Where’s the pacifier?

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, most parents often turn to the use of pacifiers to soothe a crying baby. Pacifiers can help newborns fall asleep, can reduce discomfort on airplane rides, and provide overall soothing.

While a pacifier can be a great comfort to babies, dental issues can arise when the child becomes dependant on it. Common problems we see with children who still use a pacifier after their teeth have erupted are an anterior open bite (the back teeth touch, but the front teeth do not), a posterior crossbite (when the upper back teeth are tucked inside the lower back teeth due to the constant sucking habit) and “buck teeth” (when the upper teeth protrude beyond the lower teeth).

It is our recommendation that pacifiers should be phased out when your child reaches 2 years of age to minimize permanent damage.

So how can you and your child say bye-bye to those beloved “pacis?” Here are a few ideas:

And as always…give us a call if you have any concerns about the way your children’s teeth are developing due to prolonged pacifier use.

Don’t leave me tongue tied

Having a baby is a beautiful, but scary thing. First time parents are usually beyond excited, but somewhat apprehensive as they wade into uncharted waters. Of course, most rely on books, friends and family who have gone before them to navigate the waters, but the ultimate reality is that parenting is a lesson in trial and error. This may seem easy enough to some, but for new parents it seems like they are climbing a mountain each day.

Infants actually require very little beyond their basic needs. Keeping them dry, warm and fed. Unfortunately, all of these areas can cause significant stress, especially when it comes to feeding. Some mothers can’t produce enough milk or their baby has difficulty latching on. Many times this issue works itself out but sometimes babies can’t latch due to a condition called ankyloglossia, or tongue-tied. Having a tongue-tied child is actually quite common and many times under-diagnosed. Ankyloglossia occurs when a connecting piece of skin under the tongue called a frenulum is either too short or extends too far forward, making it difficult for the tongue to extend for feeding. Trying to breastfeed a tongue-tied infant can be extremely painful and frustrating. The good news, it’s an easy and relatively painless fix. Children’s Dentistry has had huge success snipping the frenulum. This procedure is simple and noninvasive. Tongue-tied newborns often latch successfully and nurse immediately following the procedure, it’s truly amazing to witness.

If you’re a new parent and your infant is having a difficult time feeding, it might be worth bringing your infant in for a complimentary exam to determine whether your child is tongue tied. Please feel free to call or email our Children’s Dentistry doctors with any questions you might have, we are your partners in health through this crazy journey called parenting.

We are not kidding about mouthguards

Whether it be football, baseball, hockey, boxing, lacrosse, wrestling, volleyball or any other sports your children may be involved with, we want you to understand the importance of mouthguards. Believe us when we tell you that we have seen some horrific mouth trauma as a result of a sports-related mishap.

We all know that accidents can happen and we want your children to be as safe as possible. Mouthguards work by cushioning the blow of any contact that may occur during sports. They can protect your children from chipped, broken or lost teeth, lip and cheek wounds, and jaw injuries. It is even more important that children with braces wear mouthguards to protect from broken brackets or other appliance damage.

We recommend that you purchase a boil and bite or stock mouth guard which you can easily find online, at a local sports store or pharmacy. The boil and bite style mouth guard will give your child a better protection over the stock variety because they are fitted to their teeth through the process of boiling water and allowing the material to mold the mouth. The entire process takes less than 10 minutes.

Remember, as, with anything that goes in the mouth, it is essential to keep the mouthguards clean. They need to be thoroughly brushed after each use, and stored in a container with vents to allow it to dry which will prevent the growth of bacteria.

A mouthguard is an essential component to sports safety, and we are happy to help you find the best option for your child. Please feel free to call our office to discuss your options. The health of your children’s teeth is our utmost priority.

Teeth–what you need to know

We thought it might be helpful to give you all a basic dental rundown of what you can expect from ages 2 to 12. Here we go!

Around six months is when you should first notice a baby tooth coming through and it is usually on the bottom in the front. The ADA, or American Dental Association, and AAPD recommend that you have your child seen shortly after the eruption of their first tooth. When your baby is born they actually already have 20 teeth that need to come through. That’s a lot of teething to look forward to.According to the ADA, (https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/babies-and-kids/), you should wipe your child’s mouth out with a wet wash cloth until teeth appear and then you should begin brushing their teeth with fluoridated tooth paste. Around the age of 3, hand off the toothbrush to your child and allow them to brush with your help. By this time, your child’s 20 teeth should have popped on through and you can say goodbye to teething.

Speaking of teething, here are a few of their suggestions to combat teething pain:

We are not big fans of drugstore medicine to help with teething pain. According to the ADA (https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/t/teething) these medicines should not be used in children under the age of two, and the FDA (https://www.fda.gov/newsevents/newsroom/pressannouncements/ucm523468.htm) has recommended not using homeopathic teething aids as of September 2016.

Around the age of 6, your child will get their 6-year-molars, which come in behind their baby molars. These molars are adult and it is important to protect them due to the fact that they will have them for so long. Sealing the teeth to prevent teeth decay, is a simple process that can be done at the dentist’s office during a regularly scheduled visit. This website, (https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealth/Topics/ToothDecay/SealOutToothDecay.htm) explains the process in case there are concerns.

Around the same time that the 6-year-molars come in, your child will begin to lose their teeth. Often times they are lost in the same order they came in. Your child’s mouth will be a mess of baby and adult teeth until around the age of 12, when you can expect your child to have all 28 teeth. And then, many of you will be looking forward to the idea of braces!

As always, please call us with any questions or concerns you may have along the way.

New drill and fill alternative

Until recently, drilling and filling has been the primary form of treatment for caries or “cavities” in the United States. In July, The New York Times published an article announcing that the FDA has approved an antimicrobial liquid that can be applied with a brush to infected teeth called silver diamine fluoride.

Silver diamine fluoride is a odorless colorless liquid that is applied for a period of one to two minutes to an isolated tooth with a micro brush. It’s a non-invasive therapeutic agent that can be used to arrest small areas of decay in your child’s mouth, by killing the bacteria and hardening the surface. The liquid has been used to treat dental decay in many foreign countries for nearly a century.

This product sounds amazing right? Well, it’s amazing but there’s one big catch, it turns the areas of decay dark brown or black, as shown in the photo. Application must be done carefully as it can permanently stain clothing and temporarily stain skin if mis-handled. However, it is extremely safe if applied by a trained professional and can prevent your child from going through restorative procedures.

This is not a perfect option, it will create unpleasant staining every time. But can be effective in treating dental decay without a drill. Especially if the child has small cavities in the front or back molars of their baby teeth.

We have started using silver diamine fluoride in the office and encourage anyone who’s interested in it to please ask one of the dentists at our office if it’s right for your child.

Vacation is not the time to forget about oral hygiene

Vacation season is here. We can see it all ready—dragging the kids back to the hotel late after an all day excursion, fighting to get pajama’s on and putting your kids to bed without brushing their teeth. As difficult as it is to maintain a sense of routine while away, vacations often lead to a change in dietary habits, which often includes high sugar consumption.

It takes just a few minutes to brush your child’s teeth before crashing after a long day at Disneyland. Maintaining good habits early will create healthy life-long oral hygiene. Remember, a healthy mouth is a healthy body. Here are links to a couple nice travel companions.

Cavities are Contagious

Newborns do not have the bacteria that causes dental caries. Bacteria enters from parents passing germs by shared saliva. When you share spoons, clean off pacifiers by putting them in your mouth or test food temperature, bacteria can pass from parent to child. If the parent is especially prone to cavities, extra caution should be taken to avoid your saliva entering your child’s mouth. Young children are more susceptible to bacteria because their immunity is not built up yet.

Here are some tips for parents to lessen exposure to unwanted Streptococcus mutans.

Trick or Treat Candy You Should Avoid

Halloween is just days away. We understand that eating candy is part of this special day but all candy is not created equal. In fact, there are a handful of sugary treats we would really like you to keep to a minimum, SOUR CANDIES!

Why are sour candies so bad? The acid in sour candy weakens and wears away tooth enamel. Sour candy is extremely acidic, it can actually burn gums and cheeks! Eating too many sour candies can lead to tooth erosion.

Signs of Tooth Erosion

Protect Your Teeth

Have a safe and wonderful Halloween!

Smile Again

Did you know that in Dr. Nelle’s spare time she is president of the Metro Denver Dental Foundation(MDDF)? MDDF runs a program called Smile Again, which provides cost free restorative dental care to survivors of domestic abuse in an effort to help individuals restore their oral health, assist in their recovery and support their efforts toward self-sufficiency.

Read more about Smile Again:

One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. The cost of intimate partner violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year nationally, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services. The situation in Colorado reflects national data. According to a 2009 24-hour survey of domestic violence programs in Colorado cited by the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV), over 1,200 victims were served in one day. In the same day, there were 160 unmet requests for services due to lack of funding and staff. Too many people are in need of help, and not enough of them receive the help they need. 

Oral health is essential to everyone’s health and well being. The Smile Again Program is a community service dental care project with a focus on overall health and empowerment. Thanks to the investment of over 175 volunteer dentists, smiles once deemed beyond repair, damaged by abuse and neglect, are telling a new story – a story of positive impact that only dentistry can tell. 

Way to go Dr. Nelle!

Toothpaste Rules

Parents ask us, “What type of toothpaste should my child use?” Many companies market specialized products geared towards children, save your money! Your child can use any toothpaste with flouride that has a Seal of Acceptance from the American Dental Association. Brushing teeth twice a day(after breakfast and before bed) provides greater benefits than brushing once. Parents should assist dispensing toothpaste until your child is seven or eight to ensure that they do not consume too much. Children two and under require only a smear of toothpaste. Children over the age of two need to use a pea size amount.

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