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Pediatric Dentist Midlothian, VA | Preventing Enamel Erosion

Pediatric Dentist 23113

dentist midlothianDo you have white spots on your teeth? Are your teeth quite sensitive? Do your teeth have cracks, chips, or indentations? If yes, then you may be experiencing enamel erosion.

Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. It is the clear coating that protects your teeth. However, being the strongest substance in the body does not mean it should be neglected. Enamel can erode. Without the protection of enamel, you not only risk developing decay, but also abscesses, tooth pain, and even tooth loss.

What Causes Tooth Enamel Erosion?

There are several factors that cause tooth enamel to erode, some of which are the result of everyday actions. Sugars and acids can wear down enamel. If you regularly drink soft drinks or sugary fruit drinks, you may be damaging your teeth. To protect your teeth, limit your consumption of such drinks. Alcohol can also erode enamel, as well as a diet that is high in sugary or starchy foods. The bacteria in the mouth can transforms starches and sugars in foods such as bread into damaging acid.

Other factors include acid reflux, recurrent vomiting, gastrointestinal problems, genetically inherited conditions, grinding your teeth, even brushing too hard or not flossing properly. All of these impact the health of your enamel, and, ultimately, your teeth. Once the enamel is worn or chipped away, it cannot be replaced.

Keep the sweets from becoming everyday treats, replace white breads with whole grains, and try eating more cheese and yogurt to bolster the calcium in your saliva to keep the acids in check.

How Can Enamel Erosion Be Prevented?

In addition to exercising moderation with soft drinks, alcohol, sugars and starches, and, of course, taking extra care with regard to medical conditions and your tooth care regimen, there are a few extra things you can do to protect your smile. Saliva can neutralize harmful acids in your mouth. By drinking water and chewing sugar-free gum, you can boost saliva production.

Keep the sweets from becoming everyday treats and replace white breads with whole grains. Add more cheese and yogurt to your diet. Not only are both foods high in calcium, but they also help neutralize harmful acids in your mouth.

Tooth enamel is essential for maintaining a healthy smile. Be mindful of what you eat and drink. Enamel erosion may also be the consequence of other complications such as excessive teeth grinding or acid reflux. Regular visits to our office allow our team to provide a full examination. If we detect that your enamel is eroding, we will discuss potential causes and solutions.

To schedule your next visit to our office, please contact our team today.

305 Schofield Drive
Midlothian, VA 23113
(804) 601-6232

23113 Pediatric Dentist | How Probiotics Improve Oral Health

Pediatric Dentist Midlothian, VA

pediatric dentist midlothianProbiotics are typically advertised as being helpful for digestion. However, studies have shown that they can also improve oral health. Probiotics are beneficial for fighting infections that lead to oral disease.

Reducing Gingivitis

A study published in Contemporary Clinical Dentistry has found that probiotics can reduce gum bleeding in patients with moderate to severe gingivitis. In the trial, children were given either a placebo or two different combinations of probiotics. At the three-week mark, it was discovered that children who took probiotics had significant improvements in their gingival status.

Combating Periodontitis

Periodontitis is another oral disease that probiotics have been shown to fight. Periodontitis is caused by harmful bacteria that separate teeth from the gums creating pockets that can become infected. Probiotics can fight harmful bacteria and lessen the inflammation to help heal the mouth.

Fighting Cavities

Another finding from the trial of the Contemporary Clinical Dentistry showed that children who took probiotics also saw a significant decrease in plaque. The reduction of plaque leads to less decay. Probiotics fight the plaque and occupy the spaces on the teeth where bad bacteria thrive.

Minimizing Bad Breath

Another benefit of probiotics is the effect they have on bad breath. Bad breath is usually caused by volatile sulfur compound bacteria releasing odor-causing gases. Because probiotics are healthy bacteria, it is believed that they can eliminate the bad bacteria and maintain a healthy bacteria balance in your mouth.

The benefits of probiotics are not just limited to the digestive health. Researchers continue to conduct studies to discover new ways probiotics contribute to a healthy mouth and body.

Contact our team for more information on oral health or to schedule a visit today.

305 Schofield Drive
Midlothian, VA 23113
(804) 601-6232

Root Canal Therapy for Children

Pediatric Dentist in Midlothian, VA

Pediatric Dentist MidlothianPrimary (or baby) teeth play a vital role in the proper growth and development of your child’s permanent teeth. This is the reason why we may recommend root canal therapy for your child, rather than simply extracting a severely decayed baby tooth. Please review the information below to learn more about what symptoms may indicate the need for root canal treatment and how to prevent tooth decay in baby teeth.

In early stages, your child may not experience pain or discomfort from tooth decay. However, if your child suddenly develops sensitivity to hold, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks, this could be a sign of decay. Other signs your child could need root canal therapy can include pain or throbbing in a tooth, which may indicate pulp damage or infection. This is most common when a tooth has been previously chipped or cracked and exposed the pulp within. We may recommend diagnostic x-rays to determine the extent of the damage or infection before advising treatment.

Root canal treatment for children proceeds in similar fashion to the adult experience. Local anesthetic medication is generally used to ensure comfort throughout. In most cases, your child’s root canal therapy will be a pulpotomy – removal of infected pulp only. Since less structure is affected by this treatment, it usually requires less time and discomfort to complete and to heal.

After your child’s root canal therapy, a dental crown will be fabricated and placed on the tooth to protect the remaining tooth structure from further damage. This crown will be strong and designed to perfectly fit within your child’s mouth. When the baby tooth falls out, the crown will go with it, allowing the permanent tooth to move into place normally.

There are actions you can take to help protect your child from tooth decay requiring root canal therapy. Some of these include:

  • Start twice yearly dental visits by age 1
  • Brush your child’s teeth until they are old enough to take over
  • Teach your child how to brush and floss correctly
  • Practice healthy nutrition in your home
  • Talk to your child about the value of healthy teeth and gums

For more information about childhood root canal therapy, contact our office.

To Floss or Not To Floss?

Dentist Midlothian

Midlothian DentistBy now, you have likely seen news reports questioning whether flossing is necessary for your oral health.

We want to answer your question right away with an absolute YES. Cleaning between your teeth is an essential part of caring for your teeth and gums.

Whether you use traditional string dental floss, a water flosser, an interdental (between teeth) brush, or other form of interdental cleaning, it is important that you clean between your teeth correctly and on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, in the quest for catchy headlines, many news agencies have been providing a great deal of incomplete and inaccurate information.

Here’s the truth: Plaque and bacteria can be prevented from building up between teeth when flossing is done correctly on a daily basis.

Why does that matter? Build-up of plaque and bacteria between teeth is one of the leading causes of periodontal disease, a condition which not only affects your mouth, teeth, and gums, but has been linked to complications with diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other systemic health issues.

The next time you visit our office, ask your hygienist to show you the most effective way to clean between your teeth. For more information on flossing and interdental cleaning or to schedule an appointment, contact us.

Say Cheese!

Pediatric Dentist Midlothian

Midlothian VA Pediatric DentistIt has long been known that dairy products contain high amounts of calcium, which is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. However, not all dairy works in the same ways. Did you know that a recent study has found that cheese can actually help protect teeth against cavities?

How does cheese prevent cavities?

Eating cheese helps stimulate the production of saliva in your child’s mouth, which washes away sugars, acids, and bacteria on their teeth. Additionally, cheese is a great source of both calcium and phosphorous, which can help strengthen tooth enamel. What’s more, the scientists who performed the study found that some of the other compounds found in cheese seem to adhere to tooth enamel, further protecting the teeth from acids in the mouth.

Are all cheeses the same?

No, some cheeses are healthier for your family than others. To get the greatest benefit from your child’s cheese intake, stick with real cheese varieties, rather than processed cheeses. American cheese, cheese dips, and pre-packaged cheese products, such as those found in jars or spray cans, have added sugars to enhance their flavor. These sugars can be harmful to teeth, rather than protecting them. In addition, these types of cheese products contain a significantly reduced amount of actual cheese content. These processed cheeses can even wear down tooth enamel, increasing risk of decay.

What kinds of cheese should I give my child?

There are hundreds of types of real cheese available, which are packed with calcium and great for tooth protection. If your child enjoys aged cheeses, Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey jack are all tasty options. If he or she prefers softer cheeses, Mozzarella, Brie, or Camembert may be a great way to make your child smile. Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and other similar cheeses have much to offer for a child with a more expansive palate.

What if we’re on a low-fat diet?

Good news! The fat content of your cheese choices do not affect its ability to protect your child’s teeth. The low-fat or non-fat versions of your child’s favorite varieties of cheese contain just as much calcium, phosphorous, and other tooth-protecting compounds as the full-fat varieties.

With so many great options to choose from, consider offering your child cheese instead of sugary or starchy options for a snack or end of meal treat. Cheese tastes great and is healthy for your child and their teeth. For more ideas for healthy snacking, contact our pediatric dental office.

How to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Pediatric Dentist in Midlothian, VA

Midlothian VA Pediatric DentistTooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as “baby bottle” tooth decay. This type of tooth decay is often caused by bacteria shared by the primary caregiver or by a lack of proper oral hygiene. However, the most common cause is frequent and prolonged exposure to drinks containing sugar, especially in the baby’s bottle.

It is important to try to protect your child from developing baby bottle tooth decay. The health and development of your child’s primary teeth is crucial to ensuring their permanent teeth come in healthy and correctly-positioned.

Here are some simple, but effective ways to help prevent your child from developing baby bottle tooth decay:

Try not to share saliva with your child.
Do not lick your child’s spoon or pacifier before giving it to them. This can spread the bacteria which cause tooth decay, even when your own teeth are clean and healthy. Instead, wash the item thoroughly or replace it with one that is already clean.

Practice good oral hygiene for your child.
As a parent, your child’s dental health is in your hands. After feeding your infant, wipe his or her gums clean with a dampened washcloth. When teeth start to erupt, brush them gently with a child-size toothbrush. Use a smear of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice. Begin flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they have two teeth positioned next to one another.

Take your child to regular dental cleanings and exams starting with the eruption of their first tooth. As your child grows, talk to them about keeping their teeth healthy. Explain why and how you brush their teeth. When they are old enough to start brushing their own teeth, brush with them to reinforce the proper oral hygiene habits recommended by their dentist and dental hygienist.

Limit sugary drinks, especially in bed.
Saliva decreases during sleep, allowing drink residue to stick to your child’s teeth instead of washing away. Baby bottles should only be used for milk, formula, or water. They should never contain juice, soft drinks, or sports drinks, which have high sugar content. Only give water in your baby’s bottles at nap time, bedtime, and in the car. Save milk or formula for meals and snacks, so your child’s teeth can be cleaned afterward.

As a parent, you are your child’s first line of defense against baby bottle tooth decay. For more information about keeping your child’s teeth healthy, contact our office.

Midlothian Pediatric Dentist | Are Your Child’s Medications Affecting Their Oral Health?

Pediatric Dentist Midlothian, VA

Pediatric Dentist in MidlothianAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 5 children are currently taking prescription medications and more than half take vitamins or other dietary supplements. Even when used as directed and under medical supervision, your child may experience medication side effects that can impact their oral health. Always let us know if your child is taking any medicines or supplements and if those have changed since your last visit.

Here are some common side effects of medications that can impact your child’s oral health:

Abnormal Bleeding

Blood thinning and reduced clotting accompany the use of some medications. This can cause problems with excessive bleeding during treatments for periodontal disease or oral surgery. Your dentist needs to know if your child is taking any medications or supplements before scheduling any treatment that may involve bleeding.

Dry Mouth

Many medications can cause reduced saliva production. When your child’s mouth does not produce enough saliva, it is more susceptible to inflammation and infection, tooth decay, and other oral health problems.

Fungal Infection

Oral Candidiasis is an oral fungal infection that can affect those who use oral inhalers for asthma and other breathing conditions. We encourage patients with inhalers to rinse their mouth thoroughly with water after using their inhaler.

Gum Tissue Enlargement

Overgrowth or enlargement of gum tissue may occur as a side effect of certain medications. Patients with this condition need to give special attention to keeping teeth and gums clean to prevent inflammation or decay.

Soft Tissue Reactions

Inflammation, oral sores, or discoloration of soft tissues can occur as a side effect of some medications. If your child experiences this type of reaction, we may be able to prescribe a special oral hygiene regimen that can alleviate their discomfort.

Tooth Decay

While tooth decay is not directly a side effect of medication, several types of medicines use sugar to improve the flavor, especially those in liquid, chewable, and lozenge forms. When these are taken over a period of time, the sugars left on the teeth can make the patient more likely to develop tooth decay. When possible, select sugar-free versions of medications, take with meals, or rinse your mouth after taking a sugared medicine.

If your child is experiencing any of these side effects or if you have concerns about any medications your child is taking, contact our office.

Pediatric Dentist Midlothian | How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthier

Dentist in Midlothian, VA

Pediatric Dentist Midlothian VAThe food children eat affects their long term oral health. Some foods have nutrients teeth need. Others are full of acids and sugars that are harmful to teeth. With so many unhealthy food choices being marketed to children every day, it is vital that you take a stand. Offer fun, healthy snacks and model the better food choices you want your kids to make.

Offer healthy snack choices. Kids should have a well-balanced and nutritional diet. This not only promotes overall health but also helps build a strong healthy smile. Nutrition is an important part of oral health. Teaching your kids about eating healthy and limiting sugary foods will help foster a balanced diet from an early age. This will form habits that will result in a lifetime of strong teeth and better health overall.

Have fun with snacks. Promote a nutritious diet by getting creative with snack choices. If you show your kids that healthy snacks are fun, they will be more likely to eat them. Apple slices with peanut butter, fruit smoothies, and yogurt with granola or fruit are great examples of fun, yet healthy combinations. Remember to avoid soda and sugary drinks. These can leave sugars on teeth and can increase the risk of plaque and tooth decay. Water is always the best solution! Eating a well-balanced lunch and dinner is important as well. Make sure to add a variety of fruits and vegetables to every meal so that your kids become accustomed to them.

Be a good role model. Children learn habits by following the example set by their parents. Send your kids the right message by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables yourself. Avoid sugary snacks that can cause cavities or gum disease. Be sure to practice good oral hygiene in front of your kids. If you brush and floss after meals and snacks, your kids will follow the example. Consider brushing together with your child to reinforce good brushing skills and habits. Make sure to brush at least twice a day, after breakfast and before bedtime. If it is possible, try to encourage your child to brush after lunch or after sweet snacks.

Follow up. Don’t forget it is also very important to have regular dental appointments for your child, and model healthy habits by seeing your own dentist regularly. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us for more ideas on how to promote healthy snacking for great long term dental health!

The Truth Behind 5 Popular Dental Misconceptions

Pediatric Dentist in Midlothian, VA

Pediatric Dentist Midlothian VAClearing up misconceptions about oral health can help improve personal oral hygiene efforts for a beautiful and healthier smile. If you keep up with your oral hygiene regimen, dental visits are significantly easier and dental care is more manageable.

Misconception #1 – My teeth are fine if I have no pain

Tooth decay (cavities) usually doesn’t cause pain until they become very severe. Once it gets to this stage, the amount of decay could lead to more invasive and costly treatments. Some of the most dangerous oral disorders, such as oral cancer and gum disease, typically don’t cause pain at all. It is important to keep up with scheduled dental appointments. Our dentist can diagnose problems even at its earliest stages when there is no pain.

Misconception #2 – Cavities are only caused by sweets

When you eat sweets, the bacteria in your mouth start consuming it and produce acid. This acid dissolves the enamel of the tooth, which results in tooth decay or cavities. However, this process happens when you eat anything that is a starch or carbohydrate. Food and snacks, such as crackers, bread, potato chips, fruit, peanut butter and pasta, have the same effect on your teeth.

Misconception #3 – If my gums bleed, I should stop flossing

Bleeding gums are often the first sign of gum disease. This happens when bacterial infections inflame your gums due to a lack of efficient cleaning. With regular brushing and flossing, gums will be much healthier and should rarely bleed. However, gum inflammation can occur despite best oral hygiene habits. In such instances, you should see improvement if you rinse with warm salt water and continuing to brush and floss.

Misconception #4 – Whiter teeth are healthier teeth

Healthy teeth come in a wide range of natural shades. Whiter teeth cannot show if there is an infection or cavity between the teeth. Although pure white teeth do not equate to healthier teeth, they should still be naturally on the whiter side.

Misconception #5 – Children are more prone to tooth decay

Tooth decay (cavities) can develop at any age. People assume children have poor brushing habits and are more prone to tooth decay. Cavities form when bacteria cause a loss or weakening in tooth enamel and eventually decay forms a hole in the tooth. This is usually seen in people with poor brushing and flossing habits, regardless of age.

Excellent oral health promotes overall good health and is definitely not a misconception. It is important to practice good oral hygiene habits. If you have any questions regarding your dental health, please contact our pediatric dentist in Midlothian, VA.

 

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