Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions about Children's Oral Health

 Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has answered some of your most frequently asked questions about children’s oral health. Below are a few of the Q’s&A’s. To read through all the “Frequently Asked Questions,” visit AAPD.org, or click HERE.

What should I use to clean my baby’s teeth?
A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime. 

When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?
In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?
Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs. 

Are baby teeth really that important to my child?
Primary, or "baby," teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt. 

What should I do if my child has a toothache?
First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give the child acetaminophen for any pain, rather than placing aspirin on the teeth or gums. Finally, see Dr. Reynolds at Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City as soon as possible. 

How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?
Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child's teeth. Take your child to Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City regularly to have his/her teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child's first birthday. 

Do you still have questions? If so, post them on Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City's Facebook wall for Dr. Reynolds to answer!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner & Your Teeth: What you should be concerned about!

Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City

As you are sitting around your family’s Thanksgiving Day table with friends and relatives, enjoying mounds of mashed potatoes and stuffing, keep these findings in the back of your mind.

The following information has been pulled from the article For Your Teeth, Thanksgiving Dinner Is a Real Food Fight, published by the University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Hyun “Michael” Koo, D.D.S., Ph.D., lead the dental research and studies at the University, finding both good and bad news. He is exploring both the destructive power of S. mutans and scouring foods and natural substances to harness their ability to prevent cavities.

Peace won’t reign within the confines of the oral cavity this Thanksgiving, where Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) and other harmful bacteria will await their own holiday feast. Your meal will enable S. mutans to launch one of its biggest assaults of the year on your tooth enamel

While bacteria forces in your mouth will exploit your delectable in newly discovered ways, some foods common at the holiday dinner table – like cranberry and even red wine – offer new leads in the effort to stop tooth decay. 

The Thanksgiving Day battle for oral health hinges on microbes like S. mutans. Most cookies, pies and the like contain mountains of sugar, but it’s not the sugar itself that causes tooth decay. Rather, S. mutans and other bacteria in our mouths – billions of individual microbes all waiting for their next snack – feast on the sugars, stick on your teeth and then churn out acid that eats away at tooth enamel.

“Natural substances offer tremendous possibilities or stopping tooth decay,” says Koo. “Our time spent in the laboratory is aimed at harnessing the potential of some of these compounds, perhaps eventually incorporating them into a toothpaste or mouth rinse to stop dental decay.”

Koo has found cranberry as a potential ally in the fight against S. mutans, which is a threat to our teeth primarily because of its ability to form plaque. What appears to us as sticky white gunk along our teeth is actually a formidable fortress of molecules known as glucans – building blocks of plaque, stacked like bricks in a wall, rife with bacteria. It’s a gunky fortress that covers the tooth and gives bacteria a safe haven to munch on sugar, thrive and churn out acid. 

Koo has discovered that compounds within the cranberry disrupt enzymes known as glucosyltransferases that bacteria use to build glucans. Without its glucans, S. mutans and other bad bacteria in plaque becomes vulnerable. 

Koo identified molecules known as A-type proanthocyanidins as having potential to reduce cavities dramatically. When the molecules were applied, glucan and acid production by S. mutans was reduced by up to 70 percent, and cavity formation in rats was slashed by up to 45 percent.

“Maintaining the natural balance of resident flora in the oral cavity is important for keeping opportunistic pathogens in check… These molecules don’t outright kill S. mutans. Instead, they disrupt the two most harmful actions of this pathogenic organism, acid production and glucan production.”

Some more good news, the abundant waste from the red-wine-making process – materials such as fermented seeds and skins collectively known as pomace that are cast away after grapes are pressed – contains compounds that fight S. mutans. In particular, some polyphenols can inhibit the activity of S. mutans’ crucial enzymes by as much as 85 percent and also reduce the amount of acid the bacteria produce. 

Certain key proteins in S. mutans boost their activity dramatically in the presence not only of sugar but also complex carbohydrates derived from starch digestion. Once the body’s own amylase enzymes naturally present in saliva break down starches, S. mutans kicks its glucan-forming machinery into high gear. 

“The new research shows how two pillars of the modern diet, starch and sugar, can work cooperatively to bring about tooth decay… A cookie, sugar covered doughnut, or a piece of pie filled with both sugar and starch provide the perfect recipe for the bacteria that destroy teeth,” says Koo.

Even when the amount of sugar was slashed in half, certain genes central to the ability of S. mutans to create its formidable glucan fortress boosted their activity five-fold in the presence of starch-derived carbohydrates. That enabled the bacteria to create plaque that is hardier, stickier, and capable of producing more acid than plaque created without significant starch present.

So, what does all of this mean? You shouldn’t simply eat more cranberry sauce or drink more wine to try and prevent cavities this Thanksgiving. Instead, indulge this holiday season and be thankful for all the yummy food that's on your plate! Just don't forget to brush your teeth and floss after meals! Use a mouth rinse, get some fluoride, and most importantly, enjoy this holiday season! 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How Pacifiers May Reduce SIDS

Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City
The death rate from SIDS -sudden infant death syndrome, often while sleeping- has fallen sharply in recent years, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

The drop is directly linked to the increased awareness of the risks of babies sleeping on their stomachs or amid fluffy bedding or stuffed toys. SIDS remains the leading cause of death in US infants between ages 1 month and 1 year, killing more than 2,000US babies each year (MSNBC.com).  

The only recommended sleep position for infants is on their backs. Allowing babies to sleep on their sides is considered too risky because infants could roll over to their stomachs. Sucking pacifiers has been suggested to help keep vulnerable infants from slumbering too deeply to rouse themselves if they roll over. 

Dr. Steven Shedlon, director of the sleep medicine center at Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital, said pacifiers also enhance babies’ swallowing and are an age appropriate habit. Pacifier use in older children may increase risks for teeth misalignment, but using them in infancy is not a problem (MSNBC.com). 

It’s important to note that the AAP’s pacifier recommendations are not unique. A variety of studies have indicated that pacifier use lowers the risk of SIDS (Science Daily). 

Dr. Reynolds says pacifier sucking is completely normal for babies and young children. It provides security and safety. For young babies, it’s a way to make contact with and learn about the world. Most children stop sucking on their thumbs or pacifiers on their own between the ages of 2 and 4, leaving no harm to their teeth or jaws. 

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Reynolds at Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City for your infant to ensure optimum oral health right from the start! She will carefully watch the way your child’s teeth come in and jaws develop, keeping the sucking habit in mind at all times. 

For more information, visit PediatricDentistryofGardenCity.com.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Does Your Child Wear a Mouth Guard When Participating in Sports? Here's a few reason's why he/she should...

Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City
Many kids participate in sports. In sports, the challenge is to maximize the benefits of participation and to limit injuries. Sports dentistry has a major role to play in this area.

Prevention and adequate preparation are the key elements in minimizing injuries that occur in sport. For sports dentistry the prevention of oral/ facial trauma during sporting activities can be helped by many facets including the wearing and utilization of properly fitted protective equipment, like mouth guards.

In some sports, injury prevention, through properly fitted mouth guards, are considered essential. These are the contact sports of football, boxing, martial arts and hockey. Other sports, traditionally classified as non-contact sports, basketball, baseball, bicycle riding, roller blading, soccer, wrestling, racquetball, surfing and skateboarding- also require properly fitted mouth guards, as dental injuries unfortunately, are a negative aspect of participation in these sports, (SportsDentistry.com)

A mouth guard is a soft plastic or laminate device used in sports to prevent oral injuries to the teeth, mouth, cheeks, tongue and jaw. The American Dental Association projects that one third of all dental injuries are sports related. The use of a mouth guard can prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries to the mouth each year (ColgateProfessional.com).

The types of dental injuries that can occur without the use of a mouth guard are chipped or broken teeth, fractured crowns or bridgework, lip and cheek injuries, root damage to the teeth, fractured jaws, and concussions (ColgateProfessional.com). All athletes are at risk for oral injury. Most dental and facial injuries can be prevented with the use of a mouth guard.

The National Youth Sports Foundation for the Prevention of Athletic Injuries, reports several interesting statistics provided by SportsDentistry.com: Dental injuries are the most common type of oral facial injuries sustained during participation in sports. Victims of tooth avulsions who do not have the teeth properly preserved or replanted will face lifetime dental costs estimated from $10-15,000 per tooth, the inconvenience of hours spent in the dental chair and possibly other dental problems. 

A study of high school athletes found that seventy-five percent of injuries occurred when mouth guards were not worn and forty percent occurred during baseball and basketball. Nine percent of all athletes suffered some type of oral injury while another three percent reported a loss of consciousness. Fifty-six percent of all concussions were suffered when mouth guards were not worn. Trauma related to sports is more prevalent than previously reported, (ColgateProfessional.com). 

Mouth guard design and fabrication is extremely important. There are four types of mouth guards according to the dental literature: Stock, Boil and Bite, Vacuum Custom made, and Pressure Laminated Custom made. 

It is essential to educate the public that “stock” and “boil and bite” mouth guards bought at sporting goods stores do not provide the optimum treatment expected by the athlete. These ill-fitting mouth guards cannot deal with idiosyncrasies athletes and children may have. If everyone had the same dentition; were of the same gender; played the same sport under the same conditions; had the same experience and played the same position at the same level of competition, and were the same age and same size mouth, with the same number and shape of teeth, prescribing a standard mouth guard would be simple. This is the precise reason why mouth guards bought at sporting goods stores, without the recommendation of a qualified dentist, should not be worn (SportsDentistry.com).

Erupting teeth, which usually occur between the ages of 6 and 12, should be noted so the mouth guard can be designed to allow for eruption during the season. Boil and bite mouth guards do not allow for this eruption space.

For patients with braces, special designs for the mouth guards are essential to allow for orthodontic movement without compromising on injury prevention and fit. This can only be achieved through consultations with your dentist.

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. Reynolds at Pediatric Dentistryof Garden City to ensure your child can enjoy participating in sports while still maintaining a healthy smile. For more information visit PediatricDentistryofGardenCity.com.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Oral Health Challenges for Children

 Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City
Good oral health can be a challenge for young children, especially those in low-income families. Children in such families tend to have higher rates of tooth decay and have greater difficulty accessing ongoing basic dental care. Every child, despite their family’s economic situation, deserves a healthy smile!

Over 40-50% of children will be affected by tooth decay before age 5 and of the 4 million children born each year, more than half will have cavities by the time they reach second grade (AAPD.org). These statistics are overwhelming!
In addition, 9 million children in the United States do not have medical insurance, but over 23 million do not have dental insurance (AAPD.org)! Oral health issues affect children in poverty and minorities far more than other groups. Unfortunately, this isn’t shocking.

It’s not just poverty stricken and minority families that have children with dental problems. According to the May 2000 Surgeon General’s report, Oral Health in America, more than 51 million school hours are lost each year to dental-related conditions (AAPD.org).

Don’t let your children suffer from oral health issues. Bad oral health could lead to time away from the classroom and extracurricular activities which help children grow mentally and emotionally.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Stacey Reynolds at Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City to ensure your children are practicing a good oral health regimen. Dr. Reynolds specializes in pediatric dentistry and works hard to help kids develop lasting dental health habits that give them smiles they can be proud of for a lifetime! She also specializes in treating children with special needs. For more information visit PediatricDentistryofGardenCity.com.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Everything You Need To Know About the ADA Seal of Approval & Fluoride Toothpaste!

 Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City
Brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste is essential to optimum oral health. Not only does brushing your teeth help prevent cavities and tooth decay, it also helps prevent gum disease.

When choosing a toothpaste, look for the ADA Seal of approval, your assurance that the product has been objectively evaluated for safety and effectiveness by an independent body of scientific experts.

So, your first question probably is: what exactly is toothpaste? According to the ADA, toothpastes are pastes, gels or powders that help remove plaque, a film of bacteria that forms on teeth and gums. 

Toothpaste improves the mechanical brushing and cleaning power of a toothbrush. Toothpaste is essential to your daily oral hygiene routine.

Next, you’re probably wondering why fluoride toothpaste is important to use? Fluoride toothpaste helps remove that film of bacteria that forms on teeth and gums every day, called plaque. Plaque can cause tooth decay and gum disease, so it’s important to remove it every day. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel.

Just because toothpaste says it contains fluoride, doesn’t mean it’s an effective choice! Choose fluoride toothpastes with the ADA Seal of approval.

How does fluoride toothpaste get the ADA Seal? It must meet the ADA requirements for safety and effectiveness in reducing tooth decay. The manufacturer must provide: clinical studies in humans and laboratory studies to determine the amount of available fluoride, the amount of fluoride released in one minute, and the amount of fluoride absorption in normal and weakened tooth enamel. These tests must be conducted in the ADA’s laboratory.

It’s important to choose ADA Seal approved toothpaste because products with the ADA Seal say what they do, and do what they sat. It assures you that the toothpaste has met the ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness. You can trust that claims made on packaging and labeling for ADA-Accepted products are true.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Stacey Reynolds at Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City to ensure your children are practicing a good oral health regimen.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How the Foods Your Children Eat Cause Tooth Decay

Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City

The American Dental Association and Dr. Reynolds at Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City are worried about your children’s teeth! 

Do you know how the food they eat causes tooth decay? When you eat, the food passes through your mouth. Here is where it meets the germs, or bacteria that live in your mouth. 

You may have heard Dr. Reynolds talk about plaque. Plaque is a sticky, film of bacteria that gets stuck on and between your teeth. These bacteria love the sugar found in many foods. When you don’t clean your teeth after eating, plaque bacteria use the sugar to produce acids that can destroy the hard surface of the tooth, called enamel. After a while, tooth decay occurs! The more often you eat and the longer foods are in your mouth, the more damage occurs! 

Foods that you would typically think are healthy choices for your children actually contain sugars that damage their teeth. Foods like fruits, milk, bread, cereals and even certain vegetables are harmful to your children’s teeth. Fruits like watermelon, oranges, pears, pineapples, grapefruit, banana's and cherries are high in sugar and therefore damaging to your children's teeth.  Vegetables and grains high in starch like potatoes, white rice, sweet yellow corn, pastas and breads are also potentially damaging when consumed in frequent doses.Sugars and starches are potentially damaging to your children's teeth when they don't brush properly.

The key to choosing foods wisely is not to avoid these foods, after all kids need their fruits and veggies, but to think before you feed them to your children! When you eat is just as important as what you eat. Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. For good dental health, brush soon after eating. If you aren’t able to brush right after eating, rinse your mouth out with water. 

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Reynolds at Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City by calling 516-222-5100. For more information, visit PediatricDentistryofGardenCity.com.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How Many Calories Should Your Child Consume Each Day? Recommended Nutrient Intake for Children...

Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City
Against common belief, parents should monitor the number of calories a child consumes each day, and where the calories are coming from. If children are eating too much of one food group, and not enough of another, they may suffer from vitamin deficiencies which lead to numerous health problems.

The suggested amounts of food to consume from basic food groups, subgroups and oils to meet recommended nutrient intakes at 12 different calorie levels can be found in the table below. The table includes the basic food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, meat and beans, milk and oils. 

Calorie levels are set across a wide range to accommodate the needs of different individuals. Children between 2 and 3 years of age should consume between 1,000 and 1,400 calories, depending on their level of activity. 

A lifestyle that includes physical activity equivalent to walking more than 2 miles per day at 3 to 4 miles per hour, in addition to the light physical activity associated with typical day-to-day life is considered an active lifestyle, and should follow the higher end of the recommended calories. Those who follow a lifestyle that includes only the light physical activity associated with typical day-to-day life should follow the lower end.

Girls between the ages of 4 and 8 years of age should consume between 1,200 and 1,800 calories per day and those between 9 and 13 years of age should consume between 1,600 and 2,200 calories per day, depending on their level of activity (USDA).

Boys between the ages of 4-8 years of age should consume between 1,400 and 2,000 calories per day and those between 9 and 13 years of age should consume between 1,800 and 2,600 calories per day, depending on their level of activity (USDA).

It’s important to teach your children the proper balance of food consumption and caloric intake from a young age to maintain optimum health from a young age. If your child understands the benefits of balancing their food groups throughout their day, they will learn to take care of their health and well-being

Not only does eating a well-balanced diet affect your child’s health, it also affects their pearly whites! Consuming the proper nutrients help build strong, healthy teeth, free of cavities and erosion.
Schedule an appointment today with Dr. Reynolds at the Pediatric Dentistry of Garden City to ensure proper oral health habits! For more information, visit PediatricDentistryofGardenCity.com.