Blog

#1 Cause of Cavities during Quarantine

Since returning to our normal hours in June we have seen an increase in dental decay. The most obvious reason for this is SNACKING. With children being home more there has been an increase in the amount of screen time and increased exposure to the pantry.  Studies have linked screen time with low fruit and vegetable consumption and high intake of unhealthy snacks such as chips and sweets.

Saliva has a natural pH between 6-7. Every time we eat the pH in our mouth drops below 5.5 making our mouths very acidic. This will demineralize small amounts of tooth structure giving the cavity-causing bacteria an opportunity to thrive. In a healthy mouth roughly 20 minutes after eating/drinking the pH recovers and rises above the 5.5 threshold where cavities form allowing for your teeth to remineralize. When the system is in balance, the  natural pH of our mouth will prevent cavities from forming.

But as shown in the graph, constant snacking or “grazing” causes the pH in our mouth to become acidic for more periods of time, leading to more demineralization than remineralization and therefore allowing cavities to form.

Below are some tips to help:

  1. Drink plenty of water: Have water readily available to your child all day and don’t allow them to sip on any sugary drinks between meal
  2. Brush and Floss after Lunch. With your child being home for lunch make sure they add an extra session of brushing and flossing a day
  3. Avoid sugary or carbohydrate snacks between meals. Snacking often is not necessary and we understand that. Choose food such as yogurt, apples, nuts, or
  4. Give carbohydrate “snacks” with meals. Starches made from white flour are simple carbohydrates. They break down into simple sugars in the body which can lead to tooth decay. Instead of giving chips and goldfish as a snack give it with their lunch when saliva flow is at its highest.
  5. Make sure your child has their routine dental exam and cleaning. Please check our new office policies during COVID and as always feel free to call us at 215-860-9808 if you have any questions or concerns.

 

 

 

Dr. Ross Growing Smiles in Floral Vale Yardley PA

Dr. Ross Levine is a board certified pediatric dentist and has been honored by both

The Bucks County Courier Times and Philadelphia Magazine as a

Top Pediatric Dentist in Bucks County.

Tips for Teething

Teething sucks. There is no other way to put it. Teething in infants can start as early as 4 months old and can sometimes can last until the age of 3. Common symptoms of teething include irritability, flushed cheeks, heavy drooling, ear tugging, sleeplessness, and loss of appetite.

I currently have 8-month-old twins going through this fun process now. I understand it can be difficult to manage and unfortunately there is no way to bypass it completely.

At Growing Smiles in Floral Vale we strongly discourage the use of any over the counter topical anesthetics or teething gels as they can toxic to infants. We also discourage the use of any teething necklaces as they can be a choking hazard.

 

Teething does not cause serious health problems. Some parents have incorrectly blamed high fever, vomiting and diarrhea on teething, delaying proper medical attention. These are not symptoms of teething.

I have tried seemingly every teether toy imaginable for my kids, but the one that I find to be the most helpful to alleviate discomfort is the ARK Textured Grabber (I do not have any financial ties to this company – I just like their product). Here’s the link:

https://www.amazon.com/ARKs-Textured-Grabber-Tough-Motor/dp/B00NEZRS12/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=ark+teether&sr=8-4

Around the time babies start the teething process, they start to put everything in their mouths. It’s how babies learn about their surroundings, including their sense of taste. Also putting things in their mouths strengthens the muscles of the mouth in preparation for eating and speech. Using this Textured Grabber teething toy provides input to the gums to soothe new teeth that are erupting, and it provides a great opportunity for your infant to practice biting and chewing.

The best advice for when teething is interrupting your baby’s sleep patterns is to try to stick to the normal routine as much as possible. If your baby is used to a bath and story before bedtime, please continue. If he wakes up from discomfort during the night, comfort him as best you can with a gum massage, offer a cold teether, or even just a song in the rocking chair. When all else fails, the use of infant motrin (over the age of 6 months) or tylenol can help but please use sparingly. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at the office (215-860-9808)

We agree with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s guidelines that the first visit to the pediatric dentist should occur by the child’s first birthday. We look forward to seeing you!

 

 

Dr. Ross Growing Smiles in Floral Vale Yardley PA

Dr. Ross Levine is a board certified pediatric dentist and has been honored by both

The Bucks County Courier Times and Philadelphia Magazine as a

Top Pediatric Dentist in Bucks County.

 

5 Common Myths about Baby Teeth

Myth: Your child’s first visit to the dentist should be by their 3rd birthday

Fact: The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child’s first visit to the dentist should be by their 1st birthday. By the age of 3 about 10% of children have an oral health issue and by kindergarten an estimated 40% of children have had at least 1 cavity.

Myth: You shouldn’t use fluoride toothpaste until your child can spit

Fact: Toothbrushing with a a rice-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is recommended as soon as the first primary tooth erupts. Fluoride is both safe and highly effective in significantly reducing the the chances of decay

Myth: Flossing baby teeth isn’t necessary

Fact: Once the primary teeth touch it is imperative to floss. Over 60% of the tooth is missed by not flossing. Primary teeth are about 1/3 as thick as permanent teeth and cavities progress much more rapidly in children than adults.

Myth: Baby teeth aren’t important

Fact: Primary teeth are the place-holders for permanent teeth. If lost too early, the dental arch can constrict leading to excessive crowding and the need for extensive orthodontic treatment.

Myth: Its ok to let my kindergartener brush their teeth by themselves

Fact: We recommend that parents supervise their children brushing as long as possible. Until children can tie their shoes by themselves (8-9) they will lack the dexterity to brush alone.

Dr. Ross Growing Smiles in Floral Vale Yardley PA Dr. Ross Levine is a board certified pediatric dentist and has been honored by both The Bucks County Courier Times and Philadelphia Magazine as a Top Pediatric Dentist in Bucks County.

What is Oral Conscious Sedation

Pediatric Sedation Dentistry at Growing Smiles

At Growing Smiles in Floral Vale we specialize in a technique known as oral conscious sedation. Sedation is recommended for children requiring dental treatment who are young, nervous, have special needs, and/or require multiple dental visits. Unlike general anesthesia, children are still able to breathe on their own and respond to verbal commands. Often children fall asleep because they are relaxed. All of the dental work is completed in one visit, making the experience easier on the child (and parent!).

Conscious Sedation Dentists are Licensed and Experienced

Dr. Radin, Dr. Bari and myself are specifically trained to perform these procedures in our office and are licensed by the state. We have safely sedated thousands of children, allowing us to provide high quality dental treatment while preventing a trip to surgery center for general anesthesia.

Preparing for the Oral Sedation Medicine

What to expect: patients are asked to come to their appointment with no food or drink after midnight the night before their treatment. Having your child on an empty stomach allows for better uptake of the medication and minimizes their risk of vomiting. After reviewing your child’s medical history, your child is weighed and medication is dispensed by the doctor based on your child’s weight that day.

Oral Sedation Coupled with Laughing Gas

Typically it takes 1 hour for the medication to take effect and your child will become sleepy and tired. At this point you will be separated from your child and the doctor will be with your child throughout the procedure. During the procedure, ensuring the patient’s safety is of the utmost importance. While a patient is sedated, we often use nitrous oxide paired with oxygen to help keep the patient calm. During the sedation, their blood oxygen level, breathing rate, and heart rate are closely monitored.

After the sedation, children are typically groggy and tired . Due to longer-lasting effects such as dizziness, sleepiness, a child shouldn’t go back to school or daycare after their procedure.

That night your doctor will check-in to see how your child is doing, but if you have any questions or concerns you can always reach us at our office at 215-860-9808 and we have provided more information about our oral sedation dentistry on this page.

Sports Drinks are a Hidden Cause of Cavities

Tooth Decay From Sugar in Beverages

During the summer it’s important to stay hydrated, but sports drinks can be a hidden cause of your child’s cavities. In a single 12 oz Gatorade (the smallest they make) there is 21 grams of sugar. To put that in perspective the American Heart Association only recommends that children should consume less than 25 grams of added sugars daily and should limit their intake of sugar-sweetened drinks to only 8oz WEEKLY.

Sports Drinks Do Cause Cavities

Sports drinks not only contain added sugar to cause cavities, but they are extremely acidic. Most sports drinks have a pH below 5.5 which is the threshold to cause not only cavities but erosion of enamel. sports drinks cause cavitiesThis is magnified during physical activity, as children dehydrate easily preventing the necessary buffering capacity and slowing the saliva flow to prevent cavities.

When are sports drinks needed?

For children the best answer is never. I know this is not feasible with most children, as its hard not to watch any sporting event and not see Bryce Harper or Serena Williams drinking Gatorade. But studies have shown that water is sufficient enough to hydrate active children. If desperate; try food coloring and water as an alternative.

For teenagers the best way to stay hydrated is hydrate before they start their activity. I understand that sometimes water does not suffice, so at the very least if gatorade or a sports drink is consumed it should be done before their sporting event, before and should be followed by water.

Treatment of White and Brown Spots

ICON resin infiltration is a new treatment aimed to improve the appearance of white spots (decalcifications) or white/yellow/brown developmental spots on smooth tooth surfaces. Treatment is completed without no injection or drilling.

Causes of Brown Spots on Teeth

Decalcifactions may  be  caused by the accumulation of plaque which could lead  to a cavity. Patients in orthodontic treatment are at a higher risk for decalcification, and white spots may appear around the brackets.

Other causes of white or brown spots include, high fluoride intake as a child, childhood illness or trauma to primary teeth that in-turn can leave white spots on adult teeth.

Treating Spots on Teeth Without Drilling

Traditionally these white spots would be treated by with composite filling material or porcelain veneers as an adult, which requires the drilling away of tooth structure.  ICON is a non-drilling conservative technique that we can preserve your child’s tooth structure and and allow the white spot to blend with the surrounding tooth, restoring a beautiful smile.