Do you remember your first trip to the dentist? I do, and it wasn’t pretty. I was six years old and terrified…so terrified, that after I got shots to numb my mouth, I kicked my dentist, ran out of the office and locked myself in my parents’ car. Yes, I really did that. A child’s fear on their first dental visit can be pretty crazy, and it’s an adults’ job to make their visit as pleasant as possible, through awareness of dental health. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and it’s all about teaching children about their teeth. The first step is encouraging them to brush their teeth, to prevent problems in the first place. Here are some ways to make brushing fun.
Fun Child-sized Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
Tooth brushing can be a chore that young children just don’t want to bother with. But, fun toothbrushes can turn it into play time. Cartoon character toothbrushes and toothpaste are a great way to entice children to stop and take care of their teeth. For example, Colgate’s Children’s toothpaste comes in child-friendly flavors, like bubble gum and fruity flavors, and when squirted on a cool toothbrush sporting their favorite character, brushing becomes a treat.
Let Children Play with a Toothbrush
Imagine you are two years old, and your parent sticks a bristly, plastic stick in your mouth without warning. You’d be kind of freaked out, wouldn’t you? Well, just like any new things children are introduced to, they need to get used to using tooth brushes, and play is the best way for them to do it. Give your child a brush to play with that won’t be used in their mouth. Show him or her how to brush a doll’s teeth, or just carry it around for a while. Just by allowing them to wrap their hands around it in a non-threatening way helps take away the fear of the unknown.
Sing Tooth brushing Songs
Young children learn from music. The alphabet song is a perfect example. Who can’t sing that in their sleep? Well, singing works to teach children about tooth brushing, too. Watch this video of Elmo’s Tooth Brushing Song with your child, sing it when you’re riding in the car, and sing it while they brush their teeth.
Teaching young children that tooth brushing can be a positive experience is the first step to fostering good dental health. By keeping teeth clean, chances of cavities go way down, and their trips to the dentist will be much more positive than mine, and maybe yours, were. So, take this National Children’s Dental Health Month to make a conscious effort to begin a lifetime of good oral health for your child.
Are you embarrassed to smile because you are missing teeth?
You are not alone. As a dentist, I see so many people whose lives have changed for the worse because they are losing teeth. Men and women of all ages come to see me, sometimes after many years of neglecting their oral health, and sit in my chair looking up at me with desperation and embarrassment in their eyes. Often their self-image is so poor, they don’t smile at all. They cover their mouths when they talk. My job is to help heal their mouths in order to heal the person. These men and women I meet in my practice are first people in my eyes, patients second.
Common reasons for neglecting regular dental care are an abundance of fear and a lack of money. These are very real obstacles in getting to the dentist, and they are nothing to be ashamed of. But, here is what happens.
It’s a vicious cycle. Gum disease is the major cause of tooth loss, and when people don’t receive regular dental care, it only gets worse. As gum disease progresses, teeth shift, breath starts to have an bad odor…and people smile less. Embarrassment leads to fewer dental visits, the problem progresses even more, and teeth fall out. Social interactions change, self-image goes down the tubes. Smiling just stops.
There is hope, though. And that’s the reason I love what I do. Here are some options available to rehabilitate a smile, even for the faint of heart.
Dental implants are permanent replacements for the missing natural tooth and they support bone integrity. What this means to patients is a long-lasting solution to tooth loss that can restore a smile’s beauty for a long time to come.
Dentures are a removable option that can give patients the chance to smile and eat again with ease. They do not maintain bone structure, however, and do require adjustments over time.
Implant supported dentures
Implant supported dentures are like traditional dentures, but they are secured in the jaw by implants. This option allows for a beautiful smile, and has the benefit of a more secure fit than traditional dentures.
More to Come
I’ll be sharing some of my patients’ success stories here from time to time. In the meantime, know that you can change your appearance, no matter how bad you think your smile is. Take your hand away, let go of the embarrassment, and find your smile.
If you think you are ready to take this next step, contact our office for a consultation. We are here to help you make it happen.