Are you giving your children probiotics? It turns out the immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory benefits of these microscopic critters known as good bacteria extend far beyond your gut. Numerous studies have found evidence that they can be a natural, effective means of resolving bad breath, and preventing plaque and gum disease.
A study published in Current Oral Health Reports, has revealed that probiotics seem to help fight cavities and gum disease by maintaining the balance of good bacteria inside the mouth. In another study, it was found that probiotics could help improve dental health by warding off oral pathogens.
How Do Probiotics Work?
Probiotics are normally taken to boost the immune system, keeping the healthy balance of bad and good bacteria in the gut. Probiotics offer a handful of health benefits. Good bacteria boost the immune system and prevent pathogens from gaining a foothold to your tissues. They can destroy or curb the replication of disease-causing microbes by producing chemicals that make it difficult for them to thrive and survive.
Another evidence proves that probiotics exhibit anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent inflammation.
While more research is needed to establish the health-promoting benefits of probiotics on gum and dental health, several probiotic strains have shown to improve mouth health and prevent dental problems. Streptococcus and Lactobacillus strains have shown to reduce plaque, the leading cause of gum disease.
A study published by the European Journal of Dentistry showed that Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus bacteria could help fight gum disease and cavities. In addition, the bacteria Streptococcus salivarius may help manage bad breath.
Dietary Sources of Probiotics
Consumption of probiotics for dental health is one of the fascinating discoveries that proves how food can help prevent disease.
Fortunately, there are many natural food sources that are rich in probiotics. There are dairy and non-dairy sources to choose from. These include:
You might take a look at prebiotics too – food components that help promote the growth of probiotics in the gut. They are also known to support digestive health and improve calcium absorption. Prebiotics also comes in supplement form but for best result, choose the natural, digestive route and consume lots of plant-based foods such as raw hickory root, raw Jerusalem artichokes, unrefined wheat and barley and raw oats.
Many parents show concern about their child’s thumb sucking or pacifier use. As a parent, you may wonder at what age it must stop or what might happen if he doesn’t stop using it.
Surely, sucking is one of your baby’s natural reflexes. Did you know they start to suck their fingers while still inside the womb? Most infants and little children suck their thumbs or pacifiers to help them feel happy and secure and it helps them discover the world.
Sucking their thumbs provides many kids with a sense of security, particularly during difficult situation like when they get separated from their parents, in an unfamiliar plant or surrounded by strangers. Because sucking is relaxing, it also help induce sleep. This is the reason why they thumb suck or use pacifier during bedtime or when feeling tired.
However, long-term thumb sucking can cause issues with the alignment of their teeth and the proper growth of the mouth. It can also cause problems in the root of their mouth. Kids who simply rest their thumb in their mouths have lesser risk of experiencing these dental problems than children who suck their thumbs vigorously. Active thumbsuckers may experience problems with their baby teeth.
How to Break the Pacifier Habit
Pacifier use can affect the teeth the same way as thumbsucking does. But, compared to thumbsucking, pacifier use is much easier habit to break.
To wean your child from pacifier use, do it gradually. Start by removing the pacifier in relaxed situations such as when the child is playing, happy and at home. Once he get used to not using pacifier at home, start removing its outdoor use.
From this point, limit the use of pacifier in the crib. Convincing your child to do the final break may be difficult. Many parents use Santa or Binky Fairy to smoothen the transition.
Whatever method you use, prepare yourself for 2 to 5 nights of screaming, kicking and crying. Be firm and never give in. Remember that children have endured this phase for hundreds of years. Your child will get rid of it eventually.
Most children stop thumb sucking or pacifier use between 2 to 4 years of age. Such behaviour gradually lessens during this age when spend more hours discovering their surroundings. If your child doesn’t stop on his own, parents must stop the habit after age 4.
Antibiotics are commonly prescribed for children suffering from ear infections, skin abscesses and other bacterial infections. However, there is a growing evidence that certain antibiotics could be linked with tooth enamel defects.
As part of the Iowa Fluoride Study, researchers followed 357 subjects from birth up to 32 months and surveyed every 3 to 4 months to get information on amoxicillin use and fluoride intake. The antibiotic amoxicillin is among the drug of choice for children suffering from upper respiratory tract infection and middle ear infection (otitis media).
By age one, about 75% of the subjects had taken amoxicillin. As they reached 32 months, 91% had already used amoxicillin. Researchers found that amoxicillin use from 3 to 6 months increased the risk of dental fluorosis by twofold.
Researchers found that amoxicillin use could be a risk factor of developing fluorosis on late-erupting permanent teeth such as both permanent maxillary central incisors and first molars. The signs of fluorosis could range from hardly visible white stains to brown discolorations.
Dr. Liang Hong told that even if the effect on dental enamel is minimal, it can have a huge effect on the overall dental health of the public since the use of amoxicillin is widespread.
What is Fluorosis?
Dental Fluorosis is the appearance of white flecks or lines on the teeth. This only occurs when a child took too much fluoride over long duration when the permanent teeth are still developing beneath the gums. It is believed that exposure to excess amounts of fluoride can disrupt the production of ameloblasts, the cells that produce the teeth’s hard protective coating, blocking the natural maturation of dental enamel.
When the teeth already emerge through the gums, you won’t develop fluorosis.
In the case of amoxicillin use, the effect is clinically similar to fluorosis, but are apparently different from tooth staining due to tetracycline use. The enamel defects seem as diffuse opacities, which could be due to enamel hypomineralization.
Keep in mind that fluorosis is not a disease and won’t affect the health and integrity of the teeth. Oftentimes, the discoloration is barely noticeable that only a dentist could see it during an examination.
Use JudiciouslyTo conclude, 24 percent of the subjects had fluorosis on maxillary central incisors. Such finding suggests that the use of amoxicillin during infancy may bring some undocumented risk to the developing teeth. Although the result of this study don’t permit recommendations to stop amoxicillin use, researchers do emphasize the need to prescribe and use antibiotics judiiciously, most particularly on infants.
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