dental tips

Alligators teeth
How Can Alligators Regrow Teeth But Humans Cannot?
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Did you know alligators can regenerate a lost tooth fifty times? How is it possible they can and we can’t? In this article, we’ll delve into why and how exactly alligators are able to regrow their teeth — and explore if that’ll ever be a possibility for us, too.

Why Exactly Can an Alligator Regrow Its Teeth But We Can’t?

Alligators have remarkably similar teeth to newborn humans. The animals have an adult tooth and a “baby” tooth that acts as a replacement in case they lose a tooth. This is s similar structure to what we have when we’re firstborn. However, unlike us, they also have a stem cell that can become a replacement tooth, and we don’t.

“When the mature tooth falls out, the second one becomes a mature one, and the stem cell becomes a baby one. Interestingly, they are able to do this process repeatedly,” explains University of Southern California researcher Cheng Ming Chuong. “In humans, we have a similar structure when we’re born, but we don’t have any stem cell there under normal conditions.”

Will It Ever Be Possible for Humans to Regrow Their Teeth Like an Alligator?

Chuong’s study is looking into this exact question. The team is trying to find out if we can stimulate a similar cycle in adult humans so that we automatically replace teeth.

“In a way, our hair can keep regenerating multiple times in our life. But human teeth only have one chance when we change from [baby] teeth to permanent teeth,” he says. “The motivation for studying this is so that we’ll one day be able to do this.”

Research into regenerative medicine is still in its beginning stages. However, Chuong says it’s certainly possible that one day scientists will be able to inject molecules or hormones that can cause humans to create new teeth.

“We have to understand the molecular pathway involved,” he says. “We will need the ability to position and control the process in a strategic way.”

But until that day comes, modern dentistry has many solutions to the problem of missing teeth, from crowns and bridges to implants. If you have any issues with missing teeth, set up at the appointment with our team by contacting Highline Dental today!


Brushing habits for child
When Should Kids Begin Brushing Their Own Teeth?
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If you have young children, you’re probably wondering when they should start handling their daily oral healthcare routine on their own. Here, we’ll not only explain when your kids should begin brushing their own teeth, but how you should teach them and how to get them excited to brush their teeth on their own. But first, let’s talk about how to care for their oral health before they can do so by themselves.

How to Care for Your Child’s Teeth

Even before your child has any teeth, wipe their gums with a moist washcloth every day, preferably after feedings. Around six months, when your baby’s teeth start emerging through their gums, start brushing them. You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush specifically made for a baby or even a wet washcloth wrapped around your finger to gently brush your baby’s teeth and gums to wipe away any bad, decay-causing bacteria. And as soon as your child has two teeth touching, begin flossing between their teeth.

When Kids Should Brush Their Own Teeth

Children typically shouldn’t start brushing their own teeth until they’re coordinated enough to tie their own shoes. This usually happens around age six or seven. Wait until they have enough dexterity to properly and safely use the tools themselves so they are more likely to reach every surface of their teeth. This timeline also gives you ample time to show them how to properly brush their teeth.

How to Teach Kids to Brush Their Own Teeth

Set a good example of great oral care for your family. Make a point of showing your kids that you brush your teeth twice a day: in the morning and at night before bed. When your child is coordinated enough, guide them through the following steps and supervise their brushing until you are confident they are getting an effective clean:

  • Use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush specifically made for children.
  • Wet the bristles before putting a small amount of toothpaste–about the size of a grain of rice if they’re under three and a pea-sized amount if they’re over three–on the toothbrush.
  • Brush the inside, outside, and chewing surfaces of every tooth using gentle, circular motions as you move throughout the mouth.
  • Remember to brush their tongue!
  • Always encourage your child to spit out their toothpaste and to not swallow it.

How to Get Your Kids Excited About Brushing

There are a bunch of ways to get your kids excited to brush their teeth. For example, take them to the store to pick out their own toothbrush that features their favorite character, make a game of tooth brushing, use positive reinforcement with a sticker chart or extra reading time or a special family outing, turn tooth brushing time into a dance party with their favorite song, or watch any of the many videos available online that are made specifically to keep your child entertained while they brush their teeth. If your child is especially reluctant to brush their teeth, consider investing in an electric toothbrush to jazz up their oral care routine.

We See Patients of All Ages!

Highline Dental offers affordable dental care for patients of all ages in Richmond, TX. If you have any other questions about proper preventive oral care for your children or would like to schedule their next checkup at our office, contact us today.