Children's Healthy Smile Project Blog

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Karen M - Wed Mar 15, 2017 @ 03:05PM
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How to Win the Battle against Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Decay of temporary teeth that often happens to infants and very young babies is often referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. The tooth decay process is also called carries’. It occurs when a baby's mouth is infected by acid-producing bacteria, which evidence suggests happens due to prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to foods with natural or added sugar. The bacteria in the mouth use this sugar to produce acids that attack your baby’s teeth.

The most common way this happens is when babies are settled to sleep with a bottle of milk, formula or other sweetened drinks. Giving infants sugary drinks while they are napping is harmful because the flow of saliva decreases while they are asleep, allowing the sugary liquids to linger on the child's teeth for extended periods of time.

Baby bottle tooth decay usually happens in the upper front teeth. A dull white band or white spots around the gum line of the teeth are the earliest signs of tooth decay. These spots become yellowish-brown as the decay progresses and eventually blacken as it advances. But they can be hard to see at first, and that’s why a dental visit is a must as soon as your baby’s first tooth appears.

A child displaying signs of tooth decay needs to be treated at the earliest to stop the decay from spreading and prevent further damage. This is particularly important because the baby’s temporary teeth serve as placeholders for their adult teeth. Early loss of the temporary teeth may result in your baby developing poor eating habits, speech problems, and crooked/damaged adult teeth.But all of this can be avoided by the following good oral habits:

  • Wipe your baby's gums with a clean , damp gauze pad or washcloth after each feeding
  • Try to avoid exchange of saliva through the common use of feeding spoons
  • Regularly clean and massage gums in the areas without teeth
  • Avoid filling bottles/sippy cups with liquids with added sugar such as flavored milk, juices, soft drinks etc. Only use bottles to feed babies breast milk or formula.
  • Never allow the baby to fall asleep with a bottle containing anything but water. If the baby needs milk before a nap, ensure it is finished before your baby goes to bed.
  • Do not dip your baby’s pacifier in sugary substances
  • Monitor your baby’s sugar intake and reduce it wherever possible
  • Encourage brushing as soon as your baby’s first few teeth come in. Use pea sized amounts of fluoride toothpaste, which will help lessen cavities
  • Encourage drinking from regular cups once your child is above 12 months old

As soon as your baby’s first tooth appears, talk to a pediatrician/dentist about scheduling the first dental visit. Starting early is the key, healthy baby teeth will usually result in healthy permanent teeth. Remember: The mother’s oral health and hygiene habits also affects her baby’s, so always be disciplined with brushing & flossing between meals and go for regular dental check-ups.

Author:Dr Amruta Patel is a warm and compassionate dentist caring for the community of San Antonio, TX. Dr. Patel attended Marquette University, where she received both her dental degree and her bachelor’s degree.
She practices at All About Smiles, where she provides cosmetic braces, endodontic treatments, implants, and veneers, as well as basic general dental services. During her consultations, Dr. Patel fully explains patients’ conditions and helps them choose an appropriate treatment plan. Outside of practicing dentistry, Dr. Patel enjoys spending time with her husband and two dogs.

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Karen M - Thu Mar 24, 2016 @ 01:39PM
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Re: Dr. Gammichia website

A Healthy Start

Before you even felt your baby move inside you, his teeth were beginning to form. From that point on, you have an important role in teaching him about excellent dental health. As overwhelming as it may seem at times, your care and conscientious attention from a young age will make a huge difference in your child’s entire life. No longer is it assumed that older people will need dentures. The foundation of care that you and your child build today will, in all likelihood, enable him to have full use of his teeth for as long as he lives.

Teeth are an incredibly important asset, and if they are taken care of, they can last a lifetime. If you start developing healthy habits in your children now, they will already be on the right track to taking care of those important pearly whites.

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Karen M - Mon Oct 05, 2015 @ 02:03PM
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  • Children in the U.S. miss 51 million hours of school each year due to dental related illnesses. School absences, as early as first grade, are associated with higher drop-out rates.
  • The effect of dental pain on distraction and school performance is significant. Children with severe decay may be unable to concentrate and learn to their full potential.
  • Children with dental problems may have anxiety, fatigue, irritability, depression, and may be withdrawn from normal activities.
  • Chewing problems from dental decay can limit food choices, causing inadequate nutrition, which can also affect school performance.
  • Self-esteem issues from decayed or missing teeth can affect children’s ability to socialize and participate in school activities.
  • A large study of school aged children showed children who had dental problems were four times more likely to have a low GPA (under the median of 2.8) than children without dental problems. Students with dental problems were six times more likely to miss school and their parents were four times more likely to miss work because of sick children. The study also found severe decay to be associated with feelings of embarrassment, withdrawal and anxiety, absence from school, and inability to concentrate in school.

Source: McMillen Center for Health Education

Tags: School, dental, Decay, GPA
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Karen M - Mon Oct 05, 2015 @ 12:47PM
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Did you know recent research shows cheese is one of the healthiest snacks for your child’s teeth? In addition to providing large amounts of much-needed calcium, cheese also does its part to fight cavities. Cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, and Monterey jack all stimulate the body’s salivary glands to clear the mouth of debris and protect teeth from acids that weaken them. This means cheese disrupts the development of cavities, especially when eaten as a snack or at the end of a meal. Calcium and phosphorous found in cheese reduce or prevent decreases in the plaque’s ph level and work to re-mineralize the enamel of your child’s teeth.


Source: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

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Karen M - Wed Sep 23, 2015 @ 05:12PM
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Sugars are the most important dietary factor in the development of dental caries.

Worldwide studies on human populations show an association between sugar consumption and level of dental caries. Isolated communities that consume a small amount of sugar have a very low level of this disease. Groups of people with a high exposure to sugars have a higher level. A strong correlation exists between both the amount and frequency of sugar consumption and the development of caries, even in countries that use preventative measures such as water fluoridation. In addition to solid foods, consumption of sugary drinks also increases the risk of developing dental cavities.

Studies have shown that starches are generally a much lower risk factor in developing dental cariesthan sugars. However, when starches are cooked or combined with sugars, the risk is greater.

As part of a normal mixed diet there is little evidence that fruit causes caries . Animal studies have shown that when fruit is consumed in very high frequencies (e.g. 17 times a day) it may induce caries.

The link between dietary sugars and dental caries is supported by a large body of evidence. However, the limitations of the different types of studies should be considered when interpreting results:

  • Caries develop over time and therefore the dietary factors, several years previous to the appearance of caries, should be considered.
  • Animals have different teeth than humans and therefore the results of animal studies are not always transferable to human cases.
  • Studies sometimes measure the amount of acid produced from a food when bacteria in the mouth ferment it, in order to estimate the risk of caries, but such studies do not consider protective properties, such as effects on the flow of saliva

This text is a summary of: WHO/FAO Diet, Nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases 

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Karen M - Tue Sep 15, 2015 @ 02:42PM
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Fluoride benefits children and adults throughout their lives. For children younger than age 8, fluoride helps strengthen the adult (permanent) teeth that are developing under the gums. For adults, drinking water with fluoride supports tooth enamel, keeping teeth strong and healthy. The health benefits of fluoride include having:

• Fewer cavities.
• Less severe cavities.
• Less need for fillings and removing teeth.
• Less pain and suffering because of tooth decay. 
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Karen M - Wed Sep 02, 2015 @ 11:20AM
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Parents have a key role in helping their children to develop a proper oral hygiene routine in the first years of their life. Parents should lead and supervise their children’s toothbrushing approximately for the first 12 years, until motor and mental functions allow the child to routinely perform a proper toothbrushing technique alone. After brushing the teeth for their children for the first 2 years of life, parents will have to use playful motivation to encourage their children to brush their own teeth from about 3 years onwards – the time when children want to brush their teeth alone. Each time the child has finished brushing, parents should re-brush the hard-to-clean areas. At the age of around 6 years, children are able to brush their teeth using a proper brushing technique. In this phase, parents have to continue supervising the regular brushing efforts of their children. The special anatomical situation of changing dentition makes it indispensable that parents still need to help their children in the daily toothbrushing task until eruption of the second molar (around the age of 12).

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Karen M - Sat Aug 29, 2015 @ 05:15PM
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The following can be found in the ADA brochure titled: "Your Child's Teeth".

Many people don't understand the relationship between diet and dental disease. Diets high in sugar are not only bad for your body but also for your teeth. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, constantly forms on our teeth. This bacteria produces acids that attack tooth enamel. Because plaque is sticky, the harmful acids adhere to your teeth and can contribute to tooth decay. A diet low in sugar and high in fruits and vegetables and limiting snacks is recommended, especially for children.

Fluoride, a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources has been proven to not only prevent cavities but also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay. Fluoride is found in two forms, systemic and topical. The systemic form is swallowed and can be found in the form of tablets or drops. Topical fluorides can be found in toothpaste, mouth rinses or can be applied at the dental office.

The time to start dental hygiene is when a child's first tooth emerges. Start your child off on the right foot by establishing a dental hygiene routine early and by also establishing good eating habits that will follow them throughout their life.

It is very important to take your child to the dentist twice a year. Consult with the dentist regarding scheduling a first dental visit within six months after the first tooth erupts.

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Karen M - Sat Aug 29, 2015 @ 05:12PM
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The purpose of our blog is to provide general information regarding Children's Dental Health. The entries are from recognized sources for Hygiene Infrmation.

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