Our team knows that periodontal disease isn’t something exclusive to adults. It can affect adolescents as well. Gingivitis, which is a milder form of periodontitis, is a form of periodontal disease, and a warning that more serious problems may arise. Untreated gingivitis can develop into full-blown periodontitis.
The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) explains that research proves that younger people may develop more severe forms of gingivitis. Gingivitis is linked to periodontal disease. Children and adolescents who have type 1 diabetes or immune deficiencies are more likely to suffer from periodontal disease.
There are three types of periodontal diseases our team sees in children and adolescents.
Parents may suspect that their adolescent has chronic gingivitis if he or she shows or complains of symptoms such as redness, swelling, or bleeding gums. Early treatment may prevent gingivitis from developing into a more severe form of periodontal disease.
Aggressive and/or chronic periodontitis
Once called adult periodontitis, the term chronic replaces “adult” because periodontitis can occur in people in their early teenage years, and progress throughout their teens. Chronic and aggressive periodontitis primarily affects incisors and first molars. One of its distinguishing characteristics is bone loss. Curiously, patients who suffer from this form of the disease have minimal dental plaque on examination.
Generalized aggressive and chronic periodontal disease
This form of periodontal disease has many of the same characteristics of the chronic and aggressive form, but this more severe type of the disease affects the entire mouth. Symptoms include major plaque and calculus accumulation, and inflamed gums.
In both forms of more severe periodontal disease, the overall gum structure may change. The severity of these changes may alter gum strength enough to loosen teeth, or even worse, cause them to fall out.
The success of any treatment is largely contingent on early diagnosis. Our team should conduct a thorough periodontal exam as part of an adolescent’s twice-yearly complete dental examinations.
The mouth is full of bacteria. Some of it is necessary for food digestion. Diseases are more likely to develop if bacteria travel to open places in the mouth, such as exposed gum pockets or cavities. Proper dental hygiene is essential for a healthy mouth, and a healthy mouth offers greater protection against painful dental diseases.
Be sure every member of your family has a complete dental exam and cleaning twice a year, and contact us when you or your young kids or adolescents complain of pain, sensitivity, or other oral problems. Early detection at our office leads to treatment of oral problems and prevents them from turning into serious periodontal disease and potentially irreversible problems.
School’s out and you’ve emptied your gym locker until next fall. But while you’re stowing away the football gear, the basketball warm-ups, the field hockey sticks, and all the other equipment you’ve collected over the school year (that’s where that other shoe went!), be sure to keep one item handy: your mouthguard.
Team and contact sports like football, basketball, and wrestling aren’t the only potential dental dangers. In fact, almost any sport or activity can be made safer when you use your mouthguard. While you’re keeping active and fit in the summer months, remember to look out for your smile.
Sports on wheels
Biking, skateboarding, rollerblading—it only takes one fall to make you realize that roads, sidewalks, and concrete are not ideal landing pads. If you do take a spill, using a mouthguard, along with your helmet, will help protect your teeth and jaw.
Handball and tennis are not what we consider contact sports, but an unexpected bounce from a ball, or a completely unexpected backhand from your partner, can lead to dental injuries. Ace your workout and wear a mouthguard.
A fall in the water can lead to a collision with your surfboard or water skis, and water polo often seems to be a game of stamina, accuracy and elbows. Wear your mouthguard on land and sea, and help reduce your chance of dental injury.
Anyone who has played summer league baseball, softball or soccer knows that occasional contact with other players is pretty much a given. Cushioning your head, mouth, and teeth with a mouthguard will not only protect you, but keep you in the game—and your teammates will appreciate that!
If you already use a mouthguard, keep up the good work! If you don’t, talk to us about the importance of protecting your smile with a mouthguard. There are ready-made options available at drug stores and sporting goods shops. These will provide protection to your mouth and teeth, but can sometimes be bulky and uncomfortable and should never be used with braces. If you would like a mouth protector that provides the best fit and comfort, or if you wear braces, we can customize a mouthguard in our office that will be a perfect fit for your teeth and bite.
Whatever activity you choose, play it smart! Don’t gear up without your mouthguard, and you’ll greet next year’s classes energized, fit, and sporting a beautiful smile!
Your darling three-month old is crying and fussy—can she be teething already? Or, your happy baby boy has just celebrated his first birthday—with only one tooth in that beautiful, gummy smile. Is this normal? Probably! While baby teeth do typically erupt (come in) in the same order for all babies, and around the same time, there is still a lot of flexibility in the time it takes for a full, healthy smile to develop.
Baby teeth actually form before your baby is born, and those 20 teeth are there under the gums waiting to come out and shine. And even though there are no firm and fast dates for each of these primary teeth to erupt, it’s helpful to have a general overview of typical teething patterns so you know what to look forward to.
These little teeth create a charming baby smile, and, if your finger has been in the wrong place at the wrong time, a very sharp one as well! That is because these tiny incisors are made to bite into foods. You might notice this when you introduce solid foods, even if the majority of your child’s “chewing” is done with her back gums. These teeth are the earliest to arrive.
Six to ten months old: The lower central incisors (bottom front teeth) are often the first to come in.
Eight to 12 months old: The upper incisors (8-12 months) are the next to show.
Nine to 13 months old: The upper lateral incisors on each side of the front teeth arrive.
Ten to 16 months old: The lower lateral incisors appear.
Because these are larger teeth, babies often experience another bout of teething pain at this time. The large flat surface of each molar helps your child to chew and grind food, so he can handle a wider variety of foods and develop his chewing skills.
13 to 19 months old: You can generally expect to see the upper first molars arrive.
14 to 18 months old: The lower first molars appear.
Fitting between the first molars and the incisors, the strong, pointed shape of the canine teeth allows your child to grip food and break it apart more easily.
16 to 22 months old: The upper two canines make their way into the space between the incisors and the first molars.
17 to 23 months old: The two lower canines appear.
By the age of three, most children have a full set of baby teeth.
23 to 31 months old: The second pair of bottom molars start erupting—you are in the home stretch!
25 to 33 months old: The upper second molars come in—completing that beautiful set of 20 teeth!
Baby teeth are extremely important, as our will tell you when you visit our office. They help your child eat and chew, develop face and jaw muscles, assist proper speech formation, and provide space for the adult teeth to come in properly. Now that your child’s smile is complete, keep providing him with the same care and attention you have been giving those little teeth since the arrival of the very first incisor.
It seems that so much of new parenthood is scheduling—when to feed her, when to put her to bed, how many hours between naps. But we soon find out that every baby is not on the same schedule, and the same is true for the arrival of their teeth. We should see your baby when that first tooth comes in, or by his or her first birthday. And if you ever have concerns at any time about your child’s teething schedule or teething delays, always feel free to give us a call.
Today, our team thought we would answer some of the most frequent questions about pediatric dentistry and oral health we hear from parents.
What constitutes a “healthy, balanced diet” for my child?
A healthy, balanced diet contains all the nutrients your child needs to grow, including one serving each of fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat, fish and eggs per day. Make sure your child limits snacking in between meals and limits how frequently they consume food or beverages that contain sugar, which is known to cause tooth decay. Besides pastries, cookies, and candy, sugars are usually found in processed foods such as crackers, cereals, and soda, as well as in condiments like ketchup.
Should my kid give up all foods that contain sugar?
Absolutely not, we simply recommend choosing and serving sugars sparingly. A food with sugar is safer for teeth if it is eaten with a meal, not as a snack. When your child chews during his or her meal, the saliva produced helps neutralize the acids that are found in sugary and starchy foods. Foods that are not easily washed away from your child’s teeth by saliva, water, or milk have more cavity-causing potential.
What causes cavities?
Many types of bacteria live in our mouths—some good, some bad. When these bacteria come into contact with sugary foods left behind on your child’s teeth after eating, acids are produced. These acids then attack the enamel, and eventually eat through the enamel and create holes in the teeth, which our team call cavities, or caries.
How can I help my child avoid cavities?
This is a great question that we hear a lot. Make sure that your child brushes his teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Flossing daily is also important, as flossing can reach spots between the teeth that brushing simply can’t. And finally, we encourage you to schedule regular appointments with us so that we can check the state of your child’s teeth and gums, as well as provide a professional cleaning to protect him or her from cavities and gum disease.
What is the best way to clean my baby’s teeth?
We recommend you clean your baby’s gums after feedings with a damp, soft washcloth. This is even before your baby’s first tooth appears. As soon as his or her first tooth does appear, you may begin using a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. You can most likely find a toothbrush designed for infants at your local drugstore or ask us for one during your next visit.
What should I do if my child has a toothache?
First, we recommend rinsing the irritated area with warm salt water and placing a cold compress on his or her face if it is swollen. If you have any at home, give your child acetaminophen for any pain, rather than placing aspirin on the affected teeth or gums. Finally, give us a call as soon as possible to schedule an appointment.
We hope that helps! Please give us a call if you have any questions or ask us next time you visit our office for your child’s appointment! If you have any other questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, we would love to hear from you.
Your child needs sleep, that’s a fact. But they require different amounts of sleep as they age. Here’s a quick guide outlining how much sleep your child during each stage of their development.
0 – 3 Months Old
Sleep can be hard to come by with a newborn baby. That’s because newborns need a total of 10 – 18 hours of sleep per day on an irregular schedule. Newborns will fuss, cry or rub their eyes when they need to sleep, so parents should pay attention to understand when to put them to bed.
Newborns need 10 – 18 hours of sleep per day
4 – 11 Months Old
Around 4 – 11 months, infants are usually capable of sleeping through the night, with occasional disturbances. In additionally, most infants will take 2 – 4 naps per day, which can last between 30 minutes and 2 hours. Parents should put their infants to bed when they become show signs of sleepiness, rather than waiting for them to fall asleep. This will help them become more independent when falling asleep in the future.
Infants need 10 – 18 hours of sleep per day.
1 – 2 Years Old
Around 18 months, your toddler will begin needing less frequent naps, and may only take one nap, for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Many toddlers resist going to bed at bedtime, and experience nighttime awakenings. Parents can help their toddlers sleep through the night by setting a consistent bedtime schedule, which helps set their internal clocks to a designated bedtime.
Toddlers need 9 – 16 hours of sleep per day.
3 – 5 Years Old
Preschoolers typically sleep between 11 – 13 hours per night, and only require one nap per day. As with toddlers, preschoolers can experience difficulty sleeping through the night, and some resist bedtime. Parents can help children get past this with a security item like a blanket or teddy bear, which can comfort children through the night.
Preschoolers need 8 – 14 hours per day.
6 – 13 Years Old
As a child’s schedule increases with school and social activities, their need for a good night’s rest increases too. Typically, children don’t need naps, but do need to get a solid 8 – 12 hours of sleep per night. Try limiting TV and digital entertainment before bed, which can make it more difficult for a child to fall asleep.
Children need 8 – 12 hours of sleep per day.
14 – 17 Years Old
By this point, your teen should be able to sleep comfortably throughout the night, and may only need one nap per day, between 20 – 40 minutes. In fact, your child may come to value their sleep and need no instruction to go to bed. Try to emphasize the importance of adequate sleep with your child, and establish a bedtime routine that takes TV’s and computers out of their bedroom, and avoid caffeinated beverages at dinner so that they don’t have extra energy before bed.
Teens need 7 – 11 hours of sleep per day.
Does your Child Have Trouble Sleeping?
Poor and inadequate sleep can lead to developmental problems, mood swings, and impact your child’s ability to learn. Talk to us about your child’s sleep routine, and pay attention to your child’s nightly routine to see if there are any routines that may be impeding their ability to sleep.
As your child grows up, their mouth will change and grow along with them. It’s important for the developing teeth and gums that your child has the right toothbrush for their age.
Babies 1 – 12 months
A baby’s first tooth doesn’t typically erupt until they are 8 months old, but it’s still important to keep their mouth clean. You can clean their gums by taking a damp cloth or gauze and gently rubbing it over their gums to remove any food debris. You may choose to use a very soft, baby toothbrush and lightly brush their gums using a very low amount of pressure to avoid upsetting their sensitive gums. However, a damp cloth works just as well.
Toddlers 13 – 24 months
After the first tooth emerges – usually around the 8-month mark – begin to use a toddler’s toothbrush to clean their mouth. When shopping for a toothbrush, look for one that has rounded bristles and a small head that can easily fit into their mouth. Find a toothbrush that has very soft bristles, without the hard rubber liners on the outside of the head (called burs). You can begin flossing their teeth once they have two teeth touching. Use flat, wide floss and apply very gentle pressure to clean all sides of the tooth.
Preschoolers 2 – 4 years
By now, they will be walking, talking and eager for a bit of independence. They should have most of their teeth, and be familiar with brushing and flossing. Now is the time to start letting them have some input into their oral care routine. Take them with you to pick out their next toothbrush. Children love to be included in making decisions, and by giving them a little bit of responsibility, you empower them to make a decision. Make sure that the head of the toothbrush easily fits inside of their mouth, and that it has soft bristles. Since children lack developed dexterity, look for a toothbrush with a large handle to help them grip it more easily and continue assisting them as they brush. At this stage, you should also still be helping them floss and using the flat, wide dental floss.
School-aged Children 5 – 8 years
Your child is a tooth-brushing master, and the only thing they need to keep making progress is the right toothbrush. Help them pick a toothbrush that has a longer neck, and a larger head than their preschool toothbrush, but still fits comfortably inside their mouth. See if you can help them find a toothbrush with their favorite cartoon character or superhero to keep them engaged and entertained while they brush. If you think they are ready, you can begin to let them floss on their own, but under your supervision. As they approach 8 years of age, they should be ready to brush and floss by themselves.
It’s important to buy them a toothbrush that they are comfortable using. Monitor their mouths for any minor bleeding, and ask them about how it felt to use their new toothbrush for the first time. To establish the healthiest oral care routine, be sure that they are brushing twice per day for two minutes at a time. Try to only buy toothbrushes and tooth paste that has the ADA seal of approval, so that they are is getting the best product possible for their oral health.
Visit Our Office
If you are unsure of the exact toothbrush your child should use, then we can help! We will be able to help you choose the best toothbrush for your child, and we can suggest a specific model most of the time. Visit our office today to discuss the tools your children use to attain better oral health.
As a parent, you can help your child achieve a healthy smile in many different ways. One way you can greatly help is by packing a lunch that improves their oral health.
Stay Away from Sugary Granola
Granola cereal, dried fruit and trail mix can seem like healthier options, but they’re often packed with extras that aren’t healthy at all. In fact, dried fruit sticks to teeth and fuels bad bacteria that cause cavities, and granola can be packed with extra sugar and fat. If you’re buying granola or health cereal, stay away from those that have marshmallows, chocolate pieces, and even candy. Look for a higher fiber content, and granola that contains more natural ingredients like nuts and rolled oats.
Avoid Sugary Drinks
Allowing children to sip on sugary beverages over long periods of time increases their exposure to sugar, and acid attacks that can erode their enamel. Try to limit or remove sports drinks, sodas, and high-sugar juices from their diets to aid in their oral health. Sugary beverages are one of the leading sources of sugar for children, and some can even be disguised as “healthy drinks” like nutritional water or sports drinks.
Water helps rid teeth of damaging acids and food debris, and help keeps saliva flowing – which naturally keeps teeth clean. Water is the healthiest beverage for teeth, and we suggest packing it instead of any other drink in your child’s lunch. Also, don’t fall for nutritional waters. Most of these “enhanced” water products have an excessive amount of sugar, and aren’t great for teeth or overall health.
Add more Whole Foods
When packing your child’s lunch, add in natural, whole vegetables and fruits whenever you can. Instead of packing starchy chips, try to add small pieces of celery with a healthy dip, or baby carrots. Instead of packing an imitation fruit snack as dessert, try packing fresh, fibrous fruit like strawberries, kiwi or apples. By replacing sweets and starches with fibrous fruits and vegetables, you can help your child avoid unnecessary sugar, and help them keep their teeth clean while they’re away from home. Fiber naturally cleans teeth by scrubbing away food particles leftover from a meal.
Eat Nuts Instead of Fish
Crackers, potato chips and other starchy foods can get stuck in the small areas of tooth surfaces. Without proper brushing, these foods provide sugar to bacteria that feed on it, which ultimately leads to tooth decay. Instead of chips, pack nuts instead, which are full of fiber and healthy protein.
Dietary Choices Affect Teeth
The food your child eats affects their teeth, and influences their overall oral health. Visit our office for more information about mouth-healthy diets, and how food can impact teeth.
Chewing ice is a common habit that can cause a surprising amount of damage. Here’s how chewing ice can ruin teeth, which may end up in a costly trip to the dentist or orthodontist.
Teeth may seem tough and sturdy, but they aren’t designed to crunch very hard objects like ice. Chewing ice can easily lead to a cracked or chipped tooth, which requires an emergency dental visit to repair the broken tooth. If your child has a cracked tooth, then try to save the remnants of the tooth in a small bag of milk, and immediately schedule an appointment with our office. If you act in time, a dentist will be able to repair a fractured tooth.
Broken Oral Appliances
Despite their sturdy construction, chewing ice can damage oral appliances. Oral appliances like braces and retainers play a vital role in developing healthy smiles that have proper tooth and bite alignment. Those with braces risk dislodging wires or even damaging brackets, which can result in an expensive trip to the orthodontist. If your child has an oral appliance, it is important that you communicate to them the dangers of chewing ice.
Damaged Dental Fillings
Dental fillings are one of the most common oral appliances used today, and are adhered to teeth by a bonding agent. Many fillings are made of porcelain, which can be cracked by chewing ice. Additionally, the glue adhering fillings can crack, which causes the filling to become dislodged. Losing a filling hurts, and requires an immediate trip to the dentist for a repair. Dental fillings play an important role in keeping teeth healthy, and when they’re cracked the tooth is more vulnerable to cavities and sensitivity.
Cracked Tooth Enamel
Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, yet chewing ice can still damage it. Tooth enamel is the first line of defense against cavities, and helps protect teeth from sugar and acid attacks. If tooth enamel is damaged, it can leave a tooth more vulnerable to acid attacks and tooth decay. Tooth enamel takes enough abuse from food as it is, so tell your kids to avoid chewing ice, it’ll save them from a trip to our office.
Bad Dental Habits Damage Teeth
Chewing ice is a common habit, and can become a reflex that children don’t even notice. If you see your child chewing ice, talk to them about it, and communicate how it can negatively impact their smile.
Toothbrushing can be tough for young children to pick up, but it’s absolutely vital for developing a healthy smile. Here’s how parents can encourage their children to brush my making toothbrushing fun!
1 – Brush Together
One great way to making brushing fun for young brushers is by brushing with them. This helps you get into a fun routine with your child and have a bit more time together, and allows you to give them specific brushing tips, as well as keep an eye on how ling they’re brushing.
2 – Find Fun Brushing Videos
For children, it can be tough to brush for two minutes at a time. This is because it’s difficult to keep young children still and focused on brushing their teeth for two minutes. You can help your child have more fun while they brush by letting them brush while watching a tooth brushing video. These educational videos help guide children through brushing their teeth, and each lasts at least two minutes. We suggest finding one that you deem appropriate for your child, and one that they will enjoy watching.
3 – Try an Electric Toothbrush
An electric toothbrush is an appealing option for children just beginning to brush, since they require less dexterity and physical motion to operate. Additionally, most electric toothbrushes feature brushing timers ensures that they brush for two minutes at a time. We suggest looking for an electric toothbrush specifically made for children that is easy for them to hold, and has a head that fits in their mouth comfortably.
Care for Teeth the Right Way
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that everyone brushes their teeth twice per day, for two minutes at a time. The time limit helps ensure that all of the bad bacteria is scrubbed off of teeth, which prevents plaque buildup and cavities. Make sure your child brushes their entire tooth surface, including the backside of teeth – which is often neglected.
Encourage Your Children to Make Brushing Fun
Our office specializes in caring for children, and helping them understand the importance of oral health. If you have a reluctant toothbrusher, visit our office. We can show your child how fun toothbrushing can be, and how important it is for a healthy life.
Teen use of e-cigarettes and nicotine vaporizing devices is on the rise, with nearly 4 in 10 high-school aged children reporting that they regularly use the devices. Unfortunately, these electronic cigarettes and vaporizers contain nicotine, which is an addictive substance that is terrible for teeth, and the entire body.
First: Tobacco Hurts Teeth & Overall Health
Tobacco use harms teeth and health in many ways. It can lead to oral cancer, periodontal disease, delayed healing after oral procedure, bad breath, stained teeth and gums and damage the ability to smell and taste. The health risks related to tobacco use are serious, and negative oral side effects are chilling.
E-cigarettes & Vaporizers
In 2013, the Center for Disease Control reported that 1.78 million students in middle and high school reported trying e-cigarettes, and that their main reason was to be socially accepted and appear cool. In 2018, it was reported that teen e-cigarette use is steadily rising as more products are marketed at young people, and make it easier to vape on the go.
Most young people begin using tobacco after first trying an e-cigarette or vaporizer as a “safe” alternative to smoking cigarettes. In fact, teens that experiment with e-cigarettes are far more likely to try traditional cigarettes than those who did not try an e-cigarette. However, no amount or medium by which tobacco is consumed is ever safe – tobacco use in any fashion is unsafe. Make sure your child does not experiment with vaporizers or e-cigarettes, since they are basically an entry-point to normal, habitual tobacco use.
Chewing Tobacco Presents Real Risks, Too
According to the AAPD, nearly 15% of high school teens use chewing tobacco. Unfortunately, smokeless tobacco can lead to periodontal disease, oral cancer, cavities, and tooth abrasion. It can cause bone degradation and increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.
The Center for Disease Control reports that smokeless tobacco use has steadily risen in the United States since 2000. If your child uses chewing tobacco, then urge them to quit for the consideration of their long-term health.
Talk to Your Teen about the Dangers of Tobacco Use
You can help your child avoid tobacco use by discussing the dangers of nicotine, and how e-cigarettes can lead to nicotine addiction and smoking traditional cigarettes. Most studies find that teens that are actively discouraged from smoking, or that live in an environment where smoking is not normalized, are less likely to use tobacco as an adult.