Tips and Tricks to Brush Your Little One’s Teeth

DR. RUDI AS-SANIE, D.D.S.

Brushing Your Little One’s Teeth

We all know you are supposed to start brushing your child’s teeth upon first tooth eruption. But how on earth do you brush their teeth and get them to open and cooperate? Especially once they get all 20 teeth in and you have to get wayyyy in the back??? We know, it’s a challenge. It can be stressful and frustrating. The last thing you want is to say forget it, I can’t do it, and then they have 10 cavities at their first check-up visit. I know, I know, 10 sounds extreme but we have seen it and it’s not uncommon when parents give up on brushing their child’s teeth. In this article, our team at Dental Reflections Dublin discusses a few tips and tricks to brushing your little one’s teeth.

Fluoride Toothpaste

Step one: use fluoride toothpaste. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends a rice size amount of fluoride toothpaste upon first tooth eruption. Yes, we know your 6-month-old can’t swish and spit out the toothpaste, which is why a rice size smeared into the toothbrush is recommended. Tom’s natural strawberry toothpaste with fluoride is a great option. Even if a child swallows a meniscal amount of fluoride, it will not harm them and is very safe.

Swaddle

Having trouble controlling your child’s hands, arms and legs? One of our favorite tips is to have the child’s toothbrush ready on the counter with toothpaste. After bath time, grab them out of the bath and wrap/swaddle them up in a towel while their arms are down. Sit down on the toilet seat lid and place the child on their back across your lap and grab the toothbrush. Tilt their head down a bit and boom – you have control and can get the toothbrush in the mouth to brush. It is a bonus if they are mad and scream and cries so that they open big and you can see what you are doing. Sing a fun song while you are brushing and tell them how good of a job they are doing even if they are screaming. After every night of the same routine, they will start to listen to the song and learn it, knowing you will brush their teeth whether they like it or not. It’s just like anything else they have to do that’s mandatory – it’s not an option. It’s truly all about what you make it. It gets really fun when the child hears your song every night and starts to sing it when they learn to talk. Would you rather take a minute to brush your child’s teeth while they are mad or spend hours with your child at the dentist getting their cavities filled?

Stand, Chin up and Head Back

Once a child is old enough to listen and follow directions, have them stand in front of you on a stool in the bathroom in front of the mirror. Have them tilt their chin up high and rest their head back on your chest. Cup their chin with one hand while brushing with the other while the child opens wide. This gives full sight of brushing all surfaces of the teeth including outsides by the cheeks, the grooves where they chew and the insides down by the tongue and near the roof of the mouth. This position also allows you to see to floss a child’s teeth which is important once the floss clicks in and the teeth start to touch. Once most children reach toddler age, they want to take a turn too. Great! Let them practice and take a turn but be sure to follow up after even if it looks like they are doing a good job. It’s a good idea to pull the cheeks up/down to see the toothbrush brushing the gumlines where the plaque tends to settle.  It is important to help a child brush until they can tie their own shoes. This is when they have better dexterity and can be trusted with good technique. Most importantly, don’t forget the song you started singing when your toddler was a little baby.

For family dentistry in Dublin, Ohio, contact Dental Reflections today. Questions? Just give us a call. Our team is happy to help!

National Dental Hygiene Month

DR. RUDI AS-SANIE, D.D.S.

October is National Dental Hygiene Month which means we are talking about all things preventative care. This includes your toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, floss picks, tongue scraper, mouthwash and more. Dental Hygienists pride themselves on oral hygiene instruction so we want to share with you what they share with their patients on a daily basis.

Oral Health Care Routine

Did you know spending just about 5 minutes a day can save you hundreds upon thousands of dollars over the years? That’s right – if you set aside 2 minutes, twice a day to brush and about a minute for some floss and mouthwash – you will be doing yourself a huge favor. This routine ensures the best preventive dental care you can give your teeth and gums, keeping them healthy and preventing the need for fillings, crowns and gum treatments. Did you know more people lose their teeth due to gum disease than cavities? Yes, it’s true, you can lose all of your teeth without ever having a cavity in your life.

Why You Need to Brush and Floss

Most people don’t realize the importance of flossing. It’s actually just as important if not MORE important than brushing. Foods we eat can help remove the plaque from our teeth as we chew and mash our food up. There is no physical way to clean out the plaque, bacteria and food particles that settle UNDER the gumline other than flossing. We aren’t talking about a Waterpik or toothpicks. We are talking about that good ol’ fashioned piece of string you wrap around your fingers and use in the mouth. Here are some tips on proper brushing and flossing techniques.

Brushing 101

You can brush for 10 minutes and miss the gumline. Keeping the teeth clean is all about technique, not the brand of toothbrush or flavor of toothpaste you are using. It is critical to use the proper technique to remove plaque most effectively. It’s like getting the most bang for your buck. Make those 2 minutes count and angle that toothbrush at a 45-degree angle near the gum line. Look in the mirror and see your bristles getting up by your gums where your teeth touch them. This is where the plaque settles. Go in a circular motion while using overlapping strokes. Go over the same areas more than once. Plaque forms on the teeth in layers so one swipe doesn’t do the trick. You need to go over the same areas multiple times to get all the layers.

Flossing

Flossing is a whole other challenge. We get it, it’s a pain. The key is – get a piece from about your fingertips to shoulder when your arm is straight out. Then wrap the floss around your middle fingers, evenly on each side until you have about 6 inches remaining in between the 2 fingers. Now use your thumbs and index fingers to actually slide the floss in between the teeth. You should only have about an inch when you place your thumbs together to insert the floss between the teeth. Once you are in between, angle side to side in a “C” shape motion hugging each side of the teeth to ensure plaque removal. Get down to the base of the gumline. This takes practice, but practice makes perfect!

No matter what other additional aids you are using from a daily mouthwash, tongue scraper, soft picks for in between meals or a Waterpik, you will make your hygienist proud and your teeth will thank you. Remember, just 5 minutes a day, to keep the cavity bugs away. For family dentistry in Dublin, Ohio, contact us today!

Dental Hygienist vs. Dental Assistant: Understanding the Difference

DR. RUDI AS-SANIE, D.D.S.

Dental Hygienist vs. Dental Assistant: Understanding the Difference

The general public, including dental patients, typically do not quite understand the difference between a dental assistant and a dental hygienist. Sometimes we are all referred to as “dental technicians,” “nurses,” or “those girls.” Here at Dental Reflections Dublin, we feel it is important for our patients to know what roles we play and to understand the key differences between the 2.

Dental Assistant

A dental assistant is like the dentists “right-hand man” or woman for that matter. Programs or schooling for dental assisting is typically offered either at a vocational school- which you take part in during high school, or a career/technical program. A dental assistant can take x-rays, update a patient’s health history, obtain vitals, take dental impressions, do dental charting, place topical anesthetic, assist during dental procedures such as crowns, fillings, bridges, implants, extractions and more. They are multi-talented and fast workers. It is entirely optional for a dental assistant whether or not they become state board certified. If they choose to do so, they can advance in the profession and become licensed in additional areas of dentistry to be able to do more independently chairside. A dental assistant is a crucial aspect to a dental practice and is needed to make sure operations flow smoothly and seamlessly.

Dental Hygienist

A dental hygienist must obtain a minimum of a 2-year degree from college, and pass all three parts of their state board exam to practice (work). A dental hygienist can also take x-rays, dental impressions, update health history, obtain vitals, dental charting, and place topically. What they don’t do is assist the dentist. What they do in addition to a dental assistant is professional dental cleanings, administer nitrous oxide, injections to numb patients (separate board exam), in-depth patient education, and nutritional counseling. They basically have their own column of patients, and the doctor does the exam at the end of each appointment to check for cavities. So, they do work more independent.

Both are great professions and are unique in different ways. The ultimate goal is to make every patient experience phenomenal by building rapport, addressing any questions or concerns, and keeping them reflecting their best.

Tongue Scrapers – Are They Necessary?

tongue scrapers - dental reflections dublin

Tongue Scrapers – Are They Necessary?

Tongue scrapers have been around for centuries now but aren’t talked about that much. A tongue scraper can be very beneficial in improving your oral health. Imagine the amount of food particles and bacteria that stick to the tongue after eating and drinking. Studies show there are between 100-200 species of bacteria found in a healthy mouth and over one billion found in an unhealthy mouth. This includes bacteria found on the teeth, gums and on the tongue. A tongue scraper is super easy to use and only takes an extra 10 seconds or so added into your daily oral health care routine.

Why You Need a Tongue Scraper

The next question you may have is – can’t I just brush my tongue with my toothbrush? It sounds reasonable; however, this is just smearing the bacteria around on the tongue. Yes, you may remove a small amount but that amount doesn’t even compare to a tongue scraper. Have you ever looked at your tongue after you drank a cup of coffee or ate Oreos? It’s amazing how dark tinted foods and drinks really tend to stick to the tongue. We have another question for you – have you ever flossed and brushed your teeth and you still have the taste of the last thing you ate and drank in your mouth? Chances are – this is due to the remnants sticking to the tongue. You can only mask that bacteria smell for so long with gum or mints until it’s back again. This is where the tongue scraper comes in.

Types of Tongue Scrapers

There are many different types of tongue scrapers out on the market. Our favorite is one made by Breath Rx. This one allows you to make the tongue scraper as wide or narrow as you would like. Essentially, it is a flexible piece of plastic with scalloped edges to help remove the bacteria from your tongue. It is amazing what you will see come off when you use it. There is no set amount of times you should go over your tongue when cleaning it. We personally keep going until it’s clear. Rinse the tongue scraper under water between each use. Other types of scrapers are a metal handle with a loop type shape at the end you use to clean as well as similarly designed plastic ones. Find what is best for you! Here is the link to the Breath Rx on Amazon.

Studies have shown that incorporating a tongue scraper into your daily routine can reduce halitosis and bad breath odors up to 90 percent. A tongue scraper can even help stimulate your taste buds as you remove that coating of bacteria, enhancing a person’s sense of taste. So, do yourself a favor and next time you are out at the store, pick up a tongue scraper or jump online to order one when you get the chance. Here at Dental Reflections Dublin, we are committed to improving your oral health at all times.

Brush Away Your Health Risks

Brush Away Your Health Risks

Brush Away Your Health Risks

Most people don’t realize the mouth is connected to the body. Ok, well maybe they do, but what they really don’t know is that the health of your mouth affects your whole body. That’s right – unhealthy teeth and gums can create a slew of other issues in your body. We want to break it down for you from head to toe. So next time you are deciding whether or not you should floss before bed or wake up 2 minutes earlier to brush before leaving the house – well you should probably do it. Did you know research shows flossing daily can add 7 years to your life? We can’t make this stuff up. Even if we did it would be more extreme – like 20 years to really scare people and hope that they floss more so their gums aren’t as puffy when they come in and they don’t have as much build up for us to scrape off. The cavities, well, those are job security for the dentist so we won’t comment on that. ?

Brain

People with gum disease are three times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease according to a statistical review. In another study, stroke patients had higher levels of certain bacteria in their saliva, demonstrating a link between oral hygiene and stroke risk.

Lungs

Hospital-related pneumonia cases decreased by 39 percent with good oral hygiene.

Cancer Risk

Women that are post menopause and have periodontal disease are at an increased risk for breast, esophageal, gallbladder, skin and lung cancers, according to a 2017 study.

Stronger Heart

Endocarditis is an infection or inflammation of the inner lining of the heart chambers and valves, caused by germs invading the bloodstream. Endocarditis and dentistry have been correlated for years now. For example: If a patient has an artificial joint, they must take a pre-med before any dental appointments to reduce the risk of the bacteria in the mouth adhering to the joint causing the joint to fail. Poor dental hygiene and unhealthy teeth and gums increase your risk for the infection.

Lower Blood Sugar

Diabetes and periodontal disease go hand in hand. If your blood sugar is uncontrolled, we see more inflammation and destruction of the bone. On the flip side, if the teeth and gums are unhealthy, it is much harder to control your blood sugar, even if you are eating right and taking the proper amount of insulin. Bottom line is – see your dentist regularly!

Healthier Kidneys

The correlation between poor periodontal health and atherosclerosis has been well established for decades now. Atherosclerosis can also lead to chronic kidney disease – who wants that?

Fatter Wallet

Yep. True story. Every time you brush and floss, it’s like adding to your 401(k). The average 20-year dental expense for an American 65+ is about $15,340. At-home tooth care can help avoid a large chunk of that cost!

Here at Dental Reflections Dublin, we care about your whole body, not just your mouth. We check your blood pressure at each visit. We promise to keep you reflecting your best!

Waterpiks – are they effective?

Waterpiks – are they effective?

Often times when we ask people if they floss they tell us they are using a waterpik. Is it too good to be true? Is a waterpik really as effective as flossing? We hate to say but it really is too good to be true. However, we aren’t saying they are a total waste. Waterpiks definitely have some benefits.

Who Would Benefit From Waterpiks?

Waterpiks aren’t for everyone. People who will benefit the most from them are those with some type of appliance or prosthetics in their mouth. This includes orthodontics, retainers, and dental bridges. Plaque is sticky, super sticky and forms on the teeth in layers like frosting on a cupcake. This means it takes some type of mechanical means to removing it. We compare spraying off plaque with a waterpik to spraying caramel off of an apple, it’s definitely not going to get it all.

Waterpik Benefits

If someone has orthodontics or braces a waterpik is helpful. This does not mean it replaces flossing though. There are several different tools and aids you can use with braces to help keep the teeth clean. Proxy brushes and floss threaders are crucial to getting in between the teeth with braces and under the wires where your toothbrush can’t reach. A waterpik helps spray off the chunky stuff – whether it be plaque or food. It can also help keep the gums healthy. With a retainer or other types of orthodontic appliances other than braces, it can even be difficult to find a small brush to get into the nooks and crannies around it. A waterpik will come in handy for these cases too. What we don’t want to see and try hard to prevent with those in braces is white spots or “scars” on the teeth. These are areas where plaque sits overtime without being removed and then breaks down the enamel causing demineralization or white spots visible on the teeth. After all of the time and money put into braces, we want to see a straight, bright smile!

Those with dental bridges can also use a waterpik. A bridge is made to replace a missing tooth and usually consists of 3 units. It is not removable but is super important to keep clean because you CAN get a cavity under a bridge. Again, superfloss and floss threaders are important to use as well with a dental bridge. We also understand some people have dexterity issues and by all means a waterpik is more useful than nothing at all. We just want to get the point across that a waterpik does NOT replace flossing and it is still super important to get under the gumline when you floss and use that mechanical means to remove the plaque and bacteria from in between where your toothbrush cannot reach.

Benefits of Using an Electric Toothbrush

Benefits of Using an Electric Toothbrush

Have you been deciding whether or not to make the switch and invest in an electric toothbrush? We are here to tell you the benefits of using an electric toothbrush and why we recommend it at Dental Reflections, Dublin.

Electric Toothbrushes Make for Happy Gums

A manual toothbrush produces an average of 300 strokes per minute. With a Sonicare technology toothbrush, you get over 40,000!! That’s 133 times the number of strokes per minute. What do the strokes mean? The ability and effectiveness to remove the sticky, cavity-causing plaque that forms on your teeth. Sonic technology removes plaque beyond the bristles.

Electric toothbrushes are also gentler on the gums and teeth. They have soft bristles, and some even have a pressure sensor built into them. This signals you when you are pressing too hard and reminds you to lighten up. Remember, you can remove plaque with friction, not force. Studies show a Sonic toothbrush can reverse gingivitis and help reduce periodontal pocketing. The massaging action of the toothbrush vibrating helps increase blood circulation too.

Electric Toothbrushes Enhance Your Smile

If you are one, who drinks a lot of dark beverages you may also have increased staining on the teeth. These include coffee, tea, red wine and dark soda.  An electric toothbrush significantly reduces stain. As dental clinicians, this is probably the biggest difference we see in our patients who make the switch.

Those with dexterity issues find electric toothbrushes very helpful. They have a larger handle to help grasp the toothbrush easier. It also does the work for you as long as you guide it along the surfaces of the teeth and gums.

Effective Brushing

A built-in timer is a huge advantage of an electric toothbrush. It’s all too often we find ourselves rushing out of the door in the mornings or too tired to thoroughly brush at night before bed. Most electric brushes have a 2-minute timer built in to help you be sure you spent the appropriate amount of time brushing each day and night.

Finally, if a patient has braces, an electric toothbrush is a huge help. It is very difficult to clean around brackets and wires, and this is where we go back to the removal of plaque beyond the bristles. Braces are a huge investment, and we want your smile to look beautiful when they come off with no white spots that plaque can leave if not removed properly.

Cost of an Electric Toothbrush

There are many different electric toothbrushes to choose from, and they range in price anywhere from $5.99-$300+. Yes, we know – that’s quite a big range. Don’t worry, you don’t need the $300+ option to get the most benefits. We recommend the Easy Clean Sonicare Toothbrush. Dental Reflections has done a lot of research and listened to feedback from our patients. We truly believe the Sonicare has it all. We chose an affordable option to offer to our patients. Dental Reflections Dublin even sells the brush at the cost in which we get it because we truly believe it is a great addition to effective home care. The cost is $59.99. It is rechargeable and comes with a travel case and an extra brush head. If you’re interested in purchasing an electric toothbrush, contact us today! Next time you are thinking of making the switch to an electric brush, don’t think too hard and go for it! You won’t be disappointed.

 

Why You Should Floss – & we aren’t talking about the dance move!

Hopefully, with all of the new flossing dance craze, people will start to floss their teeth more too. It’s a dream for our Dental Reflections patients to floss every day. Most people truly don’t realize the importance of doing so. If you don’t floss, you miss cleaning 40% of the tooth’s surface. With more than 300 types of bacteria making up dental plaque, flossing is super important!!

When a person does not floss, we can see a lot of negative effects on the mouth. The plaque that forms on your teeth is soft and easy to remove with a mechanical action. This includes brushing, flossing and other dental aids out on the market. If plaque sits over time without being removed, it begins to harden into what we call calculus, or tartar buildup. Once plaque hardens, you can no longer brush or floss it off. You must see a dentist so that a dental hygienist can remove it. Everyone forms plaque on their teeth even if they don’t eat or drink anything. Plaque is a natural defense mechanism to protect the enamel from acidic foods and drinks. However, it is important to remove it twice a day to prevent the negative effects.

Why You Should Floss

One of the effects we are referring to is bleeding gums. Since there are so much bacteria in plaque, if it settles under the gums and is left undisturbed it will harden and act as a splinter. Until this “splinter” or tartar buildup is removed, it can cause bleeding gums or even worse – bone loss around the teeth. We compare the tooth in the bone to a fence post in the ground. If the ground is not stable, the fence post will eventually come loose and fall down. Same goes with your teeth. If you do not keep the teeth and gums healthy, over time you can loose your teeth due to gum disease. This is completely different than cavities; a person can lose all of their teeth and never have a cavity, ever. This is why our Dental Reflections team encouraged flossing so much. It helps remove that plaque and bacteria daily to prevent it from hardening on the teeth, so you never have to hear your dentist or hygienist mention the word gum disease. There are some other circumstances that can increase your risk of developing gum diseases like your ethnicity or underlying systemic diseases.

Best Way to Floss

The best way to floss is to use the traditional string floss and tear off a piece from your fingertips to elbow. Wrap the floss around your middle fingers on each side until it is secure. Now use your index fingers to push the floss in between your teeth gently. Form a “C” shape around each tooth as if you are hugging the tooth in each direction. Continue to floss all the teeth including the back of your last tooth in each corner.

Types of Floss

There are so many different types of floss out on the market, and we suggest finding one that is best for you. We love glide floss for tight contacts and Coco floss for flavor and texture. Whatever you choose we will be happy with. The floss picks are designed for more of an on the going thing, and we don’t recommend water picks. It’s like trying to spray caramel off of an apple and doesn’t work. It may help with the first few layers but surely doesn’t remove it all, leaving it to harden over time. If you have any questions about flossing technique or the best one for you, feel free to or ask at your next dental appointment!

Xylitol – What is all the hype about?

First thing you might ask is – what is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a natural sweetener that helps balance the pH in your mouth and may help reduce tooth decay. It can be found in many products on the market including gum and candy to even baked goods. It is most commonly found in sugar free products, as the sweetness replaces traditional sugar. Many dental products are incorporating xylitol into them because it has shown benefits to the oral cavity.

Some people may naturally have a more acidic pH in their mouth making them more prone to getting cavities. In order to help balance their pH, they can make sure they are brushing twice daily, flossing and using a mouthwash. They can also tweak their diet and add more basic foods like cheese, nuts and yogurt and drink lots of water. Products with xylitol are great to use after eating as it helps balance acidic foods and drinks we consume on a daily basis.

Now you may ask – what are the common brand name products that have xylitol and where can I find them?

Lots of sugar free gum out on the market these days contains xylitol. Common brands include Mentos, Orbit, Trident, Pur, and Spry. They have also come out with a product called Xylimelts which are a great option for people that suffer from dry mouth. They are small tablets that actually stick to your back molars by your cheek near your saliva duct and help promote more saliva. Saliva is a natural defense against cavities.

Some other fun products you may want to give a try are Zollipops and Qii. Zollipops were invented by a kid as an after you eat treat for a healthy smile. They come in 6 different flavors and are super yummy. They are also available in taffy and drops. Qii is an tea that comes in lemongrass ginger and classic oolong flavors. It is another tasty option we would recommend. We do want to warn people to keep xylitol away from dogs, as it is toxic to them.

We hope you find some great products to try with xylitol to help fight cavities and create a healthy oral environment. Happy shopping!

Top Dental Tips From Your Dentist

Your dentist is your number one source of information and the tips for maintaining good oral health. You will regularly hear from your dentist that to enjoy a healthy and beautiful smile all year round, you have to follow good oral hygiene practices and visit the clinic at least twice a year. Dental Reflections Dublin provides you with the top dental tips from your dentist, Dr. Rudi As-Sanie.

In case you have any dental issues, you will need help from Dr. Rudi As-Sanie to understand the different treatment options and follow their recommendation for the most appropriate and effective procedure.

But aside from the usual tips and advice, you may be surprised to get some unusual words of wisdom from Dr. Rudi As-Sanie from time to time. Even though these bits of information and tips may seem unconventional, they are true or effective, and worth remembering.

You may not expect to hear these top dental tips from Dr. Rudi As-Sanie:

Prioritize having a healthy smile over a beautiful one

A healthy smile takes precedence over a beautiful one. Even if you have white and perfectly straight teeth, if you keep visiting Dr. Rudi As-Sanie to have cavities filled or to have decaying teeth replaced with veneers or implants, you aren’t doing a good job of maintaining good oral health.

For Dr. Rudi As-Sanie, the most important thing about every patient’s smile is that it is healthy enough to last them a lifetime and that they are satisfied and happy with it. Her role is not to tell you how you should look but to help you understand your current oral health condition and give you information and options so that you can make the right decision in maintaining and improving a healthy set of teeth.

It is better to have properly aligned teeth than perfectly straight ones

To have straight, evenly spaced teeth, Dr. Rudi As-Sanie will recommend braces or another type of orthodontic treatment. But for dentists, it is more important that the orthodontic treatment aligns your teeth and not just gives you a straighter set of pearly whites. This is because misaligned teeth or malocclusions can cause other dental problems which include:

  • Difficulties chewing and eating since the teeth are not touching and aligning properly
  • Premature wearing down of the teeth due to the additional pressure in odd areas
  • It can also affect speech especially if the misaligned teeth disrupt your ability to pronounce words

There is such a thing as over-whitening your smile

A white, dazzling smile is something that everyone wants to have. However, undergoing professional teeth whitening procedures often and using too many over-the-counter similar products isn’t good for your teeth.

Products used during in-office whitening procedures and at-home treatments contain substances that can do more harm than good to your teeth if they are used too often. Over-whitening can cause extreme teeth sensitivity, gum irritation, and soft-tissue chemical burns.  It can also wear away the enamel and make your teeth more susceptible to decay.

Use probiotics to sustain good oral health

Lastly, probiotics can help boost digestive and immune health. Additionally, probiotics, especially the ones made specifically for oral health, have been found to naturally support gum and tooth health. They also effectively minimize the nutrients bacteria feed on, thereby reducing your risk of having bad breath.

To learn more about what you could be doing to improve your oral health, contact our office today.