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Serving Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada since 1999.

We are always looking for ways to prevent tooth decay. Most of us are aware of the traditional methods, such as brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily. Fortunately, there are dental sealants, a dental procedure which produces significant protection from tooth decay. Dental sealants are a great way to ward off tooth decay in the grooves of our teeth. Many of us have an inherent weakness in the structural formation in the grooves of our teeth. Weakness in the grooves on the top surface of our teeth allows food and bacteria to stick and stay. This creates a highly concentrated environment of cavity causing bacteria which are very difficult to thoroughly remove.  Dental sealants can help young children, teens, and adults prevent cavities.

How Do Dental Sealants Work?

Our teeth are formed with grooves and pits in them that can trap foods. When  food particles become trapped, there is a marked increase in probability of tooth decay. The longer the food debris stays, the more likely it is that tooth decay will begin. With proper dental hygiene, we are able to remove most of the food debris and dental plaque before it does any damage. For many with deeper grooves in their teeth, toothbrushes are unable to adequately get inside of the grooves leaving bacteria and food behind. Sealants are placed to help those with deeper, uncleansable, grooves.

Dental sealants are generally recommended to all children as their permanent premolars and molars erupt into the mouth. The dental sealant is a thin resin that is painted onto the biting surface of teeth. The thin resin then bonds down into the base of the grooves in the tooth’s surface. This resin will fill in those narrow grooves decreasing the chances of tooth decay developing in those teeth. The smooth surface makes it easier for you to maintain good dental hygiene. Even though the chance of tooth decay on the biting surfaces has decreased, tooth decay is still possible. The other surfaces of the teeth are still unprotected and the dental sealant does not last forever. They generally last about 5-8 years before needing to be reapplied.

Dental Sealants Conclusion

Dental sealants are a great preventive method for all ages. The most common cavities are those found in the grooves of our teeth. Dental sealants will definitely decrease the chances of developing tooth decay on the biting surfaces of your premolars and molars. Dental sealants provide you an opportunity to gain an extra edge in the fight against tooth decay. Dental sealants are placed in a painless manner, are relatively inexpensive, and long lasting. Ask your dentist if any of your teeth should be sealed and protected, because not all teeth need sealants. Remember to maintain regular visits to the dentist for dental examinations and professional cleanings.

As our children head back to school, we have a list of items on our checklist to get done. Usually this list includes shopping for new school clothes and buying essential books but dental check ups are often overlooked. Recent research has shown many students falling behind educationally because of poor oral care. During the long summer vacation those regular routines of brushing and flossing often suffer. To help avoid issues popping up during the school year that could potentially lead to loss of classroom time it would be wise to consider a visit to the dentist prior to starting school.

Why Is A Regular Dental Cleaning And Examination Important?

Seeing your dentist regularly has many benefits to an adult as well as a child. What goes on at these visits?

-Review Of Medical History. Study after study has shown that there is a direct link between our oral health and our general health. Regularly updating your child’s medical history will keep you up to date to any changes that may be occuring in your child’s health. This allows the dental team to make the necessary adjustments to your child’s treatment. Some of these changes could include changes in medications, recent surgeries or injuries, or even changes in your child’s vitamin routine. What may seem trivial to you could have definite implications to your child’s dental treatment.

-Dental X-Rays. Not every routine dental visit will include dental x-rays. For most children, they are recommended to be taken once a year. Dental x-rays give the dentist and hygienist a clearer window into the your dental health. Tooth decay, periodontal disease, and tumors can be detected using x-rays.

-Periodontal Examination. This includes examining your glands, periodontal tissues, lips, and tongue to ensure everything looks and feels normal. Routinely, your hygienist will perform a periodontal screening which includes checking around each individual tooth for the presence of bone loss. While advanced periodontal disease is rare in children it can occur. More likely, gingivitis will occur which appears as red, puffy gum tissue that easily bleeds when brushing. This is especially important for teenagers as their hormone levels are changing making them more susceptible to developing periodontal disease. Also, gingivitis can show up in the form of bad breath. Which can be socially awkward for our teens.

-Teeth Scaling And Polish. This should include using both ultrasonic instruments as well as hand instruments. The ultrasonic instruments are used to debride and remove debris above the gum line. While hand instruments are used to attack areas below the gum line to ensure all the plaque and tartar are effectively removed. Stains can also be removed using these instruments. And finally, your hygienist will polish your teeth to make them smooth and shiny.

-Fluoride Treatment. Fluoride is an important mineral in the health of our teeth. It occurs naturally in many foods as well as water. During the course of our daily lives, our teeth are constantly losing and gaining fluoride through two processes: remineralization (adding fluoride) and demineralization (losing fluoride). When there is more demineralization than remineralization tooth decay occurs.

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to attacks from acid, plaque bacteria, and sugars in the mouth. It also has the ability to reverse very early tooth  decay.  It is most definitely important for children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years to be exposed to fluoride. This is the time period during which the primary and permanent teeth develop and erupt into the mouth. Fluoride also helps speed remineralization as well as disrupts acid production in already erupted teeth of both children and adults.

-Dental Examination. During this examination your dentist will discuss with the hygienist anything that they may have found during their examination. This is important because the dentist can then pay particular attention to certain areas to ensure the proper treatment plan is developed. Following the examination, your dentist will discuss with you if any treatment is needed.

-Patient Education. An educated patient makes the best choices for his/her dental care and this includes children. Therefore this part is just as important as any other part. Your dentist or hygienist might use visual aids, like a disclosing solution, to show areas that you may need work to on at home. Demonstrations of proper flossing and brushing technique may also be shown at this time.

Benefits Of Back To School Dental Visits

-Increased Health. Your child will benefit from receiving the best possible dental care in a timely manner before problems get out of hand.

-Increased Self Confidence. A healthy smile will increase ones self confidence allowing them to perform better socially and at school.

-Increased Educationally Opportunities. By staying on top of their dental health, your children will not be forced to miss classroom time to tend to their dental issues.

-Better Focus. Knowing that your dental health is on track will relieve you and your children of any worry as the year progresses.

Conclusion

As you can see above there are many benefits to having your child see your dentist regularly. Best of all you are setting them on a path to maintaining their dental health and their smiles for a lifetime.

Back to school for kids is always a nervous and exciting time for children and parents alike. What teacher will they get? Will their friends be in the in class with them?

One often overlooked item is school lunch and their associated snacks. Most schools these days have certain policies of trying to be more healthy and better educate kids and parents in nutrition.

As you head back to school, keep in mind what kind of foods and beverages you are giving your children to keep them energized going through their day. Many research studies have shown the importance of nutrition and its role in academic success. A good lunch (and healthy breakfast) can give kids the energy they need to stay focused throughout the entire school day.

Some parents choose to pack their children’s lunch box with fruit juice and other sweet drinks such as Gatorade. Cookies, fruit gummies, and candy bars are also chosen quite often for kids lunch snacks. Most children have little to no chance to practice dental hygiene while at school. As a result, these children are placed  at an increased risk for tooth decay. Remember that it is not just how much sugar our kids consume that causes tooth decay it is the length of time the sugar is left in the mouth, and sticky sugars stay the longest.

Tips For Choosing Healthy Lunches and Snacks

-Involve your kids in decisions.Make a grocery list, get kids excited about shopping for items for their lunchboxes. Teach them the proper food choices to make and understand why bad choices are bad for them. Also, gives them control of what they are eating. A child who chooses their lunch and helps prepare their own food is more likely to eat it. Colorful, fun wrappings, baggies and containers make items more visually appealing too.

-Think High Protein. Chicken, tuna, and egg salads can contain a lot of protein, which is great for a mid day pick me up. Do not use heavy amounts of Mayonnaise, as it is high in fat content. A good substitute many kids love is plain regular or greek yogurt, or olive oil mayo.

-Make Whole Wheat, whole grain choices. Try whole wheat bread, pitas, bagels, or sandwich thins to keep sandwiches interesting and healthy. Brown rice, wheat or brown rice pasta,with beans, veggies or cheese,  are a great alternative as well. Whole grains stick with you longer than white flour breads, and are not converted to sugar directly in your mouth as white flour and white rice are.

-Vegetables can be FUN! Vegetables can be made interesting for children by pairing them with fun dips. These dips can include low fat ranch, peanut butter, and hummus. Bright colorful pasta salads, and colorful veggie/bean salads are delicious and satisfying.

-Keep warm foods warm, cold foods cold with a Thermos, or ice pack. Use a thermos to pack favorite soups (like chicken soup or even meatballs) and leftovers and keep them warm until lunchtime arrives, many snack containers come with convenient re freezable inserts to keep foods cool. Kids love hot meals at lunch in winter time, and cool, refreshing treats in summer.

-Make sandwiches interesting. Use a cookie cutter to create fun sandwich shapes like dinosaurs, stars, or even hearts, you can even shape fruits such as pineapple and melon with cookie cutters.

-Avoid sweets and candy. Instead of sweets or candy, try fun packs of squeezable applesauce, fresh fruit, nuts, yogurt, baked potato chips, wheat pretzels and cheese as snacks.

-If kids buy lunch at school review the school lunch menu at the beginning of the week with your child, and decide with your children the days that they would like to buy lunch and what choices are best for them.

-Chew Gum after meal. A chewing gum that is sweetened with xylitol is an excellent way to help prevent cavities.  Chewing gum, helps pull some of the stickier items out from between teeth, it also increases saliva which reduces the acid content in the mouth, and the xylitol inhibits cavity causing bacteria. It is easy to pack a piece of chewing gum in lunch box for a child to chew for a few minutes ( or have them count to 50) after lunch, and a napkin to place it in after chewing. Make sure to instruct them to dispose of gum when discarding other lunch trash, and NOT to bring it to recess. This habit will reduce sugar and acid content in mouth, and lower the risk of tooth decay.

Hope everyone has a great school year and keeps up their dental hygiene and schedules dental examinations as needed.

Dental hygiene is often overlooked when it comes to our newborn babies. After all, a new parent has so  much to deal with so it is quite understandable for dental hygiene to take a back seat. However, recent research has uncovered a possible link between a mother’s oral health and their child’s. This is likely due to shared lifestyle components between mother and child. They share similar genetic backgrounds, shared environments, and shared knowledge/attitude towards dental hygiene. Mothers can also share their oral bacteria with their children. Previous research has shown mothers with high salivary levels of mutans strptococci (MS) are more likely to have children with high levels of MS in their oral bacteria profile. The reverse is children with high levels of tooth decay are more likely to have mothers with high levels of MS.

Oral Health Research

The research was completed at several universities in California with 200+ pregnant women entering their 2nd trimester. The saliva was tested at various points during pregnancy and at 4, 9, 12, 24, and 36 months following birth. All were also given dental examinations throughout the research. All of the mothers included in the study had experience tooth decay prior to the study.  At the 36 month mark, more than 1/3 of all children had dental decay. The study concluded that mothers with high levels of MS were more likely to have children with high levels of MS. On the other hand mothers with lowered levels of MS were more likely to have caries free children.

Dental Health Tips For Moms

-Drink Lots Of Water. Drinking water is not only good for our bodies but also for our teeth. We tend to snack more when we are going from different events with little to no time to worry about our dental health. Drinking water will keep you and your kids hydrated but it will also reduce the effects of frequent snacking on your teeth. Rinsing with water following snacking will help reduce the food trapped between our teeth as well as reduce the acidic levels which lead to tooth decay. Flavored waters and gatorade are loaded with sugar, so stay away from sugary beverages.

-Travel Toothbrushes And Floss. These compact brushes and floss picks are great for a quick toothbrushing and flossing in the back of the car before going to a new event. They will not only keep your teeth clean but they can also freshen your breath. Many travel toothbrushes already have toothpaste on them. Wetting the brush will release the toothpaste.

-Snack Wisely. Not all snacks are created equally when it comes to our teeth. Snacks high in sugar and carbohydrates are worse for our teeth over the course of a long day. Choose snacks like fresh fruits, Not “fruit snacks”, (which tend to stick and stay between the teeth ) raw vegetables, lentil chips, edamame, milk, cheese, granola, whole wheat crackers, and nuts. You can even make quick oatmeal cookies by mixing an overripe banana with plain oatmeal or flavored instant oatmeal and placing spoonfuls on a cookie sheet with parchment paper, bake at 325 about 20 minutes. These can be eaten as a meal or a snack.

-Drink Sugary Drinks Through A Straw. Due to the sugary deposits left in the mouth, using a straw while drinking the soda will have less contact with the teeth. Of course, it is better to avoid sugary beverages entirely, but if you must do them, use precautions and drink water directly after.

-Chew Gum. Pack sugar free gum that contains Xylitol (sugar substitute) to help kill bacteria in the mouth after eating during the day. Gum will also help pull food particles off the teeth and stimulate saliva flow to help neutralize acids.

-Keep A Set Of Toothbrushes By The Kitchen Sink. When mealtime needs to be rushed, most kids will not go back to the bathroom to go and brush. If the toothbrushes are right there when the dishes are going in the sink, they are more likely to find the time to brush and rinse after the meal.

-Use Fluoride Rinses. Be sure to have children rinse with a fluoride rinse before bed, this should help strengthen teeth and make cavities less likely to happen.

-Prepack Your Fridge. If you have pre-made sandwiches and healthy snacks like washed grapes, apple slices, or cheese cubes in ziploc bags, it is easy to grab what you need and not have to stop for unhealthy fast foods, donuts, and snacks.

-Educate your kids. When kids learn about making healthier choices, have them readily available, and start to enjoy the bag of fresh berries over the flaming hot cheetos they will start feeling better and enjoy a more healthy lifestyle.

-Don’t eat gummies! For some reason, packaged processed “fruit snacks” have become a new food group. Parents are under the false impression that they are healthy. They do not take the place of fresh fruit, and are one of the leading causes of tooth decay in toddlers and children. Remember, natural cane sugar is still sugar. When it sticks and stays between your child’s teeth, it will cause decay.

Conclusion

We cannot change the oral bacteria profile we develop as a child but we can do our best to manage what we are given. This should include diligent at home dental care along with regular dental visits. This will ensure a healthy smile for a lifetime.