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Dental Tips

Learn some dental tips & tricks.


  • Brushing with toothpaste is important. Toothpaste and a correct brushing action work to remove plaque, a sticky, harmful film of bacteria that grows on your teeth.
  • Teens should wait to use tooth-whitening products until at least age 14, at which time the tooth’s pulp (nerve) is fully formed and the teen will experience less sensitivity. Teens should always consult their dentist before using an over-the-counter teeth-whitening product.
  • Another common oral health issue for teens is tongue piercing. Teens need to be made aware that tongue piercings can cause fracturing and damage to the teeth.
  • A typical 12-ounce can of regular soda contains approximately 10 tsp of sugar. The average 12- to 19-year-old male drinks the equivalent of 868 cans a year. Not only is sugar in soda harmful to teeth, acidic flavor additives (also found in sugar-free soda) can erode and damage tooth enamel.
  • Fruit juice could be just as harmful to teeth as soda because it is a concentrated source of sugars and sometimes acids.
  • If your child drinks fruit juice, they should use a straw to keep it from having as much contact with their teeth.
  • If your child's permanent tooth is knocked completely out, call your dentist immediately. It is critical to get the child and the tooth to the dentist within 30 minutes of the accident, as it may be possible to successfully reimplant the tooth.
  • Swimming pool accidents are the number-one cause of dental emergencies during the summer.
  • If a tooth is chipped, find the chip, save it and visit your dentist immediately. Put the chip in a plastic bag, and keep the chip moist by adding a few drops of water to the bag or wrapping it in wet gauze.
  • From age 2, children should begin to brush their own teeth with a parent’s help. Use a small, soft brush with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. After age 8, children can brush and floss alone, with an occasional check by an adult.
  • Regular brushing and flossing are especially important when braces are placed to correct crooked or overcrowded teeth. Food and plaque can get trapped in the tiny spaces between braces and wires, causing decay and discoloration.
  • Make sure your child brushes for two to three minutes, twice a day, with fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Teach your child to floss daily to remove plaque from places their toothbrush can’t reach.
  • As your child's permanent molars come in, you may want to consider dental sealants, a thin plastic film painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent cavities.
  • Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when an infant is allowed to fall asleep with the bottle in his or her mouth, and acids produced by bacteria feeding on the juice or milk attack the baby’s tooth enamel and cause damage to the teeth.
  • Prolonged pacifier use and thumb-sucking can cause changes in the shape of the roof of the mouth, prevent proper growth of the mouth and create problems with tooth alignment. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends that children stop using pacifiers by age one.
  • You should clean and massage your baby's gums daily to help establish healthy gums and to aid in teething. Cleaning your child's teeth should begin when the first tooth is visible (at about six months) because teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they appear in the mouth.
  • By age 8 children should be able to brush and floss by themselves, with occasional checks. Turn brushing and flossing into a daily routine. Make it fun by giving your child a colorful toothbrush and flavored floss.
  • Two of the most important things your teen can do for his or her oral health is to practice good oral hygiene and eat nutritious foods.
  • Crisp fruits and raw vegetables like apples, carrots and celery, help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath.
  • Calcium-fortified juices, milk and other dairy products, which are rich in calcium and vitamin D, help promote healthy teeth and bones, and reduce the risk for tooth loss.

Tip of the day

Prolonged pacifier use and thumb-sucking can cause changes in the shape of the roof of the mouth, prevent proper growth of the mouth and create problems with tooth alignment. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends that children stop using pacifiers by age one.

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