Healthy Diet Equals Healthy Teeth

By Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry - August 9, 2021

Of course my kiddos would eat sugary treats and starchy snacks for every meal if I allowed them.  If it were up to them I would also be Willy Wonka instead of a Pediatric Dentist.  But here I am, cleaning teeth and making sure my patients have all the needed information to keep their mouth healthy.  This includes what is consumed and how it affects teeth and gum tissue.   A balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, grains, milk, meat and beans is what I encourage my patients, as well as my children, to eat.  A balanced diet will help teeth to develop properly and stay healthy.  Conversely, a diet high in certain kinds of carbohydrates, such as sugar and starches, may increase a child’s chance of tooth decay.  I am not saying completely remove sugar and starch out of your child’s diet.   This would be nearly impossible.  Instead explain to your child that bread, crackers, pasta, pretzels, potato chips, etc. are starches.  If your child chooses these items try to include these items as part of a meal with other food groups instead of a snack.   Sugar can be present in more than just your child’s candy jar.  A variety of foods, such as processed foods, contain one or more types of sugar, and all types of sugars can promote dental decay.  There are a few vegetables, along with most milk products, that contain at least one type of sugar.  These items I like to call “mother nature’s treats.”  I explain to my patients, and children, that these “sugar bugs” are easily washed away from their teeth with their saliva and/or milk and water.  However, sticky foods such as dried fruit or chewy candy are not.  Either way, it is important to brush twice a day and floss once a day to ensure your child’s mouth stays healthy and clean.

Until next time, eat healthy and keep brushing!

Dr. Nick

Child Mouth Injuries: What To Do?

By Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry - May 28, 2021

As a parent myself I know how scary it can be to see my children fall and injure their mouth, and I’m their dentist!  These incidents are not pretty.  The child is panicked, the parent is panicked, and we learn quickly that head and mouth injuries tend to bleed A LOT.  On top of all of this we can’t see the source of the injury.   Did they lose a tooth?  Is it their lip?  Did they bite their tongue?  Oh no, what if they permanently damaged their teeth and their smile, forever?!  When your child needs urgent dental treatment, I am here to help.  However, it is nice to know what needs to be done after the panicked feeling subsides.

The most common dental trauma scenarios and/or questions I address, often after office hours or on the weekends, are:   

My child bumped their mouth into their friend’s head and they are bleeding.  Do I need to go to the ER?

More than likely you do not.  Calmly have your child rinse their mouth with water so you can see what is going on.  I always have my patient’s parent’s text me a photo so I can provide better guidance and, if needed, a trip to the dental office.  The impact may loosen the tooth but that doesn’t always mean the tooth is damaged.  Loosening of the tooth is often accompanied by bleeding along the gumline and mobility of the tooth.  After a short time, we hope it will go back into place and we will elect to monitor the tooth until the adult tooth takes its place. 

My child’s baby tooth is knocked out?  Is this okay since it is not an adult/permanent tooth?

Similar to the approach above, I recommend my patients call me as soon as possible.  A baby tooth should not be replanted (or put back in the child’s gums) because of the potential damage or subsequent damage to the developing adult/permanent tooth.  An x-ray will help decipher next steps.  But baby teeth are just as important as adult teeth.  They pave the way for the eruption of a healthy adult tooth.  Without them the adult tooth doesn’t know where to go.  Also, if a baby tooth has a cavity, this may lead to a greater chance of developing cavities in adult teeth.  In other words, healthy baby teeth are very important! 

My child’s permanent tooth is knocked out, what should I do?

This is very different from dealing with a baby tooth.  You need to find the tooth and rinse it gently with water and only water!  There is no need to clean it with soap and do not scrub the tooth.  If possible, though it’s not for the faint of heart, replace the tooth in the socket/gums immediately.  You can hold the tooth in place with clean gauze or a washcloth.  If putting the tooth back in the socket is not an option, place the tooth in a clean container with cold milk or saliva (preferably the patient’s saliva).  Call your pediatric dental office immediately.  These steps, if acted upon instantly, will increase the chances of saving the tooth. 

I think my child chipped or fractured their tooth?

Again, contacting your pediatric dentist immediately is step one.  The faster you act the better chance of saving the tooth, preventing infection and/or reducing the need for extensive dental treatment.  If you can find the broken tooth fragment, place it in cold milk and bring it in with you to your pediatric dental office.  If the lip, or any other part of the mouth is injured, rinse the mouth with water and apply cold compresses to reduce swelling.  

What do I do if my child has a toothache from their injury?

Check in with your pediatric dentist and visit the office if the pain persists.  Your pediatric dentist will more than likely recommend over-the-counter children’s pain medication to ease symptoms.  You may also want to apply a cold compress or ice wrapped in a cloth directly on the site of pain.   It is not advised to put heat or aspirin on the sore area.  Aspirin is not recommended with kids and heat may increase, not decrease, swelling or inflammation.

Children will be children and there is no way to prevent them from falling or foreseeing an accident.  But there are ways to reduce risk for severe oral injury in sports by wearing protective gear such as a mouthguard.  Taking your child to regular dental check-ups provides your pediatric dentist the opportunity to discuss additional age-appropriate preventive strategies like always using a car seat for young children, child-proofing your home to prevent falls, and the use of mouthguards and helmets.  The head must be protected as much as possible.  Whether your child is going skiing, playing their favorite sport, or going for a quick bike ride, helmets are always recommended.  One of my first questions when my patient’s parent tells me their child hit their head or jaw is “were they responsive soon after impact?  Do they seem like themselves?  Do you think they suffered a concussion?”  A severe head injury can be life threatening and if you think this happened to your child they will need immediate medical attention.  This would be the time when you don’t call me, or your pediatric dentist, first but 911.  

This is a lot to take in!  I hope you are reading this as a preventive measure, in a calm state, rather than you quickly googled, “what to do when your kid hits their mouth?”  Either way I hope this helps alleviate some of your parenting stress and gives you a plan of action. 

Until next time, keep your kids smiling!

Dr. Nick

Caring For Your Child's Teeth

By Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry - April 6, 2021

Since parents have plenty to multi-task in the mornings and then again in the evenings, brushing may be something that a parent and/or child might want to skip out on.  However, we think that it is one of the most important activities of the day. 

It is important to make brushing twice a day part of your family’s routine.  As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur so we recommend adopting a twice daily brushing habit as soon as your child’s first tooth makes its grand entrance.  A baby’s front two bottom teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months.  Once those baby teeth have erupted through the gums, parents can start brushing their child’s teeth with a child-size toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.  The amount of toothpaste should be no more than a grain of rice.  Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by your pediatric dentist or pediatrician.  If two teeth are touching, flossing should be incorporated into the evening brushing routine.  This way the food, and “sugar bugs,” from the day can be removed prior to a night’s rest.  Please keep in mind the toothpaste might be considered a treat to your child so please supervise them and make sure the appropriate amount of toothpaste is being used. 

By the time your child is 3 to 6 years of age, they can increase their fluoride toothpaste amount to a pea-size.  Encourage your child to start preparing their toothbrush on their own.  Again, it is important to supervise the amount of toothpaste your child puts on the toothbrush.  It is important to make your child learn the responsibility of brushing their teeth.  They won’t be able to take the reins quite yet so be nearby to help the toothbrush make its way around their mouth a couple of times to ensure a successful mouth cleaning session.

Flossing, this deserves it’s own blog!  Until then check out my “Brushing & Flossing Frequency” blog and my personal struggles implementing both into my three kids daily routine. 

Happy Brushing!

Dr. Nick

Baby's First Dental Visit - When?

By Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry - April 6, 2021

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends parents bring in their child when their first tooth erupts or no later than the first birthday.  One might think taking a 1-year-old to a dental checkup is a bit early.  However, it helps both parents and child learn about healthy oral hygiene and establishes brushing as part of their routine early-on.   A child will also become familiar with being in a dental office, get used to the dental cleaning process and become accustomed to their visits which take place twice a year. 

We understand that some parents bring their child in for the first dental visit after the age of one.  We appreciate that life can get busy.  As soon as your child gets his or her first tooth, the goal is to be brushing twice a day.  Under the age of 3 years, we recommend using a rice-grain size of fluoride toothpaste.  Over the age of 3 years, we prefer to use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. 

At Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry, education is a cornerstone of our office.  At the first visit, we will teach you and your child how to maintain healthy oral hygiene habits.  Additionally, we will check for cavities and ensure everything is being done to maintain healthy gums.  In addition, we also provide tips on how to handle certain habits such as thumb sucking or pacifier usage.  For more information, on this please check out our other blog Pacifiers: What’s the Harm in Them?

Until next time, keep Smiling!

Dr. Nick

The Importance Of Baby Teeth

By Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry - March 24, 2021

A topic we come across a lot when discussing baby teeth, cavities and proper dental hygiene is “why do baby teeth matter if they are going to fall out anyway?” 

Baby (or primary) teeth are unbelievably important to your child’s health and development.  Of their many positive attributes, they help him or her chew, speak and smile.  With regard to chewing, our teeth help us to ensure proper jaw development as well as providing the necessary nutrition for development of the rest of the body.  With regard to speaking, they play a pivotal role in development of appropriate speech patterns. 

In their most basic form, however, primary teeth hold the space for and even guide the eruption of adult (or permanent) teeth into the most ideal position in the mouth.  If a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth or even other primary teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in. This circumstance may lead to crowded or crooked teeth.  Furthermore, this would create the environment for a more difficult and costly orthodontic treatment plan to lead to that perfect smile.

For the previously mentioned reasons, as well as many more, starting infants off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for decades to come.  If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment to ensure you are doing everything you can to ensure impeccable oral health for your child call Lone Tree Pediatric Dentistry at 303-793-0899. 

We look forward to meeting you!

Dr. Nick