Getting braces can feel like a rite of passage for many kids, in the United States alone, 3.5 million children will get braces this year. Many of us will at some time in our life wear braces to fix a variety of dental issues, from crooked teeth to bite issues to spacing issues. If your dentist has recommended your child needs braces there are a few things you can do beforehand to prepare for their braces.
If your child is getting ready for braces make sure they know and are ready for the commitment of having braces. Talk to your child’s orthodontist and dentist to make sure everyone is comfortable with the treatment plan, as long as everyone is ready braces should be a piece of cake!
As a parent, your child’s well being is one of your top concerns. Of course, it is! You want your little one to grow up strong, healthy, and happy. One of the best ways to do that is to take care of their teeth. When you give your little one the care, attention, and skills needed for their teeth to develop correctly, you set them up for straight teeth and a healthy mouth well into their lives.
Like you, we care about setting your little one’s mouth up for success. Here are a few of our top recommendations for doing just that:
How to Keep Your Child’s Teeth Healthy
Healthy teeth are one of the essential pieces of your child’s overall health. In addition to cutting down on the risk of chronic diseases and bacterial infections, a healthy mouth inspires confidence and promotes normal development. Here are a few ways to keep your child’s teeth healthy from the get-go:
- Avoid leaving bottles in a baby’s crib, and given children fruit juices and sweet drinks sparingly
- Before your baby’s teeth erupt, rub the gums with your finger or a wet cloth after the baby eats or drinks. This will keep the gums clean and keep oral bacteria to a minimum.
- Take your baby to a pediatric dentist by this first birthday, or as soon as they cut their first tooth
- As soon as your little one’s first tooth erupts, start brushing the tooth and teaching the child healthy brushing habits
- Demonstrate healthy oral habits and routines in your daily life – lead by example as parents
- Limit sweet food, sticky food, and food that’s high in sugar. Offer healthy food options for your child and limit unhealthy choices
- Give your child plenty of books and education to help them learn about good oral health
Behaviors to Avoid for a Healthy Mouth
Knowledge and great habits are essential for good dental health. While other things, like genetics, also play a role, one of the biggest definers of your child’s dental health is behavior. Specific behavioral considerations can damage dental health and put your child at risk of future dental issues. With that in mind, be aware of the following behaviors in your child:
Pacifiers are often considered a lifesaver by parents. Used to calm a fussy baby, soothe a child who wants to suckle, or put a little one to sleep, pacifiers are a popular accessory for young kids. Despite that, however, the use of pacifiers is much-debated in the parenting world.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, pacifier use is fine for kids, as long as it’s implemented correctly. When used excessively or for too long, pacifiers can damage a child’s dental development. If a child is still using a pacifier as his or her teeth begin to break through the surface, for example, the pacifier and the pressure of the suckling motion can press teeth out of position and cause a misalignment in the mouth.
Thumb sucking, pacifier sucking, can develop into a damaging habit if it goes on too long. While kids typically chew and suck on their fingers as they are teething, children who continue thumb-sucking behavior for too long risk misaligning their teeth and becoming dependent on the action.
Because of this, dentists recommend discontinuing thumb sucking by the time the child reaches the age of two. If the behavior persists past this point, teeth may come in crooked, or they may protrude from the front of the mouth.
Dental Problems Kids May Face
With or without potentially-damaging behavior, kids may face the following dental issues:
- Overcrowding. This is a common issue in both kids and adults alike. If your child has a small jaw, there might not be enough space for your baby’s adult teeth to come through. This can cause other teeth to move or shift to make room for adult teeth. Poor hygiene from overcrowding is another issue. Overcrowding can make it challenging to maintain a healthy mouth since it’s hard to clean all teeth adequately when they’re too close together.
- Dental Misalignment. Things like crossbites and overbites can cause teeth to come in crooked, leading to bite issues down the road.
- Airway Restriction. In some extreme cases, kids can even experience airway and breathing issues thanks to dental problems. Mouth breathing, for example, can be caused by jaws that are too narrow or deep.
- Crooked Teeth. Crooked teeth can lead to bite issues and confidence issues for kids. Adolescence is already hard enough for little ones, without struggling with these things.
How to Set Your Child up for Dental Success
The best thing you can do to ensure your children’s teeth develop correctly is to be attentive. The more attention you pay to your child’s dental development, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to spot potential dental issues and stop them before they become significant issues.
By brushing your child’s teeth, setting a good dental hygiene example, and taking your child to the dentist regularly, you can avoid most common dental issues. According to The American Association of Orthodontists, you should take your child for his or her first orthodontic check-up before he or she reaches the age of seven.
If you don’t have a family orthodontist, as your dentist for a recommendation. They likely have a professional in town they enjoy working with. The orthodontist will be able to evaluate your child’s jaw and tooth development and decide whether or not any intervention is required.
This orthodontic care, when combined with your child’s traditional dental care, will go a long way toward setting your child up for dental success and ensuring a lifetime of healthy teeth and mouths. Additionally, getting your child into the dentist early helps prevent dental phobias and ensure that your child will continue taking care of his or her teeth, long after you stop being in charge of it.
Ready to learn more or book your child’s first appointment? Contact our team today.
Dry mouth can not only cause discomfort it can lead to other issues in your mouth such as cavities, infections, and other issues. If you are experiencing prolonged dry mouth it is important to speak with your dentist to find the underlying cause so it can be treated properly. There are some great ways to help alleviate your symptoms and help you heal your dry mouth.
Dry mouth does not have to cause you issues or pain, generally, it is easily treatable as long as it is not caused by an underlying disease. Be sure to talk to your dentist about any symptoms you are having and what does and does not help!
Are you waking up with a sore jaw or a headache? Does your partner wake you up complaining that you’ve been grinding your teeth? Do your chompers hurt after a night of rest? If so, you’re probably experiencing bruxism – a condition that’s not only painful but can be damaging to teeth. Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, is prevalent. In fact, about 10-15% of American adults do it, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).
While Bruxism is common, it’s also easy to treat. In fact, there are dozens of ways to address and minimize the impacts of bruxism. One of the most common, though, is adding a night guard to your nighttime routine.
Here’s what you need to know about this option, and whether it’s a good fit for you.
What is a Night Guard?
A night guard is exactly what it sounds like: a guard you put into your mouth at night to protect your teeth from nocturnal grinding.
According to the American Sleep Association (ASA):
“Most cases of bruxism can easily be treated by wearing a night guard while you sleep. Night guards are also known as dental guards, mouth guards, nocturnal bite plates, or bite splints. They work by putting a barrier between your teeth. When you clench your jaw, the night guard helps to lighten the tension and give cushion to the muscles in the jaw. This cushioning not only helps to prevent face and jaw pain but also protects the enamel of your teeth. They look very similar to snoring remedies.”
If you want to acquire a night guard, you can either buy one over-the-counter or speak directly to your dentist. Generally, the latter option is the smarter one. Since everyone’s mouth is different, mouth guards are most effective when they’re fitted specifically to your dental arch and teeth. While your dentist can afford this level of customization, it’ll be impossible coming from an OTC guard.
Different Types of Night Guards
If you’re interested in a night guard, you should also know that there are a few different kinds of night guards. These include the following:
Soft Night Guards
Soft night guards are the most common type of guard, and, according to many, the most effective. They’re generally used for people who grind their teeth occasionally or mildly and are not a good fit for severe teeth grinders.
- These night guards are the most comfortable, and fit into the mouth naturally
- They’re the easiest to get used to
- They’re also the most affordable
- They do not have the same lifespan of laminate guards and are not a long-term solution for bruxism
Dual Laminate Night Guards
Dual laminate night guards are well-suited to severe nighttime grinders. These quads feature a soft material on the inside and hard plastic on the outside of the guard.
- They are durable enough to stand up to heavy grinding
- They last longer than soft guards
- They offer more extended warranties than soft guards
- They are thicker than other types of guards and can be harder to get used to
Hard Night Guards
These night guards are made from an acrylic material. As the name would suggest, they are extremely rigid, but also very durable. These are only suited to the most severe nighttime grinders.
- These guards prevent teeth from shifting
- They offer the longest warranty of any guard
- They are much thicker than any other type of guard, and the most difficult to get used to using
- They must be ordered from a dentist, as dental impressions are required
- They are the most expensive type of night guard
Finding Your Perfect Fit Mouth Guard
Again, there are several ways to choose a mouth guard, and the option you pursue depends, in large part, on your preferences, budget, and needs. Here are a few of the most popular options:
- “One-size-fits-all.” When you go to a pharmacy to buy a mouthguard, they’re designed to be “One size fits all.” These mouth guards are not custom-fitted, but they will work for mild to occasional teeth-grinders and are the most affordable option.
- “Boil and bite.” This type of mouthguard is slightly more customized, but not by much. To fit it, you toss it in some boiling water, pull it out, let it cool slightly, and bite into it to leave the impression of your teeth and dental arch. This is a common approach. These guards are affordable and popular.
- Direct-to-consumer guards. Today, lots of companies manufacture night guards and send them directly to consumers. These companies send an impression to customers first, the customers complete it and send it back, and then the company builds the custom night guard.
- Custom guards. If you need a custom or a very durable solution, you’ll go right to your dentist for your night guard needs. The dentist will fit you for a guard and help you ensure you’ve got the solution you need.
Other Treatments for Bruxism
Want to try a few other things before you go straight to a night guard? Here are a few different treatment options for Bruxism:
- Having your teeth straightened. If your teeth are out of alignment, it makes teeth grinding worse. Fortunately, you can resolve much of this with simple corrective measures like braces or aligners.
- Stress prevention. One of the leading causes of teeth grinding is anxiety or nervousness, so resolving these issues can go a long way toward alleviating the problem. Talk to your doctor about stress prevention methods, and look into counseling if you feel you need additional support.
- Diet and medication changes. In some cases, resolving bruxism requires treating the condition from within. Talk to your dentist and doctor about changing your diet or adding medication if your bruxism is severe or persistent.
If you’ve been suffering from bruxism – there’s still hope. You can find relief – it’s just a matter of deciding which treatment is right for you. Night guards are an excellent choice, so be sure to talk to your dentist about this option next time you visit.
Ready to learn more? Contact our team today.
We all have different needs when it comes to our oral health, finding the right toothpaste for everyone in your family can be hard to do. Each person has different needs about what they need their toothpaste to do. We are here to help you break down the best types for each member of your family.
Everyone has different needs and it is important to address those needs to help everyone’s oral health flourish. If you have any questions about types, brands, etc. we would be happy to answer those at your next appointment.
Fluoride: it’s a hot topic in the dental industry. A mineral found naturally in the bones and teeth, fluoride strengthens the teeth and works to prevent cavities. As such, many communities around the US add small quantities of fluoride to county drinking water in a process known as fluoridation.
While adults generally get adequate fluoride levels in their daily lives, kids sometimes need some help. Because of this, some dentists recommend topical fluoride treatments for kids beneath a certain age. So, what’s the story on these treatments? And are they right for your child?
Read on to learn more.
Why Fluoride is so Important
As it stands now, dental cavities are the single most prevalent disease for both kids and adults around the world. That’s a staggering statistic, and it just goes to show how important dental health is around the world. Fortunately, fluoride is one of the safest and most effective ways to prevent cavities in both kids and adults.
Fluoride is a pretty simple mineral. Here’s how it works, according to the American Dental Association (ADA):
“Your mouth contains bacteria that feed on the sugars in the foods we eat and the beverages we drink. This produces acid that can wear away the hard, outer shell of your tooth (enamel). This can lead to cavities. Fluoride protects teeth by making your teeth stronger and more resistant to acid. It not only reduces the risk of cavities; it can even help reverse early signs of decay. Due to its success in preventing cavities, fluoride in water was named a top public health achievement in the 20th century.”
How Kids Get Flouride
Again, fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral. Found in water, soil, plants, rocks, and even air, fluoride surrounds us at all times. So, how does it enter our bodies, and is your child getting enough of it?
Here’s a breakdown of the most common sources of fluoride today:
Fluoridated water is inexpensive, convenient, and easily one of the best sources of fluoride for kids. In fact, all natural water sources contain some level of fluoride – be it stream water, lake water, rain water, or the drinking water that comes from a well.
If you happen to live in a community that adds fluoride to its public water supply, all that’s happening is that your child is getting the exact right dose of fluoride, as determined by the EPA. Keep in mind that not all bottled water contains fluoride, so it’s smart to check the label if you want to be sure that your child is getting enough fluoride in their daily diet.
Toothpaste With Fluoride
Toothpaste that contains fluoride is another excellent source of the mineral and will help keep your child’s mouth healthy from infancy to toddlerhood and beyond. When your child is a baby, you should use a soft cloth to wipe his or her gums and teeth. As the baby develops more teeth, you can use a child-sized toothbrush with soft bristles and a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste. As the child grows, you can increase the amount of toothpaste you use – remember to encourage spitting the toothpaste, rather than swallowing it.
If your child happens to swallow a mouthful of toothpaste here and there, don’t worry too much about it. As long as you’re using a dentist-recommended amount of toothpaste and supervising brushing, so they’re not swallowing toothpaste every time, your child won’t face any adverse health impacts.
Your dentist has recommended a fluoride treatment for your child. Now, you’re wondering what this treatment is, and why it’s so important. Here’s an explanation, according to the ADA:
“Fluoride treatments prevent cavities by strengthening the hard, outer shell of teeth, and they may even reverse very early cavities that have just started forming. A fluoride treatment is quick and painless. Your dentist will paint a thin layer of fluoride varnish on your child’s teeth. Fluoride varnish is a sticky yellow or orange substance that often has a pleasant taste. The varnish application is fast and sets quickly. Your child may be advised to avoid eating or drinking for a short period (maybe 30 minutes) after the treatment. ‘
As you can see, a fluoride treatment is a simple procedure. Not only is it painless for your child, but it can work wonders to strengthen enamel and prevent or diminish cavities. If you still have doubts about the treatment, talk it over with your dentist. They’ll be able to answer any questions you might have and ensure you’re helping your child enjoy a healthy mouth.
Other Ways to Protect Your Child’s Teeth
Fluoride is a critical aspect of excellent dental health, yes, but it’s just one facet. If you want to teach good dental habits now, focus on these smart tips for your child:
- Teach good brushing habits. From an early age, kids should learn to brush their teeth at least twice a day. When kids are old enough to manage flossing, they should learn to floss regularly, as well.
- Avoid food that’s bad for teeth. Some foods are dangerous or damaging for teeth. To keep your child’s mouth healthy, learn to avoid these foods. Sticky candy, soft drinks, potato chips, fried foods, and even dried fruit can contribute to excessive sugar production in the mouth, leading to dental decay and cavities. Teach your child to opt for healthier alternatives instead.
- Discourage biting or opening objects with teeth. Just as dangerous as cavities and discoloration is breakage and fractures. With this in mind, teach your kids to ask an adult for help instead of trying to open packaging with their teeth. This will protect the mouth and reduce the risk of broken teeth.
- See your dentist frequently. Your dentist is your first line of defense when it comes to great dental health. With this in mind, ensure your child sees a dentist regularly for cleanings, checkups, and more.
Ready to book your first appointment with our office? Contact us today to learn more.