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All Posts Tagged: Dental Care for Kids

Everything You Need to Know About Dental Sealants

Today we’re focusing on one the most important ways you can prevent cavities in your children’s teeth. Despite modern technology and the number of dental care products on the market, cavities are the most common chronic disease for children ages 6-19 according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

The good news is that cavities are almost completely preventable with the proper care.  While the first step is instilling healthy brushing and flossing habits early on, parents can also give their children an advantage by talking to your dentist about sealants. Let’s walk through everything you need to know about sealants and provide answer to some of the most common questions we receive.

What is a Sealant?

While flossing and brushing can help control plaque, our molar teeth have deep grooves that help us grind our food.  While this is great for enjoying our favorite foods, debris can get stuck in these areas making teeth vulnerable to decay and cavities.   Dental sealants are a coating that is applied to the surface or occlusal of the teeth to provide a barrier to protect teeth from food and future decay.

Do Sealants Really Make a Difference?

Yes, they do! According to recent research published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, sealants on permanent molars are shown to reduce the risk of cavities by 80%. Since kids don’t always brush as thoroughly as we would like them to, sealants are a great first line of defense to protect your children from cavities.

How are Sealants Applied?

Since most sealants are applied to children, the process is designed to be quick and painless.  To achieve the greatest benefit from sealants, they should be applied shortly after permanent teeth arrive. For most children, this occurs around age 6.  The dentist or hygienist begins by polishing each tooth to prepare it for the sealant application. Once it is free of any plaque or debris, they apply a liquid material that fills into the valleys of the tooth.  After a few minutes, the material has set and after final inspection, your child will be able to eat immediately after their appointment.

Glass Ionomer Sealants and their Benefits

There has been recent concern regarding the potential health impacts of Bis-Phenol A (BPA) found in resin sealants.  Research has shown that only trace amounts of BPA are found in resin sealants – including less than in the air we breathe.   The ADA’s infographic below illustrates exactly low the risk is.

Our practice uses glass ionomer sealants that do not contain Bis-Phenol A (BPA) or Bis-GMA.  The sealants are part of the GC America’s family of products that met strict ISO quality standards.  Additionally, GC America’s products have the CE mark in Europe, are registered with Health Canada, and have received FDA Pre-Market Notification clearance for sale in the United States under section 510(k) of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Glass ionomer sealants have several advantages including:

  • The ability to be placed on a partially erupted tooth for earlier protection than a resin sealant
  • Moisture-tolerant which allows for easy placement
  • High release of fluoride – which provides additional protection against decay
  • Quick setting – the glass ionomer sealants only take a few minutes to set making for a shorter appointment to get you and your child on your way

We hope this information answers any questions you had about sealants. If you have additional questions please don’t hesitate to contact us at (425) 354-3138 and we’d be happy to chat more about them!

Dr. Amanda McCauley, DDS

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Keep Your Family Happy and Healthy this Summer

Summertime is finally here! For many families that means school is out and kids are home on summer break.  While most parents prepare for summer activities with sunscreen, bug spray, and first aid kits, it’s important to consider your child’s dental health as well.  Below are some tips for keeping your kids’ smiles healthy this summer.

Keep up Good Oral Hygiene Amidst Schedule Changes 

With schedules changing from school days to time at the beach, pool, summer camp, and vacation, it can be easy to fall out of our usual dental care routines.  Encourage your children to keep up their healthy habits despite the shift in schedules.  It’s ok if that’s at 7:00 am before swim practice or at 9:30 pm after enjoying s’mores as long as they are brushing twice and flossing at least once per day!

You can also put our office goodie bags to good use by pulling together the travel size dental essentials (toothpaste, floss, toothbrush, mouthwash) and creating a portable travel bag for your children that can easily be transferred from their swim bag to overnight bag as needed.

On a long road trip without a brushing opportunity on the horizon?  Be sure to drink water instead of sugary drinks and sodas and try to rinse after eating to help remove any starches or acids from your teeth.

The Beginning of Summer is the Best Time to Schedule Your Child’s Check-up

According to a 2015 survey conducted by Delta Dental on U.S. students, more than 30 percent of parents said their children between the ages of 6 and 12 had to miss school due to an oral health problem.   Make life easier and schedule dental check-ups during summer vacation when you don’t have to coordinate with their academic calendar.

Many parents wait until August to schedule their children’s check-ups before the start of the school year, the beginning of the summer is actually the best time to get your kids scheduled.  By having Dr. McCauley clear your children of any issues before the start of summer, you can relax knowing you won’t have any dental surprises during a weekend camping trip or while you’re out of town.   If there are any issues to address, it’s easier to take care of them during the summer instead of when you’re getting organized for a new school year.

Prevent Dental Emergencies

We know summer means more time outside playing basketball, baseball, swimming, biking, and enjoying other outdoor sports.  While all these activities are part of the fun of summer, they can unfortunately result in a dental injury. Here’s some tips to prevent some common accidents.

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, many summer oral injuries are the result of a pool accident.  Your kids may roll their eyes at the pool rules of “no running on the deck” or “no excessive horseplay” but slippery decks and hard ledges present two opportunities to chip or knock a tooth loose.  Remind your children why the rules are in place and encourage them to play and swim safely.

Feel like you’ve spend your summer at the pool?  Don’t be surprised if you notice discoloration on your children’s teeth. Swimmers who spend more than six hours a week in chemically treated water may be at risk for developing stains on their teeth.  Pool water contains chemicals that give the water a higher pH than saliva.  As a result, salivary proteins break down quickly and form organic deposits on teeth. These hard, brown deposits, known as “swimmers’ calculus,” appear most frequently on the front teeth.  Parents should be aware but not alarmed; swimmers’ calculus can normally be removed by a professional dental cleaning.

Know how to React When Accidents Happen

Despite our best efforts, accidents happen!  It’s important to know what to do in case of a dental emergency to minimize your child’s pain, chance of infection, and increase their chances of a quick recovery.  If your child chips or loses a tooth, first clean the area with warm water and apply an ice pack to reduce the swelling.  Apply gauze to stop any bleeding, clean the tooth of any debris, check the orientation of the tooth, and try to replace a lost permanent tooth back in the mouth.  If that’s not an option, use saltwater or milk to keep it moist for the ride to the dentist.  It’s important to get to the dentist’s office as quickly as you can so they can assess the tooth and take immediate action.

I also recommends a dental emergency kit to take with you on your summer adventures.  It can be as simple as a bag that includes gauze, a small container with a lid, ibuprofen, and our office contact information (425) 354-3138 or [email protected]. Enjoy your summer and comment below to let us know about your summer travels!

Dr. Amanda McCauley, DDS

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Kids Toothpaste Basics

Even though those teeth are tiny, it’s important to begin dental care as soon as possible! The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends starting your child’s dental care as early as a few weeks after birth.  At this point you don’t need kids toothpaste but can clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. After their first baby teeth appear, switch to brushing twice daily with a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush.

Children under three years of age only need a small amount of toothpaste – think as small as a grain of rice. For children 3 to 6 years old, the amount should be increased to a pea-size dollop.  By dispensing the toothpaste, you’re preventing them from swallowing too much. Little ones don’t have the ability to brush their teeth effectively on their own so it’s important for parents to help out and encourage healthy habits your kids will continue for a lifetime.

Children’s toothpastes come in a variety of fun flavors and packaging but be sure to make sure the one you pick has fluoride and the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance.  Happy Brushing!

Dr. Amanda McCauley, DDS

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18323 98th Ave NE #2, Bothell, WA