As an adult, you’re probably well aware that your best chance at healthy teeth and gums involves brushing and flossing regularly, avoiding sugar and acidic foods, and making periodic visits to the dentist, but can you honestly say you gave your teeth and gums the same degree of attention when you were a child?
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, making it a great time to instill those healthy habits that you now know by heart. A lot of kids visit the dentist and then practice strong dental hygiene for several weeks, but all too often, the “importance” of maintaining healthy teeth and gums starts to fade, and the brushing and flossing instances become fewer and farther between. Here’s what your kids need to know this month and every month to maintain healthy teeth and gums and prevent tooth deterioration and related problems down the line.
The Longer Sugar Sits on Your Teeth, the Greater the Damage
When you eat or drink a lot of sugar, that sugar produces acids that dissolve and damage your teeth. Generally, the more sugar you eat, the higher your chances of tooth decay. While it’s not realistic to avoid all sugar altogether for the rest of your life, it’s wise to brush as soon as possible after consuming sugary foods and drinks in an effort to minimize the time sugar sits in your mouth – and therefore, the damage it does to your teeth. Brushing twice a day is great, but brushing after every meal is even better.
Brush (at Least) Twice a Day for Two Minutes at a Time
Teach your kids to brush in the morning, at night and ideally, in between. Brushing twice daily is critical for preventing tooth decay and eliminating embarrassing problems like bad breath, but it’s also important that you brush for long enough to make an impact. A full two minutes is the recommendation, so get your kids a timer or have them use a cell phone or clock to ensure they’re brushing vigorously for the entire two-minute period.
Follow these tips and make sure your kids visit the dentist regularly for their best chance at beautiful, long lasting and healthy teeth and gums.
By: Raymond Durham, Roseman DMD Class of 2017
On the ADA Foundation’s Give Kids a Smile® (GKAS) kick-off day, February 5, Roseman University’s College of Dental Medicine held its 3rd annual GKAS event at our Dental Clinic. As a non-profit institution of higher education, Roseman University is committed to improving oral health care for children in Utah and throughout the Intermountain West.
The event provides a unique opportunity to increase access to care for these children, while also allowing dental students to participate in an important cause that they will hopefully continue when they enter a career as a dental provider.
The ADA Foundation began Give Kids a Smile to raise awareness for “children who do not receive dental care…and to establish a dental home,” according to the ADA Foundation website (adafoundation.org). Roseman’s approach to GKAS parallels that goal by providing free dental care for children on the day of the event, offering vouchers for patients to return for future care, and providing an affordable option for families that otherwise do not have access to dental care. Previous events have resulted in about 45 percent of patients returning to The Dental Clinic at Roseman University as their dental home. Of these, over 80 percent reported having no dental insurance, 50 percent had not seen a dentist in over a year, and 48 percent had unmet dental needs, including decay. Perhaps more importantly, children who participated in the event received a positive experience at a dental office and were able to learn more about the importance of oral health care.
“Meeting student doctors, playing games, and learning about dental health is a great opportunity to establish a positive lasting effect for children regarding their oral health care. Hopefully events like this plant a seed to help children maintain their oral health and feel comfortable attending the dentist throughout their life,” said Dr. Aaron Ferguson, Director of Public Health Education at Roseman University College of Dental Medicine.
At the 2016 event, 503 children received limited exams, cleanings, and sealants. The total estimated value of the services provided the day of the event is over $90,000. Additionally, all children who attended the event received a voucher to return for a comprehensive exam, a complete set of radiographs (X-rays), and $50 to put toward future care if needed.
In total Roseman University’s Give Kids a Smile program will result in over $214,000 worth of dental care donated to the community, and a dental home for hundreds of children in need. We are excited about the success of this year’s event, and look forward to next year’s Give Kids a Smile® event.
You can find more information about The Dental Clinic at Roseman University, which offers affordable dental care for the whole family in the Salt Lake area, and about future events here. If you missed Give Kids a Smile, remember that you can always come in for a screening at no cost. Just call 801-878-1200 to schedule it.
Deciding on a career path can be daunting for many people because there are a lot of rewarding professions out there, and you often have to make a decision about what you will do for the rest of your life at a young age. If you are interested in a career in the health professions but you’re not so sure about being a doctor or nurse, then you might want to consider dentistry. This appealing profession offers many advantages.
A Balanced Lifestyle
One reason becoming a dentist is so appealing is because the job provides a balanced lifestyle. Most dentists enjoy free time and flexibility. This makes it easier to balance the demands of family and personal life.
Service Oriented Industry
Dentists are service-oriented individuals who spend their days helping others improve their oral health. Through their efforts, they often improve people’s appearance as well.
Many people respect dentists and value their knowledge. This profession has a very positive connotation, and several of the top dentists are also leaders in their community.
Hands On Career
If you like hands on activities, then becoming a dentist is a great option. You will be able to use both creative and scientific talents to help others. In addition, you will spend your time detecting disease and treating problems.
Opportunity for Generating Income
There is a lot of opportunity for people with a background in dentistry. People of all ages require dental work, and there is a particularly strong demand for dentists among older individuals. With the elderly population going up and people living longer, this means you will have many opportunities for generating a good income.
A lot of dentists are self-employed, and they own their practices. This enables them to be their own boss. The efforts you make each day directly benefit your financial well-being, and you can decide what patients you want to treat, where you want to live, and how often you want to work.
These are just a few compelling reasons to consider becoming a dentist. Many people love their job as a dentist, and this can be a very rewarding career path. Whether you are attracted to the flexibility, the environment, or any of the other benefits, there are a lot of advantages that come with this profession.
Everyone should practice good dental hygiene, but athletes face a very unique risk. Depending on the exact sport you play, your jaw or face may be at risk of experiencing injury where your teeth could break or become dislodged entirely, so there are specific practices that should be followed so that you can hang onto all your teeth for much longer.
A mouthguard can do a lot of good if you participate in a contact sport like football, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, or hockey. High school and college athletes should wear one of these at all times, including during both practices and actual games, since injuries can occur at anytime. Not only will tooth loss or damage cause pain, but it also costs a lot of money to replace your missing tooth with a crown or bridge.
Keep in mind that there are different types of mouthguards and the right one for you can vary depending on your sport and activity levels. You can likely go to any sporting goods store and find some standard mouthguards, but these are not going to be the best type of protection. Generic guards offer minimal protection, so you should instead get a mouthguard that is specifically designed to fit over your teeth. These can be obtained from most dental professionals.
What Happens When You Don’t Wear a Mouthguard?
Without a mouthguard, your teeth could easily get chipped, cracked, broken, or knocked out, which means you could pay thousands of dollars in replacement costs. Not only is there the financial weight of losing a tooth, but you will also need to spend hours in a dentist’s office and recovering from the procedure (which likely means missing some time out on the field). Thousands of injuries are prevented every year thanks to the use of mouthguards, so you should definitely wear one yourself.
Anyone who plays basketball, volleyball, rugby, soccer or other intense sports should always utilize a specialized faceguard. You would not play sports without a helmet, knee pads or other protective gear, and a mouthguard should be viewed the same way.