dental decay

Baby Steps Series: Choosing the Right Toothpaste

June 13th, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Question: Doctor, what toothpaste do you recommend for my children?

Answer: Any fluoride toothpaste that will help you maintain a good oral health routine!

Question: What's the big deal about fluoride? What does it do?

Answer: Fluoride helps by reducing the risk of dental decay (or dental cavities) in several ways.

First, it helps to remineralizes (or harden) the enamel.  Every time you eat your teeth get bathed in an acidic environment.  This acid is important to breakdown food, but it can also breakdown the enamel on your teeth.  This is the reason why you should not constantly snack throughout the day...the acid will eventually breakdown the enamel.  If the enamel has a break, it causes a pit to form, which is now considered a cavity.  Using a fluoride toothpaste after meals and snacks will reduce the acid attack but remineralizing the enamel.

Second, fluoride can strengthen weakened enamel in surface cavities.  Proper use can prevent a surface cavity from growing, therefore possibly eliminating the need for a dental filling.

Finally, fluoride has antibacterial properties. It helps to prevent acid production from plaque producing bacteria.

Question: I have a toddler, is a fluoride toothpaste safe for him? If it is, when should I start using it to brush his teeth?

Answer: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a fluoride toothpaste as soon as first teeth erupt. This means starting to brush with a fluoride toothpaste from an early age. Normally teeth start to erupt around 6 months of age.

Question: How much toothpaste should I use for my toddler? I'm afraid he will swallow it and get a tummy ache.

Answer: Great question. For children who are not able to spit out on their own, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends using a "dry rice grain" amount of flouridated toothpaste.  This amount will give your child the proper benefits of flouride without causing them to have a tummy ache, if they swallow any of the paste.

Question: How do I pick the right fluoride toothpaste for my child?

Answer: We know you have a million and one choices facing you in the toothpaste aisle, and it can be hard to figure out what’s best for you. Most people, however, can use any toothpaste that has the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval. This seal means that the toothpaste contains fluoride, has the right amount of abrasiveness (not too little and not too much), and has been shown to be both safe and effective for intended use. If you have any sensitivity to dyes, preservatives, or certain ingredients, opt for a toothpaste that is free of those, such as Tom's of Maine. Just make sure it has fluoride.

Question: What is the proper way to brush my child's teeth?

Answer: Here is a quick graphic that will illustrate the basic technique of toothbrushing. Note, most children cannot master toothbrushing on their own so continue to supervise their toothbrushing and then go in for a quick spot check after they are done. For more information, visit our preventive care page.

We can’t say it enough: fluoride is your best form of cavity prevention!

At All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we incorporate proven techniques to share with you and your child at each dental checkup visit. Dr. Allen Job and his team are committed to providing the latest in oral health care prevention. For more information about brushing and flossing check out our preventive care page. Still want more information? Check out our blog posts on prevention! Our practice is centrally located in San Diego, CA.

Scheduling an appointment for your child is easy! Start here to schedule an appointment. All of our forms are online. Fill them out securely from your smartphone or tablet and hit send. On appointment day, your child will be seen at their scheduled time. For example, if you have a 9:00 AM appointment, your child will be seen at 9:00 AM.

*This blog is part of the Baby Steps Series. Look for future blogs in this series.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention. He is also an assistant professor at Loma Linda University Department of Pediatric Dentistry.

 

Foods That Cause Tooth Decay

April 19th, 2018

 

 

Acid Attack!

When it comes to tooth decay, it’s important to know the main culprit – acid!

Acid is what eats a way at our enamel and causes cavities. Acid can enter our mouths in one of two ways: either directly through what we eat (citrus fruits, for example), or as a byproduct when oral bacteria consume the sugars that we eat.

The Litmus Test

Ultimately, a simple way to identify foods that cause tooth decay is to ask whether it’s acidic or sweet/starchy.

Acids vs. Carbs

Acidic foods include things like citrus fruits, tomatoes, vinegar, kombucha and sour candy.

Sweet/starchy foods include things like candy, soda or sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit, bread, cereal, pasta and crackers.

Note, sweets and starchy foods are lumped into one category since they both are composed of simple sugars in their most basic building blocks.  So if you think eating potato chips are healthier than eating M&Ms, they are not. You are eating sugar in both cases.

Does it matter how many times a day I snack on these foods or drinks?

The longer these things interact with your teeth, the greater the chance for tooth decay to
occur.  Also, the frequency is just as important to note.  If you frequently snack on acidic foods or drinks and/or sweet or starchy foods and drinks, then you are MORE at risk to develop dental caries (cavities)!

For example, sipping on soda throughout the day, or chewing a gooey caramel treat, increases the amount of sugar that coat your teeth. Bacteria love to feast on this sugar, creating an acidic environment and putting your teeth at risk for decay.

Six ways to protect your teeth against tooth decay:

1.  Reduce your consumption of sweets and refined starches.

This isn't difficult, however you have to make a choice requiring will power.

2. Enjoy acidic foods in moderation or as part of a meal.

Decrease snacking.  If must snack between meals, try carrot sticks or celery sticks.

 3. Decrease or eliminate your consumption of soda or sugar-sweetened beverages.

Make a mental note, drinking sodas or sweetened drinks are just empty calories that do not provide any nutritional value.

4. Swish with water after meals and snacks.

Trying doing it for 30 seconds each time.

5. Maintain good oral hygiene to brush away plaque buildup.

Floss at least once a day and brush twice a day.

6. And, as always, make sure to visit us regularly so we can remove tartar buildup and assess for early signs of decay.

At All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we incorporate proven techniques to share with you and your child at each dental checkup visit. Dr. Allen Job and his team are committed to providing the latest in oral health care prevention. For more information about brushing and flossing check out our preventive care page. Still want more information? Check out our blog posts on prevention! Our practice is centrally located in San Diego, CA.

Scheduling an appointment for your child is easy! Start here to schedule an appointment. All of our forms are online. Fill them out securely from your smartphone or tablet and hit send. On appointment day, your child will be seen at their scheduled time. For example, if you have a 9:00 AM appointment, your child will be seen at 9:00 AM.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention. He is also an assistant professor at Loma Linda University Department of Pediatric Dentistry.

 

Understanding the Five Stages of Tooth Decay

December 19th, 2017

Did you know there are five distinct stages of tooth decay? And, that in the first stage of decay, you can actually take steps to reverse the progression of the disease?

Indeed, it’s true. In the first stage of decay, whether you’re a child or an adult, the application of fluoride via fluoride treatments, your toothpaste and even the local water supply can stop a cavity from penetrating through the enamel and reaching its second stage.

Even the saliva in your mouth and the foods you eat help to re-mineralize a tooth in jeopardy. But that’s just the first stage!

What about the rest? Understanding how a cavity progresses can assist you in preventing each successive stage from occurring in your children. There’s always a lot going on in that little mouth!

Stage One: White Spots

In stage one, the tooth begins to show signs of strain from the attack of sugars and acids, and white spots will begin to materialize just below the surface of the enamel. These white spots are representative of the demineralization of the tooth and can be easy to miss because they’re likely to occur on your child’s molars. A dental exam, of course, is designed to catch such cavities! Can you see why regular visits to the dentist are recommended? As mentioned previously, at this stage, the cavity can be repaired without the need to excavate the tooth. During his examination, Dr. Allen Job checks for these early signs of cavities; which often appear as white spots.

Stage Two: Enamel Decay

Stage two marks the beginning of the end for the surface enamel that is being attacked. Initially, the tooth erodes from the underside outward, so the outer enamel will still be intact for the first half of this second stage. Once the cavity breaks through the surface of the enamel, there is no turning back, and your child will need to have the cavity corrected with a filling. Dr. Job says, "Stage 2 enamel decay can be prevented by treating Stage 1 White spots with a preventive home fluoride regimen."

Stage Three: Dentin Decay

If a cavity in your child’s mouth were to progress beyond stage two without you knowing, you’d tend become aware of it when it started to hit stage three because it would probably start to cause some pain. At this level, the cavity begins to eat away at the second level of tooth material that lies beneath the enamel: the dentin. A filling can still be used to stop the onslaught of bacteria assaulting the tooth in order to prevent the cavity from reaching the tooth’s most critical component: the pulp.

Stage Four: Involvement of The Pulp

Once the cavity reaches the pulp, pain ensues. So if you’ve unfortunately missed all the signs to this point, a screaming child or moaning teenager will certainly let you know there is a big problem. Stage four is serious.  A root canal treatment, called a pulpomy, at this stage may save for a complete extraction.

Stage Five: Abscess Formation

In the fifth and final stage of a cavity, the infection has reached the tip of the root and exited the tip of the tooth’s structure. This in turn infects the surrounding tissues and possibly the bone structure. Swelling would be commonplace and pain severe. In children (as well as adults) an abscess can be fatal if not dealt with immediately. An extraction would be the order of the day should decay reach this stage. Often, completing a round of prescription antibiotics will need to be completed prior to the treatment.

If your child is at this stage or any of the stages, contact us to schedule an appointment.

As you can see, cavities don’t happen overnight. In the early stages, regular visits can stall and reverse the progression of these dastardly little devils, so it really does pay to visit the dentist at pre-selected intervals. You can keep your children far from stage five their whole lives, and if a little bit of prodding to get them to the dentist accomplishes that, you can rest easy despite the griping.

 

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention.  He is also an assistant professor at Loma Linda University Department of Pediatric Dentistry.

 

Baby Steps Series: 3 Recommendations for Baby Dental Care

April 27th, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the arrival of your adorable baby, there are lots of new tasks that are new for you as a parent. Feeding or nursing time with your baby is important. Here are some recommendations of taking care of their oral health.

1. Use a Washcloth

Yes, using a clean wet washcloth after feeding times will keep your baby's gums healthy. Make this a habit for you to do with your baby.  Doing this will also stimulate your baby's gums, which will help promote good bloodflow. Here's an additional benefit, massaging the gums with a clean wet washcloth may aid when your baby starts teething!

2. Avoid Juices in the Bottle

Juices generally do not provide much nutritional value for your baby.  These drinks are filled with sugar and have empty calories.  Milk and water are good fluids for your baby to consume.  Want more information about diet?  Here are some additional recommendations from the National Maternal & Child Oral Health Resource Center.

3. First Dental Visit by First Birthday

Schedule your baby's first visit by their first birthday.  Why? As your baby's new teeth start coming in, your baby's diet and eating habits will change. Seeing a pediatric dentist by the first birthday will help you get more ways of keeping those teeth cavity free and pain free.

Dr. Allen Job and his team at All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry look forward to meeting you and your baby.

Check out more information, about how to take care of your baby's teeth.

*This blog is part of the Baby Steps Series. Look for future blogs in this series.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention.  He is also an assistant professor at Loma Linda University Department of Pediatric Dentistry.

Oral Health Concerns for Teens

February 3rd, 2016

You have a lot more freedom as a teenager than you did as a young child. You also have a lot more responsibilities, and one of your jobs is to take care of your teeth. Develop and maintain good dental habits now so you can have great dental health for life!

Tooth Decay

As a teenager, you risk tooth decay, or dental cavities, if you are not careful. In fact, 59% of adolescents aged 12 to 19 have at least one cavity, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Dr. Allen Job and our staff recommend keeping your teeth strong and healthy by brushing at least twice a day and flossing every day.

If you suspect that you have tooth decay, do not be embarrassed. Instead, ask your parents to bring you to All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry to get it addressed. When you do not treat your dental cavities, they can turn into more serious problems. A severely damaged tooth may need to be treated with a root canal or even an extraction.

You can take easy steps to prevent tooth decay when you are at school or hanging out with your friends. Carry a bottle of water around with you so you can take a sip after you eat any kind of food. Choose water or milk instead of soda or sports drinks, and if you chew gum, select a sugar-free flavor.

Other Oral Health Concerns

You can probably think of many reasons why you should not smoke or use tobacco. Your oral health is another one. Tobacco gives you bad breath and stains your teeth yellow. It also increases your risk for gum disease and cancer of the mouth. Smoking even slows the speed of healing after you have dental procedures done.

Here are a few more tips that can keep your mouth attractive and healthy during your teen years.

  • Drink plenty of milk.
  • Limit candies and sugary snacks.
  • Wear a mouthguard if you play a contact sport.
  • Visit pediatric dentist twice a year.
  • Reduce infections and avoid piercing your tongue and lips.

You only get one set of permanent teeth in your life, so get in the habit of taking care of them now!

Contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Allen Job.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention.  He is also an assistant professor at Loma Linda University Department of Pediatric Dentistry.