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Teeth are designed to be very strong and resilient, but they are not indestructible. Over time your teeth may develop problematic cracks or chips—these may be large or so small that you cannot see them with the naked eye.

Today our O’Fallon dentists are talking about how dental enamel becomes cracked and chipped. We hope that this information will help you take steps to protect your smile from this kind of damage.

Teeth can, of course, become damaged when a patient suffers a dental trauma. Car accidents and sporting accidents are common causes of damage. Take the time now to figure out who you will call for treatment in a dental emergency!

Dental trauma is a pretty dramatic and obvious cause of dental damage, but there are a number of more banal issues that can lead to dental cracks and chips. Bruxism, for example, puts an enormous amount of pressure on your teeth, and can lead to broken enamel over time. Bruxism is a term that is used to describe chronic dental grinding and clenching. Bruxism can manifest during the day or at night. In order to safeguard your smile, your dentist may recommend that you wear a protective mouth guard when you sleep. Alternatively, orthodontic treatment can help to perfect your bite so that your top and bottom jaws come together comfortably.

Acid erosion will also leave your enamel susceptible to damage. Acidic substances like fruit juices, wine, and many whole fruits can weaken dental enamel and wear it down. In order to minimize the amount of damage that acid does to your smile, try to rinse your teeth with water after enjoying something acidic.

If you want to learn more about the causes of dental damage, our O’Fallon dentists are here to give you all of the information you need!

It’s that time of year: when our houses are flooded with yummy Halloween candy! Halloween-time is, by its very nature, indulgent, but there are still simple things that you can do to help safeguard your smile this fall. Here are some helpful tips from our O’Fallon dentists

1. Drink Up

This is a great time to increase the amount of water that you drink, and to be really mindful about staying hydrated. When you are properly hydrated, your body is able to produce saliva, which naturally helps to neutralize bacteria and re-mineralize your dental enamel.

2. Rinse Regularly

Keep sugary substances from sitting on your enamel by rinsing your mouth with water after eating or drinking. This simple step can help you maintain fresh breath throughout the day.

3. Enjoy Responsibly

Did you know that it actually makes a difference when, precisely, you eat candy? For example, if you indulge in a piece of candy after eating a meal, your mouth is already flooded with saliva. This means that your body is better able to neutralize the bacteria that feed on sugary substances. Likewise, it is better to eat candy in one, time-limited setting, rather than snacking throughout the day. The key is, we want to minimize the amount of time that your enamel or and oral tissues are exposed to sugars.

4. Beware of Certain Types of Candy

Sticky candies are notorious for getting stuck between your teeth. When enjoying something chewy and sticky, make sure to remove any pits that may have become lodged in your smile—use gentle floss rather than potentially abrasive toothpicks. Also, when enjoying hard candies or mints, make sure that you are not chewing these candies, as chewing hard substances can lead to dental damage.

As always, our O’Fallon dentists are here to answer all of your questions and give you any more information that you may need on maintaining your smile. Call our team to learn more!

Pediatric dental care can make a big difference for your child’s smile today, and well into the future. Keep reading to get some simple tips on how to help your child develop healthy oral hygiene habits!

Proper dental care starts at home! Encourage your child to…

· Brush his teeth at least twice a day—specifically, in the morning and night before bed

· Brush for at least 2 minutes every time he brushes—keep a stopwatch by the sink, or play a song that is about 2 minutes long to help your child keep track of time!

· Use gentle circular motions to buff plaque off of his teeth—remind your child that applying more pressure does not equal a better clean; in fact, applying too much pressure can cause enamel thinning and gum tissue damage

· Floss once a day—the best time to floss is actually in the evening, right before you brush your teeth

· Floss between every single one of his teeth for optimal results

· Guide his floss down into his gum tissue in order to remove as much plaque as possible

Professional dental care complements your at-home efforts.

· Most dental patients—both children and adults—should complete professional dental cleanings every six months or so. This allows our dental team to clear away newly developed plaque and tartar in a timely fashion.

· Some children will benefit from additional preventive treatments, like sealants and topical fluoride treatments.

· Our dental team is here to reinforce all of the good work that you’re doing at home, and talk to your child about why oral health is so important! We can also review proper brushing and flossing techniques with them, and answer any questions that they may have.

As always, please feel free to reach out to our O’Fallon dentists to get more information about dental care for people of all ages!

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