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Childhood Teeth Grinding: How to Know

When you watch your child sleep you see sweet dreams and peaceful slumber right? This sweet slumber is often disrupted by the sound of grinding or gnashing of teeth.

Most kids aren't even awareBelieve it or not, 3 out of every 10 children grind their teeth at night, also known as Bruxism. This is common in children especially under the age of 5 but fortunately most children will outgrow this bad habit.

Although it is not known why kids develop Bruxism, there are several reasons thought to induce this behavior. Some kids grind because their upper and lower teeth are not yet aligned properly. Pain from erupting teeth or an earache can also be a common cause. Stress is also a known origin of teeth grinding or gnashing.

Bruxism can go undetected with little to no side effects in some children while other cases often turn into what is referred to as TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint Disease. TMJ is only developed when grinding becomes or persistent in a child.

Typically a child will not be aware that he or she is grinding their teeth so it is usually a family member who picks up on it.

Here are some symptoms you should look for:

  1. Complaints of jaw joint or face pain from your child in the morning
  2. Pain when your child chews
  3. Grinding like noises when your child is sleeping

If you think that your child is grinding his or her teeth at night, take him or her to your family dentist. Any dentist can identify chipped teeth or wear on their enamel as well as any unusual sensitivity. By asking some key questions your dentist can identify whether the problem is psychological or anatomical which will help them develop a treatment plan that will be effective for your child.

While most children will grow out of Bruxism, it’s important that you keep a close eye on your child and maintain regular visits to the dentist in order to keep the problem in check. There are different approaches that may help your child such as a custom made mouth guard or basic stress relieving techniques before bed. Your dentist can help you identify what will work best for your child.

All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth

Did you know the decay from a baby tooth can affect your child’s adult teeth too? Taking care of your child’s teeth at a young age is what will help their permanent teeth develop correctly and come in healthy.

Tooth decay in infants is most commonly seen in the upper front teeth. This type of decay is known as “baby bottle” tooth decay. It’s caused from lengthy exposure of their teeth to liquids that contain sugar. As their parent, it’s up to you to make sure they get the oral hygiene they need until they are old enough to do it on their own.

  • Clean your infant’s gums with a clean, damp cloth
  • When their first teeth come in, brush with a small and soft bristled toothbrush using only water
  • Monitor disproportionate sucking of pacifiers, fingers and thumbs to avoid misalignment of teeth
  • Don’t permit your child to fall asleep with a bottle of formula, juice or milk
  • Avoid filling your child’s bottle with excessively sugary liquids
  • Let them drink tap or fountain water, if you choose to buy bottled water, make sure it contains fluoride. This will help their teeth resist decay
  • Encourage your children to brush their own teeth when they are old enough so they gain self confidence.
  • We always encourage our patients to lead by example, letting your child watch you brush teaches them the importance of good oral hygiene.

The ideal time to bring your child into the dentist is six months after their first primary teeth erupt or by their first birthday. This is the best time for the dentist to carefully examine the development of your child’s mouth. This way your dentist can help provide recommended preventive care that will help avert oral health problems.

Want to Know the Truth about Halloween Candy & Cavities?

Let’s be realistic, as much as we try to limit Trick or Treat 2our children’s in take of sugar and candy, Halloween is way too much fun to not participate. Plus, we get to reap the rewards as the parents of the children with the over size pillow case for a trick or treat bag!

In all seriousness, candy is not the cause of cavities.. diet is! Every time a child puts something in his/her mouth, their PH is lowered and therefore is more acidic which helps break down food. This is all part of the digestive process along with chewing.

What is worse then a big bag full of Halloween candy? Soda pop! (Even sugar free or diet soda). Soda has phosphoric acid which creates the bubbles. We use citric in dentistry to roughen a tooth surface to help it bond to filling material. Another type of drink to avoid are sports drinks. They are also very acidic and cause problems when sipped on over a long period of time. Water is always the best way to rehydrate.

Cookies, chips and pretzels are long chains of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are sugar. When cookies, chips and pretzels get wet with saliva they get sticky and stay in the grooves of the teeth.

Believe it or not, chocolate, within moderation, is actually a better snack. The fat in chocolate makes the tooth slick so it does not stick to it.

We hand out chocolate for trick or treats! It’s ok to do this once a year.
Happy Halloween!

Prevent Childhood Tooth Decay with Dental Sealants

Cavities are a common problem for children that can begin at an early age. Approximately one fifth of kids ages 2-4 and over fifty percent of eight year old children are affected.

Dental sealants can help! Sealants are a thin plastic covering Dental-Sealants-Resultsplaced on the grooves of the posterior chewing teeth or molars. Sealants prevent decay on the chewing surfaces by covering the skinny, narrow, cracks and crevices referred to in dentistry as “pits and fissures”. This lessens the hiding places for the bacteria that cause cavities or “caries” and makes the back teeth more cleansable. We recommend sealants on any premolars or molars that have not had any fillings. In some cases we have seen a sealant stop a cavity that has already started forming!

You may hear some press relating sealants with a link to BPA. BPA, or bisphenol A, is a chemical in some plastics. Human and animal studies have linked BPA to an estrogen like chemical that can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease in adults. Minute BPA levels rise in the saliva in the first three hours after sealant placement and then quickly drop off. The benefits of sealants outweigh the potential risk of BPA exposure. Dental materials cause far less BPA exposure then normal, daily, used consumer products such as plastic bottles and the linings of metal cans.

The first eruption of permanent molars typically occurs around age 6. Sealants can be placed on these teeth shortly after they erupt through the gum.

If sealants are regularly applied to the surface of your child’s teeth and they have the recommended use of fluoride, most decay can be prevented in their childhood years.

The Happy Visit: A Child’s First Trip to the Dentist

You want your child’s first experience at the dentist to be a positive one no matter what age they are. A child going to the dentist for the first time is often a handful of anxieties. Any dentist or hygienist using the right techniques can transform the most terrified child into a cooperative patient who is no longer afraid – a child who will leave the office with a smile on his face.

The American Dental Association or (ADA) recommends that you schedule your child’s first appointment with the dentist after their first Make it Funbaby tooth erupts. These early visits are encouraged between 12-18 months of age for several reasons. Educating mom and dad on proper nutrition and dental hygiene for their kids is a big part of that. All children should be socialized into the dental setting with what we call “happy visits” beginning by age two. This no-stress visit would be tailored to the child’s level of maturity and self-confidence. A ride in the “cool dentist chair”, playing with the air-water hand piece, and seeing a big sister do all this are all steps to successful rapport building even with the tiniest of patients.

Some tips for a good first dental visit:

  • First and foremost, pick a dentist that has a good reputation for working with kids. Some dentists specialize in pediatric dentistry but many family dentists will also be able to meet both you and your child’s needs.
  • Secondly, if you decide to bring your child to the dentist at the age of one, try not to make a big deal about the visit. They can sit on your lap and you can comfort them as you would at any doctor’s appointment.
  • Thirdly, your child may not remember their first visit to the dentist if they were a baby or toddler. We find a great way to help kids adjust is to bring them with you while you have your teeth cleaned and examined. They will be able to observe what the hygienist and the dentist does in your mouth. Allow them the opportunity to ask questions during your appointment.
  • Another way you can help your child adjust is to talk about what a dentist does. Using things such as a small mirror at home to look in their mouth and count their teeth helps make them feel more comfortable when the dentist does it.
  • Leading up to their first appointment, encourage your child to brush their teeth letting them know that their dentist will be excited to see nice clean teeth at their appointment. Tell your child how great their smile is and how their dentist wants to see them smile.
  • Stay away from using phrases such as “Don’t worry, they won’t hurt you”. This places the idea in your child’s mind that it could hurt. Keep things low key and easy going. Kids also tend to do better with morning appointments rather then afternoon.

In the end, your goal is to create a non threatening environment for your child’s first experience at the dentist. You want to help them be excited about taking good care of their teeth which will in turn help them take better care of their whole body.

Flossing Your Kid’s Teeth – Just 3 Simple Steps

I have talked a lot about the importance of good oral hygiene and starting healthy habits with your kids at a young age. Hopefully you now know the importance of kids starting their daily routines at a young age. This includes not only tooth brushing but also flossing.

Flossing is a step that a lot of parents neglect because they don’t understand the importance or it feel like too much work. However, you should start flossing your kids teeth between 2 and 3 years of age. They will need your help for a few years but don’t even be surprised if they are 8 years old when they can finally floss without any assistance.

Why floss you ask? Flossing is very important for several reasons. First of all it removes plaque that builds up between your child’s teeth and secondly it removes plaque from the gum line. Neither of which a tooth brush will typically be able to reach.

Flossing should be done at least one time per day and shouldn’t take much longer than a couple of minutes. If you have detailed questions about what to do, consult your child’s dentist.

A few little tips that may make flossing more exciting for young children is to find flavored or colored floss and let them pick out their favorite. This will help them be anxious to use their floss.

3 Simple Steps:

  1. Use approximately an 18 inch strand of floss
  2. Let them wrap their floss around their middle fingers on both hands
  3. Gently guide the floss in between each tooth moving it around the tooth and on under the gum line on each side

This is also a great time to make sure Mom and Dad get their daily flossing in! As always, we teach best by setting an example. Make a few minutes at the end of your day to floss with your children for happier, healthier smiles!

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