6 Tips for Preventing Your Child from Getting Cavities

If your child seems to get cavities all the time, you may feel pretty frustrated. Many parents share your frustration. It’s estimated that 21 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 11 have had cavities. As a parent, there are things you can do to keep your child’s teeth in good shape.
Here are six tips for preventing your child from getting cavities.
 
Keep Sugary Snacks Out of the House
The more sugary snacks your child eats, the more likely cavities are to develop. Sugar can linger on the teeth for hours and create an attractive environment for bacteria. Mouth bacteria can feed off this sugar and create cavities and acids that attack tooth enamel. Enamel protects teeth, and when it wears down the teeth become more sensitive. That is why it is best to keep sweet treats out of the house.
If you allow your children to have the occasional sugary treat, have them rinse their mouth out with water afterward. Rinsing will wash away the sugar particles from the teeth and keep bacteria away.
Make Brushing More Fun
Tooth brushing is one of the most effective ways to keep cavities away. However, your child might not always get excited about brushing his or her teeth and may even avoid doing it some days. You can make the process a little more fun and then your child may become more motivated to brush his or her teeth every day.
You can make brushing fun by playing a fun song while brushing teeth, letting your child pick out a flavored toothpaste or even buying a toothbrush with your child’s favorite cartoon character.
Teach Your Child Not to Share Food or Drinks
It is likely that your child has shared food and drinks with others kids during lunchtime at school. Unfortunately, this can increase your child’s risk of cavities. If your child shares food or a drink with someone who has a cavity, that bacteria can transfer to your child’s mouth and cause decay. That is why you should stress to your little one to never share food or drinks with anyone else.
Never Skip Dental Checkups
It is important to start taking your child to regular dental visits as soon as his or her first tooth appears. During these checkups, your child’s dentist can check for tooth decay and other oral health issues and treat them accordingly.
There may be times when your child makes a fuss about going to visit the dentist. You can remind your child how fun dental visits can be by mentioning the dentist and dental hygienists who look forward to seeing your child. Remind your child that visiting the dentist every six months is one of the best ways to keep cavities away.
Consider Dental Sealants               
If your child is prone to cavities, you may want to have the dentist apply dental sealants to his or her teeth. Sealants block food particles and bacteria from reaching the teeth, protecting them from decay. Sealants are painless to apply, have no known side effects and usually last at least several years. Your child’s dentist will check on the sealants at every dental visit and reapply them if necessary.
Encourage Your Child to Eat Crunchy Fruits and Veggies
Another effective way to keep your child’s teeth in good shape is to feed him or her crunchy fruits and veggies, like celery, carrots and apples. They have an abrasive texture and can scrub plaque off of teeth, decreasing the risk of tooth decay. These fruits and veggies will also keep your child’s mouth moist.
If you follow these useful tips, you can help your child maintain healthy and cavity-free teeth. To learn more information about keeping your child’s oral health in good shape, contact Loftin Dental Family and Cosmetic Dentistry.

4 Things to Know Before Shopping for an Electric Toothbrush

If your dentist is still asking you to step up your oral hygiene practices, even though you faithfully brush and floss each day, you may consider turning to electric options. But there are so many that you can easily become overwhelmed and give up or even end up buying the wrong hundred-dollar toothbrush. Here are four things you need to know before you start shopping.
 
1. They Can Get Teeth a Lot Cleaner
Depending on how ninja your brushing skills are, an electric toothbrush may help you step up your game significantly. Not only does this offer better oral health long-term, but it can help you save money as well. After all, the faster you build up plaque and tartar, the more often you need professional dental cleanings.
You’ve probably heard your dentist’s recommendation to use short, quick strokes while brushing, but this can be very frustrating for some people. If you have a condition (such as carpal tunnel or even arthritis) that makes following this advice impossible, you may feel very frustrated in your attempts to keep your teeth clean. 
Even if you do have great fine motor skills and your wrists are healthy and super toned, it’s easy to brush one side of your mouth more thoroughly than the other. You may not even realize you’re doing this until the dentist asks if you’re left-handed because you have tooth decay on just one side of your mouth. In this case, an electric toothbrush can be invaluable.
2. The Technology Has Come a Long Way
If you tried out electric toothbrushes back when they were a new thing, you may have found them too bulky or too expensive for your taste. Permanently giving up on them isn’t necessary, though; modern electric toothbrushes are much more effective, affordable, and high-tech.
In addition to growing slimmer and losing the stratospheric price tag, electric toothbrush options now offer a multitude of options for all different tastes and needs. These include:
  • Sonic toothbrushes, which may deliver 30,000 strokes per minute or more
  • Antimicrobial toothbrush heads, such as those with a silver component
  • Ultrasonic toothbrushes, which create inaudible sound waves to clean your teeth
  • Toothbrush heads specifically designed to clean around braces
So once you know what you most need in a toothbrush (whether that be maximum cleaning power or maximum sensitivity), you can narrow your search accordingly.
3. Technique Is Everything
You’ve heard that technique is paramount when you’re using a manual toothbrush. Using an electric version is a different experience, but the technique is still crucial. Try these tips:
  • Develop a light touch. It’s easy to over-scour your teeth with such a powerful tool.
  • Spend only a couple of seconds in each spot. 
  • If your gums bleed or feel irritated, back off. 
  • Your teeth are softer just after eating, so wait a half hour before you brush. 
If your gums bleed regularly with your electric toothbrush even though you’re brushing lightly, check with your dentist. You may have gum disease, or you may just need a softer brush head.
4. Electric Isn’t The Be-All and End-All of Tooth Cleaning
No matter how miraculous your ultrasonic toothbrush may be, you still need to pair it with other good habits. Flossing is still a necessity, and antibacterial mouthwash can do more to kill the bacteria than your toothbrush can.
Likewise, electric toothbrushes can combine quite elegantly with a water flosser (sometimes they’re even sold as a unit). But you’ll still need to make time in your day for flossing. Unless your dentist recommends you only floss with a water flosser for a time, perhaps due to ultra-sensitive gums, your dental regime should not rely solely on electronic cleaning devices.
An electric toothbrush can be the answer to a dexterity problem and can deliver high-tech cleaning services. Since there are so many electric options tailored to different needs, talk with your dentist about which one is right for your gums and teeth. 
Loftin Dental Family and Cosmetic Dentistry is always here to help with your dental needs. If you live in our area, contact us anytime for more information about our dental services or to make an appointment.

3 Mistakes Women Make During Pregnancy That Damage Their Teeth

1. Munching On Ice

Whether you are pregnant during the summer months or you have been experiencing hot flashes because of higher hormone levels, you might be tempted to munch on a glass of ice whenever you feel warm. The common desire to chew ice has been tied to the condition Pica, which commonly occurs during pregnancy.

While the tie between pregnancy and pica remains a mystery, some researchers suspect iron deficiency to be the culprit, especially since most women become mildly anemic during pregnancy. Unfortunately, chewing ice can be severely detrimental to the teeth, especially if you munch away on large cubes.

When you chew ice, you subject your teeth to extremely cold temperatures, which can create microscopic cracks in the surface of your dental enamel. Additionally, the sharp edges of recently chewed ice cubes can present laceration hazards to your inner cheeks and lips, thus creating cuts that can lead to dangerous oral infections.

Dental fractures are another common problem for ice-chewers, leaving people with chipped teeth and molars that are more susceptible to decay.  

If you are pregnant and tend to crave ice, talk with your doctor about checking your iron levels and your dentist to see if you have sustained any injuries. If you have fractured teeth, your dentist might recommend composite resin bonding, a dental crown, and maybe even a root canal to save your tooth. 

2. Frequent Snacking

Since pregnant women need more calories than other people and have continuously changing hormone levels, snack cravings are incredibly common. Although it might seem harmless to give in to that desire for a bowl of ice cream or a sandwich at two in the morning, around-the-clock snacking can exacerbate tooth decay.

Whenever you eat, the acidity of your saliva changes slightly, softening dental enamel. While most people give their teeth ample time to recover from this pH change by eating meals a few times a day, frequent snacking lay the groundwork for decay by creating the perfect environment for oral bacteria to dissolve dental enamel.

In addition to having food particulates handy for bacteria to munch on, the acids bacteria produce can dissolve enamel faster, since it has already been softened by acidic saliva.

If you are pregnant, try to limit your snacking frequency by eating more during the times you choose to dine. Additionally, focus on enjoying healthier snacks with lower sugar contents, which won’t affect oral acidity as much.

3. Skipping Routine Dental Care

Sometimes, pregnant women decide to skip dental appointments completely during their pregnancies because they are worried about the environmental exposure to certain substances during their visits. However, the American Dental Association and the American Pregnancy Association have both stated that routine, preventive, and even restorative dental care is safe and recommended during pregnancy.

In addition to helping women to prevent pregnancy-related gingivitis, normal checkups can help dentists to spot complicating health problems that doctors may have missed. For instance, over 120 different conditions like diabetes and heart disease can show symptoms in the mouth and can be detected during a routine exam, helping women to find out about serious health problems and treat them proactively.  

Proper dental care during pregnancy is crucial you and your baby’s health, so schedule your next checkup today. Here at Loftin Dental Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, our entire team focuses on creating a comfortable experience for patients and their families, while simultaneously offering superior dental care. To book an appointment, give our office a call.