National Children’s Dental Health Month

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Each year the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. This is the perfect opportunity to fine tune your efforts to ensure your child maintains proper oral hygiene.

With thanks to the ADA for their wonderful resources of information, here are some ways to help you take care of your children’s teeth as they develop.

When Teeth Erupt

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Your baby is born with 20 teeth below the gums, and they usually start coming through between 6 months and a year. Most children have their full set of teeth by 3 years old.

Teething Signs and Symptoms

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Teething can be a rite of passage for babies and parents alike. As their teeth come in, some babies may become fussy, sleepless and irritable, lose their appetite or drool more than usual. Diarrhea, rashes and a fever are not caused by teething. If your baby has a fever or diarrhea while teething or continues to be cranky and uncomfortable, call your physician.

When to Start Brushing with Toothpaste

Decay can happen as soon as teeth first appear. If you see some pearly whites peeking out  when your little one smiles, it is time to pick up a tube of fluoride toothpaste.

When to Schedule Your Baby’s First Dental Visit

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It’s another milestone in a year of exciting firsts. Your child’s first dental visit should take place after their first tooth appears, but no later than the first birthday. Why so early? As soon as your baby has teeth, they can get cavities.

When to Start Cleaning Between Teeth

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It doesn’t matter if you clean between ​your child’s teeth before or after they brush as long as you clean between any teeth that touch. You can use child-friendly plastic flossing tools to more easily clean between your child’s teeth until your child learns to do it.

You Can Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

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Baby bottle tooth decay most often occurs in the upper front teeth (but other teeth may also be affected). Frequent, prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar can cause tooth decay. This can happen when the baby is put to bed with a bottle, or when a bottle is used as a pacifier for a fussy baby.

Keep Their Mouths Clean

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The next time your child’s pacifier goes flying, don’t pick it up and put it in your mouth because you think that makes it cleaner. Cavity-causing bacteria can be passed through saliva, so you could actually be introducing germs to your child instead of protecting him or her from them. The same goes for mealtime. It can be second nature to offer a bite of your food to your baby from your fork or use their spoon to make sure their food is ready to eat. Keep your utensils, and your germs, separate for healthy mouth and body.

Water Works!

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When your child has worked up a thirst, water is the best beverage to offer—especially if it has fluoride! Drinking water with fluoride (also known as “nature’s cavity fighter”) has been shown to reduce cavities by 25%. While sweetened drinks like fruit juice (even those labeled 100% natural), soda and sports drinks can cause cavities, water with fluoride protects teeth. Sugary drinks also contribute to weight gain, and water is calorie-free.

There’s One More Way to Keep Cavities at Bay

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Brushing and flossing go a long way to protecting your teeth against cavities, but sealants form an extra barrier between cavity-causing bacteria and your child’s teeth. School-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants. According to the Centers for Disease Control and ADA’s Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars.

And, of course, last but not least, make an appointment to get your child’s teeth checked and cleaned. Just call the office at 734-485-2200

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Children’s dental appointments ARE worth it!

 

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As we’re nearing the end of January, we start looking ahead to February and National Children’s Dental Health month. So, it’s a great time to ask, is it really necessary for children to get into the habit of going to the dentist?

Our answer, of course, is Yes! It’s extremely important to establish the importance of getting them used to dental appointments and getting proper oral care. Family life alone can be chaotic at times and when you add in school schedules with football/band/drama practice to name but a few after school activities (never mind homework) it gets even more hectic. But, making it a priority to go to the dentist is always worth it.

Baby’s first tooth is the time to start their relationship with the dentist and hygienist. They may only allow a quick cursory look, let’s face it, anything with a baby is on baby’s terms, but getting them used to coming is a good idea and gets them in the habit of seeing the dentist regularly.

Oral care has been closely tied to our overall health and regular visits can help with detection of potential issues and prevention of the negative effects of poor oral hygiene. So, dentists play a central role in children’s oral health that goes beyond checking their teeth for cavities. Even though first (primary) teeth are eventually replaced by our permanent teeth. These baby teeth hold positions for the permanent teeth and it is advisable to ensure that everything progresses the way it should so that there will be no issues in adulthood.

Regular checkups allow your dentist address problems such as:

Gum disease and inflammation, teeth crowding, painful teeth and gums, thumb-sucking, bad oral hygiene, difficulty chewing/eating/sleeping and general decay (cavities).

As we help our children develop dental healthy habits, we ensure that they have a good foundation for their overall health for life in adulthood. Dental observations can spot possible several kind of major health issues such as heart problems, diabetes and cancer so encouraging good habits now for your children is essential.

Book your child in for a hygiene checkup now. Call 734-485-2200.

 

 

Dental Injuries

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While most traumatic dental injuries occur in children and teenagers, people of all ages can be affected, however, frequently in children traumatic dental injuries often occur as a result of a sports accident,  If you’ve experienced a traumatic dental injury  (whether during sports or any other mishap) it is important to visit your dentist in order to determine any necessary treatment. Any dental injury, even if apparently mild, requires examination by a dentist immediately. Sometimes, neighboring teeth suffer an additional, unnoticed injury that will only be detected by a thorough dental exam. Please remember, not to panic, in most cases, tooth and mouth injuries are not life threatening. Rarely, a child may develop serious complications. Injuries to the teeth and mouth can also have long-lasting effects on the child’s appearance and self-confidence.

Just a few statistics for you:

  • Sporting activities cause the greatest percentage of dental traumatic injuries in teens. Pre-teens and teens have the highest number of sports related dental injuries, with the top 3 sports being; Basketball, Biking and Hockey.
  • 50% of all children and teens will suffer at least one traumatic injury to a tooth by the time they graduate high school.
  • About 80% of all dental injuries affect at least one of the front teeth. Damage to the tongue or cheek is common, too.
  • Young men suffer traumatic tooth injuries 2-3 times more often than young women.
  • About 80% of all dental injuries affect at least one of the front teeth. Damage to the tongue or cheek is common, too.

With good oral hygiene and routine dental checkups; a nutritious diet low in sugar we can usually take good care of our teeth. When children (and adults) take part in sports however, it is perhaps a good measure to wear appropriate protective gear such as a custom-made mouthguard and helmet when playing sports. If your child does complain of toothache or suffers a dental injury, make sure he or she sees your family dentist or pediatric dentist (a specialist in children’s teeth) as soon as possible. This is usually preferable to seeking care at an emergency room, as hospitals often do not have trained personnel or equipment to handle dental emergencies — unless there is a dentist or oral surgeon on call. Of course, there are times when you have no choice but to rush your child to the nearest ER.

Easter and Passover

Easter celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, and is Christianity’s most important holiday. Each year the dates moves, depending on the date of the first Sunday following the full moon after the Spring equinox.
Although Easter is a Christian holiday, many say that it’s roots are in the ancient festival of Eostre, honoring the Teutonic Goddess of Spring and Fertility. In the Germanic languages, the word Easter has evolved from Eostre. In Latin based languages, words to celebrate this holiday have evolved from the Hebrew word Pesach, meaning Passover. In Spain, Easter is known as Pascua and in France, Pacques. The Jewish Festival of Pesach is held at the same time as Easter. It celebrates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt which occurred after Jesus Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection.
Whilst Easter and Passover are very important religious observances, as with other such important holidays, over the years pagan, folk and other customs have become associated with the celebrations. Easter Eggs for instance are symbols of fertility. As are the Easter Bunny and Easter Chicks, both also synonymous with fertility and the rites of Spring. Commercialism has resulted in the prolific amount of eggs and candy we see today.
So, as your dentist, please remember, that in all things sweet – moderation is the key! Pace yours (and your kids) consumption.
Remember to brush and floss! And, don’t forget, if you need us, call 734-485-2200.

We wish everyone a Blessed, Peaceful and Happy Easter and Passover.

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Baby’s First Visit to the Dentist

OK!!!!! So you’ve done the hard work and now you have a baby………..

New Born Baby

New Born Baby

Well!!! You THOUGHT you’d done the hard work……

Now you have all the ongoing questions of When, What, Where, Why and How???

You will feel as if you know NOTHING from the simple things like which shampoo to use to big things like whether or not to practice the “No Cry Sleep Solution” or indeed if you even know  ANYTHING!! However, at least for dental questions, we are here and happy to be of help!!

Baby's first visit to the dentist.

Baby’s first visit to the dentist.

So, when do you take your precious little one for his or her first trip to the dentist? In the past, general thinking was that you wait until your child was three, by which time pretty much most of the first (deciduous) teeth had appeared.  However, now, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that the first visit be no more than 6 months after the arrival of the first tooth.

The Baby and The Dentist

The Baby and The Dentist

When you take your baby to the dentist for the first time you will get the chance to visit with the Dentist and have him answer any questions you may have. The first visit is really more about getting Baby comfortable with the dentist and his staff, and of course, to familiarize him with the actual dental office. The dentist will look at Baby’s history and look at his mouth. Depending on how many teeth (and of course how willing Baby is), the hygienist might also have a look and possibly clean Baby’s teeth. Some babies/toddlers will be happy sitting in the big dentist chair, while others will prefer to stay on Mommy’s (or Daddy’s) lap for the exam. Either way is OK, as I said earlier – the main purpose of the first visit is just to get Baby familiar with the dental office.

During your visit, the dentist will take time to answer any questions you have, go over things such as how to take care of Baby’s oral hygiene and give you advice about avoiding cavities, possible trauma to the mouth, teething and normal expected development of Baby’s mouth and teeth. Before you leave, you should feel that you have all the information you need, as well as a plan in place for future visits to the dentist.

Here are some pointers in the right direction:

Cleaning: As soon as the first tooth appears, you should start cleaning. At first, you can wipe the tooth with a clean, damp cloth every day. Once other teeth start to appear, you could start to use a soft baby sized toothbrush. Only use fluoride from 2 years, unless your dentist recommends it.

How much toothpaste?: A small smear of toothpaste, is all you need. Again, remember, no fluoride unless your dentist advises it. Too much fluoride, even though it is great for fighting cavities, can cause white spots on teeth. You will also have to teach your child to spit out the toothpaste and rinse the mouth well after brushing. When they get older (around 6 years old) they can use a small blob of toothpaste, the size of a small pea.

A SMEAR of toothpaste

A SMEAR of toothpaste

How often?: Children need to start off right by brushing at least twice a day. Initially, you will have to do it for them, and you will have to continue to supervise them and watch them closely once they are old enough to hold the toothbrush themselves. Making sure that they only use a smear of toothpaste…….kids LOVE to squeeze the tube, well….it DOES look kind of cool when it comes out of the tube!!!!!

Too much toothpaste!!!!

Too much toothpaste!!!!

By starting early with your baby, you can help them to have a healthy relationship with their dentist AND their teeth!!!!

Clean, healthy, smiley-faced Baby

Clean, healthy, smiley-faced Baby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OK – Got my braces – Now What??

In our last blog we discussed some of the reasons why people need braces. Today, we’ll discuss the ages they can be used,  what to expect and how to look after them.

When?? How old do I have to be? I don’t now about you, but usually when I think about braces I tend to immediately think about teenagers in high school. However, this is completely wrong!! Our teeth can be straightened at almost any age, because even as adults, as long as our teeth are healthy and we have the necessary supporting teeth, our teeth can be re-trained to ‘sit’ properly so that we have wonderful smiles. Of course, the majority of people still do have braces as children, particularly during the teenage years as this is when a lot of the growth in our faces occurs, so it makes sense to do any necessary orthodontic work then, as in the long term it saves time and expense at a later stage of our lives.

Adults wear braces too!!!

Adults wear braces too!!!

What to expect from your braces?

As well as the medical benefits of having braces such as; straightening teeth, correcting your bite, closing gaps, stopping your jaw hurting, relieving headaches and muscle aches you may also benefit from many other factors. As appearance has a lot to do with confidence you may find that you are more outgoing and confident as a result of your teeth and your smile being ‘fixed’. Many children and even adults can be bullied or picked on because of perceived problems with their appearance and braces can in some cases help with this. Just by having the braces in, they can help you feel more confident, even while wearing them because you now know that your smile and teeth are going to get better. So, your confidence and self-image can increase throughout the whole procedure.

Self Confidence

How to look after your braces?

Now the medical and psychological benefits of braces can only do so much. YOU have to do your part!! The most important part is keeping your teeth and braces clean! BUT remember although it might be  a bit more difficult to keep them clean, we all know that nothing worth while is easy, we all have to work at it!!!

Sometimes you may feel some soreness during treatment. More usually just after the braces are first placed and then sometimes after the periodic adjustments. This is only to be expected and should only last for a short while, everyone is different. Your lips and cheeks may also take some time to get used to the braces and need time to adjust to this ‘alien’ thing in your mouth. Don’t worry, this is quite normal, but if you have any issues about any discomfort or pain, please call your Orthodontist for reassurance and advice. Your Orthodontist does not want you be stressed about the braces and will give you advice to minimize any issues you might have. You might be given soft wax to place over the bands and brackets at night which helps your lips and cheeks to adapt to the braces. Another simple remedy is to rinse your mouth with a warm salt water mix (1/4 teaspoon in 1/2 cup of warm water) for the first week.

For ongoing maintenance you will need to check your braces daily to see if any are loose or broken as this can happen occasionally. Of course, if you do find anything loose or broken you will need to call you Orthodontist immediately to get it fixed.

Other maintenance issues are the very basic ones of brushing often and minimizing your intake of sugar, which, of course apply to ALL dental hygiene regimes. Those that specifically apply to braces are avoiding sticky foods such as caramels, Laffy Taffy, Tootsie Rolls, Gummies; avoiding hard foods such as nuts, popcorn (well – the kernels are hard !!!!), hard pretzels, suckers, ice, Jolly Ranchers, Jaw Breakers; cutting apples, carrots and corn on the cob into pieces and tearing bagels, pizza crusts and jerky with your fingers NOT your teeth!!  Now, just because these are the only items on this short list – don’t think that they are the only ones you should avoid…..use your common sense!! THINK before you eat if and how the food will affect your braces. It is up to you to be careful, after all, it will be YOU back at the dentist in pain if you don’t pay attention.

Ultimately, your braces will result in a wonderful new smile for you – but only if you follow your Orthodontist’s instructions and attend all your appointments.

I’d like to thank the staff at our colleague the Betsy Meade Orthodontics (DDS, MS) office for helping with the information for these last two blogs about braces.

NATIONAL TOOTH FAIRY DAY!!!!!!

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For hundreds of years, mystical legends, stories, and traditions have been shared about the loss of baby teeth. In some cultures, children’s teeth were buried in order to hide them from witches and evil spirits who would use the tooth’s powers for voodoo. The Vikings believed that children’s teeth had a magical power in them that would help them fight in battle. They would even pay their children for their lost baby teeth so that they could be used to string onto battle necklaces and other jewelry.

Over time, people began to share stories about a Tooth Mouse who would scamper around town and steal children’s teeth in the middle of the night. This story of the mouse soon transformed into the story of the Tooth Fairy, who would leave treasures under the children’s pillows in exchange for their lost teeth.

The traditions and legend of the Tooth Fairy are still practiced today all around the world. It is considered a useful practice by many parents because it gives their children something to look forward to when they lose their teeth. And so year after year, baby teeth are placed under children’s pillows at night in hopes of waking up to a wonderful surprise from none other than the Tooth Fairy.( http://www.toothfairy.org/2012/01/04/hello-world/)