Valparaiso Pediatric Dentist | How Candy Threatens Your Child’s Smile

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How often does your child eat candy? According to a study conducted by the USDA Economic Research Service, children under 12 consume an average of 49 pounds of sugar in one year. While candy is not the sole source of sugar in a child’s diet, the impacts of sugary candy treats are particularly harmful to teeth. Here’s what you need to know about candy and how it might be damaging your child’s smile.

The Impact of Sugar on Teeth

The real culprit in candy is the high sugar content. Certain types of bacteria that are present in your mouth can feed on sugar. These destructive bacteria then create acid that wears away tooth enamel. When enamel is weakened, your risk of developing decay increases. Your mouth is effective at neutralizing acids and aiding minerals that strengthen enamel if the amount of sugars and acids is not excessive. Your mouth can only do so much, which makes it essential to limit your sugar intake and maintain a regular and thorough oral hygiene routine.

Watch Out for Sticky, Sugary Candies

Not all candies are made equal. For a general rule of thumb, the sticker the candy, the worse it is for your teeth. Sticky candies leave sugary residue on your teeth long after you are done eating. This gives the bacteria in your mouth more time to start demineralizing enamel. Watch out for sticky candies like gum drops and taffy.

Suckers, lollipops, and hard sucking candies are troublesome because they are in your mouth for an extended period of time. Like sticky candies, this allows for more time for harmful bacteria to get to work by weakening your teeth. You can also chip or crack a tooth if you bite too hard.

Other problematic candies include those that are gummy and coated in sugar. Think of gummy worms or another sour covered, chewy critter. Not only are they high in sugar content, but they also typically contain harmful acids that contribute to a loss of enamel.

Steps for Preventing Decay

You can help your child by limiting their candy and sugar intake. In some instances, this can be tricky and even out of your control when your child is at school or a friend’s house. What you can do is instill good oral hygiene habits in your child. Make sure they are brushing for two minutes twice each day. You can make brushing fun. Sing a song together for the two minutes, and allow them to choose a fun toothbrush and toothpaste flavor.

Candy is a fun treat. You don’t have to take it away from your child altogether, but limit their exposure to such treats and educate them about the impacts candy can have on their teeth. When left untreated, decay can spread leading to pain and infection. Maintaining a schedule of regular visits to our office is essential. More than just a cleaning, we will provide a thorough examination to check for decay.

If you haven’t already scheduled your child’s next appointment, please contact our office.

1111 Cumberland Crossing Dr.
Valparaiso, IN 46383

(219) 286-6148

46383 Pediatric Dentist | Say Cheese!

Pediatric Dentist in Valparaiso

It has long been known that dairy products contain high amounts of calcium, which is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. However, not all dairy works in the same ways. Did you know that a recent study has found that cheese can actually help protect teeth against cavities?

How does cheese prevent cavities?

Eating cheese helps stimulate the production of saliva in your child’s mouth, which washes away sugars, acids, and bacteria on their teeth. Additionally, cheese is a great source of both calcium and phosphorous, which can help strengthen tooth enamel. What’s more, the scientists who performed the study found that some of the other compounds found in cheese seem to adhere to tooth enamel, further protecting the teeth from acids in the mouth.

Are all cheeses the same?

No, some cheeses are healthier for your family than others. To get the greatest benefit from your child’s cheese intake, stick with real cheese varieties, rather than processed cheeses. American cheese, cheese dips, and pre-packaged cheese products, such as those found in jars or spray cans, have added sugars to enhance their flavor. These sugars can be harmful to teeth, rather than protecting them. In addition, these types of cheese products contain a significantly reduced amount of actual cheese content. These processed cheeses can even wear down tooth enamel, increasing risk of decay.

What kinds of cheese should I give my child?

There are hundreds of types of real cheese available, which are packed with calcium and great for tooth protection. If your child enjoys aged cheeses, Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey jack are all tasty options. If he or she prefers softer cheeses, Mozzarella, Brie, or Camembert may be a great way to make your child smile. Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and other similar cheeses have much to offer for a child with a more expansive palate.

What if we’re on a low-fat diet?

Good news! The fat content of your cheese choices do not affect its ability to protect your child’s teeth. The low-fat or non-fat versions of your child’s favorite varieties of cheese contain just as much calcium, phosphorous, and other tooth-protecting compounds as the full-fat varieties.

With so many great options to choose from, consider offering your child cheese instead of sugary or starchy options for a snack or end of meal treat. Cheese tastes great and is healthy for your child and their teeth. For more ideas for healthy snacking, contact our pediatric dental office.

1111 Cumberland Crossing Dr.
Valparaiso, IN 46383

(219) 286-6148

Valpariaso Pediatric Dentist | What to Expect at Your Child’s Dental Appointment

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The American Dental Association recommends all patients to schedule routine six-month check-up exams. This is particularly important for growing children.

At your visit, we will screen your child’s mouth for tooth decay and gum disease. Regular professional dental cleanings are essential for a healthy mouth. During your child’s dental cleaning, we will gently remove any buildup of plaque or tartar to help prevent tooth decay.

During this visit, our team will spend time discussing proper brushing technique and oral hygiene with your child. Depending on your child’s age, we may also teach them about the correct use of floss and mouthwash. Our team members are friendly, patient, and great with kids, and will answer every question.

We may recommend fluoride be applied to the teeth as part of your child’s treatment. Topical fluoride is used to strengthen enamel and make teeth more resistant to tooth decay.

Sealants are highly effective in preventing tooth decay and cavities on your molars and premolars. These areas are the most susceptible to cavities due to the anatomized grooves.

Typically, children get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. These sealants can protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14. However, adults without decay or fillings in their molars can also benefit from sealants.

The process of applying sealants is easy and fast. The application steps are as follows:

  • Your child’s teeth are thoroughly cleaned
  • The teeth are dried
  • A liquid solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth
  • The solution is cured using a special curing light

Sealants act as a barrier and protect the enamel from plaque and acids. They may last for several years before a reapplication is needed. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay.

Sealants are not a substitute for brushing your teeth. It is important to maintain proper oral hygiene and keep up with professional dental cleanings. Also, sealants do not protect between the teeth, so it is essential to continue to floss daily.

Without proper dental care, children are susceptible to oral decay. Healthy smiles should not stop at our dental office. Our experienced and caring team will educate you and your child on how to make good food choices and how to properly brush and floss at home.

Our expert dentist and knowledgeable team have the experience and qualifications to care for your child’s teeth, gums and mouth throughout various stages of childhood. For more information or to request an appointment, contact our office today.

1111 Cumberland Crossing Dr.
Valparaiso, IN 46383

(219) 286-6148

Pediatric Dentist in Valparaiso | Can Teething Affect More Than My Child’s Mouth?

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It is a common belief that teething causes secondary symptoms such as a runny nose, irritability, high fever, or problems with sleeping. However, studies have shown that these types of concerns are caused by health issues unrelated to teething. Here are some of the things to expect during teething, and some that are often attributed to teething, but are better discussed with your child’s doctor.

A Teething Breakdown

Teething generally begins around 6-12 months of age, and can 24 months or more to complete. Each tooth eruption lasts about a week – 4 days before the tooth breaks through, followed by 3 days of healing. During these episodes, it is common to see some minor symptoms. Your child may experience a low-grade fever (around 99.0°F), excessive drooling, chewing obsession, gum irritation and discomfort, and/or a slight facial rash during tooth eruption. These symptoms are all normal and should pass within a few days.

What Teething Doesn’t Cause

While teething may cause the mild reactions listed above, more serious symptoms like those below, are not related to teething:

  •         Runny Nose
  •         High Fever
  •         Vomiting
  •         Digestive issues (Diarrhea, cramping)
  •         Coughing

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms for an extended time, consult your child’s doctor.

Your child should have a dental visit within the first 6 months of tooth eruption. It is important to have examinations done early, so you can start them on a path of life-long oral health. If your child is teething, our team is more than happy to help. Contact our office to schedule an appointment.

1111 Cumberland Crossing Dr.
Valparaiso, IN 46383

(219) 286-6148

 

Pediatric Dentist 46383 | How to Make your Child Comfortable While Visiting the Dentist

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Our patients love visiting our office. We make it a priority to make sure every child feels safe and comfortable when visiting us. We focus on keeping your children educated and happy with their oral health. Below are a few tips on how to make your child comfortable while visiting the dentist.

Be open about it at home

Sometimes children are uncomfortable with the dentist simply because it is unfamiliar territory. We encourage you to openly talk with your children about the dentist and the benefits of visiting us. We have also seen that educating your children on their teeth can spark their curiosity. You can even “play dentist” with your children at home where you take turns examining each other’s mouths.

Visit the dentist regularly

With unfamiliarity of something there almost always comes fear. You can ease these fears with regular visits to the dentist, so it becomes part of your children’s routines. We recommend regular visits to our office every six months to one year for you and your children. This will not only ensure your child will become more familiar and comfortable with the dentist, but also that they are receiving the best oral care possible.

Make oral health fun

Brushing together as a family can encourage your children to take care of their teeth and make it a regular part of their daily routines. This will encourage them to want to visit the dentist to show off the hard work they put in to their oral health. You can also implement other fun activities such as brushing to music, letting them pick out a toothbrush, or using fun flavors of toothpaste.

We hope these ideas will help your children become more familiar with the dentist. We are excited to meet you and your children and know that any visit you make to our office will be fun, safe, and comfortable for everyone involved. If you have any more questions, please contact our office or schedule a visit today.

1111 Cumberland Crossing Dr.
Valparaiso, IN 46383

(219) 286-6148

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

Pediatric Dentist Near Me

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.

1111 Cumberland Crossing Dr.
Valparaiso, IN 46383

(219) 286-6148

Pediatric Dentist | Pacifiers and Teeth Development

Pediatric Dentist Near Me

One of the best ways to calm fussy babies is by giving them a pacifier. However, as babies grow this can be a difficult habit to break. The use of pacifiers can cause improper mouth development which leads to abnormal tooth growth and additional complications later in life. Here’s what you need to know about the impact pacifiers have on your baby’s smile.

Negative Effects of Pacifiers

Physical development is crucial for children’s overall health in the first few years of their life. What you do now can affect them for their entire life. Pacifiers can influence the shape and alignment of your child’s teeth and jaw. It can move the front teeth forward and you may notice your child developing crooked teeth or bite problems. The front teeth may also not meet when their mouth is closed and there can be changes in the shape of the roof of their mouth.

Positive Effects of Pacifiers

While they may contribute to oral health complications, pacifiers do offer several benefits for parents and children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) babies up to one year of age who are offered a pacifier at night have a reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

What You Should Do

Since pacifiers can be beneficial for other health reasons, you should speak with us about how to wean your baby off of pacifiers. We also recommend that you visit our office for an examination as soon as your child’s first tooth develops.

Breaking the habit of pacifier use can be difficult, but there are various ways you can wean your child off a pacifier. By following our tips and recommendations, your child can experience the calming effect of pacifiers without developing pacifier teeth.

Call and schedule your child’s next appointment with our team today.  

Growing Smiles Pediatric Dentistry of Valparaiso
1111 Cumberland Crossing Drive, Valparaiso, IN 46383
(219) 286-6148

46383 Pediatric Dentist | How Probiotics Improve Oral Health

Pediatric Dentist Valparaiso

pediaric dentist valparaisoProbiotics 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.

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.

1111 Cumberland Crossing Drive
Valparaiso, IN 46383
(219) 286-6148

Pediatric Dentist in 46383 | 5 Ways Medication May Be Affecting Your Child’s Oral Health

Pediatric Dentist in Valparaiso

Valparaiso IN Pediatric DentistAccording 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

1111 Cumberland Crossing Drive, Valparaiso, IN 46383

Valparaiso Pediatric Dentist | 6 Facts You Didn’t Know About Your Toothbrush

Pediatric Dentist in Valparaiso, IN

Pediatric Dentist in 46383Do you ever think about your toothbrush? You use it twice a day, but how much do you know about it? We’ve compiled a list of interesting toothbrush facts. The next time you brush, consider these bits of trivia.

  1. Toothbrushes may be less common than mobile devices

It is believed that more people own and use a mobile device than those who own and use a toothbrush. With nearly 8 billion mobile devices, the world has more mobile phones, tablets, and other gear than people. However, only 3.5 billion people are estimated to use a toothbrush.

  1. Origin story

It is believed that the first modern toothbrush was invented by a prisoner in England. Sometime around 1780, William Addis created a toothbrush from bone and used swine bristle for the brush.

  1. A long history

Long before Mr. Addis invented what we know as the toothbrush, ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, and Chinese crafted tools for cleaning their teeth. The ancient Chinese used “chewing sticks” to freshen breath as early as 1600 BCE.

  1. What are the bristles?

Originally, toothbrush bristles were primarily made from cow hairs or boar hair. Today, nylon is the material of choice, and has been since the 1930s.

  1. What color is your toothbrush?

Blue is the most common toothbrush color. The second most common color is red.

  1. A home for bacteria

More than 100 million bacteria call your toothbrush home. You don’t get sick regularly because, like your toothbrush, your mouth is home to hundreds of millions of bacteria. Your body is quite effective at fighting off these germs, but if you don’t change your toothbrush regularly or share with someone else, you might catch an illness.

Now that you are a toothbrush expert, spread the word about the importance of regular brushing. Be sure to brush for two minutes twice each day. The American Dental Association recommends that you change your toothbrush every three to four months. If you have a weakened immune system or have been sick recently, you should replace your toothbrush.

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