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Children's Dental Health is Important - Steps to a Healthy Smile

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends parents take their child to a pediatric dentist within six months after the baby’s first tooth appears, but no later than the child’s first birthday.

If that seems early, consider this: Tooth decay is the single most chronic health problem suffered by children and, if left untreated, can destroy the child’s teeth and have a strong, lasting effect on a child’s overall general health. Tooth decay can be caused by bacteria which interacts with carbohydrates in the diet, producing acids that result in mineral loss from teeth. that’s why it’s important to follow these guidelines at an early age:

 

  • Wipe infant’s gums with a clean, wet gauze pad or washcloth after each feeding.
  • Begin brushing infant’s teeth as soon as first tooth appears twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Parents should use a ‘smear’ of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than two years of age.
  • Twice-daily use has benefits greater than once-daily brushing.
  • Do not nurse or breast feed for prolonged periods.
  • Infants should not be put to sleep with a bottle of milk, formula, sugar water, or fruit juice.
  • If an infant falls asleep while feeding, the teeth should be cleaned before placing the child in bed.

 

As your child gets older, you’ll want to encourage them to drink from a cup by their first birthday. This means moving from the “sippy” cup, which is meant only as a transition from the bottle to a real cup. Be wary of what you put in a sippy cup. Only use water, except maybe during meals. Allowing a child to drink from a sippy cup filled with juice or milk throughout the day continuously bathes the child’s teeth in cavity-causing bacteria.

 

Dental health habits develop at an early age. Parents should use a dab of toothpaste and perform or supervise a toddler’s toothbrushing. Teach them how to brush, and to spit out – not swallow – the toothpaste. Help them develop good eating habits early on and choose sensible, nutritious snacks.

 

By being proactive about your child’s teeth will help avoid painful – and potentially costly – dental health problems later.

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My Perio Protect Journey, Part 2
I arrived at the Western Dental office in Hawthorne, California for a dental check-up. Being a new patient and a member of the Western Dental Plan, my exam and x-rays were free of charge. The main purpose of my visit, though, was to begin the Perio Protect program. Dental appointments can give me a twinge of anxiety, but the staff at the office made me feel calm and welcome. The first step of the process was getting a thorough set of digital x-rays from a very friendly and efficient x-ray technician (I was done in about five minutes). They needed those to build my file and to make sure I didn’t have any hidden problems before starting Perio Protect. But all looked good. Next was a teeth cleaning. The hygienist went to work on my teeth, cleaning, polishing and checking the depth of the gum “pockets” around each tooth. Anything over 3 millimeters, she explained, indicated warning signs of possible periodontal disease, or at the least, gingivitis (a milder form of the disease). I checked out ok, except for a few “4’s” around the back molars. Her advice: give extra attention when brushing, and make sure to floss. And Perio Protect was definitely going to help. After a thorough exam by the dentist, a dental assistant prepped the trays used to take impressions of my upper and lower arches. (The impressions would be used to make the customized Perio Protect trays I would need for my home-care routine.) She filled the trays with impression material (kind of like soft Silly Putty), then placed the first tray over my upper teeth and held it in place for a few minutes while the material set. After repeating the process on my lower teeth and rinsing out remnants of the impression material, they had all they needed. My part was done, for now. The office would send the impressions to a lab to make my Perio Protect trays. I’ll be back in a few weeks to pick them up and get started with the program. Can’t wait to reap the benefits!
My Perio Protect Journey, Part 1
Perio Protect is a take-home dental care treatment that prevents gum disease (with the added, long-term benefits of killing bacteria, freshening breath and whitening teeth). A Perio Protect kit consists of two light-weight dental trays made of a soft, pliable material that fit snugly over upper and lower teeth. Each tray is filled with a small amount of Perio Protect gel and worn for 15 minutes each day. The following describes one patient’s experience. Everyone loves the feel of a clean, fresh mouth. So when I heard how Perio Protect could maintain healthy gums and guarantee fresh breath by killing bacteria, I wanted to learn more. Being in the dental business, I was invited to attend a training session for dental hygienists that highlighted how Perio Protect works and the benefits of the treatment. By wearing customized trays filled with a small amount of Perio Protect Gel for 15 minutes each day, powerful medication is delivered deep below the gum line, reaching every possible nook and cranny where bacteria hide and multiply. Its clinical benefit is in the prevention and treatment of gum disease, but Perio Protect also alleviates swollen, sensitive or bleeding gums, maintains fresh breath and restores overall oral health. Over time, the mild concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the gel whitens teeth. Even though I’m meticulous about my oral hygiene, I learned what I was missing with my toothbrush, rinses and floss. I got a lot more detail than I needed, but enough to make me schedule an appointment the next day. I’ll report back after my visit. Stay tuned…
Fear of Dental Visits: Best Methods to Alleviate Anxiety
Most people are a little apprehensive about a visit to the dentist, while others are just downright frightened. People who don’t see a dentist regularly admit that fear is the overriding issue. The fear can be so severe that some individuals will put up with gum infections, pain, or even broken and unsightly teeth, rather than make a dental appointment. 5 Ways to Help Alleviate Fear • Identify your causes of anxiety and phobia. Pain is the major concern. Other concerns include loss of control, feeling of helplessness, embarrassment over condition of teeth and gums, and negative past experiences. • Communicate fears prior to appointment. Before you set an appointment, be vocal about your apprehensions, fears and anxiety. This gives the dentist a way to gauge the situation and create an action plan suited for your needs. In most cases, dentists will devise cues and signals. • Use distractions. This helps divert attention during treatment. Try listening to music, fiddling with a stress ball or counting to yourself. Prior to appointment, watch a funny video or a feel-good clip to help you relax. • Are sedatives helpful? Sedation can help reduce anxiety and keep a patient calm and relaxed during treatment. Sedatives include nitrous oxide, and oral or IV sedation. Discuss with your dentist which one might work best for you. • Practice relaxation techniques. Relaxation exercises can help someone stay calm during treatment. The tactics include breathing, which involves taking a deep breath and letting it out very slowly. This will help relax the muscles and slow down heart rate.