Vaccination isn’t only limited to flu. Having HPV vaccine for your teens is important as it helps prevent cancer in mouth and throat.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognized the link between HPV and the development of oral pharyngeal cancer.
What is HPV?
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that causes sexually transmitted diseases such as genital warts. An HPV infection can lead to problems for both boys and girls.
In female, it can lead to cervical cancer, as well as cancer in the vulva, vagina, throat and mouth. In males, it may lead to cancer in the anus, penis, throat and mouth.
HPV has been associated with the development of oropharyngeal cancers – cancers that emerge in the neck, head and in the mouth, affecting the tonsils, base of tongue, back of throat and walls of pharynx. If left untreated, oral cancer can be life-threatening.
How to Detect Oral Cancer
Your dentist will check for signs of oral cancer as part of routine dental exam. Common symptoms to look for include:
Who should have HPV vaccine?
The American Dental Association supports the administration of HPV vaccine as a preventative measure for oral HPV infection, along with cancers that it could cause. Below are the guidelines on the dosing and age based on the instructions from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Is HPV Vaccine Safe?
This vaccine so far has an excellent safety record. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, over 170 million doses were already given with no reported serious safety concerns.
How about side effects?
Like any type of vaccine, pain, redness and tenderness in the injection site may be experienced after vaccination. After the shot, it will be checked after 15 minutes for adverse reactions.
When it comes to maintaining your oral health, your best resource is your dentist. Ask her questions about diseases of the tongue, throat, mouth and tonsils so you have better understanding about HPV and HPV vaccine.
We know how daily flossing, brushing and regular dental check-ups promote dental health and hygiene, but did you know that one of the most important factors to keep your gums healthy has nothing to do with these habits? One critical factor is your diet.
Other than calcium, Vitamin D and phosphorus, Omega-3 fatty acid has been found to have promising effects on gum health.
What is Omega-3 Fatty Acid?
Polyunsaturated fat is divided into two essential fatty acids – alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA), and they’re called Omega-3 and Omega-6 respectively. Both are identified as essential fatty acids since they can’t be manufactured by the body, and thus, should be sourced from diet. LA is quite abundant in most vegetable oils, such as olive and canola oil. ALA can be sourced from nuts, flaxseed and soy products.
When consumed, LA or Omega-6 fat gets converted to Arachidonic acid (AA) while ALA or Omega-3 fat is converted to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Unfortunately, conversion of EPA and DHA is quite low. This is the reason why experts suggest consuming fish, fish oil and seafoods in high amounts to obtain moderate level of EPA and DHA.
How Omega-3 Fatty Acid Works for Oral Health
There are numerous studies that support the positive impact of Omega-3 intake to the teeth, gums and overall dental health.
For instance, a study in 2010 revealed that consumption of fish oil can lower the risk of having gum disease. Nearly 9,200 participants were evaluated during this study and dental exams were performed. Results revealed that those who were in the middle to the upper third on intake of fish oil were 30 percent less likely to have periodontal disease.
In another study, researchers found that DHA supplementation was linked with marked improvement in periodontitis, an inflammatory gum diseases affecting nearly half of US population. This is a serious disease as it destroys the bones and soft tissue that support the teeth. When the infection spreads, the toxins produced by the bacteria cause damage to the teeth.
Based on studies, the oral health benefit of Omega-3 may extend beyond inflammation as it has potent anti-bacterial effects against a wide range of mouth bacteria. DHA, EPA and ALA, including fatty acid esters may inhibit the growth of pathogens inside the mouth, including Candida albicans, Streptococcus mutans and Porphyromonas ginigivalis.
Get Lots of Omega-3 Fats
While plant-based Omega-3 are extremely healthy and beneficial, clearly it is the Omega-3 from fish and seafoods that provide the best gum diseases-preventing benefits. It is DHA and EPA, not ALA that is critical in preventing heart disease, inflammation and many other illnesses, including gum disease.
Eat at least two servings of Omega-3-rich- fish such as mackerel, sardines, tuna, trout and salmon, every week. Each serving is 75grams or about the size of a palm of a hand.
Myth behind Braces
Usually, people ponder that Braces are the only alignment for those teeth who have not erupted properly and misaligned naturally after their milk teeth. It is a very big myth among people that braces hold a wide range of constructive benefits without leading to any oral health issues.
Doubtlessly, orthodontic devices such as braces can greatly help fix misaligned teeth. However, during the course of brace treatment, there are several oral health issues that may arise from wearing this device.
Here are the top 5 common brace problems which are welcomed and you may experience them.
1. Gingivitis - This occurs when the gum tissues become inflamed due to plaque build-up. Braces make it more challenging to reach food debris with the wirings and brackets attached. Usually, when food debris gets stuck in the gums, it can lead to bacterial accumulation, resulting in gum inflammation.
While gingivitis is treatable, never ignore it. It can prolong the time your child has to spend wearing braces. It is important to clean the gum line regularly if you have braces. Make sure to floss once a day and brush after each meal.
2. Demineralization - Food, particularly sugar, triggers acid production by the bacteria. When food gets stuck in the brackets or wirings, the acid produced erodes phosphate and calcium, leading to white scars or decalcification. These ‘white scars’ appear like tiny white specks that mark the spot where the brackets were attached.
Take note that braces do not directly cause the staining, but those who don’t care well their teeth can have it. To minimize demineralization, cut back on soda and other sugary foods, and maintain oral hygiene.
3. Plaque - This is a thin film of bacteria that forms on the tooth surface. Along with sugar, plaque forms an acid that attacks the tooth enamels and gums, leading to gum disease, tooth decay, and other problems. Anyone can have plaque, but those who wear braces must double their effort in fighting it. The plaque often starts to develop 4 to 12 hours after brushing – the reason why it is important to brush twice a day.
4. Bad Breath - Also called halitosis, this condition is caused by medical problems, smoking, and poor dental hygiene. Bad breath that occurs after having braces is most certainly caused by poor dental hygiene. Because mouth bacteria feed on sugar and food debris, they emit an unpleasant odor. In addition, small bits of food that are trapped in between the teeth and in brackets will stink.
Wearing braces doubles the rate of trapped food in your mouth so make a habit of cleaning your teeth immediately after snacking or every meal. If you can’t brush your teeth, always bring a mouthwash to rinse your mouth and prevent bad odor.
5. Tartar - Also called calculus, it develops when plaque hardens on the tooth surface. It turns into a resilient deposit that causes tooth discoloration or stain. Tartar begins to develop after 24 hours. It may form under the gums, along the gum line or around the braces. Prevent tartar by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth.
Braces can lead to many dental problems but one can easily overcome this grave issue with the help of regular dental visits and proper care of braces and teeth with the suggested dental prevention practice at home. By adhering the prevention braces can be your kid’s friend readily.
Gingivitis aka Gum Diseases. Probiotics an effective solution and have been positive in dropping the symptoms of Gingivitis. Probiotics turn 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.
Parent’s always taking pride in keeping a child’s mouth healthy so “Are you giving your children probiotics?”
Are you aware of Probiotic supplements can promote a healthy smile? Certainly, Yes! Probiotics have a positive outcomes in preventive caries and periodontal diseases.
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 healthy bacteria. Probiotics are normally taken to boost the immune system as their impact always on digestive health. It 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
- 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.
- helpful in inflammation prevention
- prevent plaque
- fight bad breath
- manage symptoms for gum diseases
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.
Probiotics Dietary Sources & Supplements
Consumption of probiotics for dental health is one of the fascinating discoveries that prove 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.
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