Pop Quiz! Test Your Knowledge of Basic Dental Health

Welcome to Dental Health 101!  Educating our patients is one of our top priorities at FDA, and we thought it would be fun to test your knowledge of some oral health care basics with a pop quiz!  Relax, this won’t impact your final grade. 😉  So, grab your extra-sharp No.2 pencils and see if you pass the FDA Basic Dental Health Pop Quiz!

1.When should you bring your child to the dentist for the first time?

A. Between the age of 1 to 3

B. When they lose their first tooth

C. If they have yellow teeth

Answer: A – We recommend you start bringing your children around the age of 1 to 3 to start their dental care. As soon as your child has teeth, they can get cavities and it is helpful to be proactive about oral health care.  Each child is different as to when they are ready and our goal is to make coming to the dentist a positive experience for them. Our compassionate team is here to help you start a lifetime of healthy habits for your kids.  If you need tips for getting your kids to brush, give us a call!

2. True or False: Dental enamel is the hardest substance in the human body.

Answer: True!  It is even harder than bone! A highly resilient surface, it is 96% mineral which makes it extremely durable, lasting hundreds of years.  Despite its toughness, enamel can still chip or crack.  Take care of tooth enamel and prevent tooth decay by brushing twice-a-day and flossing daily.  If a chip happens your tooth enamel can’t repair itself, so come see Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos to talk about your options for repair or restoration. 

3. How long should I brush my teeth? 

A. 45 seconds

B. 2 minutes

C. 90 seconds

Answer: B – Brush your teeth for 2 minutes, twice-a-day.  While the average American only brushes their teeth for about 45 seconds, give your teeth the extra love they need to help reduce plaque and maintain your gum health.  Many electric toothbrushes have a built-in timer that automatically shuts off after two minutes…how easy is that?!  Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice-a-day, along with daily flossing, regular dental check-ups, and a healthy diet is the basic recipe for a healthy mouth and a healthy life!

4. True or False: A healthy diet can impact your oral health.

Answer:  True!  A diet rich in vegetables, high-calcium dairy products, protein, and omega-3s, not only keeps your body healthy, but helps your mouth stay healthy, too!  Those crisp fruits and veggies help stimulate saliva to keep your teeth clean…kind of like brushing your teeth.  Foods rich in calcium and vitamin D help maintain a strong tooth structure, while those omega-3s contribute to a healthy inflammatory response in your body.  When you nourish your body, you also support your oral health…so load up your plate with leafy greens, nuts, crunchy veggies, fish, and dairy products.  We’re always happy to share healthy tips, so feel free to ask us about what food to incorporate into your diet for improved oral health at your next appointment!  

5. For optimal cleaning, brush your teeth:

A. Like you’re scrubbing a toilet

B. Like you’re scraping paint

C. Like you’re massaging a friend

Answer: C – You can brush your teeth too hard: over-brushing your teeth with a stiff-bristled brush or with a lot of force you can damage your tooth enamel and erode your gums.  Treat your teeth and gums with care and take a more gentle approach with your pearly whites.  Look for an extra soft-bristled brush with the ADA “Seal of Approval” and gently brush at a 45-degree angle so you clean your teeth and massage your gums without causing damage.

 

How did your dental health knowledge stack up?  Whether you aced this quiz or bombed it, please know that FDA is always here to answer your questions and show you the best dental care techniques.  We are your partners in your oral health and strive to empower you with knowledge so together we create a customized course of treatment that works for you.  Call us at 207.781.5900 with questions or to schedule your next appointment!

 

Jaws: Grinding, Clenching, Popping

When was the last time you checked in with your jaw?  In these stressful times, perhaps you’ve noticed that you clench or grind your teeth more frequently, or that your jaw has begun to pop as you chew or talk.   While occasional grinding or clenching may not be harmful, regular grinding can cause damage to your teeth and impact your jaws and joints.  Sounds scary!  However, you’re not alone!  Some 30 to 40% of Americans have jaw pain or grind their teeth. Talking to Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos is a great first step to addressing the aches in your jaw and face.  Here are some symptoms to look out for and some tips to keep your jaw from causing you pain.

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, often happens at night while you sleep.  Even if you’re not aware of grinding and clenching your teeth, you’re probably experiencing some symptoms in the daylight hours.  Here are a few common symptoms:

  • Dull headache
  • Sore jaw, neck, or face muscles
  • Popping or cracking when moving jaw
  • Tooth pain or sensitivity
  • Chipped or flattened teeth

There are steps you can take to stop grinding your teeth and Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos should be part of your plan.  If you feel like you have been experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, come in for a comprehensive dental exam so we can help develop a special treatment plan for you. For example, we can prescribe and fabricate a night guard to help protect your teeth.  We can also help you address your stress, as well as find resources and support for relaxing your mind and your jaw muscles.  Some tips to consider include:

  • Exercise for whole body health and stress reduction
  • Counseling to help with stress and anxiety
  • Warm compresses to help ease jaw tension
  • Jaw exercises to help relax the muscles before bedtime

So, remember to brush your teeth, floss, and relax your jaw!  If you need help addressing your jaw pain or teeth grinding, give us a call at 207.781.5900.  We are here to help you have dental care that treats you and helps you have a healthy mouth and a healthy life!

National Dental Hygiene Month! What Does It Take to Be a Hygienist?

 

Leigha – Our New Dental Hygienist

October is National Dental Hygiene Month and we are lucky to have an amazing team of dental hygienists at Falmouth Dental Arts: Diann, Kelly, Jean, Erin, Alex, and our newest addition Leigha!

From a patient perspective, this incredible group of compassionate and knowledgeable healthcare professionals are the people you interact with most:  they perform your routine check-ups and cleanings, and help your teeth get squeaky clean for the dentist’s review.  They also love to educate patients so you are empowered to make the best choices for your unique dental needs. 

So, what does it take to be a dental hygienist? What are some of the tricks-of-the-trade? To celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month, we asked Ashley from our team of phenomenal hygienists to share a little more about what they do.

 

1.What sort of school and training is required to be a dental hygienist? 

Ashley: Dental hygienists must attend accredited dental school or university majoring in Dental Hygiene. The majority of current programs take four years to complete, with graduates receiving a bachelor’s degree. Upon receiving their degree, hygienists are eligible to take a series of board exams in order to become licensed and to work in a dental office.

2. What is your favorite part of your job?

Ashley: One of the best parts of being a dental hygienist is building connections and relationships with our patients. Learning about our patients not only makes our appointments fun and engaging but also helps us make recommendations that work with their lifestyle.  We love our patients!

3. What is something most people don’t know about being a hygienist? 

Ashley: Choosing a career in Dental Hygiene is a commitment to life-long learning. Technologies and care philosophies are always evolving which means we as providers are constantly engaging in education and professional development to ensure we are providing “crest of the wave” care. In fact, we are required to complete a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education every two years as part maintaining an active license in the state of Maine. 

4. What is your favorite dental product? 

Ashley: The electric toothbrush. It is more effective at removing plaque than a manual toothbrush and stimulates the gum tissue in order to promote gum health. It enhances the homecare routine especially for those with dexterity issues and braces. 

5. What is your #1 dental tip for patients? 

Ashley: Simple, FLOSS. Flossing daily can prevent a myriad of dental and overall health issues. Who knew a piece of string could have such an impact on overall health?! 

7. What is the best part of being a hygienist at Falmouth Dental Arts? 

Ashley: Collectively, one of the most rewarding elements of being a hygienist at Falmouth Dental Arts is our whole-body approach to dental care. We recognize the impact of oral health on overall health and collaborate with our patients to create an individualized care plan. This approach is empowering and motivating for both us as hygienists and for the patient. As a result, treatment success is increased.  It’s very rewarding!

 

Thank you, Ashley! 

And thank you to all of our outstanding dental hygienists — Diann, Kelly, Jean, Erin, Alex, and Leigha!  If you have more questions for our team about your oral health care, or need to schedule your next appointment, give our office a call at 207.781.5900. 

 

5 Tips for Healthy Gums

Your pearly whites get a lot of attention, but when was the last time you thought about the health of your gums?  Your gums play a vital role in your beautiful smile and your overall health. When you brush and floss your teeth you’re not just preventing cavities,  you’re also protecting your gums from developing gum disease.  Also known as periodontal disease, it is the leading cause of tooth loss, impacts your overall health, and as we’ve discussed on the blog before, has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.  So what are the ways you can improve the health of your gums?  Here are 5 tips to help keep your gums healthy:

1. Brush Properly

A proper brushing technique is essential to preventing gum disease.  Start with a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush at a 45 degree angle to your gum line.  Use short strokes and make sure you get all surfaces of your teeth.  You should spend 2 minutes, twice a day on brushing.  When you’re done with your teeth, don’t forget to brush your tongue, too!  If you have questions about your brushing technique, don’t hesitate to ask your hygienist for a quick demonstration at your next appointment…our hygiene team loves to help and share their knowledge!

2. Floss Daily

An important part of your oral health care regimen, flossing helps remove food and plaque from between the teeth.  We know flossing can be a hard habit to stick with so if you’re looking for other ways to clean between your teeth, check out our blog post on alternatives to traditional flossing.  If you notice any bleeding when you floss let us know at your next visit–this can be an early sign of periodontal disease.  Find a method that works for you and stick with it!

3. Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health!  People who smoke cigarettes are four times as likely to have periodontal disease, and smoking makes it harder to manage treatments.  Let us know if you have questions about smoking and oral health care or if you need help quitting…we want to support you!

4. Eat Your Fruits, Veggies, and Nuts

Eating a diet rich in healthy fruits and vegetables is good for your body, good for your teeth, and good for your gums.  By incorporating foods that are rich in Omega-3s, vitamin C, and fiber you are not only getting essential nutrients, you are reducing inflammation and boosting your immune system, and in the process supporting the health of your gums as well.  Snack on some almonds, bell peppers, and leafy greens for the win!

5. Schedule Regular Visits to Falmouth Dental Arts

Coming in for regular check-ups with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos is an important part of your oral health care. Seeing us regularly helps us monitor the health of your gums and teeth and notice if there are early signs of gum disease we can help you reverse.  We are your partners in oral health care and want to help you have effective dental care for a healthy mouth and a healthy life!

 

If you have questions about the health of your gums or need to schedule your next appointment, please call us at 207.781.5900.  We are working diligently to schedule patients  with our new safety protocols, and appreciate your patience.  We look forward to seeing you!

 

Tooth Culture Around the World

Pack your toothbrush!  Let’s travel around the world and learn about tooth culture in other countries!  While the goal of oral health is the same across the globe, other cultures have different values and practices surrounding teeth.  At FDA, we love an opportunity to learn…come join us in this dental exploration!

Tooth Fairy or Magic Mouse?

What do your kids do when they lose a tooth?  Throw it up on the roof?  If you lived in Vietnam, that is exactly what they would do!  There are oodles of interesting teeth traditions beyond the tooth fairy.  For example, in Mexico, kids put their teeth in a little box for El Raton, a magic mouse, kids in South Africa put their lost teeth in their slipper for another magic mouse, and Yupik children in Alaska feed their teeth to the family dog with the hope it will help a new healthy tooth replace it.  You and your kids can learn about more traditions from around the world with the book Throw Your Tooth on the Roof

Straight Teeth or Crooked Teeth?

Americans are known for their love of straight teeth and can spend a lot of time with a dentist or orthodontist to achieve that perfectly aligned smile.  In Japan, however, you might ask your dentist to give you a more crooked, pointy grin with YaebaYaeba, or “double tooth” is a cosmetic procedure to make a cap for the canine teeth that is longer and pointier.  It is associated with youthfulness and natural beauty and a popular trend for young women.  

Toothbrush or Chewing Stick?

The toothbrush is an integral part of our oral health regimen and key to keeping plaque at bay, but have you ever tried Miswak?  Miswak is an Arabic word meaning “tooth-cleaning stick” and is considered to be the first documented form of dental hygiene.  Made from the Salvadora persica tree, it is popular throughout the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa, and is gaining popularity in other parts of the world as well.  In fact, there are some studies that show that using a Miswak is as effective or greater than a toothbrush.  Given that it’s 100% natural and biodegradable, more and more people are turning to Miswak as a natural oral health care option.

 

We hope you enjoyed these fascinating facts from around the world!  If you know about any other fun tooth culture trivia, share it on our Facebook page!  We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment!