How to keep your child’s teeth safe and healthy

May 29, 2014
Taking children older than three years old to the dentist is always a good idea, but there are also ways to maintain younger childrens' oral health, too.

Taking children older than three years old to the dentist is always a good idea, but there are other ways to maintain younger childrens’ oral health, too.

Many people are unaware of the important role early dental care plays in children’s overall health. The ADA recommends parents take action early to ensure the health of their children’s teeth because attitudes and habits established at an early age are critical in maintaining good oral health throughout life. The following are some of their suggestions:

Maintain regular dental visits.
Dr. Baker recommends regular dental check-ups once your child is three-years-old. Preventive care such as cleanings and fluoride treatment provide your child with “smile insurance.” Routine dental exams uncover problems that can be treated in the early stages, when damage is minimal and restorations may be small. When necessary, X-rays are taken to see how the teeth are developing and to spot hidden decay.

Prevent early childhood caries (baby bottle tooth decay)
Baby bottle tooth decay can destroy your child’s teeth. It occurs when a child is frequently exposed to sugary liquids such as milk, including breast milk, fruit juice and other sweet liquids. The ADA recommends clearing your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth. After every feeding, wipe the baby’s gums with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to remove plaque. Additionally, the organization says not to give babies bottle at nap or bed time, to encourage children drink from a cup by their first birthday and to discourage frequent use of a training cup.

Use mouth protectors.
Any child involved in a recreational activity, such as soccer, hockey, football, roller blading, riding a scooter and even bicycling should wear a mouth protector. There are “stock” mouth protectors available in stores and a better-fitting variety, which are custom fitted by your dentist.

Manage dental emergencies.
Knowing how to handle your child’s dental emergency can mean the difference between saving or losing a tooth. The ADA recommends the following tips on what to do for your child in case of the following:

  • Knocked-Out tooth – Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse off the root of the tooth in water if it’s dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, gently insert and hold the tooth in its socket. If that isn’t possible, put the tooth in a cup of milk and get to the dentist as quickly as possible. Remember to take the tooth with you!
  • Toothache – Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss or an interdental cleaner to ensure that there is no food or other debris caught between the teeth. Never put aspirin or any other painkiller against the gums near the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue. If the pain persists, contact your dentist.
  • Bitten lip or tongue – Clean the area gently with a cloth and apply cold compresses to reduce any swelling. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, go to a hospital emergency room immediately.

 


Tips for getting rid of bad breath

May 14, 2014
Suffer from bad breath? Dr. Baker is here to help.

Suffer from bad breath? Dr. Baker is here to help.

Bad breath can be embarrassing. It can get in the way of our professional and social lives. If you suffer from bad breath, you are not alone.

Here are some helpful tips from WebMD:

  1. Brush and floss more frequently. The prime cause of bad breath is plaque. It will build up on your teeth and in between teeth, making an ideal place for bacteria to grow. Brush at least twice a day, and floss at least once a day to prevent the buildup of plaque.
  2. Scrape your tongue. The coating that forms on your tongue can contain foul smelling bacteria. You can brush your tongue with a toothbrush or use a tongue scraper to clean it.
  3.  Avoid foods that sour your breath. Foods like onions and garlic are the worst offenders. They can make their way into your bloodstream and to your lungs where you breathe them out. It is best to avoid these foods before events when you want to be sure your breath is fresh.
  4. Kick the habit. Smoking will no doubt cause bad breath, as well as other oral health problems. You’ll notice a huge difference after you quit.
  5. Rinse your mouth. Using mouthwash will freshen your breath and help get rid of bacteria in your mouth. If you don’t have mouthwash handy, simply rinse with water after eating to remove food particles.
  6. Chew gum instead of mints. Sugary mints will only promote bacteria growth in the mouth. Gum (especially sugarless) stimulates saliva production, which is a natural defense against bacteria.
  7. Keep your gums healthy. Gum disease is a common cause of bad breath. Regular brushing and flossing will prevent gum disease and keep them healthy.
  8. Be aware of dry mouth. Lack of saliva promotes tooth decay and bad breath. If your mouth is feeling dry, drink some water or chew sugarless gum (or mints). Be sure to tell your dentist if you are experiencing persistent dry mouth.
  9. See your dentist. If your bad breath continues be sure to see your dentist. It could be a symptom of a medical condition such as a sinus infection, lung infection, liver or kidney disease.

Dental resolutions for 2014

December 30, 2013

As it gets closer to the new year, many of us are making resolutions to exercise, lose weight and get organized. What about your teeth? Here are a few suggested resolutions to help your smile stay bright and healthy:

Brush twice a day and floss daily. Brushing your teeth twice a day fights plaque and decay. Flossing gets rid of food particles trapped between your teeth and gums that a toothbrush just can’t reach.

Use mouthwash. A daily rinse with antiseptic mouthwash will help kill germs and bacteria that you can’t reach with a toothbrush. Mouthwash will also freshen your breath and fight plaque.

Drink more water. At least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day is the recommendation. If you are drinking water, you are less likely to drink cola, tea and coffee, which can stain your teeth.

Use protective devices. Wear a custom-fitted mouth guard when playing sports (even during practice!) to protect your own or your child’s teeth.

Visit your dentist twice a year. Taking care of your teeth at home is just the first step in keeping a bright and healthy smile. Your dentist can diagnose and treat any potential problems before they become big issues.

2014 can be the year your entire family resolves to have brighter, healthier smiles.


‘Smile healthy’ holiday gift ideas for all ages

December 17, 2013

Here are some ideas for gifts and stocking stuffers that are not only fun, but will help protect the smile of a friend or family member:

‘Smile healthy’ stocking stuffers

  • Sugar-free gum or mints
  • Single-use toothbrushes, preloaded with toothpaste (Ex: Colgate Wisps)
  • Travel size dental floss, mouth rinses, toothpastes, toothbrush and toothbrush holder (can be packaged nicely in a travel bag too!
  • New toothbrushes (cartoon characters and bright colors are popular for children
  • New toothpaste and/or mouth rinses in fun flavors
  • Hourglass timer in fun colors for kids to time brushing
  • Tooth fairy pillow/box
  • Sports mouth guard (in team colors)
  • Zoom! Whitening pens
  • Electric toothbrush
  • A gift certificate for professional Zoom! teeth whitening

Another idea is to offer to pay for (or a portion of) a dental procedure your loved one has been putting off due to lack of funds or dental insurance.


Taking care of teeth at work

November 12, 2013

On average, we spend a third of our day at work. While at work, we eat lunch and often grab a snack from the vending machine or birthday cake from the lunchroom. Do you clean your teeth during the long workday? Here are a few tips for keeping your smile healthy at the workplace:

  • Keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in your desk, locker or lunchbox and brush after eating.  Or try the single-use toothbrushes, preloaded with toothpaste (Ex: Colgate Wisps).
  • If you are embarrassed to brush your teeth at work, try rinsing your mouth with mouthwash.
  • Chewing sugarless gum will increase saliva production and neutralize acids in the mouth that cause tooth decay.

Smile healthy school lunches

August 27, 2013

Children will be going back to school soon, and for parents, that means coming up with new ideas for packing school lunches. Steer clear of prepackaged foods, which are easy and convenient but full of sugar and additives that damage your child’s overall health as well as his/her dental health. Especially avoid packing lunches with foods like fruit snacks, juice boxes, and candy. These foods expose teeth to sugar, which over a long period of time leads to decay.

Start the school year off right by packing nutritious lunches that will keep your child’s mouth healthy.

Here are some healthy lunch ideas:

  • Fresh fruit (grapes, apple slices, berries, etc.)
  • Fresh vegetables (carrot sticks, cucumber, celery with peanut butter)
  • Low fat cheese
  • Bottled water (with fluoride added)
  • Low-fat white milk
  • Wraps with lean turkey, low-fat cheese, and veggies (such as lettuce, tomato, and/or cucumber)

Not only will healthier lunches help your child’s dental and overall heath, but a nutritious lunch will help them concentrate in the classroom.

 

Share your healthy lunch ideas in the comments below.


Are cold foods giving you tooth pain?

August 5, 2013

Summer is here and that means sizzling temperatures and high humidity, especially in Michigan. Are your usual methods to keep cool like iced drinks, ice cream and frozen treats causing tooth pain? If so, you may have sensitive teeth.

Sensitivity can be caused by tooth decay, fractured teeth, worn fillings, gum disease, worn tooth enamel or an exposed tooth root.

If you are experiencing sensitivity, make an appointment with your dentist. Treatment options vary depending on the cause of the sensitivity. Options include:

  • Brushing with desensitizing toothpaste
  • Using a fluoride gel
  • A crown, inlay or bonding
  • Surgical gum graft
  • Root canal

Maintaining good oral health is the only way to prevent sensitivity. Make sure you brush twice a day, floss once a day and see your dentist twice a year.

Source: MouthHealthy.org