Your smile has a very huge impact on your physical appearance and stained teeth is one thing you least expect to appear from your smile. Stained teeth can cause embarrassment, affecting your child’s self-esteem and confidence. It can ruin first impressions because of its unsightly appearance.
Understanding the cause of teeth staining can help improve dental hygiene practice and oral care habits.
Two Types of Tooth Stains
1. Extrinsic Stains. This stain appears on the tooth surface. It can be removed through professional polishing or scaling. Stains can be due to food dye, beverages, mouth rinse and the presence of colour-producing bacteria (chromogenic bacteria) and poor dental hygiene. Plaque bacteria (biofilm) on tooth surface absorb these stains and accumulate on teeth.
2. Intrinsic Stains. This type of stain is seen inside the tooth and can’t be removed by professional cleaning. There are several reasons why a stain develops inside the tooth. Antibiotic use, particularly tetracycline; infection, trauma and dental fluorosis or excessive ingestion of fluoride, which can weaken the enamel and cause brown spots on the teeth, are the leading causes of intrinsic stains.
Different Stain Color and Their Sources
The sources of stain can be determined by the color, and the patient’s lifestyle, diet, environmental and dental hygiene. This helps identify the most effective solution to manage and remove staining.
See chart below:
How to Prevent Your Teeth from Turning Yellow
Your pediatric dentist may create personalized treatment plans to prevent and remove stains, which may vary depending on the extent of the stain. Usually, when the plaque is eliminated, most extrinsic stains can’t stick to smooth tooth surface.
Thus, to prevent your teeth from turning yellow, it is important to follow these tips:
Your kitchen blender does a good job of crushing ice, but your teeth are not.
Many children, and even adults love chewing ice, especially during summer. This is also the season where dental clinics are stormed with patients complaining of broken teeth and gum pain. Chewing ice can cause several negative effects to your mouth:
1. It can destroy orthodontic appliances. Braces and retainers are necessary to achieve a properly aligned teeth and bite. However, despite their durable material and secure attachment, eating ice may damage these dental appliances. You may dislodge the wires on your braces or damage your brackets, which can cause unnecessary trip to your dentist. If your child is wearing braces or retainers, tell him/her the possible risks of eating ice.
2. It can damage tooth enamel. The tooth enamel is a strong, resilient substance of the human body but chewing ice can potentially damage this part. Your tooth enamel protects your teeth from acid attack and cavities.
3. Teeth may crack or chip. Our teeth tend to be strong and resilient but they are not intended to break hard objects such as ice. Crunching ice can break or crack a tooth, which leads to unnecessary trip to a clinic to repair it. If a tooth chipped, save the chipped part and place it in a bag of milk. Head immediately to your dentist to fix a broken tooth.
4. It can damage dental fillings. Fillings can be dislodged by eating hard objects like ice.
5. It may affect tooth sensitivity. Eating ice can damage tooth sensitivity and may even cause sore jaw.
What Should I Do?
Crunching ice is usually a subconscious habit that many children don’t mind. But as a parent, always remind them about the risks and potential problems that may arise from chewing ice in order to prevent this habit. Chewing ice can lead to unnecessary dental trips.
To feel refreshed, rather than eating large chunks of ice, we recommend allowing ice to just melt in your mouth, like a cool candy. Or you may offer apple chunks or baby carrots for kids wanting some crunch.
Many kids feel worried about having braces, thinking about what they will look like or feel. But regardless of what your child feels, you may have some concerns and questions on this orthodontic device.
Below are some important information you should know about kids and braces.
Why are Braces Necessary for Children?Children may need to wear braces for a number of reason:
Your pediatric dentist will be the first to see these problems and may advice to see an orthodontist – a dentist whose expertise is in fixing teeth alignment issues. The orthodontist will decide if your child will need braces or not.
Many orthodontist suggest seeing an orthodontist when the permanent teeth begin to emerge, usually at around the age of 7 as dental issues like overcrowding or uneven bite become noticeable. Seeing an orthodontist this early does not mean that your child will get braces immediately. It means that he’ll be able to identify the problem and be able to decide the best course of treatment.
What to Expect from the First Orthodontist VisitDuring your first visit, the dentist will carefully check the mouth, teeth and jaw. He may examine your child’s bite and ask questions about issues with swallowing, chewing and talking, or know if there’s popping or clicking of the jaw.
The orthodontist may request for X-ray procedure on the oral cavity and the jaw to check the teeth positions. The dentist will make an impression of the child’s teeth using a small container with sticky material. When the material is removed and harden, a replica of the child’s teeth is produced and this allows the orthodontist to choose the best treatment option.
Different Types of BracesBraces can fix misalignment by placing steady pressure on the teeth. The teeth gradually moves into a straighter, aligned position. Braces for children comes with wires, rubber bands and brackets. The brackets are individually glued to the teeth and are secured with rubber bands or wire. The rubber band come in many different colors that kids can choose. The wire is tightened slowly over time until the teeth becomes aligned.
Metal braces are still used nowadays but there are other options such as clear ceramic braces. Some choose to place it behind the teeth.
Once the braces are attached, your child should visit the dentist every month for adjustments and monitoring. The duration your child will wear them depends on the severity of the condition but the average time is about 2 years. After that, your child will wear retainer, which is a small, strong plastic with metal wires that looks like a mouthguard. Retainers are necessary to keep teeth in place.
How to Care Your BracesSince food gets easily stuck on metal braces, children wearing them must be extra careful on the food they eat as well as maintaining their teeth clean. Regular tooth brushing and daily flossing are necessary. Your orthodontist will recommend a special floss you can use for braces.
Your child should also refrain from eating certain foods such as gum, popcorn and sticky or hard candy as these food items can potentially damage braces.
Braces can be uncomfortable to wear, particularly when the dentists make adjustments. Having soft diet and taking pain reliever help ease the pain. Visit your dentist if the child has a loose bracket or wire, or if it is poking his/her mouth.
It’s another brand new year and many parents and children make New Year’s resolution. Most New Year’s resolutions are health-related – they want to lose weight, eat healthy, exercise regularly etc. Aside from your weight and diet, one of the most important things to prioritize is your oral health.
If you want to commit on better caring for your teeth and gums, have these resolutions for this New Year.
Make a promise to flossing
We all know regular tooth brushing is not enough to thoroughly remove food bits or residue from your mouth or prevent plaque buildup. To ensure this, flossing should be done too. If you are not regularly flossing, the New Year is a perfect time to start.
We have discussed previously the different types of floss – whether you use floss picks or traditional string floss, the most important is that you floss your teeth every day. To easily remember flossing, place a container of floss right next to your toothpaste and brush. Bring another stash in your work desk drawer or inside your purse so you can floss wherever you go.
Get a New Toothbrush
The best way to prevent plaque is to replace worn out brush with a new one. But keep in mind that replacing toothbrush shouldn’t be done on a yearly basis! Replace it every 3 to 4 months or when you notice the bristles are fraying.
Reduce Sugar Intake
Numerous studies have confirmed the direct relationship between sugar intake and the development of tooth decay. Therefore, reducing sugar can also significantly lower the risk of tooth decay. The best way to reduce sugar intake is to avoid buying too much sugar treats for your kids. Also, swapping some items will help cut back your intake. For instance, offer sugar-free treats or drink fruit juice instead of soda.
Eat More Foods Rich in Calcium
When you’re cutting back sugar, you have to make an effort to solidify your diet to benefit your gums and teeth. Foods high in calcium such as dairy foods, cruciferous vegetables and fish are highly beneficial for healthy gums and stronger teeth. Foods rich in fiber help scrub away plaque and increase the production of saliva.
Schedule Dental Appointments
According to the American Dental Association, nearly one third of Americans don’t visit their dentist yearly. Scheduling an appointment with your pediatric dentist is one of the easiest resolutions you can do for your oral health. Even if it seems your teeth or your kid’s look fine, be sure to make a note in your calendar so you won’t forget to call your dentist for an appointment.
Mint Kids Dentistry