September 30th, 2008
Is your child brushing his/her teeth twice a day? If yes, that’s great; but, don’t forget that it’s also important for your child to visit the dentist every six months in addition to brushing their teeth a couple times a day. If your child will be visiting the dentist for the first time, it’s important to bring them in after their first tooth come through, and no later than their first birthday. Regular dental checkups are important for maintaining good oral health. Your dentist can:
• Check for problems that might not be seen or felt
• Detect cavities and early signs of decay
• Treat oral health problems early
• Show your child how to properly brush and floss their teeth
During an oral exam the doctor will check the health of your child’s mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks and tongue. Checkups will also include a thorough teeth cleaning and polishing. If your child has not been to the dentist in the last six months, it’s time for you to schedule an appointment!
September 23rd, 2008
Lots of you have asked us about whether it’s healthy for children to suck thumbs (or, less frequently, fingers). If you’ve got a thumb-sucker in the house, you are not alone. Research tells us that between 75% and 95% of infants suck their thumbs. Is this anything to worry about?
In most cases, no. Sucking is a natural reflex for an infant, and can provide security and contentment as well as relaxation for your little one. It’s a habit that most children grow out of between the ages of 2 and 4.
However, if your child keeps sucking after they have gotten their permanent teeth, it’s time to take a closer look. If your child sucks his thumb aggressively, putting pressure on the inside of his mouth or his teeth, it could cause problems with tooth alignment and proper mouth growth. If you’re worried, give us a call and we will help assess the situation, and provide tips for how to help your child break the habit. Give Dr. Baruffi a call at 206.973.8211
September 15th, 2008
We know the rumors going around – mostly among young people – that once you swallow a piece of chewing gum it will stake a claim and take up residency in your stomach for at least seven years! We really hate to take all the fun out of the mystery, but the truth is that chewing gum, when swallowed, will enter the stomach and move through the digestive system just like any other piece of food and leave the body long before seven years! So, if you ever have accidentally swallowed a piece of gum, there is no need to worry!
This being said, gum does not have any dietary benefits, so while it’s not harmful to swallow, you still want to avoid swallowing it. If you are a gum-chewer, make sure you chew sugarless gum, because gum with sugar can lead to cavities. Sugarless gum still has the same amount of flavor, but with less cavity causing ingredients. You see, when the bacterium in your mouth breaks down sugar, what’s left behind is acid. This acid eats away at the enamel coating of your teeth, causing holes that we call cavities. Cavities can lead to other long term mouth problems if they are not treated in time, so it is best to try and avoid overexposing your teeth to too many harmful substances!
Happy (sugar-free) gum chewing!
September 11th, 2008
One question we hear all the time is “When should I start brushing my baby’s teeth?”
You should begin regular cleanings even before your baby has teeth. After each breast feeding – or bottle-feeding – use a clean, damp washcloth to gently rub your baby’s gum tissue. You can wrap the material around one finger to make it easier to remove any food bits from your baby’s mouth.
When your baby’s first tooth comes in switch to a baby toothbrush. Look for special baby toothbrushes in your drugstore – they have just a few bristles and are very soft. There are even brushes shaped like finger puppets that fit over the tip of your pointer finger! All you need at this point is water – no toothpaste yet.
After a few more teeth appear, you can start using toothpaste, but you only need a tiny bit, and make sure it doesn’t contain fluoride for the first three years. From the beginning, have your little one practice spitting the toothpaste out after brushing. That way, he or she will already have the good habit of spitting when you switch to fluoride toothpaste, which should never be swallowed.
If you have any questions about caring for your baby’s teeth, please contact Dr. Baruffi.