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

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.

 

 

WHAT’S IN A SMILE?

 

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A smile is a facial expression formed primarily by flexing the muscles at the sides of the mouth.

VERB – To form one’s features into a pleased, kind, or amused expression, typically with the corners of the mouth turned up and the front teeth exposed.

NOUN – An expression on the face in which the ends of the mouth curve up slightly, often with the lips moving apart so that the teeth can be seen; expressing happiness, pleasure, amusement, or a friendly  disposition.

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So, WHY do we smile? Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure-inducer, cannot match.

Smiling, quite simply, can change our brain. So, what happens to our brain when we smile? Well, when we see something that makes us happy or pleases us, neuronal signals travel from the cortex of our brain to the brainstem (the oldest part of our brains). From there, the cranial muscle carries the signal further towards the smiling muscles in your face. Then, once the smiling muscles in our face contract, there is a positive feedback loop that now goes back to the brain and reinforces our feeling of joy. Hence, smiling being more rewarding than chocolate.

Smiling, like most facial expressions, communicates to those around us what we are feeling. It also reduces stress that your body and mind feel, almost similar to getting good sleep, according to recent studies. And smiling helps to generate more positive emotions within you. That’s why we often feel happier around children – they smile more. On average, they do so 400 times a day. Whilst happy people still smile 40-50 times a day, the average of us only smiles 20 times a day.

We humans though, are pretty adept at distinguishing between fake and real smiles. Fake smiles usually only involve the lips and lower part of the face (controlled specifically by the motor cortex). When in certain social situations, we sometimes feel compelled to appear as if we are enjoying ourselves, such as when having to converse with someone we don’t like or enduring events we’re not comfortable attending. Beware though, as mentioned earlier, we can usually detect insincerity, especially within a smile. A REAL smile will always involve the eyes, which will crinkle at the corners, as well as the mouth curving upwards. This type of smile was first identified by Guillaume Duchenne. He realized that a real smile is initiated by the emotional center of our brain and thus involved both the motor cortex and the limbic (emotional) centers of our brain.

Smiling however, is definitely more than just a contraction of muscles in your face. As Mother Teresa said;

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” 

So, give a stranger one of your smile today, it may the only bit of sunshine they see today.

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I’m pregnant!!!!! How will this affect my teeth???

I'm Pregnant!!

I’m Pregnant!!

I’m pregnant!!! Now what??? How will this affect my dental health?

The best advice a dentist could give you, is (when you are planning to get pregnant) to have a check-up and make sure that all, if any, dental problems are taken care of before you become pregnant.

Let your dentist know that you are trying to get pregnant, and of course, let him know as soon as you are pregnant as this will  affect the treatment that he or the hygienist would normally schedule for you.

Generally, dental treatments would be suspended as a precautionary measure during the first trimester as this is a critical time for your baby’s development, and it is best to avoid any possible exposure to treatment that could in any way affect your baby’s growth. However, routine care can be carried out from the second trimester – though elective or major work should be deferred until after the baby is born if at all possible.

Remember to have regular check ups while pregnant

Remember to have regular check ups while pregnant

You will need to let you dentist know of any other updates in your medical records as well as any new medications or pre-natal vitamins your doctor has prescribed. Your dentist may have to alter some of your planned dental treatment as certain drugs can affect the development of the baby.

Pregnancy Vitamins - it is also important to eat healthily while pregnant.

Pregnancy Vitamins – it is also important to eat healthily while pregnant.

X-rays should be avoided if at all possible during pregnancy, though don’t be worried if for some reason you need to have one. Today’s technological advances make x-rays much safer, and your dentist will use extreme caution to safeguard you and your baby.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis

During your pregnancy, hormones and the many changes going on in your body will have an effect on your dental hygiene regime.  Studies have shown that many pregnant women may develop pregnancy gingivitis. This is when dental plaque builds up on the teeth and irritates the gums. Symptoms of gingivitis include red, inflamed and bleeding gums. So, as there is growing evidence that gum disease could, in some rare cases, result in an underweight, premature baby, it is extremely important to take extra special care of your dental health and let your dentist know if you notice any of these symptoms.

Morning sickness

Morning sickness

If you are one of the unfortunate expectant Moms who suffer from morning sickness, remember to be especially vigilant in brushing/rinsing your teeth after vomiting to make sure that all the digestive fluids are removed from the surface of your teeth. There are also brands of bland tasting toothpaste that should help, if the flavor of regular toothpaste is keeping you from brushing your teeth.

American Dental Association (ADA)

American Dental Association (ADA)

The American Dental Association (ADA) has the following suggestions for dental work while pregnant:

  • The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that pregnant women eat a balanced diet, brush their teeth thoroughly with an ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste twice a day, and floss daily
  • Have preventive exams and cleanings during your pregnancy
  • Let your dentist know you are pregnant
  • Postpone non-emergency dental work until the second trimester or until after delivery, if possible
  • Elective procedures should be postponed until after the delivery
  • Maintain healthy circulation by keeping your legs uncrossed while you sit in the dentist’s chair
  • Take a pillow to help keep you and the baby more comfortable
  • Bring headphones and some favorite music to make the appointment more relaxing

All in all, it is very important to take good care of your overall health while pregnant of course. Just remember to make sure you pay special attention to your teeth.

We wish all of you pregnant ladies all the best. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us and we’d be happy to answer them for you.