Thursday, September 29, 2011

Protect That Smile of Yours!

Why Wear a Mouthguard?
Do you play football, basketball or soccer? Perhaps you are in gymnastics, baseball or you like to skateboard. No matter what sport you prefer, there’s always a risk of injury. Knowing how to prevent injuries is important if you participate in organized sports or other recreational activities. A properly fitted mouthguard, or mouth protector, is an important piece of athletic gear that can help protect your smile. In fact, an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth when not wearing a mouthguard. You don’t have to be on the football field or in a hockey rink to benefit from a properly fitted mouthguard. New findings in sports dentistry show that even in non-contact sports, such as gymnastics, mouthguards will help protect participants. Many experts recommend that everyone – from children to adults – wear a mouthguard during any recreational activity that might pose a risk of injury to the mouth. Mouthguards help buffer an impact or blow that otherwise could cause broken teeth, jaw injuries or cuts to the lip, tongue or face. Mouthguards also may reduce the rate and severity of concussions.

Choosing a Mouthguard
There are three types of mouthguards:
§          The ready-made or stock, mouthguard
§          The mouth-formed ‘boil-and-bite’ mouthguard
§          The custom-made mouthguard made by a dentist

Although all three provide protection, they differ in the amount of protection and in their comfort and cost. The most effective mouthguard should have several features. It should be resilient, tear-resistant and comfortable. It also should fit properly, be durable and easy to clean, and not restrict your speech or breathing.

Brown Family Dentistry can make a custom mouthguard for you or your child that is comfortable and offers superior protection. Because treating a sports-related injury can cost thousands of dollars, a custom mouthguard is a worthwhile investment. A custom-made mouthguard is individually designed and made here in our office or at one of our professional dental labs. An impression is made of the patient’s teeth. Using a special material, the mouthguard is made over a model of the teeth. Although custom-made mouthguards may be more expensive than other types, their good fit, comfort and overall quality make them a worthwhile investment.

Caring for Your Mouthguard
  • There are several things your can do to make your mouthguard last longer. Before and after each use, rinse it with cold water. You can clean it with toothpaste and a toothbrush.
  • Occasionally, clean the mouthguard in cool, soapy water and rinse thoroughly.
  • Place the mouthguard in a firm, perforated container during storage or while transporting it. This permits air circulation and helps to prevent damage.
  • To minimize distortion, avoid high temperatures, such as hot water, hot surfaces or direct sunlight.
  • Like any other sports gear, a mouthguard will wear out, making it less effective. If your mouthguard has holes, tears or becomes loose, it can irritate the teeth and oral tissues. These conditions also diminish the amount of protection the mouthguard provides when you are wearing it.
  • Schedule regular recall visits by calling our office at 920-725-0400 and be sure to visit us before each playing season. Bring your mouthguard to each dental visit. You may also find more information by visiting our website at

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Suffering From Dry Mouth? We Can Help!

Do you ever feel like your mouth and The Sahara Desert have something in common?

If so, you are not alone.  Over 25 million Americans suffer from dry mouth.  And it’s not just the discomfort of dry mouth (called “xerostomia” by dentists) that is the problem; it is often accompanied by trouble chewing and swallowing, difficulty in speaking, a rise in dental cavities and gum disease, and most noticeably to some, bad breath.   

So why do so many of us have what is often referred to as “cottonmouth?”

What Causes Dry Mouth?
According to The Food and Drug Administration, over 400 medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, can lead to dry mouth.  It is also caused by mouth breathing, dehydration (drink your water!!), and lack of salivary flow due to aging.  In rare instances, dry mouth may be caused by an underlying serious disease-so it is not something to take lightly.

Reducing the Symptoms of Dry Mouth
There are several things you can do to help reduce the symptoms of dry mouth, including:

  • Chewing sugar-free gum containing Xylitol
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Breathing through your nose instead of your mouth
  • Frequent brushing and rinsing with fluoride toothpaste and mouthrinse such as Biotene
  • Using a room vaporizer to humidify the air in your home
  • Using an over-the-counter saliva substitute such as Stoppers which we carry in our office.

Since dry mouth can also be a sign of a serious illness and cause an increase in cavities and gum disease, excellent oral hygiene and regular dental visits are a must. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please call our office at 920-725-0400 for an appointment or visit our website at Your health is important to us and we are here to help you.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Does My Child Need Sealants?

Protecting Your Teeth

Our teeth are constantly being covered with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. When we eat or drink anything that contains sugar or starch, bacteria turn the sugar and starch into acids that attack tooth enamel.  One of the most common places that tooth decay develops is on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, called premolars and molars. These back teeth contain grooves and indentations called pits and fissures. Regular brushing and flossing helps remove the food and bacteria on our teeth. However, pits and fissures are difficult to keep clean. Our toothbrush is unable to reach into these tiny grooves. Because these pits and fissures are difficult to keep clean, we may recommend placing dental sealants.

What Are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to protect them from tooth decay. Most tooth decay in children and teens occurs on these surfaces. Sealants protect the chewing surfaces from tooth decay by keeping germs and food particles out of these grooves.

Which Teeth Should Be Sealed?

Permanent molars are the most likely to benefit from sealants. The first molars usually come into the mouth when a child is about 6 years old. Second molars appear at about age 12. It is best if the sealant is applied soon after the teeth have erupted, before they have a chance to decay.

Applying Sealants

Applying sealants does not require drilling or removing tooth structure. The process is short and easy. After the tooth is cleaned, a special gel is placed on the chewing surface for a few seconds. The tooth is then washed off and dried. Then, the sealant is painted on the tooth. The dentist also may shine a light on the tooth to help harden the sealant. It takes about a minute for the sealant to form a protective shield.

Follow Up

As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth’s chewing surface will be protected from decay. During a regular dental checkup, we will check the condition of the sealants and touch up as necessary. Call us today at 920-725-0400 or visit our website at to find out more information or to schedule an appointment. We’d be happy to assist you and your family.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

When Should I Bring My Child To The Dentist?

First Dental Visit
This is a question we hear quite often from new parents. When is the best time to bring a child in for that first visit? A child's primary teeth, sometimes called "baby teeth," are as important as the permanent adult teeth. We at Brown Family Dentistry recommend that a child be seen by a dentist as soon as his or her first tooth erupts, but at least no later than the first birthday. A dental visit at an early age is a "well baby checkup" for the teeth. The front four teeth usually erupt first, beginning as early as 6 months after birth. Most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the age of 3 years. The primary teeth generally begin to shed, or fall out, at about 6 years of age. The first of the 32 permanent teeth begin to appear about the same time.

Brushing Your Child’s Teeth
            Begin brushing your child's teeth with a little water as soon as the first tooth appears. Supervise toothbrushing to make sure children older than 2 years of age use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and avoid swallowing it. Children should be taught to spit out remaining toothpaste and rinse with water after brushing. Most children will be able to brush on their own by the age of 6 or 7 years and should be brushing two times a day. Parents should be using floss on their children's teeth as soon as any two teeth touch. Cleaning between the teeth is important because it removes plaque where a toothbrush cannot reach. At that first dental visit, we will be checking for tooth decay and other problems, demonstrate how to clean the child's teeth properly and evaluate any adverse habits such as thumbsucking.

Routine Dental Checkups
            Help your children maintain a lifelong healthy smile by providing them with a well-balanced diet, limiting snacks, ensuring that they brush twice per day and floss once per day, and scheduling regular dental checkups for them. Please give us a call at 920-725-0400 or visit us at and we will be happy to assist you in scheduling your child’s first visit!


Friday, April 8, 2011

Are You Too Sensitive?

We’ve all noticed it from time to time – have some ice cream followed by good hot coffee and OUCH! – your tooth is telling you not to do that! According to The Academy Of General Dentistry, over 45 million Americans experience this on a frequent basis. But how do you know if your tooth sensitivity is a sign of (pardon the pun) a deep rooted problem?

Let’s start with a little quiz. What is the hardest substance in the human body?

a)    Fingernails
b)   The thigh bone, also known as the femur
c)    Your hard-headed uncle’s skull
d)   Tooth enamel

If you guessed tooth enamel, you’re not only on your way to a winning appearance on Jeopardy but you’re ready to understand tooth sensitivity.

The enamel that covers your teeth is an extremely hard substance and acts as a great protectant. Inside the enamel is something called dentin, which is a bit softer and actually has small hollow tubes leading right into the nerve chamber. Irritate that layer and your tooth will let you know!

So if the enamel on your teeth is worn away, sensitivity can set in. The roots of your teeth are in a similar situation, and receding gums which cause the roots to be uncovered can cause sensitivity as well. So what can you do?

First of all, be gentle when you brush and always use a soft toothbrush. Lots of pressure and stiff bristles don’t clean your teeth any better and actually can wear away enamel and gums.

Some people find that acidic foods such as citrus fruits and tomatoes can cause sensitivity, so avoid those if you are in that category.

Also, there are over-the-counter products, such as special toothpastes and rinses, that can help. Let us know and we’ll be glad to recommend the right one for you.

Unfortunately, many of the causes of tooth sensitivity are also signs of much larger dental problems. Things such as cavities, defective fillings or crowns, receding gums due to gum disease, grinding, and many other conditions can cause sensitivity and all of these things definitely need attention from a dental professional.

At Brown Family Dentistry we want you to be comfortable and have healthy teeth and gums! If tooth sensitivity or any other dental issues are causing you concern, please give us a call at 920-725-0400 or visit and we will be glad to see how we can help. We want to get you comfortable again!