Wellness Blog

Posts for: April, 2018

SOMETIMES, BEDTIME CAN BE a real struggle, and a bottle might seem like an easy solution.  Unfortunately, putting a baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice does more harm than good, because the easier bedtime comes at the expense of the baby’s oral health.  Keeping those baby teeth healthy is crucial so that the adult teeth will have a better chance of coming in straight.
 

What Is Bottle Rot?

Prolonged exposure to the sugars in milk or juice erodes the enamel on a baby or toddler’s teeth, particularly the central incisors.  If you have ever heard of the phrase “baby bottle tooth decay” or the more sinister-sounding “bottle rot,” this is what it refers to, and it is definitely something to avoid.  It can also happen with sippy cups and even breastfeeding!  If a baby’s gums and teeth are not properly cleaned after feeding, the sugary milk residue left in their mouth increases the risk of tooth decay.

Stopping Bottle Rot Before It Starts

Preventing bottle rot is simple: only use a bottle for the baby’s mealtimes.  Do not use a bottle to soothe them or help them fall asleep- a pacifier will be much healthier for their teeth.  After the baby reaches six months of age, it is safe to use a bottle of water or a sippy cup of water for toddlers.  Not only will it not cause bottle rot, but it will not leave stains if it spills!

After every meal, make sure to clean out milk residue.  Once baby teeth start appearing, it is time to start brushing them.  Use a soft toothbrush and a dab of toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice.  Because babies cannot rinse and spit, make sure to use a non-fluoride toothpaste that is safe to swallow.

Treating Existing Bottle Rot

If your baby is already showing signs of tooth decay, come see us!  We will be able to assess the extent of the decay, deal with any cavities, and come up with a plan to prevent future damage.  One of the easiest steps you will be able to take at home is to limit their consumption of sugary drinks like juice and soda.  You can also bring them to us for fluoride varnish treatments to give their teeth extra protection.

We Can Help

We know that parenting is full of unexpected twists and turns, but we are happy to help you navigate the ones involved in infant and child dental care.  Like you, we want your child to have a healthy smile for life!  If you have not already brought them in for a checkup, schedule one today!

Thank you for being our valued patients!

 

Top image by Flickr user Sander van der Wel used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from the original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


SPRING IS IN THE AIR and that means so are allergens. Seasonal allergies affect millions of people every year, but did you know that they can also affect oral health?

Why Do We Get Seasonal Allergies?

While there are plenty of allergens that can make us sneeze year round (such as dust and pet dander), seasonal allergies typically flare up twice a year: in the spring and the fall. This can mean long months of congestion, an itchy nose, mouth, eyes, or throat, puffy eyes, sneezing, and coughing for people who suffer from seasonal allergies.

The reason our allergies act up the most during spring and fall is that trees and grass pollinate throughout the spring, while ragweed pollinates in the fall. Mold will also send out spores around the same time.  Allergic reactions, including seasonal allergies, are the result of our immune systems going into overdrive in response to these allergens.

Allergies Versus Oral Health

While allergies can result in tingly or swollen lips, mouth, or tongue and irritated gums, the most common way seasonal allergies can become problematic for oral health is dry mouth. Whenever we have congestion, we end up breathing through our mouths instead of our noses, which dries up our saliva. Having dry mouth presents a serious threat to oral health, because saliva is the mouth’s first line of defense against gum disease and tooth decay.

Prevention And Treatment

Because many allergens are airborne, avoiding allergic reactions can be difficult, but there are a few things you can do. It is best to stay indoors on extra windy days when the most allergens are in the air. You should also wear a pollen mask while doing yard work, and avoid using window fans that could blow pollen and spores into your house.

If you do end up having an allergy attack, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and chew sugar-free gum to stimulate your salivary glands, and keep up your daily brushing and flossing routine. Make sure you also take the anti-allergy medications your doctor or allergist recommends to minimize your congestion.

Fighting Back Against Allergies Together!

If you are experiencing dry mouth, whether as a side-effect of seasonal allergies or for any other reason, do not hesitate to come see us! Your oral health is our top priority, and together we can come up with a plan to keep your mouth healthy until the allergies end and beyond!

Thank you for putting your trust in our practice!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.


YOU HAVE PROBABLY HEARD OF being tongue-tied, but what about lip–tied? Both are actually legitimate medical conditions, and the culprits are pieces of tissue in our mouths called frenula.

Tongue Ties And Lip Ties

We all have a frenulum (or frenum) that connects our upper lips to our upper gums, one that connects our lower lips to our lower gums, and one that connects our tongues to the floors of our mouths. Normally, they are all thin and highly elastic, allowing free movement of our lips and tongues. If someone is literally tongue–tied, it means the lingual frenulum (the one under the tongue) is large enough to restrict the movement of their tongue, creating difficulties with speech, chewing, and swallowing.

Having a “lip tie,” on the other hand, means one of the labial frenula is so thick and/or tight that it restricts movement of the lip it is attached to. Being lip-tied can lead to problems such as a large gap between the teeth, gum recession, and, in infants, not being able to latch while breastfeeding. A thick or tight labial frenula in children can restrict growth in both the upper and lower jaws, creating narrow arches that often cause problems in adulthood.

What Can We Do About It?

Luckily, a simple surgery called a frenectomy can reduce or remove an abnormal frenulum, but do not let the word “surgery” scare you. A frenectomy is definitely worth considering for anyone with these frenulum-related problems, particularly if they are experiencing pain or discomfort.

Frenectomies are relatively quick procedures with short healing times. The way it works is that the doctor will numb the area and make a small incision in the frenulum to make it smaller or remove it. Alternatively, the procedure could involve laser surgery, where the doctor removes the frenulum with a laser. Either way, that pesky lip tie or tongue tie will be gone!

Let’s Take Care Of That Frenulum

For the majority of people, frenulums will never be a problem. If you think any of you or your children’s might be thick or tight enough to cause the above problems, schedule an appointment with us. We can take a look and see if a frenectomy would be a good option. If it is, then we can remove it with a laser in the office.

Thank you for choosing us to take care of that smile!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.