Kids don’t always play it safe or make the best decisions when it comes to protecting their teeth. Tooth decay and mouth injuries are just a couple of things parents must worry about for their kids, whether it’s the elementary school or college years. Here are some simple ways that parents can teach their kids to protect their teeth.
Limit sports and energy drinks.
Sports and energy drinks are both heavily marketed toward today’s youth. It is true that sports drinks help replace electrolytes during exercise, but many people drink them too much or outside the exercise realm. Experts have deemed sports drinks to be unnecessary in the lunchroom or as a snack on the playground. The high acid levels in these drinks can erode tooth enamel, with energy drinks determined to cause twice as much damage. It is recommended to save sports drinks for very strenuous activities, and instead stick with water for hydration and refreshment without the negative effects.
Insist upon mouthguards.
Parents should provide mouthguards for kids in nearly any sport, even if it isn’t considered mandatory by the school or team. Mouthguards can prevent chips, fractures, or knockouts of teeth, as well as protect the soft tissues of the mouth. According to research estimates, 3 million teeth were knocked out in youth sports in 2011. Dentists suggest that athletes who don’t wear mouthguards are 60 times more likely to sustain oral injury. Inexpensive basic mouthguards or the boil-and-bite variety are available at sporting goods stores, or customized mouthguards can be purchased through your dentist.
Say no to oral piercings.
Although it applies primarily to teenagers and older, the Academy of General Dentistry advises against oral piercing for active people. Those with piercings should remove them before participating in sports, because puncture wounds can lead to infections related to increased blood flow and breathing rates during exercise. If your child is considering and oral piercing, make sure you discuss the risks and need for removal during physical activity.
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Obesity, defined as an excess proportion of body fat, has reached epidemic levels in the United States. This condition presents health risks to many areas of your body, and takes a toll on just about every aspect of your life. What does obesity have to do with oral health? Recent studies have linked the development of obesity with oral bacteria.
By testing the saliva of overweight people compared to individuals within a healthy weight range, researchers have discovered an oral bacteria present in 98 percent of the obese subjects. Experts believe this bacteria is an indicator of developing an overweight condition. Also, they suspect that the bacteria may participate in the body functions that lead to obesity.
Preventing and controlling obesity usually begins with analyzing and changing your diet. A high glycemic diet, which generally means a diet high in sugars, contributes to weight gain. It is also connected with your dental health, because sugars in your mouth are converted into plaque. If plaque accumulates on your teeth and gums, the risk increases for tooth decay and gum disease.
While it will likely benefit your waistline to reduce the amount of sugar consumed, doing so will reduce your risks for oral disease. Likewise, regular dental checkups, proper oral hygiene including brushing and flossing twice daily, and smart diet modifications will also lower your oral health risks. As experts continue to investigate the connection between your mouth and your overall health, following recommendations for caring for your mouth will likely decrease oral bacteria and possibly limit your risks of other health concerns such as obesity.
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Getting back your ability to smile and eat with a complete set of teeth is one of the great benefits of dentures. To prevent infections, sores, or further tooth damage, it is important to maintain dentures properly. Here are some ways that dentists advise to keep your dentures in great condition.
Rinse your dentures well after meals to remove food particles and avoid stains. Brush them daily with a soft toothbrush to remove plaque and deposits. Use a mild soap or product that your dentist recommends, but avoid harsh toothpaste or strong cleaners.
Soak your dentures in water or cleaning solution when you are not wearing them, especially overnight. This helps keeps them from drying out or becoming misshapen. Do not use hot water.
If you use a cleaning solution, rinse your dentures well before putting them back in your mouth. Avoid swallowing denture cleaning solution because it can cause stomach upset.
Handle your dentures very carefully so that you don’t drop them or bend them. Clean them over a basin filled with water, so that if they fall they shouldn’t be damaged.
Visiting your dentist
Maintain regular checkups with your dentist to get both your mouth and your dentures examined. Most dentists recommend visits every six month for ideal results. See your dentist sooner if your dentures are not fitting well, are causing irritation, or have become loose.
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Sedation dentistry, also known as “sleep dentistry,” refers to the practice of calming and relaxing a patient prior to a dental procedure with the use of pharmacological agents. Sedation dentistry began in the late 1700s when a chemist named Humphry Davy began experimenting with inhaled gasses and first observed the analgesic effects of nitrous oxide, commonly known as “laughing gas,” on himself and on dental patients.
In 1844, an American dentist named Horace Wells used nitrous oxide as a dental anesthetic during the extraction of his own molar tooth. Wells made the observation that while he experienced very little pain while undergoing the extraction, he was still fully conscious during the procedure. A few years later, dentist William Morton and surgeon John Warren performed a public oral surgery at Harvard University, demonstrating the analgesic properties of a sulfur-ether compound, further proving that sedation dentistry should be explored further.
For years, trial and error procedures informed doctors of the safety of various levels of pain-relieving gasses. It was discovered that 100% nitrous oxide, when used in prolonged dental cases, could lead to hypoxia, a condition in which the body is deprived of the oxygen it needs to thrive, something that can eventually lead to death. Finally, a Chicago surgeon named Dr. Edmund Andrews began mixing nitrous oxide with oxygen, administering them simultaneously. This allowed for safer analgesic options for both surgical and dental procedures. Ether and chloroform, combined with some nitrous oxide, was later shown to provide deeper sedation for prolonged treatments.
Intravenous (IV) sedation began in the 1960s at the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry in California. Dentists there experimented with IV sedation for the highest level of management for pain, anxiety and fear for dental patients undergoing surgery.
Today, dentists routinely turn to sedation dentistry for their patients to relieve pain, stress and to provide the most comfortable dental therapies as possible. Talk to your dentist to discover the latest sedation dentistry options and to see how they can help you positively experience your next dental procedure.
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