Monthly Archives: October 2015

Halloween Healthy Smile Tips

Halloween Healthy Smile Tips

All Hallows’ Eve is now under one week away and the anticipation by kids and fun-loving adults alike is growing everyday! Unfortunately, it’s usually our teeth and gums that get the short end of the stick when it comes to Halloween. We all know that it’s not just the kids that are eating too much candy this year, if you have kids of your own, November 1st has been unofficially dubbed “steal some candy from your kids after they go to bed day”. No shame in that, just call it taxes for the cost of raising them! However, the staff at Prescott Dentistry wants to remind everyone to be weary of the amount of candy they consume due to it’s affects on both our dental and overall health. Here are a few tips too provide some relief for your teeth.

Manage Expectations

Before the festivities begin, take a few minutes to discuss your with your child their expectations. This includes how long you will be out trick-or-treating, how much candy they will be allowed to have on Halloween, and any limits on treats per day.

Snack with a Meal

A snack should always come after a healthy hardy meal. Plan a good, wholesome dinner Halloween night so that everyone is full of energy for the evening and less likely to overindulge in sweet treats. It’s also smart to eat candy shortly after a regular meal because at this time saliva levels are elevated which protect teeth from the acids that cause tooth decay.

Smaller Bags

Some solutions are so simple they don’t even cross your mind. A smaller trick-or-treat bag means that there will be less candy to deal with from the start.

A Good Rinse

Brushing and flossing are a no-brainer after a night of candy consumption, but if there will be a gap before you are able to brush encourage your child to rinse their mouth with water after eating candy. This will help flush excess sugar from settling in the nooks and crannies of your teeth and gums.

If you are worried about your child’s or your own dental health after this treat-heavy holiday, contact Prescott Dentistry today to schedule your post-Halloween dental checkup. Be prepared to keep your family’s teeth in tip top shape, but also be prepared to have a great time this Halloween!

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (10/26/2015) Benjamin Gauthier (Flickr)

Why do Babies Smile?

Smiling is something we all do generally from an early age and the frequency we smile at ourselves and others plays a strong roll in our social development. There’s a reason having nice teeth often ranks higher than many other physical traits when it comes to someone’s perceived attractiveness. Prescott Dentistry knows how important your smile is to you and everyone else, so we strive to keep your teeth healthy and beautiful! While we understand the importance of smiling in adults, teens, and older children, no one has truly understood the importance of or even the reason why babies smile. That is, until now.

Our understanding of why someone would smile is generally related to their happiness or the experiencing of a positive, joyful feeling. However, with babies, it seems smiling isn’t necessarily a sign of an emotional behavior. A recent study conducted by UC San Diego has indicated that smiling in babies can be better understood as a relational and social attempt to make it’s mother or another person smile. It appears that when babies smile, it’s with a goal in mind, to make the person they are smiling at smile back at them.

What’s perhaps even more interesting is how this study was conducted. As you see in the video above, developmental psychologists and roboticists worked together to create a “toddler-bot” that behaves like babies that have been studied and could interact with university students. The robo-baby was programed based on recorded interactions in a previous study where 11 out of 13 babies showed what appeared to be intentional smiling. The robot baby acted like the babies from the previous study and the students involved in the study ended up responding in the same way. The baby caused the students to smile a lot without even having to smile very much.

The study doesn’t explain why the babies have these goals, but it does appear to explain what the goal is, which is to get a smile in return. Our staff at Prescott Dentistry doesn’t specialize in babies, but we certainly hope to get a healthy, beautiful smile in return from your whole family after your appointment!

Gentle Dentistry and Why Men Avoid Medical Treatment

Gentle Dentistry and Why Men Avoid Medical Treatment

At this point most of us know that preventative care is vitally important in preventing more serious conditions down the road, whether that’s gum disease or heart disease. Everyone also knows that, if we’re being totally honest, going to the dentist or doctor isn’t generally the most fun thing to do. Despite that common knowledge, it seems that women are better at sucking it up and looking at the overwhelming positives of preventative medical treatments and checkups. Certain studies in the past have shown that men tend to drag their feet quite a bit more when it comes to visiting their dentist or primary care doctor than women. A recent study conducted by the American Academy of Family Physicians indicated that over 1/2 of men surveyed hadn’t had a physical in over a year.

A dentist that practices gentle dentistry or a caring doctor might help motivate men to make it to their appointments, but it isn’t totally clear what is causing men to avoid medical treatment. According to the survey, 29% of men reported that they “waited as long as possible” before resorting to going to their doctor or dentist when they are in pain or sick.

The results also reveal that one of the most common answers guys gave in response to the reason for their absence was that they didn’t feel that they were “sick enough” to need help. This doesn’t explain why men are also far less likely to make routine dental exams. The logic doesn’t hold up in that case as there is no evidence that men have healthier teeth than women. It also doesn’t take into account diseases that are generally without symptoms in their early stages like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

One perhaps obvious hidden cause for this absence of men is fear. Whether it’s a fear of the lack of control, or finding out that there is something seriously wrong with them. At Prescott Dentistry we aim to create a calm, less fearful environment with gentle dentistry in Prescott to avoid this problem. However, according to a Rutgers study, fear may not be the most prevalent reason for their avoidance. This study found that men with more old-fashioned, macho ideas of masculinity were half as likely to take advantage off preventative healthcare. Theories also include that genetic evolutionary behavioral adaption or cultural conditioning to not show any signs of weakness are to blame.

At Prescott Dentistry, all of our treatments aim to be categorized as gentle dentistry. So if you suffer from dental fear, or just a little too much pride, perhaps it’s time to move past it and schedule your visit today!

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (10/13/2015) arileu (Flickr)

What in the World is Bruxism?

What in the World is Bruxism?

What is Bruxism?

Medical terminology can be a little tricky sometimes. Here at Prescott Dentistry we’ve made an effort to simplify and describe certain terms like the exciting advancements of “biomimetic dentistry” (click here for a recap on all things “biomimetic“). However, there are still some other terms that are not exactly common knowledge. So that brings us to the common question: what the heck is bruxism?

The word bruxism originates from the Greek word “brychein” which is to gnash or grind your molars. It is defined as the clenching of one’s teeth in a context other than chewing, and is associated with forceful jaw movements and the rubbing or grinding of teeth together. People who experience bruxism often are unaware of it, especially if it occurs at night. Bruxism at night can be a much more serious condition because of it’s difficulty to control. It is a very common sleep disorder than can eventually lead to the blunting and shortening of teeth, myofascial muscle pain, TMJ (temporomandibular joint dysfunction), and severe headaches. In the most extreme chronic cases, bruxism can result in athritis of the temporomandibular joints.

The Causes

While there is no clear definitive answer for the reason behind every bruxism case, it is evident that daily stress may be a factor. Up to 70% of bruxism is thought to occur due to anxiety and stress causing the subconscious grinding at night. The effects vary from person to person and sometimes people who suffer from bruxism experience little to no symptoms at all.

Bruxism may also be the result of an abnormal bite. When one’s top and bottom teeth come together in an unusual way it is known as occlusal discrepancy. Missing or crooked teeth may also be behind the daytime or nighttime grinding. Bruxism can also be a result of various psychotropic drugs like antidepressants.

The Solution

With stress being one of the main factors in cases of bruxism, it is often the case that individual-specific stress management programs are effective. Getting a good nights sleep, quality diet, and exercise are also great ways to dial back stress levels.

If stress is not the determining factor, and the misalignment of the teeth and jaw are the culprits, a trained dentist can create a custom-fit nighttime mouth guard. It is not recommended that you use a generic sports mouth guard, because they often come out of place at night and do more harm than good. Consider having your teeth and jaw realigned by an orthodontist or Invisalign specialist if a mouth guard isn’t doing the trick.

Contact the staff at Prescott Dentistry if you think you might be suffering from bruxism, and in the mean time try to reduce stress levels and cut back on caffeine and alcohol as these can lead to an increase in grinding.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (10/7/2015) Ricardo Liberato (Flickr)