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Caring For Your Teeth

caring-for-teeth

Decay is not inevitable.

There are three things that must be present at the same time in order to get cavity:

Teeth:

Obviously, without teeth, you cannot get a cavity. Teeth have pits and fissures that trap food and germs. Teeth also can dissolve in the presence of acids, which is what bacteria produce when they rest on teeth. To protect teeth, we apply sealants which fill grooves, pits and crevices to keep food and bacteria out. We also apply fluoride to “harden” the enamel so that acids cannot penetrate as quickly.

Bacteria.

If we lived in a germ free bubble, we could eat all the candy we want, and we’d never get a cavity, even if we never brushed! Teeth can only decay in the presence of bacteria. Of course, we cannot live in a germ free world under normal circumstances, but we can keep the bacteria count reduced to a level where there are not sufficient numbers to do damage. To accomplish this, we need to floss as well as brush to remove plaque, or bacterial colonies. The bacteria that live between the teeth are the most damaging, and the hardest to reach. If we floss just once a day, there are not enough bacteria left to cause decay to grow quickly. Flossing and brushing are equally important.

Food

We all need food to survive, but certain foods are more damaging to teeth than others. Starches and sugars of any kind are attacked by the bacteria in your mouth and in only 20 seconds, acids are already dissolving your teeth. Depending upon the nature of the food, the dissolving may continue for 20 minutes (soft drinks) or up to 90 minutes (fruit roll type snacks). The stickier the food, the longer it stays on the teeth, and the more damage it does. The more frequently one snacks, the more dissolving of teeth occurs. If you eat 500 M&Ms™ all at once, you will not get decay, but if you eat 500 M&Ms one per minute, your teeth will decay very fast. It is not as important how much sweets you eat as it is how often! If your child must snack, make sure it is cheese, carrots, celery, or some other healthy food. The best beverage is plain old water. Save the treats for dessert with meals. When we are not eating, the saliva in your mouth, which contains minerals, actually re-hardens enamel. The more time resting between snacks, the more repair of enamel that occurs.

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Baby Teeth

Happy Baby Girl at Bath Time

Baby teeth are necessary to aid in proper nutrition, speech, and maintaining space for future permanent teeth.

If a baby tooth is loosened or lost due to injury, or darkens in color, call your child’s dentist. The dentist will evaluate the situation and discuss with you any needed treatment.

If you see an adult tooth growing in where a baby tooth is still present, contact your child’s dentist for guidance. This can lead to misaligned teeth that can be costly to correct.

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Thumb Sucking

Leave Me Alone

The sucking of thumbs, fingers, and pacifiers can distort your child’s bite, as well as lead to speech impediments and future orthodontic problems.

It is wise to have your child’s mouth evaluated for potential damage or distortion. The dentist will offer advice specific to your child and can recommend home remedies or dental appliances to encourage your child to stop their sucking habit.

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Snoring

Little boy is sleeping

Snoring is a common condition It occurs when the flow of air through the mouth and nose is physically obstructed causing a vibration through your soft tissues.

Most causes of snoring are anatomical, for example the size of your tonsils and adenoids, or the length and flexibility of your uvula. Other factors can be obesity, sleeping on your back, or allergies.

No one likes to admit they do it. It can be embarrassing and annoying, but there are treatments. It can be as easy as changing sleeping positions or as involved as surgery.

If your child is experiencing a restless night’s sleep, talk to your child’s dentist as a preliminary evaluation.

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