Friday, April 14, 2017

Could Your Child’s Teeth Cause Ear Infections?

Could Your Child’s Teeth Cause Ear Infections?

Researchers have debated whether malocclusion—a less-than-ideal bite pattern, such as crossbite—plays a role in the development of middle ear infections (otitis media). Now, a recently published study says that the two conditions may be linked after all.

Middle ear infections occur when fluid builds up behind the eardrum. Symptoms of acute otitis media include redness, pain, fever and often pus. A second type, called otitis media with effusion, is more common and can be caused by an infection, allergies and exposure to irritants such as cigarette smoke. Both types can cause hearing problems, and repeat infections can cause scarring.

The study examined 50 children between 6 and 8 years of age, including 25 children with ear infections and 25 healthy children who formed a control group. Children in both groups were given an ear, nose and throat examination, and dental casts were made of the children’s mouths so measurements could be taken.

The researchers then looked at the relationships between these measurements and the children’s tonsils and adenoids to determine whether the examination findings and bite patterns were associated. They found that 76% of the children in the ear infection group, a significant number, had posterior crossbite malocclusion (a malocclusion involving the back teeth).

Despite the results of this study, earlier research examining the relationship between ear infection and malocclusion patterns has been less conclusive. In fact, both a 1998 study of 112 children under 6 years of age and a 2010 study of 100 children from 4 to 10 years of age found no relationship between bite patterns and ear infections.

So what does this mean for you as a parent? If your child has ear infections, let Dr. Jared at KiDDS Dental know. We can evaluate your child to see if he/she may benefit from having his or her bite analyzed. If a malocclusion does exist, you can consider options for having it corrected.

The effect of poor bite patterns can extend far beyond ear infections. Malocclusion can cause many oral health problems, including abnormal tooth wear, tooth decay and eventual tooth loss. A bite analysis performed early may prevent these more serious conditions from developing later in life.

Dr. Jared would love to discuss further information on the correlation between ear infections and malocclusion patterns. Call us to schedule an appointment today! (509)-891-7070.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Could Tooth Grinding Cause Your Child’s Headaches?

Could Tooth Grinding Cause Your Child’s Headaches?

Childhood headaches are always concerning to parents, especially when they occur on a regular basis. Headaches can occur for a variety of reasons, including anxiety over schoolwork or peer issues and even uncorrected vision problems. But one of the most common sources of childhood headaches is also one of the most commonly overlooked, and it starts right in your child’s mouth.

Chronic bruxism—tooth grinding and clenching—is a common habit that affects about a third of children, often persisting into adulthood. What’s worse, tooth grinding or jaw clenching often occurs at night, making it difficult to self-diagnose. While no one is entirely sure why children tend to grind their teeth, many researchers believe it may occur as a response to anxiety, stress or pain such as an earache. Bruxism also appears to be strongly associated with misaligned teeth that do not fit together properly. Headaches result from jaw muscles that clench tightly while grinding, resulting in muscle tension and soreness.

Dr. Jared and his clinical team have experience in treating bruxism successfully. If your child’s teeth do not line up properly, we may be able to gently grind the surfaces of the teeth to eliminate any raised spots that may keep teeth from meeting as they should. We may also prescribe a mouthguard for your child to wear at night that can protect teeth and keep jaw muscles from becoming sore.

There are five steps you can take as well:

Step 1: Listen closely. You may actually be able to hear grating sounds coming from your child’s mouth during sleep.

Step 2: Gently massage your child’s jaw to help loosen stiff muscles.

Step 3: Reduce stress before bed by reading a funny story or engaging in another relaxing ritual.

Step 4: Make sure your child drinks lots of water during the day; some experts believe that dehydration can cause tooth grinding or exacerbate headaches.

Step 5: Have your child visit us regularly. Even when you cannot hear or see evidence of grinding and clenching, we can recognize subtle signs, like tooth wear, left behind by bruxism.

Everyone gets headaches, and an occasional bout is probably nothing to worry about. But if your child suffers from headaches regularly, talk to both your pediatrician and Dr. Jared to rule out more serious underlying conditions and to help your child be as healthy and pain-free as possible.

Give us a call at (509)-891-7070 to schedule today!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Choosing the Right Mouthwash for Your Child

Choosing the Right Mouthwash for Your Child

It can be hard enough getting children to brush and floss their teeth; is it really necessary to add mouthwash to the mix? According to the American Dental Association, mouthwash can help prevent gingivitis, combat bacteria in the mouth and, if the mouthwash contains fluoride, reduce cavities. And for children who are not always the most diligent brushers, this extra step can actually do a lot of good. Remember that mouthwash is not a substitute for routine brushing and flossing.

After the age of six, most children can begin to incorporate mouthwash into their oral health routine. Younger children are not adept at the swish-and-spit process and may swallow too much of the fluid. Always instruct children younger than 12 years of age in good rinsing habits. Supervise as necessary to minimize swallowing. You can show your child how to use the mouthwash by using it yourself. When your child uses mouthwash, start by diluting it with water to make it less potent until he or she gets the hang of spitting it all out.

It is important to choose a mouthwash that your child will actually want to use as well as one that is safe for children. Most children’s mouthwashes contain fluoride to give young teeth an extra boost. Some brands have special dyes that show your child the location of bacteria and food in the mouth; they may find this feature intriguing. Child-friendly mouthwashes also contain less alcohol and come in fun flavors like bubble gum or grape. For those who prefer natural options, there are products on the market that use naturally derived ingredients, such as xylitol, baking soda and essential oils.

Mouthwashes marketed to adults can be used, as well, but these are best used by teens. Young children often end up swallowing more mouthwash than they should, and adult mouthwashes may contain higher levels of ingredients that are harmful if ingested in large amounts.

Before using a new mouthwash, always check with Dr. Jared at KiDDS Dental to make sure that it is safe for children—and happy swishing!

Give us a call at (509)-891-7070 to schedule today. We'd love to meet you and your family.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Choose the Right Toothbrush for Your Child

Choose the Right Toothbrush for Your Child

Teaching children to brush regularly is essential to keeping their teeth and gums healthy. But with so many toothbrush types on the market—disposable, battery-powered, electronic—how do you choose the one that is best for your child while meeting your budget considerations?

While it is important to select a toothbrush appropriate to your child’s age, size and special needs, your child should also like using the toothbrush. Children who like their toothbrush will be more likely to brush regularly and properly. If your child is old enough, let him or her help pick out a new toothbrush.

Dr. Jared and his clinical team can advise you in this important choice. Here are some additional suggestions:

  • Select a toothbrush that has an American Dental Association Seal of Approval. This will ensure that the construction and materials of the toothbrush are appropriate for children.
  • Pick an age-appropriate toothbrush. Most children’s toothbrushes have the recommended age range printed on the box. If the brush head is too small or too large, it will not reach all areas of your child’s mouth. The handle should feel comfortable so that your child will be able to use it properly.
  • Choose soft bristles. A child’s teeth and gums are more sensitive than an adult’s, especially when the child is teething. A soft-bristled brush cleans teeth well without wearing away tooth enamel or gum tissue. The bristled end of the toothbrush should be small and round, so that the child will not be hurt if his or her hand slips while brushing.
  • Choose a special brush for braces. Children who wear braces may do better with special orthodontic toothbrushes that have bristles altered to reach hard-to-clean areas.
  • Disposable or battery powered? Both types can effectively keep teeth and gums healthy. The choice may depend on your child’s preferences and age, as well as the evaluation of your pediatric dentist.
  • Options and attractions. Child-friendly toothbrush designs make the brushing experience fun and may be more effective. Some brushes feature cartoon characters or a variety of colors. Several models play music or flash timed colored lights to let your child know how long to brush. 

Whichever choice you make, be sure to replace your child’s toothbrush as recommended, usually every three months for the average disposable brush. KiDDS Dental is your best resource in the choice and maintenance of the right toothbrush for your child’s oral health.

Call us to schedule an appointment today! (509)-891-7070.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Children’s Dental X-rays—Safer than Ever

Children’s Dental X-rays—Safer than Ever

A 2012 study from the Yale University School of Medicine that found an association between dental x-rays in children and an increased risk of a particular type of brain tumor received a great deal of publicity in the media and may well have scared many parents. However, media coverage tended to leave out several important factors suggesting that there was less to worry about than first appeared, including the fact that many of the patients with brain tumors were older people who had undergone dental x-rays decades ago, when the amount of radiation exposure was significantly higher than it is today.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has issued guidelines on dental x-rays for infants, children and adolescents. These guidelines, which were officially reviewed at the time of the 2012 study, note that x-rays are a valuable tool for diagnosing oral diseases, and monitoring dentofacial development and the progress of therapy. Since every patient is unique, we base decisions about the need for dental x-rays on each child’s individual circumstances.

We use x-rays when we expect that the results will have an impact on patient care. We weigh the benefits of obtaining radiographs against any risks to your child from radiation exposure. The use of lead aprons, thyroid collars and high-speed film minimize your child’s exposure to radiation. Our equipment at KiDDS Dental and procedures conform to the As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) standard for radiation exposure.

Children may require x-rays more often than adults because their teeth and jaws are still developing, and their teeth are more likely to be affected by tooth decay than are those of adults. Certain oral conditions cannot be diagnosed except through the use of x-rays. Some of these conditions, if left untreated, can be a much greater health threat than the radiation from dental x-rays. Dental x-rays are a valuable diagnostic tool that can help preserve your child’s health.

If you have further questions regarding dental x-rays, click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jared. Or give us a call at (509)-891-7070. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Floss Madness 2017

Facebook in no way endorses or promotes this contest. It is solely promoted by KiDDS Dental.
The Rules:

KiDDS Dental's Floss Madness Bracket Contest begins February 15, 2017 and ends March 14, 2017.  By submitting a bracket, each entrant agrees to the rules and states that they are 18 years or older.

Who may enter: Adults 18 years or older are eligible to complete a bracket. KiDDS Dental will determine the eligibility of each bracket submitted at its sole discretion. Employees of KiDDS Dental and their immediate families (spouse, parents, siblings, children, in-laws) are not eligible to enter. Winner must be available to pick up prize at KiDDS Dental in Liberty Lake, WA by April 7, 2017.

How to enter: Go the the KiDDS Dental Facebook page and click on the Floss Madness tab. Follow the prompts there to complete your bracket. Entrant must complete the entire bracket to be considered a successful entry. 

How to win: Members of the KiDDS Dental team will participate in "Floss Races" according the the bracket assignments posted. Contests will run March 15, 2017 through April 3, 2017. Points will be distributed based on correct predictions at each bracket level.

Judging:  The entrant with the most points will be the winner. In the case of multiple entrants sharing the same high score, those entrants will be entered into a random drawing. Winner will be notified on or before April 7, 2017.

Odds: Actual odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries.

Decisions: By entering into the promotion, entrants agree to abide by and be bound by these official rules, and to accept the decision of KiDDS Dental as final.  Entrants also agree to hold KiDDS Dental harmless from any liability arising from participation in this promotion. KiDDS Dental is not responsible for entries not received because of technical difficulties. KiDDS Dental reserves the right to disqualify any entrant who fails to follow these official rules or uses fraudulent means in participating. If for any reason this promotion is not able to be conducted as planned, KiDDS Dental reserves the right to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend this promotion and randomly draw from the entries received up to the cancellation/suspension date.

Prize:  The entrant deemed the winner will receive a certificate for two to Mica Moon Zip Tours valued at $225. Winner must be available to pick up prize at KiDDS Dental by 4 PM on April 7, 2017 or prize will be forfeited. Winners must sign a media release and will be responsible for paying any taxes they may owe on a prize.

Publicity: Winner agrees to permit KiDDS Dental to use his/her name and likeness in promotional and other KiDDS Dental materials, without additional compensation or permission, except where prohibited by law.

This promotion is void where prohibited.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Children’s Mouth Rinses—Are They Safe?

From breath freshening to cavity prevention, mouth rinses and mouthwashes claim to improve your child’s oral hygiene. But are these products really a good choice for your family?

For children under the age of 6, the answer is usually no. Youngsters can’t really handle the responsibility of properly swishing and spitting.

For older children, however, mouth rinses and mouthwashes specifically for children are a great option. These typically do not contain alcohol. There are even products made from naturally derived ingredients for those who are trying to avoid chemicals. Children’s products also come in child-friendly flavors, making the mouth rinse and mouthwash portion of your child’s dental routine a treat.

These children’s products usually fall into one of three categories: fluoride/anticavity mouthwashes, breath-freshening mouthwashes, and mouth rinses that color the teeth to make brushing more fun and effective. The latter type is usually used before your child brushes, turning the teeth a colored hue so your child can see where he or she needs to brush.

Mouthwashes are made to act as a final, thorough step in the dental routine, rinsing away any leftover debris or bacteria. They also may contain fluoride and other anticavity, antibacterial ingredients that help prevent decay. Children undergoing orthodontic treatment may find mouthwashes especially beneficial, because they can reach spots that brushing alone cannot.

To make sure your children are using mouth rinse and mouthwash safely, stick to products designed for their age group. Show your children how to use mouthwash by demonstrating how to swish and spit, rather than swallow, and let them know why it’s unsafe to ingest the rinse. The major risk of using these rinses is fluoride overdose, which can result in white stains forming on the teeth, or in the worst case, severe illness. By monitoring your children’s mouth rinse and mouthwash use, you can avoid accidental ingestion and make them a positive addition to your children’s oral health routine.

Using mouth rinse and mouthwash is an easy way for your children to achieve and maintain good oral health. Just be sure to choose the right ones. Our clinical staff at KiDDS Dental can help you show your children how to use them and avoid risk.

We'd love to meet you and your family! Give us a call at (509)-891-7070 to schedule today.