Pediatric Oral Health Tips

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), tooth decay is one of the most common chronic infectious diseases among U.S. children.  This is a preventable health problem that begins early.  28% of children aged 2-5 years have already had decay in their primary or baby teeth.  By the time they reach 11 years of age, approximately half of children have experienced decay.  By the age of 19, tooth decay in permanent teeth affects two-thirds or 68% of adolescents.  Low-income children have twice as much untreated decay than children in families with higher incomes.  Problems such as pain, dysfunction, underweight, and poor appearance can result greatly reducing a child’s capacity to succeed in the educational environment.

A healthy smile is a good indication of a happy child.  Oral health experts are all in agreement that developing healthy smiles in children should start in infancy.  CDC experts have promoted a set of pediatric oral health tips that if followed will significantly prevent tooth decay in any child and save the child from suffering embarrassment.

Pediatric Oral Health Tips

Start early.  As soon as the first tooth appears, start with wiping to clean it every day with a clean, damp cloth.  When more teeth come in, switch to a small, soft toothbrush.  You can start using toothpaste with fluoride when the child is 2 years old and if your doctor recommends it you can use toothpaste with fluoride even earlier.  Do not let a child under the age of 6 use fluoride mouth rinse unless the child’s doctor or dentist recommends it.

Check with your child’s doctor or dentist about the specific fluoride requirements of your child.  At age 2, most children are getting the right amount of fluoride to help prevent cavities if they drink water that contains fluoride and brush their teeth two times daily with a very small amount of toothpaste with fluoride.  If the drinking water does not have enough fluoride parents of children 6 months and older should ask about the need for a fluoride supplement.

It was known that fluoride is an important element for the fight against cavities. But for children younger than 6 years old, swallowing too much fluoride may be detrimental to his/her health. Fluoride can cause white spots to appear in the child’s permanent teeth. Always advise your child to use only a small amount of toothpaste (approximately the size of a pea) and tell your child not to swallow but spit out the toothpaste and rinse thoroughly after brushing.

Always supervise your child.  Until such time that the child is able to correctly use his/her own toothbrush you should brush your child’s teeth twice a day.  After that you should continue to keep a watchful eye to make sure the child is doing a thorough job and using only a small amount of toothpaste.

As a parent be a good role model to your child by practicing good oral health care habits. And schedule regular dental visits for checkups and cleanings.

Check your child’s mouth for the signs of periodontal disease.  Symptoms include bleeding gums, swollen and bright red gums or gums that are receding away from the teeth and bad breath.

Sedation Technique And Sedation Methods

If your child becomes anxious or panics at the sight of a dentist or just a thought of visiting a dentist office you may consider using a sedation technique in order to relax him/her through the dental procedure.

Consult with the doctor to determine the best method to help reduce your child’s stress level.  There are several types of dental sedation methods being used by sedation dentists.  They are oral sedatives, nitrous oxide sedation, intravenous (IV) sedation and general anesthesia.  All of these methods provide sedation on varying degrees.

Effects of Smoking on Oral Health

We’re all very aware that cigarette smoking has a potentially disastrous effect on our health. From heart disease and cancer to emphysema, cigarette smoke is known to cause a variety of very serious and deadly diseases. Yet, the full effects of smoking on health are often overlooked; and in fact, cigarette smoking also negatively impacts your oral health. Indeed, tobacco smoking is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults.

The effects of smoking on health are well documented, and smoking tobacco can have a significant effect on the appearance and health of your mouth and gums. Just a few of the dental problems associated with smoking include:

  • Halitosis (or bad breath)
  • Staining or discolouration of the teeth
  • Inflammation of the salivary glands
  • Advanced buildup of tartar and plaque on the teeth
  • Bone loss in the jaw
  • Increased risk of mouth cancers and leukoplakia
  • Increased risk of gum disease
  • Slower healing of gum tissue
  • Increased risk of complications following tooth extraction, periodontal treatment, oral surgery, and dental implants

In addition, there are a number of serious oral and general health concerns that often result from cigarette smoking:

  • Oral and pharyngeal cancers
  • Lung cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Tooth decay
  • Premature aging
  • Sores or lesions in the mouth

There are some sobering statistics that support the negative relationship between tobacco smoking and oral health. For example, nearly 90% of patients suffering from mouth, lip, tongue, or throat cancer use tobacco products. Furthermore, continued and increased use of these tobacco products significantly increases the risk of developing these cancers. Similarly more than a third of patients who continue to smoke after remission of oral cancers will develop second cancers of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat.

Unfortunately, even exposure to smokeless tobacco products is dangerous for your oral health. Cigars, cigarettes, snuff, and chewing tobacco are all associated with an increased risk of oral cancer, cancer of the throat and esophagus, and other aesthetic effects of tobacco consumption (e.g. stained teeth and gum disease).

Smoking and Gum Disease

Smoking cigarettes is a major contributor to gum disease, as smoking weakens the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth. Recent research suggests that smoking disturbs the normal functioning of gum tissue cells making smokers significantly more susceptible to periodontal or gum disease and infection. Moreover, smoking cigarettes prevents proper blood flow to the gums which may slow healing.

Ultimately, in order to maintain good overall health and proper oral health, dentists and doctors will always recommend quitting smoking and ceasing the consumption of smokeless tobacco products. Still, regardless of how long you have smoked or used other tobacco products, quitting will have an immediately positive impact on your health.

Good Nutrition is Essential to Good Oral Health

Oral health: is the term used to refer to the health of the mouth. It is the term used to refer to the overall hygiene of the mouth. This includes the teeth, gums and tongue. This is a very important part of the body because it can affect our communication with people. A bad oral heath can be due to poor dental hygiene but can also be caused due to various illnesses.

Whenever a patient visits a doctor, after discussing the symptoms the doctor asks the patient to stick out the tongue. Why is it so? This is because the oral condition can tell the doctor a lot about the patient’s health. A poor oral health can mean that the patient could be suffering from diabetes, HIV/AIDS or some other eating disorders. Also, poor oral health can be due to cold sores, fungal infection, canker sores, dry mouth syndrome and oral cancer.

However, sometimes the causes of a poor oral health are not any major illnesses but only poor oral hygiene. And this poor hygiene cause bad health in turn. It is like a vicious cycle.

Good nutrition not only keeps us healthy and hence reflects in our oral health, but also results in a good oral health. Following is the list of nutrients for good oral hygiene:

Vitamin A: Lack of this can cause overgrown gums, bleeding gums and other gums diseases. This is found in green leafy vegetables.

Vitamin B Complex: Lack of this vitamin can cause cracking and bleeding of lips. It can also lead to sores and lesions in the mouth which can further cause infections. This can spread to the rest of the body through blood. It can be found in whole grains and dark green vegetables.

Vitamin C: This brings in oxygen and nutrients via the capillaries and improves oral health. Lack of this can cause bleeding gums. This can be found in citrus fruits.

Calcium and Vitamin D: These help maintain healthy teeth which are strong too. The calcium and vitamin D gets absorbed in the teeth and hence gives strength to the teeth. After a certain age these two are added in prescription for daily intake. Calcium can be found in milk and bananas. Vitamin D is absorbed by exposure to sun.

Copper, Zinc, Iron, Iodine and Potassium: These are also a few minerals essential for good oral health.

Copper is found in legumes, nuts, sea food, raisins, molasses and soybeans.

Zinc is found in Brewer’s yeast, liver, soybeans, spinach, mushrooms and sunflower seeds.

Iron is found in red meat, liver, iron rich cereals, beef, whole grains, spinach, and dry fruits. Avoid intake of tea with iron as it reduces iron absorption in the body.

Iodine can be obtained from iodized salt, sea food and kelp.

Potassium is found in bananas, figs, apricot, dates, raisins and tomato juice.

Fluoride: This is found in toothpastes and when used strengthens the enamel of the teeth. This works with calcium and phosphorus and prevents tooth decay too.