Children Should Wear Mouth Guards for After-School Sports

mouth guards kids sportsKids across the United States are heading back to school, and many of them will be participating in after-school athletic programs. Playing sports such as football, hockey, soccer, basketball, and baseball can lead to many types of injuries. One type of potential injury that is commonly overlooked is damage to the teeth. In any sport where there is a possibility of contact between players or between a player and a hard object such as a ball or puck, the teeth can be seriously damaged by an impact.

A Mouth Guard Can Protect Your Child from Sport-Related Teeth Injuries

The best way to protect a child’s teeth when participating in after-school sports is to wear a mouth guard. A mouth guard is a piece of plastic that is worn over the teeth to absorb the shock of an impact and prevent damage to the teeth and surrounding tissues.

Mouth guards can be very effective at preventing injuries, but many children who participate in sports do not wear them regularly or at all. Some children who have mouth guards only wear them at games, even though many injuries occur at practices.

If your child plays a sport where there is a possibility that he or she could be hit by a ball, a puck, or a collision with another player, it is important to wear a mouth guard. Mouth injuries can be serious, painful, and expensive to repair, but they are also easy to prevent. Wearing a mouth guard regularly can protect your child from a painful injury and can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in dental bills.

Types of Mouth Guards

Mouth guards come in three types. Stock mouth guards are the least expensive and come in a pre-formed shape that cannot be adjusted. They are not as effective as more expensive mouth guards, but they are better than having no mouth protection at all.

Mouth-formed mouth guards are sold at many sporting goods stores. They are usually boiled in water to soften the plastic so it can be molded to the individual’s teeth.

Custom-made mouth guards are made by a dentist after taking a mold of the child’s teeth. They provide a tighter fit and the best protection, but they are also the most expensive option.

Get a Mouth Guard for Your Child to Wear for After-School Sports

Any child who participates in a sport where there is a possibility of a mouth injury should wear a mouth guard at all practices and games. A mouth guard can prevent many serious injuries. Now that kids are heading back to school, you should be thinking about protection for your child at after-school sports.

CT Pediatric Dentistry can fit your child for a custom mouth guard that can provide the best protection from sport-related injuries. To make an appointment to get your child fitted for a mouth guard, contact CT Pediatric Dentistry today.

Posted in Mouth Guards | Leave a comment

Treatments for Trauma to a Child’s Tooth

treatment for tooth traumaChildren often experience trauma to their teeth from falling or accidents while participating in sports. Injuries can range from a minor blow to a tooth that is loosened or knocked out completely. These are the most common types of trauma that children experience and the treatments that are usually indicated. If your child experiences trauma to a baby or permanent tooth, you should take him or her to a pediatric dentist right away.

Blow to a Tooth without Loosening It

Concussion is trauma that can include a blow or bump to a tooth. The impact can damage the structures that support a tooth without loosening it. There might be a small amount of bleeding on the gums around the tooth, but the tooth will not wiggle. In the case of a concussion, the tooth is usually monitored with x-rays to check for signs of other problems.

Tooth Knocked Loose

Subluxation occurs when a bump or blow bruises the structures surrounding a tooth and the root and causes the tooth to come loose. When a subluxation occurs, there is usually some bleeding on the gums around the tooth and the tooth wiggles. The tooth is usually monitored with x-rays.

Tooth Moved out of Correct Position

Luxation causes a tooth to be knocked out of position and causes damage to the roots and surrounding structures. If this happens to a primary tooth, it is returned to its normal position if this can be done easily. If the new position does not interfere with the child’s bite or the eruption of the permanent teeth, it might be able to be left in the new position. In other cases, the primary tooth might need to be extracted. If a permanent tooth is moved out of position, it can be moved back to the correct position and splinted in place. A root canal is often needed.

Tooth Knocked out of the Mouth

An avulsion occurs when a tooth is completely knocked out of the mouth. If this happens to a baby tooth, it is usually not put back in. If an avulsion happens to a permanent tooth, it is re-implanted in the socket if it has been out of the mouth for a short time. The tooth will be splinted to hold it in place for several weeks. A root canal or another treatment will be needed to save the tooth.

Tooth Pushed up into Gums

An intrusion occurs when the tooth is hit and gets pushed up into the gums. If this happens to a baby tooth, it can be removed or can be left in place and monitored. If it is left, it might eventually re-erupt. A permanent tooth will need to be repositioned with braces. A root canal or another treatment may be needed.

What to Do If Your Child Injures a Tooth

If your child experiences trauma to a tooth, you should take him or her to the dentist right away. Prompt treatment can help save the tooth and relieve pain. Call CT Pediatric Dentistry immediately if your child injures a tooth so he or she can get treatment as quickly as possible.

Posted in Children, Dental | Leave a comment

Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed before a Child Gets Braces?

wisdom teeth bracesThe third molars, or wisdom teeth, usually erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. This is a time when many young people have braces or are planning to have them removed. Parents and teens often wonder whether wisdom teeth will affect the appearance of teeth and the effectiveness of braces.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the most likely to come in sideways. This is a condition known as an impacted wisdom tooth. Soft tissue impaction is when the crown penetrates the bone, but the gums are still covering the rest of the wisdom tooth. Partial bony impaction is when the tooth has partially erupted but part is still in the jaw bone. Complete bony impaction occurs when a wisdom tooth is completely enclosed in the jaw bone.

A crooked or impacted wisdom tooth can affect nearby teeth and cause them to become crooked, but it will not affect teeth located in the front of the mouth. The wisdom teeth do not exert enough pressure on the other molars to affect the front teeth.

Can Wisdom Teeth Affect Orthodontic Work?

People are often concerned that getting wisdom teeth can ruin the effects of orthodontic work. The jaw undergoes a final growth spurt around the age of 20 that can lead to crooked teeth. Many people who used to have braces stop wearing their retainers at night around this age.

A teenager or young adult with healthy and straight wisdom teeth will not have to worry about them affecting orthodontic work. He or she can get braces as a teen or later in life. The straight wisdom teeth should not cause problems with previous orthodontic work.

When It Is Necessary to Remove Wisdom Teeth

In some cases, the dentist may recommend removing the wisdom teeth. If the jaw is fully grown and the teeth are crowded, it may be necessary to remove the wisdom teeth to make room for the other teeth to move into the correct positions. They may be removed before they have erupted to prevent future problems.

Wisdom teeth can also be removed for other reasons unrelated to braces and crowding. Sometimes they cause pain or discomfort or only erupt halfway. Wisdom teeth can be difficult to brush and floss and can be prone to cavities.

Make an Appointment for an Orthodontic Evaluation

If your child needs braces, you should discuss with your pediatric dentist and orthodontist whether or not the wisdom teeth should be removed. If your child has impacted or crooked wisdom teeth that are causing crowding or other problems with nearby teeth, it may be wise to remove the wisdom teeth. Make an appointment with CT Pediatric Dentistry to discuss this and any other concerns you have about your child’s teeth.

Posted in Children, Dental, Kids, Teens, Tweens | Leave a comment

Do ‘Soft Teeth’ Make Children Get Cavities?

do soft teeth cause cavitiesTooth decay is one of the most common health problems affecting children in the United States. Many parents believe that genes cause some children to have “soft teeth” and get cavities. However, that is a myth.

What Causes Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is actually caused by bacteria and the foods a child eats. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar from foods and beverages. When the bacteria break down sugar, they form acid that eats away at tooth enamel. This leads to cavities.

Bacteria are often passed from parents to their children. Parents may share utensils with a baby or clean a pacifier by putting it in their mouth instead of washing it. This transfers bacteria from the parent’s mouth to the child’s. One easy way to reduce the risk of your child getting cavities is never to share utensils or put your baby’s pacifier in your mouth.

If young children are put to bed with a bottle or sippy cup containing milk, formula, or juice, they can develop baby bottle tooth decay. This occurs when the sugar in the beverage bathes the teeth for hours while a baby is sleeping. Children can start to get cavities as soon as their baby teeth appear.

How to Prevent Cavities in Your Child’s Baby Teeth

You should feed your child healthy foods and limit the amount of sugar in his or her diet. Limit starchy and sugary snacks.

If you put your baby to bed with a bottle or sippy cup, fill it with water, not milk, formula, or juice.

If your child is crying, comfort him or her with a pacifier, blanket, or toy instead of a bottle. Never dip a pacifier in sweet liquids.

Wipe your baby’s gums after feedings with a damp gauze pad. Begin brushing your baby’s teeth with an infant toothbrush as soon as they erupt. Start flossing when your baby has two teeth that touch each other.

Even if your child wants to brush his or her own teeth, you should help. Young children do not have the coordination to do a thorough job.

Schedule an Appointment with a Pediatric Dentist

Your child should begin to visit a pediatric dentist by his or her first birthday, or within six months after the first tooth erupts, whichever comes first. If you are concerned that your child might have a cavity, or if it is time for a first exam, call CT Pediatric Dentistry to make an appointment. We will check your child’s teeth for signs of decay and suggest ways to prevent cavities so your baby can have a bright and healthy smile.

Posted in Cavities, Children, Kids, Tooth Decay | Leave a comment

Oral Health Problems Can Affect Children at School

oral health children schoolTooth decay is a common problem that affects millions of children across the United States. Childhood tooth decay is a public health issue that can lead to pain, infection, problems eating and speaking, and malnutrition if it goes untreated. Cavities can affect children in other ways. Untreated tooth decay can have a significant negative impact on children’s performance in school.

How Tooth Decay Affects Children at School

Children across the country miss millions of hours of school time every year because of pain from cavities and visits to the dentist to treat problems. Kids who are in pain during school hours are distracted and can have trouble focusing on learning. Dental pain can cause kids to fall behind academically, which can have far-reaching consequences. Children who have trouble eating because of pain may be malnourished and may not have the energy to concentrate in the classroom. Pain can also affect children’s behavior, which can create problems for the student affected as well as his or her peers.

How You Can Protect Your Children from Tooth Decay

There are several things that parents can do to protect their children’s teeth from decay. One of the most important is to provide good nutrition at home. If you have children, you should give them foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients, such as calcium, and low in sugar. Avoid giving your children sugary beverages such as soda and energy drinks that can contribute to cavities.

You should also make sure that your children brush twice a day and floss once a day. Children should be supervised until they are old enough to do a good job themselves. Check to make sure your children are brushing and flossing when they say they are.

You should also take your kids to the dentist for exams and cleanings. Children should begin to see a pediatric dentist by the age of 1 for an initial exam. A pediatric dentist can check your children’s teeth for signs of decay. He or she may recommend treatments such as fluoride varnish and sealants that have been shown to reduce the risk of cavities. If your local water supply is not fluoridated, the dentist may also recommend fluoride supplements for your children to prevent decay.

Childhood tooth decay is a serious problem, but it is preventable. With proper nutrition, good oral hygiene, and regular visits to a pediatric dentist, you can make sure your children have bright and healthy smiles. If your children are due for an exam or cleaning or you have concerns about cavities, make an appointment with CT Pediatric Dentistry today.

Posted in Cavities, Tooth Decay | Leave a comment

Does Teething Cause a Fever, Vomiting, and Diarrhea?

teething fever vomiting diarrheaTeething is an important milestone for babies, but it can also be a difficult period because of the pain, irritability, and loss of appetite that infants typically experience. When they are teething, many babies also experience other symptoms that may include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or a rash. Parents often assume that these symptoms are caused by teething, but research does not support that idea.

Other Symptoms Are Unrelated to Teething

Most pediatricians and dentists agree that teething does not cause symptoms in other parts of the body. If your baby is vomiting or has other serious symptoms such as a high fever or diarrhea, you should consult your pediatrician. There is probably another reason that is unrelated to teething.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, during the period of time when babies are teething, they are also losing the passive immunity that they had from their mothers’ antibodies. This makes babies more susceptible to bacteria, viruses, and other illnesses, which means that there is probably another physical cause for the other symptoms.

If your baby has a high fever or other serious symptoms, you should call your pediatrician. He or she will want to examine your baby and may perform tests to check for another physical cause of the symptoms.

What to Expect When Your Baby Is Teething

Most babies start teething between the ages of 4 and 7 months. The bottom middle teeth usually come in first, followed by the top middle teeth. Most children have a complete set of 20 primary teeth by the age of 3.

Sometimes new teeth cause pain and red gums, but when some new teeth erupt there is little or no discomfort. Babies who are teething are often irritable and may have less of an appetite than usual. They may also chew on objects, drool, cry, and have trouble sleeping.

How to Treat the Pain of Teething

In most cases, parents can deal with the symptoms of teething at home. You can ease your baby’s discomfort by rubbing or massaging his or her gums with your fingers or by giving your baby a cool teething ring or a clean washcloth to chew. If your baby is able to chew, you can give him or her raw fruits and vegetables, as long as you are watchful to make sure your baby doesn’t choke.

Do not try any type of drug, herb, or homeopathic remedy to treat teething because they could cause your baby to become ill. Do not give your baby any pain reliever or rub any medication on the gums. Products such as viscous lidocaine or benzocaine can be harmful to a baby if they are swallowed.

Make an Appointment with a Pediatric Dentist

It is important to take your child for dental exams and treatment starting at a young age. You should take your child to a pediatric dentist for an initial exam by the age of 1. If your baby has one or more teeth and has not seen a dentist yet, contact CT Pediatric Dentistry to schedule an appointment.

Posted in Teething | Leave a comment

How to Protect Your Child’s Permanent Teeth from Cavities

prevent cavities child permanent teethChildren can develop cavities in their teeth at any age. Kids start to get their permanent teeth around the age of 6 and will have them for the rest of their lives, so it is important to do as much as possible to keep them healthy. However, as kids get older, they may be more inclined to eat sugary snacks than healthy ones and may be too distracted by other activities to focus enough attention on brushing and flossing. Here are some tips to help you protect your child’s permanent teeth from cavities.

Promote a Healthy Diet

A diet filled with sugary snacks and desserts will most likely lead to cavities. Sugar in food mixes with bacteria in the mouth and forms acid that attacks teeth and causes decay. Cut down on the amount of cake, candy, ice cream, and cookies your child eats and instead encourage him or her to choose healthy snacks, such as fruit, vegetables, cheese, and yogurt. Prepare nutritious meals for your child that are filled with fruits, vegetables, protein, and dairy products. Sugary beverages like soda and energy drinks can also lead to tooth decay. Encourage your child to drink water or milk instead.

Protect Your Child’s Teeth with Fluoride

Another way to prevent cavities is to use fluoride. Fluoride hardens tooth enamel and can help protect teeth from decay. Buy a fluoride toothpaste for your child to use every day. Many communities across the country add fluoride to their drinking water. If your water is not fluoridated, or if your family drinks bottled water, talk to your dentist about whether you should give your child fluoride supplements to prevent cavities.

Discuss Sealants with Your Dentist

Dental sealants can prevent cavities in the molars and premolars. Sealants are thin plastic coatings that a dentist applies to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to seal them and prevent cavities. Ask your dentist if sealants are right for your child.

Take Your Child to the Dentist for Exams and Cleanings

It is important to take your child to the dentist for regular exams and cleanings. A pediatric dentist can treat any cavities your child has and discuss ways to prevent them in the future. If your child is due for an exam or cleaning, make an appointment with CT Pediatric Dentistry today.

Posted in Cavities, Children, Kids, Teens, Tooth Decay | Leave a comment

How Much Fluoride Toothpaste Is Safe to Use with a Child?

fluoride toothpaste childrenOne of the best ways to prevent cavities in children is to brush their teeth twice a day. With so many toothpastes on the market, including many marketed specifically to children, and so many different pieces of advice out there, all of the guidelines and recommendations can be confusing. Two of the most common questions parents have are when to begin using fluoride toothpaste and how much should be used for a child.

Recommendations on the Use of Fluoride Toothpaste in Children

It is important to begin using fluoride toothpaste early to prevent cavities. Children whose family members have a history of cavities are more likely to get cavities than children whose family members have no history of tooth decay. Using fluoride toothpaste at a young age can reduce the risk of getting cavities as a child and can also make cavities less likely when a child gets older.

The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that parents brush their children’s teeth with a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste the size of a grain of rice as soon as they erupt. After a child reaches the age of 3, a larger, pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste can be used.

Use the Right Amount of Fluoride Toothpaste to Prevent Fluorosis

It is important to use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste with a child. Too much fluoride can cause a condition called fluorosis that leads to discoloration, spots, or white streaks on teeth. Fluorosis occurs in children because many are unable to spit out toothpaste and instead swallow it. Children should be encouraged to spit out toothpaste as soon as they are able to in order to reduce the risk of fluorosis. However, even if a child is unable to spit out toothpaste, it is still safe to use a small amount with fluoride.

Schedule an Appointment with a Pediatric Dentist

Another key to protecting children’s teeth and preventing cavities is to take kids to the dentist for regular exams and cleanings. Children should visit a pediatric dentist by their first birthday. If it is time for your child’s dental exam, make an appointment with CT Pediatric Dentistry today.

Posted in Dental | Leave a comment

How Old Should a Child Be to Start Flossing?

A young boy showing off his baby teeth.As an adult, you know it’s essential to floss every night, and your child needs to develop the same habits. So, while your child needs to know how to brush his or her teeth, when does flossing come into the picture?

Experts say that once a child’s baby teeth come in, flossing can begin. However, it’s only truly effective when the child’s teeth fit close together – or, more specifically, when floss sticks between the teeth. Depending upon your child’s growth, this could be anywhere from age 2 to 6.

At first, too, parents should be doing the flossing, as children don’t develop the dexterity to move the string around their fingers first and then between the teeth. Once a child seems physically and developmentally able to do so, around age 6 or 7, show them how to do it. Ideally, your child should have mastered this task by 10 years of age.

Like your dental hygiene, you should be flossing your child’s teeth every day, and ensuring they do the same on their own. So, how do you start? Aside from selecting floss that’s flexible and comfortable on the gums, make sure you:

  1. Show the child how to wrap the floss – about an 18-inch strand – around two fingers, with one inch left in between.
  2. Let them see how to slide it in between teeth with your thumb and index finger, making sure the string remains tight. The floss should go between the teeth, but not down to the gums.
  3. Show them the curved, up-and-down motion for scraping plaque off your teeth. Indicate a new section of floss should be used for each tooth.

In some instances, a pick might be better for your child to use initially, especially if he or she has a difficult time doing the standard flossing technique.

Flossing, along with brushing twice per day and scheduling regular dental visits, is part of good oral hygiene for everyone. To schedule a visit for your child, contact CT Pediatric Dentistry to set up an appointment.

Posted in Children | Tagged | Leave a comment

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay: How Old is Too Old for the Bottle?

An illustration of a baby bottle.On the topic of when to stop bottle feeding, it’s safe to say that every expert has a different opinion. Yet, the general consensus appears to be, children should be over with it, or at least getting phased out, by a year old.

However, this isn’t some arbitrary deadline. Studies have shown that a bottle begins to harm a child’s mouth and teeth by this point, while other research correlates extended usage with greater obesity risks, as more calories are being added to the child’s diet. Continue reading

Posted in Children, Tooth Decay | Tagged | Leave a comment