Tips for a Healthier Mouth (Pt.1)

Here at E.P. Dentistry 4 Kids we know that when it comes to keeping a whiter, healthier smile that we’re not the only ones who play a role!

It’s extremely important to be proactive about keeping your teeth clean if you want to maintain a healthy smile, so we’ve compiled a few tips for you to follow to make sure you’re always doing your part in the battle against plaque, tooth decay, enamel decay, etc.

El Paso dentist for children

5 Tips to Maintain Healthy Teeth

Brush 2-3 Minutes

It may be repeated often, but brushing your teeth for the proper amount of time is crucial to keeping your teeth clean and avoiding unnecessary trips to the dentist’s office.

We recommend 2-3 minutes of brushing. Certainly not any less, but not necessarily more either. It’s good to balance the amount of scrubbing you do on your teeth daily.

Which leads us to our next tip…

 

Moderation

Overbrushing, or not brushing your teeth enough, is more destructive than you might think.

Doing so can either cause your tooth enamel to be damaged over time, or if you’re not brushing enough you’re most likely collecting a lot of unwanted bacteria and plaque in your mouth, yuck!

It’s recommended that adults and kids brush their teeth 1-2 times each day, but no more than 3!

 

Eat Crispy Vegetables/Fruits

Another healthy way to keep your smile shining is to be healthier in your diet! There are a multitude of fruits and vegetables that have the unique ability to scrub the surface of your teeth with their abrasive like properties and keep them clean throughout the day.

Some of these fruits and veggies include: apples, raw carrots, celery sticks, etc. You can even substitute non-buttered popcorn as it is also considered a “detergent” food.

So snack away! But don’t forget about…

 

Mouthwashing After Snacks

One of the most important ways to keep your mouth healthy is to keep food from becoming lodged or stuck in between the teeth and gums.

Once stuck, the food collects more and more bacteria over time and increases your chance of developing minor cavities and plaque build-up in hard to reach areas.

The quickest way to remove food and build-up is to mouthwash once or twice daily in between major meals or after snacks.

Flossing works just as well, if not better, but if you feel something get stuck never just leave it be – grab a toothpick, some floss or rinse your mouth briefly to clean it out as soon as possible.

 

Create a Routine

There are so many tips to keep your teeth clean and avoid non-regular visits to your local dentist, but probably the most important of all is to develop a routine.

Making a habit out of when you brush your teeth, how often you floss, and paying mind to maintaining their beauty is essential to keeping them healthy throughout your lifetime.

Most of us brush both morning and night as we get in and out of bed, but for some this isn’t always the most feasible routine. Find out what times work best for you to be able to properly brush and rinse and start making it a habit to do it daily at those times.

The goal is to make maintaining a healthy smile more of a subconscious activity than something you have to think about constantly in order to achieve!

 

These are just a few easy tips for being your own dentist while we’re not in the picture!

We’ll be back in our next blog with a few more so be on the lookout!

5 Reasons to use Your Dental Insurance Before the End of the Year

Did you know that you could actually save hundreds of dollars by using your dental benefits before the end of the year? While some dental insurance plans run on a fiscal year, most run on a calendar year. If your dental insurance plan is on a calendar year, these 5 reasons will show you why you should make a dental appointment now.

1. Yearly Maximum
The yearly maximum is the most money that the dental insurance plan will pay for your dental work within one full year. This amount varies by insurance company, but the average is around $1,000 per year, per person. The yearly maximum usually renews every year (on January 1 if your plan is on a calendar year). If you have unused benefits, these will not rollover.

2. Deductible
The deductible is the amount of money that you must pay to your dentist out of pocket before your insurance company will pay for any services. This fee varies from one plan to another however, the average deductible for a dental insurance plan is usually around $50 per year. Your deductible also starts again when your plan rolls over.

3. Premiums
If you are paying your dental insurance premiums every month, you should be using your benefits. Even if you don’t need any dental treatment, you should always have your regular dental cleanings to help prevent and detect any early signs of cavities, gum disease, oral cancer and other dental problems.

4. Fee Increases / Changes in Coverage
Another reason to use your benefits before the end of the year are possible fee increases. Some policies raise the out of pocket costs and / or lower the covered benefits  at the beginning of the year.

5. Dental Problems Can Worsen
By delaying dental treatment, you are risking more extensive and expensive treatment down the road. What may be a simple cavity now, could turn into a root canal later.
Use Up Your Existing FSA Contributions
Another good reason to take care of dental work now is to spend any remaining balance in your flexible spending account (FSA). This is an account that you establish through your employer, and that you may have elected to have some of your pre-tax pay put into. If you don’t use all of your FSA contributions by the end of the year, you lose them.

Schedule your appointment now to ensure you are maximizing your benefits!
Visit EPD4K.com today!

What are the side effects of poor oral health?

Greetings again!  I’d like to discuss a topic that will help educate all the parents out there.  That topic is the potential side effects of poor oral health.  There is a misunderstanding by a portion of people that the worst case scenario for not taking care of your kid’s teeth is a mouthful of cavities.  As bad as that is, the real consequences of poor oral health can be much, much worse.

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I have included an out take from a Texas publication that summarized the potential side effects very well.  I like this more than most other reports because it breaks down the side effects into three different categories:  economic, medical and social.  The report is called “Can Texas Afford Not To Care About Oral Health” and can be found at this link.  I’ve highlighted the portions that are most applicable to children.

Small girl holding toothbrush1.     Economic consequences of untreated oral disease.  Untreated oral disease has serious economic consequences. The surgeon general estimates that children with oral disease miss over 51 million hours of school each year. Missing school not only disrupts student learning, it also directly affects local school funding, since the amount of state dollars a school in Texas receives is based in part on weighted average daily attendance.  Untreated dental disease is extremely painful and affects a person’s productivity at work. According to the surgeon general, employed adults lose an estimated 164 million hours of work due to oral health problems or dental visits each year.  What’s more, adults with visible dental problems are less employable and sometimes reluctant to seek employment because they are simply ashamed to open their mouths.  Untreated oral diseases can also drive up health care costs in general. Left untreated, certain dental infections can become systemic and damage other parts of the body, resulting in the need for expensive emergency department visits, hospital stays, anesthesia and antibiotics.

2.     Medical consequences of untreated oral disease.  Failure to treat oral diseases costs more than money. It can also seriously compromise a person’s general health and quality of life. The good news is that most oral diseases are preventable. The bad news is that left untreated, dental infections can enter the bloodstream and lead to serious and occasionally life threatening conditions. In fact, the International Classification of Diseases lists more than 120 systemic diseases that come from the oral cavity.  Although the health care system often treats the mouth as separate and apart from the rest of the body, oral and general health are closely linked.  What happens in the mouth can and does affect what happens in other parts of the body. An ever-expanding body of research supports possible associations between oral disease (particularly gum disease) and medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and bacterial pneumonia.  Researchers have also found evidence of the vertical transmission of bacteria causing oral disease between caregivers and very young children.  And the mouth is increasingly being used to help identify other health conditions throughout the body, such as early stages of diabetes.

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among American children, causing unnecessary pain, avoidable facial disfigurement and rarely but tragically, life-threatening infections.  Early Childhood Caries (cavities among 2- to 5-year olds, also known as ECC) are increasingly common.  According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, “not only does ECC affect teeth, but consequences of this disease may lead to more widespread health issues.”  Oral problems can also dramatically affect babies and toddlers with untreated cleft lip / palate (a congenital birth defect). Structural problems and chronic pain caused by the cleft lip/palate can make eating painful — inhibiting healthy growth and sometimes resulting in a condition known as “failure to thrive.”

3.     Social consequences of untreated oral disease.  Although difficult to quantify, the social consequences of poor oral health are also important. Children with untreated oral disease often have difficulty eating, speaking and sleeping. They may be ashamed of their appearance and have a hard time interacting with their peers. What’s more, children with pain from untreated cavities or other dental conditions may be distracted in school and unable to learn or participate. One study even found a link between oral health problems and low self-esteem, teen delinquency and adolescent pregnancy.  Adults with visible dental problems also suffer. As described earlier, many are reluctant to seek employment because of how they look or sound when they try to speak.

Wow…that may be a lot to take in.  How about some good news to make you feel better?  That’s easy.  How about three simple steps to minimize the chance of your children having to deal with any of the problems listed above?  OK…here they are:  brush, floss and see your dentist every six months.  It’s as easy as that.

Hopefully, you found this information educational.  If you’d like a discussion on any other topics, please feel free to send them to me at brentcroberts@gmail.com.

Thanks!
Dr. Brad Roberts

Welcome to EP Dentistry 4 Kids

Dr. Brad Roberts, managing dentist for EP Dentistry 4 KidsGreetings everyone.  Our hope in starting this blog is to offer our insights on interesting topics and trends in children’s dentistry as well as some insight into our philosophy on that same topic.

If you are a parent, you may have noticed some rather dramatic changes in the industry over the past decade especially for those on some form of Medicaid/AHCCCS.  Access to dentistry especially among the lower income had lots to be desired.  This was highlighted in the 2000 report Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General (for complete report, go here).  This report shined much-needed light on the “silent epidemic” of untreated oral disease — and affirmed the link between oral health and general health.  A few years later in 2003, the government, health care providers and public health advocates released A National Call to Action to Promote Oral Health.

Many states responded to this government call to action by increasing funding for oral health.  In addition, there was a concerted effort to find sign up additional providers especially in under served areas.  To it’s credit, Texas greatly increased it’s attention which has resulted in many more dentists opening offices in our state.  This is one of the reasons we at EP Dentistry 4 Kids opened our first office in 2008.

Since opening our first office on Dyer Street in 2008, we’ve opened up two additional offices.  First the office on Zaragosa in early 2009 and, more recently, the office on Mesa and Sunland Park in early 2011.  We truly enjoy serving the El Paso community and appreciate everyone that considers us their dentist.

A few of us will be writing on this blog about a variety of subjects that will help you better understand who we are and help explain various topics related to children’s dentistry.  Some of the topics will include possible side effects from poor oral health, explanation of changes to various insurance plans, and our philosophy on patient service and satisfaction just to name a few.

If there are any subjects you are interested in us discussing, please contact us via e-mail at contact@epd4k.com.  We’ll do our best to respond in a timely manner.

Thanks for taking the time to read our blog.  Hope you enjoyed it and found it informative.