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February Is Children’s Dental Health Month

NCDHM_youth_1200x900 (1)Dental professionals nationwide recognize February as National Children’s Dental Health month.  Dentists observe this month in particular to increase awareness and promote healthy dental habits. Although largely preventable, Dental Caries (tooth decay) continues to be the most prevalent chronic disease in both children and adults.  The ADA released a statement in March of 2015 stating: “While treating dental disease is critical, prevention is the ultimate answer.”

Below are a few steps parents can take to prevent tooth decay and ensure their children’s dental health.

Brush Twice A Day: The ADA recommends brushing 2 minutes 2 times per day and flossing one time per day.  It is especially important that parents supervise their children until they are of an age where they can do it properly and consistently. Toddlers especially, may resist the morning and evening dental hygiene routines, but don’t let that detour you. Thankfully, there videos, games, songs and now APPS to help make brushing time more fun.

Floss Once A Day: According to the AAPD, only 7% of children floss daily. This is in spite of the fact that flossing is one of the primary means of fighting tooth decay. Most cavities begin between the teeth, where a toothbrush simply cannot go. Flossing once a day, preferably before bed is key in fighting decay.

Avoid Sugar: Sugar feeds bacteria in your mouth and turns into acid that, when allowed to sit on the teeth for long periods, eats away at the surface of the teeth. This makes them more susceptible to cavities. Avoiding sweets and sugary drinks is one way to combat decay, but if you do allow a sweet treat, make sure to consume it in one sitting and not slowly throughout the day. If you are unable to brush right away, drinking water and even chewing sugar free gum with Xylitol will help wash away the acid from the teeth.

Eat Healthy Foods: Healthy foods are not just good for your body but also your teeth. Besides avoiding sweets, starchy foods are also ones to stay away from because those foods tend to stick to the teeth and turn into acid that decays the teeth. Dairy foods like cheese and yogurt contain calcium that helps keep your teeth strong.  Crunchy fruits and veggies like apples, carrots and celery are great healthier snacks. They are not only nutritious but also help wash away food that is stuck on the teeth.

Visit Your Family Dentist: Visiting your dentist twice a year is key to combating tooth decay. The thorough cleanings help remove plaque that regular brushing and flossing missed and the exams allow the dentist to check for any dental issues you may not have noticed.

Following these steps year round is key in fighting tooth decay and ensuring your families dental health. Allow this month of February to be a friendly reminder to review your family’s dental hygiene routines and eating habits. Make adjustments as needed and partner with your family dentist to protect your family’s smiles.

ALL SERVICES PRIVIDED BY MISSISSIPPI LICENSED GENERAL DENTISTS

Back To School Tips To Keep Your Student Smiling

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Back to school season can be an exciting time – a fresh start to a new school year. This is the perfect time to schedule your dental check up. As you check off your shopping lists for school supplies and clothes, make sure to add a visit to your family dentist and also a time to review your dental hygiene routine at home. This will not only help your student start his school year on a positive note, but can help ensure he stays on track all year long.

Benefits to starting the school year with a dental check-up

  • Allows your dentist to examine for decay/cavities, ensure proper growth and provide helpful tips to maintain a healthy smile all year long.
  • Decreases risk for additional dental issues requiring additional treatment. The American Dental Association says, “prevention and early detection can help avoid pain, trouble eating, difficulty speaking and school absences”.
  • Gives confidence to start the school year with a healthy and bright smile.

How to maintain a healthy smile throughout the school year

  • When shopping for new school supplies, include new dental hygiene supplies.
  • Brush and floss at least two (2) times a day. (For small children, make it fun by adding a favorite song or game to the routine)
  • Pack healthy snacks that help protect teeth against cavities (i.e. cheese, apples, carrots, celery)
  • Replace sugary drinks with good old fashion water
  • When participating in organized sports, make sure to use a properly fitting mouth guard
  • Schedule routine check-ups every six (6) months

Remember, in order to ensure a happy and healthy school year, we all must work together.  See you at your next visit.

All services provided by MS licensed general dentists.

MAXIMIZE YOUR DENTAL BENEFITS BEFORE DECEMBER 31ST!

dec-31-calendarDid you know unused dental coverage does not roll over into the New Year? Most insurance policies allow for a maximum dollar amount of coverage each year. If you do not use the entire amount allotted to you, you lose the unused portion.

There is still time to schedule an appointment with your family dentist to make sure you take advantage of any unused coverage for 2014. Whether you need an exam, cleaning or dental treatment, don’t let that coverage go to waste.

Other reasons to schedule an end of the year appointment with your dentist are:

  • Your deductible (out-of-pocket expense before health insurance starts to pay the bills) will reset at the start of the year. If you’ve already satisfied your deductible, now is the perfect time to get those last-minute treatments.
  • Funds in most Flexible Spending or Health Savings Accounts also forfeit at the end of the year. These are benefits you have paid for so make sure to use them!

Take care of any dental treatments now. Dental issues not only worsen but become more costly the longer they go untreated.

Let us help you maximize your insurance benefits and make sure you enter the New Year with a healthy smile.  Call us now to schedule an appointment!

ALL SERVICES PROVIDED BY MS LICENSED GENERAL DENTISTS

Why You Should Never Delay Dental Treatment

Did you know tooth decay is one of the most chronic diseases in the U.S. today? Proper oral hygiene plays a big role in helping fight this disease but it is equally important to schedule regular exams and cleanings with your family dentist. Following through with treatment recommended by your dentist is vital. Here is why:

Regular visits to your family dentist ensure that dental issues are detected and treated before becoming more severe. Prompt treatment is key in avoiding: 

  • Severe pain
  • Infections
  • Chronic tooth decay
  • Disfigurement
  • AND ultimately higher treatment costs

Over time, lack of proper oral care can affect other areas of the body.  Studies have linked poor oral health in adults to diseases such as:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  •  Lung Disease
  •  Cancer

How does this happen? Poor oral hygiene allows bacteria to build up on teeth, which can make the gums prone to infection.  Infection, left untreated, makes the rest of the body susceptible to disease.

According to the American Dental Association, tooth decay is the most chronic disease in children today, affecting 50% of children in the U.S.  Besides pain and discomfort, poor oral health can also affect children’s development in the following areas:

  • Development of primary teeth
  • Proper chewing and nutrition
  • Development of speech
  • Self-esteem and confidence
  • Attendance and performance in school

“The American Dental Association recommends that dental visits begin no later than a child’s first birthday to establish a “dental home.” Dentists can provide guidance to children and parents, deliver preventive oral health services, and diagnose and treat dental disease in its earliest stages. This ongoing dental care will help both children and adults maintain optimal oral health throughout their lifetimes.”  http://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/dentists-doctors-of-oral-health)


ALL SERVICES PROVIDED BY MS LICENSED GENERAL DENTISTS

Teeth-Friendly Halloween Ideas

Halloween child friendly treats with bananas and clementines made to look like pumpkins and ghostsThe Fall season is upon us and with that comes many favorites like cooler weather, colorful leaves, all things pumpkin and of course, Halloween! There’s no doubt that for most kids, collecting and eating as much candy as possible is the primary goal. For parents it can be a challenge to let the kiddos enjoy the season while keeping them healthy, especially their teeth. The good news is that healthy and fun alternatives abound.  Here are just a few:

The Trick Is Healthy Treats – Making healthy treats that look yummy and fun can help your family make better snacking choices. Try decorating healthy snacks in fun Halloween themes and make sure they are visible and accessible when it’s time for a treat.

Focus on Fall Fun – Fall activities are a great way to help take the focus off of sweets.  Pumpkin patches, costume parties and arts & crafts are some popular options. This is also a great time to get some physical activity while enjoying nature. Try going on a hike, bike ride or a simple walk.

Make It About Giving Not Just Getting – This is the perfect time of year to remind your family of the importance of giving to others in need. Find out what volunteer opportunities are available in your community and/or consider donating items, money or better yet, a generous portion of the Halloween candy that was collected.

Keep An Oral Health Routine – Dental professionals agree that teaching your children good oral hygiene habits early on will help them develop and maintain these habits as they get older. Take time this “sweet season” to teach your child about the effects of sugar on their teeth and the importance of fighting tooth decay with a daily oral hygiene routine.  Some easy dental tips to remember are:

  •  Limit sugar intake (hide sweet treats)
  • Avoid sticky candy that clings to the teeth and also hard candy
  • Allow a treat after a meal
  • Make sure they drink plenty of water
  • Brush and floss twice daily and after sweet treats
  • Schedule your next visit with your family dentist

Sweets may not be 100% avoidable, especially during this season.  However, combining healthy alternatives with a consistent oral health routine will certainly help keep your family’s smile happy and healthy.  Have a safe and happy Halloween!!

Happy Smiles Dentists are MS Licensed General Dentists.

Are you afraid of the Family Dentist?

unnamedWhether you have always been afraid of visiting the family dentist or if you have recently developed a fear of checkups, cleanings or
any other type of dental procedure, there are a few methods you can use to relax and rid yourself of stress and panic. Knowing how to cope with scheduling and attending a family dentist appointment will keep your mind at ease while also maintaining the ability to remain stress-free the entire time.

Compare Dental Atmospheres

When you feel comfortable and familiar in your dentist’s office, you are less likely to experience any form of fear, stress or anxiety when your appointment arrives. When choosing the dentist office that is right for you, be sure to review photos of the location’s interior or visit each office in person. Choose an office environment that suits you and makes you feel the most comfortable. You can also inquire about the process of the appointment and the procedure so you will know what is going to happen before you get to the appointment. If you are nervous about scheduling a dentist appointment or attending one you already have planned you should speak with the staff at your dentist’s office, as they encounter these types of situations often and know how to set you at ease.

Get Referrals and Read Reviews

Ask your friends and family members if they like their family dentist and if they would recommend their dentist to you. You may feel more comfortable visiting a dentist your loved ones have referred you to as this adds a certain level of trust.

You should also look into online reviews of various family dentist offices and visit their social media sites such as Facebook. Reading reviews of dental offices and specific dentists in the field is a way to gain additional insight into the type of atmospheres you have available near you. Reviewing dentists online prior to scheduling your own appointment is also a way for you to find a professional who specializes in bedside manner and working with those with dental fears.

Helping Children Cope With Going to the Dentist

One of the biggest factors in helping children who want to avoid going to the dentist is to reassure them yourself. Talk to them about their appointment before you go to reenforce the positive benefits of visiting the dentist. If you make visiting the dentist a positive and fun experience experience your child’s nerves will be calm and they will feel comfortable regardless of the purpose of their appointment.

Happy Smiles Dentists are MS Licensed General Dentists.

Preventing And Treating Tooth Grinding (Bruxism)

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Most people grind and clench their teeth from time to time. While occasional tooth grinding, or bruxism, is not usually harmful, regular tooth grinding is associated with oral health complications such as damaged teeth or even tooth loss.

The biggest problem that arises from bruxism is its wear and tear on the teeth.

Complications Associated with Bruxism

Continuous tooth grinding can cause the tooth enamel to wear away, which may result in sensitivity and decay. Prolonged grinding also damages the joints and muscles of the jaw. If left untreated, grinding may result in osteoarthritis or bone loss.

In addition to this, prolonged bruxism is associated with hearing loss, TMJ and can even change the shape and appearance of your face. Chronic grinding will wear down the teeth and may require the use of crowns, bridges, dental implants, partial or even full dentures. Your family dentist can aid you in addressing the damage that results from chronic tooth grinding.

Treatment for Bruxism

If you find that you grind or clench your teeth, your family dentist can fit you with a mouth guard or a mouth splint to prevent further damage. This will aid in evening out the pressure in your mouth to prevent further damage to the joints and muscles in the jaw, as well as create a barrier between the upper and lower teeth. Generally only worn at night, mouth guards or splints are a means of controlling bruxism, not a cure for the condition.

Teeth grinding may be a result of stress or anxiety. Implementing stress management techniques can be helpful and if needed, a professional can help deal with the stressors that are at the root of the problem.

Bruxism in Children

While most patients who grind their teeth are between the ages of 20 and 40, it is not uncommon for children to grind their teeth. Your child’s dentist will look for indicators of bruxism, such as worn teeth or an uneven bite, during regular check-ups.

Addressing bruxism in children is an important aspect of early dental care. As the American Dental Association states, “Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.”[1]

While the cause of bruxism in a toddler is unclear, many family dentists believe that stress or pain associated with earaches and teething may be to blame. A toddler may also grind their teeth as a result of breathing problems. Children who are getting their permanent teeth may also go through a period of teeth grinding. In such cases, your dentist can direct you toward the best course of action.

[1]http://www.ada.org/en/public-programs/national-childrens-dental-health-month

 

Happy Smiles Dentists are MS Licensed General Dentists

Summertime Snacks That Brighten Your Smile

It’s officially summer – the perfect time to help your teeth shine their very brightest. Healthy, bright teeth give you a confident smile that lights up your entire face. Practicing good oral hygiene is most important for healthy teeth, but did you know there are some basic summer time snacks that are not only healthy but can also help naturally whiten your teeth?

Here are 5 yummy summer snacks that will do the trick:

Pineapples contain the enzyme, Bromelain, which helps remove bacteria from your teeth and acts as a natural stain remover.

Strawberries contain Malic Acid, which acts as a natural whitener removing discoloration on the surface of your teeth.

Apples, carrots and celery are perfect crunchy snacks that increase saliva production, removing stain causing debris and acids that lead to decay.

Yogurt and cheese not only contain calcium that promotes strong teeth and bones, but also Lactic Acid which helps clean teeth.

Water helps rinse away acid and stain causing residue from food and beverages such as tea, coffee and wine.

Brushing and flossing twice a day and regularly visiting your family dentist help maintain your bright smile while preventing cavities and gum disease.  The American Dental Association recommends a check-up every six months.  Make an appointment today and our dentists will help determine a plan to help you achieve the beautiful smile you deserve.

Happy Smiles Dentists are MS Licensed General Dentists.

Health Problems Tied to Gum Disease

There are many oral problems that can complicate an individual’s day to day life, but gum disease in particular can be very difficult to tackle. Besides the fact that gum disease can be very painful, there are more health problems that can result from it.

Gum Disease-A Brief Overview

Gum disease is a potentially debilitating condition that starts with the build-up of plaque and bacteria around the sufferer’s gum line. If it is not treated during its early stages, gum disease can cause “pockets” to start developing between the sufferer’s gums and teeth. Once this happens, plaque and bacteria can enter the bloodstream. Once the bacteria and plaque make their way into the bloodstream, they can move throughout the body until they finally reach the heart, thereby contributing to the formation of blood clots. Here are some other health problems tied to gum disease:

1. Heart Disease

Although evidence is not conclusive, many researchers and experts agree that there may be a connection between poor dental health that leads to gum disease and the onset of heart disease. Heart disease results from the progression of plaque build-up in the arteries, which constitutes a process of inflammation. Similarly, during the early stages of gum disease, the gums grow inflamed as bacteria takes over the mouth. (This process is referred to as gingivitis).

2. Pancreatic Cancer

Many researchers believe that there is a connection between gum disease and the onset of pancreatic cancer. Poor gum health can precipitate chronic inflammation which can subsequently promote cancer cell growth. In a study on the issue, it was found that people who had pancreatic cancer were twice as likely to have higher levels of antibodies for P. Gingivitis (the bacterium integral to gum disease).

Other potentially debilitating health conditions that are tied to gum disease include Alzheimer’s, stroke, pneumonia, and diabetes.

Preventive Care

To ensure that you are not susceptible to gum disease and the various health problems it can cause make sure you are aware of the preventive care options available to you. One of the most effective ways to prevent the onset of gum disease is to make regular visits to your family dentist. He or she can provide you with regular, professional teeth cleanings that prevent the build-up of potentially dangerous plaque and bacteria. Additionally, your dentist can provide information and instructions on how to practice excellent dental care at home.

Conclusion

While the list of health conditions tied to gum disease is alarming, practicing preventive care can help avoid gum disease and the potentially problematic conditions it can lead to. If you believe that you or a loved one has gum disease, be sure to consult with a trained medical professional.

Happy Smiles dentists are MS Licensed General Dentists

 

 

 

 

 

Dental Sedation

Dentists work hard to make sure every patient has a pleasant experience during their visit.  A bad experience at an early age can lead to a lifetime of fear and delayed dental care.  Typically younger patients only need reassurance and encouragement for routine examinations and simple treatments.  However, occasionally they may need a more complicated procedure.  In order to keep them comfortable and quiet to ensure their safety during the procedure, your dentist may recommend sedation.

There are several sedation methods that have been shown to be safe. Depending on the procedure and the age of the patient, your dentist will recommend the appropriate approach.

Oral sedation is a syrup or pill that you swallow that will make you sleepy, allowing the dentist to perform the necessary treatment. Once you arrive for your appointment, the dentist or a licensed staff member will administer the medication, which starts to work in about 20 minutes.  You should not have anything to eat or drink after midnight the night before receiving oral sedation and you will need to limit activities for a while once you return home.e age of the patient, your dentist will recommend the appropriate approach.

The most frequently used method of sedation for kids is nitrous oxide or laughing gas. Your family dentist will place a mask over your child’s nose; many dentists have fun masks like a “space mask” or “clown nose” to help your child feel comfortable with the device. The nitrous oxide is often scented like candy or fruit and is mixed with oxygen. When your child breathes the gas, he or she will feel happy, “tingly” and relaxed during the procedure. Once the procedure is over, your dentist will give your child pure oxygen to breathe for a few minutes to get all the traces of gas out of his or her system.

In some situations, your dentist may recommend IV sedation, which involves inserting a needle into the vein. This produces a deeper level of sedation. You will get special instructions to prepare for the procedure and for care at home.  IV Sedation is only provided under the guidance of a licensed Anesthesiologist.

Sedation is a useful tool for certain dental procedures. Your family dentist will discuss methods with you to keep you comfortable and safe should you require a complex treatment.

Happy Smiles dentists are MS Licensed General Dentists.