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Back to School Dental Tips

August 8th, 2018

 

Poor oral health affects a child’s abilities in school, play and everyday life. Moreover dental problems cause low self-esteem, difficulty sleeping, speech, articulation, and hindered academic performance. The good news is that there are several ways you can go back to school with a healthy mouth.

Dental Examination

Tooth decay is the leading #1 childhood chronic disease affecting 42% of children between the ages of 2 and 11 and 59% of adolescents between 12 and 19. We recommend that you make a trip to the dentist before this school year begins. A dental examination is as important as immunizations and booster shots for back to school according to the American Dental Association.

Limit Sugary Drinks

Sugar is the #1 cause of tooth decay. Bacteria in the mouth use sugars from the drinks you consume to produce acids that dissolve and damage the teeth, causing tooth decay. A great alternative to sugary drinks is water since it strengthens your teeth and help wash away food debris.

Pack a healthy lunch

Foods high in calcium like cheese, milk, and yogurt help keep your teeth healthy and strong. Cheese has enzymes that aid in neutralizing the harmful bacteria in your mouth after a meal. Also, research shows that whole grains are less likely to promote tooth decay. Packing a lunch with these options is a great start to a healthier mouth.

Brush and Floss

Plaque is a transparent layer of bacteria that coats our teeth and gum line. Plaque contains millions of harmful bacteria, but regular brushing and flossing can help remove the plaque. The best method to brush is to follow the two by two rule which consist of brushing twice a day for two minutes. Moreover, flossing every day helps remove the plaque between your teeth. Add a fluoridated rinse to finish you child's routine.

Protect your mouth playing sports

It is important to protect your kids’ healthy smile from injury. Many high contact sports like football require their athlete to wear a mouth guard. For superior protection we recommend that you get a custom mouth guard made by your dentist. If you are unsure of what safety precautions to take for your child’s sport, talk to their trainer in regards to what safety equipment is required and recommended.

A new school year means new healthy habits. Stress the importance of good dental hygiene and make sure that your child visits the dentist before the school year begins.

Are Dental X-rays Safe During Pregnancy?

July 25th, 2018

Pregnancy is an exciting time and, while your body is undergoing massive amounts of change, it does not mean that you should abandon your dental care routine. In fact, it is important that you take extra-great care of your teeth in order to avoid things like pregnancy gingivitis, and if you stick to your regular dental visit schedule during pregnancy, chances are you will need to have dental X-rays at some point. One question we often hear in the office is: are dental X-rays safe during pregnancy?

The short answer is…. Yes! Dental X-rays are safe to have during pregnancy, but there are some other factors you may want to consider as you are planning your dental care during this time.

The amount of radiation used in a dental X-ray is very low and, according to both the American Dental Association and the American Pregnancy Association, is not enough to cause any harm to a pregnant woman or her baby.

Beyond that, there’s an extra layer of protection — literally — used to make the process even safer for everyone who needs to have a dental X-ray.

If you’ve had dental X-rays in the past, you probably remember the dentist or hygienist placing a heavy apron over you before turning on the X-ray machine. This is a leaded apron that is designed to minimize exposure to radiation during the X-ray process.

The apron is long enough to cover the abdomen, which means a baby is protected during the X-ray process. It might seem like a nuisance or more trouble than it’s worth to wear it for such a short amount of time, but this is definitely one of those situations where it’s better to be safe than sorry.

The apron will feel heavy when your dentist or hygienist puts it on, but it is safe to use at all stages of pregnancy. If all goes well, it will only be on you for a few minutes at most.

Making the Best Choices

Even though the dental X-ray process is safe to undertake throughout pregnancy, some women make proactive choices to limit their exposure to X-rays and other procedures during this time.

You should notify your dentist as soon as possible after you become pregnant. You can work with your dentist to develop a treatment plan that will work for you and your baby.

Some women choose to postpone X-rays until after the end of the first trimester because this is the time that is most crucial for the baby’s development. This is not medically necessary but may help provide peace of mind.

Routine dental X-rays can also be postponed until after the baby is born, but this is not something that is recommended. X-rays are critical to detecting dental issues that could become serious if they are not detected and treated.

The last thing you want is to have a newborn baby and a dental emergency on your hands because of something that could have been addressed during pregnancy.

Speaking of emergencies, if you have a dental emergency while you are pregnant, you will need to have X-rays. This is not usually something that can be postponed until after birth.

The Affects of Soda and Juice in Toddlers

July 11th, 2018

How Does Sugar Decay Teeth?

Before you completely ditch all forms of sugar, it is important to understand how sugar affects tooth enamel. Sugar alone is not the issue. What does cause the damage is acid.

When bacteria in your toddler’s mouth use sugar as their food source to break down into energy, acids are released. This acid then begins to break down the enamel and remove important minerals from your toddler’s teeth. The end result… tooth decay, rot, cavities, toothaches, and tooth sensitivity.

How Can My Toddler Avoid Tooth Decay?

The obvious answer is to avoid sugary substances. However, the occasional sugary treat is okay. But, when it comes to beverages, choose those with low to no sugar. One of the best beverages for a child is water. Water helps to wash away bacteria in the mouth and on the teeth. It also keeps the tongue moist, which helps with saliva production.

A fun way to get your toddler to drink more water is by adding fruit. Fruit infused water provides a delicious flavor without adding refined sugars and other harmful ingredients.

Milk is another excellent beverage choice. Milk contains calcium and vitamin d, both are nutrients that are essential for building strong bones and teeth. Opt for plain milk vs chocolate milk. Also look for milk with no added sugars or flavors.

Does Brushing Teeth After Drinking Soda Help Avoid Tooth Decay?

Brushing your toddler’s teeth after consuming soda or juice can help to rid the mouth of the acid causing bacteria. However, doctors recommend to wait at least 30 to 60 minutes after consuming sugary drinks. The teeth are sensitive immediately after consuming sugar. The friction caused by brushing the teeth can actually spread the bacteria. It is recommended to swish the mouth out with water. This can be done immediately after consuming a sugary drink.

Other Tips for Avoiding Tooth Decay

Additional measures can prevent tooth decay. It is always recommended to practice good dental hygiene and avoid sugary beverages altogether. However, these tips can help your toddler when they have an occasional soda or juice.
Water Flavored with FruitDrink in moderation. Don’t allow your toddler to have more than one soft drink or juice each day. Just one will do damage enough.
Dilute Juice Drinks. Diluting juice drinks with water reduced the amount of pure juice your toddler drinks, therefore, reducing the amount of sugar.
Use a straw. Drinking through a straw will keep acids and sugars away from the teeth.
Avoid soft drinks before bedtime. Even with regular brushing, it is recommended to avoid giving your toddler juice or soda before bed.
Get regular dental cleanings. Regular checkups and exams will identify problems before they worsen.

Are You Harming Your Teeth While You Sleep?

June 22nd, 2018

No matter how diligently you care for your teeth during the day, you might be harming them overnight or in other situations without even realizing you are doing it. Many people experience teeth grinding and jaw clenching, or a condition known as bruxism, while they sleep or in stressful situations.

Over time, these actions can wear on your mouth and cause permanent damage if they are not addressed. This post will help you identify if you suffer from bruxism, learn more about what triggers it, and provide some short-term and long-term treatment options.

Causes and Symptoms of Bruxism

The most common reasons for teeth grinding and jaw clenching are stress and anxiety. This can occur during the day or while you are sleeping. Even if you are wide awake, you might not even realize that you are doing it.

Bruxism is one of many ways that our body physically manifests stress even if our minds aren’t aware of it. The next time you are in a high-stress situation, pay attention to what’s happening in your mouth. Are you clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth around? If you’re one of 8 percent of Americans who suffer from bruxism, then you probably are.

Other risk factors for bruxism include substance abuse (drugs, alcohol, caffeine), sleep apnea, and bite and alignment issues.

One telltale way to know if you suffer from bruxism is waking up with a sore mouth or a tight jaw. You might also notice that your teeth begin to wear down in odd patterns over time. These changes might not be obvious at first since many people grind their molars, which are not always very visible.

If you share a bed with someone, that person may also be able to determine whether you are grinding your teeth at night. The sound might not be loud enough to wake you up, but it could be loud enough for your partner to notice.

Long-term jaw clenching can lead to earaches and headaches. You might think that you have an ear infection or a migraine, but the cause is actually the jaw because of how closely it’s related to the other parts of your face.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Bruxism

The best way to confirm whether or not you suffer from bruxism is to mention your symptoms to your dentist at your next appointment. Your dentist can review the wear patterns on your teeth and examine your jaw to determine whether you’ve been grinding or clenching without realizing it.

From there, your dentist will likely prescribe a mouth guard, which will prevent your teeth from touching while you sleep and give you something to bite into if you clench your jaw. It won’t take long before you are waking up pain-free and more refreshed as a result of better sleep.

The mouth guard will probably take some getting used to, but it’s important that you stick with it and continue wearing it. Your mouth will adjust over time and you’ll soon be wondering how you ever slept without one.

While this approach will stop the symptoms of bruxism, it is not a cure for the underlying issues that are causing it in the first place.

To address those deeper issues, your dentist may recommend a visit to a sleep specialist, who can more thoroughly test for issues like sleep apnea. If bruxism is caused by stress or anxiety, working with a therapist might help to resolve those issues and create long-term change.