Category Archives: teeth cleaning

Oral Cancer Risks & Preventative Measures

Oral Cancer Risks - Norwich, ConnecticutApril is Oral Cancer Awareness Month,  it is a month to recognize and spread awareness about the risks, warning signs, and the devastation that can affect those diagnosed with oral cancer. Here is an overview of oral cancer risks, symptoms, and preventative measures to decrease the odds of you or someone you love contracting this potentially deadly disease.

Key Statistics:

It’s estimated that almost 50,000 people will suffer from oral and pharynx cancer in 2017 alone. While this accounts for less than 3% of all cancer cases, it means almost 10,000 people will still lose their lives. Almost 350,000 people in the United States alone were living with oral cancer in 2014, and new cases have risen 0.6% on average over the last 5 years. Unfortunately, the survival rate for those diagnosed after five years only 64.5%.

Who is the Most Susceptible?

While men are twice as likely to develop this type of cancer as women, it can develop in anyone. Though smokers and heavy alcohol drinkers are at high risk, young non-smokers are a growing segment of the population contracting oral cancer due to the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Symptoms:

  • Eroded, crusty, rough spots; as well as thickening tissues
  • Irritation or sores that won’t go away
  • When you close your mouth, you notice your teeth fit differently
  • Difficulty when it comes to speaking, moving your tongue/jaw, swallowing or chewing
  • Numbness, pain or tenderness in the lips or mouth (along with white or red patches)

If symptoms persist beyond 2 or 3 weeks, that is a red flag to immediately make an appointment with your dentist.

Oral Cancer Risks:

  • Alcohol: Heavy drinkers make up about 70% of those suffering from oral cancer.
  • Smoking: 80% of people with oral cancer had habits such as using snuff, cigarettes or chewing tobacco.
  • Genetics: Fanconi anemia is an inherited blood condition that can develop into aplastic anemia or leukemia. Folks with this condition are 500 times as likely to develop oral cancer as people without it.
  • Age: About 66% of people with this type of cancer are over the age of 55. The average age is 62.
  • Suppression of the immune system: Using immune suppression drugs may lead to oral cancer.
  • Ultraviolet Light: Prolonged exposure to sunlight in addition to an unnutritious diet can evolve into this oral health condition.

Preventative Measures:

Fortunately, there are best practices you can adhere to in order to prevent oral cancer. The most obvious is a regular habit of brushing and flossing your teeth daily. Including green tea, cabbage, berries, garlic, tomatoes, broccoli, flaxseed, grapes, and beans in your diet can also be a huge combatant. Avoiding cigarettes and heavy alcohol abuse, as well as regular dental visits, help fight against the onset of oral cancer.

At Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we know the impact that this horrendous disease can have on individuals and their loved ones. That is why we provide an annual screening for all of our patients to minimize oral cancer risks and consistently monitor the status of your oral health. So if you haven’t scheduled your next dental examination, now is the time!

Schedule your routine cleaning or dental exam TODAY, it could save your life. Call (860) 887-2231 to schedule a time.

Everything You Need to Know About Dental X-Rays

Dental X-RaysTechnology is an integral part of modern dentistry. High-resolution imaging, laser technology, and state-of-the-art cleaning tools are all used to provide the best quality dental care possible. Among these advancements, x-ray imagery plays a prominent role in the pursuit of ideal oral care. However, some patients may not be familiar with the process and intent behind taking x-ray images of their mouth. That is precisely why we would like to explain the importance of dental x-rays as part of your oral care regimen.

Dental X-Rays Defined:

Dental x-rays are transparent images of the teeth, surrounding bone and soft tissue to get a closer look at the interior of the mouth. They help dentists detect underlying issues like cavities, bone loss, or problematic wisdom teeth that cannot be detected by mere visual examination. At your first dental appointment, your dentist will order a full-mouth x-ray called a periapical image, which provides a highly detailed view of the eWisdom Teeth Removal - Dental X-Raysntire tooth and underlying bone structure. This allows a deeper look to detect issues below the gum line. After that, bitewing x-rays are taken at each checkup to look for cavities, especially those that occur between the teeth. Younger patients might have an occlusal x-ray to look for extra teeth or teeth that haven’t yet erupted from the gum line, such as wisdom teeth. Your dentist may also do a panoramic x-ray to include a broader view that includes the jaws and sinuses.

Why Do I Need an X-Ray?

These images help dentists look for tooth decay and any damage to the underlying bone that supports the teeth. Dentists also look for any injuries that may have occurred to the tooth roots and other structures. Dental x-rays are much higher resolution than the naked eye, which allows a more thorough visual inspection. With this clearer view, your dentist can better detect oral health issues early before symptoms arise and before more serious conditions can develop, such as oral cancer. Tumors, cysts or abscesses can show up very clearly in x-rays. Children’s teeth are examined with this technology as well to keep an eye on the development of permanent teeth, making sure they are erupting straight and in the right location. Similarly, wisdom teeth are monitored through x-rays, giving your dentist a better idea of whether or not they will have to be removed or if they’re affecting your other teeth.

How Often Should X-Rays Be Administered?

Dental X-rays are scheduled when you need them based on your age, risk for disease, and signs of disease. As a norm, the bitewing x-rays are done at every checkup, but you may need them less frequently if everything checks out; or more frequently if there is a condition or area of concern the dentist is monitoring. Skipping your routine x-ray could cause your dentist to miss any early signs of tooth decay and other serious issues like tumors or oral cancer.

Are They Safe?

The x-ray pictures use a very small amount of radiation and are very safe. As an extra precaution, dentists usually advise pregnant women to wait until after the birth of their child to receive x-rays just ensure proper development of the baby. A lead bib is also applied over the patient’s clothing, covering their reproductive organs to protect the area from the minimal radiation. Simply put, dental x-rays are completely safe!

If you’re a new patient at Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we can easily set you up with your initial appointment which will include a complete overview of your oral health status. Dental x-rays will be administered as well as a thorough examination and cleaning.

To schedule your first appointment with us, call us at (860) 887-2231.

Periodontal Maintenance or a Regular Cleaning: Which Might You Need?

Periodontal MaintenanceWhen it comes to having your teeth cleaned, there are actually a couple of options to strongly consider. Most people assume that they are perfectly fine with regular cleaning every six months. However, depending on a number of different factors, a periodontal maintenance cleaning may be recommended, or even required. What is periodontal maintenance and how does it differ from regular teeth cleaning? We’d like to elaborate on the differences between these two oral care options.

Periodontal Maintenance Defined:

Periodontal Maintenance is a method of deep cleaning for your teeth. The purpose of this is to clean both above and below the gumline and down the length of each tooth. A regular cleaning only cleans above the gumline and slightly below. Because it is a more in-depth process intended as a deeper means of cleaning, periodontal maintenance should be performed every three to four months.

When is Periodontal Maintenance Necessary?

Your dentist will be able to determine if you require this form of teeth cleaning by the following factors:

  1. You have periodontal disease or gingivitis

    Deep cleaning is necessary for those with either of these conditions. A routine cleaning is not thorough enough to treat the sensitivity and severity that gingivitis or periodontal disease carry.

  2. You have bone loss, an infection, gum pockets that are deeper than four millimeters, exposed root surfaces or bleeding gums

    The above conditions will only become worse without consistent and comprehensive cleanings. Simply scheduling routine cleanings won’t address these issues that can escalate into extensive pain and/or further damage to your teeth. In regards to bleeding gums, this can sometimes be caused by lack of flossing, so consult with your dentist to discuss why this may be occurring.

Benefits:

  1. Maintains gum and bone health

    The body will destroy bone and gum tissue as colonies of bacteria cause inflammation. If inflammation occurs it can cause teeth to shift, become unstable or fall out altogether.

  2. Removes plaque and tartar

    If plaque and tartar buildup is ignored, it can cause further complications. Although proper dental hygiene at home is crucial, the eye of an experienced dentist with specialized equipment is invaluable. They will be able to detect and treat more buildup and underlying issues than you can do on your own.

  3. Monitors pocket depths

    As pockets in the gums become deeper, they will house more bacteria. This bacteria can be extremely dangerous and travel to and infect other parts of the body through the bloodstream, including the heart.

  4. Slows or halts the progression of periodontal disease

    By cleaning out this harmful bacteria more often, it can help to keep your disease from worsening.

What to Expect:

  1. Routine x-rays and exams

    Regular x-rays and exams are needed to keep an eye on the status of your oral health. The x-rays will show the extent of your gum recession and bone loss.

  2. Supragingival cleaning

    The area above the gum line is cleaned thoroughly with scaling tools.

  3. Subgingival cleaning

    This part of the process is the most essential as it removes bacteria and calculus from gum pockets as well as beneath the gumline.

  4. Root planing

    During this stage, the root of the tooth is smoothed in order to remove any remaining bacteria.

  5. Medication

    Antimicrobial or antibiotic creams may be placed into the gum pockets to help promote healing and ease any pain or discomfort that follows the cleaning.

Your teeth are a valuable asset towards living well. If you experience any of issues mentioned in this article, be sure to schedule your next dental appointment right away! Addressing complications with your teeth and oral cavity immediately is the best defense against needing periodontal maintenance in the future.

If you would like to schedule an appointment at Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry but aren’t sure if your insurance will cover it, check out the list of dental insurance plans that we accept.

 

Oral Health Resolutions: Kick-Start the New Year!

Oral Health Resolutions Norwich CTEvery year, as January begins to approach, you set goals to improve your life in the form of a ‘Resolution’. These self-promises could be anything from joining a new gym, eating healthier or traveling more often. However, there is one area that most people overlook when it comes to New Year’s resolutions; oral health. Taking care of your teeth, gums and oral cavity should be a priority throughout the entire year, so if you haven’t been doing as well as you should so far, this is your chance to make a concrete improvement! There are a few simple practices that you should consider starting in 2017 to improve your oral health for the new year and beyond. Here is a list of oral health resolutions that you can choose to incorporate into your routine.

1. Choose Healthier Foods and Drinks:

Eating healthier is a popular resolution choice for many people, but is more often in the pursuit of weight loss. Making healthier food and beverage choices are just as important for your oral health. Almonds and leafy green vegetables are excellent for promoting strong teeth as well as plenty of Vitamin D. Or, for the sweet tooths out there, simply cutting back on sugar can make a world of difference in protecting your teeth and avoiding cavities.

2. Consider Braces:

Braces certainly aren’t necessary for everybody, but consult with your dentist to see if it is a wise choice for you. Typically applied during adolescence, (but can be recommended at any age) braces are designed to straighten misaligned teeth in the effort to prevent future dental complications and create a more stunning smile. Teeth that do not erupt from the gums properly or teeth that shift over time can cause pain, discomfort, difficulty chewing, and even more susceptibility to cavities. If you are a prime candidate for braces, consider investing in them as one of your oral health resolutions.

3. Schedule Any Outstanding Dental Work:

Dental issues left unattended for long periods of time are a ticking time bomb. Any time you require extensive restorative dental work, it is advised to address it as soon as possible whether it is a new year or not. Ignoring a toothache, chipped tooth, or any other dental procedure that you have been putting off only serves to harm your long-term dental health.

4. Quit Smoking & Other Tobacco Products:

This is another example of a popular resolution for obvious reasons. In addition to the well-known damage that cigarettes and other tobacco products can do to the body, they can also cause negative cosmetic issues such as yellowed teeth and bad breath. More importantly, tobacco can create far worse complications in the mouth such as gum disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and even oral cancer which can become fatal. Since tobacco products are highly addictive, this type of resolution can be difficult to achieve. Surround yourself with a strong support system and take advantage of resources such as www.quit.com if you have trouble kicking the habit.

5. Basic Preventative Measures:

If you’re not brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day, now is the time to start! The best way to avoid painful and sometimes expensive dental treatments in your later years is to begin a consistent oral regimen early on to minimize the chances of complications down the road. Simply brushing and flossing regularly can keep your mouth free of harmful bacteria that can cause cavities, gum disease, and other oral health concerns.

6. Schedule Routine Dental Visits:

Unless it is necessary to have extensive treatments performed that could require multiple visits to your dentist, a quick exam and teeth cleaning are recommended twice a year. By keeping up with these regular preventative appointments, you can maintain a cleaner, healthier mouth while also being informed of the status of your overall oral health.

7. Update Your Dental Insurance (if applicable):

Insurance policies and benefits tend to expire starting January 1st. The very first thing on your oral health resolutions list should be to update your current dental insurance or purchase new coverage. This will ensure that you and your family’s dental needs are met and properly compensated not only for routine cleanings but in the event of a dental emergency. For those without dental coverage, have no fear! Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry offers a cost-effective alternative for uninsured patients called the “Dental Savings Club”.

In addition to other resolutions that you might make for 2017, strongly consider the recommendations above to improve and maintain ideal oral health. Our office is always more than happy to help all of our patients on their journey towards stronger teeth and a more dazzling smile! If one of your goals is to obtain whiter, more vibrant teeth, learn more about our Teeth Whitening Treatments by Clicking Here!

Gum Recession: What it is and What to Do About it

Gum RecessionWhen it comes to oral health, gums can often be overlooked, but poor maintenance of your gums can lead to its own list of complications. One of the most common is gingival recession, otherwise known as gum recession. Gum recession is usually marked by the shrinking of your gums making your teeth look longer and causing increased sensitivity in your teeth and gums. It can be painful, and if left untreated, can cause even more trouble down the road.

Causes of Gum Recession:

 

  • GUM DISEASE AND GINGIVITIS: The infection will attack the tissue in your gums. This can be caused by poor oral health, and as a result, gums will recede over time.
  • SMOKING AND TOBACCO: Both smoking and using chewing tobacco lead to poor oral health and can cause a wide range of gum-related diseases such as oral cancer.
  • AGGRESSIVE CLEANING: This can be grouped with a wide range of poor habits. Brushing too hard can cause gum tissue to wear away. Using toothpicks and alternative flossers too frequently/aggressively can also cause damage. It is recommended to brush your teeth for about two minutes twice daily, but be sure to do so gently.
  • AGING: Regardless of how efficient you are in your oral habits, gum recession can be inevitable for some individuals as they age. The phrase ‘long in the tooth’, which is used to describe old age, is related to this.
  • HORMONAL CHANGES: Rapid hormonal changes can cause gum recession, most notably during pregnancy and menopause.
  • GRINDING YOUR TEETH: Grinding and clenching teeth at night, whether it’s due to stress or poor habits, places added pressure on your gums. If you have a tendency to grind your teeth while you sleep, consider consulting with your dentist to discuss a custom-fitted mouth guard to avoid extensive gum recession.

 

How to Treat Gum Recession:

 

One of the most important factors is to be vigilant and careful in maintaining good oral hygiene. This works preventatively first, but also, regular hygiene and maintenance can increase the odds of catching gum recession early. If detected early, you can avoid expensive, and in some cases, pain-staking treatments.

Even so, if you are experiencing gum recession, you may need to re-think your brushing and flossing routines. There are many softer toothbrush options available as well as electric brushes that will automatically stop if too much pressure is applied while brushing. Toothpaste designed specifically for sensitive teeth and gums is also available in just about any drug or grocery store.

If you do require treatment for receding gums, however, you will need to work with your dentist alongside a periodontist who specializes in gums. They may try deep cleaning and root planing in order to curb the recession, but in some cases, a surgery known as a gum graft might be necessary.

A routine check-up at Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry can help you determine if you show signs of premature gum recession. To consult with one of our dental professionals, make an appointment today by calling us at (860) 887-2231. You can even print out all necessary Patient Forms prior to your visit with us simply by clicking here!

Surviving Thanksgiving: The Best & Worst Foods for Your Teeth

ThanksgivingThanksgiving is the perfect time of year for indulging in all of your favorite seasonal foods like pumpkin pie, roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. If you have been really working hard toward your health and fitness goals, this is a time that you deserve to leave your worries behind and enjoy all of the deliciousness that the holiday brings.

There’s a big difference between calculated cheating on your dieting, and throwing total caution to the wind and wrecking your routine or all of the progress you’ve made. Did you know that there are better and worse foods for your teeth? Your oral health should be just as important to keep into consideration during the holidays as your waistline, so here are five of the best and worst foods for your teeth on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Foods that are GOOD for Your Teeth and Oral Health:

 

1) Turkey

When in doubt load up on protein. The protein in turkey makes it really filling, plus the protein, calcium, and vitamin D that are required to make your bones and your teeth grow strong.

2) Dairy

Dairy is fortified with calcium which makes it awesome for your teeth. Think about the milk that is used in your mashed potatoes. Dairy is low in both sugar and acid, so it won’t wear away your teeth. For an even healthier option, consider using skim milk in your recipes as it contains less fat and calories than whole milk, but contains all the essential nutrients.

3) Cranberries

Cranberries and cranberry sauce are high in vitamins A, C, beta-carotene, and potassium, so they are packed with nutrients. They also block the bacteria in your mouth that build up to form plaque. But be careful…for many people add sugar to their cranberry dishes to sweeten it further; which can be harmful to your teeth’s enamel.

4) Orange Veggies

Deep orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamins and minerals. The vitamin A in these foods helps our body build tooth enamel. The smooth, crunchy texture of carrots can also scrub excess plaque as you eat it to provide a slick, clean feeling on the surface of your teeth.

5) Greens

Green vegetables are healthy for you for some obvious reasons, but they are great for your teeth too. The vitamin A and C concentration in green vegetables like green beans and salads help keep your gums strong and protect them from oral cancer. They also help boost your immune system which can come in handy in the event that you are stricken with a condition such as an infected tooth.

Thanksgiving Foods that are BAD for Your Teeth and Oral Health:

 

1) Dried Fruits

Dried fruits like apricots, dried cranberries, apple slices, are really similar to gooey caramels and other soft candies when it comes to your oral health. They contain highly concentrated sugars that will stick to your teeth, and create bacterial build up much like Halloween candy.

2) Dinner rolls

Dinner rolls can break down and easily get stuck between your teeth and cause a buildup of bacteria. Since starches break down and turn into sugars, that bacterial development is not good for your teeth.

3) Pumpkin pie

Pumpkin pie is another delicious and sugary dessert that isn’t the best when it comes to your teeth. Though pumpkin has some redeeming qualities in that it contains orange vegetables that are great in terms of vitamins and nutrients, the sugar and the graham cracker crust can get stuck between your teeth and cause a buildup of bacteria.

4) Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is another one of those gooey treats that should be consumed in moderation. Although pecans are a great source of protein and healthy fats, the bad far outweighs the good with this dessert. The sticky insides of the pie and the caramelized pecans are loaded with sugars that will stick to your teeth.

5) Macaroni and Cheese

We mentioned that dairy is good for fortifying your teeth with calcium, but the starches in macaroni and cheese are not. The starches from the macaroni noodles can also easily find their way between your teeth which can be difficult to remove.

No one says you have to sacrifice all of your favorite Thanksgiving staples, however, it is advised to keep in mind the effects that different foods can have on your teeth and overall oral health.

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry on Facebook!

Keeping a Clean Toothbrush & Knowing When to Replace It

Clean ToothbrushYour toothbrush may very well be the most important tool you have to maintain your oral health. Toothpaste, mouthwash, and dental checkups are all important, but they are pieces of a puzzle that can’t come together if you do not take care of your toothbrush properly. Continue reading to learn how to keep a clean toothbrush and also know when it’s time to replace it to maximize your oral health care.

Why is it important to keep a clean toothbrush?

As you use the toothbrush, bacteria, as many as 10 million in one brush, build up, and although they are not too much of a threat in and of themselves, they can cause issues when they come into contact with gums and other areas of the body where they can multiply. This can lead to problems such as gum disease and bad breath, which can require intervention by a dentist if they get serious enough.

How should I properly store my toothbrush?

Make sure that you are not just throwing your toothbrush in a drawer, bag or cup when you are done using it, as this allows mold and other microorganisms to grow in between the bristles and on other areas of the brush. Instead, store the toothbrush upright in a rack where it has an opportunity to dry off fully before the next use. If you see any signs of mold, you should clean the toothbrush immediately using some of the methods suggested below, especially the sanitizers.

How can I clean my toothbrush?

Start by simply washing it with tap water, but feel free to use a dishwasher or an antibacterial mouthwash if you have an illness or are trying to keep it extra clean. If you feel that your toothbrush is truly becoming dirty, you can use a special cleaner or sanitizer that is offered at most pharmacies.

How do I know when it’s time to replace my toothbrush?

Eventually, you will get to a point where just cleaning isn’t enough anymore, and you have to purchase a new toothbrush. Manual toothbrushes must be replaced every three to four months, or whenever the bristles become noticeably frayed. Electric toothbrushes can last longer, but you still have to replace the brush attachment as often as a manual toothbrush. Frayed bristles become ineffective in cleaning the hard-to-reach areas of your teeth, so take notice when your brush starts to show signs of aging.

Toothbrush maintenance isn’t incredibly difficult but is important to your overall oral health just the same. You will be happy to learn that at every dental cleaning that you schedule with Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, you automatically receive a goodie bag filled with oral care products, including a brand new toothbrush! If you’re due for your bi-annual teeth cleaning, schedule your appointment today by calling (860) 887-2231.

Your Back-to-School Dental Overview

Back-to-SchoolIt’s that time of year again! The time of year that we trade in the carefree days of summer for the hectic back-to-school rat race. There are many things pulling you in every direction during the latter part of summer, but it is as important now as ever that you take preventative steps against dental-related issues.

The following are a few tips to help your child maintain good dental health as the new school year begins:

Schedule an Appointment:

By scheduling an appointment before the school year starts, your child will not have to miss out on learning in the classroom. There are even some school districts which require your child to have a dental exam before starting school. It is recommended that individuals, especially children, visit the dentist every six months for routine cleanings and check-ups. If you visit in the month leading up to the beginning of school your next six-month visit should fall around winter break.

Prevent Missed Days:

Maybe you forgot to schedule that appointment before school started. That’s ok. Schedule appointments before or after school to help minimize the amount of time your child is out of school for dental related issues.

Supervise Dental Hygiene:

Instill good habits in your child, such as brushing after waking up in the morning, before bed at night, and flossing between meals. Teaching and enforcing these habits at a young age could help prevent larger issues later in life. Take the time to explain the importance of proper dental hygiene at a young age. It is also recommended to supervise the way your children are brushing their teeth until you are confident that they are capable of doing it correctly on their own…(and not simply running the brush under the water to trick you)

Wear a Mouth Guard While Playing Sports:

The most common types of sports-related injuries are dental related. Young athletes are encouraged to wear a mouth guard to protect against injuries such as broken teeth, fractured jaws, and concussions among others. Make sure your child wears one not only during their games but also during practices. You can learn more about the importance of mouth guards and the different options available here.

Pack a Healthy Lunch:

The foods your child eats also affects their dental health. Pack fruits and veggies for some vitamin-rich energy boost. A new study also found that eating cheese and other dairy products helps to protect teeth against cavities. Try to avoid sugary drinks and soda while packing their lunch.

The last thing you want for your child is to pull them out of school for any number of days due to preventable and unnecessary dental appointments. Following these tips and making sure your child sticks to a twice-a-day schedule of brushing and flossing can help prevent tooth decay and give your child a bright smile to show off during the entire school year, and beyond!

For high school students or young adults who wish to start their new school year off with a bang, contact Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry to inquire about our Teeth Whitening Services. Our safe and effective whitening process will have you lighting up homeroom by the time the first bell rings!

Halloween Candy: Monitoring Your Child’s Sugar Intake

Halloween candy

Halloween is a holiday that tends to be fun for parents and children alike. Children get to dress up as a character of their choosing, decorate the house with jack-o-lanterns, and go out trick-or-treating around the neighborhood; parents, in turn, get to participate in all of these activities with their kids (and maybe sneak in some fun Halloween parties as well).

However, despite all of the fun reasons to enjoy Halloween, there is one thing that parents need to look out for: their children’s sugar intake. With all of the readily available candy and treats, it can be easy to lose track of how much candy your children eat, but going overboard on sugar can cause serious problems down the road.

Consider the most popular types of Halloween candy, which children are most likely to encounter while trick-or-treating:

• Starburst chews: One serving (8 pieces) contains 23 grams of sugar

• Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkin: One pumpkin contains 16 grams of sugar

• “Fun Size” Mounds bar: One bar contains 21 grams of sugar

• Regular Size Snickers Bar: Contains 30 grams of sugar

• One Bag of Skittles: Packs a whopping 47 grams of sugar

To put those amounts into perspective, 57 grams of sugar equals ¼ cup – so by consuming just three “fun size” Mounds bars, a child has already consumed more sugar than can fit into the average human hand.

So what’s the problem with overdoing it on candy? All of the sugar present in it leads to tooth decay in the form of cavities, as well as gum disease that develops from a buildup of plaque, which is also caused by excessive amounts of sugar. Children are hit especially hard by this, as their teeth are still developing, and tooth decay at such an early age can cause permanent dental problems. Add to that the fact that your children will likely be eating Halloween candy for days or even weeks after Halloween is over, and you are faced with a real problem – that of your child’s dental health.

What can you do to protect your teeth sugary Halloween candy? As always, follow proper dental care procedures: make sure that your children brush their teeth twice a day, floss, and rinse with mouthwash. However, take extra steps towards making sure that they do this after eating candy to immediately remove any traces of excess sugar, especially before they go to bed. And, of course, monitor their candy intake to prevent them from overeating. With these steps, you can keep the fun in Halloween without risking your children’s dental health.

The best way to ensure that sugary Halloween candy doesn’t get the best of your oral health is to schedule a dental cleaning shortly after the holiday. Contact Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry to schedule your cleaning and combat the aftermath of Halloween!

Start Transitioning into ‘Back-to-School’ Mode!

Back to schoolAlthough it seems like summer has just started, fall will be here before you know it. That means it’s time to start planning for the kids to go back to school. The transition from summer break to classroom activities can often be difficult for young children. But, there are some ways parents can make the transition easier.

Start adjusting to the new schedule beforehand

Part of the fun of summer is not having to adhere to any set schedule. Kids can stay up late into the night and sleep as late as they want in the morning. But, that all changes when school is in session. So, a few weeks before school begins, start getting the kids back into the proper sleeping routine. That way the change will not be so abrupt once school starts.

Be informed

This step is especially important for parents of children who will be attending new schools in the fall. New situations are not quite as scary when you are well informed and ready for anything. Some ways to be informed about the new school year include:

–       Learning the daily schedule

–       Knowing if the school provides lunch or if you will need to pack one

–       Knowing if special clothes are needed for PE or other specialty classes

–       Learning the best route to school

–       Knowing what school supplies are needed

–       Knowing the school absentee policy

Prepare your kids’ brains for learning

Learning does not need to be hardcore in the summer, but some light learning is essential for information retention. Encourage your kids to read all summer. Other ways to start stimulating your kids’ brain cells include working with flash cards or drilling some spelling words. Do not worry, spending just 10 or 15 minutes a day will be sufficient, so the kids will still have plenty of time to play.

Take a trip to the dentist

Everyone always thinks about taking the kids to get their before-school physicals, but most parents tend to overlook making dental appointments before the school year commences. But, having a complete dental exam and cleaning before the school year starts is a great idea. A fresh healthy smile can give children an overall feeling of wellness and a positive self-image. It is also a good idea to consider a teeth-whitening appointment as well to enhance our young adult children preparing for their senior year of high school or college. Nothing says accomplishment better than a bright healthy smile.

Taking a few small steps will make the transition to a new school year smooth as ice for your kids. Don’t forget to make your dental appointment at Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry to complete the back-to-school preparation. You will love your kids’ healthy smile on that first day of school!