Sippy Cup: Friend Or Foe?

The sippy cup is a spill proof, lid-covered drinking cup designed to help parents teach their toddlers how to drink without spilling. Children can toss it, drop it and turn it upside down, but they can’t spill its contents. That’s thanks to a valve in the top that releases liquid only when a child puts his lips around the tip and sucks. Day after day countless parents reach for that sippy cup their toddlers love so well, proud that the bottle is a thing of the past, and thrilled that their car seats and living room carpets will be spared! These parents though, should think twice before resorting to extended use of the sippy cup.

Many parents operate under the mistaken impression that the sippy cup is better than allowing the child to sleep with a bottle. The damage done by the bedtime bottle is fueled by the fact that no saliva flows during sleep to clear liquids from the mouth or dilute them. Liquids bathe the teeth all night. The sippy cup filled with sweetened liquids can cause the same damaging effects. The child’s teeth are immersed in the liquid during drinking and many parents allow unlimited access to the sippy cup.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children be weaned from the bottle by 12-14 months of age and be encouraged to drink from a cup. Parents are cautioned however that the repetitive consumption of liquids that contain fermentable carbohydrates (milk, juice, soft drinks etc.) from a bottle or sippy cup should be avoided.

 Be very selective about the liquids that you give your child from the sippy cup. Avoid milk, juice, and soft drinks. Try water or sugar free beverages instead.

 Use the sippy cup only as a transition to a regular cup or adult drinking glass with no lid.

 Consider cup design carefully. A pop-up straw reduces the amount of time the liquid is in contact with the teeth.

 Some speech pathologists have expressed concern about over use of the sippy cup and liken its use to a thumb-sucking habit, the effects of which are well documented.

Dental Care Checklist for Adults

Don’t let dental visits slide! Adult life can sometimes be a juggling act and it may feel like you just can’t find the time for a dental visit. But making time for regular dental visits now can help keep you out of the dental office in the future.

Brush and floss daily, even if it’s late. You’ve heard this a million times by now, but the importance of regular brushing and flossing can never be emphasized enough. Even if you’ve been good about your oral hygiene all your life, resist the temptation to let it slide for even one day; the longer plaque stays on your teeth, the more destructive it becomes.

Eat well-balanced meals. When you’re juggling work, home and kids, it can be tempting to turn to fast food, soda and sugary snacks as a way to save time and feel more energetic. But sugar is a tooth decay demon and can cause you to crash after that initial “sugar high.” Be sure to integrate plenty of fresh vegetables into your daily meals and eat fruit, nuts and celery or carrot sticks as snacks.

Exercise regularly — it’s good for your teeth! Studies show that people who maintain a healthy lifestyle — exercise and eating right — are 40 percent less likely to develop advanced gum disease.

Consider treating yourself to cosmetic dentistry. Whether you want a quick boost or a complete smile makeover, there are plenty of cosmetic dental treatments available to help you achieve your dream smile. One-hour laser teeth whitening treatments can make your teeth 8-10 shades whiter, and porcelain veneers can mask stained teeth, chipped teeth or crooked teeth.

Crossbite

The clinical definition for a crossbite is “an abnormal relation of one or more teeth of one arch to the opposing tooth or teeth of the other arch, caused by deviation of tooth position or abnormal jaw position.” But unless you’re a health professional, this definition probably makes you say, “Huh?”

In lay terms, a unilateral posterior crossbite is what occurs when your upper teeth fall inside your lower teeth on one side when you bite down. An anterior crossbite, which is similar to an underbite, is what occurs when your top front teeth fall behind your lower front teeth when you bite down.

Behind a Crossbite

Crossbites are caused by a variety of factors. If one or both of your parents has a crossbite, there’s a good chance you could inherit it. Another cause is jaw size — if your upper jaw is smaller than your lower jaw, or your jaws are mismatched in size, you could develop a crossbite.

Children can be prone to developing crossbites if their baby teeth don’t fall out in a timely manner. Here’s why: If the upper permanent teeth start to sprout while baby teeth are still present, they’ll have no room to grow in except behind the baby teeth. When a child bites down, this back row of teeth will fall behind the lower to teeth to create a crossbite.

Large adenoids and tonsils can also spur the development of a crossbite. If a child’s adenoids and tonsils are too large, it may force a child to breathe through their mouth instead of their nose. The difference may seem innocuous, but it can actually affect proper jaw growth: When a child breathes through the nose, the tongue is positioned on the roof of the mouth, which helps the jaws to grow laterally. But if a child is forced to breathe through the mouth, the tongue shifts out of position and away from the roof of the mouth, causing the jaws to grow asymmetrically.

Crossbite Treatment and Correction

A crossbite is more than just a cosmetic imperfection. So if you suspect that you have a crossbite and wonder how important it is to see a dentist, the answer is “very.” Left untreated, a crossbite can cause conditions such as TMJ or TMD, loose teeth, receding gums, excessive wear of tooth enamel and assymetrical growth of your face and jaw.

Not every crossbite requires correction, but the only way to tell is through proper diagnosis. Questions? Give us a call today.

Toothpaste and Orange Juice – Not a Good Match

 Ever wonder why orange juice tastes so bad after you brush your teeth?

You can thank sodium laureth sulfate, also known as sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) for ruining your drink, depending on which toothpaste you use. Both of these chemicals are surfactants — wetting agents that lower the surface tension of a liquid — that are added to toothpastes to create foam and make the paste easier to spread around your mouth. They’re also important ingredients in detergents, fabric softeners, paints, laxatives, surfboard waxes and insecticides.
While surfactants make brushing our teeth a lot easier, they do more than make foam. Both SLES and SLS mess with our taste buds in two ways. One, they suppress the receptors on our taste buds that perceive sweetness, inhibiting our ability to pick up the sweet notes of food and drink. And, as if that wasn’t enough, they break up the phospholipids on our tongue. These fatty molecules inhibit our receptors for bitterness and keep bitter tastes from overwhelming us, but when they’re broken down by the surfactants in toothpaste, bitter tastes get enhanced.
So, anything you eat or drink after you brush is going to have less sweetness and more bitterness than it normally would. Is there any end to this torture? Yes. You don’t need foam for good toothpaste, and there are plenty out there that are SLES/SLS-free. You won’t get that rabid dog look that makes oral hygiene so much fun, but your breakfast won’t be ruined.

Is Oral Piercing Safe?

Oral piercing is a form of body art and self-expression that’s all the rage among teenagers and young adults. While piercings of the tongue, lip or cheek might seem safe because “everyone has them,” that’s not entirely true. The mouth is a moist place, which means it’s a breeding ground for bacteria and infection. And the primary danger of oral piercing is increased risk of infection. There are other risks, too. Oral piercings can also chip or crack teeth, cause nerve damage and produce an allergic reaction to metal. Some people also notice that it’s more difficult to speak, chew and swallow after piercings.
Do the smart thing and have your teenager see a dentist before piercing. Learning about the potential risks will make for a happier, healthier loved one.
And if your teen decides to go ahead with a piercing, make sure he or she keeps it clean! This is the single most effective way to fight off infection. And if your teen notices any of the following symptoms, schedule a dentist appointment right away:
·        Pain, soreness or swelling
·        Chipped or cracked teeth
·        Damage to fillings
·        Sensitivity to metals
·        Numbness

Hot Beverages Contribute to Tooth Staining

Estimates suggest that annually Americans consume 45 million pounds of caffeine and hot coffee and teas are the most popular sources for the legal psychoactive stimulant drug. Both beverages are associated with having dental health perks as black coffee has been found to lower acid levels on teeth, reducing the odds of cavity development and green tea has been found to be powerful in reducing gum inflammation and subsequently gum disease. Despite the perks of the beverages, when consumed at their steamiest stage, the unflattering side effect may be tooth staining.

Science has shown that heat will cause molecules and atoms to vibrate faster, increase space between atoms and cause expansion. Tooth enamel is one such substance that will expand under heat and during that stage, the tannins in coffee and tea can lodge into the void and as the teeth cool down again, tooth staining can be the result.

Proper oral hygiene can help teeth stay clean and lower the level of dental plaque, and brushing with a whitening toothpaste may help alleviate some of the discoloration. Patients may also choose to get professional teeth whitening from a dentist specializing in cosmetic dentistry.

Dental Care Checklist for Kids

 

  • Schedule regular dental exams and cleanings. Now that their permanent teeth are growing in, it’s the perfect time to get kids used to healthy habits that are good for their teeth — that includes going to the dentist every six months!

 

  • Teach them how to brush and floss. By the time your child reaches the age of 6 he or she should have the coordination skills required to brush teeth. Teach your child proper tooth brushing techniques (short, up-and-down and back-and-forth strokes and brushing around their gum line). Teaching your child how to floss might be trickier, so you may want to buy floss picks to start.

 

  • Ask us about dental sealants. Dental sealants offer added protection against tooth decay.

 

  • Monitor fluoride use. Check to see if your community water supply is fluoridated. If not, ask us about professional fluoride treatments for your child. Keep in mind that too much fluoride can cause fluorosis.

 

  • Ask us for mouthwash recommendations. We know which types of mouthwash are safe for kids. Generally speaking, an alcohol-free mouthwash made especially for children is your safest bet.

 

  • Prepare healthy meals and smart snacks. A nutritious, well-balanced diet is just as important for your child’s teeth as it is for overall health. Instead of cookies, potato chips and ice cream, give your kids smart snacks such as fresh fruit, vegetables, unsalted pretzels, plain yogurt, nuts and low-fat cheese.

 

  • Schedule an orthodontic evaluation. It’s recommend that children receive a complete orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7.

 

Embarrassed It Has Been So Long?

 

If you’re nervous about having to sit through a lecture on the importance of dental health, you can stop worrying. We’re not here to cause you anxiety or point fingers. Trust us, we of all people know that dental health is affected by a number of factors that could be environmental, hereditary or habitual. Our goal is to help you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile.
This might surprise you, but there’s almost nothing that can surprise us when it comes to teeth. If you think your teeth are bad, we’ve probably seen worse. A large part of our training and professional work involves being exposed to just about every dental problem you can imagine. Without that kind of experience, how could we properly evaluate your teeth and treat them? We couldn’t.
One of the most important things you can do is to be up front with us. If you have dental anxiety, don’t silently suffer in the chair – tell us! The same goes for anything specific that might scare you – whether it’s needles or anesthesia or just sitting in the chair. And please tell us what we can do to make your visit more comfortable. Many people find that a blanket and pillow makes their visits much more relaxing. Others like us to explain what we’re doing before we do it. And some people find that taking frequent breaks is helpful.
Let’s talk about what you need before you talk yourself out of scheduling another visit. We’ll do whatever we can to ensure that you have a positive experience getting the dental care you need.

 

Oral Hygiene is a Must for Germ-a-Phobes

Those suffering from Misophobia or Mysophobia are burdened with the fear of being contaminated with dirt or germs. A study has shown that nearly 80 percent of American’s are concerned about the little critters on their hands, but the reality is they should focus more on their dental health if they really want to lower the chances of defiling their health.

According to Sigmund Socransky, associate clinical professor of periodontology at Harvard University “In one mouth, the number of bacteria can easily exceed the number of people who live on Earth,” (http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/2002/08.22/01-oralcancer.html). These organisms band together and form colonies leading to excess dental plaque.

While the plaque community, a sticky film that can look off-white in appearance, can look harmless because of its size, the reality is that it will cause health issues. If left unchecked, the community will lead to gum disease and all the dental problems associated with that infection including halitosis and tooth decay. Science has proven that an excess of dental plaque can cause health problems such as strokes, diabetes and heart disease.

When it comes to cleaning the human mouth, brushing twice a day and flossing at least once daily is the best way to remove harmful bacteria. Brushing should take a full two minutes allowing 30 seconds for each dental quadrant. Using a fluoride toothpaste is also recommended. Individuals should pay special attention to brushing teeth gently while maneuvering a toothbrush to reach the back teeth and the gum lines. If dental plaque has already hardened into dental tartar, only a cleaning from a professional dentist will do.

5 Clues Your Child Is not Brushing

 

1. The toothbrush is dry.
It’s tough to keep the toothbrush dry if you’re actually brushing! Make sure to check your child’s toothbrush every day (and night ) – before it has time to dry.
2. You can still see food particles.
After your child has brushed, ask for a smile. If you can still see bits of food on or in between your child’s teeth, send your child back to the bathroom for a do-over.
3. Teeth don’t pass the “squeak test.”
Have your child wet his or her finger and rub it quickly across the outside and inside of his or her teeth. If the teeth are clean, you will hear a squeaking sound.
4. Breath is everything but fresh.
If your child is brushing and flossing regularly, his or her breath should be fresh. The foul odor associated with bad breath is most often caused by food particles — either food left in between teeth or food trapped in the grooves on the tongue.
5. Your child has a toothache.
Even if you can’t tell if your child is brushing well, a toothache is a red flag. Make sure your child sees the dentist right away – a filling or other treatment may be in order.
Remember, brushing is just one part of your child’s total oral health regimen. In order to remove stubborn plaque and tartar buildup and prevent other dental problems, regular exams and cleanings are a must. Plus, your dentist can help reinforce the importance of good oral hygiene with your child.