Dental Tips for National Children’s Dental Health Month

By Nicollette Villescaz, Pediatric Dental Assistant

Even as the shortest month, February brings a lot of holidays and awareness topics. One awareness topic not to be missed is National Children’s Dental Health Month! My name is Nicollette and I am a professional pediatric dental assistant here at NOAH. I’m going to share pediatric dental tips on how parents and caregivers, along with your child’s dental team can work together to prevent tooth decay, which is the number one dental problem for preschoolers with around 50% of children having one or more cavities by age 5.

Dental tips to prevent tooth decay in your child

The best way to ensure healthy teeth is to prevent problems before they start. Things like having a healthy diet, proper brushing and flossing habits, and not having sugary drinks from baby bottles can help protect your child’s teeth.

Rethink your drinks

As parents and guardians of young children, we know that a healthy diet is important, and we shouldn’t give them candy and sweets too often. However, it’s actually what children drink, not what they eat that is more dangerous to their teeth. I have heard and seen our NOAH dentists and medical doctors express repeatedly how bad juice, soda, energy drinks, Gatorade, and lemonade are for children. They aren’t bad for kids just because of the artificial flavors, and dye colorings, but also because of the high amounts of acid and sugar. These drinks have too much sugar and acid for kids of any age. The only fluids a child needs are plenty of water (especially in this desert heat) and milk for nutrients like calcium. When parents and caregivers give children acid and sugars to eat and drink we are putting them at a greater risk for tooth pain caused by cavities.

Brush and floss

Children and parents need to know the right way to brush and floss those little teeth because baby teeth are so important to keep healthy. Our top priority when children and parents or caregivers come to NOAH Dental is education and prevention. There are stages to this as kids grow:

  1. As soon as teeth appear, it’s time to brush! A few tiny baby teeth need just a small amount of cleaning.
  2. When more teeth arrive, increase brushing. Parents and guardians need to help children brush their teeth twice a day. Kids can’t brush all the cavity-causing germs and crumbs away by themselves.
  3. Once a child is old enough to brush their own hair or tie their own shoes, then they can start to brush and floss on their own.
  4. Stay consistent at every stage. A dental hygiene routine is vital to healthy teeth.

Ditch the bottle

The biggest contributor to cavities in our infant and toddler patients is the bottle! Babies should never have anything other than water or milk. Once a child is a year old, they should only have milk with meals, not nap times or throughout the day – stick to water for that! Letting kids drink milk or juice any time of the day, puts them at risk for tooth pain caused by cavities.

Care for those baby teeth

Too often I hear parents or guardians say, “They are just baby teeth, it’s not so serious,” and “They will be falling out anyway.” This is where our dental education is so important! Children experience the same effects of a toothache exactly how an adult would, with cold sensitivity, difficulty drinking or eating, throbbing pain, swelling, infections, and difficulty sleeping. Children need healthy teeth to help them chew and speak clearly. Plus, baby teeth hold the space for their adult teeth to come in correctly.

Cavities and dental pain are preventable in children. The NOAH Dental team works together with parents and guardians to keep away tooth decay and pain away in children. To learn more, visit our NOAH Dental page for helpful videos and tips. If you are ready for you or your child to see a NOAH dentist, make an appointment today!

Get Some Relief During TMJ Awareness Month

Millions of people in the United States are living with TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) disorder and have no idea that it is the source of their pain and discomfort. TMJ disorder, or TMD, is pain in the jaw and surrounding tissues. Symptoms and issues from TMD can range from mild or occasional discomfort, to more severe pain and disruptions to daily life.

It’s estimated by the TMJ Association that around 35 million people in the United States are affected by this disorder. That’s around 12% of the population and most of these people are women.

Why TMJ Disorder matters

Symptoms can range from things like headaches and migraines, neck and shoulder pain, jaw pain or stiffness to other symptoms like dizziness, and even ear pain or ringing. Finding the cause – and a solution – to these symptoms can make a big difference in your life. If left untreated, TMD can cause damage to your teeth, joint, muscles, and tissues, so you want to talk to your healthcare provider about it.

What are the causes

  • Injury or trauma to your jaw or face
  • Arthritis
  • Unaligned bite
  • Stress
  • Genetics
  • Hormones

Treating TMJ Disorder

Most jaw and facial muscle pain is temporary and will go away on its own. If it doesn’t go away in a few weeks, visit your dentist or primary care doctor to rule out any other causes. A few things you can do on your own include:

  • Eat soft foods
  • Reduce stress or talk with someone about your stress
  • Use ice or heat on the jaw or muscles
  • Avoid chewing gum and wide yawns
  • Don’t hold the phone with your shoulder
  • Sleep on your side with a pillow supporting your neck

TMJ disorder is something many people live with. And for some people, the symptoms will come and go. If you are someone who has lasting symptoms, talk to one or our healthcare providers.

Just a Regular Dental Cleaning

By Jane Roots, RDH

As dental professionals, we hear the request for “just a regular dental cleaning” so often that it’s time to fill everyone in on the truth. There are many different types of cleanings. As with most things in healthcare, wellness, and prevention, how your providers work with you will depend on many different things because it’s all about you.

We figure out the best dental cleaning after examining the condition of your gums and teeth. There are a lot of things that go into a dental cleaning, but a few easy steps can help you take control of your dental health before your next appointment.

What’s in my mouth?

  • Plaque – Plaque is the soft, fuzzy film on our teeth that easily goes away with regular brushing and flossing.
  • Tartar – When plaque is left behind – which happens to all of us – it becomes tartar, a hard material that has to be removed at your dental cleaning.
  • Gums – Gums tell a lot about your dental health. Things like the color of your gums and their firmness can indicate gingivitis.

Types of dental cleanings

  • Prophylaxis – This is frequently described as a basic cleaning when you have minimal tartar and your gums are healthy.
  • Full-mouth debridement – This is the type of cleaning you’ll have if your teeth have tartar and your gums are somewhat inflamed.
  • Scaling and root planning – This cleaning is for heavy tartar buildup and bone loss around your teeth. Typically, this cleaning will use some local anesthetic.

Dentists and hygienists will do a full mouth exam to look at teeth and gums, and check for cavities before a cleaning. But they will also want to have x-rays of your mouth to review and decide which type of dental cleaning is right for you.

Keeping your mouth healthy

Gums are key to dental health and they tell your dentist and hygienist a lot. Gingivitis can let us know that we need to take action to help reverse and improve your oral health. Things that increase the risk of gingivitis include smoking or chewing tobacco, crowded or overlapping teeth, and hormonal changes associated with pregnancy and diabetes. Thankfully, gingivitis is reversible. It starts with removing tartar and plaque with the help of your hygienist or dentist, as well as learning proper techniques of daily brushing and flossing to maintain your oral health. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more serious dental problems, pain, and other health conditions.

Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day and use fluoride toothpaste if available. Flossing daily is one of the easiest and best things you can do for your overall health. It doesn’t take long and can have big benefits. Lastly, schedule regular dental checkups every six months with one of our NOAH dental providers.

No More Bad Breath by Jane Roots, RDH

Do you suffer from bad breath? Well, if so, you’re not alone. Every morning most people wake up with the dreaded “Morning Breath” or “Bad Breath” but for some bad breath is an everyday, all day reality.
Halitosis is chronic bad breath. It shows up every day. It’s the breath that makes you embarrassed to whisper secrets in someone’s ear and the breath that makes you avoid kisses at all cost. Typical fixes like mints, mouth sprays or mouth wash will not get rid of chronic bad breath.

“As many as 1 in 4 people have bad breath. It is one of the most common reason why people go to the dentist.”

Jane Roots, RDH

There are several reasons why some people have daily bad breath. To prevent bad breath the key factor is to determine the root cause.

Here’s a check list of things you need to know about the prevention of bad breath:

  1. Brush two times a day and floss every night – You need to brush your teeth two times a day and floss every night. Proper brushing means spending at least 2 minutes brushing all sides of your teeth, for example the fronts, backs and tops, which helps to get rid of food particles and the bacterial film (also known as dental plaque or tooth plaque) that forms on our teeth. Don’t forget about flossing. It’s very important to floss your teeth every night before you go to bed. Food particles get caught in between your teeth and if these food articles are not removed, it can buildup and form a substance call calculus or tartar which causes the gums to swell up and bleed. This can cause bad breath. You should also brush your tongue. The tongue has tiny hair like filaments that can trap food particles and bacteria and therefore not brushing your tongue can contribute to bad breath.
  2. Visit your dentist and or hygienist at least every 6 months – You should visit your dentist/ hygienist for routine cleaning and checkups every six months. The dentist/hygienist can clean your teeth by removing plaque and calculus buildup and can detect problems such as any abnormalities in and around the mouth, gum disease and cavities. Cavities are not the cause of bad breath, it is the bacteria that gets stuck in the decayed pockets of the teeth that make it difficult to keep your mouth clean and your breath fresh.
  3. Dry mouth – Keeping your mouth moist is important for fresh breath. A healthy saliva flow is one of the best defenses against bad breath. It helps to keep the mouth clean. Be sure to drink plenty of water and consult with your doctor about any contributing factors for dry mouth, such as taking certain medications and any underlying health conditions.
  4. Smoking – Smoking is also a contributing factor to bad breath and can increase your risk for gum disease. Please ask your doctor for ways to help you quit.
  5. Systemic issues – Eating healthy foods are key to a good digestive system. A bad digestive system can cause bad breath. In fact, your bad breath could stem from your gut, better known as your gastrointestinal system. Acid reflux otherwise known as heartburn is a related cause for bad breath. People who are diabetic, have liver or kidney conditions or gastrointestinal disorders should see their physician, urologist or gastroenterologist for insight on how bad breath can be reduced regarding these systemic diseases.
  6. Other Factors – Other factors that can contribute to bad breath are the use of dentures or oral appliances. Follow your dentist’s/hygienist’s recommendations for cleaning your appliances daily to prevent bad breath.

Seeing your dentist/ hygienist for routine exams and cleanings every six months can ensure that your mouth stays healthy. A professional cleaning can remove bacteria and food that your toothbrush or even flossing may miss. Your dental professional will also check for decay that may harbor bacteria. If they do detect any cavities, they can fill them to stop the cavities from getting worse. While cavities do not directly cause bad breath, you can prevent both bad breath and cavities by practicing good oral hygiene and seeing your dentist and hygienist regularly.

A message from the NOAH Dental Team

What to expect at your dental visit during this pandemic.

NOAH Dental Teeth Whitening Education by Marianne Youssef, Dentist

We all want to have white teeth, but how do we achieve that bright healthy smile? Our expert dentist, Dr. Marianne Youssef explains what causes staining and offers a few tips on how to achieve those pearly whites!

Healthy Smile Tips by Dr. Lou Sarrosa, Dental Director

During the month of February, thousands of dedicated professionals, healthcare providers, and educators come together to support National Children’s Dental Health Month. The goal is to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers and members of the community. At NOAH we believe in educating our little community members on the importance of having a healthy smile. We do this by partnering with local school districts, hosting free dental health screenings and providing oral health education to all attendees. We also attend various events in the community where we offer the same services while encouraging families in need of a dentist to come see us at one of our dental offices. At NOAH, we take oral health education a step further by providing these free community screening events all year long. With your help, and just a few simple tips from our dental pro’s, you and your child can have a healthy smile that is bright and cheerful.

HEALTHY SMILE TIPS

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Clean between your teeth daily.
  • Eat a healthy diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks.
  • See your dentist regularly for prevention and treatment of oral disease.

Should I Give My Kids Sports Drinks by Dr. Mozhgan Kimble, Dentist

“Sports drinks, such as Gatorade and Powerade, are meant to rapidly replenish electrolytes lost through sweating during prolonged, vigorous physical activity.”

American Academy of Pediatrics

Even then, water should be the main source of hydration. Sports drinks have considerable amounts of sugar, which leads to higher risk of weight gain and cavities. An 8oz serving of a sports drink can have as much as 14 grams of sugar. However, even the lower calorie versions still have a high acidic concentration. Tooth enamel dissolves at a pH of 5.5. Water is neutral at a pH of 7, but Gatorade has a pH of 3.3. In other words, sipping on Gatorade exposes their beautiful smile to a sugary, acidic environment which dissolves enamel and causes cavities. So, if your child is having a great day running around the playground, the best way to keep them hydrated and healthy is simply refreshing water. Remember, skip the sports drink, keep the smile.

Check out these few tips for reducing sports drink consumption for your child.
1. Encourage your child to drink low fat milk or water with their lunch.
2. Avoid sending Gatorade or Powerade in their lunches.
3. Drink water in between meals.
4. If your child must have a sports drink after a long (over an hour), vigorous and sweaty workout, have them drink the sports drink quickly, and then follow it with water.

Have you scheduled your bi-annual dental hygiene apt. yet? Call 480-882-4545 today!

October is Dental Hygiene Month!

“Don’t be tricked on Halloween, choose the right treats that may help your children steer clear of the Mouth Monsters (also known as tooth decay) like Ginger Bite-Us and Tartar the Terrible. Instead, choose Tooth D.K. Dark chocolates and sugar-free gum which are better for the teeth compared to gummies, caramel, sour candy or bubble gum,” says our friends at The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists. They’re less likely to get stuck in the tiny grooves and crevices of your teeth. If you prefer chocolate, try to encourage your kids to eat dark chocolate. This tasty treat is packed with antioxidants that can stop bacteria from sticking to teeth, which may help fight gum infections and has less sugar in most cases than milk chocolate with may help reduce tooth decay! Don’t forget to rinse your mouth with water anytime you consume sweet treats and make sure to brush before bed! Have a safe and Happy Halloween from our NOAH family to yours!

For more information, go to: https://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/aapds-guide-to-a-tooth-friendly-halloween/

Halloween Safety Tips by Amit Jain, MD, FAAP, MBA

It’s that time of year again! Halloween is right around the corner. With it comes lots of fun, elaborate costumes, tricks, and treats! Have your children thought of the costume they’d like to wear this year? We here at NOAH want to make sure they stay safe while out trick or treating this year. With assistance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, have provided some great safety tips below to keep them safe while they’re out.

Fun / elaborate costumes can be an exciting part of Halloween. One of the most effective but most easily forgotten ways to help make your child’s Halloween a safe one is with costume safety.

Here are some great safety tips:

  • As most of the trick or treating happens after dusk, make sure costumes are bright and colorful and / or have some reflective surfaces that can be easily seen by drivers and others. You can even consider adding some reflective tape or striping to the costumes and trick-or-treat bags with such tape. It can even help for a cool effect the children would love.
  • Make sure the costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, and are clearly labeled as flame-resistant.
  • Along with this, make sure your children have shoes that fit well and are comfortable for walking long distances.
  • Masks can obscure a child’s vision, especially to the sides (peripheral vision) as the mask moves around their face. Consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as fun and safe alternatives to masks.
  • Any swords or other sticks / canes that are a part of the costume should not be sharp or too long that they could hurt your child if they trip and stumble over these objects.
  • Make sure all children and their escorts have flashlights with a fresh set of batteries.
  • Before leaving for trick or treating, make sure your children know how to call 9-1-1 or their local police department in case they get lost or separated or in an emergency. Have a safety plan in place for the chance that a child gets separated from the group, which should include having the child stay where they are in a safe location if they do get separated from the group. The non-emergency number for the Phoenix Police Department is: 602-262-6151.
  • Also, make sure they have a good meal prior to going trick or treating, and bring a water bottle for each child and the children’s escorts to stay hydrated while out.
  • A parent or responsible adult should be with and watching children at all times while out. Instruct children to always stay in a group and close to the parent / responsible adult. Also instruct them to remain on well-lit streets, always use the sidewalks (or as close to the edge of the road as safe if no sidewalk is available, facing traffic), and use designated crosswalks to cross the street.  Don’t assume you have the right of way – it is much more difficult to see the road and pedestrians at night! While out trick-or-treating, only go to homes with a porch light that is on. Remember to never enter homes or cars for a treat.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review a route that is acceptable to you beforehand – and ensure they will stay on that route. Plan and agree upon a time that they should arrive home by. Remember curfews – Phoenix juvenile curfew hours are 10 p.m. for children 15 and younger and midnight for 16- and 17-year-old children. If possible, give them a cell phone for emergency contact use.
  • Finally, after the fun night of trick-or-treating, sort and check all treats before the child eats any of them (including ones they eat while still out trick-or-treating). Throw away any spoiled, unwrapped, or suspicious looking treats. Ration out treats for the weeks and months following Halloween. They should not eat any of these treats immediately before bedtime. Along with this, remind your children that the rules don’t change from a normal day – remember to have your children brush their teeth before bedtime to get all of that stuck-on candy out of their teeth.
  • Also, don’t forget to have regular check-ups with our wonderful Pediatric Dentists here at NOAH!

Please check the American Academy of Pediatrics website for some more awesome safety tips here:

https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Halloween-Safety-Tips.aspx

Have a fun, safe, and Happy Halloween from your friends at NOAH!