A properly fitted mouth guard, or mouth protector, is an important piece of athletic gear that can help protect your childs smile, and should be used during any activity that could result in a blow to the face or mouth.
Mouth guards help prevent broken teeth, and injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw. A properly fitted mouth guard will stay in place while your child is wearing it, making it easy for them to talk and breathe.
Radiographs (X-Rays) are a vital and necessary part of your childs dental diagnostic process. Without x-rays, certain dental conditions can and will be missed because they cant be seen solely by visual examination.
Radiographs allow us to diagnose and treat health conditions, to evaluate the results of an injury or to plan an orthodontic treatment. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable for your child.
We recommend obtaining radiographs when necessary. This will be different for each child. For most children this works out to approximately every two years, although that may be more frequent for children with a high risk of tooth decay.
Are dental x-rays safe? With contemporary safeguards, the amount of radiation received in a dental X-ray examination is extremely small and the risk is negligible. We use digital x-rays, which further lowers radiation, as well as lead body aprons and shields to protect your child. Todays equipment filters out unnecessary x-rays. Shielding assures that your child receives a minimal amount of radiation exposure.
Dental decay in children is on the rise. According to a February 2010 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dental decay is the most common chronic disease of childhood five times more common than asthma!
The good news is that we know that decay detected at the beginning stages of enamel demineralization can actually be reversed using fluoride as a trace mineral. Demineralization refers to the damage done to the tooth's enamel caused by acid from the bacteria; when this occurs, important minerals have been depleted from the enamel. Demineralization is also commonly referred to as a white spot or white spot lesion. However, we can reduce demineralization with careful applications of fluoride in the office. When the tooth enamel begins to harden again, it is called--no surprise!--remineralization. If caught in time, remineralization allows the tooth to avoid the need for a traditional filling. We monitor and track these areas of concern at every dental visit so these teeth can stay healthy and avoid fillings if at all possible.
How do Cavities Form? The good news is cavities dont form overnight! Cavities form when traces of food particles (carbohydrates) combine with the natural bacteria of your mouth and produce a thick layer of sticky plaque, especially at the gum line. The chemical combination of food and bacteria creates a lactic acid that is strong enough to weaken and eventually disintegrate the natural enamel on teeth, causing the enamel to break down. Plaque becomes a natural breeding ground for decay (cavities) and periodontal disease, which affects the health of the gums or gingival.
We suggest that parents and children dont share food, utensils or toothbrushes. The reason? The bacteria that cause cavities are transmitted from the parent or caregiver to the child. Even parents and caregivers need to be mindful of and maintain their own oral health!
What Can I do to Prevent Cavities in my Child? For infants, we recommend using a wet gauze or clean washcloth and gently to wipe the plaque from your babys teeth and gums. Do this after the morning feeding and before your child goes to sleep for the night. Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle filled with anything other than water.
Toddlers and children just starting school need to have an adult help them brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. Fine motor skills used in brushing dont develop in children until at least ages 6-7. Your child can be ready to brush their teeth unsupervised if they are able to write in cursive or tie their shoes without assistance.
Be sure your child receives regular dental checkups and cleanings every six months up until age 16. If your child is at high risk for tooth decay, has had cavities or is in braces, we may recommend more frequent visits. And of course, always teach and encourage your children to make healthy food choices at meals and for snacks.
Healthy eating habits lead to healthy teeth. Children need to eat a variety of foods from the five major food groups (protein, dairy, vegetables and fruit, grains, fats). Like the rest of the body, the teeth, bones and the soft tissues of the mouth need a well-balanced diet.
The more frequently a child snacks, the greater the chances are for tooth decay. When your child eats between meals, choose nutritious and yummy foods such as vegetables, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese. Avoid sticky candy and other foods high in processed sugar or corn syrup. Read the nutritional labels on packaged foods so you can make good choices for your children.
My Child wont go to sleep without nursing or taking a bottle. One serious form of decay among young children is baby bottle tooth decay, sometimes referred to as bottle rot. The official, proper name of this condition is called Early Childhood Caries (ECC). This condition is caused by frequent and long exposures of an infants teeth to liquids that contain sugars. Among these liquids are milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks.
If you give your child a bottle filled with juice or milk, or breastfeed them before putting them to sleep, it could cause serious and rapid tooth decay. The reason? Sweet liquid pools around the childs teeth and gives plaque bacteria an opportunity to produce acids that attack tooth enamel. During the day, saliva produced in your childs mouth protects teeth from these acids, but at night saliva production decreases and the teeth are left more vulnerable.
If you must give your baby a bottle as a comforter at bedtime, it should contain only water. If your child won't fall asleep without the bottle and its usual beverage, gradually dilute the bottle's contents with water over a period of two to three weeks until your child becomes used to only water at bedtime. After the final nighttime feeding (including breastfeeding), brush or wipe the babys gums and teeth with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to remove plaque. The easiest way to do this is to sit down, place the childs head in your lap or lay the child on a dressing table or the floor. Whatever position you use, be sure you can see into the childs mouth easily.