Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Your Child’s Teeth: Helpful tips for parents

  • Why are baby teeth so important?
    • They help your child speak and chew normally. They also help hold spaces for the subsequent adult teeth.

  • When should they have all of their baby teeth?
    • Most children will have all of their baby teeth by the age of three

  • Should I be worried about the spacing in my child’s teeth?
    • Spaces between baby teeth are normal.

  • How much toothpaste should my child use?
    • Use a soft bristled, child sized toothbrush and use a grain of rice sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.

  • When should I begin flossing my child’s teeth?
    • As soon as they have two teeth that touch.

  • Teething tips:
    • Gently rub your child’s gums with a clean wet piece of gauze, your finger, or a small cool spoon.
    • Use a clean, chilled teeth ring and don’t dip in sugar or other foods. This can cause tooth decay.
    • Talk to you pediatrician or dentist if they are still uncomfortable
    • Do not use topical gels or creams with anesthetics (Orajel or Baby Orajel) to help with sore gums in young kids. In a small number of children they have caused serious reactions.

  • Prevent Tooth Decay in Baby Teeth
    • Clean their teeth two times per day, every day
    • If they use a pacifier, do not dip in sugar or honey.
    • Do not put pacifiers or spoons in your mouth to clean them before giving them to your children. Decay causing bacteria can be passed to your child.
    • Do not let them sip sugary drinks regularly. Limit these to mealtimes.
    • Do not put infants to bed with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juices, or any liquids with sugar.
    • Avoid sugary snacks and try healthy snacks.

For more information, visit www.dentistwestchester.com.

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Can yoga and other stress releases decrease stress induced teeth grinding?

            Bruxism (clenching and/or grinding of the teeth) affects millions of Americans. Some people are aware they grind their teeth and some have no idea. Regardless, bruxism can lead to severe wear on the teeth or problems with the TMJ (temporomandibular joint). Typically we recommend a custom made appliance to help protect the teeth, the joint, and even alleviate any pain associated with bruxism. But are their other holistic approaches we can try to help reduce the bruxism? Some studies suggest there is a chance.
            There are different theories and causes for why we grind our teeth. One of the more common associations is stress. Some stress is unavoidable and sometimes it comes and goes. From a dental point of view, I cannot help treat your stress. However, I can help treat the symptoms and protect your teeth and jaw. But there are other medical professionals that may be able to treat the stress. There are specialists you can work with that can help you manage stress. If that does not work there may be some medications available. If you are interested in this route, I would suggest talking with your physician first.
            Some recent studies have also suggested yoga and other forms of exercise can help reduce stress. There are times when your life is so busy and full of unavoidable stresses that there will never be a complete escape. Putting time aside to exercise can help you let go for a little or even give you the time to organize your thoughts. By managing your stress, you may also reduce the amount you clench or grind your teeth.
            At this time there is no way to predict whether or not this strategy will work for you. But if you grind your teeth and you don’t have a consistent exercise routine it doesn’t hurt to try. If it doesn’t work we can always make you an appliance to help protect your teeth.

For more information, visit www.dentistwestchester.com.

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Why are sealants so important for my child?

Why do your kids need sealants?
            Around age 6 your child will begin to see the eruption of their first adult molar teeth. Once they get closer to 12, their next round of molars will come in. Because these teeth have so many pits, fissures and grooves, they are especially susceptible to cavities. To combat the start of tooth decay, we recommend placing sealants as soon as the teeth erupt and your child is able to tolerate the procedure.
Purpose of a sealant:
            A sealant is a white plastic coating that is placed on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to help stop tooth decay. The material is closely related to traditionally filling material but is designed to flow into the deepest pits and fissures of the tooth.

Placing the sealant:
            A sealant is a preventative procedure and is not invasive. We first need to clean and dry the surface of the tooth. Any debris or saliva can inhibit the bond of the sealant to the tooth. We then place a conditioning solution on the tooth for around 30 seconds before thoroughly rinsing and drying the area. The sealant material is then brushed into the necessary parts of the tooth before becoming hardened with a special light.

How long should a sealant last?
            Some adults will still find sealants on their back teeth 10 or 15 years after their original placement. And if they are still there, there is no reason to remove them. However, due to a variety of factors, many sealants will need to be replaced every 2-5 years. A lot depends on the anatomy of the tooth and the habits of the child. We usually recommend having sealants on the molars at least until the age of 14 or 15. It has been shown to reduce the potential of tooth decay by over 70% vs. kids without sealants. 

Do other teeth need sealants besides the molars?
            Depending on the formation of the teeth or a high propensity toward developing cavities, we may recommend fillings on other teeth. Bicuspids and upper front teeth will often be sealed due to their unique anatomy.

For more information, visit us at www.dentistwestchester.com.

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

What is oral cancer?

What is Oral Cancer?

            Oral cancer can be particularly dangerous because it can go undetected in its early states. This can make dentists the first line of defense in the fight against oral cancer.  As the sixth most common cancer, it account for almost 5% of all cases. Over 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer each year and results in over 8,000 deaths. If oropharyngeal cancer is included, the number increases to over 15,000 per year.

What are the risk factors?
            Risk factors include tobacco use, alcohol use, sun exposure of the lips, previous head and neck cancer diagnosis, and HPV. HPV can cause cancer in the back of the throat, on the base of the tongue, and the tonsils. It is estimated around 80 million Americans are infected wit HPV, but it is possible that vaccines could help prevent oropharyngeal cancer.
What are the warning signs?

            Oral cancer is usually painless in the beginning stages but it can become painful as it progresses. You should see your dentist immediately if you find areas of your mouth that don’t heal after 2 weeks. There are many different presentations, so it is better to be cautious.

How do dentists screen for cancer?

            Until proven otherwise, the most effective way to screen for oral cancer is a clinical evaluation. We look for irregular lumps or tissue changes on the neck, head, cheeks and oral cavity. We also use pictures and detailed notes to track any progression. While there are different rinses available, most oral pathologists do not believe they are predictable enough to use with any regularity.

How is oral cancer treated?

            Treatment of oral cancer may include surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy. You physician will be the one to determine the appropriate course.

How can I prevent oral cancer?

            Abstain from using all forms of tobacco, avoid excessive sun exposure, and excessive alcohol consumption. The CDC recommends that all preteen boys and girls be vaccinated for HPV. The success of treatment is closely tied to early detection, so you should maintain regular visits to your dentist.

For more information, visit us at www.dentistwestchester.com.

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.