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?

pediatric dentistry Mint 55.jpg

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

What are the Surprising Cavity Fighters You Should Know

Sometimes, the food you least expect turns out to have surprising cavity fighting benefits. Below are a few that we believe were quite interesting.

Cheese

Some experts believe that the protein found in cheese known as casein may have protective properties that could help prevent cavities and promote oral health. It has been shown that the calcium levels in the mouth increase after consuming cheese. Our teeth is partly made up of calcium. The calcium present in cheese mixes with saliva to help remineralize teeth and protect the teeth from cavities.

Chewing Gum

Chewing sugar-free gum has been recommended to prevent cavities. The sugar-free variety made with Xylitol – a natural sugar substitute, tends to be more beneficial. Xylitol is an effective cavity fighter that can prevent decay because cavity-causing bacteria cannot use Xylitol to grow and cannot break it down to create acid. It is highly effective in mint form and must be consumed at least three times a day. Be sure to check the ingredients of the gum and see if it is the first listed ingredient to make sure the amount is enough.

Candy

We were taught since childhood that the number one enemy of healthy teeth is candy, however, sugar-free candies, similar to sugar-free gums, may hold potential for cavity prevention. Dentists agree that sugar-free candies doesn’t hurt your teeth and if the candy is made with Xylitol, as many hard candies and lollipops now are, then it can actively help fight tooth decay too.

Wine

Wine, the red variety, may be thought to leave stains on your teeth but one study showed that many of its components can actively fight bacteria that can lead to cavities and decay. However, dental experts point out that laboratory results do not always relate to actual situations. Dental experts argue that it is important to consider how these chemicals interact with the plaque and biofilm covering every tooth.  

Raisins

While raisins are deemed as a cause of cavities, it seems that this dried fruit is similar to wine. Scientists have found that certain flavonoids and polyphenols present in raisins can actively fight bacteria that lead to cavities. Yet again, dental experts remain unconvinced of equating this lab result into real life. Raisins have long been avoided as a snack because of their sticky nature and the high sugar content. In addition, it is still to be considered if the cavity-fighting properties of the polyphenols can outweigh the decay-causing properties of sugar.

Use of Straw

When it comes to preventing cavity, acidic, sugary beverages are clearly not a smart choice. However, in one study, it was found out that you can lessen the damage to your teeth by sipping soda with a straw, particularly if you do not allow the straw to come close with the teeth. However, experts still warns of drinking sodas in excess. While a straw can help, the best defense is not drinking these beverages in excess.

What are the Guidelines for Retainer Care

Previously, we have discussed about retainers for children, the different types of retainers and the reasons for wearing it. Like any orthodontic devices, there are some guidelines on how to wear it as well as the proper way of caring it to prevent damage.

Getting Fitted

Your dentist will fit your child for the retainer using a material called alginate. It is a chalky, sticky, thick substance that creates a mold of your teeth and oral cavity when you sink them in. The process of fitting is painless and fast. Alginate comes in different flavors and does not taste bad.

The finished retainer can be custom designed to express your likes and style. You can have a picture of your child’s favourite cartoon hero or any design on the plastic part of the retainer. After getting fitted for the retainer, it usually takes less than a week to get it.

Wearing a Retainer

Wearing a retainer feels unusual and weird at first, but that’s normal. You can see your dentist to adjust it if the retainer causes rubs, pain or cuts against your gums. Initially, you will need to get used to talking with it.  Talk slowly at first to practice and later on, you will even notice that you’re wearing it.

Dentists suggest reading aloud every day for few minutes. You will notice an increase in saliva flow in the 3 days of wearing your retainer, which is normal.

Retainer Care Guide Tips

When you are wearing a retainer, plaque, bacteria and leftover food residue sticks to it. Hence, it is important to clean your retainer every day. But be sure to ask your dentist on how to clean your retainer because certain types shouldn’t be cleaned using a toothpaste. You can submerge it in a mouthwash or use a denture-cleaning solution to kill germs and freshen it up.

Since the plastic portion of your retainer may crack if it becomes too dry, you needs to always soak it when you’re not using it. Plastic easily melts or warp so never soak it in hot water and place it near a heat source such as on a cooking stove. Also, never bend the wires. Flipping the retainer when inside your mouth might bend the wires.

Another important way in taking care of your retainer is to never lose it. Retainers can be quite pricey and you might have to spend for a damaged or lost retainer. Teach your child to always keep it in its container. Teach them to look and check their lunch tray before dumping it. Place it in the same spot when at home when they’re not wearing it.

What You Should Know About Retainer for Kids

You have probably seen a kid taking out his retainer before taking his snack, and carefully placed it in a container to ensure it is safe while he eat. You wonder why this small plastic mouthpiece is important to him. Let us find out.

What is a Retainer?

A retainer is an orthodontic device that is made from metal and plastic and is custom-fitted for each child or adult who needs one. It perfectly fits the mouth and the top of the teeth. Retainers are very common because most people who wore braces need to wear a retainer for a little while after removing their braces. Other people use them to close tooth gaps, help with certain speech problems or to resolve other dental problems.

Why Should I Wear a Retainer?

There are several reasons for wearing a retainer. The most common is to help maintain the new position of your teeth after wearing braces. It is necessary to wear a retainer because as you grow, your teeth also move and tend to shift to another position. Retainer help ‘retain’ their position and prevent shifting, which happens naturally.

Once your braces are taken off, your dentist will fit your for a retainer. There is a certain time and duration of wearing it and the dentist will tell you how long to wear it. Some kids wear their retainer for more than a year.

Other children may wear retainers to close a tooth gap or space or simply to move one tooth. In this case, there is no need for braces as retainers can do the job. To close a space, retainers are usually worn for several years. When you wear a retainer, certain teeth feel pressure and could feel sore for the first several days. If you are experiencing discomfort, there is no need to worry as it is completely normal.

Crib or tongue-cage retainer

Crib or tongue-cage retainer

Retainers can also health a number of mouth problems aside from the moving of teeth. In some cases, they are used to help a medical problem such as tongue thrust – a condition where the tongue sneaks through the teeth when you’re talking. A type of retainer called tongue cage or crib retainer is designed with tiny metal bars that are hanging down from the roof of the mouth. This will keep the tongue from thrusting forward in between the teeth when speaking. In this way, your tongue will get used to position at the roof of the mouth rather than through your teeth. The duration a child wears tongue cage varies depending on the child.

Another use of retainer is to alleviate temporomandibular disorder (TMD). This condition is often a result of a bite problem, where the teeth are not positioned properly when the jaws are closed. This is also called malocclusion. Another reason for TMD is bruxism or the habit of grinding the teeth while asleep. Retainers can help by preventing the mouth from closing completely while asleep, to prevent you from grinding your teeth.

What are the Best Oral Health Practices I Can Apply at School?

It may not be a big deal but putting an apple rather than a sugary snack in your child’s snack box can help improve his dental health and his performance at school. After all, kids consume more than 20 percent of their meals at school. Here at Mint Kids Dentistry, we remind parents to make better decisions when preparing your child’s school lunch.

Excessive consumption of sugar can harm your child’s oral and general health. Cookies, chewy fruit snacks and candies interact with bacteria in the plaque. The plaque forms at the surface of your teeth and in between your gums and teeth, generating acid that can erode enamel and cause tooth decay. Although sweets can give short-lived energy on your kids, such sugar rush turns into a crash, leaving kids feeling sleepy and lethargic. This isn’t the kind of mental state children need when preparing for an afternoon class.

Mint Kids Dentistry recommends these oral health practices for school.

1.       After taking breakfast and before leaving for school, be sure your child brushes well using a fluoridated toothpaste. Brushing immediately after a smell will clean the teeth and gums and get rid of halitosis or bad breath.

2.       Pack healthy and nutritious lunch food and snacks in your child’s lunch box. These include lean meats, low-fat yogurt, whole grain breads, baked chips, whole-grain crackers, apples and carrots. Aside from being full of nutrients, certain veggies and fruits can help clean the teeth and gums. Just make sweet treats a treat. Cakes, cookies, bars and sugary snacks should only be given in moderation.

3.       If your child likes to chew gum and the school permits it, chewing sugar-free gum for several minutes during lunchtime, before the afternoon classes. This will help stimulate secretion of saliva to neutralize the acid and help remove food residue from the mouth. Chewing gum that contains the natural sweetener Xylitol is a good choice since based on studies, it has been shown that consistent exposure to Xylitol can help fight cavity-causing bacteria.

4.       Kids wearing braces must rinse or try to brush their teeth after taking lunch. Children wearing removable retainers should also clean their teeth and retainers after every meal.

5.       Before the school year begins, parents must schedule visit to their kids’ pediatric dentist to ensure that there are no dental issues to distract their children throughout the school year. You may ask the dentist on sealants as a way to prevent any tooth cavities from developing. Sealants are thin coating of bonding material that is applied over the molar teeth, acting as a barrier to cavity-causing bacteria.

What is the Difference Between Plaque and Tartar and How to Control Them

Discoloration of baby teeth

Discoloration of baby teeth

What is Tartar?

Also called as calculus, tartar is a hard deposit that can trap stains on your teeth, causing discoloration. Phosphate and calcium bind together to form crystals and these calcium phosphate crystals hardens forming tartar. There are certain forms of chemicals known as pyrophosphates that help reduce calculus buildup by preventing the formation of crystals on the surface of the tooth. Tartar develops a resilient bond that can only be removed by a professional. The formation of tartar may also make it harder to get rid of new bacteria, hence possibly creating more problems down the road.

What is Plaque?

Plaque is a colorless, sticky bacterial deposit that is always forming on the tooth surface. Food, fluids and saliva combine to produce these film that gather on teeth as well as the line where the gums and teeth meet. Like tartar, the formation of plaque can also trap stains on the teeth, which causes tooth discoloration.       

Plaque is the main cause of gum disease and fighting plaque requires a lifetime of good dental hygiene. It can also lead to cavities, further weakening the teeth. Plaque may start to form on the teeth four to twelve hours after brushing – the reason why it’s very important to brush at least twice a day every day. Though necessary, tooth brushing isn’t enough. It is very important to floss every day to remove any residue from hard-to-reach places between the teeth.

How to Control Tartar and Plaque?

Both tartar and plaque don’t affect everyone the same way. Every person differs in their resistance and susceptibility. For many of us, tartar and plaque accumulate much faster when we age, which means that the older you get, the more you have to keep your dental hygiene in check. However, there are several ways you can change your dental hygiene practices to make sure you protect your teeth from plaque and tartar buildup.

1.       Have your teeth cleaned by a dental professional twice a year or every six months, or more frequently as advised by your hygienist or dentist.

2.       Brush your teeth using a toothpaste that contains pyrophosphate, which sticks to the tooth surface and stops the formation of tartar crystals. You may also use a toothpaste that contain sodium hexametaphosphate, a pyrophosphate that is specially made to not only inhibit tartar but also loosen up the bonds of stains for protective barrier to prevent further stains and promote teeth whitening.

What to Expect About Getting a Dental Filling

When your pediatric dentist tells you that you have a cavity, she often advised you to have a dental filling to protect the tooth from further decay. If left unfilled, a cavity can only worsen and the decay could lead to bone loss. The good news is that tooth-filling procedure is almost painless thanks to advancements in dentistry. Today, there is no reason not to get a filling if your dentist advises it.

Dental Filling vs. Sealant

One of the main differences between a filling and sealant is the longevity. A filling can last for as long as 10 years, whereas dental sealants may only last for a year. In reality, dental sealants don’t actually last that long and may depend on the person’s oral hygiene practices. Sealants are often given to kids to protect their molars from the development of decay.

On the other hand, fillings are given as a treatment measure to eliminate the hole left when the dentist removes existing tooth decay.

What to Expect from a Dental Filling

One of the main things to expect when having your kids a filling is a conversation with the pediatric dentist on the type of material to be used. There are several options of filling material available today and your choice may depend on a mix of factors such as the appearance, the function and the cost.

Some options for dental filling material include:

·         Amalgam. This is a silver-colored filling, composed of a mixture of metals such as tin, copper, silver and mercury. They are strong, durable and cheap but a lot of people do not like the appearance of silver.

·         Composite. This is a tooth-colored filling made from resin and glass. Composite can match the color of your teeth, however, they’re not as metal and may have to be replaced more often.

·         Ceramic. This is often made of porcelain and are popular among those who want to have a natural looking tooth. They can be abrasive when they hit against a natural tooth. Your pediatric dentist has to make sure that your bite is correct to prevent tooth wear.

·         Glass ionomers. They are acrylic and glass fillings that bond chemically to dental tissues and slowly release fluoride over time. They are ideal for low stress areas and are often place on the front teeth or on root. They are commonly used in kids as a short-term fix for baby teeth.

After you have your filling, make sure to take good care of it. It is important to practice a regular dental health routine such as brushing the teeth twice daily and daily flossing. Be sure to see your pediatric dentist for regular checkup because you may not notice when the filling begins to wear down. If a dental filling falls out or breaks, immediately see a dentist for repair or replacement.

Does My Child Need Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are simple, fast and easy solution to prevent dental cavities. While the concept of dental sealants isn’t new, they are becoming a common treatment for children who need extra help in the dental health department.

What are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are made of plastic material that is placed on the fissures and pits of the tooth surface, mainly the molars at the back since toothbrushes cannot reach them to thoroughly clean.

Most children are bad brushes and they often ignore the back part of the mouth which is a common problem area that attract cavity-causing bacteria, leading to decay. These areas are the prime target for sealants. The American Dental Association advises that children receive dental sealants as soon as their permanent teeth erupt.

People who are more susceptible to decay and cavities, whether they’re genetically prone to dental caries, lack access to dental care or don’t have oral hygiene habit, must consider getting sealants as a preventative measure.

How Dental Sealants Work

Dental sealants fill in the pits and fissures of the teeth and smooth out the grooves that tend to trap food residue. The American Dental Association said that sealants work by ‘sealing out’ plaque and food since toothbrush bristle cannot reach all depressions and grooves.

Dental sealants can last for up to 10 years, but you have to check it regularly for cracks. The problem with sealants is that if they are worn down, it is possible for the decay to form under the sealant.

However, dental sealants have been proven to lower the risk of decay and cavities. Coating the biting surface of a molar with a resin-based sealant can lower the risk of developing cavities by up to almost 80 percent right after the procedure, and up to 60 percent for four years or more.

Are Dental Sealants Safe?

If you are a parent, you have perhaps heard the term ‘BPA’, which stands for Bisphenol A. The biggest factor when it comes to safety of dental sealants is BPA, a resin used in many forms of plastics. BPA has been cited as a hormone disruptor and prenatal exposure to BPA is associated with anxiety and hyperactivity in babies.

However, dental sealants do not contain BPA, but many of them contain compounds that change into BPA once exposed to saliva. But dental professionals claim that the amount of exposure is extremely low and can even be further reduced by rinsing and scrubbing sealants after they’re placed.

This issue is still under a heated debate as some dentists believe there is not enough BPA in sealants to warrant any concern while other dentists maintain their stand of preventing exposure of BPA at any level.

If you do opt to have dental sealants, be sure to discuss with your pediatric dentist first about rinsing and scrubbing the sealant once applied.