Posts for: August, 2016

By Mazhar M. Butt, D.M.D.
August 20, 2016
Category: Oral Health
BeyonceMakesFlossingaFamilyAffair

As is the case with most celebs today, Beyonce is no stranger to sharing on social media… but she really got our attention with a video she recently posted on instagram. The clip shows the superstar songstress — along with her adorable three-year old daughter Blue Ivy — flossing their teeth! In the background, a vocalist (sounding remarkably like her husband Jay-Z) repeats the phrase “flossin’…flossin’…” as mom and daughter appear to take care of their dental hygiene in time with the beat: https://instagram.com/p/073CF1vw07/?taken-by=beyonce

We’re happy that this clip highlights the importance of helping kids get an early start on good oral hygiene. And, according to authorities like the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, age 3 is about the right time for kids to begin getting involved in the care of their own teeth.

Of course, parents should start paying attention to their kids’ oral hygiene long before age three. In fact, as soon as baby’s tiny teeth make their first appearance, the teeth and gums can be cleaned with a soft brush or cloth and a smear of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice. Around age 3, kids will develop the ability to spit out toothpaste. That’s when you can increase the amount of toothpaste a little, and start explaining to them how you clean all around the teeth on the top and bottom of the mouth. Depending on your child’s dexterity, age 3 might be a good time to let them have a try at brushing by themselves.

Ready to help your kids take the first steps to a lifetime of good dental checkups? Place a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste on a soft-bristled brush, and gently guide them as they clean in front, in back, on all surfaces of each tooth. At first, it’s a good idea to take turns brushing. That way, you can be sure they’re learning the right techniques and keeping their teeth plaque-free, while making the experience challenging and fun.

Most kids will need parental supervision and help with brushing until around age 6. As they develop better hand-eye coordination and the ability to follow through with the cleaning regimen, they can be left on their own more. But even the best may need some “brushing up” on their tooth-cleaning techniques from time to time.

What about flossing? While it’s an essential part of good oral hygiene, it does take a little more dexterity to do it properly. Flossing the gaps between teeth should be started when the teeth begin growing close to one another. Depending on how a child’s teeth are spaced, perhaps only the back ones will need to be flossed at first. Even after they learn to brush, kids may still need help flossing — but a floss holder (like the one Beyonce is using in the clip) can make the job a lot easier.

If you would like more information about maintaining your children’s oral hygiene, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Top 10 Oral Health Tips For Children” and “How to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health.”


By Butt Family Dental Center
August 08, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: flossing   Brushing  

Keeping your smile healthy is an important part of keeping the rest of your body healthy as well. Dental issues related to tooth decay and gum disease have serious side effects which could affect more than just your mouth. Are you taking care of your smile the way you should be? Learn more about finding the best oral care routine for you and your mouth with help from your Carbondale, IL dentist at Butt BrushingFamily Dental Center, Dr. Mazhar Butt, DMD.

What should my at-home oral care routine consist of? 
Your at-home oral care routine is a vital part of keeping your teeth healthy. A strong oral care routine has three main parts:

  • Brushing: Brush your teeth at least two times a day for at least two minutes. To make this easier, split your mouth into quadrants and brush each one for at least 30 seconds. Use a soft-bristled brush and make gentle, circular motions on all areas of the teeth and oral tissues, including your tongue.
  • Flossing: Floss at least once daily. Use a separate strand of floss for each quadrant of your mouth to cut down on the spread of bacteria. Be sure to include the back side of your back molar in your flossing routine.
  • Seeing Your Dentist: Your dentist is the strongest tool you have to fight against tooth decay and gum disease. Commit to seeing your dentist at least twice a year. Since everyone is different, some people may need to see their dentist even more often. Dr. Butt can help you determine how often you should visit for regular examinations.

If you use mouthwash, be sure to swish it inside of your mouth for at least 30 seconds. Do not rinse your mouth with water after spitting out the mouthwash.

How do I know my mouth is healthy? 
A healthy smile should consist of several main factors. Your teeth should feel clean and slick, not “fuzzy”. If you experience unexplained bad breath, you could be suffering from tooth decay or gum disease. Your gums should appear pink and should not bleed when you brush or floss your teeth.

For more information on the best at-home oral care routine for you, please contact Dr. Mazhar Butt, DMD at Butt Family Dental Center in Carbondale, IL. Call (618) 457-2123 to schedule your regular dental examination and cleaning today!


By Mazhar M. Butt, D.M.D.
August 05, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth decay   salvia  
KeepYourSalivaFlowing-YourOralHealthDependsonit

We often don't realize how important something is until it's gone. Like saliva: you're usually not aware that it's cleaning the mouth, neutralizing mouth acid or helping with digestion. But that could change if your saliva flow drops below normal: your health may soon suffer with your mouth taking the brunt.

In particular, reduced saliva flow increases your risk for tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. Both diseases are linked to oral bacteria. While many of the myriad strains in the mouth are beneficial, a few bacteria can infect and inflame gum tissues. Bacteria also produce acid, which can soften and erode enamel and make the teeth more susceptible to decay.

Saliva inhibits bacteria in a number of ways. It first clears the mouth of leftover food so not as much stays behind to form bacterial plaque, a thin film of food particles that builds up on teeth. You still need to brush and floss daily to remove plaque, but it's less effective without saliva's cleansing action. Saliva also contains antibodies that destroy disease-causing bacteria and other organisms, which keeps their populations in the mouth low.

One of saliva's most important functions, though, is buffering acid. The mouth's ideal pH level is neutral, but many foods we eat can cause it to become more acidic. Even a slight acidic rise after eating can soften the minerals in enamel. But saliva goes to work immediately and usually restores normal pH within a half hour to an hour. It also aids in re-mineralizing the enamel.

For these reasons, it's important for you to find out the cause of chronic dry mouth and treat it. If it's a side effect of your medication, talk to your doctor about an alternative, or drink more water before and after you take your dose. Certain products can also stimulate saliva flow, like chewing gum with xylitol, an alcohol-based sweetener that has dental health-protecting properties too.

Although you often don't notice this unsung bodily fluid swishing in your mouth, it's important that you take care of it. Keeping your saliva flowing will help ensure better oral health.

If you would like more information on the importance of saliva to health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Saliva: How it is used to Diagnose Disease.”