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What is a diastema?

A diastema is a gap (wider than 0.5 millimeters) between the teeth. It can appear in both children and adults. It is not harmful. In children, the gap usually closes when their permanent teeth erupt. In most cases treatment is not necessary except for cosmetic reasons. In fact, some people are recognized for their diastema.

 

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Causes:

(1.) the size of the teeth is too small relative to the size of their jawbone;

(2) if some teeth are smaller or are missing;

(3) tooth migration is a typical symptom of advanced gum disease;

(4) the labial frenum - the tissue between the inside of the upper lip and the gum above the upper front teeth - is especially large;

(5) swallowing reflex pushes the tongue against the front teeth rather than the roof of the mouth when swallowing;

(6) habits like thumb-sucking, tongue thrusting; loss of baby teeth.

 

 

If you want to close the gap for aesthetic reasons, your dentist can help you choose the best solution for your needs. The most common treatments are:

  1. Braces are used to move the teeth with pressure for a time.
  2. Veneers or bonding. Dental to the bonding applies resin to the surface of the teeth. Veneers are fitted over the surface of the teeth.
  3. If the gap is due to missing teeth, you may choose a bridge or a dental implant.
  4. If the gap is caused by a large labial frenum, you might choose a frenectomy to remove the extra tissue. Older children and adults may need braces or other treatment after surgery. In younger children, the gap may close on its own.
  5. Gum disease treatment to stop the infection.

If you or your child have a diastema that concerns you, make an appointment and discuss it with your dentist.

 
UK Reduced Sugar Consumption in Soft Drinks by 34 Percent

A study published on January 13 offers insights into how the UK reduced sugar consumption in soft drinks by 34 percent since 2018. Their success is attributed to three factors:

1.      Public information dissemination about the harm to oral and general health from excessive sugar consumption.

2.      An effort by manufacturers to reduce the amount of sugar in their soft drinks.

3.      Imposition of a three-tiered tax on sugar-sweetened soft drinks.

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Between 2015 and 2018 the volume of sugars in soft drinks was reduced by more than 4.5 grams per person per day. This reduction in sugars was due to reformulations by soft drink manufacturers and the introduction of lower-sugar drinks. Some of this may have been done in anticipation of the tiered tax implemented in 2018.

To reduce sugar consumption, the UK introduced a tiered tax on sugar-sweetened soft drinks. The tax is calculated in this way:

1.      Tax of 24 pence (34 cents U.S.) per liter on high-sugar drinks. These are defined as beverages containing more than 8 grams of sugar per 100 mL.

2.      Tax of 18 pence (23 cents U.S.) per liter on medium-sugar drinks. These are defined as beverages containing between 5 and 8 grams of sugar per 100mL.

3.      No tax on unsweetened drinks and low-sugar drinks. These are defined as beverages with less than 5 grams of sugar per 100 mL.

The study was not intended to evaluate the effects of the soft drink tax. Yet the study discovered “a striking reduction in the sugar content of soft drinks in the U.K.” These researchers estimated the amount of sugar in the food supply before and after the tax was implemented. Hi- and-Medium-sugar drink sales fell from 31 percent of all beverage sales in 2015 to merely 15 percent of sales in 2018. After adjusted for sales, the mean sugar content of all soft drinks decreased by 34%. The volume of sales has increased while the sugar content has declined.

An achievement of this kind will have far-reaching beneficial effects throughout the population of the UK. Would this approach have the same outcome in other places?

Please tell us what you think:

Could this be accomplished in the USA?

Is it an approach that you would support?

Do you think the same results could be achieved here?

 
Why Children Get Cavities Despite Regular Brushing

One parental frustration that we hear about often is why your child has #cavities despite regular #brushing.

Oral hygiene is critical for children, not only at the present moment but throughout their lives. The habits people establish in their early years have lasting and guiding effects on the child's oral and general #health.

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The most common reason children get cavities despite regular brushing is that the child is not brushing correctly. Often, children miss the back of teeth and do not brush back teeth adequately. Your supervision of their oral hygiene may be necessary for several years.

A second reason for cavities developing despite brushing is that many children do not #floss or do not floss properly. It may be helpful to try several flossing devices -- string floss, floss in a plastic frame, or interdental brushes -- until you find the best way for your child to floss effectively.

If oral hygiene is a problem, talk to your #dentist. Any dentist will be happy to show you and your child how to brush and floss to prevent cavities.

A third reason for cavities developing may be in your child's #diet. There are a number of foods and beverages that children should not eat if they have oral hygiene challenges. These are food and drinks that are high in #sugar or in harmful #acids. Limiting these sources of #decay and having your child brush at the right time after eating can make a big difference quickly.

Finally, remember that your dentist is your partner and your child's partner in practicing good #oralhygiene and good #oralhealth. Call us if we can help.

 
Fillings: The Basics

 

No one goes to the dentist in the hope of needing a filling. Yet needing a filling is one of the two possible outcomes of a dental exam. The other is hearing that you are all good (although you should floss more) and they will see you in 6 months.   fillings - paid - shutterstock 50804752

Getting a filling for a cavity puts you among the majority of people in the world today. More than 90 percent of all people have had a cavity in their lifetime. Your dentist can deal with the cavity fairly quickly and easily by putting in a filling.

These are the basic facts you should know about fillings.

What is a Filling?

A filling is one of several materials used to fill a hole (cavity) in your tooth. Cavities can be caused by tooth decay, cracking caused by grinding your teeth, or some other trauma like chewing ice or hard candy, chewing on some object, or damage to a tooth in an injury or accident.

Filling the hole stops or slows the growth of the cavity so that the tooth can perform its function again. Left untreated, the bacteria in a cavity or in your mouth can grow and endanger the rest of the tooth. Once that bacteria reaches the inside (root) of the tooth, restoring the tooth will require a more involved dental procedure called a root canal.

What Materials are Used in Fillings?

Today, dentists use one of five materials to fill teeth. Each of the materials has plusses and minuses. Your dentist will typically recommend one or two options based on a number of factors. The five materials are:

  1. Cast Gold – These fillings are very strong and durable (ideal for molars). Filling a tooth with gold is a little more complicated than some of the other materials. Gold fillings are also more expensive than some other options.
  2. Silver (also called Amalgam) – These fillings are strong and durable. They are less expensive than gold but are visible in your mouth. Silver fillings can also contribute to cracks and fractures in the tooth in the future.
  3. Tooth-colored composites – These fillings can be almost invisible in your mouth. They bond to your tooth for extra stability. They are more expensive than amalgam but less than gold. They tend to last one-third to one-half the time of gold or silver fillings.
  4. Ceramic – These fillings are very strong and durable. They are resistant to staining. The cost of ceramic fillings is almost as high as gold.
  5. Glass ionomer – This is the preferred filling material for young children and fillings below the gum line. The material releases fluoride to prevent further tooth decay. However, it is a weaker material than some of the others, making it prone to wear and damage.

What Happens when you get a Filling?

Sometimes the first step in filling a tooth is when your dentist gives you a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth. Next, the dentist will use a drill or laser to remove the decayed part of the tooth. Then, once the decay is removed, the dentist will clean the area around the cavity and prepare it for the filling.

When the area is prepared, the dentist will put in the filling. Then she will finish and polish the tooth. The goal is to make the surface of the tooth smooth, to ensure that the filling sits properly in the tooth (and does not interfere with chewing and biting). If the filling affects your bite or chewing ability, it can cause discomfort, pain, and a headache.

 

We all hope that our dental exam will end with the dentist telling us that all is well. Sometimes the dentist will find decay and tell us we have a cavity. Having the cavity cleaned and filled will put you back on the road to good oral health. Having a tooth filled is not painful or frightening. With your knowledge of what to expect, you can relax and let your dentist fix your tooth and prevent future decay.

 
When to Start Flossing Your Child's Teeth?

 

As a parent, you want what’s best for your child, but you don’t always know your way around every aspect of the task of raising children. When it comes to establishing lifelong habits that affect their health, you want to get it right. After all, you want them to learn healthy habits young and you want them to maintain those good habits throughout their life.

But when is the right time to teach your child life skills like oral hygiene? Is there a set age or is it different for every child? How should you introduce brushing and flossing totheirour child?

when teach child to floss cropped image from shutterstock paid

Here are five tips on how and when to teach your child to brush and floss their teeth.

 

1.Start Early

When it comes to teaching your child how to brush and floss their teeth, the earlier the better. You’ll want to explain the importance of caring for teeth and gums and the reasons for brushing and flossing, as well as why we do it every day, multiple times a day. If you think your child is capable of understanding this then it is time to help them learn how to brush their teeth and floss.

 

2.Use Flossers

Probably the easiest way to introduce your child to flossing is to use those flossers that are found in nearly every store that sells dental supplies. The concept is easy to grasp and they are intuitive to use. They are inexpensive and accessible. Traditional floss is our first thought, but is much harder to use - even for adults. That’s why we recommend using flossers to teach your children.

 

3.Help Them

When your child is first starting to brush and floss their teeth, you’ll want to help with flossing technique by giving them advice on what they are doing. You might want to create a system of rewards to keep them on track. This makes it easy to teach them about morning and night brushing, as well as making sure they brush and floss during the day after meals if possible.

 

4.Keep Supplies on Hand

If you are going to instill good habits in your child, like flossing their teeth, then you need to make sure that you have the appropriate supplies on hand at all times. It is important to maintain the momentum of making flossing a habit. Sometimes parents are surprised how much floss a child can go through even with the most conservative of estimates. You show them that their dental health matters by making sure that they are provided with all they need to maintain excellent oral hygiene practices.

 

 

5.Show and Tell

One of the most effective ways to teach your child that oral hygiene is important is to demonstrate to them that you, too, take it seriously by brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice daily. You’ll set a good example by practicing what you preach. Brushing together can be fun.

 

Feel free to embellish these tips to make them most effective with your children. Happy flossing!

 
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