Hooray for the Tooth Fairy!

Every year, National Tooth Fairy Day is celebrated on August 22!

Losing primary or baby teeth is a normal part of growing up and, for lots of kids, so is the Tooth Fairy. So who is this magical creature retrieving your child’s teeth and how often can we expect them? NOAH General Dentist, Anita Checkuru, DMD shares the ins and outs of losing baby teeth.

Q. How many teeth do kids lose?

A. 20 primary teeth aka “baby/milk teeth” are lost. 

According to Delta Dental’s 2022 Original Tooth Fairy Poll®, the average going rate has reached a record high of $5.36 per tooth meaning most kids are racking up more than $100 through the entire process.

Q. Are there any exceptions to the number of teeth a child might lose?

A. There are scenarios where children may not get all 20 of their primary teeth due to genetics or other health reasons.

In this case, keeping all the other baby teeth in the very best health by brushing and flossing at least twice a day will help retain every tooth’s maximum exchange value.

Q. How old are kids when they start/stop losing teeth?

A. Kids typically lose their first tooth around age 6-7 and their last tooth around age 11-12.

From the Tooth Fairy’s perspective, this five-year process is welcomed both in terms of storage and cash flow.

Q. If a tooth is loose, do you recommend forcing it out, wiggling it, leaving it alone?

A. When a primary tooth is loose, it can gently be wiggled at home until it falls out.

Note the word gently.  Losing a tooth can be scary for kids, especially the first time. Wiggling the tooth for a day or two gives your child time to get used to the idea and allows for the tooth’s root to naturally dissolve. Check out these fun printables from the American Dental Association to help your child get read for the Tooth Fairy to pass the time.

Dental services for all ages are available at Desert Mission Health Center, Heuser Pediatric Dental, Palomino Health Center, and at the new Cholla Health Center opening in late 2022. Click here to learn more about our dental services or to schedule an appointment.

Expert Tips for Combatting Bad Breath

By Jane Roots, RDH | Dental Hygienist

According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, while wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID, 34% of participants realized they had bad breath. Guess what? It wasn’t the mask. Just like breathing into cupped hands to check your breath, talking or exhaling through your mouth while wearing a mask traps air causing you to smell your own breath. Thankfully, knowing is half the battle. As we move away from mask requirements in public places, you may breathe a breath of fresh air, but let’s not forget about the the monster in your mouth.

For some, restoring fresh breath can be as easy as grabbing a mint or a piece of gum, but for those with chronic bad breath, or halitosis, the key factor in preventing it is determining the cause. From something as minor as changing your brushing habits to screening for a serious health condition, try these tips for fresher breath.

Brush and Floss

The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing between your teeth once a day. Proper brushing means spending at least two minutes brushing all sides of your teeth. Divide your mouth into four sections: upper, lower, left and right and spend 30-seconds brushing the inside, outside and chewing surface of each section. Finally, give your tongue a quick brush as well. Proper brushing and flossing helps to get rid of plaque and leftover food particles that affect your dental health and cause bad breath.

Visit the Dentist Regularly

You should schedule dental visits every six months for routine cleanings and checkups. Removing plaque and calculus buildup keeps your teeth healthy and can detect oral health issues like gum disease and cavities that might be harboring stinky bacteria.

Oral Appliance Care

Be sure to follow care guidelines for cleaning and maintaining any oral appliances such a dentures, retainers, or mouth guards. Failing to properly care for these items can not only cause bad breath but can also make you sick or prevent the appliance from working properly.

Stay Hydrated

Keeping your mouth moist maintains a healthy saliva flow which is important for fresh breath. Be sure to drink plenty of water and consult your health care provider about any contributing factors for dry mouth, such as taking certain medications or any underlying health conditions.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is also a contributing factor to bad breath and can increase your risk for gum disease. Discuss quitting smoking with your healthcare provider, it might be easier than you think.

Diet

Eating a balanced diet is important for fresh breath and oral health. Check out our Mouth-Healthy Cookbook for tips and tasty recipes.

Talk to Your Health Care Provider

Diabetes, liver or kidney conditions and gastrointestinal disorders can cause chronic bad breath. If you have or suspect you might have an underlying health condition, talk to your health care provider.

Mouth Healthy Eating

Dental Tips for Healthy Smiles

February is Children’s Dental Health Month and a great time to remember to check your family’s oral heath habits and, if needed, get back on track. We know it’s not always easy to get kids to practice good dental hygiene. Here are a few tips that will help you encourage your little ones to practice oral health at a young age, setting the foundation for healthy adult teeth.

Change Toothpastes

If you are having a difficult time getting your child to brush, consider changing things up a bit with a new toothpaste. Not all kids like the minty taste of adult toothpastes. Children’s mouths are more sensitive and the tingling sensation associated with a minty toothpaste can often create a burning sensation. Instead, help your child to select a more kid-friendly toothpaste with a fun taste, such as bubblegum. Browse toothpastes containing the American Dental Association seal of approval here.

Buy a New Toothbrush

It is always a good idea to change out toothbrushes at least a couple of times per year and after you have been sick. Let your child pick out a special toothbrush they are sure to use. Cool designs, characters, and interactive components will have your child reminding you when it’s time to brush.

Make it Fun

Make brushing time feel like less of a chore and more like playtime by playing a song when your child is brushing his or her teeth. The American Dental Association recommends brushing two times a day for two full minutes. This is about the same length as a song. Have your child select a song of their choice and play it during brushing time.

Check out this video for brushing tips from NOAH Dental Hygienist Jane Root

Make Brushing a Group Activity

Whatever your child sees you do, he or she will want to do as well. By brushing your teeth together, you set a good example and can encourage your child to develop good brushing habits.

Encourage Flossing

Flossing can be challenging, even for adults. To make the process easier for your child, consider using small flossers that are made just for them. Try flossers with bright colors and animal shapes.

Implement a Reward System

Kids are often motivated to complete chores when offered fun incentives. Try using NOAH’s free printable daily tracker to keep track of each day that your child brushes and flosses. At the end of each week, let your child choose a healthy reward. Implementing a reward system is a great way to encourage and make dental health fun.

Reduce Dental Visit Anxiety

It is not unusual for some children to be afraid of a visit to the dentist. Help your child feel more comfortable by setting a positive example and avoiding the use of negative words, such as pain or hurt.

Schedule a visit with your NOAH dental provider today!

Dental Tips for National Children’s Dental Health Month

By Nicollette Villescaz, Pediatric Dental Assistant

Even as the shortest month, February brings a lot of holidays and awareness topics. One awareness topic not to be missed is National Children’s Dental Health Month! My name is Nicollette and I am a professional pediatric dental assistant here at NOAH. I’m going to share pediatric dental tips on how parents and caregivers, along with your child’s dental team can work together to prevent tooth decay, which is the number one dental problem for preschoolers with around 50% of children having one or more cavities by age 5.

Dental tips to prevent tooth decay in your child

The best way to ensure healthy teeth is to prevent problems before they start. Things like having a healthy diet, proper brushing and flossing habits, and not having sugary drinks from baby bottles can help protect your child’s teeth.

Rethink your drinks

As parents and guardians of young children, we know that a healthy diet is important, and we shouldn’t give them candy and sweets too often. However, it’s actually what children drink, not what they eat that is more dangerous to their teeth. I have heard and seen our NOAH dentists and medical doctors express repeatedly how bad juice, soda, energy drinks, Gatorade, and lemonade are for children. They aren’t bad for kids just because of the artificial flavors, and dye colorings, but also because of the high amounts of acid and sugar. These drinks have too much sugar and acid for kids of any age. The only fluids a child needs are plenty of water (especially in this desert heat) and milk for nutrients like calcium. When parents and caregivers give children acid and sugars to eat and drink we are putting them at a greater risk for tooth pain caused by cavities.

Brush and floss

Children and parents need to know the right way to brush and floss those little teeth because baby teeth are so important to keep healthy. Our top priority when children and parents or caregivers come to NOAH Dental is education and prevention. There are stages to this as kids grow:

  1. As soon as teeth appear, it’s time to brush! A few tiny baby teeth need just a small amount of cleaning.
  2. When more teeth arrive, increase brushing. Parents and guardians need to help children brush their teeth twice a day. Kids can’t brush all the cavity-causing germs and crumbs away by themselves.
  3. Once a child is old enough to brush their own hair or tie their own shoes, then they can start to brush and floss on their own.
  4. Stay consistent at every stage. A dental hygiene routine is vital to healthy teeth.

Ditch the bottle

The biggest contributor to cavities in our infant and toddler patients is the bottle! Babies should never have anything other than water or milk. Once a child is a year old, they should only have milk with meals, not nap times or throughout the day – stick to water for that! Letting kids drink milk or juice any time of the day, puts them at risk for tooth pain caused by cavities.

Care for those baby teeth

Too often I hear parents or guardians say, “They are just baby teeth, it’s not so serious,” and “They will be falling out anyway.” This is where our dental education is so important! Children experience the same effects of a toothache exactly how an adult would, with cold sensitivity, difficulty drinking or eating, throbbing pain, swelling, infections, and difficulty sleeping. Children need healthy teeth to help them chew and speak clearly. Plus, baby teeth hold the space for their adult teeth to come in correctly.

Cavities and dental pain are preventable in children. The NOAH Dental team works together with parents and guardians to keep away tooth decay and pain away in children. To learn more, visit our NOAH Dental page for helpful videos and tips. If you are ready for you or your child to see a NOAH dentist, make an appointment today!

Get Some Relief During TMJ Awareness Month

Millions of people in the United States are living with TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) disorder and have no idea that it is the source of their pain and discomfort. TMJ disorder, or TMD, is pain in the jaw and surrounding tissues. Symptoms and issues from TMD can range from mild or occasional discomfort, to more severe pain and disruptions to daily life.

It’s estimated by the TMJ Association that around 35 million people in the United States are affected by this disorder. That’s around 12% of the population and most of these people are women.

Why TMJ Disorder matters

Symptoms can range from things like headaches and migraines, neck and shoulder pain, jaw pain or stiffness to other symptoms like dizziness, and even ear pain or ringing. Finding the cause – and a solution – to these symptoms can make a big difference in your life. If left untreated, TMD can cause damage to your teeth, joint, muscles, and tissues, so you want to talk to your healthcare provider about it.

What are the causes

  • Injury or trauma to your jaw or face
  • Arthritis
  • Unaligned bite
  • Stress
  • Genetics
  • Hormones

Treating TMJ Disorder

Most jaw and facial muscle pain is temporary and will go away on its own. If it doesn’t go away in a few weeks, visit your dentist or primary care doctor to rule out any other causes. A few things you can do on your own include:

  • Eat soft foods
  • Reduce stress or talk with someone about your stress
  • Use ice or heat on the jaw or muscles
  • Avoid chewing gum and wide yawns
  • Don’t hold the phone with your shoulder
  • Sleep on your side with a pillow supporting your neck

TMJ disorder is something many people live with. And for some people, the symptoms will come and go. If you are someone who has lasting symptoms, talk to one or our healthcare providers.

Just a Regular Dental Cleaning

By Jane Roots, RDH

As dental professionals, we hear the request for “just a regular dental cleaning” so often that it’s time to fill everyone in on the truth. There are many different types of cleanings. As with most things in healthcare, wellness, and prevention, how your providers work with you will depend on many different things because it’s all about you.

We figure out the best dental cleaning after examining the condition of your gums and teeth. There are a lot of things that go into a dental cleaning, but a few easy steps can help you take control of your dental health before your next appointment.

What’s in my mouth?

  • Plaque – Plaque is the soft, fuzzy film on our teeth that easily goes away with regular brushing and flossing.
  • Tartar – When plaque is left behind – which happens to all of us – it becomes tartar, a hard material that has to be removed at your dental cleaning.
  • Gums – Gums tell a lot about your dental health. Things like the color of your gums and their firmness can indicate gingivitis.

Types of dental cleanings

  • Prophylaxis – This is frequently described as a basic cleaning when you have minimal tartar and your gums are healthy.
  • Full-mouth debridement – This is the type of cleaning you’ll have if your teeth have tartar and your gums are somewhat inflamed.
  • Scaling and root planning – This cleaning is for heavy tartar buildup and bone loss around your teeth. Typically, this cleaning will use some local anesthetic.

Dentists and hygienists will do a full mouth exam to look at teeth and gums, and check for cavities before a cleaning. But they will also want to have x-rays of your mouth to review and decide which type of dental cleaning is right for you.

Keeping your mouth healthy

Gums are key to dental health and they tell your dentist and hygienist a lot. Gingivitis can let us know that we need to take action to help reverse and improve your oral health. Things that increase the risk of gingivitis include smoking or chewing tobacco, crowded or overlapping teeth, and hormonal changes associated with pregnancy and diabetes. Thankfully, gingivitis is reversible. It starts with removing tartar and plaque with the help of your hygienist or dentist, as well as learning proper techniques of daily brushing and flossing to maintain your oral health. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more serious dental problems, pain, and other health conditions.

Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day and use fluoride toothpaste if available. Flossing daily is one of the easiest and best things you can do for your overall health. It doesn’t take long and can have big benefits. Lastly, schedule regular dental checkups every six months with one of our NOAH dental providers.

No More Bad Breath by Jane Roots, RDH

Do you suffer from bad breath? Well, if so, you’re not alone. Every morning most people wake up with the dreaded “Morning Breath” or “Bad Breath” but for some bad breath is an everyday, all day reality.
Halitosis is chronic bad breath. It shows up every day. It’s the breath that makes you embarrassed to whisper secrets in someone’s ear and the breath that makes you avoid kisses at all cost. Typical fixes like mints, mouth sprays or mouth wash will not get rid of chronic bad breath.

“As many as 1 in 4 people have bad breath. It is one of the most common reason why people go to the dentist.”

Jane Roots, RDH

There are several reasons why some people have daily bad breath. To prevent bad breath the key factor is to determine the root cause.

Here’s a check list of things you need to know about the prevention of bad breath:

  1. Brush two times a day and floss every night – You need to brush your teeth two times a day and floss every night. Proper brushing means spending at least 2 minutes brushing all sides of your teeth, for example the fronts, backs and tops, which helps to get rid of food particles and the bacterial film (also known as dental plaque or tooth plaque) that forms on our teeth. Don’t forget about flossing. It’s very important to floss your teeth every night before you go to bed. Food particles get caught in between your teeth and if these food articles are not removed, it can buildup and form a substance call calculus or tartar which causes the gums to swell up and bleed. This can cause bad breath. You should also brush your tongue. The tongue has tiny hair like filaments that can trap food particles and bacteria and therefore not brushing your tongue can contribute to bad breath.
  2. Visit your dentist and or hygienist at least every 6 months – You should visit your dentist/ hygienist for routine cleaning and checkups every six months. The dentist/hygienist can clean your teeth by removing plaque and calculus buildup and can detect problems such as any abnormalities in and around the mouth, gum disease and cavities. Cavities are not the cause of bad breath, it is the bacteria that gets stuck in the decayed pockets of the teeth that make it difficult to keep your mouth clean and your breath fresh.
  3. Dry mouth – Keeping your mouth moist is important for fresh breath. A healthy saliva flow is one of the best defenses against bad breath. It helps to keep the mouth clean. Be sure to drink plenty of water and consult with your doctor about any contributing factors for dry mouth, such as taking certain medications and any underlying health conditions.
  4. Smoking – Smoking is also a contributing factor to bad breath and can increase your risk for gum disease. Please ask your doctor for ways to help you quit.
  5. Systemic issues – Eating healthy foods are key to a good digestive system. A bad digestive system can cause bad breath. In fact, your bad breath could stem from your gut, better known as your gastrointestinal system. Acid reflux otherwise known as heartburn is a related cause for bad breath. People who are diabetic, have liver or kidney conditions or gastrointestinal disorders should see their physician, urologist or gastroenterologist for insight on how bad breath can be reduced regarding these systemic diseases.
  6. Other Factors – Other factors that can contribute to bad breath are the use of dentures or oral appliances. Follow your dentist’s/hygienist’s recommendations for cleaning your appliances daily to prevent bad breath.

Seeing your dentist/ hygienist for routine exams and cleanings every six months can ensure that your mouth stays healthy. A professional cleaning can remove bacteria and food that your toothbrush or even flossing may miss. Your dental professional will also check for decay that may harbor bacteria. If they do detect any cavities, they can fill them to stop the cavities from getting worse. While cavities do not directly cause bad breath, you can prevent both bad breath and cavities by practicing good oral hygiene and seeing your dentist and hygienist regularly.

A message from the NOAH Dental Team

What to expect at your dental visit during this pandemic.

NOAH Dental Teeth Whitening Education by Marianne Youssef, Dentist

We all want to have white teeth, but how do we achieve that bright healthy smile? Our expert dentist, Dr. Marianne Youssef explains what causes staining and offers a few tips on how to achieve those pearly whites!