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4 Dental Do's For Expectant Mothers

April 5th, 2022

Free up some time in your calendars, moms-to-be! The OB-GYN visits may be coming fast and furious, but believe it or not, there's someone else you need to be seeing to protect your health and that of your baby: your dentist.

All the changes that come with your rapidly growing bump — and perhaps some common, yet misplaced fears — may tempt you to put a nine-month hold on your next dental checkup, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Take these proactive steps to protect your teeth, gums and child from pregnancy-related dental complications.

Keep Your Dentist in the Loop

The sooner you share the news of your pregnancy with your dentist, the better. Certain medications used in-office or prescribed for at-home use are not recommended for pregnant women, and your updated health status may alter your dentist's treatment plan and overall approach. If possible, let your dentist know about your intention to grow your family in advance. This way any oral problems and/or elective dental procedures (along with X-rays typically required) can be taken care of before pregnancy is even a factor to consider. If a situation does arise that requires dental work while you're pregnant, the second trimester is the most ideal time to have dental work done.

Be Diligent With Your Home Dental Routine

Additional calorie requirements, common pregnancy cravings and even morning sickness can put expectant mothers at an increased risk of tooth decay. You can help keep cavities at bay by making these simple changes to your routine:

  • Choose sugar-free gum or candy (in moderation) if you crave something sweet
  • Brush and floss more frequently, especially if you find yourself snacking more
  • Rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after a bout of vomiting
  • Try a blander type of toothpaste if your typical choice becomes nauseating

Self-exams also become more important during pregnancy. Check your teeth and gums regularly, and schedule an appointment if you detect any cavities or gum abnormalities.

Get Your Dentist's Help For Hormone-Related Dental Problems

While there are plenty of preventative actions you can take at home, some of the most common dental problems pregnant women face are hormonally driven and require the professional care of your dentist. "Pregnancy Gingivitis" is one such condition in which increased blood flow to the gums can result in tenderness, swelling, bleeding, or if left untreated, severe periodontal disease. Many moms-to-be may also discover mulberry-shaped growths along the gumline typically referred to as "pregnancy tumors" (though they are benign). While they usually go away after giving birth, removal by a dentist may sometimes be necessary.

Remain Vigilant About Your Oral Health After Giving Birth

Finally, keep a close eye on your teeth and gums even after pregnancy. With all the time and attention you need to give your newborn, this is often easier said than done, but maintaining your oral health at this stage can minimize the risk of transmitting harmful oral bacteria to your child.

For more information and guidance on proper dental care during pregnancy, schedule a consultation with your dentist. He or she can adjust your treatment plan to maintain your oral health while being sensitive to your needs and concerns.


Sources:

Dental Care and Pregnancy. (2014, June 4). Retrieved May 24, 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/dental-care-pregnancy

Is Having Dental Work During Pregnancy Safe? (2014 January). Retrieved May 25, 2015 from http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/dental-work-and-pregnancy/

The Story on Soda: Your Soft Drink Questions Answered

April 5th, 2022

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the reality is that no matter how refreshing that sweet, fizzy soda (or "pop") tastes, there's a chance it could be doing some damage to your teeth. But with so many products on the market, are they all really that bad for you?

Answers to some of your most pressing soft drink questions are about to be answered. Get to the bottom of various soda claims, and find out if there's a workaround that lets you keep your favorite carbonated beverages on tap without traumatizing your teeth.

Q. Is it better to choose clear-colored sodas over darker-colored ones?

Neither option is a healthy choice for your teeth, but upon regular consumption, caramel-hued soft drinks have been known to stain teeth more quickly. Cosmetic differences aside, the extremely high sugar content of any soda, regardless of color, causes lasting damage to tooth enamel, resulting in decay, cavities and/or tooth loss in extreme situations.

Q. Do diet sodas get a pass since they're sugar-free?

The appeal of diet sodas is understandable, especially when the packaging comes with alluring labels of "sugar free" or "calorie free". But the fact of the matter is, even with sugar substitutes, diet soda is still extremely acidic. This means diet soda will still have the same corrosive effect on the enamel, and should be avoided to prevent tooth damage.

Q. Is corn syrup a more harmful soft drink sweetener than cane sugar?

Similar to the misconception about diet sodas, the threat of tooth decay, cavities and other oral health problems isn't based on the type of sweetener used. No matter the source of sugar, enamel erosion will happen with regular consumption of any sweetened soft drink.

Q. If I drink soda through a straw, will this protect my teeth?

Using a straw can limit contact of sugar and acid with the surface of your teeth, but only when positioned correctly. Ideally, the opening of the straw should be directed towards the back of the mouth, but the likelihood for accidental contact is still high if you become distracted or inadvertently swish the liquid in your mouth. Ultimately, the best way to prevent tooth decay due to soft drinks is to avoid drinking them altogether.

Q. What are teeth-friendly alternatives to soda?

If you find carbonated beverages especially refreshing, switch to a seltzer. You'll get the same fizz without the threat of tooth decay. For a flavorful spin, dress up seltzer or plain water with cut up fruit (instead of turning to juice, which can erode tooth enamel due to its fructose content). Milk is also another good choice due to the enamel-fortifying calcium it contains; however, it does contain natural sugar, lactose — so never have a glass before bed without brushing your teeth.

Q. What can I do to combat enamel erosion if I can't quit drinking soda?

For those unable to put aside their love of soft drinks, take these steps to minimize tooth decay and other soda-related oral problems:

  • Rinse your mouth and brush your teeth afterwards to clear away sugar and acid
  • Use fluoride-rich toothpaste and mouthwash to help strengthen tooth enamel
  • See your dentist regularly to get professional help in preventing tooth damage

Speak To Your Dentist

New drinks are always hitting the shelves, but many may not live up to their health claims. Before making something your beverage of choice, get your dentist's perspective to understand how it can impact the health of your teeth.


Sources:

Soda or Pop? It's Teeth Trouble by Any Name. (n.d.). Retrieved May 24, 3015 from http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-Basics/Oral-Hygiene/Oral-Hygiene-Basics/article/Soda-or-Pop-Its-Teeth-Trouble-by-Any-Name.cvsp

Melnick, M & Klein, S. (2013, March 13). Soda Myths: The Truth About Sugary Drinks, From Sodas To Sports Drinks. Retrieved May 25, 2015 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/13/soda-myths-facts-sugary-drinks_n_2863045.html

Your Child's Sippy Cup: Is it a Friend or Foe?

April 5th, 2022

Shaped like your child's favorite action heroes and in every vibrant color imaginable, sippy cups seem like an innocent way to prevent spills. But with increased cavities and speech issues abound, pediatric dentists have recent research suggesting that what was once a friend is now a foe.

Of course, sippy cups can play an integral role in your child's development. But in light of these recent developments, it's important to know how to properly use them and to be aware of potential problems that can occur due to misuse.

How are Sippy Cups Supposed to be Used?

Sippy cups are a parent's dream. After all, they allow children to take care of themselves and transition to adult cups easier than they would otherwise be able to. However, sippy cups weren't developed or intended for prolonged use, no matter the level of convenience they offer.

In fact, sippy cups should be used as a transitional tool to wean children off of bottles until they're able to use an adult cup. Most often, this means that sippy cup usage should stop between the ages of one and two, depending upon a child's motor development.

Common Health Concerns Associated With Sippy Cups

Many parents understand that sippy cups can be problematic when used improperly, but not as many recognize the primary health concerns that can surface due to improper use:

    • Tooth Decay – Sugary substances in your child's sippy cup will feed the oral bacteria in his/her mouth, thereby weakening the enamel and causing decay.
  • Speech Difficulties – Sippy cups can cause speech issues. This can happen when a child drinks from a cup as if it were a bottle, misplacing the tongue and pushing out the teeth, which can result in a lisp or other articulation complications.

Turning a Common Foe Back Into a Friend

A quick online search will turn up dozens of articles telling you that sippy cups are an absolute foe, but it isn't that simple. While it's true that sippy cups can cause problems, proper usage makes them a friend and asset as you transition your child into adult cups.

So, how can you turn this foe into a friend once again? Here are a few suggestions:

    • Choose the Right Sippy Cup – Not all sippy cups are created equal. Try to purchase ones that have a spout and two handles to promote motor development. As your child ages, you may even want to purchase a sippy cup with a straw rather than a spout. Also, if you're using a sippy cup for juice, it's beneficial to avoid "no-spill valves" as valves can concentrate sugary fluid on your child's teeth over a longer period of time.
    • Limit Time With the Sippy Cup – Some kids will run around all day with their cups if you let them! Instead, take the cup away when your child is finished.
    • Offer Juice Only at Mealtimes – If you want to offer juice to your child, do so at mealtimes only. Increased saliva production will help break down the sugars and rinse them away to prevent tooth decay.
  • Minimize Sugary Liquids – Instead of juice, opt for water during the day and at bedtime.

Friend or Foe: You Decide

A sippy cup can be your best friend or worst enemy: it all depends on how you use it.

By keeping the tips above in mind, your little one can enjoy his/her favorite sippy cups and you can rest assured that his/her teeth and development won't be derailed in the process.


Sources:

Davis, J. (2002, May 22). Sippy Cups Causing Too Many Cavities. Retrieved June 2, 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20020322/sippy-cups-causing-too-many-cavities

Mann, D. (2008, February 11). So Long Sippy Cups, Hello Straws. Retrieved June 2, 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20080212/so-long-sippy-cups-hello-straws

Dental Checkups: Why You Should Never Brush Them Off

March 1st, 2022

Your teeth look and feel just fine, so what harm can there be in skipping one checkup? Plenty... and it's not just a free toothbrush and dental samples you'll miss! A lot can happen in just a short period of time, and the ramifications of canceling your semi-annual dental checkup can go beyond your oral health.

If you've ever doubted the necessity of regular visits, these reasons will have you running for the dentist's chair at least every six months!

Developing Decay and Disease

Practicing perfect hygiene can be difficult, and occasional slip-ups can happen to the most diligent of dental patients. But forgetting to brush or floss here or there, or overindulging in sugary snacks one too many times is all it takes to put you on the path to tooth decay and gum disease.

Seeing your dentist regularly for a professional cleaning and exam can help detect and remove hardened plaque buildup (otherwise known as "tartar") before it results in new cavities and gum disease. While timely preventative care should be of universal importance, frequent checkups are even more crucial to the oral health of children still learning about proper dental care, as well as to pregnant women who are at higher risk of gum disease.

Serious Non-Dental Health Issues

The state of your teeth and gums can tell far more about your overall wellbeing than you might think. In fact, the mere presence of periodontitis (severe gum disease) and/or tooth loss has been associated with other non-dental conditions.

Because dental exams also include an assessment of the head, face and neck, a checkup can detect larger concerns directly resulting from poor oral health. Facial muscle strain due to protruding teeth, or jaw disorders caused by bruxism (excessive tooth grinding) are just two examples of serious side effects that can progressively worsen over time if left unchecked. Oral cancer is another serious health threat that you might overlook without the experienced eyes of your dentist.

Significant Cost Savings in the Long Run

Not only does preventative care make sense from a health perspective, it makes a lot of financial sense as well. No one can deny that replacing a lost or cracked filling is much more cost-effective than a root canal or tooth replacement. Moreover, early detection of certain conditions — such as gum disease or weakened tooth enamel — makes it possible to reverse the problem in some situations, and avoid costly alternatives altogether.

Where regular dental checkups prove themselves to be even more invaluable is in detecting and treating larger diseases and health concerns. Safeguarding your body from the ravages of cancer and other aforementioned illnesses is worth the effort of going to a dental checkup every few months.

Making the Most of Each Checkup

Regular checkups every 6 months provide you with the opportunity for professional care and treatment specific to your dental situation. If you suffer from gum disease, you should aim to see your dentist for a professional cleaning every 3-4 months. From nutritional advice to cosmetic improvements and necessary surgical procedures, your dentist can help you navigate the more complex aspects of dental care to safeguard your oral health.


Sources:

Healthy smile, healthy you: The importance of oral health. (2011, May). Retrieved June 1, 2015 from https://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/dentalhealth.html

The Importance of Regular Dental Visits. (n.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2015 from http://www.oralb.com/topics/importance-of-regular-dental-visits.aspx

Why Are Regular Dental Visits Important? (n.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2-15 from http://www.dentalcare.com/en-US/dental-education/patient-education/regular-english.aspx

Parent's Cheat Sheet: 5 Steps to Solving the Sweets Problem

January 6th, 2022

Birthday celebrations, holidays, and countless school or extracurricular activities in between children's social calendars can seem like endless fun, until you realize they can also translate into a non-stop, cavity-inducing sugar high. This doesn't necessarily mean, however, that your child is destined for a long list of dental problems. Use this dental cheat sheet when a special occasion arises to keep his or her smile cavity-free.

Step 1: Set Rules

Create boundaries that can help protect your child's oral health without cutting down on the fun, such as:

  • A sweets "allowance" that lets your child indulge, but in a limited fashion
  • Frequent drinks of water to wash sugary particles off the surface of his/her teeth
  • A full meal before dessert to fill up on nutritious foods and help curb cravings
  • "Off-limits" beverages, such as carbonated sodas or fruit juices

Keeping instructions simple, yet clear can make it easier for your child to adopt these rules without any hassle, and help him or her stick to the guidelines even if you are not present.

Step 2: Teach Your Child To Choose Wisely

Not all sweets are equally damaging to teeth, so helping your child to make smarter choices can have a big impact on the amount of sugar he or she eats. Prolonged sucking on hard candies, for instance, is one of the most harmful ways to satisfy a sweet tooth because of lengthy, direct exposure of the tooth's surface to concentrated sugar. Likewise, sticky foods that contain ingredients such as caramel or toffee are more likely to get lodged in between teeth, and chewing on them may even result in a lost filling.

If or when possible, steer your child towards cakes and cookies instead. While these desserts are still refined carbohydrates that will break down into sugar, the amount of contact with harmful acid is significantly less than with candies and other stickier treats.

Step 3: Bring/Pack Something Nutritious

Make it easy for your child to opt for something nutritious by packing a healthy alternative. Cheese, for example, is calcium-rich and can help remineralize tooth enamel. Many manufacturers now offer single-serve packages for convenience when on the go. An apple is another tooth-healthy option when chewed, its high fiber content makes it an excellent "plaque scrubber". Even sugar-free gum can do the trick if it contains xylitol, which can help prevent the growth of oral bacteria.

Step 4: Have Your Child Brush And Floss As Soon As Possible

Ultimately, maintaining good oral hygiene is the most effective thing parents can do at home to help keep their children's smiles healthy. If you're always on the go, it may be worth packing a travel-sized toothbrush, but if your child forgets to brush amidst all the excitement, make sure he or she does so upon returning home.

Flossing is just as critical, and nowadays, there are many options that parents might find to be more "kid-friendly" – such as water flossers or interdental brushes. At minimum, your child should be brushing and flossing twice a day, but don't hesitate to add another round of cleaning if he or she has had a particularly rich meal.

Step 5: See The Dentist

Last, but not least, make sure your child visits the dentist at least twice a year (or as advised by the dentist). In addition to receiving a professional cleaning, your child's dentist can look for developing decay and gum disease, and treat it before it becomes more serious. He or she can also help ensure your child is practicing the correct brushing and flossing techniques, and provide teeth additional protection in the form of dental sealants, if need be.

Lead By Example

Perhaps the easiest way to teach your child how to protect his or her teeth is to lead by example – and doing so not only benefits him or her, but your oral health as well! Follow these tips together with your child, and consult with your child's dentist for additional ways you can make dental care a simple and even fun experience for your child.


Sources:

Delta Dental Names Best and Worst Halloween Treats for Kids. (2013, October 31). Retrieved July 22, 2015, from https://www.deltadental.com/Public/NewsMedia/NewsReleaseBestWorstHalloweenTreats201310.jsp

SanFilippo, Elizabeth. (n.d.). Kid's Healthy Teeth During The Holidays. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/nutrition-and-oral-health/article/sw-281474979252016

Holiday Dental Tips

December 16th, 2021

We want to wish all our patients a happy holiday season!

To help everyone in your family keep a bright and healthy smile during this busy and party-filled time, here are some dental tips for everyone in your family to follow throughout the season:

#1 Be cautious of candy canes – Hard candy is everywhere during the holidays from candy canes to peppermints, but it can crack your teeth if you bite down wrong. It may be better to let candies dissolve to prevent any chipping or other damage. Be sure to brush thoroughly after eating candy of any kind.

#2 Stay clear of soda and juice – Holiday parties are rife with soda and sweet drinks. If you want something bubbly, try fizzy water rather than soda. Sometimes we drink what is easiest to grab. Try setting out a pitcher of water for a helpful reminder that it’s an option.

#3 Take more turkey – One holiday food that’s great for your teeth is turkey. It’s a great source of phosphorus and protein – both of which can help your body fight tooth decay and keep your teeth strong and healthy.

#4 Stock your stockings well – Christmas stockings are often chock full of sugary treats that can cause your children to get cavities. Instead ask Santa to consider eliminating candy altogether, stick to one sweet item and/or ask for a cool new toothbrush as part of the holiday loot.

#5 Dip into veggies – At holiday events, skip the trays of Christmas cookies and brownies and instead fill your plate with veggies. Broccoli and carrots are great treats for your teeth because they’re loaded with Vitamin A which strengthens your enamel.

#6 Carol while you clean – Optimal tooth brushing last about two minutes. Hum along a few verses of a holiday tune with while you help your child brush.  Likely your child will brush long enough to clean their teeth, gums and tongue, too!

#7 Don’t use your teeth as a tool – The holidays come with packages to open, tape to apply to presents and loads of other things you may be tempted to break open or cut with your teeth. Don’t do it! Using your teeth as a tool can cause chips and breaks.

#8 Fill up on fruit – Instead of piling on sugary desserts at your holiday meal, turn to fruit instead. If you’re having a big dinner or party, rather than prepping a number of cakes and pies, try sticking to one sweet dessert along with a big fruit plate.

#9 Say goodbye to grazing – At the holidays, we often have spreads of food left out all the time. Grazing all day can put your teeth at greater risk for decay. Instead of leaving out treats and snacks, only put out food for mealtimes and then stash the food away.

#10 Make the holiday meaningful – Holiday parties and meals can be so much fun, but it’s ok to take the focus off of food! Give your teeth a break and set up activities with your family like board and card games, craft projects or holiday movie marathons.

Here at GCPD we hope you have a safe, happy and healthy holiday and we can’t wait to see your bright smile in the coming New Year.

Happy Holidays!

 

Nature vs. Nurture: Dental Problems Parents Pass Down To Children

December 9th, 2021

Parents, in particular, want to know: does DNA predetermine dental health? It's the classic nature vs. nurture question that dentists get asked often, but the answer doesn't simply boil down to one or the other. The scary truth is that many dental problems are indeed "inherited"–but not from genetics alone! Harmful habits that run in the family can also play a huge role in the health of your child's smile. Find out which oral issues you could be passing down, and what you can do about them.

DNA-Driven Dental Issues

Even before birth, the stage has already been set for certain aspects of your child's oral health. Ultimately, your child's genes dictate the likelihood for common issues such as:

    • Jaw-related Disorders: The size and position of one's jaws, as well as overall facial structure, are hereditary traits that can cause a number of bite complications (or "malocclusions"). Overbites or underbites caused by uneven jaws can lead to chewing and speech difficulties, and result in chronic pain and/or Temporomandibular Jaw Disorder ("TMJ") if left untreated.
    • Tooth Misalignments: Spacing problems, either due to missing or overcrowded teeth, are oral issues that have been hardwired in a person even before the emergence of teeth. Cases where people lack some ("Anodontia") or all ("Hypodontia") permanent teeth can threaten gum and jaw health, as can instances of "supernumerary" teeth, in which extra teeth erupt.
    • Weak Tooth Enamel: Though rare, it is possible for tooth enamel to be defective, or develop abnormally. Dentin, which makes up the protective enamel covering of teeth, may not be produced or mineralize at normal levels, leaving teeth vulnerable to decay, sensitivity and damage.
    • Predisposition To Oral Cancer: Genetic mutations and the presence of oncogenes, a type of gene that transforms healthy cells into cancerous ones, can increase the risk for cancer by interfering with the body's ability to metabolize certain carcinogens.

From serious conditions such as a cleft palate, to occasional aggravations like canker sores, many other oral issues may be linked to genetics. Keeping track and sharing the family's health history with your child's dentist can help detect and treat inherited conditions as early as possible.

Behavioral Risks

DNA may deal your child some unavoidable complications, but when it comes to tooth decay and gum disease, learned habits and tendencies shoulder much more of the blame, including:

    • "Oversharing": Harmful oral bacteria from a loved one can easily colonize and overtake your little one's mouth from something as simple as sharing food, utensils, or kissing. The inadvertent swapping of saliva can put your child at increased risk for cavities and gingivitis.
    • Diet Choices: Satisfying that sweet tooth with sugary, refined treats, or turning to soda and juice for refreshment can create an unhealthy addiction that's as dangerous to the mouth as it is to the waist. Sugar and acid can eat away at the tooth enamel, causing cavities and tooth sensitivity. Exposure to certain chemicals and ingredients can also cause discoloration.
    • Bad Hygiene: Last, but certainly not least, lacking a good dental routine can wreak havoc on teeth and gums. Failing to follow through on brushing and flossing twice a day (or as recommended by the dentist) can create a haven for cavities and periodontitis, not to mention halitosis.

Leading by example is an easy, effective way to teach your child the importance of oral health while benefitting the whole family.

Stay One Step Ahead

Every parent wants the best for his or her child–including a healthy smile. With so many potential problems that can be passed down, protecting your child's oral health is not easy, but you don't have to do it alone. Seek the help of your child's dentist for optimal professional and at-home dental care. Treating existing issues early on and teaching your child to make dental-friendly decisions can provide lifelong benefits to his or her health.


Sources:

CDC Oral Cancer Background Papers. (n.d.) Retrieved July 9, 2015, from http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/cdc/cdc_chapter3.php

Rondon, Nayda. (n.d.) Genetic Dental Abnormalities: Type and Symptoms. Retrieved July 10, 2015, from http://www.yourdentistryguide.com/genetic-abnormalities/

5 Good Dental Habits to Teach Your Children

November 11th, 2021

Caring for your overall physical health is very important and requires a lot of good choices and habits, habits we need to help our children learn, as well. One important aspect of health is ensuring that you are properly caring for your teeth and oral health. Here are five easy tips to teach your children that can help them develop healthy habits for their teeth.

See the Dentist Regularly

Both the AAPD and the American Academy of Pediatrics say you should take your child to the dentist by his first birthday. In addition to conducting a thorough oral exam, the dentist will obtain a dental history, guide parents on proper brushing habits and cavity prevention, and establish how often a child should visit, among other things. Seeing a dentist is a great way to ensure that your children are properly cleaned and that all plaque is removed. It can also help you to identify and care for dental challenges and issues before they turn into larger problems. You should try and have your kids see a dentist at least twice per year. Doing this will help your kids start to build habits of seeing healthcare providers, which can offer a range of benefits for years to come.

Brush and Floss Each Night

One of the most important factors that can influence the health of anyone’s teeth is whether or not they brush and floss their teeth each day. Kids and grownups, alike, should aim to brush and floss their teeth at least twice per day. Ideally, this should be done after eating breakfast and before bed. To ensure that your kids build good habits, you should start helping them with this as soon as they start to grow teeth. This is then a habit that they will carry with themselves for the rest of their lives, which can ensure they keep their teeth clean between dental visits. Technique is also important!  Tilt the bristles a bit toward the gums and gently brush in tiny little circles, touching every surface of each tooth. As for flossing, no matter how well you brush your child's teeth, if they are touching you're not going to be able to get all the food or plaque out. Those little-kid disposable flossers are fine, as long as you still pull the floss firmly against the sides of each tooth.

Make it Fun

While dental care is important for all kids, they may find that it is not very fun and inconvenient when they’d rather be doing other things. Fortunately, there are tips that you can follow that can help to make it more fun for your kids. Some of the ways that you can do this are by using kid-friendly toothbrushes and toothpaste or even playing some of their favorite songs while they are brushing and flossing at night. This could help them create a positive association with keeping their teeth clean and healthy.

Don’t be afraid to get your children’s teeth straightened

Eventually, your child may need to have their teeth straightened. It’s very common for teeth to grow in without being completely straight. To ensure that they are able to enjoy a healthy smile while also avoiding more serious dental challenges in the future, having their teeth straightened may be a good idea. Make sure you look for a reputable and reliable practice and don’t be shy to ask lots of questions before making a decision.

Focus on Diet

One of the most important factors that will influence the health and appearance of your teeth is your diet. Those that eat a healthy diet that is full of fiber, calcium, vitamins, and lean protein will develop stronger bones and teeth. Those that eat too much sugar and do not clean their teeth properly afterward could see their teeth start to rot and decay. Eventually, this could result in cavities and other challenges. By encouraging your kids to think about their health when eating food and avoid too many unhealthy snacks, you could help them form habits that will keep their teeth strong and healthy for years to come.

 

Eating Right for Dental Health: What to Consume and Avoid

November 9th, 2021

Image below: Greensboro Children's Museum staff member helping with our joint Tooth Time & cooking demo in 2019. We will be hosting another Tooth Time Program at GCM on Wednesday, November 17, 2021. Click Here to sign up to participate this year!

Dental health starts in the...kitchen? You read that correctly! Of course, brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are important, but they aren't the only things to consider when it comes to keeping your pearly whites in tiptop shape.

Most people understand that they should limit the sweets and candy they take in, but beyond sugary foods, what should and shouldn't you be consuming? Here are some do's and don'ts to help you eat right for your oral health.

The Do's of Eating for Dental Health

To promote good oral health, the majority of your diet should consist of the following foods:

    • Fiber Rich Fruits and Vegetables – These scrub bacteria off teeth while stimulating saliva flow to neutralize acids that can damage teeth. Examples of fruits and vegetables you should eat are apples, carrots, celery, and other water-based options.
    • Water – Water protects teeth and gums by stimulating the production of saliva, thereby reducing sugars and bacteria left on the teeth. Of course, water is a great alternative for soft drinks or other sugary beverages too.
    • Dairy Products – Dairy products are absolutely a "do"! Calcium, phosphates, and vitamin D in dairy products help strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay.
    • Nuts – Different nuts offer different oral health benefits. For example, peanuts provide calcium and vitamin D, whereas cashews stimulate saliva and help clean the teeth.

Keep in mind that even healthy foods may contain sugar, so it's always important to brush your teeth twice a day.

The Don'ts of Eating for Dental Health

Knowing what you shouldn't eat often is as important as knowing what you should. While some healthy eating don'ts are obvious, some aren't as well known:

    • Candy and Sweets – Sticky sweets adhere to your teeth and can't be easily washed away by saliva. This can cause tooth decay, especially if you regularly snack on sweets between meals.
    • Starchy Carbohydrates – Bacteria feed on the simple sugars that are left by starchy carbohydrates like chips, pasta, bread, or crackers. These bacteria produce acid, which can cause plaque buildup and tooth decay over time.
    • Soft Drinks – Like sweets, most regular soft drinks are packed with sugar and even diet soft drinks contain harmful levels of phosphorous. This can wear down the enamel on your teeth and leave them susceptible to decay.
    • Acidic Foods – Acids in citrus foods and even pickles can also wear down enamel.
    • Dried Fruits and Juices – Both juices and dried fruits have highly concentrated levels of sugar that can cause problems similar to candy and sweets.

Eating Healthy for Your Teeth Means Eating in Moderation

You don't have to go to extremes. You can still enjoy many of the don'ts in moderation and if you brush directly after consuming them. Limiting the don'ts and focusing on the do's will not only give you a brighter smile, but also help to improve your overall health.


Sources:

Diet and Oral Health. (2014, March 31). Retrieved June 2, 2015 from (http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/diet-oral-health

Patel, A. (2014, April 3). 14 Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth. Retrieved June 2, 2014 from http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/04/03/foods-for-teeth-_n_5085621.html

How to Care for Your Infant's Oral Health

October 27th, 2021

Teeth or no teeth, your infant's oral health should always be a top priority. But, how are you supposed to care for your baby's teeth? There are numerous steps to take and each serves an important purpose in preparing your baby for a future smile he or she will be glad to show off.

First: Caring for Your Baby's Gums

Although your baby is born without visible teeth, it's still important to care for his or her gums. If you don't, you'll leave harmful bacteria behind that can damage teeth as they begin to emerge.

You won't need a toothbrush or toothpaste for gum care. Instead, you can use a soft, slightly moistened cloth or gauze to wipe down your baby's gums, especially after feedings and prior to bedtime.

Second: Caring for Your Baby's Teeth

Your baby's teeth will begin to emerge from the gums at around 6 months of age, at which point you'll need to begin using a toothbrush for cleaning. It's best to purchase a toothbrush with soft bristles, a small head, and a large handle to make it easier for you to clean and more comfortable for your baby.

You should start with very limited amounts of toothpaste (fluoride-free) and, as more teeth emerge, you can increase the amount. This will gradually familiarize your child with the taste and texture of toothpaste.

Third: Visiting the Dentist

It's vital that you schedule your baby's first dental appointment before his or her first birthday or within 6 months of his or her teeth appearing.

This will allow the dentist to identify potential problems caused by injuries, illnesses, or development complications. If issues are identified, the dentist can treat them or refer you to a pediatrician should something go beyond the teeth's surfaces.

General Preventative Dental Care for Your Infant

Visiting the dentist early is one type of preventative care for your infant. There are additional things that you can do to reduce the likelihood of cavities as teeth continue to emerge:

  • Only put formula, breast milk, and water in baby bottles to avoid "baby bottle tooth decay," and be sure to clean gum/teeth after the consumption of formula or breast milk as both contain sugar.
  • Decrease your child's sugar consumption, particularly between meals, because sugar feeds bacteria that can attack your baby's teeth.
  • Never put anything sweet on your baby's pacifier to encourage him or her to use it.

Early Oral Health Sets Your Baby Up for a Beautiful Smile

Baby teeth are functionally important during childhood and also serve a critical role as place holders for adult teeth. By caring for them properly from the very beginning, you can promote oral health and create a great foundation for a bright, beautiful future smile.

Sources:

Basic Dental Care - Infants and Children. (2014, November 14). Retrieved June 2, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/tc/basic-dental-care-infants-and-children

Caring for Your Baby's Teeth. (2014, November 6). Retrieved June 2, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/dental-health-dentures

 

5 Tips to Manage Your Child's Dental Anxiety

October 18th, 2021

Dental anxiety is prevalent among young children and, in many cases, can stem from an adult's own dental fears (whether you recognize them or not). If left unmanaged, going to the dentist can become an unpleasant ordeal for children. But it doesn't have to be that way.

As a parent, you can take steps to manage your children's dental anxiety before it interferes with oral health. This will help ensure they have a beautiful, healthy foundation for their smiles from childhood to their teenage years and beyond.

  1. Offer a Simple Explanation of What to Expect

As a parent, you need to tell children when they'll be visiting the dentist and what it will be like. After all, just the look of a dental office and meeting a stranger can be frightening.

By giving children basic information about what to expect during their visit, you can put their minds at ease and make them feel more comfortable. You don't have to go into complex detail because the dentist is trained to answer questions children ask in a straightforward, easy-to-understand manner.

  1. "Practice" for a Dental Visit

Familiarity breeds comfort and this certainly applies to children and the dentist! For some children, dental anxiety is the result of not knowing what will happen at the office.

A great way to overcome this is to pretend play a dental visit. Have children sit in the "chair," count their teeth, and hold up a mirror to show them how a dentist might examine their mouths. You can even encourage children to brush their dolls' or stuffed animals' teeth to get more accustomed to the dental routine.

  1. Don't Offer a Reward for Good Behavior

It can be tempting to promise children a lollipop, movie, or other physical reward for good behavior at the dentist, but doing so could actually make them expect a negative experience, thereby increasing their apprehension.

Instead of bribing children with a material incentive, offer verbal praise following an appointment. This is a great way to show that you're proud of them and convey that going to the dentist isn't so bad.

  1. Explain Good Oral Hygiene

Kids don't always understand why checkups are good for them, but they do understand tangible outcomes. For example, telling children they're getting strong because they eat their veggies is better than trying to explain vitamins and minerals they won't understand.

The same goes for dental visits. Be sure children understand that visiting the dentist will make their teeth strong and keep their smile looking great. These things can motivate them to want to go to the dentist (or tolerate it at the very least)!

  1. Keep it About Your Child

It can be tempting to use your own dental experiences to put your children at ease, but you shouldn't. You may have some dental anxiety that you don't realize and could inadvertently convey this to your children.

Keep all of the attention focused on your children. Doing so will give them the confidence they need and reduce the likelihood of feeling anxious over their upcoming dental appointment.

Start Dental Visits Young and Start Them Right

Engaging in pretend play, providing simple explanations, focusing on your children and reinforcing positive experiences are useful tips to help manage pediatric dental anxiety.

Start dental visits at a young age between six months of age and no later than one year old. By starting visits young and starting them off right, you can create a positive early association with the dentist and avoid the screaming and crying matches that many parents accept as inevitable.

Sources:

Easing Your Child's Fear of the Dentist. (2014, October 9). Retrieved June 2, 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/easing-childrens-fears-dentist

Port, D. (n.d.). 8 Tips to Help Kids Overcome Fear of Dentists. Retrieved June 2, 105 from http://www.parents.com/health/dental/kids-overcome-fear-dentists/

Baby Teeth and Bad Hygiene: What's There to Lose?

October 13th, 2021

Don't fall for it, parents! Just because baby teeth are temporary doesn't mean they don't matter. Despite what naysayers and wishful thinkers might have you believe, forgetting to care for primary teeth comes at a steep price for your child.

If you're questioning whether it's worth wrangling your little one into a dental routine now, these facts prove that adopting good habits early on can pay off big time for your child's oral health down the road.

1: Baby teeth help shape your child's speech.

Forming and pronouncing words correctly depends largely on the presence and alignment of baby teeth. Premature loss of any primary teeth can result in speech impediments such as a slur or lisp, and negatively impact both a child's ability to communicate and his or her self-esteem. Depending on the severity of the case, a speech pathologist may be required to help correct the problem(s).

2: Baby teeth facilitate proper chewing and eating.

In addition to efficiently breaking down solid foods, chewing correctly is important for other reasons. Tooth loss and/or alignment issues can cause unnecessary stress to the jaw and result in serious complications over time, and chewing problems can also interfere with the development of key facial muscles. Improper chewing can even contribute to a nutritional imbalance if poor oral health starts impacting food choices.

3: Baby teeth act as a placeholder for permanent teeth.

Permanent teeth will emerge, but how and where has a lot to do with your child's first set of pearly whites. Each primary tooth reserves a spot for a permanent tooth, but the loss of this initial placeholder can cause shifting and result in harmful misalignments. Cosmetic issues aside, misaligned teeth can make brushing and flossing more difficult, result in crowded and/or impacted teeth, and contribute to jaw disorders such as TMJ.

4: Maintaining healthy baby teeth helps to instill effective dental habits.

Teaching the ins and outs of good oral hygiene can have a lifelong impact on your child. Introducing healthy dental habits early on can solidify the importance of preventative dental care, making it easier for him or her to stick with these habits throughout adulthood. This can mean a lifetime of optimal oral health, and significantly reduced chances for costly dental problems.

Dental Tips for Baby Teeth

Brushing and flossing may not be your child's favorite activity, but introducing healthy habits the moment that first tooth appears can make it easier for both parent and child to stick to a routine.

While there is no set timeline for baby teeth to erupt, here are some general guidelines the American Dental Association provides for cleaning and caring for baby teeth:

  • From birth (no teeth present): wipe gums clean with a moistened gauze or cloth
  • Ages 0-3 (teeth present): brush twice daily with a tiny dab of fluoride toothpaste*
  • Ages 3-6: brush twice a day, but use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste
  • Any age when teeth touch each other: add flossing to your daily routine

Paying a visit to the pediatric dentist before your child's first birthday, and getting regular checkups are also crucial to his or her oral health. Depending on your child's individual situation, certain in-office treatments and/or instructions for at-home care may be recommended.

*Note: Fluoride toothpaste should be expectorated and not swallowed. If you feel your child will swallow the fluoride toothpaste it can be substituted with non-fluoride toothpaste.

 

Sources:

Baby Teeth Care: Brushing First Teeth, Teething, Gum Care, and More. (2014, November 6). Retrieved June 12, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/caring-babies-teeth

The Importance of Baby Teeth. (n.d.). Retrieved June 12, 2015, from http://www.dentalassociates.com/pediatric-dentistry/importance-baby-teeth/

 

Understanding Pediatric Fluoride Treatment

October 7th, 2021

It's undeniable that fluoride has played a major role in the decline of dental cavities in the United States. However, what isn't so clear to many parents is whether or not fluoride treatments are safe and/or beneficial for children.

After all, children receive fluoride on a regular basis from many different types of foods and even water. Through these sources alone, minerals lost due to plaque, bacteria, and sugars are remineralized on teeth.

So, is an additional fluoride treatment at the dentist necessary and if so, at what age are the treatments most beneficial? Read on to find out.

Why You Should Consider Fluoride Treatments for Your Child

While it's true that fluoride found in foods and water can replace lost minerals, it sometimes isn't enough to strengthen teeth and protect against cavities. In fact, if you don't consume enough natural fluoride, demineralization will occur much more quickly than remineralization, leaving enamel at risk and causing tooth decay.

Fluoride treatments speed up the natural remineralization process, providing prolonged protection against demineralization and related tooth decay. They are particularly effective in children because they can reverse early decay while protecting permanent teeth as they develop.

Scheduling Your Child's Fluoride Treatments

Children should start fluoride treatments at around 6 months of age and continue at least until they turn 16 (and ideally, beyond this age as well). Treatments vary based on age and also on whether they are done at home or at the dentist's office:

    • Drops, Chewables, Tablets, or Lozenges – These treatments are typically used at home for children 6 months and older who don't receive enough fluoride in their water.
    • Fluoride Toothpaste – After the age of two, children's teeth should be brushed using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with fluoride.
    • Fluoride Varnish – Once baby teeth have appeared, children should have a fluoride varnish applied to protect against tooth decay. Typically, varnishes are applied by a dentist twice per year for children two and older.
    • Gels and Foams – As children get older, a dentist commonly applies gel or foam fluoride treatments using a mouth guard. This typically takes about five minutes.
    • Mouth Rinses – A fluoride mouth rinse may be prescribed for children over 6 years of age who are at risk for tooth decay due to genetics or other factors. A mouth rinse is typically used in combination with other fluoride treatments.

Protecting Your Child from Too Much Fluoride

The most common concern about fluoride treatments is that large amounts can be toxic to the brain, bones, kidney, and thyroid. However, products intended for home use have extremely low levels of fluoride, meaning that you generally don't have to worry.

Still, there are precautions you can take to ensure you're not only keeping potentially dangerous products away from children, but also using fluoride properly:

  • Store any fluoride supplements or products out of reach of young children.
  • Use limited amounts of fluoridated toothpaste on a child's toothbrush.
  • Don't allow children to use fluoridated toothpaste without supervision until the age of 6.

Fluoride Treatments Play a Vital Part in Your Child's Smile

Although some parents view fluoride skeptically, professional treatments are integral to your child's smile starting at 2 years of age.

By doing your part at home and scheduling regular appointments, you can help prevent cavities and give children the strong teeth they need both now and in the future.


Sources:

Dental Health and Fluoride Treatment. (2014, October 9). Retrieved on June 3, 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/fluoride-treatment

Guideline on Fluoride Therapy. (2014). Retrieved June 3, 2015 from http://www.aapd.org/media/Policies_Guidelines/G_fluoridetherapy.pdf

Reinberg. S. (2014, May 6). Docs Should Give Toddlers Fluoride Treatments: Panel. Retrieved on June 3, 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20140506/doctors-should-give-toddlers-fluoride-treatments-us-task-force

Covid-19 + Safety Measures

August 4th, 2020

Here's How We are Keeping You Safe

It has been a wild ride since March! Our community has been through a lot and we are all looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. Since reopening our practice on May 11th, we have implemented new processes that are responsible, safe, and simple. We are overwhelmed by the positive reaction of the patients we have treated since we have reopened. We can’t thank you enough for your confidence in bringing your children, kind words and supportive comments once you have seen the systems we have in place.

    

We want to take this opportunity tell you about the infection control procedures we follow and the extra precautions we are taking to keep patients and staff safe:

  • Limited number of patients in the office with proper distancing.
  • Outdoor check-in system: A numbered sign is located at each parking spot with a phone # to text upon arrival. Everyone will remain in their cars until a dental assistant does a COVID-19 screening at the car.
  • Prior to enter the building, each patient will receive a temperature scan and hand sanitizer.
  • All staff members wear appropriate protective gear and undergo an assessment and temperature scan daily.
  • All parents and non-patients must stay in their car for the duration of the appointment.
    Children who require a companion are still able to have that person accompany them while following our normal protocols, as well as our infection control protocols.
  • New patients may have one parent accompany them inside for their first visit but are required to wear their own mask.
  • After the visit is complete, an assistant will walk your child(ren) out to the car and the doctor will call to discuss the visit.
  • All payments are now contactless and will be collected over the phone or online prior to the visit.
  • Additionally, we invested in a new dual function HVAC system that combines UV light and an ionization plasma generator to kill germs, viruses, spores, mold, etc. throughout the building.

ANNOUNCING GCPD SAFE RE-OPENING

May 4th, 2020

Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety. With enhanced protection and new protocol, we plan to reopen our practice on Monday, May 11th.

Dentists have been practicing infection control for over 30 years. Our office follows infection control recommendations made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  We want to tell you more about the infection control procedures we follow and the extra precautions we are taking in our practice to keep patients and staff safe:

  • We will be limiting the number of patients in the office and they will be spread out appropriately.
  • We have invested in a new feature for our HVAC system throughout the entire building. It is a dual function system that combines a UV light and an ionization plasma generator to kill germs, viruses, spores, mold, etc. We have also added additional air purifiers in each private room
  • If you or anyone in your family has flu-like symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, aches/pains, etc.) and/or has been in contact with a person testing positive for COVID-19, PLEASE DO NOT COME TO OUR OFFICE!  Simply call and reschedule your appointment.
  • After arriving for your appointment, please park in our parking lot and REMAIN IN YOUR CAR. There will be a numbered sign at each parking spot with a phone number to text. Once parked, please text the number on the parking sign with your child’s name and the parking space number. A dental assistant will greet you at your car with a medical release form and will escort your child to the treatment area. 
  • Each patient will have a temperature scan and use hand sanitizer prior to entering the building. All dental assistants will be wearing appropriate protective gear.
  • All parents and non-patients must stay in their car for the duration of the appointment.  For patients who must have a companion, please notify us before your appointment. All companions will be required to provide their own mask.  
  • The waiting room and public play areas will not be used. All toys will be removed and all children will stay in their chair during their appointment. The bathroom will be used for emergencies only.
  • At the completion of your child’s appointment, they will be escorted out to the car without stopping at the front desk and without contacting public surfaces. You will then receive a phone call giving you an opportunity to speak to the doctor and schedule additional appointments.
  • All payments will be contactless for your own safety.  Our office will collect any necessary co-payments via credit card of Paypal when your child’s appointment is scheduled. 

We value your trust and loyalty and appreciate your patience with our new protocols. During these uncertain times, we realize that your child’s visits will feel more “matter of fact” than fun and playful. Their dental health and medical safety remain our top priority as we navigate these new challenges. We will continue to show our usual warmth, compassion and technological standards that you have come to expect and appreciate over the last 35 years. Our objective has always been to provide the highest quality pediatric dental care without the kids even knowing!! Hopefully we will soon return to the “Disney World” atmosphere, where kids cry when they have to leave and can’t wait for their next visit.

We look forward to seeing you again and are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our new safety procedures.  To make an appointment, please call our office at 336-292-0411 or request an appointment online.