Sharing a Toothbrush? Think Again.



Forgot your toothbrush on your recent trip, so shared one with you spouse/friend/sister?  You may not have realized that the bacteria remaining on a toothbrush from the mouth could cause you to become sick or even kill you.

We all understand our hands become dirty and understand we transmit germs and virus’ by touching, but few people know that the mouth is home to more than 700 species of bacteria according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.  Bacteria that can be shared by kissing, sharing the same cup, spoon/fork and yes- your toothbrush because you are essentially swapping bodily fluids, in this case, saliva.

Not all 700 species are harmful, but staph and e. coli can lead to illness.  The common cold and strep are the most likely to make you sick, but pneumonia, herpes, and even HIV and HPV (human papilloma virus), can also be transmitted by sharing toothbrushes.  So basically, swapping brushes means that whatever was in their mouth is now in yours- especially if they don’t rinse, clean or change it often.

If you find yourself without a toothbrush, using a clean finger or wet washcloth would be the best option.  Good toothbrush maintenance includes these tips from the American Dental Association’s Mouth Healthy website.



Beware Homeopathic Teething Products for Baby!

The US Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to parents concerning ingredients of homeopathic teething agents sold to parents for their baby’s discomfort as teeth erupt.

The FDA found varying amounts of belladona, a toxic substance, in some homeopathic teething tablets and gels.  The warning issued recommends not using these products, and was based on reports of adverse events.

Belladona can cause seizures, muscle weakness and exhaustion.   On its website, NBC News (1/27, Fox) reported that belladona “is an extract of the deadly nightshade plant,” has hallucinogenic properties, and “is highly toxic in large amounts.”

Please click this link from ADA’s for more information on the proper way to treat children’s teething discomfort.

Try some of the suggestions found in the link above, and remember, your baby’s first dental checkup should be after the first tooth erupts or age one, whichever comes first.


Children’s Dental Health Month- Six Tips for Tots

February marks Children’s Dental Health Month, and also another important holiday which includes candy!  No time like the present to review six top tips for your children’s teeth before those Valentines are handed out!

  1.  Children are born with 20 teeth below their gums, and most will have their full set by age 3.  They usually start coming through the gum by age 6 months to 1 year.

      2.  Decay can start as soon as you see teeth in your child’s mouth.  Start brushing with a small amount of toothpaste (a “skiff”) as soon as you see your child’s teeth.

Image result for bottle rot baby teeth

      3.  Start brushing your child’s teeth twice per day, after breakfast and before bed with a “skiff” of fluoridated toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice.  After age three,  toothpaste should be no more than a pea-sized amount.

4.  Schedule your baby’s first dental visit after their first tooth erupts or by their first birthday.  Why so early?  As soon as your baby has teeth, they can get cavities.

      5.   Start flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they touch together.  It is fine to floss before or after brushing, and to use child-friendly plastic floss holders to more easily floss their teeth until they are older and can do it themselves.


      6.  When your child is thirsty, water is the best beverage, especially if it’s fluoridated.  Drinking water with fluoride (“nature’s cavity fighter”) has been shown to reduce cavities  by 25 percent.


New Year’s Resolution: Replace your toothbrush 3 times this year.

Does your toothbrush look like this?


The American Dental Association recommends you replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed.  That means, at a minimum, you should replace your toothbrush 3 times per year.

Toothbrushes will not clean effectively, and perhaps even damage gums and teeth, if they are worn.   Toothbrushes also harbor bacteria if not properly rinsed and air-dried after use.  Do not store your toothbrush with a cap on the end for extended periods of time.

If you find your toothbrush looks like the one above in less than 3 months, you may be an aggressive brusher, and should consider purchasing a rechargeable brush such as the Oral B Genius, which has a pressure-alert system built into the handle!  Watch this:

If you choose a regular, non-powered brush, remember to select one with the ADA seal of acceptance and choose SOFT.  Using a medium or hard bristle brush can brush away more than just the plaque, it can brush away your gum and tooth structure.

So remember:

  • Replace your toothbrush a minimum of 3 times per year
  • Brush with an ADA seal approved SOFT brush
  • Brush 2 minutes twice a day and floss before bed
  • Brush with fluoridated ADA seal accepted toothpaste
  • See your dentist, at a minimum, once per year




Happy Halloween!

Image result for halloween sugar teeth

Today is one of America’s favorite holidays and is the one chance per year we can go to work with a Woody-the-Woodpecker head on or dressed like a giraffe!

Along with this goes, or course, the day in which the children of America eat the most sugar in one 24 hour period of the entire year.

Childhood decay rates are on the rise and a lot of it is fueled by increased consumption of sugar in the form of candy and soda.

So what can you do to make sure your children’s teeth aren’t on “sugar high”?  Here are 3 simple steps to making sure your little goblins don’t end up in the dental chair needing a filling:


  1.  Limit the amount and timing of eating their candy.  Do they really need an entire pillowcase-full of candy?  Let them put it all out on the floor and have them choose 25-50 pieces as their “stash”.  Then, they are allowed to have a piece (or two) with dinner which limits the sugar-attack of eating it in between meals.

2. Brush and floss before bedtime!  Make it part of the “going to bed” ritual.  P.J.s,                      bathroom and help them brush and floss.  Children do not have the hand-dexterity                to effectively brush on their own until they are approximately 9 years old!  There are              many apps which have fun songs and timers for children to brush to.  Check it out!

3.  Make an appointment with the dentist for your child.  Research shows if children                  start seeing a dentist at age one, their decay rate dramatically decreases!  This is                      mainly because much of the time is spent counseling parents on how to take care of              their child’s teeth.  Getting to know their “dental home” helps alleviate fear of the                dentist and they happily jump into the chair for their checkups as they “grow-up”                in the office.

Watch this video of a child’s first dental appointment!




Women over 40, don’t ignore jaw pain!

40 is a milestone!  So many good things come from arriving at the age of 40, you have experience, energy, knowledge, confidence, and respect, but there are some changes women should not ignore and jaw pain is one of them.

When women over 40 experience jaw pain the most likely cause is a tooth or gum infection which can be treated.  It could also be TMJ or jaw-joint dysfunction which would require attention by a dentist for diagnosis.

However, in some cases, jaw pain can signal a heart attack, especially in women, says cardiologist Dr. Nieca Goldberg, director of NYU Langone’s Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health. In that case, there’s no time to waste.

Heart attack symptoms in women are not always as dramatic as men’s.  Women need to pay attention to their body and listen to the signals it is trying to give her.

Common heart attack symptoms include:chest pain or discomfort for both men and women, but women are more likely to have less typical symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, as well as back or jaw pain, according to the American Heart Association.

Also, many women report that symptoms can be fleeting, and sometimes occur over the course of days, even weeks, says Goldberg.



If you are experiencing jaw pain of any kind, call for an appointment so the source of the pain can be determined.  Sometimes it CAN be too late.


O.K., non-flossers, we know you’re out there!

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of nearly 10,000 American adults is out and the news isn’t good.  Just over 37% reported less than daily flossing, 32% reported never flossing at all and 30% say they floss daily.

The bacteria that live between your teeth are the kind that can do damage to your heart, brain, blood vessels, pancreas and other important organs.  They are small enough to get into the blood vessels that surround your teeth.

Flossing (when done properly) removes these bacteria and food particles before they have time to embed themselves into the blood stream.  Check out these links to learn the proper way to floss:


It’s best to floss before bed so that bacteria don’t have extra time to do any damage.  Most dentists agree it’s best to floss first, then brush.

Use teflon coated floss if you have tight contacts between your teeth, a common brand name is Glide, but there are others.

If you make it a goal to floss every day, your dental bills over your lifetime will be minimal and you will have your teeth to smile and chew for the rest of your life!

Happy flossing!