What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?
A pediatric dentist is a pediatrician for your child’s mouth. Pediatric dentists have two to three years of specialty training following dental school and limit their practice to treating children. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants, children, and teenagers, including those with special health needs.
What Is tooth decay?
Tooth decay is a destruction of the tooth enamel that can happen when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) are left on the teeth. This “residue” becomes food for acid-producing bacteria that live in the mouth. Over time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay.
How do I prevent tooth decay?
You can help prevent tooth decay by:
- Visiting your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral examination.
- Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Cleaning between your teeth daily with floss.
- Eating nutritious and balanced meals.
- Limiting snacking and sugary juices and drinks.
- Asking your dentist to apply dental sealants (a plastic protective coating) onto the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to protect them from decay.
- Eating mints or chew gum with Xylitol after you drink or snack to help neutralize that acid in your mouth. Xylitol is found in many sugar-free mint and chewing gum products.
What are dental sealants?
A sealant is a clear or tooth-colored material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of molars (back teeth). Because back teeth have many depressions and grooves, they are difficult to clean, which makes them prone to cavities. A coating of sealant protects the chewing surfaces and can dramatically reduce the risk of decay.
Why should I get sealants for my child?
Patients who get sealants protect their teeth from tooth decay. This preventative measure saves dollars and makes sense by avoiding costly fillings or crowns to fix decayed teeth.
Children should get sealants on their permanent molars (both “6-year” and “12-year” molars) soon after they erupt. Sealants on baby teeth may be recommended, especially if your child’s baby teeth have deep pits and grooves.
Are dental x-rays safe for my child?
Dental x-rays provide very little risk to your child’s health. By using lead aprons and high-speed film, we can safely isolate the area that is exposed and minimize the amount of radiation.
How does diet affect my child’s teeth?
Limiting the servings of sugars and starches and including a variety of foods from the various food groups — fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat, fish, and eggs — will help protect your child’s teeth from decay. Brushing your child’s teeth after meals and snacks will help prevent acid-producing residue from decaying his or her tooth enamel.
How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?
If you would like to have the fluoride level of your drinking water (tap) tested, just bring a sample of it to our office in a closed, clean container. Fluoride supplements may be necessary if the fluoride level is deficient or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride.
What can I do to protect my child’s teeth during sporting events?
You can find soft “moldable” mouth guards at sporting goods stores to protect your child’s teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sports- related injuries. If you would like your child to be evaluated for a custom- fitted mouth guard created by our dental team, call our office to arrange a consultation. Mouth guards will protect your child from injuries to the teeth, face and even provide protection from severe injuries to the head.
Is soda (even diet) bad for your teeth?
The short answer is YES. Diet or “sugar-free” soda contains acid. And, whether a soft drink contains sugar or not, this acid is the primary cause of weakening tooth enamel. It’s the reaction of the acid with the bacteria in your mouth that causes cavities when tooth enamel is damaged.
So, what is an “occasional -sipper” or a “soda-junkie” to do? First of all, drink soda in moderation and use a straw to keep the sugar away from your teeth. But, the best advice is to drink water instead of soda. Check out the Minnesota Dental Association website and learn more about their awareness campaign about soda and its effect on your teeth.
Does your toothbrush need cleaning?
The short answer is: YES! According to the Center for Disease Control, “Even after being visibly rinsed clean, toothbrushes can remain contaminated with potentially pathogenic organisms.” Yuck! Here are some tips to get (and keep) your toothbrush clean.
Keep Your Toothbrush in Tip-Top Shape
- Clean your hands with soap and water before and after touching your toothbrush.
- Wash your toothbrush after every use. Use your thumb to press against the bristles and allow the water to wash away food particles for at least 10 seconds.
- Disinfect your toothbrush by soaking it in some antibacterial mouthwash that contains alcohol for 10 minutes after brushing.
- Replace your toothbrush at the first signs of bent bristles.
- Replace your toothbrush after you’ve been sick.
- Buy a new toothbrush every 3-4 months.