How to Care for Your Infant’s Teeth

Lora Cook, RDH

How to Care for Your Infant’s Teeth

When to start cleaning your baby’s teeth

​You can start before your baby even has teeth, it is best to incorporate mouth cleaning at bath time. This routine will help your baby get used to you cleaning their mouth, which can allow a smoother transition when you do begin to brushing their teeth. This will also help you to know when your babies teeth first start to push through their gum tissue.

​The bacteria that lives in the mouth is not harmful to the gum tissue, but can be harmful to the teeth. The enamel on baby teeth are 50% thinner than adult teeth. Therefore baby teeth are more susceptible to the bacteria that causes cavities.

How to clean your infants teeth

​To clean your babies mouth before tooth eruption use a clean wet wash cloth. Wrap wash cloth around your finger then rub it gently around your babies gums.

When to transition to a tooth brush

​When the teeth have started to erupt, this will be time to transition from a wash cloth to a baby tooth brush. Look for a tooth brush specifically made for infants. This will usually start around six months old. This will also be the time to change from bath time mouth cleaning to brushing two times daily.

​It is fine to just dry brush with just tap water, or a fluoridated tooth paste can be used. When using toothpaste, use the tiniest smear. It is never too early to help create a good brushing routine for your child.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.myhealthunit.ca/en/livehealthyandprotectyourhealth/Caring-for-Your-Child-s-Teeth.asp

https://www.mambaby.com/en-us/faq/oral-care-teethers/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI24-c-oih1QIV05d-Ch0rNgnXEAAYAiAAEgL24PD_BwE

 

Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)


Cortney Davis, RDH

 

Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

            Xerostomia is a medical term meaning dry mouth due to the lack of saliva present in your mouth. Individuals that have a dry mouth don’t have enough saliva to keep their mouth moist. Saliva is important because it is a person’s primary defense against tooth decay and helps maintain the health of hard and soft tissue in the mouth. Saliva also is important because it washes away small food particles and debris that would sit on the teeth, has shown to protect against gum disease, helps carry minerals that help rebuild he enamel surfaces of teeth, and can also help neutralize acids in the mouth during and after eating.

What causes dry mouth? Dry mouth is a common side effect of many non-prescription and prescription drugs including drugs to treat anxiety, pain, allergies, colds, depression, etc.. Another common cause of dry mouth is side effects from certain medical treatments. Many people undergoing radiation to the head and neck and chemotherapy have damage to the salivary glands and it reduces the amount of saliva produced. The last common cause of dry mouth is from side effects from infections and diseases including but not limited to Sjorgrens Syndrome, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and strokes.

Common symptoms of dry mouth include; frequent thirst, a sticky dry feeling in the mouth, problems speaking, chewing and swallowing, bad breath, and a dry red tongue.

If you have dry mouth make sure you drink plenty of water every day to help stimulate saliva flow, talk to your healthcare provider to find the cause of your dry mouth and what your treatment options are, keep up good dental care by brushing and flossing and going to your dentist for routine check-ups, try over-the-counter saliva substitute’s containing xylitol, and try mouth washes and toothpaste designed for dry mouth such as Biotene.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://oralhealth.deltadental.com/Adult/GeneralInformation/22,DD205

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-mouth/expert-answers/dry-mouth/faq-20058424

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-health-dry-mouth#1

How do I know which Toothpaste to pick?

Sharma Mulqueen, RDH

How do I know which Toothpaste to pick?

When it comes to choosing toothpaste, sometimes it seems like your options are endless. On the drugstore shelves you’ll see dozens of varieties that claim to whiten your teeth, decrease tooth sensitivity, prevent cavities, heal your gums, protect against tartar—even all of the above! But toothpaste doesn’t just polish teeth; it also removes the bacteria that cause dental plaque and bad breath, so it’s important select a brand that is approved by the American Dental Association. Since everyone has different needs, here are some tips that will help you choose a toothpaste to meet your individual needs.

Types of Toothpaste

  • Anti-cavity: This type of toothpaste contains fluoride. Fluoride not only helps to prevent decay, it also actively strengthens tooth enamel.
  • Anti-gingivitis: If have tender, swollen gums that bleed when you irritate them, this is probably an early sign of gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease. Anti-gingivitis toothpaste helps fight oral bacteria and restore gum health, preventing more serious gum disease.
  • Desensitizing: If your teeth hurt when you consume things like ice cream or cold drinks, this toothpaste can help you. It will provide relief by blocking the tooth’s pain signal to the nerve so that sharp changes in temperature aren’t so painful.
  • Tartar-control: This toothpaste will help control tartar. However, the best way to remove tartar is by scheduling a professional dental cleaning with your Dental Hygienist.
  • Whitening: This toothpaste contains chemicals that are able to help whiten and brighten tooth enamel, thus maintaining the natural color of your teeth. If your teeth are sensitive this is a toothpaste you want to avoid.
  • Children’s: Fluoride or Fluoride free?  When making this decision it is important that you are aware if your child is swallowing the toothpaste.  If they have not learned to spit it out, stick with a non Fluoride toothpaste.  Fluoride is a great benefit for children as it helps remineralize teeth and prevent tooth decay.

It is recommended that everyone brush their teeth twice daily for two minutes and floss daily.  You only need a pea size amount of toothpaste. Today there is toothpaste to meet the oral needs of everyone. But while all of the products on the shelf might seem the same, with a little help from your Dentist or Dental Hygienist, you can determine which is right for you. It is important to schedule dental checkups and professional cleanings twice a year to prevent tooth sensitivity, gum disease, tartar buildup, and tooth decay. We hope to see you soon in one of your dental offices.

Sources:

www.colgate.com

www.ada.com

The Truth About Hookah

Lindsay Olsen, RDH

The Truth About Hookah

Myth: Hookah smoke is better for you than cigarette smoke and not addictive.

Reality: Hookah smoke of various fruity flavors, tastes and aromas can be even more harmful than cigarette tobacco smoke. Also, hookah smoke contains four times more nicotine (an addictive drug) than cigarette smoke. Some people can become addicted to nicotine after using any form of tobacco just a few times, this includes hookah.

Myth: Smoking hookah is less harmful than cigarettes because the smoke passes through water, which filters out the chemicals and other carcinogens.

Reality: When hookah passes through water at the base of a hookah pipe it cools the smoke, but does not filter any chemicals out of the smoke. This “cooling” process forces a hookah smoker to inhale twice as deeply as a cigarette smoker, which causes chemicals, cancer causing agents, and other harmful elements to penetrate deeper into the lungs. The charcoal that is uses in hookah pipes adds even more carbon monoxide to the higher levels that already exist in this type of tobacco.

Myth: Smoking hookah is fun, and I only do it socially with friends, its not like I do it every day.

Reality: The reality is 45-60 minutes of hookah smoking is the same as chain smoking 15 cigarettes. Even if you are only smoking hookah for an hour, twice a week, it can lead to nicotine addiction. Something also to consider, when you share the mouthpiece with others you are at risk of getting colds, viruses such as herpes simplex one (cold sores), oral bacterial infections and tuberculosis.

Need help quitting? Speak with your dental hygienist, dentist, or call

1-800-55-66-222, or visit http://www.ashline.org

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

Asotra, Kamlesh. Hooked on Hookah? What You Don’t Know Can Kill You. Burning Issues: Tobacco’s Hottest Topics. Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program Newsletter 7, no 3 (2005) 1-10.

What Age Should I Bring My Child for Their First Dental Appointment?

Sharma RDH

Sharma Mulqueen RDH

What Age Should I Bring My Child for Their First Dental Appointment
and What Can I Expect?

Good Pediatric dental care during the first few years of a person’s life is essential to give the proper foundation for overall good health throughout life.  At Signature Dental offices we offer the benefit of preventative care as well as restorative care and diagnostic imaging.  The earlier you bring your child to the Dentist the better off they will be.  The goal is to have every child used to visiting the dentist without fear.

We recommend you bring your child for their first dental appointment between the ages of 2-3.  At that first visit you can expect an introduction to the Dentist and Dental Hygienist.  The goal is to have the patient lay back in the chair and count their teeth so the Dentist and Dental Hygienist can have a look.  Through experience I have had a few at this young age let me polish.  As providers we will do as much as the patient will allow.  Most children will cry at this appointment which is ok.  Crying actually lets us see everywhere in the mouth.

The Dentist and Dental Hygienist will go over some things parents can learn when caring for their children’s teeth.  We ask that the child start drinking from a cup at 1 year old. If they are using a bottle at night, the milk or sugar juice can cause cavities quickly.  Thumb-sucking and pacifiers should be stopped or greatly reduced at age 3.  Lastly, we ask that the parents start brushing or using a washcloth to clean their gums.

Early and regular checkups will prevent cavities in children.  Signature Dental can help you with scheduling your appointment, verifying your Insurance and most important making sure your child has a wonderful experience.  We want our little patients to enjoy going to the dentist at a young age.  Prevention is the key to success.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com


Sources:  
www.deltadentalmn.org
www.aapd.org

Christmas Stocking Stuffers

Sharma RDH

Sharma Mulqueen, RDH

 

Christmas Stocking Stuffers

Christmas is the topic of mostly everyone this time of year.  So many of us love to see what Santa has left for us in our stockings.  When considering stocking stuffers, we have some recommendations to assist in keeping your child’s mouth and teeth at their healthiest.

When parents start thinking of what to place in their child’s stocking, they rarely think to put items that will benefit dental health.  Most parents fill their children’s stockings with candy, nuts, socks, hair bows, lotion or Chap Stick.  The list can be endless with what is placed in stockings.  So this year, why not give them items to help with their dental home care.

A New Toothbrush

Everyone loves a new toothbrush.  For the holidays, pick one that will get your kids excited about brushing their teeth.  There are character brushes, brushes that light up and even brushes that play music while you clean your teeth!  Be sure to choose a soft-bristled brush with the appropriate sized head for smaller mouths.

A Tooth Timer

If brushing the correct amount of time is difficult for your kids, consider getting a small timer to keep in the bathroom.  Most kids brush an average of 14 seconds but in their minds it was for two minutes.  A timer will insure that your child is brushing for the approiate time.   You can even join them by brushing together to make sure the family is brushing for two minutes.

A Fun Toothpaste Flavor

So many people choose mint or bubble gum for their toothpaste flavor.  You can look online and find some fun flavors.  Try giving your kids something silly that you wouldn’t usually pick.  There’s Bacon, Pickle, Cupcake, Oreo, Vanilla and Orange.  The list keeps growing.  Amazon has some great choices.

Flavored Floss

Floss is normally pretty plain, but it doesn’t have to be.  Like toothpaste, there is bacon, cupcake or pickled-flavored floss to match.  If those flavors don’t do the trick, there are banana and cinnamon-flavored options for kids to enjoy.

Sugar-Free Chewing Gum with Xylitol

Did you know that chewing gum can actually be good for your teeth? While not a substitute for brushing, sugar-free gum can help in the production of saliva which washes away trapped food particles.  Further, gum containing xylitol has actually been proven to help reduce cavities.

Holidays are such a special time to share with your family and friend’s.  Signature Dental would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.xlear.com

http://www.colgate.com

http://www.oralanswers.com

Basic Tongue Problems

AnnC

Ann Clark, RDH

Basic Tongue Problems

The tongue is often known as the “strongest muscle in the body”.  It is made up of a group of muscles and allows us to swallow, talk, taste, and clean the mouth.  A healthy tongue is pink and covered with small bumps we call taste buds or papillae.

When your tongue experiences soreness or discoloration it can be frustrating due to its constant use.  The majority of tongue problems are not serious and most can be cared for quickly; however, sometimes a discolored or painful tongue can be something more serious like a vitamin deficiency, oral cancer, or AIDS.  Any persisting concerns should have medical advice.

White tongue:
-Leukoplakia: this condition causes excessive cell growth in the mouth causing white patches to grow.  Although not always dangerous they can be a precursor to cancer so let your dentist be the judge.  It can develop from irritation and is more often found in those using tobacco products.
-Oral thrush: also known as candidiasis.  This is a yeast infection of the mouth.  It shows up as white patches like cottage-cheese.  It is more common in infants and the elderly, especially denture wearers or those with weakened immune systems.  Medical conditions like diabetes, or inhaled steroids for asthma or lung disease can increase your risk.  Antibiotics can kill off “good” bacteria resulting in this condition.  Eating plain yogurt and medications can combat this infection.
-Oral lichen planus: this manifests itself as lacey-white lines on your tongue.  Although hard to determine the cause, it often resolves on its own.  Keeping up good hygiene and avoiding tobacco can help the healing process.
Other Conditions: 
-Scarlet fever: contact a doctor if you have a red tongue along side a high fever.  An antibiotic is necessary for this condition.
-Geographic tongue: this is known dentally as benign migratory glossitis and looks like a map pattern of reddish spots with a white border;  their location often shifts.  They are usually harmless and acidic foods can often sting.  If discomfort persists you can be prescribed a topical medication.
-Red or strawberry tongue: many factors can cause a normally pink tongue to turn red or even look strawberry-like with enlarged, red taste buds.  Vitamin deficiencies like B12 and folic acid can cause such an appearance.
-Black hairy tongue: although this looks scary it is typically non-serious.  The small bumps on your tongue grow continually in your lifetime and in some people become excessively long, making it easier to harbor bacteria and cause a dark “hair-like” appearance to form.  This is more commonly found in those with poor hygiene, individuals on antibiotics or chemotherapy and those with diabetes.
-Sore or bumpy tongue:
*Trauma can usually occur from biting or burning your tongue. Grinding and clenching can irritate the sides
your tongue.
*Canker sores or ulcers cause soreness.  Their cause is unknown but stress can aid their development.
*Burning tongue syndrome can occur in post menopausal women.
*Smoking is an irritant to the tongue manifesting in soreness.
*Medical conditions like diabetes and anemia can result with a sore tongue.
*Enlarged papillae can result from irritated taste buds.
*Oral cancer- a spot that doesn’t resolve in a 2 week period needs to be checked.  Many oral cancers do not
hurt in the early stages so don’t assume a lack of pain means you are okay.

Please consult your friendly dental office for an evaluation if any of these conditions arise.  It’s better to be safe.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/tongue-problem-basics-sore-or-discolored-tongue-and-tongue-bumps?page=3
University of Maryland Medical Center: “Tongue Problems”
University of Maryland Medical Center: “Oral Cancer”
American Dental Association: “Common Mouth Sores”
Familydoctor.org: “Mouth Problems”
Familydoctor.org “Canker Sores:  What they are and what you can do about them”
Columbia University College of Dental Medicine:  “Black Hairy Tongue”
Columbia University College of Dental Medicine:  “Painful Papillae of the Tongue”

Oral Parafunctional Habits

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Becky Larson, RDH

Oral Parafunctional Habits

We all need to move our jaw and teeth to do normal everyday activities such eating, talking, and breathing.  However, some individuals use their teeth and/or jaw for other purposes, which are not considered normal activities.  A para-functional habit is the habitual exercise of a body part in a way other than the most common use of that body part.  Some oral para-functional habits include clenching or grinding the teeth (bruxism), tongue thrusting, and thumb sucking.  Oral para-functional habits can cause problems with the teeth and/or jaw and should be addressed as soon as they are discovered.

Clenching or grinding of the teeth is referred to as bruxism.  Teeth are meant to clench and grind during the process of mastication (eating) but not in the absence of food.  Occasional teeth grinding doesn’t usually cause harm.  However, grinding on a regular basis can cause extensive damage to the teeth as well as other oral health complications.  Grinding can be caused by stress and anxiety but occurs most often during sleep.  Because of this, most people are unaware they grind their teeth.  Symptoms of bruxism include a dull, constant headache and/or a sore jaw upon waking up.  Usually a spouse or loved one will also hear the grinding at night.   Your dentist can examine your teeth and jaw for signs of bruxism.  Chronic teeth grinding can result in tooth fractures, loosening of the teeth, tooth loss, or teeth worn down to stumps.  In these cases the dentist may place bridges, crowns, implants or perform root canals.  Severe grinding can cause pain in the temporomandibular joint (jaw joint).  Wearing a mouth guard while you sleep can prevent excessive wear on the teeth.  Having a custom fit mouth guard is the best option as it is made from impressions your own teeth.  While a mouth guard does not stop the clenching and grinding from happening, it prevents wear on the teeth by putting a barrier between the biting surfaces of the teeth.  Usually mouth guards will last a few years before needing to be replaced.

Tongue thrusting is where the tongue protrudes near or through the front teeth during swallowing, speech, or while the tongue is at rest.  The correct position of the tongue should be on the roof of the mouth (or palate) when swallowing.  Symptoms of tongue thrusting include:

  • Dental malocclusion (teeth don’t align correctly)
  • Poor facial development
  • Mouth breathing
  • Periodontal problems
  • Other oral para-functional habits (bruxism and/or thumb sucking)
  • Drooling
  • Limited tolerance to food textures or limited diet
  • Difficulty swallowing pills
  • High palatal arch

Tongue thrusting can also be related to thumb sucking.  Children often begin sucking thumbs or fingers at an early age.  It is a reflex that provides comfort and relaxation and as such, many children practice this habit while sleeping.  While this habit is generally stopped around 2-4 years of age, some children continue thumb or finger sucking into elementary school.  Most dentists will advise to break this habit before permanent teeth begin to erupt.  Pacifiers are great substitutes for thumbs and fingers because they can be taken away at the necessary time.  Both tongue thrusting and thumb sucking can be detrimental to the development of facial structures, jaw and teeth.

Please talk with your dentist if you are experiencing problems with any of these para-functional habits.  He or she can recommend treatment to help prevent un-necessary tooth damage.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/parafunction

http://orthowny.com/parafunctional_habits/

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/teeth-grinding-bruxism#1

http://tonguethrust.weebly.com/

Cold Sores

LindsayW

Cold Sores

Essential Oils

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Lora Cook, RDH

Essential Oils

Recently several of my patients have asked me some questions about essential oils.  To be honest I have a very limited knowledge of the subject.  I hate when I don’t have all the answers for my patients.  So I thought what better way to learn more about the subject then to write about it.  However, let me preface this information with a reminder that while these essential oils can provide effective preventive and palliative care, it is not a substitute for dental care.  If you have a cavity or a toothache please do not hesitate to give us a call. Periodontal disease and cavities left untreated will only become worse over time.

As dental professionals we rely on tested clinical research and published blinded research studies to substantiate any therapeutic claims and demonstrate effectiveness.  However with essential oils there is little published research, because several problems present in trying to conduct research on essential oils.  First, essential oils are not standardized.  Synthetic Pharmaceuticals are reproduced to be identical, where as essential oils cannot be produced to be identical.  Second, while conducting research on essential oils it is difficult to gage for individual differences in how the oils affect people. Also little funding is provided for research on homeopathic remedies.  More research studies are done for synthetic therapeutics because these follow the usual scientific research path.

The Essential oils that I would like to talk about are:

1.)  Cinnamon oil

A.) Cinnamon bark oil

B.) Cinnamon leaf oil

2.)Tea Tree oil

3.)Myrrh

4.)Clove oil

5.)Peppermint oil

 

1.  Cinnamon Leaf Oil:  Leaf oil is primarily useful for palliative care.  It may be effective in reducing pain and inflammation

Cinnamon Bark Oil:  bark oil has antibacterial qualities, has been shown to effectively destroy 21 different types of bacteria.

How to use: You can rinse with diluted cinnamon oil after brushing, or put some on your tooth paste.  Cinnamon oil is very strong and should not be ingested.  Also some people  have been known to have allergic reactions to cinnamon oil, so test in a small area of your mouth first.

2.  Tea Tree Oil:  This oil is effective for antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties.

If you have a allergy to celery or thyme, you should not use this oil.  Also just like the cinnamon oil, tea tree oil is very strong and should not be ingested.

How to use: There are wooded toothpicks that have been impregnated with tea tree oil. These can be found at a health food store, or purchased on-line.  You can also mix a small amount with your toothpaste, then brush.

3.  Myrrh:  This is effective for mouth sores.

How to use:  Mix 1 to 2 drops in eight ounce glass of warm water, swish for thirty seconds then spit.

4.  Clove Oil:  This is effective for toothaches, also known to sooth sore gums.

How to use:  Mix one drop with a plant based carrier oil, olive oil wood be a good carrier oil to use.  Then apply with a cotton swab.

For gum tissue and other oral tissues mix 1 to 2 drops in eight ounce glass of warm water, swish for thirty seconds then spit.

5.  Peppermint Oil: This oil is effective in treating bad breath, it also has mild anesthetic properties.

How to use:  Mix two drops of peppermint oil with two cups of distilled water.  Shake we’ll before each use, swish a mouthful for one minute then spit.

There are other essential oils that are effective for oral health that I did not include in this overview: basil, almond, and lavender, just to name a few.  I hope that these basic guidelines can shed a bit more light on the subject.  All essential oils should not be ingested, and always consult your medical physician before starting any type of therapy at home.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/284574-cinnamon-oil-for-cavities/

http://www.teatree.co.il/en/Files/oral.pdf

http://www.intelligentdental.com/2010/11/30/how-to-use-tea-tree-oil-for-dental-health/

http://birchhillhappenings.com/mouth.htm

http://www.aromaweb.com/essential-oils/myrrh-oil.asp