5 Ways to Reduce Your Child’s Sugar Intake

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We have been repeatedly discussing the role of sugar in your children’s dental health. Sugar feeds the bacteria inside your child’s mouth, which then produces enamel-attacking acids, causing tooth decay. Therefore, in order to prevent tooth decay and cavity from occurring, we, as parents and guardians, must ensure that children won’t go beyond the recommended sugar intake.

Aside from regular toothbrushing, flossing and dental visit, it is important to control the root cause of tooth decay – SUGAR. Children ages three and above should have no more than 3 teaspoon (15 grams) of sugar per day.

Below, we share to you five very simple ways on how to lessen your child’s sugar snacking.

Be a smart shopper. When shopping for snacks, take a look at the added sugar such as corn syrup or white sugar that are added on premade snacks. Sugar present in fruits and milk aren’t so worrying, since they are healthy food choices.

In addition, similar products may contain different amounts of sugar. Examples are muffins, cereals, granola bars and yogurt. You can still buy these items but check the label first.

Minimize fruit juice. Since fruit juice contains high amount of calories and sugar, the best option for your LO are still milk and water. Children below 1 year old are not advised to drink any fruit juice, based on the American Academy of Pediatrics. But for older kids, they can drink occasionally, provided they follow these recommendations.

·         Kids ages 1 to 6 should only drink 4 to 6 ounce of juice per day. Children 7 to 18 years of ages should only drink 8 to 12 ounces. Most juice boxes contain 6 oz., so little kids shouldn’t have more than one per day while the older ones are limited to two boxes.

·         Do not allow your child to drink juice throughout the day as it gives the opportunity of acid-producing bacteria to damage their teeth. Better offer milk or water first.

Skip sugary, carbonated beverages. They are completely bad for your LO’s teeth. A can of soda contains the amount of sugar that is equal for three days for a young child.  

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Skip sticky snacks. You may think sticky or gummy fruit snacks like raisins are better than candies. Although dried fruit snacks are healthy and rich in nutrients, they are worse than hard candies or chocolate in terms of dental health because they stick to their teeth much longer. When sticky food particles adhere to their teeth for an extended time, bacteria can damage their teeth during that time.

Be an example. Your kids follow anything you do. Setting an example makes a huge impact in your family’s health. If you want to change your child’s sugar intake, do the same thing and they will follow.

Importance of Baby Teeth to Your Child’s Development

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The baby teeth, also called primary teeth, is as vital as the permanent teeth. It helps your little one chew their food, speak well and give the face its shape. This is the reason why it is important to take good care of them.

How Baby Teeth Develop

When a baby is born, his 20 baby teeth are already there inside the jaws and usually emerge when the baby ages 6 months to one year. Most kids will have a complete set of 20 teeth by the time they reach 3.

However, every child is different – one specific tooth may appear first than the usual. When teeth erupt, some babies may experience tender or painful gums. Rubbing the child’s gums gently with a cool wet gauze pad or cloth may soothe the sore gums. Teethers can also be used. However, if the child is in pain and irritable, visit your dentist or doctor.

 Baby Teeth Hold Space for Adult Teeth

When a baby tooth lost too early before the adult tooth inside is ready to emerge, adjacent teeth can occupy the open space. When the adult tooth is ready to surface, there may not be enough space for them. This causes the teeth to be too crowded in a certain part or crooked.

This is the reason why beginning infancy, it is best to practice proper oral hygiene to protect their baby teeth from losing too early.

 If a child loses teeth too early, your dentist may suggest a space maintainer – a metal or plastic piece that helps make the space or gap open to ensure that emerging adult teeth is in the right place.

Prevent Decay in Baby Teeth

Tooth decay on your child’s baby teeth has a significant impact on the growth of their adult teeth. It can also be uncomfortable for them. Your child may find it challenging to eat certain foods and speak normally if they have tooth discomfort.

Thus, it is important to maintain proper dental care of baby teeth even if they will fall out later.

Tooth decay usually occur when the baby teeth are exposed to sugary liquids for long periods. These liquids include sweetened water, milk or formula, soda and fruit juice. It can also develop when you place your baby on bed with a bottle of milk still inside their mouth. When your baby is ready to eat solids, you may give water at this point.

Be sure to visit your dentist before your child’s first birthday. See it as a ‘well-baby check-up’ for their teeth.

The Tooth Decay Process: How to Reverse the Process and Avoid a Cavity

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You may be aware that a dental cavity starts from a tooth decay. But did you know you can reverse a tooth decay and prevent cavities to form? Read on and find out how to reverse a tooth decay and avoid a cavity?

What’s Happening Inside Your Mouth?

The mouth is filled with hundreds of different types of bacteria living on our tongue, gums, teeth and other parts of the mouth. Some are friendly bacteria while some can cause damage such as those that actively take part in the tooth decay process.

Tooth decay occurs due to an infection from a certain bacteria that consume sugar in food and produce acids. Over time, the acid can cause damage leading to a tooth cavity.

Inside the mouth, a war between bacteria and sugar vs. saliva and fluoride happens. Whenever you consume something containing sugar or starch, bacteria use them and secrete acids, which then start to corrode the tooth enamel.

 Photo credit: https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/childrens-oral-health/tooth-decay-process

Photo credit: https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/childrens-oral-health/tooth-decay-process

The minerals present in the saliva such as phosphate and calcium, with fluoride from the toothpaste and water help the enamel repair itself by coating the tooth enamel and replacing the lost minerals from the acid attack.

Every day, our mouth undergoes this process of losing and replacing minerals.

How a Cavity Develops

A cavity develops when a tooth is frequently exposed to acid. For instance, if you drink or eat food containing sugar more often, this causes a repeated attach on the enamel, causing more minerals to lose.

A sign of early decay is a white spot on the tooth. This is the stage where a decay can be reversed. Enamel can self-repair provided there’s minerals available from saliva and toothpaste or other sources.

However, the tooth decay process persists when more minerals will be lost. Eventually, it weakens and destroys enamels and a cavity forms. A dental cavity is permanent and can be repaired using a filler.

 How to Reverse the Tooth Decay Process

1. Use Flouride. Flouride is beneficial for the teeth as it prevents mineral loss and replaces lost mineral on the enamel. Further, it lowers the ability of bacteria to create acid. You can easily get fluoride from drinking fluoridated water and toothbrushing with a fluoride toothpaste.

Your child’s pediatric dentist can prescribe fluoride gel or varnish for tooth surfaces, fluoride mouth rinse or fluoride tablets if he or she needs more fluoride. If you child drinks only bottled water, visit your dentist to know whether your child needs supplemental fluoride in the form of gel, tablet or varnish.

2. Monitor your child’s diet. Take note that every time your child eats or drinks something with sugar, bacteria inside the mouth use it to produce acids. That is why always keep an eye on what they eat and how often they eat it.

Tips:

·         Save candies, soda, biscuits, cookies and other sugary beverages on special occasions.

·         Reduce between-meal snacks

·         Limit fruit juice.

·         Be sure the child does not eat or drink anything after bedtime toothbrushing. Since the flow of saliva decreases during sleep, the teeth becomes vulnerable to acid attack and are less able to replace lost minerals.

3. Ensure your child brushes his or her teeth. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste is very important to prevent cavities. Have your child brush two times a day.

4. Have regular dental check-ups. Bring your child to the dentist for examinations and cleaning.

 

Tooth Sensitivity on Children: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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If your child complains of discomfort or pain when eating hot or cold foods, he may be experiencing tooth sensitivity. As parents, you can’t stand seeing your child suffering from any pain. Below are the common causes why kids may experience sensitive teeth so you will understand this condition and be prepared to bring your LO to the dentist.

New Teeth. A newly-emerged teeth can cause sensitivity when exposed to food and air. However, as the teeth get used to the environment, this unpleasant sensation should gradually cease.

Cavities. Dental decay are very common in kids and this leads to sensitivity.

Cracked or broken tooth. Clenching or grinding the teeth may lead to tiny cracks and breaks on the teeth resulting in sensitivity.

Improper brushing. While improper brushing won’t likely lead to tooth sensitivity, it is important to make sure your child won’t suffer from sensitive teeth in the future by teaching him proper dental care such as proper brushing technique. Demonstrate how to do gentle circular motion to protect the nerves and preserve the tooth enamel.

Allergies. Allergic reactions on sinuses can cause a sensitivity-like sensation on the tooth. This is due to the pressure caused by the condition.

Orthodontics. Kids with braces often do a back and forth motion when brushing. This can gradually scrub away the tooth’s protective layer enamel, leading to tooth sensitivity over time.

How to Solve Tooth Sensitivity in Kids

There are several ways to solve sensitive teeth among kids. One way is to use a desensitizing toothpaste. However, it is important to see first your pediatric dentist before using a desensitizing product, particularly for children under age 12.

If the cause of tooth sensitivity is cavities, performing an in-office fluoride treatment can provide relief. Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens the enamel and lowers the risk of further decay. Along with fluoride treatment, teaching good oral care habits can reduce the teeth sensitivity.

Tooth brushing two times a day, along with flossing can maintain the gums and teeth clean and reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease. Using soft bristle toothbrush will prevent irritation from vigorous brushing and help preserve the enamel.

If the tooth sensitivity persists, it is best to consult your dentist.

 

What Kind of Toothbrush Should I Use for My Kids?

With the numerous options to choose from, deciding a toddler’s toothbrush can often be tricky. Little kids love toothbrushes that have bright colors and characters so they can enjoy brushing.

So what are the choices of toothbrush for your child?

Finger Toothbrush

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Finger toothbrush can gently clean a baby’s emerging teeth and gums. The brush is made from pure silicone, so it is very soft, comfortable and won’t cause irritation on the baby’s sensitive gums. Finger toothbrush can be used with or without toothpaste. If you want to use a toothpaste, be sure that it has no fluoride. Some baby toothpastes come in fruity flavour and contain Xylitol to give a sweet taste.

The fun part about finger toothbrushes is that they look similar to finger puppets, so you can easily trick them by pretending it’s their playtime session. To use it, simply place the finger brush over your index finger. Wet the brush and gently massage the baby’s gums and teeth.

Baby Toothbrush

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A baby toothbrush is different from the typical ones. With small heads and extra large handles, they fit perfectly into your child’s tiny oral cavities. Most parents simply use soft cloths for cleaning but professionals actually recommend the use of baby toothbrushes.

Electric Toothbrush

Kids love battery-powered toys and electric toothbrush are no exception. Electric oscillating brush can effectively remove more plaque than manual toothbrush and it makes tooth brushing faster. Some products come with timers so your child can get used to the recommended 2-minute brushing habit.

Manual Toothbrush

A manual toothbrush is good for kids over five years old as it allows them to hone their brushing skills. Ideal toothbrushes for kids’ this age are those with thinner handles. The reason is that they have wider tooth surfaces to brush and have already achieved a stronger grip.

Does Age Matter?

No matter the age of a child, your kids’ teeth must be cleaned twice a day to ensure health teeth and gums and proper oral health. Always supervise your kids’ brushing to make sure they’re doing it right.

In addition, kids toothbrush should be replaced more frequently. It should be replaced when the bristles are already slanting or every three month. Also, get a new one after your child gets sick. Using an infected toothbrush may cause an illness or make the illness last longer.

Tip: Since you’ll be replacing your child’s toothbrush more frequently, you may consider buying a few extra toothbrushes so you won’t be bothered to go out when replacing your child’s brush.

 

Dental Health Care Guidelines for Children with Special Needs

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Maintain proper dental care can be challenging task for many parents, but for parents with special needs children, such task can be an uphill battle and sometimes, risky.

Maintaining Daily Oral Hygiene

Most children with special needs cannot perform their daily dental care independently. Parents or caregivers must always be there to assist them. It’s not an easy task to clean another person’s teeth, particularly if they resist it. Sometimes, more than one person may be needed to help with their daily toothbrushing.

Electric Toothbrush

Kids with restricted motor skills and coordination may find tooth brushing easier with the use of a powered toothbrush. Unlike the manual brush, the head of an electric toothbrush works quicker and can clean better.

Special Toothbrush

There are some types of toothbrush that can make cleaning more efficient. For kids with high risk of aspiration, using a suction toothbrush connected to a home suction apparatus is a better option to get rid of saliva during tooth brushing.

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An ideal toothbrush for kids with special needs is the Collis Curve toothbrush. It has curved design bristle that can clean all the sides of the teeth while preventing the risk of poking the bristle on the gums.

Mouth Props

Some special kids may resist oral cleaning by biting the toothbrush. To protect the parent and the child, a mouth prop can be used. Also called open wide disposable mouth rests, this wedge-shaped device is placed on the front part of the mouth so the child can rest their jaw muscles.  

If you can’t find a mouth prop, you can use five wooden tongue depressors and join them together using adhesive tape.

Visit the Dentist Regularly

It is necessary that kids with special needs visit their pediatric dentist on a regular basis.

When it comes to oral health and dental care, the rule applies to all children and kids with special needs are not exempted. This ensure that daily dental care techniques can be reinforced or taught and minor issues can be detected before they turn serious.

Diastema: Tooth Gap in Kids - Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

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Diastema refers to a gap between two teeth. It often appears between the two upper front teeth, but sppaces may happen on any two teeth.

What Causes Diastema?

Tooth gaps occur for various reasons.

There may be a mismatch between the size of the teeth and the jaw bone, causing crowding of the teeth or more space between the teeth. Gaps may also occur when the teeth are too tiny for the jaw bone. In some cases, a tooth may be missing or just too small. This often occur with the teeth next to the upper front teeth called upper lateral incisors.

Certain habits may lead to space between teeth. Having improper swallowing reflex is one. Most people press their tongue against the palate (the roof of the mouth) when swallowing. However, some children have a unique reflex called tongue thrust (reverse swallow) – when the tongue presses against the front teeth, pushing the front teeth and creating pressure. This can cause diastema.

Thumb sucking is another habit that can create gaps.

Kids often have temporary teeth spaces once the baby teeth begins to fall out. However, these gaps resolves on their own when all permanent teeth erupts and reach their exact positions.

What are the Symptoms of Diastema?

If a tooth gap occurs due to mismatch between the jaw and the teeth, there will be no symptoms. But if it is caused by a periodontal disease or by a tongue thrust habit, the gap will expand over time. Pain may occur during biting or chewing and the teeth may get loose.

How to Prevent Tooth Gap in Kids?

Unfortunately, not all diastema can be prevented. One example is when a child has a mismatch of jaw size and teeth or if he/she has a missing tooth.

Breaking the habit of tongue thrusting can prevent diastema. You can correct you child’s swallow reflex by exercising their tongue, pressing it against the palate.

Preventing periodontal disease through regular brushing and flossing can help prevent tooth spaces.

How to Correct or Treat Diastema in Kids?

Some kids can get braces to simply move the two teeth together. When there’s an existing diastema, a child needs to wear a complete set of braces – both for lower and upper teeth. The reason is because closing any tooth gap can affect the whole mouth.

Another way to fix diastema is to widen a too small teeth with veneers, crowns or bonding. For missing teeth, a bridge, partial denture or a dental implant may be needed.

If your chid has a gap between teeth, talk to your pediatric dentist Bellevue. She can determine the cause for the gap and may advise treatment with braces.

What Parents Should Know About Teen Smoking

When it comes to the effects of smoking, most people think it mainly causes diseases. But the truth is, the initial damage smoking can cause begins in the mouth. Cigarette or tobacco smoking can affect your oral health in many different ways. This health issue shouldn’t be ignored, particularly when it’s teenagers doing it.

Why Do Teen’s Smoke?

There are several reasons that influence adolescents to smoke. These include the pressure to show independence or defiance, the belief that smoking is ‘cool’, smoking ads in pop culture and having guardians or parents who also smoke.

Teenagers in middle and high school often experience a form of peer pressure. In this stage, they’re trying desperately to fit in, be cool or be liked by their group of friend. Cigarette smoking is one of the many things teenagers will do during this formative phase.

It is important that they get all the help they need to steer peer pressure early on in their years. The way they respond to peer pressure will determine whether they only do smoking only to fit into the social group.

Effect of Smoking to Their Oral Health

Smoking has a huge effect on the jawbone, gums, mouth tissues and teeth. Since adolescents are still considered young, it can possibly affect their oral health in a more detrimental way. Below are some of the negative effects of smoking to their oral health:

1.       Tooth decay. Smoking contributes to the dental plaque residing in their mouth. When the plaque multiplies, it becomes more difficult to get rid of them. This leads to dental tartar and tooth decay.

2.       Tooth stains. Smoking causes tooth stains and discoloration. Although these discolorations can be removed through tooth whitening procedures and veneers.

3.       Bad breath. Smoking can cause dry mouth due to tar and nicotine settling in the mouth. This condition is called ‘smoker’s breath’.

4.       Gum disease. Tobacco can interfere with the gum tissue cells’ functions. Such damage that they cause separate the gums from the bone, leaving them susceptible to infection.

How to Prevent Teen Smoking

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, in order to reduce pain, disability, and death caused by nicotine addiction, recommends routine screening for tobacco use, treating tobacco dependence, preventing tobacco use among children and adolescents, and educating the public on the enormous health and societal costs of tobacco.

If you are a parent or guardian and you’re worried about your teen smoking, here are several preventative tips to remember:

·         Help them deal with peer pressure

·         Educate them about the harm of smoking and make sure they’re aware of the financial expenses that come with tobacco use.

·         Explain that smoking is highly addictive and discuss the health consequences that come with it.

·         As parents, you have to practice what you preach, meaning you should not smoke too.

If you see your teen’s oral health deteriorating, consult your pediatric dentist. Dental issues have to be diagnosed and treated properly at the earliest possible time to prevent further complications.

What are the Dental Guidelines to Keep in Mind When Traveling this Summer

Are you planning to travel this summer? Travelling can be time-consuming and busy that we often forget our little daily routines, especially when it comes to our oral health. Before packing up and heading out this summer, be sure to check out these travel tips to ensure a healthy mouth while on vacation.

Visit Your Dentist Before Leaving

Few weeks before leaving for your trip, be sure to schedule an appointment for you and the kids with your dentist. Having a pre-trip checkup ensures that everything in your mouth is OK and ready to hit the road. Nothing’s worse than being away and your child experiencing a terrible toothache that could have been prevented with a check-up.

Visit your pediatric dentist and schedule an appointment for your kids.

Prepare a Dental Travel Kit

When shopping for your trip, don’t forget to look for mouth care items (in travel size) to bring for your family. Your dental travel kit will encourage your kids to continue taking care of their mouth even when they’re away. Buy a small mouthwash, toothpaste and floss for each member of the family.

Be sure to place their dental travel kit on top of their clothes so it’s the first thing they’ll see when they get to your destination. Make sure you are following the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules so you can get your dental travel kit on the plane. If you are placing in your carry on, place it in a clear bag that is easy to reach. If you are checking your baggage, you can bring a full-sized dental care items. More information on TSA travel rules.

Store Your Toothbrush Properly

Look for a small case for your toothbrush to protect it from bacteria and germs that you’ll encounter while traveling. Buy a hard case to protect the bristles on your brush and be sure to dry your brush before storing it to prevent growth of bacteria. We suggest looking into an anti-bacterial cover to keep the germs away.

Watch What You Eat

Nothing’s wrong with eating local foods while out of the country but that does not mean you must overindulge. Try to avoid sticky, starchy foods that can stick to your teeth as well as sugary foods. Look for dairy food products as they are rich in calcium which strengthens your enamel.

Be sure to rinse your mouth after each meal to get rid of any excess food debris in between your teeth.

Maintain Your Routine

Indeed, you may easily get caught up in your vacation, but you have to remember to keep your oral care routine. Be sure to brush your teeth two time a day and floss. Try making it a fun activity with your kids in the morning and before bedtime. Share your experiences on that day and what you look forward to the next day. Having all the member of the family involved with your brushing routine will provide you and the rest more accountability so they are more likely to stick to it.

 

 

What are the Dangers of Oral Piercings?

The use of intraoral jewelry and oral piercings have been gaining much popularity among adolescents. Surveys of adolescents and young adults age 13 to 29 report that about 25 to 35 percent have a body piercing at other body parts besides the ear lobe. However, despite the trendiness of this body art, it can cause several serious consequences that both the teenager and parents must understand.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognizes the significance of educating the public on the health implications of oral jewelry or accessories and perioral/intraoral piercings.

Do Oral Piercings Lead to Injury and Disease?

Adolescents with oral piercings have higher risk of having oral infection, nerve damage, oral pain and swelling. The injuries linked with oral piercing vary, making such tiny fashion statement worth the risk.

In addition to a greater risk of oral injuries, adolescents with intraoral jewelry can face an increased risk of contracting a disease. Numerous studies have found that it can lead to gingivitis or gum inflammation, gum recession, metal allergies and cavities.

Tongue and lip piercings are strongly associated to gingival recession, based on a study. Gingival recession was apparent in seven to 50 percent of all patients with lip piercings and 37 to 46 percent of patients with tongue piercings.

Furthermore, oral piercings that involve the lips, tongue, uvula and cheeks have been linked with pathological conditions such as scar formation, tooth fractures, pain, infection, speech impediment, periodontal disease, hepatitis and Ludwig’s angina.

Life-threatening complications linked with oral piercings have been reported. This include bleeding, endocarditis, edema and airway obstruction. Also, the use of dental jewelrysuch as grills, has been found to cause periodontal issues and dental caries.

Unregulated piercing techniques and parlors have been recognized by the National Institutes of Health as a possible route for disease transmission such as tetanus, tuberculosis and hepatitis, as well as the cause of bacterial endocarditis.

How to Deal with Your Child about Oral Piercings

The dangers presented by oral jewelry and piercings far outweigh the trendy benefits. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry strongly opposes the use of jewelry on oral tissues and the practice of oral piercings due to the possible pathological condition associated with these practices.

Talk to your child about the possible risks involved with piercings before getting one. Also, if he/she already has an oral piercing, be sure that they maintain it disinfected and clean, and that they removed it before joining any sports or activities involving direct contact, so they can avoid getting serious oral injury.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Dental Infection

No parent wants to see their child in pain. That is why Mint Kids Dentistry want to ensure that you know the signs and symptoms of a dental infection. Dental infection is a serious problem. If left untreated, it could cause damage to other teeth and may spread to other parts of the body, which can cause life-threatening infection on the neck, brain and face in severe cases.

What is a Dental Infection?

Also known as tooth abscess, it is a pocket of fluid (pus) caused by bacteria present inside a tooth. The pus forms as the body tries to fight back an infection. The infected area seems completely normal, but usually it becomes painful when the pus inside the body cause an increase in pressure. Often, the area will be soft, swollen and tender, and will appear like a pimple surrounding the gum.

When this happens, the tooth decay is deep, affecting the pulp, blood vessels and nerves. The gum and its surrounding tissue will eventually be infected, and the infection may spread from the roots all they way to the bones.

In children, tooth decay is the primary cause of tooth abscess. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease. Cavities are very common that by the age of 5, nearly 60 percent of children in the US will have cavities at some point. However, the real problem is when the cavities and decay are left untreated, which leads to infection.

Signs and Symptoms of Dental Infection

As a parent, you must check your child’s mouth regularly. You have to be sure that your child is flossing and brushing his teeth. If you do this regularly, you’ll have to higher chance of catching any dental problem before they become worse. In addition, watch your child for the following signs and symptoms of tooth abscess or infection.

·         Severe toothache, with throbbing, throbbing, shooting or sharp pain. Take note that if the root inside the pulp dies, the pain may lessen or even stop, however, the infection is still present and continues to destroy tissues and spread.

·         Affected tooth is darker in color

·         Pain or sensitivity when chewing or biting

·         Swollen gums and/or swollen jaw or neck

·         Bad breath

·         Loss of appetite and weight

·         Fever

 

How Your Dentist Treat a Dental Infection

During an appointment, your dentist will examine your child’s teeth using a dental instrument. She may also ask for an X-ray to check for erosion of the bone on the infection site. If your child has a tooth abscess, the dentist will drain the pus and prescribe antibiotics. Sometimes, she may have to pull the infected tooth. This will not be a problem for young children as it will be replaced by a permanent tooth. But for those with permanent tooth, a root canal may be needed to clean and get rid of the infection, or the dentist will have to extract the tooth.

How to Train Toddlers to Brush Their Teeth

For almost two years, you have been holding the toothbrush for him. Because he is now a toddler, it’s time to pass the torch and train your little tot to brush his teeth by himself.

Ever since he had his baby teeth, you have probably been telling him to open his mouth wide while you brush his increasing number of tiny pearls. And by now, he probably learned the brushing routine. He had seen you how to wet the toothbrush, watched the amount of toothpaste to squeeze out, and even tried his best to spit into the sink. At this point, you may decide to let him be independent, to give your young one the responsibility of scrubbing and cleaning his own teeth.

However, even if you are ready to give up control of the morning and bedtime ritual of tooth brushing, your toddler may not be so keen to do it on his own. If he resists, try this tooth brushing training tips to ease him into doing it.

1.       Allow your toddler to choose the supplies. Bring your child to the store and allow him to pick his own toothpaste and toothbrush. Cartoon characters on the toothbrush’s handle can make all the difference in persuading your toddler to scrub his pearls. Allow him also to choose the toothpaste too, so that he is sure to like the flavour.

2.       Take turns. If you are anxious your toddler’s teeth are not having properly scrubbed while he is learning, let him do the morning session while you take the evening. In this way, he will get practice brushing during the morning and then have a reminder or a review of the techniques before bedtime. Nighttime is also another good opportunity for him to learn how to floss before brushing. Flossing is another thing you want to want to teach him at this point.

3.       Brush next to him. Do it together. Get in on the action and brush together. Showing a bit of camaraderie will encourage him to brush longer and give his teeth more efficient, more thorough cleaning.

4.       Offer an electric toothbrush. Consider giving your kid a battery-powered toothbrush. Its novelty – the spinning motion - may inspire your child to brush his teeth. On top of that, there are spin brushes that has a timer, giving a signal that two minutes are up or one that plays a song.

5.       Lower your expectations. Your tot won’t be able to reach those tiny crevices or cleaning the gum lines just yet. But don’t fret. Instilling healthy habit is more important than focusing on the technique. Besides, the more he’ll practice, the faster he will improve.

6.       Ask your dentist. You can ask for help from your personal pediatric dentist. Ask her to praise your child for brushing his teeth by himself. Getting the thumbs-up from a professional in white jacket will inspire your toddler to carry on.

Electric vs. Manual Toothbrush – Which is Better for Kids?

Anything that will improve your child’s interest in tooth brushing is definitely a welcome idea, and this include an electric toothbrush, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). However, there are advantages and disadvantages to this.

One things, a manual toothbrush may actually provide a more efficient result since you scrub back and forth and touch several tooth at once. Electrical brushes, particularly the type with the circular heads, hit only one tooth at a time, but on the upside, it may do a more thorough job, especially if your little tot is patient.

So, which toothbrush wins in this battle? The answer: both types do fine ways to clean, you only have to find out which suits better with your child. However, there is another thing to consider, though. When choosing a toothbrush for your young one, whether its electric or manual, keep these things in mind:

1.       Choose soft, rounded bristles. Skip the firm or medium bristles and pick the soft one as they are gentle to your kid’s teeth and gums

2.       Look for the ADA Seal of Approval. Buy only the brushes that satisfy the American Dental Association’s strict standards. The seal means that the brush has no unsafe parts or any rough edges and can last for a normal period of time.

3.       Try out some gimmicks. There are toothbrushes that play music or one that lights up – your little tyke can brush their teeth under dim light and he’ll enjoy scrubbing more.

4.       Look for one with a kiddie-sized handle and head. Whether it is electric or manual, the brush has to fit comfortably in your kid’s mouth so you can easily move it into all the crannies and nooks where food residues can hide. Also, pick a large handle which is easy for your child to control and hold.

It is good to allow your little one to weigh in on his dental care purchases. He will be more motivated to use his toothbrush he actually likes, and also the toothpaste in his favourite flavour. However, do not expect him to brush his teeth with a smile after each meal. Sometimes, he will fuss and fidget, particularly when you insist to do the scrubbing (which you should do until they are seven to ensure their teeth are thoroughly cleaned and scrubbed). Be persistent yet gentle and do whatever you can to help make the process faster.

Below are some helpful ideas:

1.       Sing your favourite song. Pick a jingle your child knows well. During your two-minute toothbrushing session, sing it to him. In this way, he will know how much time is left until he is done.

2.       Counting his teeth. When all the baby teeth are present (usually by the age of three), there will be ten on top and ten on bottom. You can do a toothbrushing game by assigning number on each tooth and saying each one’s number as he brush.

Charcoal Teeth Whitening for Kids – Is It Safe?

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Thinking of using charcoal to whiten your child’s teeth or remove tooth stains? More and more people are trying this trend, believing that charcoal could absorb toxins, bacteria and even stains on the teeth. Believers of activated charcoal for teeth whitening brush their teeth using this material for 3 to 5 minutes and then claiming she had seemingly whiter teeth.

Warning Against Charcoal Whiteners

Your teeth could be stained or discoloured due to a number of factors, from the food you eat to poor dental hygiene. Say for instance, if you eat blueberry, your teeth could be stained blue. Those are the kind of stains that they believe if you brush with charcoal, you can clean off.

However, medical professionals warn against the use of do-it-yourself tooth whitening that may lead to deterioration of tooth enamel and tooth erosion. Activated charcoal can cause a potential damage due to its grainy substance. Dentists fear that people will use charcoal often, causing too much erosion on the tooth enamel. What’s worse is that it can eventually lead to deeper erosion as the material works into the deeper layer of the tooth which is the dentin.

Unlike skin or hair, dentin does not heal itself or grow back. Due to the abrasiveness of charcoal, it could even leave teeth stained, blotchy and prone to erosion and deterioration later on. Though some users find charcoal as effective for whitening, the long-term effect of teeth whitening is still unknown.

In addition, there is no solid evidence that activated charcoal does any benefit to your teeth. Activated charcoal should not replace daily tooth brushing and flossing as well as regular dental visits. These two ways – brushing and flossing – are necessary to remove plaque. The toothpaste you are using provides fluoride for the teeth. From a dentist’s perspective, it is concerning that people use products without fluoride.

How About Charcoal Toothpaste?

There’s no scientific proof that activated charcoal truly works. In fact, there are far better options that do actually work. If you desire a pearly white smile, dentists recommend using traditional toothpaste to erase surface stain or common treatment procedures for deeper stains.

Don’t forget, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Still, any conventional whitening toothpastes or visiting a dentist are advised as they are safer. Take note that there are numerous products that can be very abrasive.

Mint Kids Dentistry suggests to ask you dentist and calculate the risk before you try any latest trend. For now, if you are searching for a product to whiten your teeth for an upcoming event or celebration, whitening toothpastes, over-the-counter whitening strips are gentler and won’t cause any harm on your teeth.

Are You Storing Your Children’s Toothbrushes Properly?

As parents, you should know that importance of encouraging your children to brush and floss their teeth twice a day. Proper brushing can keep their mouth healthy and clean. However, parents should also have to pay close attention on how toothbrushes are stored.

Most parents don’t pay much attention or spend much time thinking about storing toothbrushes. Yet recent studies have found that toothbrushes can be a haven of microorganisms that can cause oral infections.

Our mouth harbor a host of microorganism. When you are brushing your teeth, these bacteria can be transferred to your toothbrush. Microorganisms present in the place where you store your brush can also be transferred to your toothbrush. This is the reason why how and where you store your toothbrushes is crucial.

Below are some tips on how to properly store your family’s toothbrushes:

Consider where to place. If you place your toothbrushes on the counter, make sure they are stored away from the sink and the toilet. Just imagine, every time you’re flushing the toilet, germs can drift and float through the air. You don’t want those germs to be landing on your toothbrush, right? Also, be sure to store your toothbrushes away from the sink to avoid splashing dirty water and soap to your toothbrush.

Do not share toothbrushes. Each member of the family must have their own toothbrush. Sharing must be discourage. When you share toothbrush, you introduce microorganisms and bacteria into mouths. Remember that microorganisms from your mouth can be transferred to your toothbrush. Hence, never share and make sure that wherever you store them, there is enough space so the toothbrushes won’t touch.  

Air it out. Placing your toothbrush in a closed container promotes bacterial and microbial growth. Also, bacteria and germs love dark, damp places. Putting a cover on your brush after using means it will not dry out fast. Putting your toothbrush on a toothbrush holder is ideal as there will be enough airflow for the toothbrush to dry out. Be sure to air it out in an upright position.

Change your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. Your toothbrush must be changed every three to four months. The bristles become worn and frayed and so, effectiveness of cleaning may decrease. Check your kid’s brushes for this type of wear and replace them if necessary. Another benefit of replacing toothbrush is that it reduces the number of bacteria to which your family is exposed.

Clean toothbrush before and after use. Be sure to clean it regularly to prevent accumulation of dust, bacteria and other elements that could contaminate it. You can place it in a dishwasher or wash it with an antibacterial cleaner regularly. Rinsing toothbrush using an antibacterial mouthwash before use may prevent or reduce how quickly bacteria accumulate on toothbrushes. You may also soak toothbrush in an antibacterial mouthwash after use to reduce the number of bacteria that grow on toothbrushes.

 

 

Why It’s Important to Brush Your Child’s Teeth When They Can’t Do It Themselves

Allowing your child to brush their teeth before they are ready is among the biggest mistake parents make when it comes to their young’s oral health. There are some children who may not be brushing and flossing properly, if at all. It is important to ensure that they are doing it properly, even if it means brushing their teeth for them.

When you do, take note of the following pointers:

1.       Brush twice a day, morning and before bedtime

2.       Brush for two minutes. You can play a music as you brush

3.       Choose a kid-size toothbrush. This will help you brush the back spaces of your young’s mouth. Brush the molars thoroughly as this is where tooth decay and cavities usually form.

4.       Replace old toothbrush every three months. Allow your child to pick the design to help motivate them to brush

So when should you allow them to brush on their own? If your kid is in elementary school, you could be off the hook. Below are the 6 signs that your child can clean their teeth on their own.

1.       He practices proper hygiene. Your child takes a bath without your assistance and washes his own hair. These are the clues that hygiene is now part of his priority – and that includes oral hygiene.

2.       He is between the age 6 and 9. Although the actual age varies for each child, it is usually within this range that they progress from being supervised to managing their own routine. Reminders to brush may still be necessary.

3.       He knows how to tie shoelace. Brushing every angle of their mouth requires manual dexterity and kids learn this as they get older. Learning enough dexterity to tie their own shoes is an indication that they are ready to brush on their own too.

4.       He learns cursive. When your young’s fine motor skills have developed into mastery of cursive writing, they can easily maneuver the toothbrush with ease and precision.

5.       Chores and homework get done. When your child starts to display personal responsibility by completing homework and chores on their own initiative, you’ll feel confident that they’ll follow how to brush properly.

6.       He passed the parent test. You have gone from brushing their teeth to watching them brush on their own. Allow them to do it and check the results. Getting the parent’s approval is probably the surest sign of all.

Teaching your child to brush properly is similar to teaching your child to wear a seat belt, putting sunscreen on your child or looking both sides when crossing the street – it is critical! Do this even as your kid gets older. It is important that your child learns the subliminal message from you so it turns a habit when they grow into adults.

Thinking About Teeth Whitening? Here’s Some FAQ for You

Our smile is usually the first thing people notice on you. However, a lot of things such as red wine, coffee and tea can stain your precious pearl, causing them to darken. We received lots of questions from people who are considering whitening their teeth. Here are the answers to some common questions we hear.

How does tooth whitening works

Whitening products uses peroxide-based bleach that destroys both surface and deep stains in the tooth enamel. The level of whiteness that you can achieve will differ based on how much staining you have, the condition of your teeth and the form of bleaching system you use.

Will it work on all teeth?

No. It is best to discuss with your pediatric dentist before you decide to whiten your teeth because not all whitening products can correct all types of discoloration. Brown teeth may not respond well as well as teeth with gray tones. Yellow teeth often bleach well. Additionally, whitening won’t work on veneers, caps, fillings or crowns. Also, it will not be effective on discoloration due to tooth injury or medications.

Is it safe for kids?

The Academy of General Dentistry suggests postponing whitening until your child reaches at least 14 years of age, when the tooth pulp is completely formed. This will help reduce the level of sensitivity. But to be safe, it is still preferable to hold off and wait until he/she is 17 or 18 before giving them the green signal.

Parents and teens sometimes worry when the permanent teeth appear yellower than the baby teeth. But this is perfectly normal. Aside from being smaller, baby teeth are also brighter and whiter. It does not mean that your child’s permanent teeth are healthy or stained. Further, kids that have their braces removed may complain of whiter areas where the braces were attached. This is a very common issue as those teeth got long-term protection from food stains.

Can a person with highly sensitive teeth get teeth whitening treatment?

Yes. There are several ways to address sensitivity issue.

1.       The length of time between procedures can be prolonged.

2.       The strength of the whitening solution and the length of time the teeth are exposed can be adjusted.

3.       To help sensitivity after the procedure, patient may use a high fluoride, remineralization gel or OTC product sensitivity strips.

It is important to talk your dentist about sensitivity problem.

There are certainly ways you can do to reduce sensitivity. Avoid foods that are too cold or hot. Take pain reliever before the treatment. Use a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth along with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Avoid acidic foods such as citrus fruits.

How long does it last?

Teeth whitening is not permanent. If your teeth are exposed to beverages or foods that could cause staining, the whitening may begin to fade in as short as a month. But, if you avoid these foods, you may be able to maintain it as long as a year before touch-up or another treatment is necessary.

How Colitis and Crohn’s Disease Affect Oral Health

Nearly 5 million people around the world live with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s Disease – inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affect the digestive system by causing intestinal tissue to be inflamed, forming ulcers or sores and causing bleeding. These conditions can affect any part of the GI tract, including the mouth, lips and esophagus. Apart from the emotional and physical toll that these diseases has on the wellbeing of a person such as diarrhea, anemia, weight loss and fever, it can also contribute negatively on the patient’s oral health.

There are times when it’s difficult to determine that root cause in the changes occurring in the mouth such as dry mouth, ulcers or cavities. In some cases, medications given to treat IBD can interfere with the natural mouth bacteria, causing problems. IBD may also leaf to nutritional deficiencies, which could affect oral and dental health. In some instances, it is the disorder itself that’s causing problems. Your doctor can determine whether colitis or Crohn’s interfering with your teeth and gums’ health through testing.

Vitamin Deficiencies and Mouth Ulcers

Inflammatory bowel disease can cause a host of ailments throughout the intestine, esophagus as well around the patient’s mouths. Deficiencies of essential vitamins, especially Vitamin D, can result to complications ranging from small, painless wounds inside the mouth to swelling of the lips. This could lead to more serious problems such as oral tuberculosis, sarcoidosis, cheilitis granulomatosa or contact allergic reactions.

Deficiencies in Vitamin B12, A, and K; and zinc as well as yeast infections are also common.

Tooth Cavities and Decay

Up to 29 percent of patients with IBD suffer from tooth cavities before any intestinal complications. Many patients reported higher incidence of tooth decay and cavities as they got treated for Crohn’s. Studies have shown that changes in the mucus lining caused by colitis have led to cavities in some patients.

Patients taking Prednisone to alleviate their symptoms should consult their dentist and physician as there are some reports of a link between cavities and medication.

Gum Inflammation

Gum diseases such as bleeding or swollen gums, can be another problem for IBD sufferers and could be a result of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Having the right vitamins and minerals is very important to achieve optimum general health and oral health, but Crohn’s disease along with mouth problems can leave your with little appetite. You have to strive to achieve quality in your diet to obtain the necessary nutrients from the food you eat. Unfortunately, in the case of Crohn’s and colitis, food passes through your system without being completely digested and absorbed.

How to Achieve Healthy Oral Health

The following tips will not only help your general health, they can also prevent complications on the mouth associated with IBD.

·         Limit the amount of dairy and dairy products you eat.

·         Refrain from sweetened drinks such as energy drinks, juice and soda.

·         Take Vitamin D supplement or have plenty of sunlight

·         Stop smoking

·         Eat small frequent meals every day that are rich in antioxidants, more on fruits and low in saturated fats.

If your child has inflammatory bowel disease, we’d love to help you find the best treatment for his/her oral health.

What is the Difference Between Night Guards and Mouth Guards

You may be wondering: what is the difference between a dental night guard and a mouth guard? Can I use a sport mouth guard to protect from teeth grinding? Well, thankfully, this article answers these questions.

What is a Dental Night Guard?

An occlusal splint, more commonly called as night guard, bite guard or dental guard, is used to protect the teeth while you’re asleep. Most dentists advice the use of night guard to patients suffering from bruxism or involuntary teeth grinding. When a person habitually grinds his teeth, he is suffering from a condition called bruxism. This affects 10 percent of the total popular and as many as 15 percent of children.

Bruxism can chip your teeth, increase tooth sensitivity and ruin enamel. Further, too much clenching of the haw may lead to TMJ disorder (temporomandibular joint disorder) which can sometimes require surgery.

What is a Mouth Guard?

A mouth guard is an oral device that covers the gums and teeth to protect and prevent injury to the lips, gums and teeth. The American Dental Association suggests wearing a mouth guard for sports played in the winter and fall:

·         Football

·         Basketball

·         Field Hockey

·         Gymnastics

·         Ice Hockey

·         Lacrosse

·         Rugby

·         Volleyball

·         Boxing

·         Wrestling

·         Ultimate Frisbee

It is recommended to use custom mouth guards over store-bought as it provides more than just protection for the teeth. Based on one study, high school football players who wear store-bought mouth guards were twice likely to suffer from mild traumatic brain injuries than those who wear properly fitted mouth guards. Tell your pediatric dentist to make dental impression for you. It will be sent to a laboratory that creates mouth guards.

Checking the Material

A night guard is intended to be worn every night or every time the child sleeps, so it’s made using a material that’s not too thick but tough enough to serve its purpose.

On the other hand, a sports mouth guard is a device meant for athletes or players to protect their teeth from any injuries due to a physical blow on the face. Sports mouth guard is often fabricated with a thicker material. It extends to cover the entire jaw and the gums so that the whole mouth can be protected. Sports mouth guard can be made to be part of your child’s team uniform. It can be made to incorporate the team’s logo/sign or color.

Understanding the Function

Both mouth guards and night guards are designed to protect the teeth, however, they protect your teeth in a distinct way. A night guard works by protecting the surface of the teeth from wear and tear du to constant clenching and grinding. A mouth guard is mainly work to protect the mouth and teeth in case of accident or sudden, forceful impact.

The difference between the two is that a night guard has to be made from a durable hard plastic to endure grinding over long periods of time, while a mouth guard is made from a softer material that can absorb the force of sudden blow. Also, the dental night guard only cover the occlusal surface of the teeth while the mouth guard must cover your entire teeth, as well as the gums.

What are Dental Emergencies and How to Properly Respond to Them?

What is a Dental Emergency?

Injuries on the mouth may include the lips, cheeks or gums that are cut and teeth that are knocked out, loosened or forced out of position. Oral injuries are usually painful and must be treated by a dentist as soon as possible.

Common Dental Emergencies and How to Respond to Them

Bitten or cut lip, tongue or cheek

Apply ice on the injured area to relieve swelling. If the area is bleeding, apply gentle but firm pressure using a cloth or a gauze. If the bleeding can’t be stopped or controlled by pressure application, call the doctor or visit the nearest hospital emergency room.

Toothache

Clean the affected tooth. Wash the mouth thoroughly with warm water and with the use of dental floss, remove any food residue that may be impacted. If the pain persists, go to your child’s pediatric dentist. Never give aspirin or apply heat on the aching gum or tooth. If there is swelling, apply cold compress and contact your dentist immediately.

Knocked out baby tooth

Contact your child’s dentist. Unlike the permanent tooth, the primary tooth must not be replanted because of the possible damage to the developing adult tooth. Most of the time, no treatment is needed.

Knocked out adult tooth

If possible, look for the tooth. Carefully handle it and never touch the root. You can rinse the tooth using water ONLY. Never clean it with soap or mouthwash, handle or scrub the tooth unnecessarily. Check the tooth for any breaks or fractures. If it is intact, try to reinsert it back in the socket and let the patient keep the tooth in place by biting on a clean cloth or gauze. In case you can’t reinsert it, place the tooth in a cup containing milk or the patient’s saliva and not water. Transport it to your dentist immediately. Time is very critical in saving the tooth.

Fractured or chipped baby tooth

See your pediatric dentist immediately.

Fracture or chipped permanent tooth

Again, time is very critical to prevent infection or the need to have extensive dental treatment. Contact your dentist as soon as possible. Rinse the mouth with water. Apply cold treatment if there is swelling. If you can find the chipped tooth, bring it with you to the dentist.

What can I do to be prepared for dental emergencies?

To be prepared for any dental emergencies, prepare this emergency dental care kit:

·         Handkerchief

·         Small container with lid

·         Gauze

·         Ibuprofen (No to aspirin. It is an anticoagulant that may cause more bleeding in a dental emergency).

·         Pediatric dentist’s home and office phone numbers