February 29th, 2024
You know a lot about taking care of your teeth. You brush carefully twice each day, you floss, you (mostly!) eat healthy foods, and you see Dr. Craig S. Donn for checkups and cleanings. Good for you! These are some of the very best ways to make sure you don’t get cavities.
But it takes more than taking care of your teeth for good oral health. It also means taking care of your gums, because your teeth and gums are a team.
Clean and healthy gums and teeth work together. Our gums fit snugly around our teeth to help protect them from bacteria and other germs. And clean, plaque-free teeth are important for healthy gums. How? Let’s take a look.
Plaque forms all day long, and sticks to our teeth unless we brush and floss it away. The bacteria in plaque create acids. These acids make our tooth enamel weaker, which can lead to cavities. We don’t want cavities, and so we brush and floss to get rid of plaque.
But that’s not the only reason we clean our teeth well. Plaque is double trouble, because the bacteria in plaque also irritate our gums.
How do our gums react when they’re irritated? They turn darker pink or red, or they get swollen or sore, or they even bleed a bit when you brush. All these signs are symptoms of gingivitis, which is how gum disease begins. (And sometimes people can have gingivitis without any big symptoms at all.)
So, how do you make sure you keep your gums healthy? Just remember to include your gums while you’re doing all the things you already do to take care of your teeth!
- Brush Well
Lots of people, including kids, get gingivitis, because it doesn’t take long for plaque to build up when we don’t brush often enough or carefully enough. Make sure to brush twice each day, and don’t forget to angle your toothbrush to gently brush along the gum line where your teeth and gums meet.
Gentle brushing is all you need for daily tooth cleaning. Rough brushing and hard bristles can hurt even tough tooth enamel, so you know they’re not good for your gums!
- Floss Well
Flossing gets plaque that your toothbrush can miss. After all, it’s hard for bristles to squeeze in between those tight teeth. And flossing is especially important for your gums, because it removes plaque that is hiding near the gum line.
But figuring out the best way to floss teeth can be hard even for adults! Luckily, you have an expert to help you find out just how to use floss and just the right floss to use—your dental hygienist. When you have your teeth cleaned at our Cherry Hill, NJ office, ask about the easiest and best ways to floss for your own special teeth and gums.
- Eat Well
All of the foods which are good for your teeth—milk, cheese, yogurt, fruits, vegetables—are good for your gums, too! And the foods which aren’t so great for your teeth—sticky, sugary foods—aren’t great for your gums, either. Sugar feeds the bacteria in plaque, and plaque irritates gums.
This doesn’t mean no treats ever. It does mean that it’s important to brush well after enjoying desserts, or chips, or candy, or any food that sticks around your teeth and gums after eating. And if you can’t brush, a drink of water helps wash away bits of food which are still hanging around.
- See Your Dentist Regularly
Regular visits to our office can catch any gum problems before they become more serious. And, if you’ve been missing any spots when you brush and floss, your dentist or hygienist will let you know.
If you notice any signs of gingivitis—puffiness, redness, bleeding, or pain—tell a grownup right away. One of the fantastic things about the way our gums work is the fact that careful brushing and flossing are often all you need to make them healthy again! If you need more help, your dentist is the person who can treat gum problems to keep your smile feeling and looking great.
Work together with Dr. Craig S. Donn to make sure your teeth and gums are their healthiest. Just like healthy teeth and gums are a great team, you and your dentist make a great team, too!
February 21st, 2024
It seems like sharks are everywhere these days—on land, sea, and air(waves). A halftime show meme gone viral. A week of summer TV devoted to our favorite apex predators. And who doesn’t have “Baby Shark” playing in their heads all day once they’ve heard it? But are we jumping the shark to discuss this topic in a dental blog?
Not at all! Because today, we’re going to talk about shark teeth—just not the ones you might be expecting.
One of the expected sights when a shark opens its mouth are those rows and rows of shiny shark teeth. Sharks can grow from two to 15 rows of teeth at any one time (and some sharks have even more). This means sharp new teeth are always ready to replace any shark tooth which is lost, broken, or worn out.
An unexpected sight? When children point to their new adult tooth or teeth coming in—right behind their still-firmly rooted baby teeth! This double set of teeth is called “shark teeth,” and, while it certainly might come as a surprise, it’s not all that uncommon. But why do children develop shark teeth at all?
After all, baby, or primary, teeth have small roots, and are designed to come out easily when the adult teeth start arriving. When a permanent tooth starts to erupt, it pushes against the root of the baby tooth above it. This pressure gradually dissolves the root of the primary tooth, and with nothing to anchor it, it’s now loose, wiggly, and ready to fall out. That’s why baby teeth often look like they have no roots at all when they eventually wiggle free.
Sometimes, though, the roots of a primary tooth don’t break down, which means baby teeth stay right where they are. It also means that the permanent teeth have to erupt somewhere else—usually behind those stubborn little baby teeth.
Shark teeth can first appear around the ages of five to seven when the permanent front teeth start arriving, or several years later, when the adult molars begin to come in. Any extra teeth in one small jaw naturally cause concerns about crowding and misalignment, especially when those extra teeth are molars. Fortunately, treatment is generally uncomplicated.
If the baby tooth is loose, time (and wiggling) might take care of the problem. But if the primary tooth or teeth just won’t budge, even after several weeks, it’s a good idea to schedule a visit with Dr. Craig S. Donn—especially if your child is experiencing pain or discomfort.
An extraction is often suggested when a baby tooth has overstayed its welcome. Because of its smaller root, extracting a primary tooth is usually a straightforward procedure. Dr. Craig S. Donn can let you know all the details, and can discuss sedation options if they’re appropriate for your child.
Whether baby teeth are left to fall out on their own, or given some assistance, most often your child’s permanent tooth will start moving to its proper position as soon as the space is available.
Unlike sharks, we don’t have an endless supply of replacement teeth, so it’s understandable to worry when you see anything unexpected. If you want to know more about shark teeth, or if you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to call our Cherry Hill, NJ office for expert advice.
February 15th, 2024
Your bright smile means you’re happy, and it’s catching! Sharing your smile makes the people around you happy, too! And you can make sure your smile is as bright as it can be by keeping your teeth their cleanest.
Nobody wants food stuck in between their teeth, but cleaning your teeth doesn’t just mean brushing away any leftover bits of food. It also means brushing away the sticky plaque that builds up on your teeth every day. Germs in plaque called bacteria help make cavities, so it’s extra important to brush and floss away all the plaque you can.
When you were younger, a grown-up cleaned your teeth for you. Now that you’re ready to begin brushing and flossing on your own (with some adult help, of course), here are some good habits to start you off right.
Brush the Right Way
- Brush a tooth or two at a time with small brushstrokes and circles. Long back-and-forth brushstrokes miss a lot of plaque. Make sure you brush all the different sides of your teeth, not just the ones which show when you smile. Brush on the inside of your teeth and the tops of your molars (those big teeth in back). Use up-and-down strokes to clean behind your front teeth.
- Tip your toothbrush toward your gums while you brush along the gum line to get the plaque that likes to hide there.
- Don’t scrub your teeth. The tooth enamel that covers and protects our teeth is very strong, but brushing too hard can hurt it. Gentle brushing works!
- And don’t forget to gently brush your tongue for fresh breath.
Take Your Time
- You can’t keep your teeth their cleanest if you don’t spend enough time brushing them! That’s why dentists say it’s best to brush at least twice each day, for two minutes each time you brush.
- It’s hard to guess how long two minutes is, so use a little timer to keep track of the time. If you like music, play a song that lasts two minutes. Or ask a grown-up to time you—and maybe even brush with you!
Use the Right Toothbrush
- You want a brush that is just the right shape and size. A brush which is too big is hard to use—and hard to fit inside your mouth.
- You want a brush with soft bristles. Medium and hard bristles are too hard, and can scrape your enamel and gums. Stay with soft bristles, and your teeth and gums will be healthy and happy.
- Toothbrushes don’t last a very long time because their bristles start to break down after a while. After all, it’s hard work cleaning teeth twice a day every day! So it’s a good idea to change your toothbrush every three or four months, or whenever the bristles start to look a bit scruffy.
Use the Right Toothpaste
- Fluoride toothpaste helps protect your teeth from cavities and makes your enamel even stronger than it already is. There are plenty of fun-flavored fluoride (say that three times fast!) toothpastes to choose from.
- You don’t need too much. Once you’re brushing on your own, a small dab about the size of a pea will do the trick.
- Be sure to spit out the toothpaste after brushing. It’s for cleaning, not swallowing!
Don’t Forget to Floss
- Once you have any teeth that touch each other, you need to floss between them at least once a day. Flossing is the best way to get rid of the plaque that hides between your teeth where your brush just can’t reach.
- Flossing can be a little tricky at first, so you might need some help until you’re able to floss on your own. Dr. Craig S. Donn can teach you the best way to floss, and a grown-up at home can help you until you’re ready to floss by yourself.
- There are lots of different kinds of floss. If you’re having trouble flossing, ask our Cherry Hill, NJ dental team which kind is best for you.
Every smile is different, and yours is one of a kind. If you have any questions, talk to your pediatric dentist. Dentists don’t just take care of your teeth—they teach you to take care of your teeth, too! Your dentist can show you the very best way to keep your very own smile as bright and healthy as it can be.
February 7th, 2024
Whether you’re defending the goal, shooting hoops, or practicing tricks on your skateboard, sports and exercise are a great way to keep fit and healthy. Let’s make sure you keep your smile fit and healthy, too, with a few easy ideas you can use whenever you work out.
- Eat Tooth-Friendly Snacks
Most activities use lots of energy. One simple way to keep up your energy when you’re on the go is with snacks.
And one simple way to protect your teeth from cavities when you’re working out? Cut down on snacks like dried fruits, granola bars, and chips that can have a lot of sugar and/or stick to your teeth. Sugary and sticky foods feed the bacteria in plaque, and plaque causes cavities.
There are lots of tooth-friendly choices when it comes to recharging your energy levels. Fresh fruit slices and vegetable sticks are an easy-to-carry, vitamin- and mineral-packed snack. Bring some peanut butter for dipping or add some plain nuts for protein and crunch. Whole grain crackers and hard cheeses are another tasty choice. And drink some water after snacking to rinse away food particles.
- Drink Water When You Exercise
And, speaking of water, our bodies can’t work without it! Healthy hydration means drinking the right amount of water every day—not too little, not too much—to help every cell in your body keep going strong.
But when you’re working out, breathing harder, and sweating, your body is losing water. That’s why athletes always keep a water bottle handy.
Of course, you can hydrate with other liquids besides water, and flavored sports drinks and energy drinks are popular with a lot of people—but not with dentists! If you look at their labels, you’ll often discover lots of sugar in these drinks. And they can also be very acidic, which can make your tooth enamel weaker.
Bring your own water, and you’ll be hydrating, protecting your teeth, and helping to keep the planet healthy with your reusable bottle.
- Wear Your Mouthguard
You don’t play contact sports without protective gear—and part of that gear should be a mouthguard. Sports like hockey and football are obvious contact sports, but, if you think about it, baseball, soccer, biking, skateboarding, and many other activities can bring you into contact with another person, a piece of equipment, or the hard ground!
One way to make sure that any contact is easier on your teeth and mouth is to wear a mouthguard. You can get these ready-made, or in a kit which lets you mold the mouthguard around your teeth, or you can have one made at our Cherry Hill, NJ office, which will fit your teeth perfectly and provide the best protection (especially if you wear braces).
Keep your smile strong and healthy while you keep fit with these simple additions to your work out routine. And for even more good ideas for taking care of your smile, ask an expert—Dr. Craig S. Donn!