February Is Children’s Dental Health Month

THE CDC REPORTS THAT 1 in 5 children (between ages 5 and 11) in the US have untreated tooth decay. Not only should tooth decay be treated in regular dental appointments, it should be prevented! Tooth decay is 100 percent preventable with effective personal care and regular dental cleanings.

In honor of Children’s Dental Health Month, we’re spreading the word about children’s dental health.

YOU Can Help Little Ones Have Healthier Smiles!

  1. Encourage them to brush for two full minutes: Pick a song about two minutes long and sing it to them during brushing time.
  2. Set reminders to brush twice a day: Brushing after breakfast and just before bed are the best times for preventing bacteria growth from food.
  3. Show them flossing is fun, not harmful: Be gentle at first when doing it for them. A bad experience can stop them from flossing on their own.
  4. Be persistent: Don’t let fussy children off the hook. Be motivating! Kids may gladly brush for a sticker or star if you make it an activity.
  5. Set their first dental appointment before age 1: Having positive dental experiences early will make dental visits easier and less frightening when older.

Help Us Spread The Word!

Share this message with your friends and family, and especially with the children in your life. If you have any questions about children’s dental health, don’t hesitate to ask us!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

Sippy Cups And Your Child’s Oral Health

AS YOUR CHILD GRADUATES from using a bottle to enjoy their milk, it’s important to remember their oral health as you decide what step to take next.

Sippy Cups Are Only A Stepping Stone

Sippy cups were designed to be a transitional step from bottle drinking to drinking from a regular cup. Despite this, many children end up drinking from sippy cups for months or even years until they are encouraged to begin using a regular cup. Although sippy cups prevent unwanted spills that may arise as they’re transitioning from a bottle, prolonged use can lead to a host of problems for their growing smile.

Prolonged Sippy Cup Use Leads To Cavities

Drinking from a sippy cup for long periods of time has similar effects to putting your baby to bed with a bottle. The sugars in both milk and juice combine with bacteria to create enamel-eroding bacteria. When babies fall asleep with bottles, the fluid pools around their teeth and slowly erodes their enamel throughout the night—leading to painful tooth decay (also known as caries).

Drinking from a sippy cup all day has a similar effect. When a child drinks from a sippy cup, they immerse their top six teeth. Depending on what’s in their cup, they could be constantly covering those top teeth with sugar. Dental caries may soon follow, which can result in uncomfortable swelling and infection, and even triple their likelihood of developing cavities in their adult teeth.

Keep These Tips In Mind

We understand how convenient sippy cups can be during the early stages of your child’s development, but we’d encourage you to use them as a temporary step on the way to using of a regular cup. Some children quickly learn how to manage a regular cup and skip the use of a sippy cup altogether.

If your child does need the help of a sippy cup when transitioning from a bottle, keep the following in mind:

  • Don’t allow your child to use their sippy cup throughout the day. Reserve this for snacks and mealtime.
  • If they want to drink sugary beverages, encourage them to use a straw. This ensures the sugary liquid misses the teeth as they’re drinking.
  • Visit your child’s dentist early and often. They should have their first dental appointment by the time they get their first tooth or reach the age of one.

We Love Helping Your Child’s Growing Smile!

We know parents have a lot of questions about their little ones’ oral and overall health. If you have questions about transition your infant from a bottle or have other questions about their oral health, please let us know! We’re committed to helping provide all of the information you need during this important period of their life.

Thank you for being a part of our practice family!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

Photo Credit:  Top image by Flickr user Gordon used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Plaque vs. Tartar: What’s The Difference?

WE OFTEN GET THE QUESTION from our patients, “What’s the difference between plaque and tartar?” Many people think they are the same thing. There is an important difference between the two, however, and it can help explain just why a daily oral hygiene routine is so crucial, as well as twice-yearly visits to your dentist.

What Is Plaque?

Dental plaque is that soft, sticky film that builds up on your teeth and under your gums throughout the day. And guess what? It contains millions of bacteria! When you eat—especially carbohydrates or sugar—you’re not the only one getting a meal, so are the bacteria on your teeth. After “eating,” these bacteria produce acids that erode your tooth enamel and cause cavities.

That’s why good daily oral hygiene is essential to preventing tooth decay and protecting your smile from the bacteria in plaque. To prevent plaque buildup, remember to brush at least twice a day and floss once a day. Drinking water and chewing sugar-free gum after meals and snacks can also help!

What Is Tartar?

So if that’s plaque, what’s tartar? Tartar is what accumulates on your teeth when plaque is not removed. If plaque is left on your teeth for too long, it will harden into tartar and is much more difficult to remove. In fact, tartar can only be removed by a dental professional–you can’t get rid of it with regular brushing and flossing. Tartar removal is one of the reasons that visiting your dentist every six months is so important!

Plaque buildup that hardens into tartar can cause more than just cavities. It can cause tooth discoloration and sensitivity as well as gum recession and periodontal disease. To reduce plaque buildup and tartar from forming, make sure you are brushing and flossing daily.

Come And See Us Every Six Months

No matter how great your oral hygiene is, plaque and tartar formation are inevitable. So come in to see us every six months! Our job is to help you maintain a beautiful, healthy smile that’s plaque- and tarter-free!

Thank you for your trust and loyalty.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

Photo Credit:  Top image by Flickr user Melissa Wiese used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

How Much Calcium Do We Actually Need?

WE’VE ALL HEARD calcium builds strong bones and is key to preventing osteoporosis. But did you know taking in the right amount of calcium also has a huge effect on our oral health?

Calcium Benefits Our Oral Health

Does calcium really make a difference in our oral health? The answer is yes! Even before we’re born, we begin storing a supply of calcium and other nutrients to grow strong, healthy teeth and bones.  As we grow older, calcium continues to repair and strengthen our teeth, making them more resistant to decay and fortifying them against disease.

Although many foods contain calcium, the best and most easily absorbed source comes straight from milk and dairy products!  Milk is not only a rich source of calcium, but of phosphorous, magnesium, and Vitamin D, which combined together coat teeth in a protective film and ward off harmful acids and bacteria-causing cavities, and also strengthen and reinforce tooth enamel.

How Much Calcium Should I Get Each Day?

How much calcium you need depends on your age and gender. Although the amount you need will differ from others you know, including enough calcium in your diet is important to your oral and overall health.

To give you a better idea of just how much you need, one eight ounce glass of milk contains around 300 milligrams of calciumStudies show that those who consume more than 800 mg of calcium a day are much less likely to develop gum disease.

The Dietary Reference Intakes lists a recommended amount of calcium for every age:

  • Children ages one to eight need anywhere from 500-800 mg a day,
  • Teens need around 1,300 mg,
  • Adults and nursing mothers ages 19 to 50 need 1,000 mg,
  • Older adults and younger mothers need 1,200 mg or more.

What Are Good Sources Of Calcium?

Need some inspiration to increase your calcium intake? Try any of these:

Dairy products

Milk, cheeses, yogurts, buttermilk, cottage cheese, puddings, and ice cream are an easy (and delicious) way to get calcium.

Vegetables

If you don’t like dairy or are lactose intolerant, you still have plenty of options to choose from! Broccoli, collard greens, and kale are good, healthy sources of calcium. Collard greens alone provide 268 mg of calcium per cup!

Other Good Sources

Looking for other options? Oranges, sardines, white beans, tofu, almonds, and some breakfast cereals and juices are all non-dairy alternatives to get your daily source of calcium!

Make Calcium A Part Of Your Diet

Do your teeth and gums a favor by incorporating the right amount of calcium into your daily diet! Enough calcium coupled with good oral hygiene habits make all of the difference in your smile, and will keep your teeth healthy and strong for years to come. If you have any more questions about your daily calcium intake, call us or let us know in the comments below!

Thank you to all of our wonderful patients!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Smoking Puts Your Oral Health At Risk

DID YOU KNOW that smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the United States? It’s well known that smoking can lead to a number of lung-related diseases but in reality, the negative effects of smoking can be seen in almost every part of the body, especially the mouth.

Smoking Compromises Your Oral Health

Among other cancers, smoking puts you at a much higher risk of developing oral cancer. In fact, approximately eight out of 10 patients with oral cancer are smokers. Smoking remains the biggest controllable risk factor for this deadly disease.

Tobacco use is also related to severe gum disease. Becausesmoking weakens your body’s ability to fight infection, bacteria build up more easily in your mouth in the form of plaque and tartar. Bacteria in plaque irritate the gums and cause them to pull away from your teeth, resulting in bleeding and sensitivity. This can ultimately lead to tooth and bone loss. Those who smoke are two times more likely to develop gum disease than a nonsmoker.

Other dental problems that can be caused by smoking include:

  • Bad breath
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Coated or black hairy tongue
  • Tooth decay
  • Dulled sense of taste and smell
  • Dry mouth
  • Slowed healing after tooth extraction or other surgery
  • Lower success rate of cosmetic dental procedures

Watch the video below to see how smoking affected Brett’s smile:

A Note About Electronic Cigarettes

Within the past couple of years, electronic cigarettes have gained popularity, especially as a “safer” alternative to smoking. Since e-cigarettes are relatively new, not much research has yet been published about their long-term health effects. What we do know is that while e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, most contain nicotine, which is known to cause damage to the mouth.

Because nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, it reduces the amount of blood that can flow to your gums. This means that the gums don’t get the oxygen and nutrients they need, causing gum recession and tooth sensitivity as well as putting you at a higher risk of cavities. The reduced blood flow to the gums caused by nicotine use can also mask the signs of gum disease, making it harder to detect and diagnose. This delays treatment and allows the disease to progress.

Until further research is done, we can’t really know how safe e-cigarettes are. As health care professionals, we advise you to avoid them until their long-term effects are known.

Count Us As A Part Of Your Support System

Our patients are more than just patients–they are friends. We care about your health and well-being and want you to count us as a part of your support system to help you quit smoking. If you aren’t quite ready to quit, continue to see us regularly as recommended so we can help you maintain your oral health as best as possible. Talk to us about quitting today and how we can help you!

Thank you for your friendship and loyalty!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.