November 18th 2021
Maximizing Your Dental Benefits:
What's The Benefit?
If you wish to get the most value out of your dental benefits you should schedule a dental visit prior to the beginning of a new year and have any outstanding treatment recommendations completed. The reason is simple, in most situations you can not roll over your remaining un-used dental benefits to a new year or plan and you want to get your money’s worth since you or your employer have paid your premiums all year long.
How Does Dental Insurance Work?
Most dental plans are equip with an annual maximum of coverage. The amount is determined by the insurance company and each individual on the policy usually has their own individual maximum. With most dental policies this amount renews every year (usually the first of January). Most dental plans require patients to pay a specific amount of money out-of-pocket before any benefits kick-in, this is called the deductible. Once your deductible is met, your insurance company will pay the provider for services completed based on the negotiated fees set between your insurance company and your dental provider (this is only the case if your provider is in network with your insurance company). Unfortunately, If your dental provider is out-of-network with your insurance company there are no negotiated fees or discounts built into the cost of treatment. If you want to know which dental providers are in-network with your insurance company you can either call your insurance company or visit their website/portal or you can call your dental office and simply ask who they are in-network with. Once treatment is completed claims are sent to your insurance provider and are paid out accordingly, but the patient is responsible for their estimated portion on the date of service in most circumstances. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THE SUBSCRIBER KNOWS AND UNDERSTANDS THEIR INSURANCE POLICY AND THAT THE SUBSCRIBER IS IN THE KNOW IF THAT POLICY CHANGES IN ANY WAY WHEN SIGING UP OR RENEWING EACH YEAR.
Why You Shouldn't Post-Pone Dental Treatment?
The most important reason not to post-pone dental treatment is to ensure your dental treatment needs do not worsen. Cavities generally become worse over time and waiting could make the difference between needing a small filling versus more complex treatment such as a crown or extraction. Always remember, dental caries are a form of INFECTION and the bacteria can travel through the bloodstream to your heart and brain so from an overall health stand point you should not neglect your dental health. When weighing the pro’s and con’s of your Childs dental treatment you also have to remember that a filling is a much simpler process than a crown or multiple crowns or extractions and our goal is to make sure kids have a pleasant experience now so that they are never too afraid to go to the dentist throughout their lives. Most dental insurance policies will cover 2 cleanings and exams per year, so although you may not need any dental treatment, it is still recommended that children and adults visit their dentist twice per year for wellness exams and cleanings. When you or your employer pay your premiums you are paying for these preventative services, so again you want to benefit from what you are paying for.
What About Orthodontic Benefits?
It is rare to have your dental insurance company cover the entire cost of orthodontic treatment as most will pay a partial amount, but there can also be certain stipulations or clauses such as age of the patient or waiting periods that could hinder coverage. Although plans vary, there are a few points to understand about dental insurance that often carry across policies and providers. If braces are covered under your plan, there is likely a lifetime maximum to your insurance. In some cases, there are waiting periods that require enrollment prior to treatment. Finally, if you have recently switched insurance carriers, you should wait until the effective date of the policy. Otherwise, your braces will not be covered. Additionally, if you are currently in orthodontic treatment remember not to make changes to your policy as such changes could result in your insurance stopping payments to your orthodontist leaving the patient responsible for the balance unexpectedly. Unfortunately, these changes are sometimes made by your employer if they decide to switch insurance companies which is common. By scheduling a consultation with an orthodontist you can plan financially for orthodontic treatment and best decide if you are ready to start now based on your coverage.
The Bottom Line:
If you have outstanding dental treatment needs or are considering starting orthodontic treatment, let us help you! Our staff is ready to talk through your child’s treatment plan and help you maximize your benefits to benefit you best. If you are on the fence about starting orthodontic treatment now versus later, again, let us help you. We partner with an amazing team of insurance coordinators who are skilled in picking apart your insurance plan and estimating your cost to the best of their abilities.
Ready to schedule your next visit? Click here!
September 26th 2021
Baby & Child Safety
September is Baby Safety Awareness Month – a campaign initiated by the Juvenile Products Manufacturer’s Association (JPMA) to educate caregivers on how to safely choose and use products for children. We’ll be sharing tips to baby-proof your home and create a safe environment for your children!
Typical Developmental Milestones
The average age for babies to start crawling or scooting around is between 6 and 12 months. Children will start to pull themselves up on objects sometime between 9 and 12 months, and can take their first steps between 8 and 18 months of age! Here is your gentle reminder that while these age ranges are averages, there is a wide range of normal and every child is unique! The important take-away is that as children become more mobile, they are more at risk from injury, whether from pulling up on things that can topple over, or from falls when moving around on unsteady legs.
Baby-Proofing Your Home
Start by viewing your home from your child’s perspective – get down on your hands and knees to spot things that could be potentially dangerous that you may not see from above. Here are some helpful tips for common household hazards:
Baby-safe toys should be larger than the hole of a toilet paper roll – anything smaller can be a choking hazard
Secure loose or dangling cords from blinds or window shades, hanging tablecloths, and cords from lamps or other electric appliances so they are out of reach
Move plants out of reach, and ensure plants you have in your home are not toxic
Remove free-standing floor lamps, decorative items, or other pieces that can be tipped over
Mount or secure free-standing TVs to prevent toppling
Fasten furniture to the walls (i.e., bookshelves, dressers, display cabinets, etc.)
Install child-proof gates at stairs and doorways to limit access
Use cabinet and drawer locks throughout the house, especially to protect your child from household cleaning products, medications, sharp items, or glassware/dishes that could be broken
Cover the corners of tables and fireplaces with corner guards or corner protectors to cushion against injury if bumped or fallen into
Cap electrical outlets to prevent electrical burns, which can be severe
Cover bathtub nozzles/spouts with spout guards to protect children from cuts, bumps and bruises during bath time
Place non-slip strips or mats on the floor of the tub
Install toilet lid locks and keep the lids closed when not in use
Once child-level items have been removed or secured, look for these other potential hazards:
Make sure cribs are a safe distance from windows and cords/curtains, as well as other furniture that could be climbed on
Do not use cribs that are over 10 years old unless it meets safety standards set by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission
Make sure cribs are assembled according to the manufacturer’s instructions
Use a mattress that is firm and fits snugly against the sides of the crib
Clear the crib of any thick blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, or other toys as these are potential suffocation hazards
Other Helpful Safety Tips
Avoid force-feeding and be careful with forks and spoons to avoid trauma during meal times
Follow manufacturer’s recommended age, weight, and height when choosing toys for your child, and discontinue use when your baby outgrows these limits or if toys are in disrepair
Only us infant bouncers or activity centers on flat, level surfaces to avoid tipping over
Make sure car seats (whether rear-facing, forward-facing, or booster seats) are not expired, and that they are appropriately sized and correctly installed
For those who need help, most local police or fire stations can provide assistance
Register your car seats – if they are recalled for safety reasons, you will be alerted
Ensure that drivers and passengers of any age are wearing seatbelts and appropriately secured
The back seat is the safest place for children under age 13 to ride
NEVER leave a young child alone in the car to prevent them getting locked in and to prevent heat stroke
If you see a child alone in a car, call first responders at 911
Create reminders to check the back seat once you’ve arrived at your destination so a child isn’t accidentally left in the car
Placing items you need in the back seat, or putting a stuffed toy in the front seat can be good visual cues/reminders
Arrange for your childcare center to call if your child is unexpectedly absent once the day begins
Assemble any bath time supplies before bringing the baby into the bathroom; after filling the tub, use your wrist to check the water temperature before placing your child in the tub
NEVER leave a baby or young child alone in the bath tub for any reason to avoid risk of drowning
Encourage wearing a helmet any time riding bikes, scooters, skateboards, or other similar toys to prevent head injuries in case of a fall
Use a mouthguard during sports activities – you can find these at sporting goods stores, drug stores, Walmart, Target, and Amazon
Dental Trauma Plan
Dental injuries are fairly common. It is estimated that 25% of school-age children experience a dental injury. Following the suggestions above can help reduce the risk of injury and can reduce the severity of an injury should it occur.
It is also useful to develop a trauma plan in case of a dental emergency. This way, if an injury does occur, you already know what to do and who to call!
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends establishing a dental home for your child by age 1 year. Not only does this allow the dentist to provide you with tips and recommendations for preventing cavities and monitoring your child’s growth/development, but it allows your child to begin developing a relationship with the dental team and can be helpful to be in a familiar place should dental trauma occur. You should keep the phone number for your child’s dental office in your phone for quick access. Most dental offices also have an after-hours emergency number you can call outside of regular business hours.
Ready to schedule your child’s visit with our office?
Call us today or request an appointment online!
Baby Oral Health Program (babyoralhealthprogram.org)
American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement: Maintaining and Improving the Oral Health of Young Children
Juvenile Products Manufacturer’s Association (JPMA): JPMA.org/page/bsm_safety_tips#thebasics
Four Ways to Start the School Year off RIGHT!!
August 15th 2021
Four Ways to Start the School Year off RIGHT!!!
It is always an exciting time of the year! New shoes and new crayons, new folders, and new teachers! The time of the year when everyone heads back to school brings so many fun changes and it feels like everyone gets a fresh start on learning and growing! New beginnings at school mean getting back into the swing of routines now that the lazy days of summer have come to an end. Our team here at Carolina Orthodontics and Children’s Dentistry have come up with some ideas to help make this school year the absolute best! Here are our suggestions:
1- Establish a morning AND nighttime routine!
We all know how hard it is to remember everything that needs to get done in the morning rush! Remembering to grab the lunch box and tie those shoes can add to the normal stresses of not missing the bus. One key way to make the mornings run a little more smoothly is to establish a routine and sticking as best you can to that routine. Sometimes routine charts can help kiddos to know what their responsibilities are in maintaining that routine. An example of a morning routine could include waking up, making the bed, getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth and hair, getting supplies ready for school. Obviously, we ALWAYS want to remember to brush your teeth before rushing off to school!
And nighttime routines are equally important! There are things that you can do the night before to make sure that the morning routine is streamlined. We always recommend having a nightly routine that includes brushing teeth followed by reading a book and then off to bed! But maybe your nighttime routine could also include packing the lunch boxes for the night before. Or laying out clothes for the next day. Checking to make sure that everything is in the backpack before bed also helps to avoid those last-minute stresses about having all of the homework packed.
Check out our FREE Routine Chart to help!!
(Save & Print these images to help keep your morning and nighttime routine running efficiently)
2- Get up to date on all of those wellness visits!
Back to school means making sure all of those wellness visits are taken care of! Stay up to date on all of the well-child visits with your pediatrician, getting all sports physicals completed, and of course making sure that your dental wellness visit is complete! Studies have shown that children that have untreated cavities perform poorer in school and have more missed school days (Bessa Rebelo, et al). Making sure that those smiles are school picture-ready is an important step to check off of your back-to-school list!
Click here to schedule your child’s next wellness visit with our team!
3- Healthy snacks help curb after-school hunger!
At the end of the day, kids come home starving from a long day of growing smarter! Making sure they have healthy snacks at hand will help to tide them over until dinner. Our recommendations for snacks include fresh fruits and vegetables, such as apples, carrots, tomatoes, grapes, and berries. Cheese and yogurt are also really great snacks that do not have a high tendency to cause cavities. These healthy snacks are not only good for your teeth but good for your body as a whole! We recommend avoiding really sticky snacks like gummy snacks, raisins and dried fruits, and candy. Those types of snacks, along with crackers and chips that stick together when eaten, find their way into those deep grooves of the back teeth and stay, leading to a higher risk for cavities. And what you drink is equally important! Water is our absolute favorite drink and is the healthiest for your entire body! White milk without any additives is okay, too. But we want to limit how much soda, juice, sweet tea, or energy drinks that kids consume because all of those are loaded with sugars and can also lead to cavities. Be sure to keep these healthy foods in mind when packing those lunches as well! We know that it isn’t just the amount of sugar that can be problematic, but also the frequency of sugar consumption. And bacteria don’t care if the sugar is all-natural, organic, or man-made! It might be helpful to keep a handy list of healthy, teeth-friendly foods nearby for when hunger strikes!
4- Chat with your children!
With all of the excitement about a new school year, be sure to stay engaged and ask lots of questions! Chat with them about their day, their likes and dislikes, their concerns and definitely their accomplishments (no matter how big or small!).
We know that everyone is super excited about the year ahead and all of us here at Carolina Orthodontics and Children’s Dentistry wish all of the students, teachers, and families the best school year possible!
Bessa Rebelo, Maria Augusta. Rebelo Vieira, Janete Maria. Pereira, Juliana Vianna. Quadros, Larissa Neves. Vettore, Mario Vianna, Does oral health influence school performance and school attendance? A systematic review and meta-analysis, International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, 10.1111/ipd.12441 (2018).
July 15th 2021
What You Need to Know About Cavities
How common are cavities?
The medical term for cavities is “dental caries”, and it is considered the most common chronic disease of childhood. How common is it? 60% of people experience cavities by age 5, and nearly 80% of people in the US have had a cavity by age 17.
Cavities are considered a disease process because they are a breakdown in the structure of teeth, which can cause symptoms (i.e. pain, sensitivity, infection) that can affect normal functions like eating/drinking and speech. If left untreated, tooth pain can lead to nutritional deficiencies and can negatively affect normal growth and development, learning, and communication. The good news is that cavities are preventable, and if they do occur they can be managed in a number of ways to avoid these negative effects. Keep reading to learn more!
What are cavities?
Cavities are a breakdown of the hard outer tooth surface (called enamel). Sometimes cavities are visible holes in the teeth, sometimes they look like dark stains on the teeth, and sometimes they are only visible on dental x-rays.
There are a number of things that cause cavities – we typically think of things like diet and inadequate oral hygiene practices, but other factors include the frequency we eat/drink throughout the day, if we breathe mainly by mouth, the type and activity level of bacteria in our mouths, and how much spit we make. Areas most prone to cavities are the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, between teeth that are touching, and areas where plaque or food are able to get stuck.
How do cavities form?
Our saliva (spit!) is naturally neutral, with a pH around 7. However, when we have something to eat or drink other than water, the pH of our mouths changes. Foods that are higher in sugars or carbohydrates – pasta, chips, crackers, cookies, pastries, candies, etc. – are broken down by bacteria in our mouths, making our mouths more acidic. Some things like soda, juice, tea are already very acidic, which makes the pH in our mouths drop more quickly. This acidic environment is the perfect environment for cavity development, as it allows the hard outer surfaces of teeth (i.e. the enamel) to demineralize or “soften”.
How low does the pH have to go for our teeth to lose minerals? Not as low as you might think! The critical level for cavity development is just a pH of 5.5, and it can take at least 20 minutes for the mouth to recover to the neutral zone. If your child grazes or snacks throughout the day, or if they sip on non-water drinks over long periods of time, their teeth spend more time in an acidic environment than in a healthy, neutral state. The longer teeth are in an acidic environment, the more prone they are to cavities.
Best Practices to Reduce the Risk of Cavities:
Brush teeth 2x/day with fluoride toothpaste
- Use the size of a grain of rice for children under 3 years
- Use the size of a small green pea for children 3 years and older
- Do this for any teeth that are touching or are close to touching where food can get caught
- Whether you use a floss stick or a string of floss – both will do the job!
- This allows more of the protective fluoride to remain in the mouth to restrengthen tooth enamel
- The best water for protecting teeth has fluoride in it, so if your family drinks primarily bottled water or has well water that does not contain fluoride, look for bottled waters that contain fluoride
- Limit grazing or snacking at will – this gives the mouth time to neutralize its pH
- Don’t put drinks other than water in a sippy cup or bottle that a child can sip on at will throughout the day
- This can help avoid food getting trapped between teeth or in the deep grooves on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth.
- Want more information on tooth-friendly foods? Check out this blog post: Healthy Snacks & Drinks for Healthy Smiles!
- This will allow your dentist to identify any early warning signs of cavities developing to help you come up with strategies for reducing your child’s risk
- Multiple studies show this is an effective way to reduce cavities!
Click here to schedule your child’s next appointment with our team!
Policy on Early Childhood Caries: Classifications, Consequences, and Preventative Strategies (https://www.aapd.org/media/policies_guidelines/p_eccclassifications.pdf)
Fluoride Therapy (https://www.aapd.org/media/Policies_Guidelines/BP_FluorideTherapy.pdf)
Policy on Use of Fluoride (https://www.aapd.org/assets/1/7/P_FluorideUse1.PDF)
Policy on Medically-Necessary Care (https://www.aapd.org/media/policies_guidelines/p_medicallynecessarycare.pdf)
Use of Pit-and-Fissure Sealants (https://www.aapd.org/media/Policies_Guidelines/G_Sealants.pdf)
Do They Still Use Expanders!?
July 1st 2021
Do They Still Use Expanders!?
RPE's or Rapid Palatal Expanders still exist. They are still used frequently in orthodontics to assist in treating a number of various issues including: crossbites, severe crowding, and other skeletal imbalances. The upper jaw develops in two separate halves. While children are growing and developing, those two halves can be separated slightly and orthodontists can take advantage of that by using an expander. Once growth is complete, the two halves of the top jaw are fused together and the only way of separating the two is through a surgical procedure.
Expanders come in many different forms and designs, but the concept and idea is the same for all. Expanders usually anchor off a tooth or teeth on each side of the upper arch in the back and have a "screw" in the middle of the roof of the mouth. The screw is turned with a "key" usually once per day. The appliance slowly broadens the top jaw as the screw is turned. Each turn of the key separates the top jaw by about 1/4mm. This is a very small amount of space and therefore doesn't cause pain or discomfort.
After the amount of desired expansion is achieved by you and your orthodontist. It is common to "hold" that expansion for a number of months to allow bone growth in the space that was just created with the expander. Think of it like breaking an arm or a leg. After the bone is re-set in place by your doctor, a cast is placed to encourage proper healing and bone growth around the area of the fracture. An expander is creating a space between the two bones of the top jaw and the body needs time to fill in that space with newly formed bone.
Expanders are most commonly prescribed for severe crowding and posterior crossbites.
As you can imagine, by expanding the upper jaw you are creating more room in the upper arch to resolve any crowding that may exist. Orthodontists may recommend an expander before all the permanent teeth erupt to ensure that all permanent teeth have at least enough room to erupt into the mouth without getting stuck. If permanent teeth are trying to work their way into the mouth and don't have an adequate amount of space they can actually resorb or damage the roots of other permanent teeth that are in the way. Expanders help alleviate many risks in orthodontics. Orthodontic treatment can get very complicated and lengthy when other permanent teeth are stuck or damaged. This is why it is so important to use an expander when needed and that it is prescribed at the right time.
In an ideal occlusion (bite), the top teeth should overlap the bottom teeth all the way around the arch. If a top tooth or a number of top teeth together fit on the inside of the bottom teeth this is called a crossbite. If this happens in the back of the arch near the molars it is referred to as a posterior crossbite. Posterior crossbites can be tricky to correct with braces and wires (or clear aligners) alone. Expanders add a force from the inside out and are therefore an excellent way to correct posterior crossbites.
There can be a little bit of a learning curve when getting an expander. They usually occupy some space in the roof of the mouth and therefore can cause some minor effects in our speech. This will resolve after several days (sometimes a little quicker depending on how much you sing in the shower). The appliance should be brushed and should receive as much love and attention as our teeth. Crunchy and sticky foods should be eaten with caution as they can dislodge or get stuck on or underneath the expander.
Expanders can seem a bit medieval depending on how you look at them. However, they will be around into the future and beyond because of how predictably they are able to address crossbites, crowding, and skeletal imbalances. Hopefully understanding how and why orthodontists use them regularly will make them seem a bit less foreign or frightening to those patients who may benefit from their use.
Orthodontics is like a puzzle for each individual patient. The shape and size of teeth and the shape and size of jaw bones are different for everyone. The job of the orthodontist is to determine the best way to establish balance and harmony for all the pieces of the puzzle to fit together as best as possible. An expander is an appliance that when properly used can restore balance where balance didn’t exist before... especially when it comes to the widths of the top and bottom jaws!
Please let us know if you have any questions regarding expanders. We would be happy to discuss this in further detail!
June 15th 2021
My child is SUPER nervous about the dentist! What should I do?
It is very normal for children to be nervous and unsure about new and different experiences, including going to the dentist. Many of us adults have fears of the dentist too! Our faces and our mouths are very vulnerable areas of our body so it can feel overwhelming to have someone else enter that personal space. Luckily there are some things that we can do to help to alleviate that anxiety and make the transition into the dental office an easier one for patients and parents. Try some of these steps to help your little one be more at ease before their next visit to our office:
1. Talk to them about what to expect.
You can talk to them about what the experience is like at the dental office in positive terms. Explain that dentists help to make their teeth strong and help to keep them healthy. Explain that the dentist will talk with them about what to expect. If you have dental anxiety yourself, try to be objective and leave your personal experiences out of your child’s expectations. Don’t use any of our four-letter words, including shot, pain, numb, pull, hurt, and ouch. Make sure your chats with them are uplifting and encouraging.
2. Read books and watch kid-friendly videos about going to the dentist.
There are many great resources that can be found that discuss going to the dentist. Reading books and watching videos can be useful in helping a child understand what they can expect at the dentist. Many children are visual learners so having a resource that gives visual cues can help them to better process the experience beforehand. Some of our favorite books are My Tooth is Loose Dr. Moose!, Peppa Pig: Dentist Trip, and The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist. PBS has great videos that families can reference, including Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
3. Visit a Pediatric Dentist.
Pediatric Dentists are specialists that receive additional training that focuses on childhood development and their understanding of specific milestones in a child’s life can help make kiddos feel more comfortable. At Carolina Orthodontics and Children’s Dentistry, we have a team of experts skilled in talking to kids and our office is specifically designed to help make children feel more comfortable. We have more tools available to us to help us customize your child’s experience so that they receive the level of care they need and deserve. We have private rooms and weighted blankets, music and videos, and an engaged team that can help your child feel more at ease.
4. Schedule wisely!
Younger children tend to be less tired and more willing to try new experiences earlier in the day. Avoid scheduling during nap times or other times when children may be more overwhelmed by the events of the day. As parents we try to be efficient, frequently scheduling more than one doctor visit on the same day. For the first few visits for apprehensive children, consider avoiding more than one doctor visit on the day they have their dentist appointment.
5. Use role models!
Older siblings, friends, and parents can be excellent role models for patients that are nervous. Have younger siblings accompany older kids to their visits so they can see that everything will be just fine! Have a positive attitude about your own dental visits because kids are very receptive. Encourage positive discussions about the dentist around those that enjoy going!
At Carolina Orthodontics and Children’s Dentistry, we love to use positive reinforcement to help encourage children to feel good about their accomplishments at the dentist. We always give praise for taking even the smallest step in the right direction. If the visit doesn’t go as planned or if they struggle, avoid scolding them for this experience. Remind them that next time they have the chance to do a little better! Positive reinforcement has shown to be significantly more effective in changing behaviors than negative reinforcement.
7. Schedule a Meet and Greet!
Sometimes it is helpful for patients to visit the office and see what they will be experiencing before going through the motions themselves. Feel free to reach out to our team to schedule a time for your little one to meet the team, see the office, touch the chairs, and hear the noises before their first official visit.
8. Reach out with any questions!
Many times families have a specific question or concern about their child’s dental care. Our team is always willing to answer any questions that you may have and review our practices with you over the phone. We understand that choosing a provider for your child is an important decision and we do not take that lightly. We pride ourselves on providing the highest level of specialized care, recognizing that each patient is different. Please let us help by providing customized care for your little one!
Can I Still Wear My Retainer?
June 3rd 2021
MY RETAINER FEELS TIGHT. CAN I STILL WEAR IT?
As long as your retainer doesn’t hurt and still fits over your teeth, you can wear it - even if it feels tight. Your teeth may have shifted slightly, and you may need to wear your retainer longer each day to prevent your teeth from moving.
Try wearing your retainer full-time for a few days to encourage your teeth to move back into their correct positions. If the retainer continues to feel uncomfortable, contact our office to determine the next steps.
WHAT IF THE RETAINER DOES NOT FIT AT ALL OR FEELS PAINFUL?
Healthy Snacks & Drinks for Healthy Smiles!
April 8th 2021
HEALTHY SNACKS & DRINKS FOR HEALTHY SMILES!
Did you know that approximately one child in every 3 or 4 children ages 2-5 years has cavities? There are several ways cavities form, usually working in a combination. The main factor is snacking, which includes the types of foods and drinks we consume and how frequently we consume them.
Snacks that Can Contribute to Cavities
In general, we want to try to limit sticky, sugary, or high-carbohydrate foods and drinks. Sticky foods include fruit snacks, dried fruits (raisins, apricots, etc.), and candies (caramel, taffy, Starbursts, etc.). These foods contain sugars – whether natural or added – that stick to the surfaces of teeth. Even gummy vitamins are sweetened so that children will take them. Sticky foods can also trap other foods in the teeth, making them harder to clean off.
Snacks like chips, crackers, and cookies seem to target children. While the “snack pack” packaging may be convenient to throw in a lunch bag, these foods are high in carbohydrates (a fancy word for sugar). These foods break down rapidly in the mouth and stick easily on and between teeth.
Want to test it out? Next time you eat an Oreo, check your teeth right after! You are likely to see black bits stuck on the tops of your back teeth, by your gums, and in between teeth. You can imagine how every time you eat similar foods (pretzels, chips, crackers, cookies), these areas get filled with food debris.
Drinks that Can Contribute to Cavities
A large number of drinks contain high levels of sugar. Many juices are advertised as, “no sugar added,” but have plenty of natural sugars and very little nutritional value. The Committee on Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that juice drinks (including 100% juice) have no essential role in a healthy diet for children, contribute to excessive calorie intake, and risk dental decay.
AAP’s recommendations for juice:
No juice prior to 1 year old
4oz/day maximum for 1-3 year olds
4-6oz/day maximum for 4-6 year olds
- 8oz/day maximum for 7-18 year olds
Now for the good news! Many healthy snack alternatives are not only great for teeth but contribute to overall health.
Here are some healthy suggestions:
- Crunchy vegetables – combine with hummus or other healthy dips
- Fresh fruits – have plain or with yogurt
- Hard cheeses (cheddar cheese) – great with apple slices or vegetables
- Plain or roasted nuts – these are high in protein and make great trail mixes
Snacking Best Practices
- Limit snacking to once or twice a day.
- Encourage drinking water throughout the day.
- Limit non-water drinks in overall amount and have only at mealtimes.
- Make healthy snacks more readily available for the whole household!
- If your child has anything to eat or drink at bedtime, make sure to brush their teeth after.
- Don’t put non-water drinks in sippy cups or other containers that allow kids to sip them throughout the day.
Policy on Snacks and Beverages Sold in Schools (https://www.aapd.org/globalassets/media/policies_guidelines/p_snacksbeverages.pdf)
Fruit Juice in Infants, Children, and Adolescents: Current Recommendations (https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/early/2017/05/18/peds.2017-0967.full.pdf)
FLUORIDE, TOOTHPASTE, AND PREVENTING CAVITIES
March 25th 2021
FLUORIDE, TOOTHPASTE, AND PREVENTING CAVITIES
What Is Fluoride?
Fluoride is a safe and effective way to reduce tooth decay.
What Does Fluoride Do?
- It slows/stops the weakening of tooth enamel (the hard outer layer of teeth).
- It restrengthens tooth enamel and makes teeth more resistant to cavities.
- It reduces the metabolic activity of the bacteria that cause cavities.
How Does Fluoride Protect Teeth?
Drinking fluoridated water and brushing with fluoride toothpaste is among the most effective methods in reducing tooth decay in children.
Fluoridated community water is one of the most beneficial and inexpensive methods of reducing the incidence of cavities. Studies from the last 50+ years have demonstrated a 55-60% reduction in cavities following the introduction of water fluoridation! And there are hundreds of studies from researchers worldwide that back the safety of drinking optimally fluoridated water.
Yay! For these reasons, we recommend drinking tap water over bottled water. Did you know most bottled waters do not contain fluoride?
What Toothpaste Should I Use?
How Much Toothpaste Should I Use?
- For children under age 3 years, use about the size of a grain of rice.
|First tooth - 3 year old: Rice sized|
- For children 3 years and older, use about the size of a green pea.
|Age 3 - 6 years old: Pea Sized|
While many parents worry about their child not being able to spit out the toothpaste, research has shown that it is safe to brush with these amounts of fluoride toothpaste 2x/day, even if your child is swallowing some or all of this toothpaste. To limit swallowing toothpaste, we recommend that an adult dispense the proper amount of toothpaste and assist children with brushing their teeth.
Fluoride is a safe and effective way to reduce cavities.
Encourage drinking tap water throughout the day – it helps strengthen teeth!
Use toothpaste that contains fluoride once there are teeth present to help prevent tooth decay!
An adult should dispense toothpaste for young children
Grain-of-rice sized amount for children under 3 years old
Green-pea sized amount for children 3 years and older
An adult should help children with brushing teeth (morning and nighttime).
Policy on Use of Fluoride (https://www.aapd.org/assets/1/7/P_FluorideUse1.PDF)
Policy on Early Childhood Caries: Classifications, Consequences, and Preventative Strategies (https://www.aapd.org/media/policies_guidelines/p_eccclassifications.pdf)
Periodicity of Examination, Preventive Dental Services, Anticipatory Guidance/Counseling, and Oral Treatment for Infants, Children, and Adolescents (https://www.aapd.org/globalassets/media/policies_guidelines/bp_periodicity.pdf)
Fluoride Therapy (https://www.aapd.org/media/Policies_Guidelines/BP_FluorideTherapy.pdf)
March 11th 2021
WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE A PEDIATRIC DENTIST FOR MY CHILD?
As parents, we make decisions on behalf of our kids that affect not only their day-to-day routine but their long-term life experiences. We choose what they will eat, where they will live, and we even choose their names! Why would we not choose the best option to set them up for success in the dental chair?
Pediatric dentists are not just dentists that love seeing your kids (although we obviously DO love seeing kids, talking to kids, and sometimes acting like kids)! As pediatric dentists, we have additional years of training that allows us to gain specialized knowledge of the unique set of circumstances that those little smiles encounter.
Pediatric Dentists spend two or three years beyond dental school learning what makes tiny mouths unique. In school, we learn about the special growth considerations that children and adolescents may encounter. We also learn about special behavioral techniques that help us give patients the best dental experience possible. We even have extra education in caring for special needs individuals of all ages.
The days when dental visits were scary or overwhelming for kids are now gone! These days your child can leave the dentist feeling excited about when they get to come back!
Pediatric dentists can help give you some techniques or tips to help make your children's home dental routine easier. And pediatric dentists realize that kids are not just small people. They also have concerns, fears, and unique considerations regarding their teeth that may require more immediate attention, intervening at just the right time for the patient.
Typically pediatric dental practices are more inviting and open. The welcoming environment allows others' positive experiences to influence nervous kids and help them realize that the dentist is fun and engaging! Pediatric dentists have many techniques to help anxious kids overcome their fears for safe and effective treatment to be completed.
While it may seem like an overwhelming decision, choosing the right pediatric dentist for your child can help to establish a lifetime of positive dental experiences. Choosing your child's name can be very tricky, but choosing the right dental professional for your little one is an easy choice!
WHY ARE BABY TEETH SO IMPORTANT?
February 25th 2021
WHY ARE BABY TEETH SO IMPORTANT?
There is nothing cuter than the smile of a baby with one solitary tooth on display for the world to see! They've worked so hard for that tooth to be seen! Those teeth started developing very early when the baby was still in the womb. And after all of the sleepless nights and days full of drool, that little pearly white finally makes its dramatic appearance. So, no wonder that happy little one is so willing to show off that grin to the whole world!
It is our job as parents and dental professionals to keep that cute grin healthy. But sometimes you might be wondering why they are so important if they only stick around for a few years? Baby teeth serve many important purposes. And there are some things that you can do at home to make sure they stay healthy and bright.
Proper Chewing and Eating
Baby teeth are very important in their function to help with proper chewing and eating. While kids can adapt to many circumstances, for them to be able to have a healthy and diverse diet that provides them with the nutrients they need they need healthy teeth to chew all of those new foods. Missing teeth or having pain from decayed teeth has been shown to limit the ability of kids to have a well-balanced diet which is necessary for their overall growth and development.
Stimulation of Jaw Muscles for Ideal Development
Have you ever heard the phrase “don’t use it then you lose it?” The development of jaw muscles is very much dependent on the chewing mechanics of baby teeth. If we don’t use those teeth to chew then much of the muscle development is lost, also known as atrophy. The chewing motion helps to stimulate proper jaw bone and muscle development.
Saving Space for the Permanent Teeth
Early loss of baby teeth can affect the space remaining for permanent teeth. If a baby tooth is lost before its time then drifting of the teeth around it can occur and the space for the permanent tooth can be lost, sometimes completely. This can be prevented to some extent if space maintainers are placed but, as all dentists would tell you, the best space maintainer for a permanent tooth is the baby tooth!
Some sounds are much easier to form if all of the baby teeth are present. While children are very adaptable and can recreate many sounds over time, missing baby teeth can make learning and developing those sounds much more challenging. Imagine trying to say “thank you” when your front teeth are gone. Even as an adult that has mastered those sounds, it would be very challenging!
Sweet Smiling Faces
Can you imagine anything better than your child looking up at you with a big, beautiful smile? Healthy teeth contribute to that bright smile. Your child is one of a kind and deserves to have the best self-esteem possible. A white smile is associated with health and beauty in our society and being able to display that for everyone will help them to have a positive self-image.
WHAT CAN I DO TO KEEP THOSE TEETH HEALTHY AND WHITE?
There are some things that you can do at home to help keep those teeth healthy and bright. It starts with using fluoridated toothpaste and brushing the teeth every morning and night. We recommend brushing in the morning after breakfast and at night right before bed, avoiding anything to eat or drink after that nightly brushing.
For children under the age of three, we recommend using toothpaste that amounts to a size of a grain of rice. For children above three, they can use the amount that is similar in size to a green pea. Most children need an adult to help when brushing. We recommend that the grown-up brushes first, allowing the children to “check behind” the adult to ensure that they did a good job of brushing all of the sugar bugs away! And flossing every night can clear away any food stuck between those chompers!
The sorts of things kids drink are just as important in keeping those teeth healthy. Our favorite drink is water! Water is sugar-free, doesn’t cause any changes to the mouth chemistry, and in some cases can have a beneficial amount of fluoride added to it to help protect against any cavities. White milk is our second favorite drink, but it also should be used with caution because it has natural sugars present in the milk. Any other drinks, like juice, soda, or sweet tea, should be saved for special occasions. Those drinks typically have ingredients added that can negatively affect teeth and lead to cavities.
Having a healthy diet is not only good for your body but it is also critical in having a great smile! Fresh fruits and veggies, cheese, and yogurt are good snacks not only for a growing body but also for a growing smile! Avoid sticky foods like gummy snacks, raisins, and sticky granola bars so they don’t get left behind in teeth. And foods like chips and crackers can make a paste when they are chewed and stick around for some time after the snack is all done!
October 1st 2020
October brings Fall leaves, cooler temps, and pumpkin everything’s. It also brings awareness. As both National Orthodontic Health Awareness Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the next 31 days are filled with devotion to learning and opportunity.
Orthodontic Health Awareness Month is a month centered around promoting good dental and orthodontic health. Benefits of orthodontic treatment and good overall oral hygiene can extend well beyond just aesthetics. While one of the major benefits of a healthier smile is overall mental and physical health and in lieu of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we chose to honor those past, current, and future fighters with the choice of all pink o-ties in our orthodontic offices. Choose pink, choose to inspire, and no matter where you are on your smile journey, choose Carolina Orthodontics & Children’s Dentistry!
We look forward to what October brings! 2020 has certainly shown us many things, but moreover, it has been a powerful reminder that we are in this together. Be sure to call our office & follow along on our social media to see what promotional offers are in store this month! See you soon friends!
2019 Backpack Drive
June 12th 2019
- Notebook Paper
- Glue Sticks
- 3-ring Binders
- Colored Pencils
SOCK GAME STRONG
June 19th 2018
Dr. Jenna's Top 10!
June 5th 2018
Dr. Arbon's Top 10!
May 31st 2018
1. Crazy socks
2. Listening to Imagine Dragons, The Lumineers, & Ed Sheeran
3. The Cubs Baseball, Tarheels basketball, & Bears football
4. The beach
5. Wake surfing!
6. Coaching youth sports
8. Backyard wiffle ball
May 7th 2018
Welcome To Our Blog
May 2nd 2018
We are excited to have an outlet to keep our patients, their families, and their friends up to date on all of the new and amazing things happening at Carolina Orthodontics & Children's Dentistry!
Within this blog, we will do our best to keep you posted on office news, contests and events, education information…and more. Be sure to check back often. We hope you enjoy getting to know Carolina Orthodontics & Children's Dentistry.
Please feel free to leave comments here or on our Facebook Page…we would love to hear from you!