Category Archives: Dental Health Tips

Dental Care and Pregnancy

It’s important for you to take good care of your teeth and gums while pregnant. Pregnancy pregnant-woman-3causes hormonal changes that increase the risk of developing gum disease which, in turn, can affect the health of your developing baby.

Below are some tips to help you maintain good oral health before, during, and after pregnancy.pregnant-image

Before You Get Pregnant

Try to make a dental appointment before getting pregnant. That way, your teeth can be professionally cleaned, gum tissue can be carefully examined, and any oral health problems can be treated in advance of your pregnancy.

Dental Care While Pregnant

  • Tell your dentist (and doctor) if you are pregnant. Routine dental care can be done any time during pregnancy.  Any urgent procedure can be done, as well. All elective dental procedures, however, should be postponed until after the delivery. Before you have your dental appointment, check with your obstetrician to see if she has any special precautions/instructions for you.
  • Tell your dentist the names and dosages of all drugs you are taking – including medications and prenatal vitamins prescribed by your doctor – as well as any specific medical advice your doctor has given you. Your dentist may need to alter your dental treatment plan based on this information.
  •  Dental X-rays can be done during pregnancy. Your dentist will use extreme caution to safeguard you and your baby, such as shielding your abdomen and thyroid.  Advances in technology have made X-rays much safer today than in past decades.
  • Don’t skip your dental checkup appointment simply because you are pregnant. Now more than any other time, regular periodontal (gum) exams are very important, because pregnancy causes hormonal changes that put you at increased risk for periodontal disease and for tender gums that bleed easily – a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. Pay particular attention to any changes in your gums during pregnancy. If tenderness, bleeding or gum swelling occurs at any time during your pregnancy, talk with your dentist or periodontist as soon as possible.
  • Follow good oral hygiene practices to prevent and/or reduce oral health problems.

Coping With Morning Sickness

  • If morning sickness is keeping you from brushing your teeth, change to a bland-tasting toothpaste during pregnancy. Ask your dentist or hygienist to recommend brands.
  • Rinse your mouth out with water or a mouth rinse if you suffer from morning sickness and have bouts of frequent vomiting.

Sources: 11/22/16 http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/dental-care-pregnancy#1

Photo #1 www.health.com

Photo #2 www.Medindia.net

 

 

Oral Health Tips For Summer

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During the summer months, your family’s schedule is topsy-turvy. That means getting your kids to eat right and maintain good oral hygiene can be a struggle. And with all this extra activity, there may even be a dental emergency or two. Here are a few oral health tips for summer that will help you protect the kids and their developing teeth from long-term damage and avoidable mishaps.

Keep Up That Oral Hygiene

Brushing twice a day and flossing daily is as important in the summer as it is in any other season. But with vacations, camp and lots of days spent at the pool, don’t be surprised if you frequently need to remind your kids to brush and floss.

Now is a great time to buy new toothbrushes to replace the old, worn out or “germy” ones. In fact, you should stock up on extra brushes, as well as travel-sized toothpaste and floss for those summer trips and days out. Tossing a few disposable tooth brushes into your hand bag is a convenient way to always be hygienically prepared. These disposable products are perfect for staying clean anywhere at any time.

Now’s the Time for Checkups

Parents tend to schedule dental checkups in August, right before class starts. But to prevent dental problems over summer, book the kids in right after school ends. This way, the kids will have a clean bill of dental health for summer. The last thing you want is a child suffering from a toothache while away on summer vacation.

Stock a Healthy Kitchen

Keep the summer from being an “acid attack” on your family’s teeth by investing in healthy snacks. It’s hard to limit snacking when the kids are home all day, but with the availability of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, you can stock the fridge with healthy options. Be sure to keep the fruits and veggies clean and ready to grab. You’ll feel better about snacking when the kids are reaching for blueberries and strawberries instead of candy and cookies. And swap out the sugary, acidic soft drinks with bottled water.

Prevent Dental Emergencies

It wouldn’t be summer without lots of swimming, bike riding, volleyball and other playground activities. And while these are great fun, they can unfortunately result in a dental injury. Parents can be prepared for the worst by following these tips:

  • Make sure your kids follow the “pool rules.” According to the Academy of General Dentistry, many of the summer oral injuries dentists treat are due to a pool accident. Running on slippery pool decks, diving into shallow waters or bumping the pool ledge with their mouth causes many children to either chip or knock a tooth loose.
  • Know what to do yourself. Getting to the dentist right away is important, there are things you can do to help. Use warm water and cold packs first, to clean the area and reduce swelling, respectively. Use gauze to stop any bleeding. Place a lost permanent tooth back in the mouth, if possible. If not, use salt water or even better, milk to keep it moist for the ride to the dentist.
  • Pack an emergency dental care kit to take along for vacation. Essentials for this kit, according to the AGD, are a handkerchief, gauze, a small container with a lid, ibuprofen and your dentist’s contact information.

Summer can really throw your routine for a loop. But by following these oral health tips for summer, your kids can start the school year with great oral hygiene.

 

 

[Work Cited: Text: Pleis, Donna (n.d.). “Oral Health Tips for Summer”. Retrieved March 18, 2016 1:15pm from http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/life-stages/childrens-oral-care/article/sw-281474979312057

Photo: Retrieved and used from the above cited website article, date retrieved: March 18, 2016.]

What is oral health? Teaching preschoolers about Dental Hygiene

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At some point, preschoolers learn to do many things without any help. A certain degree of independence is a big step in your child’s development, and it can include getting dressed in the morning and tying shoe laces. It can also include learning to brush teeth by himself, as well as taking responsibility for other oral health care duties.

What is Oral Health Care for Kids?

Getting kids through that transition from when you take care of their teeth to when they do can be tricky. You recognize the importance of dental care, but your little one is just learning what it means to follow a daily routine. Making the learning process enjoyable can help your preschooler stick to the routine, so try some of these crafts and songs to create a lifelong love of oral health.

White Crafts

Preschoolers love getting messy, so why not use arts and crafts to teach your preschooler why consistent oral health is important? Using a poster board, draw or print off a large, smiling face with exposed teeth. Use a marker to color those teeth yellow, then hand it over to the kids to paint the teeth white. Talk about the importance of cleaning teeth so they stay white and healthy. You can hang the finished product in your bathroom as a healthy reminder of what clean teeth should look like. You can also list the answers to the question, “what is oral health” on the poster so your kids are always reminded.

Brushing Songs

One of the most common mistakes kids make when brushing their teeth is not doing it for long enough. According to the American Dental Association Mouth Healthy website, kids and adults should be brushing for two minutes, twice per day. Songs that last at least as long are a great way to keep them on track. Load up Sesame Street’s “Brushy Brush” on your phone, and let your preschooler watch it while he brushes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that tooth decay affects more than 25% of U.S. children ages two and five years and 50% of U.S. children ages 12 to 15 years old. By making dental care enjoyable, you can help instill healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

 Work Cited

Text: Curtis, Jae (n.d.). What Is Oral Health? Teaching Preschoolers About Dental Hygiene.Retrieved March 16, 2016, from www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/life-stages/childrens-oral-care/article/sw-281474979305996

Photo: Retrieved and used from the above cited website article, date retrieved: March 16, 2016.

 

Oral Health and Safety for Children in the Winter

 Thank you to all who participated in the Toys for Tots Holiday Toy Drive! We wish you and your family a safe and beautiful holiday season!

Dr. Edmonstone and Staff

group picture

Dr. E and Staff with Santa

picture 1Protecting your kids’ teeth and gums is a year-round job. But in the winter, oral health and safety for children means finding the right balance between the fun of a snow day and the requirements of mouth care. Drier air, hot treats, snowball fights and more can put teeth at risk for damage. Here are a few ways you can keep your children healthy and happy throughout the cold season.

 

Keep Them Hydrated

Water isn’t just something you should have on hand in the summer. If your kids enjoy spending time sledding or playing a winter sport, they run the risk of becoming dehydrated. According to Mayo Clinic, kids are more likely to become dehydrated than adults because they weigh less to begin with and they aren’t as able to recognize thirst. Your child might also become dehydrated if he has the flu or a nasty cold.

Health and safety for children means getting them to drink plenty of water in the winter, even if they don’t want to. If yours play winter sports, remind them to take a sip or two of water every 10 or 15 minutes, even if they don’t feel thirsty. Letting your kids drink tap water can provide another benefit: It may contain added fluoride, which can help protect their teeth from decay and cavities. In addition to staying hydrated, it’s important that your children dress for the weather as well. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends dressing in thin layers when playing outdoors to keep your children from losing water through excessive perspiration.

picture 2Guard Their Teeth

For young winter athletes, or those who simply enjoy the ski slope when snow is on the ground, you’ll need to provide protection from physical damage. Injuries during sports make up between 10 and 39 percent of dental injuries in kids, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Having your child wear protection, in the form of a mouthguard or face mask, when playing any type of winter sport will reduce his risk for dental injury. You can pick up a mouthguard from the drugstore or bring your child to the dentist for a custom fitting.

Encourage Good Dental Habits

Keeping with good dental habits in the winter is a staple of protecting your kids’ oral health. Brushing twice daily and flossing once a day are especially important when a child has the cold or flu. The immune system is busy fighting the cold or flu virus and needs all the help it can get. Your child might be less inclined to brush and floss when he is feeling under the weather, though. To encourage good oral care when your son or daughter is sick, consider using a flavored toothpaste satisfying flavors such as strawberry and watermelon.

Watch the Hot Cocoapicture 3

When your child has a cough or sore throat, it’s natural to give him a cough drop. Plenty of kids drink a lot of juice when battling a cold, or enjoy a cup of hot cocoa after a day out sledding. But cough drops, juice and hot cocoa can be bad news for your kids’ teeth because they tend to contain a lot of sugar, which leads to cavities and decay. One solution is to give your kids sugar-free cough drops when they have a sore throat. Water is a good substitute for juice when your kids are sick, helping to rehydrate them at the same time. As for hot chocolate, try a version using real milk and dark chocolate, which contains less sugar than other options.

Protecting your kids’ health this winter means more than just making sure they stay warm and away from the flu. It also means keeping an eye on their oral health and taking steps to protect their teeth.

 

Work Cited

Text: Amy, F. (n.d.). Oral Health and Safety for Children in the Winter. Retrieved November 23, 2015, from http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/life-stages/childrens-oral-care/article/sw-281474979359676

Photo 1: http://www.deltadentalidblog.com/2014/01/

Photo 2: http://www.wintergardensmiles.com/patient-information/articles-resources/dental-tips-for-kids/

Photo 3: http://doblelol.com/sipping-funny.htm

 

Halloween Fun and Dental Health

All candy can cause tooth decay because of the sugar content. Sticky candies are the worst – caramels, gummies, jelly beans, and taffy. Not only do they contain sugar which can stick to the tooth surface causing tooth decay, they can also pull out fillings leading to the need for more restoration, and the more one tooth has to be restored the weaker that tooth becomes. Chocolate is the best of the candies, it doesn’t stick and is easily brushed away.

A little lesson in tooth decay; Our bodies produce plaque bacteria naturally every 20 minutes or so. When plaque remaining in the mouth mixes with sugar it forms an acid and that’s how decay begins, acid eats through the enamel and a cavity is formed.

How do you avoid the increased risk of decay around Halloween when kids are exposed to so much candy? If your kids are anything like mine, weeks before Halloween even starts they are already calculating the loot they will get.

One of the best ways to avoid tooth decay at Halloween is to allow the kids a time period to eat what they want, say maybe Halloween night and some time during the next day and then get rid of the rest. Grazing, as we call it, little bits of candy each day for short periods of times is actually more harmful than a one time big exposure. Back to the tooth decay lesson: plaque acts like a sponge and has a certain absorbency capacity, so once it’s saturated with sugar adding more and more sugar at the same particular time  won’t do any more harm. But if you are exposed to a little bit of sugar at regular intervals you increase your chances of tooth decay because that plaque “sponge” never gets fully saturated and becomes a continual source of decay potential.

So, what can you do?

  • have children brush and floss extra thoroughly
  • limit exposure to a once and done
  • donate extra candy to a good cause, a charity organization, a food bank or send a candy care package with a nice note to some military serving overseas.
  • or bring your candy to my office from November 2nd – November 13th and I will donate it to the Shoreline Soup kitchen in my patient’s name.

photo courtesy of: www.freeimages.co.uk/index.htm

How to Prevent Dental Decay

              • Eat healthy foods: avoid sugar and starchy foods between meals. Sugars and Starches especially those that stick to the teeth contribute to tooth decay. Starches like, bread, cereal and crackers and Sugars like juices, candy, and cakes when mixed with plaque bacteria and saliva form an acid that will cause tooth decay.
            • Drink plenty of water each day.
        • Brush your teeth twice a day. Brush after breakfast and before bed.
    • Floss between teeth at least once per day. For children the preloaded hand held flossers work great!
  • Have dental sealants placed on adult molars and premolars at ages 6 and 12.
  • Visit your dentist twice per year to help maintain healthy smiles.

cheeseandfruits

With healthy foods coming into season and warm weather just around the corner, choosing healthy foods and snacks like fresh fruit and veggies will be easier than ever. 

 

Happy Holidays!

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The Holidays are a time to reflect and be grateful.  I’m grateful all year long, but like most of us, I tend to reflect more specifically on what I’m grateful for during the holiday season starting with Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays, and continuing on through the New Year.

I am thankful to be blessed with a wonderful family. My wife, two daughters, son in law and my beautiful new granddaughter, and don’t forget Riley – my beagle. They are my greatest blessings.

What a privilege it is to watch a family grow. For the past 38 years (and counting) I have had the privilege of watching families grow in my dental practice. You all keep me young! It seems amazing to me to be treating the children of some of the children I began with so many years ago, who have grown and now have families of their own. Where did the time go?

I am thankful for a lovely office near the shore in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, where we experience the beautiful four seasons of New England.

I am thankful for my warm and competent staff, who keep things running smoothly always.

I am thankful for all the advances in dental technology I have been privileged to witness over the years.

I am thankful for the wonderful patients I have been able to care for, helping children stay healthy dentally is sometimes a challenge and always a joy.

I hope you enjoy this Holiday season with your loved ones and reflect on what it is you are grateful for.

I’ll leave you with these 5 Dental Tips for the Holidays;

1. Crack nuts with a nutcracker, not your teeth

2. Teeth make horrible bottle openers.

3. Caramel popcorn balls are too sweet.

4. Brush and floss your teeth after the pies, fruit cakes, and cookie platters.

5. Don’t bite Candy Canes.

Credits; 5 dental tips from Top3Dentists.com

Photo credits: freedigitalphotos.net

Back to School Tips

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One thing that sometimes inadvertently gets left off the back to school checklist is proper dental care. Here are some tips to ensure a healthy dental school year~

 

Don’t Rush the Brush

In the mad rush to meet the school bus, “just 5 more minutes (zzzzz) Mom” kids will sometimes skip brushing to save time. That’s not a good habit to get into. The body produces plaque germs every 20 minutes, these germs multiply throughout the day, skipping a brushing increases the chances of tooth decay. Try to help make sure your kids get in the habit of taking time twice a day to brush those germs away. You may also want to place a 2:00 minute timer by the bathroom sink, so the brush won’t be rushed.

Precautions Playing Contact Sports

Now is the time for your children to try out for their favorite sports team. Be sure to get a properly fitted mouth guard before try-outs. Many sports now a days require a mouth guard to participate, you can purchase an over the counter mouth guard at most pharmacies, and sporting goods stores. Custom made mouth guards are available if your child finds the over the counter ones to be uncomfortable, cumbersome, or ill fitting. A child is more likely to wear a mouth guard that fits properly.

 
Packing school snacks and lunches

Sticky, gooey candy, fruit rolls up, sodas, energy drinks, and granola bars are not great snacks for the lunch box. These foods and drinks are high in sugar and with extended exposure to the teeth during the long school can cause tooth decay. Instead, aim to pack cheeses, fresh fruit, raw veggies, wheat crackers and unsweetened fruit juices.

Don’t forget to visit me

Regular dental check-ups, two times per year, keep your child’s smile healthy. Visiting us regularly can make all the difference in the world between a happy healthy smile and a not so healthy one. Regular visits help ensure the following:

- normal tooth development
- healthy teeth and gums
- good brushing habits

Summertime Dental Emergencies and Care

Kid with tubeAs summertime approaches, you can feel the excitement in the air. Summertime for kids is one of the most exciting seasons of the year. They replace their tired school backpacks with beach bags, and sports bags. It’s time for little league baseball, soccer, swimming, playing at the park, and bike riding. Parents don’t know whether to be happy or a nervous wreck worrying about their kids getting injured!

Here is some helpful advice for summertime, kids and dentistry. While accidents are bound to happen, taking precaution and quick action can be the difference between a great summer and a potentially horrible with if a dental emergency arises.

  • To minimize the chance of injuring their teeth, young athletes who participate in both contact and non-contact sports should wear custom-fitted mouth guards.
  • Athletes should visit their dentist on a regular basis to check for unusual tooth wear.
  • If the worst happens and a tooth is knocked loose or comes out, seek emergency dental treatment immediately.
  • In the case of a tooth being knocked out, be careful not to touch the root. Ideally, you should replant the tooth in the empty socket, even part way is ok.If the tooth is contaminated, rinse it gently with milk. Bring the tooth in milk to the dentist asap. Get to a dentist within 30 minutes.

Summertime also brings the tendency to “skip” good oral hygiene practices. When kids are out of their “school routine” they tend to forget to brush and floss. Also, during the summer, kids are snacking more frequently, which ups their chances of tooth decay.

Studies have shown frequent snacking increases the risk of tooth decay, as teeth are continuously being bathed in sugars, creating an acid when mixed with plaque, a sure fire recipe for tooth decay.

So how can you help?

  • Limit the snacks your child grazes on during the summer months to 1 to 2  healthier snacks a day, try to avoid sugary drinks, sports and energy drinks and sodas as much as possible.
  • Set a new regularly scheduled oral hygiene regimen. A mandatory set daily time for brushing and flossing.
  • For younger children you may also want to create a chart system for brushing. For each day the child brush during the summer a star may be placed on a chart and after a certain number of stars the child is rewarded with a treat.

Healthy Snacks for Healthy Teeth

Healthy eating habits lead to healthy teeth. A well-balanced diet plays a large role in the health of your child’s teeth and gums. Children love to snack. Most snacks that children eat can lead to cavity formation. The more frequently a child snacks, the greater the chance for tooth decay. How long food remains in the mouth also plays a role. If your child must snack, try to limit snacking to once or twice a day. Choose nutritious foods such as raw vegetables, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese which are healthier and better for children’s teeth.

Here is a list of good snacks, bad snacks, and “ok occasionally” snacks:

Fresh fruitGood Snacks:

  • Cheddar cheese
  • Fresh fruit
  • Raw veggies
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Milk

Bad Snacks:

  • Sticky candy
  • Fruit roll ups
  • Soda
  • Granola bars
  • Dried fruits
  • Potato chips

Ok Occasionally:

  • Oatmeal cookies
  • Butter cookies
  • Ice cream
  • Chocolate
  • Raisins