Baby Dental Care

Statistics
Children’s dental health is extremely important. A study was conducted and it found that tooth decay was the single most common chronic childhood disease, millions of school hours are lost each because of dental related issues, and it found that the poor are two times as likely to suffer from dental problems then the wealthy.
With these statistics it is very important to place an emphasis on children’s oral care.

Before the Teeth Come In
Often times, babies dental care gets neglected. This happens mostly due to lack of information and education about the issue. Babies do have dental needs, even without teeth. Plaque still grows in their mouths just as it does in anyone else’s.

To prevent plaque from building up, pediatrics suggest that parents should clean the infants gums with a damp washcloth after the feedings. Also make sure to take measures to prevent baby bottle tooth decay. This is a disease that happens in about 15% of children, and causes rapid baby tooth decay. It is important to make sure to avoid sugary products; even some formulas contain sugar. The more the baby teeth come in contact with sugar the more likely you will run into problems down the road.

How to Take Care of Baby Teeth
When the first teeth come in, it is important to schedule you first dental appointment. You should to get into a regular dental routine to prevent cavities and tooth decay, which are common in baby teeth.

Babies Need Special Attention
Babies do need some special attention when it comes to their dental health, when you do brush them make sure to use an extra-soft bristle tooth brush until your child gets over the age of 3. You should use a baby toothpaste that is safe to swallow, that is fluoride free and does not contain artificial preservatives or colors.

Does your child need braces?

One of the benefits of taking your child to see the dentist regularly is that he or she can monitor your child’s teeth and alert you to the need for orthodontic treatment. Parents can also look for warning signs so they are prepared to ask the dentist about any problematic teeth or mouth structures. The American Association of Orthodontists suggests all children should be evaluated by the age of 7 to determine the need or timeline for orthodontic treatment. It is important to talk to your child’s dentist about your options if you notice any of the following signs:

  • Crowded/overlapped teeth or highly separated teeth
  • Upper and lower teeth do not touch when chewing
  • Upper front teeth fall behind the bottom teeth when chewing
  • Upper front teeth extend too far over the bottom teeth when chewing, or protrude at an odd angle
  • Lower jaw shifts to one side when chewing

In addition, if your child still sucks his or her thumb after age 6 or so, there may be an increased risk for crooked teeth. The same goes for people who experience early or late loss of baby teeth and consistently breathe through their mouths. Ask your child’s dentist if it’s time for an orthodontic review. By staying aware of these signs and communicating with your dentist, you can make sure your child gets the treatment she needs at the correct time.

Is there too much sugar in your diet?

We all know that eating a lot of sugar can have negative effects on our physical health. It can cause weight gain, energy swings and a weakened immune system. But what effects does sugar have on your oral health? According to the American Dental Association, when bacteria/plaque comes into contact with sugar in a person’s mouth, the acid that gets produced can damage teeth for 20 minutes or longer. Over time, this damage results in tooth decay. In addition, foods that are high in sugar are often filled with empty calories and lack other nutrients that are good for your health.

These sugary foods can lead to poor nutrition, which the ADA suggests can lead to faster progression of gum disease. Dietary habits are often developed in childhood, so it’s especially important for adults to teach their kids to eat healthily and get plenty of fruits, vegetables and calcium from a young age. Other precautionary steps include drinking a lot of water, limiting snacks in between meals, brushing twice a day, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly. It may also help to keep track of all the food you eat so you can chart your progress and notice patterns of sugary food consumption. Talk to your dentist about your eating habits and develop a plan to cut back on sugar-filled foods. It’s a commitment that will benefit your body and your teeth!

The advantages of X-rays at the dentist

If you’ve ever seen an X-ray photo of your mouth, you’ve probably noticed that your teeth appear much lighter than the rest of the surfaces. This is because X-rays cannot penetrate hard surfaces like teeth as easily as they can gums and tissue. But why is it so important to get these high-tech photos of your mouth? The main reason is because many oral health problems cannot easily be detected during a normal examination. It’s possible for a patient to have spots of decay that are not visible to the dentist. By looking at an X-ray, dentists can look for signs of decay between teeth, gum disease, bone infections, and many other serious conditions, including hidden tumors.

The American Dental Association suggests that children are especially good candidates for X-rays, as their teeth are still developing and are more prone to tooth decay. Another benefit of X-rays is that patients can save time and money by catching any hidden problems early. X-rays may even help someone avoid having to undergo the complicated procedures that advanced-stage conditions often require. Talk to your dentist about your X-ray schedule and ask if you (or your children) are due for another screening. A little extra time in the chair at your next visit could pay off dramatically down the road.

Protect your child’s teeth by monitoring their diet

It is common knowledge that too many sweets can lead to tooth decay, but research points to another food group that parents should watch out for: starches. Starch can be found in a wide variety of foods – even so-called “healthy” ones like crackers, bread, pasta and pretzels. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests checking food labels for the presence of sugars and starches and then limiting those foods to mealtimes instead of as a snack. When consumed with other foods and drinks, sugars and starches are more easily washed away and removed from around a child’s teeth. For the same reason, sticky-sweet foods like dried fruit are more likely to damage your child’s teeth because they often get stuck in the crevices.

One common trap that many parents fall into is giving their child access to sugar-laden condiments, like many kinds of ketchup and salad dressings. These types of foods are not always associated with being sweet, but they often have lots of added sugar and can cause problems for kids who like to dip everything from chicken nuggets to apples. Finally, for very young children, experts recommend never putting them to bed with any liquid other than water. Juices and even milk are full of sugars that can sit on your child’s teeth while they’re sleeping and produce cavity-causing bacteria. To be safe, ask your True Dental Discounts pediatric dentist for her input on your children’s diet. She can recommend healthy foods that are good for their bodies and their teeth.

Can poor oral health cause heart disease?

You may have heard that not taking care of your teeth and gums can lead to other serious health problems, including heart disease. But how does this happen? While researchers have not yet definitively proven the correlation, studies have indicated that bacteria entering the bloodstream through the mouth and gums may cause inflammation. Researchers in the journal Cellular Microbiology conducted a study to explore ways bacteria might “colonize” the heart, leading to cardiovascular disease. Using human cells, the researchers demonstrated that the oral bacterium P. gingivalis uses finger-like appendages to attach to and invade cells lining the heart’s aorta, the largest artery in the body.

After the bacterium gained entry, the researchers noticed signs of inflammatory changes that may lead to clogging in the aorta (and eventually a heart attack). Another study in 2006 showed that nearly 85 percent of people with coronary atherosclerotic heart disease also had periodontal (gum) disease. These strong links show exactly why it is important to take care of your teeth and gums. By keeping your mouth as free of harmful bacteria as possible, you may be able to help keep your arteries clear, as well. Ask your True Dental Discounts dentist about oral health practices (particularly flossing) that will help. He or she can give you excellent tips to keep your mouth – and body – healthy.

Study shows dental implants are safe substitutes for natural teeth

When a person loses a tooth, either through an accident or poor oral health, it is often replaced with a dental implant. Dental implants are made to look like a natural tooth, allowing patients to continue to enjoy the same appearance and functioning they did before the loss. Although previous research led dental practitioners to believe that implants can disrupt the tissue and bone structure in a patient’s mouth, a study published in the Journal of Periodontology has shed new light on the implants.

Researchers found that most of a patient’s bone remodeling occurred after the implant was placed and before the final prosthesis was inserted. Further, they found that the bone changed very little in the following five years. This is significant because it solidifies the use of dental implants as safe substitutes for natural teeth. Talk to a dentist on your True Dental Discounts dental plan if you think you may be a good candidate for dental implants; implants can restore your confidence in the way you look, speak, and eat.

Recognizing and treating toothaches

In its most basic form, a toothache is described as having pain in or around a tooth. If you’ve ever experienced this type of pain, you know it can grow from a mere annoyance to being a full-fledged medical problem. Usually, toothaches are caused by tooth decay and cavities, but they can also result from an infection. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, tooth decay is caused by a combination of poor dental hygiene and genetics. However, a toothache can also be a sign of an earache, abscessed tooth, jaw or mouth injury, or even a heart attack. To treat the pain, it is recommended that you contact your dentist immediately to schedule an appointment. The benefit for you, as a True Dental Discounts customer, is that you can be assured that you will get pain relief at a significantly reduced cost.

To help ease the pain during the time it takes to get in for an appointment, over-the-counter pain medications can also be taken. If the toothache is caused by a decayed tooth, your dentist may suggest such treatments as antibiotics or a root canal. As a final note, it’s especially vital that you seek medical care if your toothache is causing you severe pain, if it lasts longer than one or two days, or if it is accompanied by a fever or earache. Your dentist will be able to treat the symptoms and can even take X-rays if the cause is not easily determined. Be prepared to answer questions about the frequency and strength of the pain, any associating symptoms, and factors that worsen the pain (for instance: drinking, consuming cold liquids, or chewing). If you have any doubts, the best course of action is always to seek the advice of a professional. This will save you from experiencing ongoing pain around your teeth and restore you to full health.