Do I need to worry about my child’s mouth? | Pediatric Dentist Elizabeth City

There are hundreds of bacteria in your child’s mouth. You and your child need to understand that not all bacteria are harmful. In the following paragraphs, you’ll find out what you need to know about the bacteria in your child’s mouth.

Understanding Bacteria

There have been more than 700 kinds of oral bacteria identified to date. The majority of people have less than 10% of these strains in their mouths at any given time.Each strain serves a different purpose. We refer to probiotic bacteria as harmless bacteria that aid in digestion. Your child’s tooth and gum health is also affected by other types of bacteria. Bacteria that cause decay and periodontal disease are the leading causes of bad teeth and gums.

Bacteria can be harmful to your teeth and gums.

Your child’s mouth is constantly filled with bacteria. If conditions are right, certain bacteria species can double their number in 20 minutes, according to Registered Dental Hygienist Magazine. The bacteria feed on starches and sugars that your child ingests each day through food and drink. Certain bacteria produce acids when they consume starches and sugars. Your child’s tooth enamel is eroded by this acid, making them vulnerable to decay.

Take Care of Your Mouth.

Maintaining excellent oral hygiene is the best way to manage the bacteria in your child’s mouth. You should brush for at least two full minutes twice a day and floss regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria. A mouthwash with antibacterial properties may be helpful. Adhering to a healthy diet is also essential for maintaining good oral health. You can reduce the multiplication of bacteria in your body by reducing your consumption of sugar, acids, and starches.

However, not all bacteria are harmful. Thanks to bacteria, keeping your child’s health in check can be beneficial. Follow your child’s oral hygiene routine to protect their mouth and teeth from harmful bacteria. On your next visit to our office, we will thoroughly clean your teeth and check for decay. Additionally, we’ll look for any other signs of oral health issues.

Please get in touch with our dental team if you need more information on keeping your child’s mouth healthy.  Is it time to schedule an appointment, contact us today.

Tidal Smiles Pediatric Dentistry of North Carolina
Phone: (252) 251-7900
Url:
1755 City Center Blvd.
Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Take Action: Protect Your Child’s Teeth | Pediatric Dentist Elizabeth City NC

When you lose a tooth, you may have difficulty chewing, talking, and smiling. Sporting activities put your child at a higher risk of losing teeth. Consult our pediatric dental office to discuss the best oral health solutions for your child. Maintaining your child’s dental health is made easier with a mouthguard. Let’s take a closer look.

Why Use a Mouthguard?

Mouthguards are designed to prevent damage to your teeth. It will protect the tongue, jaw, and lips. Most mouthguards protect the upper teeth because they protrude more than the lower teeth.

Do You Need a Mouthguard?

Your child should wear a mouthguard if they play sports, particularly high-contact sports. There are several sports activities where teeth can become injured, including hockey, football, wrestling, and boxing. Make your child’s mouthguard one of the essential pieces of equipment in their sporting activities. A mouthguard may also benefit players who do not engage in contact sports. You can use a mouthguard to protect yourself against oral injuries, even if you are a baseball player or gymnast.

Should I get a custom mouthguard made?

An ideal mouthguard would be custom-fitted for your child’s mouth. Although it is possible to purchase mouthguards in stores, they do not always fit well. Comfortable mouthguards that do not obstruct breathing or prevent you from talking are essential. At your child’s next dental appointment, we can provide your child with a mouthguard. You can rely on us to find a solution that keeps your child’s teeth safe when wearing braces.

Let’s make sure your child’s teeth are protected. Consider how hard it would be to talk, eat, drink, or smile if a tooth was missing. Each time a young athlete practices or competes, they put their mouth at risk. Please protect your child and have him wear protective mouth gear. 

Contact our office if you have questions about your child’s dental care or to schedule your child’s next dental appointment.

Tidal Smiles Pediatric Dentistry of North Carolina
Phone: (252) 251-7900
Url:
1755 City Center Blvd.
Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Maintaining Your Infant’s Oral Health | Pediatric Dentist Elizabeth City

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that tooth decay is the single largest disease impacting children. In fact, tooth decay is more widespread than other common illnesses like asthma. As a parent, you can help establish habits that will lead to a lifetime of optimal oral health for your child. Essential oral health care practices start during infancy. Don’t wait for your child’s teeth to begin erupting before considering their oral health.

1. Clean Gums, Healthy Smile

Before your infant has teeth, it is important that you clean their gum tissue. This can be done by using a clean, damp cloth and gently wiping your child’s gum line. This cleans off any residue from food and drink. When left uncleaned, your child may be at risk for developing gum disease. Our team suggests cleaning your child’s gums at least twice a day.

2. Introduce Fluoride-Free Toothpaste

Many parents find it helpful to introduce the flavor of toothpaste to infants after establishing a routine of cleaning their gums. Consult our team before using any toothpaste on your child’s gums. A small amount of toothpaste may be rubbed onto your child’s gum tissue. The amount of toothpaste used should be significantly less than what you might put on your own toothbrush. This will get your child used to the flavor and texture of toothpaste in their mouth. 

3. Use a Toothbrush Once Teeth Erupt

Once your child’s first tooth erupts, it is time to begin brushing. We recommend selecting a soft bristled toothbrush made for infants. A pea-sized amount of child-friendly toothpaste should be used. Gently brush your child’s tooth, and be sure not to neglect their gums.

4. Schedule Your Child’s First Visit 

When your child’s first tooth erupts, it’s time to visit our team. Their first dental examination should be scheduled within six months of the eruption of their first tooth. Children should receive at least two regular dental examinations each year, or more if they are at a higher risk for oral health complications.

Proper oral health practices are vital for infants and children. Your role as a parent is to shape your child’s habits to set them on a path for a healthy smile that will last a lifetime. Don’t wait for your child’s first tooth to erupt before considering their oral health. If you have concerns about your infant’s oral health or need to set up their first dental visit, give our office a call.

Tidal Smiles Pediatric Dentistry of North Carolina
Phone: (252) 251-7900
Url:
1755 City Center Blvd.
Elizabeth City, NC 27909

How A Musical Instrument Can Affect Oral Health | Elizabeth City Pediatric Dentist

A seemingly harmless hobby may actually be putting your child’s oral health at risk. If your child participates in the school band or is learning an instrument at home, there can be underlying health risks. This is particularly true if your child plays instruments such as the flute, saxophone, or clarinet. Instruments that require contact with the mouth can be a home for germs and bacteria. Here’s what you can do to keep your child healthy.

The Risk of a Musical Instrument

The potential issue is not with the instrument’s mouthpiece alone. Children who join their school’s band program often get instruments loaned to them. If the instrument is not properly sanitized between students, bacteria and fungi can grow for months after use. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, woodwind and brass instruments are most commonly affected. Proper sanitation can reduce the bacteria found covering these instruments.

The Dangerous Effects of Bacteria

A 2011 study published in the journal of the Academy of General Dentistry uncovered the extent of bacteria in school instruments. Thirteen instruments were tested from a high school after one week of being played, and over 442 different types of bacteria were found. Aside from bacteria, molds and yeasts were also discovered on the instruments. Many types of bacteria can be dangerous and cause staph infections, asthma, and skin infections. Doctors are starting to find certain bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, which makes cleaning your child’s instruments even more important.

Reducing the Risk 

Not only is it extremely important to sterilize your child’s instrument after someone else uses it, but you should be cleaning the instrument after every use. Focus on keeping the mouthpiece clean and free of bacteria. Taking the instrument apart and cleaning it with a new cloth daily can help keep bacteria at bay. 

Learning a musical instrument can be an educational and a rewarding experience for your child. Knowing about the risks of improper sanitation and the correct steps to take to sanitize your child’s instrument will help them stay healthy. Our office encourages families to visit the dentist at least twice a year to avoid oral health complications. For more information or to schedule your next appointment, please contact us today.

Tidal Smiles Pediatric Dentistry of North Carolina
Phone: (252) 251-7900
Url:
1755 City Center Blvd.
Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Chewing Gum and Your Oral Health | Elizabeth City Children’s Dentist

Sugary, sticky, and sweet candies can damage your teeth by increasing your risk of decay. Though gum can be considered a type of candy, chewing sugarless gum approved by the ADA can actually help protect teeth and prevent tooth decay. Here’s what you need to know about gum and your teeth.

How Gum Prevents Decay 

Chewing gum helps increase the production of saliva. Chewing sugarless gum for twenty minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay because the saliva helps wash away food and other debris from the surface of your teeth. Increased salivary flow can also neutralize acids that bacteria produce inside your mouth. Over time, acid can break down tooth enamel, leading to decay. Saliva contains calcium and phosphate, which aid in strengthening tooth enamel.

The American Dental Association (ADA) Seal 

The ADA Seal assures you that the gum is sugarless and has met the ADA’s criteria for safety and effectiveness. ADA-labeled products are tested to ensure they provide the benefits guaranteed by the seal. Companies must verify all relevant data with the ADA to become certified. If you are unable to brush for a short period of time, chewing gum with the ADA seal is a great option to help clean your teeth after a meal or snack.

Does chewing gum replace brushing?

No. Chewing gum for twenty minutes after a meal helps but is not a replacement for brushing and flossing. You should brush at least twice each day, for at least two full minutes. Chewing gum also does not eliminate your need for regular dental examinations. Our dentist recommends scheduling two visits each year, with additional visits necessary for high-risk patients with oral health conditions.

Chewing sugarless gum has noticeable benefits for your oral health, such as increasing the production of saliva. While this can help prevent the build up of decay-causing bacteria, chewing gum should not be used as a substitute for brushing or flossing. Our dentist recommends that if you are chewing gum, be sure to choose an ADA approved brand of sugarless gum. 

If you have concerns that your child may have possible tooth decay, schedule an examination with our dentist as soon as possible.

Tidal Smiles Pediatric Dentistry of North Carolina
Phone: (252) 251-7900
Url:
1755 City Center Blvd.
Elizabeth City, NC 27909

A Healthy Diet For Your Child | Pediatric Dentist Elizabeth City

The food children eat can significantly affect their long-term oral health. Some foods are dense with nutrients that your child needs to grow and develop in a healthy way. Others are full of acids and sugars that are harmful to teeth. With so many unhealthy food choices being marketed to children every day, it is vital that you take a proactive approach. Offer fun, healthy snacks and model the better food choices you want your child to make.

Kids should have a well-balanced and nutritional diet. This not only promotes overall health but also helps build a strong, healthy smile. Nutrition is an important part of oral health. Teaching your kids about eating healthy and limiting sugary foods will help foster a balanced diet from an early age. This will form habits that will result in a lifetime of strong teeth and better health overall.

Make Snack Time Fun 

Promote a nutritious diet by getting creative with snack choices. If you show your kids that healthy snacks are fun, they will be more likely to eat them. Apple slices with peanut butter, fruit smoothies, and yogurt with granola or fruit are great examples of fun, yet healthy combinations. Remember to avoid soda and sugary drinks. These can leave sugars on teeth and can increase the risk of plaque and tooth decay. Water is always the best choice. 

Make Their Plates Colorful

Make sure to add a variety of fruits and vegetables to every meal so that your kids become accustomed to them. 

Model Good Habits 

Children learn habits by following the example set by their parents. Send your kids the right message by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables yourself. Avoid sugary snacks that can cause cavities or gum disease. Be sure to practice good oral hygiene in front of your kids. If you brush and floss after meals and snacks, your kids will follow the example. Consider brushing together with your child to reinforce good brushing skills and habits. Make sure to brush at least twice a day, after breakfast and before bedtime. If it is possible, try to encourage your child to brush after lunch or after sweet snacks.

It is also very important to have regular dental appointments for your child, and model healthy habits by seeing your own dentist regularly. Please contact our office if you need  more ideas on how to promote healthy snacking for great long-term dental health.

Tidal Smiles Pediatric Dentistry of North Carolina
Phone: (252) 251-7900
Url:
1755 City Center Blvd.
Elizabeth City, NC 27909

The Power of Dental Sealants | Pediatric Dentist Near Me

You may have heard of the term dental sealants or maybe our dentist has even recommended them for your child already. Sealants are a powerful way to protect your child’s teeth against decay. As with any dental treatment, it helps to understand the procedure and how it can impact your child’s oral health.

The Benefit of Sealants 

Sealants help to prevent tooth decay. Sealants are applied on the back teeth, where decay is most likely to develop. The back teeth often have deep anatomical grooves that can trap food and bacteria. The sealant fills in the groove so that nothing can get trapped in that area. Our dentist will often recommend sealants for children and teens, but adults may benefit from sealants, as well.

The further your teeth are in the back of your mouth, the more difficult it can be to maintain the proper hygiene needed to keep them healthy. Sealants can prevent up to 80% of decay within the first two years alone. After 4 years, sealants continue to prevent as much as 50% of decay. Children without sealants are more than three times as likely to develop tooth decay than those with sealants.

When To Consider Sealants

Your child’s first molars usually become visible around age 6, with the second set around age 12. You will want to talk to us about the best course of action for keeping molars healthy. Sealants are most effective when they are done as soon as the molars break through. Regular examinations with our dentist will determine the best time to have sealants applied.

The Treatment Process 

Sealants are one of the simplest treatments we perform in our office. There is generally no discomfort associated with this process. We will first thoroughly clean your child’s teeth, and then use a special gel. The gel is then cleaned off before the sealant is applied. A small blue light is used to harden the sealant in a matter of moments. The sealant is a tooth-colored resin material, similar to a tooth-colored filling. 

Are Sealants Safe?

There are no side-effects from sealants, and allergic reactions are extremely rare. However, talk to our doctor about any allergies your child has so we can discuss the best possible course of action. The materials used are safe and biocompatible. 

Sealants can last for years before needing to be reapplied. It is important to schedule regular visits to our office so that our dentist can check the condition of the sealants and teeth on an ongoing basis. If your child had sealants several years ago and you are unsure if they should be reapplied, schedule an appointment with us.

Tidal Smiles Pediatric Dentistry of North Carolina
Phone: (252) 251-7900
Url:
1755 City Center Blvd.
Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Navigating the Teething Stage | Kids Dentist Elizabeth City

Teething is a natural and necessary part of your child’s growth. However, knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to handle. Teething can make your baby cranky and fussy, and can be the cause of many sleepless nights. If your baby has started teething, or if you are trying to prepare for the onset of this stage, we’ve compiled some basic information that may help you. Consult with our dentist for more information about your child’s specific needs.

Is My Baby Teething?

There is a great deal of incorrect information on the subject of teething that can be found all over the internet. Understanding what you should expect can help you know when you truly need to contact a doctor or dentist for your child. Normal symptoms of teething include:

  • Irritability 
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fussiness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chewing on fingers
  • Low-grade fever 

Call your doctor if your baby has high fever, rash, or diarrhea. Contact your dentist if your baby’s gums have severe swelling, redness, or bleeding.

Teething Remedies 

Soothing a distressed, teething baby can be difficult. With sore, inflamed gums, your baby may calm down with a chilled pacifier or teething ring. You may also try rubbing their gums gently with a clean finger or damp gauze. Some infant Tylenol may be appropriate in some situations. Follow the recommendations of your child’s doctor or dentist. Do not use topical pain relievers, which can be dangerous for young children. Homeopathic teething gels and tablets have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for their safety.

Caring For Newly Erupted Teeth

As soon as your baby’s first tooth emerges, dental care is needed. Gently wipe your baby’s teeth and gums with a damp washcloth at least twice a day and before bed.

Once your child has two teeth that touch, begin cleaning between teeth daily using floss or an interdental brush. Your child should have their first dental visit by age 1 or within 6 months of their first tooth erupting. Stay positive when telling your child about the dentist. We will check their teeth and ensure a comfortable, fun first visit.

If you have any questions or are concerned about your teething baby, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Tidal Smiles Pediatric Dentistry of North Carolina
Phone: (252) 251-7900
Url:
1755 City Center Blvd.
Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Encouraging Healthy Dental Habits for Teens | Elizabeth City NC Dentist

The teenage years bring with them greater independence and with that independence comes more choices to be made. Friends begin to exert a greater influence over diet and lifestyle habits than parents at this age. 

Because teens still need to follow good oral health habits, follow these tips to help preserve healthy smiles during this transformative time. 

Encourage Healthy Eating 

Teens are always on the go, and may rely on energy drinks, fast food, and nutrition bars to get through the day. Most of these are loaded with sugar, carbs and acids, which can wreak havoc on their dental health. 

● Keep cheese sticks, fruit, and raw veggies on hand for healthy snacks

● Stock the fridge with water, coconut water, and no-sugar teas 

● Trade traditional gum and candy for those made with tooth-friendly xylitol or other sugar-free sweeteners 

You can’t always make your teen follow a perfect diet, but having healthy choices at the ready can help make it easy. 

Encourage Mouthguard Use 

If your teenager plays football, soccer, lacrosse or another contact sport, insist that they wear a mouthguard to protect their teeth. Mouthguards can be custom fitted by a dentist or store-bought. Some fit over orthodontic braces. 

A mouth protector should be rinsed after each use, disinfected regularly, and stored in a ventilated container. 

Use Caution with Braces 

If your teen has braces, they must exercise great oral care. Make sure to keep new toothbrushes or brush heads, plus floss, and a floss threader, handy. 

Also, be mindful of what they eat: no sticky or crunchy foods and no chewing gum. For healthy prepared snacks any time, cut fruit into bite-sized pieces, add a little lemon juice or pectin to keep them longer, and store portions in sandwich bags. 

Avoid Oral Piercings 

The popularity of tongue and lip piercings comes and goes, but your teen should know that the metal in piercings can cause tooth damage and mouth infections. Tongue piercings, in particular, can easily chip teeth. 

Tooth fractures may need filings, or, if they are deeper, require a tooth extraction or root canal. Make Good Oral Health Easy 

Reward regular brushing and proper flossing, and keep extra kits in your kid’s gym bag, the car, and in their school locker for on-the-go care. Encourage good teeth-cleaning habits after meals, or suggest swishing and rinsing until there is an opportunity to brush. 

Like adults, teens need to visit their Elizabeth City pediatric dentist at least twice a year. Adolescents and teens tend to be self-conscious; having an attractive smile and sweet breath are good motivators for proper oral hygiene.

We can work with your busy teen’s schedule, contact Tidal Smiles Pediatric Dentistry of North Carolina today to schedule their next appointment.

Tidal Smiles Pediatric Dentistry of North Carolina
Phone: (252) 251-7900
Url:
1755 City Center Blvd.
Elizabeth City, NC 27909

Are Your Child’s Medications Affecting Their Oral Health? | Elizabeth City NC Pediatric Dentist

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that about one in five children are currently taking prescription medications and more than half of them take vitamins or other dietary supplements. 

Even though they are used as prescribed, your child may experience side effects from the medication that can impact their oral health. Always let us know what medicines or supplements your child is taking and if there have been any changes since your last visit. 

There are some really common side effects from medications that can impact your child’s oral health, read below as we detail some of them and what you can do to help mitigate their impact:

Dry Mouth

Many medications, especially decongestants and some antibiotics, can temporarily reduce saliva production. A dry mouth is more likely to develop inflammation and infection, tooth decay, and other oral health problems. Drinking more water, chewing sugar-free gum, and eating crunchy foods like produce can help stimulate saliva production and keep the mouth moisturized.

Fungal Infection

Oral Candidiasis, a fungal infection that can affect children who use inhalers for breathing conditions like asthma (these include clotrimazole – Mycelex and fluconazole Diflucan). If your child uses an inhaler regularly, encourage them to rinse their mouth thoroughly with water after each use.

Abnormal Bleeding

Thinning of the blood and a reduction in clotting might accompany the use of some medications. As you can imagine, this might cause problems with excessive bleeding during any oral surgery or treatments for periodontal disease. Be sure to keep your dentist informed if your child is taking any medications or supplements before scheduling any treatment.

Gum Overgrowth

Drug-induced gingival hyperplasia, or gum overgrowth caused by mediation, is rare in children. It is associated with taking the anticonvulsant phenytoin, the antibiotic cyclosporine, and nifedipine, which is used to control blood pressure in kids who have undergone liver transplants. 

Soft Tissue Reactions

Inflammation, oral sores, or discoloration of the soft tissues can occur as a side effect of some medications. We may be able to prescribe a special oral hygiene regimen that can alleviate their discomfort if your child experiences any of these reactions.

Tooth Decay

While tooth decay is not necessarily a direct side effect of medication, several types of medicine use sugar to improve their flavor, especially those in liquid, chewable, or lozenge form. When taken over a period of time, the sugars left on the teeth can make the development of tooth decay more likely. Choose sugar-free medications; take the medication with meals, if possible; or have your child rinse with water after medicating and wait 30 minutes before brushing.

If your child is experiencing any of these side effects, or if you have questions about any medications your child is taking, contact Tidal Smiles Pediatric Dentistry of North Carolina today and schedule a consultation.

Tidal Smiles Pediatric Dentistry of North Carolina
Phone: (252) 251-7900
Url:
1755 City Center Blvd.
Elizabeth City, NC 27909