Protect your child’s teeth by monitoring their diet

It is common knowledge that too many sweets can lead to tooth decay, but research points to another food group that parents should watch out for: starches. Starch can be found in a wide variety of foods – even so-called “healthy” ones like crackers, bread, pasta and pretzels. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests checking food labels for the presence of sugars and starches and then limiting those foods to mealtimes instead of as a snack. When consumed with other foods and drinks, sugars and starches are more easily washed away and removed from around a child’s teeth. For the same reason, sticky-sweet foods like dried fruit are more likely to damage your child’s teeth because they often get stuck in the crevices.

One common trap that many parents fall into is giving their child access to sugar-laden condiments, like many kinds of ketchup and salad dressings. These types of foods are not always associated with being sweet, but they often have lots of added sugar and can cause problems for kids who like to dip everything from chicken nuggets to apples. Finally, for very young children, experts recommend never putting them to bed with any liquid other than water. Juices and even milk are full of sugars that can sit on your child’s teeth while they’re sleeping and produce cavity-causing bacteria. To be safe, ask your True Care pediatric dentist for her input on your children’s diet. She can recommend healthy foods that are good for their bodies and their teeth.

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Protecting children from fluorosis

Fluoride is often touted for its smile-saving benefits, but too much fluoride in early childhood can actually damage a child’s teeth. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, fluorosis occurs when a child is exposed to high amounts of fluoride while their teeth are still developing, resulting in tooth enamel defects.

Mild cases of fluorosis are characterized by white streaks or specks on the tooth, while severe cases can cause brown discoloration. In such severe cases, the enamel may be rough and difficult to clean. AAPD suggests that children may develop fluorosis in several ways, including by swallowing fluoridated toothpaste, taking too much of a fluoride supplement, or taking a supplement when there is sufficient amounts of fluoride in their drinking water. The necessary amount of fluoride varies according to an individual child’s size and weight.

Although it may be tempting to cut out fluoride altogether, remember that in the proper amounts, fluoride is very important to a child’s oral health. Instead, contact a pediatric dentist through your True Care Advantage plan to talk about the optimal fluoride levels for your child. A dentist can assist you in determining the current level of fluoride in your drinking water and inform you if it would be wise to give your child an additional supplement. At home, be sure to watch your children carefully when they brush their teeth and teach them to spit out toothpaste instead of swallowing. Simple steps like these can help you protect your child’s smile for years to come.

What is Sialadenitis?

In short, sialadenitis is a disorder of the salivary gland. One of several related disorders, this condition is caused by a painful bacterial infection in a person’s salivary gland. Many times, this infection is caused by staphylococcus or anaerobic bacteria. According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, sialadenitis is most common in elderly adults and very young infants.

Symptoms include a painful lump in the cheek or under the chin, or foul-tasting pus released into the mouth from the salivary duct. In severe cases, the person may experience flu-like symptoms, including a fever and chills. The most severe cases usually occur in elderly people who do not receive treatment for their symptoms… (American Health Advantage)

Tips on Keeping your Baby’s Teeth Healthy

Even though your baby may have only one or two teeth, it is critical that you start establishing healthy dental practices at a young age. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, once a child begins eating or drinking anything other than breast milk, any teeth above the gums are at risk for decay.

The Academy recommends not allowing a child to fall asleep with a bottle of anything except water and, specifically, avoiding allowing a child to drink juice out of a bottle. In regard to thumb sucking, it is important to take your child to a pediatric dentist if this habit is continued longer than age 3. Long-term thumb sucking can lead to crooked teeth and bite problems, so make sure this habit is ended before any damage can be done. Finally, the Academy recommends starting to clean your baby’s mouth and teeth as soon as possible.

Even if a baby does not yet have any teeth, parents can still use either a soft toothbrush made for infants or a cloth to clean the baby’s gums. Once teeth erupt, parents should use a soft-bristled toothbrush (in an age-appropriate size) to clean the child’s teeth twice a day with a tiny bit of toothpaste. By starting your child on a path of good oral health as an infant, you can set her up for a lifetime of healthy teeth. True Care Advantage will help you achieve this goal without breaking the bank.