If you have a manual toothbrush, try to adhere to the 3 month replacement rule or sooner if you had a cold or flu. Some toothbrush manufacturers have colored center bristles. When the color fades half way, its time to replace. Some electric toothbrushes (like Sonicare) have a built-in UV sanitizer that can extend the life of replacement heads. Also a good rule of thumb for any toothbrush is to keep it out in the open after use so it can dry completely between brushings.
In most cases, I would have to answer no, but you sure can encourage and cheer them on if they succeed on their own. There are some situations where intervening is needed; like if the tooth is so loose that it becomes a choking hazard or if they are in pain. Then mom or dad or you local dentist could be very helpful. There are countless fun stories of tying floss to a tooth to “help” it come out, but that look of accomplishment on their face when they do it on their own is priceless.
Can my dentist tell if I brush and floss? YES! And so can your Hygienist. If you don’t brush and floss regularly and effectively, then what we’ll typically see visually are red/swollen/bleeding gums, more root decay, and more plaque/tartar accumulation. On x-rays, we can also detect tartar below the gum line, in-between cavities and bone loss…all indicators of the need to improve home care brushing and flossing.
Many senior citizens, unfortunately, don’t have the same visual or tactile sense as in younger years. That can mean that food particles and plaque can accumulate around teeth and gums or under dentures and often go unnoticed. Complicating that is the fact that manual dexterity tends to decrease as the years go by, which means that manual brushing can often be less effective than it used to be. As mentioned above, electronic brushing aids can be a significant benefit for all ages, especially senior citizens. Removing and rinsing dentures daily, using an electric toothbrush or even a Waterpik are all ways to improve oral health in our older years.
Some electric toothbrushes these days can be pretty hi-tech. They can vibrate and/or spin back and forth thousands of times faster than your hands can move. Some even have smart phone apps to track how well you do!
It is still important to understand the basic value of brushing and flossing manually, but if using an electric toothbrush leads to brushing longer and better, then I’m all for it !
So whether its used to stimulate excitement in a young smile, or to help brush longer in a busy middle aged smile, or to overcome issues with dexterity or vision loss in an older smile; electric toothbrushes can mean better oral health for all.
In most cases its all part of normal development. So go ahead, make a big deal! Kids get excited when they realize they are growing up. Reassure them that everything is fine. Show them their new adult tooth that may be visible. The”tooth fairy” is still pretty popular, but use your own judgement…get creative ! If you have any concerns, come in for a simple exam and maybe an x-ray picture to make sure everything is alright.
Fun brushing usually means longer brushing, and brushing longer leads to healthier smiles. Ways to make brushing more entertaining?….Sand or digital timers (there are some neat phone apps out there), rewards like stickers, or story time (even while brushing), brushing with mom or dad, or even brushing each others teeth (kids like to be helpers). Electric toothbrushes are also a great way to make brushing more exciting.
Contrary to what many believed a generation or two ago, primary, or baby teeth, are not disposable. In addition to their obvious chewing and speaking roles, they serve a very important function in maintaining the space needed for adult teeth to grow into their proper alignment. When they are neglected or lost prematurely, the space will often decrease, forcing the growing adult tooth to come in crooked…especially adult premolars and molars. Caring for baby tooth problems is thus a good way to ensure healthier adult teeth, and a good way to avoid needless pain and discomfort.
According to the CDC: Bottled water products may contain fluoride, depending on the source of the water. Fluoride can be naturally present in the original source of water (or spring), and many public water systems add fluoride to their water…both common sources for bottlers. Bottled water products labeled as de-ionized, purified, demineralized, or distilled have been treated in such a way that they contain no or only trace amounts of Fluoride, unless they specifically list Fluoride as an added ingredient.
Toothpaste comes in quite an assortment to choose from these days. Anticavity (with fluoride), Tartar Control, Peroxide, Whitening, Sensative are all terms associated with an ever growing variety of toothpaste choices. Effective teeth cleaning is more a result of the physical action of the toothbrush than of the paste you use. Everyone likes that fresh clean feel after you brush, so “taste” is a big deciding factor when buying toothpaste. Beyond that its largely personal preference.