Did you know that one in 12 Americans suffers from asthma? That number seems alarming and a little difficult to believe, but the prevalence of asthma is increasing every year. Ironically, asthma and childhood caries (cavities) are the two most prevalent childhood diseases.
Most people diagnosed with asthma will begin using an inhaler, either as a rescue option or preventative treatment, or both. If you or your child uses an inhaler, you may have heard suggestions that inhalers cause cavities or that children with asthma have more dental problems.
The truth is that asthma and inhalers will not cause cavities. However, the two are often linked because, they may make your child’s mouth more susceptible to conditions that allow cavity-causing bacteria to thrive. The good news is that these concerns can be easily managed and your child will not have to choose between a beautiful smile or breathing freely.
1) Dry Mouth
Typically, those suffering from respiratory problems, such as asthma and allergies, suffer from restricted air flow, causing them to breathe through their mouth, rather than their nose. Mouth breathing has been linked with dry mouth and less saliva.
Saliva is key to washing away debris and fighting bacteria, so when your mouth is dry, it’s easier for plaque-causing bacteria to reproduce, increasing the chances of bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease. In addition, some medications in the inhalers can also have a drying effect on your mouth.
2) Mouth Sores
Regular use of the inhaler can sometimes lead to sores or ulcers on the back roof of the child’s mouth if the medications irritate the skin.
What You Can Do:
A little vigilance will go a long way. Follow these easy steps below to ensure that your child’s treatments aren’t damaging their teeth.
1) Rinse and Brush.
After using the inhaler, be sure that your child rinses his or her mouth with water. Brushing is even better.
2) Water, water, water.
Keep your child hydrated with water throughout the day to counteract the effects of a dry mouth.
3) Talk to your dentist.
Make sure to tell your child’s dentist about his or her asthma, medications and concerns. Your pediatric dentist can recommend strategies for maintain your child’s oral health.
4) Treat allergies.
Asthma and allergies often come together. Constantly having a stuffy nose will cause a child to breathe through their mouth, too, causing dry mouth. Proper treatment of allergies can alleviate the need to breathe through their mouth as often, enabling the child’s saliva to help fight off plaque-causing bacteria.
Remember, asthma isn’t a prescription, or excuse, for cavities. With a few simple preventative measures, your child can maintain his or her oral health and ensure a beautiful smile for life. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s teeth, or you are looking for a dental home for your child, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry would love to give you Something to Smile About! Call our office today at 864-760-1440.
The old song says, “When you smile, the whole world smiles with you.” It turns out, there’s actually some truth in it. Your smile may not be able to make the entire world smile, but it definitely holds some power. The simple act of smiling can produce a variety of positive side effects.
Research has shown that smiling can elevate your mood and increase your general sense of well-being. Smiling activates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress. Neuropeptides help send messages to your body about how you are feeling. Dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are referred to as the “feel-good” neurotransmitters. And they are all released when you smile! The release of these feel-good neurotransmitters not only makes you feel good, but they help to relax your body and can even lower your heart rate and blood pressure. As if that’s not enough to make you want to smile, there’s more! These endorphins also act as a natural pain reliever and an anti-depressant and natural mood enhancer.
Still not convinced of the power of a smile? There’s more.
Did you know that a smile can make you look younger? Studies have found that people view smiling individuals as attractive, reliable and relaxed. Researchers at the Face Research Laboratory in Scotland found that both men and women are more attracted to images of people who made eye contact and smiled, than those who did not.
A smile can also make people react to and treat you differently. Research has shown that a smile truly is contagious. Your brain naturally wants to smile back at someone when they smile at you. How’s that for a powerful life tool. A nice smile can quickly diffuse a situation, encourage people to be more receptive to you and even make you look and feel better!
Don’t believe all the hype? Still skeptical? Try it for yourself and see what happens. Make the effort to smile today, and every day, and see if it can make you feel better! The worst that can happen is that you will appear happier and friendlier!
Want to learn more about your smile and the power it holds. Check out these great articles:
Don’t forget to take care of your teeth so that you and the world can see a more beautiful smile each day. If you are looking for a dental home for your child, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry welcomes you. Give us a call at 864-760-1440 and let us give you Something to Smile About!
When our children are infants, their baby teeth are a BIG deal. We spend hours consoling them as they drool and gnaw on their hands during the teething process. We mark the date of their first tooth’s arrival in their baby books. We get just as excited as they do the first time they get to put their tooth under their pillow and eagerly await the tooth fairy.
So, why then, do many people feel like baby teeth aren’t as important as permanent teeth? The answer is right in that one word- permanent. Because we know that our “big” teeth are meant to last for life, we somehow get the idea that our children’s baby teeth, that we know they will lose at some point, must not be that important. After all, they get replaced, right?
Wrong! Baby teeth, despite their small stature and their shorter life span, serve many important roles in your child’s long-term oral health and development.
Promote good nutrition through proper chewing
Just as adult, or permanent, teeth do, the baby teeth serve the important role of biting, gnashing and chewing our food so that our bodies can readily digest the nutrients. Missing or painful baby teeth can make the child hesitant to eat certain foods which can cause them to lose out on much-needed nutrients.
Serve as space holders for the permanent teeth and provide a path for permanent teeth to follow when they are ready to erupt
Baby teeth are essentially a road map for the permanent teeth to follow, and when removed prematurely, before the permanent tooth is ready to erupt, it can cause long-term problems, even changing the structure of the child’s jaw bone and face. The permanent teeth may come in improperly, or possibly not at all, and your child could require orthodontic treatment to correct the problem.
Build self-esteem by providing a beautiful smile
Children naturally love to smile and find joy in the world. Beautiful baby teeth help them to do so. Even a young child can begin to feel self-conscious of missing or decayed teeth.
Enable the child to pay attention and learn in school without the distraction of dental pain.
It’s simple. Healthy teeth don’t hurt. In fact, kids don’t even think about their teeth when they are healthy. However, decayed teeth can cause a lot of pain! This pain can prevent them from getting adequate sleep, interrupt their day, and be distractive, preventing your child from excelling at school.
So, while it’s tempting to skip brushing your young child’s teeth when life gets busy, remember these small teeth play a BIG role in your child’s oral health and development. And remember, the care and importance that you give to their baby teeth will influence how they take care of their teeth on their own.
Taking care of your young child’s teeth can be simple. Follow these rules and help your child’s smile shine bright.
1) Start brushing as soon as your child gets his or her first tooth. Brush twice a day, even if it’s just for a short amount of time.
2) Floss any teeth that touch.
3) Limit sugary drinks, even juice.
4) Don’t go to bed with any drinks other than water.
5) Model good oral health by taking care of your own teeth! Kids learn by watching their parents.
6) Schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist within six months of the arrival of their first tooth, or by their one-year old birthday. Early prevention and monitoring, as well as education about good oral health, will help prevent problems.
As always, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry wants to be your go-to resource for helping to educate parents and children alike, and giving all children the beautiful smiles that they deserve. If you are looking for a dental home for your child, give us a call at 864-760-1440, and let us give you Something to Smile About!
Halloween can be so much fun! It’s an event that seems to start at the beginning of the month and just keeps going. Between picking out costumes, carving pumpkins, attending trunk or treat and other Halloween events, Halloween night is often just one of many celebrations. And while it’s fun for kids and parents alike to get dressed up and have fun, the constant influx of candy and sugar can leave us with some not so wanted “treats.”
Calories. As much as we wish they didn’t count, the truth is, they do. The average child will consume 3,500-7,000 calories on Halloween! You read it right. 7,000 calories is the same at 13 Big Macs!
Now, take this amount and think about how many calories your child will consume if you allow the candy binge to go on for days or weeks! It’s not just their teeth that will be affected. This onslaught of sugar and calories will affect your child’s blood sugar, behavior, weight and overall feelings of well-being. That is definitely not a fun trick or treat!
Candy. It’s all about the candy! We know. We get it. We remember being little and competing to see who could fill up a pillowcase of candy. But, let’s be honest. Who needs a pillowcase of candy? Most of the time, half the candy collected is candy your child doesn’t even like. So, why hang on to it and tempt them to eat it? Besides, there are so many better things to do with your candy than eat it!
Anderson Pediatric Dentistry wants to share some insights and tips for how your family can make Halloween more about the fun and less about the candy.
- Make trick-or-treating about the actual event and the fun of the night, not about the candy.
- Immediately sort the candy and pull out sticky, sour or gummy treats. Chocolate candies melt off the teeth easier and won’t cling to the teeth as long. Go ahead and get rid of all the stuff your child doesn’t like so they aren’t tempted to eat it just because it’s there!
- Allow your child to enjoy their candy for a day or two, and then trash it, or consider donating it or participating in a candy buy-back so that your child can trade their sugar for cash!
- Recycle. If the thought of throwing away bags of candy leaves you feeling wasteful, consider ways to recycle the candy and use it for fun activities other than eating.
Check out Pinterest and other sites for great candy crafts and science experiments. With names like “the incredible growing gummy worm” and the “density rainbow,” kids will engage their minds and learn, all while using up their candy.
- Focus on the fun, not the candy. Make the emphasis on dressing up, painting faces, carving pumpkins and other pre-Halloween events so that candy is just a small part of the whole evening.
Anderson Pediatric Dentistry wishes everyone a fun and safe Halloween, full of fun, good times and lots of healthy smiles!
A pediatric dentist advising you to give your child dark chocolate instead of the ever-popular fish-shaped crackers? It sounds crazy, right? Well, this post is the "Eat this, not that" for your teeth. And I will explain why. Just keep reading.
More and more, we are seeing the connection between diet and nutrition and overall health. As one might guess, this applies to your oral health, too. In fact, simple changes in your child’s diet may be the answer to keeping cavities away.
Cavities are caused when cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth feeds off simple sugars and causes acid plaque. This plaque attacks the enamel of the tooth and causes it to soften and eventually creates holes, or cavities in the tooth.
So, we know that sugar sitting on your teeth is not a good thing. It would make sense to choose foods that we feel are low in sugar. And this does help. But, it turns out, there’s more to it. In fact, it’s not just the amount of sugar that matters when we are trying to avoid cavities. There are actually three factors that impact the way food affects your teeth:
2) Sugar concentration
Stickiness- Not all foods are created equal. Flour seems to be the culprit behind a food’s stickiness. Think about it this way, when you eat an apple or baby carrots, there’s no food clinging to your teeth. When you eat crackers or pretzels, you will have food debris sticking to your teeth. Any food or sugar remaining on the teeth becomes a breeding ground for cavity-causing bacteria.
Sugar concentration- It makes sense that food lower in sugars are better for your teeth (and your body). But, contrary to popular belief, the amount of sugar is not the full story. In fact, it appears that when it comes to dental caries (cavities), it is the sugar concentration more than the actual amount, that actually matters.
This concept is pretty mind-blowing and also pretty important to understand! Basically, when choosing between foods that have the same amount of simple sugars, you can make a better choice for your teeth by choosing the one that also contains fat- or more fat. Why? Dr. Roger Lucas, DDS, explains it well when he says, “When you take away fat, you are indirectly increasing the concentration of sugar.”
Why does the concentration matter? A 2014 in vitro study* that found that whole milk is not acidic enough to demineralize enamel, but skim milk can demineralize enamel. This study confirmed that it is the concentration of sugars in the foods we choose, more than the amount of sugar, that contributes to dental caries.
By taking the fat out of a food, you are raising the sugar concentration. Fat doesn’t cause cavities. Sugars and starches do. So, you want to pick the food that has the lower sugar concentration, not necessarily the lowest sugar content.
What’s an example of choosing a better snack option? Swap snacks like Goldfish crackers for dark chocolate (at least 70%). This sounds crazy, but when you look at the two snacks, you see that while they have similar sugar content, dark chocolate has a higher fat content, and thus a lower sugar concentration. It also sticks to the teeth less, offers antioxidants, and parents are far less likely to allow their child to walk around eating dark chocolate bars all day long, like we often do with crackers and other easily portable snacks.
Frequency- Each time you eat or drink, the teeth are attacked for about 20 minutes, until the saliva has time to neutralize the acids and wash the bacteria away. Limiting the times this happens throughout the day can decrease the damage done to the teeth. This is especially true when children are snacking on crackers, sticky fruit chews and other common snack foods constantly throughout the day.
Other great options are nuts, cheese, crunchy vegetables and fruits, meats and yogurt. While most fruits anad vegetables have virtually no fat content, they also don't stick to your child's teeth and can be easily washed awayw ith water after eating. Remember, it's a combination fo the stickiness, the sugar content and the frequency of eating that cause cavities.
The truth of it is, diet and nutrition should be your first line of defense for healthy teeth. Brushing, flossing and fluoride should be the second.
Your oral health is not something that has to be left to chance. Good nutrition and good oral healthcare, along with regular checkups with your pediatric dentist, can keep the cavities away! Come let Anderson Pediatric Dentistry give you and your child Something to Smile About!
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