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National Children's Dental Health Month

February is the perfect time to help students brush up on good oral health habits because it's National Children's Dental Health Month!

Reports show that American students miss 51 million hours of school every year because of oral health problems. Students who are absent miss critical instruction time—especially in early grades where reading skills are an important focus and the building blocks of future learning. And students who have experienced recent oral health pain are four times more likely to have lower grade point averages than their counterparts who have not.

Parents and children are encouraged to brush their teeth for two minutes, two times per day, and read for 20 minutes as a way of building good oral health and literacy habits. 

To further help parents promote good oral health and literacy skills, here is a list of 28 books with an interest level between kindergarten and third grade, that will help encourage good oral health.

1.  ABC Dentist: Healthy Teeth from A to Z, by Harriet Ziefert and Liz Murphy

2.  Andrew’s Loose Tooth, by Robert Munsch

3.  Arthur’s Loose Tooth, by Lillian Hoban

4.  Arthur’s Tooth, by Mark Brown

5.  Behold, No Cavities! A Visit to the Dentist

6.  The Berenstain Bears: Visit the Dentist

7.  Brush, Floss and Rinse: Caring for Your Teeth and Gums, by Amanda Doering Tourville

8.  Clarabella’s Teeth, by An Vrombaut

9.  Dear Tooth Fairy, by Alan Durrant and Vanessa Cabban

10. Fancy Nancy and the Too-Loose Tooth, by Jane O’Connor

11. Going to the Dentist, by Anne Civardi

12. Gone With the Wand, by Margie Palatini

13. How Many Teeth?, by Paul Showers and True Kelley

14. Just Going to the Dentist, by Mercer Mayer

15. Little Rabbit’s Loose Tooth, by Lucy Bate

16. Loose Tooth, by Anastasia Suen

17. The Magic School Bus and the Missing Tooth, by Jeanette Lane

18. Make Way for Tooth Decay, by Bobbi Katz

19. The Night Before the Tooth Fairy, by Natasha Wing

20. Open Wide: Tooth School Inside, by Laurie Keller

21. Show Me Your Smile: A Visit to the Dentist, by Christine Ricci

22. The Story of the Tooth Fairy, by Tom Paxton and Robert Sauber

23. Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World, by Selby Beeler

24. The Tooth Book: A Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums, by Edward Miller

25. Tooth on the Loose, by Susan Middleton Elva

26. Tooth Trouble, by Jane Clarke

27. What Do the Fairies Do With All Those Teeth?, by Michel Luppens and Phillipe Beha

28. You Think It’s Easy Being the Tooth Fairy?, by Sheri Bell-Rehwoldt

Happy New Year!!

As the new year is upon us, a lot of us create resolutions to help improve our well-beings in one way or another. Here are 6 habits that you should kick while working on your goals for the best dental health:

1) Nail biting. With this habit, you are more apt to chip teeth and impact your jaw. “Placing your jaw for long periods of time in a protruding position can place pressure on it, which is associated with jaw dysfunction,” says Dr. Ruchi Sohota. A way to help you prevent this would be: bitter-tasting nail polishes, stress reduction, and setting small, realistic goals. If certain situations are triggers, hold something to keep your fingers busy.

2) Brushing too hard. Brushing for two minutes twice a day is one of the best habits you get into. Just make sure you’re not trying too hard. “Brushing with a hard toothbrush, or brushing too hard, can damage teeth and irritate gums,” says Dr. Matthew Messina. The solution to this would be to use a soft toothbrush that has been approved by the ADA. “Don’t think ‘scrub’. Think ‘massage’. Save the hard toothbrush for cleaning the grout in the bathroom tile.”

3) Grinding and clinching. “This can cause chipping or cracking of the teeth, as well as muscle tenderness or joint pain,” Dr. Messina says. “You might also feel like you can’t open your mouth wide or chew with pain.” Solution: “Relaxation exercises and staying aware makes a difference,” he says. A nighttime mouthguard can also help. “You’ll have less tooth damage, less pain, and muscle soreness and better sleep.”

4) Chewing ice cubes.  “Tooth enamel is a crystal. Ice is a crystal. When you push two crystals against each other, one will break,” Dr. Messina says. “Most of the time it’s the ice, but sometimes the tooth or a filling will break.” An easy solution to this would be to drink chilled beverages without ice, or use a straw so you’re not tempted.

5) Constant snacking. Grazing all day, especially on sugary foods and drinks, puts you at a higher risk for cavities. When you eat, cavity-causing bacteria feast on leftover food, producing an acid that attacks the outer shell of your teeth. To combat this, eat balanced meals to feel fuller, longer. If you need a snack, make sure it’s low in fat and sugar. If you indulge in the occasional sugary treat, follow it with a big glass of water to wash away leftover food.

6) Using your teeth as tools. Your teeth were made for eating, not to stand in as a pair of scissors or hold things when your hands are full. When you do this, you put yourself at a higher risk of cracking your teeth, injuring your jaw or accidentally swallowing something you shouldn’t. If this doesn’t sound like something you’d want, you could just stop and find something or someone to give you a hand. Your mouth will thank you.

From everyone here at the Hannibal Dental Group, we’d like to wish everyone a safe and healthy happy new year!

Annual HDG Christmas Trip!

Our Annual Hannibal Dental Group Christmas Trip was this past weekend!

During our fun-filled day full of surprises, we went to the Kitchen Conservatory (where we fixed lots of good food and then competed in a pizza competition); The Fabulous Fox to see Cirque Dreams Holiday Daze--AMAZING!!!; took a pit stop in St. Charles for food and drinks, and then finally took a horse-drawn carriage ride to see Christmas lights!!

It was a fantastic day all-around with our work family!

At the Kitchen Conservatory with our chefs!

At Fox Theatre!

A huge THANK YOU to the Docs and Vicki for everything!

How to Fight Tooth Decay

Humanity has been waging war against tooth decay for millennia — with this relentless opponent often getting the better of us.

Over the last century, however, significant treatment advances have turned the tide of battle in our favor. Perhaps the greatest of these advancements is our deeper grasp of the disease process — new understandings that have altered our treatment strategy. Rather than wait for cavities to occur and then repair the damage, we now focus on stopping the damage from occurring in the first place.

Prevention starts by reducing factors that contribute to tooth decay. We can signify these detrimental factors with the acronym BAD:

Bad Bacteria. Millions of bacteria inhabit our mouths at any one time, but only a few strains produce the acid that causes decay. We want to reduce their population by removing dental plaque (where they feed and grow) through daily brushing and flossing, and, at a minimum, semi-annual office cleanings.

Absence of Saliva. This important fluid neutralizes acid and strengthens tooth enamel. Some people, however, suffer from reduced saliva flow. We want to find the cause (for example, a side effect of certain prescription drugs) and then improve saliva flow.

Dietary Habits. A diet heavy in sugar and acid (particularly sodas and soft drinks) gives bacteria a ready food source and increases the mouth’s acidic level. Chronic high acid levels in particular are often too great for normal saliva flow to overcome and neutralize. Reducing the amount and frequency of these food items creates a healthier oral environment.

Reducing BAD factors is only half of our prevention focus. We also want to promote SAFE factors that enhance tooth health and strength: Sealants, especially for children, that shield tooth surfaces from decay; Antimicrobial rinses that target and rid the mouth of acid-producing bacteria and give healthy bacteria room to develop; Fluoride, a proven enamel-strengthening chemical available in dental products, many drinking water systems and as a topical application in dental offices; and an Effective diet that’s rich in nutrients and low in sugar and acid as already mentioned.

Keeping the focus on reducing BAD factors and promoting SAFE factors will greatly increase your chances of personally winning the war against tooth decay.

Welcome to Our Blog

Thank you for visiting our blog, and we look forward to connecting with you.

Hannibal Dental Group is excited to bring you the latest information about research and advancements in general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, and periodontics. This blog will also be used to post updates about our practice and keep in touch with our patients.

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