Winchester Pediatric Dentist | What’s in Your Child’s Mouth?

Pediatric Dentist in Winchester, VA

Pediatric Dentist in 22601Your child’s mouth contains hundreds of bacteria. Before your child reaches for the toothbrush and mouthwash, understand that not all bacteria are bad. Here’s what you need to know about the bacteria that makes its home in your child’s mouth.

Bacteria Basics

More than 700 different oral bacteria species have been detected. Most people usually have less than 10% of these different strains in their mouth at one time. Different strains have different purposes. Bacteria that are harmless and help digest food are known as probiotics. Other types of bacteria help keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy. The troublemakers are those that contribute to decay and periodontal disease.

The Dangers of Bacteria

Bacteria constantly grow and multiply in your child’s mouth. According to Registered Dental Hygienist Magazine, certain bacteria species can double their population in 20 minutes if conditions are right. They feed on starches and sugars that are the byproduct of the food and drinks your child consumes throughout the day. Certain bacteria types produce an acid while they feed. This acid erodes your child’s tooth enamel, leaving their teeth susceptible to decay.

Maintain a Healthy Mouth

The best way to manage the bacteria in your child’s mouth is to maintain excellent oral hygiene. Brushing at least twice each day for two full minutes and flossing regularly is the best way to keep bacteria in check. You may want to consider an antibacterial mouthwash. Another key element to maintaining optimal oral health is sticking to a healthy diet. By avoiding or cutting back on foods and drinks that contain high amounts of sugars, acids, and starches, you can reduce the multiplication of bacteria that feed on these byproducts.

Not all bacteria are out to harm your child’s teeth. Bacteria can be incredibly helpful in maintaining your child’s overall heath. To help protect your child’s mouth and teeth against the bad bacteria strains, keep them following their oral hygiene routine. During your next visit to our office, we will provide a thorough cleaning and check for decay. We will also screen for any signs of other oral diseases.

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

Winchester Dentist | How Candy Threatens Your Child’s Smile

Dentist in Winchester

Dentist in WinchesterHow 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.

 

Winchester Pediatric Dentist | Gear Up – Protect Your Child’s Teeth

Pediatric Dentist in Winchester

Pediatric Dentist in WinchesterLosing a tooth can make simple tasks difficult. A missing tooth can impact the way you smile, eat, and talk. If your child plays sports, they are at a higher risk for losing a tooth. It is important for them to visit us to discuss potential protective solutions. Mouth guards are a useful tool for keeping your child’s teeth healthy. Here’s what you need to know.

What do Mouthguards Do?

Mouthguards help protect the teeth. They are a line of defense in situations where an injury may occur. In addition to protecting teeth, they help cushion the tongue, jaw, and lips from injury. Usually, a mouthguard protects the top row of teeth because they protrude out further than the bottom set.

Who Should Wear a Mouthguard?

If your child plays sports, particularly high-contact sports, they should wear a mouthguard. Hockey, football, wrestling, and boxing can all present situations where teeth may become injured. Think of a mouthguard as a necessary component to your child’s set of equipment. It may also be helpful for non-contact sports players to wear a mouthguard. Even baseball players and gymnasts can benefit from using one to protect against an oral injury.

Custom vs. Store-Bought

Ideally, your child should wear a custom-fitted mouthguard. There are options available at stores, but these often do not fit well. Having a mouthguard that fits comfortably and does not impeded talking or breathing is important. At your child’s next visit, ask us about fitting your child for a mouthguard. If your child wears braces, we can help you find a solution that keeps their teeth safe during orthodontic treatment.

Your child’s teeth deserve to be protected. Imagine how difficult it would be to talk, eat, drink, or smile with a missing tooth. Young athletes put their mouths at risk each time they practice or compete. Make sure they have the right gear to stay safe.

For questions about your child’s dental care or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office.

Winchester Pediatric Dentist | X-Rays: What You Need to Know When You Visit the Dentist

Pediatric Dentist Winchester

X-rays provide useful visual data for dentists to utilize when treating you. Occasionally, guests to our office ask about the radiation from x-rays and the dangers associated with high-exposure. Rest assured, a dental x-ray is one of the safest medical imaging procedures there is. Here’s what you need to know about getting a dental x-ray.

The Purpose of Oral X-Rays

X-ray imaging of the mouth can show our dental team damage to your teeth as well as disease. They can also show incoming teeth that could be problematic. X-rays allow our team to prevent problems by addressing them early. Rather than wait for excessive tooth damage to become visible, a simple x-ray procedure can identify it before it becomes painful.

Dangers of X-Ray Radiation

Excessive radiation exposure has been linked to increasing the risk of cancer. However, not all radiation sources are the same. It matters greatly where the radiation is coming from, how much you are exposed to, and for what length of time. X-rays have not been shown to present a significant increase in cancer development.

Comparing X-Ray Radiation

Dental x-rays are among the lowest dose of radiation producing procedures in medical imaging. It would take roughly 1,200 panoramic x-rays of your mouth to equal one CT Scan. Did you know that when you fly in an airplane you are exposed to a small amount of radiation? A panoramic x-ray of your mouth is only half of the radiation you’re exposed to on a 7-hour plane ride. The amount of radiation is even lower for a routine x-ray exam. A routine procedure including 4 intraoral images is about the same dose of radiation from a 1-2 hour plane ride. A dental x-ray provides less than the amount of radiation you are exposed to in the average day from natural radiation.

Safety First

Even though dental x-rays are safe and expose you to a small amount of radiation, our office takes additional measures to keep you safe. First, state laws and regulations set the limit of radiation patients can be exposed to. We never exceed these restrictions. Our experienced team is also trained to use the x-ray equipment. Visitors are provided with a shield or bib that provides additional protection.

What You Can Do

Communication is key. If you are a new patient, please provide us with your medical records so that our team knows about any previous medical imaging you have had. Talk to our dentist about your concerns. Together we’ll work with you to ensure you are treated in a safe environment.

Dental x-rays are a safe and incredibly helpful procedure. They allow our dentist to detect problems and develop solutions specific to your mouth. Dental x-rays provide a significantly lower dose of radiation than other safe medical imaging methods. We strive to create an atmosphere where our guests are comfortable. If you have any concerns, please let us know.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule your next examination, please contact our office.

Winchester Pediatric Dentist | The One Piece of Gear Every Athlete Needs

Winchester Pediatric Dentist

An injury to your mouth can be a painful, expensive experience. For athletes, mouth and tooth injuries pose a very real risk. Mouthguards are an excellent tool for protecting your mouth from injury and harm. Our team can help you find a solution that protects your teeth.

Why Wear a Mouthguard?

Mouthguards protect your teeth. For athletes who play contact sports, injuries to the mouth can cause cracked teeth, or even worse, missing teeth. Mouthguards defend your teeth against such injuries. But mouthguards aren’t only for teeth. Your mouth is mostly made up of soft tissues, such as your tongue, inside cheeks, and lips. These areas can become injured or pierced when playing sports.

Do All Athletes Need a Mouthguard?

High-contact sports such as hockey, wrestling, football, and boxing pose the greatest risk for mouth injuries. But all athletes can benefit from being cautious. Gymnasts should consider wearing one to protect their mouth in the event of a fall. Baseball and basketball players should also wear one to protect themselves from being injured by a ball or collision with another player. Mouthguards should be treated as a necessary piece of your athletic gear.

Which Mouthguard Is the Most Effective?

Our team can help you find the best mouthguard during your next visit to our office. There are a number of options available ranging from store-bought ones to custom-fitted mouthguards. We will work with you to determine which type of mouthguard is best for you. It is important that any guard fits properly. We can also work with you if you are currently undergoing orthodontic treatment and are wearing braces. Braces can puncture your mouth if impacted, particularly during sports. Our team will help you find a solution that works.

Your mouth should be protected while participating in athletic activities. Oral injuries can make eating, drinking, and talking difficult. Protect yourself from an injury before one happens. Contact our office and ask about finding a mouthguard that is right for you.

Pediatric Dentist in Winchester | 5 Fun Teeth Facts

Pediatric Dentist Winchester

Test your child’s (and maybe your own) knowledge with these five fun facts about teeth and brushing. How many do you know without checking?

  1. What color is your toothbrush? The most common color is blue, followed by red. If you will be spending the night somewhere or are going camping, take a toothbrush that isn’t blue to avoid confusion!
  1. It’s a commonly repeated story that George Washington had wooden teeth, but this is not the case. In fact, his dentures were made from bone, brass, gold, and ivory. Washington suffered from extensive dental problems his entire life, and only had one tooth left by the time he became president.
  1. Do you know how many teeth you have? Kids have up to 20 teeth and a full adult set has 32. Luckily, you don’t have as many teeth as some armadillo species, which can have more than 100 teeth!
  1. The tooth fairy’s pay rate has increased over time. In 1950, the average pay for a tooth was 25 cents. By 1988, the tooth fairy was paying $1 per tooth, and in 2015 that number jumped to an average of $3.19.
  1. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body. 96% of enamel is made of minerals.

Brushing twice each day for two minutes, and flossing regularly is the key to keeping your enamel free from decay.

How many of these fun teeth facts did you already know? The most important fact to know about your teeth is that taking care of them is essential to your health. Make sure your child is keeping up with their oral hygiene routine, as well as visiting us for a regular examination.

For more tips on keeping your child’s teeth healthy or to schedule your child’s next visit to our office, please contact us. We look forward to seeing you!

Pediatric Dentist Winchester | Why You Should Avoid the Emergency Room for Dental Work

Winchester Pediatric Dentist

Pediatric dentist Winchester VAYou want to save time and money, so you take your child to the emergency room for a dental problem. It’s a growing trend especially among parents, but you should generally avoid using the emergency room when dental problems occur. We understand you want your child to receive the best available care in the quickest manner possible. However, it is important to know the best place to seek out for dental issues is often our office.

How Common is it?

Over the past several years there has been a noticeable increase in the number of patients admitted to the emergency room because of a dental issue. The American Dental Association estimates that emergency room visits for dental issues occur roughly every 15 seconds, for a total of 2.2 million patients per year.

When You Should Visit the Emergency Room

If your child has a broken jaw or severe bleeding from the mouth, then an emergency room visit is in order. However, when it comes to severe discomfort from a toothache, broken teeth, or extensive decay, our dental office is a much better option to help treat you. Our office is equipped with a knowledgeable team that specializes in dental care. Our dentist also uses special tools that an emergency room would not be equipped with.

Why People Choose the Emergency Room Instead

When it comes to children, many parents take their kids to the emergency room because of insurance. You might think it will be easier and cheaper but the reality is often the opposite. Those lacking dental insurance seek out the hospital as a cheaper alternative, only instead to be billed excessively for what is likely considered a “non-emergency.” Also, emergency room wait times can often be extensive so it is usually not a quick alternative.

Our office works hard to ensure visitors receive excellent, affordable care in the quickest manner possible. Talk to us about your own situation so that we can reach a solution.

Regular Visits Are Your Best Defense

A visit to the emergency room is costly. Instead, your best defense in keeping a healthy mouth is by setting up regular visits to our office. Many who seek dental care in the emergency room do so because they neglected to act sooner, but our professional dental team can assist you. Tackling dental care early is your best defense.

When it comes to receiving dental care, our office has the knowledge and experience to best serve you. Our dentist has the necessary tools to treat patients. We strive to see our patients in a timely manner, so call our office to schedule your next visit.

If you have any questions about keeping your smile healthy, please contact our office.

Winchester Pediatric Dentist | Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks

Pediatric Dentist in Winchester

Pediatric Dentist Winchester VAAthletes often drink sports drinks during exercise, so it can be easy to believe that these drinks provide important nutrients to help keep you healthy and active. Young adults frequently consume energy drinks to help them stay awake and active for school, work, or play. However, both sports drinks and energy drinks can have profoundly negative impacts on your teeth and your health.

With so many different beverages on the market, it can be difficult to know what classifies a one as a sports drink or energy drink.

Sports drinks, like Gatorade and similar products, were originally created for high-performing athletes. They provide sugar for quick energy and sodium and electrolytes to help stave off dehydration that can occur with intense physical activity. This can be highly useful in the short term, but do not provide any significant health benefit outside this very narrow window of intended use. Even highly active adults are better served by drinking water instead of sugary, acidic sports drinks.

Energy drinks are beverages which generally contain higher levels of caffeine than other sodas. Popular brands such as Monster, Red Bull, and Rockstar fall into this category. Energy drinks can lead to increased heart rate and stress on the nervous system. This makes them potentially dangerous in combination with exercise, particularly for those with heart conditions. In addition to the added sugars and acids they contain, Caffeine is also a natural diuretic, so can lead to dehydration, dry mouth, and other complications

The danger to both children and adults in sports drinks and energy drinks comes not only from the sugar content but also from the acidity. These types of drinks contain a significant amount of acid that they begin destroying teeth in as little as five days. Energy and sports drinks can damage tooth enamel, increasing the risk of cavities and tooth decay. These drinks erode or thin out the enamel of the teeth, leaving them more susceptible to decay and sensitivity. Athletes drink these beverages to remain hydrated and sip them frequently during exercise. This increases the time that teeth are exposed to the acidity and high sugar content of sports drinks, leaving them vulnerable to decay.

More than one third of adolescents, or children between grades 6 and 12, drink a sports drink each week. As a comparison, nearly 15% of children in the same age group drink at least one energy drink each week. Considering their widespread and growing consumption, it is important to take notice on the negative effects these drinks can have on teeth.

While sports drinks and energy drinks can be an alternative to water, there are ways to promote great oral health. The best way to promote oral health is to keep yourself hydrated with water to prevent the negative effects that sports and energy drinks bring. If you feel that you must use sports drinks, rinse your mouth with water afterwards and avoid brushing your teeth right after you have consumed a sports drink. Also, read the ingredient labels before you consume drinks. Avoid high amounts of acid and sugar, especially if you already have teeth problems such as sensitivity or frequent cavities, as sugar and acid can make these issues worse.

Exercising is great for your body and your mouth, but sports and energy drinks are not a necessary part of well-being. There are many alternatives, it’s just a matter of finding what works best for you. When it comes to energy drinks, it is best to avoid or limit your consumption of them all together. Limiting your exposure to sports and energy drinks is one step you can take to improve your oral health. Talk to us about further preventative care for your oral health.

For more helpful tips about keeping your teeth healthy, contact our office.

Pediatric Dentist in Winchester | One Simple Treatment Can Save Your Child’s Smile

Pediatric Dentist in Winchester, VA

Winchester Pediatric DentistOur dentist might suggest dental sealants for your child during a visit to our office. Sealants are a way to protect your teeth against decay. With any dental treatment, it helps to understand the procedure and how it can impact your child’s oral health.

Why Get Sealants?

Sealants help to prevent tooth decay. Sealants are applied on the back teeth, where decay is most likely to develop. 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 Should You Get Them?

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.

What Should I Expect?

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.

What Concerns Should I Have?

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.

Next Steps

Sealants 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.

For more tips on keeping teeth healthy and for questions about dental sealants, contact our office.

Winchester Pediatric Dentist | 4 Ways for Your Child to Have a Successful Dental Examination

Pediatric Dentist Winchester

Juggling your child’s dental appointment between school, sports, and other activities can be a real challenge. Your child can also make it difficult if they are hungry or anxious. Follow these steps to make your child’s next visit to our office a successful and pleasant one.

Feed Your Children

Kids can get irritable and grouchy if they are hungry. Allow your child to have a small snack before their appointment. If they can, they should brush beforehand so that the food they just ate is not still in their mouth when our dentist sees them. Dr. Mary Hayes of the American Dental Association also suggests a small snack if your child gags frequently at the dentist. Swallowing can help your child control gagging.

Schedule Carefully

It can be tempting to schedule your child’s appointment right after school, or jammed between other events. Choose a time of day when your child will be ready and not rushed. This is especially important if you know that the visit will include more than a standard dental examination.

Keep Your Anxiety in Check

Anxiety can be a significant deterrent for certain children visiting the dentist. Our office works hard to create a welcoming, safe, and comfortable environment for all children and their families. Your child will take behavioral cues from you, so keep your own stress level and anxiety in check. Remaining in control is one way you can help your child remain confident during a visit.

Watch Your Child Throughout the Year

To make sure your child’s next visit is successful, make sure they are keeping up with their oral health year-round. For young children, supervise them to make certain their brushing habits are correct. As your child grows and adds teeth, they can miss areas they aren’t used to brushing. If they practice good brushing and flossing habits throughout the year, they decrease their risk of developing decay, making their next visit to our office easier and less time-consuming.

It can be challenging to ensure your child has a positive dental examination, but follow these steps to make sure your next visit is simple and successful. A hungry child can make for a difficult guest, so be sure to have a snack. Don’t forget to keep your own feelings and behavior positive to give your child confidence. Emphasize good brushing and flossing habits at home, and your next visit will reflect that. We look forward to seeing you and your child at their next visit.