“They are just baby teeth. So what does it matter”?

Peggy

 

Peggy Storr BSRDH

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Many people think that dental care of baby (primary) teeth isn’t really necessary. They aren’t permanent teeth and they will be lost eventually. The truth is that as soon as those little teeth appear, they should be cleaned daily. A tiny smear of toothpaste should start about the age of 1, as should the first visit to the dentist. Many of the baby teeth will be in your child’s mouth until he or she is 13 years old.

Look in your child’s mouth. White spots or lesions are early signs of demineralization or decay of the teeth. These lesions can be reversed with proper homecare and administration of fluoride and or MI Paste.

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www.recaldent.com

Early-Childhood-Caries1

http://www.babyorganics.co.id/general/dental-caries-on-children/

Decay (cavities or caries) in baby teeth is a serious health concern that is now known to be contagious. Dental decay is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever in children. While decay in permanent teeth has declined, decay in baby teeth is increasing. Left untreated, cavities can lead to dental pain that can affect a child’s eating, speaking, and learning. It can lead to expensive treatment, malnourishment, disruption of growth and development, and may even cause life threatening infections. If the dentist simply pulls the decayed tooth, it can affect how the permanent teeth grow in. The space from the baby tooth must be preserved or the permanent teeth may erupt in a crowded and incorrect position.

Most people are surprised to learn that cavities are contagious. But bacteria, particularly Mutans Streptococci, are responsible for tooth decay and bacteria can be transmitted from one person to another. If mom cleans the baby’s pacifier by putting it in her own mouth, or shares a spoon, she can transfer bacteria to the baby. Being mindful of diet is a first step in prevention of tooth decay. Dipping a pacifier in honey or sugar is a bad idea, as is letting a child go to bed with a bottle of milk, juice, or anything other than water.

Chewy, sticky foods (such as dried fruit or candy) are best if eaten as part of a meal rather than as a snack. If possible, brush the teeth or rinse the mouth with water after eating these foods. Minimize snacking, which creates a constant supply of acid in the mouth. Avoid constant sipping of sugary drinks or frequent sucking on candy and mints. The sticky sour candies kids love so much are the worst as they stay in the mouth longer and cause significant increases in the acid that cause tooth decay.

Dental sealants can prevent some cavities. Sealants are thin plastic-like coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars. This coating prevents the buildup of plaque in the deep grooves on these surfaces. Sealants are often applied on the teeth of children, shortly after the molars come in.

Fluoride is also recommended to protect against dental caries. People who get fluoride in their drinking water or by taking fluoride supplements have less tooth decay. Numerous studies report that products containing Xylitol decrease tooth decay. Gum or mints for children who are beyond the choking stage are recommended. Xylitol needs to be among the first three ingredients.

Dental disease can impact the total well-being of a child and is largely preventable.  So while they are “JUST BABY TEETH”, they are a vital consideration in the health of your child.  A healthy mouth contributes to the overall health every child.

Sources:

1. Ezer, Michelle, S, DDS, Swoboda, Natalie A DDS and Farkouh, David DMD, MS; Early Childhood Caries: The Dental Disease of Infants

2. Chow AW. Infections of the oral cavity, neck, and head. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 60.

3. Sleeper, Laura J, RDH, MA and Gronski Ashley; The Benefits of Xylitol; http://Dimensionsofdentalhygiene.com/June 2014

4. http://www.thedentalleif.net

5. http:// twoothtimer.com

Waterpiks

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Lora Cook RDH

A question I am often asked of my patients is, “what do you think about a waterpik?” Waterpiks are great, but they DO NOT replace flossing with string floss. Once a person hears that they still have to floss, a look of discouragement or disgust comes across their face.  However, before you completely write off the thought of investing time and money into to a water pick, let me give you some information.

Waterpiks force oxygenated water underneath the gum tissue where plaque and bacteria like to hide.  This bacteria that lives under the tissue is anaerobic, it thrives under the gum tissue in that non-oxygenated environment. The oxygenated water works to not only flush out plaque and food, but also kills bacteria.  Also adding a few ounces of a quality, over the counter mouth rinse\antiseptic to the water reservoir is effective in reducing the bacterial load in the mouth.

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Who can benefit the most from the adding a waterpik to their daily oral hygiene routine?  I recommend water picks to patients who have bridges, implants, braces, or have been diagnosed with periodontal disease. The waterpik can reach places that string floss can miss.  Studies show that it is 50% more effective then just dental floss alone.  With a 3 second application it is 99.9% effective in the removal of plaque.

Some patients ask if waterpiks are so effective, why do I still need to use my string floss?  The string floss will scrap and mechanically remove the sticky plaque that likes to stick to the tooth surface. A waterpik will just rinse it.

There are different types of waterpiks out on the market.  A counter top water pik with a seperate resevoir and a cordless waterpik.  The cordless waterpic is rechargeable, no batteries needed. The water reservoir will hold 45 seconds of water supply.  All waterpics have different pressure settings, the water pressure will be 45 to 75 psi.

cordless

Another type of waterpik is called shower floss.  Many people have never heard of this type, and do not know that it is available.  This unit is attached to your shower head, it comes with a rechargeable battery pack. This unit will supply a  continues flow of water without having to stop and refill.  With this nifty unit you also do not have to worry about making a mess of your bathroom mirror!

 

shower flosser

Another type of waterpik is a shower floss.  Many people have never heard of this type, and do not know that it is available.  This unit is attached to your shower head, it comes with a rechargeable battery pack. This unit will supply a  continues flow of water without having to stop and refill.  With this nifty unit you also do not have to worry about making a mess of your bathroom mirror!

 

 

http://www.waterpik.com/oral-health/products/dental-water-flosser/WP-480/

http://www.waterpik-store.com/?trk_src_ss=WATFGS49WEBPAYPC

Dental Sealants

Kara

Kara Johansen BSRDH

No one likes cavities right? Is there something that can prevent decay in just one short dental visit! YES! Here it is folks, SEALANTS!

No matter how amazing we are at flossing and brushing our mouth is filled with bacteria. Plaque is the home for bacteria. As we go throughout our day we have breakfast, mid morning snack, lunch..etc. Bacteria also enjoy snacks. Bacteria especially like fermentable carbohydrates, and sugary treats. After they have processed the food it excretes acid onto our teeth and that causes a cavity.

Permanent damage to the tooth is nothing to mess with. There are small grooves in the top biting surface of our teeth that are too small for our tooth brush bristles to fit in. Often children are benefiting from dental sealants. However, adults have the same risk of decay but are not receiving the same tooth saving service.

sealants

Sealants are a plastic covering for the pits and fissures that are applied by your dentist or hygienist. The tooth is first cleaned; the sealant material is placed, and then hardened with a curing light. The sealant can last for a very long time before they may need to be redone. Your dentist will check them at each maintenance appointment.

A sealant is one of the best ways to prevent decay. They are cost effective, easy to keep clean, and will protect the integrity of your teeth. If you have any more questions I am sure your dentist, hygienist, or dental assistant would love to answer them.

Image source:polkadotdental.com

ADA Division of Communications in cooperation with The Journal of American Dental Association(2003). For the Dental Patient…Dental Sealants Protecting Your Teeth.JADA, volume 134, pages. doi:http://www.ada.org/sections/professionalResources/pdfs/patient_28.pdf

 

Embracing Fluoride

 

Peggy 

 

 

 

 

 

Peggy Stoor BSRDH

As a hygienist with many years of experience, I’m starting to notice an alarming trend.  I began to be suspicious, when my own children who I fanatically watched the diet and toothbrushing habits of, werefound to have cavities. A small number of cavities, but still! My kids! How could this happen?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the caries rates (cavities) in children ages 2 thru 5, is onthe rise. This is a trend we have not seen in over 40 years. Many dental professionals are beginning tosuspect that this is, at least in part, due to drinking bottled or filtered water, without fluoride. Fluoride isoften found naturally and may be added to our community water supplies. But, a recent study found thatabout 45 % of parents give their children only or almost exclusively bottled water. The Journal of Pediatric Dentistry reports that figure closer to nearly 70%.  While the correlation between the increase in caries and the decline in fluoridated water consumption hasn’t been sufficiently linked, many are beginning to believe that this is a contributing factor.

Obviously, the eating habits of American children also play a huge role and every time a child has a sweet snack, their mouth becomes acidic.  The number and frequency of these acidic attacks is important in causing tooth decay.  Sweetened juices, high sugar, and high carbohydrate snacks coupled with parents’ reluctance to brush their children’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste also play a large role.

Interestingly, a study by The National Center for Health Statistics found that boys in higher income families had the greatest prevalence of decay.  Is it because parents in higher income families can afford to provide more beverages such as juice, sports drinks, and bottled water believing that they are doing better for their children? Parents trying to promote health may potentially help to harm as these drinks don’t protect from cavities and are often high in sugars.  Just as we need to be aware of the amount of sugar in our fruit and sports drinks, we should also be informed of the amount of fluoride in our bottled and filtered water.

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It has been nearly 70 years since the discovery of the decay preventing effects of fluoride. The CDC has recognized water fluoridation as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. “The health and economic benefits of water fluoridation accrue to individuals of all ages and socioeconomic groups, especially to poor children”  (Review of Fluoride: Benefits and Risks, 1991, US Public Health Service)

Despite numerous studies from experts in many fields, including the medical establishment, which have proven the safety and efficacy of fluoride, controversy and fears continue among many.  The debate has a very lengthy history and is far too much to detail in these few paragraphs.  Communism, socialism, cancer, mental retardation, and bone fractures are some of the concerns expressed by anti-fluoridationists.  However, in a report on the benefits and risks of fluoride, the U.S. Public Health Service Department states that optimal fluoridation of water does not pose a cancer risk to humans. This is evidenced by extensive human epidemiological data from studies over the past 75 years. While its true that fluoride is found in sources other than water (foods, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and fluoride supplements), the conclusions were that no trends in cancer risk were seen between populations of fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities. These findings were duplicated by the National Cancer Institute in a review of studies and an additional 16 years of research.

Concerned parents have often asked me about the pros and cons of fluoride.  While excessive fluoride consumption is obviously something to guard against, spotty consumption of fluoride poses a great risk for decay.  As in all things, finding a balance is the key. I now advise my patients to find out about their water. Reverse osmosis filtration removes the fluoride as well as the contaminants. While some bottled water contains fluoride, the majority does not. Contact your city’s water supplier and/or research your bottled or filtered water online. This information is readily available and as wise consumers and parents we should be knowledgeable about what our children and we are ingesting.

For young children, ages 2 to 6, please skip the sugar sticky snacks and that bottle of milk or juice at bedtime, drink a little tap water daily, and brush your child’s teeth with a pea size amount of fluoridated toothpaste twice a day. If the child cries or complains, think about how much more difficult and potentially traumatizing decay, pain, and possible tooth loss might be.

 

 

 

Aleccia, J. (2012, March 21). Bottled water may boost kids’ tooth decay, dentists say. NBC News Health. Retrieved July 04, 2013, from http://www.nbcnews.com/health/bottledwater.

Ellwood, R. P., & Cury, J. A. (n.d.). How much toothpaste should a child under the age of 6 years use? 168-74. Abstract obtained from Eur Archives Paediatric Dentistry, 2009 168-74. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed.

Garrison, G. M., MD, & Loven, B., MLIS. (2007). Can Infants/Toddlers Get Enough Fluoride Through Brushing.Journal of Family Practice, 56`(9). Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/article/10.

Hobson, W. L., Knochel, M. L., Byington, C. L., Young, P. C., Hoff, C. J., & Buchi, K. F. (2007). Bottled, Filtered,and Tap Water Use in Latino and Non-Latino Children. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 161(5), 457-461.

Kliff, S. (2013, May 21). The Ongoing Fluoride Wars- Once Again Portland Votes Against Fluoridation of … The Washington Post. Retrieved July 4, 2013.

McNeil, D. R. (1985). America’s Longest War: The Fight Over Fluoridation. The Wilson Quarterly, Summer, 140-153.

Sriraman, N. K., Patrick, P. A., Hutton, K., & Edwards, K. S. (2009). Children’s drinking water: Parental preferencesand implications for fluoride exposure. Pediatric Dentistry, 310-5. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed.

United States Public Health Service, Department of Health and Human Services (February 1991), Report of The AdHoc Subcommittee on Fluoride. (n.d.). Review of Fluoride: Benefits and Risks.