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Posts for tag: flossing

I think this must be a “trick” that Halloween is nearly here again. It seems like I was dressed up like a giant tooth only last week (I bet that is a scary picture for most of you)! But with the leaves turning color and falling off the trees, I guess fall has arrived, and Halloween is certainly a fun part of that.

Halloween, somewhat justifiably, has a reputation as the dentist’s least favorite holiday. (Although some of our clients tell me that I should love it based on their beliefs that it creates lots of dental problems for me to solve.) In reality, I’m not really “for” or “against” it. At our home we often hand out toothbrushes to trick or treaters as our subtle way of encouraging dental health, but I don’t believe that one day matters all that much in the big picture. (Or even one week or month, depending on how long people keep the treats around.)

I believe people’s dental health is built on a combination of genetics, “inheritance”, and habits. First, there is evidence that people inherit through the genes they receive from their parents a tendency toward dental health or dental problems – including tooth decay, gum disease, and crowded teeth. Second, we know that parents pass the bacteria that live in their mouths to their children, especially when they are infants. Therefore, if those parents have active dental problems due to the types of bacteria they have (and we know some “bugs” actively cause dental disease while others don’t seem to cause problems), their children are “inheriting” that tendency to have dental disease and that may actually be a bigger factor than genetics. (That’s why the healthier mom and dad are dentally, the more likely that their children will also have few problems.)

So, third, let’s focus on the habits that impact everyone’s dental health. We can summarize those in two general categories: self care and diet. And self care can be placed in three “boring” areas: brushing wherever the toothbrush can reach, cleaning between the teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach, and using fluoride to raise the resistance of teeth to cavities. I say it’s “boring” because none of this is new information.

The good news is that in the last few years there are some very cool gadgets on the market that help with the brushing and cleaning between teeth. They are fun to use, far easier to use than conventional brushing and flossing, and they are often far more effective as well. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist about them. Or, if you’d rather, call our office, and we can help with some suggestions. But please, don’t make this into the “trick” part of the season - ask BEFORE you purchase anything. Just as there are better and worse Halloween costumes, some of the clever looking dental gadgets are just that: clever looking. We want you to spend your loot wisely on something that works specifically for you! And often that takes some helpful coaching.

Clearly the category that is most relevant to Halloween is diet. Most treats given out at Halloween are actually “tricks”. They are high in sugar, often are also high in fat, and are almost always low in nutrition content. So staying away from them is desirable, BUT short term exposure isn’t likely to create dental problems. It would be ideal if those treats are eaten with meals because between meal snacks cause a larger problem than meals. And it would be great if they were consumed within a few days and anything left over was disposed of. Those two approaches, taken together, will eliminate any long term dental consequences. Even better, if these approaches are taken all year long, the trick and treat of Halloween will turn into a life-long TREAT for your mouth!

This article originally appeared in Dubuque 365ink magazine. It is republished with permission from the publication.

By Stacey Becker, Telegraph Herald
April 15, 2013

Molly Molar smiled her persistent smile as a friend talked about happy teeth, fuzzy teeth and sugar bugs.

"Happy teeth are the ones that are smooth and shiny," said Sharon Kuttler, a dental hygienist with the Kuttler Dental Team, while standing next to the huggable, human-sized tooth.

The duo visited Marshall Elementary School preschool, kindergarten and first-grade students in March to help teach healthy dental habits.

Kuttler has made visits to schools for years. Recently, she updated her materials when she joined the National Children's Oral Health Foundation, known as America's ToothFairy. The foundation tries to eliminate children's preventable suffering from pediatric dental disease by providing programs and resources to deliver community-based preventive, educational and treatment services.

Kuttler said she got "carried away" and put together a resource guide, The Tooth Fairy's Toolbox, for local teachers to help them prepare class projects during National Children's Dental Health Month in February.

Nicole Plachetta, a Marshall kindergarten teacher, took those guides and transformed them into packets for some Marshall teachers to help with classroom dental health activities.

"As teachers, we're always looking for community members to come in and speak with the kids," Plachetta said.

She added that she was excited to have Kuttler talk with the students and not only show them the importance of good dental health but also that they can be dental hygienists.

Here are some tips Kuttler and Molly Molar, played by Rhonda Pope, shared:

  • Brush and floss at least two times every day.
  • Brush 10 times in every place. It should take 2 minutes to brush your teeth.
  • Establish good teeth habits at an early age.
  • Children need help flossing through first grade. All children should be supervised until they turn 8 to ensure they brush and floss their teeth correctly.
  • Know what is considered good food and bad food for teeth. For instance, white milk and water are good foods and pop and apple pie are bad foods.
  • Use your smile to be happy and healthy.

Click here for video of Molly and Sharon's classroom visit.

This article, written by Stacey Becker, and photograph, taken by Jeremy Portje, appeared in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald in March 2013. Both are republished here with permission from the Telegraph Herald.

I love it when it is a new year! I love when the sands of time wash away the old year and we embrace the hope and promise of a new year!

For many it’s a time of new beginnings and resolutions. In the past week I have noticed how many times I have said to our friends sitting in my treatment room, “That would be a great New Year’s resolution!” (Bill would be the first to tell you I am great at making resolutions for others!)

One young woman, who we see each year when she returns for her holiday visit to her family, shared that since her visit last year at this time she had not missed one day of flossing!

"After years of sporadic flossing, (at best!) Sharon finally found the key to motivating me. I was concerned about some new staining between my teeth and after she worked so hard to remove it, I asked her the best way to prevent it from coming back. Regular flossing was the answer! I decided to try an experiment: floss every day for a year until my next visit and see if they noticed. I was pleased with how quickly it became a part of my routine. Now I can't think of going to bed until I have both brushed and flossed my teeth. A year later I was rewarded with no staining and my healthiest gums ever. Just ask my dentist!" ~ Jenny E.

Wow! It worked! The habit Jenny began last year had not only the cosmetic effect that was her motivation, but I immediately asked her what she had been doing differently because her gum tissue was in excellent health. Happy dance!!

This week I was reading an installment from one of our dental practice coaches, Kirk Behrendt of Act Dental Coaching, and he gave these statistics:

  • 45% of people make some type of resolution
  • Just 8% of people always succeed at their resolutions
  • 24% of people have never achieved any type of resolution…EVER

In this month’s article Kirk suggests that instead of making resolutions to instead try making commitments. He says, “Resolutions are more about the use of ‘willpower’ and changing the things you don’t like about yourself. Commitments, on the other hand, are appointments with yourself (or others) to hold you truly accountable to a result.”

I really like what Kirk has said, both for myself for this new year, and also as a way to be a ‘coach’ to the people that come to us for better dental health. We believe that becoming healthy is a ‘process’ or ‘journey’ - and one of our foundational practice commitments is to help people attain the level of dental health they desire. When we can share that intention together GREAT things happen! Look at Jenny – what an inspiration! In this coming year we look forward to your appointment with us so we can hear about the ‘appointment you made with yourself’ for your commitment to health and your intentions that have become actions! Perhaps daily flossing?

-- Sharon Kuttler, RDH