Posts for tag: decay
Maybe you’ve heard of dental sealants before, but aren’t quite sure what they are or what they do. For many, sealants can be the hero of their oral health story, offering added protection from dental caries and helping ensure your child has better oral health.
Dental sealants are made of a thin plastic material that is placed on the occlusal surface, or chewing surface of your child’s permanent molars and premolars. This plastic coating acts as a protective barrier from the bacteria and acids that contribute to tooth decay.
While the process of applying sealants and quick and painless, the results are real and long-lasting. Sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars. According to the CDC, “school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.”
Sealants can’t and won’t take the place of thorough brushing and flossing, which helps remove food particles and plaque from the smooth surfaces of teeth, but they can add extra protection for the grooved and pitted areas, where food and plaque often get stuck. The earlier your child receives sealants, the more beneficial they will be. By protecting the grooves, fissures and hard to reach areas of their back teeth, you can prevent dental decay from ever starting.
To learn more about sealants, how they are applied and how they may benefit your child, we recommend visiting the American Academy Dental Association’s website.
While we can’t reverse dental decay, sealants are a great way to prevent it. If you have questions about sealants, would like to schedule an appointment for your child, or are looking for a pediatric dentist for your child in the Anderson, SC area, call our office today at 864-760-1440. Let us give you and your child Something to Smile About!
Soda. Is it really that bad for your teeth?
The short answer is yes. Sugar in soda, combines with the bacteria in your mouth to form acid, which eats away at your teeth. And diet drinks aren’t necessarily better. They may not contain the sugar, but both regular and diet, or “Sugar-free” sodas contain their own acids which attack the teeth.
Erosion begins when the acids encounter the tooth’s enamel. This is your tooth’s protective covering. Think of it like an eggshell. Once it’s softened or eroded, there’s nothing left to protect the sensitive inside of the tooth, often leading to further damage of the next layer, the dentin, and cavities.
While drinking water is the best option, we aren’t saying that you can’t enjoy an occasional, refreshing soda. But, we are going to give you tips to help lessen the damage.
Don’t Sip All Day –
Each time you drink a sugary beverage, whether it’s soda, lemonade, fruit juice or sports drinks, the acids from the drink and those formed by the sugar and bacteria in your mouth will attack your teeth. With each sip, this attack will begin again and last for about 20 minutes. If you sip sugary drinks all day, your teeth are under constant attack. If you choose to drink a sugary drink, don’t sip it over a long period. Consume it all at once. This means that children should not be drinking sugary drinks, even fruit juice, from a sippy cup or bottle throughout the day.
Limit or Eliminate Sugary Drinks-
Water is your best option, and milk provides the calcium needed to actually strengthen your child’s teeth. While we would love to see all sugary drinks eliminated from your child’s daily diet, we realize that it may not happen immediately. If you can’t eliminate it, at least choose to limit sugary drinks to no more than one soda a day. Aside from empty calories that children don’t need, even one soda a day will do damage.
Use a Straw-
Drinking out of a straw will help to keep the damaging acids and sugars away from your teeth.
Rinse Your Mouth With Water-
Rinsing your mouth with water after drinking soda will help to wash away any excess sugars and acids and stop them from continuing to attack your teeth.
Brush, but NOT Right Away-
While it may seem smart to brush your teeth right after drinking a soda, it can actually do more harm. The teeth that have just been attacked by the acid are vulnerable and the friction from a toothbrush can actually damage the enamel. Rinse with water after drinking a soda and then brush 30-60 minutes later.
Avoid Soft Drinks and Sugary Drinks at Bedtime-
Consuming a soda before bed will allow the sugar and acid to attack your teeth all night long!
Get Regular Dental Cleanings-
Regular check-ups and exams will help to identify and monitor any problems or damage before they worsen or become painful.
Again, water is always best. But, if you are drinking soda, there are some that are “better” than others, or at least, not as bad.
Check out the table below from the Mississippi State Department of Health’s website
Acid and Sugar in Soft Drinks
We hope this information will help you and your family to make informed decisions regarding your child’s diet and oral health. As always, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry is always available to answer your questions and discuss your child’s individual needs. Call us to schedule your appointment today (864-760-1440) and let us give you and your child Something to Smile About!
Don’t Drink in the Bed! - All About Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when bacteria on the teeth, created from sugars in foods and beverages in the diet, form an acid that damages the tooth enamel. This acidic damage can lead to cavities and even infection and pain in your child.
Baby bottle tooth decay, or bottle mouth, gets it name from the prevalence of young children that suffer from cavities and decay primarily on their front top teeth, usually caused by going to sleep with a bottle or constantly drinking sugary beverages from a bottle. As the infant or child sucks the milk, juice, soda, etc., from a bottle, sugar sits on the front teeth, and bacteria use this sugar to form the acid that attacks the enamel.
If detected early, your pediatric dentist can apply a fluoride varnish to the affected areas to stop further damage. However, once the enamel has been severely damaged, and brown spots and cavities are visible, more restorative treatment will be needed.
Contrary to what many believe, baby teeth do matter. You don’t want your infant or young child to lose their teeth prematurely due to cavities. Baby teeth serve as placeholders for permanent teeth. When lost prematurely, the spacing of the permanent teeth can be affected, possibly leading to misaligned permanent teeth and the need for more extensive orthodontic treatment. Young children that lose their baby teeth prematurely may also have a more difficult time eating a nutritious diet – and we all know that’s hard enough to do with all their teeth!
Tips for Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay:
- Never put your child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup containing anything but water. (Even milk, formula and breast milk contain sugar that will cause the bacteria to create the acid that sits on the teeth and erodes the enamel.)
- Introduce a sippy cup to your child by 6 months old and try to ditch the bottle by 1 year old.
- Limit acidic foods in your child’s diet, especially juices.
- Brush your child’s teeth before bed or wipe your infant’s gums. Removing any sugar from the surface will help prevent bacteria from eating away at the enamel all night.
*Once you have brushed your child’s teeth before bed, only offer water to drink. If your child has a snack or drinks anything other than water, be sure to brush again!
As always, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry is here to help you with any questions you may have! Our dedicated team can help you come up with strategies for eliminating bedtime bottles and for preventing and treating tooth decay in your young children.
Why Does My Kid Have Bad Breath?
Does your child seem to have a case of morning breath - all day? While not pleasant, most cases of bad breath in children can be easily resolved.
Halitosis is the medical term for chronic bad breath. In adults, Halitosis, or chronic bad breath that never goes away, despite brushing and rinsing, can be an indicator of an underlying medical problem. In children, more often than not, bad breath is usually just an indicator of poor oral hygiene, which can be remedied at home and almost immediately.
As a pediatric dentist, the most important advice I can give is also the easiest thing to do: work to improve oral hygiene and be consistent. You have to brush, absolutely must floss, and brush your tongue. You have to do these things every day.
Below are some surefire ways to help eliminate your kid’s bad breath:
Floss - If you ever doubt the need for flossing, try smelling the used floss after flossing your teeth. It sounds gross, right? Well, if your floss stinks, so does your mouth.
Don’t’ Forget the Tongue - Brushing your child’s tongue will also help prevent bad breath. The tongue harbors lots of bacteria, but many people neglect to brush it when they are brushing their teeth. With so much surface area, it can definitely cause a foul smell in your kid’s mouth.
Stay Hydrated- Saliva is a key component to fighting tooth decay in the mouth. When a kid’s mouth is constantly dry, their mouths have less saliva to wash away odor-causing bacteria. A lack of saliva can also lead to tooth decay and cavities. Encourage your child to drink water all the time, and especially when playing sports or outside.
Diet – A diet high in sugar will contribute to bad breath in your kid’s mouth. Sugar left on the teeth is a breeding ground for bacteria, which will produce a foul smell in the mouth.
When it’s more than bad breath:
If brushing, flossing and good diet aren’t helping your kid’s bad breath go away, or if you suspect that your kid’s bad breath is something more, do not hesitate to see your pediatric dentist and rule out other issues. Remember, these preventative measures can help prevent dental problems and bad breath, but that can’t solve existing decay or gum disease.
If your child has existing cavities or gum disease, treatment is the first step. Once existing problems are treated, these preventative measures can then help to prevent future dental problems.
As always, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry is always here to answer your questions, discuss treatment options and give you and your child Something to Smile About!
If you would like to schedule an appointment or discuss options, please call us at 864-760-1440.