Lakeside Dental Dr. Russell L. Coad, D.D.S.
Posted on July 5th, 2017

What Parents Need To Know About Keeping Their Children's Teeth Healthy by Kara Vavrosky, RDH

Your child's teeth matter, including baby teeth. Even though baby teeth are replaced by adult teeth, they still play an important role in your child's development.

Baby teeth impact the development of facial muscles and jaw development, and are also responsible for proper speech development. They are crucial for children getting proper nutrition because chewing food -- and the ability to chew properly -- aids in digestion. Kids need nutrients to grow and the ability to chew food properly increases the surface area of food during digestion, which in turn allows for better absorption of nutrients to your child's growing body. Having healthy, sound teeth also contributes to aesthetics and a child's self-esteem. Some baby teeth are not shed until the ages of 10, 11 and 12, so maintaining the health of these baby teeth is crucial.

Make the first dental visit no later than age 1
Regular dental visits as a child sets them up for being a healthy adult. Many bodily diseases have been linked to inflammation and bacteria from the mouth. Just a few of the links between gum disease and overall health include risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, certain cancers, diabetes, and this list goes on. By keeping your child's teeth healthy, you start them on a lifelong road toward health.

Children should visit the dentist when the first tooth erupts (on average around 6 months) or no later than their first birthday. Even if the visit is a "happy visit" and only a visual examination can be tolerated by the child, it's important to get them familiar with the dental office. Hearing the sounds, seeing the equipment and meeting the dental staff are all important in allowing a child to become comfortable with going to the dentist. These early visits are also important for the parents, education-wise, on caring for their child's teeth.

Don't swap spit with your child
Dental decay (cavities) is caused by bacteria. Certain bacteria are responsible for causing decay in teeth. Children are not born with this bacteria; the majority of this bacteria is passed from parents and/or caregivers to children. This passing of bacteria happens when a child is exposed to saliva of a parent or caregiver. This can happen through the sharing of food, kissing on the lips, cooling down food by blowing on it, sharing a toothbrush, or when parents clean off a pacifier with their own mouth instead of water. Some of these things are easier to avoid than others; however, for the health of your child's teeth, trying to avoid these things can really help in the fight against tooth decay. Of course this is easier said than done, but being educated on the transmission of this bacteria is key.

Having a healthy mouth as a parent is also important due to any exposure of saliva to your child. Are you keeping regular dental appointments? Do you brush twice per day and clean in between your teeth? Is your mouth infection-free? Being open and sharing within your family is great, but not when it comes to sharing bacteria!

Don't let a child fall asleep with a bottle containing anything other than water
Baby bottle tooth decay, or tooth decay caused by the contents from drinking a bottle, is preventable. The bacteria that causes tooth decay feeds off the sugar that is ingested by the child. This bacteria then excretes acids, which decay teeth. Limiting this exposure to sugar is crucial. Juice, milk, formula, sports drinks and soda all contain sugar that can cause tooth decay. When adults and children sleep, saliva flow is decreased so it cannot help wash away this sugar. It sits on teeth, feeding the bacteria, which excrete acid as byproducts that can cause teeth to decay. Yes, bacteria poop acid that causes cavities! Prolonged exposure to sugar at any time of day can be detrimental to teeth, but especially before sleep. This is why it's best to only give a child water in their bottle before a nap or bedtime.

On the subject of juice, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently updated its recommendations on juice consumption for children. The AAP states, "It is optimal to completely avoid the use of juice in infants before one year of age. When juice is medically indicated for an infant older than 6 months, it is prudent to give the juice to the infant in a cup. Dental caries have also been associated with juice consumption. Prolonged exposure of the teeth to the sugars in juice is a major contributing factor to dental caries (cavities/dental decay). Recommendations from the AAP and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry state that juice should be offered to toddlers in a cup, not a bottle, and that infants not be put to bed with a bottle in their mouth. The practice of allowing children to carry a bottle, easily transportable covered cup, open cup or box of juice around throughout the day leads to excessive exposure of the teeth to carbohydrates, which promote the development of dental caries."

Beyond the effects to dental health and juice consumption, malnutrition and short stature in children has been associated with excessive juice consumption in kids. In summary, the AAP recommends, "Juice should not be introduced into the diet of infants before 12 months of age unless clinically indicated. The intake of juice should be limited to, at most, 4 ounces/day in toddlers 1 to 3 years of age, and 4 to 6 ounces per day for children 4 to 6 years of age. For children 7 to 18 years of age, juice intake should be limited to 8 ounces or 1 cup of the recommended 2 to 2.5 cups of fruit servings per day."

Oral hygiene habits practiced every day is the first line of defense in maintaining health
Before a baby has his or her first tooth, it's recommended to wipe around the mouth with a soft, wet cloth. Brushing teeth with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush should begin when the first tooth is visible in a child's mouth. Use a rice grain sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste twice per day until a child is 3 years old. From the ages of 3 to 6, a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste is recommended. Brushing a child's teeth for a full two minutes twice per day is key, with brushing at night being the most important. Cleaning in between the teeth, with floss or another interdental aid, should begin when the teeth begin fitting close together, normally between the ages of 2 and 6. Supervising and helping a child brush until about the age of 7 and encouraging them to spit out the excess toothpaste is a must. A good rule of thumb is a child needs help brushing their teeth until they can tie their own shoes. Depending on a child's dexterity, the ability to floss on their own is around age 10.

Routine and setting an example of oral health care habits is especially important in building good habits in children. Make sure you are brushing twice per day for a full 2 minutes and cleaning in between your teeth once per day, to set an example for your kids. Explaining why brushing and flossing teeth to a child helps encourage good habits as well. A dental hygienist can help with educating both you and your child and show your child how to properly brush and clean in between their teeth. So don't discount the value of dental visits; it's more than just "a teeth cleaning!" Education for both you and your kids is crucial!

Prevention is the best medicine
It is estimated that more than 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental-related illness. Kids with dental pain can be withdrawn, unable to concentrate and irritable. Combined with missing school days, this can affect school performance. Children who reported tooth pain were almost four times more likely to have a low grade point average, falling below the median GPA of 2.8, when compared to children without tooth pain. Not to mention the fact that if a child is absent from school, a parent might need to stay home from work as well. One study showed that 58 to 80 school hours were missed due to dental pain for some kids. In turn, parents missed 2.5 days of work per school year because of their child's dental problems. Oftentimes, tooth pain is due to dental decay or cavities. Dental decay tends to only hurt once it's severe and has reached the center of the tooth, where the nerves reside.

Preventative measures, education on oral health and access to dental care are all issues here. Let's talk preventative measures: sealants! Sealants are a thin coating of material placed on the chewing surfaces of premolars or molars that have deep grooves. Sometimes these grooves are too deep for a toothbrush to effectively remove bacteria, even with the best brushing habits. Sealants are a preventive measure that don't require a shot to get numb or removal of tooth structure; they simply protect the tooth surface from bacteria and decrease the risk of dental decay. They are also painless. Sealants are great because they are a "preventive" measure, not a "fix it after there's a problem" measure. They are not only effective in prevention of dental decay, but cost-effective is better for your child's oral and overall health and better for a parent's pocketbook. Win-win!

Everyone wants his or her child to be healthy, and having a healthy smile is crucial to a  child's overall health and development. Don't discount the importance of a healthy mouth as it leads to a healthy body!

Posted on June 12th, 2017

Columbia University dental researchers have found that frequent recreational use of cannabis - including marijuana, hashish, and hash oil - increases the risk of gum disease.

The study was published in the March issue of the Journal of Periodontology.

Jaffer Shariff, DDS, MPH, a postdoctoral resident in periodontology at Columbia University School of Dental Medicine (CDM) and lead author, noticed a possible link between frequent recreational cannabis use and gum disease during his residency at a community based dental clinic in Manhattan.

"It is well known that frequent tobacco use can increase the risk of periodontal disease, but it was surprising to see that recreational cannabis users may also be at risk," said Dr. Shariff. "The recent spate of new recreational and medical marijuana laws could spell the beginning of a growing oral public health problem."

Dr. Shariff and colleagues from CDM analyzed data from 2,938 U.S. adults who participated in the Centers for Disease Control's 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, administered in collaboration with the American Academy of Periodontology. Approximately 27 percent of the participants reported using cannabis one or more times for at least 12 months.

Periodontal exams focus on a patient's gum tissue and connection to the teeth. Among other assessments, periodontists look for plaque, inflammation, bleeding and gum recession. The clinician uses a probe to measure the space between teeth and their surrounding gum tissue.

Healthy gums fit a tooth snugly, with no more than one to three millimeters of space, known as pocket depth, between the tooth and surrounding gum tissue. Deeper pockets usually indicate presence of periodontitis.

Among the study participants, frequent recreational cannabis users had more sites with pocket depths indicative of moderate to severe periodontal disease than less frequent users.

"Even controlling for other factors linked to gum disease, such as cigarette smoking, frequent recreational cannabis smokers are twice as likely as non-frequent users to have signs of periodontal disease," said Dr. Shariff. "While more research is needed to determine if medical marijuana has a similar impact on oral health, our study findings suggest that dental care providers should ask their patients about cannabis habits."

Commenting on the study, Dr. Terrence J. Griffen, president of the American Academy of Periodontology, said, "At a time when the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana is increasing its use in the United States, users should be made aware of the impact that any form of cannabis can have on the health of their gums."

(Dental Products Report)

Posted on June 7th, 2017

When you think about mouthguards, do not just think about football or hockey. A mouthguard can protect your teeth and mouth from injury in just about any sport or exercise, like gymnastics or skating.

Mouthguards, also called mouth protecrots, can help cushion a blow to the face, helping reduce the chance of broken teeth.

There are 3 types of mouthguards:
1. Stock: you can buy these preformed mouthguards at many sporting goods stores or drugstores. They are inexpensive and come ready to wear right out of the package. Unfortunately, because they are "one size fits all," they many be bulky and might make breathing and talking more difficult.
2. Boil-and-Bite: these mouthguards also can be bought at sporting goods stores and drugstores. You first put the mouthguard in hot water, and then bite down and allow it to form to the shape of your mouth.
3. Custom-Made: these mouthguards are made by your dentist just for you. Because they are individually made, with a personalized fit, they are likely the most comfortable option, though they are more expensive than the other types.

If you decided to buy a stock or boil-and-bite mouthguard, look for the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance on the package. The Seal means scientific tests show that a product is safe when used as directed. These tests are reviewed by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs.

Replace your mouthguard immediately if it does not fit well, looks worn, has tears, or loses its shape. For the mouthguard to do its job, it has to fit well in your mouth. Because their mouths are still growing, teens and children likely need to replace their mouthguards every year, if not more often.

It is important to keep your mouthguard clean and dry between uses. Here are some tips for taking care of your mouthguard.
     *Rinse with cool water before and after each use. Brush with a toothbrush and cool water after rinsing.
     *Bring your mouthguard to your dental visits. Your dentist may want to check the fit or look for signs of wear.
     *Store and carry the mouthguard in a sturdy container that has vents so it can dry, which will help keep bacteria from growing.
     *Never leave the mouthguard in the sun or in the hot water.
     *Your mouthguard should fit snugly over your teeth. Replace it if looks worn, tears, or loses its shape.
     *Never wrap your mouthguard in a tissue or napkin (it could get thrown away). Store your mouthguard and its case somewhere safe, away from pets and small children.
     *Check the package label or insert to see if the manufacturer gives any special instructions for caring for your mouthguard.

When accidents do happen, though, there are a number of first aid steps you can take before going to the dentist.

Prepared by Anita M. Mark

Posted on May 8th, 2017

Good Brushing Technique
Why is brushing and flossing your teeth so important? Because it removes plaque. If plaque isn't removed, it continues to build up, causing tooth decay, gum disease and eventual tooth loss. Fortunately, keeping your teeth clean is easy and takes only a few minutes to maintain your good oral health.

Eight Tips for Easy Brushing:     
1. Use a soft-bristled brush and toothpaste that contains fluoride.
2. Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your gums.
3. Move the brush gently, using short strokes; don't scrub.
4. Pay special attention to the gum line.
5. Brush the outer tooth surfaces using short, back-and-forth strokes.
6. Brush the inner surfaces of the front teeth using gentle, up-and-down strokes.
7. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
8. Rinse your toothbrush with water and store upright after use.

Follow The Floss To A Healthier Smile
Nobody wants to loose a tooth, but gum disease - which causes tooth loss - can sneak up on you. To get rid of the bacteria that causes gum disease you have to get rid of all the plaque. Flossing at least once a day helps clean the plaque from hard-to-reach places between teeth and under the gum line - lowering your risk of cavities and helping to prevent gum disease.

Foolproof Flossing in 6 Quick Steps:
1. Pull about 18 inches of floss and wrap most of it around the index or middle finger of each hand so you have a few inches between your hands.
2. Hold the floss between your thumbs and fingers and saw between each set of teeth until the floss gently pops between the teeth.
3. Pull the floss tight against the side of one tooth so it forms a "C" shape and slide it down.
4. Gently get down below the gum between each tooth and gum line.
5. Repeat for each pair of teeth.
6. Remember to floss the backside of the back tooth in each corner of your mouth.

Sugar Free Smiles Last Longer
Sugary treats may taste great for a few seconds, but they can cause cavities that last forever. By avoiding sugar, and by brushing and flossing right after meals and snacks, you can help prevent cavities from even starting in the first place. Soda pop, candles, cakes, cookies, pies and even fruit drinks can all create sticky plaque on your teeth and gums that lead to disease.

Quick Tips for Sugar - Smart Snacking:
1. Choose healthy treats like nuts, raw vegetables, or even low - fat yogurt.
2. Fruit is naturally sweet and contains vitamins that support a strong body and teeth.
3. Choose water over fruit juice, sports or energy drinks when you are thirsty.
4. Chew sugar - free gum after snacks to reduce the acids that cause cavities.

Healthy Smile, Happy Life
Oral health is a part of being well - and the foundation for a healthy and active lifestyle. When our mouths, gums or teeth aren't healthy, our bodies may be more susceptible to serious disease.

Is Your Oral Health Putting Your Overall Health At Risk?
About 40 percent of American adults experience a form of moderate to severe periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease is caused by bacteria that form plaque on your teeth. Left untreated, these bacteria can severely infect the gums and lead to tooth loss. Researchers have associated gum disease with many different health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and more.

Posted on January 18th, 2017

On Valentine's Day, showing our love and appreciation for someone often is communicating with a heart-shaped box of scrumptious chocolate candy treats. Unbelievably, Americans buy more than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolates each year. Here are some other statistics about Valentine's sweets:

*American's spend $345 million for Valentine's candy each year
* Approximately 58 million pounds of chocolate are consumed around Valentine's Day
* The average American consumes between 10 and 12 pounds of chocolate each year; more than 60% of all chocolates in America are enjoyed by women
* About 8 billion candy hearts are sold between Feb. 1 and Feb. 14

While most of us are aware that consuming large amounts of candy during this holiday can contribute to a larger waistline, we may not think about how sweets impact our oral health.

Impact of Sweets on Your Teeth
Each time bacteria come into contact with sugar in your mouth, acid is produced, which attacks your teeth for at least 20 minutes. And the bacteria that cause cavities thrive in sweets and sodas. Cavities are caused by tooth decay that destroys the tooth structures and can affect both the enamel and inner layer of the tooth. 

Sweets that are tough on Your Teeth

Some foods and candies create more problems for your teeth than others, including those that are sticky, dissolve slowly or are sucked, such as lollipops, hard candies, toffee, gum drops, taffy, caramel corn, peanut brittle, dried fruit, chocolate-covered raisins and high-energy sports bars. 

Keep your Teeth Healthy
To maintain good oral health, brush your teeth at least twice a day, use floss daily, eat nutritious foods, limit snacks, including candy, pretzels, and chips, and visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and exams.

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