Scarsdale Pediatric Dental Associates, LLP

Fun with Animal Teeth

It’s a fairly well known fact that beautiful teeth make beautiful smiles! We all know that those regular dentist appointments, healthy eating, and daily tooth brushing help keep our faces happy and our friends happier. Teeth are important, and trying to imagine life without them is just plain hard. This is truer than you might expect: humans aren’t the only ones with teeth, but that may not mean what you think it does.

AnimalTeethTake elephants, for example. Elephants have multiple sets of wide, flat teeth that gradually wear down and fall out. They have six sets that last their entire life, so when those are gone…well, they’re pretty much gone as well. As elephants get older, its set of teeth gets progressively larger, corresponding with their age. The final set can weigh more than eight pounds, and grow up to eight inches long. What about the tusks? Yes, those are teeth as well – the only incisors the elephant has! It looks like two sets of teeth just wouldn’t cut it out on the safari.

Beavers are another interesting case study. Most of us care about our front teeth, even if there are a few other things we want for Christmas — but beavers take it to the next level. Like most rodent teeth, beaver teeth never stop growing; they need to keep gnawing on wood to wear them down to a manageable length. If you’ve ever seen beaver teeth, take a look — you may notice that they’re not quite white. Dentists recommend fluoride for teeth cleaning, but beavers come with a built-in alternative. Their teeth are incredibly rich in iron, which is woven into the construction of the tooth and works just as well (or even better!) than fluoride. Staving off acid attacks that cause cavity isn’t a problem for our little dam-building friends, but they won’t be on the Smile of Year ticket any time soon.

What about animals that don’t even have teeth? Take the blue whale, for example. The biggest mouth in the world is notoriously empty of what seems to be an integral component – teeth. Instead, the blue whale swims towards its next meal, mouth wide open, and then expels all the extra water through the comb-like baleen filter, trapping plankton, krill, and other no-chewing-necessary food inside.

Next time you’re out and about in the wild, look closely at the squirrels, dogs, cats, and birds around you. Are they similar to each other and to us? Maybe, but you’d be surprised.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

A baby bottle may be a useful tool for a parent. Keeping your baby calm, or helping them get to sleep is important. What’s in the bottle is very important. A child’s teeth are delicate, and keeping them from decaying promotes good health for the mouth as well as the child’s developing organs. Here are a few things to consider.

Baby-Bottle-Tooth-DecaySugar is Everywhere

If it’s not water, it probably has sugar in it. Even breast milk has sugar. Frequent exposure to sugary liquids promotes tooth decay, especially fruit juice and other sugary drinks.

What if the Baby Refuses Water?

If your child is accustomed to a sugary beverage, and won’t go to sleep with water, try slowly diluting the drink with water over a few weeks, until the bottle is full of only water. Note: Children under 6 months should not be given water. Speak with your pediatrician before giving your baby water in a bottle.

Going to Sleep

Though your baby can’t yet brush their teeth, or clean their mouth on their own, it is still very important to maintain a clean mouth. Use a wet cloth to remove plaque and grime from their gums and teeth. It’s good to have a clean mouth before going to bed, to avoid allowing bacteria to build up over night.

When should Baby Visit the Dentist?

Your child should see the dentist for the first time six months after the first tooth appears. Schedule an appointment today!

Tooth Sensitivity: What it Means and What You Can Do

You’re eating a scoop of ice cream or sipping hot chocolate, and suddenly your tooth hurts. Or maybe brushing your teeth makes you wince. These are common symptoms of tooth sensitivity, one of the most common complaints among dental patients. This blog will help you understand just what this common problem is and what the cause may be.

Tooth SensitivityCauses of Tooth Sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity is caused by the movement of fluid within tiny tubes located in the dentin (the layer of tissue found beneath the hard enamel that contains the inner pulp), which results in nerve irritation. When the hard enamel is worn down or if your gums have receded, the tiny tube surfaces become exposed so that eating or drinking cold or hot food or beverages, touching the teeth, or exposing them to cold air can be uncomfortable. Dental issues that may cause tooth sensitivity include: tooth decay, fractured teeth, worn fillings, worn tooth enamel, and an exposed tooth root. Excessive consumption of foods and drinks high in acid content, such as soft drinks or citrus juices, can also put you at risk for tooth sensitivity. Acid reflux may also result in the erosion of tooth enamel due to acid coating the teeth.

Treatment. If a tooth is highly sensitive for more than three or four days, let us know. We have a variety of options to manage tooth sensitivity, including in-office treatments and products you use at home. We may apply a desensitizing agent or a protective coating to your teeth. Or we may prescribe a fluoride gel or over the counter desensitizing toothpaste, which contains fluoride and potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. These ingredients help block the transmission of sensation from the tooth to the nerve. It is also best to avoid using hard bristled tooth brushes that can wear down tooth enamel and expose sensitive areas.

It is important for us to accurately diagnose the cause of your tooth sensitivity for accurate treatment. Sometimes a damaged tooth may require a filling, bonding, or even root canal if the decay is severe.   Proper dental hygiene is the best way to prevent tooth pain and sensitivity. Please let us know if you have any areas of your mouth that experience sensitivity or if you have any questions abut your dental health.

 

Brush Up On Brushing

Understanding proper brushing technique is important for your oral health, especially if you are teaching young ones how to brush and want to establish life-long good habits. Whether you need a refresher yourself or your little one is starting to brush on his or her own, we have some great tips here to get you started!

brush up on brushing,jpgTechnique. For most people, a circular technique or elliptical motion is best. Holding the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle, brush the outside and inside of your teeth, your tongue, the chewing surfaces and areas between your teeth. Brush a couple of teeth at a time and gradually work your way around your entire mouth. Avoid using a back and forth motion, as it can cause the gum line to recede, expose the root surface and make the root tender.

How Long? Brushing for 2 to 4 minutes is ideal. If you listen to the radio while you brush, this is the average length of a song! Otherwise, use a timer or stop watch to make sure you don’t rush the job on busy mornings. Purchasing a fun egg timer can be a great way to encourage children to brush.

How Often? Because longer brushing time ensures a more thorough cleaning, it is better to brush for a full 2 to 4 minutes twice a day than for a shorter duration more than twice. If you use a toothpaste with fluoride in the morning and evening, you won’t need to brush in between.

Type and Storage. A tooth brush head should be small enough to comfortably reach all of your teeth and should have a good handle for an easy grip. The bristles should be soft and nylon with round ends. If they are too abrasive, they can wear down your teeth. To avoid bacteria build up, rinse and dry your tooth brush after each use and store it in a travel container. Replace your brush every three months.

Toddler Tooth Brushing. As soon as your child’s teeth start coming in, they need to be brushed. Traditional tooth brushes may not be safe for toddlers because they can be inserted too far into the mouth. Thankfully, most grocery stores and pharmacies now sell toothbrushes and toothpaste that are specially designed to be safe for toddlers.

Because we brush our teeth so regularly, we often cut corners without even realizing it. This can lead to cavities and gum disease over time. To improve your oral health, make sure you pay attention to your tooth brushing habits and make the most of this simple but effective tool for preventing dental problems!

Kids: Don’t Forget Your Gums!

When most people think about oral health, they consider their teeth and a sparkling smile. But your gums are an important part of your dental as well as overall health. Proper care of your gum tissue can prevent disease and help you keep those pearly whites for years to come! And you may think that gum disease is just for adults, but the health of your gums starts early on in life! Here’s some information on proper care of gum tissue and facts about gum disease we think you should know.

Kids Don't-Forget-Gums-KidsCauses of Gum Disease
Just like your skin covers and protects your muscles and bones, your gums protect your teeth and the structures that hold them in place. When food particles and bacteria create plaque build up and invade the small areas between your teeth and gums, infections can form. Left untreated, these infections can penetrate gum tissue causing periodontal disease and may be painful, difficult to treat, and put your teeth at risk.

Three Stages of Gum Disease

  • Gingivitis: this gum inflammation is the earliest form of gum disease. You may notice some bleeding during brushing and flossing. At this stage, damage can be reversed, since the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place are not yet affected.
  • Periodontitis: at this stage, the supporting bone and fiber supporting your teeth are damaged. You may have pockets forming below the gum line that traps food and plaque. Proper dental treatment and home care can prevent further damage.
  • Advanced Periodontitis – the final stage of gum disease. The fibers and bone supporting your teeth are destroyed, which causes teeth to shift or even loosen. This can affect your bite and if aggressive treatment can’t save them, you may lose teeth.

Treatment
Early stages of gum disease can be reversed with proper brushing and cleaning to help keep plaque from building up. A professional cleaning is the only way to remove hardened plaque, or tarter, on teeth and below the gum line. If your condition is severe, root planing, a procedure to smooth irregularities on the roots of your teeth to reduce the potential for plaque build-up may be performed.

Know the Early Signs of Gum Disease
Because advanced gum disease is irreversible, prevention is key. If you notice any of these symptoms, please contact us for an evaluation:

  • Red, puffy or swollen gums
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Receding gums that make your teeth look longer
  • Gums that have separated or pulled away from teeth, creating a pocket
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Pus coming from gums
  • Constant bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth

Although gum disease is most common in adults, it can occur at any age. It is important to teach your children that good brushing and flossing routines will protect their teeth as well as their gums. Gums are a barrier that help prevent inflammation that may also be a factor in other diseases. In fact, gum disease has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and pre-mature births. So don’t forget your gums when taking care of your health!

Should I Let My Toddler Use A Pacifier?

When your child uses a pacifier as an infant, it can be hard to know just when the right time is to stop them from using it as they grow. Especially when a child is very attached to his or her binky for sleeping or to cope with new or frightening situations, the thought of taking it away can be terrifying. This blog will explain why pacifier use during the toddler years can be problematic and may help comfort you when taking the steps to transition your child away from using it.

Should I let pacifierPacifiers and Teeth Development

Prolonged use of pacifiers can affect the shape of the oral cavity. The most common effect is an open bite, or a gap between the upper and lower front teeth when the mouth is closed. Another common effect is a crossbite, when the upper back teeth are tucked inside the lower back teeth due to the constant sucking habit. Another risk of pacifier use on oral development is that it can lead to a significant horizontal projection of the upper teeth beyond the lower teeth. Pacifier use beyond the age of 5 can delay the front baby teeth from falling out and delay emergence of adult teeth.

Pacifier Use and Other Problems

Studies show that prolonged pacifier use is associated with more ear infections. One study showed that children who did not use pacifiers had 33% lower incidence of ear infections. Pacifier use may also contribute to speech and language problems. Sucking on a pacifier locks a child’s mouth into an unnatural position, making it more difficult to develop tongue and lip muscles. In addition, as your child is learning to speak, a pacifier tends to limit the opportunity to talk and distort his speech by causing the tongue to push forward, often resulting in a lisp when the child forms the s and z sounds.

While there is no evidence that pacifier use causes permanent damage to baby teeth (they usually shift back into place in a few months after the child stops using it) it can have long term effects on adult teeth, which usually come in around 4 to 6 years of age. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to limit the use of pacifiers to night time only after infancy, but to consider banishing it all together sooner rather than later as a pacifier habit can be hard to break. When the time comes, many parents choose to do it gradually, eliminating day time use first and then phasing it out of the night time routine. Using a newborn size, which is smaller and softer, will also help reduce the impact of pacifier use.

Talk with us about your child’s use of pacifiers and let us help you determine the right time and way to support their oral health and development. While it can be a difficult transition, it just may prevent future problems for that little dear one you love so very much.

 

Food Tips for Healthy Teeth

We all know that foods high in sugar and acid are bad for teeth, but did you know that some foods are actually good for them? Incorporating these dental friendly foods into your family meals can both fight tooth decay and prevent gum disease. Here are five oral health friendly foods!

food tips for healthy teethAlmonds, Brazil Nuts, and Sesame Seeds. These foods contain phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and most importantly, calcium. Dietary calcium is not only good for your bones, it may actually contribute to tooth remineralization and fight tooth decay. Make sure to get the unhulled variety of sesame seeds, which are incredibly high in calcium.

Strawberries, Kiwi, and Citrus Fruits. These fruits have the highest concentration of Vitamin C, which helps to increase collagen in gum tissue and prevents gum disease.

Onions. Toss some raw onion on your salad or eat them on your hamburgers. Onions contain powerful bacteria fighters because of their sulfer-containing compounds and are natural cavity fighters.

Shitake Mushrooms. Recent studies show a natural sugar found in shitakes, called lenithan, specifically targets the bacteria which causes gingivitis (gum inflammation) and tooth decay while leaving non-harmful bacteria alone.

Apples and Celery. Water rich fruits and vegetables stimulate saliva production, which rinses teeth of bacteria. With their high fiber content, they act as natural tooth brushes, scrubbing your teeth as you chew, removing plaque and bacteria that may otherwise build up.

These simple everyday foods are great choices for snacks or to add to meals your family already enjoys. Put onions or shitakes as toppings on your pizza. Serve celery and apples with peanut butter and make a smoothie with your strawberries and kiwi. Nuts can be eaten as a snack on their own or try them as nut butter spread on toast. You can even throw nuts and sesame seeds in a stir fry for added texture and flavor as well as the nutritional benefit.

Green Tea. Besides these five teeth healthy foods, you can even get a boost for your oral health by drinking this powerhouse liquid! Green tea contains “catechins” that actually fight inflammation and control bacterial infections. One Japanese study found that regular green tea drinkers had less incidence of periodontal disease compared with people who drank the tea irregularly. So try drinking green tea instead of that second cup of coffee or have a refreshing green iced-tea on a hot afternoon.

Besides brushing and flossing, what you eat can make a difference to your oral health. It’s nice to know you can eat foods that taste good and be doing something good for your teeth at the same time. Now that’s something we can all smile about!

 

 

It’s Alive! Your Tooth, That Is!

People often wonder, “How does a tooth get to the point of infection?”

It's AliveIt’s a common misconception that teeth are not alive. That belief leads to confusion about how teeth become infected. Because you can’t “feel” the part that you can see (the crown), many people think that their teeth are not alive. Yet, the opposite is true. Most of the material that makes up your teeth is, in fact, made of living cells. Since the material is alive, it makes a great hosting site for bacterial infections!

Similar to hair and fingernails, there is a part of your teeth that is not alive – it is the outermost part, called “enamel”. This is the hard, white part that you can see. It is made of calcium phosphate, a very hard mineral that is perfect for breaking down food when you eat. Underneath that enamel, however, is where all of the live action happens!

Starting on the outside and working our way in, we find dentin (alive), and then the pulp cavity and root canal, through which nerves and blood vessels flow.

Generally speaking, if the enamel is intact, bacteria cannot get through to the pulp to cause problems. However, if there is a crack in the outer part of the tooth due to injury or decay, this creates a pathway for bacteria to enter into the innermost part of the tooth (the pulp cavity and canal) causing infection of the living tissue.

That is when endodontic treatment becomes essential! The only way to remove the infected material is manually, by accessing the canal itself, irrigating and then filling, or closing off access, to the inside of the tooth again.

The 6 Tips Your Toothbrush Wants to Tell You

You already know how important I am to your oral health. That’s why you brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day.

6 Tips ToothbrushHowever, are you aware of how much bacteria lives on your toothbrush? Researchers have found that a single toothbrush can have as many as 10 million germs and bacteria! But, don’t let this statistic scare you away from brushing. These bacteria aren’t a huge threat to your teeth according to Everydayhealth.com, because its been researched that these germs don’t make people sick. That’s because toothpaste is made with an anti-germ component.

So what is your toothbrush trying to tell you to help prevent all these germs?

  1. Keep me clean and dry!

It’s important that you use your toothbrush correctly. Always make sure to rinse it in tap water and give it time to air dry. Germs need moisture to survive, so as long as you give your brush enough time to dry before using it, you should be fine. Make sure not to leave any toothpaste or debris in the head of your brush, rinse it well!

  1. Store me upright!

When you’re at home, store your toothbrush upright in a cup or toothbrush holder. This allows it to air dry, which will help kill those germs. On the road? When traveling make sure to keep your toothbrush in a travel holder, that way it isn’t rolling around uncovered and collecting bacteria in your bag.

If you really want to be in the clear you can soak your toothbrush in a toothbrush sanitizer or in mouthwash. Another alternative is to place your toothbrush in boiling water for 5-10 seconds. Don’t ever put your toothbrush in the dishwasher or microwave, these appliances will damage your toothbrush!

  1. Don’t brush where you flush!

Try to store your toothbrush as far away as possible from the toilet. This is because each toilet flush sends a spray of bacteria into the air and I’m sure you don’t want that near your open toothbrush! We recommend at least 3 feet!

  1. I only want one owner!

Don’t share! Forget what your kindergarten teacher told you about sharing. When it comes to toothbrushes, it’s an absolute no! No matter how close you may be to that person, whether it’s your sibling or spouse, don’t ever use their toothbrush.

  1. It’s time for us to say Goodbye!

The American Dental Association recommends getting a new toothbrush about every three months. This also depends on the wear of the bristles. Some people brush with a heavy hand and therefore their bristles may wear out sooner. It’s important to judge when it’s time for a replacement based upon the bristles, so don’t mark it in your calendar, just keep a look at your bristles. Be sure to check your kids’ brushes regularly because they will probably need to be replaced more often.

  1. Let me remind you!

Some toothbrush brands feature color-changing bristles that remind you when it’s time to get a new brush. You could also make a reminder to replace your toothbrush the first day of every season.   That way you’re replacing it four times a year, with an average of 3 months per brush.

Types of Facial Trauma

Injuries to the face and mouth are emotionally upsetting as well as physically damaging. It’s extremely important to have medical and dental care by experts who know how to address the psychological, medical, and aesthetic elements of recovery. This blog will cover the most common causes of facial trauma and the types of injures that may occur. As with most injuries, prevention is the best medicine, so we will cover tips in avoiding facial trauma all together!types of facial trauma

Most Common Causes of Facial Trauma: There are many ways in which the face can be damaged. Accidents, falls, automobile crashes, work related injuries, and interpersonal violence are among the most common causes for adults. For children, sports related injuries are the leading cause. Children who participate in contact sports, cheerleading, and gymnastics are especially at risk, especially for dental trauma. Dental trauma accounts for 17% of injuries to the body for children, according to the American Dental Association, compared to 5% across all ages. It is most frequently observed in males compared to females, and usually involves the front teeth.

Types of Injuries: Every year about 3 million people are treated for facial trauma according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Soft tissue trauma includes any cuts to the face or gums. Avulsed, or knocked out teeth are another type of injury, and must be dealt with immediately to increase the chances for reimplantation. Bone injuries, such as fractured jaws, cheekbones, and noses can also occur as well as damage to the nerves in the eyes, face and salivary glands. It is extremely important to have facial trauma assessed and treated by an expert in facial trauma. Besides the aesthetic reasons, serious health complications can occur, even from a small amount of damage. Depending on the location of the injury, speech, swallowing, and breathing can be affected. For dental injury, teeth that are loose in their sockets can make eating difficult and cause speech impediments. Chipped, broken, or misaligned teeth can cause TMJ and other functional problems, in addition to the loss of confidence in your appearance.

What You Can Do to Prevent Injuries: Using a mouthguard during sports or other high-risk activities is the most effective way to prevent injury. Studies in high-risk populations for facial trauma show relatively low compliance in using mouthguards. We can also recommend helmets, face shields, and protective eyewear that can further reduce your risks. The spring season seems to bring an increase of children to the emergency room as kids are eager to get on their bicycles, skateboards, and swing sets. As a parent, educate your child in safety measures and supervise their activity.