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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!
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.
Most everyone knows that going to see your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings can help save your smile — but did you ever stop to think that it just might save your life?
That's what recently happened to 11-year-old Journee Woodard of Edmond, Oklahoma. The young girl was having a routine teeth cleaning when hygienist Rachel Stroble noticed something unusual: The whites of her eyes (her sclera) had a distinctly yellow tint. Dr. Michael Chandler, Journee’s dentist, confirmed the hygienist’s suspicions, and advised her mom to take her for further testing. The tests revealed that Journee had a tumor covering parts of her pancreas, gallbladder and liver; it could have ruptured at any moment, with devastating consequences.
The tumor was removed three days later in a 9-hour operation, and Journee is now recovering. As for her dentist, Dr. Chandler told reporters that he and his staff were just doing their jobs thoroughly. “It's hard to feel like I’m a hero,” he said (though others might disagree).
Is this a one-in-a-million case? Maybe — yet for many people, a family dentist may be the health care professional who is seen more often than any other. That can put dentists in the unique position of being able to closely monitor not only a person’s oral health, but also their overall health.
There are several reasons why that’s so. One is that most systemic diseases (such as diabetes, leukemia, and heart disease, for example) can have oral manifestations — that is, symptoms that show up in the mouth. If your dentist notices something unusual, further testing may be recommended. Dentists also regularly screen for diseases specific to the mouth — such as oral cancer, which has a much better chance of being cured when it is caught at an early stage.
But beyond checking for particular diseases, dentists often notice other things that may indicate a health issue. For example, if you complain of dry mouth or snoring, and appear fatigued in the dental chair, your dentist may suspect undiagnosed sleep apnea: a potentially serious condition. Many other signs — such as yellowed eyes, a pounding heart rate, or shortness of breath — can indicate potential problems.
Of course, we’re not even mentioning the main reason for regular dental checkups — keeping your smile healthy and bright; for many people that’s reason enough. How does Journee’s mom feel about keeping dental appointments? “I will never miss another dentist appointment,” she told reporters. “I will never reschedule.”
If you would like more information about routine dental checkups, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Dental Hygiene Visit” and “Good Oral Health Leads to Better Health Overall.”
My daughter is six years old and has lost all of her front baby teeth. Now that most of her adult teeth are growing in, we are really stressing the importance of flossing every day. This past weekend, while looking in the mirror, she asked me, “Why are my big kid teeth so yellow?”
Don’t get me wrong. Her smile is beautiful. However, compared to her shiny white baby teeth, her permanent teeth do appear darker and a bit more yellow. She’s noticed this, and I bet some more kids around her age have noticed this about their teeth, too.
We get this question all the time from concerned parents. Believe it or not, it is perfectly normal. Adult teeth, because of their composition, do have a different tone than baby teeth and often appear yellow, especially when they erupt right next to brilliant white baby teeth.
Young adult teeth, when they first come in, have a larger proportion of nerve in them, compared to when the child is 17 or 18. The large amount of nerve, and the fact that the tooth is hollower and less dense, gives it a yellow appearance. As the healthy teeth age, the nerve shrinks and the tooth thickens from the inside, giving it a whiter appearance.
Adult teeth also have more dentin in them, which has a dark yellow to brownish hue. When the tooth’s enamel is thin, the yellow color from the dentin shows through more.
So what can you do to whiten your kid’s teeth and should you?
Good oral hygiene is the key. Regular brushing and flossing and good dental habits will usually resolve these issues in time. As the child’s tooth grows and thickens, it will lose some of the yellow hue caused by the nerve and dentin showing through the enamel. However, regular brushing and flossing will keep the plaque at bay and the tooth and gums healthy.
Use a spinbrush at home. Sometimes these brushes can be more efficient for children than simply brushing, as they are able to get into the crevices better. Often, it just makes brushing more appealing to young children and will encourage them to brush more, helping to remove surface stains. You can find inexpensive options in nearly every store.
Encourage a Tooth-Friendly Diet. Avoiding sugary and carbonated drinks, as well as sodas, coffees and teas will help avoid staining. Also, highly acidic foods and sour candies can erode the enamel on teeth. The enamel acts as a protective barrier and helps keep teeth white. Thin or eroded enamel will lead to discolored teeth, as the dentin and nerves will be more visible.
Remember, slightly yellow-appearing permanent teeth are different from very stained or discolored teeth, or those with white or brown spots on them. Dark staining and/or spots can be a sign of a medical problem and needs to be evaluated by your dentist.
At this age, we typically do not recommend whitening treatments or products for most children, as time typically resolves the issue. However, if your child’s teeth are stained, have spots on them, or cause your child stress or embarrassment, please come in to see us, as we can evaluate his or her teeth to rule out any medical reasons for the discoloration and also discuss safe and effective whitening methods.
As always, Anderson Pediatric Dentistry is always available to discuss your questions and concerns regarding your child’s dental health. We want all children to have a smile they can be proud of and to give all our parents and kids Something to Smile About!
What to Do in a Dental Emergency
My son fell this weekend and busted his chin. Of course, my first instinct was to make sure he hadn’t injured his teeth. Luckily, his chin took all the force and his teeth were fine. Unfortunately, he still had to have stitches on his chin.
Spring is seemingly on its way and the good weather means more time for playing outside, spring sports and probably, more opportunities for children to experience dental trauma or injuries. Mouth injuries can be scary. They hurt and there’s often a lot of blood right in the child’s line of vision, which can make the injury seem even worse than it may actually be.
Anderson Pediatric Dentistry wants you to be prepared and know what to do if your child injures, cracks or knocks a tooth out. Did you know that if your has a tooth knocked out, there’s a good chance we can save it? But you have to act quickly and follow the right steps. We encourage you to become familiar with the information below so that you will know what to do if you find yourself faced with a dental trauma.
If a tooth is knocked out:
1) Pick the tooth up by the crown (the part you bite with) and DO NOT touch the root (the two little legs that go in the gums).
2) Adults and older children that have knocked out a permanent tooth, gently rinse it in clean water and place it back in the socket the right way. Apply gauze and pressure to hold it in place until getting to the dentist office.
If you are unsure of the proper placement, you can place the tooth in your cheek and hold it there until getting to the dentist office. The saliva will clean the root and keep it moist.
For small children and baby teeth, do not place the tooth back in the socket. This can damage the permanent tooth below. Since most small children cannot hold the tooth in their cheek without swallowing it, placing it in a container of milk and heading to the dentist office is the best option. Make sure to bring the tooth with you. (If the parent is comfortable doing so, he or she can place it in his/her own cheek to keep it moist and in saliva.)
Remember, we want to keep the tooth moist. Saliva is the best option, followed by milk. Do not wrap the tooth in a napkin and allow it to dry.
3) Call our office and let us know you are on the way! You need to see the dentist as soon as possible for the best chance at saving the tooth.
What to do if a tooth is chipped:
If a tooth is chipped, try to find any pieces that have come off, as sometimes it’s possible to reattach them. Make an appointment for an office visit as soon as possible and bring the pieces with you.
Anytime there is a severe injury, loss of consciousness or uncontrollable bleeding, seek help immediately from the Emergency Room. For less traumatic injuries, call our office to schedule a time to be seen as soon as possible. Often, a quick phone conversation can help us to determine the next step.