How Nutrition Affects Your Child’s Oral Health

How Nutrition Affects Your Child’s Oral Health

Have you ever thought about how your child’s eating habits could affect their dental health? We may not see the relationship between the two right away, but they are actually very dependent on one another. Just like your body requires a certain amount of vitamins and minerals each day to stay healthy, so do your teeth. To prevent tooth decay and other dental issues, children need to consume a balanced diet. All food groups are part of a balanced diet, and making smart decisions helps maintain good oral health.

As a parent, you want to make sure your kids are eating healthy, getting exercise, and doing well in school. Not only are there foods that your child should avoid, but there are also many foods that make a kid’s teeth stronger and more resistant to dental problems. Tooth decay is the most common disease among children, so providing a good diet in addition to great oral health habits like brushing and flossing goes a long way.

What relationship exists between a child’s dental health and nutrition?

According to experts, children require food from all of the major food groups to develop normally and maintain good health. Too many carbohydrates, sugars (found in things like cake, cookies, candy, milk, fruit juice, and other sweet foods and drinks), and salty foods and starches (like pretzels and potato chips) can all lead to tooth decay. The key factor causing tooth decay is how long carbohydrates stay on the teeth.

Here are some recommendations for selecting foods that are better for your child’s teeth:

  • Keep fresh produce around the house to serve as “healthy snacks” in place of processed foods. Pick produce that is high in water content, such as cucumbers, melons, pears, and celery. Bananas and raisins should be limited because they contain high sugar content. After eating these fruits, immediately brush your teeth.
  • Serve cheese as a snack or with lunch. Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss, and other aged cheeses, in particular, encourage salivation, which helps remove food residue off teeth.
  • Avoid chewy, sticky foods. It is challenging for saliva to wash away foods that stick to teeth, such as raisins, dried figs, granola bars, oatmeal or peanut butter cookies, jelly beans, caramel, honey, molasses, and syrup. If your child eats these kinds of foods, encourage them to brush their teeth right away.
  • Serve sweets with meals rather than as snacks. If you’re going to give your kid any treats, serve them as dessert right after the meal. Around mealtimes, saliva production often increases, making it simpler to wash food from teeth. The liquid consumed during meals aids in cleaning off food residue from the teeth.
  • Encourage your kids to eat as few snacks as possible. More significant than the amount eaten is how often you snack. Saliva can wash away food particles that bacteria would otherwise eat if there is a gap in between meals. Regular munching without immediately brushing afterward gives bacteria constant fuel, which promotes plaque formation and dental decay. Try to keep the number of snacks you eat every day to no more than one or two. If at all possible, brush your teeth right away after eating the snack.
  • Eat less sugary food, so it doesn’t stick to your teeth. Because they continually cover the teeth with sugar, and avoid or limit gum, mints, hard candies, and cough drops, all of which promote tooth decay.

Buy sugar-free or unsweetened foods.

Never give your infant a bottle of milk, formula, juice, or soda to drink before bed. If your child needs a bottle before bed, fill it with just water.

Instead of giving your child juice or soda, give them pure water. Sugar is present in milk, drinks, and juices. Water helps wash away any food particles that might be stuck to the teeth and is safe for the teeth.

To help them develop strong teeth, provide calcium-rich foods in your child’s diet. Yogurt, broccoli, and milk are all excellent sources.

If your youngster chews gum, pick sugar-free or xylitol-sweetened varieties. Bacteria in the mouth have been demonstrated to decrease when xylitol is consumed, and chewing increases saliva production.

Some Tips on Brushing and Visiting the Dentist

  • Brush and floss your child’s teeth, and use fluoride. After age two or after your child can spit out and not swallow toothpaste, using a fluoride toothpaste every day is the best way to avoid tooth decay. Early deterioration is reversed by fluoride. Fluoride administration remineralizes the surface after the tooth has developed. This entails supplying the teeth with minerals again. Minerals support tooth strength, which helps ward off tooth decay. If feasible, brush your child’s teeth at least twice daily and after every meal or snack. If brushing is not an option, at least repeatedly rinse your mouth with water. To help get debris out from between the teeth and below the gum line, floss your child’s teeth at least once a day.
  • After giving your child medicine, remember to brush his or her teeth. Cough syrups and other medications include sugar, which oral bacteria use to produce acids. The enamel, the tooth’s outermost layer of protection, can be destroyed by these acids.
  • Regularly visit the dentist. By the age of one or within six months of the first tooth breaking through the gums, your child should visit the dentist for the first time. Regular dental checks will also aid in early detection of any growing dental issues.

Taking care of your child’s nutrition as well as dental health and all the other things you must think about as a parent can be overwhelming. Still, it’s well worth the effort when your child grows into a healthy young adult with a brilliant and healthy smile as well as a healthy body. We only want what’s best for our children, and starting young is the safest and surest way to ensure we are doing all we can for them. Kids love sweets, but as parents, we need to make sure we are limiting their sugar intake and brushing their teeth frequently to avoid the buildup of plaque and acids that can ruin those little pearls.

Please book a dental appointment with us today, and let us make sure your child’s teeth are well taken care of.

Use ‘Em Or Lose ‘Em: Don’t Lose Your 2022 Dental Benefits!

Use ‘Em Or Lose ‘Em: Don’t Lose Your 2022 Dental Benefits!

As we near the end of 2022, it’s a great time to get some last-minute dental checkups and make sure your mouth is ending the year in good shape too. A lot of Americans don’t realize that once that clock hits 12 o’clock midnight on December 31st, your dental insurance resets and you lose out on any insurance benefits you still had left. Keep in mind that your benefits don’t carry over to the next year, so if they expire, you’ve wasted all of your money paying premiums to the insurance provider. Not to mention that every year, the cost of all services, including dental care, is subject to inflation. This leaves many feeling like they missed out on much-needed dental care they could have used if only they knew how the system worked.

Even if you don’t require any dental work, why not schedule a dental checkup or cleaning? Your oral and general health depends on preventive dental care. Your dentist can spot dental problems early on during these routine visits before they can get worse. Early detection of dental problems may wind up saving you time and money. Everyone can benefit from a dental cleaning, so if using your plan to its fullest before January 1st involves making an appointment for one, so be it!

Considerations for Dental Insurance Coverage

Here are some factors that will motivate you to maximize your insurance coverage in 2022:

  • Preventive Care: The majority of health policies provide two free appointments for services like cleanings and exams. You still have time to make an appointment if you haven’t had both checkups this year.
  • Annual Maximum: Dental insurance policies frequently have a yearly maximum they are prepared to cover within a given calendar year. Although the exact sum varies, it is typically close to $1,000 per person. Since these unused benefits don’t carry over into the next year, it makes sense to use them if you require any restorative procedures.
  • Monthly Premiums: Regardless of how often you use the insurance plan, you must always pay a monthly fee. Don’t throw away the money you worked so hard for! Even if you don’t require dental care, it’s still crucial to maintain your monthly exam schedule.
  • Healthy Smile: Being proactive with preventive dental care is the cornerstone of a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. We will examine the condition of your teeth and gums at each of your routine cleanings. If early indications of gum disease, cavities, or other dental issues are found, we can then provide recommendations.
  • Dental Issues: If you are currently experiencing any dental problems that need to be treated, don’t put it off. Waiting to consult a dentist puts you at risk for a future procedure that is more extensive and costly. A little cavity is simple to heal right now, but if you don’t take care of it, it could develop into a root canal in the future.

Dental Recare Treatment

Suppose you have recently had any kind of dental treatment done like a root canal, cavity removal, wisdom tooth removal, or any type of treatment at all. In that case, recare appointments are essential in order for your dentist to observe and ensure that no infections or further damage are being done to your teeth/gums. As part of a treatment plan or after receiving dental care, dental recare procedures entail careful supervision of your oral health. Your dentist will examine you for any potential issues and perform any necessary remedies during these dental sessions. To ensure that you are recovering well, observations are also made on how your gums, teeth, and jawbones are mending. These recare appointments can be six months or even longer after you have had your treatment done, so there is no better time to have your practitioner take a look at your oral health once more before the year ends.

The American Dental Association pushes dentists to remind their patients about recare appointments, so if your dentist has been reminding you to come in for a recare session, we recommend you take them up on it and get everything checked out.

Why are Recare Sessions so Important?

As long as disease-causing bacteria are present, complications with dental procedures are possible. A dentist must regularly examine medical and dental issues to make sure they are being effectively addressed.

Recall or recare appointments that are skipped could result in worse dental issues, such as an infection spreading to other areas of the face and body. Neglect can occasionally result in potentially fatal illnesses like sepsis.

If you have periodontal disease, just had braces put in, or had root canal therapy, it’s crucial that you go in for a recare appointment as a lot can go wrong if you don’t. In cases like these, simply practicing good oral hygiene isn’t always enough. Missing or skipping a dental cleaning and braces adjustment could make your treatment plan take longer. Plaque accumulation in difficult-to-reach areas between the wires and your teeth can also cause tooth decay to advance. Now that most dental offices are open, schedule an appointment to prevent having your braces treatment extended.

Below the surface, a lot may happen to our teeth and gums. You can check your dental health and safeguard your overall health by keeping your recare appointments on time. The American Dental Association stresses the value of regular dental checkups during the pandemic. Dental procedures like cleanings and other oral interventions are essential for preserving our overall health. Your immune system, which protects you from viral infections like COVID-19, can be impacted by any illness that develops in your mouth.

It can be challenging to fit it all in with the approaching holiday season. We know how hectic your schedule can become, but this is a fantastic chance to put your health first. Call our office right away so we can book an appointment that works well with your busy schedule.

A Timeline of Your Child’s Dental Milestones

A Timeline of Your Child’s Dental Milestones

When they are young, children go through various developmental milestones. Some days, it seems like time moves very slowly when you’re a tired parent balancing so many duties. Other days, it seems as though your child is suddenly growing up way too fast for your liking, and you long for time to go slower in these situations. Children experience so many major life milestones! Have you ever thought about all the dental milestones that children can reach? How about what to expect? The specific timing for each child varies. However, the majority of kids should reach the following dental milestones:

Birth to One Year: Eruption of Baby Teeth

You might not be aware of it, but your baby’s primary teeth are starting to form in her jaw even before her first tooth erupts. By the time they turn one, most babies’ first teeth should start to erupt. The two bottom teeth are often the first to erupt.

Teething episodes can be difficult, but they can also be exciting since they show your baby is developing. Their new teeth will provide them access to a larger variety of foods and, eventually, facilitate verbal communication.

Age 1 – 3 Years: First Dental Visit

Your child’s teeth will be actively erupting throughout this time, and by the time she is three, her mouth will be completely filled with baby teeth. Now is the ideal time to schedule a dental appointment for your child if you haven’t already. Keep in mind that baby teeth do matter! They will help with speech development and hold space for the permanent teeth.

Your child should have a complete set of 20 baby teeth by the age of three, including four central incisors, four lateral incisors, four canines, and eight molars. But, well before this time, you can assist kids in developing healthy oral hygiene practices!

As soon as any teeth appear, begin daily brushing with a child’s toothbrush and toothpaste. Additionally, you can floss between their teeth daily. By doing this from an early age, they can become accustomed to and at ease with regular dental hygiene!

Age 5 or 6: First Tooth Lost

The next significant dental milestone is the loss of baby teeth and the emergence of permanent teeth. This is referred to as “mixed dentition” by your dentist. Around the age of five or six, it occurs. Your child will typically need six years to lose all of her baby teeth before her last set of adult teeth erupts (except the wisdom teeth). As a parent, you must constantly check on your kid to make sure she is cleaning her teeth at least twice a day. Encourage her and make sure it’s enjoyable for her instead of feeling like a job. Additionally, your child should now go twice a year for checkups and preventative treatment at the dentist.

Baby teeth that are lost will be replaced with adult teeth. Because the gums already have room for teeth to grow, this might occasionally cause some pain and discomfort, though not nearly as much as when they were still developing their baby teeth.

Age 12 to 13: Molar Eruption

All of your child’s typical adult teeth erupt around the age of 12 or 13, along with the 12-year molars. This time, there can be dental problems that require care, like overlap, crowding, or a bad bite. Braces may be required for your child’s treatment. Most children acquire braces between the ages of 12 and 13, but some dentists may advise an orthodontic evaluation as early as 7. Teenagers are well known for having poor eating habits. Your child may be able to understand how crucial good dental health is to their overall health as they approach this age. Strive to teach children this connection as a parent.

Age 13+: Wisdom Teeth

Most teenagers’ jaws won’t have enough room for their third teeth to erupt. In this case, they might need to be extracted in order to prevent issues down the road such as infection, pain, and movement of neighboring teeth. You may be referred to an oral surgeon by your dentist. Your child’s orthodontist will monitor these teeth if he or she has worn braces by obtaining specialized x-rays. The orthodontist may execute the procedure himself if he is qualified. However, some fortunate patients never develop wisdom teeth or never require removal.

Your child should have 28 adult teeth by the time they are 12 or 13 years old, including four central incisors, four lateral incisors, four canines, eight premolars, and eight molars. They may still have 1-4 wisdom teeth, which are extra molars that erupt between the ages of 17 and 26.

By regularly brushing and flossing their teeth, drinking lots of water, eating a balanced diet, and coming to our clinic for regular professional cleanings, they may maintain excellent oral health. If your child participates in sports, they should wear a sports mouthguard to protect their teeth.

There are a number of developmental dental milestones that children will experience throughout their childhood up until their young adult lives. They will develop baby teeth, lose them, then grow adult teeth, possibly requiring wisdom tooth extraction. Children should visit a dentist for a checkup at least once a year, regardless of their dental health or stage of development.

We take great pride in serving patients of all ages, including children, in our many offices. Remember that kids might accomplish their dental milestones earlier or later than the listed ages and still have fantastic oral health! Please get in touch with us right away if you have any concerns about your child’s dental development or inquiries about our services.

What Problems Can Thumb-Sucking and Pacifiers Cause?

What Problems Can Thumb-Sucking and Pacifiers Cause?

Whether you’re a new parent or this is your second or third young child, you know that sleepless nights and constant crying can take their toll on your mental and physical well-being. Sometimes, it’s a relief when your infant quiets down after discovering how soothing his thumb can be, or if your baby takes to the new pacifier you just bought him so well that it’s now constantly in his mouth, and you can finally hear yourself think. We’ve all been there, and we get it. As long as you wean your child from this practice before they get older, the use of pacifiers and thumb sucking is harmless in the short term. The problem, however, is that it can present dental problems in the long run. 

You’ll go to any lengths as a parent to support your child’s healthy growth and development. This article will explain when and how to break your child’s habit of thumb-sucking or use of pacifiers in order to protect their oral health.

Pacifiers and Thumb-Sucking

Throughout early life, it’s very typical for kids to suck their thumbs or pacifiers. Within two hours of birth, 90% of newborns start sucking their thumbs or fingers. Many kids naturally outgrow this practice as they become older, however, some kids may find it difficult to break the habit.

Both thumb-sucking and using a pacifier can harm your child’s teeth. But it’s simpler to stop using a pacifier than to stop sucking your thumb. You cannot take away your child’s thumbs and fingers like a binky since they are always available to them.

The frequency and intensity of suction affect how thumb and pacifier use affect teeth. 

Although you have little control over how firmly your child sucks on their thumb or pacifier, keeping an eye on it is crucial as the teeth are shifted out of position as a result of the excessive power used. Transitioning away from thumb-sucking or pacifier use earlier may be beneficial for kids with stronger suction.

Should I Prohibit Thumb-Sucking And/Or Pacifiers?

You can allow your young child to suck on their thumb or pacifier. Only when it persists past a certain age does it become damaging. Most kids between the ages of 2 and 4 progressively stop sucking their thumbs or pacifiers. However, some children will require parental assistance to break this habit.

When should children stop sucking their thumbs? If a child hasn’t stopped sucking their thumb by age 4, parents should start restricting their use of pacifiers and should discourage it. When your child’s adult teeth begin to erupt, using a pacifier or sucking on their thumb causes irreversible harm. At age 6, children begin losing their primary teeth and developing their permanent teeth, thus, it’s imperative to stop thumb or pacifier use at this time.

Children naturally suck their thumbs as a reflex when they are young. Older children thumb-suck for comfort and stress relief. They need to find alternative methods of self-soothing when it’s time to stop. Your child can break this habit with the least amount of stress and discomfort by using the right techniques. The following tips can help make this process easier on you as well as your child:

  • Show positivity: Do not discipline your child for sucking their thumb or using a pacifier. Instead, commend them and provide them incentives for not doing it.
  • Help them understand: Your child may become confused or unhappy if you tell them to stop sucking their thumb or using a pacifier. Make sure they understand the benefits of stopping and the consequences for their teeth if they don’t. When a child’s dentist explains why they should quit, some kids respond more favorably.
  • Patience: It will take some time to break your child from the habit of sucking their thumbs or pacifiers. Limiting the amount of time they can suck on their thumb or using a pacifier will help you wean them off gradually.
  • Offer a replacement: Your child can get the same level of comfort from a soft blanket or stuffed animal as they would from sucking their thumb or using a pacifier. They’ll need some time to get used to it, but eventually, they’ll figure out how to cope without damaging their teeth.

Effects of Pacifiers and Thumb Sucking on Dental Health

Thumb sucking or pacifier use could eventually lead to your child’s teeth developing incorrectly. The jaw and mouth’s form can be affected by the suction and presence of a foreign item, such as a thumb or binky, which can also cause the teeth to shift. Here are some potential problems brought on by using a pacifier or thumb-sucking:

  • Crooked teeth: Children that routinely suck their thumbs or pacifiers are always chewing on something foreign. Their teeth subsequently grow around this object, leading to malocclusion, or crooked teeth. An open bite frequently results from the top row of teeth being pushed up and out while the bottom row is forced inward. Even when their mouth is closed, kids with open bites have a noticeable space between their top and bottom teeth.
  • Overbites: An overbite develops when the top front teeth are pushed out significantly more than the bottom ones, giving the impression of “bucked teeth.” Children who have malocclusion may experience self-consciousness and possibly have difficulty eating or speaking.
  • Deformed jaw: The jaw and surrounding tissues develop improperly as a result of the pressure from thumb sucking or pacifier use. Furthermore, the jaw cannot rest properly when there is a foreign item present. If the situation is severe enough, your child’s facial structure and look may alter, necessitating substantial medical care.
  • Speech: Your child’s capacity for speech is influenced by the position of their teeth, jaw, and surrounding tissues. Long-term thumb sucking or pacifier use might misalign the jaw, leading to lisps and speech difficulties. Children who frequently have a thumb or binky in their mouth are also unable to practice formative language skills.

Please call us at 801-948-8880 and book an appointment with us for your child today!

Are Electric Toothbrushes Better for Kids?

Are Electric Toothbrushes Better for Kids?

Good oral hygiene practices should be formed early. Dentists advise that you begin brushing your child’s teeth when the baby erupts, using a toothbrush for their age range and progressing to larger brushes. Electric toothbrushes are better than manual ones.

As long as they are used properly, both toothbrushes can equally effectively prevent plaque and decay from building up on your child’s teeth. However, attractive features on electric toothbrushes may encourage younger children to brush their teeth less frequently and promote oral health.

Which Toothbrush Do Kids Prefer?

Your child is more likely to use their toothbrush properly if they enjoy using it. You can choose which brush your child prefers by letting them use both manual and electric ones and decide which they prefer.

Electric toothbrushes can be enticing to some children and unsettling or frightening, though this changes typically as the child becomes accustomed to the device. It is all a matter of preference. While some kids might enjoy the back-and-forth, up-and-down motion of traditional brushing, others might prefer the motion of electric toothbrushes that clean their teeth one at a time.

How Do I Choose the Right One?

Allowing your child to select their toothbrush is the best approach to finding one that they will like using. Bring them to the store, pharmacy, or dental office so they can look over all the options and choose the one they’ll be happiest utilizing daily.

Some electronic toothbrushes have features like lights, music, and sound effects that are intended to make them even more enticing. This might assist your child in brushing for the necessary amount of time and encourage them to do so (two minutes, twice a day).

Are There Any Solid Benefits to Electric Toothbrushes?

Electric toothbrushes do provide some great benefits for children. Some of them are as follows:

  • They remove plaque more effectively than manual toothbrushes

The bacterial coating that sticks to our teeth and is colorless and sticky is called plaque. We want children to remove all the plaque when they brush! Plaque eradication is more effective with electric toothbrushes than with manual ones. Why? An electric toothbrush may clean your teeth anywhere from 8,000 to 25,000 times per minute, depending on the brand and type. All of them use bristles that oscillate or vibrate in some way. A human hand cannot match that many strokes! Every stroke is an opportunity to remove plaque, which can result in bad breath, tartar, and decay.

  • Kids can avoid brushing their teeth too hard by using electric toothbrushes.

It would help if you had acute motor control to brush your teeth. Children must move the toothbrush with the proper pressure and at the appropriate angle. Many children seven and younger need more coordination to accomplish this. Also, many older children think brushing more vigorously results in better brushing. In actuality, overly vigorous brushing might harm tooth enamel. There are pressure alerts on many high-quality electric toothbrushes, so they stop working if your child brushes too hard! Kids can also use the brush in a motion that requires less fine motor control, such as a slide-and-glide action.

  • Kids are more likely to brush with an electric toothbrush for the full two minutes.

For children, two minutes can seem like an eternity. It’s easy to become sidetracked when so many screens and toys are around. With certain electric toothbrushes, brushing becomes fun. Some toothbrushes use Bluetooth to link the toothbrush and tablet, and when your child brushes for the entire two minutes, an app rewards them with points. The app then monitors how long your child brushes. These points can be used to feed or personalize a virtual pet they can brush. Another great electric toothbrush is the Oral-B Smart 1500, which is high-quality and long-lasting.

  • Children might be encouraged to brush those challenging areas with an electric toothbrush.

Bluetooth apps can track WHERE children are brushing. They can see where they touched and missed, so kids can go back and brush those forgotten spots! Some brushes are good at cleaning hard-to-reach areas in a short period. 

  • For many children, using an electronic rather than a manual brush is more enjoyable.

Even if it features a child’s favorite character, a manual toothbrush doesn’t seem appealing in today’s high-tech world. Even those intended for teenagers and adults often include high-tech features. For example, personalized 3-D brushing models keep track of where you brush. Timers serve as a reminder of how long to remain in one spot. You are prevented from brushing too hard by pressure sensors. Your youngster is far more likely to brush without conflict if they enjoy it! Kids will look forward to brushing when you add entertaining online pets to the mix, who will keep you company. Many kids relate high technology to “fun” and “better.”

This informative article helps you decide whether or not electric toothbrushes are the right choice for your child. It’s also essential to take your child for regular dental visits, so feel free to book an appointment with us for your child today. Please check out our blog page for many great articles about your child’s dental health and helpful advice on keeping your child’s oral health in tip-top shape!