How do I Know if my Child has a Cavity?

It is not always easy for parents to identify the signs that a child has a cavity, particularly if the cavity is on the side of a tooth (or between teeth). Cavities are not uncommon for children. In fact, the CDC has reported that 20%of all children between the ages of 5 and 11 have tooth decay or one or more cavities.   little-girl-is-having-her-teeth-checked-by-dentist - SM  graphicstock - paid - H0dMTFcb-
Your child's dentist will identify cavities at the time of their visits to the office. But, in the meantime, a cavity can be very uncomfortable for your child. Identifying cavities early reduces the damage the decay will cause and reduces the amount of drilling needed to fill the cavity.
So how do you know when your child has a cavity, even if the child doesn't know how to tell you?
1. Compare the color of the child's teeth. In the early stages, a cavity will appear as a bright white spot on the tooth. It will be brighter than the enamel of the tooth. In time, it will turn yellow, then brown. Finally, you will be able to see or feel a very small pit or hole in the tooth.
2. Pain in the tooth is a clear indication of a problem. Your child might complain about pain from a toothache. In some cases, your child might say that it hurts to chew their food. Often, your child will experience some sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods and beverages. If your child can locate the pain in a part of their mouth, you will likely find a cavity.
3. Younger children often have difficulty communicating tooth pain. The things to look for include appetite changes, not wanting a favorite food, or not wanting you to brush their teeth.
A final reminder: don't ignore cavities in baby teeth. They are important for development and spacing for permanent teeth, for eating, and for speech.
To your child's dental health,

Oral Health Tips for Fall

The arrival of Fall signals a number of changes that will come in the next few months. We are deciding how to help children enjoy Halloween in a COVID19 world. We will soon transition from daylight saving time to standard time. The temperatures are dropping, the leaves are changing, and we are preparing our homes for the winter.fall foods - pixabay cco free - thanksgiving-2828718 640

The fall season is also associated with a number of oral health considerations. Let’s take a look at some of the things we need to consider during the fall months.

  1. It’s a good time to replace your toothbrush.
  2. It’s a great time to be certain that you understand your dental insurance coverage (if you have insurance). Have you used all of the allowed benefits for the current year? It is often a good idea to ensure that you deal with any dental problems so that you will have the full benefit available to you in the new year.
  3. Make end-of-year dental appointments for your family.
  4. Fall brings aching joints to many people. Some of you may experience jaw pain. Your jaw has a joint – temporomandibular – that may need attention. Your dentist can help you manage this pain.
  5. Turning on the heat in our homes causes dryness in the air. Dryer air contributes to dry mouth. Your dentist can help you understand, treat, and manage your dry mouth.
  6. The autumn season offers children abundant opportunities to enjoy a huge amount of candy and sugary treats. Parents will need to manage their sugar consumption. This is also a good time to reinforce dental hygiene habits.
  7. Sensitive teeth tend to become more sensitive in the fall. Sensitivity can signal cracked or broken teeth, receding gums, and damage to the enamel of the teeth. Identifying these issues is a great reason to see your dentist before the end of the year.
  8. Cooling temperatures make hot beverages more popular. Avoiding tooth darkening includes control of the beverages that will stain your teeth. These include coffee, tea (especially black tea), red wine, and dishes made with red tomato sauce. Keep in mind that anything that will stain a white tee-shirt can also stain your teeth. If you are concerned about the darkening of teeth, discuss it with your dentist. She can help you to evaluate the available options and decide what is best for you.
  9. Your diet also contributes to your oral health. Some foods are good for your teeth. These include dairy products (they provide calcium, phosphates, and Vitamin D), fiber-rich fruits ad vegetables (apples, carrots, celery) that stimulate saliva production to protect your teeth from decay.

These tips will not work magic, but they will put you on the right path for oral health in the fall and in the winter.


Many people are feeling stressed and anxious in the Pandemic environment. Everyone’s life has been changed in some way. Many people deal with stress and anxiety by grinding their teeth (sometimes without realizing they are doing it). This is intended to be simply a quick reference summary of key facts about teeth grinding (Bruxism).bruxism - paid - Depositphotos 111808706 s-2019

Problems commonly caused by teeth grinding

  • Headaches
  • Jaw pain
  • Muscle tightness
  • Loose or broken teeth

The two types of bruxism

  • Diurnal bruxism – grinding while awake
  • Nocturnal bruxism – grinding during sleep

One way teeth grinding can be prevented by using a mouth guard designed for the purpose. The American Dental Association identifies 3 types of bruxism mouth guards:

  • Custom made - by a dentist (usually the most comfort)
  • Boil and Bite – You buy a kit over the counter, then boil the guard in water to soften it. Finally, you bite down on it to make it conform to the shape of your mouth and teeth.
  • Stock – Some companies offer pre-fabricated mouthguards that are ready to wear (probably the leas comfortable.

It is important to see your dentist and discuss the treatment options available to you. A mouth guard may be right for you. Sometimes other treatments are in order:

  • Repairing damage to your teeth.
  • Exercises or physical therapy to reduce jaw stiffness and pain.
  • Psychotherapy to help you manage the stress or anxiety causing your bruxism.
  • Medication to relax muscles an reduce anxiety or stress.
Let’s Talk Toothpaste: It Matters

We seldom talk about toothpaste. We probably should. The ingredients differ from one brand and type to another. Your choice of toothpaste, however, could make a big difference to your oral health. So, let’s talk toothpaste.crest gum detoxify

For several decades, the array of toothpaste options has grown and made the choice of one brand or type increasingly difficult for many people. Should you choose whitening toothpaste, a sensitivity toothpaste, breath freshening option, or a cavity-fighting toothpaste? Does each toothpaste deliver on its promises? How do you know which is most effective?

The true goal of at-home dental hygiene is to maintain (or create) healthy teeth and gums. Oral health is the basis of all of the other things we want: whiter teeth, fresher breath, eliminating tooth and gum sensitivity. It is also a significant factor in overall health.

Toothpaste Ingredients Matter

Choosing a toothpaste is a matter of finding the one that does the best job of keeping your teeth and gums healthy. There are ingredients in some toothpaste that make them more effective than others. The goal is to remove bacteria and reduce inflammation of the gums; to remove the plaque and tarter that damage teeth.

A recently published study brought together the data and findings of several prior studies into a meta-analysis. They found that adding flossing to a dental hygiene plan typically reduces bleeding and inflammation of the gums by approximately 40%.

The critical ingredient in some toothpaste is stannous fluoride. It reduced the bleeding of gums by 51% for people using a manual toothbrush. In addition, those who used toothpaste with this ingredient were 3.7 times more likely to achieve oral health. You have probably heard about the importance of fluoride for decades. But this study found that the type of fluoride (stannous fluoride, sodium fluoride and sodium monofluorophosphate) used in toothpaste matters.

Stannous Fluoride in Toothpaste Matters

Fortunately, it is easier for most people to change their toothpaste than to make other changes to their oral hygiene regimen. One toothpaste containing stannous fluoride “has demonstrated the ability to remain active in the reduction of bacteria and their metabolic byproducts (toxins) up to 4 mm below the gumline (Crest Gum Detoxify). Additionally, the antibacterial gum protection for 12 hours provides all-day protection.”

The study concluded, “there are ample benefits to stannous fluoride that make it a simple solution. . . . Stannous fluoride works to protect against cavities and prevent erosive toothwear, gingivitis, plaque, bad breath, and tooth sensitivity.”

If you are not accomplishing the results you want with your daily dental hygiene regimen, you might want to try a toothpaste containing stannous fluoride and come in to discuss your oral health needs.

What is Gingival Recession?

Gingival recession is also called receding gums. It refers to the process by which your gums, which normally cover the tooth roots, begins to recede and pull away from the tooth, exposing some of the tooth root. This leaves the root susceptible to bacteria, plaque, and other types of decay.gingival recession - paid - Depositphotos 235935672 s-2019

Gingival recession is fairly common. In fact, it is the most common observed process in dental patients, regardless of age or ethnicity. Age is one of the most common risk factors. Statistically, 88 percent of people over the age of 65 have receding gums around at least one tooth. This fact is clearly associated with the expression that someone is growing “long in the tooth,” meaning aging.

Causes of Gingival Recession

Gingival recession typically results from:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Tooth movement in orthodontic treatment
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Ongoing trauma (brushing too hard)
  • Abnormal bite (how teeth are aligned)
  • Inherited factors: tooth position and gum thickness
  • Lip piercings, damage caused by dental treatment.

Any of these factors may contribute to gingival recession.

Problems Resulting from Gingival Recession

Often, people are not aware of the causes or of recession until the problem advances. The primary risks and fears include fear of tooth loss, sensitivity to tooth roots, and effects on appearance (particularly those with a lip line that exposes the gums to view.

Treatment of Gingival Recession

Many cases of gingival recession do not require treatment. These patients are typically advised about how to prevent receding gums, including how to brush gently but effectively.

Some patients do require treatment. A treatment plan may include:

  • Treating and reducing sensitivity in the affected tooth root. This may involve varnishes, dentine bonding materials
  • Restoration with tooth-colored composite material. These resins are used to cover the exposed roots or to close gaps between teeth.
  • Removable veneers (acrylic or silicone.
  • Orthodontics. This would involve changing the position of specific teeth to improve bite.
  • Surgery. In some cases, surgery is needed to graft tissue from another part of the mouth so that it heals over the recession.

Prevention of Gingival Recession

In most cases, gingival recession may be preventable. The preventive steps may depend upon the cause and state of your current recession. If you have observed gingival recession or if your heredity makes you particularly susceptible, open an ongoing conversation with your dentist. Together, you can create an effective preventive and treatment plan.


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