Happy New Year!!! Tips for Caregivers on excellent oral hygiene…

Caregivers are responsible for the oral and overall health of those they care for.  As a caregiver, many questions may come to mind regarding your responsibilities for one’s oral health:


How should I go about caring for someone’s mouth and teeth?  What type of dental hygiene routine is best for my loved-one, friend or patient?  What is the proper way to brush and floss teeth?  How often should my dependant see his/her Professional Dental Team?  What types of oral health products should I use that will allow me to provide the best oral care I can?  How do I clean false teeth?


Our goal is to help answer these questions and to provide information that you can use to improve your overall practices for excellent dental health, whether it be your own or someone else’s.


When the question of how to provide care for someone else’s oral health comes to mind, try to think of how you would care for your own mouth.  Brushing your teeth twice a day (morning/night) and flossing once a day, should come to mind…  When brushing, be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste that contains fluoride.  Fluoride helps strengthen the outer layer of the teeth to prevent cavities.  You shouldn’t use a medium or hard-bristled toothbrush because the rigid bristles can damage the gums and cause them to recede.  When the toothbrush bristles become ‘wilted or frayed’ in appearance, it’s time to change to a new one.  A good rule of thumb is to replace your toothbrush every three months, or whenever you’ve been sick.  Changing your toothbrush after you’ve been sick is extremely important—the bristles can harbor bacteria and prolong your illness.  Always use a light, but firm pressure when brushing.  For instance, imagine that you are brushing a ripe tomato and don’t want to bruise it.  These use and maintenance tips also apply to those who use electric toothbrushes.


It can be more difficult flossing someone else’s then than flossing your own, but the principles are the same.  To properly floss, take a piece of floss approximately           18-inches long and wrap it around your middle fingers.  Use your index fingers and thumbs to guide the floss between the teeth.  Once the floss is in between two adjacent teeth, be sure to adapt the floss to each tooth, forming the floss into a ‘C’ shape.  Gently slide the floss below the gumline, adapt to the adjacent tooth and do the same.  There are several flossers or floss picks on the market that can help assist with this motion.  The concept remains the same…you must adapt the floss to each tooth!



Ideally, everyone should see their dentist every six months and in some cases, more frequently.  Your dentist and dental hygienist work together at these visits to assess the health of your gums and teeth.  The dental team will determine the proper visit interval to ensure that an excellent level of health is maintained in your mouth.  Aside from assessing the health of your mouth and having a professional cleaning, the doctor will also perform an oral cancer screening at your regular visit.  The members of your dental team are the only health care professionals that look into your mouth on a regular basis.  It is imperative for them to establish a baseline of what your mouth looks like and record the presence of any abnormalities.  Regular oral cancer screens ensure your mouth is examined for cancer on a consistent basis and the necessary precautions and/or treatments are performed in the event an abnormality is found.



The following are important points when caring for those with false teeth or dentures:  Make sure the dentures are taken out every night before sleeping.  Your gums need to breathe!  Keeping the dentures in place all day and night can cause the gum tissue to become red and irritated.  Irritated gum tissue can cause discomfort when wearing the dentures.  Constant wearing of dentures can also cause oral infections.  When cleaning dentures, be sure to brush them as you would your own teeth.  Use a denture brush or a soft-bristled toothbrush and denture cleaner—you may also use an antibacterial soap or a mild dishwashing liquid.  When the dentures are out of the mouth, they can be soaked in a denture cleanser or water, to help avoid drying and potentially losing their form.  Before replacing the dentures in the mouth, gently brush the gums and tongue to stimulate circulation and remove any plaque debris that may be present.



Remember that your Professional Dental Team is here to help you.  If you need any assistance or have any questions about caring for your loved ones, don’t hesitate to contact them.  As a caregiver, be sure to remember what is necessary to care for one’s oral health: brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, daily flossing, eating well-balanced meals, and visiting your Dentist regularly.


Having a Happy Holiday: Foods to Avoid this Festive Season

TeethThe holidays are a time for indulging a bit in delicious treats, but that doesn’t mean you should stop taking care of your teeth! Here at Norman Dental, we believe that everything in moderation is OK, as long as you’re getting your regular cleanings and checkups at your dentist. But if you want to go the extra mile this season to protect your pearly whites, here are some foods to avoid this festive season.

Candy Canes

If you’re going to enjoy a candy cane, make sure not to bite into it. Hard candies like candy canes are full of bad-for-your-teeth sugar – and have been known to cause a lot of chipped teeth! Avoid these treats, if possible, but if you must indulge, try melting one into your tea or cocoa instead.

Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob is a nutritious side dish, but eating it can be a bit dangerous. People are likely to crack fillings or loosen sealants, and corn on the cob can cause serious damage to orthodontia. If you can, slice the corn off of the cob with a sharp knife, so you can enjoy the delicious treat without the dental risk.

Dried Fruit and Taffy

Dried fruits are a yummy holiday snack, but they can get stuck in your teeth. These kinds of foods can get lodged in the crevices of your teeth where they can allow bacteria to grow and thrive on sugars. In turn, this can increase your risk of developing cavities. We suggest sticking to peanuts instead!

Coffee and Soda

During the holiday season, it can be easy to overindulge in things like coffee, soda and even red wine. Just remember: these dark liquids can wreak havoc on your teeth, even causing them to appear stained or yellow. If you’re a coffee or soda lover, make sure to only have a cup in moderation. You should also brush your teeth afterwards, but wait at least 15 minutes after finishing your drink before you brush. Acidic drinks like sodas, energy drinks and coffee can actually weaken tooth enamel for a short period, which means that brushing could cause additional damage to your teeth.

For more tips to keep your pearly whites safe during the holidays, or to schedule an appointment for tooth whitening before heading off to see family, call Norman Dental today at 336-282-2120.


Holiday Reminders from Norman Dental!!

Just Some Reminders…


The year has flown by, and the holidays will be here before we know it!  With our schedules changing due to get-together’s, family coming into town, or work outings, we wanted to mention a few things that tend to get neglected this time of year!


Don’t forget to brush!  Sometimes with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to fall into bed before doing your oral hygiene regimen at night!  We get so exhausted, it’s easy to forget.  Try to continue your brushing and flossing habit throughout the holidays, even if you’re getting to bed later, have company at your house, or travelling more.





There have been speculations that cranberries have properties that help prevent tooth decay.  As it has been shown that the pigmentation in cranberries help prevent plaque formation on your teeth, which in turn helps prevent cavities, just keep in mind that cranberries are acidic and cranberry juice is typically full of sugar—both of which can tend to cause tooth decay!  So again, remember your brushing and flossing techniques after having cranberries, or juice.



Keep your regular dental visits!  During the holidays, we tend to ignore our diets a bit—eat more desserts, have a nightcap with friends or family—so it’s crucial to remain on your routine dental visits.


With the holidays approaching, it’s always good to have reminders, even for the simple things!

Flossing Unproven? We Disagree!

The dental industry was rocked recently when a story published by The Associated Press announced findings that flossing may not be as good for our teeth as we may have previously thought.

Pretty surprising, isn’t it? It surprised us, too.

In the piece, the AP reported that the departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture failed to provide them with evidence that flossing has any significant benefits for our teeth, even though we have been told – and we have been telling you – for decades that daily flossing is essential to our dental health.

FlossingStill, even though there is little evidence that proves that daily flossing can save us from the most extreme of mouth diseases, many dentists, including those from the National Institutes of Health admit that flossing can still be beneficial to our health.

And their words remain fact.

Flossing may not be glamorous, but it does offer plenty of benefits. As a matter of fact, numerous other studies prove that regular flossing can assist in reducing gum inflammation and can also result in a significant decrease in gingival bleeding.

If avoiding these undesirable situations isn’t enough, just think logically about how flossing can release all those morsels of food between your teeth. Without even discussing the benefits of removing those leftovers – which, if left in your mouth can help foster bacteria growth – just think about how much better you feel when you have clean, flossed teeth.

It is also important to remove the food between your teeth because this practice can help you to avoid problems like halitosis or bad breath. Plus, having gunk between your gumline and your teeth can result in many other periodontal diseases.

Long story short: don’t throw that dental floss out just yet. Despite these reports, most dentists – including us here at Norman Dental – still heavily recommend daily flossing as part of your regular oral hygiene routine. Flossing is an easy and inexpensive process, and even if it offers less significant benefits than previously thought, isn’t it worthwhile to do everything you can to keep your teeth and your mouth healthy?

At Norman Dental, we promote good dental health in all of its incarnations. If you are unsure what your specific dental issues may be, are in need of a routine cleaning and checkup, or you are just looking for advice, give our office a call at 336-282-2120 today.

Children’s Dental Health

Children’s Dental Health

Matthew Norman, DDS and Michelle Phillips, RDH


February is Children’s Dental Health Month.  It is important for both parents and children to value the care of the child’s teeth from the beginning.  Good oral home care begins very early on, even before the first tooth comes in.


Your child’s first dental visit should occur by the time they have their first birthday.  The primary reason for a visit to the dentist at this young age is to assess the child’s mouth for possible abnormalities and to check for the presence of any erupted baby teeth.  Most importantly, this visit provides the parent with an opportunity to answer any questions they may have regarding caring for their child’s mouth and teeth.


While your child is an infant, you will want to wet a washcloth and rub it along the baby’s gums to keep their mouth clean. Your child’s first dental cleaning is typically around age 3.


Caring for your child’s teeth is no different than your caring for Fluorideyour own.  They should brush their teeth twice a day and floss once a day.  Keep in mind that children do not have the manual dexterity to effectively clean their teeth on their own, and will need your help.  A child should not brush alone until the age of 7 and floss alone until the age of 9.  And when applying toothpaste, simply use a “pea” sized amount to ensure they are getting a healthy amount of fluoride.


After a child begins to get his/her teeth, be sure to use a fluoride-free toothpaste until they can effectively spit the toothpaste out, generally at age 3-4.  Once a child can successfully spit out toothpaste, it is important to provide them with one that does contain fluoride.   Fluoride is very beneficial to your child’s dental health.  There are two types of fluoride: systemic and topical.  The fluoride found in the toothpaste, or fluoride treatments at the dental office are considered topical – this only helps strengthen the teeth that are currently present in the mouth.  Systemic fluoride, such as that found in city water or fluoride tablets/drops, is ingested into the body and helps to strengthen the permanent teeth that are currently developing underneath the gums.  Both types of fluoride are very beneficial and needed for optimum dental health.


Around the age of 6, children begin erupting their permanent teeth.  The first teeth that typically erupt are the permanent first molars in the back of the jaw and the two middle front teeth. The permanent first molar teeth are typically referred to as the 6-Tooth-Sealantsyear molars, because of the age they commonly erupt.  Once these permanent molars fully erupt, we may discuss placing dental sealants.  A dental sealant is a completely non-invasive procedure that helps further protect these molars from developing cavities (see Example above).  Naturally, these permanent molars have deep pits and grooves and are a common place for tooth decay to occur.   The dental sealant liquid is placed into the grooves of the tooth and hardened it with a curing light.  After the sealant is hardened, it is bonded to the tooth and provides a smooth surface across the top of the tooth to help prevent cavities.


Below is a tooth eruption chart with the approximate age that babies with begin to get their primary teeth, as well as the estimated age in which they will lose the baby tooth and begin to erupt the permanent teeth.

eruption chart

If you have a child in need of a dentist, or have any dental-related questions about your child, feel free to call Norman Dental at 336-282-2120.

Dental X-Rays

Dental X-Rays

Matthew Norman, DDS and Michelle Phillips, RDH


X-Rays or radiographic images are taken in dental offices to help in diagnosing dental diseases such as tooth decay and infection.  Every x-ray/image taken at Norman Dental is digital.  Digital x-rays are superior in quality to traditional film x-rays, but most importantly, digital imaging requires only about 25% of the radiation exposure that traditional x-rays do.  This allows your Norman Dental team to expose our patients to as little radiation as possible while taking these important images.  We take radiographs for a couple different reasons:

  • Bitewings:  These are the 2 or 4 images taken routinely at hygiene visits.  These are great for detecting toothBWdecay between back teeth, bone levels around the teeth and tartar below the gums.  We generally take these images every 12-18 months, depending on the individual patient’s needs.


  • PA or Periapical: These x-rays are taken to show us the entire tooth, including thePA root tip.  These may be taken if you’re having a toothache or swelling around a tooth.  PA images help us to detect tooth decay in anterior or front teeth.   PA images also may be required from your insurance company for a particular procedure (i.e. crown).


Full Survey X-Rays: These types of x-rays are generally taken every three to five years.

  • Panorex or Panoramic: This image scans around your head to show us all of your teeth including the roots, jawPano joints, sinus cavities and surrounding areas.  These images are taken to detect cysts, growths or defects in the bone that we cannot see clinically.  Panoramic images are also taken to assess the wisdom teeth or even for the placement of a dental implant.


  • Full Mouth Series: This is a series of 18 different x-rays.  These 18 imagesFMX consist of 14 Periapical x-rays and four Bitewings.   The Full Mouth Series is a better choice of a full survey film if someone has had multiple crowns, fillings, a high rate of tooth decay, or teeth which have had root canal treatment.

We cannot see everything in the mouth just by looking…this is why we routinely take x-rays on all patients.  The x-rays allow us to see things that we cannot detect clinically.