In this video, we’ll talk about the different kinds of dental x-rays we do on our patients, and why we do each one. You’ll also learn about our state-of-the-art digital x-ray system and the advantages that it has over traditional dental x-rays.
All About Fluoride
Fluoride is a very important mineral for our oral health, so watch this video to learn more about why we need it and how we get it.
Choosing the Right Toothpaste for Your Child
Choosing the right toothpaste for your child
Choosing the right toothpaste is an essential step in keeping up a healthy routine of oral hygiene. Toothpastes come in various pastes and gels, containing different chemicals that reduce tooth decay, bad breath, gingivitis, and even whiten your teeth. Given all the choices available, as a parent you must ask yourself which one is right for your children? The following are several tips for choosing the right toothpaste for children to use.
ADA Seal of Approval
Approval by the American Dental Association is arguably the most important characteristic for choosing your toothpaste. The ADA seal is an assurance that the toothpaste you see has been approved for both safety and effectiveness.
It’s important to determine if your child is the right age to use fluoride-treated toothpaste. Fluoride is a chemical that strengthens tooth enamel in order to fight tooth decay. The ADA now recommends children, over the age of two, use fluoride toothpaste. It is extremely important that children under the age of three only use a smear of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.
Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth
There are many people, and children, with sensitive teeth. Fortunately, there are toothpastes available to cater to their needs. Sensodyne and Crest Sensitivity are two such toothpastes to reduce sensitivity, though they usually will require more than one application before tooth sensitivity is reduced.
If desensitizing toothpastes don’t alleviate your children’s pain or discomfort, contact us at Texas Pediatric Dentistry as we are equipped to form a treatment plan to eliminate the problem.
Whitening toothpastes contain abrasives that remove surface stains to improve tooth appearance. This is different than professional polishing techniques, as whitening toothpaste only uses gentle polishing instead of chemicals. If you are considering whitening your child’s teeth, first talk to us about the most effective and safe treatment methods. Keep in mind that baby teeth are naturally a few shades lighter than adult teeth. This can be alarming to parents when their children’s white baby teeth fall out only to be replaced by darker adult teeth.
Gum Disease and Tartar Build-Up
There are certain toothpastes on the market that have compounds that can decrease the amount of tartar that builds up on teeth, as well as inflammation in gum tissues. Talk to us at your next hygiene appointment and we will make some recommendations.
Dental Mouthguards for Sports
Consult with our office when needing customized, quality mouth guards for protection when your child is playing contact sports. Mouth guards are designed to prevent the oral trauma, concussions or facial lacerations. Schools and sports organizations usually stipulate that athletes use mouth guards. The specially prepared, customized appliances provided by oral healthcare providers ensure a better fit and a greater degree of protection against injury.
Oral mouth guards date back to the early 1900s, when they were introduced to protect professional boxers. Today, the American Dental Association strongly recommends that anyone participating in high impact sports protect themselves by wearing oral guards. Statistics indicate that dental injuries are the most common type of injury suffered while playing sports. Furthermore, these types of injuries are completely preventable. Athletes should wear mouth guards whether participating in practice sessions or during actual game play. Consider that:
* The expense of dental repairs, which may include fractured teeth, are considerably more than the cost of a protective mouth guard.
* The expense of having one tooth extracted, restored or replaced may cost thousands of dollars. Multiply the cost of one tooth times multiple teeth in the event of extensive injury.
The Danger of Concussion
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that minor children suffer more than 173,000 concussive injuries every year. The majority of these injuries may not have been as severe had many of these youngsters been wearing mouth guards. Customized appliances, in particular, provide added protection against concussion by preventing the jaw from impacting with the skull. When experiencing a sudden impact, the guard absorbs the force and shockwaves, which would otherwise transfer into delicate brain tissue.
Unfortunately, many amateur and professional athletes prefer playing sports without the benefits of guards because of discomfort and ill-fitting devices. While over-the-counter generic guards offer some protection, the devices are largely manufactured as one-size-fits all. These appliances cannot possibly conform to all sizes and shapes of oral cavities to provide adequate protection.
However, customized guards feel more natural and enable athletes to function without interference. Depending on the type of guard chosen, some facilities additionally offer the chance to have graphic designs applied to the front of the appliance. Once sized and ordered, guards are typically available within a matter of two weeks.
Effectiveness of Guards
According to the American Dental Association, using mouth guards saves high school and college aged athletes participating in football from an estimated 200,000 serious injuries annually. Combining mouth guards with other recommended safety equipment is the optimal means of preventing dental injury or concussions.
The chewing surfaces of molars have many grooves and depressions, making them difficult to keep clean and prone to cavities. Dental sealants are a plastic resin applied to the groovy surfaces that act as a barrier and protect them against decay-causing bacteria and food particles. We recommend dental sealants for all six and twelve year molars, and most insurance companies cover them as part of your child’s preventative care services. When you bring your child in for their cleaning and check-up appointments, our staff will check to see if their molars are present, and if they are, they will discuss applying sealants with you.
The application process is simple and usually takes five or ten minutes. The teeth that will be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and dried, and then the chewing surfaces are roughened with an etching solution that helps the sealants adhere to the teeth. Next the sealant is “painted” onto the tooth and a special curing light bonds and hardens it. Sealants last for several years, and will be checked and touched up as necessary at your child’s future appointments.
Getting sealants is not painful and most children have no problem with the process. They just have to stay still and have their mouth propped open with a “tooth pillow” while the sealants are being applied. In children who have high dental anxiety or a strong gag reflex, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) can be administered during the sealant process to help them relax.
Caring For Teeth
Your Child’s Dental Health is Important
The most common chronic childhood disease in America is tooth decay, affecting 50 percent of first-graders and 80 percent of 17-year-olds. Early treatment prevents problems impacting a child’s health, well-being, self-image and overall achievement. The National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research estimates that children will miss 52 million hours of school each year due to oral health problems and about 12.5 million days of restricted activity every year from dental symptoms. Because there is such a significant loss in their academic performance, the Surgeon General has made children’s oral health a priority.
Parents are responsible for ensuring their children practice good dental hygiene, and they must introduce proper oral care early in a child’s life—as early as infancy. The American Dental Hygiene Association states that a good oral hygiene routine for children includes:
- Thoroughly cleaning your infant’s gums after each feeding with a water-soaked infant cloth. This stimulates the gum tissue and removes food.
- Gently brushing your baby’s erupted teeth with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and using a pea-sized amount of non-fluoridated toothpaste.
- Teaching your child at age 2 or 3 about proper brushing techniques, and introducing a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste when your he or she is able to spit properly.
- Teaching your child gentle flossing techniques, and overseeing or participating in their oral hygiene routine until 7 or 8 years old.
- Regular visits with their dentist to check for cavities in the primary teeth and for possible developmental problems.
- Encouraging your child to discuss any fears they may have about oral health visits, but not mentioning words like “pain” or “hurt,” since this may instill the possibility of pain in the child’s thought process.
- Determining if the water supply that serves your home is fluoridated; if not, discussing supplement options with Dr. Tim or Dr. Jodi.
- Asking the hygienist about sealant applications to protect your child’s teeth-chewing surfaces and about bottle tooth decay, which occurs when teeth are frequently exposed to sugared liquids.
How to Help Your Child Brush
Your child should use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. If your child is younger than 3, he or she should use non-fluoridated toddler toothpaste, also called training toothpaste. After age 3 and once he or she can spit well, you should introduce fluoridated toothpaste and continue to participate and/or supervise brushing. Use no more than a pea-sized amount, and make sure children do not swallow excess toothpaste.
When you brush their teeth, move the brush in small circular motions to reach food particles that may be under the gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush their teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth and the outside, inside and chewing surface of all of their front and back teeth. Brush their tongue and the roof of their mouth before they rinse.
How to Help Your Child Floss
For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, dental floss is used to remove food particles and plaque. Dental floss is a thin thread of waxed nylon that is used to reach below the gum line and clean between teeth. It is very important to floss your child’s teeth every day.
Many parents and children prefer floss picks to traditional string floss because they are easier for a child to use. There are a variety of flossers and floss picks available at most drugstores.
If you do opt for traditional string floss, make sure you use the proper technique. Start by pulling a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out any food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Floss behind all of the back teeth as well.
Your children should ideally floss at night to ensure their teeth are squeaky clean before they go to bed. When they first begin flossing, you may notice that their gums bleed a little, and that’s okay. After they have been flossing regularly for a few days, the bleeding will gradually start to subside. If the bleeding continues or becomes bothersome, let the hygienist know at your child’s next appointment.
Fluoride for Children
Fluoride is a substance that helps teeth become stronger and resistant to decay. Regularly drinking water treated with fluoride and brushing and flossing regularly ensures significantly lower cavities. Dentists can evaluate the level of fluoride in a primary drinking water source and recommend fluoride supplements (usually in tablets or drops), if necessary. When your child comes to the dentist every six months, they will also receive a concentrated fluoride treatment to keep their teeth strong.