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How To Handle Your Child's Biting Phase, from Dr. Baruffi

July 17th, 2009

We at Southcenter Dental know that while it can be unsettling, biting behavior in very young children is certainly not uncommon. Infants bite as a way to explore their surroundings, or to try to relieve the pain of teething. Toddlers bite primarily as a form of communication, since they lack the language skills to vocalize feelings such as frustration, anger or fear. 2- and 3-year-old children often experience biting phases, which can cause trouble in social situations like day care and preschool.

(When children over the age of 3 bite – especially if it’s a frequent occurrence – it can be an indicator of a behavioral or emotional problem. If this is the case, we recommend talking to your family doctor for advice.)

In most cases, children stop biting on their own, once they learn that biting is not appropriate and find other ways to express their feelings. A clear response from parents and caregivers immediately after a biting incident will help a child learn to avoid this behavior. Following is a guide for how to respond when a child bites:

Stay calm. Don’t react to aggressive behavior with aggressive behavior.
If you were the one bitten, overreact to the bite, to show the child that the bite has caused you pain.
If another child was bitten, first turn your attention to him. Comfort him and check to see if the bite needs medical attention. Calm him down if he is upset.
Then, address the child who did the biting. Firmly state that biting is not allowed. Explain that biting causes pain, and that the other child is upset because he is hurt.
After the child has had some time to calm down, talk to him about why he bit, and address his feelings. Explain that we can express our feelings by talking about them, and not by biting.
If biting behavior persists, try using time-outs or removing toys from the child’s play area as negative consequences.
Never hit a child and never bite back to try to show the child that biting hurts. This type of response will teach the child that violence is ok and encourage violent behavior.
Parents and caregivers can help children understand that feelings are ok, and that there are better ways to respond to them than biting. There are many ways to teach your child appropriate emotional responses. Here are a few:

Talk to your child about feelings and encourage him to use words to express feelings.
Share your feelings, both happy and sad, with your child verbally, to provide a model for appropriate behavior.
Reinforce positive behavior; praise your child when he exhibits good social skills, such as sharing, being polite and showing patience.

--Dr. Baruffi, Southcenter Dental

Southcenter Dental: Bottled Water May Be Behind Tooth Troubles

July 7th, 2009

We at Southcenter Dental want you to know that as more families turn to bottled water and away from the tap, they may be missing out on one important ingredient that most brands of bottled water fail to include: fluoride!

As of 2005, bottled water is second only to soft drinks as the most popular drink in the United States, beating out milk, juice, and – more significantly – tap water. Between 2001 and 2006, the amount of bottled water sold in the U.S. rose an average of 10% per year. And many dental health specialists point to bottled water’s increased popularity as the culprit behind rising rates of cavities.

Because fluoride helps strengthen teeth, it is an important component of maintaining good oral health. The benefits of fluoride were noticed in the early part of the twentieth century, when researchers found communities with low levels of tooth decay. It turned out that these towns had measurable levels (around 1 part per million) of fluoride in their drinking water.

Beginning in the 1940s, communities have fluoridated their water supplies, and dentists have seen a significant decline in cavities ever since. The American Dental Association endorses both community water fluoridation and the use of fluoride-containing products as a safe means of preventing tooth decay. Between tap water and toothpaste, most of us get sufficient amounts of fluoride.

But if your family avoids fluoridated tap water in favor of ever-more-popular bottled water, you could be missing out on the levels of fluoride necessary to make a difference in your oral health.

If bottled water is your water of choice, check the label to make sure that your brand contains fluoride. As of a 2006 decision, the FDA allows bottled water containing .6 to 1.0 milligrams per liter of fluoride to carry a label stating that fluoridated water may reduce the risk of dental cavities or tooth decay. The ADA has backed this decision.

Of course, simply drinking fluoridated water is not a magic ticket to perfect teeth. To keep your choppers in tip-top shape, it’s important to brush and floss daily and avoid sugary sweets, in addition to maintaining your fluoride intake and visiting us at Southcenter Dental regularly.

Cardiodontics: The Heart Mouth Connection from Southcenter Dental

June 29th, 2009

If you have been told you have periodontal disease (also known as gum disease or periodontitis), you're not alone. An estimated 80 percent of American adults currently have some form of the disease! Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that results in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth are lost.

Gum disease is a threat to your oral health. Research is also pointing to health effects of periodontal diseases that go well beyond your mouth. So we at Southcenter Dental want to let you know some interesting facts and ways to treat the disease.

What is Periodontal Disease?

"Perio" means around, and "dontal" refers to teeth. Periodontal disease is an infection of the structures around the teeth, including the gums and the bones that hold the teeth. The earliest stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis – an infection of the gums. In more severe forms of the disease, all of the tissues are involved, including the bone. Bacteria that live and reproduce on the teeth and gums cause periodontal disease.

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Symptoms may include the following:
--redness or bleeding of gums while brushing teeth or using dental floss
--halitosis, or bad breath
--gum recession, resulting in apparent lengthening of teeth
--"pockets" between the teeth and gums indicating that the bone which holds the teeth in the mouth is dissolving
--loose teeth
Gum inflammation and bone destruction are largely painless. Hence, people may wrongly assume that painless bleeding after teeth cleaning is insignificant, although this may be a symptom of progressing periodontitis. If your hands bled when you washed them, you would be concerned. Yet, many people think it's normal if their gums bleed when they brush or floss.

Periodontal Disease Affects Your Health

Periodontal disease is a putrid, festering infection of the mouth. Bacteria and inflammatory particles can enter the bloodstream through ulcerated and bleeding gums and travel to the heart and other organs. In recent years, gum disease has been linked to a number of health problems. Researchers are studying possible connections between gum disease and:
--Heart disease: Gum disease may increase the risk of heart disease. Gum disease also is believed to worsen existing heart disease.
--Stroke: Gum disease may increase the risk of the type of stroke caused by blocked arteries
--Diabetes: People with diabetes and periodontal disease may be more likely to have trouble controlling their blood sugar than diabetics with healthy gums.
--Premature births: A woman who has gum diseases during pregnancy may be more likely deliver her baby too early and the infant may be more likely to be of low birth weight.

Combating Periodontal Disease

--See your dentist! See your dentist every six months for a checkup! Regular professional cleanings and checkups make you feel good, look good, and could be a lifesaver!
--Brush and floss daily. Take your time and do it right!
--Use an anti-bacterial mouthwash. Daily use of an anti-bacterial mouthwash helps to disinfect the teeth and gums, and reduces the number of bacteria.
--Straighten your teeth. Crowded teeth are nearly impossible to keep clean. Orthodontic treatment can greatly reduce inflammation and periodontal disease.

--Dr. Baruffi

How To Stay Young And Healthy from Southcenter Dental

June 19th, 2009

Whether you’re 5 or 50, your health depends on your awareness of what’s good for you. But in a world filled with fad diets, blaring advertisements, and unintelligible ingredient lists, we at Southcenter Dental know it can be difficult to determine exactly what is good for you – and what’s not.

For straightforward guidance on how to live a long, healthy life, we recommend Brush Your Teeth! And Other Simple Ways to Stay Young and Healthy by Dr. David Ostreicher. The book sums up good health in six fundamental principles: hygiene, diet, attitude, exercise, sleep and personal safety.

Drawing on nearly three decades of experience as an orthodontist and professor of health and nutrition, Dr. Ostreicher definitively answers age-old debates, like the best way to prevent colds and flu (your mom was right: wash your hands). He provides straight talk on a variety of diet choices including salt, fats, carbs and organic food, and he documents the importance of regular sleep, stress reduction and positive thinking to your overall health. His suggestions throughout are simple, clear, and inexpensive.

Dr. Ostreicher advocates a back-to-basics, common-sense approach to staying young and healthy. We at Southcenter Dental couldn’t agree more, and we’d like to repeat the title of his book as our favorite piece of advice: don’t forget to Brush Your Teeth!

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