Posts for: February, 2020
Healthy teeth are vital to your child’s oral and general health. Proper oral hygiene habits help your child speak and eat properly. On the other hand, poor oral hygiene could result in tooth issues, disease, infection, and other oral health problems. At Children’s Dental Center of New Hampshire in Amherst, NH, our pediatric dentists, Dr. James McAveeney, Dr. Agata Bartels, and Dr. Andrew Cheifetz, can take care of all your child’s dental concerns and needs. However, you should begin teaching your child proper oral care habits as soon as possible to keep preventable dental problems at bay. Start with these simple tips.
Proper Tooth Brushing and Flossing
A clean damp cloth will suffice for cleaning your baby’s first baby teeth, gums, interior cheeks, and tongue. At one or two years old, you can use a child-size toothbrush and some water or fluoride-free toothpaste for cleaning your child’s teeth. Switch to a normal fluoride toothpaste when your child has learned to spit. Once your child can brush by himself, make sure that they do it twice daily for at least two minutes. Make sure to change toothbrushes after three to six months or once the bristles look old and worn. You should also teach your child proper flossing techniques to avoid hurting the gums.
When To Visit a Pediatric Dentist
According to the American Dental Association, kids should visit their dentist when they turn one year old. This will help the dentist spot and monitor any potential dental concerns early on. After your child’s initial visit, he should visit the dentist for regular checkups twice yearly. Seeing your pediatric dentist in Amherst, NH early on will also help your child form a relationship with the dentist so that your child will be more comfortable with routine dental treatments.
The Role of a Healthy Diet Against Cavities
Cavities are holes that develop in the teeth and occur when germs accumulate inside the mouth. The sugar content in drinks and food turns into acid that could also result in cavities. This is why making healthy food choices while kids are still young is very important. With this in mind, refrain from giving your child sugary drinks and sweet snacks. If your child eats something with sugar, ensure that he brushes his teeth right after or rinse and gargle his mouth thoroughly with water if they don’t have their toothbrush with them.
The Importance of Fluoride
Lots of studies have shown that fluoride is crucial to preventing cavities in both baby and adult teeth. Likewise, it helps in protecting the teeth by strengthening their enamel. In most cases, kids get sufficient fluoride from drinking water and fluoride toothpaste. But if your drinking water doesn’t contain fluoride, you should speak with your pediatric dentist if your child needs an oral fluoride supplement. Your dentist may also recommend regular applications of fluoride varnish after professional cleanings to ensure that your kid is getting enough fluoride.
Do You Have Questions About Your Child’s Oral Health?
To ensure that you keep your child’s oral health in tiptop shape, visit one of our pediatric dentists here at the Children’s Dental Center of New Hampshire in Amherst, NH. Dial (603) 673-1000 to schedule your appointment with Dr. James McAveeney, Dr. Agata Bartels, or Dr. Andrew Cheifetz today.
Tooth decay is an ever present danger for your baby’s developing teeth. It begins with disease-causing bacteria feasting on leftover sugar, producing high levels of oral acid that slowly dissolves the teeth’s protective enamel. The softened enamel then becomes an open door for decay to infect the tooth.
Meanwhile, those bacteria continue to eat and produce acid….
So how can you stop this devastating cycle? Besides daily oral hygiene and regular dental visits, the most important thing you can do is deprive bacteria in your baby’s mouth of sugar through limiting their consumption of it. This means you’ll first need to identify the different sources of sugar available to your baby—and some of them might surprise you.
Here, then, are 3 not-so-obvious sugar sources your baby might be consuming.
During feeding. If you’re breast-feeding, you may not think this is causing a sugar problem for your baby. True, breast milk by itself doesn’t promote decay: it’s the combination of it with other sugar-rich foods and liquids the baby might be consuming as they get older. Together this could significantly increase their risk of pediatric tooth decay (also known as early childhood caries or ECC). So, be careful to limit sugar in other things they’re eating or drinking in addition to nursing.
24/7 Baby bottles and pacifiers. To calm infants at nap or sleep time, parents or caregivers often use bottles filled with sweet liquids or pacifiers dipped in jam, syrup or sugar. This practice increases decay risk from both the added sugar and its constant availability to bacteria in the mouth around the clock. Instead, avoid this practice and limit any sugary foods or liquids to mealtimes.
Medications. Some medications an infant may be taking for a chronic illness may contain small amounts of sugar. Additionally, medications like antihistamines can reduce the production of saliva that’s needed to neutralize acid after meals. If your child is on medication, ask your healthcare provider about its dental effects and if there are any sugar-free alternatives. Be sure to keep up daily brushing and flossing and regular dental visits too.
Limiting your baby’s sugar intake is critical in preventing tooth decay. It’s one of the most important things you can do to protect their dental health.
If you would like more information on helping your child avoid tooth decay, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Age One Dental Visit: Why It’s Important for Your Baby.”
Even though baby teeth are not meant to last forever, they serve some very important functions for the time they are around. Healthy baby teeth allow your child to bite and chew food, articulate sounds correctly during speech, and, of course, to smile! They also help guide the permanent teeth, which will one day replace them, into proper alignment. So it’s important to take good care of them while they’re here. Let’s answer some frequently asked questions about pediatric dentistry.
Can I get my teeth cleaned while I’m pregnant?
Yes — and you should! Both the American Dental Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that women keep up with their regular schedule of dental cleanings and exams during pregnancy. Not doing so can allow disease-causing oral bacterial to flourish, which can be a health risk for both the expectant mother and her fetus.
Do infants need their teeth brushed?
Yes, it’s important to start a daily oral hygiene routine as soon as the first baby tooth appears — usually sometime between six and nine months of age. Use a very soft-bristled child-sized toothbrush and just a smear of fluoride toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice). When your child turns 3, increase the amount of fluoride toothpaste to the size of a pea.
When should I take my child in for her first dental appointment?
The answer to this one may surprise you: All children should see a dentist by the age of 1. Early dental visits get children accustomed to having their mouths examined and their teeth cleaned. Establishing this healthy habit early will go a long way toward promoting a lifetime of good oral health.
Should I worry that my child sucks his thumb?
That depends on how old he is. Thumb sucking is a normal, comforting habit for babies and toddlers. Most outgrow it by the time they are 4. But kids who don’t are at increased risk for orthodontic issues later on. If your child seems unable to break the habit, let us know; we can give you more detailed recommendations at your next appointment.
What can I do to prevent my children from getting cavities?
Make sure your children have an effective daily oral hygiene routine that includes brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing at least once per day. If they are too young to do a good job by themselves, help them complete these important tasks. Keep their sugar consumption as low as possible; pay particular attention to beverages — soda, sports drinks and even 100 % natural fruit juices can all promote tooth decay. We can offer individualized advice on fighting cavities, and even provide fluoride treatments and dental sealants for extra protection against cavities. So don’t forget to bring your child in to the dental office for regular exams and cleanings!
Breathing: You hardly notice it unless you're consciously focused on it—or something's stopping it!
So, take a few seconds and pay attention to your breathing. Then ask yourself this question—are you breathing through your nose, or through your mouth? Unless we're exerting ourselves or have a nasal obstruction, we normally breathe through the nose. This is as nature intended it: The nasal passages act as a filter to remove allergens and other fine particles.
Some people, though, tend to breathe primarily through their mouths even when they're at rest or asleep. And for children, not only do they lose out on the filtering benefit of breathing through the nose, mouth breathing could affect their dental development.
People tend to breathe through their mouths if it's become uncomfortable to breathe through their noses, often because of swollen tonsils or adenoids pressing against the nasal cavity or chronic sinus congestion. Children born with a small band of tissue called a tongue or lip tie can also have difficulty closing the lips or keeping the tongue on the roof of the mouth, both of which encourage mouth breathing.
Chronic mouth breathing can also disrupt children's jaw development. The tongue normally rests against the roof of the mouth while breathing through the nose, which allows it to serve as a mold for the growing upper jaw and teeth to form around. Because the tongue can't be in this position during mouth breathing, it can disrupt normal jaw development and lead to a poor bite.
If you suspect your child chronically breathes through his or her mouth, your dentist may refer you to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist to check for obstructions. In some cases, surgical procedures to remove the tonsils or adenoids may be necessary.
If there already appears to be problems brewing with the bite, your child may need orthodontic treatment. One example would be a palatal expander, a device that fits below the palate to put pressure on the upper jaw to grow outwardly if it appears to be developing too narrowly.
The main focus, though, is to treat or remove whatever may be causing this tendency to breathe through the mouth. Doing so will help improve a child's ongoing dental development.
If you would like more information on treating chronic mouth breathing, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Trouble With Mouth Breathing.”