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Pediatric Dentist 35124 | Holiday Treats and Your Teeth

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Between Halloween and Christmas, there are numerous tasty treats and foods to enjoy. For many people, food is the highlight of the holiday season. However, certain foods and candies are particularly damaging to your teeth. If you want to keep your smile looking healthy into the new year, here are some tips.

Candy Canes

Candy canes make for a tasty treat, but they are best left as decorations instead. Candy canes contain large amounts of sugar which can contribute to tooth decay. Also, if you bite into a candy cane you could chip a tooth. Our team suggests hard candies might be something for you to avoid this holiday season.

Gumdrops & Chewy Candies

If you are still working through your Halloween stash of candy, it might be a good idea to avoid chewy candies like gumdrops. These candies are known for sticking to your teeth. Excessive chewing can also lead to TMJ pain for some. We recommend leaving the Dots and Jujubes for decorating your gingerbread house instead.

Hot Chocolate

Warming up with a mug of hot chocolate makes a gloomy winter afternoon much more enjoyable. But hot chocolate is not particularly friendly to your teeth. Like coffee, the beverage can cause staining. Hot chocolate also contains excessive amounts of sugar, especially if you add marshmallows, which can contribute to tooth decay. If you insist on drinking hot chocolate, consider drinking water shortly afterwards to wash away some of the cocoa. We suggest brushing your teeth after drinking beverages such as coffee or hot chocolate.

Fruitcake

Another common holiday food to avoid this time of year is fruitcake. The sticky, sugary cake can lead to tooth decay. If you are someone who has had some dental work done in the past, such as crowns and fillings, fruitcake is your enemy.

Eggnog

You might want to consider a drink other than eggnog. Like most other foods on this list, the sugar content is something to avoid. The alcohol in it can lead to dry mouth, which is a particularly ideal breeding ground for bacteria.

We are all going to indulge this holiday season. Schedule a visit to our office after the holidays for a thorough cleaning and examination.

The holidays offer much in terms of tasty foods and sweet treats. But just because you might have some time off from work doesn’t mean you should take time off from your daily oral hygiene routine. Continue good practices such as flossing and brushing twice-daily. Avoid sweet, sugary treats, and if you have crowns or fillings, avoid things that might loosen them. Following these simple steps will keep your smile looking bright well past the holiday season.

For more tips on keeping your teeth healthy, or to schedule a visit, contact our office.

6496 Quail Run Drive
Pelham, AL 35124

Phone: (205) 739-7773

Pediatric Dentist in Pelham | How Candy Threatens Your Child’s Teeth

Pelham Pediatric Dentist

How often does your child eat candy? According to a study conducted by the USDA Economic Research Service, children under 12 consume an average of 49 pounds of sugar in one year. While candy is not the sole source of sugar in a child’s diet, the impacts of sugary candy treats are particularly harmful to teeth. Here’s what you need to know about candy and how it might be damaging your child’s smile.

The Impact of Sugar on Teeth
The real culprit in candy is the high sugar content. Certain types of bacteria that are present in your mouth can feed on sugar. These destructive bacteria then create acid that wears away tooth enamel. When enamel is weakened, your risk of developing decay increases. Your mouth is effective at neutralizing acids and aiding minerals that strengthen enamel if the amount of sugars and acids is not excessive. Your mouth can only do so much, which makes it essential to limit your sugar intake and maintain a regular and thorough oral hygiene routine.

Watch Out for Sticky, Sugary Candies
Not all candies are made equal. For a general rule of thumb, the sticker the candy, the worse it is for your teeth. Sticky candies leave sugary residue on your teeth long after you are done eating. This gives the bacteria in your mouth more time to start demineralizing enamel. Watch out for sticky candies like gum drops and taffy.

Suckers, lollipops, and hard sucking candies are troublesome because they are in your mouth for an extended period of time. Like sticky candies, this allows for more time for harmful bacteria to get to work by weakening your teeth. You can also chip or crack a tooth if you bite too hard.

Other problematic candies include those that are gummy and coated in sugar. Think of gummy worms or another sour covered, chewy critter. Not only are they high in sugar content, but they also typically contain harmful acids that contribute to a loss of enamel.

Steps for Preventing Decay
You can help your child by limiting their candy and sugar intake. In some instances, this can be tricky and even out of your control when your child is at school or a friend’s house. What you can do is instill good oral hygiene habits in your child. Make sure they are brushing for two minutes twice each day. You can make brushing fun. Sing a song together for the two minutes, and allow them to choose a fun toothbrush and toothpaste flavor.

Candy is a fun treat. You don’t have to take it away from your child altogether, but limit their exposure to such treats and educate them about the impacts candy can have on their teeth. When left untreated, decay can spread leading to pain and infection. Maintaining a schedule of regular visits to our office is essential. More than just a cleaning, we will provide a thorough examination to check for decay.

If you haven’t already scheduled your child’s next appointment, please contact our office.

6496 Quail Run Drive
Pelham, AL 35124

Phone: (205) 739-7773

Pelham Pediatric Dentist | Healthy Transitions: Trading Bottles for Cups

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Children sitting together with parents and laughing

Helping your child switch from bottles to cups can be challenging. Babies may become emotionally attached to their bottles as a source of comfort as well as nutrition.

However, bottles can also become dangerous to your child’s teeth over time. Continuing to use a bottle too long can cause your child’s palate to narrow. This can lead to an increased need for orthodontic treatment as they grow.

Bottles also expose a baby’s teeth to liquids over an extended period of time. Liquids such as milk, formula, and juice contain sugars that can increase the risk of tooth decay. To help protect your child’s teeth, you should encourage your child to start drinking from a cup by their first birthday.

It is important to consider your choice of training cup. There are many and varied options of child training cups available. Here are some things to consider when selecting cups for your child.

Keep the goal in mind when choosing a style of training cup for your child.

Cups advertised as “no spill” often contain a special valve beneath the spout. This valve does protect against easy spilling, but also prevents sipping. Instead, these cups require your child to suck on the spout, essentially replacing one type of bottle with another. This can slow your child’s training on cup usage. In some cases, these valves may even require a high level of suction, making them frustrating to use.

Look for a cup with a simple spout rather than a “no spill” spout.

These cups are easy for your child to use and help them learn to sip. Cups with handles can be easier for small hands to learn to hold. If spills are a concern, look for a cup with a weighted base that can help it self-right.

Remember that transitions occur in stages.

Phase out the bottle in favor of the cup, don’t try to change all at once. Once your child can use the cup, limit the bottle to water. This can help make the bottle less desired. Provide the bottle less often over time to allow your child time to adjust. Once your child has mastered training cups, start offering a small plastic cup without a lid. When they can use this new cup, phase out the training cup.

For more information about bottle to cup transitions or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.

6496 Quail Run Drive
Pelham, AL 35124

Phone: (205) 739-7773

Pediatric Dentist in 35124 | Say Cheese!

Pediatric Dentist in Pelham

It has long been known that dairy products contain high amounts of calcium, which is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. However, not all dairy works in the same ways. Did you know that a recent study has found that cheese can actually help protect teeth against cavities?

How does cheese prevent cavities?

Eating cheese helps stimulate the production of saliva in your child’s mouth, which washes away sugars, acids, and bacteria on their teeth. Additionally, cheese is a great source of both calcium and phosphorous, which can help strengthen tooth enamel. What’s more, the scientists who performed the study found that some of the other compounds found in cheese seem to adhere to tooth enamel, further protecting the teeth from acids in the mouth.

Are all cheeses the same?

No, some cheeses are healthier for your family than others. To get the greatest benefit from your child’s cheese intake, stick with real cheese varieties, rather than processed cheeses. American cheese, cheese dips, and pre-packaged cheese products, such as those found in jars or spray cans, have added sugars to enhance their flavor. These sugars can be harmful to teeth, rather than protecting them. In addition, these types of cheese products contain a significantly reduced amount of actual cheese content. These processed cheeses can even wear down tooth enamel, increasing risk of decay.

What kinds of cheese should I give my child?

There are hundreds of types of real cheese available, which are packed with calcium and great for tooth protection. If your child enjoys aged cheeses, Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey jack are all tasty options. If he or she prefers softer cheeses, Mozzarella, Brie, or Camembert may be a great way to make your child smile. Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and other similar cheeses have much to offer for a child with a more expansive palate.

What if we’re on a low-fat diet?

Good news! The fat content of your cheese choices do not affect its ability to protect your child’s teeth. The low-fat or non-fat versions of your child’s favorite varieties of cheese contain just as much calcium, phosphorous, and other tooth-protecting compounds as the full-fat varieties.

With so many great options to choose from, consider offering your child cheese instead of sugary or starchy options for a snack or end of meal treat. Cheese tastes great and is healthy for your child and their teeth. For more ideas for healthy snacking, contact our pediatric dental office.

6496 Quail Run Drive
Pelham, AL 35124

Phone: (205) 739-7773

Pediatric Dentist in Pelham | To Floss or Not to Floss

Pelham Pediatric Dentist

By now, you have likely seen news reports questioning whether flossing is necessary for your oral health.

We want to answer your question right away with an absolute YES. Cleaning between your teeth is an essential part of caring for your teeth and gums.

Whether you use traditional string dental floss, a water flosser, an interdental (between teeth) brush, or other form of interdental cleaning, it is important that you clean between your teeth correctly and on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, in the quest for catchy headlines, many news agencies have been providing a great deal of incomplete and inaccurate information.

Here’s the truth: Plaque and bacteria can be prevented from building up between teeth when flossing is done correctly on a daily basis.

Why does that matter? Build-up of plaque and bacteria between teeth is one of the leading causes of periodontal disease, a condition which not only affects your mouth, teeth, and gums, but has been linked to complications with diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other systemic health issues.

The next time you visit our office, ask your hygienist to show you the most effective way to clean between your teeth. For more information on flossing and interdental cleaning or to schedule an appointment, contact us.

6496 Quail Run Drive
Pelham, AL 35124

Phone: (205) 739-7773

Pelham Pediatric Dentist | Getting a Healthy Start with Children’s Dentistry

Pediatric Dentist Near Me

Our convenient local dental office is featuring children’s dentistry services for families in our community. The American Dental Association recommends that all patients follow a routine of dental examinations at least every six months, or as directed by their dentist. This is particularly important for growing children.

Regular professional dental cleanings are essential for a healthy mouth. During your child’s appointment, we will screen your child’s mouth for tooth decay and gum disease. During your child’s dental cleaning, any buildup of plaque or tartar will be gently removed.

We may recommend a topical fluoride application for your child’s teeth as part of their preventive treatment. Topical fluoride is used to strengthen enamel and make teeth more resistant to tooth decay.

Sealants are also highly effective in preventing tooth decay and cavities on your child’s molars and premolars. These areas are the most susceptible to cavities due to the anatomized grooves. Typically, children should get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. These sealants can protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14.

The process of applying sealants is quick and easy. The application steps include:

  • Your child’s teeth are thoroughly cleaned
  • The teeth are dried
  • A liquid solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth
  • The solution is cured using a special curing light

Sealants act as a barrier to protect the enamel from plaque and acids. They may last for several years before reapplication is needed. So long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay.

However, sealants are not a substitute for brushing your teeth. It is important to have your child maintain proper oral hygiene and continue to follow up with professional dental cleanings as recommended by our dental team. In addition, sealants do not protect between the teeth, so it is essential that your child continues to floss daily.

Without proper dental care, children are susceptible to oral decay. Healthy smiles should not stop at our dental office. Our caring team will educate both you and your child on how to make healthy food choices and how to properly brush and floss at home.

Our doctor and team have the experience and qualifications to care for your child’s teeth, gums and mouth throughout various stages of childhood. For more information or to request an appointment, contact our office.

6496 Quail Run Drive
Pelham, AL 35124

Phone: (205) 739-7773

35124 Pediatric Dentist | What to Expect at Your Child’s Dental Appointment

Pediatric Dentist Near Me

The American Dental Association recommends all patients to schedule routine six-month check-up exams. This is particularly important for growing children.

At your visit, we will screen your child’s mouth for tooth decay and gum disease. Regular professional dental cleanings are essential for a healthy mouth. During your child’s dental cleaning, we will gently remove any buildup of plaque or tartar to help prevent tooth decay.

During this visit, our team will spend time discussing proper brushing technique and oral hygiene with your child. Depending on your child’s age, we may also teach them about the correct use of floss and mouthwash. Our team members are friendly, patient, and great with kids, and will answer every question.

We may recommend fluoride be applied to the teeth as part of your child’s treatment. Topical fluoride is used to strengthen enamel and make teeth more resistant to tooth decay.

Sealants are highly effective in preventing tooth decay and cavities on your molars and premolars. These areas are the most susceptible to cavities due to the anatomized grooves.

Typically, children get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. These sealants can protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14. However, adults without decay or fillings in their molars can also benefit from sealants.

The process of applying sealants is easy and fast. The application steps are as follows:

  • Your child’s teeth are thoroughly cleaned
  • The teeth are dried
  • A liquid solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth
  • The solution is cured using a special curing light

Sealants act as a barrier and protect the enamel from plaque and acids. They may last for several years before a reapplication is needed. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay.

Sealants are not a substitute for brushing your teeth. It is important to maintain proper oral hygiene and keep up with professional dental cleanings. Also, sealants do not protect between the teeth, so it is essential to continue to floss daily.

Without proper dental care, children are susceptible to oral decay. Healthy smiles should not stop at our dental office. Our experienced and caring team will educate you and your child on how to make good food choices and how to properly brush and floss at home.

Our expert dentist and knowledgeable team have the experience and qualifications to care for your child’s teeth, gums and mouth throughout various stages of childhood. For more information or to request an appointment, contact our office today.

6496 Quail Run Drive
Pelham, AL 35124

Phone: (205) 739-7773

Kids Dentist Pelham | Can You Inherit Oral Health Issues?

dentist pelham pediatricPediatric Dentist Near Me

Most serious oral health issues can be prevented by maintaining an effective routine of dental hygiene and in-office care. However, you could be at higher risk for some oral illnesses due to hereditary factors. Awareness and proper treatment can help minimize these risks. Here are a few of the most common oral health concerns that are affected by genetics.

Tooth decay – One of the most common oral issues, some tooth decay has been linked to a genetic deficiency of a protein called DEFB1. If your parents experienced an unusually high rate of tooth decay, then you may want to be more vigilant regarding your own dental care.

Oral cancer – Certain genetic factors can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Our doctor recommends annual oral cancer screening for early identification and treatment. In addition, certain lifestyle choices, such as quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption, can help reduce your risk of oral cancer.

Periodontal disease – Recent research has found that some forms of gum disease may be linked to mutations in genes that affect immunity and inflammatory response.

Misaligned or supernumerary (extra) teeth – Genetics can play a role in having misaligned or even extra teeth. The size of your jaw is determined mostly through heredity, and is the most common reason for an overbite, underbite, or dental crowding.

Canker sores – In most cases, canker sores are an isolated reaction to fatigue, stress, or menstrual cycles. However, there are certain inherited diseases that count canker sores among their symptoms. Crohn’s disease and Celiac sprue are two such conditions.

While you may not be able to avoid hereditary oral health issues entirely, we can help minimize or even reverse their effects with proper treatment and care. If you suffer from any of these inherited conditions, contact our office for an oral health evaluation. We can help.

Indian Springs Pediatric Dentistry
6496 Quail Run Drive, Pelham, AL 35124
(205) 739-7773

Pediatric Dentist in Pelham | Can Teething Affect More Than My Child’s Mouth

Pediatric Dentist Pelham

It is a common belief that teething causes secondary symptoms such as a runny nose, irritability, high fever, or problems with sleeping. However, studies have shown that these types of concerns are caused by health issues unrelated to teething. Here are some of the things to expect during teething, and some that are often attributed to teething, but are better discussed with your child’s doctor.

A Teething Breakdown

Teething generally begins around 6-12 months of age, and can 24 months or more to complete. Each tooth eruption lasts about a week – 4 days before the tooth breaks through, followed by 3 days of healing. During these episodes, it is common to see some minor symptoms. Your child may experience a low-grade fever (around 99.0°F), excessive drooling, chewing obsession, gum irritation and discomfort, and/or a slight facial rash during tooth eruption. These symptoms are all normal and should pass within a few days.

What Teething Doesn’t Cause

While teething may cause the mild reactions listed above, more serious symptoms like those below, are not related to teething:

  •         Runny Nose
  •         High Fever
  •         Vomiting
  •         Digestive issues (Diarrhea, cramping)
  •         Coughing

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms for an extended time, consult your child’s doctor.

Your child should have a dental visit within the first 6 months of tooth eruption. It is important to have examinations done early, so you can start them on a path of life-long oral health. If your child is teething, our team is more than happy to help. Contact our office to schedule an appointment.

6496 Quail Run Drive
Pelham, AL 35124

Phone: (205) 739-7773

Pelham Pediatric Dentist | Periodontal Disease in Children

Pediatric Dentist Pelham

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection in the gums that can impact the teeth and jawbone if left unchecked. About half of all children suffer from periodontal disease. Fortunately, if identified and treated early, its effects can be managed and even reversed to allow your child to return to optimal oral health through adolescence and beyond.

There are several factors that can lead to the onset of periodontal disease in children. Poor oral hygiene and untreated plaque are the most common, but diet, diabetes, hormonal changes, and even genetic predisposition can increase your child’s risk.

Your child should be screened for periodontal disease if their gums are:

  • Sore
  • Swollen
  • Red
  • Bleeding from brushing and/or flossing

If left unchecked, periodontal disease can cause your child’s gums to pull away from the teeth, affecting the structure of the bone beneath and potentially impacting their jaw alignment and bite. Over time, bone and tooth loss can occur.

Periodontal disease is preventable and highly treatable. Regular cleaning and exam appointments will help keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy. Teach your child about the importance of daily oral hygiene. If periodontal disease has begun, our doctor can help. Contact our office for your child’s periodontal screening today.

6496 Quail Run Drive
Pelham, AL 35124

Phone: (205) 739-7773