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.

5 Sugar-free Halloween Treats for Kids

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Most parents try to curb their kids’ sugar intake only to have their efforts wasted during Halloween. The season of trick-or-treat is coming, so what should parents do? Steer away from added sugar such as high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar and palm sugar and emphasize fruits and milk that contain natural sugar.

Here is a list of healthy, delicious and sugar-free treats that you can make for your children this Halloween night.

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Watermelon Brain

Ingredient:

Medium-sized watermelon

Instruction:

1. Wash and peel watermelon using a fruit peeler.

2. Using a thin, sharp knife, cut a small size at the bottom so it can sit stable.

3. Make a straight cut at the middle and make thin carvings similar to the image.


Sugar-free Pumpkin Cookies

Recipe adapted from https://wholenewmom.com/recipes/pumpkin-recipes-pumpkin-cookies-vegan-cookies-gluten-free-cookies/

Ingredients:

Wet Ingredients

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  • 1 cup pumpkin, unsweetened

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil

  • 1/4 cup xylitol

  • 1 Tbsp orange extract

  • 1 Tbsp water

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup gluten-free flour (You can use almond flour or oat flour)

  • 3-4 scoops stevia extract (each scoop is 1/32 tsp)

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Combine all wet ingredients in a bowl.

  2. Add flour, baking soda and the seasonings until thoroughly combined.

  3. Scoop the cookie dough using a 2-tbsp. muffin scoop.

  4. Place the cookie dough on a baking sheet and back for 8 to 10 minutes or until it turns slightly brown.

Apple Pops

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Recipe adapted from https://www.feastingonfruit.com/4-ingredient-caramel-apples-sugar-free-raw-vegan/

Makes 3

  • 3 Granny Smith apples

  • 1/2 cup dried white mulberries

  • 3 sticks

  • 1 1/2 cup pitted medjool dates

  • 1 cup water

1. Process the mulberries until it is broken into crumbly textures.

2. To make the caramel, blend the dates with water until it turns smooth.

3. Using the stick inserted on the apples, dip the apples into the caramel mixture and roll them in the mulberries.

4. Immediately refrigerate to firm caramel.

Fruity Witches Brew Pudding

Recipe from https://www.healthfulpursuit.com/2012/10/witches-brew-breakfast-pudding/

Ingredient

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  • 1 tbsp ground pepita seeds

  • 1 tsp honey

  • ½ cup yogurt

  • 1 over-ripe banana

  • Some fresh spinach

  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed

  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil

  • Lemon juice (from one lemon)

  • some green grapes

Instructions

  1. Combine ground flax and pepita seeds and set aside.

  2. Place the serving glasses and dab some honey on the edges of the glasses.

  3. Flip the glasses over into the ground pepita and flax.

  4. Combine the rest of the ingredients except for grapes into the food processor until smooth.

  5. Pour the blended mixture into the serving glasses and place the grapes.

  6. Enjoy.


Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte

Recipe adapted from https://www.bakingbeauty.net/sugar-free-pumpkin-spice-latte-recipe/

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk

  • 2 tbsp canned pumpkin

  • 3 to 4 packets Stevia

  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

  • ½ cup strongly brewed coffee, hot

  • Whipped Cream

  • cinnamon sticks (if desired)

Instructions

  1. Heat milk, pumpkin, and stevia over medium heat in a small sauce pan. Do NOT boil. Remove from heat.

  2. Stir in pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and brewed coffee.

  3. Divide into 2 mugs.

  4. Sprinkle pumpkin pie spice and a cinnamon stick on top if desired.

Lip Sucking in Children – How to Break the Habit

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Many children often get bad habits like nail biting or thumb sucking. If you notice your child having dry, chapped or irritated lips, particularly the lower lip, he/she may have a habit of sucking or licking their lips.

Lip sucking is very common among children and a lot of parents are unaware that their kids are doing it. Although this pattern can be challenging to break, with loving support, persistence and patience, you’ll be able to break this habit.

 

What Causes Lip Sucking?

Dry Lips. Sometimes, lip sucking can be due to a past experience of chapped lips. Your child may unconsciously continue to suck their lips to moisten it even after the lips recovered and become healthy.

Anxiety. Kids may lick or suck their lips when they feel anxious or stressed out due to an unfamiliar situation or environment.

Severe malocclusion. Lip sucking may develop if the child has severe misalignment or overbite. When the upper teeth protrude excessively over the lower lip, it creates an ideal condition for lip sucking.

Effects of Lip Licking and Lip Sucking

Lip Licking. When your child frequently licks his/her teeth, he/she may have swollen lips and irritated skin around the mouth. Constant exposure of lip tissues in saliva can promote redness, irritation and chapping.

Lip Sucking. Excessive lip sucking can cause chapped, dry or irritated lips over time. This can cause pain and discomfort, particularly if there’s already a red ring forming around the mouth. Kids are susceptible to impetigo or cold sores when there’s damage to lip tissue.

Long-term sucking of lips may also cause asymmetric jaw, occlusion and other dental distortions.

How to Help Your Child Break this Habit

This lip sucking habit often disappear in most children without any parental intervention. But if the habit persists, you can help your little one break that habit.

1. Don’t punish the behaviour. Use a lip balm or any relieving lip cream instead, to improve the health of lip tissue while providing distraction to the child.

2. If the child shows frustration with the habit, offer a hug and comforting words.

3. During stressful situations, divert his/her attention. Introduce positive activities to them so they won’t focus on the habit.

4. Offer water regularly as a distraction and to hydrate the lips at the same time. Avoid giving sugary drinks as it can make the child lick their lips further.

5. Give sugar-free candies. Sucking the candy can become a distraction from the lip sucking habit.

 

 

 

5 Ways to Reduce Your Child’s Sugar Intake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Importance of Baby Teeth to Your Child’s Development

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

How Baby Teeth Develop

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

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

 Baby Teeth Hold Space for Adult Teeth

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

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

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

Prevent Decay in Baby Teeth

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Happening Inside Your Mouth?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How a Cavity Develops

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

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

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

 How to Reverse the Tooth Decay Process

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

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

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

Tips:

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

·         Reduce between-meal snacks

·         Limit fruit juice.

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

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

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

 

Tooth Sensitivity on Children: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Solve Tooth Sensitivity in Kids

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

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

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

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

 

What Kind of Toothbrush Should I Use for My Kids?

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

So what are the choices of toothbrush for your child?

Finger Toothbrush

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

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

Baby Toothbrush

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

Electric Toothbrush

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

Manual Toothbrush

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

Does Age Matter?

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

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

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

 

Dental Health Care Guidelines for Children with Special Needs

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

Maintaining Daily Oral Hygiene

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

Electric Toothbrush

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

Special Toothbrush

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

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

Mouth Props

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

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

Visit the Dentist Regularly

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

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

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

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

What Causes Diastema?

Tooth gaps occur for various reasons.

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

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

Thumb sucking is another habit that can create gaps.

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

What are the Symptoms of Diastema?

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

How to Prevent Tooth Gap in Kids?

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

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

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

How to Correct or Treat Diastema in Kids?

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

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

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

What Parents Should Know About Teen Smoking

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

Why Do Teen’s Smoke?

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

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

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

Effect of Smoking to Their Oral Health

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

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

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

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

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

How to Prevent Teen Smoking

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

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

·         Help them deal with peer pressure

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit Your Dentist Before Leaving

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

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

Prepare a Dental Travel Kit

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

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

Store Your Toothbrush Properly

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

Watch What You Eat

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

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

Maintain Your Routine

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

 

 

What are the Dangers of Oral Piercings?

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

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

Do Oral Piercings Lead to Injury and Disease?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Deal with Your Child about Oral Piercings

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

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

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Dental Infection

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

What is a Dental Infection?

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

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

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

Signs and Symptoms of Dental Infection

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

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

·         Affected tooth is darker in color

·         Pain or sensitivity when chewing or biting

·         Swollen gums and/or swollen jaw or neck

·         Bad breath

·         Loss of appetite and weight

·         Fever

 

How Your Dentist Treat a Dental Infection

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

How to Train Toddlers to Brush Their Teeth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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