Wellness Blog
September 04, 2018
Category: Uncategorized
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A BABY’S FIRST TOOTH is a major milestone, and a child losing their first tooth is another!  As parents, it is important for us to know what to expect when it comes to our children’s baby teeth, from when they come in to when they lose them, and how to take good care of them every stage in between.  That is why we are dedicating a blog post to baby teeth!
 

The Purpose Of Baby Teeth

Just because baby teeth do not last our whole lives, that does not mean they do not serve important purposes or that we can slack off taking care of them.  Baby teeth help children chew, speak, and flash those beautiful smiles.  Most importantly, they hold the places of permanent teeth so that they can come in where they are supposed to once there is room for them.

Keeping Baby Teeth Healthy

When your child has baby teeth, it is the perfect time to teach them good life-long dental health habits.  This way, by the time those adult teeth start coming in, they will already be pros at brushing and flossing and they will be able to keep their permanent teeth healthy for life!

Before your children are old enough to start taking care of their teeth by themselves, there is plenty you can do for them.  Even before the first teeth appear, it is important to gently clean away any residue from breast milk or formula so that the sugars in the milk cannot linger and feed oral bacteria.

Baby Teeth Timeline

Most children follow a similar timeline in getting their baby teeth, but not every situation is the same, so do not get worried if your child does not fit perfectly into these windows.  The first two teeth (the bottom central incisors) typically show up between 4-7 months, followed by the top central incisors at around 8-12 months.  The lateral incisors come in between 9-16 months, and the first molars make their appearance any time between 13-24 months, followed by the canines and, finally, the second molars.

The full set of baby teeth will usually have grown in by age three.  Around age six is when those baby teeth begin to be replaced by adult teeth, in about the same order they first came in.  From ages six through twelve, a child will lose teeth and grow their new ones pretty rapidly.

We Have The Answers

Besides knowing the basics about what baby teeth are for and when they will come in and fall out, it is also important to know when to start bringing your child in to the dentist.  The best time for that is when that first tooth arrives!  We cannot wait to see you and your child and help you get them on a path to lifelong healthy teeth!

Keep taking care of those teeth, whether baby or permanent!

 

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.

THERE ARE SO MANY things that can make us smile, from seeing an old friend to watching a good movie to randomly remembering a great joke we heard years ago.  Well, we are about to give you another reason to smile: it is good for your health!  Smiling has actual health benefits, so prepare to flash those pearly whites as you read all about them!

Smiling And The Feel-Good Hormone

When we smile, it triggers a chemical reaction in our bodies: the release of endorphins.  Endorphins are natural hormones that inhibit pain and produce feelings of euphoria.  We get them after a good workout, and we also get them when we are happy.  What is neat is that our brains associate smiling with happiness so strongly that even a fake smile will trigger that endorphin release.  If you get injured, take advantage of this trick to reduce your pain levels!

Smile To Reduce Your Stress

Another benefit of endorphins released by smiling is that they help relieve stress.  When we become stressed, our heart rate increases.  Smiling (fake or real) has been proven to bring heart rates back down more quickly and lower blood pressure.

A study from 2012 involved giving subjects a stressful task to complete.  One group had to complete the task while clamping a pencil between their teeth, forcing them to smile the whole time.  The other group had to grip the pencil between their lips, forcing them to maintain a more neutral face.  Those with smiles returned to their resting heart rates the fastest!

Strengthen Your Immune System With Smiles

The more endorphins we get from smiling and the more we reduce our stress, the easier it is for our immune systems to keep us healthy.  Our cells become less rigid when we are less stressed, and this makes quicker paths for our immune response cells to react to pathogens and other threats to our health.  It can even lower our chances of getting cancer by reducing the number of stress-induced mutations in our cells!  The cumulative effect of all of this is that we can even add years to our lives by smiling!  So get started earning those laughter lines!

Bonus Benefit Of Smiling: Productivity Boost!

When we are in a good mood, we tend to get more accomplished.  Because we can actually make ourselves feel better just by the physical act of smiling, we can improve our productivity at work by smiling more!  Your coworkers could even catch the smiling bug, because we all know how contagious smiles are!

Let Us Give You Reasons To Smile

Even with all these benefits, it can be difficult to smile with confidence without healthy teeth and gums.  Make sure to maintain those good brushing and flossing habits to keep your smile in good shape and visit your dentist twice a year for a deep-clean and to stop any dental problems in their tracks!

We love seeing our patients’ smiles!

 

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.

THE WORLD IS A big, new, confusing place for a young child, so it should not come as much of a surprise that they like having something familiar to help them cope.  Sometimes this means a stuffed animal or favorite blanket they carry everywhere, but for many children, it is a pacifier or a thumb.

As parents, it is important to be able to strike the right balance for our children when it comes to thumb-sucking or pacifier habits.  Forcing them to stop too early can bring them unnecessary stress, but allowing them to continue sucking that thumb too long can cause significant problems for their oral health.

When Thumb-Sucking And Pacifiers Are Beneficial

Sucking on things is a reflex babies develop before birth, and it can be very comforting for them.  Sucking their thumb or a pacifier will help them feel safe and happy in their earliest years of life.  Benefits to thumb-sucking or pacifier use at this stage include helping them sleep (which also helps you sleep), keeping them calm when separated from you, and reducing the risk of SIDS.

When Is It Time To Stop?

Many parents worry that their toddler’s thumb-sucking or pacifier use will cause their adult teeth to grow in crooked, but there is no need to worry at this age.  Most children stop sucking their thumbs on their own by age four, and when they begin school, the desire to appear as grown-up as their peers will encourage them to stop.

If they do not stop on their own around kindergarten age, this is when it is important to intervene.  Once the permanent teeth start coming in, vigorous thumb-sucking can lead to changes in the shape of the palate and an open bite between the upper and lower teeth, which can mean expensive orthodontic treatment down the line.
 

Tips For Discouraging Thumb-Sucking

Bite and dental alignment problems are less common with pacifiers because parents can simply take the pacifier away if the child does not stop using it on their own by age three, but if your child is getting close to age six and still sucking their thumb, here are a few safe strategies you could use:

  • Praise their successes rather than scolding them for continuing to suck their thumb.
  • Create a rewards chart so they can see the progress they are making and what they are working for.
  • Keep their hands and minds occupied with activities like arts and crafts.  Sometimes they thumb-suck because they are bored!
  • Cover their hands with socks at night to keep them from thumb-sucking in their sleep. (You may need to tape these in place so they cannot remove them.)

Do not forget that these strategies are for kindergarten-age and older children, not toddlers!  Toddlers are too young to understand why you want them to stop sucking their thumb, so attempts at discouragement will likely upset them.

Come To Us With Your Concerns

If you are worried about your child’s pacifier use or thumb-sucking habit, do not hesitate to talk to us!  We can answer your questions and help you develop an effective strategy to ensure your child’s healthy dental development.

We love having you and your child as part of our practice family!

 

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.

THERE’S NOTHING BETTER than a swim in the pool to cool down during the hot summer months.  Before we dive in, we should be aware of how our time in the pool can impact our oral health.  That is right: the chlorine in swimming pools does not just cause dry skin and eye irritation, it can also affect our teeth.
 

Chlorine Versus Our Teeth

The reason swimming pools contain chlorine is that it helps to decontaminate the water from microbes and other unpleasant things that could pose health and sanitation risks to swimmers.  However, when chlorine is added to water, it forms a weak acid, and unless the pool’s pH is carefully regulated, that acid can lead to a condition called swimmer’s calculus.

Swimmer’s calculus is yellow and brown stains that can develop on teeth enamel after too much exposure to chlorine.  It is also what can make our teeth feel more sensitive after swimming, because enamel erosion leaves the dentin underneath more vulnerable.  When we have good oral health, our saliva works to keep our mouths as close to a neutral pH as possible, thus protecting our enamel from erosion, but acid exposure can harm enamel before the saliva can do its job.

This is not usually a problem for casual swimmers, but anyone who is a serious swimmer or participates in water sports should be aware of the possibility of developing swimmer’s calculus.  The best ways to prevent chlorine damage to your teeth are to maintain a good oral health routine with daily brushing and flossing, drink plenty of fresh water to flush out the chlorine residue, and keep your mouth closed while swimming!

Dental Concerns Of Scuba Diving

If swimming pools are not your thing but you love snorkeling and diving, your teeth will be safe from the effects of chlorine, but they may still face other problems.  Barodontalgia, commonly called tooth squeeze, is when tiny air bubbles trapped in cracks, crevices, and holes in our teeth change size due to pressure.  This pressure change can result in significant tooth pain and can even fracture teeth, and a good preventative measure is a dental appointment before diving season begins!

Most divers are familiar with how uncomfortable those “one size fits none” mouthpieces can be, but do you know they can be bad for your teeth?  Divers with poorly-fitting mouthpieces have to clench to keep them in place, and this can lead to Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ), which causes jaw pain and headaches and makes it uncomfortable to chew.  If you are a frequent diver, you might want to invest in a custom-fitted mouthpiece.

Getting Those Teeth Ready For The Water!

We want all of our patients to have a wonderful summer enjoying their favorite water sports and activities without fear for the effects on their teeth.  Schedule a dental appointment so that we can make sure your teeth are healthy and answer any of your questions about underwater tooth problems and how to avoid them!

Take time to cool off this summer! You deserve it!

 

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.

HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED white spots on your own or someone else’s teeth?  When we think of stains, we usually think of dark colors, but stains on teeth can just as easily be whiter than the surrounding area.  These white spots can happen for different reasons, and there are a few different ways to remove them.
 

Causes Of White Spots

Stains can affect the outside of the tooth and the inside.  White spots are surface stains affecting the enamel, and they can occur on an otherwise healthy tooth.  These spots are most commonly caused by fluorosis and demineralization.

Fluorosis occurs when the adult teeth are exposed to too much fluoride while still developing beneath the gums.  This does not damage the teeth, it just unevenly bleaches them.  The best way to avoid fluorosis is to make sure your child does not use too much toothpaste before their adult teeth start coming in.  A pea-sized dab is enough for a young child, and no more than a smear the size of a grain of rice should be used for babies and toddlers.

Demineralization is far more harmful than fluorosis, as it involves the leaching of minerals out of the enamel through exposure to acids.  This happens when plaque is not cleaned away effectively.  Good brushing habits and regular dental cleanings are crucial for preventing this problem.  Demineralization is a particular risk for people with braces, so make extra sure to clean around those brackets!

Another cause of white spots is enamel hypoplasia, meaning enamel is thinner than usual, leaving the teeth more vulnerable to stains and decay.  This condition can occur in a child’s teeth when the mother smokes while pregnant, and it can also be caused by malnutrition and premature birth.

Treatment Options For White Spots

The best thing to do is prevent the white spots from developing in the first place, but when they do form, there are a few different treatment options.  With microabrasion, a thin layer of enamel is carefully removed to give the teeth a more uniform appearance.  This can be paired with whitening treatments.

Another way of giving your teeth more balanced color is bleaching.  Over-the-counter bleaching kits do help, but we recommend professional whitening in the dentist’s office or dentist-approved take-home kits for best results.


In cases of particularly severe staining that cannot be corrected with bleaching, veneers are an excellent option.  The dentist attaches thin porcelain to the teeth, which gives them a natural, white appearance.

Let’s See Those Pearly Whites!

If you have white spots on your teeth, come see us so that we can figure out the best way to get you the bright, beautiful smile you deserve.  We are committed to our patients’ dental health and happiness!

Keep taking care of your beautiful smile between visits!

 

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.





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