preventing cavities in baby teeth

Preventing Cavities in Baby Teeth

Tooth decay is a serious problem in children, with studies showing that approximately 42% of kids between the ages of 2 and 11 develop cavities. Cavities have become a common chronic disease, and unfortunately, cavities can leave your child dealing with pain, infection, and other related oral health problems. Taking care of your child’s teeth is important, since healthy teeth are essential for speech development, proper chewing, and good nutrition. Here’s a closer look at baby teeth, why they’re important, and some tips for preventing cavities.

Importance of Baby Teeth

Some parents have the idea that the baby teeth, or primary teeth, are not important because they eventually fall out. However, baby teeth are actually significant for several reasons. The baby teeth help encourage jaw bone development, reserving the space that will be needed later for the permanent teeth. Baby teeth also aid in speech development and allow children to efficiently chew their food. When the baby teeth are unhealthy, your child is more likely to have oral health problems once they have their permanent teeth as well.

Tips for Cavity Prevention

Cavities have the potential to spread and result in infection if they aren’t taken care of properly, but it is possible to prevent childhood cavities. Here’s a look at some simple tips parents can use to prevent cavities in baby teeth and promote good overall oral health.

Tip #1 – Ensure Your Child Gets Fluoride

Fluoride helps prevent cavities by protecting tooth enamel and ensuring it’s more resistant to the bacteria and acids that can cause tooth decay. Make sure your child is drinking water that is fluoride, since water fluoridation shows a significant reduction in childhood tooth decay. If your water isn’t fluoridated, you may want to talk to your dentist about dietary fluoride supplements. Using toothpaste and mouthwash with fluoride in it can also help with cavity prevention.

Tip #2 – Reduce Consumption of Starches and Sugars

It’s important to make sure your child is eating a healthy diet to prevent cavities in baby teeth. A poor diet that lacks important nutrients can result in the faster progression of tooth decay in baby teeth. You also need to reduce your child’s consumption of starches and sugars, since they result in the production of acids that eat away at tooth enamel, increasing the risk of cavities. Watch out for foods that seem healthy but that pack in sugars, such as fruit juices. Foods high in acids, such as citrus fruits, should be limited as well, since they can also weaken tooth enamel.

Tip #3 – Beware of What Your Child Drinks at Bedtime

Many parents soothe their child at bedtime with a bottle, but you need to beware of what your child drinks at bedtime. After nighttime brushing, avoid allowing your child to go to bed with a sippy cup of bottle that contains juice or milk. Both juice and milk contain sugars, and if your child drinks those beverages at bedtime, those sugars stay on your child’s teeth all night long, increasing the risk of cavities. If you want to put your child to bed with a drink, stick to water.

Tip #4 – Brushing and Flossing

As soon as that first baby tooth pops, it’s time to start brushing your child’s teeth, and as soon as there are teeth that touch each other, you’ll probably want to start flossing between teeth. Teeth should be brushed twice a day, and the earlier you start this routine, the easier it will be for your child to stick with oral hygiene habits that last a lifetime. Help your child learn to brush correctly, using gentle strokes with the brush at a 45-degree angle to teeth. Brushing should last for two minutes. Make brushing more fun with games and songs, or ask your dentist for suggestions that can make oral hygiene more fun for your kids.

Tip #5 – Schedule Regular Checkups

Scheduling regular checkups with your child’s dentist can also help prevent cavities in baby teeth. Your dentist can help educate your child on good oral health habits that can prevent tooth decay. Regular checkups also ensure that any oral health problems are caught early before they become a significant problem. Routine cleanings will reduce plaque buildup that can cause cavities as well.

Just because your child’s baby teeth will fall out doesn’t mean that oral care can be neglected. With good oral health habits and regular dental visits, you can prevent cavities in baby teeth and ensure your child enjoys a beautiful smile now and on into adulthood.

 

ditch thumb sucking

How to Ditch Thumb Sucking

Since babies naturally have sucking and rooting reflexes, sucking their thumb or finger is a common habit, and it’s often something developed before birth. Thumb sucking often makes babies feel more secure, which can make it turn into a habit when they are ready to sleep or they need to be soothed. In most cases, kids ditch thumb sucking themselves when they are toddlers. However, some kids have a tougher time kicking this habit, which can lead to oral health problems as their mouth and teeth develop.

Consequences of Thumb Sucking

Unfortunately, thumb sucking can have some serious consequences if it’s a habit that continues. The thumb can put pressure on soft tissue, teeth, and bone, resulting in problems with jaw growth and the positioning of teeth. It’s possible to push upper front teeth out while pushing the lower incisors in, or it can prevent the child’s front teeth from completely erupting. Sometimes it can stop normal development of the lower jaw or narrow the palate’s soft tissue, causing a crossbite.

When It’s Time to Intervene

Thumb sucking can cause problems in baby teeth, although it becomes a bigger concern if a child’s permanent teeth are coming in. Research shows that thumb sucking can have an impact on teeth even when children are toddlers, and while the American Academy of Pediatrics says you usually don’t need to intervene until about age five, parents may want to start working with their children on ditching the habit while children are still toddlers. Many kids will quit the habit on their own, but others may need a bit of help kicking this habit for the sake of their oral health.

Tips for Stopping Thumb Sucking

What can you do to help your child ditch this habit before it becomes an oral health concern? Here’s a few tips that can help.

Tip #1 – Have a Talk with Your Child

Start by talking to your child about the thumb sucking habit. Getting your child involved in the process of stopping this habit is the best way to deal with the situation. Give your child information on why thumb sucking can be a problem and encourage him to begin taking measures to stop the habit. Kids are smart, so letting them know why they should stop can help. You can also use some pictures of what can happen to their teeth to drive home your point about kicking the thumb sucking.

Tip #2 – Identify the Triggers

Take the time to identify the triggers for thumb sucking. Is your child sucking his thumb as a way to cope with stress? If so, figure out the underlying issue and find ways to offer comfort to your child in other ways, such as offering some reassuring words or a hug. Giving your child a stuffed animal or pillow to squeeze for comfort can help as well. In many cases, alleviating issues causing anxiety and stress to your child can eliminate this habit.

Tip #3 – Practice Self-Awareness

Your child may not always realize that he is sucking his thumb, so practice self-awareness. If you see your child sucking his thumb, gently ask him if he’s aware that he’s sucking his thumb. Gently offer reminders to stop, but do it without ridiculing, criticizing, or scolding your child. Make sure you don’t do this in front of others or you risk embarrassing yourself.

Tip #4 – Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is the most effective when you’re trying to help your child ditch the thumb sucking habit. Offer praise when you notice that your child isn’t sucking his thumb. You can also provide some small rewards to your child for avoiding the habit. Consider creating a calendar that tracks your child’s progress in kicking the habit that has a reward system each week with small rewards. You can offer a larger reward if the habit is stopped for a month or longer to continue reinforcing their good work on stopping this habit.

Tip #5 – Get Encouragement from Your Child’s Dentist

Encouragement from your child’s dentist can also be helpful when you’re working to help your child kick thumb sucking for good. Your dentist can talk to your child about the importance of stopping, backing up what you’ve already discussed with your child.

If your child is sucking his thumb, work with him at home to stop the habit and get your dentist involved, too. Set up an appointment with your dentist today to talk about thumb sucking and to make sure any oral problems related to thumb sucking are addressed quickly.

 

human mouth with a missing tooth. Toe is showing the gap.

What If My Child Knocks Out a Permanent Tooth?

Kids enjoy roughhousing, jumping, running, and playing sports, and unfortunately, sometimes that results in a tooth being knocked out. The American Association of Endodontists reports that over five million teeth get knocked out each year. If a permanent tooth is knocked out, it can result in some oral health problems, so it’s important to consult with your dentist right away. It can be scary if your child knocks out a permanent tooth, but if you are prepared for the event, you’ll be able to stay calm and take action to help save your child’s tooth. The good news – taking action quickly can save the tooth, allowing it to be successfully planted so it can last a lifetime.

Consequences of a Knocked Out Permanent Tooth

If your child knocks out a permanent tooth, it’s obviously going to leave a gap in his smile, and that can leave your child feeling self conscious about smiling for years to come. Some of the risks that come with losing a permanent tooth may include:

  • Shifting of the teeth
  • Changes in your child’s jaw joint
  • Bone loss in the jaw
  • The remaining teeth may wear down
  • Problems chewing food

Action Steps to Follow When Your Child Knocks Out a Permanent Tooth

Hopefully the tooth can be found if your child has a permanent tooth knocked out. If you can’t find it, you need to get into your dentist right away to find out what options are available. If you can find the knocked out tooth, you need to act fast. Follow these steps to help save the tooth.

  • Step #1 – Pick up the tooth carefully, touching it on the crown. Avoid touching the root of the tooth. Use cool running water or some milk to rinse of dirt or blood. Make sure you don’t scrub or touch the tooth root. You should never use any chemicals or soap to clean the tooth. Don’t dry the tooth or wrap it in cloth or a tissue.
  • Step #2 – If possible, the American Association of Endodontics recommends placing the tooth back into its socket, pushing it gently into position. However, you should never force the tooth back into position.
  • Step #3 – If you’re unable to get the tooth back in place, you can place it in a container of milk so it’s kept moist. Milk is a great medium for storing a knocked out tooth because it protects the root of the tooth and won’t make cells from the root surface swell up and burst like tap water does.
  • Step #4 – Immediately go to your dentist. If you can have the tooth implanted back into your child’s mouth within 30 minutes of losing it, it greatly increases the chance that the tooth will survive. However, a dentist can often save a tooth, even if it’s been an hour or more since it was knocked out. The most important thing is to get to a dentist as fast as possible to increase the chances that the permanent tooth can be saved.
  • Step #5 – Your child’s dentist may splint the tooth to the teeth that are next to it using a thin metal or plastic wire. This allows the ligaments that help joint the tooth and the bone to regrow. After a few weeks have passed, your child’s dentist will check the tooth to see if the tooth has fully reattached. If so, the splint can be removed.

What if the Tooth Doesn’t Reattach?

In many cases, the tooth will reattach, but sometimes a tooth won’t reattach, especially if you’re unable to get to the dentist quickly after your child knocks out the tooth. The good news is that there are ways to fill the gap. A bridge or implant can be used to fill the gap and give your child a perfect smile once again.

A knocked out permanent tooth can be distressing for both you and your child. However, if you stay calm, take care of the tooth, and get to your dentist right away, it can be saved. At Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida, we specialize in working with children.  If your child loses a permanent tooth, we’re here to help. Give us a call and schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentistry today.

 

space maintenance

How Does Space Maintenance Work?

In an ideal world, children would lose their primary teeth and their permanent teeth would be ready to grow in. Unfortunately, things don’t always work that way. Children experience tooth decay or injury that results in early tooth loss. When this happens a dentist may recommend a space maintainer.

If your child’s dentist has recommended space maintainers, you may be wondering if it is really necessary. We will take a closer look at why space maintainers are needed, when they should be considered, and what options may be available to your child.

Why are Dental Space Maintainers Needed

Each and every tooth in your mouth has a small, designated space in which it is supposed to grow. If the tooth grows at a slight angle or shifts, it could cause problems for not only that tooth but all the teeth that surround it. Problems that can happen include overcrowding, gaps, and even tooth loss.

A dental space maintainer is uniquely designed to help teeth grow in their proper place. When a child loses a tooth before the permanent tooth is ready to grow in that leaves a huge space that can interfere with the proper growth of surrounding teeth. The placement of a dental space maintainer holds a space in the mouth for the permanent tooth to grow in at a later date. Holding the space allows other surrounding teeth to continue to grow at their own pace without shifting, crowding, or becoming misaligned.

When Should Dental Space Maintainers be Considered

Dental space maintainers should be considered any time a child loses his or her primary teeth. In some situations, such as natural tooth loss that occurs when a permanent tooth is about to grow in, a dental space maintainer may not be needed. However, other times a space maintainer may be needed to avoid dental problems in the future.

Some situations where dental space maintainers may be needed include:

  • Tooth loss as a result of extensive decay
  • An injury to a primary tooth that damages to the point it needs to be extracted
  • Trauma to the tooth that completely knocks the tooth out before it is ready to naturally fall out

Before a dentist will recommend a dental space maintainer, he or she will conduct a brief oral examination. The dentist will be looking at the space that was created by the loss of a tooth and even how soon permanent teeth may grow in. If there is only a small period of time when the space will be left empty, a dental space maintainer might not be recommended.

A Close Look at the Various Types of Dental Space Maintainers

There are two types of space maintainers that can be recommended for your child. The type types are removal maintainers and fixed maintainers. Both types of space maintainers are designed to perform the same function – hold a space in your child’s mouth – but they do so in different ways.

A removable space maintainer is made out of acrylic and uses tooth-colored artificial teeth to mimic the size and shape of a real tooth. These space maintainers can easily be removed without the help of a dentist.

Removable space maintainers are often used for older patients as they can easily pop in and out. They are also used when there are multiple teeth missing or the space that was created is large.

The other option available for dental space maintainers is a fixed maintainer. Fixed maintainers are actually attached to the surrounding teeth and do not pop in and out of the mouth. These space maintainers are often used for younger children and when the tooth that is missing is in the back of the mouth.

Things to Consider When Getting a Dental Space Maintainer

Getting a dental space maintainer is not a decision you should make lightly. There are several things you should consider include:

  • Age of your child
  • How many teeth are missing
  • Where the teeth are missing from
  • When permanent teeth will grow in
  • Budget
  • Ability to commit to multiple dental appointments as the space maintainer will need to be adjusted and/or removed

If you believe your child may be in need of a space maintainer, call Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida to schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist.

 

novocaine

Can You Be Allergic to Novocaine?

You may have an upcoming appointment for a dental procedure that requires a local anesthetic, but are wondering if a person can be allergic to Novocaine.

You might be glad to find out that, while it is possible to have an allergic reaction to Novocaine, true allergies to general or local anesthetics is exceeding rare. In fact, the incidence ranges from 1 in 5,000 to 25,000 cases.

Some people are sensitive to anesthetics and other medications, but not allergic to them. Symptoms of drug sensitivities include shaking, sweating, feeling faint, and experiencing heart palpitations.

If you have used Novocaine successfully in the past, it is less likely that you will suffer an allergic reaction to Novocaine than would someone who has never been exposed to the local anesthetic.

What is an Allergy?

An allergy is a state in which your body’s immune system detects an otherwise harmless substance, known as an allergen, and overreacts to it.

People can be allergic to a number of things, including pollen and certain types of food or drugs. Individuals can also have allergies to latex, a common ingredient of the gloves worn by dental and medical professionals.

Allergic reactions can range in severity from mild skin rashes to anaphylaxis, which is a severe form of allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis can cause swelling of the airway that can cause difficulty breathing.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction to local anesthetics, such as Novocaine, include:

  • Skin reactions, such as rash, hives, itching, or swelling
  • Asthma-like symptoms
  • Anaphylactic shock in extreme cases

While some allergic reactions can be dangerous, most are not. In fact, most people who suffer an allergic reaction to local anesthetics experience only temporary itching and skin rash at the site of the injection. While it can happen, anaphylactic shock resulting from Novocaine and other local anesthetics is extremely rare.

Allergic Reactions to Other Chemicals in Local Anesthetics

People can experience an allergic reaction to other chemicals in local anesthetics, such as epinephrine and preservatives.

Most formulations of local anesthetics also contain epinephrine, for example, which constricts the blood vessels at the injection site. Making these blood vessels smaller helps the Novocaine work in several ways. First, constricting the blood vessels decreases blood flow to the area, so that the Novocaine stays near the injection site longer. This means epinephrine helps the numbing power of Novocaine last longer.

Local anesthetics may also contain preservatives to keep the epinephrine fresh. Allergies to these preservatives or to epinephrine are also rare, and reactions are often the result of sensitivities rather than true allergies. Many patients who experience sensitivities to epinephrine or preservatives, however, may worry that they are allergic to Novocaine.

Central Nervous System Reaction

Sometimes local anesthetics can cause a reaction in the nervous system rather than in the immune system. Novocaine can sometime interfere with the way the central nervous system functions. Your dentist should thoroughly review your medical history before administering Novocaine to determine the proper dose and to make sure you do not have any pre-existing medical conditions that would increase your risk for a central nervous system reaction.

An excessively high dose of Novocain may cause central nervous system symptoms, such as nervousness and dizziness. In rare cases, high doses of Novocaine may cause respiratory failure. A careful review of your medical history and assessment of your health can reduce your risk for central nervous system reactions.

What Your Dentist Can Do

If you are concerned that you might be allergic to Novocaine, speak with your dentist. Your dental health professional can review your signs and symptoms to help you determine whether you can use Novocaine safely for dental procedures.

Ask your dentist if he or she will be using Novocaine. People in the United States often use the word Novocaine when they talk about local anesthetics, even though most dentists have used lidocaine for local anesthesia since the 1980s.

Notify your dentist of any side effects you may have experienced after the use of Novocaine before undergoing any treatment that requires local anesthesia. Informing your dentist of your history of an allergic reaction, sensitivity, or central nervous system reaction can help your dentist take proper measures to respond to any signs of a recurrence during procedures requiring Novocaine.

 

pediatric dentist

Pediatric Dentist vs. Family Dentist: Which is Right for Your Child?

As a parent, you want the best care for your children’s health. Choosing the right health professional is an important part of providing that care.

You may not realize it, but you have two choices when it comes to choosing a dental professional for your child: a family dentist and a pediatric dentist. While the two types of dentists seem similar at first glance, there are significant differences between the two.

Here is some information that can help you understand the differences between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist, and make an informed choice about which may be better for the dental health of your child.

Family Dentist

A person’s dental needs change throughout life, so a child’s dental needs are quite different from those of a senior citizen. A family dentist addresses oral health issues for patients at every stage in their lives. This means a family dentist focuses on oral hygiene and health of teeth for patients of all ages, from childhood to adulthood.

Family dentists provide a number of services for patients, including:

  • Regular cleanings
  • Fluoride treatments
  • Cavity identification and filling
  • Orthodontics
  • Treatments for gum disease

These are important services for people at every age and most family dentists do a good job of caring for your entire family.

Pediatric Dentist

Children are not simply small adults – kids have special needs when it comes to dentistry. They may not always be able to cooperate during a dental exam, for exam, or sit quietly for other treatments. Pediatric dentists know how to examine and treat children in ways that makes the dentistry experience more comfortable for kids.

Pediatric dentists have special qualifications and experience in the care of a child’s teeth, gums, and mouth throughout the various stages of childhood. These dental professionals specialize in providing care to children from infancy through the child’s teen years.

If your child is like most kids, baby teeth began appearing during the first six months of your little one’s life. By the age of 6 or 7 years, your child will lose his or her first set of teeth. Permanent teeth, also known as secondary teeth, eventually appear in their place.

Even though baby teeth are temporary, they still require proper dental care. Tooth decay can affect permanent teeth and baby teeth, and this decay can cause a lifetime of pain and complications.

Young children are at special risk for a condition known as early childhood caries, which is an infectious and painful condition. Children with this condition suffer from decayed teeth, missing teeth, or have had fillings in one or more primary teeth. The condition affects kids from birth until the age of 71 months, or nearly 6 years old. America’s Pediatric Dentists says that early childhood caries is the most common disease in young children, and that the number of children with this form of rapid tooth decay is on the rise.

Pediatric dentists undergo special training to detect, diagnose and treat early childhood caries. In fact, pediatric dentists have completed at least four years of dental school then two more years of residency training in dentistry for infants, children, and teens. Pediatric dentists also work with children with special needs.

Pediatric dentists also look for and treat other dental problems that affect children more often, or differently, than adults. A pediatric dentist may have special insight into dental problems relating to thumb sucking, for example.

Pediatric Dentists Provide Different Services than does a Family Dentist

Pediatric dentists provide treatments not always available through family dentists. These treatments may include:

  • Regular Check-Ups
  • Teeth Cleanings
  • Sealants
  • Fluoride treatments
  • Crowns
  • Tooth-Colored Fillings
  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Space Maintenance
  • General Anesthesia
  • I.V. Sedation
  • Emergency Dental Care
  • Thumb, Finger and Pacifier Habits
  • Lip Tie and Tongue Tie Laser Revision
  • Orthodontics

Your pediatrician may have even recommended that your child see a pediatric dentist. You can find pediatric dentists practice in a variety of locations, including private practices.

Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida offers a number of treatment options for your child’s dental care. Our pediatric dentists have the training, experience and expertise to care for your child’s teeth, gums, and mouth. When your pediatrician suggests that your child receive a dental exam, make an appointment with a pediatric dentist rather than a family dentist to ensure the best possible care.

 

tooth ache

How to Care for a Toothache

Toothaches can creep up on your child out of nowhere. One moment they may seem perfectly fine, the next they could be holding their cheek and complaining of extreme pain. Knowing how to care for a toothache at home can help you relieve some of your child’s pain until he or she can be seen by a pediatric dentist.

The following are some suggestions for at-home care that may be able to help your child if he or she is experiencing a toothache.

Use Warm Water and Table Salt to Provide Temporary Pain Relief

The goal to providing pain relief for a toothache is to relieve some of the swelling that is occurring in the mouth. Even if you can’t see any visible signs of swelling, such as a swollen cheek or puffy gums, there could still be swelling that is occurring under the gums or in areas that cannot be seen.

You can reduce swelling by creating a mixture of warm water and table salt. Take approximately a teaspoon of salt and mix it into a small cup of warm water. Let the water cool then have your child rinse his or her mouth out with the salt water mixture and spit it out.

This pain relief method should only be tried if your child is old enough to follow directions as you do not want them to swallow the salt water mixture.

Apply a Cold Compress

Cold compresses can dramatically reduce swelling even inside the mouth. Apply a cold compress directly to your child’s cheek. Try to apply it as close to where you think the actual toothache is occurring as this will help provide the most relief.

Any type of cold object, such as a pop can or ice, can be used as a compress, but most parents prefer to use something that is soft and malleable. Gel-style ice packets or bags of frozen vegetables are often recommended as they can fit comfortably on your child’s face.

Remember when applying a cold compress to wrap the compress in a soft towel. This will help prevent your child from getting frostbite.

Give Your Child an Over-the-Counter Pain Medication

Over-the-counter pain medications can provide temporary pain relief for your child if he or she is experiencing a toothache. Make sure that any pain medication you do give your child is age appropriate. If you have any questions, please ask your child’s doctor, a pharmacist or dentist before administering the pain medication.

Children’s over-the-counter pain medicine comes in two forms: chewable pills and liquid. Both options will work, but your child may prefer a liquid pain medication. The liquid pain medication may be easier for them to swallow as chewing the pills may be painful with a toothache.

Use Clove Oil to Numb the Pain

Clove oil is a natural analgesic. It can be applied to the area where the toothache is occurring and provide temporary pain relief. Clove oil can be purchased in pure oil form or as part of an oral pain medicine.

Schedule an Appointment with a Pediatric Dentist

Even if your at-home care relieves your child’s toothache, he or she will still need to be seen by a pediatric dentist. Some situations, such as cavities or a slight tooth fracture, may have pain that comes and goes over time. It is important that an experienced pediatric dentist conduct a full exam to determine the cause of the toothache. Once the cause is determined, your child can get the necessary treatment he or she needs to start feeling better.

Families in the Maitland or St. Cloud area can schedule an appointment at the Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida. Our dentists and hygienists provide gentle dental care that is specifically tailored for children. Our comprehensive routine check-ups and examinations will help identify the cause of your child’s toothache.

If you believe your child’s toothache cannot wait until their next regularly scheduled appointment, we do offer emergency dental care. Just call us and explain the situation and our front office staff will get your child an appointment as soon as possible.

Call our office today to schedule an appointment or to learn more about our pediatric emergency dental care.

 

what is fluoride

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is everywhere. It is in the water your child drinks, in the toothpaste he or she uses, and even in mouthwashes, but what is it?

We will take a look at exactly what fluoride is and why it is an important part of your child’s dental care.

Fluoride is Like a Superhero That Fights Cavities

Think of fluoride as a cavity fighting superhero. Without exposure to enough fluoride, your teeth are left weak. Weak teeth are extremely susceptible to tooth decay. If left untreated, tooth decay over time can cause cavities.

Fluoride helps naturally fight cavities by building up the strength of the enamel on your child’s teeth. The enamel is the outer surface of the tooth. It provides your child’s teeth with the structure and stability he or she needs to talk and chew. The stronger your child’s tooth enamel is the more resistant your child’s teeth will be to acid attacks and bacteria that can cause tooth decay and cavities.

Early Signs of Tooth Decay can be Reversed with Fluoride

Even children who brush and floss on a regular basis may show signs of early tooth decay. Fluoride can help reverse the early signs of tooth decay and prevent gum disease or cavities from forming.

Each and every time your child’s teeth are exposed to fluoride it starts to slowly rebuild any weakened enamel. This process is called remineralization. The fluoride targets specific weakened points on the tooth’s surface and rebuilds it so it is strong enough to fight against tooth decay.

While fluoride does help to reverse early signs of tooth decay, it cannot completely eliminate tooth decay. If your child has extensive tooth decay or the enamel on his or her teeth is severely damaged, fluoride treatments may not be enough. In situations like this, a pediatric dentist can provide treatment recommendations that will help improve your child’s oral health.

Find Fluoride in the Water Your Child Drinks

Fluoride is a natural mineral that is found in almost all rivers, lakes, and oceans. Unfortunately, when public water companies filter water to get it to your home, the natural fluoride is eliminated. In an effort to improve the oral health of your child and yourself, most public water suppliers have started to add additional fluoride to the water. Additional fluoride increases fluoride levels so your child has some protection against tooth decay.

Additional Fluoride can be Found in Toothpastes and Mouthwashes

Parents who are concerned about their child not getting enough fluoride can purchase toothpastes and mouthwashes that have been fortified with additional fluoride.

If you use fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes with your child, it is important you keep these tips in mind:

  • Brush your child’s teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Make sure your child spits out all the toothpaste
  • Use the proper amount of toothpaste for your child’s age. Children three and under should only have a small smear of toothpaste that looks like a grain of rice on their toothbrush, while children three to six should have a pea sized smear.
  • Use fluoride mouthwash only if your child is six years old or older. Younger children are likely to swallow it.
  • Purchase fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash that has an ADA Seal of Acceptance on it

Consider a Fluoride Supplement

Some areas don’t put additional fluoride into the community drinking water. This leaves children extremely susceptible to tooth decay as the enamel doesn’t get built up from the fluoride. People who live in these areas may want to consider fluoride supplements.

Fluoride supplements are available by prescription only. Typically, fluoride supplements are prescribed for children between the ages of six months and 16 years who are at high risk for cavities and who do not have regular access to fluoride enhanced water. They can be prescribed by a dentist or family doctor and come in tablet, lozenge, or drop form.

Fluoride Treatments are Administered at Routine Dental Checkups

Fluoride treatments are often administered as part of your child’s routine dental checkup. Professional application of fluoride can be done a number of different ways. Dentists can apply a fluoride gel or form directly to the teeth or they can administer a fluoride rinse. The type of fluoride treatment your child receives will depend upon their age.

The dentists and dental staff at The Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida are willing to answer any further questions you may have about fluoride. Call our office today to schedule an appointment.

 

Bad Habits

Bad Habits for Your Child’s Teeth

From a very early age, your child could pick up bad habits that could compromise their oral health. Over time, those bad habits could cause everything from cavities and tooth decay to tooth loss and gum disease. If you don’t encourage your child to change their ways and develop healthy dental habits, those bad habits could stay with your child throughout his or her entire life.

Many parents are unaware what bad habits can cause long term problems for their child’s oral health. The following are some examples of bad habits parents should immediately start to discourage if they notice their child doing them.

Drinking from a Bottle at Night or Before Bed

Giving your child a bottle right before bed might be a regular bedtime ritual, but it can be extremely bad for your child’s teeth.

Most of the drinks you give your child contain lots of sugars. Those sugars, when left on the teeth overnight, can start to slowly wear away at your child’s tooth enamel. When the enamel wears away it can cause cavities to develop.

The best thing to do is to avoid giving your child a bottle at night. If your child absolutely must have a bottle at night, try to clean your child’s teeth as soon as possible. This will help get rid of the sugars that will eat away at your child’s teeth.

Nail Biting When Nervous

Nail biting is a nervous habit children develop. While it might calm their nerves, it can cause extreme damage to their teeth. Nail biting can cause teeth to fracture or chip. When this happens, the only option is to extract the tooth or place a crown on it.

Parents should discourage their children from biting their nails if they notice they are starting this habit. Some ways to discourage nail biting include raising awareness that the child is doing this action, painting nails with nail polish, or trying to keep the child busy with other, safer activities.

Swallowing the Toothpaste When Brushing

Children’s toothpaste is safe to swallow. However, just because it can be swallowed doesn’t mean it should be swallowed especially if it contains fluoride.

Swallowing fluoride toothpaste can cause your child to develop a condition known as fluorosis. Fluorosis, which happens when the body gets too much fluoride, causes unsightly brown or yellow spots to appear on the teeth.

Discourage your child from swallowing toothpaste while brushing even if they are using a non-fluoride children’s toothpaste. It may take a while for them to learn not to swallow the toothpaste, but it will help improve their oral health.

Sucking on Their Thumb

Children often find sucking on their thumb to be extremely calming. Unfortunately, this bad habit can cause numerous problems to develop over time.

If your child sucks their thumb after their permanent teeth start to grow in, it can cause the teeth to come in crooked or uneven. This misalignment of permanent teeth can cause a number of problems ranging from difficulty talking or chewing to tooth decay and pain.

Parents should allow their child to suck their thumb while they still have their baby teeth. However, once a child reaches the age of four, it is a good idea to discourage this habit as this is when permanent teeth start to grow in.

Failure to Visit the Dentist on a Regular Basis

Children learn from their parents the importance of visiting the dentist on a regular basis. Teach your child that visiting the dentist every six months, or more if there is a problem, is important by scheduling them for regular, routine visits with their dentist.

Regular checkups with a dentist will help your child get into the habit of visiting on a regular basis. This habit will hopefully stay with your child throughout their childhood and well into their adult years.

Start your child on the right path to developing good dental habits by scheduling an appointment at The Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida. Our award-winning pediatric dental health practice can do everything from teaching you ways to improve your child’s oral health to conducting routine checkups.

Call our office today to schedule an appointment at one of our two locations in central Florida.

 

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Preparing for Sedation

Dentists find that when sedation is used their patients are more cooperative, feel less anxious, and experience less discomfort during their dental treatment. If your dentist has recommended sedation for your child’s upcoming dental procedure, there are a few things you will need to do to prepare for the appointment.

The following will discuss some of the preparations you may need to do prior to your child’s appointment.

Notify the Dental Office of Any Changes in Health or Medicine

A lot can change between the time you schedule your child’s appointment and the day of the actual appointment. Your child could become ill, have a change in medicine, or become injured. These things could cause you to have to postpone your child’s dental appointment.

Notify your dentist office if your child experiences any of the following things:

  • Develops a fever
  • Suffers from an ear infection
  • Develops nasal or chest congestion
  • Head trauma
  • Starts taking any new medicines (prescribed or over-the-counter) or herbal supplements
  • Develops any new allergies

Once your dentist is notified of these changes, you may be told to reschedule the appointment or given certain instructions, such as not taking a specific medicine on the day of the appointment.

Learn about Food Restrictions Before Sedation

In the hours before your child’s appointment, you will be instructed to limit the types of food and drink they consume. Food and drink restrictions are recommended with sedation because it helps reduce the likelihood that your child will experience any vomiting or nausea after their appointment.

The type of food and drink restrictions that are in place will vary depending upon what type of food your child eats. The following is an example of some of the restrictions your child will have on food and drink:

  • Solid food (especially fried and fatty foods) – stop 8 hours prior to appointment
  • Formulas, milk, and light food – stop 6 hours prior to appointment
  • Breast milk – stop 4 hours prior to appointment
  • Clear liquids that include juices, water, and tea – stop 2 hours before appointment

To make it easier on parents, most dentists will just tell you to stop all food and drink six to twelve hours before the appointment. This makes it easier to remember and reduces your stress as you prepare for this appointment.

Create Your Child’s Outfit for the Day of the Appointment Ahead of Time

To make your child’s appointment easier for them and the dental staff, it is recommended that your child wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. Wearing this type of clothing allows the dentist to place monitoring equipment on your child that will monitor their breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure.

Some recommendations for loose-fitting clothing include:

  • Comfortable pajamas
  • Sweatpants
  • Shorts
  • T-shirts

Make Arrangements to Have a Babysitter for Other Children

While your child’s siblings are always welcome in the waiting room, if your child has an appointment that requires sedation it may be best to leave their siblings at home. This allows you to solely focus on your child who is being sedated and not experience any distractions before, during, or after the appointment.

Arrange to Have Another Adult with You for the Drive Home

Your child will not be sent home after their sedation appointment until they are fully ready. However, problems can still occur in the hours after the appointment, which is why it is important to arrange to have another adult with you on the drive home.

Driving with another adult in the car allows one individual to drive and another to monitor your child. The individual monitoring your child can watch for any changes in your child’s behavior or breathing.

Reduce Your Stress by Asking any Questions You May Have

Parents worry about their child, especially when they are having a dental appointment that requires sedation. To help reduce your stress, feel free to ask the dentist or the office staff any questions you may have about the procedure or the preparation. Feeling properly informed will help you focus more on your child as you aren’t stressing out about the appointment.

The Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida offers sedation for certain types of dental treatment. Call our office today to learn more about sedation dentistry or to ask any questions you may have about this type of dental procedure.

 

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