Posts for tag: oral health
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!
In a world where everything is getting, smaller, quicker and more efficient, it makes sense that pediatric
dentistry is following. Anderson Pediatric Dentistry is proud to offer laser dentistry in our office with our state-of-the-art WaterLase Laser.
While most of our procedures are still done the traditional way, laser dentistry can offer our patients an alternative treatment plan.
WaterLase dentistry uses laser energy and a gentle spray of water, allowing us to perform a wide range of dental procedures without the heat, vibration and pressure of a dental drill. For many procedures we are able to use less anesthetic, meaning less shots for your child. Using the WaterLase laser for dental procedures is usually, faster and more comfortable for the child, so we may be able to do more extensive treatments in less appointments. The laser can also be more precise, allowing us to save more healthy parts of the tooth and gums.
So, what do we use the WaterLase laser for and when is it an option?
The WaterLase laser at Anderson Pediatric Dentistry can be used for many treatments, ranging from cavities to periodontal disease. It can treat areas on the gums, as well as the teeth.
But, perhaps its most exciting and beneficial use for our clients, is for tongue and lip-tie treatment. The WaterLase laser offers us a quick and precise treatment option to help infants and young children who are suffering from negative impacts due to a tight frenulum causing tongue and/or lip-tie.
If your infant or young child is suffering from tongue and or lip-tie, their pediatrician may recommend a procedure called a frenectomy, in which the tight connective tissue that is causing the problems, is cut. A frenectomy done using our WaterLase Laser, uses cool water to make the incision, causing virtually no bleeding or pain, no risk of infection and almost instantaneous healing for infants. It’s also quicker, which is always a benefit with babies and young children.
If your child has tongue-tie, lip-tie or both, a frenectomy may be the correct treatment plan to enable them to nurse and/or eat better, thus allowing them to thrive and grow. Give us a call today at 864-760-1440 so that we can schedule an appointment to discuss if our Waterlase laser is right for you. Let us ease the discomfort and help your child have Something to Smile About!
Did you know that what happens in your mouth effect other areas of our body and overall health? Its true. Your oral health and the condition of your teeth and gums can impact your entire health.
How is this possible? Great question. Just like studies are now proving that your gut bacteria affect your health, the mouth’s bacteria do too. Bacteria in your mouth? Oh, yeah- tons of them! Most of these bacteria are pretty harmless, as our body’s normal defenses, combined with good oral health care (daily brushing in flossing), keep them under control. However, if a person does not have good oral hygiene, the bacteria may be allowed to reach levels high enough to produce oral infections, tooth decay and gum disease.
How does tooth decay or gum disease impact your entire body? Studies suggest that oral bacteria, and the inflammation associated with periodontitis, might actually play a role in some diseases.
- Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart. It typically occurs with bacteria and other germs from another part of your body spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in the heart. You guessed it. Bacteria from your mouth can enter the bloodstream and go to your heart.
-Cardiovascular disease, such as heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke are now believed to be linked to inflammation and infections that can be caused by oral bacteria.
-Poor oral health leading to periodontitis during pregnancy has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
The connection between oral health and your overall health goes both ways. Just as your oral health can cause problems for your overall health, health issues in your body can affect the health of your mouth.
Certain medications, such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics, antidepressants and some inhalers, can reduce saliva flow. Since saliva is your body’s natural defense and method for washing away food and bacteria and neutralizing acids in the mouth, this can impact the amounts of bacteria in the mouth.
Other studies have found that some diseases that lower the body’s resistance to infection, such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS, can make oral health problems more severe, too.
The human body is an amazing thing. But it’s important to remember that we have to take care of all of its parts- even the mouth. It’s not enough to diet, exercise and meditate. You have to brush and floss, too. Remember, your teeth are more than just a pretty smile. They aid in speech, development, eating and nutrition, face shape and appearance and so much more. You can hide a belly or other area you may not love, but you can’t hide your teeth!
This year, make a resolution to get in better oral health! Commit to brushing twice a day and flossing daily. Your teeth will thank you and so will your whole body.
If you need help getting your child’s mouth in shape this year, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry would love to help. Call our office 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!
Sports drinks, such as Gatorade and Powerade are made for replenishing lost electrolytes, glucose and sodium after strenuous activity. They are refreshing, taste good and seem like a good choice for active, hot kids and adults, alike. These drinks are sold everywhere and consumed by the masses, many times, not even during athletic activity.
The problem is that these drinks were originally designed for carbohydrate replacement for athletes and for use in strenuous activity, which most people are not doing on a regular basis. In fact, these drinks are often consumed by people in a sedentary setting. They are loaded in sugar- lots of sugar. A 12 ounce serving can have 21 grams of sugar, and most people drink more than 12 ounces! Considering that the American Heart Association recommends that adult women get no more than 25grams of added sugar and adult men get no more than 36 grams, that’s almost a full days worth of the recommended amount of added sugar for women, and more than half the recommended amount for men, all in one serving of a sports drink! And we all know that most people will drink the full bottle, not just one serving.
Very few adults, much less kids, are participating in any activity that requires replenishing the body’s sodium and glucose. In most situations, water is the best choice. With no calories and no sugar, it allows the body to use exercise to burn energy, rather than replace a little bit of caloric loss with huge amounts of sugar and empty calories.
There are times when these sports drinks are appropriate, and possibly beneficial. A report from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that those engaging in less than 60-90 minutes of exercise are better off sticking to water. For those taking part in prolonged, vigorous physical activities for more than one hour, and especially in hot temperatures when electrolyte imbalance and dehydration are a concern, a sports drink may be better than water. (https://www.issuelab.org/resources/18583/18583)
The use of sports drinks, as well as other sugary energy drinks, when not engaged in strenuous activity, can have negative effects. Aside from the sugar contributing to tooth decay, the additional calories may also contribute to weight gain when the calories consumed in these high-sugar drinks are not being expended during the physical activity.
When in doubt, choose water. It’s better for your teeth and better for your body! Stick to drinking sports drinks only during strenuous, prolonged activity, and be aware of the total sugar in your diet.