Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acid for Oral Health

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We know how daily flossing, brushing and regular dental check-ups promote dental health and hygiene, but did you know that one of the most important factors to keep your gums healthy has nothing to do with these habits? One critical factor is your diet.

Other than calcium, Vitamin D and phosphorus, Omega-3 fatty acid has been found to have promising effects on gum health.

What is Omega-3 Fatty Acid?

Polyunsaturated fat is divided into two essential fatty acids – alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA), and they’re called Omega-3 and Omega-6 respectively. Both are identified as essential fatty acids since they can’t be manufactured by the body, and thus, should be sourced from diet. LA is quite abundant in most vegetable oils, such as olive and canola oil. ALA can be sourced from nuts, flaxseed and soy products.

When consumed, LA or Omega-6 fat gets converted to Arachidonic acid (AA) while ALA or Omega-3 fat is converted to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Unfortunately, conversion of EPA and DHA is quite low. This is the reason why experts suggest consuming fish, fish oil and seafoods in high amounts to obtain moderate level of EPA and DHA.

How Omega-3 Fatty Acid Works for Oral Health

There are numerous studies that support the positive impact of Omega-3 intake to the teeth, gums and overall dental health.

For instance, a study in 2010 revealed that consumption of fish oil can lower the risk of having gum disease. Nearly 9,200 participants were evaluated during this study and dental exams were performed. Results revealed that those who were in the middle to the upper third on intake of fish oil were 30 percent less likely to have periodontal disease.

In another study, researchers found that DHA supplementation was linked with marked improvement in periodontitis, an inflammatory gum diseases affecting nearly half of US population. This is a serious disease as it destroys the bones and soft tissue that support the teeth. When the infection spreads, the toxins produced by the bacteria cause damage to the teeth.

Based on studies, the oral health benefit of Omega-3 may extend beyond inflammation as it has potent anti-bacterial effects against a wide range of mouth bacteria. DHA, EPA and ALA, including fatty acid esters may inhibit the growth of pathogens inside the mouth, including Candida albicans, Streptococcus mutans and Porphyromonas ginigivalis.

Get Lots of Omega-3 Fats

While plant-based Omega-3 are extremely healthy and beneficial, clearly it is the Omega-3 from fish and seafoods that provide the best gum diseases-preventing benefits. It is DHA and EPA, not ALA that is critical in preventing heart disease, inflammation and many other illnesses, including gum disease.

Eat at least two servings of Omega-3-rich- fish such as mackerel, sardines, tuna, trout and salmon, every week. Each serving is 75grams or about the size of a palm of a hand.

Top 5 Common Braces Problems to Watch Out

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Orthodontic devices such as braces can greatly help fix misaligned teeth. However, during the course of brace treatment, there are several oral health issues that may arise from wearing this device. Below are the top 5 common brace problems you may experience.

1.  Gingivitis. This occurs when the gum tissues become inflamed due to plaque build-up. Braces make it more challenging to reach food debris with the wirings and brackets attached. Usually, when food debris gets stuck in the gums, it can lead to bacterial accumulation, resulting in gum inflammation.

While gingivitis is treatable, never ignore it. It can prolong the time your child has to spend wearing braces. It is important to clean the gum line regularly if you have braces. Make sure to floss once a day and brush after each meal.

2. Demineralization. Food, particularly sugar, triggers acid production by the bacteria. When food gets stuck in the brackets or wirings, the acid produced erodes phosphate and calcium, leading to white scars or decalcification. These ‘white scars’ appear like tiny white specks that mark the spot where the brackets were attached.

Take note that braces do not directly cause the staining, but those who don’t care well their teeth can have it. To minimize demineralization, cut back on soda and other sugary foods and maintain oral hygiene.

3. Plaque. This is a thin film of bacteria that forms on the tooth surface. Along with sugar, plaque forms an acid that attacks the tooth enamels and gums, leading to gum disease, tooth decay and other problems. Anyone can have plaque, but those who wear braces must double their effort in fighting it. Plaque often starts to develop 4 to 12 hours after brushing – the reason why it is important to brush twice a day.

4. Bad Breath. Also called halitosis, this condition is caused by medical problems, smoking and poor dental hygiene. Bad breath that occurs after having braces is most certainly caused by poor dental hygiene. Because mouth bacteria feed on sugar and food debris, they emit unpleasant odor. In addition, small bits of food that are trapped in between the teeth and in brackets will stink.

Wearing braces doubles the rate of trapped food in your mouth so make a habit of cleaning your teeth immediately after snacking or every meal. If you can’t brush your teeth, always bring a mouthwash to rinse your mouth and prevent bad odor.

5. Tartar. Also called calculus, it develops when plaque hardens on the tooth surface. It turns into a resilient deposit that causes tooth discoloration or stain. Tartar begins to develop after 24 hours. It may form under the gums, along the gum line or around the braces. Prevent tartar by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth.

 

How Probiotics Help Prevent Gum Disease

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Are you giving your children probiotics? It turns out the immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory benefits of these microscopic critters known as good bacteria extend far beyond your gut. Numerous studies have found evidence that they can be a natural, effective means of resolving bad breath, and preventing plaque and gum disease.

A study published in Current Oral Health Reports, has revealed that probiotics seem to help fight cavities and gum disease by maintaining the balance of good bacteria inside the mouth. In another study, it was found that probiotics could help improve dental health by warding off oral pathogens.

How Do Probiotics Work?

Probiotics are normally taken to boost the immune system, keeping the healthy balance of bad and good bacteria in the gut. Probiotics offer a handful of health benefits. Good bacteria boost the immune system and prevent pathogens from gaining a foothold to your tissues. They can destroy or curb the replication of disease-causing microbes by producing chemicals that make it difficult for them to thrive and survive.

Another evidence proves that probiotics exhibit anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent inflammation.

While more research is needed to establish the health-promoting benefits of probiotics on gum and dental health, several probiotic strains have shown to improve mouth health and prevent dental problems. Streptococcus and Lactobacillus strains have shown to reduce plaque, the leading cause of gum disease.

A study published by the European Journal of Dentistry showed that Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus bacteria could help fight gum disease and cavities. In addition, the bacteria Streptococcus salivarius may help manage bad breath.

Dietary Sources of Probiotics

Consumption of probiotics for dental health is one of the fascinating discoveries that proves how food can help prevent disease.

Fortunately, there are many natural food sources that are rich in probiotics. There are dairy and non-dairy sources to choose from. These include:

Dairy:

  • Yogurt

  • Kefir

  • Cultured buttermilk

  • Cultured cottage cheese

Non-dairy:

  • Sauerkraut

  • Kimchi

  • Kombucha tea

  • Coconut milk yogurt

  • Tempeh

  • Miso

  • Natto

Probiotic supplements are available in various forms – capsules, powder, chewable tablets, drinks and gummies. For best result, choose a supplement that contains more than one strain.

You might take a look at prebiotics too – food components that help promote the growth of probiotics in the gut. They are also known to support digestive health and improve calcium absorption. Prebiotics also comes in supplement form but for best result, choose the natural, digestive route and consume lots of plant-based foods such as raw hickory root, raw Jerusalem artichokes, unrefined wheat and barley and raw oats.  

 

When to Stop Using Pacifier on Your Kids

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Many parents show concern about their child’s thumb sucking or pacifier use. As a parent, you may wonder at what age it must stop or what might happen if he doesn’t stop using it.

Surely, sucking is one of your baby’s natural reflexes. Did you know they start to suck their fingers while still inside the womb? Most infants and little children suck their thumbs or pacifiers to help them feel happy and secure and it helps them discover the world.

Sucking their thumbs provides many kids with a sense of security, particularly during difficult situation like when they get separated from their parents, in an unfamiliar plant or surrounded by strangers. Because sucking is relaxing, it also help induce sleep. This is the reason why they thumb suck or use pacifier during bedtime or when feeling tired.

However, long-term thumb sucking can cause issues with the alignment of their teeth and the proper growth of the mouth. It can also cause problems in the root of their mouth. Kids who simply rest their thumb in their mouths have lesser risk of experiencing these dental problems than children who suck their thumbs vigorously. Active thumbsuckers may experience problems with their baby teeth.

How to Break the Pacifier Habit

Pacifier use can affect the teeth the same way as thumbsucking does. But, compared to thumbsucking, pacifier use is much easier habit to break.

To wean your child from pacifier use, do it gradually. Start by removing the pacifier in relaxed situations such as when the child is playing, happy and at home. Once he get used to not using pacifier at home, start removing its outdoor use.

From this point, limit the use of pacifier in the crib. Convincing your child to do the final break may be difficult. Many parents use Santa or Binky Fairy to smoothen the transition.

Whatever method you use, prepare yourself for 2 to 5 nights of screaming, kicking and crying. Be firm and never give in. Remember that children have endured this phase for hundreds of years. Your child will get rid of it eventually.

Most children stop thumb sucking or pacifier use between 2 to 4 years of age. Such behaviour gradually lessens during this age when spend more hours discovering their surroundings. If your child doesn’t stop on his own, parents must stop the habit after age 4.

Source:

https://www.ada.org/~/media/ADA/Publications/Files/patient_77.pdf?la=en

https://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/development/behavioral/bye-bye-binky-ending-the-pacifier-habit/

How Antibiotics Affect Dental Health

Antibiotics are commonly prescribed for children suffering from ear infections, skin abscesses and other bacterial infections. However, there is a growing evidence that certain antibiotics could be linked with tooth enamel defects.

The Study

As part of the Iowa Fluoride Study, researchers followed 357 subjects from birth up to 32 months and surveyed every 3 to 4 months to get information on amoxicillin use and fluoride intake. The antibiotic amoxicillin is among the drug of choice for children suffering from upper respiratory tract infection and middle ear infection (otitis media).

By age one, about 75% of the subjects had taken amoxicillin. As they reached 32 months, 91% had already used amoxicillin. Researchers found that amoxicillin use from 3 to 6 months increased the risk of dental fluorosis by twofold.

Researchers found that amoxicillin use could be a risk factor of developing fluorosis on late-erupting permanent teeth such as both permanent maxillary central incisors and first molars. The signs of fluorosis could range from hardly visible white stains to brown discolorations.

Dr. Liang Hong told that even if the effect on dental enamel is minimal, it can have a huge effect on the overall dental health of the public since the use of amoxicillin is widespread.

What is Fluorosis?

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Dental Fluorosis is the appearance of white flecks or lines on the teeth. This only occurs when a child took too much fluoride over long duration when the permanent teeth are still developing beneath the gums. It is believed that exposure to excess amounts of fluoride can disrupt the production of ameloblasts, the cells that produce the teeth’s hard protective coating, blocking the natural maturation of dental enamel.

When the teeth already emerge through the gums, you won’t develop fluorosis.

In the case of amoxicillin use, the effect is clinically similar to fluorosis, but are apparently different from tooth staining due to tetracycline use. The enamel defects seem as diffuse opacities, which could be due to enamel hypomineralization.

Keep in mind that fluorosis is not a disease and won’t affect the health and integrity of the teeth. Oftentimes, the discoloration is barely noticeable that only a dentist could see it during an examination.

Use Judiciously

To conclude, 24 percent of the subjects had fluorosis on maxillary central incisors. Such finding suggests that the use of amoxicillin during infancy may bring some undocumented risk to the developing teeth. Although the results of this study don’t permit recommendations to stop amoxicillin use, researchers do emphasize the need to prescribe and use antibiotics judiciusly, most particularly on infants.

 

Why Our Teeth Turn Yellow

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Your smile has a very huge impact on your physical appearance and stained teeth is one thing you least expect to appear from your smile. Stained teeth can cause embarrassment, affecting your child’s self-esteem and confidence. It can ruin first impressions because of its unsightly appearance.

Understanding the cause of teeth staining can help improve dental hygiene practice and oral care habits.

Two Types of Tooth Stains

1. Extrinsic Stains. This stain appears on the tooth surface. It can be removed through professional polishing or scaling. Stains can be due to food dye, beverages, mouth rinse and the presence of colour-producing bacteria (chromogenic bacteria) and poor dental hygiene. Plaque bacteria (biofilm) on tooth surface absorb these stains and accumulate on teeth.

2. Intrinsic Stains. This type of stain is seen inside the tooth and can’t be removed by professional cleaning. There are several reasons why a stain develops inside the tooth. Antibiotic use, particularly tetracycline; infection, trauma and dental fluorosis or excessive ingestion of fluoride, which can weaken the enamel and cause brown spots on the teeth, are the leading causes of intrinsic stains.

Different Stain Color and Their Sources

The sources of stain can be determined by the color, and the patient’s lifestyle, diet, environmental and dental hygiene. This helps identify the most effective solution to manage and remove staining.

See chart below:

Image courtesy of https://odha.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FINAL-Tooth-Staining.v5.pdf

Image courtesy of https://odha.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/FINAL-Tooth-Staining.v5.pdf


 

How to Prevent Your Teeth from Turning Yellow

Your pediatric dentist may create personalized treatment plans to prevent and remove stains, which may vary depending on the extent of the stain. Usually, when the plaque is eliminated, most extrinsic stains can’t stick to smooth tooth surface.

Thus, to prevent your teeth from turning yellow, it is important to follow these tips:

·         Keep good gum and teeth care by visiting your dentist regularly for scaling to get rid of stains, calculus or hardened plaque.

·         Brush your teeth twice a day using a soft toothbrush and fluoridate toothpaste.

·         Floss your teeth at least once daily.

·         Scrape your tongue every day as harmful bacteria can accumulate on this part.

·         Use a mouth rinse suggested by your dentist.

·         Decrease intake of sugar and eat a well-balanced, healthy diet.

·         Avoid beverages that can stain teeth.

 

My Child Loves Crunching Ice. Will It Damage His Teeth?

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Your kitchen blender does a good job of crushing ice, but your teeth are not.

Many children, and even adults love chewing ice, especially during summer. This is also the season where dental clinics are stormed with patients complaining of broken teeth and gum pain. Chewing ice can cause several negative effects to your mouth:

  1. It can destroy orthodontic appliances. Braces and retainers are necessary to achieve a properly aligned teeth and bite. However, despite their durable material and secure attachment, eating ice may damage these dental appliances. You may dislodge the wires on your braces or damage your brackets, which can cause unnecessary trip to your dentist. If your child is wearing braces or retainers, tell him/her the possible risks of eating ice.

  2. It can damage tooth enamel. The tooth enamel is a strong, resilient substance of the human body but chewing ice can potentially damage this part. Your tooth enamel protects your teeth from acid attack and cavities.

  3. Teeth may crack or chip. Our teeth tend to be strong and resilient but they are not intended to break hard objects such as ice. Crunching ice can break or crack a tooth, which leads to unnecessary trip to a clinic to repair it. If a tooth chipped, save the chipped part and place it in a bag of milk. Head immediately to your dentist to fix a broken tooth.

  4. It can damage dental fillings. Fillings can be dislodged by eating hard objects like ice.

  5. It may affect tooth sensitivity. Eating ice can damage tooth sensitivity and may even cause sore jaw.

What Should I Do?

Crunching ice is usually a subconscious habit that many children don’t mind. But as a parent, always remind them about the risks and potential problems that may arise from chewing ice in order to prevent this habit. Chewing ice can lead to unnecessary dental trips.

To feel refreshed, rather than eating large chunks of ice, we recommend allowing ice to just melt in your mouth, like a cool candy. Or you may offer apple chunks or baby carrots for kids wanting some crunch.

Everything You Need to Know About Braces

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Many kids feel worried about having braces, thinking about what they will look like or feel. But regardless of what your child feels, you may have some concerns and questions on this orthodontic device.

Below are some important information you should know about kids and braces.

Why are Braces Necessary for Children?

Children may need to wear braces for a number of reason:

·         Overlapping teeth

·         Crooked teeth

·         Malocclusion

·         Overcrowded teeth

Malocclusion is one of the most common reasons for needing braces. This happens when there’s a difference between the sizes of the jaws. In some cases, jaw and teeth problems can be due to accidents, excessive thumb sucking and losing baby teeth too early. When the lower jaw is larger than the upper jaw, it is called an underbite. When the upper jaw is more prominent than the lower jaw, it is called an overbite.

Your pediatric dentist will be the first to see these problems and may advice to see an orthodontist – a dentist whose expertise is in fixing teeth alignment issues. The orthodontist will decide if your child will need braces or not.

Many orthodontist suggest seeing an orthodontist when the permanent teeth begin to emerge, usually at around the age of 7 as dental issues like overcrowding or uneven bite become noticeable. Seeing an orthodontist this early does not mean that your child will get braces immediately. It means that he’ll be able to identify the problem and be able to decide the best course of treatment.

What to Expect from the First Orthodontist Visit

During your first visit, the dentist will carefully check the mouth, teeth and jaw. He may examine your child’s bite and ask questions about issues with swallowing, chewing and talking, or know if there’s popping or clicking of the jaw.

The orthodontist may request for X-ray procedure on the oral cavity and the jaw to check the teeth positions. The dentist will make an impression of the child’s teeth using a small container with sticky material. When the material is removed and harden, a replica of the child’s teeth is produced and this allows the orthodontist to choose the best treatment option.

Different Types of Braces

Braces can fix misalignment by placing steady pressure on the teeth. The teeth gradually moves into a straighter, aligned position. Braces for children comes with wires, rubber bands and brackets. The brackets are individually glued to the teeth and are secured with rubber bands or wire. The rubber band come in many different colors that kids can choose. The wire is tightened slowly over time until the teeth becomes aligned.

Metal braces are still used nowadays but there are other options such as clear ceramic braces. Some choose to place it behind the teeth.

Once the braces are attached, your child should visit the dentist every month for adjustments and monitoring. The duration your child will wear them depends on the severity of the condition but the average time is about 2 years. After that, your child will wear retainer, which is a small, strong plastic with metal wires that looks like a mouthguard. Retainers are necessary to keep teeth in place.

How to Care Your Braces

Since food gets easily stuck on metal braces, children wearing them must be extra careful on the food they eat as well as maintaining their teeth clean. Regular tooth brushing and daily flossing are necessary. Your orthodontist will recommend a special floss you can use for braces.

Your child should also refrain from eating certain foods such as gum, popcorn and sticky or hard candy as these food items can potentially damage braces.

Braces can be uncomfortable to wear, particularly when the dentists make adjustments. Having soft diet and taking pain reliever help ease the pain. Visit your dentist if the child has a loose bracket or wire, or if it is poking his/her mouth.

Five New Year’s Resolution for Healthier Gums and Teeth

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It’s another brand new year and many parents and children make New Year’s resolution. Most New Year’s resolutions are health-related – they want to lose weight, eat healthy, exercise regularly etc. Aside from your weight and diet, one of the most important things to prioritize is your oral health.

If you want to commit on better caring for your teeth and gums, have these resolutions for this New Year.

Make a promise to flossing

 We all know regular tooth brushing is not enough to thoroughly remove food bits or residue from your mouth or prevent plaque buildup. To ensure this, flossing should be done too. If you are not regularly flossing, the New Year is a perfect time to start.

We have discussed previously the different types of floss – whether you use floss picks or traditional string floss, the most important is that you floss your teeth every day. To easily remember flossing, place a container of floss right next to your toothpaste and brush. Bring another stash in your work desk drawer or inside your purse so you can floss wherever you go.

Get a New Toothbrush

The best way to prevent plaque is to replace worn out brush with a new one. But keep in mind that replacing toothbrush shouldn’t be done on a yearly basis! Replace it every 3 to 4 months or when you notice the bristles are fraying.

Reduce Sugar Intake

Numerous studies have confirmed the direct relationship between sugar intake and the development of tooth decay. Therefore, reducing sugar can also significantly lower the risk of tooth decay. The best way to reduce sugar intake is to avoid buying too much sugar treats for your kids. Also, swapping some items will help cut back your intake. For instance, offer sugar-free treats or drink fruit juice instead of soda.

Eat More Foods Rich in Calcium

When you’re cutting back sugar, you have to make an effort to solidify your diet to benefit your gums and teeth. Foods high in calcium such as dairy foods, cruciferous vegetables and fish are highly beneficial for healthy gums and stronger teeth. Foods rich in fiber help scrub away plaque and increase the production of saliva.

Schedule Dental Appointments

According to the American Dental Association, nearly one third of Americans don’t visit their dentist yearly. Scheduling an appointment with your pediatric dentist is one of the easiest resolutions you can do for your oral health. Even if it seems your teeth or your kid’s look fine, be sure to make a note in your calendar so you won’t forget to call your dentist for an appointment.

Traditional String Floss vs. Floss Picks – Which One is Better?

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We know regular brushing is a very important part of dental care and hygiene, but flossing is a crucial part as well. The American Dental Association has always emphasized the importance of cleaning in between the teeth, however, many parents overlook this oral practice to their kids and even themselves.

Flossing in between the teeth can remove trapped food particles that your toothbrush can’t reach. It also helps remove plaque buildup. There are two things commonly used today – the traditional dental floss and the floss pick. Both types have a thin filament of fiber that is coated in wax, so it could slide easier between the teeth.

But which one is more effective? Looking at the two floss types – is there really a difference?

Dental Floss vs. Floss Picks

Dental floss has been used for many decades than floss picks. It is effective at getting rid of food residues between the teeth that toothbrush bristles cannot penetrate. Bacteria inside the mouth produce lactic acid, which causes plaque buildup. Plaque is a biofilm containing different types of bacteria. The lactic acid from bacteria demineralizes the enamel, which leads to dental cavities. Regular flossing can prevent the buildup of plaque.

In addition, flossing helps prevent gum disease. Many flosses contain anti-coagulant for people who have mild gingivitis or gum disease to prevent any form of bleeding.

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On the other hand, floss picks are disposable pieces of plastic with a tiny floss on the ends. Many people use them over traditional string floss. They are easy to use, particularly when reaching molars at the back of the mouth. Floss picks are also good in removing bacteria and food.

Numerous studies have been done to compare the effectiveness of dental floss and floss picks. Most of the results found that both are effective when used properly and regularly. In a study checking their effect on the gums, researchers have shown the both have equally reduced plaque scores, which means that there’s no significant difference between the two.

Which One Works Best For You

So far, nearly all the research done has concluded that there’s no huge difference in the effectiveness between a dental floss and floss picks. This means that what is more important is that you floss at all rather than skipping flossing. Some people prefer floss picks while other choose the old dental floss.

Flossing every day can make a great difference in your oral health and prevents plaque build-up that can damage your enamel.

Obesity in Children and Teens and Its Effect on Their Oral Health

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Until now, more and more evidence continue to surface regarding the health concerns linked with unhealthy weight and obesity among children and adults. More often, the focus is on the diseases in the body but recent studies revealed its effect on oral health, specifically the gums.

Based on a study, obesity can affect kids’ oral health in two ways:

First one, obesity highly affects a child’s diet – what they eat and how often they eat. This leads to a higher risk of dental carries and/or cavities. Due to their greater preference for foods high in carbohydrates and sugar, the risk of developing plaque is much greater.

Second, obesity is often associated with an increase in gingival disease. Studies have found that the more overweight a person is, the greater their risk of having gum disease. This could also be due to their diet and the foods they mostly consume.

Prevalence of Gum Disease

In the US, more than 3 million people experience gum disease every year and this figure consistently increases. Gum disease refers to an infection of the tissues that surround the teeth, known as the gums. But gum disease can be prevented, regardless of your weight.

At the early stages of gum disease, the damage can be reversed. But once it progresses into a severe level of infection, the damage becomes a lifetime. Such stage is called periodontitis. When this infection emerge, the gums tend to pull away from the teeth. If left ignored, the damage can reach into the bones and supportive tissues of the mouth, leading to a more serious condition, including tooth loss.

One of the biggest factors of having gum disease is poor dental hygiene. Because dental plaque develops on the teeth, it could turn into tartar. Tartar cannot be removed through regular brushing and requires professional dental cleaning. Hence, it is important not to miss dental appointments.

What is Cracked Tooth Syndrome and How to Treat It

Like bones, our teeth are very resilient and strong. With proper dental care and regular dental check-ups with your pediatric dentist, you can keep them healthy and strong. But no matter how meticulous you are, accidents happen. And sadly, it could lead to a cracked tooth.

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What is Cracked Tooth Syndrome?

Cracked tooth syndrome happens when a tooth has a tiny crack that’s can only be seen under X-rays or is beneath the gums and difficult to see.

Accidents, biting hard food such as ice or candy or teeth grinding can result in a cracked tooth. Cracked tooth syndrome most often appear on the molars because they do most of the chewing. Symptoms of a cracked tooth may be noticeable or not, but it is important to visit your dentist right away. The dentist can check the molar and see how serious the crack is.

Signs and Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth

Most often, cracked tooth syndrome can be asymptomatic, which means that it does not have any signs and symptoms. Thin, hairline fractures that don’t reach the sensitive part of the teeth often left unnoticed until it reaches the point when the tooth breaks in half. Later on, these tiny fractures may promote the growth of bacteria, which can lead to tooth decay.

However, there are a number of common symptoms to watch out for. Pain may be hard to localize and often comes and go. You may be very sensitive to cold or hot drinks. In some cases, you can feel a sharp edge of a tooth using your tongue. If you notice any of these, visit your dentist immediately for repair.

How to Fix Cracked Tooth Syndrome

The spreading of cracks can be slowed down or even stopped by seeking early intervention.

To detect tiny cracks on the teeth, a small, high-intensity light is applied to illuminate the teeth. Through this, any tiny, unseen fractures can easily be found using this technique. If detected at the earliest stage, the chip or crack can be repaired without the risk of losing the tooth.

The treatment approach for Cracked Tooth Syndrome will depend on the position and severity of the cracks.

Simple crack treatment involves removal of the weakened cusp and replacement of a crown or a large filling. The new crown or filling will protect the tooth and prevent any crack from spreading.

A complex crack procedure is needed if the crack has reached the nerve or has already caused inflammation. At this stage, a root canal therapy may be necessary.

If a simple crack is ignored and left untreated, it may become a complex crack over time. The dental nerve inside may die and infection may take place. At this point, a root canal may be required or sometimes, the removal of the tooth.

Important Care Tips After Tooth Extraction

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Baby teeth must be extracted to ensure incoming permanent tooth to emerge without problems such as misalignment and crowding. Oftentimes, milk teeth are naturally lost or pulled out from force which is common among children.

If your child’s tooth has been removed, the aftercare needed extends past the dental office. Proper dental care is as important as the procedure to ensure that your child’s gums heal quickly and prevent any infection. Below are some proper care tips after tooth extraction.

Right After the Tooth Extraction

Avoid swishing and using a straw. Within 24 hours post-extraction, the freshly exposed tooth socket will be very sensitive. To prevent dislodging healing blood clot, be sure not to introduce a straw to your child within this period. When sipping, the suction made can remove the clot, which could lead to further bleeding. In addition, swishing any liquids must not be encouraged as it can loosen the clots.

Eat soft food. Within 24 hours after extraction, give only soft foods that don’t need too much chewing. The gum area will be very sensitive that chewing solid foods can be painful and uncomfortable. Soft foods that you can give include soup, yogurt, mashed potatoes, pancakes, eggs and apple sauce are perfect within 24 hours of pulled tooth.

In addition, avoid serving too hot or too cold food as the gums are very sensitive to extreme temperatures. As the affected area heals, you’ll be able to add more solids into their diet but it is suggested to continue giving soft foods for a week.

Take pain reliever as prescribed. You can give your child pain medications to reduce pain and discomfort.

Tips 2 to 7 Days After Pulled Tooth

Use ice packs. Your child may experience swelling a couple of days after tooth extraction. To ease the pain and swelling, you may apply ice pack over a swollen cheek ever 2 to 3 hours or as necessary. Wrap ice in thin towel or cloth and apply it over swollen area for 15 minutes.

Have a saltwater rinse. After 24 hours, it is now safe to rinse exposed socket with warm saltwater to clean the area. Combine 8 ounces of warm water with a teaspoon of salt and have it swished in their mouth for a few seconds before spitting out. Saltwater helps clean the mouth and ease the pain on the sensitive area.

Hands off. Your child should not touch the exposed area to keep it clean. Tell your child to avoid picking or touching the extraction area as this practice introduces germs that can delay the healing process and may lead to infection.

Brush your teeth. Although your child’s mouth will be sensitive after several days post-extraction, they must continue brushing their teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day. However, they must do it much gentler than the usual and avoid brushing the exposed socket to prevent bleeding. Flossing should also be continued.

If the pain or swelling does not subside after three days post-extraction or if the pain worsens after several days, contact your pediatric dentist immediately to rule out an infection.

How Too Much Salt Affects Your Kids’ Dental Health

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Most parents think that sugar is the worst enemy of the teeth. Acid-producing bacteria devour on sugar and produce damaging acids that attack the tooth enamel. But did you know that sodium can also affect oral health?

How Salt Causes Tooth Decay

You might be wondering how salt can cause damage to your dental health. While salt itself doesn’t damage tooth enamel, simple carbohydrates and sodium usually come together, particularly on processed foods.

Just like sugar, bacteria inside the mouth feast on the simple carbs and produce acids when you consume food containing carbohydrates. When acids remain in the mouth for longer period, the more time it damages the enamel.

Many people, including children, consume more salt than needed.

·         Fast food such as pizza and pasta often contain lots of salt.

·         Many processed foods have salt in them.

·         Packet foods such as corn chips, potato chips and even crackers contain excessive salt.

·         Canned foods often have salt.

Although most of these food are low in sugar, the starches they contain are broken down my mouth enzymes into simple sugar. Simple sugar produce the same damaging effects as sugar would.

Other Hidden Dangers of Excessive Salt Intakes

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Sodium may be directly damage the teeth, leading to cavities, but a sodium-rich diet can actually weaken the teeth. Like the bones, your teeth depend on calcium for strength and structure. A diet high in sodium has been found to reduce the level of calcium in the body. Since sodium increases urine output, many minerals, including calcium and potassium get excreted through urine. This leads to osteoporosis and even tooth loss.

How Much Salt Does My Child Need?

The daily suggested intake of salt depends on the child’s age:

·         For 1 to 3 years old, 2 grams of salt per day

·         For 4 to 6 years old, 3 grams

·         For 7 to 10 years old, 5 grams

·         For 11 and up – 6 grams

No matter what your diet would be, it is important that you maintain your kid’s daily oral hygiene, including dental checkups and cleanings.

 

 

How Teen Eating Disorders can Affect Dental Health

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Eating disorders such as binge eating, bulimia and anorexia nervosa are not uncommon among teens. Obsession over their weight affects millions of adolescents, particularly girls. A study has found that about 36% of adolescent girls think they are overweight. Over 90% of cases of eating disorders are girls. Teen boys, while they also experience body image concerns, often strive for a perfect body by doing excessive exercise.

What is Eating Disorder?

The most popular forms of eating disorders include bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating disorders. Eating disorders are psychological disorders involving extreme disturbances on a person's eating behavior. For instance, a teenager with bulimia suffers from frequent binge eating followed by the use of laxatives or vomiting to get rid of the food. An anorexic person refuses to maintain a normal body while a binge eater has uncontrolled overeating.

How Eating Disorders Affect Dental Health

Here’s a list of dental complications brought about by eating disorders:

1. Due to inadequate nutrition, the gums and other tissues inside the mouth may be damaged easily. A teen may suffer chronic dry mouth or swelling of the salivary gland.

2. Self-starvation, as in the case of anorexia nervosa, usually lead to nutritional deficiency or malnutrition. Nutrients necessary for healthy teeth and gums include iron, calcium, and B-vitamins. Insufficient intake of these essential nutrients can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.

Dental discoloration and damage due to bulimia

Dental discoloration and damage due to bulimia

3. Frequent vomiting leads to harsh gastric acid coating the teeth repeatedly. Vomit is highly toxic and damaging to your teeth and oral tissues as it contains stomach acid. When this happens over and over again, the enamel may be lost and the teeth may change its shape, color, and translucence. The teeth may become brittle, weak and highly sensitive. Drinking hot or cold beverages may be very uncomfortable.

The edges of the teeth usually thin out or break easily. Sometimes, the pulp may be exposed, causing infection or pulp death.

4. Purging can cause redness, irritation, and wounds inside the mouth, specifically on the soft palate or the upper surface of the mouth. When the soft palate is already damaged, this is already a warning sign among dental professionals that the eating disorder is getting worse, as this part rarely gets harmed unless it is done intentionally. Soft palate scratches appear from using fingers to induce vomiting.

5. Frequent purging can lead to enlargement of the salivary glands. This can cause pain and discomfort.

How to Manage Oral Health Complications from Eating Disorders

In order to maintain oral health, the patient must follow meticulous oral health care such as tooth brushing, flossing, and frequent communication by the pediatric dentist. While curbing the purging behavior, a person must immediately rinse their mouth with water only after purging due to the high acid content of the oral cavity. Brushing must be halted for one hour to prevent scrubbing the acids into the enamel.

Dry mouth or xerostomia may occur due to vomiting and this can lead to tooth decay. Moisturize your mouth with water or other suggest products by your dentist to help keep decay at bay.

What You Should Know About Wisdom Teeth

Your child’s mouth undergoes many different changes throughout his/her lifetime. Among the biggest milestone often takes place between the age of 17 and 21 when the third molars erupt. Traditionally, these teeth are called ‘wisdom teeth’ as they emerge at a later age.

When they surface at a proper position, wisdom teeth can help you masticate. While it’s normal to feel slight pain or discomfort when your wisdom teeth surface, experiencing intense pain prompts immediate dental check-up.

What’s the problem?

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The appearance of wisdom teeth often leads to problems when there's not enough space for them. When they are misaligned, they may position in a wrong angle, either away from the next molar, inward or outward. They may also become impacted or trapped under the gums or in the jaw.

When your wisdom teeth erupt, your pediatric dentist will check the following signs:

·         When the wisdom teeth are in the wrong position, it allows food to easily get trapped, promoting the growth of acid-producing bacteria that cause a cavity.

·         Wisdom teeth in the wrong position make flossing a bit difficult between the wisdom teeth and the adjacent molars.

·         Wisdom teeth that partially erupted can permit the entry of bacteria inside the gums, which may cause an infection. This leads to swelling, stiffness, and pain of the jaw.

·         Impacted or trapped wisdom teeth inside the gums may damage adjacent teeth or causing crowding of the teeth.

·         Impacted wisdom teeth can create a cyst, which could damage the dental root of neighboring teeth.

When to Remove Your Wisdom Teeth

Generally, a wisdom tooth must be removed if it is causing the following symptoms or conditions in the mouth:

·         Tumors

·         Cyst

·         Infection

·         Pain

·         Tooth decay

·         Gum disease

·         Damage to adjacent teeth

Your dentist may advise removing your wisdom teeth as part of a dental treatment such as braces. Before removing your wisdom teeth, your dentist will recommend taking an X-ray and together, you can talk about the best treatment course.

When wisdom teeth are not causing any discomforts or changes in the mouth, you still have to keep on monitoring it for possible problems later. Make sure you floss your wisdom teeth, brush it thoroughly and visit your dentist regularly.

Source:

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/w/wisdom-teeth

 

Which Vitamins and Minerals are Essential for Your Child’s Teeth and Gums?

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Vitamins and minerals are very important nutrients for your child’s development, both physically and mentally. But did you know they are also vital for his/her dental health? All parts of the body are interconnected, including the teeth and gums.

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Even a slight deficiency can result to a lasting effect on your child’s oral health. When they are still young, the teeth and gums are still developing and aren’t completely mature, which stresses the necessity to ensure that their food intake is well-balanced with vitamins and minerals. This is primarily the reason why sufficient intake of different vitamins and minerals are necessary to develop their oral health.

As a pediatric dentist, below are the list of top nutrients necessary to maintain healthy gums and teeth.

Calcium. Calcium is not only important for strong bones, it is also needed for healthy, strong teeth. This mineral supports the development of the teeth, while making them even stronger once they emerged. Since calcium is delivered in different parts of the body, the teeth will be supplied with enough calcium they need, including the jaw that supports it.

Providing the proper amount of calcium will help prevent complications such as weakened teeth. Ensure the child eats lots of leafy greens, dairy, sardines, salmon and broccoli to get plenty of calcium.

Fluoride. Known to fight cavities, this mineral can prevent further development of tooth decay and support strong healthy enamel, which gives the teeth protection to fight decay-causing bacteria. You can use fluoride dental products, however, many tap waters are now infused fluoride.

Vitamin A. This vitamin not supports clear vision and immune boost, it is also necessary for healthy gums. Vitamin A promotes the flow of saliva in the mouth to prevent dryness, promote healing and maintain a healthy environment for the oral cavity. Vitamin A can be sourced in your diet, particularly fish, carrots and dark leafy vegetables.

Vitamin D. This essential nutrient plays a major role in the development of bones and teeth as it facilitates the absorption of calcium. Your child must have plenty of Vitamin D to efficiently utilize calcium. Vitamin D can be sourced from sun exposure, fish oils and dairy.

Iron. This mineral is necessary in the development of teeth, including the production of red blood cells. A deficiency in iron can cause a wide range of health complication, so make sure your little one eats beans, spinach and red meat.

Don’t Miss Their Dental Check-up

Your children’s dental health should not completely rely on their dietary intake alone. They must receive regular dental care from their pediatric dentist to monitor any development of carries and properly guide the development of their teeth for a beautiful, perfect smile that can last a lifetime.

 

How Puberty Affects Your Child’s Oral Health

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Puberty is the stage that brings many changes to boys and girls. Puberty in girls usually begin at around 10 to 11 whiles boys are a bit late at 11 to 12. In general, this stage often takes 5 to 6 years, in which children’s reproductive organs and sexual characteristics emerge to maturity.

Hormone levels rise, voice changes, bodies and muscles develops, sexual attraction starts and an overall increase in consciousness on self-image and appearance reveals. Along with this general changes, their oral health can also be affected.

How Hormone Changes Affect Their Dental Health

Hormonal changes during puberty often affects girls and as such, parents should give oral care utmost concern. Hormones such as estrogen and progesterone trigger changes in the girls’ bodies. Such sex hormones during puberty stage can cause a number of dental issues including puberty gingivitis, characterized by bleeding and swelling of gums.

The onset of menstruation causes an increase of hormones that encourage the growth of oral bacteria. In fact, many girls and even boys during puberty experience symptoms of gum sensitivity and gingival bleeding.

Some adult women still experience menstruation gingivitis before their menstruation start. Menstruation gingivitis symptoms include swollen, tender, red gums and mouth sores. Improper oral cancer can worsen these symptoms.

Increase in certain hormones can also increase microbial growth, which is the reason why cavities and bad breath are quite common among adolescents.

Other Issues on Oral Health

As children grows and permanent teeth starts to erupt, they may experience changes in the appearance of their mouth, including the shape of their bite. By the time puberty sets in, most of the adult teeth already surfaced. This is the time when certain orthodontic treatments usually begin.

One of the most important concerns for children with braces is the need to maintain proper oral care carefully. Due to the extra attachments on the teeth, there are many corners for food bits to stick to, causing dental carries.

Proper tooth brushing and having regular dental visit for professional cleaning are very important to prevent the development of carries.

Tooth staining is very common among teens. This is due to changes in diet and consumption of dark soda and tea.

How to Manage the Impact of Puberty on Oral Health

During puberty stage, many adolescents face many struggles, primarily on their emotional and social aspects. Peer pressure, increased self-consciousness to self-image and identity crisis can affect a child’s focus on proper dental care.

Good oral care can make a positive impact on an adolescent’s self-image. Parents should reinforce healthy dental practices through regular brushing and flossing and having proper nutrition. The puberty stage is often the time when a young person faces many changes in his/her life. This is also a great time to practice good dental care habits that they will follow for the rest of their life.

What’s the Difference Between Silver Fillings vs. White Fillings?

Many parents dealing with tooth cavity on their children often ask the question, ‘Which is the best type of filling for my child?’  Fillings come in different kinds of material – amalgam, ceramic, composite and glass ionomers. However, there are two most common types of choices that dental patients decide when it comes to dental fillings – white fillings or silver fillings.

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White Fillings – Pros and Cons

Many people prefer white fillings over silver fillings because of the following benefits:

·         Many patients report less sensitivity or discomfort after the treatment

·         Ideal for young patients due to less sensitivity post-treatment

·         Less removal of tooth structure

·         There’s no health risks involved in the use of white composite fillings

·         Since it is white in color, the dentist can easily blend the color to the adjacent teeth.

However, there are some downsides to this option that you should know:

·         White fillings are a bit expensive than silver fillings.

·         Using composite material demands higher level of expertise on the dentist’s part. This explains the higher cost.

 

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Silver Fillings – Pros and Cons

Still today, many dentist still offer silver fillings to dental patients. There are several reasons why some patients prefer this option:

·         Treatment using silver filling takes less time

·         Application of silver filling doesn’t require advanced tools, which lowers the cost of treatment

·         Has been used for many years, with an long-term record in term of safety

Unfortunately, there are a number of downsides with the use of silver fillings:

·         A bigger amount of natural tooth structure needs to be removed to apply the silver filling. This can further weaken the tooth, making them prone to breaking.

·         Changes in temperature in the mouth can cause the filling to expand which can damage the tooth.

·         Some patients are worried of the potential health risks of the mercury present in amalgam filling.

·         Silver amalgam is very noticeable and does not look natural. This may not look pleasant if your child has a mouth filled with cavities.

Even though the materials and techniques on dental fillings are improving day by day, prevention is still better – which means, having no filling at all. Dental cavities can be prevented through proper brushing habit, having low sugar diet, eating foods rich in calcium and phosphorus and following your routine dental check-ups.

Facts About Silver Diamine Flouride That You Should Know

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The American Association of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) has published a research study on the use of silver diamine fluoride in the management of dental caries among children and adolescents, as well as those with special care needs. Currently, the most preferred way of managing tooth decay among this group is through removal of the decay and employing restorative procedures such as fillings and sealants. However, there are some situations wherein these methods are not financially or physically feasible.

With that said, the use of silver diamine floude or SDF offers an effective alternative solution to prevent the decay from further deterioration.

What is Silver Diamine Flouride?

Silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is a solution made from water, fluoride, silver and ammonia. In this liquid solution, fluoride works by treating the tooth decay and preventing it from deteriorating further while silver works to protect the dentin, the inner layer of the teeth.

Despite its slightly metallic taste, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved this solution for the treatment of hypersensitivity. However, it is only recently, through numerous evidences from studies that it can successfully treat and prevent decay in kids, the elderly and patients with special needs.

How is SDF Applied?

After cleaning and drying the teeth, a drop of SDF is applied on the teeth, specifically areas that are affected by decay to stop the cavities from spreading further. The solution is spread over using a tiny brush and then, it is left to cure for about 2 minutes.

SDF treatment also helps reduce hypersensitivity caused by tooth decay as it strengthens any exposed dentin.

Is SDF Safe for My Children?

SDF is a safe treatment option compared to other dental procedures that have reported to have severe side effects or have reported risks. Many pediatric dentists recommend it for kids with severe early childhood caries.

SDF has many benefits but also comes with disadvantages:

Pros:

·         The treatment is fast, simple and effective.

·         It is non-invasive and painless compared to traditional decay procedures that involves anaesthesia injection, drilling and more.

·         Highly effective in preventing decay

·         Relieves hypersensitivity

Cons:

·         Reported to have slight metallic taste and ammonia smell. However, this disappears quickly after treatment.

·         The decayed areas that are treated with SDF will have permanent discoloration, often brown or black staining. This is due to a chemical reaction with the silver and is proof that it’s destroying cavity-causing bacteria. Take note that only the decayed areas will be discoloured and not the entire tooth.

·         Patients with silver allergies or mouth ulcers must avoid SDF. They can talk about alternation options with their dentist.

Like any other procedure, it is very important that you discuss it with your pediatric dentist to make sure to completely understand the procedure’s risks and benefits.