With summer just about here, your children are likely to be active in sports and other fun activities such as summer camps. It’s easy to get caught up in the bustle, but be sure not to neglect the importance of protecting your child’s teeth by properly using a mouth guard.
There’s no doubt that children are highly susceptible to tooth loss or other kind of oral injuries during sports and play. Even when they sleep at night, some present signs of abrasion and wear caused by the constant grinding of their teeth together. To ensure that your child’s teeth are protected from damage in any of these situations, many dentists suggest that you get your children mouth guards for sports or night guards for sleep.
You Can Find These Mouth Guards in Three Varieties
- Ordinary mouth protectors are prefabricated and ready to wear. They are low-priced and can be acquired at most stores that have sporting goods, specialty health stores, and online. However, they can be a challenge to adjust to fit, they are often bulky due to generic fit, make speaking and breathing difficult, and they bring little or no safety. These types of mouth guards are not typically recommended by dentists, but they can work in a pinch.
- Boil and bite mouth guards may also be acquired from sporting goods stores, and can offer a superior fit as compared to ordinary mouth guards. The “boil and bite” mouth protectors are made from a thermoplastic material that is placed in boiled water to soften, then introduced in the mouth and molded around the teeth using tongue and finger pressure.
- Personalized mouth protectors are individually created and produced in a dental office or a specialized laboratory following your dentist’s instructions. First, your dental practitioner will make an imprint of your child’s teeth and a mouth protector is then shaped over the mold using a special material. By using the special material and due to the supplemental time and work, these personalized mouth guards are more expensive than your other options, but it grants the most protection and comfort.
Who Needs a Mouth Guard?
Mouth protectors may be used by anyone – children and adults – who play sports that involve physical contact such as boxing, basketball, soccer, football, ice hockey, field hockey or lacrosse. However, even those playing sports without contact(such as gymnastics) and any recreational exercise (e.g.mountain biking, skateboarding) that may present a risk of harm to the mouth can benefit from using a mouth protector.
Adults and children who grind or clench their teeth at night should wear a night guard made to avoid tooth injury.
While mouth guards for play and sleep are useful in preserving tooth integrity for all ages, choosing a suitable one for your child finally concentrates on balancing cost with comfort.
The ideal mouth guard must:
- Allow talking and not restrict breathing.
- Stay firmly in place amid action.
- Provide a high rate of fit and comfort.
- Be long lasting and easy to clean.
- Be resilient, tear-resistant, odor-free and flavorless.
Mouth guards will take care of your children’s teeth while they enjoy their favorite sports, so you won’t have to worry any more about injuries.
If you or your child have suffered from occasional pain in your jaw joints, such as tightening or a sore sensation when you talk or chew, you are not alone! At some point, everyone experiences some pain in their jaw, because it is the most constantly used joint in the body!
What is TMJ?
The Temporomandibular (TMJ) joint is the primary joint in your face that allows you to talk, chew, and open wide for the dentist. It’s hard to miss, it is the joint connecting your jaw to your skull. To feel these joints in action, simply place your fingers in front of your ear and open your mouth. What you feel is the rounded end (the joint) of the lower jaw roll along the the joint socket of the temporal bone connected to the skull. The temporal bone also contains the inner ear and the temple, which is why you can feel your ears “pop” sometimes when you open your mouth.
On average, people speak thousands of words a day, each one requiring movement of this joint. Thankfully, we don’t need WD-40 like a squeaky door when its had a lot of use. We do, however, get sore and over exerted muscles that make communication or family dinner a painful task. Oftentimes, the symptoms will reside in a few days with a little relaxing of the muscles. Other times, people can develop more intense, ongoing pain. This is referred to as Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) or a TMJ disorder and requires some corrective treatment.
How Can I Get TMJ?
TMJ doesn’t have any known direct causes but, rather contributing causes. Strain of the soft disc between the joint and socket can cause wear or displacement of the joint, often leading to TMJ disorders. Grinding and clenching of the teeth can cause misalignment of your bite and wear on the muscles used for chewing. Many people are unaware that they clench or grind their teeth, whether it is a coping mechanism for stress or a sleep habit.
With that being said, stress is a common cause for TMJ disorders since people tend to tighten the muscles or grind their teeth when they undergo physical and mental stress alike.
Dental problems, such as poor teeth alignment, arthritis, muscle problems, a malformed TMJ, or injury/trauma, can also contribute to TMJ disorders.
Do I have TMJ?
The symptoms associated with TMJ are often severe and pronounced, since this condition affects a significant part of daily functions such as talking and eating. Some of these symptoms include:
- Pain in the jaw joint, face, and even through the neck and shoulders
- Limited ability to open the mouth very wide, like a stiff hinge
- Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open- or closed-mouth position
- Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening, closing, or chewing (which may or may not be painful)
- Exhausted feeling in the face, muscle fatigue
- Difficulty chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite – as if the the teeth are not aligning
- Heat and/or swelling in the joint area
Other symptoms that may be a result of TMJ disorders include headaches, dizziness, tooth aches, numbness, earaches, neck pain, or ringing in the ears. If these are symptoms either you or your child experience, talk to your dentist about how they can be corrected.
What Can I Do About It?
First things first, Let your dentist know; the sooner TMJ problems are addressed, the better. If you suspect you or your child may have a TMJ disorder, your dentist will do an exam and may order imaging, such as x-rays or an MRI, to look at the joint and confirm the condition.
If symptoms are moderate or occasional, treatment may not be needed and it could be a matter of resting the jaw muscles for a couple days. You may wonder how its possible to “rest” the most commonly used joint in your body! Focus on maintaining a relaxed state, try not to clench or grind your teeth and massage the joint area as long as there is no swelling. Here are some tips to go about treatment for TMJ disorders:
- Ask your dentist about exercises and relaxation techniques you can do to relive tension, practice them as instructed.
- Application of ice packs or heat may help relieve discomfort.
- For pain and swelling, try taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Aleve). Your dentist can prescribe a higher dose if needed.
- Eat foods that are soft, avoid those that may aggravate the TM joint (steak, apples, taffy, etc).
- For clenchers and grinders, muscle relaxants can greatly help, but are available by prescription only.
- Use a night guard to prevent clenching and grinding at night.
- Restrain from opening your mouth too wide, forcing the joint to pop, and excessive chewing motions such as chewing gum.
- Talk to your dentist about corrective dentistry. This includes braces, crowns, or bridges to properly align and balance the biting surfaces of your teeth.
- Keep your teeth slightly apart in order to relieve tension on the TM joint.
In sever cases of TMJ disorders, surgery or invasive techniques may be required if common corrective dentistry is not enough. Most always, TMJ disorders can be corrected by your dentist and most kids don’t need surgery.
To Put Things In Place
Many people, particularly children and young adults, develop TMJ disorders or occasional joint pain due to unconscious habits of grinding and clenching. You can control these habits or help your children by making them aware of the habit and instruct them on how to stop. Teach children to recognize when they practice this bad habit (at school during a test, when angry or upset, etc.) so they can consciously put an end to it. Ask your dentist for tips on how to nip this habit in the bud and if any corrective dentistry work is needed. Braces have often been the hero for those who struggle with persistent TMJ pain by greatly reducing or even eliminating the problem all together! No one should live feeling like they got a punch in the face, talk to your dentist about putting things back in place.
If you haven’t heard of oil pulling, you may be thinking it sounds a little contradictory. Many of you probably know that oil is more of a slippery substance with little ability to really “pull” anything, but that is not the case with this type of oil pulling. Despite the advanced technology we have today, this ancient practice of oil pulling has come back from the old days to spike popularity and usefulness once again.
What is Oil Pulling?
The oil used for this process is typically coconut, sesame, sunflower, grapeseed, vegetable, or olive oil; it will work with whichever you choose. So what exactly do you “pull” with oil? Well, oil pulling isn’t what it seems, in fact, it is basically the use of oil as a mouthwash! The term “pull” is just another word for swishing liquid in your mouth, pushing and pulling it between your teeth.
This ancient ritual originated in Indian culture as a folk remedy for healing oral diseases and maintaining oral health, after all, tooth brushes and anti-cavity pastes have not been around forever! So what did people use to keep their mouth clean? Some discovered the powerful properties of rinsing oil in the mouth, particularly coconut oil. Of all the oils you can use, coconut oil has been studied and proven to be the most beneficial to your oral health. This is because it is high in fatty acid known as Lauric acid, which has antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Coconut oil is best unrefined, as is any oil you decide to use for oil pulling, since this is the purest, most natural form.
How Does Oil pulling Benefit Your Oral Health?
Did you know that your mouth is full of bacteria, good and bad? The truth is, there are a lot of germs in your mouth and they tend to sit on your teeth throughout the day between brushings. Certain bacteria can cause harm to your teeth, resulting in plaque buildup, the gum disease gingivitis, and cavities. Bacteria creates a film know as “biofilm” on your teeth which hardens and turns into plaque. Plaque must be scraped off your teeth at your routine dental cleanings and can cause many problems for your gums if too much of it is allowed to build. So you may be wondering, what part does oil have in the improvement of oral health? Interestingly enough, oil has the ability to “catch “ bacteria and act as a disposal trap. Coconut oil, compared to others, is preferred for pulling since it has antibacterial properties which add effectiveness to the practice. It also tends to taste better than that of olive or sesame oil.
Does It Really Work?
There are many testimonies from people who have tried oil pulling for themselves, with a vast majority containing positive feedback! In case you prefer the scientific evidence, there are also plenty of studies that have proven the claimed results of oil pulling. Here are a couple to get you started:
A study published in 2008 by the Journal of Indian Society of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry has shown: 20 adolescent boys who used oil pulling (using sesame oil) caused a reduction in the number of Streptococcus Mutans (bacteria responsible for tooth decay) in the plaque in as little as 2 weeks.
Another study compared oil pulling and regular mouthwash in 20 adolescents with plaque-induced gingivitis. Both oil pulling and the mouthwash were effective against their gingivitis.
How Does it Work?
Each time you swish the oil around in your mouth, it removes bacteria and has even been proven to remove plaque on and between the teeth.
An additional benefit to adopting this practice is that oil pulling also reduces bad breath. The chemical gases produced by the bacteria in your mouth are greatly reduced when you oil pull and, in a study of 20 adolescents, oil pulling reduced bad breath just as effectively as regular mouthwash!
So Why Not Give it a Try?
If you are curious and convinced that this could work for you, its really quite simple!
Choose an oil that is unrefined or organic, these tend to work the best.
Take about one teaspoon and put it in your mouth, begin to swish it around. Coconut oil is a butter-like consistency with a low melting point of about 78 degrees, so it will turn to oil rather quickly.
Swish the oil for about 15-20 minutes.
Spit out all the oil and brush your teeth
It is best to do your oil pulling on an empty stomach before you brush your teeth. Some of you may think that 15-20 minutes is a long time to swish slimy liquid in your mouth, but if you do it in the shower, while you make breakfast, or get ready for the day, it will be over before you know it. Relax your face and jaw and gently “push and pull” the oil around in your mouth to prevent your jaw from becoming sore. Be sure to spit out all the oil since it will contain plaque and bacteria from your teeth! Oil pulling is not recommended for young children since they are susceptible to swallowing the oil.
Give this practice a week or two and watch how it can whiten your teeth, freshen your breath, and help prevent cavities! If you have dental problems such as cavities or sensitivity, try oil pulling and see how it can help your teeth. Oil pulling is effective and beneficial to your oral health, so why not give it a try?
Fluoride is a mineral that ensures a healthy development of your children’s teeth. It strengthens the tooth enamel and protects it from tartar and plaque which cause cavities. Children need fluoride supplementation after the age of 6 months. Research has proved that fluoride can diminish cavities on both children and adults. It also aids repairing the preliminary stages of tooth decay even previously the decay becomes noticeable. Unfortunately, numerous people continue to be misinformed about fluoridation and fluoride. In the same manner as other nutrients, fluoride is effective and safe when used correctly and used in smaller amounts.
What fluoride supplements can you can give to your children?
Fluoride ion is found naturally in soil, water, foods, and several minerals. The food intake ranges from 0.2 to 0.5 mg. Besides the amount ingested, age is important too. Infants ND children need less than the average adult. Infants can retain as much as 75% of their intake, while older children retain only 50% of the intake, storing it primarily in the hard tissues (bones and teeth) and in the kidneys.
Fluoride is administrated in two forms: topical and endogenous.
Topical application of fluoride contributes to the re-mineralizeation of the enamel after acid attacks of the diet or plaque.
Fluoride treatment is done by 3-4 applications every week and repeated 2-4 times per year. Number of applications and the intervals between them differ depending on the product used. You can use solutions, varnishes, and gels applied on isolated teeth or in special trays. The procedure is easy and pain-free: after a professional cleaning, the doctor applies a solution of gel or special varnishes with a high content of fluoride, usually in a tray, for 1-2 minutes. After treatment, the patient should not rinse mouth or consume food and liquids for 30 minutes.
Your doctor may prescribe toothpaste and mouthwash with a lower concentration of fluoride for weekly or daily use at home, but these home treatments are contraindicated in children under 6 years, and you should seek guidance from your doctor before using home treatments. Remember that most toothpastes and mouthwashes contain fluoride, so parents should closely monitor their children’s oral hygiene to ensure that they do not swallow fluoridated products. Flavored toothpastes are particularly “attractive” for the taste of children, so caution and supervision should be exercised.
It is commonly known that children, typically 7 and younger, but each child is different, can not brush or rinse their mouth without swallowing toothpaste. Almost half of the toothpaste on the brush can be swallowed on each brushing session. Children younger than 5 years have not yet learned to spit when tooth brushing, which, along with fluoride supplements, can cause fluorosis (overexposure to fluoride during the first eight years of life.) Precisely for this reason, fluoride mouth rinses are not recommended for children younger than 6 years, because more than likely they will swallow the mouthwash.
The endogenous (internal) administration of fluoride with tablets has the advantage of individual dosage by age, depending on the concentration of fluoride in water and food. This is generally not recommended, since fluoride in food, water, dental care products, and dental treatments is enough. For those in need, fluoridd tablets should be started early. There are doses individualized according to age, diet, etc. Fluoride treatment may be recommended to future mothers (pregnant woman starting with 4th month of pregnancy) and continued to breastfeeding mothers to prevent cavities in baby teeth of children. This treatment in the form of tablets administered internally can continue daily until the child reaches the age of 14-15 years. This type of fluoride is considered to be the most effective, but should be only under the supervision of your child’s dentist and/or doctor. The need for tablets is also dependent on the individual needs, genetics, diet, and dental care received.
Sealants and fluoride
Sealants are filling materials with plastic properties (easy to apply on deep pits and fissures), especially on posterior teeth on their contact surface. Sealants have the property of isolating the dental surface from the environment of the oral cavity in order to prevent the formation of cavities. Also, sealants have the property to gradually release fluoride. The higher quantity of fluoride released is in first 24 hours after application. Sealing, fluoridation treatment, and a good oral hygiene routine can work together for keeping good oral health and diminishing the risk of cavities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay affects nearly 70 percent of America’s children, before the age of 19! Dental sealants are a highly effective option to help prevent cavities in children. Dental sealants, basically a thin coating over the tooth’s surface, have been proven to be both safe for children prone to cavities and cost effective for parents. Sealing is a simple and painless dental procedure in which the dental surface is isolated from the environment of the oral cavity in order to prevent the formation of cavities. Basically, it covers very deep pits and fissures on the biting surface of molars and premolars, since they have the potential of retaining debris that can not be removed by simple brushing.
How is a tooth Sealed?
The sealing procedure consists of plaque removal, isolating the teeth with a rubber dam, applying an acid solution on dental surface and washing it after 15 seconds, applying the sealant in liquid form and polymerizing it with ultraviolet light for 10-20 seconds. The final step is to check the sealing height by using paper joint. After the procedure is completed, the patient is free to consume food and liquids. If the enamel in pits and fissures is damaged, the affected enamel is removed first, then the normal procedure for sealing is continued.
Does your child need sealants?
If your child’s on molars and premolars have deep pits and fissures, it’s better to seal them, in order to prevent future or further damage. At the earliest, sealing is recommended 6 months after a teeth’s eruption, on teeth with deep pits and fissures, especially molars and premolars.
The age ranges for sealant application is:
- 3-6 months for primary molars
- 6-7 years for 1st permanent molar
- 11-13 years for 2nd permanent molar and premolars, this varies from child to child.
- deep retentive pits and fissures
- patient with high risk of caries
- patient undergoing orthodontic treatment
- yellow/brown stained pit and fissures on the tooth surface
Dental sealants serve as a barrier to seal the cracks and spaces on tooth surfaces from any small food particles or bacteria that may otherwise cause cavities.
Alongside brushing twice- daily with fluoridated toothpaste, healthy diet low in sugars and visiting your dentist every 6 months to monitor teeth an existing sealants, dental sealants are 100% effective in preventing cavities in your little one’s mouth. Happy brushing!
Children who are physically and mentally challenged may not only have difficulty in performing daily routine activities, but may also be unable to efficiently maintain general and dental hygiene. These patients generally require ongoing assistance from a loved one or a caregiver to look after them. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists, children with special healthcare needs include those that suffer from any kind of developmental, physical or cognitive disability that requires special arrangements for providing them with medical or dental treatment.
Who Can Treat Handicapped Children?
Seeking dental care for your child with a special need is not an easy task, since not every dental office contains the required arrangements to accommodate handicapped children, and not every dentist has the skill set required to treat a physically or mentally challenged child. Ask your current dentist or seek a pediatric dentist who is qualified and possesses the training to better assist your child with their dental needs.
Dental Problems Faced By Disabled Children
Physically challenged children may have limited motor skills, rendering them unable to perform routine dental care tasks such as tooth brushing, flossing and using a mouthwash. Similarly, mentally challenged individuals may lack the cognitive skills to efficiently take care of their dental needs in absence of a caregiver. Whatever the reason of disability, handicapped children are at an even greater risk than most children, of developing dental caries. In addition, most children are exposed to frequent gingival and periodontal problems as a result of heavy plaque and calculus deposition on the teeth. Soft tissue trauma and infections are very common among children with neuromuscular disabilities.
Behavioral Management of Disabled Children
Typically, children with special needs are highly apprehensive and anxious of the dental treatment. Hence, it is important for the child’s dentists or Pedodontists to be equipped with excellent communication and behavioral skills, and must form a bond with the child so that he or she can trust them with their personal space. You and your dentist shoud be present with your child during dental cleanings and procedures, and they should also be assured that the procedure will be painless and completed within a short term.
Medical Management of Disabled Children
Many disabled children can be at a greater risk of suffering from nutritional deficiencies due to their reduced cognitive skills and neuromuscular coordination, which in turn affects their feeding abilities. Some handicapped children are unable to take their diet through an oral route. Instead they may require a feeding tube or direct gastric feeding, and are at risk for malnourishment. Since there is a direct correlation between malnutrition and incidence of dental infections, your child’s dentist, in consultation with a dietician or a nutritionist, must look out for any signs of poor nutrition, along with the parent, to ensure that this isn’t a contributor to dental problems or any aspect of their health
Dental Management of Disabled Children
Dental procedures for handicapped children are usually performed under conscious sedation or general anesthesia, since they can quickly become restless or may have difficulty keeping their mouth open for an extended period of time. For you as the parent, it is advised to stay with your child in the dental office and give special attention to your child’s teeth at home. Supervise your child during brushing and flossing and ensure that he or she spits the toothpaste out after brushing, and does not swallow it. A toothpaste containing fluoride is beneficial for them in preventing the risk of caries and other dental problems.
A Final Word
Helping your special needs child can be challenging, so ensure that your child’s dentist and healthcare providers are not only aware of your child’s needs, but also of their insecurities and how they may better encourage your child and build trust with them. Do not hesitate to ask your dentist about their experience with treating children of physical and mental disabilities.
Sometimes, the dental treatment of anxious and restless patients, especially children, becomes a challenging job for dentists. Many children are either afraid of the presumed pain they would suffer during administration of the anesthesia, or fearful of the vibrating sounds of various dental rotary machines. In any case, pacification of the child becomes necessary in order for the dentist to perform treatment without hindrance. Traditionally, before the extraction of teeth in children, a local anesthesia is given to them the numb the pain. However, since many children are afraid of getting the “shot” from the anesthesia syringe, they never consent to the treatment. To counter this dilemma, various treatment options have been developed by the dental professionals. Among them, sedation is a highly effective and time tested procedure. The aim of sedation is to reduction anxiety and apprehension so that the patient becomes cooperative during the dental procedure, while keeping the patient’s reflexes and responses intact. Other dentists prefer to use some sort of restraining techniques that work by temporarily limiting the capability of child-patients to move during the dental treatment.
Restraints, Sedation and General Anesthesia: is it really necessary?
Dental procedures become impossible on child-patients that are nervous and fearful of the dentist or even the dental office. Hence it is imperative to have a mechanism in place that either makes the child more compliant, or limits the capability of the child to move. Both sedation and restraints are being commonly used by dentists worldwide. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry approves of partial or complete stabilization of the patients in certain cases, in order to protect the patient and the dental team. Eighty five percent of the dental programs taught safe restraining mechanisms as an acceptable and validated procedure whenever warranted. Similarly, dentist throughout the world are practicing sedation dentistry routinely in their practices, which not only makes the dental treatment more pleasant for the patient, but also significantly reduces the time taken by the dentist to perform the procedure.
In certain extreme cases where restraining and sedation are not effective, general anesthesia can be administered as the last resort. Furthermore, this option can also be opted during excessively long surgical procedures where local anesthesia might not remain effective over prolonged periods. It can be concluded from the above discussion that these treatments should be used without hesitation whenever they are required, provided all the medical and dental precautions are kept in mind.
Are these Treatments Safe For My Child?
Dental procedures under sedation are performed by dental professionals who have acquired proper training in administration of sedation to children. Other dentists have hired full time dental anaesthesiologists who are responsible for the wellbeing of the child during sedation and anesthesia. Similarly, only restraining techniques that have been authorized by the respective dental licensing authority are utilized in the dental surgery. Therefore, these procedures are safe and risk free in trained hands.
Everyone knows that a balanced diet is helpful in ensuring good general health. However, very few people realize that a balanced diet is also responsible for good oral and dental wellbeing. This is because the oral cavity serves as the gateway to the digestive system, and all the ingested food first passes through the oral cavity where it is partially digested. Furthermore, the type of diet we have plays a vital role in determining our dental and general health. Children of all ages are especially at high risk of having carious teeth or developing other medical and dental problems if the parents are not conscious about their dietary intake.
What Not to Eat?
Carbohydrates and Fats
Any diet that is rich in carbohydrates and certain fats should be avoided. Children are especially fond of eating candies and chocolates, all of which contain an excessive amount of processed sugar. Furthermore, bakery products such as breads, pastries, cakes, and pasta, which contain refined carbohydrates, are even more dangerous for the children’s teeth. Research has shown that partial fermentation of the oral cavity starts right from the oral cavity, and as a result the local pH of the mouth is excessively reduced. This acidic environment is highly conducive for the growth and multiplication of caries-causing bacteria, and results in the appearance of widespread carious lesions in the oral cavity (cavities), particularly if the oral hygiene measures are not satisfactory.
Acidic foods and drinks such as lemon, grape and orange juices tend to remove the outer protective layer of the teeth known as the dental enamel, which results in tooth sensitivity every time a hot or cold drink is taken. Similarly, carbonated drinks which have been found to be highly acidic and possess surplus amounts of processed sugars, are detrimental to the integrity of the enamel. Hence, acidic soft drinks and beverages should not be a routine component of our daily diet. When they are consumed, however, the teeth should be brushed promptly.
Deficiency of some minerals such as Zinc, Calcium and phosphate in the daily diet is likely to reduce our body’s resistance to curb infection. Studies have shown that mineral deficiency can enhance to chances of periodontal and gingival infections within the oral cavity.
What to Eat
Dietary milk products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt are a rich reservoir of Calcium and few other essential nutrients. Dietary calcium, is highly beneficial in strengthening and development of bones and teeth. Some dairy products, such as yogurt, contain probiotics which are the good bacteria vital for both oral and digestive health. Look for brands that contain Less sugar, real sugar, and probiotics.
A protein rich diet such as meat, eggs, fish and milk are the best sources of phosphorous, which in conjunction with calcium, forms the building blocks for healthy teeth and bones.
Fruits and Vegetables
Almost all fruits and vegetables contain abundant quantities of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A and Vitamin C, that are essential not only in preventing oral infections, but also enhancing salivary flow which has antibacterial and anti-caries properties. In addition, natural sugars present in fruits and vegetables have been found “less harmful” than artificially sweetened products. The body is also able to process natural sugars found in fruit, opposed to artificial sugar which can be stored as fat.
The “Good Fats”
Omega 3 fatty acids, in contrast to other fatty diet components, are considered a beneficial dietary constituent, and not only improve general health, but also enhance resistance against periodontal. Gingival and other maxillofacial infections. Good fats can be found in milk, eggs, avocados, olive oil, and peanut butter.
A Final Word
A healthy diet is essential for maintaining an excellent physical and dental health. Apart from that, meticulous oral hygiene maintenance through regular tooth brushing and flossing is required to prevent incidence and progression of dental caries.
Before we discuss causes of late teething we must define what is meant by the term. The average infant will bring forth its first tooth between the ages of five months to seven months, and most children will have done so by about thirteen months.
Identifying Late Teething
Usually, all children have started teething by about eighteen months. So what is considered ‘late’? It all depends. The point could be any time after thirteen months, when ‘most children’ are expected to begin teething. This is the time when parents may start thinking of possible reasons for delay. It is important to remember that every child is different. Genetics affect all aspects of human life. Some families will have their teeth later than these ages, and some may even start teething at three months. Others may drool early, but teethe many months later. Teething discomfort varies as well, some children will have teeth erupt without discomfort, while other go through phases of much pain and fussiness.
If both of the parents began teething at the age of around fifteen months, then it would be normal to expect that their baby will teeth around that age, and may be even later. If both parents had been early teethers then we should expect the baby to bring its first pair of teeth rather early, and a ‘delay’ should be noted. Also keep in mind that there will be variation even among siblings. This is because the parents will contribute a different set of genes.
Other than genetics, there are typically two types of causes for ‘delay’ . It could be a nutritional deficiency or a medical condition. Nutritional deficiency will normally be indicated by an under-weight condition, or a weak physique. In such cases, children must be supplemented by formula milk. It is important that children in need of formula get milk rich in vitamins, especially vitamins A, C, and D. Minerals, calcium and phosphorus are also necessary. It is to be noted that nutritional deficiency, in some essentials, may also result if the feeding mother is weak or sick, or is not getting enough nutrition herself. Medical conditions may delay the arrival of teeth. Hypothyroidism is one cause. In such cases, the thyroid gland is not functioning well enough. Hypothyroidism will generally be accompanied by other indications, like slow growth, sluggish responses, lack of physical alertness, weight gain and slower learning of skills like walking and speech. Another medical condition could be weakness due to formula milk being unacceptable to the intestine of the child. It is said that low birth weight and anemia may also cause delayed teething.
If you suspect that your baby is taking too long to cut their first tooth, you should visit the dentist, who can then try to determine whether it is actually delayed, or it is simply natural.
Autism is a developmental disorder that affects one in every one thousand children. This disorder is more likely to affect boys than girls. Symptoms associated with Autism vary greatly and this is why dentists and other health care professionals need to make special considerations when treating children that are autistic. For example:
Many autistic children never develop proper verbal skills and this can make getting to proper diagnosis more challenging. Lack of eye contact is another symptom that will make it difficult for dentists to have the patients’ attention for long periods of time.
Physical contact, especially from strangers, is something that some autistic children will not like. In addition to physical contact, some children are ultra-sensitive to sounds, smells and bright lights, making routine dental visits challenging.
A daily routine is very important for autistic children and a new experience may cause stress and anxiety.
A few tips for parents when preparing a dental visit with your autistic child:
- Unless the office has their own, bring along a portable DVD player so you can play your child’s favorite movie to keep them calm and distracted.
- If you know that your child is sensitive to loud noises and bright lights, bring a pair of earplugs as well as sunglasses for them.
- Speak with the health care professional before the appointment to have a clear understanding of the office procedures. Also, ask any questions that you feel necessary to ensure the comfort of your child.
- Support the dentist/doctor in charge. Be a reassuring figure to your child, but have a passive attitude while the exam is being conducted.
- Be sure to follow the dental hygiene methods that your dentist may suggest.
Important tips for parents when in the dental office:
- Allow your child to tour the office and perhaps touch the equipment to let him or her get familiarized with the office
- They may need to travel with a favorite blanket or toy for comfort, so don’t tell them they can’t hold a particular item that they are fond of
- Give the dentist tips about your child and how they respond best
- Make the first appointment a positive, although short, experience
- avoid crowding your child, approach them in a quiet and friendly manner
- Talk calmly and use short, direct phrases when speaking to an autistic child. (avoid using words that have double meanings because they may be taken literally)
- Allow your child to sit in the exam chair so they can be accustomed to the exam setting and the surrounding environment.
- Explain, in terms that are easily understood, exactly what you are going to do next. Ask the hygienists and dentist to do the same.
- Tell your autistic child why and where you are going to touch them, especially when you are using a medical instrument.
- Use a bright light during the exam only when absolutely necessary.
- Hold your child’s hand as this may increase their comfort level.
- Mild sedation on young autistic children may be necessary to effectively complete the dental treatment.