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Teaching Good Dental Health Habits

June 22nd, 2021

IT’S NOT ALWAYS easy to teach a young child how to brush and floss. Little kids are balls of energy with no attention span, and a brushing session is likely to go awry. We have a few tips to help out frazzled parents.

Prioritize brushing. We shouldn’t treat it like an irritating chore, because our kids will pick up on that. Set an example of brushing and flossing being an unskippable and important part of the morning and evening routine.
Brush wherever works! Don’t feel like brushing can only happen in the bathroom. If it’s easier to do somewhere else, that’s great!
The routine is more important than having toothpaste. If the toothpaste tube is empty or missing or its contents were turned into an art project, brush anyway! Don’t miss a day just for the toothpaste.
Children are more likely to like and use a toothbrush that they picked out themselves, so let them pick theirs!
When possible, brush in front of the mirror. That’s where the kids will be brushing once they’re doing it on their own. In the meantime, it helps them feel more involved in the process.
Make brushing fun! The more the grown-ups act like brushing is fun, the happier the kids will be to cooperate. Keep up a good attitude about it and help them enjoy it by playing fun music to time their two minutes of brushing.

Bad Breath: A Big Deal in Medieval England

June 8th, 2021

IN THE MIDDLE AGES, the English didn’t understand much about cavities or gum disease, but they did put a huge emphasis on having fresh breath. Why? Because, not knowing how germs work, they believed it was the actual bad smell that carried disease.

The Fresh Breath of Middle English Literary Characters
Almost all dental care in Medieval England was about smells. This practice even made it into the Canterbury Tales, where Chaucer’s characters chew cardamom and licorice to keep their breath smelling clean. A mixture of aniseed, cumin, and fennel was sometimes recommended to women.

Dental Woes of Medieval England
What dental problems were they living with while focusing mainly on breath? Fortunately, there wasn’t much sugar to cause cavities in the diet of Medieval England. Unfortunately, small particles of stone would get into their bread from the millstones they used to grind flour, and that caused severe erosion. Most adults would lose four to six teeth in their lifetimes.

Treatment for Alleged “Tooth Worms”
Things got really weird if you ever had a toothache. Physicians believed they were caused by tiny worms, and remedies included myrrh and opium. Those were expensive, though, so a cheaper option was to burn a candle very close to the tooth so the alleged worms would fall out into a basin of water.

For the sake of our teeth, we’re glad we don’t live back then!

A Snoring Habit Could Mean Sleep Apnea

May 25th, 2021

AROUND 1 IN 5 children with a snoring habit get it from sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that causes repeated brief interruptions to breathing during sleep. This disorder, as well as being potentially life-threatening, can have serious consequences for oral health.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA for short) happens when the airway is blocked, usually by the tongue and soft palate collapsing against the back of the throat, closing it off. At this point, the brain forces the person to wake up and take a breath, which can happen hundreds of times in a single night. Sleep apnea makes it very hard to get a restful night of sleep.

Sleep Apnea’s Impacts on Oral Health
How is oral health connected? Beyond the effects of sleep deprivation (irritability, hyperactivity, exhaustion, and difficulty concentrating at school), a child with sleep apnea will also be more vulnerable to oral health problems like gum disease and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ or TMD).

Studies have shown that when the throat relaxes in a sleep apnea episode, the jaw reflexively clenches to prevent the airway from closing off. Problems associated with TMD include pain when chewing, soreness in the jaw, chronic headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and even worn, cracked, or broken teeth.

The dentist often spots the sign of sleep apnea first!

Tips for Parents With Teething Toddlers

May 18th, 2021

DO YOU REMEMBER what it felt like when your adult molars were coming in? Sore, puffy gums and a lot of tenderness when chewing? Well that’s what teething is like for toddlers too, except it’s the first time in their lives anything like this has happened, and it can be very upsetting for them — and their parents. Here are a few tips to follow to help a teething child.

#1: Learn to Recognize the Signs of Teething
Be on the lookout for incoming teeth starting around the six month mark. The lower front teeth usually appear anywhere between then and the first birthday. During this time, you might notice some changes in your child’s behavior that are actually symptoms of teething.

They might be less willing to breastfeed, drool excessively, reject foods they used to enjoy, have difficulty sleeping, or become generally irritable. They might also avoid biting, chewing, or sucking on things — or start biting, chewing, and sucking on everything they can reach!

#2: Also Recognize what ISN’T a Sign of Teething
Not everything is a teething symptom, and it’s important to be aware of the difference because it could mean something else is wrong. A runny nose, fever, or diarrhea aren’t connected with teething, but they may be symptoms of a virus. If they continue or get worse, take your child to see the pediatrician.

#3: Be Familiar With the Stages of Teething
Teething happens in stages, not just all at once or all in the same way. The eruption stage is when the baby teeth travel up through the gum tissue from the jaw bones. After eruption comes cutting, when the teeth finally break through the gum tissue to become visible. These stages are both painful, but babies and toddlers don’t have the words to explain that. Instead, they will probably act cranky and tired, and they might get picky about their food and eating times.

#4: How to Soothe a Teething Baby
There are a few ways we can help teething babies and toddlers through this uncomfortable stage of development. If possible, continue breastfeeding, which can reduce the pain of teething. Make sure to give them something to chew on, like a teething toy. It can help the teeth cut through the gums faster while soothing the discomfort.

#5: Choosing the Right Teething Toys
Be careful to avoid teething toys that contain PVC, BPA, or phthalates. These chemicals are meant to make toys last longer, but recent studies have shown that they can be harmful if a child consumes them.

Is the toy solid or gel-filled? If the latter, is it sturdy enough to stop your child from getting to the gooey center not meant to be consumed by humans? It might be good to look for a toy that can be chilled in the fridge and has a clip to fasten it to your child’s clothing.

Bring Us Your Teething Concerns
We’re here to answer any questions parents have about teething and the troubles that come with it. And don’t forget that as soon as the first tooth appears, it’s time for baby’s first dental checkup!

Let’s make sure your child’s oral health journey gets off to a good start!