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Expecting Moms

Congratulations! If you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, your oral health is very important to you and your baby. Research shows the bacteria that can cause cavities and gum disease in a mother’s mouth can easily be passed to her child. Unhealthy gums and teeth have also shown negative affects in unborn children. Healthy smiles for your baby begin during pregnancy. So we encourage moms to take advantage of our free consult at Lake Cities Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics to discuss steps you can take during your pregnancy to promote good oral health for mom and baby. 

Every expectant mother should know how her dental health can affect the well-being of the unborn baby. Following are some information and guidelines to help you maintain good oral health during your pregnancy

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT IN MY ORAL HEALTH WHEN I’M PREGNANT?
Now that you’re pregnant, you must take great care of your teeth and gums, not only for the sake of your own health, but for the health of your baby. You may experience significant changes, including changes in your oral health, during pregnancy. 

For example, “pregnancy gingivitis” is a condition that’s caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy that cause a greater reaction to dental plaque, and this can result in an increased amount of swelling, bleeding, and/or redness of the gums. The condition commonly occurs in the second or third month of pregnancy and can become more severe up through the eighth month. 

This condition has not previously been cause for serious medical concern due to the belief that the gum disease would subside following baby’s delivery. Now, however, research suggesting a link between gum disease in pregnant women and premature low birth weight babies is a reason for pregnant women to pay more attention to their prenatal oral health

HOW CAN GUM DISEASE AFFECT MY BABY?
New evidence suggests a link between gum disease in pregnant women and premature low birth weight babies. Conducted by researchers at the UNC School of Dentistry, a recent study indicates that as many as 45,500 premature births every year may be linked to gum disease. That’s 19% of the 250,000 premature babies born each year, more than is attributed to smoking and alcohol use combined.

WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH SHOW ABOUT A MOM’S ORAL HEALTH AND A BABY’S BIRTH WEIGHT?
The bacteria P. gingivalis is known to be the primary cause of gum infection. This organism can travel via your blood stream to sites far from the mouth, even to the uterus, carrying substances that can trigger the production of chemicals called “prostaglandins” in the productive tract. These prostaglandins are suspected to induce premature labor, and can result in babies having a low birth weight.

WHAT CAN I DO TO AVOID THIS CONDITION DURING PREGNANCY?
Since your oral health has implications that directly affect your pregnancy, it’s extremely important to pay close attention to the signs of gum disease that may be developing during your pregnancy.

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Mouth During Pregnancy:

  • Brush for two minutes, twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss every day. 
  • Eat healthy foods and follow your physician’s advice about diet. 
  • When you need a snack, choose foods that are low in sugar and nutritious, such as raw fruits and vegetables, yogurt, or cheese. 
  • Visit your dentist. For most women, routine dental visits are safe during pregnancy. 
  • Tell your dentist that you are pregnant, about any changes you have noticed in your dental health and about any medications you are taking. 
  • Your dentist may recommend using a mouth rinse to help control plaque, a sticky substance on your teeth that contains bacteria and can cause gum disease. 
  • If you are vomiting frequently, try rinsing your mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water instead of brushing your teeth directly after vomiting. When stomach acids repeatedly come into contact with teeth, it can cause tooth enamel to wear away. 
  • Drink plenty of water that contains fluoride.

Dental professionals recommend having more frequent dental cleanings while pregnant, and it’s also vital to maintain a proper daily oral care routine, including regular brushing and flossing. If tenderness, bleeding, or gum swelling occur at any time during your pregnancy, come visit our team immediately. 

If you have any questions or concerns about your oral health during pregnancy, please feel free to contact us at (940) 353-5437. We look forward to serving you.

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New Parents & Parents of Newborns and Infants

Thank you so much for being rockstar superheroes! Being a new parent is a great gift and an amazing responsibility. As a parent, you’re probably searching for the best ways to raise happy and healthy kids. One great way to enhance your child’s overall health is by paying attention to their oral health at an early age. Here are some guidelines and tips for new parents & parents of newborns and infants on how they can care for their child’s smile.

Tethered oral tissues: Signs, symptoms, and assessments
Since your oral health has implications that directly affect your pregnancy, it’s extremely important to pay close attention to the signs of gum disease that may be developing during your pregnancy.

As Denton County’s Premier Pediatric Dental Home, it is our duty, obligation, and responsibility to help first-time parents and veteran parents understand the importance of their own oral health throughout pregnancy and the oral health of their little ones. 

At Lake Cities Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we make it our priority to give parents the tools and resources to help to maintain the oral cavity of their children, especially newborns and toddlers. At Lake Cities Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we go the extra mile and ask new parents and parents of newborns how the baby is really doing. Are feedings going well, is the baby sleeping throughout the night or waking up every few hours, and lastly, does the baby seem happy and comfortable? We truly care how mothers and fathers are really doing, and asking these questions open the door for early detection of commonly misdiagnosed congenital oral anomalies. 

Oftentimes, these anomalies (most often tongue ties and/or lip ties) produce symptoms that are misdiagnosed as acid reflux, colic, and even failure to thrive—all of which have treatments that will not help with the true condition itself. Babies who have one or more of these oral anomalies show symptoms of poor, difficult latch or popping off frequently when breastfeeding; gumming or chewing while nursing; gasping for air or clicking or wheezy sounds while nursing; and excessive drooling. This leads to excessive air swallowing during feedings, causing hiccups and gassiness, which can in turn cause colic and reflux issues

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Examples of an infant lip tie with slight lip callus formation, heart-shaped tongue tip due to tight ankyloglossia, and minimal vertical lift 

It’s Never Too Soon to Start Caring for Your Baby’s ORAL Health
Many people think that oral care begins when the first tooth emerges. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that parents begin cleaning their baby’s mouth from day one. 

A baby’s 20 primary (baby) teeth are already present in the jaw at birth and usually begin coming through the gums around 4 to 6 months of age. Most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are 3 years old. Tooth decay is the most frequent childhood disease, but it’s also very preventable. The most common cause of tooth decay in young children is frequent, prolonged exposure of the teeth to sugary drinks

Here are some tips to avoid tooth decay:
Put only plain water, formula, milk or breast milk in bottles. Avoid filling bottles with liquids such as sweetened water, fruit juice or soft drinks. 
Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle. Breast milk and formula can still cause tooth decay. 
Use clean pacifiers — don’t dip them in sugar or honey. 
Try not to share saliva with the baby by using the same spoon or licking a pacifier to clean it. Tooth decay can begin with cavity-causing bacteria being passed from the parent to the baby. 
Keep your baby’s gums and teeth clean.

Parents can use an infant toothbrush or a soft cloth soaked in cool, clean water to clean their baby’s gums after nursing. Parents should clean their infant’s gums daily, and after each meal they have

Avoid Sending Your Baby to Bed with a Bottle
Many parents send their baby to bed with a bottle to calm them down, and help get them to sleep. Unfortunately, this exposes their teeth to sugar for a long period of time, and can lead to early childhood cavities. This is often called “baby bottle tooth decay,” and it is easily preventable: simply avoid sending your baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice.

If your child is thirsty, then absolutely give them something to drink before bed, just make sure that you wipe the gums if there are no teeth or if teeth are present brush the teeth after the baby is finished drinking. If they must have a bottle to go to sleep, fill it up with water so that they still have something to comfort them while they sleep.

Visit a Pediatric Dentist For any Concerns
We understand that the life of a parent is busy and often chaotic, and we are here for you. The AAPD recommends baby’s first dental visit take place within six months after the first tooth appears, and no later than a child’s first birthday. Every kid needs a specialist, and pediatric dentists like Dr. Al have 2-3 years of extra schooling, and are specialty trained to care for children’s teeth. After the baby’s first visit, the AAPD suggests parents take their children to the pediatric dentist every 6 months.

If you have any questions or concerns about your newborn or infant’s oral health, please contact the All-Star Team from Lake Cities Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics in Corinth, TX at (940) 353-5437. We look forward to serving you.

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Parents of Toddlers and Young Children

Thank you so much for being wonderful All-Stars! As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, it’s time to schedule a dental visit. The AAPD recommends that the first dental visit take place within six months after the first tooth appears, but no later than a child’s first birthday.

When do primary teeth erupt (come in) and fall out?
This chart shows when primary teeth (also called baby teeth or deciduous teeth) erupt (come in) and fall out.
Remember that eruption times can vary from child to child, and this is a general guide

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You can see from the chart, the first teeth begin to break through the gums at about 6 months of age. Usually, the first two teeth that erupt are the two bottom central incisors (the two bottom front teeth). 

Next, the top four front teeth emerge. 

After that, other teeth slowly begin to fill in, usually in pairs — one each side of the upper or lower jaw — until all 20 teeth (10 in the upper jaw and 10 in the lower jaw) have come in by the time the child is 2 ½ to 3 years old. 

The complete set of primary teeth is in the mouth from the age of 2 ½ to 3 years of age to 6 to 7 years of age.

Other primary tooth eruption facts:

  • A general rule of thumb is that for every 6 months of life, approximately 4 teeth will erupt. 
  • Girls generally precede boys in tooth eruption. Lower teeth usually erupt before upper teeth. 
  • Teeth in both jaws usually erupt in pairs — one on the right and one on the left. 
  • Primary teeth are smaller in size and whiter in color than the permanent teeth that will follow. 
  • By the time a child is 2 to 3 years of age, all primary teeth should have erupted.

Shortly after age 4, the jaw and facial bones of the child begin to grow, creating spaces between the primary teeth. This is a perfectly natural growth process that provides the necessary space for the larger permanent teeth to emerge. Between the ages of 6 and 12, a mixture of both primary teeth and permanent teeth reside in the mouth.

If baby teeth fall out after a couple of years, why is caring for them important? While it’s true that primary teeth are only in the mouth a short period of time, they play a vital role in the following ways:

  • They maintain space for their permanent counterparts. 
  • They give the face its normal appearance. 
  • They aid in the development of clear speech. 
  • They help attain good nutrition (missing or decayed teeth make it difficult to chew causing children to reject foods). 
  • They help give a healthy start to the permanent teeth (decay and infection in a baby tooth can cause dark spots on the permanent tooth developing beneath it).

Here Are Some Tips to Care For Your Child’s Teeth

  • When your child’s teeth begin to come in until age 3, brush the teeth gently twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and a very small amount of fluoride toothpaste around the size of a grain of rice.
  • For children 3 to 6-years-old, brush their teeth twice a day with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Be sure they spit out the toothpaste.
  • Until you’re comfortable that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste. When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin flossing their teeth daily.

Getting into a routine early will put your child on the right path to a healthy smile from the start.

Here is a tool to help you and your child develop an All-Star routine.

  • Click on the tooth brush chart to download and print out. 
  • Hang it in your child’s field of view near the sink where brushing teeth takes place. 
  • After your child brushes each morning and night and flosses at least once a day, have them put a check mark or a sticker in the right box. 
  • Fill up the whole chart for truly super teeth! 
  • When the chart is full, celebrate!
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What about permanent teeth
In some children, the first permanent molars are the first permanent teeth to emerge; in others, the permanent incisors are the first to emerge. By the age of 13, most of the 28 permanent teeth will be in place. One to four wisdom teeth, or third molars, emerge between the ages of 17 and 21, bringing the total number of permanent teeth up to 32.

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If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s oral health, please contact us at (940) 353-5437. We look forward to serving you.

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