What To Know About Infant Dental Care And Teething

DENTAL CARE IS IMPORTANT at all ages, even for babies! Here are some tips on how you can care for your child’s mouth even before their first precious smile.

Good Oral Care Begins Before Teething

Even though your baby’s primary teeth won’t come in until they are around four to seven months old, caring for their gums before teeth come in is important. Even before tooth eruption bacteria can leave behind plaque that can damage teeth as they come in.

To prevent bacteria from adhering to your baby’s gums, gently wipe them down with a soft, moistened washcloth or piece of gauze. Do this at least twice a day, especially after feedings and before bedtime.

Teething Can Be A Difficult Time For Your Baby

When your little one does finally start teething, it’s normal for them to be fussy and irritable. Common symptoms are difficulty sleeping, decrease in appetite and increased drooling. It’s also normal for their temperature to increase slightly when they’re teething, however, high-grade fevers are not normal. If your child seems overly cranky or has a high fever, call your physician.

You Can Keep Your Child Comfortable With These Tips

Your baby may seem inconsolable while teething but here are some things you can do to soothe and ease their pain:

  • Massage their gums. The counter pressure of your finger helps ease teething pain.
  • Use teething rings or toys. Even a simple chilled washcloth will work. Chewing soothes the baby as counter pressure relieves pain. When chilling toys or rings, remember to refrigerate instead of freeze.
  • Relieve pain. Talk to your child’s doctor about pain relief if your little one seems to be having a more difficult time. Appropriate dosage of acetaminophen may be beneficial during especially painful teething episodes. Avoid teething medications that contain the pain reliever benzocaine.

Once Teeth Appear, Take Proper Care Of Them

The American Dental Association recommends taking your child to the dentist as soon as their first tooth appears and no later than their first birthday. Once teeth appear you can also begin brushing. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, start brushing your child’s teeth twice a day. Since very young children haven’t yet learned to not swallow toothpaste, use only a smear of fluoridated toothpaste or the size of a grain of rice.

We’re Here To Help From The Very Beginning

Good oral care starts from the beginning of your child’s life. We’re here to help you every step of the way! If you have any questions concerning infant oral health care or teething, call or make an appointment with us today. Baby teeth may be small but they’re important!

Thank you to our patients who make our job worthwhile!

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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.

 

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Why Is Fluoride So Good For Our Teeth?

WE DENTISTS MAKE a pretty big deal about fluoride and how good it is for your teeth. Truly, fluoride is the best cavity fighter out there, helping our teeth stay healthy and strong! But how exactly does fluoride do such an awesome job at keeping our mouths cavity-free?

Fluoride Prevents And Repairs Tooth Decay

Bacteria that are in plaque produce acids that seep into tooth enamel and break it down. This process of breaking down enamel is what causes cavities over time.Where plaque breaks down the tooth, fluoride builds it up!

Fluoride, a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water, protects teeth from cavity-causing bacteria by making tooth enamel more resistant to bacteria’s acid attacks.

Fluoride also helps repair tooth decay in its early stages by building up the tooth in a process called remineralization. This cavity-fighting mineral even reduces the ability of plaque bacteria to produce acid in the first place!

Fluoride Is Available In A Variety Of Forms

Fluoride can be directly applied to the teeth through fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinses. In fact, toothpaste with fluoride has been responsible for a significant drop in cavities since 1960.

Dental offices also offer fluoride application to teeth as a gel, foam or varnish. Getting a fluoride treatment periodically is important because it contains a higher concentration of fluoride.

Fluoride Intake Is Important At All Ages

Exposure to fluoride can be especially beneficial for infants and children. Between the ages of six months and 16 years, fluoride becomes incorporated into the developing permanent teeth, protecting them from cavity-causing bacteria.

However, adults and children alike need to get enough fluoride to protect their teeth. Just as important as strengthening developing teeth is fighting tooth decay, which fluoride will help you do even after your permanent teeth have come in.

Increased exposure to fluoride can be beneficial for people with certain health conditions. For example, if you have dry mouth, gum disease or a history of frequent cavities, your dentist may recommend additional fluoride treatments or supplements. Ask us if you could benefit from additional fluoride.

Tooth Decay Is Preventable

The take home message is this: fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. If you have any questions about fluoride, call us or come in! We would love to hear from you!

We love our patients and their smiles!

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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.

Care After Wisdom Teeth Removal

WE ARE OFTEN ASKED questions about wisdom tooth extraction and how to best care for your teeth and mouth after surgery. As your trusted dental practice, we’re here to calm your fears and address your concerns!

Steps To Take To Promote Healing

There are several reasons why people may need to get their wisdom teeth removed. Here are some things you can do after the procedure to facilitate healing:

  • Rest: Rest for the remainder of the day after surgery and as needed after that. Avoid strenuous activity for at least a week.
  • Eat soft foods: For the first 24 hours, eat only soft foods such as yogurt, ice cream, or applesauce. Broth-based soups without many chunks are good to eat 1 to 2 days after the procedure. Avoid chewy or hard foods for 1 to 2 weeks.
  • Drink water: Drink plenty of water and avoid alcoholic, caffeinated, and hot beverages in the first 24 to 48 hours.
  • Take your meds:  For the first 24 to 48 hours take your pain medication as prescribed.  The best way to keep pain to  a minimum is to stay ahead of it.  If you wait until you are in pain it is more difficult to eliminate it.
  • Brush:  Continue to brush normally.  Be gentle close to the areas of the surgery, but  keep those teeth and gums healthy.  Brushing your tongue will also help keep you mouth fresh.  Avoid harsh rinses and only rinse after 24 hours have passed.

Prevent Dry Socket

After wisdom teeth removal, preventing dry socket is important. When a tooth is extracted, a blood clot forms to protect the bones and nerves underneath. Dry socket occurs when the blood clot is dislodged, exposing the bone and nerves. This condition can be avoided if the proper precautions are taken after tooth extraction.

These three tips will best help prevent dry socket:

  1. Do not smoke!  Hopefully ever again, but if it is not your time to quit, refrain for at least 48 hours.  Smoking is by far the most common cause of dry socket.
  2. Avoid using a straw for at least 48 hours.  The suction created in the mouth when drinking through a straw can dislodge a blood clot and lead to dry socket.
  3. Avoid rinsing for 24 hours.  After the first 24 hours a warm salt water rinse is a great way to help with healing.  Avoid harsh rinses with a high alcohol content.

We’re Here For You

Our job is to make the healing process easy and comfortable for you. Call us or set up an appointment if you have any questions about wisdom teeth removal or would like to discuss your options! We are here for YOU.

We love our patients!

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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.

Tooth Fairy Traditions

THE TOOTH FAIRY is one of many childhood fantasy figures we remember fondly. We lost our baby teeth, stuck them under our pillow, and the mysterious tooth fairy would swap our teeth out for money! What could be better?

The tooth fairy isn’t quite the same for everyone though! The legend of the tooth fairy has changed over the years and even varies widely around the world. Let’s learn a little bit more about other tooth fairy traditions!

The Tooth Fairy Legend Began With Ancient Superstitions

Before the tooth fairy went looking under our pillow for baby teeth, she used to look in the ground! In early Europe, burying or burning baby teeth was a precaution taken against witches. It was believed that if a witch got a hold of one of your teeth, they could have complete power over you!

Along with a fear of witches, children were instructed to burn their teeth so that they could have a peaceful afterlife. It was believed that if a tooth wasn’t incinerated, the person would be doomed to spend eternity searching for them.

The Vikings didn’t want to destroy baby teeth, however. They even paid for them! In Norse culture, children’s teeth were believed to bring good luck in battle, so many warriors had necklaces made of children’s fallen out teeth!

Before A Fairy, There Was A Mouse

More recently we’ve seen the development of monetary gifts as a reward for a lost tooth. But not all tooth fairies are pixies with wings… In many Latin countries the tooth fairy is a mouse named Raton Perez! He also retrieves the teeth from under a pillow and leaves money or a gift in return.

How Our Modern Tooth Fairy Came To Be

As with many American traditions, the tooth fairy has roots in European folklore. Instead of burying our teeth in the ground, we “bury” our teeth under our pillow! It is said that our modern conception of the tooth fairy came about in the early 1900s. With the help of Walt Disney’s beloved fairy characters, the idea of a tooth fairy gained popularity and became what it is today!

The Tooth Fairy Plays An Important Role For Children

The legend of the tooth fairy is likely still so prevalent because it helps comfort children when they lose their teeth, an experience that can be traumatic for some. The tooth fairy helps them see this big step as a positive experience and a sign that they are growing up!

As your trusted dental professionals, we want what is best for you and your kids. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s teeth, call or come into our office!

Thank you for all that you do!

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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.

From The Experts: Our Hygenist, Candice, Answers Your Questions About Mouthwash

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED if mouthwash is actually a necessary part of your dental hygiene routine? If you’d like to use mouthwash as a part of your daily oral care, it’s important to know what it is and what it does.

What Purpose Does Mouthwash Serve?

We learn at a very early age that daily brushing and flossing are necessary habits to clean our teeth and care for our gums. But you may begin to wonder: “What more can mouthwash do for me?”

Mouthwashes are used for more reasons than you may realize, some of those being:

  • to freshen breath
  • help prevent or control tooth decay
  • reduce plaque
  • prevent or reduce gingivitis (the early stage of gum disease)
  • reduce the speed that tartar (hardened plaque) forms on the teeth

Candice Answers Some Commonly Asked Questions!

Our expert, Candice, is here to tell us all about mouthwash and how it can prove to be helpful in our daily oral hygiene routines!

Who should use a mouthwash on a regular basis?

Most people can benefit from the daily use of an oral rinse or mouthwash.  Which rinse you need will depend on your specific needs.  A dental health care professional can help you determine if you need an oral rinse and which rinse is best for you.

Are there different types of oral rinses that serve different purposes? If so, what are they and what purpose do they serve? 

There are many different types of oral rinses:  Antimicrobial or antiplaque rinses are used to prevent or aid in the removal of bacteria and plaque ad to control tartar buildup. I personally recommend Crest Pro Health or Listerine Alcohol Free on a regular basis for adult patients that can use a little help in preventing or maintaining gum disease.   I recommend alcohol free because alcohol can exacerbate dry mouth which increases the incidence of decay.  Anticavity rinses are used to remineralize teeth to prevent decay.  Act is a good brand to use in cavity prevention, especially for children over the age of six years.  Breath freshening rinses are used to freshen the breath.  These are used only to make the breath smell better for a short period of time.  Other rinses can be recommended by your dental health care professional for Xerostomia (dry mouth) and oral lesions or sores.

What conditions warrant a prescribed oral rinse?

There are several conditions that warrant the need for a prescribed oral rinse.  Rinses that contain Chlorhexidine are prescribed frequently to aid in maintaining gum disease.  Rinses for sores in the mouth or throat may contain Benzydamine.  Patients that have severe decay or dry mouth may need a prescription strength Fluoride rinse.

Should I brush, floss, or rinse first?

I recommend to brush, floss then rinse.  Brushing can push debris between the teeth.  Flossing will help to eliminate that debris and then the rinse will to remove the loose particles.  There are some cases when your dental health care professional may recommended a different sequence.

Do you recommend any home-made rinses?

I do sometimes recommend home-made oral rinses.  Patients that have ulcers, cancer sores or lesions in their mouth caused by trauma can use salt water rinse.   About 4 ounces of very warm water and a teaspoon of salt is all you need.  Rinse for 30 seconds to a minute several times a day.

Is there any side effects oral rinses?

There are some side effects to oral rinses.  Rinses containing alcohol can cause dry mouth, burning tissue or soreness.  They can also be intoxicating if an excessive amount is swallowed or used by children.  Rinses containing Fluoride can be toxic if swallowed excessively.  Some antimicrobial rinses can cause staining on the teeth.

Is there anything else needed when deciding which brand of oral to buy over the counter?

When buying an over the counter oral rinse suggested by your dental professional always check the bottle for the ADA seal of approval.  The ADA will only approve a rinse that has been through vigorous testing to be sure it treats the condition that it claims to treat.  ADA does not gain financially from the products they give their seal of approval.  The seal is always earned, research and clinical trials to back up their claims.

We’re Here To Help You Improve Your Oral Health Care Routine!

One of the most important things to remember is that rinsing your mouth with mouthwash does not replace daily brushing and flossing! Mouthwash is meant to act as an aid to brushing and flossing, helping to freshen breath and fight bacteria. If you have any more questions about mouthwash, let us know!

Thank you for your trust in our practice!

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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.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait To Treat A Cavity

MANY OF US HAVE HAD at least one cavity in our lives, and if we don’t keep up on our oral hygiene, it’s likely that we’ll get a couple more as time goes by.

While cavities may be inconvenient, it’s imperative that we get them treated immediately. Early treatment of cavities prevents long-term damage to our teeth and is essential to maintaining a beautiful, healthy smile!

Cavities Are A Sign Of Tooth Decay

A cavity is a small hole that develops on your tooth when it begins to decay. Harmful bacteria is contained in the plaque that sticks to our teeth. This bacteria produces acid that eats away at our teeth and causes cavities if the plaque is not removed. If left untreated, the cavity can grow larger and cause permanent damage to the tooth.

Letting cavities fester is more common than you think. Approximately 28 percentof adults are living with untreated cavities. Because cavities are so commonplace, some may think they can leave them untreated, either to save money or spare themselves a filling. It is important to remember, however, that a cavity is considered an infection that requires prompt treatment.

Cavities Will Continue To Grow If Left Untreated

Cavities can only get worse with time. Once that harmful bacteria creates a cavity, it will continue to grow if not repaired with a filling. To further understand the damage a cavity can do to your tooth, let’s go over some tooth anatomy.

A tooth consists of three parts:

  1. The hard and protective outer layer called the enamel
  2. The middle layer called dentin
  3. The inner layer called the pulp, which contains the tooth’s blood vessels and nerves

The enamel is the tooth’s first line of defense against cavity-causing bacteria. If treatment is postponed, the bacteria will eventually get through the enamel and enter into the layer of dentin, and eventually, the pulp.

If cavity-causing bacteria is allowed to reach the dental pulp, it can lead to a condition known as pulpitis, or inflammation of the pulp. If treated quickly, pulpitis can be treated with a simple filling. If left to progress, more serious measures may need to be taken such as a root canal or tooth extraction.

Your Health And Comfort Are Our Priority

In the end, the ideal option is to prevent cavities before they even occur! At our practice, your health and comfort are our priority. We are your partners in helping you maintain a cavity-free, beautiful smile!

Thank you for continuing to be part of our practice family!

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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.

Ice Cravings: A Sign Of Something More?

DO YOU EVER WONDER WHY many people enjoy chewing their leftover ice after finishing a nice refreshing drink? It may surprise you to learn that the cool crunch of the ice may not be the only thing drawing people to chew those last few cubes.

Chewing Ice Is Not Cool For Your Teeth

Many enjoy chomping down on those last few ice cubes at the bottom of their glass, but is it really that bad for your dental health? Absolutely!

Ice is an incredibly hard substance, and when pitted against teeth it can do serious damage to our enamel. Repeated grinding against ice and other hard substances can result in enamel cracking and erosion. Because enamel has no living cells, the body cannot repair any chips or cracks on its own—they will require enamel restoration treatments.

Ice Cravings May Be Caused By More Than Preference

Ice cravings are fairly common–especially among expecting mothers–but not all of these cravings are driven by enjoyment alone. The compulsive consumption of ice, known as pagophagia, has recently been linked to anemia—a lack of iron in the blood.

Anemia can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. But don’t worry, if diagnosed by a doctor, anemia is easily treatable with daily iron supplements.Scientists still aren’t sure why the link between chewing ice and anemia exists, but many suspect it may the body’s natural response to relieve oral inflammation caused by anemia.

We Care About Your Whole Body Health

Excessive ice cravings affect far more than just your teeth. We care about far more than just the health of your smile! If you or someone you care about has questions about ice cravings and how they affect your health, feel free to set an appointment or leave a comment below! We’d love to work with you to ensure that not only your smile is healthy, but your whole body as well.

Thank you for being a valued patient and friend!

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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.

Foods That Naturally Whiten Teeth

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REGULAR BRUSHING AND FLOSSING remain your best protection against tooth decay and gum disease. However, there are some tooth-friendly foods out there that will help you maintain a bright, healthy smile and even naturally whiten your teeth!

Here are some foods that help whiten your teeth.

Fruits And Veggies

Fruits such as apples and strawberries contain malic acid which removes surface stains from your teeth and whitens enamel. Strawberries are also beneficial in that they contain ellagitannins—antioxidants that are known to reduce stain-attracting bacteria and inflammation in your mouth.

Furthermore, apples—along with celery, carrots and pears—have a high water content. This increases production of saliva, which washes away bacteria in the mouth. Pears are also great for neutralizing odor-causing bacteria on teeth that lead to bad breath.

Pineapple is the only food that naturally contains bromelain. Guess where else we can find bromelain? In stain-removing toothpaste! Bromelain is a compound that has anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties and is effective in removing surface stains from your teeth, resulting in a brighter smile.

Natural Scrubbers

Other foods act as a natural brush due to their abrasive texture. Broccoli, seeds and nuts, and, yet again, apples, scrub your teeth and naturally remove bacteria and plaque. Eat these foods in the afternoons to clean and polish your teeth, giving them a brief midday brush. What’s more, broccoli is high in fiber and iron, resulting in a lower risk of inflammation in your mouth and greater protection against enamel-degrading acids produced by bacteria.

Dairy

Cheese and milk are full of calcium, which we all know is very good for teeth and bones. Calcium, as well as other minerals and proteins found in dairy products, protect tooth enamel from erosion and decay. They also don’t stain your teeth like coffee, wine, or beets would.

More Than Just Brushing

Achieving and maintaining a healthy, bright smile is more than just eating foods that can damage your teeth (mainly sugary drinks and candy, as well as refined, starchy foods) and then brushing the consequences away. To keep your mouth clean and smile white, avoid foods that can damage or stain your teeth, and opt for some of the healthier options mentioned above. Your teeth will thank you for it!

Thank you for being our valued patient and friend.

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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.

What Your Dentist Can Tell By Looking In Your Mouth

DENTISTS AREN’T JUST LOOKING FOR CAVITIES at your routine checkup. A quick examination of your mouth can reveal a lot more about your oral and overall health than you think. The dentist may even discover some of your quirky habits!

Here are a few things dentists may notice when they look inside your mouth:

#1: You Haven’t Been Flossing Regularly

That quick flossing session right before your appointment may make it more apparent to your dentist that you haven’t been flossing on a regular basis. When you only floss right before your dental checkup, your gums may still be bleeding and usually look damaged and inflamed. Healthy gums, on the other hand, appear tight and pink.

#2: You Have A Sinus Infection

Sinus infections are known for causing pain and pressure in your sinus cavity, but sometimes you can even feel it in your upper teeth!

Are you unsure whether you have a toothache or a sinus infection? Luckily, your dentist can tell the difference! A simple home test is to bend over and touch your toes. If the pressure or pain increases upon bending over, it is most likely not a toothache!

#3: You Bite Your Nails

Here’s one of those quirky habits that you can’t hide from your dentist! Nail biters have leveled off, flat front teeth. This is because of the grinding that occurs between the top and bottom teeth.


#4: You Have A Vitamin Deficiency

Dentists look at more than just your teeth—they examine the health of your whole mouth! Vitamin deficiencies in particular can manifest themselves in your mouth in various ways. Here are some examples:

  • Sores
  • Changes in the tongue
  • Tissue sloughing off
  • Delayed healing
  • Easily bleeding gums
  • Burning tongue syndrome

Dentists are often the first to discover a vitamin deficiency and can help get you back on track.

#5: You Used To Suck Your Thumb

If you had the habit of sucking your thumb or finger past the age of seven, there will be significant changes in your bite and the position of your teeth. Telltale signs may remain but these can be fixed through orthodontic treatment.

#6: You Have Another Serious Health Issue

Serious maladies such as oral cancer, diabetes, and heart disease show symptoms in the mouth.

Oral cancer, for example, is characterized by unexplained bleeding, discolored patches, swelling, bumps, or even eroded areas on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth. Diabetes and heart disease visibly affect the health of the gums, shown by increased swelling, bleeding and sensitivity.

We Provide More Than Just A Cleaning

Your dental appointment is much more than just a cleaning! Beyond being able to tell that you bite your nails or don’t floss as often as you should, we can also detect other, more serious health problems and help you get your health back on track.

Your overall health is important to us. Trust us to catch any warning signs that may appear in your mouth. We’re here to detect any problems and help you stay healthy and happy!

Thank you for placing your trust in our practice!

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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.