Which Sports Guard is Right for My Child?

Dental injuries account for nearly 20% of all sports related injuries. Did you know that your child is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to their teeth when they aren’t wearing a mouth guard? Here’s what you need to know about mouth guards, and how to select the one that is best for your child.

How Do Mouth Guards Work?

Mouth guards – sometimes called mouth protectors – work by helping cushion a blow to the face, and minimizing the risk of broken teeth, or lacerating a lip, tongue or cheek. Did you know that the CDC estimates that more than 3 million teeth are knocked out at youth sporting events? Mouth guards work to prevent tooth loss and other facial injuries.

What Kind of Mouth Guards Work Best?

There are a variety of mouth guards available today, and some are more effective than others.

Stock Mouth Guards

The most inexpensive, and least effective mouth guards are stock mouth guards. Stock mouth guards can be very bulky and ill-fitting, and they can make breathing very difficult. You can find them at most major sporting goods stores for very reasonable prices. We advise getting these if your child is in a sport with less contact, but for contact intensive sports like football or hockey, a better fitting model will protect their teeth much more effectively.

Boil and Bite Sports Guards

The middle-of-the-road option in both price and quality is the boil and bite mouth guard. Boil and bite guards are made of rubber composites that become malleable when heated. When you buy one of these, they are packaged as “U” shaped pieces of rubber without indentation. After you boil it (read the manufacturer’s instructions before boiling) you child firmly bites into the guard so that it molds to fit her teeth. Boil and bite guards can be found at many major sporting goods stores, and they provide sufficient enough protection for high contact sports.

Custom Made Mouth Guards

The best fitting and most effective mouth guards are custom-made mouth guards, which can be made for your child by a dentist that offers the service. Custom mouth guards are available in multiple materials and affords them a mouth protector that is completely personalized to fit their teeth. Custom mouth guards fit the best and provide the most advanced protection.  

Which Sports Require Mouth Guards?

The American Dental Association recommends wearing custom mouth guards for these popular sports: basketball, boxing, field hockey, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, roller hockey, rugby, skateboarding, skiing, soccer, volleyball, water polo and wrestling, among others. This is just a recommendation by the ADA. If you’re unsure about whether or not your child is required to wear a mouth guard, consult the rules of the sport.

Common Dental Emergencies that Require a Trip to the Dentist

It can be scary when your child gets hurt or has an accident. As a parent, you’re equipped to handle a bruise or a scrape, but what about a broken tooth? Do you know how to handle a lost permanent tooth? When it comes to the following dental emergencies, it’s best to take your child to the dentist.

1- Fractured Tooth

Fracturing a tooth is almost like a childhood rite of passage. Kids play rough, and sometimes, their teeth bear the brunt of their actions. If your child fractures a tooth, then gather what fragments and store them in a clean container of cool water, saliva, or milk. It is important that you visit the dentist immediately to prevent infection and other complications that are brought on by chipped teeth. Your dentist will be able to repair your child’s tooth, or fix it with a crown. In the meantime, have your child rinse their mouth with warm water if they are experiencing any pain.

2 – Tongue or Cheek Injury with Excessive Bleeding

Chewing on the tongue or inside of the cheek is a habit that is common in children and teens. Usually, bleeding can be stopped by applying clean gauze to the affected area. However, sometimes regular chewing can lead to excessive bleeding. If your child has an open oral wound, then they are more susceptible to infection. You should visit your dentist if your child experiences bleeding on their tongue or inner-cheek that lasts longer than 48 hours to prevent infection and stop the bleeding.

3 – Persistent Tooth Ache

If your child has a tooth ache, then have them rinse their mouth with warm water to ease the pain. If the pain persists for more than 48 hours, then see your dentist as soon as you can. Persistent tooth aches can indicate more serious problems that need to be observed by a dental professional.

4 – Knocked out Baby Tooth

If a baby tooth is knocked out too soon, it can lead to teeth crowding the vacant spot. This can cause alignment issues when the permanent tooth begins to emerge, and could lead to crooked teeth and biting problems. Visit your dentist within 24 hours if your child prematurely loses a baby tooth. Your dentist will be able to check the incoming adult tooth, and provide your child with a spacer if necessary to prevent any crowding that may occur.

5 – Knocked or Lost Permanent Tooth

If your child loses a permanent tooth, then it is imperative that you visit your dentist immediately. Store the tooth in a clean container of cool water, milk, or, use a tooth preservation system like the ADA Approved Save-A-Tooth. If the dislodged tooth is stored properly, then your dentist may be able to reinstall it.

6 – Objects That Won’t go Away

This is a less common problem, but still very serious: if something becomes lodged in between your children’s teeth, beneath their gum line or impacts the surface of their gums, then visit the dentist. When an item gets stuck in any of those areas, it can cause serious damage. Objects stuck in the mouth can cause, pain, swelling and infection, not to mention plaque and cavities. If you can’t get rid of the obstruction by brushing and flossing, then visit our office so that we can dislodge it.

If in Doubt, Visit Our Office

If your child has lost their teeth from serious accidents like a head injury or broken jaw, then visit the hospital before you see the dentist. It’s absolutely imperative that you care for the more serious injury first. However, if their oral emergency is not immediately threatening their overall well-being, then call our office. We are equipped to deal with a litany of oral emergencies and will be able to help your child’s smile back in working order.

What are Dental Sealants and How do They Help Teeth?

Dental sealants are very common tool that dentists use to help “seal teeth off” and prevent cavities. Here’s all you need to know about dental sealants, and about how they help teeth.

How do Dental Sealants Work?

Food left on teeth fuels bad bacteria that cause cavities by giving them the nutrition they need to thrive. Molars are particularly susceptible to cavities because the naturally occurring pit can more easily trap food particles than other teeth. Dental sealants work to prevent cavities by sealing pits and fissures that naturally occur in molars. Sealants “seal off” the pit and fissure to prevent cavities and tooth decay from worsening and keep the tooth healthy.

Who can get Dental Sealants?

Most dental sealants are applied to children as their adult molars begin to erupt, between the ages of 6 and 12. Sealants are often applied as a preventative measure to keep food particles out of the pit and fissures in molars. Adults can have sealants applied, but it is not common. Most adults that get sealants do so because their dentist has deemed that their teeth are more susceptible to cavities than normal.

What Kinds of Sealants are Popular?

Dental sealants are primarily made of a composite liquid resin that is then cured by light or chemical exposure to adhere to the tooth. Most sealants contain a small, trace amount of BPA, but not nearly enough to cause any harm. In fact, you get more exposure to BPA by touching a receipt or handling makeup powder than dental sealants.

How Long do Dental Sealants Last?

With proper oral care, dental sealants can effectively last for up to 10 years. During dental checkups, your child’s pediatric dentist will inspect their sealants to see if they are holding up well and working properly. If it is not in working condition, the dentist will replace the dental sealant as needed.

Do Dental Sealants Hurt?

Applying sealants is a quick and painless process. There is no drilling or scraping involved. Typically, a dentist will clean the tooth first then apply a gel-bonding agent to it. Then, the dentist will apply the sealant and cure it with a special blue light, or chemical rinse.  After the bonding is dry, the dentist will then clean any residue left on the tooth, and the procedure is done!

Visit Our Office

Does your child have sensitive teeth? If so, they may need dental sealants. You can help your child stay on top of their oral health by scheduling regular dental visits in our office every six months.

Easy Ways to Help Your Children Become Comfortable with Oral Care

Getting your child excited about visiting the dentist can be incredibly difficult, and many children feel stressed out about visiting for the first time. Here’s how parents can help their children overcome their fear of visiting the dentist’s office, and help them become more comfortable with oral care.

Schedule a Stress-Free First Visit 

Kids are usually very nervous to visit the doctor or dentist for the first time, and that can make introducing children to a dentist can be a difficult task for any parent. Pediatric dentists know this, which is why most offer relaxed “meet and greets” for their first office visit. The first visit gives you a chance to gauge how your child responds to the new surroundings, and gives them a chance to enjoy the office without sitting in the dentist’s chair.

Before visiting the dentist, be sure to ease your child’s stress by reminding them how common and positive a dental visit is. Reiterate that they’re not sick, but their teeth need to be taken care of!

Encourage Positive Oral Health Routines at Home 

One of the best ways to quell dental-visit stress is by establishing healthy oral care routines at home before their visit. This will help familiarize your child with brushing their teeth, and get them comfortable with the idea of oral healthcare. You can find some fun brushing videos online that encourage children to brush their teeth, or you can brush with them to help them stay on track and help normalize oral care at home.

Establish a Dental Home by Their First Birthday 

One of the best ways to eradicate dental-visit anxiety is by finding a dental home for your child before their first birthday. Introducing your child to their dentist early can get them more comfortable with oral health, and gives you an early leg up on helping them grow healthy baby teeth.

Visit Our Office

We would love to speak with you about your child and their dental needs. We see children of all ages, so call us and schedule an office tour! We want to make visiting the dentist fun, so stop by and see why pediatric dentistry is the way to go for your children! 

Did the Ancient Egyptians have Dentists?

Oral health practices stretch back into early human history. Today, we look at how the ancient Egyptians took care of their teeth and discuss some of the contributions they’ve made to dental care.

The First Dentist

Oral care in Egypt dates back to 2000 B.C., and the ancient Egyptians were way ahead of their time in terms of oral care and procedures. The first dentist on record is known as “Hesy-Ra,” who held the title of “Great One of the Dentists.” But, Hesy-Ra wasn’t alone in his dental practice, and there are records indicating that 9 more people were trained and served as dentists in ancient Egypt.

A Poor Diet That was Hard on Teeth

The ancient Egyptians didn’t have the luxury of a well-developed diet and subsisted on a lot of raw fruits and vegetables, as well as starchy breads. Researchers have studied the teeth of mummified Egyptians and found a lot of hard wear and tear, which suggest a coarse diet that contained a lot of tough textures that were hard on teeth.

Ancient Egypt, Advanced Oral Care

Dentists were viewed as important health providers, and helped Egyptians fight a number of oral ailments, some of which were quite serious. Dentists treated loose teeth by filling them with an herbal mixture of honey and barley, and they also drank a number of different mouth washes that helped them fight breath. Further, ancient Egyptian dentists performed more sophisticated operations and real surgery like jaw placements, surgical removal of abscesses, and partial removal of damaged pieces of gum. Far from simply removing food from teeth, the dentists of ancient Egypt provided meaningful contributions to oral health knowledge and helped influence some of our most popular and necessary dental procedures we use today.

The First Dental Bridges

The ancient Egyptians are credited with inventing and popularizing the first dental bridges, which helped people replace adult teeth that were lost. Egyptian dentists accomplished tooth replacement by threading thin gold wires around and through a replacement tooth, and then attaching the wires to nearby teeth in the mouth. After wires, Egyptian dentist experimented with making thicker, gold-plated mouth guard type devices to hold teeth in, and these pieces were actually seen as a symbol of wealth.

Oral Care Has Been Around for a Long Time

Ancient Egypt is just one of many places and cultures that practices oral healthcare, but they are one of the most advanced in terms of the procedures they performed, and the quality of their work has lasted long enough for today’s researchers to observe.

3 Handy Snacks for Healthy Teeth on the Go

Life is busy, and sometimes families need to snack while away from home. But, you don’t have to sacrifice your oral health just because you’re snacking on the go. Here’s our favorite handy snacks for those eating away from home.

Nuts

Nuts are another handy snack that promote a healthy mouth. Nuts are rich in protein, which helps to build stronger teeth. Chewing nuts promotes saliva production that naturally protects and cleans your teeth by clearing the mouth of debris and acid buildup that can lead to cavities. Nuts are a great healthy alternative to potato chips, or other salty snacks that your kids may crave.

Apples

Apples are high-fiber fruits, which naturally clean teeth as they’re being eaten! Apples scrub your teeth, gums and tongue as they’re being eaten because of their fibrous texture – particularly the skin. This helps fight plaque buildup, and helps remove surface stains from teeth. Apples also fight bad breath by removing traces of bad plaque and residue from the back of the tongue. We suggest adding apple slices into your child’s diet as a dessert substitute. Keep the skin on the apple slices, so that your child gets all of the oral health benefits.

Cheese

Cheese is high in calcium, which promotes strong teeth. But the benefits of cheese don’t end there. It also contains a protein called casein, which strengthens tooth enamel and helps to prevent cavities. Try adding a couple of slices of cheese to your child’s lunch every day to give them more calcium and casein. Or, you can buy them string cheese since it is a fun snack that kids love to eat!

Don’t Forget to Pack Water

Water is one of the best tools for keeping mouths clean, especially fluoridated water, which helps make teeth more resistant to acidic foods. When preparing a snack for your child on the go, grab a water bottle instead of a juice box or sugary soda. Also, encourage your kids to swish water around in their mouth after they’re done snacking. Swishing water can help remove debris caught in their teeth that can lead to enamel loss, and acid buildup.

A Healthy Diet Helps Teeth

A mouth-healthy diet is an important part of maintaining optimal oral health. If you’re concerned about how your child’s diet may be affecting their teeth, then bring them into our office. We can discuss healthy, delicious dietary options that kids love, and strengthen teeth.

4 Keys to a Healthier Mouth this Year

2019 is here, and with it comes a new year to tackle oral health success! Here’s our keys to a healthier mouth this year.

1 – Enjoy a Mouth-Healthy Diet 

Fibrous fruits and vegetables actually scrub teeth as they are being consumed, which helps remove bad mouth bacteria that lead to cavities and tooth decay. When eating fibrous fruits and vegetables, be sure to wash them thoroughly and leave the skin on – which is a huge source of fiber. Good sources of fiber are: apples, kiwi, berries, bananas, carrots and celery.

The general rule of thumb for mouth healthy food is the more fiber and water content, the better!

2 – Drink More Water 

Saliva naturally cleans the mouth, and a dry mouth will likely lead to halitosis – which is basically ongoing bad breath. Nobody wants to have bad breath, but halitosis can be combatted by adding more water to a diet, which will keep saliva flowing and naturally clean teeth of food debris and excess sugar.

3 – Floss Daily 

Brushing twice per day is a great way to clean most of the surface area of teeth, but it doesn’t clean all of it. The AAPD recommends that everyone floss once per day, and to floss between every tooth. Flossing clears food debris from the cracks between teeth. Food debris can fuel bad bacteria that cause plaque buildup and cavities. Try to floss with your child at first, so that you can show them the ropes. Once you’re confident that they can do it on their own, implore them to floss nightly before bed. 

4 – Visit Our Office Every Six Months 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) suggests that children visit the pediatric dentist every six months to ensure that they are keeping their mouth as clean as possible. This regular checkup allows dentists to check on any potential oral health issues, and gives parents a chance to learn more about the overall health of their child, and how they can improve their oral health. Missing a checkup appointment can allow untreated oral health problems like cavities and tooth decay to worsen into more serious ailments that are more difficult and costly to fix.

The Perfect Mouth-Healthy Stocking Stuffers

Stocking are usually hung with care and full of sweet treats that aren’t exactly great for teeth. But we have some recommendations for our favorite mouth-healthy stocking stuffers that can give your child a leg up on oral health this holiday season.

Toothbrush

Toothbrushes should be replaced every 3-4 months, depending upon the health of the bristles, which makes Christmas the perfect time to resupply your child’s toothbrush stock! When choosing a toothbrush, try to find one that is easy for your child to hold, and that will comfortably fit into their mouth. You’ll also want to find one with soft bristles that won’t be agitate their gums and look for the ADA seal of approval to ensure that you’re buying one that has been thoroughly evaluated and approved by a respected institution. Toothbrushes are perfect stocking stuffers to help your child keep their mouth healthy during the holidays!

Sports Guard

Mouth guards are composite inserts that act as a cushion for teeth and the facial area. Mouth guards – sometimes called mouth protectors – work by helping cushion a blow to the face, and minimizing the risk of broken teeth, or lacerating a lip, tongue or cheek. The great thing about mouth guards is that they come in every shape, color and size. If your young athlete is playing sports next year, then protect their teeth by getting them a proper mouth guard.

Dental Floss Picks

It can be difficult to get young brushers to understand the importance of flossing, and the act of flossing can be tough for children with small, uncoordinated hands. But there is a solution that can get young children to floss more regularly: floss picks. Floss picks are small, toothpick like devices that have a string of floss mounted on a handle that makes it easier for people to floss. Floss picks come in large packs of 50 or 100 and are ideal for getting new flossers to floss regularly.

Children’s Book about Teeth: Just Going to The Dentist

Sometimes, it can be difficult for young children to visit the dentist. They may be anxious about meeting strangers, or afraid of dental care in general, but it’s important to remind them how essential and important it is to visit the dentist every six months. Mercer Meyer’s “Just Going to the Dentist” is the story of a young critter visiting the dentist for the first time and explores some of the common tools and procedures in a regular dental checkup to help dispel fears of visiting the dentist. This book is perfect for young children that have anxiety about visiting the dentist and does a great job of explaining why it’s important to schedule a regular checkup.

Gum Sweetened with Xylitol

Instead of candy canes or chocolate bars, try stuffing your child’s stocking with something that tastes great AND cleans teeth – gum sweetened with Xylitol! This mouth-friendly gum benefits teeth because Xylitol stimulates saliva production. Saliva works to clean teeth by naturally clearing debris that can buildup and cause cavities. It also regulates oral acid levels and helps to prevent plaque buildup which can lead to tooth decay. Saliva is also very high in calcium and can help strengthen enamel – the first line of defense against cavities!

Have a Healthy Holiday Season!

We hope that your family has a happy and healthy holiday season, and that you all take care of your oral health over the break. If your child has an extended break, then schedule an appointment in our office for a regular checkup. The holidays are a great time to get ahead on your children’s oral health.

5 Important Vitamins and Minerals for Healthy Teeth

You may wonder to yourself “what makes something mouth-healthy,” or, “how can I tell if something is healthy for my teeth and gums?” Well, below is a list of our favorite vitamins and minerals for healthier teeth and gums.

Calcium

Calcium is one of the most abundant minerals in the body and it aids in a number of processes, including building and maintaining strong teeth and bones. Calcium can be found in dairy products like milk and cheese, and we strongly suggest getting calcium from cheese. That’s because cheese has a protein called casein, which is vital for building strong tooth enamel.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that helps heal gums, and fight gum inflammation. It does this by helping the body produce more collagen, which aids in cell repair and expedites the healing process. You can find vitamin C in citrus fruit like oranges, grapefruit and kiwi. However, all of the fruits are very acidic, so be sure to rinse your mouth out with water after enjoying them.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a fantastic mineral for overall health, and it plays a critical role in building strong teeth and bones. Magnesium helps the body absorb calcium, which is critical to building strong teeth and tooth enamel. You can find magnesium in nuts, whole grains, beans, seeds and dark leafy vegetables.

Vitamin A

One of the absolute best vitamins for overall oral health is vitamin A. That’s because it helps keep saliva flowing, which naturally cleans teeth of damaging acids and prevents dry mouth. Vitamin A also promotes the healthy mucous in the mouth that coats cheeks and gums, which makes them less susceptible to infection and disease. Foods that are rich in vitamin A are carrots, eggs, sweet potatoes and fish.

Vitamin D

Without adequate vitamin D, the healthy power of calcium is severely diminished. Vitamin D acts as a communicator, and signals the intestines to absorb calcium into the bloodstream. Adequate vitamin D and calcium make bones and teeth denser and far stronger, which helps prevent fractures and cracks. You can find vitamin D in eggs, fish and dairy products like cheese and fortified milk.

A Mouth healthy Diet is Critical to Oral Health

One of the best ways to care for your teeth and mouth is by getting the right nutrition. Visit our office to talk more about the importance of a mouth-healthy diet, and how the right diet can improve your family’s oral health.

The Ultimate Tooth Care Kit for Holiday Vacation

Thanksgiving gives families the chance to travel across the country to visit loved ones from afar, and enjoy collecting around a table to eat an incredible feast. If your family is traveling this Thanksgiving, be sure that everyone packs the right oral health kit to take care of their teeth while away from home.

1 – Tooth Brush & Travel Case

Everyone should brush their teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time. When traveling, buy a small travel case or cover for the toothbrush to keep the head clean and the bristles in good shape while it is stowed away.

2 – Tooth Paste

You can’t really brush your teeth without toothpaste, so toothpaste is a must for any traveler. Look for a travel-sized tube that can easily fit in a small storage bag, and check to make sure that the toothpaste contains has the ADA seal of approval. Finally, children should avoid whitening toothpaste, which can contain harmful abrasives that can scrub away enamel.

3 – Dental Floss

Brushing only cleans about 1/3 of the total surface area of teeth, which leaves most of the teeth unclean. When creating your tooth care kit, pack dental floss and make sure to floss once per day, and clean between every space in their teeth. You can purchase travel floss, or a set of floss picks for easy flossing on-the-go.

4 – Tools For Oral Appliances

Oral appliances require special care to keep them clean of food debris, and operating properly. If you or a family member has an oral appliance, be sure that they pack a proxabrush, which is a tool designed to clean teeth and oral appliances. Proxabrushes are similar to toothbrushes and have a cone-shaped head with fine bristles.  

Also, those with oral appliances can floss their teeth with the help of a floss threader, which provides a way to floss behind brackets and in-between teeth, where food debris constantly gets stuck.

Incorporate Oral Health Into Your Schedule 

Vacations can, surprisingly, be tight on time. When planning a vacation, schedule a 10 to 15-minute window for the whole family to take care of their teeth, every morning and night. By blocking off a time in advance, you set clear expectations with your family that oral health time is serious, and everyone will plan on attending.

Try to make it a fun activity in the morning and the evening with your kids! Talk about what you enjoyed that day and what you’re looking forward to on the rest of your vacation. Having more than one person involved with your brushing routine will give you and your family members more accountability and make you more likely to stick with it.