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The Power of Fluoride

July 25, 2016

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider the fluoridation of community water to be one of the ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century! For the past 70 years, people in the United States have benefited from drinking water with fluoride, leading to greater dental health. By simply drinking water, people are able to benefit from the power of fluoridation to protect their teeth from cavities whether they’re at home, work, or school. Community water fluoridation has been identified as one of the most cost-effective methods of delivering fluoride to all members of the community.

Tooth decay is caused from a buildup of plaque that dissolves the hard enamel on the surfaces of teeth. If this damage is not treated, it leads to cavities and tooth decay that can cause pain, infection, and tooth loss. Fluoride works to combat tooth decay by being incorporated into the structure of developing teeth as it’s ingested and by protecting teeth when it comes into contact with their surfaces. Here are some more facts about the power of fluoride in community waters:

  • Tooth decay is one of the most common childhood diseases. It’s five times as common as asthma and seven times as common as hay fever.
  • Community water fluoridation refers to the adjustment of fluoride that is naturally present in the water to optimal levels to protect teeth.
  • Studies support that water fluoridation reduces dental decay by 20 – 40 percent.
  • Without fluoridated water, there would be many more than the estimated 51 million school hours lost per year because of dental-related illnesses.
  • For every $1 invested in water fluoridation, cities can save $38 in dental treatment costs.
  • The average cost for a community to fluoridate their water is estimated to be from $0.50 a year per person to about $3.00 per year per person.

Dr. Maggie will review the benefits of topical fluoride and systemic fluoride exposure during your child’s appointment. We’ll go over your child’s fluoride exposure and make the appropriate recommendation for further fluoride treatment. If you have questions about fluoride and your child’s oral health, give us a call today!

Make Dental Hygiene Fun: Part One

May 12, 2016

Help your kids have a healthy smile by making dental hygiene for kids fun. Making brushing, flossing and dental check-ups a positive experience can help to keep your child excited about good oral care. Your child will not only grow up with a beautiful smile, but also with healthy habits that can last a lifetime.

Brush and Floss Together

One way to make your child interested in oral care is to brush and floss together. Kids like to mimic what their parents do, and most of the time they don’t even realize that they’re doing it! Show your son or daughter your excellent brushing technique, including your great tongue brushing skills! After brushing, floss your child’s teeth or help them to floss if they are old enough to do it on their own. To give routine brushing an air of excitement, make up a rhyme about keeping teeth clean or sing a fun song.

Special Brush

Another way to keep your child’s interest alive is with a new, fun toothbrush. When it is time to replace the old toothbrush with a new one, opt for a colorful, soft bristled brush, or one with your child’s favorite cartoon character.

Keep Track of Dental Hygiene Time

The American Dental Association advocates brushing for two minutes, twice per day. How do you know that your child is brushing for long enough? Use a two minute sand timer. Let your child flip over their brightly colored timer and then start brushing.

These tasks might seem simple enough, but there are plenty more where these came from! This is only half of our list. Check back in with us later this month for the second installment, and until then, use these great tips to make your child’s experience with dental care a good one. Trust us, they’ll thank you for it when they’re old enough to appreciate it!

Is Anesthesia Safe?

April 25, 2016

Several medications are available to help create more relaxed, comfortable dental visits. Some drugs control pain, some help you relax, and others put you into a deep sleep during dental treatment. You and your dentist can discuss a number of factors when deciding which to use for treatment.

Your dentist might recommend that your child be administered anesthesia or sedation to relax them in order to safely complete some dental procedures.

Local anesthesia is a type of anesthetic used to prevent pain in a specific area of your mouth during treatment by locking the nerves that sense or transmit pain, which numbs mouth tissues. Your dentist may apply a topical anesthetic to numb an area in preparation for administering an injectable local anesthetic. Topical anesthetics also may be used to soothe painful mouth sores. Injectable anesthetics may be used in such procedures as filling cavities, preparing teeth for crowns, or treating gum disease.

For some dental visits, your dentist may use a sedative, which can induce moderate sedation. Sedatives can be administered before or during dental procedures. Sedation methods include inhalation (using nitrous oxide), oral (by taking a pill) and intravenous (by injection). More complex treatments may require drugs that can induce deep sedation, reducing consciousness in order to relieve both pain and anxiety. On occasion, general anesthesia can be used, in which drugs cause a temporary loss of consciousness. 
Dentists use the pain and anxiety control techniques mentioned above to treat millions of patients safely every year. Even so, taking any medication involves a certain amount of risk. That’s why the ADA urges you to take an active role in your oral health care. This means understanding the risks and benefits involved in dental treatment, so that you and your dentist can make the best decisions about the treatment that is right for you. Working together, you and your dentist can choose the appropriate steps to make your dental visit as safe and comfortable as possible, and to help you keep a healthy smile.

Why Baby Teeth Matter

April 11, 2016

A child’s primary teeth, sometimes called baby teeth, are as important as the permanent adult teeth. A baby’s 20 primary teeth are already present in the jaws at birth and typically begin to appear when a baby is between 6 months and 1 year.

When teeth first come in, some babies may have sore or tender gums. Gently rubbing your child’s gums with a clean finger, a small, cool spoon or a wet gauze pad can be soothing to them. You can also give the baby a clean teething ring to chew on. If your child is still cranky and in pain, consult your dentist or physicians. Most children have a full set of twenty primary teeth by the time they are three.

So you might be wondering at this point why baby teeth matter. They fall out anyway and are replaced by permanent teeth, right? Not only do primary teeth help children chew and speak, they also hold space in the jaws for the permanent teeth that are growing under the gums. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in. This can make teeth crooked or crowded. That’s why starting infants off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for decades to come.

The ADA recommends that a dentist examine a child within six months after the first tooth comes in and no later than the first birthday. A dental visit at an early age is a “well baby checkup” for the teeth. Besides checking for tooth decay and other problems, the dentist can show you how to clean the child’s teeth properly and how to evaluate any adverse habits such as thumb sucking.

Breastfeeding and Your Baby’s Teeth: Part Two

February 24, 2016

Thought we were done discussing breastfeeding? Think again! We still have loads of information for you in our second and final installment in this series. Here are more facts to keep in mind if you’re considering breastfeeding your baby.

Breastfed babies can still get cavities.

Yet another common question asked by nursing mothers is: Can breastfeeding cause cavities? And the answer is yes, because natural breast milk, just like formula, contains sugar. Either way you swing with this decision, it’s important to put your baby’s teeth health first. A great tip is to start wiping your baby’s gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth every day, starting a few days after birth. As soon as that first tooth emerges, brush their teeth twice a day, using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. It might seem small, but it’s enough for a tiny mouth! You’ll be doing everything in your power to prevent cavities.

Need dental work done, mom? Double check your medications.

If you need to have a dental procedure that requires medication while you’re nursing, check with your dentist, personal physician, and pediatrician to ensure that any medication you’ll be taking is safe for your little one. There are antibiotics available that won’t do any harm. As a matter of fact, it’s not only safe to go the dentist while you’re pregnant and nursing, it’s important to do so for the best health of your child. Keep in mind the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Drugs and Lactation Database to search for medications and get information about how it affects your supply and your baby.

And last but not least…take care of yourself, mom! It is often found that moms are not able to take care of themselves as well as they did before giving birth. Moms should be at least doing the basics: brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, seeing their dentist regularly, staying hydrated. Keep your health in mind when you’re thinking of the heath of your child.

Breastfeeding and Your Baby’s Teeth: Part One

February 10, 2016

Breastfeeding is one of the first (and most personal) decisions a mother can make for her baby. It can help your baby’s body fight infections, and reduce health risks like asthma, ear infections, SIDS, and obesity in children. Did you know that breastfeeding can impact the dental health of both baby and mom? Check out these first few facts in this month’s series on breastfeeding and your baby’s teeth.

Breastfeeding may help build a better bite.

A June 2015 study from Pediatrics found that babies that were exclusively breastfed for six months were seen to be less likely to develop open bites, cross bites, and overbites than those who either breastfed for less than six months, or not at all. This doesn’t mean your breastfed baby won’t need braces someday, as there are other factors that affect alignment; every child is different, after all! These other factors include genetics, pacifier use, and thumb sucking.

You don’t have to wean when your baby gets teeth!

Common among mothers who breastfeed is the question of whether or not they should stop breastfeeding when my child starts teething? The answer is not if you don’t want to. The mantra here is the same as it was above: every child is different. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for the first year of a baby’s life, while the World Health Organization encourages moms to go for two.

Breastfeeding reduces the risk for baby bottle tooth decay.

An additional breastfeeding benefit is reduced risk of baby bottle tooth decay, which is the frequent, prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that have sure in them. This occurs most often when a baby is put to bed with a bottle, regardless of what’s in it (besides water).

These are just the first three health facts about breastfeeding and your (and your baby’s) health. Stay tuned for part two!

Why Do We Have Two Sets of Teeth?

November 24, 2015

One of the most amazing parts of being a pediatric dentist is having the opportunity to teach kids about their oral health. Providing them with an extra education about how their teeth work and what they can do to keep them healthy is the most important thing we do as dentists. After all,  we’re setting them up for a lifetime of healthy smiles. As your child climbs to the ages of six and seven, you’ll notice those cute little baby teeth start falling out. As your child sheds these teeth they may be wondering what is happening to them and why on earth their teeth are falling out?! You can rest assure them it’s normal and here’s why.

We are born with no teeth, and then when we get to 6 months old our deciduous teeth come in. That’s a big word for baby, or primary teeth. This set of teeth is extremely important. They help us learn to speak, teach us how to eat and give our jaws some nice guidelines to develop around. One of the other important aspects of baby teeth is they give kids the opportunity to learn how to take care of their teeth, so that when their permanent teeth come in, they’re able to keep them for their entire life.

Humans grow, and as we grow so do our jaws. What once fit perfectly now isn’t so snug. Underneath our primary teeth our permanent teeth have been forming. The primaries hold the spaces for permanent teeth and when the jaw is big enough for the permanent teeth to come out, the push the primaries out of the way. The result are those funny gaps.

It’s no surprise or mystery why we have two sets of teeth. Our “trainer” teeth are there to help us grow and learn so that when our permanent teeth come in we know how to take care of them. It’s so important to take care of both sets of teeth even though one set is going to fall out. If you have any questions about how to teach your kids the important lessons of proper oral hygiene, swing on by today. We love teaching kids about their teeth and telling them all about how to keep them healthy.

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