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What if you were destroying your teeth and didn’t even know it? We brush our teeth twice a day in order to keep cavities and other oral health issues away. But just brushing your teeth is not enough to protect them. Instead, you must ensure you are brushing them the right way. That’s where we in. Keep reading to discover our top 5 Webster Family Dentistry tips to brush perfectly every time as well as some easy mistakes you need to avoid!

How Long Should You Brush Your Teeth?

It’s important to brush your teeth for at least two minutes at a time twice a day. You should use a timer or stopwatch to ensure you brush for the minimum amount of time.

At first, using a timer or stopwatch may seem like overkill. However, it’s not until we start brushing each morning and evening that we realize Albert Einstein was correct. Time is relative!

Without checking the time, it’s easy to think two minutes have gone by when they haven’t. And if you keep finishing 30 seconds too early, this can sabotage your dental care over time.

Is It Possible to Brush Too Much?

While brushing for more than two minutes is usually not dangerous, it is possible to brush your teeth too hard. This can lead to sensitivity, abrasion, and even gum recession.

Most people who brush too hard are very concerned about their dental hygiene. Unfortunately, brushing hard can cause its own kinds of dental care issues separate from not brushing enough.

If you’re worried that you’re brushing too hard, be sure to consult with your dentist. And here at Webster Family Dentistry, we’re happy to make sure each tooth brushing session is “just right.”

The Type of Toothbrush Matters

When you go to the store, you may notice that there are often dozens of different toothbrushes to choose from. However, some of these are going to be more effective than others.

For example, you need a toothbrush with soft bristles. This is ideal for removing plaque from your teeth, which is why such brushes are recommended by the American Dentistry Association.

Beyond that, you have some choices in which type of toothbrush to use. Some people prefer a brush with a smaller head because they find it easier to get to those hard-to-reach places within the mouth. And many prefer an electric toothbrush because it provides a stronger and more consistent brushing experience.

How Often Do I Need to Replace the Toothbrush?

It’s best to replace your toothbrush every three months. However, you can replace it earlier than that if you begin to see signs of wear and tear. And you should always replace your toothbrush after you recover from an illness.

It’s important to think of your toothbrush like any other tool. It will wear down and become less effective over time. And if you don’t replace the brush in time, then even a vigorous brushing job may not effectively clean your teeth.

If you use an electric toothbrush, you can replace the head instead of getting a brand new brush. This helps cut down on the overall costs of your dental care.

Finding the Right Toothpaste

One of the most common questions we get is what toothpaste a person should be using. However, the correct answer varies from patient to patient!

For example, some toothpaste is designed for sensitive teeth. And some toothpaste is designed to whiten your teeth. Other types are formulated to fight cavities in a particular way.

Long story short? If you are concerned about which toothpaste is right for you, it’s best to consult with your dentist. This is especially true if you have concerns about your current toothpaste.

Toothbrushing Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to dental hygiene, sometimes it is important to know what not to do. Even small mistakes in toothbrushing add up over time and can lead to major issues with your dental care.

Fortunately, the most common toothbrushing mistakes are easy to fix. Below, we have a few mistakes you need to avoid!

Just Going Back and Forth

The most common toothbrushing error is that people go back and forth over their teeth with the brush. This technique might make your teeth look good, but it won’t remove most of the plaque.

That’s because plaque builds up around your gums. To go after the plaque, you need to start at your gums and move the brush up and down instead of left to right. This “gentle massage” technique will be much more effective.

Brushing Too Soon After Eating

One of the reasons that we brush at night is to clean up our teeth after a day of eating various meals and drinking assorted drinks. Some people think it is best to brush right after eating. However, that can be a big mistake!

The food we eat leaves acid on our teeth. Fortunately, our saliva helps deal with the acid. But if you don’t wait at least 20 minutes after eating to brush, you’re sabotaging your dental care.

That’s because if you brush before your saliva helps deal with the acid, your brushing may spread the acid around. Just like that, brushing can do harm to your teeth.

Ignoring the Inside of Your Teeth

We brush in front of a mirror most of the time. Because of that, we brush what we can see. But it’s also important to brush what you can’t see: the inside of your mouth.

Plaque can build up inside your teeth just like it builds anywhere else. And if you don’t take care of this hidden plaque, it can lead to cavities and other major issues.

Brushing the inside of your teeth as well as your tongue helps improve your dental hygiene. As an added bonus, your breath will smell better, too!

Visit Webster Family Dentistry Today

Now you know how to brush your teeth better every time and what mistakes to avoid. But do you know who you can trust with your overall dental hygiene?

Here at Webster Family Dentistry, we specialize in giving you healthier teeth and a brighter smile. To see what we can do for you and your family, just contact us today!

Blog Feature Image - The Ideal Oral Hygiene Routine Revealed

We all want a great smile and the first step to a beautiful smile is a healthy mouth. Your oral hygiene routine is so important, and consistency is the key. Caring for your teeth is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.

It begins with brushing and flossing, but there’s so much more you can do. If you’re interested in how to establish an oral hygiene routine, we have the answers.

Here are our tips for a healthy oral hygiene routine:

Brush Properly

Brush your teeth twice a day or more. Do this every day, no matter how busy you may be.

A quick swipe is better than nothing, but it’s not enough. Brush your teeth for at least two minutes. Aim for 30 seconds for each quadrant of your mouth.

For best results, brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth’s surface and don’t forget your gums. Try to brush up and down on the front and back surfaces and back and forth on the flat tops. 

Brush all surfaces with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. If you wait until after breakfast to brush, try to wait about an hour after eating.

This is especially important if you’ve had something acidic like grapefruit or orange juice. 

Floss Every Day

It’s easy to put off flossing if you’re tired or in a hurry. But you shouldn’t skip this important step.

If you floss when you brush, floss first. Flossing loosens plaque and particles between your teeth. It helps make brushing more effective.

Use enough floss to have a clean section for each tooth. Use about a foot and a half of floss, wrapping it around your index fingers. 

Slip the floss gently between each tooth. Then continue to wind off a clean section as you move to the next tooth. 

Don’t forget to get in between your back teeth. Some people prefer to use hand-held “flossers.” You may need more than one to get the job done. These are handy for young children as well.

Use Mouthwash

After you’ve brushed and flossed, it’s time to rinse with mouthwash. There are many brands and flavors on the market. Choose a mouthwash you like so you’ll be more likely to use it.

A small capful is all you need. Swoosh for 30 seconds and spit out. Many people think mouthwash is for controlling bad breath. Although it helps keep your breath fresh, it does much more, including:

  • Reducing acids in the mouth
  • Helping re-mineralize the teeth
  • Removing debris between teeth and along the gum line

Flossing and using mouthwash along with regular brushing will help keep your mouth clean and healthy.

Drink Plenty of Water

Water is necessary for overall health and hydration. It plays an important role in oral health as well.

Water is sugar-free and helps keep your mouth clean by washing out residue and debris. 

Be sure to avoid sugary drinks as much as possible and drink plenty of water each day as part of your healthy dental hygiene routine.

Eat a Healthy Diet

The foods you choose play an important role in your health and wellness. This includes the health of your teeth and gums.

Be sure to get plenty of fiber in your diet. Crunchy fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and good for your jaws and teeth.

Foods that are sticky, acidic, sugary, and high in carbohydrates provide a breeding ground for bacteria. Limiting these foods and only eating them in moderation can help curb the chances of dental decay.

Healthy eating habits along with a healthy oral hygiene routine can help you have a healthier mouth and body.

Avoid Harmful Habits

Some habits can be harmful to your oral health. Clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth can lead to headaches, muscle pain, chipped teeth, or a sore jaw. These unconscious habits known as bruxism must be treated by a dentist.

Smoking is terrible for your health and your teeth. It can cause stained teeth and weakened gums. Even worse, smoking increases the risk of developing oral cancer and lung cancer.

Try to avoid biting your nails or using your teeth to open packages or bottles. You could chip a tooth or even cause gum damage with these harmful habits.

Although regular brushing is essential, avoid brushing your teeth aggressively. This can wear down the tooth’s enamel or lead to gum problems. Gentle brushing is best.

Get Regular Dental Checkups

You may try to take care of your teeth and follow all of these healthy practices. But you can’t be sure your mouth is healthy without regular dental checkups.

Ideally, you should visit your dentist twice a year. Your teeth need regular professional cleaning and the attention of dental professionals.

There are multiple reasons you shouldn’t skip your dental checkup. 

Oral Cancer Check

Your dentist will check your mouth for any signs of oral cancer. These signs include lesions, lumps, white spots, or discoloration of the mouth or gums.

Gum Disease

Over time, tartar and plaque can build up and lead to dental decay and infection. Seeing your dentist for regular cleanings can help you avoid the development of gum disease.

X-rays

From time to time, your dentist may take x-rays to check for any issues below your teeth and gum line. This can detect issues such as impacted wisdom teeth, deep decay, and other dental problems.

Head, Neck, and Lymph Nodes

Your dentist may also check for abnormalities in your neck, jaw, and lymph nodes. These problems may be symptoms of other potential health problems. If necessary, your dentist may refer you to a doctor to have any issues addressed.

Establish the Best Oral Hygiene Routine

It may take some practice to establish a healthy oral hygiene routine. Regular brushing, flossing, and other healthy habits can help you enjoy long-term oral health.

Seeing your dentist twice a year can prevent minor issues from becoming serious ones. If you haven’t seen a dentist in a while, be sure to make an appointment right away.

If you’re looking for a dentist in the Webster Groves area, we’d love to take care of all your dental needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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Americans are putting off going to the dentist because of the pandemic. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry.

Visiting the dentist is perfectly safe and policies and protocols are in place to ensure patient safety.

The reality is, putting off going to the dentist can lead to serious health issues.

Going to the dentist for a regular dental check up is critical for your health. Keep reading for the top 7 reasons why you should schedule your next dental check up today. 

1. Cleaner Teeth

Even if you practice good oral hygiene at home, you won’t be able to get your teeth as clean as your dentist can.

Plaque and tartar often build up in places you simply can’t reach. Dentists and their teams have the tools and expertise to deep clean your teeth.

When you keep your teeth clean, you can reduce the risk of tooth decay. Dentists can spot this problem early and prevent tooth decay from becoming a much bigger problem. Your dentist can also identify the early signs of gum disease and take action to keep the issue at bay. 

2. Protect Dental Work

If you’ve had dental work done in the past, scheduling a regular dental check up can help you protect that investment. Dental work isn’t cheap, so the last thing you want to do is have it redone.

Your teeth, gums, and bones all work together to support your dental work. Ensuring they stay healthy protects your dental work and reduces the chances of needing further work. 

3. Get a Whiter Smile

Have you been longing for a whiter smile? You can save money on whitening treatments by simply scheduling a regular dental check up and cleaning.

During a dental check up, your dentist will clean your teeth and get rid of plaque and tartar, which are often responsible for teeth’s yellow appearance.

With cleaner teeth, your smile will appear whiter. You’ll feel confident that your teeth are cleaner – and it will show. 

4. Build Better Habits

When you visit the dentist regularly, you set yourself up to continue healthy habits at home. In a stressful and busy time, we often forget about the importance of practicing good oral hygiene at home. While visiting the dentist for regular dental check ups is important, it’s not enough.

Practicing good oral hygiene at home is necessary to keep your mouth in the best possible shape.

What can you do at home to protect your oral health? Good question! These healthy habits can help keep your smile healthy:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Use fluoride toothpaste
  • Use mouthwash
  • Replace your toothbrush at least every 3-4 months
  • Avoid using tobacco
  • Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Limit sugary foods and drinks
  • Floss every day

Not only will visiting your dentist for a dental check up give you the tools you need to practice good oral hygiene at home, but your dentist will help you identify any bad habits that might be causing you problems. Bad habits like grinding your teeth or biting your nails can have consequences for your oral health.

Your dentist will help you identify these issues before they become bigger problems and advise you on how to care for your teeth properly. 

5. Set a Good Example

Remember the saying, “Monkey See, Monkey Do?” It turns out there’s a lot of truth to the old adage, especially when it comes to our kids.

Kids are more likely to do what they see us do, rather than what we tell them to do. The behavior we model is very influential to our children. In fact, our kids will learn lifetime habits from watching what we do – for better or worse.

One of the best lifelong habits you can promote in your children is a dedication to practicing good oral hygiene. Schedule regular dental check ups for kids as well as yourself.

Practice good oral hygiene at home and encourage your children to do the same. Being a good role model will help your children grow into healthy adults. 

6. Save Money

Some people skip their regular dental check ups because they want to save money. Unfortunately, putting off regular dental appointments can actually cost you more in the long run.

This is because with many dental problems, the longer you wait the worse the problem becomes. Simple procedures are often inexpensive, but if you wait until the problem becomes larger, you may need more expensive treatments. 

7. Protect Your Overall Health

When you think of going to the dentist, you probably mostly think of keeping your teeth clean. The truth is, your oral health is a window to your overall health.

Most people don’t realize how connected your mouth, teeth, and gums are to your overall health. For example, your oral health can often provide valuable clues about your overall health. When you visit the dentist for a regular dental checkup, your dentist will look for clues that may signal issues with your overall health.

A number of different medical conditions with serious consequences have been linked to oral health.

It’s important to remember that our mouths are full of bacteria. Our mouths are also an entry point to the rest of our bodies, including our digestive and respiratory tracts. Scheduling a regular dental checkup can help keep these bacteria under control and prevent oral infections from spreading to other parts of your body. 

Are You Due for a Dental Check Up?

If you’ve been putting off visiting the dentist because of the pandemic, now is the time to schedule an appointment.

Dental offices are considered low risk and are one of the cleanest places you can be.

As we begin the new year, one of the best resolutions you can make is to prioritize your dental care. Protecting your oral health means protecting your overall health.

The first step is to schedule a dental check up. Click here to book a Webster Groves dental check up with our team today. 

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More than one in four adults have untreated tooth decay in the United States of America. This eventually leads to tooth loss during the later stages of life, particularly during our 60s and 70s. 

So, what can we do about this?

While regularly practicing the basics of oral hygiene is essential for preventing tooth decay, there are other contributing factors that we often don’t often associate with good oral health.

In this article, Webster Family Dentistry outlines each of these lesser-known, but fairly common habits that contribute to the deterioration of your teeth.

Let’s get started!

1. Excessive Brushing and Flossing

Anything in excess has the potential to cause harm. Brushing your teeth too aggressively or too often can sensitize your teeth and wear down the tooth enamel. Additionally, the practice of excessive brushing can also damage your gums causing them to recede and making them more susceptible to periodontal diseases.

Similarly, flossing more than once a day can cause severe damage to your gums. Further, while excessive flossing and brushing are detrimental to your teeth, using the incorrect techniques exacerbates the damage.

Make sure to focus on your teeth while flossing, and not your gums. Be gentle, and avoid using the same section of floss for all your teeth. Use a light touch while brushing and limit your tooth brushing sessions to two minutes, two to three times a day, as advised by your dentist. 

2. Consuming Too Much of the Wrong Beverage

Soda is perhaps the embodiment of all the worst elements for your teeth. Not only do they contain a high concentration of sugars and sweeteners, but they are also carbonated and contain caffeine. 

The sugar creates a breeding ground for bacteria while the carbonation contributes to the erosion of your enamel. This increases your chances of developing cavities. 

Beverages like colas and coffee can also stain your teeth. Coffee exacerbates bad breath and encourages the growth of bacteria in your mouth.  

Finally, we have alcohol. In addition to having high sugar content, alcohol can also lead to dryness of the mouth. Some studies show that people with alcohol addictions tend to have higher levels of plaque, tooth decay, and dental caries than the average population.

3. Highly Acidic Foods

Eating highly acidic foods like tomatoes, oranges, and lemons on their own could contribute to enamel erosion. This is further exacerbated by the regular consumption of citrus fruit drinks and smoothies. 

Tooth erosion further leads to tooth sensitivity, yellowing of the teeth, and an increased risk of developing tooth cavities. 

Now, citrus fruits offer various nutritional benefits so you don’t have to give them up entirely. Rather, make sure to sip your drinks through a straw and eat these fruits as a part of a bigger meal, rather than a snack by themselves. 

However, if you do drink lemonade or a snack on an orange, give yourself at least an hour before brushing your teeth. This will allow your saliva to wash away some of the acids. You can also chew on some sugarless gum or rinse your mouth with plain water. 

4. Drug Abuse

Studies show that 96 percent of meth users have cavities, while 58 percent of users have tooth decay and 31 percent have at least six missing teeth.

However, the effects of drug abuse on our teeth is not limited to meth. Heroin is also associated with gum disease and shows effects similar to those associated with meth. 

Smoking or consuming cocaine orally, can lead to buildup of acid over the teeth that eventually lead to the breakdown of enamel. 

5. Grinding Your Teeth

Over time, tooth grinding and jaw clenching can weaken your teeth and lead to tooth decay. The repetitive motion of rubbing one tooth against the other, alongside the induced friction, wears down the enamel and sensitizes your teeth. 

People who grind their teeth are more susceptible to cavities, tooth breakage and in the long run, even tooth loss. Drug abuse, stress and restlessness can increase the frequency and intensity of grinding which can aggravate the damage caused. 

6. Ignoring Oral Health Issues

All health issues are far easier to address and treat during their earlier stages. The smallest of tooth cavities can spread to the root and eventually lead to a root canal or the permanent loss of your tooth. While the earliest signs of gingivitis can be cured, once it progresses to periodontitis, it becomes more difficult to manage. 

While it can be tempting to put off your visit to the dentist or hope your tooth sensitivity will go away on its own, you’re better off making that appointment and addressing the root cause as soon as possible. 

7. Using Your Teeth as Tools

Your teeth are not built to open beer bottles, tear open packets or bite your fingernails. Using your teeth as opening and cutting tools can cause chips, cracks and worse when done consistently. 

Webster Family Dentistry: Get the Care You Deserve

Good oral hygiene is all about frequency and balance. Flossing and brushing your teeth excessively, or drinking too many sodas and sugary drinks can make you susceptible to tooth decay. However, you ought to also ensure a healthy lifestyle by managing your stress levels and avoiding the use and abuse of drugs. 

Finally, remember that ignoring a problem won’t make it go away. If you’ve been putting off that routine checkup or have a dental problem you’re hoping fixes itself, this is your sign to address it.

Schedule your appointment with Dr. John McCarthy or his team at Webster Family Dentistry to get the quality dental care your teeth deserve. 

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Americans are putting off going to the dentist because of the pandemic. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry.

Visiting the dentist is perfectly safe and policies and protocols are in place to ensure patient safety.

The reality is, putting off going to the dentist can lead to serious health issues.

Going to the dentist for a regular dental check up is critical for your health. Keep reading for the top 7 reasons why you should schedule your next dental check up today. 

1. Cleaner Teeth

Even if you practice good oral hygiene at home, you won’t be able to get your teeth as clean as your dentist can.

Plaque and tartar often build up in places you simply can’t reach. Dentists and their teams have the tools and expertise to deep clean your teeth.

When you keep your teeth clean, you can reduce the risk of tooth decay. Dentists can spot this problem early and prevent tooth decay from becoming a much bigger problem. Your dentist can also identify the early signs of gum disease and take action to keep the issue at bay. 

2. Protect Dental Work

If you’ve had dental work done in the past, scheduling a regular dental check up can help you protect that investment. Dental work isn’t cheap, so the last thing you want to do is have it redone.

Your teeth, gums, and bones all work together to support your dental work. Ensuring they stay healthy protects your dental work and reduces the chances of needing further work. 

3. Get a Whiter Smile

Have you been longing for a whiter smile? You can save money on whitening treatments by simply scheduling a regular dental check up and cleaning.

During a dental check up, your dentist will clean your teeth and get rid of plaque and tartar, which are often responsible for teeth’s yellow appearance.

With cleaner teeth, your smile will appear whiter. You’ll feel confident that your teeth are cleaner – and it will show. 

4. Build Better Habits

When you visit the dentist regularly, you set yourself up to continue healthy habits at home. In a stressful and busy time, we often forget about the importance of practicing good oral hygiene at home. While visiting the dentist for regular dental check ups is important, it’s not enough.

Practicing good oral hygiene at home is necessary to keep your mouth in the best possible shape.

What can you do at home to protect your oral health? Good question! These healthy habits can help keep your smile healthy:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Use fluoride toothpaste
  • Use mouthwash
  • Replace your toothbrush at least every 3-4 months
  • Avoid using tobacco
  • Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Limit sugary foods and drinks
  • Floss every day

Not only will visiting your dentist for a dental check up give you the tools you need to practice good oral hygiene at home, but your dentist will help you identify any bad habits that might be causing you problems. Bad habits like grinding your teeth or biting your nails can have consequences for your oral health.

Your dentist will help you identify these issues before they become bigger problems and advise you on how to care for your teeth properly. 

5. Set a Good Example

Remember the saying, “Monkey See, Monkey Do?” It turns out there’s a lot of truth to the old adage, especially when it comes to our kids.

Kids are more likely to do what they see us do, rather than what we tell them to do. The behavior we model is very influential to our children. In fact, our kids will learn lifetime habits from watching what we do – for better or worse.

One of the best lifelong habits you can promote in your children is a dedication to practicing good oral hygiene. Schedule regular dental check ups for kids as well as yourself.

Practice good oral hygiene at home and encourage your children to do the same. Being a good role model will help your children grow into healthy adults. 

6. Save Money

Some people skip their regular dental check ups because they want to save money. Unfortunately, putting off regular dental appointments can actually cost you more in the long run.

This is because with many dental problems, the longer you wait the worse the problem becomes. Simple procedures are often inexpensive, but if you wait until the problem becomes larger, you may need more expensive treatments. 

7. Protect Your Overall Health

When you think of going to the dentist, you probably mostly think of keeping your teeth clean. The truth is, your oral health is a window to your overall health.

Most people don’t realize how connected your mouth, teeth, and gums are to your overall health. For example, your oral health can often provide valuable clues about your overall health. When you visit the dentist for a regular dental checkup, your dentist will look for clues that may signal issues with your overall health.

A number of different medical conditions with serious consequences have been linked to oral health.

It’s important to remember that our mouths are full of bacteria. Our mouths are also an entry point to the rest of our bodies, including our digestive and respiratory tracts. Scheduling a regular dental checkup can help keep these bacteria under control and prevent oral infections from spreading to other parts of your body. 

Are You Due for a Dental Check Up?

If you’ve been putting off visiting the dentist because of the pandemic, now is the time to schedule an appointment.

Dental offices are considered low risk and are one of the cleanest places you can be.

As we begin the new year, one of the best resolutions you can make is to prioritize your dental care. Protecting your oral health means protecting your overall health.

The first step is to schedule a dental check up. Click here to book a Webster Groves dental check up with our team today. 

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Is trying to get your kids to brush their teeth an ongoing battle? If so, you aren’t alone. 

As a parent, you want them to have healthy teeth and healthy brushing habits. But it’s easier said than done!

We understand how difficult it can be to keep kids on a regular schedule of healthy oral hygiene. If something isn’t fun or engaging, kids will consider it a chore.

That’s why we suggest incorporating some fun and play into their daily teeth brushing routine. Here are a few fun ways to get your kids to brush.

Brush Along With Them

Your kids are always watching you whether you realize it or not. They learn so much about the world from observing you in their first few years. 

When it’s time to brush their teeth at night, brush yours along with them. Don’t make it seem like a chore. Smile to lighten the mood.

If you make brushing and caring for your teeth a positive experience, they will quickly learn the importance of caring for their own. Presenting a positive attitude about oral hygiene can make trips to the dentist easier too.

Let Your Child Choose Their Toothbrush

Kids love to feel like they’re in control of some of their decisions. Give them the responsibility of choosing their own toothbrush.

Toothbrushes are inexpensive, so it can be fun to get a new one when the novelty of the old one wears off. Let them choose their favorite color or character toothbrush.

They can also pick their favorite flavor of toothpaste. You can change this once in a while too. Adult minty toothpaste is too strong for some kids.

Whitening toothpaste isn’t for little mouths. Kid’s toothpaste comes in a variety of flavors. A new toothbrush and flavor of toothpaste can help get your kids excited about brushing their teeth.

Brush Each Other’s Teeth

If you’re looking for a way to get your kids to brush, try brushing each other’s teeth once in a while. This approach isn’t ideal for the long term. But it can be a fun distraction and a way to ensure their teeth are thoroughly brushed from time to time.

Let your child brush your teeth and “teach” you about how to do it properly. Then, you do the same for them. You can even try making a game of it and brushing each other’s teeth simultaneously.

Offer Rewards for Motivation

Kids work harder when they have a goal in mind. Brushing their teeth twice a day is a goal you can encourage.

Let them know if you see them doing a good job brushing for a whole week, there will be a reward. This can be a small prize, a new book, or an extra hour of video games.

Think about what will motivate your kids. Developing healthy habits they will carry through their lives is definitely worth a reward.

Sing a Toothbrush Song

Establishing a routine is an important part of daily oral hygiene. One way to establish a routine is to play the same song every time they brush. 

This passes the time and teaches them the proper amount of time to brush. You can choose a song or find one The American Dental Association recommends.

They will get used to listening and brushing at the same time. You can even put them in charge of starting the music when it’s time to brush.

A little singing and dancing in the bathroom can be a fun part of your child’s brushing habits.

Keep Your Cool

As a parent, you know that nothing is perfect. Don’t expect every brushing session to go as planned. Tired and irritable children aren’t always in the mood to brush, no matter how fun you make it.

Remember to stay calm. Try not to make brushing a stressful situation by venting your frustrations or getting angry with your child.

If they associate brushing with stress or “mad mommy,” they will try to avoid it even more. Your child doesn’t have to do a fantastic job brushing every night.

Some days it may seem impossible to know how to make kids love brushing their teeth. Consistency is the key.  

If you have a bad episode, it’s okay. Try again tomorrow.  

Incorporate Brushing Into Playtime

Young children learn through play. You can teach them about the importance of brushing by incorporating it into playtime.

Kids love to brush their stuffed animals, baby dolls, and bath toys’ teeth. They can pretend to floss them too.

Pretend to be a dentist and go through the motions of a visit to get their teeth cleaned. Read fun books about teeth and good oral hygiene.

The more they see the importance of oral hygiene modeled into everyday life, the more routine it will seem.

Make Going to the Dentist a Good Experience

You don’t want to wait until your child has their first cavity to take them to the dentist. Start early and make it a positive experience for them. 

The dentist does not have to be scary. if your children take good care of their teeth, dentist visits are a breeze.

You want them to have a relationship with their dentist and feel comfortable and safe in their office. Your dentist and the dental staff can reinforce what you’re teaching your child at home.

When your child feels happy and confident heading to the dentist, it’s a more pleasant experience for everyone involved.

Make Your Child’s Teeth Brushing Routine Fun

Establishing healthy oral hygiene habits early in life is so important. You can help your child accomplish this by starting early and making their teeth brushing routine fun.

Our team at Webster Family Dental is here to support your child and the entire family with all their dental needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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Did you know that as many as half of Americans only brush their teeth once a day?

Not only does looking after your teeth help you maintain a beautiful smile, but you can also ward off serious health conditions like gingivitis and even heart disease. Since our oral hygiene is linked strongly to our overall health, it’s worth putting in the effort to develop mindful habits.

Have you adopted any brushing techniques that are causing more harm than good? Keep reading to learn 10 teeth brushing tips that will boost your oral hygiene.

1. Use a Soft-Bristled Brush

When most people walk down the toothbrush aisle at the store, they’re overwhelmed by all of the choices and don’t take the time to read the labels. Whenever you get new toothbrushes, it’s best to choose products that come with soft bristles. If you use toothbrushes that aren’t gentle on your mouth, then you increase your chances of stripping away your protective tooth enamel.

2. Don’t Scrub Too Hard

In addition to buying rough toothbrushes, lots of people brush too aggressively. While it’s nice to get a deep clean, this shouldn’t be achieved by scrubbing with a lot of pressure. Stripping the enamel from your teeth makes you more susceptible to cavities and you could also create inflammation in your gums.

If you’re having a hard time applying the right amount of pressure, then you always have the option of upgrading to an electric toothbrush that does the work for you.

3. Replace Your Toothbrush Every Three Months

Since experts recommend that people go to the dentist twice a year for routine cleanings, some may only get replacement toothbrushes during these visits. The truth is that you should always replace your toothbrush every three months instead of 6. If you notice that your bristles look worn down, bent, or discolored, it’s time to throw the toothbrush out.

Another helpful tip is to store your toothbrush as far away from your toilet as possible in an open container that doesn’t encourage mold growth. Be sure to flush with the toilet lid down to prevent fecal aerosols from landing on your toothbrush.

4. Brush in Small Circles

Unless you’ve had braces and maintained your alignment with a retainer, it’s likely that your teeth have some overlap that can make brushing every surface a challenge. Instead of brushing up and down, you should move in small circles to ensure that every crevice is cleansed. If you have noticeable overlap, pay extra attention to those teeth to prevent cavities and other oral health conditions.

Remember that brushing your teeth should feel like a refreshing massage, so be gentle but thorough.

5. Don’t Forget to Brush Your Gum Line

While you’re using a circular motion to brush your teeth, make sure you start at the top of your teeth and work your way down. Bacteria can get trapped in the space where your gums meet your teeth, so take your time cleaning your gum line. For extra cleaning power, you can hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to get deep into that area.

6. Brush for Two Minutes

Time always seems to move slower when we have to stand still and brush our teeth. If you rush this process, then you can miss a lot of germs and create a buildup of plaque. Whether you use the timer on your phone, listen to a short song, or get an electric toothbrush with a timer, always do your best to clean for two minutes.

7. Wait 20 Minutes After Eating Before Brushing Your Teeth

There’s a fine line between waiting too long to brush your teeth and brushing too soon. We’ve all been taught that bacteria can flourish in our mouths when it has time to grow, which is why it’s understandable that some people feel compelled to brush right after eating.

Digestion starts when we chew and eating can turn your mouth into an acidic environment. Acid weakens your enamel, so brushing your teeth without waiting 20 minutes can wreak havoc on your oral health.

8. Brush at Least Twice a Day for Optimal Tooth Care

How often should you brush your teeth? Some people have heard three times a day while others have heard you should brush every time you eat something.

Since we live in a fast-paced world, we don’t always have access to our toothbrushes. This is why you should aim to brush your teeth at least twice a day: once in the morning and once at night. If you want to be extra careful, then you can carry around some sugar-free gum to help remove food particles from your teeth after snacking.

9. Make Sure You Brush the Inner Sides of Your Teeth

We use the front of our teeth to smile and the underside to chew, so a lot of people are diligent about cleaning those areas. However, the inner sides of our teeth can still house bacteria, so you can’t forget to incorporate this area into your daily brushing routine. If you don’t pay enough attention to the inner sides of your teeth, then your dentist will notice more inflammation there than the rest of your mouth.

10. Give Your Tongue a Nice Scrub

A lesser-known dental hygiene tip is to include your tongue when you wash your mouth. Once you’re finished brushing your teeth, you should stick your tongue out and work your way from the back to the front with your toothbrush. Be sure to spit and complete your routine with some mouthwash to kill any leftover germs in your mouth.

Proper Teeth Brushing Is Essential for Your Overall Health and Confidence

Since your smile is one of the first features that people notice about you, it’s important to take steps to preserve your oral hygiene. If you follow this guide on teeth brushing, then you can ensure that your smile stays healthy and radiant for years to come.

Keeping up with regular dental checkups will not only give you a deep clean, but your dentist can also provide customized tips if they notice any issues with your brushing habits. If you’re in need of stellar dental care near Webster Groves, MO, contact us to set up your first appointment.

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Practicing good dental habits is a crucial part of maintaining your overall health and well-being, but some brushing habits can actually do more harm than good.

Whenever you brush and floss, it’s important to make sure that you’re doing this correctly to prevent damage to your teeth and gums.

Read on to learn more about some habits that might not be great for your oral health, and what you can do to correct them.

Bad Brushing Habits: Too Much Pressure Can Cause Harm

When you brush your teeth, you might think that the harder your brush, the cleaner your teeth will be. However, these brushing habits can actually make things worse for your teeth and gums over time.

Brushing too vigorously or applying too much pressure when you brush can damage the protective enamel on your teeth, leaving them vulnerable to cavities or infection. It can also cause your gums to become inflamed, make them bleed, or just cause pain in general.

When you brush your teeth, pay close attention to how your gums feel. If they’re tender or sensitive to the touch, there is a good chance that you could be applying too much pressure with your toothbrush.

Other signs of brushing too hard include tooth pain or your teeth look darker near the gum line – an indication that the gums are receding and the dentin is exposed. To avoid these problems, simply apply less pressure and try to brush your teeth more gently moving forward.

Biting or Chewing Things You Shouldn’t

While this one isn’t a brushing habit, it’s still a common habit that many people have. If you love to chew on ice, pencils, or other hard objects, you’re putting the health of your teeth at risk.

Never try to open something using your teeth, and try not to chomp on ice cubes whenever you can avoid it. Chewing these things will eventually cause damage to your teeth and could even cause one of them to crack.

If you have fillings, chewing on hard items can cause the filling to become loose or even fall out completely. To avoid this, drink beverages with a straw and try a sugar-free gum that contains xylitol to keep those unhealthy chewing habits at bay.

For those who grind their teeth or clench their jaw, it’s important to find a way to avoid this common issue. A mouthguard that you can wear while you sleep will help to protect your teeth and keep them from grinding together.

Avoiding Visits to the Dentist

Perhaps you have a fear of the dentist, or maybe you simply haven’t made the time for an appointment. Scheduling regular cleanings are one of the most important good dental habits you can adopt.

Ideally, you should have your teeth professionally cleaned at least every six months. Not only will you get a good cleaning, but your dentist will also perform x-rays and look carefully at your teeth and gums for any signs of damage or disease.

It’s estimated that approximately 42% of Americans admit that they don’t go to their dentist as often as they should. Don’t be a statistic! Schedule an appointment to have your teeth cleaned and examined as soon as possible to keep your oral health on the right track.

When you visit the dentist on a regular basis, you’ll have a much better idea about the state of your oral health. It’s also the best way to catch any issues as soon as possible before they get out of hand so you can take steps to correct them.

Not Brushing After Meals

Another bad brushing habit is simply not brushing your teeth after you eat. When you eat food, it leaves residue behind, which will eventually wear the enamel off of your teeth and cause painful cavities.

According to the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth approximately 30 minutes to an hour after you eat to keep them healthy and clean. This allows time for the food you eat to be removed from your teeth before you brush them.

If you brush too soon after eating, certain ingredients like acids in orange juice or sugar in desserts will still be sitting on the surface of your teeth. Brushing immediately can spread those harmful ingredients out and onto the rest of your teeth and gums, causing more harm and good.

Bring a toothbrush and toothpaste with you to work, then brush about a half hour or so after lunchtime. You should do the same thing in the morning after breakfast and again after dinner or before you head to bed.

Bad Flossing Habits

Using dental floss is another part of good oral care, but you can also do harm if you don’t floss the right way. First, avoid flossing between your teeth in a saw-like motion, or else you could cut your gums.

Never re-use the same section of floss since it will already be covered in plaque and food particles. Floss gently and never use aggressive movements that can cause gum irritation and inflammation.

Finally, while flossing is important, it should never be considered a substitute for brushing your teeth. The two things should be done in conjunction to ensure that your mouth is as healthy as possible.

Start Good Dental Care Habits Today

Now that you know more about some bad brushing habits and oral care habits, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy. Remember to visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and examinations every six months for the best results.

If you’re ready for a cleaning, examination, or other dental services near Webster Groves, MO, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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Whether or not you’re among the 26% of American adults with unrelated tooth decay, it’s important that you make visiting the dentist a priority. After all, dentistry isn’t just for those who have problems- it’s for anyone who wants to keep their teeth healthy and prevent issues from arising later.

You need to know how to choose dental insurance to get the most affordable plan possible. Here, we’re going to talk about how to make caring for your teeth easy and inexpensive to prevent holes in both your teeth and your pockets.

1. Look at Your Work Insurance Plan

68% of the US population is offered health insurance through their employer. If this describes you, it’s important that you comb through your plan’s fine print and see whether or not any level of dental care coverage is present. If so, you may not even need to invest in a 3rd party dental insurance plan.

Even so, you might want to get some supplemental insurance, but It’s best to know where you stand insurance-wise anyway. You can then only look into plans that are the most relevant for you and your family.

2. Consider the Types of Dental Plans

There are three basic types of dental plans.

Indemnity plans do not have provider networks and therefore offer the maximum amount of flexibility possible. This is beneficial to those who want the ability to visit any dentist rather than just those pre-approved by a plan. However, these plans are generally much more expensive than alternatives.

Most people opt for managed-care plans. These let them choose from a network of dental providers that have agreed to discount services to cardholders. They can be PPO or HMO plans depending on your needs.

Finally, discount dental plans are not actual insurance. Instead, they give you a discount when you see dentists that are included within your plan. They aren’t insurance because they don’t pay for any of your treatment- you still need to pay 100% of the fees, just at the discount rate.

3. Do Meticulous Research

Once you decide which type of plan is right for you, it’s time to begin researching the many plans that are out there. You can start this research simply by Googling, say, ‘best managed-care dental plans in 2021’. This will give you a shortlist of some plans that you can look over.

After narrowing your options down to 3-5 plans, look through them very carefully. Consider which provides the most comprehensive coverage and which one will best meet the needs of each of your family members.

4. Think About Your Family’s Needs

But how can you determine which plan is right for your family? It’s actually much easier than it sounds.

First, consider whether any family members have pre-existing dental conditions. If your spouse has gingivitis, for example, you need a plan that will cover treatment for gum disease. If you have a child with early TMJ, you will want coverage for TMJ-related visits.

Next, consider the ages of people in your family and the conditions that they’re most likely to develop based on age.

Children will almost always require fluoride treatments, sealants, and braces. Young adults and those in their middle age may need root canals, fillings, crowns, bridges, and wisdom teeth removals. Seniors may need dentures and full-mouth reconstruction treatments. Plan accordingly.

5. Learn Which Treatments Are Covered in Different Plans

Remember your list of 3-5 plans that you combed through earlier? Do an in-depth review of their website. Make sure that you read every aspect and condition of coverage to make sure that you don’t miss something vital before purchasing a plan.

When in doubt, call those insurance providers on the phone or shoot them an email. Ask them whether they cover certain things that you know you and your family can’t do without.

If you don’t need a lot of coverage and have no preexisting oral health issues in the family, you may even get away with ACA dental insurance. Keep this in mind as you search so that you can get the best care at the most affordable price.

6. Talk to Dental Professionals Near You

The next step is to look into the dental providers closest to you and see what insurance plans they accept. It’s unreasonable to get a plan that requires you to drive for hours to find the nearest provider. Check out your local dentist’s insurance options and compare them.

If you have any questions, reach out to the dentists that you trust. Ask any questions that are relevant to your choice in a plan. Gathering the best information can help you to narrow your 3-5 options down to 1 or 2.

7. Consider Every Relevant Cost

Many people comparing family insurance plans only look at the premium monthly cost. However, this might come back to bite you in the long run (no pun intended). You need to look at deductibles- the amount of money that you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket before your insurance coverage starts.

You also should look at the maximum yearly limit for coverage. Many plans have a cap on the number of dental treatments they’ll cover per year. You don’t want to wind up in a bind where you reach your limit and need to pay a lot of money for ongoing treatments.

Beyond How to Choose Dental Insurance

Now that you know how to choose dental insurance, it’s time to make sure your teeth are as healthy as possible. Request an appointment with our oral health professionals for a routine cleaning or for restorative or cosmetic dentistry.

You can also ask whether or not we accept the insurance plan that you’re considering and get more insurance plan options if we do not. We’re excited to help keep your smile shining, so don’t hesitate to reach out!

Mother Daughter Brushing teeth

While many people think of oral health issues as a problem that comes with age, this is not the case. 20% of children between the ages of 5-11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth, which can cause discomfort and a plethora of other health issues. These problems include gum disease, headaches, and jaw problems that stem from biting down on food incorrectly.

Clearly, dental care for kids is important, and the main aspect of this is tooth brushing. But what can you do to make brushing more palatable for reluctant little ones? Read on to learn the answer to this question and to get some expert strategies for making teeth-brushing time more fun.

1. Brush Your Teeth Together

Children- especially small children- love to imitate the adults in their life. They view the things that you do as mature, sophisticated, and interesting, and they believe that mimicking your movements will make them develop these qualities as well.

This means that setting an example and brushing your teeth at the same time as your child does will make brushing time more fun for them. They will be happy to imitate your movements so that they can feel like an adult themselves. This strategy is great because it motivates you to brush properly as well!

2. Play Fun Music

Children tend to struggle with brushing their teeth for a long enough period of time. Even when they do decide to brush, it could last for only 10 seconds before they get bored and decide that they’re done. This is clearly insufficient, so you need to give them something fun to do for the entire interval that they should be brushing.

A favorite song can do just that. Turn on a tune that your child likes and brush your teeth for the interval that that song plays in. This will generally give your child anywhere between 2-4 minutes of brushing time and allow them to reach into every part of their mouth.

3. Get a Cool Toothbrush

It can be tempting to get your child an adult toothbrush- they’re cheap, easy to access, and come in packs that you can use as well. However, in a child’s mind, these toothbrushes are incredibly boring. They’re usually unicolor and have no fun print on them besides a brand name that kids don’t care about.

Luckily, they do manufacture toothbrushes that kids are sure to love. If your child loves Disney princesses, you can find a Mulan or Cinderella toothbrush at any department store. The same applies to other favorite characters like Toy Story, Cars, Hello Kitty, and more.

4. Make Games and Tell Stories

Kids are incredibly imaginative and they love to play games. You can make tooth-brushing into a kind of game with them where you bring in a favorite toy or doll and brush its teeth before moving onto their own.

If your child is too old for that or seems disinterested, you can play hide-and-seek with their toothbrush and toothpaste. Having them play a game of treasure hunt of hot-and-cold to find it is something that they may look forward to and associate with brushing time. This will put them in a good mood and give them a positive mindset about oral hygiene.

5. Offer Fun Rewards

Children often don’t feel like they’re getting any benefits from brushing their teeth, which makes them understandably reluctant to do so. In their mind, it’s a waste of time at best and an unpleasant bad-tasting activity at worst. However, offering them a small reward can help them view tooth-brushing as a chore that they get something out of.

Daily rewards can be something as simple as a sticker or interestingly-shaped rubber eraser (they come in bulk packs at the dollar store and kids love them.) You can also set up a larger weekly reward for brushing twice a day, such as a dinner at a favorite restaurant or an extra hour of iPad time.

6. Switch Up Toothpaste Flavors

Everyone has tried using a toothpaste that they don’t like before, and it really puts a damper on brushing time. Even adults procrastinate and outright avoid brushing when their toothpaste tastes bad or has some weird, awful texture. Children, as is to be expected, will also avoid this but on a much larger scale.

Ask your child directly if they like the toothpaste that they’re using. If they say ‘no,’ take them to the store and let them select an alternative that they think they might like. Check in again a couple of weeks later (make sure that you give them time to adjust and get used to the new toothpaste). Repeat the process if they still dislike their toothpaste.

7. Be Encouraging

Children love to receive praise because they value the opinions of their parents. Cheering your child on while they brush their teeth is a great way to make them feel good about the activity. Stand by and tell them when they do something specifically good while brushing such as hitting spots on both sides of their mouth or brushing their tongue.

Offering them a sincere ‘good job’ after they finish brushing is sometimes all that it takes to turn oral hygiene maintenance from a chore to an opportunity to please.

Get Professional Dental Care for Kids

While frequent brushing is important for children, seeing a professional twice a year is also critical to pediatric oral health. Scheduling an appointment with your local dentist ensures that your child will get the dental care that they need to maintain their adorable smile.

Schedule an appointment with our knowledgeable dental professionals. We offer both preventative and restorative dentistry solutions so little ones can get the care that they need. Feel free to also browse our webpage if you want more information before scheduling and to contact us with any remaining questions that you may have.