More than a smile: Importance of your kid’s long-term oral health

By: CNN Philippines

🦷 Busy days at work and school can hamper our oral care routine. Children, in particular, are prone to problems brought by poor dental health. Sadly, its consequences may escalate up until adulthood; thus, affecting their social and psychological welfare.

Thankfully, this article via CNN Philippines highlights some effective ways to encourage your child to fight the invisible enemy of cavities! The Oral Surgery DC Team

Dental health is an essential — yet often overlooked — aspect of one’s general well-being.

Busy days at work and school can hamper our oral care routine. Kids, on the other hand, would rather munch on their favorite snacks and sweets than grab a toothbrush after meals.

But the risks that come with not brushing our teeth go beyond gum disease and bad breath — it may affect our social and psychological welfare.

Children, in particular, are the most vulnerable to problems brought by poor dental health as its consequences can escalate up until adulthood.

How poor dental habits affect kids

Global health research shows that having dental conditions during childhood will effectively limit a student’s performance in school and education — an effect of all the absences due to sickness.

Filipino children are mostly affected by this, as toothache has been listed as the top reason for absenteeism among students.

Impaired physical appearance due to oral diseases can likewise affect a child’s confidence. Tooth loss and even halitosis (chronic bad breath) can prohibit a kid from coming out of his or her shell, making it difficult for him or her to develop social relationships with peers.

In the Philippines, local data shows that dental caries, or tooth decay, have the greatest impact on the quality of life of children.

This condition has been directly linked to poor diet and nutrition which— if not managed properly— can lead to other illnesses in the long run.

What to do when your kids resist brushing

In line with this, medical experts have long urged parents and caregivers to help children practice good oral health habits.

However, it’s common for your kids to clamp down whenever they see a toothbrush nearby.

Here are some simple yet effective ways to encourage your child to fight the invisible enemy of cavities:

– Get the child involved: Letting your kid pick a colorful child-sized toothbrush and flavored toothpaste will make the process fun for your kid.

– Pay a quick visit to the dentist: Having an expert explain the benefits of good dental hygiene to your child can still do wonders. Who knows, maybe your child is in for a sweet treat at the clinic?

– Look for a win-win solution: When their children won’t cooperate, some parents resort to giving a reward system. This could mean an additional episode of the kid’s favorite cartoon— or perhaps a spontaneous afternoon walk in the park.

– Don’t take the fun out: Parents can still make brushing fun and playful for kids by humming a tune or even “accidentally” spraying their kids with water.

An early start to proper dental hygiene will contribute to good overall physical health and emotional well-being. A brush or two will lead not only to a smile — sometimes it will also last you a lifetime.

Source: https://cnnphilippines.com/lifestyle/2019/9/28/more-than-a-smile-importance-of-your-kids-long-term-oral-health.html

Dentist or Detective? Major Health Clues Your Mouth Provides

Chew on this for a minute: just by glancing inside your mouth, your dentist can tell you a number of things that may be news to you and your doctor! Surprising as it may sound, your oral health can speak volumes about the rest of your body, and something as simple as a routine dental checkup can benefit your health and wallet big time.

🔎 From harmful habits to life-threatening diseases, find out what clues your mouth can provide about your wellbeing. The Oral Surgery DC Team

The Presence of Disease

Many connections between your mouth and larger health issues have to do with bacteria. Studies have shown that heart disease and endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of your heart), in particular, are linked to gum disease – a bacterial infection of the mouth. Inflamed gums can also signal a vulnerable immune system, which can be due to diabetes or disorders such as Sjogren’s syndrome. Furthermore, patients who are pregnant and are diagnosed with periodontitis may be at a heightened risk for birth-related issues, as studies have shown a connection between gum disease and both premature birth and low birth weight.

In addition to gum problems, other oral matters are also telling. Tooth loss, for instance, has commonly been linked with both osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s. And lesions of the throat occur often in individuals suffering from HIV or AIDS. Last but not least, a dental exam can detect both oral and throat cancer, which typically present themselves via sores or patches that don’t go away. Suffice it to say, dental checkups can prove themselves invaluable when it comes to early detection of life-threatening health conditions.

Incompatibility With Certain Medications

While you may already be aware of and treating a health condition, a dentist can help identify whether or not the medicine you are taking is causing other complications. Dry mouth, a condition that causes oral issues such as halitosis, fungal infection, and tooth decay, is a known side effect of hundreds of commonly prescribed medications including:

PainkillersAntibioticsAntidepressants
AntihistaminesAsthma InhalersDiuretics
SedativesCorticosteroidsStatins

If you’re currently undergoing medical treatment and/or using prescription drugs, be sure to have your dentist examine your mouth for any harmful side effects.

Harmful Habits

It may not necessarily mean life or death, but some habits can cause a world of trouble–and costly mouth problems are proof of that. How you sleep, for example, has a direct impact on the health of your mouth. Constantly breathing with your mouth open can cause dry mouth, and grinding your teeth overnight is a leading cause of enamel damage.

Smoking, chewing and other forms of tobacco use pose serious threats, not just to your lungs, but also to the look and health of your teeth and gums. Red flags that alert your dentist that smoking is starting to do dental damage (and possibly much worse) are the telltale yellowing of teeth, white patches along the inside lining of the mouth, persistent bad breath, and lumps that can signal oral cancer.

Finally, your mouth can offer clues about the safety and healthfulness of your diet. Severe tooth erosion and swelling of the throat and salivary glands are typical problems seen in patients with eating disorders, due to constant vomiting. Tooth decay and sensitivity can also come with excessive acid in your diet, and many times, signs and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (“GERD” or simply, “acid reflux”) become apparent to your dentist even before your doctor. Even your breath can be telling of certain food choices, such as garlic or onions, which have long been known to cause halitosis.

Get Peace of Mind

Given everything a brief dental exam can uncover, there’s no denying the benefits of a routine checkup. More often than not, tooth, gum and other oral problems may simply be due to poor hygiene, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Remain diligent about seeing your dentist regularly, and don’t hesitate to schedule a checkup in between your typical visits if you notice anything amiss.

Sources:

Your Mouth, Your Health. (2015, July 23). Retrieved July 25, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/ss/slideshow-teeth-gums

What conditions may be linked to oral health? (2013, May 11). Retrieved July 14, 2015 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475?pg=2


The Story on Soda: Your Soft Drink Questions Answered

🥤 Sorry to burst your bubble, but the reality is that no matter how refreshing that sweet, fizzy soda (or “pop”) tastes, there’s a chance it could be doing some damage to your teeth. But with so many products on the market, are they all really that bad for you? The Oral Surgery DC Team

Answers to some of your most pressing soft drink questions are about to be answered. Get to the bottom of various soda claims, and find out if there’s a workaround that lets you keep your favorite carbonated beverages on tap without traumatizing your teeth.

Q. Is it better to choose clear-colored sodas over darker-colored ones?

Neither option is a healthy choice for your teeth, but upon regular consumption, caramel-hued soft drinks have been known to stain teeth more quickly. Cosmetic differences aside, the extremely high sugar content of any soda, regardless of color, causes lasting damage to tooth enamel, resulting in decay, cavities and/or tooth loss in extreme situations.

Q. Do diet sodas get a pass since they’re sugar-free?

The appeal of diet sodas is understandable, especially when the packaging comes with alluring labels of “sugar-free” or “calorie-free”. But the fact of the matter is, even with sugar substitutes, diet soda is still extremely acidic. This means diet soda will still have the same corrosive effect on the enamel and should be avoided to prevent tooth damage.

Q. Is corn syrup a more harmful soft drink sweetener than cane sugar?

Similar to the misconception about diet sodas, the threat of tooth decay, cavities, and other oral health problems aren’t based on the type of sweetener used. No matter the source of sugar, enamel erosion will happen with regular consumption of any sweetened soft drink.

Q. If I drink soda through a straw, will this protect my teeth?

Using a straw can limit contact of sugar and acid with the surface of your teeth, but only when positioned correctly. Ideally, the opening of the straw should be directed towards the back of the mouth, but the likelihood of accidental contact is still high if you become distracted or inadvertently swish the liquid in your mouth. Ultimately, the best way to prevent tooth decay due to soft drinks is to avoid drinking them altogether.

Q. What are teeth-friendly alternatives to soda?

If you find carbonated beverages especially refreshing, switch to a seltzer. You’ll get the same fizz without the threat of tooth decay. For a flavorful spin, dress up seltzer or plain water with cut-up fruit (instead of turning to juice, which can erode tooth enamel due to its fructose content). Milk is also another good choice due to the enamel-fortifying calcium it contains; however, it does contain natural sugar, lactose — so never have a glass before bed without brushing your teeth.

Q. What can I do to combat enamel erosion if I can’t quit drinking soda?

For those unable to put aside their love of soft drinks, take these steps to minimize tooth decay and other soda-related oral problems:

  • Rinse your mouth and brush your teeth afterward to clear away sugar and acid
  • Use fluoride-rich toothpaste and mouthwash to help strengthen tooth enamel
  • See your dentist regularly to get professional help in preventing tooth damage

Speak To Your Dentist

New drinks are always hitting the shelves, but many may not live up to their health claims. Before making something your beverage of choice, get your dentist’s perspective to understand how it can impact the health of your teeth.

Sources:

Soda or Pop? It’s Teeth Trouble by Any Name. (n.d.). Retrieved May 24, 3015 from http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-Basics/Oral-Hygiene/Oral-Hygiene-Basics/article/Soda-or-Pop-Its-Teeth-Trouble-by-Any-Name.cvsp

Melnick, M & Klein, S. (2013, March 13). Soda Myths: The Truth About Sugary Drinks, From Sodas To Sports Drinks. Retrieved May 25, 2015 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/13/soda-myths-facts-sugary-drinks_n_2863045.html