Don’t Try This At Home! The Dangers of At-Home Plaque Scrapers

woman sticking out her tongue

Each year more oral health product manufacturers introduce dental instruments to the consumer market that promote the do-it-yourself approach. One of these recently popular tools is a dental scaler, also called a plaque scraper.

The one thing these products are not advertising: improper use of these products can easily harm your gums and teeth.

How Dental Cleaning Tools Work

During your checkup and professional cleaning at a dental office, the dental care professionals will use small dental tools to scrape off the tartar from your teeth. These small tools are pointed at one end. Some are curved to reach around the rounded surfaces of your teeth. During dental scaling, the plaque is removed from the tooth surface and underneath the gum line.

Removing plaque is vital to the cleaning process. When plaque is allowed to build up on the teeth, it can cause issues such as gum disease and tooth decay. The bacteria found in plaque release acids as they feed. These acids break down your tooth enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to cavities and decay. Dental cleanings are great to use if you’re also considering dental fillings as well.

The Dangers of DIY Scraping

While plaque needs to be removed to care for your teeth properly, it should never be attempted at home. Plaque scraping should always be performed by a dental professional, a dental hygienist or a dentist.

  • Gum Recession. Because plaque scrapers are sharp, improper use can damage the delicate gum tissue. Trauma to the gum tissue of any kind is not only painful, but it can also lead to gum recession.
  • Tooth Sensitivity. If your affected gum tissue lowers and exposes the roots of the teeth, you will begin to experience extreme tooth sensitivity.
  • Infection. Improper use of plaque scrapers can result in infection. Tartar can be accidentally pushed under the gum line, leading to gum issues and infection.
  • Other Mouth Injuries. Plaque scrapers are incredibly sharp. These tools are specialized medical tools, and it takes extensive training to learn how to use them safely and correctly. Improper use could result in injuries to your cheeks, tongue, or other soft tissues inside your mouth.

Managing Plaque At Home

While it is not recommended to use a plaque scaler at home, there are many ways to keep your teeth healthy in between professional dental cleanings.

  • Floss. Using dental floss to clean between your teeth once a day is the best way to ensure you are thoroughly cleaning every surface inside your mouth.
  • Brush. Regularly brush your teeth using a steady and calm motion for two minutes, twice a day. Brushing your teeth about 30 minutes after each meal will help to reduce the amount of plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth.
  • Plaque Specific Toothpaste. Using a fluoride toothpaste or a tartar control specific toothpaste will help to repair any damage to your teeth. Fluoride works to protect your enamel against acid and decay.
  • Eat Raw Vegetables. The simple act of chewing raw vegetables can help to clean your teeth when brushing is not available.
  • Mouthrinse. Using mouthwash can help to clean your teeth in the hard-to-reach spaces inside your mouth.
  • Invest in an Electric Toothbrush. Sonic vibrations from an electric toothbrush allow for a superior clean because of their ability to perform a secondary cleansing action for removing plaque easily.

Managing Plaque Professionally

If you are concerned about plaque buildup on your teeth, visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist can examine your mouth to determine if you have plaque, tartar or other dental problems that need to be addressed. If necessary, plaque can be removed safely by a trained and licensed dental hygienist. If you’re worried about plaque buildup, be sure to schedule an appointment with Cherrywood Dental Associates today.

10 Last Minute Tooth-Inspired Stocking Stuffers

colorful christmas stockings hanging on fireplace with healthy treats inside

Looking for a few last-minute ideas to fill the stockings you have hung with care? Here are a few great last-minute gift ideas. Getting your family excited about taking proper care of their oral hygiene is half the battle, so add these ideas to your gift list and make dental hygiene fun again.

A Fancy New Toothbrush

Everyone loves a new toothbrush. For the holidays, pick one that will get your kids excited about brushing their teeth and into the holiday spirit. Instead of their usual pink or blue toothbrush, opt for a unique option that gets them excited about oral hygiene. The toothbrush aisle is full of character brushes, brushes that light up and even brushes that play music while you clean your teeth! Be sure to choose a soft-bristled toothbrush with the appropriately sized head for smaller mouths.

A Tooth Timer

If brushing for a full two minutes is a challenge for your kids, consider getting a small timer to keep in the bathroom. Brushing for a full two minutes can seem like a long time when the concept of time is still a work-in-progress. A tooth timer can ensure your kids are brushing for long enough and will make brushing into a game.

Wacky Toothpaste Flavors

Kids don’t always share the minty-fresh toothpaste preferences that adults care for. Try finding exciting new flavors for their dental stocking stuffers. Toothpaste now comes in a variety of flavors including watermelon, citrus, cinnamon, ginger, strawberry, and more. Changing up the toothpaste flavor daily or even weekly can give your child something to look forward to while brushing their teeth. When it comes to kids, a little extra motivation can go a long way towards keeping up healthy habits.

Children’s Books

Reading is essential for the development of any child, so why not encourage your child to keep up good habits with a dentist-related children’s book? You can choose from titles that educate children on proper oral hygiene habits or find a book that teaches them about their overall health.

Sugar-Free Chewing Gum With Xylitol

Chewing sugar-free Xylitol gum can help in the production of saliva which washes away trapped food particles from your teeth. Gum containing Xylitol has been proven to help reduce cavities, making it a must-have stocking stuffer for the entire family.


Yes, chocolate can be good for your teeth! With the recent findings, it’s now more true than ever, that chocolate is a superfood for your teeth. While it should still be enjoyed in moderation, chocolate is far better for your teeth than other candy options that are sticky, gooey, or chewy.

Sports Mouthguard

Does your child play sports? If so, consider getting a mouthguard for Christmas, so their teeth are adequately protected. Even if they already have one, a new color or style can get kids excited about staying in the habit of wearing one.

Toothbrush Holder

Is your child often sleeping over at their friends’ houses or spending time at sleepaway camp? A colorful toothbrush travel case will make it easy for your child to remember to pack their toothbrush wherever they go. As a bonus, a toothbrush holder will keep their toothbrush clean and bacteria free.

Lip Balm

The ideal gift that can be used by anyone regardless of age, lip balm makes for the perfect stocking stuffer. During winter, our lips are one part of our body that is always exposed to the cold weather, so it’s vital to maintain their moisture.

Reusable Straws

Using a straw is a great way to protect your teeth, especially when sipping on drinks that may be acidic or prone to staining your teeth. One of the main reasons that using a straw will benefit your teeth is simply because it reduces the amount of contact between beverages and your teeth. Reusable silicone straws are the perfect gift for the entire family to make drinking beverages more fun.

Scheduling Your Post-Holiday Exams

Give your child the gift of good oral hygiene with fun, but practical dental stocking stuffers. These colorful, lively gifts will make routine habits like brushing and flossing seem much more fun. After the holiday season is finished, be sure to schedule your first dental exams of 2019 with Cherrywood Dental Associates.

Should I Be Using an Electric Toothbrush?

Hand holding electric toothbrush

From a young age, you have been taught the importance of properly brushing your teeth. Despite your best efforts, though, you may not be brushing as well as you would like to. Electric and manual toothbrushes each have their own benefits. However, bristles on manual toothbrushes cannot reach to remove all of the plaque and tartar buildup that resides between your teeth.

Do you use an electric toothbrush? If not, what are you waiting for?

Benefits of An Electric Toothbrush

Electric toothbrush bristles vibrate or rotate to help you remove plaque buildup from your teeth and gums. The vibration allows for more micro-movements each time you move your toothbrush across your teeth. An electric toothbrush will enable you to reach further thanks to the combination of motion and equal pressure from the brush itself.

Equal pressure is vital – far too many manual brushers do a good job on one side of their mouth, while the other side suffers. A right-handed person often brushes the left side of their mouth more thoroughly with a manual toothbrush and vice versa.

Superior Plaque Removal

A review of studies showed that, in general, electric toothbrushes do decrease more plaque and gingivitis than manual toothbrushes. After three months of continuous use, plaque was reduced by 21 percent and gingivitis by 11 percent. Oscillating (rotating) toothbrushes also seem to work better than just vibrating toothbrushes.

Ease of Use

Regular manual toothbrushes require you to move them back and forth along your teeth, whereas electric toothbrushes do most of the work for you. That means you need only to guide it along the surfaces of your teeth, making them easier to use for people with limited mobility. Many people find this method of brushing easier. Likewise, they may be helpful for anyone with mobility limits including those suffering from:

  • Carpal tunnel
  • Arthritis
  • Developmental disabilities

Technology Features

Generally rich in technology and advanced features, some electric toothbrushes can even enable you to improve your brushing habits. Most come with convenient features like a brush head or toothbrush holder, bathroom counter storage units and travel chargers.

Some high-tech features may include:

  • Numerous brushing modes specialized for sensitive teeth
  • Whitening benefits
  • Gum-massaging action
  • Pressure sensors to signal when you are brushing too hard
  • Timers to help you track of how long you are brushing each quadrant of your mouth
  • Digital reminders to replace your brush head
  • Oscillating or rotating sonic technology
  • Multiple brush head compatibility so you can choose which type of bristle design you prefer

Fun For Kids

It can be challenging to get your kids excited about brushing their teeth. For those children who are less-than-interested in their dental hygiene, an electric toothbrush may be the answer you have been in search of. If an electric toothbrush is more engaging to your child, it can help accomplish good oral cleaning and establish healthy habits for children. The more you are able to instill healthy brushing habits at a young age, the more those habits will benefit your child as they mature.

Ideal For Orthodontic Patients

Electric toothbrushes are known to be particularly helpful for patients going through orthodontic treatment. Appliances such as braces make brushing difficult, so an electric toothbrush allows a more thorough clean of those hard-to-reach places. If you or your child find it difficult to clean their mouth while having orthodontics, an electric toothbrush may be able to improve their oral health during treatment.

Are you interested in switching to an electric toothbrush, but are overwhelmed at the options? Cherrywood Dental Associates is here to help! Ask us for a personalized recommendation at your next checkup to ensure you find the best toothbrush for your teeth.


Straightening Your Teeth (Again!) With Invisalign

Hand with blue glove holding medical oral orthodontics Invisible

Many people have had traditional orthodontic treatment when they were younger, and unfortunately, for one reason or another, their teeth have shifted back to their original position. Sound too familiar? Luckily orthodontic treatments have come a long way, and Invisalign is there for those who have experienced wandering teeth over the years.

Why You May Need Orthodontic Treatment for the Second Time

For one reason or another, most young adults stop wearing their removable retainers after their orthodontic treatment is complete. A decade later, that bad habit of not wearing them can catch up with you. Your formerly straight teeth can look crooked again because of these oral health issues.

Shifting Teeth

The most common cause of shifting teeth after braces is not wearing your retainers for the recommended amount of time following orthodontic treatment. The natural progression of teeth causes them to migrate back towards their original positions, causing your teeth to become crooked again over time.

The best way to avoid your teeth from shifting back to their original positions before braces is to continue to wear your retainers for as long as it is comfortable to do so. Generally, after the first year, you will be able to reduce your retainer wear down to only a few nights a week.

Having permanent or “bonded” wire retainers placed on the inside of the front teeth is one considerable way to avoid having to worry about your teeth shifting out of alignment as a result of not wearing your retainers.

Teeth Grinding

Bruxism, or chronic grinding of your teeth, can force pressure on your alignment. Clenching or grinding can put stress on your teeth and gums, causing them to shift into different positions. To help break these habits, an orthodontist or dentist can provide you with oral devices that help to keep your teeth in place while avoiding any damage bruxism may cause.

Bad Habits

Some habits can follow us around for years. Mostly unconscious, habits that can contribute to an ongoing misalignment of the jaw and crowding of the teeth are sometimes referred to as “myofunctional” habits. Things like breathing through the mouth, tongue thrusting, and reverse swallowing can be hard habits to break, and will also cause once-aligned teeth to become misaligned after orthodontic treatment.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Straighter teeth make it much easier to maintain a healthy, beautiful smile. Poor oral hygiene will make your teeth and gums susceptible to cavities and gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to infection, soft tissue damage, receding gums, and bone and tooth loss. Losing a tooth and not replacing it with a dental implant will cause the surrounding teeth to shift out of alignment to compensate for the space.

Illness or Injury

Facial trauma, such as a jaw injury or a mouth injury can have the effect of moving teeth out of place. Traumas are the most common cause of the most severe instances of crooked teeth. Losing teeth or having your jaw shift due to a forceful injury will create the effect of having your remaining teeth slowly shift to make up for the empty space over time.

Straighten Your Smile For Good

If you’ve already gone through traditional metal braces, but your teeth have shifted since your treatment ended, you may get even better results from Invisalign. Not only can Invisalign help your teeth get back on track, but your smile will have a better chance of staying perfect after your Invisalign treatment is over.

See the long-lasting results of Invisalign for yourself by scheduling a consultation appointment with Cherrywood Dental Associates today.

10 Fun Historical Facts About The Tooth Fairy

cartoon of tooth fairy and tooth

Losing a tooth as a child is considered a right of passage in many different cultures, and parents throughout history have created rituals to celebrate with their children. The legend of the Tooth Fairy is one of the most popular and iconic childhood stories in the world.

Here are 10 fun facts about our favorite dainty-dental-dealer.

She’s Not Always a Fairy

Worldwide, the Tooth Fairy varies in appearance. The majority of baby-tooth traditions around the world are connected to rodents. Depending on the culture and the nationality, the Tooth Fairy can be a squirrel, a mouse, or a rat. Cultural diversity is one of the things that make the Tooth Fairy so unique, and no matter the shape she embodies, the Tooth Fairy is one of the most magnificent magical creatures for children around the world.

She’s Younger Than You Think

When compared to Santa Claus, who dates back to ancient history, the Tooth Fairy only dates back to the early 1900s. She was first mentioned in an article in the Chicago Daily Tribune’s “Household Hints” column from September 1908. The story was further popularized by Esther Watkins Arnold in the 1927 play for children, The Tooth Fairy.

The Longstanding Celebration of Lost Teeth

While the specific concept of the Tooth Fairy is recent, cultures around the world have been commemorating lost baby teeth for hundreds of years. In the 13th century, the Middle Eastern tradition of throwing a baby tooth into the sky and praying for a better tooth to replace it was a common practice. In Turkey, Mexico, and Greece, children traditionally toss their baby teeth onto the roof of their house.

Her Rates Are Subject to Market Fluctuation

Insurance group Delta Dental has been tracking the average Tooth Fairy rewards since 1998 and comparing their results to stock market activity. Their research has found that in at least 12 of the past 15 years, trends in Tooth Fairy payouts have correlated to movement in the S&P 500. This can only indicate one thing – that the Tooth Fairy takes her stocks and investments very seriously.

She Visits Each Child About 20 Times

Children have 20 baby teeth that will fall out over the span of a few years.

The Vikings Had One Too

The Vikings, who pioneered many of the expeditions that lead to the discovery of the new world, seem to have developed something similar to today’s modern Tooth Fairy. While researching the 13th-century Scandinavian myths and poetry, The Norse Eddas, historians were able to transcribe the Viking language and successfully reference something that the Vikings called tand-fe´or tooth fee. In these writings, they described a ritual that took place between the parents and the child, in which the mother would offer a small payment to the child in exchange for its first tooth.

She Had Her Own Museum

Located in the split-level home of Dr. Rosemary Wells in Deerfield, IL, the Tooth Fairy Museum showcased art, books, dolls, and other Tooth Fairy memorabilia. Dr. Wells took it upon herself to become America’s foremost Tooth Fairy expert and even had her own business cards labeled with “Tooth Fairy Consultant.” Unfortunately, the museum closed following Dr. Wells’ death in 2000.

She Has Her Own Holiday

National Tooth Fairy Day is celebrated annually on February 28nd. However, other sources and calendars also list the holiday on August 22nd. With such a busy schedule, surely the Tooth Fairy deserves two holidays a year, right?

She Collects A LOT of Teeth

The Tooth Fairy collects about 300,000 teeth from children all over the world every night. It’s believed that the Tooth Fairy uses these teeth to build the fairy community where she lives.

She Helps To Promote Healthy Habits

Possibly the best thing the Tooth Fairy does is to help parents promote good dental hygiene from a young age. For years, many parents have told their kids that a perfect and healthy tooth is much more valuable to the Tooth Fairy than a decayed one. Schedule your child’s next dental exam with Cherrywood Dental Associates to keep their teeth as valuable as possible for future Tooth Fairy visits.


10 Ways to Recycle Your Old Toothbrush

a scattered group of different colored toothbrushes

You should be trading in your old toothbrush for a new one approximately every 3 months. Before you throw away your used one, consider the benefits it could bring to your life as a nifty little tool to keep around the house.

Here are 10 great ways to recycle your old toothbrush.

Uses For a Toothbrush in the Kitchen

An old toothbrush is the perfect cleaning tool for scrubbing off those pesky crumbs and pieces of food that fall into hard-to-reach places. The next time you’re deep cleaning the kitchen, try using an old toothbrush to help you clean kitchen appliances such as:

  • Toasters
  • Microwaves
  • Coffee machines
  • Other hard-to-reach places

Cleaning Your Chopping Board

Most cutting boards have some type of edge that can be tough to completely clean. Nothing works better for getting bits of food out of tight spaces than a used toothbrush. Unlike wiping your chopping board, a toothbrush will give you the opportunity for a deep, thorough clean.

Keeping Your Clothes Stain-Free

The real secret to getting a persistent stain out of an article of clothing isn’t what type of stain remover you are using, but scrubbing the stain out with a toothbrush. Apply a stain remover onto the spot and gently scrub the fabric with your used toothbrush to work the stain remover into the material until the stain has lifted.

Cleaning Tile Grout

Looking for a great way to clean the dirty grout lines between your tiles? Combine baking soda and water to make a paste and dunk your used toothbrush into the mixture to effectively clean out grime between kitchen or bathroom tiles. Your gleaming tiles and grout lines will thank you for this one.

Say goodbye to grout grime in your:

  • Bathroom
  • Kitchen
  • Tiled floors
  • Showers
  • Countertops
  • Backsplash

Applying Hair Dye

For quick touch-ups to cover grey hair or roots, use a toothbrush in addition to your hair dyeing kit. A toothbrush will help to blend the dye into your hair and will give you a more controlled way to apply color.

Crayon Marks on the Walls

A parent’s biggest fear during art projects is that your little one will sneak away only to be found creating a wall mural of their own with crayons. A used toothbrush and shaving cream will have those stubborn crayon marks removed in no time.

Cleaning Toys

Kids toys are a haven for dirt, dust, and germs. A used toothbrush is the perfect cleaning tool for cleaning between cracks and crevices of dolls, blocks and other toys.

Add it to Your Art Supplies

A used toothbrush is the perfect addition for your art supply box. It can work wonders when it comes to adding texture to a painting or adding details to a clay piece. Little hands love using a toothbrush in place of a paintbrush for hours of fun for free.

Clean Jewelry

An intricate piece of statement jewelry can be filled with twists, turns, and detail. Keep your jewelry sparkling clean and looking brand new by using a toothbrush to keep those tricky areas clean. One of the best secrets to keeping diamond rings sparkling is to soak the rings in ammonia and finish cleaning them with a used toothbrush to loosen any dirt or grime. Just rinse with water when you are finished cleaning for a professionally cleaned look.

Computer Keyboard

Keep your computer keys in tip-top shape with the help of a (dry!) toothbrush. Give the keys a gentle scrub to eliminate any evidence of snack crumbs or dirty fingertips.

The Best For Last

The best use for your toothbrush is…you guessed it, your teeth! The bristles in your toothbrush break down and lose their effectiveness in getting into all of those hard-to-reach corners and crevices around your teeth. Germs can easily hide in toothbrush bristles and lead to reinfection, so be sure to also change toothbrushes after you have had a cold, the flu, or an infection in the mouth.

Do you have any other great ways to recycle an old toothbrush that we missed on our list? Let Cherrywood Dental Associates know at your next dental exam.


What To Do If Your Child Injures a Tooth at School

boy holding the side of his mouth from tooth pain at school

Back to school season means sending your children back to the classroom and playground for another year of learning. The school playground may be filled with imaginary play, but it also tends to be a hotspot for injury to occur. As parents, we always aim to protect our children from experiencing a tooth injury, but it’s also important to know what to do if an injury does happen.

If The Injured Tooth is a Baby Tooth

If your child loses a baby tooth earlier than expected, there is no need to replace the tooth.

If a baby, toddler, or younger child injures the gums or a baby tooth:

Step 1: Apply pressure to the area if there is any bleeding with a piece of cold, wet gauze. If your child is old enough to follow directions, ask them to bite down on the gauze to apply pressure to stop the bleeding.

Step 2: Offer an ice pop to suck on to reduce any potential swelling, or hold an ice-pack wrapped in a soft cloth to the cheek.

Step 3: Give your child an appropriate dose of acetaminophen or children’s ibuprofen as needed for pain.

Step 4: Call your dental office to discuss the injury. Your dentist will let you know if the child should be scheduled for an appointment.

Step 5: Watch for any swelling of the gums, continued pain, a fever, or a change in the color of the tooth.


If a Permanent Tooth Comes Out Completely

If a permanent tooth comes out, it is considered a dental emergency and your dental office should be contacted right away. Permanent teeth have the best chance of being saved when replaced within 15 minutes, so it’s vital to act quickly and follow the guidelines below.

Step 1: Collect all pieces of the tooth. Only hold the tooth by the crown, or chewing end, of the tooth. Do not touch the root of the tooth.

Step 2: Place the tooth in a balanced salt solution (like Save-A-Tooth), if you have it. If not, place the tooth in a saline solution or a container of milk or your child’s saliva. Do not place the tooth in water.

Step 3: Rinse the mouth with warm water only.

Step 4: Call a dentist right away to schedule an emergency dental appointment.

Step 5: If the tooth is being stored in a container, have your child bite down on a gauze pad to relieve bleeding and pain.


If a Permanent Tooth Cracks or Breaks Off

Step 1: Collect all pieces of the tooth.

Step 2: Rinse the mouth with warm water.

Step 3: Call your dental office right away to schedule a visit.


Think Preventatively

Approximately 50% of kids experience some type of tooth injury during their childhood. Discussing the importance of playground safety and learning how to follow the rules on the playground will help to keep your kids safe and their teeth protected.

Always make sure your kids are protected with:

  • Mouthguards
  • Helmets
  • Protective gear
  • Childproofing your house


Should My Children Be Wearing Mouthguards?

There are mouthguards available that you can buy and fit yourself from the drugstore. However, the best way to protect your child’s teeth is to have a custom-fit mouthguard created by your dentist. When your dentist creates a custom-fit mouthguard, an impression of your child’s teeth is taken. Then, using dental putty, your dentist will form the groves and divisions of each tooth to make a replica of your child’s smile. The replicated mould is sent to a dental lab where the mouthguard is made of durable materials.

Store-bought mouthguards are only able to form the general shape of the tooth line whereas professional and custom-made mouthguards are built to specifications of your child’s exact tooth alignment for a better fit and added protection.

Think prevention by scheduling an appointment with Cherrywood Dental Associates to have a mouthguard made for your active children today.

The Big 3 of Oral Hygiene – Brush, Floss, and Rinse

toothbrush with toothpaste, floss, and mouth wash

Keeping your teeth strong, and your gums healthy is the best way to ensure your smile is bright and in excellent condition. There are three necessary steps to your oral hygiene routine: brushing, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash. One of the most common questions we get asked by our patients is, “which should I do first, brush, floss or rinse?”

Generally speaking, the order doesn’t matter as much as the quality of work you are putting into each task and that food particles and plaque are being successfully removed.

But Which Order Is Really Best?

The sequence makes no difference as long as you do a thorough job. Brushing and flossing is the best way to remove decay-causing plaque from your teeth and helps to maintain exceptional oral health. All three steps are essential to maintaining excellent oral hygiene. As you get older, it’s more important than ever to continue taking great care of your teeth to avoid cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay.

The primary goal of brushing and flossing is to remove plaque and to prevent tartar buildup effectively. Mouthwash can enhance those benefits while giving you fresh breath.

Should I Brush Before Flossing?

There is one main reason why brushing before flossing might make your oral care more efficient. First, most of us have a well-ingrained habit of brushing already. It’s easier to link new practices to an already existing pattern. Starting with brushing, and then adding to your oral care routine with flossing and rinsing is a great way to enhance an already established habit.

Brushing your teeth helps to remove plaque, which can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and infection. Ensure you are using the right tools by always brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid irritating your gums. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes each time.

Brushing your teeth:

  • Removes plaque
  • Removes food debris left behind
  • Eliminates other harmful bacteria from your teeth
  • Freshens breath
  • Stimulates the gums

Floss Neglected Spaces

While tooth brushing removes plaque from the surfaces of your teeth, just brushing alone cannot do the entire job of removing plaque from every surface. Cleaning between the teeth daily with floss removes unwanted debris from between your teeth where your toothbrush is unable to reach. Flossing is also important because it enables you to remove plaque while it is still soft. Once plaque hardens and forms tartar, only a professional cleaning by a dental hygienist or dentist can effectively remove it. Patients who are very susceptible to gum disease or tartar buildup may want to consider flossing twice a day.

Flossing is one of the oral hygiene habits that most often gets forgotten. Poor gum health is a major cause of patients having to undergo tooth extraction procedures and can lead to gingivitis, or gum disease.

Save Swishing For Last

After brushing and flossing, rinsing is often thought of as the final step to cleaning your mouth. You may choose to rinse with just water, though many patients benefit from using a fluoride mouthwash to kill bacteria and freshen breath. Using a fluoride mouthwash for 30-60 seconds is particularly important before you go to sleep because teeth can repair themselves from the daily damage, uninterrupted.  If you are unsure which mouthwash you should use, consult with your dentist at your next dental exam.

Are You Getting a Thorough Clean?

These three steps, combined with regular dental exams and professional cleanings, will ensure a lifetime of excellent oral health. While some professionals could argue that there is importance in the order in which you clean your mouth, what matters is that you complete all three steps.

Schedule a routine cleaning and exam with Cherrywood Dental Associates today.


The Most Common Kid’s Dental Health Questions

Little girl sitting in the dentists office

A child’s mouth continually changes as they grow. Once their teeth begin to come in, as a parent, you’ll face a variety of issues and challenges that are unique to each specific age. Sometimes the trickiest part of taking proper care of your kid’s teeth is knowing what to do and when you should be doing it.

Here are some of the most common kid’s dental health questions we hear from parents.

When Should I Start Caring For Baby’s Teeth?

Oral hygiene starts before any teeth break through the gums. Keeping your baby’s gums as clean as possible helps to get your baby used to the sensation of taking care of their mouth. Begin wiping off their gums after every meal using a damp, warm washcloth which helps to stop bacteria from accumulating on their gums.

When Should I Start Using A Baby Toothbrush?

Begin brushing your child’s teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled infant’s toothbrush as soon as teeth erupt. There are two main reasons for introducing a toothbrush early on:

  1. Brushing your baby’s teeth helps protect them from tooth decay.
  2. Brushing them as soon as they pop through the gums sets your baby up with good habits. Your child will understand as they get older how vital their oral hygiene is if they recognize the rhythm of brushing two times a day, every day.

As a general guideline when brushing your baby’s teeth:

  • Be gentle when brushing and don’t press down too hard with force
  • Brush the front and the back of each tooth
  • Use the correct amount of toothpaste for your child’s age

When Is It Safe For Children To Use Fluoride Toothpaste?

The trick to using a fluoride toothpaste is knowing how much to apply for the appropriate age of your child. Younger kids who are unable to grasp the concept of spitting are more likely to swallow their toothpaste instead of spitting it out.

For children 1-3 years old use a rice-grain-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.

For children 3+ years old use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.

At What Age Should Children Have Their First Dental Exam?

Dental professionals recommend a first dental visit by age one. The purpose of the first dental visit is to help children become more comfortable with a new environment, and it can also help to spot any potential problems early on. When it comes to saving time and money, preventative dental care is your best defense against cavities and tooth decay.

When Can Children Brush Their Own Teeth?

Kids don’t do the most thorough job of any task, so keep supervising them during brushing and flossing until it’s no longer needed. Taking a hands-on approach when teaching them will help them learn proper oral hygiene care. You should supervise your child’s brushing until they are at least 8 to 10 years old to help ward off tooth decay. Make brushing and flossing a family affair so your child can learn not only from what you tell them but from what they see you do as well.

At What Age Should Flossing Begin?

Flossing is an essential part of oral hygiene because floss allows you to reach where your toothbrush can’t. Flossing regularly can help to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Flossing is most effective when performed at least once each day, and at night so you don’t allow the food your child has eaten during the day to sit on their teeth overnight. Beginning flossing early on in life will establish great habits.

When To Expect Adult Teeth To Appear?

Permanent teeth begin to come in around the age of 6. For some children, the first permanent teeth to emerge are often molars. By the age of 13, most of your child’s 28 permanent teeth will be in place.

Choosing The Right Dental Office For Your Family

At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we pride ourselves on knowing every single patient on a personal level for the best treatment possible. Our mission is to provide healthy teeth and gums for all of our patients, at any age. Schedule an appointment with one of our two kid-friendly dental clinics today.

Tooth-Healthy Beverage Tips for a Better Smile

woman drinking coffee at a coffee shop

A health-conscious consumer knows that the best beverage for your smile, and for your overall health, is water. However, how realistic is only water, all of the time? Knowing which options are good, better, and best will help you in identifying how to order healthy choices while still satisfying a craving.

Selecting a Smaller Size

The larger a beverage, the more sugar you’re likely consuming. Enjoying a special drink in moderation is the best way to have your drink and healthy teeth too. Opting for a smaller size can also significantly reduce your calorie intake for an additional bonus.

Skimp on the Extras

Coffee shop drinks are notorious for tasty add-ins that you might not even realize are hiding underneath the lid. Between mountains of whipped cream and caramel drizzles, it can be difficult to leave a coffee shop with anything that is considered healthy. Skip these sweet extras to decrease the sugar content, or ask for less than they would typically add-in.

  • Whipped cream
  • Pumps of flavored syrups
  • Sprinkles
  • Syrup drizzles
  • Additional toppings

Less Sugar Is Best

Certain drinks are known to linger on the surfaces of your teeth and can do just as much damage as eating candy. For the best tooth-friendly options, look to:

Water. The gold standard of drinking choices, water is not only hydrating, but it is also acid neutral. Tap water or filtered water also contains fluoride which is a natural cavity fighter built right in.

Milk. The calcium content and low acidic level of milk make it an excellent alternative to many beverages. Milk still has plenty of sugar though, so always brush your teeth after drinking milk, especially at night before bed.

Herbal Tea. Green tea and other herbal teas are loaded with antioxidants. They also contain lower acidity levels than coffee, and green tea still gives you a caffeine boost. Selecting an unsweetened variety is critical, and also stay clear of black tea. Black tea is more acidic and dries out the mouth faster.

Drink, Don’t Sip

Help to lessen the adverse effects of teeth-damaging beverages by consuming them more quickly. By drinking and not sipping, you’re limiting the amount of time the liquid spends on the surfaces of your teeth. In addition to avoiding a sugar bath, your teeth will thank you for also practicing these useful tricks:

Drink In Moderation – As with anything, always enjoy sweetened beverages in moderation. Limiting the quantity you consume will limit your exposure to sugars and harmful acids. When it comes to protecting your smile, moderation is key.

Rinse With Water – As often as you can, rinsing your mouth with water after consuming a sugary or acidic drink will help your teeth to fight back against sugars. Water helps to wash away some of the harmful agents that might otherwise linger and attack your teeth.

Use a Straw – Lessen the amount of direct contact sugar has with your teeth by using a straw. Instead of coating your teeth in a sugar bath, a straw will help.

Drinks To Avoid

Soda – Liquids that are high in sugar, like soda, are incredibly damaging to your teeth. When sugar is left on your teeth, it encourages the harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay to form. Additionally, soda is very acidic, which weakens the structure of your tooth enamel and makes it more susceptible to damage.

Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks – Similar to soda, while these drinks may be marketed as hydrating and electrolyte replenishing, they are often high in acids and sugars.

Juice – The concentration of juice makes it very high in sugar, and citrus juices are also very acidic. Pro Tip: Eat your fruits, don’t drink them!

Alcohol – Always high in sugar and acidity, alcohol wears down your enamel quickly. Alcohols like red wines also have high staining powers.

Coffee –  Adding extra sweeteners to coffee not only increases the acid level but also raises the sugar content.

Still suffering from a sweet tooth? Ask Cherrywood Dental Associates for other ways to combat the hidden sugars found in many beverages at your next dental exam.


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