Philosopher Will Durant wrote, "…We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." While that observation could aptly apply to a great deal of life, it's certainly true of dental health. Strong, healthy teeth and gums are largely the result of good oral habits started in early childhood.
Here are some important dental care habits you'll want to instill in your child, as well as yourself.
Practice and teach daily oral hygiene. Keeping your child's mouth clean helps prevent future dental disease. It should begin before teeth appear by wiping your baby's gums with a clean, wet cloth after every feeding to keep decay-causing bacteria from growing. Once teeth appear, switch to brushing with just a smear of toothpaste until age 2, when you can increase to a pea-sized amount. As your child matures, be sure to teach them to brush and floss for themselves, especially by modeling the behavior for them.
Begin dental visits early. Besides daily hygiene, regular professional dental care is one of the best habits for keeping healthy teeth and gums. Plan to begin your child's dental visits by age 1 when some of their teeth may have already come in. And by beginning early, it's more likely your child will view dental visits as a routine part of life, a habit they'll more likely continue into adulthood.
Keep your oral bacteria to yourself. Many strains of bacteria, especially harmful ones, don't occur spontaneously in a child's mouth. They come from the outside environment, most often from their parents or caregivers. To avoid transmitting disease-causing bacteria from you to your baby don't share eating utensils, don't lick a pacifier to clean it, and avoid kissing infants (whose immune systems are immature) on the mouth.
Encourage your teenager to avoid bad habits. Hopefully when your children reach adolescence, they've already developed good oral habits. But there are some bad habits you should also help your teen avoid. While piercings are a popular expression among this age group, teens should avoid tongue and lip bolts and other piercings that could damage teeth. A tobacco habit can also have negative consequences for dental health including increased decay or gum disease risk and cancer.
If you would like more information on dental care for children, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”
If you could straighten your smile with no one noticing, would you do it? Many adults and teens have done just that with Invisalign clear aligners, the modern, comfortable and quick way to correct many orthodontic issues. At Johansen Dental in Chandler, AZ, Dr. Grant Johansen offers this inventive and practically invisible system of customized aligners as a great alternative to metal braces. They may be best for your smile, too.
What are Invisalign aligners?
Custom-made according to a three-dimensional digital scan, Invisalign appliances cover top and bottom teeth completely but are so thin and transparent they are virtually unnoticeable. Additionally, the aligners are smooth, causing no oral irritation, and they are completely removable.
Just like conventional braces, the 18 to 30 pairs of aligners move teeth into better functioning and better-looking positions. However, unlike traditional orthodontics, the Invisalign system takes just about a year on average rather than the two to two and a half years (or more) that metal braces normally take to complete treatment.
In the end, an Invisalign smile is healthy because it is easy to clean, and of course, because treatment resolves a wide variety of bite and misalignment issues.
Who can get Invisalign?
Many people, from older teens to elder adults, qualify. Dr. Grant will examine your teeth and gums to devise a treatment plan just right for your particular case. Of course, complex problems may still require more traditional orthodontics; however, Invisalign works for many mild to moderate smile issues such as:
- Open bite
- Tooth rotation and tooth tipping
Best of all, Invisalign is great for people who want ease of oral hygiene (just take the aligners out and brush and floss), no dietary limitations and the option to remove their appliances for events such as proms, weddings, and professional presentations. For treatment to move forward as planned, patients wear their appliances for a minimum of 20 to 22 hours daily, and they check in with Dr. Grant every month or so.
Get a new look
And, it'll happen discreetly. Find out more about today's most innovative clear aligner system. Contact Johansen Dental in Chandler, AZ today for your personalized Invisalign consultation with Dr. Grant. Our office team can be reached at (480) 345-0530.
March is national nutrition month—a good time to look at the connection between diet and oral health. You probably know that sugar is a major culprit in dental problems. This is because bacteria feed on sugars and create acid that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Avoiding sugary foods and drinks as much as possible is a good rule of thumb, but there are some food choices that actually benefit your oral health. Here are nutrition tips that will help keep your smile healthy for life:
Say cheese. Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt contain calcium and phosphorus to build teeth and strengthen the supporting bone. And cheese neutralizes acid in the mouth to help fight cavities and gum disease.
Choose lean proteins. Lean meats, poultry, fish, milk and eggs help strengthen teeth. They are rich in protein and phosphorous, which is essential for building strong bones and teeth.
Eat a rainbow. Fruits and vegetables provide many key nutrients, including vitamins necessary for healing, bone strength, and healthy gums. Besides being nutritious, fruits and veggies scrub your teeth while you chew and stimulate the production of saliva, which is necessary for neutralizing acid and rebuilding enamel.
Nibble on nuts. Nuts contain protein, fiber and healthy fats. They also contain essential vitamins and minerals to keep teeth strong and gums healthy. Further, chewing nuts stimulates saliva production, lowering the risk of tooth decay.
Go for the grains. Studies have shown that eating too many refined carbohydrates such as white bread and sweet bakery items can lead to chronic inflammation, which is a factor in gum disease, heart disease, stroke and other conditions. In contrast, eating complex carbohydrates such as whole grains may reduce inflammation in the body.
What you put in your body can play a big role in preventing tooth decay and gum disease, so choose foods that provide the right building blocks for optimal dental and overall health.
Your smile isn’t the same without healthy gums—neither are your teeth, for that matter. So, maintaining your gums by protecting them from periodontal (gum) disease is a top priority.
Gum disease is caused by bacterial plaque, a thin biofilm that collects on teeth and is not removed due to poor oral hygiene practices. Infected gums become chronically inflamed and begin to weaken, ultimately losing their firm attachment to the teeth. This can result in increasing voids called periodontal pockets that fill with infection. The gums can also shrink back (recede), exposing the tooth roots to further infection.
Although gum disease treatment techniques vary, the overall goal is the same: remove the bacterial plaque fueling the infection. This most often involves a procedure called scaling with special hand instruments to manually remove plaque and calculus (tartar). If the infection has spread below the gum line we may need to use a procedure called root planing in which we scrape or “plane” plaque and calculus from the root surfaces.
As we remove plaque, the gums become less inflamed. As the inflammation subsides we often discover more plaque and calculus, requiring more treatment sessions. Hopefully, our efforts bring the disease under control and restorative healing to the gums.
But while gum tissue can regenerate on its own, it may need some assistance if the recession was severe. This assistance can be provided through surgical procedures that graft donor tissues to the recession site. There are a number of microsurgical approaches that are all quite intricate to perform, and will usually require a periodontist (a specialist in gum structures) to achieve the most functional and attractive result.
While we have the advanced techniques and equipment to treat and repair gum disease damage, the best approach is to try to prevent the disease from occurring at all. Prevention begins with daily brushing and flossing, and continues with regular dental cleanings and checkups.
And if you do notice potential signs of gum disease like swollen, reddened or bleeding gums, call us promptly for an examination. The sooner we diagnose and begin treatment the less damage this progressive disease can do to your gums—and your smile.
If you would like more information on protecting your gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor article “Periodontal Plastic Surgery.”
Discover the many cosmetic issues that dental veneers can greatly improve.
There is a reason so many people are turning to our Chandler, AZ, dentist Dr. Grant Johansen for porcelain veneers. These cosmetic restorations are an easy and minimally invasive way to improve the appearance of your smile. If you are looking to get a smile that’s perfect, then it might be time to talk to your dentist about veneers.
What are dental veneers?
These thin tooth-colored shells are designed to cover the entire front surface of your teeth to alter the shape, size, color or alignment of your smile. Imagine being able to finally have your ideal smile. Porcelain veneers can mask a variety of dental issues including:
- Severe stains and discolorations
- Cracks, chips or fractures
- Misshapen or malformed teeth
- Small gaps between teeth
- Minor overlapping or crowding
Just by getting dental veneers you can easily enhance your appearance and give you the self-esteem boost you deserve. Why are so many people turning to porcelain veneers?
- They are designed to look just like natural tooth enamel. The porcelain even mimics the way enamel reflects light so the only person who will know that you have veneers is you.
- While these veneers look ultra-thin, they are still very strong and can last several years before needing to be replaced.
- Porcelain veneers are also stain resistant, which means that they will remain brilliant and white.
- This is a more conservative way to improve and enhance your smile because we only have to remove trace amounts of enamel from the front of your teeth to make room for your veneers.
Once we deem you the ideal candidate for veneers it will only take two visits to the office to get your brand new smile. So, don’t you owe it to yourself to finally have the smile you’ve always wanted? We think so. If you are ready to learn more about dental veneers then it’s a good time to schedule an appointment with your dentist Dr. Grant Johansen at Johansen Dental in Chandler, AZ.
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