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Posts for: April, 2017

By John Sartorio, D.M.D.
April 29, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

It's a big transition when your child enters college — for both of you. You may find “cutting the apron strings” a little rocky at times.

But like most parents, you'll soon condense what you still want your college kid to do down to a few major habits and choices. Be sure to keep health, diet and lifestyle choices on that list, areas which could have the most effect on their long-term health and well-being.

That should include dental care. Hopefully, they've already developed good hygiene habits like daily brushing and flossing and regular dental visits. But, on their own now, they're faced with other choices that could affect their dental health.

For example, eating a balanced, nutritious diet is necessary for a healthy mouth. That includes limiting sugar intake, especially when snacking. Disease-causing oral bacteria thrive on carbohydrates like sugar. These bacteria also secrete acid, which at consistently high levels can erode tooth enamel.

Tobacco smoking and excessive alcohol affect teeth and gums because both can inhibit secretion of saliva. Besides containing antibodies that fight infection, saliva also neutralizes mouth acid. A dry mouth caused by these habits, could put their mouth at higher risk for disease.

Your college student might also be influenced by the fashion of their peers to display piercings. Mouth piercings with lip or tongue hardware in particular can damage teeth. The constant movement and friction erodes enamel or may even cause a tooth fracture. If possible, try to steer them to self-expression that poses less risk to their dental health.

There's one other area that, believe it or not, could impact dental health: sex. While each family handles this particular subject differently, be sure your child knows that some forms of sexual activity increase the risk for contracting the human papilloma virus (HPV16). Among its many destructive outcomes, HPV16 profoundly raises the risk of oral cancer, a rare but deadly disease with a poor survival rate.

Going from home to college is a big step for a young person — and their parents. As a parent, you can help steer them to practice good habits and make wise choices that will protect their lives and health and, in particular, their teeth and gums.

If you would like more information on helping your college student maintain their dental 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 “10 Health Tips for College Students.”

By John Sartorio, D.M.D.
April 14, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry  

Has your smile changed over the years? Whether you're concerned about a chip or other minor flaw or have crooked or missing teeth, cosmetic dentistrycosmetic dentistry treatments can improve your smile. Pittsburgh, PA, dentist Dr. John Sartorio discusses three cosmetic dentistry treatments you may want to consider.


Don't want to inform the entire world you're straightening your teeth? You don't have to if you choose Invisalign. No wires are required with this orthodontic option. Clear, removable trays exert gentle pressure on your teeth and gradually reposition them over the course of your treatment. Trays are custom-designed to fit your mouth and are usually replaced with a new set every two weeks. You can expect to visit Dr. Sartorio's Pittsburgh office about every six weeks for follow-up appointments.

Wearing metal braces makes cleaning your teeth and eating some types of foods a challenge. Since Invisalign trays are removed for eating, brushing and flossing, your normal routine won't change.


Imperfections in your teeth can be corrected quickly and easily by adding porcelain veneers to the fronts of your teeth. Veneers are an excellent choice for hiding that chip that developed when you bit into a hard nut or small cracks in tooth enamel. Although porcelain veneers are just a little thicker than a contact lens, they offer excellent coverage for several types of flaws that can affect your smile. They're often used to conceal small flaws or change the shape of a tooth, but are also helpful in covering gaps between teeth, adding length to a tooth or changing the color of a tooth.

Dental implants

Missing teeth detract from your appearance, may lead to a weakening of your jawbone and can cause chewing difficulties. Dental implants solve all of these problems. Dental implants are designed to act a replacements for natural tooth roots. The implants fuse to the bone in your jaw over a period of approximately six months. During the healing process, a flap of gum tissue keeps the implant out of sight. Once healing and bonding take place, an artificial tooth called a crown is attached to the implant, restoring both your appearance and your ability to eat normally.

Are you ready to upgrade your smile? Call Pittsburgh, PA, dentist Dr. John Sartorio at (412) 831-8700 to find out which cosmetic dentistry treatment is right for you.

By John Sartorio, D.M.D.
April 14, 2017
Category: Oral Health

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:

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.”