Posts for tag: kids teeth
We’ve heard it for years. Brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes. Most of us can get behind the whole “twice a day” because it makes sense. Brush your teeth in the morning to start your day and at night to wash everything away. But what about the “two minutes” part. It sounds easy enough, but have you ever actually brushed your teeth for two minutes? It can feel like eternity. Especially on those mornings when you are running late, the kids need breakfast, you can’t find matching shoes and someone spilt their cereal on the floor.
Admit it. We have all done it. We stick our toothbrush in our mouth, swipe a few times, rinse and call it done. And we won’t even talk about how quickly we brush our children’s teeth on those mornings. Besides, two minutes is just an arbitrary, made up amount of time, right? Does your dentist just say two minutes because it sounds good with twice a day? It turns out that there is actual evidence behind the recommendation. As you would guess, the longer you brush, the more effective you will be at cleaning the bacteria and plaque off your teeth.
In one study from The Journal of Dental Hygiene, it was reported that the average person brushes their teeth for about 45 seconds, less than half of the recommended amount of time. Does it make a difference? The answer is YES. The same study found that brushing for two minutes removed 26% more plaque than brushing for 45 seconds. That’s a lot of plaque, that if left on your teeth regularly, will eventually cause dental caries.
In 2012, the International Journal of Dental Hygiene, through a systematic review of 59 papers, found that people brushing for one minute removed, on average, 27% of plaque from their teeth. Those that brushed for two minutes, removed, on average, 41% of plaque from their teeth. Which sounds better to you?
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that bacteria don’t just live on your teeth. They also coat your entire mouth’s interior, including your tongue, cheeks and gums. By brushing longer, you have increased time to brush these areas of your mouth, as well.
How can you make it to the two-minute mark? Think of your mouth in terms of quadrants. Spend 30 seconds on each one: top left, top right, bottom left and bottom right. If you really try to brush each tooth and gum area on both the outside and inside of the teeth, two minutes will fly by.
For children, use two-minute times, find a fun song to brush along with or even get a great brushing app on your phone. Most of all, model good brushing for them. If you child sees you taking great care of your teeth, it will be easier for him or her to want to do the same.
In addition to the length of time you spend brushing, how you brush also matters. Talk to your pediatric dentist to make sure that you and your child are using proper brushing techniques so that you can get the most out of those two minutes! If you are looking for a dental home for your child in the Upstate, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry would love to give you and your child Something to Smile About! Call our office today at 864-760-1440.
Spring has sprung. And while the weather may not have gotten the memo just yet, warm weather is on the way. With warmer weather and longer daylight hours, come spring sports and more time spent playing outside. As you gear up for your next practice or game, don’t forget your child’s mouthguard!
Each year, about 5 million Americans lose teeth in sports-related injuries. Approximately 39% of all dental injuries are sports-related. (https://www.nata.org/sites/default/files/dental-injury-handout.pdf). These injuries can include avulsed teeth (complete displacement), cracked teeth, fractured roots and tooth intrusion (displacement of the tooth into the alveolar bone), as well as fractured crowns and lip and cheek injuries.
But, playing sports doesn’t have to give your child a hockey-player smile. Using a mouthguard can significantly reduce your child’s risk of obtaining a dental injury. Children playing any contact sports, such as field hockey, ice hockey, football, boxing and lacrosse are required to wear mouthguards. But the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends that children wear mouthguards for most sports, including: baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, wrestling, volleyball and gymnastics, acrobatics, boxing, discus throwing, handball, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, shot putting, skateboarding, skiing, skydiving, squash, surfing, volleyball, water polo, and wrestling. According to the AAPD (click here to read full article), baseball and basketball have been shown to have the highest number of sports-related dental injuries in children between that ages of seven to 17 years. Baseball had the highest incident of dental injuries within the seven to 12 year-old age group and basketball led the way between the 13-17 year-old age group.
A mouthguard may be especially important for those with braces or dental work, but they are a great idea for anyone wanting to protect their teeth from potential trauma. Mouthguards act as a buffer for potential damage, but also provide a barrier between teeth/braces and cheeks, or between lips and tongue, which can limit soft tissue damage, as well.
Dental mouthguards are classified into three types:
1) Stock mouthguards - can be purchased in sporting goods and drug stores, come pre-formed and ready to wear.
2) Boil-and-bite mouthguards - most commonly used, these mouthguards are immersed in boiling water and formed in the mouth by using finger, tongue, and biting pressure.
3) Custom-made mouth guards - designed by your dentist and are the best fitting and offer most protection and comfort.
All three types of mouthguards provide different levels of protection, but also come at different price-points. You should discuss your options with your pediatric dentist to determine which option will fit your needs best. Whatever your child’s sport and whatever your budget, there is a mouthguard option available. Don’t sacrifice the safety of your child’s smile. Wear a mouthguard!
If you have questions, or would like to discuss which mouth protection option is best for your child, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry is here to help. Call our office today at 864-760-1440 and let us give you Something to Smile About!
It’s a common conversation in a pediatric dentist’s office. “I don’t know what to do. My whole family has bad teeth.” Or, “I just don’t understand, we brush twice a day, everyday and she doesn’t drink soda. How can she have cavities?”
So, if the children that are receiving proper dental care are getting cavities, as well as the ones that aren’t brushing and flossing, we have to ask: Is there a such thing as bad teeth? Soft enamel?
Can your child’s, and your very own, dental problems be blamed on genetics, rather than poor dental hygiene? And if so, is this the ultimate excuse or are there ways to avoid these so-called, “bad teeth?”
In recent years, medical progress is being made on so many levels. Genetics are being studied on all levels to see just what role our genes play in our overall health and what we can do to overcome any genetic shortcomings. Because our dental health is so closely tied to our overall health and well-being (remember how dental disease and inflammation is linked to heart disease?), it makes complete sense that scientists are also studying the link between genetics and dental health.
So, is dental health genetic? The answer is yes. . . and no. Sometimes? It’s complicated. While scientists are finding genetic factors that affect some aspects of oral health, they are also confirming many environmental factors that play key roles in dental health- factors we can control.
Tooth decay, Bacteria and Sugar
Sugar in the food we eat feeds communities of hundreds of different types of bacteria that live on our teeth. The acid produced by these bacteria erodes the hard, outer layer of our teeth (the enamel) to cause cavities (tooth decay).
These bacteria in our mouth, the ones that cause tooth decay, aren’t present at birth. We normally acquire them shortly after birth, probably from other family members- think kisses on the mouth, pacifiers, teething items. Recent studies have been able to pinpoint which groups of bacteria are responsible for damaging our teeth. And it turns out that it’s not the genetic (inheritable) bacteria that are causing the tooth decay.
Want to take a stab at what types of bacteria can form cavities? You guessed it! The ones influenced by environmental factors like sugary foods! In fact, sugary drinks may be the very worst for your teeth! They are particularly adept at spreading sugar to every corner of your mouth, feeding the bacteria that cause decay. The good news is that the same types of bacteria in sugary foods that can form cavities, can also be brushed off your teeth!
But the story isn’t that simple.
While tooth decay is largely preventable, some people are more at risk of it than others. And genetics do play a role. Genes can affect how teeth develop and if teeth do not form properly, their enamel can actually be less resistant to bacteria. Genes can also affect whether your teeth will come in crooked or straight. Teeth that are crooked and overcrowded provide more areas for bacteria to hide and grow in, as they are more difficult to completely clean. Brushing and flossing become even more important in these situations, as a constant presence of these bacteria can cause cavities to form.
The color of your teeth is another area that is determined by both genetic and environmental factors. The way in which the white enamel (and the underlying yellow dentine) forms during development is mainly due to our genes. Those whose teeth develop naturally with thinner enamel will have teeth that appear more yellow. Environmental factors that affect the teeth can be broken up into intrinsic factors (those that affect the teeth as they are developing) and extrinsic (those affecting the tooth after it develops). Intrinsic factors could include exposure to antibiotic tetracycline in the womb or excess fluoride as a child. Extrinsic factors affecting tooth color would be drinking coffee or tea and smoking.
So, tooth color, like tooth health, can be affected by both genetics and environmental. And while we can’t control the genetic factors, we can make changes to the environmental factors.
The message is still the same. Your teeth may be inherited, but bad oral health habits do not have to be. Everyone needs to take care of their teeth. Some people may have to work a little harder than others. But we can all take simple steps to ensure proper oral health. Avoid sugary foods and drinks, brush your teeth and have regular check-ups.
Anderson Pediatric Dentistry can help you take care of your child’s smile. Give us a call today at 864-760-1440 and let us give you Something to Smile About!
There’s nothing sweeter than a sleeping child. The peaceful look of contentment, the gentle breathing, a small smile as they enjoy a happy dream – it all seems perfect. Until you hear it. A loud grinding and gnashing noise that comes from their small mouth? What is that? And is it as bad as it sounds?
Bruxism- What Is It?
Bruxism is the medical term from grinding, gnashing or clenching your teeth. For children, it’s more common for these behaviors to be displayed during sleep, rather than while they are awake. Sleep Bruxism is actually considered a sleep-related movement disorder. The disorder is also called nocturnal bruxism, nocturnal tooth-grinding and nocturnal tooth-clenching.
While bruxism in children is fairly common, the exact cause of sleep bruxism is unknown. It has been linked to improperly aligned teeth or irregular contact between upper and lower teeth, stress, anxiety, a response to pain, such as an earache or teething and other medical conditions.
Because most children display these behaviors only when sleeping, it’s nearly impossible for them to know that they do it. You will need to observe your child while he or she sleeps. Symptoms that your child is suffering from sleep bruxism include:
- Abnormal wear of the teeth
- Sounds associated with bruxism (Think loud chomping and grinding noises in their mouth!)
- Jaw muscle discomfort
- Complaining of headaches
- Tooth sensitivity
Impact of Bruxism on Child’s Health:
Most children will outgrow bruxism, and sometimes, it may go totally undetected. However, even if they don’t complain of jaw pain or other symptoms, bruxism can still have negative effects on your child’s teeth and general health. The grinding and gnashing can cause headaches and earaches. Over time, it can also wear down the tooth enamel, chip teeth and cause temperature sensitivity. Children that exhibit more severe bruxism may even have TMJ problems.
What Can You Do?
While there may not be a lot you can do to stop your child from clenching or grinding in their sleep, there are ways you can help lessen the frequency and intensity of incidences. If stress or anxiety is the cause of the bruxism, encourage your child to relax before bedtime with warm baths, soothing music, relaxing books and stories. Try to identify the areas causing stress and anxiety and help your child through it.
If you think your child is grinding his or her teeth, schedule a visit with your pediatric dentist, who will examine the teeth for chipped enamel and unusual wear and tear. They may spray air and water on the teeth to check for unusual sensitivity. In severe cases, your pediatric dentist may recommend a nighttime mouth guard for your child to wear while he or she sleeps. Since most children won’t be excited to keep this in their mouth, it’s not likely that your pediatric dentist would recommend this for very young children. For young children, relieving stress and anxiety, encouraging relaxation at bedtime and monitoring damage are the best options. Eliminating afternoon caffeine and turning electronics off two hours before bedtime may also help them sleep better.
If you are looking for a dental home for your child, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry would love to be your trusted partner in your child’s oral health. Call us today at 864-760-1440. 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!