Little Mouths are a Big Deal

A Blog by VK Pediatric Dentistry

Seasonal allergies and asthma can increase your child’s risk for TMJ disorders, oral dryness, cavities and even gingivitis. These conditions may sound alarming, but don’t panic, the first step would be to let your pediatric dentist know.


The most concerning condition to be aware of is dry mouth because it leads to significant oral health complications. Dry mouth can be caused by a variety of things including mouth breathing while sleeping, seasonal allergies, and the use of certain medications including inhalers. When your child doesn’t produce enough saliva (which has naturally buffering and protective qualities), it can increase your child’s risk for bad smelling breath, cavities and even gingivitis.


How can you protect your child’s mouth at home?

Water is key to keeping your child healthy overall but it’s also important for oral health. It’s important to make sure your children are always hydrated. Don’t just wait until they are thirsty. Listed below are some additional tips to prevent dry mouth:


  • After your child uses their corticosteroid inhaler, always rinse with water.

  • Make sure your child uses a spacer (or puffer) when utilizing a corticosteroid inhaler to ensure the medication reaches their lungs effectively. In addition, this prevents the medication from staying in their mouth.

  • Buy gum that is sugar free and contains Xylitol. Chewing gum can stimulate saliva production.

  • Develop a good oral care routine for your child. Brush twice a day for at least two minutes, floss once a day and lastly visit your dentist every 6 months.


In certain situations, your pediatric dentist may recommend prescription strength fluoride toothpaste to combat high caries risk and keep teeth healthy for years to come.



VK Pediatric Dentistry

5001 Lee Hwy, Arlington VA 22207

www.smilewithvk.com

#smilewithvk

By: Dr. Peter, owner and pediatric dentist at VK Pediatric Dentistry in Arlington, VA



Parents and dentists have one thing in common and that’s wanting healthy and happy children! Protecting and caring for your child’s teeth is extremely important. One of the most effective ways to reduce cavities and protect teeth is through proper placement of dental sealants. Sealants are typically placed on your child’s first and second permanent molars (also known as the 6-year and 12-year molars).


What are Sealants?

Sealants are a thin coating material that is applied to the occlusal or biting surface of teeth (usually molars but sometimes premolars as well). This coating helps seal the surface of the tooth and prevents food from getting stuck in the grooves of your child’s teeth. Without sealants, grooves are often one of the first places cavities form due to the sticky nature of a lot of foods kids love (ie, the foods Dr. Peter tells you to avoid!!). According to the CDC, sealants protect against 80% of cavities on the molar occlusal surfaces if applied properly. School aged children without sealants are three times more likely to have cavities than children with sealants.


Who can place sealants?

Although sealants can be applied by most dental providers, we strongly recommend a visit to your pediatric dentist for sealants on your children. Sealants are very technique sensitive and proper sealant placement can last and be protective for years. Although the actual placement is relatively quick, the importance of proper isolation and good technique cannot be stressed enough. Poorly placed sealants can lead to an increase of cavities and often act as a food trap and often fail early.



VK Pediatric Dentistry

5001 Lee Hwy, Arlington VA 22207

www.smilewithvk.com

#smilewithvk

By: Dr. Peter, owner and pediatric dentist at VK Pediatric Dentistry in Arlington, VA


Enamel is the hardest surface in the human body and provides your teeth with a protective barrier. Consider it a shield of armor. This is the first and most important line of defense against cavity causing bacteria.


What Does Enamel Do?

Enamel is the outer protective layer of the tooth and is the hardest, most mineralized substance in your body. It covers the outer surface of teeth and is the visible part of the tooth. It's made of mostly minerals (hydroxyapatite mainly). Enamel can be compared to a non-stick coating on a pan. As soon as the outer layer begins to break down, you’ll start seeing other chips, cracks, and crevices. The same is true for teeth. Once the enamel is damaged, often through poor diet or bad hygiene, it will not repair itself unless fixed by a professional (cue, the dentist).


What if I Have Weak Enamel and How Can I Prevent it?

Although rare, there are a few things that cause weak enamel, typically when the teeth are still developing. In general, a mom’s dental habits while pregnant, medications she might be taking, or bad diet habits once a child is born through their adolescence can contribute to weakened enamel. The enamel can appear blotchy, yellowish, or softer than the rest of the teeth. This is something Dr. Peter is screening for at your dental visits.


Sugary foods and acidic beverages are some of the most damaging things to your tooth enamel. When sugar adheres to teeth, bacteria produces lactic acid which sits on the teeth and damages them. Although saliva has many buffering agents that can help repair, the constant bombardment of sugar and acid can lead to cavities. Do your best to protect tooth enamel by maintaining healthy eating habits and good oral hygiene habits.



VK Pediatric Dentistry

5001 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22207

www.smilewithvk.com

#smilewithvk