Viewing entries in
Pediatric Dentistry

Why Our Teeth Turn Yellow

stained teeth.jpg

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?

ice cubes.jpg

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

braces for kids.jpg

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

new years resolution.jpg

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?

dental floss.jpg

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.

floss pick.jpg

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

obesity and gum disease.jpg

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.

cracked tooth syndrome.jpg

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

tooth extraction.jpg

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

fast food.jpg

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

salt.jpg

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

eating disorder.JPG

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?

wisdom teeth.jpg

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?

alone-basket-carrots-1389103.jpg

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.

vitamins for oral health.jpg

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

teens.jpg

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.

white filling.jpg

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.

 

silver filling.jpg

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

sdf.JPG

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

Halloween treat.jpg

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.

watermelon brain.jpg

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

pumpkin cookies.jpg
  • 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

apple pops.jpg

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

witches brew.jpg
  • 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

lip sucking.jpg

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

child sugar intake.jpg

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.  

sticky candy.jpg

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

baby teeth.jpg

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

tooth decay.png

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.