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How do I know when to replace my toothbrush?

Toothbrushes have become much more technical and complex over the years. They have also become more expensive. This may leave you wondering if you can go a bit longer before you replace your toothbrush. Even today’s more technical toothbrushes need to be changed regularly to maintain their effectiveness. If you wait until your toothbrush looks worn and frayed, then you have probably waited too long. Worn bristles lose their ability to easily scrape plaque and calculus from the teeth and gum line.

It is recommended you change your toothbrush every three to four months. Marking the back of your brush with the date you open it is an easy way to keep track. Or you can time your toothbrush changes with the seasons. Children can be particularly hard on a toothbrush which may require more frequent replacement.

 

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If you find that your brush looks almost new at the end of four months, it may be an indication that you are not brushing long enough. It takes two minutes of brushing for a thorough cleaning and to allow the fluoride to work.

Look for a toothbrush with the American Dental Association seal of approval, one that is soft, and fits your mouth comfortably enough to brush properly. 

How do I choose a dentist for my child?

Selecting the proper dentist is a very important step in ensuring your child’s health. The question is…should you find a pediatric dentist or can he or she visit the family dentist? ?Many children are treated by a general dentist who already has a well-established relationship with the entire family. However, every child is different and your son or daughter may require the more kid-focused approach offered by a pediatric dentist.

Pediatric dentists generally have two to three years of additional training beyond four years of dental school. The additional training provides hands-on experience emphasizing child psychology, growth and development.  They learn how to examine and treat apprehensive children in ways that make them feel comfortable and safe.

Pediatric dentists alter their approach through the various stages of child development. During infancy the focus is on prevention and education, compared with adolescence when the emphasis may shift to restoring or correcting teeth along with preventive care and dealing with issues such as oral piercing, tobacco/drug use and safe cosmetic options.

When you choose, it really comes down to the child’s needs and your current dentist’s practice. Your pediatrician and current dentist are good resources as you make this important decision.

 

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Can I get cancer from tobacco?

Yes.

Montana teens are at an increased risk of oral cancer compared to their peers at a national level, as their use of smokeless tobacco is much higher than the national average.

Tobacco use is a major risk factor for cancer and estimated to cause 90 percent of all oral cancers.

Although oral cancer is typically associated with adults, it can develop at any age. Oral cancer is found in the mouth and throat. In a lot of cases, dentists are the ones to detect early signs of oral cancer.

Oral cancer is rare in teens. However, if you are suffering from any of these symptoms, it is best to go to a doctor or dentist as soon as possible.

  • A sore or lump on the lip or in the mouth;
  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth;
  • Unusual bleeding, pain, or numbness in the mouth;
  • A persistent sore throat or a feeling that something is caught in the throat;
  • Difficulty or pain with chewing or swallowing;
  • A change in the voice;
  • A change in bite or,
  • Pain in the ear. ?

Please note: these symptoms may be caused by cancer or by another pre-existing condition.

As Montana kids and teens have a much higher risk of exposure to some form of tobacco, it is important for them to abstain from using tobacco products.

Learn more at http://www.tobaccofree.mt.gov.

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