Washington DC Pediatric Dentist | How to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as “baby bottle” tooth decay. This type of tooth decay is often caused by bacteria shared by the primary caregiver or by a lack of proper oral hygiene. However, the most common cause is frequent and prolonged exposure to drinks containing sugar, especially in the baby’s bottle.

It is important to try to protect your child from developing baby bottle tooth decay. The health and development of your child’s primary teeth is crucial to ensuring their permanent teeth come in healthy and correctly-positioned.

Here are some simple, but effective ways to help prevent your child from developing baby bottle tooth decay:

Try not to share saliva with your child.

Do not lick your child’s spoon or pacifier before giving it to them. This can spread the bacteria which cause tooth decay, even when your own teeth are clean and healthy. Instead, wash the item thoroughly or replace it with one that is already clean.

Practice good oral hygiene for your child.

As a parent, your child’s dental health is in your hands. After feeding your infant, wipe his or her gums clean with a dampened washcloth. When teeth start to erupt, brush them gently with a child-size toothbrush. Use a smear of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice. Begin flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they have two teeth positioned next to one another.

Take your child to regular dental cleanings and exams starting with the eruption of their first tooth. As your child grows, talk to them about keeping their teeth healthy. Explain why and how you brush their teeth. When they are old enough to start brushing their own teeth, brush with them to reinforce the proper oral hygiene habits recommended by their dentist and dental hygienist.

Limit sugary drinks, especially in bed.

Saliva decreases during sleep, allowing drink residue to stick to your child’s teeth instead of washing away. Baby bottles should only be used for milk, formula, or water. They should never contain juice, soft drinks, or sports drinks, which have high sugar content. Only give water in your baby’s bottles at nap time, bedtime, and in the car. Save milk or formula for meals and snacks, so your child’s teeth can be cleaned afterward.

As a parent, you are your child’s first line of defense against baby bottle tooth decay. For more information about keeping your child’s teeth healthy, contact our office.

Washington CD Pediatric Dentist | Early Dental Care Could Save Your Child’s Life

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The negative effects of poor oral hygiene are well documented, and can impact much more than your mouth. A lot of serious medical conditions can be caused or worsened by complications arising for poor oral health. Starting your child’s oral care off right serves the twofold benefit of modeling the importance of good oral hygiene to them and giving their mouth a solid foundation of oral health. If you want to ensure your child’s oral health is taken care of, contact our pediatric dental team today to schedule your child’s next examination and cleaning!

The Dangers of Poor Oral Health

Poor oral health can result in much more than cavities and toothaches. Studies have linked a long list of serious and life-threatening conditions to poor oral hygiene, including heart disease, dementia, stroke, respiratory issues, an increased risk of miscarriage, and more. Most of these conditions are worsened by the bacteria that can enter your blood stream due to gum disease or tooth decay. These issues take time to develop and time to treat. However, the sooner you start practicing good oral health, the better defense your mouth with have against disease, protecting your whole body.

Care for All Ages

Everyone experience different oral care needs throughout their childhood. From the teething stage as baby teeth start to appear to loss of teeth as adult ones begin to take their place, there are a lot of different stages a child’s mouth will go through before it’s fully developed. It’s important to recognize that each of these stages requires their own unique oral care. Waiting to teach your child good oral hygiene could be disastrous for their health.

Invest in your child’s future health by starting off their oral care routine off well. Contact our pediatric dental team today to learn more about the potentially life-saving benefits of early childhood dental care or to schedule your child’s next examination and cleaning.

Washington DC Pediatric Dentist | Is Your Child Excited to Visit Us?

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Getting your child to visit the dentist willingly is a difficult task that many parents face. Having your child be excited about a dental appointment is even more of a challenge. Here are tips to help your child feel excited about their next dental visit.

Dental Education

Use resources to educate your child about what takes place at a dental office. This is an effective way to set initial expectations. There are numerous resources available online that are designed to appeal to children while educating them about dentistry. Knowing what to expect can help your child feel at ease. We recommend not trying to trick your child into going to the dentist, but be honest and open about what they can expect.

Find the Right Team

Familiarity with a dentist can go a long way in getting your child excited about going to see them. Going to the office and meeting the staff and dentist prior to an appointment is a good way to increase your child’s comfort level. If your child is comfortable with our team members, we can help educate your child. We invite you to get to know our team before your next visit.

Leading by Example

Children learn by example and imitation. If your child sees you dreading the dentist, they can mimic your fear or stress. Set the right example for your child. Another way to do this involves expressing your excitement and how great your teeth look will look after a cleaning.

Children may not always cooperate when going to the dentist, but these tips should help get them excited about their appointment. Being honest and letting your child know what to expect will help quell any fears they have, while leading by example can help get them excited.

Contact our team to schedule your visit today.

Washington DC Pediatric Dentist | Healthy Snack Choices for Kids

Washington DC Pediatric Dentist | Healthy Snack Choices for Kids

Do your children constantly ask for sugary snacks that you know are not good for their health? There are healthy alternatives to the junk food your child loves that taste just as great. Here are a few options to get you started.

Low-Fat Yogurt with Berries

Premade parfaits can be high in sugar with added fat and artificial flavors. Make your own parfaits at home with plain low-fat yogurt to cut down fat and calories. This combination of food gives you a balanced meal consisting of protein, calcium, and fiber. These are all important nutrients to keep bones and teeth growing strong. The berries also provide antioxidants which are very important for overall health.

Celery Sticks with Cream Cheese and Sunflower Seeds

Usually kids will do anything they can to get away with not eating vegetables. Have you ever thought of pairing vegetables with a snack they love? Cream cheese will make the celery more appealing to your children. The celery is fibrous and will gently scrub their teeth as they chew. The sunflower seeds are an added bonus containing magnesium and Vitamin B.

Hummus with Toasted Whole Grain Pita

This is a snack that has become popular over the years. It is delicious and also great for your child’s teeth. Hummus can prevent sugars from sticking to your teeth, decreasing the risk of cavities. Whole grains are nutritionally better than white bread, which has more sugar.

Cheddar Cheese and Apples

Placing cheddar cheese and apples on a whole grain cracker is a tasty treat for your child. The apples are high in fiber and water, which will help wash away bacteria and food particles. The cheddar cheese gives your child an extra dose of calcium to keep their teeth durable.

Tip: Do not forget to throw in a bottle of water with your kid’s snack. It will wash away any sugar, bacteria, and plaque left on their teeth from eating.

Remember to schedule regular dental appointments for your children’s constantly evolving teeth. For more healthy options, contact us and visit our office today.

Washington DC Pediatric Dentist | Preventing Enamel Erosion

Do you have white spots on your teeth? Are your teeth quite sensitive? Do your teeth have cracks, chips, or indentations? If yes, then you may be experiencing enamel erosion.

Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. It is the clear coating that protects your teeth. However, being the strongest substance in the body does not mean it should be neglected. Enamel can erode. Without the protection of enamel, you not only risk developing decay, but also abscesses, tooth pain, and even tooth loss.

What Causes Tooth Enamel Erosion?

There are several factors that cause tooth enamel to erode, some of which are the result of everyday actions. Sugars and acids can wear down enamel. If you regularly drink soft drinks or sugary fruit drinks, you may be damaging your teeth. To protect your teeth, limit your consumption of such drinks. Alcohol can also erode enamel, as well as a diet that is high in sugary or starchy foods. The bacteria in the mouth can transforms starches and sugars in foods such as bread into damaging acid.

Other factors include acid reflux, recurrent vomiting, gastrointestinal problems, genetically inherited conditions, grinding your teeth, even brushing too hard or not flossing properly. All of these impact the health of your enamel, and, ultimately, your teeth. Once the enamel is worn or chipped away, it cannot be replaced.

Keep the sweets from becoming everyday treats, replace white breads with whole grains, and try eating more cheese and yogurt to bolster the calcium in your saliva to keep the acids in check.

How Can Enamel Erosion Be Prevented?

In addition to exercising moderation with soft drinks, alcohol, sugars and starches, and, of course, taking extra care with regard to medical conditions and your tooth care regimen, there are a few extra things you can do to protect your smile. Saliva can neutralize harmful acids in your mouth. By drinking water and chewing sugar-free gum, you can boost saliva production.

Keep the sweets from becoming everyday treats and replace white breads with whole grains. Add more cheese and yogurt to your diet. Not only are both foods high in calcium, but they also help neutralize harmful acids in your mouth.

Tooth enamel is essential for maintaining a healthy smile. Be mindful of what you eat and drink. Enamel erosion may also be the consequence of other complications such as excessive teeth grinding or acid reflux. Regular visits to our office allow our team to provide a full examination. If we detect that your enamel is eroding, we will discuss potential causes and solutions.

To schedule your next visit to our office, please contact our team today.

Washington DC Pediatric Dentist | How Probiotics Improve Oral Health

Probiotics are typically advertised as being helpful for digestion. However, studies have shown that they can also improve oral health. Probiotics are beneficial for fighting infections that lead to oral disease.

Washington DC Pediatric Dentist | How Probiotics Improve Oral Health

Reducing Gingivitis

A study published in Contemporary Clinical Dentistry has found that probiotics can reduce gum bleeding in patients with moderate to severe gingivitis. In the trial, children were given either a placebo or two different combinations of probiotics. At the three-week mark, it was discovered that children who took probiotics had significant improvements in their gingival status.

Combating Periodontitis

Periodontitis is another oral disease that probiotics have been shown to fight. Periodontitis is caused by harmful bacteria that separate teeth from the gums creating pockets that can become infected. Probiotics can fight harmful bacteria and lessen the inflammation to help heal the mouth.

Fighting Cavities

Another finding from the trial of the Contemporary Clinical Dentistry showed that children who took probiotics also saw a significant decrease in plaque. The reduction of plaque leads to less decay. Probiotics fight the plaque and occupy the spaces on the teeth where bad bacteria thrive.

Minimizing Bad Breath

Another benefit of probiotics is the effect they have on bad breath. Bad breath is usually caused by volatile sulfur compound bacteria releasing odor-causing gases. Because probiotics are healthy bacteria, it is believed that they can eliminate the bad bacteria and maintain a healthy bacteria balance in your mouth.

The benefits of probiotics are not just limited to the digestive health. Researchers continue to conduct studies to discover new ways probiotics contribute to a healthy mouth and body.

Contact our team for more information on oral health or to schedule a visit today.

Washington DC Pediatric Dentist | How Pregnancy Affects Your Oral Health

Washington DC Pediatric Dentist | How Pregnancy Affects Your Oral Health

During pregnancy, it is essential that you don’t neglect your oral health. A fluctuation in hormones can cause drastic changes in your mouth. Oral health complications have been linked to increased risk in other significant overall health issues. Here are the most common oral health problems, how they can affect your pregnancy, and how to prevent them.

Oral Health Problems During Pregnancy

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, only 22 to 34 percent of women in the United States visit a dentist during pregnancy. Regular visits to our office while expecting can allow us to detect potential issues early. Gingivitis is the biggest concern during pregnancy. The buildup of plaque is more likely to cause an expecting mother to have red, swollen, and painful gums that bleed. If the gums become even more swollen and irritated, it can cause non-cancerous pregnancy tumors. If oral health problems are left untreated they can lead to serious diseases.

Ways to Prevent Gum Problems

The best way to decrease any risk of getting gingivitis is to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Make sure you brush the full tooth, all the way to the gums. Flossing your teeth regularly will also keep your gums healthy. Seeing your dentist more frequently for cleanings will reduce plaque and minimize any problems.

How Bad Oral Health Can Affect Your Baby

The Academy of General Dentistry suggests a link between gingivitis and having a preterm or low-birthweight baby. If an expecting mother has gingivitis, it can cause bacteria to enter in the bloodstream and travel to the uterus. The bacteria triggers chemicals that may induce early labor.

Maintaining good oral health is important in combating problems during pregnancy. Gingivitis is the most common concern that can be managed with the help of your dentist. Without proper treatment, gingivitis can lead to other health issues that not only affect you, but also your pregnancy. Keep yourself and your child safe by having a consultation with your dentist before or during your pregnancy. We also recommend that you bring your new baby to the dentist as soon as their first tooth grows in so they can get started on the path to a healthy life.

Contact our dental team today to schedule an appointment.

Family Dentist 20003 | 5 Ways Medication May Be Affecting Your Child’s Oral Health

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According to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 20% of children take prescription medication regularly. There has been a steady, noticeable increase in the number of children using medication prescribed by their doctor. Several types of medication can impact your child’s oral health. When you visit our office for your child’s regular examination, please tell our team about any medications your child uses so we can better adapt our treatment approach. 

We’ve compiled a list of 5 common ways medication can affect your child’s oral health. 

1. Dry Mouth 

Dry mouth is a condition where the mouth produces a reduced level of saliva. Several medications can inhibit the mouth’s saliva production. Saliva is important, especially to children’s young teeth, as it helps to neutralize damaging acids. When left untreated, dry mouth can lead to higher rates of tooth decay. 

2.  Gum Tissue Enlargement 

Certain medications can lead to your child’s gum tissue becoming enlarged or overgrown. Extra attention is needed to avoid gum inflammation. In these instances, our team will recommend special care instructions to help your child maintain healthy gums.  

3. Tooth Decay 

Most medications will not directly cause tooth decay. However, there are medications that use sugar, particularly for flavor. Think of the great-tasting liquid medicines available for kids, or candy-like throat lozenges. Over time, sugar can contribute to tooth decay as it feeds decay-causing bacteria. Our team recommends opting for sugar-free versions of medications when available. It is also advisable to have your child take their medication with a meal and a drink, to wash away sugary compounds. 

4. Bleeding 

Medications can reduce the ability for blood to clot. If your child is going to undergo oral surgery, or even may be ready to lose a tooth, an increase in bleeding may occur. We ask that you notify our team of any medications your child is taking prior to scheduling treatment. This will allow our team to provide a high level of care for your child. 

5. Soft Tissue Reactions 

Certain medications can lead to oral inflammations, discoloration, or even the appearance of oral sores. Contact us if your child is experiencing any of these symptoms. We can work with you and your child to create an oral hygiene plan to alleviate these side-effects. 

It is essential that our team is aware of any medications your child is taking. This allows us to plan our treatments and recommendations accordingly. If you notice any changes in your child’s oral health, contact our team. Our goal is to work with you and your child to establish a lifetime of healthy habits and optimal oral health. 

For questions regarding medication and your child’s oral health, contact our office.  

Pediatric Dentist Washington, DC | Periodontal Disease in Children

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection in the gums that can impact the teeth and jawbone if left unchecked. About half of all children suffer from periodontal disease. Fortunately, if identified and treated early, its effects can be managed and even reversed to allow your child to return to optimal oral health through adolescence and beyond. 

There are several factors that can lead to the onset of periodontal disease in children. Poor oral hygiene and untreated plaque are the most common, but diet, diabetes, hormonal changes, and even genetic predisposition can increase your child’s risk. 

Your child should be screened for periodontal disease if their gums are: 

  • Sore 
  • Swollen 
  • Red 
  • Bleeding from brushing and/or flossing 

If left unchecked, periodontal disease can cause your child’s gums to pull away from the teeth, affecting the structure of the bone beneath and potentially impacting their jaw alignment and bite. Over time, bone and tooth loss can occur. 

Periodontal disease is preventable and highly treatable. Regular cleaning and exam appointments will help keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy. Teach your child about the importance of daily oral hygiene. If periodontal disease has begun, our doctor can help. Contact our office for your child’s periodontal screening today. 

Dentist in 20003 | What’s in Your Child’s Mouth?

Your child’s mouth contains hundreds of bacteria. Before your child reaches for the toothbrush and mouthwash, understand that not all bacteria are bad. Here’s what you need to know about the bacteria that makes its home in your child’s mouth. 

Bacteria Basics 

More than 700 different oral bacteria species have been detected. Most people usually have less than 10% of these different strains in their mouth at one time. Different strains have different purposes. Bacteria that are harmless and help digest food are known as probiotics. Other types of bacteria help keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy. The troublemakers are those that contribute to decay and periodontal disease. 

The Dangers of Bacteria 

Bacteria constantly grow and multiply in your child’s mouth. According to Registered Dental Hygienist Magazine, certain bacteria species can double their population in 20 minutes if conditions are right. They feed on starches and sugars that are the byproduct of the food and drinks your child consumes throughout the day. Certain bacteria types produce an acid while they feed. This acid erodes your child’s tooth enamel, leaving their teeth susceptible to decay. 

Maintain a Healthy Mouth 

The best way to manage the bacteria in your child’s mouth is to maintain excellent oral hygiene. Brushing at least twice each day for two full minutes and flossing regularly is the best way to keep bacteria in check. You may want to consider an antibacterial mouthwash. Another key element to maintaining optimal oral health is sticking to a healthy diet. By avoiding or cutting back on foods and drinks that contain high amounts of sugars, acids, and starches, you can reduce the multiplication of bacteria that feed on these byproducts. 

Not all bacteria are out to harm your child’s teeth. Bacteria can be incredibly helpful in maintaining your child’s overall health. To help protect your child’s mouth and teeth against the bad bacteria strains, keep them following their oral hygiene routine. During your next visit to our office, we will provide a thorough cleaning and check for decay. We will also screen for any signs of other oral diseases. 

For more information on keeping your child’s mouth healthy, please contact our team.