Keeping Your Teeth Strong and Healthy

February 21st, 2024

What is the strongest part of our bodies? Do you think it might be our bones, which help us move and protect our brains, hearts and other organs? Or could it be those tough fingernails and toenails that guard our fingertips and toes? Nope! You might be surprised to learn that the hardest thing in our bodies is the enamel which covers our teeth!

Our bones grow with us and can even knit back together in case we have a broken arm or leg. Our toenails grow more slowly, and our fingernails grow more quickly, so regularly trimming is required for both. But our enamel doesn’t grow or repair itself when it is damaged, so it needs to last us a lifetime. How can such a strong part of our bodies be damaged? And can we do anything to protect our teeth? Luckily, we can!

Prevent Chips and Cracks

You might be the fastest on your bike, or the highest scorer on your basketball team, or able to do the most amazing tricks on your skateboard. But even the strongest teeth can’t win against a paved road, or an elbow under the basket, or a cement skate park. If you’re physically active, talk to us about a mouthguard. This removable appliance fits closely around the teeth and can protect your teeth and jaw in case of accident. And protect your enamel even when you’re not being adventurous! Don’t bite down on ice cubes or hard candy, and save your pens and pencils for writing, not chewing.

Guard Your Teeth from Tooth Grinding

If you grind your teeth, you’re not alone! Many other young people do, too—mostly in their sleep. In fact, it might be a parent or sibling who lets you know you are grinding at night. But constant pressure on your enamel can lead to cracked enamel, sensitivity, and even worn down teeth. How can you protect them? Once again, a mouth guard can be a great solution. We can custom fit one to allow you to sleep comfortably while protecting your teeth.

Eat Healthy Foods & Brush Regularly

We all have bacteria in our mouths. Some are helpful, and some are not. The bacteria in plaque can change food products like sugar and starches into acids. These acids actually break down our enamel, which can lead to tooth sensitivity and decay. Making sugars and carbs a small part of your regular diet, and eating meals rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals, will help stop acids from attacking your enamel. And careful brushing and flossing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste can help keep those minerals in enamel from breaking down and even help restore them.

Your enamel is the strongest part of your body, and you can help it stay that way. Protect your teeth from accidents, let our Maple Grove team know if you or a parent suspect you are grinding your teeth, eat healthy foods, and keep up your regular brushing. And remember, we are here to help keep your family’s teeth and mouth their healthiest for your strongest, most beautiful smile.

Your Bright Smile

February 14th, 2024

Your bright smile means you’re happy, and it’s catching! Sharing your smile makes the people around you happy, too! And you can make sure your smile is as bright as it can be by keeping your teeth their cleanest.

Nobody wants food stuck in between their teeth, but cleaning your teeth doesn’t just mean brushing away any leftover bits of food. It also means brushing away the sticky plaque that builds up on your teeth every day. Germs in plaque called bacteria help make cavities, so it’s extra important to brush and floss away all the plaque you can.

When you were younger, a grown-up cleaned your teeth for you. Now that you’re ready to begin brushing and flossing on your own (with some adult help, of course), here are some good habits to start you off right.

Brush the Right Way

  • Brush a tooth or two at a time with small brushstrokes and circles. Long back-and-forth brushstrokes miss a lot of plaque. Make sure you brush all the different sides of your teeth, not just the ones which show when you smile. Brush on the inside of your teeth and the tops of your molars (those big teeth in back). Use up-and-down strokes to clean behind your front teeth.
  • Tip your toothbrush toward your gums while you brush along the gum line to get the plaque that likes to hide there.
  • Don’t scrub your teeth. The tooth enamel that covers and protects our teeth is very strong, but brushing too hard can hurt it. Gentle brushing works!
  • And don’t forget to gently brush your tongue for fresh breath.

Take Your Time

  • You can’t keep your teeth their cleanest if you don’t spend enough time brushing them! That’s why dentists say it’s best to brush at least twice each day, for two minutes each time you brush.
  • It’s hard to guess how long two minutes is, so use a little timer to keep track of the time. If you like music, play a song that lasts two minutes. Or ask a grown-up to time you—and maybe even brush with you!

Use the Right Toothbrush

  • You want a brush that is just the right shape and size. A brush which is too big is hard to use—and hard to fit inside your mouth.
  • You want a brush with soft bristles. Medium and hard bristles are too hard, and can scrape your enamel and gums. Stay with soft bristles, and your teeth and gums will be healthy and happy.
  • Toothbrushes don’t last a very long time because their bristles start to break down after a while. After all, it’s hard work cleaning teeth twice a day every day! So it’s a good idea to change your toothbrush every three or four months, or whenever the bristles start to look a bit scruffy.

Use the Right Toothpaste

  • Fluoride toothpaste helps protect your teeth from cavities and makes your enamel even stronger than it already is. There are plenty of fun-flavored fluoride (say that three times fast!) toothpastes to choose from.
  • You don’t need too much. Once you’re brushing on your own, a small dab about the size of a pea will do the trick.
  • Be sure to spit out the toothpaste after brushing. It’s for cleaning, not swallowing!

Don’t Forget to Floss

  • Once you have any teeth that touch each other, you need to floss between them at least once a day. Flossing is the best way to get rid of the plaque that hides between your teeth where your brush just can’t reach.
  • Flossing can be a little tricky at first, so you might need some help until you’re able to floss on your own. Dr. Venetia Laganis can teach you the best way to floss, and a grown-up at home can help you until you’re ready to floss by yourself.
  • There are lots of different kinds of floss. If you’re having trouble flossing, ask our Maple Grove dental team which kind is best for you.

Every smile is different, and yours is one of a kind. If you have any questions, talk to your pediatric dentist. Dentists don’t just take care of your teeth—they teach you to take care of your teeth, too! Your dentist can show you the very best way to keep your very own smile as bright and healthy as it can be.

National Children’s Dental Health Month

February 7th, 2024

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and a perfect time for Dr. Venetia Laganis to review some of the important steps in keeping your child’s smile healthy!

Your Baby

Early care is best! Even before teeth appear, the American Dental Association recommends gently wiping your baby’s gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth after feeding. When his or her first tooth arrives, it’s time to schedule your child’s first visit. Our office will be happy to answer any questions you might have about brushing tools and techniques. This is also an opportunity to check not only tooth health, but jaw and teeth development. Check your baby’s teeth regularly, and call us if you have any concerns.

Your Preschooler

By the time children are three, they will probably have all or most of their baby teeth. Brushing your child’s teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled, child-sized brush is a great model for when your child begins brushing on his or her own. And when teeth begin to touch, flossing your child’s teeth is recommended once a day as well.  Remember to schedule regular checkups at our Maple Grove office, and help make your toddler’s visit positive by reading books or watching videos about visiting the dentist, using playtime to practice things that might happen in the dentist’s chair (such as opening his or her mouth to count teeth), and planning visits during times your child is well-rested.

Your School-Age Child

Your child might be ready to take on brushing and flossing while you supervise, and there are many ways you can encourage both reluctant and enthusiastic brushers! The ADA recommends two minutes of careful brushing twice a day, or as directed by your dentist or physician. You can use these four important minutes to tell your child stories, listen to music, or brush together. Your child can help choose his or her toothbrush and toothpaste, or earn stickers for a brushing job well done. Stick to a routine for best results, and schedule regular checkups and cleanings to protect your child’s overall dental health. This is also an important age to check bite alignment, any potential orthodontic issues, and the possibility of sealants.

February might be the shortest month, but it’s a great time to consider your child’s life-long smile. If you have any questions or concerns, the team at our Maple Grove office is always happy to discuss them with you—any time of year!

Why Baby Teeth Matter

January 31st, 2024

The primary teeth are the initial teeth that erupt from a child’s gums in the first few years of childhood. There are a total of 20 primary teeth, most of which will have appeared no later than age three. Because they are only temporary, some parents believe they are less important than the permanent teeth that will emerge around age five or six. However, primary teeth hold a special significance and are important for a child’s long-term oral health.

Function and importance of baby teeth

Baby teeth have several basic functions. Decay can interfere with these functions, and potentially lead to life-long complications. For example, severe tooth decay that causes tooth loss during childhood, perhaps due to sleeping with a bottle at night, can obstruct a child’s speech development. It can also hinder his or her ability to sufficiently chew food.

The primary teeth also serve as place-holders for the permanent teeth. When a primary tooth falls out or must be removed before its time, surrounding teeth may shift into the space the tooth once held. This can cause orthodontic complications once the permanent teeth begin to erupt, which can lead to serious tooth alignment problems and call for extensive orthodontic treatment.

Caring for baby teeth

Dr. Venetia Laganis and our team at Laganis Pediatric Dentistry will tell you it is never too early to begin caring for your child’s teeth. Baby teeth require the same care and attention that permanent teeth do. The American Dental Association recommends that children see a dentist as soon as the teeth begin to erupt from the gums. Early childhood dental visits usually include examinations, cleanings, fluoride treatments, and hygiene education for parents. It is also important to adopt an oral care routine at home that includes daily brushing, flossing, and dietary modifications that support a lifetime of good oral health.

To learn more about baby teeh, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Venetia Laganis for your little one, please give us a call at our convenient Maple Grove office!