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February Is Children’s Dental Health Month

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NCDHM_youth_1200x900 (1)Dental professionals nationwide recognize February as National Children’s Dental Health month. Dentists observe this month in particular to increase awareness and promote healthy dental habits. Although largely preventable, Dental Caries (tooth decay) continues to be the most prevalent chronic disease in both children and adults.  The ADA released a statement in March of 2015 stating: “While treating dental disease is critical, prevention is the ultimate answer.”

Below are a few steps parents can take to prevent tooth decay and ensure their children’s dental health.

Brush Twice A Day: The ADA recommends brushing 2 minutes 2 times per day and flossing one time per day.  It is especially important that parents supervise their children until they are of an age where they can do it properly and consistently. Toddlers especially, may resist the morning and evening dental hygiene routines, but don’t let that detour you. Thankfully, there videos, games, songs and now APPS to help make brushing time more fun.

Floss Once A Day: According to the AAPD, only 7% of children floss daily. This is in spite of the fact that flossing is one of the primary means of fighting tooth decay. Most cavities begin between the teeth, where a toothbrush simply cannot go. Flossing once a day, preferably before bed is key in fighting decay.

Avoid Sugar: Sugar feeds bacteria in your mouth and turns into acid that, when allowed to sit on the teeth for long periods, eats away at the surface of the teeth. This makes them more susceptible to cavities. Avoiding sweets and sugary drinks is one way to combat decay, but if you do allow a sweet treat, make sure to consume it in one sitting and not slowly throughout the day. If you are unable to brush right away, drinking water and even chewing sugar free gum with Xylitol will help wash away the acid from the teeth.

Eat Healthy Foods: Healthy foods are not just good for your body but also your teeth. Besides avoiding sweets, starchy foods are also ones to stay away from because those foods tend to stick to the teeth and turn into acid that decays the teeth. Dairy foods like cheese and yogurt contain calcium that helps keep your teeth strong.  Crunchy fruits and veggies like apples, carrots and celery are great healthier snacks. They are not only nutritious but also help wash away food that is stuck on the teeth.

Visit Your Family Dentist: Visiting your dentist twice a year is key to combating tooth decay. The thorough cleanings help remove plaque that regular brushing and flossing missed and the exams allow the dentist to check for any dental issues you may not have noticed.

Following these steps year round is key in fighting tooth decay and ensuring your families dental health. Allow this month of February to be a friendly reminder to review your family’s dental hygiene routines and eating habits. Make adjustments as needed and partner with your family dentist to protect your family’s smiles.

ALL SERVICES PROVIDED BY MISSISSIPPI LICENSED GENERAL DENTISTS

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Back To School Tips To Keep Your Student Smiling

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2015-08-05 (1)Back to school season can be an exciting time – a fresh start to a new school year. This is the perfect time to schedule your dental check up. As you check off your shopping lists for school supplies and clothes, make sure to add a visit to your family dentist and also a time to review your dental hygiene routine at home. This will not only help your student start his school year on a positive note, but can help ensure he stays on track all year long.

Benefits to starting the school year with a dental check-up

  • Allows your dentist to examine for decay/cavities, ensure proper growth and provide helpful tips to maintain a healthy smile all year long.
  • Decreases risk for additional dental issues requiring additional treatment. The American Dental Association says, “prevention and early detection can help avoid pain, trouble eating, difficulty speaking and school absences”.
  • Gives confidence to start the school year with a healthy and bright smile.

How to maintain a healthy smile throughout the school year

  • When shopping for new school supplies, include new dental hygiene supplies.
  • Brush and floss at least two (2) times a day. (For small children, make it fun by adding a favorite song or game to the routine)
  • Pack healthy snacks that help protect teeth against cavities (i.e. cheese, apples, carrots, celery)
  • Replace sugary drinks with good old fashion water
  • When participating in organized sports, make sure to use a properly fitting mouth guard
  • Schedule routine check-ups every six (6) months

Remember, in order to ensure a happy and healthy school year, we all must work together.  See you at your next visit.

 

All services provided by MS licensed general dentists.

 

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MAXIMIZE YOUR DENTAL BENEFITS BEFORE DECEMBER 31ST!

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dec-31-calendarDid you know unused dental coverage does not roll over into the New Year? Most insurance policies allow for a maximum dollar amount of coverage each year. If you do not use the entire amount allotted to you, you lose the unused portion.

There is still time to schedule an appointment with your family dentist to make sure you take advantage of any unused coverage for 2014. Whether you need an exam, cleaning or dental treatment, don’t let that coverage go to waste.

Other reasons to schedule an end of the year appointment with your dentist are:

  • Your deductible (out-of-pocket expense before health insurance starts to pay the bills) will reset at the start of the year. If you’ve already satisfied your deductible, now is the perfect time to get those last-minute treatments. 
  • Funds in most Flexible Spending or Health Savings Accounts also forfeit at the end of the year. These are benefits you have paid for so make sure to use them! 

Take care of any dental treatments now. Dental issues not only worsen but become more costly the longer they go untreated.

Let us help you maximize your insurance benefits and make sure you enter the New Year with a healthy smile. Call us now to schedule an appointment!

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Why You Should Never Delay Dental Treatment

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Did you know tooth decay is one of the most chronic diseases in the U.S. today? Proper oral hygiene at home plays a big role in helping fight this disease but it is equally important to schedule regular exams and cleanings with your family dentist. Following through with treatment recommended by your dentist is vital. Here is why:

Regular visits to your family dentist ensure that dental issues are detected and treated before becoming more severe. Prompt treatment is key in avoiding: 

  • Severe pain
  • Infections
  • Chronic tooth decay
  • Disfigurement
  • AND ultimately higher treatment costs

Over time, lack of proper oral care can affect other areas of the body.  Studies have linked poor oral health in adults to diseases such as:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Lung Disease
  • Cancer

How does this happen? Poor oral hygiene allows bacteria to build up on teeth, which can make the gums prone to infection.  Infection, left untreated, makes the rest of the body susceptible to disease.

According to the American Dental Association, tooth decay is the most chronic disease in children today, affecting 50% of children in the U.S. Besides pain and discomfort, studies have shown that poor oral health can also affect children’s development in the following areas:

  • Development of primary teeth
  • Proper chewing and nutrition
  • Development of speech
  • Self-esteem and confidence
  • Attendance and performance in school

“The American Dental Association recommends that dental visits begin no later than a child’s first birthday to establish a “dental home.” Dentists can provide guidance to children and parents, deliver preventive oral health services, and diagnose and treat dental disease in its earliest stages. This ongoing dental care will help both children and adults maintain optimal oral health throughout their lifetimes.”  http://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/dentists-doctors-of-oral-health)


ALL SERVICES PROVIDED BY MS LICENSED GENERAL DENTISTS

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Teeth-Friendly Halloween Ideas

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Halloween child friendly treats with bananas and clementines made to look like pumpkins and ghostsThe Fall season is upon us and with that comes many favorites like cooler weather, colorful leaves, all things pumpkin and of course, Halloween! There’s no doubt that for most kids, collecting and eating as much candy as possible is the primary goal. For parents it can be a challenge to let the kiddos enjoy the season while keeping them healthy, especially their teeth. The good news is that healthy and fun alternatives abound.  Here are just a few:

The Trick Is Healthy Treats – Making healthy treats that look yummy and fun can help your family make better snacking choices. Try decorating healthy snacks in fun Halloween themes and make sure they are visible and accessible when it’s time for a treat.

Focus on Fall Fun – Fall activities are a great way to help take the focus off of sweets.  Pumpkin patches, costume parties and arts & crafts are some popular options. This is also a great time to get some physical activity while enjoying nature. Try going on a hike, bike ride or a simple walk.

Make It About Giving Not Just Getting – This is the perfect time of year to remind your family of the importance of giving to others in need. Find out what volunteer opportunities are available in your community and/or consider donating items, money or better yet, a generous portion of the Halloween candy that was collected.

Keep An Oral Health Routine – Dental professionals agree that teaching your children good oral hygiene habits early on will help them develop and maintain these habits as they get older. Take time this “sweet season” to teach your child about the effects of sugar on their teeth and the importance of fighting tooth decay with a daily oral hygiene routine.  Some easy dental tips to remember are:

  •  Limit sugar intake (hide sweet treats)
  • Avoid sticky candy that clings to the teeth and also hard candy
  • Allow a treat after a meal
  • Make sure they drink plenty of water
  • Brush and floss twice daily and after sweet treats
  • Schedule your next visit with your family dentist

Sweets may not be 100% avoidable, especially during this season.  However, combining healthy alternatives with a consistent oral health routine will certainly help keep your family’s smile happy and healthy.  Have a safe and happy Halloween!!

South MS Smiles Dentists are MS Licensed General Dentists.

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Preventing And Treating Tooth Grinding (Bruxism)

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Woman With Handkerchief

Most people grind and clench their teeth from time to time. While occasional tooth grinding, or bruxism, is not usually harmful, regular tooth grinding is associated with oral health complications such as damaged teeth or even tooth loss.

The biggest problem that arises from bruxism is its wear and tear on the teeth.

Complications Associated with Bruxism

Continuous tooth grinding can cause the tooth enamel to wear away, which may result in sensitivity and decay. Prolonged grinding also damages the joints and muscles of the jaw. If left untreated, grinding may result in osteoarthritis or bone loss.

In addition to this, prolonged bruxism is associated with hearing loss, TMJ and can even change the shape and appearance of your face. Chronic grinding will wear down the teeth and may require the use of crowns, bridges, dental implants, partial or even full dentures. Your family dentist can aid you in addressing the damage that results from chronic tooth grinding.

Treatment for Bruxism

If you find that you grind or clench your teeth, your family dentist can fit you with a mouth guard or a mouth splint to prevent further damage. This will aid in evening out the pressure in your mouth to prevent further damage to the joints and muscles in the jaw, as well as create a barrier between the upper and lower teeth. Generally only worn at night, mouth guards or splints are a means of controlling bruxism, not a cure for the condition.

Teeth grinding may be a result of stress or anxiety. Implementing stress management techniques can be helpful and if needed, a professional can help deal with the stressors that are at the root of the problem.

Bruxism in Children

While most patients who grind their teeth are between the ages of 20 and 40, it is not uncommon for children to grind their teeth. Your child’s dentist will look for indicators of bruxism, such as worn teeth or an uneven bite, during regular check-ups.

Addressing bruxism in children is an important aspect of early dental care. As the American Dental Association states, “Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.”[1]

While the cause of bruxism in a toddler is unclear, many family dentists believe that stress or pain associated with earaches and teething may be to blame. A toddler may also grind their teeth as a result of breathing problems. Children who are getting their permanent teeth may also go through a period of teeth grinding. In such cases, your dentist can direct you toward the best course of action.

[1]http://www.ada.org/en/public-programs/national-childrens-dental-health-month

 South Mississippi Smiles Dentists are MS Licensed General Dentists

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Dental Sedation

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Dentists work hard to make sure patients have a pleasant experience during their visit.  A bad experience at an early age can lead to a lifetime of fear and delayed dental care.  Typically children only need reassurance and encouragement for routine examinations and simple treatments.  However, occasionally they may need a more complicated procedure.  In order to keep them comfortable and quiet to ensure their safety during the procedure, your dentist may recommend sedation.

There are several sedation methods that have been shown to be safe for children. Depending on the procedure and the age of the child, your dentist will recommend the appropriate approach.

Oral sedation is a syrup or pill that your child will swallow that will make him or her sleepy, allowing the dentist to perform the necessary treatment. Once you arrive for your appointment, the dentist or a licensed staff member will administer the medication, which starts to work in about 20 minutes. Your child should not have anything to eat or drink after midnight the night before receiving oral sedation and you will need to limit his activities for a while once he returns home.

The most frequently used method of sedation for kids is nitrous oxide or laughing gas. Your family dentist will place a mask over your child’s nose; many dentists have fun masks like a “space mask” or “clown nose” to help your child feel comfortable with the device. The nitrous oxide is often scented like candy or fruit and is mixed with oxygen. When your child breathes the gas, he or she will feel happy, “tingly” and relaxed during the procedure. Once the procedure is over, your dentist will give your child pure oxygen to breathe for a few minutes to get all the traces of gas out of his or her system.

In some situations, your dentist may recommend IV sedation, which involves inserting a needle into the child’s vein. This produces a deeper level of sedation. If your child is receiving IV sedation, you will get special instructions to prepare your child for the procedure and for care at home.  IV Sedation is only provided under the guidance of a licensed Anesthesiologist.

Sedation is a useful tool for certain dental procedures. Your family dentist will discuss methods with you to keep your child comfortable and safe if he or she requires a complex treatment.

South Mississippi Smiles Dentists are MS Licensed General Dentists

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What Parents Should Know About Fluoride


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Dentists will agree that it’s never too early to begin caring for your baby’s teeth.  Early dental care can prevent a number of problems from occurring down the road. However, as with most things in a child’s life, oral care should be done in stages. This is especially true when it comes to using Fluoride

Oral Care For Babies

Dentists recommend using gauze to gently wipe your babies gums even before teeth come in. Once the first tooth comes in, it is the perfect time to schedule his or her first check up. At this point you can also begin brushing your child’s teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water.

When To Start Using Fluoride Toothpaste?

The American Dental Association recommends that children begin using fluorinated toothpaste at the age of two. However, you should ask your family dentist about the appropriate time for your child to begin using fluoride. Children should only use a pea-sized amount when brushing. Additionally, children under the age of six should be supervised while they are brushing with fluorinated toothpaste.

The main reason that fluoride is a concern for children who are under the age of six is because they are more likely to swallow the toothpaste. Swallowing the little bit of toothpaste that is used for brushing is not likely to cause any harm. However, over time, this can lead to a condition called dental fluorosis. This is a condition that occurs when the teeth are repeatedly exposed to high amounts of fluoride when they are developing. It causes discoloration of the enamel.

The Benefits Of Fluoride

Helps Reduce The Risk Of Tooth Decay

Fluoride makes the teeth more resistant to acid attacks. This acid comes from the sugar and bacteria inside of the mouth and it triggers tooth decay. That is why many dentists also recommend that children get fluoride treatments during their dental visits.

Reverse Early Tooth Decay

Not only can fluoride prevent tooth decay, but it can also prevent tooth decay from progressing. Many dentists agree that fillings are not always required for early tooth decay.

South Mississippi Smiles Dentists are MS Licensed General Dentists.

 

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Children’s Dental Health Month

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From infancy to our elder years, good oral hygiene has a significant effect on the health of our entire body. By beginning routine dental practices from infancy, children grow up with good habits that bring many rewards throughout their lifetime. Children’s Dental Health Month is the perfect time for parents and children to brush up on their dental health knowledge. Here are a few important points to remember:

  • Your family dentist is your partner in good health. Make sure to schedule regular checkups as this allows your dentist to perform thorough cleanings as well as thorough exams that can help detect health issues.  Remember to ask questions during your visits. Your dentist is a great source of information and can help you establish a proper and enjoyable oral hygiene routine for you and your children.
  • One common misconception is that baby teeth are not very important because they eventually fall out and are replaced by adult teeth. As temporary placeholders, baby teeth play an important role in the alignment of permanent teeth. Cavities on baby teeth can affect the gum tissue which can harm future adult teeth. That is why family dentists recommend you start cleaning your baby’s gums with a soft wash cloth and water even before their teeth come in. When the first tooth comes in, use a soft toothbrush and water or non-fluoridated toothpaste. At about age 2 you can begin to use a pea size amount of fluoride toothpaste. It is also important for parents to brush their child’s teeth until the child displays the ability to complete the task on their own.
  • Dentists agree that sugary drinks like fruit juices and soft drinks should never be given to young children in bottles or sippy cups. Fruit drinks, like apple and orange juice, contain relatively large amounts of sugar that can lead to tooth decay. You should especially avoid giving your child these drinks at bed time.

Celebrating Children’s Dental Health Month is a great way to involve your family in positive steps towards beautiful, healthy teeth and gums. Children who grow up with good oral habits find that continuing good dental practices as adults comes easily.  At South Mississippi Smiles, it is our pleasure to partner with you and help meet your family’s dental needs. Feel free to contact us for an appointment.

South Mississippi Smiles Dentists are MS Licensed General Dentists.

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