Turn Your Child Into the Best Brusher & Avoid Cavities

Sacramento Kids Dentist

Your child’s oral health is very important. It sets the stage for their smile for the rest of their lives. Introducing your kids to good oral health habits at a young age ensures they will carry those habits with them as they get older. 

Consider these facts:

  • A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report from 2007 shows the number of cavities in children ages 2 to 5 have increased from a decade ago. 
  • In a 2004 study, tooth decay was found to be the most common chronic childhood disease, 5 times as common as asthma.
  • A 2000 report found that dental-related illnesses result in a loss of more than 51 million school hours each year.

sacramento-dentist_oral-hygiene-for-kids

Do not fret! You can make oral care fun and easy for your kiddos. 

  • Brush and floss your teeth together to set a good example. (Yes, parents, you need to floss, too)
  • Sing a song or nursery rhyme for 2 minutes to help the process seem to go by faster for your kids.
  • Pick a fun toothbrush with your kids’ favorite character on it.
  • Pick a toothpaste that is flavorful to the child. Ask your dentist for samples.
Sacramento Kids Dentist

This cool toothbrush holder for kids can hold up to 4 toothbrushes. $19.99 at ModCloth.com

Other tips for success: 

1.    Brush teeth twice a day and floss once a day
2.   Change your child’s toothbrush every 3 months to ensure they always brush their best
3.   Have your child’s teeth checked by a dentist twice a year, starting at age 1.
4.   Limit sugary snacks and drinks like juice, sports drinks and soda to help prevent  cavities.

Following these simple guidelines is a great place to start to ensure that your child will lead a life with less cavities and create the habits of a well-oiled brusher and flosser. Good luck, and happy flossing! 

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Dental X-Rays: An Important Diagnostic Tool

X-rays are an important diagnostic tool for me. They are as vital to me as getting blood work done with your medical practitioner or chest x-rays with your cardiologist. Without them, I cannot fully determine your oral health, which is my sole purpose. Getting radiographs taken every six months allows me to detect any problems early on.

Many patients have concerns about x-rays. But, the American Dental Association (ADA) states that a person absorbs more radiation from the sun every single day than x-rays taken at the dentist every six months. Since our radiographs are digital, the radiation exposure is extremely less than traditional methods.

Dentist in Sacramento Digital Xrays

This graph shows the amount of radiation each person receives from dental x-rays in comparison to other sources of radiation.

The first thing that radiographs help me with is determining bone levels in your teeth. One of the biggest causes of tooth loss is periodontal disease, or disease of the gums and bone. It begins as gingivitis and can grow uncontrollably into sever gum “periodontal” disease.  The x-rays help to determine bone levels and the condition of bone loss due to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can be determined by looking at the gums, but in all cases radiographs are needed to determine severity of bone loss.

Why do I need to determine bone levels? Identifying bone loss early, through x-rays taken every six months, allows me to be able to address the likelihood of patients’ having periodontal disease. Horizontal bone loss suggests aggressive periodontal disease, but that can be treated with great results. However, vertical bone loss is a more aggressive disease and is more difficult to achieve a good results.

Bone Loss & Gum Disease

The straight yellow line depicts the bone level on healthy teeth. The wavy line below identifies this patient’s actual level of bone. This tells me the patient has severe bone loss.

Secondly, radiographs are also helpful in diagnosing oral pathology from identifying cysts to cancerous lesions, broken roots, cavities, and failing restorations (just to name a few!), which are impossible to determine by visual examination alone. In addition, anything that is happening below the teeth and gums, I cannot see. Ethically and legally I need x-rays to keep my patients safe, healthy, and out of pain, and – most importantly – keeping your out of pocket costs low.

Sacramento Dentist does Oral Cancer Screening

X-rays identified a tumor in the lower jaw.

I have seen many cases where a new patient came to me in pain, after seeing his/her dentist just 6 months ago. Upon taking new x-rays I have found a broken tooth after a root canal, a crown that doesn’t fit correctly causing un-comfortability, and an abscess that has formed. And not just with new patients, even with current patients that see me religiously, cavities and decay can develop within six months or less.

Thirdly, x-rays identify things in your mouth that are going on that I could never determine just by sight. I want to stress the importance of these radiographs because they will identify problems even when the patient isn’t experiencing any symptoms. If your tooth hurts, you could have more than a little cavity, it could be an infection or a fractured tooth. When it hurts, you have waited too long.

Dentist in Sacramento fixes broken tooth

Patient has a fractured molar tooth. Indeterminable by looking at the tooth surface.

Insurance Companies and Radiograph Restrictions

Although x-rays are an important tool in the diagnostic process, insurance companies usually have restrictions and frequency limitations on what type of x-rays can be taken, when and how many are allowed. Even though x-rays are all the same, just the techniques are different, insurances sometimes won’t pay for them. Sometimes with the restriction from the insurance companies the patient will have to pay out of pocket for the necessary x-rays so that I can determine the condition of the teeth.

 

I reassure you that we would never take x-rays if it was not necessary or essential for the overall well being of your oral health.

Sacramento Dentist

Another diagnostic tool I use is my camera. This camera allows me to take highly detailed pictures that allows the patient to see cavities, decay, and other problems above the gum line.

 

No Cavities? You Can Thank The Fluoride!

People fall into three categories, there’s the “What the heck is fluoride” category, the “NO! I don’t want fluoride” category, and the “Duh, give me the fluoride” category. Although we’re hoping that our patients fall into the latter of the three we know that certainly isn’t the case. Our office is in Sacramento County, a county that does not fluoridate its water. An interesting concept considering that the centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls fluoridation “one of the 10 most valuable public health measures of the 20th century.” (Read that here: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00056796.htm)

What’s all the fuss about anyway? Fluoride was introduced and the rates of tooth decay decreased significantly in communities who adopted fluoridated drinking water. Fluoridated drinking water was so successful that soon it seemed everything contained fluoride:  orange juice, milk, toothpastes, drops, gels, and ingestible tablets. So while decay was on the decline, over fluoridation was on the rise.Fluoride In Water

This sparked an enormous debate that is still going strong and is not wavering. Over fluoridation called fluorosis, can create dark spots or white spots on the teeth because fluoride used too much will be poisonous. Fluorosis is rarely a result of fluoridated drinking water.  Just like one drink at the end of a long day is fine, 19 drinks will kill you. The CDC, American Dental Association (ADA), and most national health agencies endorse fluoride.

Think about this, less tooth decay means less visits to the dentist and less of your money going to the dentist, but yet all the dental associations and all the dentists you know ENCOURAGE you to get fluoride. That must mean that is a beneficial mineral for your teeth.

Fluoride provided in the office is not swallowed; it is applied topically, just like toothpaste. The fluoride helps to strengthen your teeth by filling the porous surfaces of your teeth with vitamins and minerals. According to the CDC, every $1 invested in fluoridated saves approximately $38 in dental treatment costs.

But still, this effort to fluoride communities has been called an unconstitutional form of mass medication and the culprit for medical issues such as AIDS, Down syndrome, all forms and cancer, the list goes on. Although no scientific data validates these claims, fluorosis (over fluoridation) does occur. Therefore, babies younger than 6 months old should not be given fluoride, their formula should not be prepared with fluoridated water and children that are younger than 2 years of age are advised not to use fluoridate toothpaste. For all children, toothpaste use should be monitored, kept out of their reach, and made sure to be spit out.

For information on flossing visit this article: https://bestsacramentodentist.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/irritated-bleeding-gums-and-flossing_sacramentodentist/