Dental Tips Blog

Sep
11

Child’s Upper Lip Stuck Between the Front Teeth? No Need to Worry!

You were thrilled to see those two little baby teeth on the bottom make their appearance! Now, your little one is growing in their upper front teeth to match. Everything seems to be going smoothly except . . . skin on the inside of your child’s upper lip seems stuck between those two new teeth.

What’s going on? Well, it’s most likely a harmless and very common phase of baby smile development.

What’s a Frenulum?

By gently rolling your child’s lip away from the teeth and looking closer, you may see that there’s a taut piece of skin anchoring it in place. Place your own tongue just in front of your upper front teeth and while keeping your lips closed. Your tongue should feel a sharp blade of tissue at the tip.

This tissue that both you and your child have is a normal part of human anatomy. In some people, especially very small children who are just growing in their first teeth, this skin anchor may be positioned very low between upper front teeth.

Should You Do Anything?

A low frenulum is not a medical or dental emergency. Keep an eye on your baby to make sure he or she is still eating normally and there aren’t any speech concerns.

Schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist to have your child’s baby teeth examined. There’s usually not much to do but wait and see how the gap (and frenulum) change as your child’s mouth develops. If it turns out that the skin anchor is too low or too tight, then trimming it is a fast and harmless procedure. Call your dentist to learn more.

Posted on behalf of:
Mitzi Morris, DMD, PC
1295 Hembree Rd B202
Roswell, GA 30076
(770) 475-6767

Aug
5

The 4 Primary Causes of Discoloration and Stain in Kids’ Teeth

You may be rightly worried if your child’s smile has been getting darker lately.

What causes staining in kids’ teeth? Here are four factors to consider.

The Adult Teeth Are Coming In

Adult teeth are stronger and thicker than baby teeth. They have a large dentin layer that gives them a darker hue than delicate baby teeth. Your child’s new permanent teeth may look oddly yellow in comparison with any remaining primary ones.

Childhood Tooth Decay

Cavities make teeth look brown, yellow, gray, or even black. Always check with your child’s dentist to find out whether discoloration on your child’s teeth is due to cavities that need treatment.

Plaque Buildup

Dental plaque is made from colonies of bacteria that live in the mouth. If plaque isn’t cleaned off of teeth on a daily basis, it can weaken and dissolve tooth enamel. This makes the enamel prone to picking up stain.

Plaque itself can take on strange colors depending on your child’s diet and unique bio-flora.

Prevent plaque staining by ensuring your child brushes his or her teeth every day with a fluoride toothpaste.

Medication

There is a type of antibiotic called tetracycline. It’s an effective and common one, but it has a bad side-effect on anyone who still has teeth growing beneath their gums. Tetracycline exposure, whether in the womb or later on in childhood, can cause teeth to come in with dark brown, yellow, or gray stains.

Doctors today are careful to avoid prescribing tetracyclines to pregnant women. Make sure you understand all the side-effects of any antibiotic before starting treatment.

Ask your pediatric dentist about other ways you can prevent tooth discoloration in your kids’ smiles.

Posted on behalf of:
Pure Smiles Dentistry
2655 Dallas Highway Suite 510
Marietta, GA 30064
770.422.8776

Aug
4

Have You Heard These 4 Myths About Your Child’s Teeth?

Myths about kids’ dental health tend to confuse well-intentioned parents who are trying their best to keep their children healthy. By understanding fact from fiction, you can ensure your child has a healthy and beautiful smile for life!

Baby Teeth Aren’t Important

They’re just going to fall out anyway, right? That’s true but it doesn’t undermine the importance of baby teeth while they’re in your child’s mouth. They are the placeholders for adult teeth. If they fall out prematurely due to disease or neglect, it can have a negative impact on your child’s oral health for decades.

Baby Teeth Don’t Need to Be Flossed

As soon as any two teeth in your child’s mouth are close enough to touch each other they need to be flossed. Flossing removes debris and disturbs bacteria that collect between neighboring teeth, where a brush can’t reach.

Loose Baby Teeth Should Be Pulled ASAP

Time to retire that tie-a-string-to-a-doorknob-and-slam-the-door trick. Baby teeth shouldn’t be forced out since it can result in pain, premature extraction, or broken roots. Baby teeth fall out naturally on their own. All they need is a little gentle wiggling from your child’s tongue. If a baby tooth truly is stuck, then a dentist can safely remove it.

Fluoride Is Dangerous for Kids

Fluoride is a carefully regulated mineral that’s no more dangerous for your child than safe doses of any other vitamin. The idea that fluoride is a poison is a dangerous myth since this vitamin is extremely effective at preventing tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel. Avoiding it only increases your child’s risk for tooth decay. Like a multi-vitamin, fluoride is not toxic when used as directed.

Get more facts on your child’s dental health by consulting a pediatric dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Montevallo Family Dentistry
711 Wadsworth St
Montevallo, AL 35115
(205) 665-2224

Jun
19

Is Your Child Ready to Brush Their Teeth on Their Own?

You’ve always been very careful about brushing and flossing your child’s teeth. Now that they’re getting older, however, they insist on independence.

Is your child ready, however, to start brushing solo? If they can’t do a thorough job, then they risk getting cavities.

A thorough oral hygiene routine will protect your children from the problematic impact of cavities. Here are some tips that can help you successfully introduce your child to the responsibility of caring for their own oral health.

Evaluate Your Child’s Age and Maturity

There’s no set age at which kids should start brushing their own teeth. But if your child can handle tying their own shoelaces, then this is a good sign they have the manual dexterity to brush their own teeth.

Gradually Give Your Child More Independence

Your child should start attempting to brush their own teeth from the moment they can grasp a toothbrush. You can even let a toddler scrub his own teeth and then you takeover afterwards to finish the job properly.

As your child gets better about angling the brush to reach all tooth surfaces, you can slowly cut back on the length of time you participate in the activity.

Share Age-Appropriate Explanations About the Importance of Oral Hygiene

The better your child understands the importance of proper brushing, the better they’ll perform the task. Once your child shows that they value their oral wellbeing, they can probably be trusted to brush their teeth thoroughly twice a day.

Seek a Dentist’s Recommendation

Your child’s pediatric dentist can examine their teeth and gums and make dental hygiene recommendations tailored to their specific needs. Schedule a pediatric dental health consultation as soon as possible.

Posted on behalf of:
Mansouri Family Dental Care & Associates
4720 Lower Roswell Rd
Marietta, GA 30068
(770) 973-8222

May
19

5 Ways to Prepare Your Kids for Their First Dental Appointment

Your child should have their first dental checkup by the time they are a year old or get their first tooth. This will help to make sure that your child’s smile develops normally and provide intervention early, when necessary.

But what if your child is beyond their toddler years and just now has their first dental visit coming up? It’s wise to prepare them in advance by following this advice:

Keep Your Tone Positive

When you tell your child about the upcoming appointment, try to sound cheerful about it. This can help your kid to also stay positive and avoid unnecessary anxiety.

Have Practice Sessions

Small children may enjoy a few “practice” sessions where they get to play “dentist” on your teeth. You can also take a turn “counting” their teeth. This will help them know what to do and expect at their first appointment.

Promote Good Oral Hygiene

Emphasize the importance of toothbrushing. If your child already knows how important dental hygiene is, he or she will better appreciate the need for seeing a dentist. Your child may even take a measure of pride in showing the dentist how clean their teeth are.

Let Them Watch First

Have your littlest one watch while a dentist examines your or an older sibling’s teeth. They’ll see that there’s nothing to be afraid of and even get to know the dentist and staff.

Plan a Reward

Set up a special reward to celebrate your child’s first dental visit. However it goes, your child can look forward to ending their day on a happy note and feel good about their accomplishment.

Ask your children’s dentist about more ways to prepare your child for their first appointment.

Posted on behalf of:
Mundo Dentistry
3463 US-21 #101
Fort Mill, SC 29715
(704) 825-2018

Apr
11

5 Things You Can Do When Your Child Has a Toothache

Kids can indicate that they have a toothache in different ways. For example, your child may refuse to eat solid foods, stubbornly oppose tooth brushing, have difficulty sleeping, or fuss and cry.

Toothaches in children can be caused by:

  • Cavities
  • Food stuck in the gums or between teeth
  • Sharp edges on a loose tooth
  • New tooth growing in
  • Cracked teeth

Determining the cause of your child’s distress can be difficult. But there are some steps you can take to help him or her get relief.

  1. Swish with Warm Salt Water

Have your child rinse out their mouth with a little salt water. This step is most effective if your child is old enough to tolerate the salty rinse and then spit it out.

Make sure the water is neither too hot nor too cold. The rinse can bring down swelling, cleanse the mouth of some of the bacteria, and dislodge food debris.

  1. Brush Gently

Take a look inside your child’s mouth to see what’s going on. If you notice a lot of plaque or food debris around the problem tooth, try gently cleaning it away with a toothbrush. Simply brushing away the buildup can provide some relief.

  1. Take a Pain Reliever

Next, offer your child a liquid or chewable pain reliever such as Tylenol or Motrin. This can help your child stay comfortable until you can get professional help.

  1. Ice Pack

Offer an ice pack for your child to put on the outside of his or her cheek to numb the pain.

  1. See a Dentist

Even if your child starts feeling better, that doesn’t mean you should ignore their toothache. Head to a pediatric dental office as soon as possible for a checkup.

Posted on behalf of:
Grateful Dental
2000 Powers Ferry Rd SE #1
Marietta, GA 30067
(678) 593-2979

Mar
13

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay – What It Is and How to Prevent It

Baby bottle tooth decay involves severe cavities in baby teeth (especially the front ones) of a toddler’s mouth. It’s a serious condition that requires urgent care. At the same time, it’s also easily preventable.

What Causes Tooth Decay in Babies?

A specific kind of bacteria that lives on teeth feeds off of the sugar that a person eats. These germs give off an acidic waste product that wears holes (cavities) in teeth.

A diet low in sweets and a daily oral hygiene routine are usually enough to keep cavities at bay. But small children tend to be at high risk for a couple of reasons:

  • They can’t properly clean their teeth themselves
  • They love sweet drinks like juice and milk, often go to sleep while sipping on cup or bottle

If you as a parent aren’t careful about your child’s oral hygiene and natural sugar exposure, then they could be at high risk for developing baby bottle tooth decay.

Consequences of Cavities in Toddlers

Decay in baby teeth can cause painful abscesses that affect the adult teeth before they come through. Abscesses can lead to life-threatening infections. If your child is suffering from cavities, they can have difficulty eating healthy foods or learning to speak properly. Hospitalization may even be necessary.

Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Never put your child to bed with a bottle of anything besides plain water. Limit sweet snacks and drinks to mealtimes to avoid constant sugar exposure throughout the day. As soon as your child’s first tooth arrives, start a routine of daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste.

Lastly, take your child to a pediatric dentist for a checkup by his or her first birthday!

Posted on behalf of:
West Hill Family Dental
132 New Britain Avenue
Rocky Hill, CT 06067
(860) 563-3303

Mar
3

When Should Your Child Start Flossing?

As soon as your child has teeth that touch side by side, they should be flossed as often as possible. Neighboring teeth that come in contact with each other are prime for trapping bacteria between them.

Flossing is the best way to remove bacteria, food debris, and harmful food acids from between neighboring teeth.

Still, you may wonder if your young child is ready for flossing.

Is Your Child Ready to Floss?

If your child has well-spaced teeth, then brushing may be sufficient. Teeth are usually spaced out when they first come in, so babies don’t need to have their teeth flossed.

By the time your child reaches three or four years of age, their baby teeth should all be in place. They may be too snug for brushing alone to thoroughly clean them, and if so, flossing becomes essential.

Flossing is all the more important as your child develops a smile with a mix of adult and baby teeth. Decay quickly spreads among mixed teeth if they aren’t regularly cleaned.

Easy Flossing for Kids

Floss picks or long-handled flossers are usually the best way to floss kids’ teeth. You can easily do the job yourself, or supervise an independent child who wants to do it on their own.

Not every toddler is ready to have their teeth flossed, so use good judgement in weighing your child’s need for flossing with their ability to tolerate it. Don’t force your child to floss if it bothers them a lot and the teeth aren’t touching.

Keep in mind, however, that the sooner and more often you expose your young one to flossing, the quicker they’ll adapt to this smile-healthy habit.

Ask your pediatric dentist for personalized advice on flossing your child’s teeth.

Posted on behalf of:
Mansouri Family Dental Care & Associates
4720 Lower Roswell Rd
Marietta, GA 30068
(770) 973-8222

Feb
3

Letting Your Kids Drink Bottled Water Is Bad for Their Teeth

Parents want the best quality for their kids when it comes to their health: quality food, fresh air, and clean drinking water.

Some parents restrict their families to drinking only bottled water because they fear contaminants in tap water. Doing this, however, could be harmful to young smiles.

If your family drinks bottled water, then you need to know how that how it could potentially affect your children’s teeth.

What’s Wrong with Bottled Water?

The problem with bottled water is what it’s missing.

Most bottled water doesn’t contain fluoride, a mineral that’s essential for tooth and bone health. A habit of using only bottled water for drinking, brushing, and cooking deprives your family of this vital mineral.

Why Fluoride Is Important

Fluoride occurs naturally in food sources all over the world and is added to municipal water supplies. Controlled levels of fluoride strengthen teeth, especially during development.

Fluoride transforms key elements in enamel to make it resistant to dental decay.

Today, you can find fluoride in small amounts in most community drinking water systems. That’s why tap water is one of the best sources of daily fluoride.

What Kind of Water Should Your Kids Drink?

Bottled water in itself is not bad for oral health. It’s the lack of fluoride that may be weakening your children’s teeth.

If your family chooses to drink bottled water over fluoridated tap water, that’s fine. You may not even have a choice if you live in a place where the water is contaminated.

Just make sure that your kids get the fluoride they need. A dentist can recommend a supplement or rinse to make up for what your children lack in their drinking water.

Talk with your kids’ dentist to learn more about the benefits of fluoride.

Posted on behalf of:
Manhattan Dental Design
315 W 57th St Suite 206
New York, NY 10019
(646) 504-4377

Dec
19

Pediatric or General Dentist – Which is Right for Your Child?

Most parents wait until their child is a few years old to bring them to their first dental appointment. Then they find themselves facing this question: where do they bring their kid for a checkup?

If you live in an area where there are plenty of dental offices to choose from, you may feel torn between visiting the family dentist and seeing a pediatric dentist.

Benefits Of Staying With The Family Dentist

Just because a dentist is a “general” dentist doesn’t mean he or she is unqualified to treat kids. In fact, they probably have lots of experience in treating patients of all ages.

Why stick with your family dentist for your child’s dental care?

  • Convenient scheduling
  • Staff you’re familiar with
  • Child will already know dentist
  • Often simpler insurance billing

When To See A Pediatric Dentist

If there is a pediatric dental office in your area, it’s definitely worth checking out. Pediatric dentists take a couple extra years to study child health and psychology. Their offices are equipped with uniquely small-sized tools and cheery décor to make the environment comfortable and fun for kids.

Why and when you should check out a pediatric office:

  • Your child has special needs
  • You suspect a serious developmental problem with your child’s teeth
  • Your child needs advanced treatment involving sedation
  • Your child gets very nervous in other medical settings

There aren’t any downsides to either decision that you need to worry about. The bottom line is that this is a personal decision for your family to make. Your own dentist can help you consider which benefits apply to your situation.

Posted on behalf of:
Sugar Creek Family Dental
1165 Gravois Rd. Suite 140
Fenton, MO 63026
(636) 255-8325

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