria buildup from sitting in your child’s mouth throughout the night.
  2. Consuming unhealthy foods: Candies and sweets can be the perfect cure for that sweet tooth, but not for cavities and tooth decay. Be sure to eliminate foods with high sugar contents or closely monitor intake to wean your little one off frequent indulging.
  3. Infrequently brushing: Regardless of the amount of teeth your child may have, you must be sure that the right amount of brushing gets done each day. You may also encourage them to help you out to develop good oral hygiene habits in the future!

 

Tooth-Harming Habits To Ditch

We can’t stress enough of how important it is to have hardy and strong chompers. There could be some habits you go-about on a daily basis that can harm your teeth more than help them. That being said, we want to bring about some of the most common habits that make your teeth run for the hills!

  1. Ice chewers- beware!: Although ice is frozen water and contains no sugar, it can potentially crack your teeth over time due to the pressure from biting down on the hard surfaces of the ice.
  2. Teeth grinding: Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw frequently can cause your teeth to wear down. If you happen to have this problem, a mouth guard can help prevent anymore friction from occurring.
  3. The sugary stuff: Common tasty pleasures that are full of sugar such as cough drops and soda can cause cavities or tooth decay from sugar building up over time that can make its way to some of your bacteria-free teeth.
  4. Coffee lovers: Lets face it, some of us need that caffeine kick in the morning to get through the day. But since our helper of the day contains acidic properties that can stain teeth, it is best to have this guy in moderation or look up whitening options to combat any yellow shades that may come about onto your precious pearly whites.
  5. Snacking: The more you snack, the less saliva you produce which can cause more food to be stuck on your teeth for the day. If you decide to snack, snack healthy and try avoiding any foods that are sugary or starchy.

 

If you happen to currently have any of these habits- don’t stress. Its not mandatory to eliminate all of these forever. However, it is crucial to provide the best care for your teeth that you possibly can. By gradually getting rid of any of these habits, you can be on your way to a set of teeth to die for!

Dental Health Tips During Cold And Flu Season

It’s that time of year again.. people are coughing and sneezing and germs can be anywhere at any place. Not many people enjoy getting the flu, so it is best to be on your toes with your dental care! You must always make sure you are first taking care of yourself in order to stay healthy and flu-free this season. So have no fear about the cold and flu season being here; we have a few tips to help you get through the next few months happy and healthy (hopefully with a smile, too!).

Keep up with good oral hygiene practices

We all know you don’t want to be bothered when you’re sick and all you want to do is rest, but maintaining daily brushing and flossing habits can go a long way. You also must not share your toothbrush along with not necessarily replacing your toothbrush after you recover, but only after the 3-4 month mark of usage when the bristles begin to separate from each other.

Choose cough drops carefully

These guys are good for dry or sore throats, but they also contain sugar. It is best to purchase sugar-free cough drops to avoid any cavity-causing bacteria that can sit in your mouth and eventually make its way onto your precious pearly whites, which can cause buildup over time.

Hydrate yourself

Drinking lots of fluids can give you huge benefits; such as preventing your mouth from getting dry which can lead to cavities in the end. It is important to keep in mind that liquids containing large amounts of sugar can cause cavities due to the bacteria that causes cavities feeding off of the sugar. With that being said, water would be the best option when choosing something to guzzle down.

Resist brushing too early

If you feel the need to vomit, resist brushing for at least 30 minutes prior. Since your teeth are coated in stomach acid, brushing can just make things worse by distributing the acid all over your teeth. An alternative would be to swish and spit a mixture of water and one tablespoon of baking soda in order to wash away any stomach acid that can cause harm to your teeth.

Here’s The Scoop On The Tooth Fairy

One of the most exciting things about losing baby teeth is placing each tooth under a pillow before going to bed for the tooth fairy to collect in exchange for a token of her appreciation to find when you wake up. Our classic American Fairy was introduced all the way back in 1927 from a book called “The Tooth Fairy” by Esther Watkins Arnold.

What did everyone do before the tooth fairy?

During the times of witches and dark magics, it was a common practice to burn baby teeth as they fell out. This was to protect the child from being exposed to any dark magic or “bad luck”.

“A token of her appreciation”

Almost a century later, the Tooth Fairy is still paying a visit to the youngins and replacing their lost teeth with money. Commonly, the amount of money is based upon the size of the tooth. The larger the tooth, the larger the reward. But what started out as a small silver token in the tale has evolved into children earning cash!

When would these rewards come to an end?

This all depends on age and, most importantly, when all your permanent teeth have grown in. It is most common to stop seeing visits from the tooth fairy when all baby teeth are gone. I mean, after all, she is there to collect them, isn’t she?

Is Fruit Juice Affecting Your Teeth?

Ahh, fruit juice. It has amazing health benefits, especially being full of Vitamins and antioxidants, but did you know that it can take a toll on your pearly whites? Here are a few reasons why:

Fruit Juice is Full of Sugar

You know how it goes- sugar contributes to cavities and plaque, which, in turn, can lead to gum irritation and many other negative factors from sugar buildup. Since many fruit juices aren’t 100% fruit juice, they contain large amounts of sugar.

Fruit Juice Reduces Tooth Enamel

We’ve heard a lot about the wearing down of tooth enamel in the previous posts, so you can consider it pretty sensitive to what you consume and how much you brush each day. Fruits with high acid content, such as limes and cranberries, can have the most influence on breaking down tooth enamel, which our teeth need to stay hard and strong!

Fruit Juice and The Youngins

It is important to keep in mind that there is a difference when drinking fruit juice from a sippy-cup. The liquids are released at a slower rate, thus, giving the liquid a chance to stay in the mouth more. With that being said, there is a higher chance of cavities forming! A good way to combat any problems would be to mix the cup with water to dilute any sugar or acids.

All in all, fruit juices aren’t the bad guys when having it in moderation, but it is important to be aware of the possible effects it can have on your teeth.

 

Whitening Toothpaste: Why It May Not Be Effective

Let’s face it, we all want the whitest teeth possible. But have you been trying the hardest to get those desired results that aren’t apparent yet? We have a few reasons as to why your teeth may be going from dazzling to dull white using whitening toothpastes.

First, it is important to note that whitening toothpastes can’t change the actual color of your teeth. They also don’t contain peroxide which is a key ingredient for teeth-whitening. Most ingredients included in whitening toothpastes only remove surface stains, which means that it can’t lighten a stain that is deeper than surface level.

Second, the overuse of whitening toothpaste can wear down tooth enamel, which, in turn, can cause a yellowish shade on your teeth. Although it takes about two to six weeks to see results when used twice a day, it is well worth the wait instead of using the toothpaste more than you should just to have your teeth become less white than they should be.

So although whitening toothpaste may deliver some results overtime, it may not thoroughly do the job as much as teeth whitening treatments provided by your dentist.