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How to Help Kids Avoid Cavities

July 26th, 2018

We all know that brushing, flossing, and keeping up with dental checkups are the best ways to help prevent cavities for anyone. However, when it comes to kids who sometimes have less-than-reliable brushing and flossing habits there are extra tricks to help them avoid cavities! This article from PatientConnect365 has some great tips:

11 Tips That Can Help Your Child Prevent Cavities

11 Tips That Can Help Your Child Prevent Cavities

There's nothing worse than subjecting your child to the whir of a dentist's drill because simple oral hygiene habits were not followed.

Sure, kids hate flossing as much as adults, but if we're successful at instilling good behavior early on in life, those habits will provide them with a healthy mouth that will keep them smiling indefinitely.

“Ignore your teeth and they'll go away," the old saying goes. Protecting your child's teeth from cavities can be as simple as following a few simple recommendations.

Here are 11 easy things you can do to keep cavities from taking root in your child's mouth.

1. Regular brushing and flossing: Brush at least twice a day, floss at least once a day.

2. Don't share your food and drink: Cavities can actually be contagious! Because the bacteria that causes them can be passed from one user to the next, it's best to avoid sharing foods and drink with children.

3. Visit to the dentist: Most dentists recommend you should bring your child to a dentist after their first tooth arrives. Then, thereafter, based on the recommendation of your dentist.

4. Avoid frequent snacking: Constant snacking, particularly on sweets, provides the perfect environment for cavity-inducing bacteria to do their work.

Limit snacking to healthy foods, and if your children can brush, or use water as a mouthwash after snacking, that's even better.

5. Eat crisp, water-dense fruit: Fruits high in water help keep your child's mouth hydrated, particularly useful during a lunchbox meal.

6. Avoid additional sugar: This is good for the body as well, and common sense when it comes to teeth. Soda is a big no-no, of course.

7. Consider dental sealants: Your dentist can place a protective sealant on your child's teeth to prevent decay. The process is simple and can save future headaches.

8. Drink a lot of water: Water should be the beverage of choice. Bottled water is okay, but fluoridated tap water is best. Use a filter if you are concerned about the quality of your local tap water.

9. Minimize juice beverages: It's best to drink these in moderation. Juice can be acidic and sweet - two things that are not so good for our teeth.

10. Avoid sticky foods: Items like fruit leathers, cookies and candies aren't good choices for healthy teeth any day of the week.

11. Consider cheeses and nut butters: Nuts and cheese have ingredients that help remineralize our teeth, and can be good additions to a lunchbox.

If you have a child with allergies, soy nut butter might possibly be an option. However, always be sure to check with your allergist first to be certain if soy nut butter is safe for your child to consume.

How to Help Prevent Gum Disease

July 19th, 2018

Image result for gum disease

Gum disease is common. It is caused by may factors and can wreak havoc on your smile! Luckily it is treatable, preventable, and even reversible if you're willing to put in the work. This article from Patient365 provides some great tips on how to help prevent gum disease and keep your mouth healthy. :)

7 New Tips to Prevent Gum Disease

To avoid gum disease, a solid oral care regime is imperative - brush twice a day, floss at night, and use mouthwash. This is the familiar refrain, so let's step away from that simple 3-step plan and look at other ways to prevent gum disease.

Gingivitis and its advanced cousin, Periodontal disease, are silent offenders. Most often, you may not even know you should be concerned. After all, the serious problems take place beneath your gum line where you can't see them.

What's worse is that a growing number of scientists believe that plaque and gum disease can also influence and exacerbate conditions like heart disease and stroke - certainly conditions we do not want to encourage by a lack of attention to good oral hygiene.

So with no further ado, here are seven easy things you can do to help protect your mouth from gum disease.

1. Eat More Chicken! This is more than just a prominent fast food slogan. Consuming more chicken, as well as other meats, cheeses, nuts, and milk does a body good.

All are believed to provide your teeth with calcium and phosphorous needed to remineralize enamel after it’s been bombarded by the acids that cause tooth decay.

2. Eat more Veggies! Everyone knows we need more vegetables in our diets. Our waistlines and our teeth love them for their water content, as well as their vitamin and mineral profiles. There's no doubt about it, veggies are good for you.

Not a big fan? Incorporate them into soups, or in a great fruit smoothie … you won't notice the difference, but your teeth and gums will.

3. Use an anti-microbial mouthwash: The key here is using a mouthwash that is anti-microbial. Find one you'll actually use every day, and use it once in the morning after brushing, and again after brushing before bed.

Try to find one that’s low in alcohol or without it altogether, as alcohol dries out your mouth and can contribute to tooth decay. More saliva equals better oral health.

4. Try a toothbrush that moves: Get adventurous and test out an electronic toothbrush that’s been endorsed by the American Dental Association (ADA).

These toothbrushes are more effective than you'll ever be at removing plaque and bacteria, and will protect your gums from aggressive brushing.

5. Chew Gum! Keep that saliva flow going after a meal with sugar-free gum that contains Xylitol -- a natural sweetener derived from plants. It doesn't break down like sugar, and can help keep a neutral pH level in the mouth.

If you want to avoid Aspartame in your Xylitol chewing gum, search online or ask your dentist. It’s difficult to find gum without Aspartame these days, but such a product does exist.

6. Get Braces! That's right, getting braces can help protect you from gum disease.

Crooked teeth are great enablers of tooth decay, which can lead to gum disease by allowing bacteria and plaque to colonize in the areas where your teeth are not aligned.

Getting your teeth aligned eliminates these hideouts where your toothbrush cannot reach, all while straightening your smile at the same time.

7. Quit Smoking! This one is always worth mentioning. Smoking is always bad for your body, your gums, and your teeth.

Long in the Tooth?

June 28th, 2018

Gum recession is very common but do you know why your gums may be receding? This article from PatientConnect365 provides a great overview of gum recession and how to prevent it.

 

Are My Gums Receding? And Why?

Progressive change can be difficult to notice, especially when it occurs to us and not someone else. Changes occurring along our gum line certainly fall into this category, and since recession is measured in millimeters it's especially easy to miss.

So, how much gum erosion is normal, and what causes it? Let's take a look.

Is Gum Recession Normal?

Gum recession is often considered a normal part of aging. Even the expression "long in the tooth" stems from our gum line receding and exposing more of our teeth as we age.

However, there is nothing normal about gum recession. Luckily, for most of us it can be prevented.

Rather than keep things as they are, embracing gum recession as the well-paid price of wisdom, be vigilant against gum erosion!

Though there are a host of factors that contribute to the erosion of your gumline, a vast majority are preventable.

The Biggest Offenders

  • Clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Over-vigorous, or improper brushing
  • Aggressive flossing
  • Exposure to acids in sports and energy drinks
  • Tobacco use
  • The frequent use of whitening products

All the above causes of gum loss can be prevented.

All of them.

If you grind your teeth at night, wear a mouth guard.

If you brush as though you're sanding down the statue of David, learn proper technique from your dentist, or from a video online.

Bleeding a lot when flossing? You're not slicing cheese - go easy, there, friend!

If you smoke, drink too many energy drinks, or chew tobacco, cut back, or stop altogether. None of that stuff is good for you in any way imaginable.

And lastly, if you're trying to look like a movie star by abusing whitening strips, you can stop now. Your teeth have got to be super-white already!

Be Proactive

What's next? How can you tell if your gums are receding faster than the Amazon rainforest?

Well, the most proactive step is to visit your dentist. In fact, if you're going regularly, your dentist has been monitoring the recession for some years now.

If you've ever noticed your dentist poking around in your mouth, all while reciting numbers to the hygienist, they’re probably doing two things: measuring the recession of your gums, and gauging the depths of your gum pockets. Both speak to the health of your gum line.

So, the next time you hear your dentist reading off what seem like lottery number, just ask about the health of your gums … your dentist will be happy to keep you in the loop.

The first sign of gum recession is usually tooth sensitivity, so be on the lookout. Reduce, or eliminate the above discussed habits, and ask your dentist how you're doing in terms of taking care of your gums.

With a little bit of knowledge and proactive behavior, no one will ever say you're long in the tooth. And, that's a good thing!

Good Info For Nursing Moms

May 31st, 2018

So we've posted before about pregnancy and dental health, but what about breastfeeding and dental health? There are things that nursing moms should know for their health and the health of baby. This article from MouthHealthy has a ton of helpful info!

 

Breastfeeding: 6 Things Nursing Moms Should Know About Dental Health

Woman breastfeeding infant

Breastfeeding is one of the first (and most personal) decisions a mother makes for her baby. It can help your baby’s body fight infections and reduce health risks like asthma, ear infections, SIDS and obesity in children. Nursing moms may lower their chances of developing breast and ovarian cancer. But did you know breastfeeding can impact the dental health of both baby and mom? Here’s how:

Breastfeeding May Help Build a Better Bite

Several recent studies, one in Pediatrics in 2015 and one in the August 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, found that babies who were exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months were less likely to have teeth alignment issues such as open bites, crossbites, and overbites, than those exclusively breast fed for shorter lengths of time or not at all.

Still, this doesn’t mean your exclusively breastfed baby won’t need braces someday. Other factors, including genetics, pacifier use, and thumbsucking, affect alignment. “Every baby, every child is different,” says Dr. Ruchi Sahota, mother and American Dental Association spokesperson. “The best thing for mom to do is to take the child to the dentist and make sure the dentist is able to monitor eruption, that baby teeth are coming out at the right time and permanent teeth are coming in at the right time.”

You Don’t Have to Wean When Your Baby Gets Teeth

It’s a question that often pops up in parenting message boards and conversations with new moms: Should I stop breastfeeding when my baby starts teething? The answer is not if you don’t want to.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for the first year of a baby’s life; the World Health Organizationencourages moms to go for two. “As it goes with breastfeeding, every child is different, every mother is different,” Dr. Sahota says. “You should stop breastfeeding when you think it’s the best for you and the baby but not just because the teeth come in.”

Breastfeeding Reduces the Risk for Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Another benefit of exclusive breastfeeding, Dr. Sahota says, is a reduced risk of baby bottle tooth decay, the frequent, prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar. This type of tooth decay often occurs when a baby is put to bed with a bottle – even ones containing formula, milk or fruit juice. (Water is fine because the teeth won’t be bathed in sugary liquids for a prolonged time.) It most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected.

Breastfed Babies Can Still Get Cavities

It’s one of the most common questions nursing mothers ask: Can breastfeeding cause cavities? Yes, it can. Although natural, breast milk, just like formula, contains sugar. That is why, breastfed or bottlefed, it’s important to care for your baby’s teeth from the start. A few days after birth, begin wiping your baby’s gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth every day. Then, brush her teeth twice a day as soon as that first tooth emerges. Use fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice.

Need Dental Work Done? Double Check Your Medications

If you need to have a dental procedure that requires medication while nursing, check with your dentist, personal physician and pediatrician to make sure it is safe for baby. “It’s important to know there are antibiotics we can give you that won’t hurt the baby,” Dr. Sahota says. “It’s not only safe to go to the dentist while you’re pregnant and while you’re nursing, it’s very important to do so for the best health of your child.”

Another helpful resource for nursing moms is the U.S National Library of Medicine’s Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed). Simply search for any medication and get information about how it affects your supply, your baby and if there’s an alternative available. Talk to your doctor about what you find.

Mom, Take Care of Yourself

Dr. Sahota says there’s one thing she sees in new moms, breastfeeding or not. “I definitely see moms who are, as simple as it sounds, are not able to take care of themselves as well as they did before the baby,” she says. “Moms that are just not brushing as much as they used to, whether they’re brushing once a day or not brushing at all.”

A dip in dental care could lead to more gum disease and cavities. Cavity prevention is especially crucial for moms, as even the simple act of sharing a spoon with could transfer that bacteria into your baby’s mouth. “It’s really important to do the basics: Brush twice a day, floss once a day. See your ADA dentist regularly,” she says. “Make sure you have prevented decay and don’t have any cavities so you don’t transfer that to your baby.”

Dr. Sahota says she also sees more teeth grinding (bruxism) in moms. “I see a lot more head and neck muscle tension, which causes our jaws to be a little bit more tense and then that causes us to grind our teeth,” she says. “Trouble sleeping when we’re pregnant, that can cause us to grind our teeth a little bit. Postnatally, stress can increase and it can also be an issue.”

All moms need to stay hydrated, especially if breastfeeding. “Not drinking enough water, that in itself is a very dangerous thing for your mouth,” she says. “If we have a dry mouth, we put ourselves at risk for gum disease, for cavities, so many things.”

And there’s one last piece of advice Dr. Sahota gives all moms. “Just like if you’re on an airplane, you have to put your oxygen mask on first before you put it on your child,” she says. “If you’re not healthy, you will not have the time and the energy to make sure your children are also healthy.”

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