Friday, May 20, 2016

Antibiotics and Cavities

Antibiotics and Cavities

A large-scale 2009 study investigated whether a child’s taking of antibiotics before the age of 2 had anything to do with the development of tooth decay (dental caries) later on. The researchers found a definite association between taking antibiotics at age 0 to 12 months or 
13 to 18 months and the later development of early childhood caries.

From such results, one could surmise that the antibiotics themselves are a direct cause of caries that appears months or years after they have been taken.

However, other, possibly more logical, possibilities may exist. Perhaps, if a child is often sick (he is, after all, taking antibiotics), parents may provide extra “treats”—quite possibly sugary treats—to make the child feel “better.” And we are all aware that sugar has been proven to cause tooth decay.

Importantly, children taking antibiotics during the first year of life often take antibiotics in subsequent years. Since such children were presumably deemed ill more often than children who didn’t take antibiotics, they would be more likely to have taken more over-the-counter medications, like cough syrups and acetaminophen. These preparations often contain sugar, contributing to caries just as a sugary snack might.

The infections themselves that the antibiotics were prescribed to treat could also eventually contribute to early childhood caries. In fact, some infections have been linked to developmental enamel defects, a possible springboard to tooth decay.

While more research about the antibiotics–early childhood tooth decay link is needed, we at KiDDS Dental recommend that if your child has taken antibiotics before the age of 18 months, be extra-vigilant about dental visits and oral hygiene in the next few years to help prevent problems and to treat those that do develop as early as possible.

If you have any further questions regarding antibiotics or your child's health click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jared. Or give us a call at (509)-891-7070.

Friday, May 6, 2016

ABCs of Oral Health: Z Is for Zinc

ABCs of Oral Health: Z Is for Zinc
Zinc formulations have become popular nutritional supplements. Adult bodies have only two grams of zinc—a tiny fraction of an ounce. Yet that small amount of zinc is crucial for certain functions, including the senses of taste and smell. Would a zinc supplement be right for your child? 
How does zinc affect oral health? At least one study focusing on children showed that compared with those taking a placebo syrup, children taking zinc developed less gingivitis (gum swelling), presumably from reduced plaque formation. Indeed, some toothpastes contain a zinc compound because of some credible evidence that zinc can keep plaque formation down. Another study showed that mouthwash or chewing gum containing zinc chloride significantly reduced formation of sulfur-rich compounds that contribute to bad breath. Evidence is inconclusive about zinc’s ability to help canker sores heal.
In medical use, zinc helps heal adult stomach ulcers. Some evidence exists for its beneficial role in treating acne and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and in boosting immune function. There are those who swear by zinc at the first sign of a common cold to decrease the cold’s length and minimize its symptoms.
Zinc deficiency is uncommon, but the condition is marked by frequent infections, hair loss, nerve and olfactory dysfunction, skin sores, slow-healing wounds and trouble seeing in the dark. If your child seems to suffer from any combination of these symptoms, Dr. Jared would love to discuss ways zinc supplements could help improve your child's health.
On the other hand, if after taking zinc supplements your child has diarrhea and stomach cramps and/or is vomiting, he or she is showing signs of a zinc overdose. Again, take your child to KiDDS Dental.

We’ll be happy to speak with you in more detail about the pros and cons of zinc supplements for oral health at your child’s next appointment.
Give us a call at 509-891-7070 to schedule today!