Monthly Archives: October 2013

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Halloween Tips For Treats

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There’s no question that Halloween and candy go hand in hand.  It’s that time of year kids look forward to with great anticipation for tasty treats.  However, for parents it can be an entirely different story.  You want your kids to have fun dressing up and collecting candy, but how do you keep their teeth from suffering in the process?  Not to worry.  Here are a few Tips For Treats that will help make this Halloween more teeth friendly.

Eliminate the BAD candy – Candy that remains in your mouth for an extended period of time increases the risk of tooth decay.  Taffy and hard candy are the top culprits. Why? Because bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar that sits on teeth.  It then produces acid that causes decay. When sorting through your child’s candy, remove these types of candy right away.

Donate some candy – Although it is exciting to come home with a bag full of candy, there’s no rule that says you have to keep it all for yourself. This is a great time to encourage your child to share by keeping a small portion of the candy and donating the rest.

Schedule treat time – Tooth decay is not necessarily caused by the amount of sweets consumed, but the frequency in which they are consumed.  Rather than letting your child snack on sweet treats throughout the day, set a specific time of the day for that. Directly after a meal is the best time as the mouth creates more saliva during meal times, which helps wash away the acid that causes tooth decay.

Brush and floss Dentists recommend the 2×2 rule – Brush twice a day for two minutes.  Floss at least once a day to get bacteria between teeth that tooth brush bristles can’t reach.  Fluoride mouth rinse also helps prevent tooth decay and strengthens teeth.  This routine is especially important after having sweet treats.

Drink water and chew gum – Drinking more water and even chewing sugar free gum with Xylitol will help get candy off the teeth and wash away acid, preventing tooth decay.

South Mississippi Smiles Dentists are MS Licensed General Dentists

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Baby Tooth Decay…It’s Possible And Preventable

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Baby teeth may be temporary, but the care you give them can have long lasting effects. Baby teeth are considered place holders for adult teeth. If they are lost early, it can lead to future spacing issues of permanent teeth. In addition, early tooth loss due to decay can lead to poor eating habits, speech problems, crooked teeth and can even damage future adult teeth. Taking preventative measures early on is key to a lifetime of good dental health.

BABY BOTTLE TOOTH DECAY

Believe it or not, letting your baby go to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice can cause decay. This is known as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. The frequent and prolonged exposure of drinks that contain sugar, including baby formula and milk, leads to decay. Why? Because during sleep less saliva is produced and these liquids are able to sit on your baby’s gums and teeth as they sleep. Bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugar and produce acid that attacks the teeth.

  • Avoid giving your baby milk or juice at bedtime. Use water or a pacifier as good alternatives.  Also, avoid dipping the pacifier in sugar or honey.
  • Avoid sugary drinks in general and limit juice and other beverages to mealtimes instead of allowing your baby to have bottles or sippy cups throughout the day.
  • Transition to a drinking cup as soon as your child is able. Drinking from a cup is less likely to cause liquid to collect around teeth.

BACTERIA PASSED FROM MOM

Tooth decay can begin with cavity-causing bacteria being passed from the mother (or primary caregiver) to the infant. Because bacteria can be transferred through saliva, there are some things that mom’s and caregivers should be careful not to do.

  • Avoid sharing anything that would transfer saliva including cups, spoons, toothbrushes, etc.
  • Do not clean a pacifier with your mouth.

ORAL HYGIENE FOR BABIES

Even before the first tooth erupts, you can begin practicing good oral hygiene on your baby’s mouth to ward off any attacks on their future teeth.

  • Gently wipe down your baby’s gums at least twice a day with a soft, damp washcloth. This will keep bacteria from clinging to your baby’s gums, which can damage their baby teeth as they come in.
  • When the first baby teeth start to come in, you can begin to use a toothbrush and water to clean the teeth. Make sure to use a soft brush with a small head and large handle. Brush gently around the teeth, including the front and back.
  • Schedule an appointment with a family dentist when your baby’s first tooth comes in.
  • At about age 1, you can begin using a pea-sized amount of a non-fluoridated toothpaste. Wait to use fluoride toothpaste until your child is at least 2 years old.
  • Brush your baby’s teeth until he or she is old enough to hold the brush. Continue to supervise the process until your child can rinse and spit without assistance.

South Mississippi Smiles Dentists are MS Licensed General Dentists