Tag Archives: teeth

Tweaking Fluoride Recommendations Once Again (Article)

In an effort to prevent childhood and adult dental decay, dentists and public health officials recently changed their policy and began promoting the application of a small dab of fluoride toothpaste as soon as babies’ teeth erupt. Previously, experts from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (The AAPD) had not recommended using any fluoride toothpaste in children under two years of age for fear of causing too much fluoride to accumulate in the enamel of their teeth, a condition called fluorosis. In the AAPD’s new analysis of current data, these experts decided that the benefit of a small amount of fluoride to a baby’s teeth is safe and outweighs the very small chance that an infant will develop fluorosis. Dental experts hope that this is a step toward curing the most common chronic childhood disease, tooth decay! Currently, tooth decay is five times more common than childhood asthma, four times more prevalent than childhood obesity, and twenty times more prevalent than childhood diabetes. Alarmingly, tooth decay in children has increased by four percent in the past ten years, a direct reversal of the cavity reduction achieved in the 1980s to 1990s.

The proper use of fluoride to retard dental decay has been elusive ever since the accidental discovery of its cavity fighting potential at the turn of the 20th century. Ironically, it was the observation that natural fluoride, found in certain springs in the western US, both stained teeth in children and at the same time made their teeth resistant to decay. Since this discovery, dentists have long advocated putting a very small amount of sodium fluoride in municipal water supplies and in toothpaste. Dental decay in children has been gradually disappearing ever since, until recently.

Dentists and public health officials have decided it’s once again time to tweak the dose of fluoride for the benefit of children. In order to make the most of fluoride’s benefits without increasing the risk of fluorosis, dentists recommend that parents use only a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste to brush their infant and toddler’s teeth twice a day. Brushing twice a day, offering your child plenty of water to drink between meals, avoiding snacks, and eliminating bottles by the end of their first year are crucial steps to avoid damaging decay. This type of proactive cavity control can prevent cavities and tooth decay that may cause other dental problems not only during childhood but later in life. So, with a simple dollop of fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush, cavity prevention may be as easy as pie!

Written collaboratively by Keri Register and Paul Smolen M.D.

Smo Notes:

1. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/12/dental-group-advises-fluoride-toothpaste-before-age-2/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=2&sf22771120=1

2.http://www.aapd.org/assets/2/7/ECCstats.pdf

3. https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/Fluoride/TheStoryofFluoridation.htm

From the desk of Doc Smo- The latest on “Teething”

I was catching up on some of my journals the other day when I came upon an article that caught my interest.  Regular readers/listeners of my blog may remember a pedcast I did on teething last year.  In that post, I tried to get to the facts of what we know and don’t know about the effect of teething on children.  Many parents believe that tooth eruption causes high fever, diarrhea, and/or severe pain.  When I made the teething pedcast, I had concluded from my reading and my own experience that teething does not cause a lot of physical symptoms.  None of these things happen at the time of dental eruption but many parents attribute all sorts of symptoms to teething to this day.

 

So it was great interest that I read an article in the September 2011 journal Pediatrics about a study that was done in Brazil, of all places.  There, the researchers sought to determine what, if any, symptoms are attributable to the eruption of primary teeth in children between five and fifteen months of age.  They observed 231 teeth erupt in the 53 children that they observed.  To my surprise, they discovered that Grandma was right, at least partly:  teething causes fever, diarrhea, irritability, sleeplessness, and a runny nose.  The researchers found that fever .17 degrees Celsius, irritability, diarrhea and sleeplessness were more frequent on the day of a tooth eruption as well as the following day.   They did not find in any of the children they studied, however, that high fever, severe pain, or any severe symptom was associated with the teething process.  Their findings confirm my opinions expressed in last year’s pedcast; it is nice to be right on occasion.

 

The next time you hear someone talking about teething causing severe symptoms of any sort, remember the facts that this study points out:  Grandma was right to believe that a variety of physical symptoms do seem to accompany teething, but she was not correct to attribute any severe behavioral or bodily changes to teething.  Now you know.

 

Until next time.

 

Ramos-Jorge et. al. :Pediatrics Volume 128, Number 3, September 2011

Adopt a Healthy Dental Diet for your Children (Pedcast)

Transcript:

DocSmo, your pedcast host: you  know, those practical, portable mp3s that help educate parents on a vast variety of parenting topics from conception to confirmation.  Let me remind you that by listening to this pedcast, you are agreeing to my terms and conditions posted on my website.  I am probably not your child’s doctor, so for specific advice with regards to your child, please consult the wonderful person you call your pediatrician.

 

Today’s topic is a big one…the number one chronic disease in children: dental decay.  Healthy gums and teeth important for long term health. Many experts now think that heart and blood vessel disease that lead to heart attacks and strokes may be caused by poor dental hygiene.  Even Alzheimer’s has been implicated in the dirty mouth paradigm.

 

When I was child, I used to get sugarcane stalk to chew on all day; dental visits were terrible.  I have memories of dinner table discussions between my parents about what causes cavities.  4 kids, and expensive dental visits got them thinking hard!  They didn’t know that sugars in the mouth cause most decay.  They were busy giving me 5 cents to go to Fred’s Fruit Stand to get sugarcane to chew on all day!  Isn’t that ironic.

 

We know what causes dental decay now: Strep Mutans- bacteria that ferments sugars into acids  which melt the enamel off your teeth.  Diet has a lot to do with this process: frequent exposure of teeth to sugars is a recipe for decay.  The longer sugars are in your child’s mouth, the worse the decay.  Some children are lucky and get really good enamel, but not most.

 

Word is out about stopping the bottle by 1 and no bottles in the bed; now we have sippy cups that do the same thing. ”But I dilute the juice doctor”, I can hear the parents say. Remember, bacteria don’t need a lot to eat; even very dilute sugar can get them going and destroy your child’s dental enamel in a flash.

 

While we are on the topic of nutrition, here are some easy things you can do to reduce dental decay in your children.

  • Make sure your children brush their teeth at least twice per day when they are old enough.
  •  Use flouride toothpaste when they are old enough to spit it out and not eat it.
  • In between meals, drinks should only be water.  No dilute juice, soda, tea, or anything with sugar in it including milk.
  • Snacks should not be sugary or sticky; sugary and sticky is the worst (Ex: candy, soda, sugar gum, gummies including vitamins).  Instead, give them dental healthy snacks- popcorn, nuts, cut up veggies or fruit.
  • If your child is old enough, chewing sugar free gum after meals and snacks is great for your teeth…pulls out plaque and bacteria from creavices
  • At Halloween when they have all that candy, let them have fun for a set period of time and then remove the candy.  Their slow enjoyment could be very expensive when the dental visit time comes around.

Sounds like little things, but following these guidelines could really improve your child’s health and save you a small fortune in dental bills.

 

I hope you learned a little something from that discussion of dental decay.  Fast, practical and portable are always my goal.  If you like what you hear, invite your friends to listen.  And make sure you subscribe on iTunes or at my website, www.DocSmo.com by simply hitting the RSS feed button and signing up; a free pediatrics degree is here for the taking.  Please feel free to send comments to my blog.  I will try to answer comments and post interesting thoughts.

 

This is Dr. Paul Smolen broadcasting from beautiful studio 1E, that’s first child’s bedroom, east side of the house, hoping that you don’t delay protecting your child from dental decay!

 

Until next time

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SmoNotes

1. oralhealth.pdf (application/pdf Object)
*By listening to this pedcast, you are agreeing to Doc Smo’s terms and conditions.

 

© All Right’s Reserved.

Little Teeth, Handle with Care (Pedcast)

Drinking is a big part of the infant/toddler experience. Knowing the dos and don’ts with regard to bottles and sippy cups is important for parents to know. Doc Smo lays out his views this important subject.

SmoNotes:

1.

Unlisted, Preventive Oral Health Intervention for Pediatricians. American Academy of Pediatrics, Dec. 2008. Web. July 2010 .

2.

Unlisted, Oral Health Risk Assessment Timing and Establishment of the Dental Home. American Academy of Pediatrics, May 2003. Web. July 2010 .

3.

Unlisted, Brushing up on Oral Health: Never to Early to Start. Healthy Living: American Academy of Pediatrics, 8 Feb. 2010. Web. Sep. 2010 .

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*By listening to this pedcast, you are agreeing to Doc Smo’s terms and conditions.

All Rights Reserved.