Friday, September 29, 2017

Does Breastfeeding Prevent Early Childhood Cavities?

Does Breastfeeding Prevent Early Childhood Cavities?
Parents often wonder whether the choice of breastfeeding will help reduce a baby’s risk of developing dental cavities in future years. Can primarily nursing an infant instead of bottle-feeding truly make a dental difference? The answer turns out to be—maybe. What’s actually most important is to keep your child’s mouth as free of sugar as possible at all times. Just about any residual food or liquid particles, other than pure water, that are left in the mouth contain sugar or compounds that become sugar. Surprisingly, that includes breast milk as well as formula.
Cavities are actually a bacterial infection, usually caused by Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans). Because this bacterium is so common, your infant almost surely has it once he or she has one or more teeth. S. mutans can feed on any small particle of sugar left on that tooth. After consuming the sugar, the bacteria produce acid, and this residual acid causes decay.
Keeping your baby’s mouth sugar-free means cleaning his or her gums with a soft cloth after every feeding, even if no teeth have yet emerged. As an added benefit, your infant will get used to good oral hygiene, so transitioning later to toothbrushing will be easier.
Also key is not letting your infant drift off to sleep during feedings. Sugar residue remains in the mouth whether your child is drinking breast milk, formula or any other nonwater beverage. What’s more, babies (like all human beings) produce less saliva while sleeping, so those sugar particles are less likely to be “rinsed” away.
Breast milk does contain natural chemicals that are beneficial in many ways; one even offers some resistance to S. mutans. And compared with formula or juice, breast milk contributes relatively little to acid production in your child’s mouth. Still, lengthy nighttime nursing is risky for future development of cavities.

At your next visit to KiDDS Dental, we’ll tell you more about how to properly care for your infant’s teeth to help him or her get a good start in avoiding cavities, whether fed primarily by breast or bottle.
Give us a call at (509)-891-7070 to schedule today!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Diabetes and Bad Breath

Diabetes and Bad Breath

A child with type 1 diabetes presents special challenges to a parent. Maintaining your child’s proper blood sugar levels through diet is likely your primary concern. But maintaining your child’s oral health should also be high on the list, not only because diabetes can lead to cavities and periodontal disease but also because it can cause bad breath.

When there is too little insulin in the blood or when insulin resistance is too high, the body utilizes fats instead of glucose to provide energy. That process produces ketones, an acidic waste product that can be excreted on the breath.

High sugar levels in the blood can also lead to high sugar levels in saliva. Because bacteria thrive in high-sugar environments, people with diabetes are much more prone to cavities and periodontal disease, which also can cause bad breath.

If your child has diabetes, it is important that you be extra vigilant about his or her blood sugar regulation and dental care so that the diabetes does not lead to bad breath and other dental conditions. To maintain a healthy mouth, we recommend the following tips for your child:
  • Brush the teeth at least twice a day, and floss once a day.
  • Brush the tongue as well, because it is a breeding place for bacteria.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat a healthy diet with few sugary foods and drinks.
  • Visit us regularly.

If your child has type 1 diabetes, be sure to let our office know so that we can provide him or her with optimal dental care. Between visits at KiDDS Dental, it is also important that you and your child remain focused on dental hygiene. Together, we can prevent many of the oral conditions associated with diabetes so that your child maintains a healthy mouth as he or she grows into adulthood.

If you have further questions about diabetes and bad breath, click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jared. Or give us a call at (509)-891-7070.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Devour Some Good Children’s Books About Oral Health

Devour Some Good Children’s Books About Oral Health

Reading to children is important for a myriad of reasons, but there’s one you may not have thought about: promoting dental health. Dental caries (tooth decay) is actually the most common infectious disease affecting children in the United States. Cavities in baby teeth can affect dental health for a lifetime, and getting fillings can have painful—and financial—consequences. The best way to help your children avoid dental problems is to make sure they practice good oral hygiene from a very early age.
Picture books are a great way to bring oral health concepts to life. They can help explain the whys and hows of teeth to young children. Some books focus on proper brushing technique, such as Brushing Well by Helen Frost; Brush Your Teeth, Please by Leslie McGuire; and Ready, Set, Brush! featuring the characters from Sesame Street. Author Sally Huss’ Who Needs Teeth? focuses more on the importance of teeth, while other books like Sugarbug Doug by dentist Ben Magleby describe in child-friendly terms how cavities happen.
New experiences can be scary for children, and going to the dentist for the first time is no exception. Sharing stories with your child about dental visits can help demystify the process and may even get him or her excited about going. A number of your children’s favorite characters have books on this topic, such as the Berenstain Bears, Curious George, Dora the Explorer and Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter. If your child does get a cavity, you can prepare her or him for what’s to come with Lisa M. Herrington’s I Have a Cavity.
For older children, losing primary teeth can be a big deal. Help prepare them with titles such as Loose Tooth by Lola M. Schaefer and The Night Before the Tooth Fairy by Natasha Wing. School-age children may also enjoy The Tooth Book by Edward Miller, which takes a more science-oriented (but still fun) approach to teaching dental health.

By sharing these books and others like them with your youngsters, you can give them a solid foundation in dental health—and maybe discover some favorite stories along the way.
We'd love to meet you and your family! Give us a call at (509)-891-7070.